Archive for July, 2012

Connecticut Getting Some Rhody Love
July 30, 2012

It’s not often our state is praised by our smaller neighbor to the east.    Rhode Islanders love to say their capital city is better than ours, their beaches are better, and their gas prices are better.    

Much to my pleasant surprise,   when I flew out of Green Airport last week I saw Hartford Whalers gear for sale prominently featured at the “Only in Rhode Island” store at the Sundlun terminal.       The sales clerk told me it sells pretty well, too.   Another store in the terminal was also hawking Whale wear, right next to Boston Bruins gear.

Later, as I was waiting for my flight, I spotted this guy with a really old Whalers logo hat.    

 

The next day at the beach along Lake Michigan in Chicago, my friends and I watched in amusement as this dude with a Whalers hat and his friend successfully persuaded two young women to let them join them at their table at a restaurant.   

We figured it was the power of the iconic logo of our beloved defunct team that facilitated whatever pick-up line they used.    Twenty minutes later he blew it when he lit up a cigarette and the girls skated  out of there leaving their dejected potential suitors behind.

more Whalers stories:

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/hartford-whalers-stuff-in-chicago/

what the governor says:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/governor-malloy-unlikely-nhl-will-return-to-connecticut/

plus:   what an ESPN anchor had to say

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/espns-buccigross-on-nhl-return-to-hartford/

also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/hartford-whalers-gear-going-hollywood/

and:   http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/baldwin-winnipeg-is-role-model-for-hartford/

plus: http://www.whalernation.tv/2011/06/msnbc-morning-joe-team-dons-hartford-whalers-caps.html

Rhinoplasty for the Roadmaster
July 20, 2012

Our treasured Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon is back on the road again after some…let’s call it,  surgery.    It was banged up in a fender bender while someone else was driving it while we were in Italy.   Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

The crash showed the resilience of the Master, which to the best of my knowledge, had never before been in an accident.    We purchased it from a widow who barely drove it.     Many other cars would have been totalled, but this amazingly solid road beast suffered only cosmetic damage.

The work was done by Pauly Ciarcia, an auto body expert I’ve done way too much business with, thanks to my wife’s penchant for sideswiping garage columns, choosing to ignore large objects in the backup camera, and colliding with raccoons.    Read about that right here:   http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/the-raccoon-and-the-regal/

Pauly runs Paul’s Automotive in New Britain and after a few days returned the Roadmaster looking better than it did before the crash.   He matched the 1995 Dark Cherry Red Metallic paint perfectly, and tracked down a Roadmaster grill in Ohio.

Our Roadmaster is heading toward a milestone of 160,000 miles and shows no signs of slowing down.   Let’s just hope there are no more visits to Pauly.

Check out my other adventures with the Roadmaster!

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/reason-742-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

Also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/reason-733-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

see also:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/yes-i-really-drive-a-buick/

and:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/reason-727-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

and: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/nothing-like-that-new-car-smell/

plus:   http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/reason-726-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

also:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/scot-haneys-one-shining-moment/

one more: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/reason-728-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

Bysiewicz Defends Ad; Calls Murphy “Out of Touch Like Nancy Johnson”
July 19, 2012

Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz defended her new campaign ad that attacks opponent Chris Murphy for accepting contributions from Wall Street firms.   During a taping of “Face the State,” set to air Sunday, the former secretary of the state refuted claims by the Murphy campaign that the ad contained false statements.

The interview with Bysiewicz was scheduled before the ad controversy broke, but due to the new developments, much of the interview focused on the ad.     Bysiewicz said she won’t change the wording of the ad , and it will continue airing verbatim.

The Murphy campaign took issue with the ad’s claim that the 5th district congressman has taken more donations from hedge funds than any other Democrat in congress.      The campaign said Bysiewicz had confused Murphy with former Congressman Scott Murphy of New York.     During the Face the State interview, Bysiewicz defended the claim, saying there is no such confusion.    At one point, Bysiewicz said Murphy’s dispute with the ad shows “he is out of touch like Nancy Johnson.”     Johnson is the longtime Republican congresswoman ousted by Murphy in 2006, after he ran ads criticizing her campaign donations.

More information later on Eyewitness News at 11.   The complete interview will air Sunday at 11 on Face the State on WFSB Channel 3.

