El Somnambulo

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Delaware Political Weekly: April 12-18, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 17, 2014 14 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: April 12-18, 2014

Beau Biden’s ‘letter to his supporters’ announcing that he would not run for reelection for AG but, rather, would run for Governor in 2016, was an act of breathtaking cynicism.  So let’s make one thing totally clear: He is not running for reelection because of his health. Period. With perhaps a dollop of ‘I suck so bad as AG that maybe people will forget just how bad if I’m out of office for a couple of years’.

So, let’s first look at 2016 and work our way backwards, shall we? With all that money in the bank, Beau hopes to scare off would-be challengers. If Biden’s successful, this would make it almost a certainty that your Democratic nominee for governor in 2016 would either be Beau Biden or…Tom Gordon.  You see, Tommy’s waiting in the wings with the implicit blessing of the Bidenistas. Either way, Joe Biden gets to play kingmaker. You like that? Neither do I. That’s why I find this maneuver so cynical. And so typical of all involved.

OK, let’s become Matt Denn for just a second. He’d like to be governor, but he’s enough of a realist to recognize that waiting for 2016 in (a) the oft-chance that Biden won’t run and/or (b) the hope that he’ll somehow be able to raise enough money to be competitive with Beau are possible but far from sure things. The position of AG has just opened up for this November. I betcha Matt Denn thinks he’d be a great AG. I agree. I also betcha that leaders in the Party are already beating a track to his door.  I don’t think anyone could come close to defeating Denn, should he run for AG. With no information whatsoever, I think and hope that that’s what he’ll do. He’d be an effective and progressive AG. Which is better than what we have now.

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It’s Official. David Tackett to Challenge Bryan Townsend.

Filed in Delaware by on April 15, 2014 30 Comments
It’s Official. David Tackett to Challenge Bryan Townsend.

Tackett sent out this e-mail to community leaders. I swear I have not changed one letter of what he wrote. This is (presumably) his own syntax:

Well I am reaching out to share some exciting news, I have decided to run for the senate seat in our area, As you know I have been the councilman for going on 10 years now and I have used this experience and time to build my relations in the communities and helping our residents on the county level and I am now ready to move to the state side and use my experience with the multitude of state issues we are facing. We have worked on many issues in Breezwood over the years and we will have many more.

I have watched as Dover has done nothing for our economy and jobs and they only dealt with a bunch of social issues while we have been hurting and struggling just to maintain. I fell it is time to carry our voices into Dover and demand this struggling economy be addressed. I promise I will be this voice!

The guy we have now that beat DeLuca last year still lives with his parents and while he is a nice guy I just feel he does not understand the pressures we face as homeowners, parents and ever increasing pressure of inflation.

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What If Beau Doesn’t Run?

Filed in Delaware by on April 13, 2014 48 Comments
What If Beau Doesn’t Run?

It has been widely assumed that Beau Biden would coast to reelection for Attorney General this year, then set his sights on a gubernatorial run in 2016. Why else would he be sitting on a gargantuan campaign war chest? To defeat a non-existent Rethug challenger in November? No.

However, I think that anyone other than the terminally-gullible can recognize that there is a reason that Beau has remained largely out of the public eye since his emergency medical stop in Houston last summer.

I think someone needs to say it, after all, the election is less than seven months away: What if his condition, whatever it is, prevents Biden from running in both 2014 and 2016?

Who runs for Attorney General in 2014?

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Delaware Political Weekly, April 5-11, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 11, 2014 14 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly, April 5-11, 2014

Apparently there are self-appointed grown-ups amongst Sussex County Rethuglicans. Party leaders (an oxymoron, I know, but bear with me),  endorsed a resolution stating that they would not “endorse or support” Phillips should he run for reelection to Sussex County Council. The News-Journal quotes Sussex Republican Chair John Rieley as telling Phillips in a letter:

“This situation has the strong potential to bring disrepute on the party if we do not take a proactive moral position and are seen as lending support to your candidacy.”

Sometimes the jokes write themselves. The Sheriff of Nuttingham. Bodie. Disrepute has, to put it mildly, not been a stranger to the Sussex County Republican Party. But, I digress. This did not stop Phillips from filing yesterday.

Meanwhile, Colin Bonini will not run for Treasurer. This, of course, was inevitable. A guy who has gotten paid for 20 years to do nothing was not about to risk that gig for another job where he’d basically do nothing. Since he would have to give up his Senate seat to run for Treasurer, Colin Bonini was never gonna run for Treasurer this year.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., April 10, 2014.

Filed in Delaware by on April 10, 2014 4 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., April 10, 2014.

Yesterday was a light day. The Senate worked and passed a series of noncontroversial measures, some of which I previously discussed here. The Gun Down the Gray Fox bill made it out of committee. The Dream Act bill didn’t. Priorities, people.  BTW, projected annual cost of the Dream Act bill, according to the Fiscal Note? Just over $40K/year. Here’s the entire Session Activity Report.

