Chris Powell: Deal for Colt's makes Connecticut an arsenal of hypocrisy

  The Colt Armory, in Hartford, in 1857.

The Colt Armory, in Hartford, in 1857.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has made a political career out of denouncing scary-looking, military-style "assault weapons" like the one used by the disturbed young man who perpetrated the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012. Yet last week the governor announced that his administration will subsidize Colt's Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer of those weapons, with a discounted $10 million loan, $2 million of it forgivable if the company increases its workforce.

Colt came out of reorganizational bankruptcy last year and the loan will finance most of the company's purchase of its factory in West Hartford, an indication that private financing is not available to the company on favorable terms and that state government is taking substantial risk here.

Colt is a venerable name in Connecticut, where the company started in 1847, and still employs 600 people, many of them represented by a major Democratic Party constituency, the United Auto Workers union. Apparently to address the irony of the Malloy administration's subsidizing a manufacturer of "assault weapons," Colt promises to put gun-safety information on its internet site.

But Colt's internet site only adds to that irony when it promotes the company's Expanse M4 rifle, one of those "assault weapons," urging gun fanciers: "Start your adventure here." Colt's Internet site also advertises the company's manufacture of 30-round magazines, though at the governor's insistence Connecticut has outlawed magazines with capacities greater than 10 rounds.

Also advertised at Colt's site is a pistol that has been "updated to meet your concealed-carry needs," though many legislators of the governor's party, opponents of Second Amendment rights, don't like carrying handguns outside the home, and of course the governor himself proposes to make pistol permits prohibitively expensive.

So what's going on here? Colt never has pretended to be anything but a gun manufacturer. But the governor seems to be saying that guns are bad unless they are made by members of a union allied with his political party, in which case guns become a jobs program.

Thus the state once known as the arsenal of democracy may become the arsenal of hypocrisy.

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A federal government report cited last week by the Connecticut Mirror finds that black public school school students in the state are almost twice as likely as white students to be taught by teachers with less than   five years of experience, the largest such such disparity in the nation.

No explanation was given, but it's either that teachers, perhaps the most politically correct professional group, are actually racist, or that many teachers tire of how their work is affected by racially disproportionate poverty, which sends them so many disadvantaged kids from poor households who are not prepared to learn. As a result teachers transfer to schools with better  demographics demographics.

Connecticut and the country really don't need government reports that only confirm the obvious -- that poverty stinks. They need reports explaining why poverty policy stinks and just keeps perpetuating poverty.

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East Windsor's first selectman, Robert Maynard, shouldn't stop with prohibiting former U.S. Rep. Robert H. Steele from speaking at the town's senior citizen center because his opposition to locating a gambling casino in town might upset the old folks.

If, as Maynard maintains, East Windsor's old folks are really so frail intellectually, he should discourage them from paying any attention to the world at all and discourage them from voting. Or else he should apologize for insulting them and freedom of speech.


Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, based in Manchester, Conn.