Delaware Dem's Latest Posts
It turns out that former Sheriff Jeff Christopher lied repeatedly when he said he and his office were “relieved of arrest powers.” Why is this a lie? Well because the Sheriff’s office had the power to arrest before as part of their constable powers. But the Sheriff have to reapply for that power over a period of time to the State Board of Examiners of Constables. Jeff Christopher refused to reapply for constable powers for his office in January 2011, and then went on a tea party tirade. The new Sheriff Lee got back those constable powers simply by reapplying for them.
Now that the General Aseembly is back in full swing, so is our political calendar. Come inside to learn about some important upcoming events.
First Read: “It’s unclear the exact impact that Netanyahu losing on Tuesday could have on U.S. domestic politics, especially when it comes to the Iran nuclear debate. But it wouldn’t be good news for hawks. Think about it: Netanyahu comes to the U.S. Congress to make his final argument — on Iran, against President Obama’s foreign policy — and his party loses what had seemed to be a winnable election? Right or wrong, Netanyahu getting involved in domestic U.S. politics would be blamed for the surprising loss. So [today] is going to be a big story.”
Meanwhile, Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly documents the numerous incidents of Republican failure to govern, noting that the Republican Party is in total disarray. And Fred Kaplan says “It is a useful thing when a political party reveals itself as utterly unsuited for national leadership.”
Here are the 10 highest-paid state / public employees from the calendar year of 2014. To be honest, with the exception of Orlando George, none of these seem out of step with their job duties and/or the employee’s degrees and status (i.e. a Doctor is going to make over 200k, sorry, but that’s the breaks). Even a superintendent making over 200k is not outrageous to me. That Markell is at the bottom of this list at #85 is amusing to me.
People always scream and cry about cutting the jobs and salaries of educational professionals in the school districts whenever education funding comes up. But looking at this list, it would seem to be that the real vacuum cleaner of state money are the State Police and Homeland Security jobs. I guess that comes with being a Police State.
Representative John Kowalko pre-filed a couple of bills last week that are worthy of mention. First, House Bill 42 calls for the University of Delaware and Delaware State University to be fully subject to the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). House Bill 43 adds appointed members of the Cash Management Policy Board to the definition of “public officers.” This designation would subject the appointed members of the Board to annual financial disclosure requirements. Think of this as former Treasurer Chip Flowers’ legacy.
House Bill 44 seeks to phase out the use of three controversial flame retardants in children’s products or furniture sold in Delaware.
But the granddaddy of them all, the bill that will bring down an Administration’s education agenda, House Bill 50. This bill would give parents or guardians the right to opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.
The Clean Water Campaign is a statewide effort to educate people about Delaware’s water quality and to secure support for dedicated funding. Clean water is critical to our economy, environment, wildlife, food source, and public health. So please consider signing a petition to the General Assembly to provide funding for Clean Water for Delaware. Come inside to learn more.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN that he plans to hold hostage the nomination of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch until such time as Democrats capitulate on the Human Trafficking Bill.
Said McConnell: “This will have an impact on the timing of considering a new attorney general. I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again.”
“Democrats are now holding up the trafficking bill, which glided through the judiciary committee, after they noticed an abortion provision embedded in the bill that would prevent victims of human trafficking from using restitution funds to pay for an abortion.”
Fine. All business in the Senate will now end until such time as the Republicans remove this anti-choice poison pill amendment from the bill. No other business can be considered. Eric Holder has no problems staying on as Attorney General, so that is not a concern.
Yes, Mitch, we just shot your fucking hostage and took one of our own: your entire Senate. And go fuck yourself.
Today’s News Journal Dialogue Delaware section dovetails nicely with the post I wrote on Friday. I’ve been told by multiple people, in and out of the education field, that it has the best headline ever. Sometimes cutting through the bullshit calling bullshit bullshit is the best way to garner attention to an important truth: all standardized testing is bullshit. At least in relation to the stated goal of helping students learn and gauging their learning progress.
Representative Sean Matthews, himself a teacher, has penned a wonderful op-ed in the above Dialogue Delaware section, and he uses more polite language to make the same point.