The Governor has 51 million reasons to root for passage of HB 265(Schwartzkopf) in the Senate today. The bill raises $51 million in increased annual corporate fees. Since the bill requires a 3/5 super-majority vote, 13 yes votes are required. Don’t think the bill would be on the Senate Agenda if all 13 D’s were not on board, but we shall see. The over/under on how long it takes Governor Markell to sign the bill? 30 minutes. I’m taking the under.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., April 9, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 9, 2014 4 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., April 9, 2014

Lotsa action in the General Assembly Tuesday. Here’s the Session Activity Report. The Senate passed legislation moving administration of defensive driving courses from the Insurance Commissioner’s office to the Division of Motor Vehicles; and the Blue Collar package discussed yesterday. A brief aside about our vaunted IC. Didja read any of the articles about the […]

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., April 8, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 8, 2014 1 Comment
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., April 8, 2014

Same day registration/voting is coming to Delaware. HB 105(Viola) passed the House, 24-15, last Thursday. Two putative D’s, John Atkins and Bill ‘Lumpy’ Carson, voted no. No R’s voted yes.  I look for a 12-9 yes vote in the Senate.

Karen Weldin Stewart loses yet more of her authority if SB 178(Peterson) passes. The bill ‘transfers authority for state-approved motor vehicle accident prevention (defensive driving) courses from the Department of Insurance to the Division of Motor Vehicles’.  A classic example of the state adding by subtracting. The less KWS can screw up, the better.  When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that we have two elected public officials in whom virtually nobody in state government has any confidence. KWS and Chip Flowers. Said lack of confidence is totally justified. Weird.

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Delaware Political Weekly: March 29-April 4, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 4, 2014 13 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: March 29-April 4, 2014

The choice in the R primary will be clear: Do you want your sheriff to be sane or insane? It’s an R primary, so the outcome could be in doubt. But Robert T. Lee has credentials and a credible message. He doesn’t dance around the Christopher issue, he takes it on. Meanwhile, Represenative Rebecca Walker gets what could be a strong challenger in the 9th RD.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs. April 3, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 3, 2014 6 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs. April 3, 2014

HB 105(Viola) provides for same-day registration for presidential primary, primary, special, and general elections. Wonder how many R votes this gets? Doesn’t matter, it’s good policy. More legal registered voters are always better in a participatory democracy. The vote is this afternoon. Call your representatives.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., April 2, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 2, 2014 6 Comments

Not a whole lot of controversy in yesterday’s session.  Only one bill engendered any opposition whatsoever. That bill is HB 246(Paradee) which, according to the not particularly instructive synopsis, “substitutes the term “payment card” for the term “credit card” for purposes of title 11 to broaden the scope of the term to include debit cards […]

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., April 1, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on April 1, 2014 6 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., April 1, 2014

Today’s Senate Agenda features one bill, but it’s a good one. HB 56(D. Short) “sets certain regulations for motor vehicle data-reporting devices to prohibit the use by insurance companies of such data for anything other than consideration for premium discounts, requires disclosure to the insured of others who may gain access to such data, and otherwise prohibits insurance companies from releasing such data to others.” Quite possibly the best bill sponsored by a Republican this session. Unanimously passed the House, likely to experience a similar fate in the Senate.

The House will likely work HB 265(Schwartzkopf), which would raise about $51 million through various corporate tax increases. Consideration of the bill was delayed last week due to (a) the fact that the Secretary of State, who will carry out this law, was out of state; and (b) the absence of a couple of Democratic legislators from session, calling passage of a super-majority vote into question.

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Delaware Political Weekly: March 22-28, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 28, 2014 23 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: March 22-28, 2014

Granted, he’s a Libertarian. Scott Gesty. Unfortunately, he’s not a Steve Newton Libertarian. More like a ‘they’re taking away our freedoms’ Libertarian. He congratulates himself on predicting that ‘Obamacare is destroying the healthcare system’. Man, can’t at least one of these third party types not make you unclean when considering casting a protest vote for them? Paging the Green Party…

Looks like the Republicans are doing better in concentrating on recruiting candidates in General Assembly races…

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., March 27, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 27, 2014 6 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., March 27, 2014

