El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
Inexplicably buried at the bottom of page A-3 of the News-Journal’s dead tree edition is one of the most important stories of the year. This Jonathan Starkey story tells us the following:
Delaware’s wealthiest residents hoarded all of the income gains as the state recovered from the recession, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute that provided yet more evidence of an imbalanced economic recovery.
From 2009 to 2012, the top 1 percent of Delaware earners saw income growth of 15 percent.
The bottom 99 percent? Their incomes fell 1.6 percent. The study was based on Internal Revenue Service data of adjusted gross income.
Got that? Yet Jack Markell opposes a decent living wage and opposes restoring progressivity to the tax code. The policies he put into effect during the so-called ‘recovery’ led to more, not less, inequity in income growth. Actually, you can’t call it income growth for the 99% who saw their income shrink by 1.6%. This is obscene.
Wow. A lot of great music this month, including several songs that are guaranteed to make Best of the Year lists. At least one contender for the top spot and, no, I’m not gonna tell you which one. Which is why I’m presenting them in alphabetical order. Memo to Jason330: If the rest of the […]
As a would-be oligarch, Jack Markell introduced a proposed budget that will make him a welcome guest at Chateau Country’s finest soirees. As a putative Democrat, his budget is disgraceful and indefensible. Guess whose taxes will increase? Seniors who get a modest tax break on their homes. That’s it. You know why that break was implemented in the first place? To make seniors less likely to oppose public school referenda due to the impact it would have on their fixed incomes. For Markell, it’s a two-fer: Screw seniors on a fixed income and make it harder for public school districts to raise funds. BTW, it’s time we face reality. We really are an oligarchy and not a democracy. Take some time to read this, and then come back.
I would first like to thank the meteorologists for making this article necessary. Was this the new ‘faith-based’ meteorology? Rest assured I won’t be watching the insipid smile-meisters on the Weather Channel to find out what went wrong with their model. Don’t have the time. (Personal to Al Roker: Eat something, willya? The human shar pei look is disconcerting.)
I’m now assuming the General Assembly will meet today, so you’re gonna get the Full Monty weekly preview. The last preview before the six-week break for meetings of the Joint Finance Committee meetings. Which reminds me, the Governor will submit his proposed budget later this week, which, of course, plays a central role in the work of the JFC.
OK, I’ve been putting it off long enough. I suppose I should briefly discuss Governor Markell’s State of the State Address. Markell states in the address that he is open to all sorts of proposals for bridging the infrastructure funding shortfall, but he’s not gonna lead on this, he’s gonna wait until the General Assembly comes up with something, um, concrete. He also embraced Matt Denn’s proposals for addressing crime and its causes, particularly in Wilmington. And he supported a (wait for it) fact-based task force (as opposed to other task forces). Well, a ‘commission’, not a task force. So commissions are fact-based. Task forces are not. Got it.
While the General Assembly awaits Governor Markell’s State of the State address this Thursday, we already know what won’t be in the governor’s speech: There will be no proposed income tax increase; there will be no proposed gas tax increase. We know that Jack’s millionaire buds have convinced him that they would suffer if they had to pay even a penny more to fund government. So, Jack has already announced that he won’t be asking the wealthy to sacrifice. And, in a gesture that is, um, ungubernatorial, Markell has whined that, since the General Assembly turned its collective noses up at his gas tax proposal last year, he won’t propose anything to close the gap in the state’s infrastructure budget. He’ll just wait for the General Assembly to come up with…something. If only he’d take that approach with public education. His legacy grows more undistinguished by the day.
Perhaps this is the week that Alex Pires gets his customized banking legislation passed. If not, then next week will be the week It’s already passed the House unanimously. As Nancy Willing pointed out, this bill was introduced at the behest of Alex Pires, and it will only benefit Pires’ bank. The article further points out that this may not be the first time that Pires has had undue influence on the General Assembly. Let me point out the obvious: If you or I were disadvantaged by some ‘arcane’ statute, do you think we could get the Speaker to sponsor it, fast-track it, and get it through the General Assembly within a week or two? And just because the Bank Commissioner, who largely does the bidding of the banks, says it’s ‘arcane’, is it really arcane? Or is it just an impediment to a connected businessman who doesn’t want to wait in line and rarely does? Whether the bill deserves passage on its merits is hardly the point. The point is that representative government does not represent most of us. But it DOES represent people with lots of clout, regardless of how they accumulated it. Which is why Alex Pires will get his banking bill.
