Recent Articles

While More Men Are Wanting Babies/More Women Are Considering The Child-Free Option

Filed in National by on March 20, 2015 7 Comments
While More Men Are Wanting Babies/More Women Are Considering The Child-Free Option

I find stuff like this fascinating.

In a nationally representative survey of single, childless people in 2011, more men than women said they wanted kids. (On the other hand, more women reported seeking independence in their relationships, personal space, interests, and hobbies.) A different poll from 2013 echoed those findings, with more than 80 percent of men saying they’d always wanted to be a father or at least thought they would be someday. Just 70 percent of women felt the same.

It really hasn’t been that long since women actually had control in having children. My grandparents had a lot of children. Without effective birth control (along with societal and religious expectations) people of that generation had a lot of kids. The Pill came onto the scene in my mother’s generation – and there was much rejoicing! – however, the idea that people get married and have kids was still the only plan on the table.

And while I’ll admit the “get married and have kids” plan still strongly exists (ask any couple who’s decided not to have kids how often they’re asked when they’ll have kids, or told they’ll eventually change their minds if you don’t believe me.) this survey shows an interesting trend. And the reasons women cite for not wanting children (seeking independence in their relationships, personal space, interests, and hobbies) seem to really come down to this…..

Continue Reading »

General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up: Week of March 17-19, 2015

Filed in Delaware by on March 20, 2015 16 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up: Week of March 17-19, 2015

That was quite the dust-up between Sen. Karen Peterson and Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf this week.  The argument? Why won’t Schwartzkopf allow a floor vote on legislation eliminating the death penalty? Both legislators make legitimate points.

Pete Schwartzkopf by and large does control the fate of the bill.  As Speaker, he not only decides what committee receives the bill, he determines the members of the committees. Put the bill in a committee in which the majority does not support death penalty repeal, and the bill isn’t coming out unless petitioned out.  Going against the Speaker to petition a bill out has its own set of perils.  So Peterson is correct there.  Pete has taken steps to stop the bill, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

However, Schwartzkopf has offered a compromise:

Schwartzkopf has said that he would oppose any repeal legislation that did not include exemptions for those inmates convicted of killing members of law enforcement, including correctional officers.

Not including those exemptions would endanger every correctional officer working in the state’s prisons, he said. He added that he offered amendments to repeal legislation last year, but those requests “fell on deaf ears.”

He said that compromise is needed on the bill. Peterson, he said, is not willing to compromise.

“This building is bigger than one bill,” Schwartzkopf said.

This raises two questions: (1) Would Schwartzkopf take steps to ensure the bill’s consideration if this compromise was accepted; and (2) is it worth it to have a repeal bill with these exceptions?

Continue Reading »

Clinton expertly trolls Republicans with “camps” reveal

Filed in National by on March 20, 2015 10 Comments
Clinton expertly trolls Republicans with “camps” reveal

I love how the Clintons allow their adversaries to drive themselves crazy. It is easy to predict that this discussion of “camps for adults” will cause countless aneurisms and heart attacks in GOP-world. “We really need camps for adults,” Clinton said at the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey’s Tri State CAMP Conference. […]

Continue Reading »

Friday Daily Delawhere [3.20.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 20, 2015 1 Comment
Friday Daily Delawhere [3.20.15]

A tanker from Monrovia, Liberia unloads its cargo in Delaware City. Photo by xzmattzx.

Continue Reading »

Thursday Open Thread [3.19.15]

Filed in National by on March 19, 2015 12 Comments
Thursday Open Thread [3.19.15]

This is freaking excellent: FEMA will no longer give any disaster aid to states that do not plan for climate change. Florida is likely the state that suffers the most, as their Skeletor of a Governor had declared that no state employee can even mention the term ‘climate change’ without being burned at the stake. So when a Cat 5 levels Miami this September, Florida is shit out of luck. And all those tornado alley states are fucked too. Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, all deny climate change. Good luck rebuilding.

I love blackmail.

Continue Reading »

How wingnut welfare is killing the GOP

Filed in National by on March 19, 2015 23 Comments
How wingnut welfare is killing the GOP

This Kim Messick piece in Salon is great. It discusses the GOP’s love letter to Iran in terms of the rise of the GOP’s congressional fanaticism. But I found this brief description of how wingnut welfare is playing into the destruction of the GOP as a legitimate national political party particularly insightful.

Continue Reading »

Thursday Daily Delawhere [3.19.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 19, 2015 0 Comments
Thursday Daily Delawhere [3.19.15]

The C&D Canal, by the Flying Inn on Flickr.

