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How the Left Took Over the Democratic Party

Filed in National by on July 28, 2014 2 Comments

That’s the title of a recent Politico (sorry) long piece that tries to make the case that the activist base of the Democratic Party have taken the party over. It is an interesting article and worth the read. Part of the motivation of this piece seems to be in making the point that Hillary Clinton won’t have as much room to ignore the activist base as other Presidential candidates could. I’m not sure that’s true — largely because the activist base hasn’t been able to translate its agenda to the Democrats in Congress (yes, there are some, but there isn’t as much of a block as could influence White House policy). And because Democrats in Congress aren’t nearly as beholden to their voting base as they are to their check-writing base. But we already knew that I’m a major cynic on that point.

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Saturday Open Thread [7.26.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 26, 2014 6 Comments

How much more proof do you need that these wingnuts are over their heads? This fool of a Congressman from Florida (GOP, naturally) thinks that the State Department and Commerce Department employees sitting in front of him are actually representatives of the government of India. Apparently because it can’t be possible for the US Government […]

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Friday Open Thread [7.25.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 25, 2014 17 Comments
Friday Open Thread [7.25.14]

The Cape Henlopen School District is feeling the heat (it seems) over their decision to remove one book — The Miseducation of Cameron Post–from their summer reading list, so they decided to abolish the reading list all together. It wasn’t enough that they banned the first book without even reading it (they googled it and saw the controversy– gasp) OR even talking to the teachers’ group that put the book on the list. And as far as I can tell, they took this decision to abolish the summer reading list again without talking to a single soul responsible for curriculum. If I’m a parent in this District, I’m making the replacement of this entire school board crew a priority. Because they are pretty clearly incompetent. Apparently this move is meant to avoid actions by the ACLU, but certainly isn’t about helping students maintain some learning readiness.

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Wendesday Open Thread [7.23.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 23, 2014 0 Comments

The New Yorker takes a look at VP Joe Biden’s evolution in the White House:

Over the years, Biden has acquired a singular place in the pop culture of American politics. In a White House that privileges self-containment, Biden ambles between exuberant and self-defeating. He was barely in the West Wing before the Onion declared, in a headline, “SHIRTLESS BIDEN WASHES TRANS AM IN WHITE HOUSE DRIVEWAY,” establishing a theme—“Amtrak Joe,” the hell-raiser at the end of the bar—that is so enduring that it obscures the fact that he is a lifelong teetotaller. (Too many alcoholics in his family, he says. He grew up sharing a room with his mother’s brother, and recalled of the experience, “Even as kids, we noticed Uncle Boo-Boo drank a bit heavily.”)

Instead of raging against the indignities of the Vice-Presidency, Biden luxuriates in the job. Perched in his chair during the State of the Union address, peering down on his former congressional colleagues, Biden makes a pistol out of his finger and thumb, and blasts away, winking and gunning with no evident irony. Last year, C-SPAN taped him getting ready to swear in new senators. He greeted each senator’s family with frisky enthusiasm. To the old ladies, he’d say, “You’ve got beautiful eyes, Mom, holy mackerel.” To the young women: “Remember—no serious guys till you’re thirty!” To the little kids in their Sunday best: “Take care of your grandfather. Your most important job.” The full package—the Ray-Ban aviators, the shameless schmalz, the echoes of the Fonz—has never endeared him to the establishment, but it lends him an air of authenticity that is rare in his profession. It has also produced a whiff of cult appeal, such that his image now has more in common with Betty White than with John Boehner. In May, after a teen-ager invited Biden to her prom, he replied with a corsage and a handwritten note encouraging her to “enjoy your prom as much as I did mine.” On Twitter, people went affectionately berserk.

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In Which We Find the Christian Right Trolling for an Activist Judge

Filed in National by on July 20, 2014 0 Comments
In Which We Find the Christian Right Trolling for an Activist Judge

Or, as named in this article, the “new frontrunner in the race for dumbest Christian Right lawsuit”. In this case, we have a nurse (how she got past the schoolwork, we’ll never know) who applied for a job at a Title X clinic in Tampa (Title X meaning that they explicitly in the business of all things family planning). She went into this interview telling her would-be employer that she could not dispense birth control pills, because she “believes” they cause abortions:

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Senator Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation

Filed in National by on July 20, 2014 2 Comments
Senator Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation

The media doesn’t typically pay that much attention to Netroots Nation — unlike CPAC coverage (which is pretty much non-stop on NPR), where I think the media flocks to in order to hear the crazy. Still. NPR covered VP Biden’s speech at Netroots Nation in order to cite him as a source for the Malaysian Airlines plane being shot out of the sky and to spin out the Presidential Horserace story for Democrats. I Googled Elizabeth Warren’s speech and found not one, but 3 Politico articles on how she is the heart of progressives at this event. Then there are the horserace articles about whether Warren will take on Hillary Clinton in the Presidential primaries. It’s just sad that you have to provide some juicy theater for the press to cover you.

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Late Night Video — Stephen Colbert Breaks Down the Fake Compassion of Conservatives For You

Filed in National by on July 19, 2014 1 Comment

This is, of course, a dissection of the compassion theater being acted out by conservatives before they call for completely not compassionate treatment of the kids coming to our border.

