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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….
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….

January 1-3
January 1-3

January 11-13 2013January 11-13

I getting a bad feeling about this. Who can tell us? What’s this mean?

Btw. There is a monster hurricane approaching Alaska with a low of 943mb. Category 4 if it were an actual hurricane. It is so huge it would stretch from the East Coast of the US to Denver.

Delaware’s number one lobbyist, Charlie Copeland, does not believe in Global Warming. To him it is just some mumbo jumbo pattering designed to steal profits from his number one client, Delmarva Power. Since Charlie believes it, it must be so. Since when has a Dupont ever been wrong in Delaware?

Let us look at what little we know of Global warming. Let us see if those liberal detractors of Delmarva Power have any evidence supporting their lovely wind farm?

Today there are 8 billion metric tons of carbon spewed into our atmosphere per year. That means nothing to me. What’s a metric ton? How much is too much? It would be relevant to note, that in Ike’s years, 1957, the world put out 2 billion metric tons of carbon. Ok….so we are producing carbon at a rate four times more per year, just 50 years later? What does that mean in terms I can understand?

Good question. Let’s go small.

Throughout most of the history of man, carbon in the air, hung at 280 parts per million. When we started burning coal, gas, and oil for our energy it started to rise. In 1957 it hung around the 315 level. It is now at 380 and is increasing by 2ppm annually. Now if you think of a million then an additional 65 ppm doesn’t sound like much…….. but it turns out that the watt of heat that that subtle change traps per square meter of the earth’s surface, times the immense number of square meters covering the planet, creates a big number…… enough to raise the temperature 1 degree already.

One degree! Is that all? With all that liberal talk and Gore(y) movies of rising oceans, you would have thought the world was ending…..One degree, There is no way I am changing my energy habits for one measly degree, no way, no how……..

But that one degree over fifty years so far has set everything frozen to start melting. It has changed seasons, and growing patterns, it has set the sea to rising…… all that from one degree?

Alas, the genie is out of the bag. No matter what we do, global warming will increase for now. The question is how much, by our actions, will it increase before it levels off and starts to drop? Apparently our task is rather boring; it is to contain the damage and keep thing from getting out of control. But exactly where, at what point, does it suddenly go out of control? Until recently we had no way of guessing where global warming would reach a critical point.

The standard consensus is that around 450 ppm is where things heat up real quick. That is 70 more ppm and is a goal we are estimated to hit around thirty years from now……. At 450 ppm, Greenland and Antarctica’s icecaps melt and seas swell catastrophically. So we got some time left… what do we do with it?

So far only the Europeans and Japanese have tried to trim their carbon emissions and it looks like that they will not even meet their own modest targets. The genie is definitely out of the bottle. So dependent on Carbon are we, that weaning ourselves from its mixture, seems now only a remote possibility. The US, China, and India, will all be producing much more carbon in ten years, than they currently do today……….

The one answer, the only way for the oceans to stay level, is for the technologically superior nations to cut back drastically, then transfer their technology to developing countries as soon as possible. But are they even capable of such sacrifices?

Every clarion call rolls out a new technology. Hydrogen is the savior; no it is nuclear; no it is ethanol; no it is solar; no it wind………In essence not one of these technologies can single handedly make the dents in carbon usage we need……

Three years ago a Princeton team, just up the road, consisting of Stephan Pacala and Robert Socolow published in Science a paper that gave us 15 wedges which we could choose to minimize carbon warming. Sort of a smörgåsbord of ideas from which we could mix and match and reach partial, if not all reduction to our global warming. Here they are:

1) Improve fuel economy in all cars on the road to 60 mph.

2) Reduce miles traveled by car per year from 10,000 to 5,000.

3) Increase electrical effieicncy in heating, cooling, lighting, appliances by 25% .

4) Raise coal power plant efficiency to 80% up from 40 %.

5) Sequester carbon from coal fired and gas fired power plants.

6) Use capture systems at coal power plants to capture hydrogen to be used in electric fuel cells cars.

7) Use capture systems at coal plants to make diesel fuel from coal residue.

8. Replace 1400 coal fired power plants with natural gas fired ones.

9) Displace coal by increasing nuclear power generation to three times its current rate.

10) Increase wind power to 25 times its current capacity.

11) Increase solar power to 700 times current capacity.

12) Increase wind power to 50 times its current capacity to generate hydrogen for fuel celled cars.

13) Increase ethanol production 50 times its current capacity, requiring 1/6 of the worlds cropland.