Talk about your soft openings. When the most urgent piece of legislation appears to be one that would allow smaller eateries to serve beer and wine, then you get a pretty good sense that it could be a slow January.
The other bill on the fast track is a banking bill, and it passed the House unanimously. The sponsors of the bill don’t fill me full of confidence that this is simply an innocuous piece of legislation. It strikes me as a special interest bill, and the interests are those of the banks, not of the consumers. Could someone please give us some background on the gestation and urgency of this bill? And, um, talk me down?
The 148th General Assembly convenes today for its first regular session. Six new legislators, R Rep. Richard Collins (41st), R Rep. Kevin Hensley (9th), D Rep. Sean Lynn (31st), D Rep. Sean Matthews (10th), R Rep. Lyndon Yearick, and R Senator Bryant Richardson, respectively replace D Rep. John Atkins (defeated in general election), D Rep. Rebecca Walker (retired), D Rep. Darryl Scott (retired), D Rep. Dennis E. Williams (defeated in primary), R Rep. Don Blakey (defeated in primary), and Sen. Bob Venables (defeated in general election). The Senate goes from 13 D’s and 8 R’s to 12 D’s and 9 R’s. The House goes from 27 D’s and 14 R’s to 25 D’s and 16 R’s.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR NEWBIES
The Delaware State Senate has 21 members. The President Pro-Tempore leads the Senate, although the Lieutenant Governor often, but not always, presides over the senate sessions as a non-voting member (That, of course, will not happen this session as there is no Lieutenant Governor now that Matt Denn has become the State’s Attorney General). Here is a list of the Senate members. Here is a list of Senate committee assignments.
The House of Representatives has 41 members, currently 25 D’s, 16 R’s. The Speaker of the House presides over the body. You can find the House membership here. Here is a list of House committee assignments.
The General Assembly is in session from the second Tuesday in January through June 30 each year. Three days a week–Tuesday through Thursday. The Senate often returns for a special session in the fall to consider nominations.
The General Assembly breaks for six weeks at the end of January for Joint Finance Committee (budget) hearings and meetings. There is another 2-week break around Easter, and an additional week’s break around Memorial Day. The Memorial Day break often enables the ‘money’ committees to finish work on marking up the budget.The typical General Assembly meets in session about 50 days a year.
Come inside for so much more….
Two major initiatives, and I like them both.
First, his creation of a new Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust is designed to eliminate inherent conflicts within the AG’s office where attorneys represent both agencies and members of the public with concerns about said agencies. This has been an issue dating back as far as I can remember. And then the new Attorney General unveiled a new bill aimed at violent offenders who are prohibited from having weapons and violent offenders who are committing gun-related violence.
The Holmes Brothers, and the world, have lost the great Popsy Dixon. Passed away of cancer at the age of 72. His butterscotch tenor/falsetto and drumming style will resonate in my mind and heart until the day I die. Also, he, Wendell and Sherman were the nicest artists I ever brought to the Arden Gild Hall. A very sad day for me. Please remember him along with me….
The 62 Project ranks the legislators based on the entirety of their careers. Version 2.0 reflects the departures of legislators, the arrival of new legislators, and adjustments to the rankings based on events that followed my initial ranking of individual legislators. For those not familiar with the original project, here’s the link where you can find out a lot more info (and snark) regarding your favorite legislators. I will offer comments for those who moved significantly in either direction. Since the new legislators have not yet…legislated, I have assigned them placeholder positions based on my sense of where they project as we kick off the 148th General Assembly….
Who needs satire when Chip does the work for us? If you’re a loyal DL reader, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to parse every syllable of this Ode to A Delusional Narcissist. For fun, count the number of times he uses the word ‘historic’ or variation thereof. Lest you doubt that this is Chip’s work, you can access it here.
However, if you are loathe (to steal one of Monsignor Lavelle’s favorite words) to give Chip the web traffic (although the big-ass watch alone is worth a peek), here is Chip in his own words (I know, b/c they’re in the Third Person)….
