Archive for March, 2009

Ambassador Foley v. Senator Dodd
March 29, 2009

Our Face the State guest today is Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland.  He is considering challenging Senator Chris Dodd.

Tackle the Tower
March 25, 2009

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This Saturday I will running up Connecticut’s newest skyscraper, Hartford 21.   34 floors all to benefit the American Lung Association.   Mark Dixon is the captain of Team 3 and recruited me to pass out, I mean test my endurance.

Speaking of lungs mine were feeling it after last year’s tower.   It was a difficult climb,  so this year I’ve been training, kinda sorta.  See above picture.

See you on Saturday.  The big question:  what kind of shape will I be in on Sunday!

Yes, I really drive a Buick!
March 21, 2009

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Today on Better Connecticut my wife Kara Sundlun and her co-host Scot Haney revealed to the viewing public I drive a Buick.   Scot was surprised when he saw Kara pull up in my Buick Roadmaster yesterday, and was more surprised that I love that car.   It IS the master of the road.

That’s it above next to a nearly identical one  I spotted in the West End the other day.  I just had to take a picture of the two together.

Why a Roadmaster you ask?  Buick is my favorite brand of car, for a few reasons.  They have a great classic history,  sort of like the Brooks Brothers of cars.  They look cool, and they are ridiculously reliable.  In fact, they are thee most dependable make, beating every Japanese brand.  So much for the myth that Japanese cars are better.   This study just came out this week:

jdpower

I also like Buick because it is an American car.  The Buick Enclave that Kara drives was made in Lansing, Michigan and the Roadmaster was built in Arlington , Texas.  Our other Buick, a 1965  Electra , was made in Flint, Michigan.

Before you start with the e-mails, I realize some foreign cars are assembled here in the United States, but the profits generally go back to those foreign countries where the vehicles are largely designed and so forth.  It is common knowledge that an American car made in this country creates more jobs here than a foreign car assembled in the United States.    As for buying a foreign car made in a foreign land, well how does that help the U.S economy?  I’ll admit, I owned three foreign cars before Kara and I switched to Buick for the reliability, and we wanted to help Detroit,  Kara’s hometown.

We’re not the only ones.  Denise D’Ascenzo recently joined the Buick family, as did “Better” producer Melissa Dethlefsen.

Anyway, back to my Roadmaster.  I always wanted one, and it had to be a wagon with the fake wood on the side.   When I was growing up we had a Ford with the Country Squire wood, and I thought it was cool. 

At the end of last summer, a widow in Milford was selling her late husband’s Roadmaster wagon and it was in great shape.  Always garaged and babied.  The third row had never been used, and the back seat was used only a handful of times. 

I bought it the day I saw it, and she gave me a great deal.  As Kara mentioned on Better, the woman turned down a higher offer because the prospective buyer criticized her Roadmaster as he tried to talk her down in price.   She felt as if he was offending her husband.  She knew I loved the car and actually sent us a Christmas card wishing us well with the car that was so special to her family.

“The Master,” as it is affectionately called,  holds a sheet of plywood, actually a stack of plywood.  Do not try that in your car…you may put out a window.  It has a Corvette engine that is extremely powerful, reliable, and surprisingly fuel efficient.  It gets 25 MPG on the highway.    Its size makes it safe, and the dual airbags are an added feature.    Best of all I paid much less for two cars (the Roadmaster and an Electra convertible)  than people paid for a mass produced foreign sedan, a bland box that will never grace the cover of a classic auto magazine or be oohed and aahed over at a parade or car show.

One of my buddies has spent so much money in the past year repairing his German sports car that he could have bought two Roadmasters and had some money left over.   His car is at the bottom of that reliability list posted above.   He now has Roadmaster envy and tells me whenever he spots one, and as the picture above proves, there are more out there than you might think.

There are always some great ones on Ebay and cars.com

Here’s to a Roadmaster revival.

Rob Simmons on Face the State
March 21, 2009

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This Sunday on Face the State we interview the first person to announce he is running against embattled Senator Chris Dodd.  Former Congressman Rob Simmons lost to Joe Courtney in 2006 by only 83 votes, and is bouyed by a new poll that shows him a point ahead of Dodd.

