El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
He is terrible. Today, our ‘Honorable’ voted with the Rethugs and 35 other phony D’s to “exempt many private equity fund advisers from a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law which required advisers with more than $150 million in assets under management to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”
What earthly public purpose could be served by such an exemption? None, none at least that makes sense from a progressive perspective.
Yes, the 2013 MVP (Most Valuable to the Progressive Cause in Delaware) list is coming soon. As soon as I write it, in fact.
This Top Ten list reflects those Delawareans who most contributed to the advancement of progressive causes in the year-gone-by.
Those on the list don’t even have to be progressives (Tony DeLuca and John Sigler have made it, and that doesn’t even include the 2010 winner…) , but they have to have made at least one signature contribution to the cause.
Once again, I seek your nominees. Several of your suggestions have made it onto previous lists.
Beau Biden apparently wants to have it both ways. According to this article at WDEL.com, Biden states that he plans to run for reelection in 2014, but refuses to give any update on his health. Although the ‘…long, curving scar stretching from his left ear to the top of his head’ provides a clue. However, Biden “is still refusing to discuss details about a recent health scare that sent him to a Texas cancer center.” This in the same interview where he says he’ll run for reelection.
Kim Williams is among three newcomers who have displayed extraordinary promise during the 2013 legislative session. Consider the number 24 as merely a placeholder as it reflects her lack of time in Dover. She’s moving higher. Not only does she have the right profile for a citizen-legislator, she has demonstrated that conscience and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive.
Trey Paradee has been the single greatest disappointment to progressives among the 2012 newcomers. Despite expressing support for equal rights for same sex couples back in 2008, Paradee voted against marriage equality. He largely opposed most gun control measures. He has helped to bury a minimum wage increase in the House Business Lapdog Committee. Now, while he technically did not ‘go back on his word’ on gay marriage (the initial comments dealing with civil unions), he diligently ‘worked the refs’ to create at least a sense of good will from progressives, including me. He convinced me that this district was not the stereotypical Kent County district of 20 years ago, and then voted as if it was. Fool me once…
People much cannier than I have been trying to unravel the money trail of the many dummy organizations used by the Koch Brothers to funnel money to propaganda machines.
Thanks to a state-by-state review of the Koch Brothers labyrinthine finances, we now know that the Koch Brothers have been the largest rainmaker for the Caesar Rodney Institute.
Mike Mulrooney is a salt-of-the-earth legislator, and I mean that as a compliment. While he doesn’t make splashes as a prime sponsor on much legislation, he is a quietly-effective supporter of (mostly) progressive legislation. He meandered from the fold on one gun bill, but that’s about it.
Rep. Don Blakey is a mild disappointment to me. He is a largely-moderate African-American who could be a bit more like Mike Ramonewithout harming his electoral position, IMHO. Especially within the R House caucus. While he doesn’t vote in lockstep with leadership, he does so far too much to warrant a higher ranking. For example, why would he stand with the obstructionist elements in his caucus in not supporting ‘no-excuses absentee balloting’? There’s, um, no excuse for that. All it does is help disenfranchise many of his constituents, some of whom work at the Dover Air Force Base. Why did he vote against gay marriage? Why does he oppose criminal background checks for private weapons purchases?
Always been a huge Springsteen fan even though his more recent albums have left me unenthused. But here’s why I love him. He’s on a European tour and…well, let’s just let Bruce tell it: Finally, after being pursued from city to city (to city to city) by a man with a sign and a one […]
We have the Representatives Short up today. Bryon the the North. Daniel to the South. One is the House Minority Leader. And one is a Democrat in the Brandywine Hundred.
Bryon Short combines some of the best and some of the most disappointing elements that I look for in a D legislator in a safe district. He is not just good, but great, on social issues. Not just a reliable supporter of equal rights for all, but a prime House sponsor on legislation ensuring rights for the transgender community. He has successfully sponsored legislation extending health benefits to dependent children. He is also a strong supporter of gun control, is someone who pays attention to his district, basically someone who you’d like as your rep. He’s even successfully pushed legislation on behalf of animal rights. How can you not like someone who will protect your puppies?
The problem, and it’s a big one, is that he is in thrall to the Carper/Carney wing of the Party. And business interests uber alles.