There are many ways to talk about the role standardized testing plays in our public schools, but there’s one question that we have to answer before we can debate the issue: Do these tests make our students smarter, more capable and more prepared to lead successful lives?
After decades of testing at all levels, with different standards, methods, benchmarks and outcomes, the answer to that question is not what we thought it would be. Overwhelming numbers of scholars, parents, statisticians and legislators are starting to realize, with evidence, that standardized testing and the policies that flow from testing are doing more harm than good.
Over the next three months, students in Delaware’s charter and traditional community schools will be asked to take a standardized test called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The stated goal of this test is to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in our educational system.
But that’s not the whole story.
Most standardized tests are designed by for-profit companies that market their materials to states, which are required by federal law to test public school students in return for federal funding. Under this business relationship, the best interests of the testing firm are not aligned with the best interests of students, teachers and schools. Instead, there is great incentive to make students and their educators look like they’re “failing” so that these same firms can offer their own branded “reforms” and “solutions” to states and districts, for a worthy fee.
Jonathan Chait on why there is no Republican Plan B for replacing Obamacare: “All the Republican predictions have failed. Just this week, the Congressional Budget Office once again revised down its cost projections for the law, which is now projected to cost 20 percent less than originally estimated. Given conservative certainty that the opposite would occur, you might expect some revision. But conservatives have not abandoned or even reduced their fervent opposition to Obamacare. This is because the right’s specific, measurable predictions about the law are subordinate to deeper, philosophical beliefs.”
“They oppose the law’s methods (more taxes, spending, and regulation) on principle. They believe those methods will fail to achieve their stated goals, but even if they succeed, they oppose them anyway. Republicans cannot design a partywide health-care alternative because they cannot reconcile the specific things most Americans want from the health-care system (access to affordable insurance, protection from discrimination against preexisting conditions) with their ideological commitments.”
And that is why I have always said the Republican Plan for Healthcare is exactly the situation Obamacare was passed to address: Republicans believe only those who can afford it should get healthcare, as it is a privilege in their eyes and not a right. And if you have a preexisting condition, or if you have met your illness or lifetime cap on insurance payments, or if you are a woman, tough shit.
Jonathan Chait has a great exit interview with White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.
“The original premise of Obama’s first presidential campaign was that he could reason with Republicans—or else, by staking out obviously reasonable stances, force them to moderate or be exposed as extreme and unyielding. It took years for the White House to conclude that this was false… If you had to pinpoint the moment this worldview began to crystallize, it would probably be around the first debt-ceiling showdown, in 2011, when Obama tried repeatedly and desperately to cut a budget deal with House Speaker John Boehner only to realize, eventually, that Boehner did not have the power to negotiate. The administration has now decided that in many cases, even adversarial bargaining fails because the Republican leadership is not capable of planning tactically.”
Explained Pfeiffer: “You have to be careful not to presume a lot of strategy for this group. I’ve always believed that the fundamental, driving strategic ethos of the Republican House leadership has been, What do we do to get through the next caucus or conference without getting yelled at? We should never assume they have a long game. We used to spend a lot of time thinking that maybe Boehner is saying this to get himself some more room. And it’s like, no, that’s not actually the case. Usually he’s just saying it because he just said it or it’s the easiest thing to solve his immediate problem.”
The Charles Springer Tavern, also known as the Oak Hill Inn or Four Mile Inn, on Lancaster Pike in suburban Wilmington. The stone section was built in 1780, with the frame section to the right built between 1750 and 1780. The old tavern became a residence in the early 20th century, and was attached to […]
Governor Markell thinks that Delaware students are taking too many tests, probably because he required them to take too many tests, and so Governor Markell is going to reduce the number of tests so as to relieve the massive burden he placed on teachers and students. How nice of him. Of course, he is not eliminating tests immediately. He wants a review of the situation, another task force, to determine which state and district wide tests are redundant, and then we will do away with the duplicative tests. So it’s not that tests are bad, or that many tests are bad, so long as they are not duplicative. So this is a delaying tactic to respond to the rapidly growing movement that is opposed to a lot of Markell-based and Federal-based efforts to reform education. People are upset, so maybe this announcement will placate some.
