How’s Jim Himes doing?
A little more than a year after gentleman Jim surfed the Obama wave into Congress, almost not a day passes that I don’t receive an ice-pick-in-the-ear news release from some Republican Party organization hammering Himes for supporting most everything Barack and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have proposed to resurrect the economy. Every now and then I run one for chuckles or because it’s a fit for an issue. Himes’ seat in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District had been occupied by Republicans for nearly 40 years until he defeated Chris Shays in 2008. DC Republicans want the seat back, and my oh my has public sentiment turned from one year ago.
Sometimes pols can create their own good fortune, other times luck comes into play. Had Chris Shays (we may yet hear from him) sought to reclaim his old seat I say Himes is toast in November. Had Fairfield State Senator John McKinney sought the seat his father occupied before Shays I say Himes is toast. McKinney has family issues, a divorce, that places his priorities with his children. But Himes, bright and likable, could very well be reelected. Depends on lots of stuff.
The Republicans running against him, led by Shelton State Senator Dan Debicella who was raised in Bridgeport, and former Bridgeport State Senator Rob Russo, are largely unknown along Fairfield County’s Gold Coast, the bastion of Republican votes. That can change with money and a strong message.
It’s hard to be in office a year and claim a steady stream of accomplishments. Things don’t move fast enough in Washington, despite Democratic assurances that the stimulus package would indeed change things. Himes, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, can’t just snap his fingers and say I need this and this and this and this. He has to pick and choose, and vote for crap he doesn’t like, to get stuff for his district. That’s the way it works.
For Bridgeport, Himes has gotten some stuff done. A few million to tear down the stuck-open Congress Street Bridge, millions more for a variety of job training programs and needy social service organizations. I dare say we will hear more announcements as Himes makes his case for reelection. Constituent services, of course, are crucial to reelection. Voters call their local Congressional office for a variety of stuff. Every time Himes’ district workers help a voter they make a friend for their boss. I’m hearing, however, it’s easier to get Himes on the phone than have an issue resolved quickly by local staff. My only contact with Himes’ staff, however, is with Elizabeth Kerr, his responsive and dedicated communications director.
Being a congressman isn’t like being a governor with big stones. A congressman is so often at the mercy of others. No one understood this better than former U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker who was bounced from his Senate seat by Joe Lieberman in 1988 and then two years later ran for governor and won.
As governor, Weicker had balls that clanked. There was the day 18 years ago or so that Weicker and his Deputy Chief of Staff Tom Dudchik, now the genial host of the highly trafficked www.ctcapitolreport.com, were tooling around the region. Weicker wanted to do something for Bridgeport. “I remember asking him why the State Police had their barracks in Westport,” Dudchik shared with OIB. “I told him they should move into Bridgeport. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, he was shagging the Commissioner to his office to tell him to move the barracks.”
And it was done. Weicker, with one move of executive power based on a suggestion from a staffer, moved Troop G from Westport to Lafayette Boulevard downtown. Bridgeport was desperate for a sense of security downtown. Weicker didn’t stop there. He relocated Housatonic Community College from a beleaguered building on the East Side to new quarters downtown across from the State Police. That whole immediate area is safe and clean. Would be nice to have a governor like that again for Bridgeport, wouldn’t it?
News release from Jim Himes
Supreme Court Decision Will Drown Out Individuals in Political Debate
WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which overturns long-held limits on corporate and union contributions in campaign financing.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited third-party political advertising practically hangs a ‘For Sale’ sign on the U.S. Capitol, giving corporations, shadowy interest groups, and unions permission to spend limitless amounts to influence elections. This decision undermines the voice of the individual constituents I represent. We need to return to a system of one person–one vote, but this pushes us in the direction of one dollar–one vote.”
Congressman Himes is a co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act, H.R. 1826, bipartisan legislation that would create a voluntary public financing system for federal elections.
When The Message Doesn’t Work, Change The Message, From NRCC
One Year Later, Himes and Fellow Dems Finally Pay Lip Service to Middle-Class Families
Almost A Year Since Democrats Passed Failed Stimulus, Connecticut Middle-Class Families Are Still Asking: Where Are the Jobs?
Washington- As Jim Himes prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of his party’s failed ‘stimulus’ bill, Democrats are trying to switch gears to deflect attention from their trillion-dollar spending debacle. After ignoring middle-class families and small businesses for the past year, President Obama and his Democrat foot soldiers will now attempt to rebuild their credibility with the backbone of America’s economy. In Wednesday’s State of the Union, President Obama will preach a message highlighting a ‘new’ focus on the middle class – messages Republicans have been emphasizing for the past year. Could this newfound recognition of the middle-class be due to the Democrats’ devastating loss in the Massachusetts special election? Or could it be due to their plummeting approval ratings? Either way, Himes and his Democrat friends have the impossible task to rebuild the bridges they have set ablaze over the past year.
