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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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Delaware’s Special Education Program “Needs Intervention”

Filed in Delaware by on June 24, 2014 11 Comments
Delaware’s Special Education Program “Needs Intervention”

Public schools are required to provide the educational resources to meet the needs of students with disabilities can make progress in school. Today, the Obama Administration announced that they were tightening oversight and the rules for assessing whether schools were doing what they are meant to do under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Part of today’s announcement was an assessment of the status of various state’s programs according to the new guidelines. [...]
In that reassessment, Delaware falls into the “Needs Intervention” category.

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QOD — Why Can’t Delaware’s Utilities Participate in Consumer Conservation Programs?

Filed in Delaware by on June 24, 2014 6 Comments
QOD — Why Can’t Delaware’s Utilities Participate in Consumer Conservation Programs?

I know I’m late to this — it was in the NJ in late May — but I keep thinking about this and wonder WHY exactly this is:

Delmarva is currently banned from providing help with home efficiency upgrades, with the SEU designated as the primary provider in this regard. Rather than reaching 1,500 homes, the SEU could reach 30,000 homes by involving Delmarva Power in the program’s execution, O’Mara said. The bill would also allow utilities to credit some energy efficiency toward their renewable power purchase requirements after a utility achieved a full 15 percent reduction in overall energy usage through efficiency measures.

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Late Night Video — If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say

Filed in National by on June 23, 2014 0 Comments

Funny!

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Sunday Open Thread [6.22.2014]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 22, 2014 10 Comments
Sunday Open Thread [6.22.2014]

Here’s another great read: Tea Party’s embarrassing irony: How its ideal nation rejects basic American beliefs. This has been pretty plain to most of us who have been watching these folks have their temper tantrum, but:

What I’d argue, rather, is that the Tea Party’s philosophy of government (again, as understood by Salam) has embedded within it an aversion to basic democratic principles that goes far beyond a typical contempt for Washington, politicians and pundits. When Salam writes that Teatopia is founded on a commitment to a “robust federalism” intended to let “different states … offer different visions of the good life” and allow citizens to “vote with their feet” by moving to whichever state best reflects their values, he’s not describing a common aversion to corruption or a distaste for political theater. He’s describing a childish and essentially anti-political belief that a return to an Articles of Confederation-style U.S. order — in which each state is more of a sovereign unto itself than a member of a larger American whole — will produce 50 mini-nations where everyone basically agrees.

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Friday Open Thread [6.20.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 20, 2014 3 Comments
Friday Open Thread [6.20.14]

Yes! It’s Friday! And tonight and tomorrow night are your last chances to attend the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Tonite’s headliner is Ariel Larrieux and tomorrow’s headliner is Brian Culbertson. Grab your chair and head down to Rodney Square — this is one of the truly fantastic events in Wilmington and an awesome way to spend an evening. Or Saturday afternoon AND evening!

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Stop Expecting Change from a President and Focus on Where It Really Happens — Congress

Filed in National by on June 20, 2014 0 Comments

This interesting video piece from Ezra Klein begins by looking at how millennials approve of the President. He makes the point that it is OK for people to be disillusioned with him — because the place where change is supposed to happen is Congress. Change that, and the landscape begins to change:

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Late Night Video — Wil Wheaton Creates an Alternate Game of Thrones Title Sequence

Filed in National by on June 19, 2014 0 Comments

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but this was definitely funny:

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Gunfail of the Day — Georgia Man Stands His Ground Against His Own Penis

Filed in National by on June 19, 2014 12 Comments
Gunfail of the Day — Georgia Man Stands His Ground Against His Own Penis

That title is the biggest reason I am posting this bit of ammosexual stupidity — this guy was at the gas station, holstering his weapon (what was he holstering his weapon for? Was he robbing the place? Threatening kids whose music was too loud? What?) and shot himself in his penis. Seriously, if gun owners are using their guns to take themselves out of the gene pool, then I’m down with that. With any luck, they’ll stop trying to hurt the rest of us while they are getting their ritual castration on.