John Bleeping Carney. One of 30 ‘Democrats’ to vote to enable ‘financial advisors’ to continue to rip you off. Worse than useless. Check out this article from Daily Kos:
The Labor Department proposal, known as the “fiduciary rule,” would change the ethical standards by which employer-based retirement products like 401(k)’s and IRAs are marketed and sold. The rule has not been updated since 1975, before 401(k)’s and IRAs even existed. The Labor Department wants to broaden the definition of a “fiduciary” to cover all financial advisers who offer individual investment advice for a fee. Under the rule, they would be legally required to work in the best interest of their clients. For example, a fiduciary would not be able to push investment products on customers in which they have a financial stake.
Octogenarian Sen. Bob Venables (D-Mars) has sent a letter to his Senate colleagues announcing that he will seek reelection. This is the opposite of what he was telling his colleagues and constituents two years ago, when he said he’d run for one more two-year term.
Rebecca Walker has, on paper, the kind of background I look for in a legislator–demonstrated accomplishment in arenas other than politics. She’s both a nurse and an attorney, and has practiced in each field. Ernie Lopez first ran for office in New Castle County. I voted for him. Why? Because he was clearly the better candidate when he ran against the ghastly Paul Clark for County Council President in 2004.
Proof that people can change. Or at least evolve. Today’s legislators both moved up the list notably this year, and the change appears to be permanent.
Unless, of course, it’s not. I think both liberated themselves from barriers of their own making, and it’s refreshing to see.
Today’s installment asks the musical question: “Do I grade on a curve when it comes to Republicans?” Why, yes, yes I do. Except when I don’t. Another question: Does public comment influence me. Yes, but only to a certain extent. Puzzled? I’ll make everything as clear as taupe (think stockings, as I often do). Starting now.
Today’s entries: Republican Mike Ramone and Democrat Andria Bennett
We begin the ranking of the 62 legislators smack dab in the middle. As a listaholic, the thought of doing a double countdown, both up to the top and down to the dregs, is close to orgasmic. And, um, the foreplay is just starting.
I laid out my criteria here. I’ll let the articles speak for themselves. In addition to expressing opinions on the rankings, please let me know how you’d like to see this countdown improved. I’m sure there will be subtle format changes as this moves forward.
To me, here’s the lede of today’s rankings: Being in the middle of the rankings does not mean ‘meeting expectations’. As it turns out, all three of the legislators profiled here should be better and should be ranked higher, making their performances so far disappointing, at least to me.
I am El Somnambulo, and I’m a listaholic.
Today I announce The 62 Project, which will ultimately yield my rankings of legislators from 1 to 62.
However, I intend for it to be much more than just a list. I will write a selective bio, some brief, some lengthy, on each state legislator. I want to give people who don’t really know the legislators that well the opportunity to know them better. For better or worse.
I also don’t want this to be just a snarkfest, although, to put it mildly, THERE WILL BE SNARK. Lots of it. Hey, can’t help myself.
So, how have I ranked the legislators?
According to Politico, it’s because Harry Reid wants him there. Doesn’t want him giving any more stuff away to the Rethugs:
“None of the deals Biden has struck have aged well from the perspective of the Democratic Caucus,” said one Senate Democratic official aware of Reid’s face-to-face insistence that Biden be excluded.
“In December, McConnell went around Reid — and straight to Biden — to get a better arrangement for Republicans.
When it comes to John Carney’s cherished bipartisanship vs. the obligation to do the job he was elected to do, John Carney has chosen…neither.
According to this article, 162 members of the U. S. House of Representatives have called for a debate in Congress prior to any authorization of attacking Syria. 62 Democrats are among those signing the letters to call for such action. John Carney is not among them.
You need to know about Dick Yuengling’s public statements about labor unions and Gov. Corbett of Pennsylvania. Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.
Until now, I’ve neither known nor cared about Yuengling’s politics. I have enjoyed the occasional Black and Tan. However, it was Dick Yuengling, not anyone else, who made his views public. He did it on purpose. In a speech before the Pennsylvania Press Club, Yuengling reportedly called for the adoption of ‘right to work’ laws in Pennsylvania to disenfranchise unions and to enable him to make beer more cheaply. He also called Gov. Corbett ‘a great man’, according to the Associated Press.
