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Award For Delaware's Most Influental P/P/or T of The Year
The Golden Flush Award
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Usually this is an after thought…” Oh, wow, year’s over, let’s get a person of the year”…  And then once we elect one,  we go… “holy crap… we totally forgot so and so….”

So to try to stir up some old simmering coals of memory, both mine and others, and perhaps even to (heaven forbid) get some debate going in the blog sphere, I thought I’d make an initial run on Thanksgiving Week, and then add people into the nominating category as others mention various ones I should kick myself for forgetting.

It will also force me to review the year which is something I rarely do… because face it, as a human being, I am slave of the moment….  If I did this last year, come December 14th the entire world would have been turned upside down and all the old priorities of 2012,  would in one day become trivial….

And so starting early gives me the chance to make the argument for each of those I decide to enroll with your kind recommendations included….

Julius Cephus:  Particularly this one man organized and stopped an end run around the Port of Wilmington.  The Kinder Morgan deal did not go through, and the Wilmington Port is bustling like never before…   Kinder Morgan was to strip the union of power, and drop the rates of pay, further dampening the economy of Wilmington proper.  It was also the first defeat of a Lavine-Markell development project, .. Fisker and Bloom had gone forward without a hitch.  Julius and other’s push back resulted in a General Assembly motion that stated they, not the governor, had final approval. It was the first time we were exposed to the current Governor’s manipulations.  They were to play a significant part across this year’s tapestry.

Steve Newton:  A blogger who has written infrequently, but effectively. His piece on SB 51  is what alerted us to the end run being performed by Dave Sokola on lowering the current standards being used for educating teachers.  It is brilliant.  It took an evening of reading the legislation line by line and cross referencing  it with Steve’s analysis, to understand the huge negative impact this bill would cause.  By the time this was done, the Bill had already passed the Senate unanimously without comment, and with an friendly amendment added that was voted upon without even being read.  Some public outcry was mustered within the House, both in committee and on the floor, but under the Governor’s direction, the Speaker of the House, pushed the bill to the floor before significant outcry could be mustered.  Only 4 House members were not on record for it’s passing.  Our educational schools now have to water down their teaching standards to meet the new law.  Steve also has brought the Highmark story to Delaware.  His research in the increase of medical costs in Western PA as a result of knocking out competition by unfair practices, leads one with a cold chill of what to expect in Delaware’s future.  We are already there.  As an insurer, Highmark is only paying medical claims in its own affiliated clinics.  As the new Blue Cross/Blue Shield owner, that is a huge percentage of Delaware’s residents.  None can go to any other hospital.  He has properly fingered Karen Weldham Stuart for not catching this prior to implementation.  Without Steve, this would have passed unnoticed.  The News Journal still has not once mentioned the takeover of Delaware’s health field under one owner.

Ernest Lopez.  If Kennedy were still writing Profiles of Courage, he should include this man.  Ernest Lopez is a conservative, and voted with Libertarian values to pass the gun legislation recommended by Markell and Biden.  Reflecting the views of his district, instead of taking the threatening message sent to him down from the NRA, he voted for his district.  A very vocal minority, who is always vocal, and always in the minority, swore they would unseat him.  He disregarded their idle threat, and voted both his and his constituents conscious.  A major billboard was put up to call him out.   His vote caused the passage of us now requiring background checks at public gun sales.  Now a certifiably insane person cannot slap cash and get a gun.  It is a no-brainer, and Ernie was the only Republican with brain enough to even know what a no-brainer is….

Cathy Cloutier:  her vote allowed gays to marry.  Again, she is a Republican who said enough is enough… Tired of voting against her conscious just so Sussex County would not flip over to the Democrats, she finally did not toe the line and voted along the lines of her own constituents, all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.  In doing so, she went against the entire grain of her party, who firmly feel that gays are second class citizens, even though most Republicans in office are closeted gays.

Bethany Hall Long:  on the same vote, made a viable personal decision, and also voted for the legalization of gay marriage. Unlike Cathy’s vote, this was accomplished at great personal sacrifice, for all of those in her personal life, were solidly against this policy from taking effect.  In voting for what was morally right, she had to contend against those whose influence she could not escape.  She went with the correct vote, over the easy one.   As a result, Gay marriage is now legal in Delaware.

Paul Baumbach:  gave great ammunition against the fight for SB51, and later against HB 165. Both bills which will damage Delaware’s education for years to come.  He was one of the four who put up a fight on the House floor.  Paul also arranged for the meetings in Newark to discuss the new Power plant that figured in this past week’s election.

John Kowalko:  also was against SB51, HB 165, as well, being against the power plant.  In fact, John was the first person to sound the alarm over how big the power plant would be.  Without his big voice, it may have slid through unnoticed.  The power plant has defined northern Delaware politics since September.