14) Stop all deforestation

15) Expand conservation tillage to all cropland. Normal plowing releases carbon by speeding decomposition of organic matter.

We are currently at 380 ppm. Hell begins to be real at 450 ppm. We have fifteen options before us….What do we do?

Obviously we have three pursuits. We can do nothing and let ppm climb. We can employ Draconian measures and try to hold the line steady at 8 metric tons a year, or we can use worse than Draconian measures and try reducing the the amount of carbon we are exhaling.

If we do nothing, then by 2057 we will stand at 800 ppm and witness a global temperature 9 degree F higher than what we experience now. If we implement 8 of the wedges mentioned above, and we hold emissions at todays rate, then over the next fifty years we will sit at 525 ppm and have a temperature increase of a quaint 5.4 degrees F. But if we chose to reduce emissions by half over the next 50 years and cutting 4 more wedges, then in 50 years we will sit at the 450 ppm threshold with only a 3.6 degree increase in global temperature. Remember, we said the 450 level was the edge where the big “things” started to happen.

So here is the scary truth. Even if we cut our emissions in half during the next 50 years, and produce only 4 billion metric tons of carbon a year by 2057, instead of today’s 8, we will still sit on the 450 ppm threshold and be sweating under climatic changes of 3.5 degrees F. Remember all the changes we have experienced so far, have come from a measly one degree increase of global temperature.

So our children will never see the snows of Kilimanjaro. They will wonder how Glacier National Park ever got its name…….But if we try absolutely everything possibly to stem the rise of carbon into the air, it is just possible that our children may still get to know Rehoboth Beach, which without our help, is due to submerge under 20 feet of seawater.

Therefore it stands that anyone who stands in the way of moving Delaware forwards to a less carbon energy diet, is putting our state’s physical geography in danger. The sooner Blue Water Wind goes on line, the less carbon our electrical usage puts into the air. We apparently do not have time to lose.

If the delaying tactics of Gary Stockbridge and his chief lobbyist Charlie Copeland, set back Blue Water Wind of one or two years, than the whole planet hangs in balance…..literally.

Perhaps it is time for a new personification of evil in this post modern world………… If we do, then it is a good bet that anyone who blocks wind power from coming to Delaware, would certainly be a good candidate for taking that position on………….

And as future waves come crashing through Mike Castle’s Rehoboth residence, one can almost hear his ghostly murmur, in that special tone of his……………….”Thanks Charlie…….”

In an effort to educate my children, quite often old National Geographics are left around the house in various places. Usually they are teasers, one only has a few minutes to spare, but in those few minutes, lot’s can be learned.

Today, the one on top was June 2007’s titled “The Big Thaw.” I finally got a chance to read the entire article and gaze at all the pictures. Later when I went online, somehow my first two clicks put me here, which covers exactly the same material, and interviews the same persons. The visuals are stunning; the implications are horrific.

We are losing ice at rates long past alarming. So alarming that perhaps in as short as 15 years, many of Delaware’s homes will have to be abandoned to the sea…….. That means the year 2022. To those entering kindergartens this this year, by the time they graduate (which goes very fast by the way), going to the beach will be more of a “mission trip”, than a romp in the sand………

It is against this back drop that Delmarva is playing games. As Nancy Willing show us, while we face the oblivion of a large part of our state, Delmarva has hired a “Fudge Factor” operation, to bother Delawareans with this question:

If private citizens were willing to pay X dollars for wind turbines, and the government was willing to pay the same amount for wind turbines, would you prefer that private citizens pay for the turbines or the government?

Two more questions that were exposed were these:

“Would you be willing to pay for wind energy if it cost: $3 extra/month, $6 extra/month, $9 extra/month, $12 extra/month, $15 extra/month, $18 extra/month, $21 extra/month, $24 extra/month, $27 extra/month,…all the way up to $30/month (stated as “$360/yr.), or more?”

And just to show how caring Delmarva really is about the environment, they pull this question:

“Do you prefer Delaware offshore wind or wind energy from Pennsylvania?”

Nancy nails it. They are fishing for any negative information they can find to scuttle the deal they do not want. As most of us, including Matt Denn, Blue Water Wind, and NRG, who have commented, know too well that even if the information culled from the Delaware public is directly opposite to what Delmarva wants to hear, there is no guarantee that this Fudge Factor company, otherwise know as “Issues and Answers,” has no qualms about manipulating whatever information they find out.

It will require independent collaboration and the subsequent dismissal of Delmarva’s statistics, to forge a deal forward in this truly planetary endeavor…….