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The lack of Federal funding is eating the heart of America. We see it with the 495 bridge… No inspectors, no one just driving by and saying, “hey, why is there dirt piled there”; those people all missing due to budget cuts. Simple things that could save tons of money, not being done because there is no money to pay for them.

This should not be… Profits are a good thing, like a personal savings account is a good thing… But no one is foolish enough to put more money into his saving account by shorting his power company, his water company, his house payment, his insurance policies…

But the Tea Party and Republicans have done just that. They say we are spending too much, so cut, cut, cut,… As a result, we cut what we need to live on… There is a point where we have to stop.

We need to rebuild our infrastructure. We need to spend more on special education. We need to get jobs into our inner cities. We need to educate our children with an 11:1 student teacher ratios… We need more construction jobs.

Money is just sitting in the accounts of the top 1%… A good plan gone bad, has robbed our economy of necessary resources and put it into accounts, locked away from our use.

I used to think a 40% rate was acceptable. But we have 14 more years of neglect to redo. I now believe that level has shifted upward to a 50% top marginal rate. If half of every dollar earned by the top echelon was reinvested back into the economy, we would all again support the wealthy making themselves wealthier. The problem is not with the rich getting richer… That is to be admired. It is just when they get richer only at the expense of the poor, that doing so becomes morally bankrupt.

The longer we wait, the higher the rates may have to go in order to undo the damage growing every additional day….

We are sequestering too much money. And the Republicans want to sock away even more… They voted two weeks ago for a $270 billion tax cut just to the 1%… and raised the deficit. Fortunately Democrats in the Senate stopped it from going forward…

Our problem is in Washington, DC. It is financial. It is our Federal tax rates, which in fact are too low for the amount of wealth we lock away. It is all due to one party in control of one branch of government who won’t spend available money on necessities,

There is a bright future for America but only if we tax those who have benefited greatly these past 14 years, and use their resources to remake an America ready for the next Century; there is no future when pinching every penny we created over the last century, in order to put into a savings account no one is allowed to use…

We’ve lost the vision of how great America can be; that should never happen.

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This state bill was to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill.   It achieved a roadblock when the idea was broached that mentally ill people would not seek help if it meant the loss of their guns… 

The bill was voted down on this fallacy.

If someone is mentally ill and has guns, there are four possibilities…   Four….

 

Mentally ill with guns and bullets // Mentally ill without guns and bullets.

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Mentally healthy with guns and bullets // Mentally healthy without guns and bullets

 

 

Of those four possibilities stretching across the plateau of human existence, only one is dangerous to fellow human beings…

A mentally ill person who has guns and bullets….

Now that we have isolated the problem… Let us look at it more closely….. we again divide by the four possibilities…

Mentally ill will get help and use his arsenal // Mentally ill will get help and not use his arsenal
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Mentally ill will not get help and use his arsenal // Mentally ill will not get help and not use his arsenal.

Of those four possibilities we now have two that are dangerous to innocent human beings.

Mentally ill who will get help and still use his arsenal, and Mentally ill who do not get help and will still use their arsenal….

Therefore across the panel of humanity, all races, all genders, all classes, every non-accidental shooting death is caused by the hand of a mentally ill person owning a firearm, whether under treatment or not…

Most of the more famous murderers in history have had treatment for their psychosis. Most of those being treated still had access to their firearms, and for what ever reason, choose to use them….

As of this point in history,… as far as I can find on today’s search engines,… there has never been a gun-caused mass murder by someone who had no access to guns…

Again, people in psychiatric care have blown other people away; people without guns, have never done so…..

Only one conclusion from this logical exercise can be gleaned….

If you voted to allow the continence of mentally-ill people owning guns, no matter what flimsy reason you used to assuage your guilt, you cast a vote for an upcoming future mass-murder.

If you voted to disallow the continence of mentally-ill people from owning guns, you took the only step in the right direction that would do anything to stop its re-occurrence…..

People in treatment still kill when they have guns. Without guns, one rids oneself of the problem….

The bottom line: to allow a crazy person to have a full blown arsenal, is madness. To think that allowing him to have a full blown arsenal will make him more likely to seek treatment, is not thinking straight….

There is only one solution; redo HB 88….