Kim Williams;  responsible for HB 40 which investigates Charter School’s meddling into our educational systems.  She was as an acting state representative, allegedly refused entrance into a committee hearing on education, for fear she might say something damaging to the bill being rushed through….  She brought to the public’s knowledge, that the Charter School bill was drafted illegally without public input, and the charter group constructing it, was also under FOIA, to which the private group denied.  The Attorney General backed up her assertion, that the bill was formulated illegally but their decision was moot, because the bill was passed both houses anyways.  Kim Williams also in the HB 40 task force, led the group to realize that charter schools unlike public schools, do indeed filter those entering charters to weed out those who might lower their test scores….

Mark Murphy, Rodel, Sweeney, Hefferman, and the Fake Educational Reform Establishment:  I almost purposefully did not post this.  Although the first person’s name is usually followed by explicatives whenever mentioned, it is unlike Voldermort’s, still getting mentioned.  Mark Murphy was not put in his position based on his ability. He was placed there for his loyalty to the cause of  corporatizing public education.  Markell pulls the strings, Murphy figures how to get it done…  It is hard to make a puppet the most influential person of the year… So I was going to skip him… But at the last minute, remembered that every time  he or anyone of these make an op-ed, it resonates as gigantic news. The entire community rises up to counteract each op-ed, usually with the word “lies” thrown liberally about…. So, they do exert an influence.  I looped all of them together, as the group of liars in a Greek play, who stand on the stair steps and taunt the protagonists.  Well,… they are part of the play…….

Dan Short:  Sometimes villains get noticed too.  Primarily a single issue candidate, who personally supports the NRA, he actively campaigned and organized to create enough backlash so Markell’s gun laws could not get enough votes…  Without him, there is a possibility that all four of Markell’s gun control pieces of legislation would have passed both houses of Delaware’s legislature. Dan Short should be given the credit for stopping them.

John Sigler: Single handedly by his very brief tenure as the re-elected head of the Republican Party, he pointed out through his pigeon shooting, just how inept the Republican Party was at everything else.  With his leaving, all fissures cracking the Republican bedrock, were impossible to ignore.  Blogs split. The IPOD’s split. Former candidates of the same party just months earlier, now not talking to each other. The Delaware Republican Party is dead; no it is past dead.  More dead than a pigeon shot inside a box by John Sigler, former head of the Delaware Republican Party.

Nancy Willing: Her blog, the Delaware Way, is the go-to site for local information. Whether about Dover, about New Castle County, about any of New Castle County’s associations, Nancy combs all sources and puts them down in aggregate form. Heavily involved in the Power Plant controversy, The Delaware City Rail Yard controversy, Barley Mill controversy, the Woodlawan controversy, the Kinder Morgan controversy, the Charter School Controversy, the Common Core Controversy, Nancy has who is saying “what”, and links to “why”. One can expend less energy by using her blog to follow all the stuff the News Journal neglects, in a few quick empty steps.

Amy Roe:  a head of the Sierra Club, who emerged from nowhere to lead the fight against the power plant, and give quite a run against the establishment candidate.  Becoming the face the anti- power movement could coalase behind, she gave the anti power plant movement both dignity and grace.  Coming up short only 115 votes, she has awakened Newark now politically as never before…  The power plant if it goes forward, now has a strong group of Newarkeans against it.  Hopefully they will be monitoring it regularly and helping authorities keep in in compliance with all local law.

Tom Gorden; although much quieter than his first term in office, Tom Gorden is rapidly rolling back the privileges the previous Clark administration handed over to our state’s top developers. The Barley Mill plaza which had a green light, is now parked at a red. In a big sea change, though handled quietly, community groups are now no longer persona non grata in county government. It is no longer accepted as a matter of course that the Woodlawn Trust will be gobbled up by developers. If enough fight can be mustered, it can be stopped. Furthermore, with Tom there is closer coordination with the City of Wilmington, than we have experienced anytime in our lifetimes. In the county, local policing has been stepped up, particularly in neighborhoods prone to crime…

Dennis Williams: Came in with grand expectations, which looked deliverable for a while. The tide is turning and his relevance on this list, is because every day, the headline reality in Wilmington’s streets, brings his electioneering boasts back to haunt him, like a sizzling hot branding iron.  Time, Dennis, to say “Damn the torpedoes… Their punk asses are going in jail no matter which blowhard on City Council spouts off,before mine gets tossed in jail for impersonating a mayor..”

Alan Levin:  Jack Markell’s second in command, he was instrumental in defending Markell’s position on Kinder Morgan and the port, as well as the new power plant for the data center. He also had a hand in keeping Dole in Delaware, and worked to slip the power plant past a slew of unsuspecting Newark City officials.

