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It is with deep personal sadness that I write this. All of us who send our children out the door every morning, never thinking it may be the last time we see them, are deeply affected. All of us uttered when we heard: that could have been my child.
The tragedy has now broadened. Three more families are having their lifelong dreams snuffed out with the arrest of those responsible for the death of that child..
Recently the talk shows were abuzz with one of the lawyers’s statements trying to woo public opinion towards sympathizing with the newest victim, the one arrested, and take our minds off the previous one, the one who died.
That man is just doing his job. He is being paid to represent the best interest of his client and he is doing what he is being paid to do. Getting angry at him for doing his job, though human, is not in society’s best long term interest.
The cause of death, it appears was congenital heart failure, and the lawyer’s argument that his client could not know about the flaw and was just having a little fight, never intending to kill her target, is probably accurate.
Yet, had the “little” fight never occurred, she would be alive today.
This is ultimately for the courts to decide. What we need to decide is what will we do about this. That is very important. A very horrible, horrible thing happened in that school. Justice must be meted out. In that courtroom battle we will be spectators only. We will have no impact on its verdict.
But we can do a lot of things. One of the first, is to vow that this can not happen again. The second is after making that decision, to begin working on preventing any other occurrence. We should do it because we know our child could be the next one.
Everyone on social media, on talk shows, in any public forum, has their opinion on what is needed to prevent the next re-occurrence. Some ideas are good; some impractical. They’ve been rehashed over and over so there is no point in me adding the same.
Because if you sit back and listen to them? They all start with…….”Somebody should do something about……”
Better security. Cellphones. YouTube. Bullying. Conflict Management. Better parenting. More religion. Better teaching.
And the lists tend to go on and on…. If you are like me, you probably saw the problem was in the first paragraph, not the second…. Wanting “someone” else to do something instead of you being the force of change….
And that is where this murder or killing, for me was different than all the others… I came to the conclusion that before my child or any other gets similar treatment, I need to work of doing something to fix this problem…
This tragedy is deeply depressing… It IS a sign of hopeless times. And there is nothing worse in the human condition, when you have exercised all your options, and know there is no hope left in you, for you. Things so much bigger than you have brought this down upon you. It was pointless, pointless, pointless. There is no redeeming factor here. A very wonderful child, who we would all be happy to have our children behave like her, is not here anymore. And to make things worse, her killer, is not some horrible, horrible human being, a maniacal, bloodthirsty, psychopathic, destroyer of human life… She too, is very much like our some of our own children… Anyone of which could possibly make the same decision under duress as did her, and instigate what they thought would be a minor fight for whatever reason, that went horribly wrong.
Four lives ruined, because of a fight…
It is all so senseless. So pathetic. So tragic in the deepest way.
So what are you going to do about it? Yes. I said “you”. What are you going to change in your own life that may at some future point in time, prevent a similar fight or argument that might also produce a similar morbid result?
Because that in essence, is what these things happen for. Though they happen on their own, outside of our world, outside our influence, they turn out to become a reality check on how little control we have over our fate. They become a reality check on how much we coast through our lives, preoccupied with things we think are so important, but when confronted by such events they are but minuscule compared to the loss of a child’s future.
And if… “you” don’t do something, or change, or do anything different to make a difference in some small way in the future, then there is no redeeming value in the loss of Amy…. But… if you make a point, any point, some point, just something different, to change something in the future, then believe it or not, there is some redeeming value in this action.
Now this is a hard topic, especially for her extended family. For them this is superfluous; nothing will bring Amy back. Nothing will fill that hole that remains for the rest of their earthly lives. Which brings back anger, hurt, rage perhaps, at least once every … single… day. But the rest of us can swear that this girl did not die in vain. The rest of us can swear that this girl woke us up. That this girl made us change in ways so that the world did become a little better for some people… The rest of us can swear that we will make positive change in our lives, her memorial… That she touched something in us that changed us; something that would still be inert, had this horrible tragedy not happened.
If I’ve lost you by this point, you are probably wondering what on earth could you possibly do to honor this person appropriately with your life choice?
