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The State of the Union

Filed in Delaware by on January 20, 2015 2 Comments

Press play, as the stream is now live with highlights of the past year and other pre-SOTU events. You can watch the speech here, and you also join us for a discussion of and real time reaction to the speech at our Live Blog. To join our Live Blog, click on the word “Live Blog” in the main navigation bar underneath the banner logo.

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I feel like a Kremlinologist.

Filed in National by on January 20, 2015 27 Comments
I feel like a Kremlinologist.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Delaware yesterday to give a speech at a Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast in Wilmington on repairing the breach between police and the African American community. And the News Journal, in their story on the Vice President’s speech today, showed the following pictures of the former Attorney General and future alleged gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden, who was present for his father’s speech but did not speak himself.

Photos are courtesy of Jennifer Corbett of the News Journal. The side profiles of Mr. Biden are concerning. I hate that I have to study every picture of Beau Biden after his rare public appearances to judge how his health is. I hate that I have to wonder about his health at all. As someone who had to endure a health scare last year, I understand how important privacy is. But then again, I am not a supposed candidate for Governor. Nor was I in public office when I got sick. Just tell us. We are adults. We can handle it.

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Tuesday Open Thread [1.20.15]

Filed in National by on January 20, 2015 14 Comments
Tuesday Open Thread [1.20.15]

The President’s State of the Union speech is tonight and we will not only be hosting our live chat, but also the speech itself, both here in the Open Thread (in the video box below) and in the chat thread. The White House has already let it be known that the President is going to call for a tax on the wealthy to fund middle class tax breaks. John Nichols at the Nation lays out the plan, which I think the GOP is going to have a hard time fighting. They will of course, but I don’t envy them.

This is not a radical plan. It redistributes a very small amount of wealth, and most of that wealth will be steered right back into the economy by working families, who truly drive the economy. Indeed, to get a sense of how far we have fallen in the previous three decades in the desire to fellate our billionaire masters, this Obama proposal will only return the capital gains tax rate to the level it was when Ronald Reagan was President. And, according to Booman , it proves how President Obama is different from the last two term Democratic President saddled with a hostile and Republican Congress in the last years of his Presidency.

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Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Week of Jan. 20-23, 2015

Filed in Delaware by on January 20, 2015 8 Comments
Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Week of Jan. 20-23, 2015

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.

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Matt Denn Announces for Governor.

Filed in Delaware by on January 20, 2015 11 Comments
Matt Denn Announces for Governor.

Why did I title this post “Matt Denn Announces for Governor?” Well, obviously he has not announced, and if you asked the Attorney General I am sure he would say he is not running. But doesn’t this $36 million dollar proposal strike you as something beyond just his duties as Attorney General. Normally Attorneys General do not care how the settlement monies their office secures for the General Fund is spent, and if they do care, they want more policing and more funding for enforcement.

Matt Denn responded to the News Journal scoop on Facebook:

Once again good news from my office has gotten out a couple of days before I wanted it to. When I ran for Attorney General, I said we couldn’t address violent crime just through law enforcement — that we had to invest in dealing with the underlying causes of crime, such as treating substance abuse addiction, helping young people learn in school and stay out of trouble after school, and working with inmates released from prison to ensure that they do not re-offend. This is my first shot at delivering on that, by using these settlement funds to help repair the harm caused to our communities by the recession brought about by the financial institutions’ conduct. If you can join us Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in the Carvel State Office Building auditorium, come hear the details!

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Tuesday Daily Delawhere [1.20.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 20, 2015 0 Comments
Tuesday Daily Delawhere [1.20.15]

Businesses on Main Street in Newark. Photo by xzmattzx.

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Monday Open Thread [1.19.15]

Filed in National by on January 19, 2015 8 Comments
Monday Open Thread [1.19.15]

Today’s theme is Mittens Willard Dillard Romney the III. Before that though, let’s enjoy some polling goodness, some of which does touch on the once and future frontrunner to the GOP nomination.

