Tuesday, May 31, 2011
A Tale of Two States- A Tale of Huge Deficits: A Tale of Two Governors: California Versus Connecticut. Part II, Governor Malloy and the Unions
This is Part II (for Part I, click here).
We already know that Jerry Brown has it 'on the agenda' to extract concessions from California Unions--a reduction in Union pensions in order to close the gap on a $26.6 Billion shortfall in revenues.
Malloy, here in Connecticut announced on May 13 that he had negotiated a $1.6 Billion dollar deal with the Unions in order to avert a threatened layoff of 5,000 state workers. The Governor originally sought $2 Billion in concessions.
Several points need bearing in mind.
First, there is no real deal until 14 of 15 state unions ratify it and there are 34 bargaining units in toto. In addition 80% of the Union members must vote for it. Then the final deal must still be approved by the state legislature. Thus, there are still major hurdles to overcome.
Malloy agreed not to lay off any of the 45,000 unionized workers for four years.
The deal included no furloughs (mandatory temporary layoffs with no pay) and no reductions in hours for permanent workers; a two-year freeze in salary was included and then here would be a 3% increase in salary for each of the next 3 years. For employees retiring after 2017, there would be a 3 year rise in the retirement age. Undisclosed pension and health benefits would be scaled back.
Should not enough union members ratify the proposed deal, the two year budget would collapse!
The republican minority opposition in the Connecticut legislature has pointed out the government spending is staying at the same level (with no cuts); this is concommitant with a massive increase in state taxes--the largest in its history.
According to the New York Times, "the new budget depends in large part on almost $1.5 billion in increased taxes on personal income, corporations and an array of purchases and services, from yachts to inexpensive clothing, to plug a deficit once estimated between $3.2 billion and $3.5 billion."
The state still must find an additional $400 million in revenue to balance the budget. It is unclear what the source of these unaccounted funds will be though the Governor made a surprise announcement on Friday, May 27th on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend.
Finally, it could take over a month for the unions to ratify the deal.
At this point Jerry Brown has a longer way to go to balance his California's skewered budget--he has yet to cut a deal with the state unions! ; on the other hand, Malloy has initiated a process that has many steps to climb before his two year budget will be cemented in place!
The blogger wishes to acknowledge the Stamford Advocate, The Hartford Courant and the New York Times for their input in composing this blog.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
A Tale of Two States- A Tale of Huge Deficits:A Tale of Two Governors: California Versus Connecticut
Monday, May 23, 2011
Stamford, Connecticut's WCTZ-FM 96.7 is off the Air: To be Replaced by Christian Contemporary K-Love
WAVZ-FM 95.1, WBIB 100.7, and WELI-FM 107.9 all in New Haven, WNLC-FM 99.5 New London, WKNB-FM 103.7 New Britain and WTHT-FM 106.1 of the Hartford Times
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This year over 1,000 students received their Columbia B.A. degrees in a class that is most definitely co-ed. (Back in 1962, we graduated a class of 575, not a single member of the opposite sex)
This class is notable for having a 95% participation in the Class of 2011 Class Fund, the highest ever for a graduating class. They collected $21,341 and received a matching grant of $50,000. Kudos to 2011--all 950 plus of you who donated!
Seen on a large blue and white banner on South Gate facing 114th Street-- adjacent to Carmen and Lerner Halls (formerly Ferris Booth Hall) - CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2011; Underneath, written in smaller but very noticeable script:
J. Ezra Merkin, Class of 1976, proudly carried the banner for his class. Later, after the ceremonies the Ramaz and Harvard Law graduate was seen adjacent to Lerner Hall congratulating his daughter Sophia Ariel Merkin, class of 2011, attired in her light blue uniform. Congratulations to Ezra and family.
Paul Alter, who carried the 1962 banner along with myself, has been practicing Real Estate Law in New York City for nearly a half century. He recently lost his lovely wife Joanne to a protracted illness. and we all share in his loss. Thank you for showing up Paul and being a part of the festivities under your trying circumstances.
And, not to be forgotten: Thank you, Paul, for hosting a memorable cocktail party at your Park Ave. digs in honor of our 40th graduation event(s). I look forward to working with you to lay the groundwork for our 50th year reunion celebrations next year in NYC.
Be sure to read my earlier blog on the Columbia Parade of Classes event.
Coming soon a synopsis of the memorable addresses to the Class of 2011 by Dean Michelle M.Moody -Adams, Alexandra Wallace Creed (class of '88 and Senior VP of NBC News) and President Lee C. Bollinger.
Have a great day, all!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
As she says, she never stopped asking questions..which continues to this day.
