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Because that……. is what we do.

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On WDEL I heard us mentioned as the subject of the opening prayer inside the hallowed halls of the General Assembly. What was said was something along the lines that the Almighty force us to be kind, and to TRUST those who hold leadership positions in the General Assembly.

It is a common trait of human nature for those to pray who have exercised all options and then have none left. Any combat veteran on the advance, has heard such cries combing from the wounded of both sides in the engagement.

I am sure that even though Hitler, Stalin, Castro did not believe in any higher power, they had no problem in having those who did,… pray for each of their victories. Fortunately for us on the other side, those prayers were not fully answered.

Which now brings up a bigger question. If any man races to the edge of the Grand Canyon and throws himself off, even though he certainly is entitled to pray on his way down for a soft landing, he really does not deserve it. Likewise, the reason bloggers and media are not nice to Thurman Adams, is because they have been directly hurt by what he did.

If you want the bloggers to get off your back, Mr. Adams, stop doing what you are doing that puts them there. Bottom line, like Hitler, Stalin, and Castro who held your same views about open government, you, sir, are flat-out on the wrong side of this issue.

Only a communist and crook would want to keep government closed off from its people. Since you have stuffed the OOGA bill in your drawer for many years repeatedly, like the communists who came before, it is rather obvious that you must want to keep state government closed and secretive. Assuming you to be of sound mind and sound body, your choice in doing so, must in some way benefit you personally. Otherwise, were you not to gain some financial interest from out of this, making yourself the most hated person in this state for nothing, would certainly be deemed irrational.

Therefore it would not be a far stretch of logic to assume that you are in the act of putting your own self interests above those of Delaware’s people. And that, Thurman, is why we are praying for you.

You are entitled to have an opinion,… most certainly, and to use your influence to convince others around you to vote your way. That is Democracy. But you are not allowed to act like a Communist, when you ran as a Democrat. If you ran as a member of the communist party and were overwhelmingly voted in as a member of such, alongside Stalin, Castro, and Chairman Mao, then my argument would be moot. Even if you ran as a Republican, you could be forgiven, since they hold some of the same values as those above. But instead you chose to run as a Democrat! That means you support Democracy! And what you practice, Thurman, ……..is not Democracy.

You’re lucky your constituents do not yet know what you are. “Trust” me; this year… they will. Unless you change, Thurman, unless you change.

Even Ebenezer Scrooge abandoned his lifetime of chains forged link by link, in less than half-a-night! So why can’t you like him, change and become the champion of Open Government your constituents elected you to be? Why can’t you who comes from Bridgeville, the most anti-communist part of this state, support letting people vote up or down on bills as they come out of committee? What’s the big deal? If Scrooge could change, why can’t you?

I and some bloggers like me, are praying for you. Daily we pray that God sees fit to use you for the well being of this state. We pray that God humbles you with wisdom so you see the error of your ways: so you can see how secrecy and tele-conferences without the knowledge of the rest of the public, does little to establish the “Trust” that we so badly need in our state government. Instead how such secrecy does much to chase what little “Trust” we even have left….. out those tall windows of Legislative Hall.

We sincerely pray that God finds fit to grant you sufficient amounts of wisdom and courage needed to change your mind. We pray that he does so quickly. For if change does not come quick enough, we also pray that God makes an example out of you, for all politicians who no longer concern themselves with the wishes of their people……..to see and understand the consequences.

We sincerely thank you for including us in your prayer today and deep down, we hope the Good Lord allows you to thank us for including you in ours………

Remember it is YOUR choice of YOUR actions, that control YOUR fate.

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal

Brief notes:

What didn’t happen?

SB 04 did not escape fast enough when Thurman Adam’s bottom drawer was quickly open and shut. It and HB 04 expired last night from lack of oxygen.

Few gave much chance that either bill would survive once they entered the dreaded Senate Executive committee. Gee, who is on that committee? One, the chair, is a Democrat! Thurman Adams who hails from the Sussex County town of Bridgeville. The others include the following Democrats: Patty Blevins, Tony DeLuca, and Jim Vaughn, who can now retire since it will not matter how his replacement would vote. The committee is complimented by the ghost of Wayne Smith, Charlie Copeland, and the renewable resource fox lover, Liane Sorenson

If you need a good cry, look back through the January archives of Delaware’s bloggers and see the hopefulness that burned within. Then on 1/11 the Senate bill got pegged. On March 20, the House Bill 04 disappeared along with it after being passed 38 to 1 in the House.

So lets see…….in the House, which is Republican, almost everyone except for Rehoboth’s Democrat, voted to have the Bond Bill brought out of committee three days before the last day of the session. This year, the bond bill came out and was passed sight unseen at11:01 by the Senate, and at 12:54 by the House. 3.4 Billion and now you know more of what was in it than any of those voting yea did in the early morning hours!