Flea-bitten Hound Bites Man: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll412.xml Of course, the conspiracy theorists among us could, um, theorize that Carney cast his vote to make the Homeland Security job more attractive to Tom Carper, thus creating more political flexibility for John Carney. Me? Naah, it’s just yet another bad vote by an undistinguished, and flea-ridden, congress creature.
I’m El Somnambulo, and I’m a listaholic.
Admit it: So are you.
Bearing in mind that incumbents need viable challengers in order to be vulnerable, here is a list of those with at least reason to be worried:
State Auditor Tom Wagner: A do-nothing R in an increasingly D state. Here’s the problem. If a do-nothing R is replaced by a do-nothing D, does it really make any difference? No doubt it does to Tom Wagner. But not to Patrick Harker or Lonnie George. Which is my point. And the problem.
State Treasurer Chip Flowers: While the R’s talk hopefully, and, IMHO, delusionally, about defeating him, I suspect that any real challenge would come from the Democrats. We’ll likely know in 6 months or so whether there will be a party-backed challenger. We might as well get used to Flowers being a polarizing figure by choice. Which would be fine if it was principle, not ego, driving that train.
State Senator Greg Lavelle (4th SD): Got 50.8% against Michael Katz. Probably less vulnerable this time, but he’s got two more years of anti-gay and pro-gun votes on his record. Will a credible challenger emerge?
I know that people expect me to have Ernesto Lopez on this list, but I don’t see him as particularly vulnerable. Feel free to make a case.
Major tip o’ the sombrero to one of my compadres for passing along this juicy rumor: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2013/07/12/napolitano_will_resign_as_homeland_security_secretary.html Carper as a possibility to replace Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Beaudhisattva to the Senate. Major upgrade for our delegation, major downgrade to the Cabinet. Although, as a doddering fool, Carper would be ideally suited […]
We’re gonna have drama after all! Democrats vs. fellow Democrat Chip Flowers. I support the Democrats not named Chip Flowers, and so should you. Here’s why. Chip Flowers claims that he has the power to invest state money, money that goes to fund state pensions. He is the only treasurer in memory to make that claim. Other treasurers have recognized that the responsibility for making these determinations rests with the Cash Management Policy Board, of which the Treasurer is but one member. Flowers wants to play cowboy in search of higher investment returns. He’s even hired some guy to look at how to increase performance. He hasn’t hired anyone to warn him of imprudent risk. This is precisely the type of fiscal irresponsibility that left scores of public pension funds in shambles throughout the country following the financial scandal. Delaware, which had invested its money prudently and conservatively, remained in strong fiscal condition, and so did state pensions. If Chip Flowers wants to gamble, let him do so at a racino or online or in the market with his own money. As a pensioner of the state, the last thing I want is for him to do is play the market with our money.
The proposed bill essentially does to Flowers what earlier legislation did to the Sheriff of Nuttingham–make clear that he can’t overstep his bounds and/or create new imaginary powers for himself. For the sake of my fellow pensioners, I hope it passes.
Now the days dwindle down to a precious few two… Today and Sunday, and it’s a wrap for the first session of the 147th Delaware General Assembly. We are not in the denouement phase just yet, but we’re getting there. The Senate will give final approval to the Budget Bill today, the House will likely […]
I’m disappointed that HB165(Jaques) passed, and will be signed by the Governor today. But the Senate also passed two bills sponsored by Sen. Townsend that will make that passage at least a little more palatable. SB 147 creates more of a partnership between charters and public schools, including the sharing of ‘best practices’. Here is the 17-4 roll call. SB 148:
promotes transparency in government spending relating to competitive grants administered by the Department of Education by requiring that the Department publish on its website the eligibility requirements, criteria and successful applications for every competitive grant it administers.
I believe that the Markell Administration has signed off on both bills. Seriously, you don’t see legislating of this quality very often in Dover. A lesson to legislators: If you know you’re gonna lose on an issue, at least try to get something positive out of it. Sometimes you succeed. And thanks to the Markell Administration for working with Sen. Townsend on this.
SS1/SB33(Ennis) got final Senate approval and heads to the Governor. Yay!! The two bitter holdouts who voted no were Bloviator Bonini and, wait for it, Pope Pompous I, formerly Monsignor Lavelle. To quote the parrot from ‘Aladdin’, “Why am I not surprised?”