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People Write About Hillary

Filed in National by on June 17, 2014 15 Comments
People Write About Hillary

Then there’s the double standard, which I suppose we’ve got another few years to listen to. Media Matters asks why the press went crazy in characterizing Hillary Clinton as “testy” or listing gaffes that weren’t when Chris Christie famously and routinely berates everyone in front of him with nary a “testy” peep from the press:

But apparently she was supposed to roll over. Because by standing up for herself (while never raising her voice), Clinton was breathlessly tagged as combative and unnerved in the wake of a mildly contentious back-and-forth:

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Late Night Video — Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Filed in National by on June 16, 2014 1 Comment
Late Night Video — Out of Sight, Out of Mind

This isn’t a video tonight, you’ll have to click on the picture below to see the interactive graphic that shows monthly the casualties from US drone strikes. This is a sobering picture (even if a good chunk of their data (the Other category) isn’t well defined. It is also a very well-done infographic:

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New Jersey — Where Corporate Subsidies Aren’t Improving the Economy

Filed in National by on June 16, 2014 15 Comments
New Jersey — Where Corporate Subsidies Aren’t Improving the Economy

Interesting. A NJ think tank — New Jersey Policy Perspective — has a report out the shows that while subsidies to NJ businesses have surged under Governor Christie’s administration (subsidies that are billed as economy boosting), NJ’s economy has remained pretty sluggish. According to this report, $4bn worth of subsidies had been awarded to businesses in the past four and a half years by state authorities under Christie – more than three times the $1.2bn in subsidies that were given out in the prior 10 years. Got that? That’s $4 billion dollars worth of corporate subsides for this result:

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Sunday Open Thread [6.15.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 15, 2014 1 Comment
Sunday Open Thread [6.15.14]

This Sunday’s NJ has a great series on the heroin problem in Delaware which is the perfect study in how the community most affected by an addiction changes the terms of the discussion of that drug. I read that series (and I don’t have a critique of it) and wondered all the way through how this would be addressed if they were talking about crack cocaine. The thing that is important to know is that our drug problem — all of them — is primarily a public health problem and we should be working at this level of sympathy and concern for community for all drug problems, not just heroin.

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Late Night Video — Cantor Was Defeated By Voters Afraid of Obama and His Negro Army

Filed in National by on June 14, 2014 1 Comment

This is Bill Maher and his panel going to town on the Cantor defeat. There’s alot of good stuff here, including Richard Clarke’s great comeback:

Carol Leifer: “Vote, and get a free bobblehead!”

Richard Clarke: “We do!”

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Saturday Open Thread [6.14.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 14, 2014 2 Comments
Saturday Open Thread [6.14.14]

Two more days to go to the St. Anthony’s festival! They haven’t had the best weather this week, but today seems to be perfect — who’s going?

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Iraq Is Burning

Filed in National by on June 13, 2014 44 Comments
Iraq Is Burning

Again. Or, really, it never stopped burning and now there is gas on the fire. You already know that Iraq is under siege, this time by a group called ISIS, which seems to be a coalition of Sunni forces, Baathists, remnants of Al Queda in Iraq, Syrian and other foreign fighters. ISIS has been capturing territory with some ease, and the Kurds are using the chaos to grab back some land they’ve been claiming. Back home, this has been one more occasion for the GOP to rattle their sabers — calling for action in a country who has had plenty of US action. President Obama has said the usual “all options are on the table” except right now it doesn’t look like boots on the ground is an option.

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John Carney Adding the Koch Brothers to the Banking Interests He Represents

Filed in Delaware, National by on June 10, 2014 21 Comments
John Carney Adding the Koch Brothers to the Banking Interests He Represents

The House is currently working on a bill that would re-authorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, usually not a controversial event, but this year, those who are looking to unravel Dodd-Frank have wrapped into this bill a number of items that specifically work to give banks more freedom to bankrupt us again. John Carney is right in the middle of this effort to continue to destabilize Dodd-Frank, and in the process, give the Koch Brothers an assist. Here’s the earlier Huffington Post front page announcing how Democrats — even our Democrat — are working to help the Koch Brothers:

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Americans Hate Insurance Companies and Really Like Medicare

Filed in National by on June 9, 2014 8 Comments
Americans Hate Insurance Companies and Really Like Medicare

This outfit called Morning Consult has done some polling to gauge American attitudes towards some aspects of our health care system and then created a word cloud of the responses. Interestingly, “expensive” and “greedy” are associated with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and hospitals. Americans are more positive about nurses and Medicare. I’m posting the two word clouds for Insurance Companies and Medicare (thinking that the idea of being able to buy into Medicare as a Public Option was really a missed opportunity by Congress), but you should go over and see all of their word clouds — it is an interesting narrative:

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Late Night Video — Bill Maher vs the Ammosexuals

Filed in National by on June 8, 2014 0 Comments

Hysterical and perfect — Maher points his wit at the Open Carry Ammosexuals, but not the 2nd Amendment:

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Sunday Open Thread [6.8.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 8, 2014 1 Comment

I LOVE this story — a British WWII vet busts out of his retirement home to go to Normandy for the D-Day celebrations.