Jack Markell: had his hand in everything.  He was behind Kinder Morgan’s takeover.  He was behind SB 51 and HB 165.  He was behind the illegal charter group, requiring HB 40. He also was the driving force for the four rational steps to gun legislation, 2 of which were passed. He was also the driving force behind the passage of gay marriage, signing the bill in the chambers just moments after its passage. He also supported the transgender bill in its travels through the labyrinth of Legislative Hall. He as behind keeping Dole in Delaware. He was behind changing an icon in Millsboro away from pickles, over to poultry. He pushed the bill to curtail Flowers. Despite your opinion over whether these were good or bad, they still showed a ubiquitous and wide reach across the state of Delaware. Seems like nothing got done that didn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

John Young: As head of Christina board, John Young led the board in standing up to Mark Murphy and Jack Markell, by refusing the RTTT funds slated for his district. Although some hired fools, (Jea Street) tried to paint Young into a corner, it served the opposite purpose and gave Young a platform. For the fist time, Common Core was getting publicly bashed. For the first time, many were finding that aligning themselves blindly to this sham of improving standards, was probably going to hurt them politically in the next couple of years. It was the fist salvo back, so the damage estimates were not high, but it did open eyes of many who had been on the sidelines of all educational issues, making them also become vocal in fighting Common Core. His blog Transparent Christina has channelled a lot of detailed information into the Delaware market, and had made Common Core an apprehension, instead of the savior it was supposed to be….

Kilroy: Kilroy has always been haranguing over education. In fact he was doing such a good job I left that issue alone for years, because other issues for me, like the economy and elimination of guns from the hands of the mentally ill, were more important. But as the issue has shifted back into the limelight, Kilroy’s hard hitting is making its mark… Kilroy is blunt, and right now, that is the language that needs to happen. Blunt descriptions of what takes place in the stratosphere of he academic field…. Kilroy often breaks stories before the News Journal, especially ones embarrassing to the Murphy/Markell cartel of education. If you have read Kilroy over the past couple of years, you would already know that Common Core is not the panacea we have been promised. It is a power grab for taxpayer dollars, financed by Wall Street itself…. If you think otherwise, you haven’t been reading a balanced reading list….
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That is what I have so far. In retrospect I am surprised that education has played so much, as even I have only come to that topic lately… But if one looks over the News Journal op eds, education really did dominate the discussion in the 2nd smallest state this year….

I may have forgotten some big ones. To reiterate, that is why I am posting this early, to catch those big mistakes as they get brought to my attention….

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It’s time I put this in perspective.

Here are the news feeds.

A Different Romney Wins The Debate.
The Family Intervenes and Pushes Stuart Stevens Out of Inner Circle
Titians of Finance to Fight for Raising Taxes

Coupled with the opinion polls, what is happening is very obvious.

Americans support Democratic middle class values, they abhor the wing nuts of the Republican Party.

The opinion polls tell it all. While Romney was campaigning to see who could be the most conservative, he did very poorly against the Democrats when polled. Americans far preferred “the imploders” at first, people more mainstream in appearance, like Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorium, .. that is until they became familiar with their values…

It is not coincidental, that the last two Republican presidential candidates were the ones with the most LIBERAL credentials. Because America accepts those credentials. What America rejects, is slash and burn Conservative policies, that require no personal freedoms to individual Americans, whether it is economic, vaginal, religious, or political. Everyone is expected to conform to a very narrow norm.

So we now have a Republican who did exactly what he said early during the primaries. He shook the Etch A Sketch and is now running as the Liberal Governor of Massachusetts.

“I will not give a tax break to the top 20%.
There will be no tax cut on the top one percent.
I will not get rid of Roe versus Wade. Abortion is here to stay.
I will not put religion into government. Government is Government. Religion is Religion.
I will not nuke Iran.
I will not cut one penny from government spending.
I will support the rapid growth of wind farms and solar energy.
I will not cut 716 million from Medicare, even if it IS in my economic plan.
I never proposed $5 Trillion in Tax cuts.
I will not cut spending. I will raise it by 2 Trillion Dollars.
Government is too small. I will grow government to make it better.
I will not stop women from getting abortions.
I will not stop the removal of God from government….
Homosexual marriage is not really that bad after all, as long as they LOVE each other and it’s not just sex.”

These were all in the debate. It was a different Romney speaking. Why? Because as a conservative he was losing. As a conservative he was out of touch with America. As a conservative HE WAS IN THE MINORITY WITH MINORITY VALUES.

As Conservatives long expected, Romney is a liberal. They know it. Really? How does anyone expect a Mormon to support Pat Robertson and the 700 Club? You do it out of expediency; not a genuine shared system of belief….

But the point of this is not about Romney. It is about Conservatism. Conservatism fails, and simply for that reason alone, it is not upheld by a majority of Americans.

Which means, to win, one has to be a Liberal Republican… Just look at the polls. As soon as the Liberal Romney comes out of the closet, the polls get real tight….

But, as we saw with Bush W. You may run as a Liberal, but when you get in, it’s the Conservatives who take over. Two wars, a pharmacy company bailout, and regular government operation, all which were financed by our grand children’s future payroll deductions. They get to make less money so today’s Republicans can take it all.