In passing I acknowledge that this is an emotional issue for those on both sides. When we use emotions to think, none of us think straight. If ever the time should arise where we as a society make that choice to think straight, then keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill goes a long way to preventing mass murderers from happening: …. Logically speaking of course.

 Potential For Delaware To Have Unlimited Revenue Streams

Got this idea from a thread embedded in one of Steve’s posts.

We know the Racino’s are losing money.  It is because of competition.  Delaware needs a new idea, and Colorado provides the answer…

Of course some will object.   Just like everyone originally objected to the idea of gambling ever coming to Delaware…

Gambling is now so entrenched, it is not only a part of our revenue stream, but its owners get concessions from the state itself at the expense of raises to the state employees.  Soon, state wages will be replaced by scratch-off cards…..

On the other hand, the revenues from marijuana are amazing.  Delaware could pay for one fifth of its state’s educational budget by legalizing and taxing this revenue stream alone.($82 million) However the smart move would be to put all these revenues into an endowment fund for later, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are sure to follow suit as our fumes cross state lines and infiltrate their state halls….. just as they did with casino’s, and eventually that Delaware’s consolidation on that income stream dries up…. But with an endowment, we can keep the benefit filtering in for decades into the future…. “as far as the eye can see.”

Of course, the first word out of the mouths of those politically connected, would be… “what about our friends, the Racino owners?”

And there’s the rub.  They benefit too….  In what other state can you gamble and smoke weed at the same time?  We’ll have to build new toll lanes just for the traffic trying to get into this state!

Courtesy of Conan O’Brian

There are 1500 newspapers, 1100 magazines, 9000 radio stations, 1500 TV stations, 2400 publishers, owned by only 3 corporations….

What else are you being fed? Seriously.

By the way, I went out shopping and bought myself one, two, or maybe ten things for myself… Don’t know what came over me. It’s the first year I’ve done that…

This just came in… This is exactly what we have been talking about… Stay to the part about the test… Listen… And you will finally understand why those of us who are parents, are against Common Core…

It dumbs our children… there is no other way to put it… It dumbs our children……

So, I ask, you who are in the middle, and hear things from both sides…. On one hand you have an actual parent, with an actual Common Core problem… and on the other hand…. you get this….. (thanks John)…

Just the intro music gives it’s fakeness away… Do,do,do,do,do,do,do,do,do, and a bass line boom,be,boom,be,boom,be…be.be,be, boom…

Now listen to what they say… What are they saying about Common Core that is different from just teaching? What they are discussing is simple teaching… They do not say anything about the tests…

Common Core is about the tests. It is only about the tests… Those same tests that failed 70% of New York’s students! Failed 70% of Kentucky’s students. Will fail over 50% of Delaware’s students….

So why would these people support Common Core? Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do… Boom, be, boom, be, boom,… be boom….

Well for one, all these teachers just won $10,000!!! And the guy who just gave you $10,000 says, hey! we’re shooting a video to commemorate this, Can you stick around afterwards for a few moments? You say sure…. and do about 10 questions before a big camera and go home… How were you supposed to know only the questions on Common Core would get YouTube’d?….

Which brings up the circular argument… If you reward someone who is a cheerleader for Common Core, then make a video of all the winners, just after they were paid $10,000 for being Common Core supporters….. Aren’t you going to have a film a little biased towards common core?

But listen to the weakness of their support. And compare that to the anger of the mom from Arkansas… In fact the only support we have EVER received in this state, is tepid, as if someone asked you about some dude named Kilroy, and you don’t really know him so you say, “oh man, he’s a great guy. Awesome really.. Yeah. Just great. Pretty good too. Yeah.”

That is the only endorsement for Common Core… Compare that to the prosecution’s argument against Common Core in the first video above… And this time… stay long enough to hear the test question on the test….

Really!… Common Core is ABOUT the test….. No matter how many times you try to spin it with the words “awesome”, “great”,and “pretty good.”…. if you get marked on the test wrong, and you answered it right… no child is going to get better with Common Core!

Recognizing the possibility that Obamacare will not create a default of USA payments, the Republicans have tacked on a new demand.

Although Congressman Boehner has said privately he is not in favor and thinks the idea is stupid, nevertheless the House has the vote to not pass a funding bill unless it’s demands are fully met.

