Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stratford Hauntings

A Halloween haunted house in Stratford has become a mansion of terror for its owners and town officials. Joyce Mounajed and Jennifer Cervero's annual outdoor Halloween display was intended to give visitors to their East Main Street home a frightening thrill, but a ghoulish hanging character scared some townsfolk enough to shout in protest.

When Rev. Johnny Gamble, of Friendship Baptist Church in Stratford, happened to pass by the house last Saturday, he saw red. He called police and then confronted the homeowners. Gamble was so outraged by the hanging man, which he interpreted as a representation of the lynching of an African-American man, that he promised to organize a "massive protest" in front of the home if it wasn't removed. Mayor James R. Miron, Police Chief John Buturla and other community leaders met with Mounajed and Cervero and convinced them to take down the hanging man. The women insisted the character was just meant to provide some Halloween fun and did not depict any racial group. They removed the figure from the noose and moved it to the steps of the house, where it sits with a bloody knife through its heart. Since this incident hit the national news, the family has been harassed and threatened.

Halloween displays like this have sparked controversy across the country. Some homeowners take the decorations down yet others defend their right to keep them up. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Moving Up

With one eye securely positioned on The White House, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd has his other eye set squarely on Iowa. Without a win in the early Iowa caucus Dodd's chances of moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. are over, and right now he's at the back of the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls. What's the five-term senator from Connecticut to do? Well, his advisers said Iowa's the place he ought to be, so he loaded up the truck and moved to—Des Moines. That's right, Des Moines (Connecticut residents remember, both esses are silent). And wife Jackie and daughters Grace and Christina have joined him, too (Grace has been enrolled in kindergarten there).

So what about the people who voted for him in the first place? According to Dodd campaign spokesperson Colleen Flanagan,"His constituents in Connecticut understand that it is important to have a strong showing there [in Iowa]." Does that mean Connecticut's left with one senator, namely Joe Lieberman, to look out for its interests? Let us know what you think.

Tuition Wishin'

What bothers me most about the announcement today that college costs have risen an inflation-busting 6.6% during the last 12 months is the fact that as costs rise, the number of class days shrinks. In 1964, college students were in class an average of 191 days a year, according to the National Association of Scholars; now it's more like 140. That's a 50 day difference! Ten weeks!! The Christmas break has become unconscionably long, the school year ends in early May, classes typically meet once or twice a week. The whole thing is a joke, no doubt pushed hard by faculty members, many of whom would rather not have to be in actual classrooms with actual students. These same faculty members are enjoying unprecedented prosperity and leisure, especially those at the top colleges, which are basically printing money at this point. It's hard to see what will snap this trend . . . liberal guilt, maybe?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Simply Irresistible

In reading about the antibiotic-resistant organism known as MRSA, here, you may be wondering why the cases mentioned as occurring in Connecticut have often been linked to kids in high school. My theory: Kids in school, especially those involved in athletics who are routinely cut and bruised during competition, no longer take showers at the end of practices and games. At one time, it was required that athletes take hot showers at school before getting back into street clothes. If you didn't, there was something strange about you. Now, at most schools, the showers are basically unused, and cuts and scrapes that once would have been scrubbed at with soap and water right away are now allowed to fester. What's the reason for this? I have no idea, but somehow kids growing up in a seemingly permissive, sexually charged era are too modest to take showers in front of each other.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What the Cell?

The Insurance Journal recently ran an interesting article talking about the effectiveness of Connecticut's cell phone and driving laws. The gist of the story is that although more people are being ticketed by police for breaking the law, the reason is that even more are completely ignoring (and breaking) the law. (Don't even get me started on the fact that over two dozen bus drivers have been ticketed -- "Ride the bus and leave your negligent death to us.") And of those actually ticketed, less than half are being forced to pay the $100 fine.

Of course, there's talk of the legislature fine tuning the bill, but we all know the problem isn't the ban, it's the enforcement, which has been very weak, at best.

Yes, I know the police have better things to attend to, but when public safety is at risk because someone is more interested in keeping a phone tucked under their ear than paying attention while properly piloting a 2,000-pound hunk of glass and metal moving at 70 mph through a turn on a busy highway, I think it deserves their attention.

Then again, that might require them to put their own phones down first.