In other words, to be a Republican President, you have to “trick” yourself into that position.

So, America, I know it sounds nice now, but over and over and over you have said, no that is not what we want.

What we do want, is someone who will do what we want, when they get into running America. let’s take the last president for example. Obama got us out of a recession in record time. One that was far worse than the Great Depression to some extents. Obama saved the American Automobile Industry. To do so he had to drive hard bargains against all parties . Obama killed Osama Bin Laden. America got what it paid for when they voted Obama.

Why change horses in the middle of the stream, especially when the other horse is heading back in the other direction? The wrong direction according to almost all Americans?

Romney knows that backwards direction leads to ruin. That is why the new Romney pushed the campaign message- minder outside the inner circle, and why Romney is now currently running for women’s rights. for the secularization of government, for the complete protection of the environment, for the elimination of greenhouse gases, and for the increase of taxes on the wealthy. That is why Romney is doing better in the polls….

Conservatism is truly dead.

Would any American support a law imposed on us by the Soviet Union?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Communist China?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Islamic Iran?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Mexico?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Canada?

Would any New Yorker support a law imposed on them by South Carolina?

Would any South Carolinian support a law imposed on them by New York?

Would any Delawarean support a law imposed on them by Alaska?

No?

When put in this perspective, the phrase…”it’s the law…” rings rather hollow…

It’s the law… of what? It’s the law of…. who? It’s the law decided by whom?…… What reference does this law have to me?

Such is every Americans feeling to corporate law… These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our knowledge. These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our approval… There laws were applied to the lawbooks not in an open environment, but subtlely sneaked in, unannounced, unnoticed, unapproved, unsubstantiated, and unconstitutional…..

These laws that are being upheld, benefit a very thin percentage of people, a razor thin percentage of people. at the expense of the majority…..

Rick Santorium stands up and states we are a nation of law. We follow the rule of law…

Yes, we will follow a rule of law onto which a majority of us signs on to… But nowhere in our contract with America did we agree to follow laws that have not been sanctioned by the Constitution as being legal. Nowhere in our contract with America, did we agree to follow the phantom that corporations were human beings. that corporations had just as much right as people to write laws, get them passed, and then uphold them… as if they were people….

There are times when breaking the law, is better than following it…

If you don’t believe me, just ask Jesus.

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

John Carney hit the news. He wants to eliminate the high density transmission lines from crossing our state.

He means well. His reasoning for arguing against this use of public domain, is that such transmission lines will make it easier for Midwestern energy, most of it from coal fired power plants, to migrate to the East Coast. Fortunately we have had no brownouts. One brownout lasting too long, can quickly change public opinion towards favoring immediate access to additional energy, when and where it is most needed.

Normally I would agree with John on this issue. He is actually severing himself in a small way from the Minner administration which as his critics point out to whom he is closely tied. Minner gave her solid support for building these high density lines.

But while batting down Harris McDowell’s letter to the General Assembly, created while on some R & R time spent in Amsterdam square, I learned that the primary inefficiency caused by wind power in Europe, was that continent’s lack of high density transmission lines needed to move power from where it is generated, to where it is consumed. In Denmark, more high density lines connect the wind turbines to outside of the country, then connect to their own population centers. In Germany, to send power to the southern half of that country, it must be routed through the Benelux countries, since those nations have the high density lines, and Germany does not……..

Bluewater will not live up to its potential if it cannot send its excess to the hungry DC energy market… During peak generation times, without these lines in place, many of the turbines will have to be taken off line. Meaning somewhere……coal will have to be burned to replace the power lost because someone opposed the placement of high density transmission lines across Delaware.

Furthermore, there is great possibility that sooner than anticipated, much more of this nation’s energy will be derived from wind blowing through the Midwest. The entire world’s current electrical needs could be furnished by three Midwestern states,… if we had enough turbines to capture the wind capacity that exists there………Meanwhile, back in Delaware, on a slow day we will need that “far away” green energy to run our globally warmed air conditioners, back here, straining to capacity…….

Denying these transmission lines in order to slow the burning of fossil fuels, is admirable. On this point Carney should be commended. (Golf clap). But to deny electricity produced by wind power from reaching those most needing it, and causing an increase of fossil fuel burning to make up that very difference…..is unconscionable.

So what looked like a safe stick to drive some support into ones growing political camp, turns out to be a sleeping copperhead that can fatally fang one if one fails to let go and hangs on one second too long.

What is interesting is that Carney’s primary opponent, and early supporter of Bluewater’s wind power’s bid, supported the same argument, which ironically harms the efficiency of the Bluewater wind farm once it is built.

From the News Journal: “State Treasurer Jack Markell, who is vying with Carney for the nomination, said he has “not met a single Delawarean who wants a high-transmission corridor running through our state.”

