Archive for September, 2010

Bysiewicz Rules out 2011 Mayoral Run
September 30, 2010

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz will not run for office next year.   During a taping of “Face the State” the three term Democrat ruled out running for mayor of Middletown in 2011.      Instead she opened the door to running for the senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman or for governor in 2014 should Dan Malloy lose this fall. 

Bysiewicz was on the program to talk about voter turnout for the November election, and which party could benefit from this  mid-term election, but attention quickly turned to her own political future.

I asked her if she had any regrets about not running for governor.  A year ago, polls showed her as the only Democrat who could give Governor Rell a run for her money.     Rell later decided not to run.    Did Bysiewicz nudge her out?   The answer on Sunday.   

We also talk about the reversal of fortune Bysiewicz suffered after she switch from the governor’s race to that of attorney general.   I asked her if she was “damaged goods.”

Also on Face this State this Sunday, analysis on all the races from two esteemed journalists, Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer and Ted Mann of the Day of New London.    We learn some new things about the McMahon Blumenthal race from them, and get some behind the scenes perspective.  Also, why Dan Malloy’s attack ads could be helping Tom Foley and the congressional races, and who is in trouble.   

All this Sunday, and from the Channel 3 archives we take a look back at the election of 1990:  a moustachioed John Rowland battling Lowell Weicker with the help of a state senator named Kevin Rennie.

Malloy Getting Help from National Democrats
September 27, 2010

Eyewitness News has learned the Democratic Governors Association is now running television ads on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy.   Late last week the DGA spent roughly $200,000 for advertising on WFSB.   We’ve been unable to determine if the DGA has purchased ad time on the other stations in the Hartford New Haven television market, and whether ad time has been purchased in the more expensive New York television market. 

The Republican Governors Association has not bought ad time here on behalf of Tom Foley, but has in neighboring Massachusetts for Republican Charlie Baker.  The DGA is also paying for an ad blitz there for Governor Deval Patrick.

What does this mean?  Not sure yet.   We’ve been unable to get answers from the DGA or RGA.    Usually national organizations will only spend money in tight races or races they perceive to be tight.    According to the last Quinnipiac  poll, Malloy has a nine point  lead over Foley.     This is the first time since the election of 1994 that a Democrat has lead a Republican in a poll this close to the election, so perhaps the DGA is getting a whiff of victory and doesn’t want to take any chances.   The last time the Democrats won the governor’s race was 1986.

Courtney and Himes Punt on Pelosi; Won’t Endorse Her Now for Another Term as Speaker
September 24, 2010

It’s been happening around the country, and now here in Connecticut two prominent Democrats appear to be distancing themselves from the Democratic leadership in Washington, namely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

During a taping of Face the State, when I asked both Congressmen  Jim Himes and Joe Courtney if they would endorse Pelosi for another term as their leader, they balked. 

The two are running for re-election in districts where President Obama’s approval rating has fallen and unemployment is high.  With an electorate becoming increasingly frustrated with Washington, Himes and Courtney are both stressing to voters that they are “independent voices. ”    

Himes is one of roughly three dozen Democrats in the House bucking Pelosi’s call to end the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year, and he talks about that on Sunday’s show.   Courtney supports Pelosi on that issue, but has gone against her wishes on some other votes. 

Dan DeBicella, the Republican running against Himes has been highly critical of the incumbent’s ties with the President and the Speaker.    Ditto for Janet Peckinpaugh, Courtney’s opponent.   

I asked both men about their feelings toward Pelosi.  Here is a condensed preview of our conversation you will see Sunday:  

DH:  Do you think Speaker Pelosi is taking Congress in the right direction?

JH:  I don’t think a lot about Speaker Pelosi.   My job is to represent my constituents…

DH:   If the Democrats hold on to control, do you think Mrs. Pelosi is the best speaker for the House? 

JH:  (brief pause)

DH:  Would you endorse her re-election?

JH:  You know, Dennis, at a time when unemployment is so high I have devoted no time to thinking about whether Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer or anyone else would be the best leader. 

DH:  It seems non-committal,  your support for Speaker Pelosi.  Right now you could say “I’d like to see her re-elected as speaker,”  but you are hesitant. 

JH:  Ha, I haven’t given it an iota of thought.    

Here’s an abbreviated preview of Courtney’s response:

DH:  Would you endorse Nancy Pelosi for another term as speaker?

JC:  If is is a choice between her and John Boehner……it is an easy choice.

DH:  Obviously you wouldn’t vote for a Republican.  Is she the best Democrat to be speaker? 

JC:  Look obviously there is an election to take place and there will be caucuses that will take place and at this point there is no opposition that has materialized. 

DH:  Has she done a good job?