Continue Reading »

Wednesday Open Thread [3.18.15]

Filed in National by on March 18, 2015 6 Comments
Wednesday Open Thread [3.18.15]

Josh Marshall: “The relationship between the Clintons and the press and the political class generally is codependent, toxic and frankly ridiculous on both sides – with extreme self-protection and legalism on one hand [The Clinton's] and hyperbole, nonsense and wolf-crying penalties on the other [the press and pundits]. Like any perennial and bad relationship it is exhausting to watch and generally impossible to pick apart where one part ends and other starts. Which is a reaction to the other, which is first? I have no idea anymore. It hardly matters.”

The public doesn’t care. Despite the controversy over her use of private email while Secretary of State, a new CNN/ORC poll finds 57% of Americans say Hillary Clinton is someone they’d be proud to have as their president.

Continue Reading »

Forced Birth Improves The Economy? Armed “young, hot little girls on campus” Will Stop Rape?

Filed in National by on March 18, 2015 15 Comments
Forced Birth Improves The Economy? Armed “young, hot little girls on campus” Will Stop Rape?

There’s just so much of this nonsense. As a woman, who’s also raising a teen daughter, it’s overwhelming and frightening. It’s also disheartening when issues that directly impact over 50% of the country are dismissed as single-issue votes. Women do not view abortion or contraception as a “pet” issue. These issues directly affect our economy. Having a child is one of the biggest economic decisions for both men and women. If only we treated these issues with the same freak out we display when it came to a gas tax and tax cuts – and, make no mistake, abortion and contraception are a way bigger deal than things like the gas tax and tax cuts. Mainly because cutting/raising taxes won’t make a damn bit of difference to a woman’s (who’s forced to give birth) economy.

And yeah, I’m going to keep writing about women’s issues, mainly because it’s really all the GOP talks about. They link controlling women to every flippin’ bill they pen. It’s almost impossible to discuss anything the GOP puts forth without discussing women – and religion and gay people. All Republican roads lead to controlling sex.

Continue Reading »

Wednesday Daily Delawhere [3.18.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 18, 2015 0 Comments
Wednesday Daily Delawhere [3.18.15]

The Newark Reservoir, by the Flying Inn on Flickr.

Continue Reading »

Sheriff Lee Gets Constable Powers Because He is not an Insufferable Asshole

Filed in National by on March 17, 2015 8 Comments
Sheriff Lee Gets Constable Powers Because He is not an Insufferable Asshole

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.

Continue Reading »

Tuesday Open Thread [3.17.15]

Filed in Delaware, National by on March 17, 2015 10 Comments
Tuesday Open Thread [3.17.15]

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.”

Continue Reading »

The Top 10 Paid Public Employees in Delaware

Filed in Delaware by on March 17, 2015 15 Comments
The Top 10 Paid Public Employees in Delaware

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.

Continue Reading »

Denn/Johnson/Henry bill would change what’s considered a violent felony

Filed in National by on March 17, 2015 3 Comments
Denn/Johnson/Henry bill would change what’s considered a violent felony

Unwinding our idiotic, wasteful and (lets face it) racist “war on drugs” is going to take time. This isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

A bill that would soften the state’s treatment of drug possession felonies and harden its stance on certain violent crimes will be introduced in the Delaware Legislature this week.

Attorney General Matt Denn and a group of lawmakers unveiled Monday a bill that, if passed, would mark the first time specific crimes were taken off the state’s 19-year-old list of violent felonies.

Attorney General Matt Denn and a group of lawmakers unveiled Monday a bill that, if passed, would mark the first time specific crimes were taken off the state’s 19-year-old list of violent felonies.

“We want to make sure the penalties are appropriate for the crimes,” Denn said. “In seeking justice, we have an obligation to reduce statutory (sentences) when they do not fit the crime.”

While the bill removes drug possession from the violent crime list, it adds certain crimes against children and police officers. These add on’s feel like sops to conservatives to me. Protecting children is laudable, but with the way cops have been escalating their violence against citizens that they don’t happen to like, I’m not crazy about that one. And yet, as Prince Otto said, politics is the art of the possible.

Continue Reading »

Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues. March 17, 2015

Filed in Delaware by on March 17, 2015 1 Comment
Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues. March 17, 2015

The key question facing the Delaware General Assembly as it returns from its six-week hiatus for Joint Finance Committee hearings is: On what issues, and to what extent, will the General Assembly push back on Gov. Markell’s policies?

