Moonlit mystery

  — Photo by Jeblad

— Photo by Jeblad

“Late November and I am

in a country house.

The moon glares across

an open field and there’s

a lump of deer guts

like shapeless sculpture.

The air keeps cutting

at the stubble I can’t see

…..

The wind in the eaves

breaks some shingles loose,

and I want a deer to rise

from the pile of himself.’’

— From “A Country House,’’ by Robert Lowell (1917-1977)

Mt. Greylock and 'Moby Dick'

  Mt. Greylock.

Mt. Greylock.

‘‘From the desk at which he wrote Moby-Dick {in the 1850s}… Herman Melville could gaze upon … western Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains. In the summer of 1850, at age 31, the writer had moved from New York City, … to the outskirts of Pittsfield, then still a village, where he settled into a modest, mustard-yellow farmhouse called Arrowhead—for the Native American artifacts once unearthed on the property. After years of sailing the world aboard New England whaling vessels, Melville was trying his hand at farming. … But in winter, the landscape turned his thoughts back toward the mariner's life.’’


”From Melville's cramped, book-lined study, visitors today take in a clear view of Mt. Greylock. For Melville, the brooding mass of wintry Greylock called to mind, or so biographer Andrew Delbanco has speculated, a great leviathan, emerging from a roiling, white-capped ocean. Although Melville's few surviving letters make no mention of this, his neighbor and fellow novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, once wrote that Melville spent his days ‘shaping out the gigantic conception of his white whale’ while staring at the snow-covered mountain. In his novel, Melville would describe Moby-Dick as a ‘grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air."‘

— From Jonathan Kandell’s article “The Berkshires,’’ in the May 2007 Smithsonian Magazine.


Carbon tax is coming

  Mystic Generating Station, in Everett, Mass. It burns oil and natural gas.

Mystic Generating Station, in Everett, Mass. It burns oil and natural gas.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

‘Voters in Washington State have rejected a badly drafted “carbon tax’’ proposal for power plants and other polluters. The money from the levy would have gone to help pay for various air-quality and other environmental needs. Carbon taxes proposed for other jurisdictions would go to those sorts of initiatives as well as to other public projects or even be rebated to the public.

The idea, obviously, is to reduce the burning of fossil fuels by making them more expensive. A carbon tax is the most efficient --- and market-based way -- to reduce our lethal fossil-fuel dependence. I think that we’ll eventually see it in all developed nations, though that might require more weather disasters first. We’ll do the right thing after we’ve exhausted all other options.

Llewellyn King: Will Bezos's kiss be lethal?

 On the waterfront of the Long Island City part of New York City. It’s the flood-prone area where Amazon will put one of its “Second Headquarters.’’

On the waterfront of the Long Island City part of New York City. It’s the flood-prone area where Amazon will put one of its “Second Headquarters.’’

Having run around the country as a modern Prince Charming in search of Cinderella, Jeff Bezos, Amazon's boss, has decided that two hopefuls fit the slipper: Crystal City, Va., part of Arlington, and the Long Island City part of the New York city borough of Queens.

But these Cinderellas aren’t to be carried off to live happily ever after in Amazon Castle. No, there are dowries to be paid -- about $2 billion each in tax abatement and other goodies. These beauties are no bargain.

In fact, New York City and Washington, D.C. -- Queens is a borough of New York and Crystal City is a Virginia suburb, south of Washington -- may be prostrating themselves to gain possibly 25,000 jobs in an unhappy, taxpayer-funded alliance.

The theories as to why Bezos chose these locations abound. The dominant one is that high-tech companies must follow high-tech workers. That explains why Boston and San Francisco are overheated along with, yes, New York and Washington.

This overheating might be described as more people trying to get into a city than its housing base and infrastructure can absorb. Result: skyscraper-high living costs, hideous commutes and wretched lives for those on the economic bottom rung. High rents and homelessness go together.

I'm more persuaded that the decision has been made more to suit Bezos and his executives than to snare talent. Washington is the site of one of the Bezos's mansions and he owns The Washington Post. New York has always had special appeal to the ultra-rich: Wall Street and the gilded social set.

Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, is white-hot in terms of desirability for high-tech jobs. But it was underdeveloped 45 years ago when a visionary scientist, Chauncey Starr, established the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) there. Starr told me he chose the location not because of the talent pool, but because he wanted the independence he feared he wouldn’t get in a big city, close to the electric companies which funded EPRI. The high-tech talent was yet to move in.

The point here is that it’s not necessary to go to the labor, the labor will come to you. Had Amazon chosen, say Upstate New York or somewhere in Kansas, and hung out a shingle for help, it would’ve poured in: Build and they’ll come.

The great Washington hostess and diplomat Perle Mesta said, “All you have to do to draw a crowd to a Washington party is to hang a lamb chop in the window.” The same goes for labor.

The downside to Washington these days is that its roads and bridges, to say nothing of its troubled subway, are inadequate for the stunning growth it has seen since the late 1960s. It has some of the worst traffic jams anywhere and is said to have overtaken Los Angeles for traffic congestion. As the greater Washington area is split between the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, regional problems are hard to solve and often go unsolved as a result.

New York needs infrastructure spending in the worst way, from the tunnels into Penn Station to the estimated $48 billion the subway needs to modernize. But an increasing amount of the city's capital budget is going to have to be devoted to building barriers against sea rise, particularly in lower Manhattan and to a lesser extent in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Is it a good investment to sink money into any location which is going to have to throw its treasure at Neptune, not improving the rest of the infrastructure?

As someone who lived most of his adult life in Washington, I don’t celebrate its helter-skelter growth, gridlocked roads, potential water shortages or the just-upgraded sewage treatment plant, Blue Plains, which has been known to flood, sending the raw stuff into the Potomac River in big rainstorms.

Virginia and New York, have you bought into a cyber-dream from Amazon which denies reality? You’re paying for a tenant who should pay you for the stress of his buildout.

Prince Bezos, there were so many other pretty feet.

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of White House Chronicle, on PBS. His email is llewellynking1@gmail.com and he’s based in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.


Sam Pizzigati: It's past time for Democrats to be bold progressives


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From OtherWords.org

Tony Maxwell, a retired African-American naval officer, was trying to get his Jacksonville, Fla., neighbor to go vote with him. The young neighbor, a high-school-dropout, had no interest.

“Voting,” the young man declared, “doesn’t change anything.”

Can Democrats use their newly won House majority to reach that dispirited young man in Jacksonville? That all depends on their eagerness to think big and bold — and to challenge the concentrated wealth and power that keeps things from changing.

Of course, big and bold new legislation will be next to impossible to enact with a Republican Senate and White House. But just pushing for this legislation — holding hearings, encouraging rallies, taking floor votes — could move us in a positive direction and send the message that meaningful change can happen.

This sort of aggressive and progressive pushing would, to be sure, represent a major break with the Democratic Party’s recent past. The reforms Democrats in Congress have championed have often been overly complicated and cautious — and deeply compromised by a fear of annoying deep-pocketed donors.

That fear may be easing. A number of leading Democrats with eyes on 2020 — and the party’s growing progressive base — have advanced proposals that could spark real change in who owns and runs America.

Senator Bernie Sanders started the big-and-bold ball rolling in 2016. He’s still adding fresh new ideas to the political mix. This past September, he introduced legislation that would discourage corporate execs from underpaying workers.

Under this new Sanders proposal, corporations with 500 or more employees would have to pay a tax that equals the cost of federal safety-net benefits — from programs like food stamps and Medicaid — their underpaid workers have to rely on.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s

, unveiled this August, would refocus large corporations on serving “not just shareholders but their employees and communities as well.” Warren’s bill would set 40 percent of corporate board seats aside for directors elected by employees.

Warren is also thinking big and bold on housing. Her American Housing and Economic Mobility Act would invest $450 billion over the next decade in affordable housing for working families. To offset the price-tag, Warren’s initiative would increase the estate tax on the nation’s 10,000 wealthiest families.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is looking at establishing a new “baby bond” program to “make sure all children,” not just kids from wealthy homes, “have significant assets when they enter adulthood” — as much as $50,000 for kids from poorer families. A big chunk of the dollars for Booker’s baby bonds would come from raising the tax rate on capital gains, an income stream that flows overwhelmingly to America’s rich.