If this guy wants to be our next Democratic governor, the least he could do is at least pretend to be a Democrat. The bill almost passed, thanks in part to Carney’s supposed bipartisanship.
Maybe he’ll hold a REAL town meeting where someone can ask him how a Democrat votes to screw citizens while giving carte blanche to huge financial institutions that demonstrate time and time again that they will use the lack of regulation to make obscene piles of money by winning a rigged game. A game that the Carneys of this world help rig.
Maybe a real newspaper would ask him the same question. Too bad we no longer have one.
I really hope you guys scope out some of these songs. So much great music falls under the radar. That was certainly the case this year. I almost guarantee you that you’ll find something great that you haven’t heard before. Enough proselytizing. Let’s let the music speak to you: 20. 19. Don’t let the name […]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in politics and government in Delaware in 2014. Here is a peak inside:
6. Matt Denn elected AG. Didja notice that he plans to be inaugurated at the PAL site on N. Market Street? I think that gives us a clue as to what’s at the top of his priority list.
5. We learn that connected DuPont heir received no jail time after pleading guilty for raping his three-year-old daughter back in 2008. Per usual, no comment from the Beaudhisatva.
10. Bethany Hall Long’s husband caught stealing signs.
Both here and on the Al Mascitti Show at 10 am. Definitely worth following along on DL as I’ve linked to all kinds of stuff, including some of the best work by our contributors, highlighting and lowlighting the ‘winners’.
Per usual, ‘the good’ was the list with the least number of possibilities, no such problems with ‘the bad’ or ‘the ridiculous’.
I always have fun putting this together b/c, when I go back and scroll through our entire year, it’s amazing the stuff that I forgot that was well worth remembering. Although some wish you would forget.
Seeya at 10 on Tuesday..
Inducted as an ‘Early Influence’, they’re so good that they should have gone in long ago. An extremely important link between early r & b, soul, and gospel. Led by a neglected genius in Lowman Pauling, who wrote songs that you know, and created a guitar style that was far ahead of his time. Please listen, you will enjoy these……
Granted, it wasn’t a great year for progressives in Delaware, to put it mildly. A business uber alles governor, a congressional delegation that aids and comforts the enemy, more shenanigans from narcissistic elected officials, and a refusal by the General Assembly to address financial shortfalls that will soon impact Delaware’s infrastructure.
However…we began to see the emergence of coalitions that may well have a profound and positive impact on our future. We also saw some elected officials step up their game. And we saw members of the public lead in challenging some of the most wrong-headed assumptions of our elected officials.
So, here they are: The 2014 Bob Stachnik Memorial MVP Awards. Dedicated to a man who epitomized the spirit of those who created this very blog. A man who, literally and figuratively, sought to ‘re-twinkle the stars’.
OK, kids, take some time and read this article. It’s not long. I’ll wait.
Markell sets up a completely phony choice as the supposed upcoming battle for the ‘soul of the Democratic Party’. According to Markell, the choice is middle-class jobs vs. ‘income redistribution’, aka a living wage:
Markell said Democrats should pursue an “agenda around growth rather than an agenda around redistribution,” saying that “there aren’t a lot of people with middle class jobs who are aspiring to an increase in the minimum wage.”
So, on behalf of this state’s economic overlords, our putative Democratic governor wants to set up a battle of the middle class vs. those who need a living wage. Uh, by the way, in such a battle, neither the middle class nor those in need of a minimum wage wins. The economic overlords do. BTW, Jack, there’s no reason whatsoever why you can’t or shouldn’t pursue an agenda that promotes both growth for the middle class and a living wage. Geez, some of those people earning a living wage could become, dare I say it, middle class.
C’mon, now folks. You have until midnight tomorrow to nominate those Most Valuable to the Progressive Cause in Delaware for 2014.
Yes, I know it was not a great year for progressivism in Delaware. But that opens the door to some below-the-radar picks, those deserving of greater recognition. I’ve got six, and only six, real solid choices, some of them off the beaten track.
So, there’s plenty of room for your suggestions. You’ve got until midnight Friday to submit your choices. A ‘Bulo Tip of the Sombrero awaits… I will post the list next Tuesday right here at 10 am, and will then go on the Al Mascitti show to discuss it.