An 89-year-old British World War II veteran who went missing from his retirement home was found in France enjoying a D-Day anniversary get-together with former comrades, police said Friday.

Bernard Jordan slipped out of The Pines care home in the seaside town of Hove in southern England on Thursday wearing his medals under his raincoat.

The former Royal Navy officer then joined a coach party heading for events marking the 70th anniversary of the landings at Ouistreham in Normandy, northern France.

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Late Night Video — Feminist Terrorist Sleeper Cell

Filed in National by on June 7, 2014 24 Comments

Great video from representatives of the Lady Parts Justice Feminist Terrorist Sleeper Cell, a terrorist group responding to the crazy petition by one more exercise in bogus male victimization that is called “A Voice for Men” at Change.org asking the White House to classify Feminism as a Terrorist Group. I never thought of myself as terrorist material, but the Lady Parts Justice Feminist Sleeper Cell seems like my kind of terrorism:

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Saturday Open Thread [6.7.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on June 7, 2014 20 Comments
Saturday Open Thread [6.7.14]

Another gorgeous Saturday! Here is a cartoon just for FBH, which pretty much summarizes his approach to anything Obama:

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How to Transform the War on Drugs into Providing Drug Treatment and Compassion

Filed in National by on June 3, 2014 14 Comments
How to Transform the War on Drugs into Providing Drug Treatment and Compassion

Make the faces of drug use and abuse white ones. Interesting, yes? Most black and brown people have known this since forever. Last week, the WaPo published two authors who note that with the reports of the explosion of heroin use and abuse in the suburbs, that the news reporting as well as law enforcement sound much more compassionate, but that seems to be because they are now talking about white people:

Last month, NBC News ran a series of stories about the United States’ “growing heroin epidemic.” Two things stand out in the reports: One is their sympathetic tone; the other is that almost everyone depicted is white.

Drug users and their families aren’t vilified; there is no panicked call for police enforcement. Instead, and appropriately, there is a call for treatment and rehabilitation. Parents of drug addicts express love for their children, and everyone agrees they need support to get clean.

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New Legislation Proposed to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Filed in Delaware by on June 2, 2014 17 Comments
New Legislation Proposed to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Yes, this is actually happening in Delaware. Rep, Helene Keeley (my rep!) has sponsored HB 371, legislation that would allow Delawareans to possess less than an ounce of marijuana and makes public consumption of marijuana a civil (rather than criminal) offense. Should this pass, Delaware would join 18 other states and multiple municipalities in helping to de-escalate the War on Drugs. People with small amounts of marijuana are a wasteful target for law enforcement (unless, of course, they are suspects in other crimes) and it is well past time to refocus limited dollars and resources for law enforcement on the crimes that actually harm people or property. I support this effort. Here is the press release on this bill:

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Why Wilmington Is Experiencing Financial Hardships

Filed in Delaware by on June 2, 2014 2 Comments
Why Wilmington Is Experiencing Financial Hardships

That is the title of an opinion piece published in the NJ yesterday from Dace Blaskovitz — a member (until very recently) of the WEFAC (Wilmington Economic and Financial Advisory Council). He’s had an up close and personal look at Wilmington financial trends for quite a few years, and recently quit the WEFAC (this isn’t news?) — according to him — after Mayor Williams announced he was going for a 9.9% property tax increase. His POV of Wilmington’s financial woes is worth reading — much of it is very familiar. I can’t vouch for his numbers on the trends he discusses, but total payroll *has* gone up — this is due not just to the hiring of people but also due to increased health care costs. That last one is true for most employers who provide health care benefits. Note also that most of the city employees have not had COLA increases in several years and I believe that all of the city’s unions are working without a contract.

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