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Saturday Open Thread [3.28.15]

Filed in National by on March 28, 2015 0 Comments
Saturday Open Thread [3.28.15]

So Rand Paul is giving up entirely any notion that he is a libertarian or has libertarians everywhere, if they are to have any credibility, must publicly condemn and disown him.

“The First Amendment says keep government out of religion, not religion out of government.” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by David Brody, speaking at a private prayer breakfast in Washington, DC. Uh, no Rand, that is not what the First Amendment says. It says, with regards to religion, the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof[.]

So yes, the Amendment says keep government out of religion, in that it prohibits any law interfering with the free exercise of religion. But Rand skips over the first part of the Amendment, that saying prohibiting any law respecting an establishment of religion. That means religion must stay out of government. No national religion. No law compelling people to attend religious services (attention Arizona). No law allowing people to use religion as a reason to discriminate (attention Indiana and Arkansas). Perhaps radical Christian Conservative Rand Paul means there is no law against mixing religion and politics. That’s true.

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The Weekly Addresses

Filed in National by on March 28, 2015 0 Comments

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Saturday Daily Delawhere [3.28.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 28, 2015 0 Comments
Saturday Daily Delawhere [3.28.15]

A view of the downtown Wilmington skyline from the Riverfront. Photo by Shiva Shenoy on Flickr.

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Does Delaware deserve to kill?

Filed in Delaware by on March 27, 2015 7 Comments

“ChipThe real question isn’t “Do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed?”, it’s “Do we deserve to kill?”

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I’m not sure what Tom Carper is up to with this vote

Filed in National by on March 27, 2015 1 Comment
I’m not sure what Tom Carper is up to with this vote

WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Tom Carper said Wednesday he doesn’t support every single item in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal 2016. But he’s still the only senator who voted for the proposal this week. GOP Sen. John Cornyn forced Tuesday’s vote on the president’s spending plan to get Democrats on the record opposing […]

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Friday Open Thread [3.27.15]

Filed in National by on March 27, 2015 1 Comment
Friday Open Thread [3.27.15]

Josh Kraushaar:

Talk to enough Republican insiders about the presidential primary field, and you’ll get a common sentiment when it comes to Jeb Bush. Most strategists agree that Bush has to overcome serious hurdles to win the nomination, but they say he’s a formidable candidate thanks to his deep political network and ability to dominate the competition in fundraising. “I can’t see him dropping out before Florida,” said one former GOP congressman well-connected to the field.

But there are signs that a worst-case, crash-and-burn scenario for Bush is more realistic than even his skeptics recognize. He’s underperforming in early public polls and is receiving a frosty reception from Republican focus groups. His entitled biography is at odds with the Republican Party’s increasing energy from working-class voters, who relate best with candidates who have struggled to make ends meet. The Bush name is a reminder of the past at a time when GOP voters are desperate for new faces. And after losing two straight presidential elections, Republican voters are thinking much more strategically—and aren’t nearly as convinced as the political press that Bush is the strongest contender against Hillary Clinton.

If they are thinking strategically, they would be more inclined to support Bush. But I feel that they thinking ideologically and are not willing to swallow an Establishment candidate that can win.

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Is It Time To Get Rid Of Fraternities?

Filed in National by on March 27, 2015 15 Comments

I will admit I have a strong bias against fraternities. During college I witnessed them in action, and what I see today is no different from what I saw then. I am not saying that all members are all awful, but the mob mentality surrounding them is disturbing.  I don’t see a strong sense of […]

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Friday Daily Delawhere [3.27.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 27, 2015 0 Comments
Friday Daily Delawhere [3.27.15]

A late winter / very early spring look at Wilmington’s West Side neighborhoods from the edge of Center City. Photo by xzmattzx.

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Not Shocked – John Carney votes with the GOP…Yet Again.

Filed in National by on March 26, 2015 0 Comments
Not Shocked – John Carney votes with the GOP…Yet Again.

A majority of House Democrats voted for the People’s Budget by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Here is the executive summary of the budget that “Democrat” John Carney” could not bring himself to vote for: 8.4 million good paying jobs by 2018 $1.9 trillion investment in America’s future $820 billion infrastructure and transportation improvements The People’s […]

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“The Sodomite Suppression Act” gives everyone a glimpse of what Republican rule would look like

Filed in National by on March 26, 2015 31 Comments
“The Sodomite Suppression Act”  gives everyone a glimpse of what Republican rule would look like

The California ballot initiative system is a progressive direct democracy plebiscite. However, it allows everyday Republicans with deranged views nurtured by the GOP noise machine to propose crackpot shit such as the “The Sodomite Suppression Act”. This initiative, if enacted, would call on all Godly Californians to kill homosexuals. As such, the initiative is a tidy glimpse into the mind of the modern Republican. It also gives us a view of what complete GOP control of the government might look like.