California Sen. Kamala Harris is advocating a tax credit that would increase the income of couples making less than six figures up to $500 a month. “Instead of more tax breaks for the top 1 percent and corporations,” says Harris, “we should be lifting up millions of American families.”

Other ambitious ideas are coming from progressive activists and scholars.

Matt Bruenig, of the People’s Policy Project,. has proposed an “American Social Wealth Fund,” an independent public investment enterprise that would take in “regular injections of cash from the government” and “make regular dividend payouts to its shareholders — all American adults.” Funds for this solidarity fund would come from a variety of corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, my colleague Sarah Anderson notes, five states have introduced legislation that limits or denies tax dollars to corporations that reward top execs at worker expense.

The new Democratic House could give ideas like these an airing and debate. And new leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, have the charisma to attract wide swatches of America into that discourse.

If all this action materialized, would large numbers of our politically dispirited sit up and take notice? We’ll never know unless we try.

Sam Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He co-edits Inequality.org, where a longer version of this piece first appeared.


And get married

  New Bedford Whaling Museum.

New Bedford Whaling Museum.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com


Takeru Nagayoshi, a New Bedford public-school teacher writing in Commonwealth magazine about school accountability, makes the good point that however much local and state mandates focus on the internal operations of school, the problems of the broader community around the school must be addressed if there is to be substantial long-term improvement within the schools:

He writes:

“While these interventions {in individual schools} may have moved the academic needle, it felt as though at times we were chasing short-term successes, rather than addressing the fundamental causes of our challenges: racial and socioeconomic disparity, linguistic hurdles for immigrant populations, and socioemotional trauma. By attending to the symptoms of our problems, we unintentionally set aside the systemic and structural causes that exist outside the school.

“Our schools are both academic institution and a community resource; a reform effort that prioritizes one over the other can achieve only so much success. As many high-needs districts like mine struggle to close their opportunity gaps, we must radically reimagine an accountability model that heals schools in conjunction with their communities. This can be done through greater access to health care, social wraparound services, or more family-centered supports.’’

To read his essay, please hit this link.

What would help a lot would be a revival of the old-fashioned married two-parent family. Families led by unwed mothers are closely correlated with socio-economic decay, crime and low educational outcomes, and such families now dominate many cities such as New Bedford. 56 percent of children in the Whaling City live in single-parent families.




Chris Powell: So why not just leave already?

 G.K. Chesterton, in 1911. “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

G.K. Chesterton, in 1911. “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”


Anyone who got a penny for each time he heard someone threaten to leave Connecticut because of its corrupt and ineffectual state government would be rich.

Anyone who got a dollar for every such person he heard who fulfilled his threat and actually left the state might be able to buy a cup of coffee.

Even so, such threats are cascading like student test scores because of the triumph of the Democratic Party in the recent state election, since it followed eight years of Democratic administration that even the party’s own candidate for governor called a disaster. Talk radio and newspaper letters columns are featuring more such threats than ever.

Yes, there’s more to gripe about, since, even before addressing the estimated $4 billion state budget deficit ahead of them, Democratic state legislators are exulting in how much more they plan to increase government spending as well as the cost of doing business in the state by raising the minimum wage and requiring paid family leave.

But people so noisily threatening to leave the state are only advertising that they’re still here. They would have far more political impact if they’d just shut up and go.

And yes, Connecticut’s trend of politics and policy will lead inevitably to a state inhabited only by government employees and welfare recipients staring blankly at each other wondering where the private sector went and who is left to be preyed upon. But this is only the age-old corruption of prosperity that has befallen many other important states, such New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan and California.

Florida may be most popular with exiles from Connecticut, especially because of its warm winters and lack of a state income tax. But summers there can be brutal, hurricanes there can interrupt electricity for weeks at a time, the geography is flat and swampy, and the predatory wildlife -- alligators and Burmese pythons -- can put in perspective Connecticut’s government employee unions and the politicians who serve them.

So those inclined to continue contending for Connecticut may take heart from the great G.K. Chesterton, who wrote a century ago:

"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it.