To me, it ignores the core (no pun intended) of the issue.
Why are we testing?
The Republican Governors of Alabama, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Maine, Kansas and Iowa are all going to raise taxes and user fees. They have no problem raising taxes in the end. They only care about who the taxes are raised upon. Their tax raises will be regressive, focused on sales tax increases and fee increases, which will hurt the middle class and the poor more. They have no problem engaging class warfare.
Only if Delaware had a Democratic Governor who likewise raised taxes and engaged in class warfare against the wealthy.
The Tatnall House, on Market Street in Wilmington’s Brandywine Village. The house was built in 1770, and was once the headquarters for Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne. George Washington held council in the house, as well. The house was altered in the 1840s. Photo by xzmattzx.
Republican senator and presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham (he can’t be actually running, this is a joke, right?) said in Concord, New Hampshire yesterday that his first act of business as President is to deploy the United States Military to Washington, DC to surround Capital Hill and the Capital Building and force the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass his overly inflated military budget that does away with sequestration.
Heil Hitler!!! Er ah, I mean Heil President Graham! You sir truly are a dictator. Or at least you want to be. You see Republicans, that is what a dictator would look like. You say Obama is a dictator? LOL, no. Actually deploying the military on US Soil (which is an impeachable crime itself under the Posse Comitatus act) to force Congress to pass your agenda. That’s a armed coup d’etat.
The Marcus Hook Rear Range Lighthouse, on Lighthouse Road in Edgemoor. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1915 to serve the southbound channel of the Delaware River. The current tower was built in 1920, with the light sitting 278 feet above the river. Photo by xzmattzx.
“The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week,” McClatchy reports.
That is because the letter is an act of unmitigated treason, designed to aid America’s adversary, Iran, and directly harm the United States. All those involved in the preparation, signing, and delivery of the letter must be detained.
One of the racist fucks at the SAE Fraternity at the University of Oklahoma has apologized. That’s nice. I would take that apology and burn it up right in front of him. Because who the hell cares if he is sorry? We are still going to destroy your life. Why? Because you are a racist. If you are a racist, you must be destroyed, no matter your latter regret. Racism must be made so forbidden that not only do you not say the racism you are thinking for fear that you will be destroyed, but you do not think it either.
If you notice that I am more strident than usual today in some of my opinions, blame the Philadelphia Eagles.
Michael Tomasky describes President Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights: “It was the strongest statement about the liberal definition of patriotism I’ve ever heard a president deliver. It was also confrontational and challenging–an unapologetic manifesto for the values of blue America.” Abso-damn-lutely. It will go down in history as perhaps his greatest Presidential speech, and perhaps the greatest presidential speech since Kennedy’s inaugural.
That’s something we don’t hear a lot about, the values of blue America. No, it isn’t because we don’t have them. It’s that we don’t parade them in the public square quite as much as conservatives do, while conservatives aren’t exactly shy about caricaturing in public their version of liberal values (we love sodomy and baby-killing and so on).
But there are liberal values. Some, we all know about–tolerance, diversity, etc. But another central one has to do with the way in which liberals love our country, and it goes like this: Yes, of course this is a great country. But it is change that has made it so. It’s a country that was founded on the highest ideals of the day, many of which are eternal, but it was also a country where ownership of human beings of a certain race was legal. So no, it wasn’t so great. It had to be made great. And by the way it’s not really as great as it should be yet. That’s a process that, the human condition being what it is, will never have an end.
Tomasky says Obama defines those who are the truest Americans: “the protesters, the outsiders, and the agitators who read the words of the founding texts and forced the system to live up to them.”
What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?…That’s America!”
Howard High School of Technology, on Poplar Street in Wilmington. The high school was built in 1928 on Poplar Street and named after general Oliver Otis Howard. The school was the first secondary school for African Americans in the state of Delaware, set up in 1867. Howard High School was one of the 5 schools […]