So let me give one example before I close and I recognize that not everyone is the same as me, so if this rings hollow, I’d suggest you try what you feel is calling you to do…
But here is one thing. When you have a crowd of kids in your house, throw together some snacks and call them all together… Tell them you are sad someone had to die in school but you want to teach or tell all of them how they can prevent that from happening to them…. you can tell them that if their friends say they will beat someone up, that getting an adult involved beforehand, can fix the problem of why they want to beat that person up, without having anyone get hurt as a result. You can tell them stories of when you were little, and regrets you carry to this day. You can tell them that hurting someone just to be on YouTube is wrong; that if they watch those things, they are making others want to do it more… Best bet is for them to say doing that is stupid and to talk their friends out of it. You can tell them how easy it is to die, and how horrible one feels if one accidentally kills someone; how afterwards their life becomes horrible and worthless when it could have been great and fun. You can tell them that a good rule is that if they wouldn’t want someone to do something to them; they shouldn’t ever do it to someone else…
You should make it clear you love them; both your kids and their friends. You don’t have to say it, but if you treat them with respect, they will know. And if you did that, and followed through all the way through High School, and beyond, and you did just that little thing for Amy, …. then in a small mysterious serendipity sort of way, something good did come out of her murder whether that killing was intended or not….
And if all of you did it… there would be more good than if just one… And if you put what you were doing on Facebook or Instagram, inspiring other parents to do the same, and they did it, there would be a lot more good than if you hadn’t, and if they got results so it spread, then the possibility out there still lurks that great positive change all over, came about because of the horror of what took place in that school bathroom..
And if, when you are very tired after a long day of work… just want to put you feet up, turn on the TV and zone out for a nap, but don’t, and instead talk to your kids and their friends one more time, asking how they are, how their day went, and what they wanted to do in their future….and you did it, because something inside of you said only through your actions will redemption come through Amy’s passing, then regardless of how much you hurt, regardless of how close you were to her, regardless of how hopeless this made you feel… it was not in vain……
And if all of you can do that…. we are well on our way making sure another child, never, ever, gets killed in school. Period.
According to the FEC John Carney’s donation totals line up like this….
|1||JPMorgan Chase & Co||$10,000||$0||$10,000|
|1||American Institute of CPAs||$10,000||$0||$10,000|
|4||Investment Co Institute||$7,500||$0||$7,500|
|6||Tiber Creek Group||$6,250||$6,250||$0|
|7||New Democrat Coalition||$5,500||$500||$5,000|
|8||Depository Trust & Clearing Corp||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||United Auto Workers||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||Ernst & Young||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||Mortgage Bankers Assn||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||Capital One Financial||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||State Farm Insurance||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|8||American Seniors Housing Assn||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|20||National Assn of Health Underwriters||$4,000||$0||$4,000|
|20||New York Life Insurance||$4,000||$0||$4,000|
*registrants, or active lobbying firm
This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2015-2016 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families.Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
By category, the status is clearer….
Top 20 Industries contributing to Campaign Cmte and Leadership PAC
|Securities & Investment||$54,250||$4,250||$50,000|
|Misc Manufacturing & Distributing||$3,500||$0||$3,500|
|Oil & Gas||$2,500||$0||$2,500|
As Congresspeople go, this really is not bad. One should expect considerable financial interest in Delawares Congressional delegation as one should expect agriculture interest in Iowa’s.
Despite the current denials going around the Hillary supporters in the Democratic party, who insist that one must first show a quid pro quo vote per campaign contribution in order to show acquiescence to ones donors, I can say with certainty, that over the past ten years, I have correctly predicted a legislators final vote based on who his campaign contributor were.
And with that, I leave you John Carney…… exposed……
If there is anything a numbers person admires or appreciates, it is someone who does state budgets 7 years in a row. Yours was a herculean task. Like Clark Kent, laymen will never understand the super powers that lay therein, but rest assured, some of us do know.
You are a credit to our kind…..
Welcome home, soldier…….
Courtesy of The O Zone
You hear the handle turn, you here the wheels start to grind.. and then the sound.. the awful sound begins to screech… “Your taxes are going up; we can’t pay more money… Vote NO. It’s outrageous to pay more in taxes… Cut Administrators.. Blah, blah, blah”…and then the sound gets softer and softer and fades quieter and quieter into silence until the next person turns the handle and …”Your taxes are going up… we can’t…..”
And it’s a very small tiny ridiculously low amount of people who believe this crap. .. but they are highly motivated to vote.. Why? Because they get $15 dollars a hour to hand out pamphlets, call radio stations, and write letters to the editor… They are hired by large landowners, the developers…
The developers own thousands of acres. Just $200 an acre costs them a minimum of $200,000 dollars a year.. But, they are making hundreds of million each single year so that much money is still like losing a penny to us… But they still pay people to squawk.
The estimated average is that the increase will be around $237 a year… That means that half of the people who can afford to, will pay higher than that amount and half those who are living on tight incomes, will pay less….