As Mitch McConnell stated before the Senate,  “We Republicans will not acquiesce to raising the debt ceiling unless all our demands are met in full.”

The Democrats have met all the demands but one, and that one will never pass in the Senate, nor would it get signed by the President.

Although called ridiculous by pundits, moderate Republicans, and Democrats, the Tea Party segment has chosen to default upon our debts, if Sarah Palin is not added to Mt. Rushmore.

Although the expense would be astronomical, especially adding rock to the mountain to complete her new bustline, still Republicans who feel insulted by comments made by 99% of America’s citizens, want their respect bad.

Eric Cantor boldly stated:  “An America without Sarah Palin on Mr. Rushmore, is not America.  If it is not America, there is no special reason it cannot default on debt as any other country.  If you want America to be special, and by special I mean pay its obligations on time, then we must get the commitment to place Sarah Palin on Mt. Rushmore by October 1st.”

Currently the House has enough supporters to keep key budget legislation from being passed.  The President reiterated this afternoon, that he would not deal with hostage takers, over Sarah Palin’s bust.

Ted Cruz was said he would perform another all-nighter for Sarah Palin’s benefit.  He requested that she be by his side.

“With her beside me, .. I couldn’t go to the bathroom even if I went to the bathroom…”  Fox News picked up off an open mike.

It amazes me how quickly we forget. Our lives are so busy… Things blur by, pass in a moment to be replaced with a long line of new things to take their place… Did you know today was the 10th anniversary of Johnny’s passing?

I was curious an looked it up over the summer because my memory too had faded and I couldn’t remember which year it was. He passed September 12, 2003... The official cause was diabetes; however those who knew him, all knew he’d been in a hurry for some time to join June, who passed 4 months earlier….

As one watches the video, those of you old enough see an America we all knew as a child. Even if we weren’t country music fans at the time. That America is long gone, but one very similar has replaced it… full of economic hardships, angst, and self pursuit at the expense of inner peace. His music is more relevant today, perhaps than when we knew him.

I am surprised by the number of younger generation who live his songs, and know them, far better than those of the Beatles, Who, or Stones… His lyrics are simple, direct, and reach out to grasp that humanity that sometimes escapes us all.

it is ironical we were all talking about the VMA’s last week. For ten years ago, Johnny Cash was nominated and actually won, the VMA award for best cinematography for this video posted…

They called his name… And the winner is………………………………… Johnny Cash……….
All waited for his speech, but no one came up… Uncomfortable chatter as everyone looked around… After minutes someone came out from the back stage and said, Johnny is in hospital tonight and needs all of your prayers…. This award will be sent to him…..

Those prayers were answered just 15 days later…. He was in June’s arms before the night was over…..

“Watching you watching me / It’s so easy to see…/ Watching me watching you / It’s so obviously true”  Lyrics by Bill Withers… 

If there is anything one can gather from the Snowden release, it is that American media is severely compromised.

Here is the news we are constantly being given:

  • Interest and speculation on what Snowden must feel.
  • Speculation on where he might or might not go.
  • Speculation on what it must be like to live in an airport.
  • Breaking news of what Snowden’s father thinks and feels.
  • Reports on who back in Washington, feels he needs or needs not to be punished.
  • Accepting without question, the US Government’s case he is a spy, not a whistle blower.

=====

So here is what is not getting told.

A) Internet freedom is over.  Revelation that the US has the ability to read everything passing through the US, means that this connection is no longer trusted by the Chinese, the Russians, our economically competitive nations, those pirate sympathizers or people like you and me, who don’t want strangers accessing what we like to do when we have stripped off our professional skins and get down to being ourselves.

B) The Chinese have moved to seal off their own system. The Russians will have theirs up and running shortly. There will be soon be private enterprises who will set up secure connections that guarantee that no records will be given out based on the  model of the Swiss system of financial secrecy.

C) What this means, is that we revert back to the library system.  If you want to look up something in China, you will send a query, it will be approved as it leaves the US, it must be approved by the Chinese in order to enter, and it then gets directed to your party.  This requires human oversight, and will slow queries to weeks, instead of nano-seconds.  Same if you wish to find out something in Russia.  Heaven help us if a Chinese satellite breaks off course and drifts towards collision with the International Space station manned by Russians and Americans…  We’d never get the message.