Let’s talk about the $51 million dog that didn’t bark. Namely HB 265(Schwartzkopf). Was on Tuesday’s House Agenda.  Would ‘increase(s) the annual tax assessed on partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies on file with the Secretary of State from $250 to $300 and increases the corporation franchise tax by $100 for those corporations that file on the authorized shares method”. $51 mill, just like that. So, why didn’t it happen? I think that Gary Myers, one of our commenters, identified the reason. He asked why wasn’t this a supermajority bill since it raises revenueEnter House Amendment 1. Adds a supermajority (3/5) enactment clause.  Makes 25 the magic number of votes needed, not 21. It’s possible that Pete has the votes. However, the bill isn’t on today’s agenda. So, I’m guessing he doesn’t have the votes right now. I’m honestly not sure how he could possibly have tried to push this bill through as one requiring only a simple majority. Things are just not flowing smoothly in the House right now.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 25, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 25, 2014 5 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 25, 2014

Just a few of the items on the GA Agenda:

1. Starting with the Senate Committee meetings. More accurately, the Senate/House Joint Veterans Freebies Committee. Today’s meeting will consider HB 236(Jaques), which gives free surf fishing licenses to Delaware National Guard members. The concern is not merely, or even primarily, the freebie being handed out. The Fiscal Note for this bill is $44,000 annually. While this may not be a big amount, this money all comes out of the state parks budget. A permanent reduction on an annual basis. Since we have given similar freebies to other exalted groups, the state is taking money from parks in order to provide perks. And these are not one-shot deals, these are annual perks. Unto perpetuity, barring legislative intervention. If you support the state park system, you might just want to let your legislators know that you’re tired of these giveaways, as they have real impact.

2. Rep. Johnson’s ‘Box’ bill, which would ‘prohibit a public employer from inquiring into or considering the criminal record, criminal history or credit history or score of an applicant before it makes a conditional offer to the applicant’, comes before the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee Wednesday. It’s in an hospitable committee, so the bill could be on the agenda as early as Thursday.

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Blackmail Or Bribery? You Decide.

Filed in Delaware by on March 24, 2014 28 Comments
Blackmail Or Bribery? You Decide.

JPMorgan Chase claims it wants to create 500 new jobs in Delaware. Just one problem. They’ll only create those jobs if the State of Delaware forks over $1.5 million.

That’s right. Poor impoverished megabank wants to do the right thing, but simply can’t afford to do it on their own. So, they want Delaware taxpayers to pony up. BTW, as usual, looks like Gov. Markell is cheerleading for them.

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Delaware Political Weekly: March 15-21, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 21, 2014 15 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: March 15-21, 2014

Ken Simpler Files as R Candidate for Treasurer. And he’s the prototypical Republican candidate–circa 1980.

St. Andrews grad. Princeton undergrad. MBA and JD from the University of Chicago. Owner and CFO of Seaboard Hotels. Previously Managing Director at Citadel Investment Group. He and his wife are restoring a 200-acre farm near Newark. Other than being born and raised in Rehoboth rather than Greenville, this is your traditional Republican candidate for office. Should Chip Flowers survive a Democratic primary, I just might vote for him. Simpler, I mean.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 20, 2014 9 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thursday, March 20, 2014

I was heartened to see legislators expressing skepticism on a proposal to give $20 million this year to ease financial burdens on casinos. As Rep. Dennis E. Williams pointed out, the casinos will keep coming back year after year. Which raises the question, why should taxpayers bail out a wheeler dealer like Denis McGlynn for making bad business decisions:

Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment and Dover Motorsports Inc., said not receiving any money from the state would spell disaster for casinos, leading to potential layoffs, shutdowns of certain operations and a cutback on marketing.

Layoffs, loss of gaming options and a cutback in marketing ultimately would cost the state much more in lost revenue than what they would be shelling out in the current proposal, he said.

The casino’s bank loan expires on June 17, and the bank is watching the state’s decision, he said. If the bank loan is not renewed, McGlynn said they’d have to shop around with other banks, something that probably won’t work out in the casino’s favor given its finances, he said.

We gave McGlynn and his, wait for it, ilk, every break in the book. And now we’ve gotta bail his ass out because his loan is under water? Hey, Denis, how about moving some of your other assets around to cover this? The Delaware General Assembly should simply stop giving away money to these blackmailers. Which is what and who they are.  

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Did Rapist Skate Due to DuPont Family Ties Only to Rape Again?

Filed in Delaware by on March 19, 2014 27 Comments

Sometimes, it takes a few hours to absorb a story. Such is the case here. And here. Go ahead and read. Seriously, I’ll wait.  You have only to read this excerpt from McJournal to get your blood boiling: A du Pont family heir who received no prison time after pleading guilty to raping his 3-year-old […]

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UPDATED: Carney Gives Finger to LGBT Community

Filed in Delaware, National by on March 19, 2014 39 Comments
UPDATED: Carney Gives Finger to LGBT Community

Update: John Carney belatedly signed on to the letter.
Seriously, what’s wrong with this guy? Rhetorical question. He’s a Republican. Anyway, from the attached article:

Forty-eight senators and 148 representatives have signed a letter calling on Obama to sign an executive order providing workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

When Obama campaigned for president, he said he’d support such an order. He has not. So, 196 D legislators signed a letter to Obama (R’s were invited, none signed) calling on him to enforce this through Executive Order since the R’s are delaying consideration of a legislative remedy in Congress. Even Carper and Coons.