JC:  That is the most thankless job in America…

Although they had some complimentary words about Speaker, their lack of enthusiasm was very noticeable.

Also on Sunday’s show:  Himes called DeBicella “right wing,” Courtney talked about Peckinpaugh’s stance on the sub base, and both men defended their records.   

A programming note:  we had some technical issues with our taping.    A television monitor failed moments before the Courtney interview, so we had to move to the Eyewitness News set.   For the Himes interview you’ll notice the background was orange, rather than the usual aqua because of a lighting malfunction. 

Also, we have some great old film of a presidential visit to Hartford, dug out of the archives. 

See you Sunday at 11AM.

Ted Kennedy, Jr. to Campaign for Blumenthal
September 23, 2010

Obama,  Bush, and Clinton;  just some of the big names involved in Connecticut campaigns this fall.   Now, you can add Kennedy to that list.  

Ted Kennedy, Junior, who lives in Branford, is now making headlines in the senate race between Linda McMahon and Dick Blumenthal.   It all started when the McMahon campaign unveiled a new ad featuring 47 year old film of the late President John Kennedy talking about tax cuts.    

Kennedy, the late President’s nephew,  took issue with the ad, saying it falsely implies his uncle would have supported McMahon’s tax policy, which calls for extending the Bush tax cuts.    The McMahon campaign says it will not stop running the ad, in fact it may begin airing it on television.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Kennedy also said he had not discussed the ad controversy with his cousin Caroline, the late President’s daughter and widely viewed as the keeper of JFK’s legacy.   He told us he plans to campaign for Blumenthal, but no word on whether he will appear in television commercials on behalf of the Attorney General as he did for Ned Lamont.

Here’s something to think about:  there has been  speculation Kennedy will run for the senate in 2012 against Senator Joe Lieberman.    State Democratic party  chairwoman Nancy DiNardo called him a “dream candidate.”     If McMahon should lose by a narrow margin to Blumenthal in November, she instantly would be considered the Republican frontrunner to take on Lieberman and Kennedy.   We’re getting a preview this week of what such a race would be like.

You can hear from Kennedy on the McMahon ad controversy, tonight at 11.

Hawaii Five-O is Back
September 20, 2010

One of the greatest television crime shows in history is back with a 21st century twist.  Hawaii Five-O, which ran on CBS and Channel 3 from 1968 to 1980.  Without a doubt, the show has one of the best theme songs ever created for a television show. 

I watched the tail end of the series when I was younger and probably saw some of the earlier episodes in repeats, but like millions of peoplem I thought it was one cool show.   McGarrett was unflappable, always running after criminals in a suit and tie and dress shoes.    He was always in charge, and every episode featured that iconic line,  “Book em, Danno.”    The best prop in the show was McGarrett’s shiny black Mercury, always looking sleek against that Hawaiian backdrop.

The new Hawaii Five-O has a new McGarrett and a new Danno and a whole new cast.    The memorable theme song and show opening is back, more high tech than the original, yet shorter and lacking a few things.    One of my favorite shots was that choppy zoom-in to McGarrett on the balcony of a high rise.   The 2010 version of that shot needs some work.

I’ve already seen a lengthy preview (one of the perks of working for a CBS station) and I saw one thing I didn’t like: the new Danno smacks the new McGarrett!   Nobody was insubordinate t0 the old McGarrett. 

Still, I’ll give the new Five-O a chance.  Check it out here on Channel 3 tonight at 10 and let me know what you think.

The Loss of Three Favorites
September 20, 2010

There is an old saying that the deaths of celebrities come in threes.   Is that true for the closings of stores and restaurants? 

1.    First, word that our favorite supermarket is closing:  Waldbaum’s at Bishop’s Corner.  It reminds me of the old Star Market we had in my hometown growing up.  The people who work there are friendly and they are extremely helpful.  It is not a terribly large building and easy to navigate.  Big Y has purchased it, but hasn’t announced plans for whether it will be re-opened.    

2.     Mayor Mike’s in downtown Hartford.    The eatery was a great place to go and let’s hope it re-opens.   Bob Peters, the brother of the late mayor, told me they are looking for someone to run it, and are re-assessing the business.    The loss of four  major downtown companies during the Perez years has had a negative trickle down impact on local merchants.  Thousands of workers who shopped and ate out downtown are now doing that in suburbia.     The loss of the Goodwin Hotel didn’t help either. 

3.       Coaster Cuts in Blue Back Square.  This Six Flags venture opened to great fanfare a year and half ago, so the sudden closing surprised us.   My daughter loved getting her hair cut there, and we haven’t yet broken the news to her yet.

I should also mention the Avon Old Farms Inn.     Back in 1994, I watched the infamous O.J. Simpson Bronco chase there.

