Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Children Get Harmed While Governor Rell Defends the Rich

[Click on photos for full screen]

Photo above: Children, parents, and supporters rally at the state capitol on Aug. 25th to highlight how the Governor's cuts have harmed children. Children enrolled in Head Start, School Readiness and Family Resource Center programs have been hardest hit.

In an open letter to the Governor and members of the Connecticut General Assembly the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance noted in part: "For the sake of Connecticut's children, we respectfully ask that all direct service early childhood programs (School Readiness, Head Start, State Funded Centers, Care 4 Kids and Family Resource Centers) are kept whole, whether in a negotiated budget or, in lieu of a budget, in the September monthly allotment.

An example of the cuts in the Head Start program include:

* One or more classrooms have closed at 7 program sites, affecting almost 200 children and resulting in layoffs of at least 2-3 staff members in each closed classroom.
* At least 3 more classrooms, serving 60 children, will close if there is no state funding in September.

The Family Resource Centers (FRCs), located in public school buildings, offer parent education and training, child care, literacy programs, screening of young children for developmental delays as well as other vital services. As a direct result of lack of state funding,

* At least 8 FRCs (12% of all FRCs) have closed.
* At least 33 staff of 13 FRCs have been laid off.
* At least 17 FRCs have dramatically reduced programming by decreasing slots, shortening program length or terminating programs.

Photo Above: Tawana Bourne, holding one of her children at the mic, is a single parent. She spoke forcefully in support of The Head Start program that allows her to go to work so she can support her family. Speaker of the House Chris Donovan is standing at her right and Sen. President Donald Williams is in the foreground.

As Governor Rell continues to protect the rich in Connecticut, she cuts services to children, working people, and our most vulnerable citizens. In Connecticut the richest 1% of taxpayers only pay 4.7 percent in state tax while a middle income family pays 10.2 percent and a low income family pays 10.9 percent of their income in taxes.

Connecticut remains one of the wealthiest states in the United States. Governor Rell has adamantly refused to increase taxes on the rich, even a modest amount, to help close the budget gap. Without additional state funding further harm to programs serving working people and our most vulnerable citizens will continue.

Call Governor Rell's office today and tell her to support early care and education programs that serve children throughout Connecticut. Ask her to end the state budget impasse by supporting a progressive income tax that requires our state's wealthiest residents to pay their fair share of taxes. Call the Governor's office at: Toll-free: 800-406-1527 or Local: 860-566-4840.

By Tom Connolly

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


[Click on picture for full screen] The sign being held up states: "Adamowski is a union buster and needs to go back to where he came from."

Hundreds of Hartford Federation of Teachers [HFT] members and their supporters rally to stop the union busting tactics of Dr. Adamowski, Hartford's Superintendent of Schools. Andrea Johnson, President of the HFT, noted that Adamowski hired the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin in an attempt to place the Hartford Federation of Teachers in a spin that he hopes will cause its demise.

For decades the Hartford Federation of Teachers negotiated a contract that allows for three Hartford Federation of Teachers officers to remain as paid staff, with benefits, while serving as elected representatives of the HFT. The union has reimbursed the Board of Education for 70 per cent of that cost.

The president of the HFT, Andrea Johnson, and two other officers of the union received a letter from the school administration dated July 29th that stated in part: "...recent discoveries regarding the potential illegality of the detached duty provision of the contract, effective August 24, 2009, your leave will be viewed as an unpaid leave..."

Simply put, the three full time leadership positions of the HFT will be eliminated. The president of the union and the two other union officials will lose all salary and benefits unless they return to a regular teaching position. That is a clear violation of the union contract and an attempt to BUST THE UNION.

It was reported that the law firm, Shipman & Goodman, hired by the administration to help bust the union, is receiving $ 750.00 an hour. Larry Deutsch, a Working Families Party city council member, asked the Superintendent and the Board of Education where the money is coming from to pay the law firm. He was met with dead silence. Other speakers at the Board meeting blasted the superintendent for his union busting activities.

Below are some photos of the demonstration.

Photo above: Andrea Johnson, President of the HFT, [holding the bull horn] address the crowd.

Photo above: John Olson, President of the Connecticut AFT-CIO offers vocal support for the HFT. Photo above: The picket line outside of the Board of Education before the meeting.

By Tom Connolly

"Billionairs for Budget Cuts" Video

Check the following link to see a recent "Billionaires for Budget Cuts" event at the Governor's mansion in Hartford.


Sen. Joe Lieberman - Health Care Reform and Right-Wing Lies

Senator Joe Lieberman is the ONLY member of the Connecticut delegation that has not committed to a public option for health care reform.

Can you call Senator Joe Lieberman right away? Tell him that you, along with the majority of Americans, strongly support a public health insurance option—it's the heart of real reform.
Here's where to call:

Senator Joe LiebermanHartford District Office: 860-549-8463

Below are the top five right-wing lies about health care reform and how to fight back.
From: MoveOn.com Aug. 12

Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!
The truth: These accusations—of "death panels" and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: "No 'death panel' in health care bill." What's the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!
The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama's reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options. Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.
If you're happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them. But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can't afford health care now.

Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!
The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that.
Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage. And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation.

Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens' Medicare benefits!!!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits. Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.

Lie #5: Obama's health care plan will bankrupt America!!!
The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy.
Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care. The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses. Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama's reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.

We're closer to real health care reform than we've ever been—and the next few weeks will decide whether it happens. We need to make sure the truth about health care reform is spread far and wide to combat right wing lies.

Posted by Tom Connolly