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If You Ask Me - Dick Ahles

Remembering the O’Reilly who didn’t do fires

The day Bill O’Reilly was fired, a former colleague at Channel 3 News in Hartford asked if I recalled any sexual harassment allegations during O’Reilly’s very brief time with us as a reporter/anchor decades ago.

I said I didn’t. Our differences with O’Reilly were purely journalistic. 

Wide open race for dubious prize: governor

It’s probably just a coincidence that Dan Malloy announced he would not seek reelection the day after a national survey determined he had the third-worst approval rating of all 50 governors and was the least popular Democratic governor in the United States.

The governor said his low approval rating wasn’t a factor and that he had never been afraid of taking unpopular stands, and we’ll take him at his word. 

Connecticut has real income tax, fake spending cap

This summer, Connecticut will celebrate — or maybe “observe” is the better verb — the 25th anniversary of the state income tax.

And in November, we’ll be marking the 24th anniversary of the amendment to the state Constitution that was designed to make everyone feel better about the income tax — the state spending cap.

The income tax was real, but the spending cap turned out to be a fake.

Connecticut has a real income tax, but a fake spending cap

This summer, Connecticut will celebrate — or maybe “observe” is the better verb — the 25th anniversary of the state income tax.

And in November, we’ll be marking the 24th anniversary of the amendment to the state Constitution that was designed to make everyone feel better about the income tax — the state spending cap.

The income tax was real, but the spending cap turned out to be a fake.

You can’t believe a thing he says

As we near the meaningless hundred-day milestone in the presidency of Donald J. Trump, here are a few things we know and don’t know about the new president:

You can’t believe a thing he says. This is the president’s major problem. He lies constantly, unhesitatingly and shamelessly, raising doubts even when he tells the truth. 

‘The newspapers will always break your heart’

Sixty-two springs ago, I went looking for my first newspaper job while at home in New Jersey, during what was probably not yet known as the spring break from my senior year in college.

So, still a student, that morning I joined the commuters on the Lackawanna train to Manhattan to see if any of the seven dailies I had been reading all my life might be interested in hiring a beginning reporter — or even a copy boy.

We’re running out of sins to tax in Conn.

Over the years, sin has been very profitable for the State of Connecticut, especially the varieties that attract large numbers of sinners. But we may be running low on sins suitable for taxation.

The wages of sin that come to the state’s coffers range from the traditional sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol to the more modern sources of sinful revenue provided by the legalization of lotteries, casinos, off-track betting parlors, charitable games and even the more exotic and less successful forays into jai alai frontons and a greyhound racing track.

Now, it’s ‘No Muslims Need Apply’

The first Irish immigrants who sought refuge in the United States during the 1850s potato famine were the poorest of the poor, a despised minority capable of little more than unskilled labor.

We can hope for an adequate Trump presidency

Let me be perfectly clear, as Richard Nixon liked to say before he wasn’t, I fervently hope Donald Trump turns out to be an adequate president, because we can’t afford less than that modest wish.

I have no illusions he will be a great or even a good president, but if he does no lasting harm in the next four years, a healthy chunk of a grateful nation will finally exhale. In the meantime, he continues to confound with his bluster, his ego, his ignorance, his hidden tax returns and various ethical questions.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Hard to believe it’s been 75 years since that Sunday the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, even harder to believe I can vividly recall something that happened 75 years ago.

There aren’t that many of us who actually “remember Pearl Harbor,” as the war’s first popular song urged. The principals are long gone — Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Marshall, Emperor Hirohito and the architect of the attack, the Harvard-educated American-admirer Admiral Yamamoto. Only about 600,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in the war survive.