Watch the segment right here:

http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7532529

Who will Mitt Romney Choose for a Running Mate?
July 17, 2012

I went out on a limb and made a prediction about Mitt Romney’s running mate, that was picked up by the Huffington Post.     After some careful thought, I guessed Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.

Read my story right here:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-house/romneys-veep-pick_b_1668995.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Who do you think will be picked? 

“Cooking with the Candidates” Returns
July 17, 2012

 

“Better Connecticut” will reprise its  popular series from 2010, “Cooking with the Candidates.”   The four candidates for the U.S. senate,  Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy, Linda McMahon and Chris Shays are being invited to come on the program and whip up his or her favorite dish.

First up is Murphy who appear on the program today at 3PM.

Two years ago, gubernatorial candidates Dan Malloy and Tom Foley came to the WFSB kitchen and showed of their culinary skills, or lack thereof, as did senate candidate McMahon.  Her rival Richard Blumenthal declined to take part.

It’s a great way for viewers to see the candidates in a totally different, non-political  setting,”   said Better Connecticut producer Melissa Dethlefsen;  “It was a big hit last time.”

Tune in this week starting at 3PM on Channel 3.

Carstensen & Koppy Cautious about Economy
July 13, 2012

The economy remains the number one issue in this year’s presidential campaign and this week we are joined by two experts to help understand exactly what is happening.    From Greece to Groton people are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, and they want to know when this feeling of malaise will start to get better.

UConn professor Fred Carstensen is one of smartest guys in the state when it comes to analyzing unemployment figures, taxes, and spending.   He is a frequent guest on Face the State and during our taping he talked about whether the Democrats’ claim that the economy is improving,  is true.

We are also joined by Ted Koppy, who is not only a financial advisor, he also plays one on tv.    Ted left the television business as a critically acclaimed news anchor, and jumped into the financial industry with the firm Waddell and Reed.     His experience in television serves him well, as he is very adept at explaining complex issues in plain spoken language our viewers can understand.    

It was also an honor to have a former competitor sitting next to me on the Face the State.    In fact, I told Ted that if I had a heart attack during the taping, he could finish the show for me!   

Both Fred and Ted voiced some concerns and caution about the economy, and explained why.   Fred talked about the losses on Wall Street, and Ted said people’s optimism seems on the decline from where it was earlier in the year.   If you are unemployed, having financial troubles, or wondering about investing, Sunday’s broadcast will most certainly interest you.   

You can watch the entire interview this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State.

update: here is the link http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7506992

Novak, Formica Draw Distinctions in Battle for CT-2 GOP Nod
July 13, 2012

There are no debates scheduled between the two Republicans seeking the nomination for congress in the 2nd district, so a joint appearance this Sunday on Face the State is the closest thing to a debate voters will get.     Daria Novak and Paul Formica are our guests this Sunday to talk about who is the better candidate to take on Congressman Joe Courtney.

The pair was asked about Courtney, Obamacare, the sub base, revitalizing New London and other topics.   You can watch the Novak and Formica this Sunday morning on Face the State at 11 on Channel 3.

UPDATE:  here is the video: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7506989

Face the State Flashback: Gore Campaigns in Hartford
July 13, 2012

It’s highly unlikely President Obama, Mitt Romney or their running mates will campaign in Connecticut during the presidential campaign, although they might come to the gold coast to raise money.   This is a blue state, and unless the President replaces Joe Biden on the ticket with Jerry Sandusky, it looks like Democrats will carry our state with ease.  It wasn’t always that way.

Presidential candidates used to come here often back in the days when Connecticut had an additional electoral vote, and used to be more competitive in presidential races.    

In this week’s Face the State flashback, we have some old video from September of 1992, when then vice-presidential candidate Al Gore came to Hartford.    You’ll see my live report from the campaign stop, introduced by Janet Peckinpaugh.    I was reporting from a cramped, noisy bakery, with bright sun pouring in the windows.

You can watch the entire flashback this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

Also read:   http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/face-the-state-flashback-ted-kennedy-campaigns-in-connecticut/

and:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/face-the-state-flashback-1992-connecticut-presidential-primary/

UPDATE:  Here is the link:   http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7506998

Romney’s Veep Pick?
July 10, 2012

Four years ago,  I correctly predicted Republican presidential nominee John McCain would select Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Seriously.   I shared my thoughts with my wife, co-anchor, some colleagues and friends.  I told them McCain needed to make an historic choice to counter Barack Obama’s historic candidacy and a woman seemed the way to go.   At the time there were three female Republican governors, including Connecticut’s Jodi Rell, but I felt Palin would be more appealing to conservatives.   I made this prediction a week or two before the surprise selection of an obscure governor from Alaska was announced.   