As more Delawareans learn how Delaware will uniquely benefit from selling what was once molecules of air passing over Rehoboth Beach, to a power hungry public in the gigantic metropolitan areas to our west, this misinterpretation of whether we suffer or benefit from high density transmission lines, will be resolved………

Just a heads up John and Jack…..I’m sure you didn’t know………..

Courtesy of REPower
Courtesy of REPower

Today Bluewater Wind took the first step towards “The kavips Compromise”. They removed from negotiation, all cost incrementals, to which the PSC and the Independent Consultants had objected. Thanks to Maria Evans of WGMD, we have the actual hard copy of this proposal to show.

Bluewater proposes to go beyond the IC’s suggestion and eliminate such escalators entirely.

Overheard on Loudell’s evening news, however, is that the price was less than a dollar ( “a few cents”) over their original (2006) proposal.

Wow!

Bluewater has stepped up to the plate, bat in hand. As things stand right now, as of this minute, all Delawareans will benefit for the next twenty-five years, by paying less for electric, than twenty states do now…. Imagine locking into a deal in 1982 for gasoline at $1.30 a gallon….Worthwhile investment would you say…….?

Not to mention, the lack of mercury embedded in our children’s lungs from sucking in coal smoke. Not to mention the CO2 savings our source of cheap stable energy will keep from being burned for our benefit. Not to mention, the drop in demand for medical services, as we raise a new generation of human beings who lack the carbon-pollution “huffin’ tendencies of their parents……These are just perks that come with the package. “Paying our bills, with a little more extra for ourselves, is where it is at baby……!”

Now that Bluewater has stepped up, it is time the public side of our government to do the same. Our part of the deal was to allow Bluewater wind to build the 600MW farm they had originally proposed, and selling any excess to the grid………As  Americans, they have as much right to earn a living as I do. Putting power where it is needed, equidistant from DC and NYC, will do much to benefit the PJM grid that supplies us.

On a side note, unless we want to repeat the mistakes of Denmark and Germany, those high density transmission lines need to be built ASAP. More about that in a future story……

Right now, the immediate problem at hand, is to continue supporting the 600MW option, with excess over the 300MW designated for Delmarva, going to fill the power sucking vortex of DC/Baltimore. If that can happen, all Delawareans can BREATHE a sigh of relief………

Bluewater is warmed up, ready to bat. Will representatives of our state government, throw them a slider right up the middle into the sweet zone?

They better. Perhaps you would like to tell them yourselves?


Arnetta McRae, Chair
Public Service Commission
861 Silver Lake Boulevard
Cannon Building, Suite 100
Dover, DE 19904
Fax: (302) 739-4849
Email c/o Karen Nickerson:
Karen.Nickerson@state.de.us

Mitt Romney never granted a pardon, even for the most trivial offense. But when asked if he would consider pardoning Scooter Libby, Mitt Romney said “It’s worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I’m lucky enough to be president. And I’d keep that option open.” Yesterday he blamed the prosecutor and completely ignored the jury, saying that “the prosecutor knew that there had not been a crime committed.”

Does this mean that he too, like Bush/Cheney,  subscribes to a duplicity in American justice?  One set of rules for the elite (his supporters), the other, for the rest of us?

How does one possibly square the holding of John Atkins accountable to the laws of our nation, but not Scooter Libby?

The clock is ticking down……less than forty hours remain. Friends….that is only 2400 minutes! Or even worse, just 144,000 seconds. The countdown continues…..

Remember when the General Assembly was sworn in early in January, At that time the 1st of July seemed a long way off.

But in 2359 minutes, it will be here! January to June, let us see…..six months? we should be tidying up by now with just a few knick knacks left to finalize…..Right?

Let us see what is on the agenda’s of today’s General Assembly.

In the Senate: as of 12:00 (yesterday) only one thing: Tony De’Luca’s bill to have various organizations within the state, look for extra money and report back on 12/21/07 on what they find. I find this a little confusing. Why do we need to tie up the remaining 2398 minutes with a bill that does nothing but say “we need to do this”. On the surface, when you first hear it, it seems sound good. “I, Tony DeLuca, got tough with our bureaucrats and demanded they look for other ways to fund our government.” But isn’t that naturally what happens when you, your business, your government runs out of money? Your first priority becomes to find “where you can get more”……….Since there is no funding within the bill, and there is really nothing new in the bill, this bill, as it says from the outset, it is just a proclamation……..A commission, proposed within this bill, could just as easily be appointed by the governor to find revenue streams and report back.

If someone could get back to me on why this bill is important, I would like to hear. But in reading it, it sounds like ‘much ado about nothing.” One would think with only 2397 minutes left, we could find something far more worthwhile to debate……………..