“The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha,” it begins.

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,” the proposal continues.

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“Doing a bunch of a-hole bullshit instead of governing”

Filed in National by on March 26, 2015 11 Comments
“Doing a bunch of a-hole bullshit instead of governing”

If I had to give the GOP a motto that encapsulated their mission, it would be the one above. In the latest act of, “we don’t give a shit about governing, we just want to make headlines” style governing the Indiana legislature passed, and the Republican Governor of Indiana signed a bill to protect the […]

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Thursday Open Thread [3.26.15]

Filed in National by on March 26, 2015 5 Comments
Thursday Open Thread [3.26.15]

A new CNN/ORC poll “finds 53% saying things are going well, 46% badly. That’s the highest share saying things are going well that CNN/ORC polls have found during Obama’s time in office…Assessing Obama’s presidency overall, 50% consider his time in office a success, 47% a failure. And for those who say his time in office has been a failure, 37% say that’s been because of his own actions, while just 9% attribute it to Congress blocking the President from action…Nearly two-thirds (63%) disapprove of the Democratic leaders in Congress, while 74% disapprove of the Republican leadership. That’s worse than in March 2011, when 64% said they disapproved of GOP leadership a few months after the party took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

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Vote Tracker Update: Death Penalty Repeal Clears Committee, and some good Republican Bills.

Filed in Delaware by on March 26, 2015 4 Comments
Vote Tracker Update: Death Penalty Repeal Clears Committee, and some good Republican Bills.

Well that was quick. The Senate Judiciary Committee held its hearing on SB 40, the Death Penalty Repeal bill, yesterday, and has already voted the bill out of committee for consideration by the full Senate. I suppose the fast action should not be surprising, since passage by the Senate may be a foregone conclusion since it passed 11-10 last year.

Once and a while the Republicans in the General Assembly introduce legislation that is actually good, even though their Republican sponsorship is often times cynical and an attempt to bait or embarrass the Democratic Leadership. But hey, one of the complaints of the GOP is that their bills never get a hearing or a vote on the floor. Rep. Deborah Hudson’s HB 61 requires that all public meetings of the boards of education of public school districts, vo-tech school districts, and public meetings of charter schools’ boards of directors be digitally recorded and made available to the public on the districts’ and charter schools’ websites within seven business days. That is open government transparency, and a no brainer for Democrats to get behind. Speaker Schwartzkopf, let’s get this bill on the floor.

Rep. Dukes’ HB 67 requires all statewide and other candidates that may appear on the general election ballot to disclose whether or not all their State and Federal personal income tax returns are filed and any tax due has been paid and whether or not all their real property taxes have been paid. Sure, this bill is making a political point, but I think it is still good policy nonetheless. Placing this bill in the House Administrative Committee, with is Speaker Schwartzkopf’s version of a desk drawer veto, is only giving the Republicans the issue and more time to harp on it. It is self defeating.

Finally, SB 38. This is intriguing. This bill is sponsored by Senator Colin Bonini, and allows a terminally ill patient, and his or her treating physician, to decide if they will pursue treatment with an investigational drug, biological product or device, which has successfully completed Phase One of a clinical trial. That is downright compassionate, one or two steps away from Death with Dignity, and it comes from a Republican. Shame on Democrats for not introducing this bill themselves.

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Thursday Daily Delawhere [3.26.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 26, 2015 0 Comments
Thursday Daily Delawhere [3.26.15]

Trolley Square by Emil on Flickr.

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Vote Tracker Update: Finally Some Action

Filed in National by on March 25, 2015 6 Comments
Vote Tracker Update: Finally Some Action

Well, would you look at that. The Delaware General Assembly has gone and updated their webpage with a sleeker design and easier navigation. I’m still figuring it out, but the one bug I see right away is that when you click on a particular piece of legislation, you are not taken to that legislation’s URL landing page, but instead you view it in window on the main page. Now, individual URLs for specific legislation are still available and are provided as a link in the Vote Tracker below. You simply click on the Bill number and your browser will take you to that page.

