Sunday Open Thread [5.26.13]

Filed in Open Thread by on May 26, 2013

Even more details of how DelDOT was organized as a conduit of taxpayer dollars directly to developers is in this morning’s News Journal. This is a remarkable story — including some detail on how DelDOT specifically locked in higher appraisal values just to ensure that developers could loot the Treasury for the maximum amount.

The land buys offer a glimpse of how Delaware’s $512.7 million U.S. 301 construction plan became a road to riches for some developers at taxpayers’ expense. Despite an intervening recession, DelDOT in some cases paid developers five and six times more per acre than the amounts investors paid a few years earlier when buying land for development in the path of the highway.

The deals also show how developers were able to win settlements seldom given to smaller landowners, including some who owned their property for decades.

What is really galling about this is that these deals were being locked in during the worst recession of most of our lifetimes. The State and taxpayers went through a great deal to come out on the other side of this — while State employees were forgoing raise after raise, Delaware developers were cashing in at the expense of taxpayers. While I get that some of the princpals involved in this mess are gone, it is nowhere near clear to me that DelDOT has fundamentally fixed any of their problems here. And their fundamental problem seems to be that they don’t understand who it is they work for. Also — if DelDOT is paying a premium for land acquisition, it wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t paying a premium for construction too. Maybe the Governor needs to pick a handful of recent DelDOT projects and subject them to a total 3rd Party review — including a review of how funds were spent. And pick a 3rd Party Reviewer who isn’t writing campaign checks to Delaware legislators.

And, ugh, there’s more on the Vance Phillips sex abuse allegations.

Today’s Stupid Conservative Trick is from Kansas, where their Senate passed a reduction in taxes on groceries. The Kansas House isn’t sure that reducing taxes for everybody (rather than just the rich, as is their habit) is a good idea. One of them decides to apply his Who Would Jesus Starve values to the question:

A Republican state lawmaker in Kansas says that he opposes cutting the taxes on groceries because it would be a form of “social engineering” that encourages people to buy food over other items.

The Kansas Senate on Thursday voted to cut the state sales tax on food from 6.3 percent to 4.95 percent, but Sen. Jeff Melcher (R) led opposition against the measure, arguing that it would lead to people eating more.

“It seems to me we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else,” Melcher reportedly told his colleagues.

You can see how fundamental sheer disdain for most of the citizens of this country is absolutely essential to their ideology.

Hope you are enjoying this weekend — what interests you today?

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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

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  1. Cassandra’s Watchful Eye | kavips | May 26, 2013
  1. cassandra_m says:

    Monsanto Update — On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would:

    To permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient.

    This amendment that would do nothing more than let states make their own decisions re: GMO labeling was defeated 71-27. BOTH Senators Carper and Coons voted AGAINST this amendment.

  2. fightingbluehen says:

    Yeah, cassandra, companies like Monsanto assume that if you put a little sticker on products associated with GMO’s , consumers may not buy them anymore. I think they are correct in their assumption.

  3. Rusty Dils says:

    It is starting to turn out that Romney’s Predictions were right, and the liberals who called him a liar during the election were wrong. Obviously they were wrong about Obama being a good guy, but see the link below on Romney’s predictions that are coming true.

  4. geezer says:

    @FBH: So your position is that people shouldn’t know what they’re buying, because they might let that information influence their buying choices.

    What the fuck is wrong with conservatives? Why are they thrilled to let corporations run their lives, but cry like babies if people, through their government, object?

    As for Carper and Coons, they’re both corporate ass-lickers, so that’s no surprise.

  5. fightingbluehen says:

    “@FBH: So your position is that people shouldn’t know what they’re buying, because they might let that information influence their buying choices.”

    Just the opposite actually. I wasn’t being sarcastic. I sort of consider myself an amateur foodie, and Iike the French, I don’t wan’t these people messing with my food.
    I’ve also stated before that I believe nature is more complicated than we realize, and that our knowledge or lack there of, in this science, is just enough to possibly get us into real trouble. Akin to giving a monkey a loaded shotgun.

    I also think that it might be a good idea to look into a possible connection between GMO’s, and the alarming reduction in the honey bee population.

  6. fightingbluehen says:

    I also believe this science has put food on the table for many poor and drought ridden regions. It’s a tough call.

  7. puck says:

    Romney’s predictions that are coming true… only inside the wingnut bubble. Once you leave the bubble, Romney is once again the vulture capitalist schmuck he always was.

  8. meatball says:

    What specifically, are your worries about gm foods? DNA is destroyed by pepsin in your stomach after you consume it. Its really just all polypeptides to me and you at that point.

    I realize that the bussiness practices of some of the big players in gm foods are abit unsavory, but as far as CCD, I think other causes are more likely. Do you own a can of Raid or similar product? Ever sprayed a wasp nest? That shit hangs out in the environment and continues to kill arthropods alot longer (as it is designed to do) than Roundup (which doesn’t even effect bugs).

    If your concerns are more about monoculture, well then you might have an argument, but that’s just capitalism. Educate your palate and buy what you desire.

  9. fightingbluehen says:

    “What specifically, are your worries about gm foods? ”

    For one thing, they are splicing in genes from certain bacteria and other organisms so that crops will have built in pesticides, and that’s just for starters.

    Just label the stuff so I can make my own decision on whether or not I want to be a guinea pig.

  10. meatball says:

    Bacteria are already the dominant species on the Earth. Bacteria react to our efforts, and we react to theirs. Cold war redux.

    So are you worried about becoming a “pest”? I do agree about labeling the stuff, by the way (informed dicisions and all that). I just don’t believe it to be as dangerous as you do.

  11. fightingbluehen says:

    ” I just don’t believe it to be as dangerous as you do.”

    I don’t know if it’s dangerous or not , but I really don’t wan’t to be a test subject for the sake of someone else’s profit margin.