SIMMONS PASSES UP CHANCE TO CONFRONT MCMAHON

At first blush, the only thing that stood out in the Republican US Senate debate Tuesday night was that Peter Schiff didn’t pull some sort of nutty. In fact, he made the more understandable arguments (whether you agree or strenuously disagree with him. As an economist, he resisted the urge to bury us in numbers. And as he reminded us more than a few times, he blew the whistle on the economic meltdown before it happened. Nobody listened. For that, combined with expectations going in, he wins the debate.

Actually the debate itself was non-eventful (if not a non-event). The candidates stuck to issues and rarely disagreed. It was only this morning that showed Rob Simmons to be bit of a phony or at least a bit of a wimp. And please note The Shad is referring to the campaign, the debate and the candidate in this particular instance—not the man who spent 4 years in Viet Nam. In that sense, he’s a hero.

The problem is that this morning, reporters and bloggers received in their in-boxes a news release from the Simmons campaign slamming rival Linda McMahon for sending out what the Simmons campaign says are false mailings. McMahon has been hitting mostly Republican households with mailings leveling charges against Simmons that even FactCheck.org says are false. But rather than respond with mailings of his own—which are wildly expensive that matters not to McMahon—Simmons has chosen to fight back through news releases and other means.

Well, there was no better “other means” than last night’s debate. Somewhere along the line in a full-hour debate in which the candidates left time on the table, Simmons could have strongly rebuked McMahon for the false mailings. He chose not to. It would be interesting to know why. McMahon has no reason the stop as of now.
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The state Senate has passed a bill that would, among other things, require mental and physical fitness screenings for older drivers seeking to renew their driver’s license. It’s an idea whose time is long overdue. The problem is it’s the Massachusetts state Senate that passed the bill. It’s time for Connecticut to pass a similar measure. It’s time for the co-chairs of legislature’s transportation committee to come up with a bill that contains strong, mental and physical fitness tests for our senior drivers. The Shad is probably biased on this having been nearly crushed by an elderly driver in the Stop and Shop parking lot a couple of years ago because she mistook the long pedal for the short, blocky one. And that experience brought home the point that it’s for their safety, once she crashed into a tree at the end of the lot, she refused to get out of the smoking car until she found her purse.

It’s actually a tough position for a lawmaker to take. Older folks organize and they vote. But it’s better than killing someone or themselves.