"The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. ...

"Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing -- say, Pimlico." (Pimlico was then a slum area of London.) "If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico; in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico, for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful.

"The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico -- to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved.

"For decoration is not given to hide horrible things but to decorate things already adorable. A mother does not give her child a blue bow because he is so ugly without it. A lover does not give a girl a necklace to hide her neck. If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence.

"Some readers will say that this is a mere fantasy. I answer that this is the actual history of mankind. This, as a fact, is how cities did grow great.

"Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted round some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honor to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it.

“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

By February everyone in Connecticut will have been entitled to a week or two down south. But if they are still of fighting age the best ones will return and join the resistance. At least spring will vindicate them.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

'Tiny ecosystems'

  From painter James Sundquist’s show “Living Nature’’ at Paper Nautilus, Wayland Square, Providence, through Dec. 1. He says: “The motifs for the work came out of small places, the little patches of grass and vegetation that become a world and ecosystem unto themselves through persistent observation. These tiny ecosystems reveal their layers through persistent looking, and a poetics of space comes to life.    “The larger pieces in this show are made in the studio using some of the spatial motifs and gestures generated in the smaller works. The result is, like a poem, the amplification of the order and beauty of the natural world.’’

From painter James Sundquist’s show “Living Nature’’ at Paper Nautilus, Wayland Square, Providence, through Dec. 1. He says: “The motifs for the work came out of small places, the little patches of grass and vegetation that become a world and ecosystem unto themselves through persistent observation. These tiny ecosystems reveal their layers through persistent looking, and a poetics of space comes to life.

“The larger pieces in this show are made in the studio using some of the spatial motifs and gestures generated in the smaller works. The result is, like a poem, the amplification of the order and beauty of the natural world.’’

Wheel within a wheel

  From the “Boston Number’’ of the Oct. 19, 1911 issue of the old Life magazine.

From the “Boston Number’’ of the Oct. 19, 1911 issue of the old Life magazine.

"Massachusetts has been the wheel within New England, and Boston the wheel within Massachusetts. Boston therefore is often called the `hub of the world' since it has been the source and fountain of ideas that have been reared and made America."

The Rev. F.B. Zinckle, in  Last Winter in the United States (1868).

Pawtucket's nonstop crisis

  Very prosperous but very polluted Pawtucket in 1886, viewed from the steeple of the    Pawtucket Congregational Church   . Just don’t think about the child labor.

Very prosperous but very polluted Pawtucket in 1886, viewed from the steeple of the Pawtucket Congregational Church. Just don’t think about the child labor.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

‘Having lost the PawSox and Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket officials are desperate to keep Hasbro’s headquarters. But the toy and game company, while expressing empathy, will solely make its decision based on bottom-line considerations and its projection of company needs and wants over the next decade. That might mean moving to downtown Providence, close to the designers at the Rhode Island School of Design, other colleges and many other activities and services lacking in Pawtucket -- and far less car-dependent.

Or perhaps it might make the most sense for Hasbro to move to Los Angeles or New York, two capitals of the entertainment industry, of which Hasbro is very much a part.

Tim Faulkner: Sport and commercial fishermen at odds over offshore wind


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Via ecoRI News (ecori.org)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Commercial fishermen and sport fishermen are split over the benefits of offshore wind facilities.

Commercial fishermen, primarily from eastern Long Island, N.Y., say the wind-energy projects planned for southern New England, such as the South Fork Wind Farm, are the latest threats to their income after decades of quotas and regulations.

“I don't like the idea of the ocean being taken away from me after I’ve thrown so many big-dollar fish back in the water for the last 30 years, praying I’d get it back in the end,” said Dave Aripotch, owner of a 75-foot trawl-fishing boat based in Montauk, N.Y.

In the summer, Aripotch patrols for squid and weakfish in the area where the 15 South Fork wind turbines and others wind projects are planned. He expects the wind facilities and undersea cables will shrink fishing grounds along the Eastern Seaboard.

“If you put 2,000 wind turbines from the Nantucket Shoals to New York City, I’m losing 50 to 60 percent of my fishing grounds,” Aripotch said during a Nov. 8 public hearing at the Narragansett Community Center.