We have finally the first voting action on one of the bills we are following. The Senate unanimously passed Senator Sokola’s Senate Bill 31 to continue to enable Teach for America to recruit and train teachers to teach in Delaware. It moves over to the House.

Senator Poore’s SB 33 was voted out of the Senate Education Committee on its merits, and then laid on the table in the Senate yesterday, March 24. Laying on the table does not necessarily kill a bill, but it suspends or postpones consideration of it. So I guess we need to know why, since the Bill would have implemented one of the many task forces’ we turn to in this state whenever we have a problem. And the problem here was reforming the individualized education program (IEP) process, which is the way educational programs and services for students with diagnosed disabilities in Delaware public schools are determined. I have seen no explanation yet in the media as to why we are postponing considering this bill.

Sen. Robert Marshall (D) has introduced legislation that will increase the minimum wage up to where it should be: $10.25 an hour. The bill calls for 50-cent, per-hour increases over the next four years until minimum wage hits $10.25 an hour by June of 2019. I’d prefer we just increase it straight away to $10, whatever games we have to play to get legislators onboard, let’s play them.

Most importantly, Senator Marshall has introduced SB 39 to increase the minimum wage to $10.25; and Senator Peterson has introduced SB 40, the repeal of the Death Penalty in Delaware.

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Coons and Carper vote in favor of cutting future social security benefits

Filed in National by on March 25, 2015 11 Comments
Coons and Carper vote in favor of cutting future social security benefits

In their most recent act of bipartisanship, “Democratic” Senators Coons and Carper voted in favor of a Republican amendment that sets the stage for Social Security benefits cuts.

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Wednesday Open Thread [3.25.15]

Filed in National by on March 25, 2015 3 Comments
Wednesday Open Thread [3.25.15]

Bill Boyarsky at TruthDig writes that the GOP is planning to use a desired War with Iran as a campaign strategy for 2016:

The Republicans want to frighten the voters into believing that the Democrats will sell out Israel and the United States.
Selling this phony message is tremendously important to them as they get ready for the 2016 election. Domestically, their arguments against the Democrats are vanishing. Obamacare is increasingly popular as signups become more efficient. The deficit—the Holy Grail for Republicans—is shrinking. Unemployment is declining. All they can do is complain that Obama and the Democrats are surrendering to Islam.

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Idiot Republican Congressman Pete Sessions says Obamacare to cost $5 million per covered person

Filed in National by on March 25, 2015 14 Comments
Idiot Republican Congressman Pete Sessions says Obamacare to cost $5 million per covered person

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) claimed Tuesday that ObamaCare will cost $5 million per enrolled person. Sessions cited an overall estimate from House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) that ObamaCare will cost $108 billion. Sessions then calculate the per person cost of ObamaCare by dividing $108 billion by 12 million, and arrived […]

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Wednesday Daily Delawhere [3.25.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 25, 2015 0 Comments
Wednesday Daily Delawhere [3.25.15]

Above the Henlopen in Rehoboth. Photo by Sky Jack.

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Tuesday Open Thread [3.24.15]

Filed in National by on March 24, 2015 16 Comments

“I wish Reagan would rise from the dead and come back.” — Pat Robertson, on his television show The 700 Club, while noting President Obama “does not believe in America” and was mentored by “leftists who don’t really love this country.” Ah yes, Pat Robertson, who runs the Christian “700 Club” that of course believes in a wonderous heavenly after life, endorsing the return of Zombie Reagan, which seems somewhat blasphemous to me.

Once again, our real headlines have become the Onion. Here is a segment the Onion did a number of years ago.

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Redrawing School District Lines

Filed in Delaware by on March 24, 2015 12 Comments
Redrawing School District Lines

I have been on record saying that Delaware has too many school districts. 19 public/Vo-Tech school districts and 18 (and counting) charter districts. Each charter school is its own district. To me, that’s simply too much administrative overhead. Which brings us to the plan of reducing the number of districts in the city of Wilmington. Something I support, but know that the devil’s in the details.

When the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC) submitted its report to the Governor, one of its suggestions was removing Christina and Colonial School Districts from the city and having the only two districts (Red Clay and Brandywine) serve the city.