Most houses sell for $240, 000 but they are assessed at 1974 levels.. Which means $60,000 for the above if an older house.. At $60,000 assessment, the current tax is $852 per year. (Go to that site if you know your assessed value), Your new tax will be roughly $180 dollars more… Divide that by month, it is $15.00 more you will find added to your escrow when you pay your mortgage…
If your house is at $100,000, and the 1974 assessment is $30,000, the current tax is $426 and the increase will be $90 more per year or $7.50 per month…
If you rent, this referendum costs you absolutely nothing..
If you are on the high end and have a house assessed at $500,000, your current assessment is $7,100… Your new assessment will be $8,600 ($1,500 more). That huge (cough, cough) jump puts you at an increase of $125 a month. Which it you own a $500,000 house, your cost increase is less than normal utility fluctations… Big deal.
So all the screaming is not from little people owning house, unless they got whipped up by someone with big money… The screaming is by the huge landowners who lease property…
But local real-estate experts insist that good schools DO lead to higher property values, and several studies done in other cities have found strong correlations between highly performing schools and higher house prices.
So defeating the referendum can cost your home to plummet in value by $120,000 balanced against voting “no” you saving your pocketbook $15.00 a month…
It is past time to raise revenue for schools. Many have gone years with no increase, yet costs increase every year. Just as your costs have increased, so have those of all schools. All districts must continue having referenda as often as possible until a “yes” vote occurs, simply because they are out of money. Referenda are the only way districts can increase revenues. Christina for example this year cut 90 teachers and raised.class sizes from 20 to 30 per class. That does not bode well for better learning. it does not bode well for your children….
That makes this a no-brainer. Vote Yes for the referendum…
I forgot to tell you something… Even though at the top I said these “NO” voters were a small sliver of the population,… they all vote. And even though parents of school children can easily overwhelm them 1,000 to one, they don’t every referendum because only 5000 of those 50,000 parents supporting children even bother to go out and vote… Just 6000 “NO” votes were able to derail the last referendum, because only 5000 yes votes bothered to show up…
If you don’t vote, the no’s win… That simple. Everybody who cares about Delaware, needs to vote to make Christina District a better place for all.
Bottom line, this extra tax is not a burden and you have so much benefit to gain for your yes vote. Don’t be dissuaded from voting in YOUR best interest by some fly-by-election-night outfit that is paid for, owned, and controlled by the wealthy landed class of citizens who can easily afford to give up billions for our schools, but cry over giving up 30 additional cents per $100 dollars of assessed value… For a nice $200,000 home, you pay $15.00 a month more for the privilege of living in a district with great schools…
People lie, lie, lie… Math never does.
- Increase Taxes substantially on the top 1% of Delawareans by increasing incrementally the top marginal tax rate.
- Override the Opt Out veto, giving parents the ultimate role in their child’s education.
- Remove and replace the crony Smarter Balanced Test with a test that can actually help students with immediate feedback.
- Remove charter schools from being funded per student and have them paid by line item in state budget, bringing them under tighter public scrutiny and control.
- Quickly pass HB 217 (Keeley) which is designed to require that firearms which are recovered from crime scenes be entered into the National Crime Information Center firearm database system.
We have a tough session ahead. All of these are no-brainers and should quickly be put to rest so attention can be focused outward towards new things.
It comes with a caveat. To succeed he must return to his liberal roots. The ones he ran on in 2008 and before. I often hear newcomers praise Matt Denn and in the same breath curse Jack Markell. They probably do not know that at one time they were like butt-buddies in philosophy and direction. Both early supporters of Blue Water Wind over the evil Delmarva Power. (only 8 years ago). Both were against the Death Penalty. Both were for extending rights to Gays. Both were for helping the little guy. Both were against Charters. And both were against man made Global warming, and those corporate extremists who made it happen. Both were pro-business but it had to be ethical business. neither supported being for business so it could continue its unethical business practices…. Both were pro-FOIA, opening government to the scrutiny of its citizenry. Both were against Thurm Adams and his desk drawer veto.
it’s funny when newcomers try to take the current Markell back through his role as Treasurer as proof of his evil ways. For he wasn’t evil back then at all. He was a champion for reform, so much so that he challenged and won the governorship over the Democratic Party’s pre-chosen candidate, John Carney, who was seen as less the progressive.
It’s funny what a few years can do.
But Markell’s track record puts him in very good position to be a leading progressive candidate if he were to try. What better argument against Conservative counter punches could be made than this?
When I was governor and ran a state, I tried exactly what you propose…and it didn’t work.. What would have worked better would have been this: and then list progressive policy….
Still skeptical? Try these then make up your own…..
