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The Chris Powell Column

Why privileges for liquor retailers?

The Chris Powell Column

How do Connecticut’s liquor retailers manage not to be laughed out of the discussion about the government regulation they demand for their business?

After all, why should only liquor retailers enjoy laws forbidding price competition for their product, forbidding competition in hours of operation and obstructing entry to their industry? Why aren’t all businesses given these extraordinary privileges?

More really bad storms would still knock us out

The Chris Powell Column

Some good recommendations have come out of the work of the commission appointed by Gov. Malloy to study the long and excruciating electric power outages after the tropical storm in August and the freak snowstorm in October. The governor has followed up with his own recommendations.

Suspend habeas corpus and enact martial law?

The Chris Powell Column

Americans seem ready to forfeit their most basic civil liberty — actually, all their civil liberties — without a whimper.

By a vote of 93-7 the Senate this month approved a military appropriations bill empowering the government to designate any U.S. citizen within the country as a terrorist, and to have the military hold him indefinitely without trial and without the right to habeas corpus, the right to be brought before a court for a judgment on the legality of one’s imprisonment.

In effect, the legislation is a declaration of martial law throughout the country.

Did UConn really need to drop this $4 million? And, fairer redistricting

The Chris Powell Column

For the nearly $4 million it paid, the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees might have been expected to get some spectacularly original money-saving ideas from the famous consulting firm McKinsey & Co. But the consultant’s report, delivered last month, was little more than boilerplate.

State busway a white elephant

The Chris Powell Column

The more that the $567 million bus highway project between Hartford and New Britain is touted for the construction jobs it will produce, the more you can be sure that its nominal justification — transportation between the two struggling cities — isn’t very persuasive.

If only state government set real deadlines for itself, as for CL & P

The Chris Powell Column

Now that the managers at Connecticut Light & Power, especially its former President Jeffrey D. Butler who resigned last week, have been declared incompetent for needing 10 days instead of seven to restore electricity after the worst weather damage to the company’s transmission system in half a century, maybe the state can learn something from the deadlines the company tried to impose on itself under the pressure of state and municipal government.

Electrical grid: state’s top infrastructure need?

The Chris Powell Column

Anger was as thick as the wood smoke in the air as Connecticut coped with the damage done by the freak October 29 snowstorm that brought trees down on utility lines, roads and houses in the northwestern half of the state, maybe the state’s worst natural disaster since the devastating flooding of 1955.

Perpetual motion machine entices again

The Chris Powell Column

Maybe state government’s investment in Gov. Malloy’s Jackson Laboratory project in Farmington — $345 million, 44 percent of it bonding interest — will pay off eventually. But it will have to spur a lot more development to bring the subsidy to Jackson below the breathtaking level of a million dollars per job, a mere 300 jobs after 10 years.

There is no hard evidence that this can be done, just supposition and hope. As state Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, noted in debate in the state House of Representatives, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Perpetual motion machine entices Connecticut again

The Chris Powell Column

Maybe state government’s investment in Gov. Malloy’s Jackson Laboratory project in Farmington — $345 million, 44 percent of it bonding interest — will pay off eventually. But it will have to spur a lot more development to bring the subsidy to Jackson below the breathtaking level of a million dollars per job, a mere 300 jobs after 10 years.

There is no hard evidence that this can be done, just supposition and hope. As state Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, noted in debate in the state House of Representatives, “Hope is not a strategy.”

Get a political program and Occupy Main Street

The Chris Powell Column

Journalism seems to be as much in love with the Occupy Wall Street protesters as it has been in hate with the Tea Party protesters. But while both groups sense that the country is halfway down the toilet and picking up speed, at least the Tea Party people have recognized that the country still has a political process and that President Obama is in large part responsible for the country’s decline. That is, the Tea Party people have offered some policy prescriptions, right or wrong, and have helped to elect like-minded people to office.