This year, I’ve been urged to make a prediction and announce it publicly.     My gut tells me Mitt Romney is not going to select one of the people pundits believe are among the leading choices:  Ohio Senator Rob Portman,  former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio.      I really think Romney’s running mate will be a woman.   

Romney is trailing President Obama among women in the polls , and he is being attacked by some prominent women’s groups.    MSNBC routinely runs a banner at the bottom of their screen, with the headline “War on Women,” and Democrats rarely miss an opportunity to talk about the “Republican war on women.”    I can’t see the all white male ticket happening this year.

Romney also has to be prepared for the possibility that President Obama could replace Vice-President Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should the president fall behind in the polls.     

The  women reported to be on Romney’s list of potential running mates include New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.    All were elected in 2010, and their selections would immediately invite comparisons to Palin, who also had been in office for less than two years when tapped to be McCain’s number two.   I’d be very surprised if Romney picks  from that group.

I have a hunch former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of Romney’s top choices, and she is the runner-up to my prediction.    Rice would appeal to black, women and conservative voters, and bring foreign policy expertise to the ticket, much like Biden did for then Senator Obama.     A Rice selection would mean former President Bush would be prominently featured in Democratic attack ads, and that’s the biggest con to what would be a bold, historic choice.

My prediction for Romney’s running mate is someone who has not been publicly identified as a potential choice, but I believe she’s on the short list:   Congressman Marsha Blackburn.      Blackburn is a conservative from Tennessee, who calls herself a congressman rather than congresswoman.    The arguments against her seem minor:  she is a from a state that go will Republican and she’s not well known.     In a way,  Blackburn has already been vetted through the media, as she has been a guest on Meet the Press, and other political programs and from what I’ve read, seems widely regarded in her party.   Blackburn is a tea party favorite and one of the leading voices for the repeal of the President’s health care program.

Mayor & New Chief: Crime is Hurting Hartford Economy
July 10, 2012

Anytime there is a shooting in the North End of Hartford it makes the news.   The headline might say “Man Shot in Hartford,” or something like that.    I often wonder what potential investors or residents think when they read that, even though the crime might have taken place nowhere near where the real estate that investor was  eyeballing.

This Sunday on Face the State, we are joined by Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and his new chief of police, James Rovella.    We talked about Rovella’s goals as the new head of HPD, and the shootings that grab all the attention.

Suburbanites seem to think Hartford is full of shootings, but the reality is the vast majority of the people who live in the city are faced with some of the same problems suburbanites face:  car break-ins, people running stop signs and driving too fast on residential streets, potholes, and other seemingly common issues.      Many of us, tend to resent the violent losers in the rough neighborhoods who take police away from the problems that are often taken care of more quickly in towns without violent crime.

It is clear that more needs to be done to curb crime than just rounding up troublemakers.  The city needs to be made less attractive to the criminal element.

All you have to do is drive around the metro area to see that most national chains avoid Hartford.    The new supermarkets are all in the suburbs, as are most of the retail outlets.   A few miles from downtown in West Hartford Center, merchants are filling up storefronts, while the capital city struggles to fill empty spaces.   Hartford’s neighbor also has a reported 35 developers interested in building a hotel, while the Goodwin Hotel remains vacant, in the heart of the capital city of the nation’s wealthiest state.

What gives?  Is it the image of crime that scares off investors from Hartford?    The new chief acknowledged the trouble caused by a few bad apples does hurt the entire city.    I asked the Mayor what he plans to do about it.   Maybe you can’t catch every bad guy, but why do parts of the city continue to look conducive to criminals?   There are boarded up buildings downtown, desolate acreage of asphalt, an empty skyscraper, and the list goes on.

The mayor talked about plans in the works to address many of those issues.

You can watch the responses from Mayor Segarra and Chief Rovella this Sunday morning at 11AM on Face the State on Channel 3, and hear their plans for improving your capital city.

Watch the interview right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7532538

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