IOWA–PRESIDENT–REPUBLICAN PRIMARY–Gravis Marketing: Romney 21, Bush 14, Walker 10, Huckabee 9, Paul 8, Cruz 7

NATIONAL–PRESIDENT–REPUBLICAN PRIMARY–Economist/YouGov: Romney 28, Bush 12, Carson 10, Cruz 9, Huckabee 8, Paul 8, Walker 6

NATIONAL–PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL–Washington Post-ABC News: President Obama’s overall approval rating now stands at 50%, the highest since the spring of 2013.

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I Have a Dream

Filed in National by on January 19, 2015 10 Comments

We have come a long way. And there is a long way to go. Because Martin’s dream is not only equality before the law, but also equality in opportunity, and equality in mind. We are still working on equality before the law, as we see with Ferguson. We are still working on equality in opportunity, but we have made great strides there, as an African American is President of the United States. Equality in mind is going to be the last greatest and most difficult hurdle. Equality in mind deals with the thoughts, bias, and bigotry in each of our own minds. And it will only be achieved when every single person, Jew, Gentile, White, Black, Man, Woman, Gay, Straight, is judged on their merits, their actions, their words rather than on what God they pray to, what color their skin is, or who they love.

Many saw the election of Barack Obama as the destination. It was only a mile marker.

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Monday Daily Delawhere [1.19.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 19, 2015 0 Comments
Monday Daily Delawhere [1.19.15]

The interior of Holy Trinity Church, or Old Swedes Church, on Church Street in Wilmington. The church was built in 1698, and is named for the descendants of the original Swedish settlers who lived north of the Christina River. The church became an Episcopal church in the 1700s, and is said to be the oldest […]

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Sunday Open Thread [1.18.15]

Filed in National by on January 18, 2015 3 Comments
Sunday Open Thread [1.18.15]

Some idiot potential assassin tried to kill Vice President Biden and his family last night by firing bullets towards the Vice President’s home on Barley Mill Road in Greenville. The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden were in Washington, D.C. at the time.

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Sunday Daily Delawhere [1.18.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 18, 2015 0 Comments
Sunday Daily Delawhere [1.18.15]

Rockwood Park in Wilmington by Van Luvender on Flickr.

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Tom Hayden’s California Way For 2016

Filed in National by on January 17, 2015 2 Comments
Tom Hayden’s California Way For 2016

I listen to this guy a lot and suggest you do too.

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Saturday Open Thread [1.17.15]

Filed in National by on January 17, 2015 6 Comments
Saturday Open Thread [1.17.15]

So the Supreme Court has decided to take up the whole issue of marriage equality once and for all. Specifically, the questions presented and to be decided by the Court are as follows:

The cases are consolidated and the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following questions:

1.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2.) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

A total of ninety minutes is allotted for oral argument on Question 1. A total of one hour is allotted for oral argument on Question 2. The parties are limited to filing briefs on the merits and presenting oral arguments on the questions presented in their respective petitions.

My opinion is that the answers to both questions will be yes, by a vote of 6-3. Yes, the four liberals plus Kennedy and Roberts.

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The Weekly Addresses

Filed in National by on January 17, 2015 0 Comments
The Weekly Addresses

Now that the General Assembly is back in session, we have our first legislative weekly “address.” We also have President Obama’s weekly address that previews his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, Governor Markell’s weekly address, the West Wing Week, and a special video about Big Block of Cheese Day, which features some characters from the old “West Wing” show.

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Saturday Daily Delawhere [1.17.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 17, 2015 0 Comments
Saturday Daily Delawhere [1.17.15]

Taken from Old Battery Park in New Castle, looking north towards the DMB. Photo is by pheαnix on Flickr.

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Mayor Williams and the “Charlie Brown” effect

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2015 4 Comments

“ChipMayor Williams really rubbed me the wrong way when he appeared on Rick Jensen’s WDEL radio show and boldly… complained about being the victim of bad press from the News Journal.

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Friday Open Thread [1.16.15]

Filed in National by on January 16, 2015 8 Comments
Friday Open Thread [1.16.15]

Sorry for my absence this week with the open threads. I was sent deep down south on business (and then my superiors complained about me not being in the office). But this time I didn’t see any horrible evil signs or cross burnings, so maybe the region is improving, or maybe there is not a black President during an election anymore. I can’t wait to see the white conservative reaction to Hillary Clinton, specifically whether it will be sexist on the part of self hating white conservative women.