Simmons talks about why he is running, why voters should turn away from a senator they have elected five times, and whether former President George Bush will campaign for him.

All this Sunday on Face the State.   Please leave your comments and don’t forget your last name and your town.

Loving the Laurel
March 21, 2009

dubymcdowell

My good friend Duby McDowell has a somewhat new blog called “The Laurel” that is a must read.  It covers my industry:  the media.  

It’s not a paparazzi type of site, although Duby will gladly welcome pictures of Al Terzi mowing his lawn in a kilt or Denise D’Ascenzo playing volleyball at Hammonasset in her favorite chartreuse tube top.    The Laurel chronicles the comings and goings of the people at the television and radio stations in our state, along with the print media. 

Here’s the link:   http://thelaurel.wordpress.com/

Senator Chris Dodd & the Media
March 10, 2009

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At a recent charity event I was approached by a supporter of Senator Chris Dodd who complained to me “we have to start a public relations campaign, the media coverage of Senator Dodd is hurting him.  Don’t you people like Senator Dodd?” she exclaimed.

I happen to like Senator Dodd.  I really do.  He’s always been friendly and easy to talk to and seems really interested in what people have to say.   I can count several Dodd supporters among my friends and one of my family members even donated to his campaign.    I remember feeling genuinely happy for the Senator when I covered his wedding, and when he became a father. 

For that matter, I also like many Republicans, in fact I emceed Governor Rell’s inaugural ball in 2007.   I also have a family member who donates to the GOP.   At a recent family gathering just after this past election in November, a quick head count revealed half voted for Barack Obama and exactly half voted for John McCain. 

I’ll even admit I  felt a sense of pride when someone from my state was running for president, and wondered what it would be like if Dodd were elected president.   We would probably get invited to the White House for a special media briefing as was the case with local reporters who covered George Bush and Barack Obama, and East Haddam would become the Summer White House.    Hartford might have been the site of the Chris Dodd Presidential Library.   There is little doubt a Dodd presidency would have been good for Connecticut.

By all accounts, Chris Dodd has been a good Senator and effective for Connecticut, but as a journalist, I still have to ask the tough questions of an elected official even if I like him or her, and even if that  politician is popular and successful.

This the case with Senator Dodd.  This past week on Face the State the chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party said the media should stop covering the mortgage controversy, calling it a non-issue.   We just can’t do that.

I work for you, the viewers, who have made it very clear you want to know more about the mortgage issue.    To his credit, the Senator allowed a small group of reporters to look at select mortgage documents, but that was not enough.    The Wall Street Journal, whose reporters certainly know much more about mortgages and finance than I do, was not invited that day.

If I were his media advisor I would allow reporters to make copies of what they want, and let those reporters show them to a mortgage expert.   If there is nothing to hide, then why is the Senator refusing complete access?    If a mortgage expert working on behalf of Channel 3 was granted unlimited access and found nothing, then the issue would be a non-issue. 

This once popular senator has watched his support and popularity erode since last summer, in part due to the mortgage controversy.   Just about every reporter I have spoken with just can’t understand how the Senator would let his happen.  Many Democrats echo that sentiment, telling me if the Senator did nothing wrong, then why hurt yourself by refusing to make everything public?

The Senator has turned a sure thing into a race he may very well lose.    It will be interesting to see what he does next.

Should the media drop coverage of the Dodd Mortgage Controversy?”
March 7, 2009

The chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic party thinks the media should cease covering the mortgage issue, calling it a “non-issue.”  You can watch Nancy DiNardo’s comments this Sunday at 11AM.  Let me know what you think.

Rudy Giuliani on Face the State
March 7, 2009

Our guest this Sunday on Face the State is the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani.  The man known as “America’s Mayor,” stopped by our studios for a taping, and was very gracious and friendly.  He posed for pictures with some staffers, and took time to talk to anyone who came by.

We talked about his law firm,  Bracewell and Giuliani, which recently hired former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Attorney General Kevin O’Connor at their office in downtown Hartford.  We also chatted about Republicans’ chances of beating Senator Chris Dodd in 2010 and what Giuliani would do if he were mayor of Hartford.  Join us Sunday at 11 AM for Face the State .

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