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The Chris Powell Column

Secrecy bid won’t stop with murder photos

Connecticut is lucky that sympathy for the survivors of the victims of the school massacre in Newtown didn’t destroy everything about freedom of information and accountability in government. The massacre secrecy legislation, concocted secretly itself, without a public hearing, blocks disclosure only of photographs and videos of murder victims — all murder victims, not just those in the Newtown massacre — and recordings of police radio transmissions describing murder victims’ wounds.

Hiding massacre records doesn’t protect anyone

Especially in Connecticut’s disintegrating cities, people have been getting murdered for years without governors and legislators suggesting that public policy should be turned over to the families of the victims. But now Governor Malloy and some legislators are devoting themselves to what they call an effort to protect the survivors of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

It’s all a mistake, as what is proposed would not protect anyone but endanger everyone by diminishing accountability in government.

Scandalizing the Estys: There’s not much in it

Scandal mongers are feeding heavily off Connecticut’s power couple, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, and her husband, the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Daniel C. Esty. But the supposed offenses of the Estys are actually only the norms of political life that could be held against most officeholders.

NRA is just a straw man for our cynical senators

A week before the U.S. Senate failed to muster the 60 votes needed to advance legislation for background checks for gun buyers, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy declared that the political influence of the National Rifle Association is a myth.

If only state government noticed its own salaries

Good for state Budget Director Ben Barnes for chiding Connecticut hospital executives for drawing salaries of as much as $1 million and $2 million from supposedly nonprofit operations while complaining about cuts in financial aid from state government.

Secrecy is taking over; here comes corruption, incompetence

Along with freedom of information, basic accountability in government in Connecticut may die this year.

It’s not enough that Gov.Malloy aims to cripple the three politically independent state watchdog agencies, including the Freedom of Information Commission; that he is concealing the identities of state employees who got caught stealing from state government; and that he proposes to exempt the ever-questionable pardons and paroles board from the law.

Some legislators are proposing to exempt death certificates from disclosure so that wrongful deaths might more easily be concealed.

Where are the liberals on big banks, drones?

Where are the liberals now that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has acknowledged to the Senate Banking Committee that the biggest banks and investment houses are not only “too big to fail” but “too big to jail”?

“I am concerned,” the attorney general testified the other day, that these institutions have become “so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

Too much college but not enough education

Gov. Malloy’s plan to throw another $1.5 billion at the University of Connecticut, this time for technical education, may not be received so enthusiastically outside the higher-education apparatus, and not just because the UConn men’s basketball team is disqualified from tournament play this year.

Too much college but not enough education

Gov. Malloy’s plan to throw another $1.5 billion at the University of Connecticut, this time for technical education, may not be received so enthusiastically outside the higher-education apparatus, and not just because the UConn men’s basketball team is disqualified from tournament play this year.

Mental illness: A crime issue?

 

More treatment for mental illness is the most pious appeal resulting from the Newtown school massacre. But as with the appeals for more restrictions on guns — outlawing scary-looking rifles and large-capacity magazines, prohibitively taxing ammunition, requiring background checks for gun purchasers — there is little relevance to what actually happened in Newtown. The massacre is just being adapted to longstanding political agendas.