On the house side more is going on. You have Senate Bill 36 which quietly sells government employees down the river. AFSCME may still be around for years, but as for saving pension plans or bargaining for better insurance, forget it. This bill would forever remove those items from the collective bargaining table:

Position classification, health care and other benefit programs established pursuant to Chapter 52 of Title 29, workers compensation, disability programs and pension programs shall not be deemed to be compensation for purposes of this section;

So if in the future if it becomes necessary for the state to economize by cutting benefits to minimize costs, the unions will be unable to protest it. This appears to be the first quiet, hidden attempt to cut state employee’s benefits. This Rubicon, if crossed, will forever diminish labor’s effective voice. Due to the lack of outcry, I doubt if most of them know……….or will know with only 2396 minutes left.

Next comes HB 177, the fusion bill. This would eliminate candidates who may have lost the primary, from running as a third party candidate in any general election aka Joe Lieberman or Connecticut. As Delaware Watch points out this bill would force organized labor to support just one of the two major parties. And you know they won’t support Republicans. Obviously this is one Democrat’s attempt to keep its rank and file from trickling away, aka the Berlin Wall. Thanks to the watchfulness of Dana this bill became public knowledge. But with only 2395 minutes left it had a good shot at going through.

Next comes HB 208, which says that a person has committed burglary as soon as they enter a building without permission. They do not have to steal anything, just be there. This would effectively cut down on the solid American tradition of checking on elderly neighbors, just to see if they might need medical attention. But most likely this issue will not be raised with just 2394 minutes left.

House Bill 251 prevents convicted criminals from becoming volunteer fireman. Perhaps this is ok, but I think there is no harm in letting Freeberry fight fires if she wants to. But these ramifications will go unnoticed with only 2393 minutes left.

The Senate Joint Resolution 3, organizes a leviathan task force to see what can be done with Wilmington’s schools. The makeup of this monstrous 33 member task force, will be big on names, but seriously short on talent. It will pass on the feeling of “lets do something nice for Wilmington” because no one will have time to look too hard at it with only 2392 minutes left.

House Concurrent Resolution 32 creates another task force, this time of 23 people, to look at new assessment possibilities instead of the current DSTP used in schools today. 3 of those will be on the above task force as well. (I hope they have daytimers). This report is due late May 2008, too late for serious action by the second half of this General Assembly. But it should generate plenty of controversy for the upcoming election. 2391 minutes and counting.

Senate Bill 119 seeks to insert this clause into the Delaware code: “(1) The amount to be raised by taxation shall not exceed 20.97 cents on each $100 value of real property in Sussex County for the tax year 2008, 22.23 cents for 2009, and 23.50 cents for 2010 and all years thereafter.” This is to fund Vocational Schools only. And with only 2390 minutes left, no one will even know……..

Senate Bill 123 further seeks to streamline and professionalize the educational process by controlling who those parents are on the advisory boards, which used to be siphoned from the Delaware Congress of Parents, but now are to be hand picked by the Secretary of Education.

Senate Bill 126 finally does some good. This bill alone should save the state billions over its lifetime if enacted. This bill returns the determination of fines back to the discretion of the judge, by eliminating the predetermined amounts, which unfortunately sent many people into our correctional system, who really did not need to be there. Let’s hope there is enough time, with only 2388 minutes left.

House bill 189 removes one more roadblock that stands in the way of remaking Sussex County into a sea of aluminum sided houses. This obsolete law, which on its surface makes sense to update, will, by its removal, allow many developments to go forward which have been so far held back. This bill still is stuck in committee. It may not see light in the next 2387 minutes left. Oops just passed the House.
HS 1 for HB146 seeks to mandate stateside recycling. Unlike most bills before the House this time, this one has the means to pay for itself. However constant vigilance and discipline need to be exercised to insure the recycling fund is not pilfered by Republicans whose modus operandi has always been: “see it, spend it” despite their political rhetoric to the contrary. Oh! Just got shot down…………..

House bill 241 seeks to make this change which will affect 5 employees of the state………all well known to every legislator.

Section 1. Amend §5201(b), Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding the following sentence at the end thereof:

“An Individual qualifying for a service pension under §5522(e) of this Title shall not be an ‘eligible pensioner’.”.

Section 2. Amend § 5501(d), Title 29 of the Delaware Code, by inserting therein a new paragraph to read as follows:

“(22) Service as a per diem employee with the House or Senate of this State.”.

Senate bill 133 seeks to mandate the separation of children from sex offenders. This is a good bill. Let’s us hope it gets a hearing with only 2384 minutes left.

HB 220 could with tongue- in- cheek, be called the John Atkins bill. Should he ever return to political notoriety at a whim, he could be hauled in and tested. This bill extends alcohol monitoring indefinitely instead of ending in one year. This could be a good thing for those repeat offenders, but more than likely, knowing how most legislators can put down several very stiff drinks in a very short span of time, it could also be used for intimidation and control once an arrest was made. But in their stupor, there is no time to consider this, with only 2383 minutes left.

