MANCHESTER, Conn.Thanksgiving, some Connecticut Democratic state legislators said at a press conference the other day, is when Americans should be with their families, and so state law should require retailers open on the holiday to pay their employees a punitive doubletime and a half. The sentiment is lovely but it's a hallucination -- because for every big-box retail store employee who wishes that he didn't have to work on Thanksgiving there are a thousand people clogging the aisles of his store thrilled to have gotten away from their families, many of them having already attended a high-school football game and many others planning to go to the movies afterward. Who will introduce the legislation requiring the shoppers to stay home so that the retail employees can stay home too? By what necessity does the government get so intrusive in people's personal lives? General working conditions have been government's domain for decades, but the country already has minimum-wage and overtime laws. With more people shopping than working in retailing on Thanksgiving, why obstruct democracy? Further, why, with a doubletime-and-a-half law, drive up the costs of bricks-and-mortar retailing, which pays plenty of state sales and local property taxes, and thereby give more advantage to Internet retailing, which doesn't? The Thanksgiving doubletime proposal is just more pious pandering to a special interest at the expense of the public interest. But pandering to special interests pays well in Connecticut politics, as suggested by the announcement this week from the Connecticut Education Association, the state's biggest teachers union, that it will hire Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. as its deputy policy director when he leaves office in January. "Don is a strong advocate for public education and teachers," CEA President Sheila Cohen declared, which was to say that during his 22 years in the General Assembly Williams has been a reliable vote for the union. While state law forbids Williams from accepting money for lobbying state government until he has been out of office for a year, nothing prevents him from advising the union's lobbyists until the revolving door is unlocked. But if Williams has been a tool of the teachers, most Democratic legislators are, and if this ever bothered his constituents, they could have replaced him -- at least if newspapers and rival candidates had dared to make the point. Further, government in Connecticut is now so pervasive and legislative salaries so low that almost any employment undertaken by a legislator may present opportunities to exploit his office and increase his incentive to be a tool for somebody. Still, it's a matter of degree, and since no special interest is bigger than the CEA, Williams's new job can't help smelling like a payoff, especially since he does not seem to have been eager to pursue a career in private industry -- not that there is much private industry left in his part of the state, northeastern Connecticut. A few months ago Williams applied for the presidency of Quinebaug Valley Community College, in Killingly, near his home in Thompson on the Rhode Island border. Every cynic in the state was stunned that this payoff didn't come through, stunned that the community college board hired someone else, someone with a background in education -- though of course even a former politician might have a better grasp of the real world than a career educator. But at least the Senate Democrats have found a sinecure for Williams. Now they have to figure out what to do with state Sen. Andrew Maynard, of Stonington, hospitalized incommunicado for months with a serious brain injury two years short of his state pension qualification. How much really can be asked of the CEA? So could any of the big corporations that have received millions in "economic development" money from the Democratic state administration just to stick around use a deputy policy director? Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.