“When I was governor I tried cutting back on state spending by attempting to cut to my state employees salaries by 8% and my legislature held it to a 2% decrease. One would think that such a streamlining of expense would decrease taxation and cause businesses to move in and create growth. Instead, as the state’s largest employer those cuts had a 1.6% multiplier aggravating the economic damage. Fewer revenues then expected were generated the next year because it hurt those who lived on those earning government salaries as well. With hindsight, the proper approach would have been to keep them the salaries continuous, and to apply a tax on the top echelon who survived the depression rather well, and use that new revenue as the funding for the existing government…. As the economy improved, taxes could be lightened… That would have worked faster than the conservative approach I took.”
When I was governor I pushed Common Core hard. I led the nation in its implementation, though held off on being the first to use the test. I still believe some things in Common Core are good for society but with hindsight, I would divorce Common Core tests from being used as the sole ranking of teachers and schools. We found that no matter how hard we pushed accelerated learning, that having one standard set high for all, was defeating. A lower standard set for all works better because there is some realistic chance for all to achieve it. Those on the bottom CAN become proficient with lots of hard work. We found that even our best teachers in our worst schools still gave us the worst scores in our state. We found that mediocre teachers in our best classes still had the best scores. In essence we found no correlation between test scores and quality of teaching. All test scores do we found, is measure the quality of prenatal and infant care. With hindsight, I would say that to do well for our students, all of our students, we need to focus mostly on increasing the human element of education, and particularly in schools of high risk, where the poverty level is over 50% of the student body, we must guarantee an 11:1 student/teacher ratio, insist that it happens and willingly pay for its expense.
When I was governor I tried wooing companies into my state with bribes. I offered no taxes. state loans. even support fees tacked to citizens electricity bills. This was done primarily to develop jobs which were much needed in my state. With hindsight I would have focused more on making sure economic demand remained high instead of trying to get new business to come in. If the demand had stayed at pre-depression levels, jobs would have stayed and remained Instead we gambles on a few temporary jobs involving construction and then when they evaporated we were left continuing to pay the costs, which even today drag down the economy.
When I was governor, we had a automobile plant close up and a possible buyer for it needing some money up front to purchase it. We helped them but they went bankrupt. We lost our loans which we thought were guaranteed to be refunded from sale of its assets. Turns out corporate raiders were ahead of us in line. That points out a discrepancy in law needing adjusted. There is no way private investors putting up money at risk, fully knowing the risk, get first dibs of return over a government who puts up the people’s money to benefit its people. That was just plain wrong and an inexperienced candidate will fall into the same trap as did I. I know ahead of time it does not work.
When I was governor I tried to put in a toxic power plane in the middle of our college town. i thought that any reason to create jobs was reason enough. We tried very hard to engineer the town council and the electorate in order to get proper votes and we succeeded there. However the university walked away from the deal and the deal died. With hindsight, I would not put in a dirty power plant just for jobs. Oil, gas, and coal are done. There are always other options and anything that destroys the atmosphere and our climate, though helpful in the short run, cost far more in the long run than other cleaner alternatives. In truth we misjudged the sophistication of our electorate and their ability to counter our claims with scientific fact, which turned the population against us. The answer I can tell you to America’s future energy is in pursuing the clean energy options and by increasing their efficiency, we lower the cost per kilowatt. Any other way just does not work.
When I was governor I tried getting rid of our Port which is run by the state, by selling it to a private company Kinder Morgan. i thought we had negotiated a very good deal guaranteeing wages at current level for 3 years, and keeping everyone employed the same length of time. However, anytime one privatizes something that is state owned, it is an economic loss to the surrounding area. Private companies hire less than state because they run more efficiently. However, that also means less income and less tax pours into the city. With hindsight, I have learned that privatization is good if the public receives a benefit from better efficiency. But that it is bad, if the service being privatized is something that belongs to all, or requires constant upkeep and maintenance, in which case state ownership is better than private. When our state legislature passed legislation making them the final arbiter of decision, my client pulled out of the deal and the port is doing fine still under state control. I’m here to tell you that privatization of public works only benefits those who buy the operation at a low cost…. There is a reason they were originally state run and that is they are there to serve you first.
When I was governor i tried to weaken our environmental policy in order to bring in jobs. Some companies were used to not having to comply to environmental regulations and they were the only ones who seemed interested in our properties. So we catered to them. We were able to hide most environmental problems and get approval by most local governments. But with hindsight, I would argue now for the other extreme. Protect the environment at all costs. We can always pass on jobs. They are temporal; they rise and fall. But damage to the environment is almost generational, lasting as long as humans are alive. There are always new jobs being created; every day something new is created. But environmental damage is very harmful and lasts a long, long time, It continues doing its damage long after whatever company that caused it has folded and those jobs are now three states away…. I have learned by being governor that the most important thing we have is our environment and that never should we let temporary jobs blind us to the loss of many future jobs because of our polluted lifestyle..