D) We are hoping the US will be one monolithic entity under this, but imagine if it wasn’t.   Imagine if nothing liberal could be searched up in Texas?  Or nothing Conservative in Connecticut?

E) This is being effectively done, right now, and no news service in the US is reporting it.

F) Without Snowden we would not know that the NSA has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data.

G) Without Snowden we would not know that analysing data was not done by the NSA< but was  turned over to un-vetted private operators, such as employees of Booz Allen Hamilton.  Their employees had access to every email, every phone call,  every facebook account.   We would not know that half a million fellow citizens have high security clearances who shouldn’t.

H) Nor would there be a debate between Europe and the US over where the line between Freedom and security should lie.

i)  Control of the internet is about to get very contentious.  Knowing how the US and its internet corporations abused their control, certainly means the US cannot be counted on to oversea almost all of the junctions upon the net.   Google instead of being world wide, independent of the US government, is now seen as an express arm of that same government.  Yahoo, Verizon, AOL, Time-Warner, Microsoft, Comcast, all certainly cannot be trusted either…

J)  These revelations also damage the Obama administration’s credibility to its core. Proclaiming internet freedom in words, to cover up deeds on this gigantic scale, was an attempt to mislead.  Fully aware of the extent, and arguing for full internet freedom is equivalent of George Bush arguing for gentleness and amnesty towards Iraqi prisoners  to cover the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

K)  Snowden’s revelations tell us that NO United States- based internet provider can be trusted with your privacy.  Nothing that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.  If you are a company thinking of using a US company for servicing your IT needs, you now know that all your trade secrets will be up for sale.

This means the golden years for US internet companies may have come to an end.  If not their end, then at least these companies must now scramble to quickly evolve into different entities if they wish to survive.

Perhaps Swiss law might be tweaked to allow secure servers to set up camp somewhere in the beautiful Alps, who for NO reason, will give out any information….

More jobs going overseas.

Why is this not being mentioned in American media?  Are our reporters really that stupid?  Is our press truly nothing but Luddites who blindly go where authority directs them to go and look for clues?

That could explain why we constantly hear about  speculation about Snowden’s travel plans, asylum requests, state of mind, physical appearance, etc. The “human interest” angle over here, has trumped the real story.

The real story is that the NSA revelations expressly tell us how our networked world actually works and they portend the direction to which it is heading.

I hope you enjoyed your freedom while you had it.  The internet is through,.. Welcome to the Age of Internets…..   That is the real story.

The sub-story is that the NSA lied in March and emphatically said: this program flat-out did not exist.  So when they say they only see phone numbers… ?

cough, cough…

it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.

I’m usually done with a piece of legislation when it doesn’t go my way.. I always shared a disdain for those who lose and refuse to accept reality for what it is… But I’ve received so many questions over SB51, that I’ll break protocol, to discuss it for one last time…

The main question I’ve received most often, is why did I take on this unattainable cause. Surely one could see the writing on the wall when the Senate voted? Wasn’t it a waste of time?

Oddly, no. And I’m perplexed a little as to why I feel that way. Because it did suck up a lot of time and it had only two people vote against it in the entire General Assembly, and two abstentions (one principled and one physical.) So I’m going to try and work it out here, in type, as to why it was important to lead a fight against it. One that if one was keeping score, turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

The reason for SB51″s success, was its stealth. It was out of committee, in the Senate, out of the Senate, in the House committee, and on the House floor, each time with very little notice. In fact, it wasn’t until after it had passed the Senate that I began hearing how bad this bill really was. Perhaps in a regular year, that would not have occurred. Someone would have read the bill earlier as it hit the docket and passed that information along. It should be noted this is an extraordinary year. The recomposition of this General Assembly has made many big changes possible. Gay Marriage, Background Checks, Reporting Stolen Firearms, Repeal of Death Penalty, Kinder-Morgan, Assault Bans, Bans of High Capacity Clips, have kind of sucked the wind out of the room when it comes to a bill that says something sensible like we should be hiring smart teachers instead of dumb ones.

One of our most progressive commentators said something like “I can see no one having a problem with that.”