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Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 18, 2014

Filed in National by on March 18, 2014 14 Comments
Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., March 18, 2014

Assuming that neither snow nor St. Paddy’s Day waylaid them, the legislators return en masse to Dover today.

I expect the Governor and his staff to be meeting with legislators both to push for the infrastructure package (10 cents a gallon increase) and the clean water package ($45 on average per homeowner). This, to put it mildly, is a tough sell in an election year. I have to wonder why the governor didn’t do this at the beginning of his second term rather than throwing out a not-well-thought-through proposal late last session. It makes passage less likely. Although…a compromise on the infrastructure package could well be reached. One respected legislator suggested a phase-in, a nickel and more state borrowing the first year, and an additional nickel and less borrowing the second year. This is, after all, among other things, a jobs bill. If proponents can message this properly and emphasize this fact, reluctant D legislators could well be brought along.

I also expect caucuses to get briefings from their Joint Finance Committee members as to where things stand following the agency hearings (Oops. DEFAC says we’re down another $40 mill). Keep in mind that the budget bill likely won’t get marked up until around Memorial Day, so there will be a lot of dickering between now and then. And more DEFAC numbers.

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Delaware Political Weekly: March 8-14, 2014

Filed in Delaware by on March 14, 2014 6 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: March 8-14, 2014

Rep. Daryll Scott has designated his preferred successor. He’s Sean Lynn, a Dover City Councilman.    Looks like he’d be a worthy successor to Scott, and the district is solidly blue. Of course, we don’t know if there will be any primary challengers, and we never know how someone will ultimately perform once in office.

I, for one, can only hope that Rep. Scott is not done with public service. He’s among the best progressives in the Delaware General Assembly.

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‘Bulo’s Fave New Tunes: Feb. 2014

Filed in Arts and Entertainment by on March 4, 2014 3 Comments
‘Bulo’s Fave New Tunes: Feb. 2014

I gave you the Lake Street Dive stuff earlier this month. Here’s yet another generous selection of stuff that broke through the white noise for me in February…

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Delaware Political Weekly: Feb. 22-28, 2014

Filed in National by on February 28, 2014 49 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: Feb. 22-28, 2014

Jonathan Gallo has filed to face Bobby Outten in the 30th RD. Gallo changed his registration from R to D to run and, if you check out his site  right now, you will not find the word Democrat, or the donkey, anywhere on the site. I mean, anywhere. He’s got the classic bio, and he’s a “man of dedication, integrity, and commitment, who early in his life felt a call to serve his community.” Which means, he’s a ‘man of dedication, integrity, and commitment’ who is hiding his party affiliation. He also rides a tractor standing up (picture).

J. Kevin Robbins of Harrington, is challenging Harold Peterman in the conservative 33rd RD. Robbins is a long-time farmer and has the type of profile that could give him a shot in this district.  Here is his site.   Not only does he have the donkey there, he actually calls the Party the Democratic Party.

Guess which one I prefer.

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The 62 Project: #’s 21 and 41

Filed in National by on February 27, 2014 22 Comments
The 62 Project: #’s 21 and 41

When I started the 62 Project, I had Pete Schwartzkopf ranked 13th on my initial list. That was largely because I thought that he, as House Majority Leader, effectively pushed through key progressive bills, including civil unions. He also was able to get the at-the-time controversial ‘revenue enhancement’ package through a fractured House. This helped balance the budget during the early Markell years. He wasn’t afraid to use legislative power to get things done. While I didn’t always admire his tactics, I respected the results. The role of House Majority Leader requires tough tactics in tough times.

However, as Speaker of the House, Schwartzkopf has governed as if he were still Majority Leader. Aided and abetted by an equally-enthusiastic, though far less skilled, arm-breaker, Valerie Longhurst. Pete not only handpicked Longhurst to be his successor, he insisted that they both be elected as a team or he would not serve as Speaker. Uh, I wonder if he’d be willing, or in any position, to make the same demand today. Put simply, Pete Schwartzkopf is in danger of being a one-term Speaker, and not because the D’s are in any way facing the loss of the House chamber.

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Carper Opposes $10.10 Minimum Wage

Filed in National by on February 26, 2014 41 Comments
Carper Opposes $10.10 Minimum Wage

Yep. Favors a rate lower than that, $9 to be exact. Because he is Tom Carper. It’s keeping Harry Reid from having enough votes to pass the bill. He needs to get out of that bleeping Chamber. Who is paying for his obstructionism this time? He should just take a job with them and end his disgraceful public career.

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