Dave Monti of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association said the submerged turbine foundations at the Block Island Wind Farm created artificial reefs, boosting fish populations and attracting charter boats like his.

“It’s a very positive thing for recreational fishing,” Monti said. “The Block Island Wind Farm has acted like a fish magnet.”

Offshore wind development also has the support of environmental groups such as the National Wildlife Federation and the Conservation Law Foundation, which view renewable energy as an answer to climate change.

“Offshore wind power really is the kind of game-changing large-scale solution that we need to see move forward, particularly along along the East Coast,” said Amber Hewett, manager of the Atlantic offshore wind energy campaign for the National Wildlife Federation.

Aripotch and fellow commercial fisherman Donald Fox urged the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to study the cumulative effects of the four other wind projects planned for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts wind-energy area. They want to know how catches and quotas will be calculated if fishing nets run through multiple wind facilities.

“God bless you if you figure that one out,” Fox said.

Commercial fisherman David Aripotch said offshore wind turbines and the accompanying infrastructure will shrink fishing grounds along the Eastern Seaboard. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News photos)

The comments were made at the last of three public hearing held by BOEM for the South Fork Wind Farm’s environmental impact statement (EIS). A 30-day public comment period on the environmental impacts ends Nov. 19. BOEM has held a total of eight public meetings for the South Fork project.

After the current comment period, a second 45-day comment period will follow BOEM’s release of a draft IES. BOEM then has three months to issue a decision, which is expected in early 2020. If approved, construction on the South Fork Wind Farm would begin in 2021. Pending other permits, the wind facility would then be expected to be operating by the end of 2022.

BOEM is reviewing the engineering plans for the wind turbines, an offshore substation, and the 30-mile power cable that will run to East Hampton, N.Y. The federal agency also is reviewing the effects of the transmission line, such as the impacts of electromagnetic fields on sea life.

The substation would be above the water on its own platform or share a platform with a wind turbine. It will have a height of up to 200 feet to support a high-voltage power transformer, reactor, and ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The substation may also include a 400-horse-power diesel generator and a 500-gallon diesel fuel tank.

Sportfisherman Dave Monti said the submerged turbine foundations at the Block Island Wind Farm created artificial reefs, boosting fish populations and attracting charter boats like his.

The designated wind area between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard has already restricted wind-energy development in portions of prime fishing grounds such as Cox Ledge.

Bonnie Brady of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association called Deepwater Wind “the not ready for primetime players” because of technical problems with the Block Island Wind Farm, such as exposed undersea cables.

Brady noted that Deepwater Wind, now called Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, increased the capacity of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm from 90 to 130 megawatts. Each turbine can have an electricity output of 12 megawatts, or twice the power output of the Block Island turbines. The maximum height of the new turbines is 840 feet. The Block Island turbines are about 580 feet tall.

Brady wants BOEM to study of the effects of the larger turbines and increase the space between each turbine to 2 miles. Deepwater Wind has offered to separate the turbines by a mile. She said studies are needed of the noise and particle pressure from the larger turbines and the impacts of jet plowing and pile driving on fish and shellfish.

Brady is advocating for BOEM and New York regulators to afford fishermen the same protections that Rhode Island fishermen receive, such payment for lost revenue, as defined by the Ocean Special Area Management Plan.

“There needs to be long-term mitigation, long-term compensation at fair values, without signing a nondisclosure agreement,” she said.

Tim Faulkner, nature writer, is a reporter and writer for ecoRI News


Lines on a beach

  South Beach on Plum Island.

South Beach on Plum Island.


“What if the earth knows longing and regret,

And no one’s heard a whisper of it yet?

Why is the earth without an intimate?

 

These cursive lines, in which the ebbing tide

Would hint at little secrets to confide,

Denote a frilled coquette and not a bride.’’

From “On the Strand at Plum Island’’  {Mass.}, by Alfred Nicol

Don Pesci: 'So sorry to have left you a mess'

  Autumn in Connecticut?

Autumn in Connecticut?