House Bill 172 seeks to impose the monitoring of uninsured motorists driving upon the road. It tightens reporting requirements on those who get insurance to buy a car, then let it lapse with no payment. Within ten days the state will know. But, to those who like to hold public officials accountable for their actions, this warning is appropriate: you had better make sure your insurance gets paid on time…….

HB 240 seeks to clarify criminal offenses by switching many minor ones over to civil offenses where they belong. This bill is an interesting read for it includes a list of minor infractions that should be civil in nature. Check out for yourself how many times you were a criminal, and because you did not get caught, you never knew it? This bill is overdue. The cost savings from tying down courts, the AG’s office, and law enforcement, over the life of this bill, should save billions.

HB 212 widens the area sex offenders cannot be seen in to include parks, playgrounds, daycare centers.

SB 160, again by DeLuca, provides one more slap in the face specifically to those American workers who get HURT ON THE JOB. They are being asked to incur at least 15% of the medical costs that occurred from accidents while they were on the job. Currently, they receive medical attention at no cost to themselves for employer mandated accidents. Considering that most current Americans do not have enough money to pay for gas , electric, ARM mortgages, car insurance, or car payments,….. their answer to the question “Do you want to go to the hospital for that?” will turn into an emphatic “no,” a decision that may perhaps kill them a few months later from its complications, but save them from paying their part of the 4000 dollar medical bill, which if paid, would push them into bankruptcy. This is just one more example of how a leadership position, removes a thoughtful person away from reality.

Senate Bill 111 seeks to move one offense the other way, towards a felony. Violation of a Domestic violence protection order, will be upgraded from a Class A misdemeanor, to a Class F felony. Knowing how those to violate these orders, are under passionate emotional influences, and immune from normal rational thought , this bill falls into that feel-good status, (look, we did something) just as mandatory sentencing did, and not into effective control. The only effective difference will be the charge presented to the court, long after the women and children are dead.

House bill 266 attempts to standardize the definitions of abuse thought the state’s governmental system. However, based on their definition of “emotional abuse” that definition could be in a thesaurus under “marriage”.

SB150
will give those medical professionals who help out during emergencies, freedom from any liability for any action occurring as a result of their involvement, the same way state emergency responders are protected.

HB 207 seeks to give the same penalties for selling counterfeit drugs, as for the drugs themselves. No more getting off because the actual drug sold, acetaminophen, was not on the controlled substance list……… but was being sold as something that was……..

SB 35: Section 1. Amend Subsection 1014(a) of Title 26 of the Delaware Code by striking the figure “$0.000178” in the first sentence thereof and replacing it with the figure “$0.000356”. This extra money goes into the Green Energy fund at the residential electrical cost of .18 cents per household. This is to generate home grown energy projects on a person’s own property.

And most importantly, with ramifications greatly affecting all Delawareans, is the Dick Cathcart sponsored HB 245. This bill will change history by changing the method moist snuff is taxed within the state of Delaware.

UPDATE: JUST LAID ON SPEAKERS TABLE

Keeley HJR 7 establishes yet another task force, again devoid of funding, to look into statewide recycling. I guess she doesn’t have the necessary votes to pass HB 146.

Then there is the HB 250, the appropriations bill for 2008: all 256 pages of it. But no worries, mate, there still are 2377 minutes left. (9.28 minutes to read and absorb each page, that is if so choose not sleep.)

Hopefully they are taking amphetamines. Because if they decide to get a good night’s rest over the next couple of working days, they will squander 480 minutes of that time left. One must assume that they will sleep on the floor of the offices, because commuting times will bite into 120 more of those minutes. Unless they eat while working they will use up 120 minutes and estimated bathroom time should fall between 100 and 120 minutes. So if we are willing to forgive these personal indulgences (a whopping 820 minutes), they have only 1577 minutes left……a little over twenty six hours to do all of the above and the bond bill as well, which as of yet, has not arrived out of committee…

There is a lot for our legislators to absorb in the next several minutes. To make it even tougher, our lobbyist’s contingent insists… that our legislators follow the Dr. Pepper rule these last few days……..

Dr. Pepper rule? Don’t know that one? That is a classic. It stands for having two drinks by ten, two drinks by 2, and two drinks by 4. Is it any wonder that our citizens get the short end of the deal at the end of every legislative session?

For true insight on how democracy works, show up at legislative hall on Saturday night.It is free and open to the public…… And bring a camera phone.

Here is my breakdown of tomorrow’s vote. It is an educated guess, no voter or candidate should take it seriously, but I raced to post it before polls opened, so that I could see if I did better tomorrow than on my March Madness Brackets. To my understanding, it is the only pre- election poll conducted in the 41st.