As a city resident the idea of fewer school districts sounds wonderful. Having four districts fractured the city’s voice. It was hard to organize and advocate for city kids since school districts would only listen to people who lived in their district about concerns with their district. I do understand that, but it was extremely frustrating. Especially since 99% of our concerns applied to every district. But those district lines sent us off in four different directions, with less people, and were easily ignored. And, make no mistake, we were ignored. The districts’ go-to solution was always to form a committee to study the problem. Where all those committee reports ended up… I have no idea. And it was infuriating to keep bringing up the same concerns year after year only to have district administrators feign surprise and call for a new committee. So, most city residents would be happy with fewer school districts – if it’s handled correctly.

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Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Week of March 24-26, 1015

Filed in Delaware by on March 24, 2015 7 Comments
Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Week of March 24-26, 1015

Yet another sneaky maneuver from Markell’s Merciless Minions in their ongoing war on state employees. After agreeing to postpone their plan to screw state employees and retirees by shifting more health costs onto them, Ann Visalli and her henchpersons nevertheless convened a meeting of the ironically-named State Employee Benefits Commission to ‘temporarily’ increase premiums. In other words, shifting more costs onto the workers. And going back on their public promises. When it comes to state employees, Markell is taking his cues from Scott Walker. Or perhaps vice versa.  From Day One, Markell has done little to hide his disdain for the worker bees. Guess he admires smooth-talking used car salesmen like himself much more.  Right back at’cha, Jack.  Glibness made you rich and made you governor.  Hey, maybe that’s why Jack looks down on state employees…not glib enough for him and, of course, not wealthy enough for him. Memo to the General Assembly: We’re watching. It’s time to tax Jack’s pals. They collected all the spoils of the so-called economic recovery.  Stop Markell’s transfer of more wealth to the wealthy.  This. Is. Unconscionable.

The Delaware General Assembly has a new easy-to-navigate website.  It’s really really good, but does not lend itself to linking as well as the previous website. Rather than doing a cut-and-paste of huge swaths of text, I’ll post highlights and encourage you to check out the site.  It’s definitely much easier to access and search than it used to be, which makes me even less essential (I know, I know).

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Our Choices for Raising New Revenue

Filed in Delaware by on March 24, 2015 32 Comments
Our Choices for Raising New Revenue

Last week, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council or DEFAC released its latest revenue projections, reporting a $45 million dollar loss in revenue. Last Friday, the News Journal had a story on the Structural Revenue Review Committee and what they see as the reason for the revenue drop:

As the legal or corporate home for hundreds of thousands of businesses, Delaware is allowed to take intangible assets such as dormant checking and savings accounts, uncashed checks and unclaimed dividends and stocks after a certain number of years if the owners can’t be found. [...] But corporations that are required to turn over their unclaimed property have challenged Delaware’s enforcement methods, including estimating the amounts due when no actual records can be found. Meanwhile, only a fraction of companies subject to the escheat laws are complying with the reporting requirements. [Secretary of State] Bullock noted that while increased compliance might bring in more abandoned property revenue, technology has made it easier for companies to track ownership of the assets, meaning there likely will be less for the state to claim in the future.

Meanwhile, the state also faces challenges when it comes to gambling revenue, as newer and bigger casinos in neighboring states continue to draw gamblers who used to come to Delaware’s three casinos, panel members were told. Lottery and gambling revenues contributed about $215 million to the general fund in fiscal 2014 but have declined steadily in recent years, with even more competition from other states on the horizon.

So the budget gimmickry that has allowed Delaware to operate on a half-flat income tax structure for decades is coming to an end. So what are our options?

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Tuesday Daily Delawhere [3.24.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 24, 2015 0 Comments
Tuesday Daily Delawhere [3.24.15]

Above Lewes. Photo by Sky Jack.

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At Least He’s Consistent

Filed in National by on March 23, 2015 3 Comments
At Least He’s Consistent

Alternate title to this post: ::Get your Popcorn:: As you know, the right wing has lied for years that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, and was instead born in Kenya. This lie has continued despite the fact that both the short form and the long form birth certificate from the State of Hawaii have been released proving that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii, and despite the fact that a birth announcement regarding the young President’s birth was placed a couple of days later in the Honolulu Advertiser. Anyway, the right wing could not handle the fact that a non-white man had been elected President, and they reacted by making the President an “other,” an “alien,” literally.

Well now their tea party champion, Ted Cruz, has decided to run for President. But he really wasn’t born here. But the right wing has no problem with that. Well, all except The Donald.

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