A man opened fire in a building where services are provided to immigrants in the New York town of Binghamton on Friday, killing a number of people and taking up to 40 hostages, local media reported.
Several media reports said four people were dead. The news director of WNBF radio told CNN up to 13 people may have been killed, citing police and other unnamed sources. WBNG television news said police confirmed 12 casualties but did not specify whether they were wounded or dead.
This story is still developing...I'll have more information later.
For the third time, justice has prevailed in the Danbury 11 case as the judge has once again ruled for the plaintiffs...and brings us one step closer to the long-awaited deposition of Mayor Boughton.
Ten area immigrants have again been successful in pursuing their 2007 civil rights lawsuit against city and federal officials.
Chief Judge Robert Chatigny of the U.S. District Court of Connecticut last month denied the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's motion to dismiss the lawsuit against its agents.
"We are happy that Judge Chatigny has decided that all law enforcement officers -- even immigration agents -- are bound by the Constitution," Yale Law School student Elizabeth Simpson said.
The denial of ICE's motion to dismiss is the third time in nine months the 10 plaintiffs have won moves against their case.
In December 2008, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donna Martinez ruled Danbury officials and federal agents named in the lawsuit must give depositions immediately, even though the motion to dismiss was pending.
Simpson said some of those depositions have begun. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Police Chief Al Baker, who are named in the lawsuit, will also be deposed.
The discovery phase of the lawsuit, including the depositions, will continue for about a year.
Making his first television appearance since announcing his intentions on running for mayor, Democratic mayoral candidate Gary Goncalves will be the featured guest on tonight's local access show "Ideas at Work and Beyond."
This will be a live show so feel free to call in with your questions at 203.792.4101.
During the CT General Assembly judiciary committee's debate on the implementation of equal protection for same sex couples, State Senator Mike McBlockhead McLachlan offered one of the most offensive amendments ever drafted this session...an amendment which can only be described as homophobic.
To: Raised Bill 899
Offered by Sen. McLachlan (JUD)
AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE GUARANTEE OF EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE FOR SAME SEX COUPLES.
Strike section 17 and insert the following in lieu thereof:
Section 17: Section 46a-81r of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof: (Effective from passage)
Sec. 46a-81r. Sexual orientation discrimination: Construction of statutes.
Nothing in sections 4a-60a, 45a-726a, 46a-51, 46a-54, 46a-56, 46a-63, 46a-64b, 46a- 65, 46a-67, 46a-68b and 46a-81a to 46a-81q, inclusive, subsection (e) of section 46a-82, subsection (a) of section 46a-83, and sections 46a-86, 46a-89, 46a-90a, 46a- 98, 46a-98a and 46a-99 shall be deemed or construed (1) to mean the state of Connecticut condones homosexuality or bisexuality or any equivalent lifestyle, (2) to authorize the promotion of homosexuality or bisexuality in educational institutions or require the teaching in educational institutions of homosexuality or bisexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, (3) to authorize or permit the use of numerical goals or quotas, or other types of affirmative action programs, with respect to homosexuality or bisexuality in the administration or enforcement of the provisions of sections 4a~60a, 45a-726a, 46a-51, 46a-54, 46a-56, 46a-63, 46a- 64b, 46a-65, 46a-67, 46a-68b and 46a-81a to 46a-81q, inclusive, subsection (e) of section 46a-82, subsection (a) of section 46a-83, and sections 46a-86, 46a-89, 46a- 90a, 46a-98, 46a-98a and 46a-99,[ (4) to authorize the recognition of or the right of marriage between persons of the same sex, or (5)] or (4) to establish sexual orientation as a specific and separate cultural classification in society.
Thankfully, this disgraceful and demeaning amendment from The Family Institute of Connecticut's favorite elected official was slapped down...by Democrats and Republicans.
Watch and listen as members chastise McLachlan for offering such a bigoted and mean spirited amendment.
McLachlan is making a name for himself at the State Capitol...and not in a good way. Instead of running on the promises he made during his campaign, Mayor Boughton's former chief of staff has pretty much done nothing but launch personal attacks against fellow lawmakers, belittle members of the public, or lie while attempting to ram his offensive anti-gay dogma down the throats of the majority of the public who don't agree with him.