We already know that the House Democratic Caucus has raised the alarm over Markell’s efforts to impose more hardships on state employees and retirees when it comes to health care.

We already know that many legislators are pushing for a pay increase for state employees, something that Markell has refused to do during his time in office, (Memo to Jack: I heard your interview on the Al Mascitti Show on Friday. Cutting wages during a crisis, then restoring them, does not count as an increase.) I highly recommend you listen to the interview.  Note the number of times that Markell dodges Al’s questions and goes off on a different tangent.  One notable example. Al asks Markell about not proposing any raises for state employees.  Just listen to his response. Something along the lines of, “Well, I’d really like to, but what parts of my sacrosanct budget would you have me cut?” In other words, he hasn’t spent one minute of his time in office seeking ways to pay state employees a living wage.  He’s glib, and he’s got his lines down pat.  But he only answered the questions he wanted to ask and answer, not the ones that Al posed.

We know that the Joint Sunset Committee, with Sen. Bryan Townsend taking the lead, is trying to determine just what the state has gotten for its $200 million-plus that they’ve given to business in one form or other over the past few years. (Memo to Jack: Asking whether we’d rather have the oil refinery or not, as you did during your response, is not answering the question. Fact is, your administration and the Delaware Economic Development Office have provided next to no empirical evidence to show that the preponderance of this money is paying off at all.)  In fact, allow me to once again link to this New York Times survey which demonstrates that there is next to no verification nationwide, including in Delaware, that these dollars are doing anything more than acquiescing to extortion.

We know that we’re starting to reach a critical blowback on the Markell/Murphy team’s attempt to destroy public education in Delaware as we know it.  Will the General Assembly intervene?

We know that the General Assembly has already stopped listening to Markell when it comes to funding infrastructure repairs and projects.  Are both sides really gonna play ‘chicken’ again this year?

Continue Reading »

Tuesday Daily Delawhere [3.17.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 17, 2015 0 Comments
Tuesday Daily Delawhere [3.17.15]

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! An indoor view of my, and Delaware’s favorite beer, Dogfish Head. From Mike Mahaffie on Flickr.

Continue Reading »

Not Satire.

Filed in National by on March 16, 2015 9 Comments
Not Satire.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that former Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be getting in the boxing ring and fighting Evander Holyfield in May as part of a charity fundraiser. I’m not making this up.

Continue Reading »

The Vote Tracker: Review the New Bills Introduced Last Week

Filed in Delaware by on March 16, 2015 4 Comments
The Vote Tracker: Review the New Bills Introduced Last Week

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.

Continue Reading »

Clean Water Petition

Filed in Delaware by on March 16, 2015 8 Comments
Clean Water Petition

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.

Continue Reading »

Monday Open Thread [3.16.15]

Filed in National by on March 16, 2015 19 Comments
Monday Open Thread [3.16.15]

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.

Continue Reading »

Monday Daily Delawhere [3.16.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 16, 2015 0 Comments
Monday Daily Delawhere [3.16.15]

Morning waves in Fenwick by Tommy Lynch on Flickr.

Continue Reading »

Begun, the Education Wars Have.

Filed in Delaware by on March 15, 2015 22 Comments
Begun, the Education Wars Have.

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.

Continue Reading »

Moral Monday Prayer-In Tomorrow

Filed in Delaware by on March 15, 2015 0 Comments
Moral Monday Prayer-In Tomorrow

Tomorrow (March 16, 2015), the first Delaware Moral Monday will take the form of a Prayer-In on East Steps of Legislative Hall in Dover. From the press release:
The issues facing our state are both deeply spiritual and social. In response to the hyper-criminalization of people of color and the evident disparities present within the state’s criminal justice system, participants will gather to pray that the God of justice would intervene on behalf of the marginalized during this legislative session. Both specific and general criminal justice concerns will be at the forefront. The repeal of the death penalty, one such matter that will be introduced in the Senate on March 18, will be advocated.

Continue Reading »

Sunday Open Thread [3.15.15]

Filed in National by on March 15, 2015 1 Comment
Sunday Open Thread [3.15.15]

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.

Continue Reading »

Sunday Daily Delawhere [3.15.15]

Filed in Delaware by on March 15, 2015 0 Comments
Sunday Daily Delawhere [3.15.15]

The Wilmington skyline, from Videre Drive in Pike Creek. Photo by xzmattzx.

Continue Reading »