 

 

  Hastings
Bullock Burton Write In Total  
01 of 41 399 549 147 16
1,111  
02 OF 41
318 383 106 28 835  
03 OF 41 426 315 158 38 935  
04 OF 41 307 236 163 31 737  
05 OF 41 648 529 226 56 1459  
06 OF 41 305 285 109 27 726  
07 OF 41 886 729 317 91 2023  
08 OF 41 779 901 149 74 1903  
09 OF 41 193 176 92 16 477  
Total 4261 4103 1467 375 10206  

 

 

Prognosis: Atkins’s end run will have been irrelevant.

Bullock lost a “sure thing” by supporting NRG.

 

Update:   The results are in:


Hastings Bullock Burton Write In Total  
01 OF 41 262 185 14 144 605
02 OF 41 223 163 20 83 489  
03 OF 41 121 130 6 31 288
04 OF 41 182 189 11 89 471  
05 OF 41 277 256 28 86 647  
06 OF 41 123 116 28 41 308  
07 OF 41 298 244 49 48 639  
08 OF 41 237 251 57 27 572
09 OF 41 47 42 7 7 103  
             
  1770 1576 220 556 4122  
        11 others  

Residents living in Millsboro have got it made! No matter who wins the election this Saturday, they will have an outstanding representative to finish out the term vacated by the resigned John Atkins.

It is ironic that this election falls on Cinquo de Mayo, or May 5th in English. Residents of the 41st will be celebrating their “freedom” in two languages that day.

Politics in this small town is far removed from either the state or national trauma. In Millsboro, it is about the person running, not the party he represents. No bloggers tearing each other apart down there. Everyone gets along quite well, and the candidate still wave at each other when they drive past.There is even a rumor that they just might, if the weather is good, have a BBQ somewhere in the middle of all three of their houses. This would not be hard, for all three of them live within a two block area of the same development.

The only real difference between these candidates is that the Democratic, Lynn Bullock, is supportive of NRG’s energy plan, and the Republican Greg Hastings and Independent John Burton, both support Blue Water Winds proposal, (along with 94 percent of Delawareans).

If the name of a local entrepreneurial activity is any indication of the winner, then it may be possible that the Blue Water Grill, on Main Street, may portend good things for the Republican.

This race is a classic toss up; there are too many variables in flux to get a read……….

Lynn Bullock, the Democrat has been given a hard time by some Blue Water Wind supporters. But if the truth were known that his father was head of the NRG plant since “the war”, and it was he who was responsible for hiring many of the unemployed returning soldiers when they returned home, then one can understand and appreciate some of the personal motives for his decision. I for one would be loathe to go against my father’s legacy, and all it stood for.

However there are many in Millsboro who do not like the proximity of the plant to their neighborhood. The high rate of cancer has put many holes in what once was a tight knit community. They remember when NRG was forced to buy up all the land surrounding the plant, because pot ash and other toxic chemicals kept falling out of the sky……….The Blue Water plan appeals to this crowd, as do the candidates Greg Hastings and John Burton.

According to WGMD in a recent debate, Lynn Bullock, the Democrat, seems more concerned about NRG than anything else. His classic line was, “Let me clarify my clarification.”

The Independent candidate, John Burton, spoke about enforcing the laws we already have on the books, instead of spending time creating new ones, while the Republican, Greg Hastings, believes we have to “stand firm” on getting the current plant cleaned up, and spoke about solar power and “other options” for energy,

Will there be a Republican backlash against the party for its initial support of the previous candidate who resigned last month? If so it will be split between the Democratic and Independent candidates. And considering the choice candidate they have in Greg Hastings, it is unlikely that he will be punished for his party.

Many thought that the independent candidate had the best showing when they appeared together last week. Some residents were surprisingly impressed. He should pull votes from both parties.

And then there is John Atkins. His threat is over rated. Although his signs are ubiquitous around the town, it was hard to find anyone willing to vote for him. They still like him, and many think he got a raw deal, but to vote for him………nah, he had his run. It is time for someone new.”

Despite the prevalence of signs, only one residence could be found to display them on its property. Whereas Hastings, Burton, and Bullock signs are posted in front of every other house………

Not to mention, no drive to educate voters on how to navigate the complicated voting machine write-in process, has yet, at this late date, taken place. Those voters who may wish to say good bye to John, by one last vote for Atkins, may become too frustrated once the curtain is drawn, and spontaneously cast their vote for their second choice candidate.

However there is one area of concern. Approximately 51 % of those assisting the election got their jobs through Atkins. Voter fraud is always possible. It would be wise for each party to load every polling place with challengers and poll watchers, to insure no hanky-panky takes place. Seacrets do not mix well with politics…….. Doing so would leave fake absentee ballots as his only recourse……….

Voters of the 41st have a golden opportunity to vote for their representative without the distractions of a national or state campaign. In the quiet of this small town, home of two stop lights and a revolutionary oak tree, each citizen will have the time to consider all the options in detail, something the rest of us should envy. Whoever wins on Saturday, (at this point too close to call), will give Millsboro a great representative. They are all good men.