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Vice President Biden at Netroots Nation

Filed in Delaware, National by on July 19, 2014 0 Comments
Vice President Biden at Netroots Nation

Here is the video (about 47 mins) of VP Biden addressing the progressives at Netroots Nation in Detroit this week. Props to him for showing up there. Loved how he owned the perception that he is gaffe-prone. And he made the pitch that progressives were crucial to the political conversation and were needed more than ever. Then again, this Joe Biden telling progressives that he is one of them (touting — among other things — that he led the fight against Bork, Alito and Roberts) is the same Joe Biden who mistreated Anita Hill during the Thomas confirmation hearings. At the 20 minute mark, VP Biden is heckled by a group of folks opposed to deportations and encourages the applause for them. Nicely done, too. So take a look and tell us if you think he is running for President:

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Sussex County Got a Little Brighter This Afternoon

Filed in Delaware by on July 18, 2014 7 Comments

Bill Colley was finally fired from WGMD. I think I can hear the cheers from here!

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Why Would Anyone Shoot Down a Malaysian Airline Plane over Ukraine?

Filed in National by on July 17, 2014 22 Comments
Why Would Anyone Shoot Down a Malaysian Airline Plane over Ukraine?

Seriously, I was astonished and sick when I heard that this plane disappeared from radar, then heard it was shot down. The pictures are horrific and while the Ukrainians and the Russians have rushed to say they were not responsible, someone shot down that plane. There’s not much anyone knows at this point, but why would anyone shoot down this plane? Tell me what you think in the comments.

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Funding Highways by Underfunding Pensions

Filed in National by on July 16, 2014 9 Comments
Funding Highways by Underfunding Pensions

This is the latest from the Congressional brain rust — this time trying to find money for the Transportation Trust Fund. This time, it is Hoouse Republicans who are looking to use this trick to look like they are paying for the extension to the Transportation Trust fund. Instead of looking at rational ways of raising revenue (taxes, closing tax loopholes), they’ve decided that undermining America’s already hemorrhaging pension system is the right place to get money to pay for our roads. But this is apparently not the first time this accounting gimmick has been floated to actually fund something. The Democrats tried using this mess into a bill to extend unemployment insurance and it was part of the funding mechanism for the last temporary Transportation Bill. Which means that this bit of business is available for some appalling bit of bipartisanship. (Even though the GOP looked at the pension smoothing plan to pay for unemployment benefits and said that it paid for nothing. Now they are all for it.) So what is Pension Smoothing?

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Late Night Video — Jon Oliver Explains Income Inequality

Filed in Open Thread by on July 15, 2014 0 Comments

Very good — one more rant by Oliver showing how a nation of strivers are too busy striving to make sure that rich people aren’t paying taxes:

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Expanding the Port of Wilmington

Filed in Delaware by on July 14, 2014 16 Comments
Expanding the Port of Wilmington

You’ve probably seen this article in Sunday’s NJ that spins out a vision by Tom Gordon to expand on the Port of Wilmington by building a new facility directly on the Delaware River capable of handling the larger ships coming through the world’s seaways. This new facility would be south of the current port, just south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I give Tom Gordon some credit for thinking about capitalizing on the current Port asset. I wrote about this alot when I was writing about Kinder Morgan and I’m still surprised that this isn’t higher up on the economic development agenda.

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Contact the FCC NOW On Net Neutrality

Filed in National by on July 13, 2014 2 Comments
Contact the FCC NOW On Net Neutrality

July 15 is the closing date for comments on the FCC’s proposal to let ISP’s create fast lanes to the internet — charging people for faster service, while likely deteriorating the service of those who can’t or won’t pay more. From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Unfortunately, the FCC is considering a plan that would allow some Internet providers to provide better access to some websites that pay a fee to reach users faster. This kind of “pay-to-play” Internet stifles innovation. New websites that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will face new barriers to success, leaving users with ever fewer options and a less diverse Internet.

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Wilmington City Council Steps Up to Try to Control the City’s Costs

Filed in Delaware by on July 13, 2014 24 Comments
Wilmington City Council Steps Up to Try to Control the City’s Costs

The last city budget process highlighted once again the difficulty of using that fast-track process to start implementing some budget discipline within the city’s operations. Indeed, that budget not only raised the property taxes of city residents, but also left the city with a surplus – a surplus that no one understands its purpose. There were multiple problems brought up during the hearings – the number of vacant but budgeted positions, the fact that the city isn’t paying its portion of the water and sewer bill, and the fact that the budget largely ignored the WEFAC finding that the city’s financial difficulty can’t be resolved by taxing its way out of it. On top of that, city residents really pushed back on city council people over the passage of that tax increase.  To respond to this, City Council is finally exercising its prerogatives as the body that approves spending, to start pulling spending back. This week they started with the staffing at the Fire Department, and they promise to look at all City Departments with an eye to reduce funding for vacant positions and look for better efficiencies.

