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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    Looney’s belated insight; and cease-fire isn’t peace

    Connecticut's state Senate president pro tem, New Haven Democrat Martin M. Looney, recently acknowledged the state's worst social problem. Better late than never.

    Interviewed by the Connecticut Examiner about the next session of the General Assembly, Looney said he hoped there would be more funding for preschool and day-care programs. "I think the challenge from birth to age 5 is in a real crisis in this state," Looney said. "We have too many kids coming into kindergarten unprepared to be there and never really catching up."

    Of course given his long service to the government class, the senator may see this as just another opportunity to hire more people to remediate a problem rather than examine its causes and eliminate it. But maybe Looney's acknowledgment will prompt other legislators to look more critically.

    For if educational failure is determined before children turn 5 and arrive in kindergarten, the cause of the failure isn't in school but in the home, where many if not most of the kids who are unprepared for kindergarten and never catch up are without fathers and, as a result, their homes tend to be poor, their mothers stressed, and the children are lacking the intellectual stimulation and loving care they need.

    Day care and preschool can compensate a little for this neglect, but even when these are available to children their households remain poor, as fatherlessness continues to correlate with poverty, bad outcomes in life and huge public expense.

    So eliminating the problem Looney has acknowledged, rather than merely remediating it and rationalizing it by building more government on top of it would require more than the appropriations so reflexive with Looney.

    It would require asking what changed Connecticut and the country from having most children born within marriage to having a third or more born outside marriage, often more than 80% in the cities, where, not coincidentally, almost half of children are chronically absent from school and always falling more behind.

    Of course the unpreparedness here is not just that of schoolchildren. Much more so it is the unpreparedness of the people having children, the women bearing them and the men exploiting the women, with the welfare system facilitating the exploitation.

    Decades of free or heavily subsidized contraception and abortion have not solved the problem of fatherless and neglected children, for childbearing outside marriage is no longer an accident but a choice. Hiring a lot of people to remediate the problem rather than diminish or eliminate it is a choice too — a convenient one politically, increasing dependence on government and growing its army of unionized and politically active employees.

    After all, even with Looney's recognition of the problem and more spending in its name next year, will Connecticut have fewer neglected kids or just more government employees and contractors ministering to them?

    Calling for a cease-fire

    Connecticut residents of Palestinian descent who have relatives in Gaza met last week with Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy in Hartford and then held a press conference to lament their losses and call for a cease-fire in Gaza's war with Israel. If journalists posed any critical questions, it didn't show up in reporting.

    “Almost every family has lost somebody or something in these senseless attacks on civilians," said a leader of the Palestinian group, Khamis Abu-Hasaballah of Farmington. "We need to bring a stop to this insane, inhumane catastrophe.”

    But ceasefires may not be peace, just brief pauses in war. Do the Connecticut residents with relatives in Gaza want Gaza's government, run by the terrorist movement Hamas, to make peace? They don't seem to have said so, nor even to have been asked.

    They don't seem to have said, nor even to have been asked, if they or their family members approved of Gaza's barbaric attack on Israel Oct. 7, nor if they concur with Hamas' commitment to destroy Israel.

    Maybe they are afraid to call for peace because Hamas is so barbaric and might harm them or their relatives. But then they show why the war must continue until Hamas and its supporters are wiped out.

    Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. He can be reached at CPowell@cox.net.

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