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The Chris Powell Column

Connecticut’s worst pious fraud: education

As the recent campaign for governor and the General Assembly demonstrated, government and politics in Connecticut are full of pious frauds. 

Gun control makes suburbanites who were already safe feel safer while doing nothing for Connecticut’s cities, which experience a handgun murder almost every day. 

Nader: No excuses — you have the power

Running for president two years ago, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul was said to occupy the “whiplash point” on the political spectrum, uniting the libertarian right with the anti-war left. Paul has retired from politics, but Winsted’s Ralph Nader, 80, while two years older than Paul, is still going strong, and his new book envisions a potential political majority arising from the seeming opposites that Paul attracted.

The Palestinian principle: The worst defeat is peace

Among nations only Israel is expected to provide food, water, electricity and medicine to its enemy in wartime, an enemy that long has been sworn to Israel’s destruction and has been attacking the country for years.

This has been the story of Gaza since the Hamas movement took power there, and Israel has complied with such ridiculous expectations. Since Israel has been the great enabler of Gaza under Hamas, the Gaza problem has been Israel’s own fault.

‘Private’: Welfare fraud and UConn foundation

When state and federal laws were enacted to require confidentiality for applications for government welfare programs, they surely did not mean to conceal the identities of government employees who applied fraudulently. Yet that is how the law is being interpreted in Connecticut in regard to the nearly 200 state employees who fraudulently applied for emergency food assistance in 2011 after Hurricane Irene.

He wasn’t a doctor, but played one

Exposed for falsely claiming to have a doctoral degree and for having criminal records in Connecticut and California involving fraud, embezzlement and probation violation for which he served prison sentences, the chief executive of a charter school organization in Hartford resigned the other day and vowed to return to college to get that degree after all.

This raises a couple of questions that are almost certain not to be pursued.

He wasn’t a doctor, but played one at a school

Exposed for falsely claiming to have a doctoral degree and for having criminal records in Connecticut and California involving fraud, embezzlement and probation violation for which he served prison sentences, the chief executive of a charter school organization in Hartford resigned the other day and vowed to return to college to get that degree after all.

This raises a couple of questions that are almost certain not to be pursued.

There were alternatives to selling out hospitals

Why are some hospitals in Connecticut in financial trouble? Some of it is their own fault — they pay their executives and other employees too much. But part of it is public policy too.

‘Tax reform?’ Or, is the real purpose just more for public employees?

Rivaling Governor Malloy as a big thinker, state House Speaker Brendan Sharkey wants to fix Connecticut’s tax structure for good once the Democrats are safely back in power for another four years. Sharkey proposes to repeal the property tax exemption for colleges and hospitals and to shift more school expenses to state government to ease the property tax burden on municipalities.

Could Malloy sit still long enough to think?

Registering to vote in Connecticut will be more convenient now that state government has put a registration mechanism on its Internet sites. But state officials shouldn’t pretend that this will do any more to improve voter participation than has been accomplished by allowing registration even on Election Day itself. For voter registration never has been onerous, never has required more than a trip to town hall, and participation in elections was far greater years ago when both registration and transportation were not as easy as they are today.

Disaster from non-treatment of mental illness

When Governor Malloy can spare a minute from throwing money at everything from state colleges to burrito restaurants, and when the General Assembly can spare a minute from legislating to curtail freedom of information and the variety of puppies sold at pet stores, they might look at Connecticut’s latest catastrophe of mental illness.

The story, drawn from police and news reports recently, goes like this.