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Late Night Video — Bill Maher Shooting the Zombie Lies in the Head

Filed in National by on July 12, 2014 1 Comment

Zombie Lies. Perfect description of the perpetual GOP talking points — the ones they keep repeating even though they’ve been definitively proven to be a lie. But those lies/talking points never go away and the usual GOP suspects can pick up where they were 6 years ago, get in front of a TV camera and it is as though the past 6 years never happened. The lies keep coming back as do the liars that tell them. Maher here wants to know why they can keep saying them over and over again — my opinion is that the journalists who will tell you that their job is holding people accountable are also telling you a Zombie Lie. Bill Maher and his New Rules:

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Late Night Video — “I’m the Guy Doin’ My Job, You Must Be the Other Guy!”

Filed in National by on July 11, 2014 0 Comments

This is President Obama earlier today in Texas talking about the complete uselessness of GOP obstruction (and lawsuits). I like him when he’s not really worried about reaching out to the GOP, and yet he always does. This is definitely dripping in well-deserved ridicule for the GOP and their no-show job ways, but he still invites them to work with him. Still — I REALLY wish that there was more of this from Democrats across the board. The GOP is absolutely vulnerable on the do-nothing charge and that should be part of the narrative from now until election day:

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The Delaware Test

Filed in Open Thread by on July 11, 2014 22 Comments

This is a good weekend, I’m putting off the house work activity (or I’m going to save this for some office timewasting on Monday) — The Delaware Test was created by some Delaware denizens of Reddit. It’s a bunch of questions, including a fair number of political ones. Take it and tell us: 1) your score; 2) what you think of these questions and 3) what question is missing.

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Breaking: UD Pulls the Plug on the Data Center/Power Plant

Filed in Delaware by on July 10, 2014 15 Comments

I just got an email on this and there isn’t much available yet. From WDEL:

UD announced it has terminated its lease with The Data Centers (TDC), putting a halt to TDC’s plans to develop a data center on the site of the former Chrysler plant.

A report issued Thursday, UD faculty and administrative leaders concluded that the proposed facility, which included a 279-megawatt power plant is not consistent with their first class science and technology campus.

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The Second Treasurer’s Debate (Democratic Version)

Filed in Delaware by on July 10, 2014 41 Comments

(Edit: I’ve fixed the title since the first debate was in Sussex some weeks ago.I’m sorry for the mistake.) Tuesday night was a debate sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists between Chip Flowers and Sean Barney. Unfortunately, I could not go, but a friend was there and provides this Guest Post of the proceedings:

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Tuesday Open Thread [7.8.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 8, 2014 9 Comments
Tuesday Open Thread [7.8.14]

New York Magazine presents a piece noting that the longstanding alliance between Teacher’s unions and Democrats may be close to over. That might make some sense, really — Democrats have been at the forefront of initiatives that specifically work at dismantling the public school system and also scapegoating teachers for a multitude of longstanding problems in schools. I’m a fan of unions exercising their political power — especially since it looks like even that is under threat. I’m not sure about the best way to go about that, but it is time to stop accommodating AND providing contributions and boots on the ground while getting nothing in return:

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Late Night Video — John Oliver Fixes the Flaw in Climate Change Journalism

Filed in National by on July 6, 2014 3 Comments

Climate change is always reported as two opposing views — one side who *believes* and the other side that *does not believe*. Treating a science topic (it isn’t a *belief* topic) as though it was a political topic is one of the worst journalistic offences we are subject to, and we are subject to quite a few of them throughout the day. John Oliver takes note that this topic is always addressed as one for and one against, as though there was an equal amount of scientific evidence that climate change does not happen. He brilliantly works at a fairer debate — one that weights the conversation towards the evidence — hilarious:

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Late Night Video — Jon Stewart Explains the Reality of Sexual Assault on Campus to You

Filed in National by on June 29, 2014 58 Comments

Right:

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Why Isn’t John Carney Supporting H.R.1852, the Email Privacy Act?

Filed in Delaware, National by on June 29, 2014 3 Comments

Since the Supremes pretty clearly told law enforcement that they needed to get a warrant to search your cell phone, there has been renewed attention on H.R.1852, the Email Privacy Act. Introduced by Representative Kevin Yoder [R-KS-3] in May 2013, this law would revise the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, requiring subpoenas to search emails, no matter how long they had been stored (they can now look at email stored for more then 180 days without a warrant) and allowing ISPs to communicate to the targets that their emails were requested by law enforcement. As of this writing (6.29.2014), John Carney has not joined the 220 Representatives (138 R, 82 D — BIPARTISANSHIP!) who are looking to refine the due process around law enforcement looking at your emails.

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Sunday Open Thread [6.29.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 29, 2014 5 Comments

I had a great time last night and it was great to see everyone! Hope we’ll do another DL get-together soon.

Here are two long reads for this great Sunday Morning — this piece (in Politico, but may be the best thing they’ve ever published) is from Nick Hanauer — firmly ensconced in the 1% — talking about the trainwreck to come if income inequality isn’t dealt with. This is a brilliant — and scathing — piece. He reminds us that this kind of income inbalance is at the fulcrum of alot of painful upheaval, that supply-side economics isn’t working, and that those business interests who continue to agitate for supply-side policy are arguing for long-term failure.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. [...]

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