Friday Night Football is Back!
September 17, 2010

Summer is over this weekend and high school football returns, featuring the best 15 minutes in Connecticut television:  Friday Night Football.   I look forward to it every fall.

It’s fascinating to follow the different teams from all over Connecticut, hear names of players that might someday go onto to play college football or the NFL.   Remember Amari Spievey, a Xavier alumnus  now with the Detroit Lions?  Or Aaron Hernandez of Bristol Central now with the Patriots?

On Friday Night Football you also get to hear the names of those mascots and check out the logos.

There are some great names, including the Wreckers of Staples High School is one of my favorites, along with the Whippets of Windham. They are originals, as are the New London Whalers — appropriate for the Whaling City — and the Wilbur Cross (New Haven) Governors.

Wilbur Cross was governor of Connecticut from 1931 to 1939.  One of the best: The Danbury Mad Hatters, a perfect choice for the Hat City.   The logo is fairly simple.

If it were every updated, I like the logo of the now defunct minor league hockey team that had the same name.

Another great name is the East Hampton Bellringers, although they do not have a football team. Bells were made there for years.

Two team names represent geography: The New Milford Green Wave, an homage to the Litchfield Hills surrounding this bucolic town. Ditto for Darien: The Blue Wave is a salute to Long Island Sound, where this town sits.

Some schools have nicknames that you won’t hear anywhere else in our state, includes, among others:

  • The Bloomfield Warhawks  
  • Fairfield Prep Jesuits  
  • Hartford Public Owls  
  • Hyde-New Haven Howling Wolves  
  • New Britain Golden Hurricanes  
  • Shelton Gaels

Would the real Indians please stand up?

Many other names are far less original. There are no fewer than eight schools that call themselves the Indians, and some towns are actually right next to each other!

Farmington and Newington share a border and have identical nicknames, and right next door in West Hartford, Northwest Catholic is also the Indians.

A few miles away, these Indians can play the Manchester Indians, and Indians also play in North Haven, Guilford, Montville, and Watertown.

Other towns have nicknames that honor Native Americans like the RHAM (Hebron) Sachems, the Coventry Chieftains, and the Wilton Warriors.

There is also a flock of football Falcons, including:

  • Avon
  • Fermi of Enfield
  • Fitch of Groton
  • Ludlowe of Fairfield
  • Barlow of Redding
  • St. Paul of Bristol
  • Xavier of Middletown

Masuk of Monroe and Wilby of Waterbury share the same logo with different colors, but different names.   They are Masuk Panthers and the Wilby Wildcats.


My all time favorite?  The Kingswood Oxford Wyverns.

These images are courtesy of a great website worth checking out:

Enjoy the season, and we’ll see you on Friday Night Football.

The Roadmaster gets starring role on Better Connecticut
September 17, 2010

Our treasured Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon was prominently featured on the season premiere of “Better Connecticut.”   Kara can be seeing driving Scot as he sits in the nearly mint condition third row.   The Milford widow who sold me the Roadmaster told me she and her husband had never used that row. 

Here’s the clip, and the Roadmaster is near the end

Scot Haney: I could raise more money than Obama
September 17, 2010

Our always entertaining and comedic Scot Haney weighed in on President Obama’s low approval rating and speculation over whether a presidential visit would help or hurt senate candidate Dick Blumenthal.

During a taping of “Better Connecticut” Scot shared his theory with co-host Kara Sundlun

Ex Dem. Chairman says boats will sink Foley & McMahon
September 17, 2010

For the first time since the 1990s, former state Republican party chairman Dick Foley and former state Democratic party chairman Ed Marcus got together during a taping of “Face the State” to debate politics.  They used to be frequent guests of Duby McDowell on “Face the State” when it was known as CT ’94, CT ’95 and so forth. 

The two talked about the senate, gubernatorial, and congressional races.   Marcus blasted Linda McMahon, and predicted Dick Blumenthal will go negative and defeat her easily, by a 10- 13 point margin.   

Foley blasted Blumenthal, and said the last minute decision makers will break for McMahon and she will win by 5-6 points.    He also said Jim Himes and Chris Murphy are in real trouble and Joe Courtney could be in trouble if  Janet Peckinpaugh starts to raise more money.

The highlight, or lowpoint (depending on your perspective) of the exchange was when Marcus  brought up the boats owned by gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley (no relation to Dick Foley) and McMahon.    Marcus argued the names those boats were given by their owners should be an issue for voters.*       We believe this to be the first time a certain word that rhymes with “witch” has been uttered on Face the State.     Marcus accused Foley and McMahon of buying their nominations like they bought boats.    The exchange between Foley and Marcus is entertaining to watch.  

Tune in this Sunday at 11 for Face the State.

*  the names of the boats were first reported here by Ken Dixon the Connecticut Post


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