Connecticut voters support 52 - 39 percent, with 9 percent undecided, the State Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Given three choices, 43 percent of voters say same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, while 39 percent say they should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry and 12 percent say there should be no legal recognition of same-sex unions, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
Connecticut voters oppose 61 - 33 percent amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Republicans support such an amendment 49 - 46 percent, while Democrats oppose it 73 - 23 percent and independent voters oppose it 58 - 34 percent. Men oppose an amendment to ban same-sex marriage 56 - 38 percent while women oppose it 66 - 28 percent.
Although the poll (and the results of the 2008 election) CLEARLY showed that the majority of people in CT support same-sex marriage AND oppose amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, according to an interview Mr. Know-It-All did for the December 20 2008 Fairfield County Catholic newsletter, his anti-gay/homophobic viewpoint trumps everything...and he'll lie about polls results (while stating that he doesn't look at polls) to make his case.
Q: The State Supreme Court decision to legalize gay "marriage" was a devastating blow. Is there anything we can do?
McLachlan: I am opposed to gay marriage. The majority of the state legislature may have agreed with the decision of the Supreme Court, but the majority of the people in our state do not.
I don't believe in the polls, and I don't think we have lost the battle. I do believe that God Almighty has a plan that we don't see. I don't think gay marriage is the plan.
I believe that there are some technicalities in the Kerrigan decision that are yet to be discovered. There are some pretty good lawyers looking at all of this. And it is never too late to consider a constitutional amendment. There are being passed all over the country. Who would have ever believed in a million years that California would have passed one?
As you can see, McLachlan not only lies about the will of the majority of the public, he attempts to brings up amending the state's constitution although that was soundly defeated a month before his interview.
Keeping an eye on elected officials that represent you in Hartford is hard work. Unless you have the time to watch CT-N, most times people are clueless to what's happening at the State Capitol, which is why McLachlan is able to run his mouth under the radar of the public. Unfortunately, it seems like McLachlan hasn't changed much from the days when he was walking the halls of City Hall "red-faced" when describing this site, commenting on yours truly, and/or lashing out against organizations that spoke up against Boughton's anti-immigrant legislation such as 287g. McLachlan's bad tempter and belittling comments are legendary in Danbury...now everyone in the state is getting a glimpse into what we had to endure since Boughton took office.
NOTE: Here's a sample of feedback from across the state regarding McLachlan's anti-gay crusade.
McLachlan is a real prick. Seriously, a homophobic, hate-pedaling dick. Does he really think that it is in the best interest of the citizens to try to codify hate?
Maybe LMF [Love Makes a Family] should reconsider and stay active as long as there are backwards, scared little boys and girls in the legislature.
His bill is disgusting.....Maclachlan ought to be confronted for his homophobia
Okay, there's a reason I haven't blogged here in a while...I've been working out an arrangement with Senator Dodd's office.
TODAY at 11:30, Senator Dodd will be hosting a LIVE VIDEO BLOG at My Left Nutmeg and will be taking questions from everyone. Because he'll be using his senate equipment, he will be unable to answer any campaign related questions but everything else is fair game.
As you know, not only do I blog about stuff happening in Danbury, I also keep an eye on things happening at the State Capitol. That being said, after watching him in numerous committees, it's quite apparent that State Senator Mike McLachlan is doing a horrific job representing the 24th district.
Lets put aside the fact that McLachlan's votes so far this session are ridiculous (trust me, I'll address that topic in future posts), the main problem with the state senator is that he's so self-righteous that he goes out of his way to belittle and disrespect Democrats, other elected officials, and members of the public who don't share his twisted viewpoint is disgusting to say the least.
Take for instance, State Senate Bill 349: AN ACT CONCERNING THE PENALTY FOR POSSESSION OF A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA. Here's a breakdown of the bill as proposed by Majority leader State Senator Martin Looney:
That subsection (c) of section 21a-279 of the general statutes be amended to make the penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana an infraction rather than an unclassified misdemeanor.
Statement of Purpose:
To create a more sensible state policy regarding marijuana possession by classifying the possession of a small amount of marijuana as an infraction.