As a Presidential candidate these arguments would be hard to bust with theoreticals. Nothing works as well as saying I tried that, it doesn’t work. it would also focus the argument on policy instead of personal traits, something our media is scared to do.
The combination of a sharp younger looking candidate saying the right things people are dying to hear, would do well for our current governor if he ran as a liberal in 2016… And if he rigged the Delaware primary to be on January 2nd, ahead of all others, he would be the leader for a while with three delegates.
I know many are skeptical. But seeing Markell in action readily shows he can be presidential material. but only if he runs now, and only if he uses his mistakes to burst the bubbles always painted for Democrats by their Republican opponents. He plays a room well. He only gets in trouble by those outside the room who don’t appreciate what he is doing. If he just return to his own roots, and ditch the pro-business persona he has taken on, he could go far, possibly being offered the Vice Presidency on a winning ticket if he just would be more liberal.
The very reasons his detractors are calling for his head, would make him a great leader if he was only on the right side of the issues for a change…..
Newark City is thinking of privatizing their garbage collection.
Here are things to remember:
- As a public service, their prime duty is to their customers. Which is you.
- As a private service, their prime duty is to their investors, not you.
- As a public service, there is public input allowed on raising the rates.
- As a private service there is no public overseer of rate rising.
- As a public service hiring locals, all the money spent on labor, returns to your economy.
- As a private service the money spent on labor goes to where each employee lives.
- As a public service if you complain someone follows up.
- As a private service they can tell you, we just don’t do that…
- As a public service, a contract is valid as long as the city is standing or until it is replaced by City Council
- As a private entity, a contract is null and void as soon as the company is acquired by another investor.
These are the grand points to ponder… Another is this… can a private service perform the operation as well or cheaper than the city. If savings are sufficient, it may pay to switch….
But this concerns all of you… Please go to the Church of the Nazarene on Paper Mill Road for the discussion and public airing of this proposal… Set this date… Monday, September 21, 2015 … at 6 pm…. Don’t be pushed around… And don’t believe everything you hear about privatization… some of you still remember what happened with Delmarva Power….
They were 39 days late… but we got them… The preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessments….
The big takeaway was: is that all there is to it?
We’ve been arguing over this for 4 years. (I’ve been doing it for 3). We’ve spent $119 million dollars of Race To The Top Money to bring this to fruition. And we’ve been promised so much good would come from this test that we had no choice BUT to go forward with it…
But looking at the scores, it is the same as it ever was…. Nothing changed. Kids didn’t learn more. Kids may have learned less. If one takes the word of students and teachers, each student spent 8 hours taking this test spread over an average of 3.25 days…
At 70,000 Delawarean students taking the test, a total of 560,000 learning hours were spent on this actual test… One has to ask if that is worth the cost…
Over half a million hours were spent on this test… just so we can fire teachers. Is that the best use of our students time? Or should every parent be concerned with this, and insist that we return to the DCAS, one which took far less time and unlike this test, gave teachers feedback they could give students immediately afterwards.
Because we all know.
If experts say 8 years olds should be able to jump over a 3 foot high bar and you raise it to 5 feet, you are going to have fewer successful jumps… So anyone who says “see, how terrible education is today?: by looking at these scores, needs to be laughed out, ridiculed, and then ignored…. Because they don’t mean anything… Nothing at all.
The real question that needs to be asked is this… By raising the bar to 5 feet, did more people jump over the 3 foot bar then before… That data would tell us if this program was a success or failure…
But we don’t have that data… All we know is that fewer people “passed” because we made “passing” beyond the capabilities of all but our most developed and well trained….
So.. parents… is this truly worth $119 million dollars? So teachers…. is this truly worth $119 million dollars… So administrators… is this truly worth $119 million dollars?
Money that was taken from reading coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school. Money that was taken from math coaches that the Minner administration placed in every school. Money that was taken from having a policeman in every school… Money that was taken from supplying classrooms. Money that was taken from extra curricular activities. Money that was taken from the libraries. Money that was taken away from field trips. Money that was taken away… .. from you… After all, it is your money now being spent on this…
Did you get all the worth over what you paid? Are your kids Smarter? Do they seem more balanced?
If yes, we can’t knock the program … It appears to have worked… But if no, then as many of us have pointed out, this is a boondoggle of epic proportions….
So, when you looked over the preliminaries… did you too say…. “Is that all there is?
Someone is getting rich… somewhere…
Compare these to a $40 million dollar flop of the fantastic four….