corruption

Americans Give Messages of Welcome at BDL

Protests sprang up at airports around the country on Saturday, including Bradley International in Windsor Locks.

At the BDL arrivals gate, a few dozen people — a number of Hartford residents among them — welcomed travelers with signs supporting immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

The airport protests popped up when Trump’s executive order signed on Friday afternoon (Holocaust Remembrance Day) created chaos for green-card holders from the predominately Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as travel by nationals from those countries has been blocked
for 90 days. A green card signifies that the individual has been granted permanent resident status after being vetted by immigration or consular services to ensure that the person does not pose health, criminal, or security concerns for the United States. Trump’s order has suspended for 120 days entry into the U.S. by refugees from all countries; Syrian refugees have been singled out and blocked indefinitely.

According to PBS, the “the executive order does not restrict immigration from any of the top ten countries listed by the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee in 2015 as suppliers of militants fighting for ISIS, nor does it restrict travel from countries that have been primary sources for al Qaeda operatives, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.”

With the ink barely dry, travelers with visas were detained at airports. Among them, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who the New York Times says worked for the United States Army and government for ten years in Iraq.

On Saturday, a federal judge blocked part of Trump’s order. It does not restore conditions, but will prevent deportations of those 100-200 people who have already been detained at airports in the United States.

With the stay in place, protestors continued to arrive at Bradley late into the evening. A few opposing perspectives were aired over several hours — including a “God Bless Trump,” a cryptic message about the Orlando shooting, and a suggestion posed at 10:45 on Saturday evening that protestors get jobs — but the sweeping majority of travelers responded with applause and other signs of support, or moved on their way without engaging. One traveler thanked her greeters profusely before breaking into tears.

While yesterday’s protest was spontaneous, CAIR Connecticut is organizing people to return to Bradley on Sunday afternoon.

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2016 Holiday Giving Guide

Photo from November 2014

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the then President, George W. Bush, urged Americans to go shopping. These things do not come without a price. The reckless, mindless spending empties wallets and creates a fine distraction for us. While we work harder to have more money to spend on more things, policies are enacted with little resistance.

Distraction and complacency go a long way toward complicity.

When we have covered local protests of any kind, regular folks — not simply those being directly challenged — typically critique those carrying signs or blocking traffic. The protestors are seen as making too much fuss, seen as an other for daring to speak up. It’s never quiet enough, respectful enough, pretty enough. There’s too much inconvenience created. The strategies are always questioned, not only when the tactics are questionable, such as when people from out-of-town join in a march through a poor neighborhood chanting “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!“. Basically, if the opposition takes the form of anything more wild than wearing a rose or a designated color on the same day, it’s looked down on. The people are told to sit down, shut up, smile nicely, and go with the flow.

We did not just wake up to President-Elect Trump, as if his rise to power occurred magically. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Patching the Budget Hole

How we got here

The City of Hartford’s economic problems did not just happen. They did not spring up when Mayor Bronin was sworn into office. They did not emerge last year or even the year before that. (more…)

Public Invited to Meet and Question Library CEO Candidates

The public will have a chance to inform the Hartford Public Library CEO-selection process on February 22nd via a forum where the three finalists will make presentations and then answer questions asked by the audience. The library’s Board of Directors plans to announce its selection by March 1st. The previous CEO, Matt Poland, left his position at the end of 2015. (more…)

Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2015

Best Low-Expense Improvements Award

Best New Dining: Little River Restoratives, 405 Capitol Avenue

PARK(ing) Day: Forget, for a moment, that these improvements were temporary. Pavement, usually reserved for parked cars, was covered with sod for a few hours. These tiny parks were populated with musicians, improv performers, and artists. In some cases, these were simply places to sit. The appearance of these spots changed the mood of passersby on their lunch breaks. No need to construct stadiums or monuments. A few square feet of green can be enough to make a difference, if not financial, at least emotional.

Reducing the thing people seem to believe there is not enough of actually boosted the quality of street life in downtown Hartford for part of one work day.

Sweetest Under-the-Radar Event Award

This is a tie between Cranksgiving and Sharing the Warmth.

The former is the local edition of a widespread event that is basically a scavenger hunt and food drive combined. It engages children and cyclists of all levels, and the benefits go right back to a food pantry in our community. Given its start at Trinity College, it also acts as a way of encouraging positive interaction between students and the community.

Sharing the Warmth was a one-day clothing drive and giveaway, but done in a way that allowed those in need to gather up what they need while maintaining dignity. Coats, gloves, hats, and scarves were brought to where those who’d benefit from having them could be found. (more…)

Another Disorganized Convention Results in Endorsements Over Two Days

The parking lot at Bulkeley High has seen better days. Grass grows up in a handicapped spot. An empty bottle of booze sits where someone left it. The building is imposing, with few windows and no signs of joy. It looks and feels like a place one attends by force, not because it’s a center for intellectual growth that one may opt into.

With the Democratic Town Committee‘s convention slated to begin at 6 p.m., politicians, committee members, and families began to gather hours in advance on Bulkeley’s steps, some to rally for their candidates, others to avoid sitting down.

It’s not hard to stand and chat, delaying entrance to what will no doubt feel like a cage for the rest of the evening. Knowing how these go, we knew it would be inexpedient and frustrating. Snacks would need to be eaten surreptitiously, lest we get asked to leave and end up missing something. They want to preserve the auditorium’s new carpet, and who can begrudge them of that? It appears to be the only update to the room that is otherwise stuck in the mid-1970s. There’s no Wi-Fi. Outlets are hard to find. If they have any technology developed in the past 40 years, they weren’t using it, with the vote tally later being kept on a large white board that could barely be read. (more…)

Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions

“Why isn’t the mayor here?”

That was the first question asked by an audience member, before the official time for questions began — before anything really began — at the Business for Downtown Hartford’s “Candid Conversations” event. (more…)

Most Best Awesome Superlatives of 2014

There are people who hate year-end lists because it sounds like the creator is putting out some clickbait while spending his days going to Christmas parties.

We’re using this opportunity to review the operation of the city and the City– what helped to build up Hartford and who needs to have a time out to think about what he has done. (more…)