“Previewing a centerpiece of Wednesday’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Monday will announce an agenda for middle class families that includes tax credits for child care, lower payments for student loans and automated IRA deposits.”
“As we make our way out of this deep recession, the most important thing we can do for the middle class is strengthen the economy and help the private sector create jobs as quickly as possible. We also must begin to reverse the declines middle-class families saw not just these past few years, but have seen for over a decade: working harder for less; college becoming more unaffordable, health care costs skyrocketing; home values plummeting; and retirement savings dwindling and becoming less secure. There are immediate steps we can take to reduce the strain on family budgets by helping middle class families manage their child and elder care responsibilities, save for retirement, and pay for college.” (Mike Allen, “President Obama, Vice President Biden unveil middle-class agenda,” Politico, 1/25/2010)
Throughout the past year, Democrats failed ‘stimulus’ has continued to receive a failing grade from taxpayers:
“A majority of Americans oppose the economic stimulus program, according to a new national poll.
Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday say they oppose the stimulus package, with 42 percent supporting it.” (“CNN poll: 56 percent oppose stimulus program,” CNN, 1/24/2010)
“For the past year, Jim Himes has been rubber-stamping his party’s failed economic policies while middle-class Connecticut families are left to suffer the consequences,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “Now, one year after throwing mountains of debt onto the backs of middle-class families, Himes’ party is desperately scrambling to salvage the damage they have done with a trillion-dollar spending spree that was nothing more than a political giveaway. Unfortunately for Jim Himes, his party’s mere lip-service to the issue isn’t fooling anyone.”
Don’t Eat This
Department of Consumer Protection Alerts Consumers to Daniele Sausage and Salami Recall
HARTFORD, January 25 — — In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection food inspectors will be checking stores statewide to ensure that Daniele Italian sausage and salami products are removed from sale due to a recall of 1.2 million pounds of the product by its producer, Daniele International, Inc.
The company, with operations in Pascoag, R.I. and Mapleville, R.I., is recalling 1,240,000 pounds of ready-to-eat Italian sausage products, because they may be contaminated with Salmonella, There have been four possibly-related cases of salmonella poisoning reported in Connecticut, according to Connecticut Department of Public Health records.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. asks that consumers check their refrigerators for this product and if found, discard or return it to the point of purchase for a refund.
“Our food inspectors are out doing effectiveness checks in stores, but consumers need to know that this recalled product may still be in stores, and should definitely be avoided,” Farrell said.
A full list of stores carrying the recalled products is not currently available, but Costco, Stop and Shop, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores do normally carry Daniele sausage products, Farrell said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Daniele International are cooperating in this investigation, which also includes state agencies.
The products subject to recall include:
· 10-ounce packages of “DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
· 8-ounce packages of “BOAR’S HEAD BRAND ALL NATURAL SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
· Catch weight packages of “DANIELE PEPPER SALAME.”
· Catch weight packages of “DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION, BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME, MADE WITH 100% PORK COATED WITH BLACK PEPPER AND PORK FAT.”
· 9-ounce packages of “BLACK BEAR OF THE BLACK FOREST BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME.”
· 20-ounce packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SMOKED SALAME, PEPPERED SALAME, RUSTIC SALAME.”
· 340- and 454-gram packages of “DANIELE SURTIDO FINO ITALIANO, SALAMI GENOA CON PIMIENTA, LOMO CAPOCOLLO, SALAMI CALABRESE.”
· 16-ounce packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
· 8-ounce packages of “DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION PARTY PLATTER PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
· 8-ounce packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
· 16-ounce packages of “DANIELE GOURMET COMBO PACK, PEPPER SALAME, CAPOCOLLO, CALABRESE.”
· 500-gram packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK EMBALLAGE ASSORTI GOURMET ITALIEN, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, CALABRESE PIQUANT, SALAMI AU POIVRE, HOT CAPOCOLLO, CAPOCOLLO PIQUANT.”
· 20-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME.”
· 21-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, PEPPERED GENOA SALAMI, HOT SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI GENOA POIVRÉ, SALAMI SOPRESSATA PIQUANT, SALAMI MILANO.”
· 7-ounce packages of “DANIELE SALAME BITES PEPPER SALAME.”
· 14-ounce packages of “DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION ASSORTMENT DE FINES CHARCUTERIE ITALIENNE, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI MILANO.”
· Catch weight packages of “DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
· 32-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME.”
Each package bears a label with establishment number “EST. 9992” or “EST. 54” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Daniele Inc. is recalling all the products listed above. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.
To help prevent Salmonellosis, always wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away. Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods. Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer. Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. See a doctor if you or a family member shows signs of salmonellosis.