“Connecticut Gov.-elect Ned Lamont says outgoing Gov. Dannel Malloy has ‘done a lot of thinking about transition…’– WTNH News 8After lunch, Governor Malloy and Gov. -Elect ] Lamont have a ‘frank and honest’ conversation with each other. Throughout, Malloy – approval rating 15 -- appears to be carefree, strangely excited. The burden of governing has been lifted from his shoulders. When his term ends, he will kick the dust of Connecticut from his feet, move to Massachusetts and teach courses at his old alma mater, Boston College. Lamont is restrained, his characteristic ebullience gone, now that he faces the reality of governing a state in the dumps.

Malloy: … reason to be depressed. According to one analysis, your margin of victory in the race was larger even than mine during my first campaign. Imagine that. You have in your corner the large cities, most of the state’s media and – big surprise – portions of the state that have always gone Republican. Right now, you are very well positioned. You have the General Assembly laying like a cat in your lap, purring. Why, President Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney can hardly contain himself. He no longer will have to deal with Themis Klarides or Len Fasano; tough customers, those two. You can do whatever you want. It’s 2011 all over again. Be happy.

Lamont: I think you know there are problems.

Malloy: Yes, there are always problems.

Lamont: I hope we can speak frankly. Most of it has to do with the legacy you left me. I have fewer weapons in the struggle with SEBAC (union leaders with whom the governor of Connecticut sets the path of future governance) than you did coming into office in 2011. I can’t change your contracts until 2027, and the contracts provide a no-layoff provision and salary increases after a brief freeze. Then there are the recurring deficits and your expressed intention not to raise taxes. People take these silly pledges seriously you know. Perhaps most importantly, I can't shuck my problems off on my predecessor. That would be you.

Malloy: Right. Speaking frankly Ned, those are your problems, or they will become yours in January. I’m sure you’ll think of something. Tolls for trucks in Connecticut is a good baby step. The tolling, and the revenue pouring in from tolling gantries, can always be extended far beyond trucks to all vehicles, and that will provide you with a new revenue resource. Just tell everyone the bridges will collapse without repair, and that you’ll place the new revenue in a lockbox to which, heh, heh (he moves his fingers as if opening a safe) you have the combination. Given the Democratic Party’s mutually beneficial connection with unions, there is no way to discharge deficits without some new and expandable revenue source – hence tolls. You could make a grab for municipal dollars by restructuring property taxes. We’ve talked about this, remember?

Ned: The unions will have to come around.

Malloy: Yes, I’ve I tried that. It’s easier politically to stick to tax increases. Not for me of course. I’m rather hoping that the people at Boston College Law School will be willing, after a time, to forget that they hired as a professor someone whose approval rating among overtaxed Connecticut citizens is 15 percent, according to one dubious poll. I’m relying on history to rectify my standing. But you’ve made no promises during your campaign. Asked whether you intended to raise taxes, you first said ‘Yes’ and later wisely amended your ‘Yes’ to ‘No comment.’ {Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob} Stefanowski had some fun with that in his ads. But, of course, we both know that people generally discount both political ads and promises made in the heat of campaigns. Remember your Bismarck: ‘People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.’ To tell you the truth, I’m glad to be out of it.

Lamont: And so your final advice to me would be what?

Malloy: Do the progressive thing, shut out rump Republicans as I’ve done, and slog through. Remember, there will be a life after politics. As Weicker did and I will do, you may have to move out of state for a bit to reinvent yourself. He went to Washington DC to teach a class in Lowell Weicker, and I’m off to Boston to teach a class in Dannel Malloy. I feel liberated. So sorry to leave you with a mess. One more budget and I’m off the hot seat. Did I tell you I’m working on a book? Personal memoirs have become a form of character restitution, have you noticed? Shall we join the ladies?

Don Pesci is a columnist based in Vernon, Conn.

E-mail: donpesci@att.net

Too late


   ”Landscape With Trees,’’ by Vincent van Gogh


”Landscape With Trees,’’ by Vincent van Gogh

“Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!

One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,

Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,

Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.

One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,

And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,

And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,

Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.

Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee

Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,

The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,

And man delight to linger in thy ray.

Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear

The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.’’

-- “November,’’ by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), a native of Cummington, Mass.