Now, put aside where you stand on this issue for a moment as it's not really the focus of this post. I did a live-blog over at My Left Nutmeg on the public hearing on SB 349 last week and was appalled with the attitude McLachlan took with members of the public on this issue.
Take for instance the comments from James Meickle, a member of Central Connecticut State University's Students for Sensible Drug Policy. From the start of his testimony, it was quite apparent that Meickle did his homework on this topic and delivered a very rational and well-thought out presentation...unfortunately McLachlan took the "I'm right and your wrong" approach to the student and, when unable to offer a rebuttal to Meickle's points (probably because he HAD NONE), our lovely state senator did what he does best...belittle people.
Watch the video clip (I apologize for the length of the clip but it's important to watch the entire presentation and how Meickle is questioned by all the members of the committee to get a true understanding of the arrogance of this FRESHMAN State Senator...but if you can't wait, McLachlan's rant starts about 3:55 into the clip).
Luckily, Meickle is a reader of My Left Nutmeg and talked about testifying in front of the judiciary committee...as well as his thoughts on McLachlan.
I'd like to thank you for cutting down and uploading these videos - it saves me the trouble of looking for them myself! In return, here are my thoughts on the proceedings. They may have been colored by my circumstances in the moment (it was my first time doing this and I was pretty nervous to say the least), but perhaps they will prove enlightening:
McLachlan: I found him to be very hostile, and for no real reason to boot. He asked my thoughts on drug education and I outright said that it was something effective in curtailing drug use - and many advocates of drug policy reform would not admit that - but he insisted on sidestepping that to focus on my support for harm reduction education. And then he got snarky when I pointed out that maneuvering!
I found his ignorance of marijuana 'technology' disturbing: has he ever even read an article about cannabis dispensaries, which produce large amounts of edible goods? Many people simply don't enjoy smoke aside from any health risks. Many more people would avoid smoke, and the carcinogens contained within it, if they were educated about the relative risks of ingested vs. smoked marijuana.
Conway: Conway was polite and direct in his question, however, I misspoke here slightly (long day!). I am not against this policy treating those under 18 or under 21 differently: it shouldn't just be a $100 fine to 14 year olds, or anything along those lines. However, it needs to be done in a way that doesn't penalize these already vulnerable youth populations unnecessarily. Social support is critical here, and it's difficult to legislate that into existence. Referral to the criminal justice system - even the juvenile system - should be a last resort, with preference given to psychological treatment and family education.
Lawlor: I thought that Lawlor was very courteous and open-minded. He seemed legitimately interested in what was going on 'behind the scenes' and I was glad to be able to provide the anecdotes I did. A lot can change at a school over 10 or even 5 years, and I think his questions were an attempt to bring the reality of modern iterations of college indiscretion into a committee that is necessarily divorced from that by the age differential.
Kissel: It's obvious that Kissel had misgivings about this legislation, but he did his best to keep an open mind and I commend him for that. It's very difficult to listen seriously to evidence that goes against what 'feels' right, even if you consciously admit that the feeling may be wrong. I hope that I was able to provide Sen. Kissel with a bit more information to assuage his concerns. They were largely related to issues of safety and security, and it's my opinion that research conclusively dispels the possibility that a decriminalization policy would do more harm than good overall.
Again, where you stand on the issue of whole issue of lowering the penalty of possession of small amounts of marijuana is irrelevant, what's relevant is the attitude of a moronic freshman State Senator who's arrogance and flippant behavior, which we were so accustomed to seeing when he was Boughton's chief of staff, is an embarrassment to the entire 24th district (which includes his home city of Danbury...you know, the city that voted AGAINST HIM in the fall election by over 1000 votes).
A few months ago, I was approached by Ali Zipparo, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury (UUCD) about her church starting a community garden campaign in the area. Excited over the prospect, I kept my fingers crossed hoping that her idea would become a reality.
Well, last week, Ali informed me that the church has are in the opening stages of establishing a community garden on State Street (location of the garden is shaded in light blue in the above map) and although there is a great deal of work to be done, if things so correctly, the site should become a great asset for residents in the neighborhood.
From yesterday's clean-up day on the property, here's my interview with Zipparo.
For more info (or if you would like to volunteer), email Ali at email@example.com or contact the UUCD at their website.
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.