Here are some fun maps. Is Irish food really the preferred cuisine of Delaware? What is Irish cuisine? Steak and potatoes? Corned beef and cabbage?

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A: I can’t believe I lost to that dumbf*ck

Filed in Delaware, National by on January 16, 2015 41 Comments
A: I can’t believe I lost to that dumbf*ck

Q: What is Brenda Mayrack thinking right now?

I hope she runs again. I chalk the loss up to Tom Carper and John Carney undermining the Democratic brand and thereby giving no support to down-ticket Dem challengers with less name recognition.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up: Week of January 13-15, 2015

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2015 3 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up: Week of January 13-15, 2015

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?

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Wilmington City Council Votes To Not Let In More Charter Schools

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2015 5 Comments
Wilmington City Council Votes To Not Let In More Charter Schools

Yes, this is symbolic, but we’ve come a long way.

The Wilmington City Council sent a request to state leaders Thursday night: Don’t allow any more charter schools to open in the city for the time being, and give the city more say over which schools get approved.

Council approved 9-3, with President Theo Gregory absent, a resolution urging the Department of Education not to consider any new charter applications in the city to “allow elected officials and community representatives time to assess the impact of charter schools in Wilmington and throughout the State.”

Impact is the key word and one of the biggest problem with charters – their impact on surrounding neighborhoods and schools isn’t really considered – and even though the new charter law pays lip service to impact, impact alone isn’t enough to stop a charter from entering a community. Try building an addition to your house without community approval. Maybe labeling the addition as a charter school would be the way to go!

Whether or not a community wants a charter in their neighborhood doesn’t matter. As long as a charter follows state law they can pretty much go where they want. Westgate Farms fought against Odyssey Charter moving in.  They eventually won by focusing on the historic location.  Good thing a cemetery was located there. Otherwise, Odyssey could have moved in – no matter what the surrounding community thought or wanted.

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Friday Daily Delawhere [1.16.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 16, 2015 1 Comment
Friday Daily Delawhere [1.16.15]

The Roth Bridge, by Egon Philip on Flickr.

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John Carney on why he voted to weaken Dodd-Frank (annotated)

Filed in National by on January 15, 2015 13 Comments
John Carney on why he voted to weaken Dodd-Frank (annotated)

I found this early draft of Carney’s HR 37 statement on line.

“Many of you have asked me why I voted for H.R. 37, featured in the News Journal this morning. Dodd-Frank was passed before I came to Congress, but I support its goal of reining in Wall Street and protecting taxpayers.[Please note that "support" should be enclosed in quotation marks]

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Kowalko v Schwartzkopf continues

Filed in National by on January 15, 2015 18 Comments
Kowalko v Schwartzkopf continues

John Kowalko isn’t shutting up, and for good reason. It isn’t Pete Schwartzkopf’s business to decide if someone can be an activist and a legislator. That’s Kowalko’s constituent’s job, and Kowalko’s constituents expressly hired him to be an activist and a legislator.

Schwartzkopf may not remember, but John Kowalko sat in an Leg Hall energy committee meeting with a gag in his mouth in protest, and that was prior to being hired by his constituents. They knew what they were getting into.

Which raises the question – does Schwartzkopf know what he is getting into by elevating Kowlako’s status to that of a martyr for a transparent democracy? I sort of doubt it.

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Thursday Daily Delawhere [1.15.15]

Filed in Delaware by on January 15, 2015 0 Comments
Thursday Daily Delawhere [1.15.15]

Sunset under the Bridge, by Egon Philipp, on Flickr.

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GOP Congress Signals Big Social Security Reforms (Cuts) On the Way

Filed in National by on January 14, 2015 8 Comments
GOP Congress Signals Big Social Security Reforms (Cuts) On the Way

There is no mystery anymore. We all know how this is going to play out. Republican austerity zealots are going to get 99% of what they want, and be able to pillory Democrats for gutting social security because “Democrats” like John Carney and Tom Carper suck outright and make the whole party look like a bunch of sniveling idiots and/or craven douche-bags.

The new House Budget Committee chairman hinted Monday that he had big plans for Social Security reform in the next two years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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