Adams immediately connected with the class: she commented how pervasive facebook and twitter are in their lives; indeed texting is a way of life. She, however, warned against interpreting life always in 140 characters or less... She hoped the class would be defining their lives beyond the terseness (and impersonality) of short bursts of information. She referenced the Lincoln's Gettysberg Address, noted for its brevity (some 270 words in 10 sentences), yet replete with profound meaning drawn from the wisdom of the founding fathers inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Great job, Dr. Adams.
(Fellow classmate Eddie Pressman could not make it, but told me that Paul Alter would be joining me in carrying the blue and white banner for our class in front of 1,000 plus prospective graduates!)
This rainy day began with catching a 6:33 AM Metro North train into the city in order to arrive at John Jay Hall at 8:30 for a champagne breakfast for all the alumnni who ranged from the classes of 1956 until the present.
As I criss-crossed the rain-soaked 116th Street walk, I noticed a number of huge tents erected over South Campus--a signal that we would be covered for the ceremonies. (49 years earlier, the cathedral of St. John the Divine served as the canopy for our class of 1962 ceremonies as the weather was similarly wet and humid)
Once inside John Jay, I joined the 'chow line' for a buffet breakfast of scrambled eggs, bagels, lox and cream cheese and fruit. Next I joined a table consisting of mostly alumni from our fabled fencing team, classes of 1957 through the mid-sixties.
I'm queried if I know Bart Nisonson ( NCAA Saber fencing champ) and Richard Rothenberg (All American fencer) both top fencers from my year and I recall them with clarity. (After all, I had started off training in 1958 with our recently arrived freshman Hungarian coach--only to leave squad a few weeks later)
I engaged in a conversation with an Opthamoligist Dr. Janet Searle, wife of one of the banner holders; she teaches at Mt. Sinai Hospital and it turns out has probably trained my nephew Peter Schwartz with whom I have lost contact some 20 years ago.
(Sadly, Lloyd passed on in 2002 after enjoying an illustrious 32-year career as a psychiatrist in Foster City, California and radio talk show personality /counselor on San Francisco's KQRA for 7 years. See Columbia College Today.)
(Archie Oldham's name comes up. He was about 6 feet 7 inches, a St. John's Basketball star in the late 40's , a shy, yet competitive tennis player and coach of our tennis and basketball teams, until terminated mid-season in 1962.)
We are interrupted in our reminiscences by the event leader who calls out the names of the banner holders beginning from 2010 and working back to the 1950's.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Kudos to C-Span's Coverage of Bin Laden's Death: The National Audience is Introduced to Al Jazeera TV
At 2PM on the morning of May 1, the world had already learned 2.5 hours earlier that Osama bin Ladin, the global promoter of terrorism had been killed.
A few of us daytime wage earners were awake at the time to witness the events on TV as they occurred.
I was among the lucky few!
And, of course, there was the standard fare 'lineups' of CNN and Fox TV with their up-to-the minute on the scene broadcasting.
The newcomer on the scene was CSPAN-1 a surprise 'first-timer' offering live coverage--of an unusual sort. No one associates C-Span as being in the 'business' of having a host of live reporters and commentators on the 'scene'; but this was what transpired!
The network has been virtually banned from US airwaves for the first 15 years of its existence (it is available on US TV in only in 3 American cities: Washington, DC, Burlington, Vermont and Toldedo, Ohio.) So, this is the the first time that the network, which prides itself on presenting both sides of an issue, was seen on national TV.
Supposedly, one should be able to watch the live feed on the internet, but the night in question, I only got a blank screen!
Like CNN and Fox News, Al Jazeera had reporters on hand for live coverage of the crowds gathered at Times Square and in front of the Capitol Building.
In addition, two correspondents stood out: Simaira Khan who gave us the terrorist roots of Osama from his embracing Afghan liberation from Soviet Occupation in 1979, formation of Al Qaeda, masterming the 9/11 attacks until the present.
The network has been "constantly demonized by the American media" said Glenn Greenwald in the wikipedia article.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The Special Warfare Insignia or "Seal Trident" courtesy of Wikipedia
- The President went on live TV at about 11:35 PM eastern standard time to make the announcement
- Bin Laden had been under surveillance since last September
- He was residing in a compound located in Abbottobad, a largely military community located 62 miles North of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. The city has a military academy and residences of many army generals.
- 40 US Naval seals were flown in 4 helicopters--Chinooks and Blackhawks- all 40 landed and 24 were involved in the actual storming of the compound which offered resistance.
- The entire operation lasted 40 minutes before the Seals high-tailed it.
- Four people were killed including Bin Laden: two were his couriers (his two brothers)
- One helicopter experienced mechanical failure and crashed into the compound and was destroyed to prevent capture of sophisticated avionics.
- Live feeds from Pakistan show the compound in flames.
- The President speaks of the "enhanced potential" for anti-US acts of violence here and abroad at our embassies: a High Alert is declared
- Burial is said to have been at sea early Monday in accordance with Muslim rites.