And indeed. This bill seemed to have everyone on board. DSEA, that educational labor union who represents teachers, RODEL who represents the corporate Investors, the Governor who put this prominently in his state of the state address, both parties whom neither wanted to be seen as being against better education, the Chamber of Commerce and those who fund the entities inside the Community Service Building on 10th Street, progressives, conservatives. There was no one who seemed not to want to rubber stamp it…

It took a lot of work to wake up even three people to contest it…. And that is a start….

With overwhelming support, my goodness, in percentage terms…. 93% of the entire General Assembly was in favor. That ironically was the same percentage of Delawareans that wanted Offshore Wind over the objections of 4 well place members of the Executive Committee back in 2007-8…

How can anyone “credible” be against such a good bill with “overwhelming” support?

I would say there is one common thread among those who first voiced opposition and carried the water for trying to educate the public about this bill. And if you agree or disagree, please feel free to chime in. This is an informal piece.

Anyone who has experienced Common Core, who has actually experienced it, would be against this bill. I experienced it by helping a student with their homework assignment. Teachers and administrators experience it in their professional capacity. School Boards experience it by being in the cross fire between the DOE and parents who are as upset as I was with the crap that is being passed off as “learning.”…

Obviously from the results of the vote, very few people in Delaware have experience Common Core. Once you see what it has done to your kids, you are outraged. Outraged. There is no other accurate description….

So the vote in support of SB51, was primarily based, if I could extrapolate, on ignorance. I too would have been right there with them if I had not had the cathartic experience of meeting Common Core face to face. Once one does, one quickly learns to hate it. For many, many years I have been privy to a lot of grumbling from educators over each new “program of the year”, but never, never have I experienced a deterioration in a student’s drive to do well, as I have seen across the board with Common core…. “A” Students just giving up and settling for “C’s”, because of the capriciousness of the teaching and those learning materials that come in “packets.”

Here is what has to happen. These tests and packets need to get leaked to the public. Once seen and ridiculed, the proper perspective and potential damage from Common Core becomes clearer. Further more, every single member of the educational committees of both the Delaware Senate and House, should take this bill. Then the General Assembly would finally be in alignment with where the parents will be next year.

This year was really the first where Common Core was trialed. Next year it will be much more extensive.

So when one says that our teaching colleges and universities will be rated by how well their student teacher’s students do on Common Core tests over the next five years, quite a bit of that sentence totally depends on how good or bad Common Core is… I can tell you… it’s really.. really… bad.

Common Core is no better than “No Child Left Behind.” That too was a landmark piece of legislation to make teachers accountable to teaching, and not sending unprepared students up the ladder. It was hailed as the crowning achievement of American Society. Those very few who looked at the detail, and questioned how it would work, were laughed at as being among those who wanted to “leave children behind.” But guess what? When that was implemented in full across the nation, it didn’t work. Students did worse instead of better. Gee, the educational structure asked? How can this be? Answer was, it didn’t work in Texas under then Governor George W. Bush, either. They just tweaked the test scores.

Common Core is no better. In fact, it is probably worse. And there are many reasons why, which have been discussed on this blog many times, as well as on Transparent Christina, Kilroy’s of Delaware, Delaware Way, and Seventh Type… It “can” be better, but those pieces are being squashed under “bigger” principles, such as busting the teachers union, paying off Wall Street investors, making fistfuls of dough out of charter schools and vouchers… Big money has got its roots into education and is now trying to choke off all competition from good crops..

This bill’s overwhelming victory is not the end…. In fact, I think it may just hasten the end of Common Core, instead of extending it… I think so because I know how bad this program is.. I know there is no way you, once you experience it’s insanity, its inadequacy, and its ineptitude, will be supportive of common core… You can’t be.. No one like being inside a Kafka novel. We have nine months to educate Delaware what Common Core will do to your children. Nine months… If we are wrong, and the public does not by then demonize this program, then perhaps it is good that this bill passed.

But I’ve seen Common Core face to face… so I sincerely doubt that outcome….

Then, come next January, January 2014 an election year no doubt, we again will see these familiar words with a lot of support behind it.

“Section 1. Amend the title of Chapter 12, Title 14 of the Delaware Code, by making insertions as shown by underlining and deletions as shown by strikethrough as follows:”……