So who failed us? We did, you and me. As any high school student of physics will tell you, under the law of inertia, it takes an unbalanced force to challenge and change the direction of a moving object. And our General Assembly has been traveling in this direction for a long time.

Only Delaware’s bloggers are “unbalanced enough” to create the precisely applied force required to change the direction of our legislature. Now, after tonight, it is public knowledge as to where that force needs to be applied………….

So we’ll give those lobbyists who packed the galleries early into the morning, fingers crossed that their special projects would go unnoticed until passage, then high five-ing their way down Lockerman Street to their favorite watering hole-(Hi Diana (bartender))………..to them, we give the first round.    But it was no TKO;   just a one point split decision. We now know their Achilles heel.

Incidentally,  of all the personalities. on either side of the aisle, in either chamber,   the most impressive personality was,……………………………Karen Peterson.  Someday she really could be governor.

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.

Daddy, what do you know about the Electronic Revolution? Teacher says it took place early this century and that it changed a lot of how we do things today. I would like to know more, but teacher says I should ask you.

“She did, huh?”

“Well……. your grandpa and a couple of people at the same time just got mad at how things were being run in their small state and decided to use a new medium at the time to yell about it. As more and more people began checking into what exactly they were saying, more and more people came into agreement, and said, yeah, we feel that way two. Suddenly the entire population felt the same way as they did.”

“This made a several powerful people angry, because they had secret plans that they wanted to accomplish. And before, when no one was paying any attention, they could do a lot of bad things with other people’s money, like spend it on themselves, and no one would ever know. But after the Electronic Revolution, when everything they did became known by everyone else, they had no choice but to change their habits and not do those bad things anymore. Everybody was watching.”

“What bad things were they doing?”

“One of the worst, was they were not changing with the times. As people became more and more modern they wanted more things done. Like you want to do more now that you are 9, than you did when you were 3. You used to be happy walking around in a big circle…….remember that? Walking, running, walking? You did it all the time. But it is not so fun anymore, now is it?”

“So when someone wanted to change the law to make things better for everybody else, these people would stick it in a drawer and never open it again. That law would stay in that dark drawer with all the other bills people wanted passed, because by law, that was the end of the bill. And when they wanted to talk about how to spend our money, no one was allowed to listen in. It was done in secret, and we would find out too late, that our money was already spent by some friends of that man who put the bill in his drawer……”

“Teacher said something about newspaper’s? What were they?”

“Ahhh……newspapers…….that goes way back. Well, in those days believe it or not, many people did not have computers, and if they did, most of them did not know how to properly use them. So they got their information printed on big sheets of paper, which newspaper boys sold to make some money. But at that time the newspaper companies had became so preoccupied with getting more and more money that they stopped printing what people wanted to hear, and since the news was always uncovered first on a blog anyway, most people stopped buying the papers.”

“Why did they stop printing what people wanted to hear?”

“Well the newspapers became more concerned with presenting a certain point of view. Telling others only what they wanted them to believe. They were trying to print only good news about the bad people, and were not telling the public just how bad those people were……..”

“So how did people find out?”

“Well these few brave people, one of which was your grandfather, would talk to people who had something to say and then write it on their blog for everyone to see. Those people your grandfather would talk to had first gone to the newspapers, who would pretend to be interested, but in end, wouldn’t print the bad news for people to read, because they were paid lots of advertising dollars by those very candidates who put bills in drawers. So those people told the bloggers what they knew and the bloggers printed the truth for everyone to see.”

“When did it happen?”

It happened between 06 and 07, many years ago. Many people learned to blog for the 06 election. After it was over, they continued looking at the government officials and wrote about them nonstop.”

“Because of them, many changes took place in the state. Some of those bills that were buried in the drawer, were pulled out and became law. People were happy.”

“Why is it called the Electronic Revolution?”

“Because it changed things. Before, with just television, people learned how to control it and would only tell people what they wanted them to hear. If you had a question and wanted to find something out about a candidate, you couldn’t. You just had to listen to whatever he said and decide whether you liked him or not…….”

“During the electronic revolution, instead of only a few hundred reporters looking over your shoulder, and most of them only wrote follow up stories based on what one or two reporters who broke the story, you had anyone and everyone who knew how to search the internet, looking at everything you ever did. Because politicians knew that someone would one day find out the truth, they were more careful to look like they actually cared for their citizens.”

“Also, especially in our small state, the bloggers on opposite ends would actually post messages to each other, and eventually they realized that both sides wanted changes to take place that would allow the public to see what was going on.”

“So Dad. how can I sum it up for my report tomorrow? The electronic revolution did………?”

“How about this. The electronic revolution returned the power of government away from elected officials, and back to the people, for the people, giving them once again, a government of the people?

Much hand wringing has taken place on the “other side” of the aisle. Their erosion of power, while uplifting to their opposition, tends to have a psychotic depressing effect upon those who suffer the actual convulsions, caused by aneurysms regularly occurring along their arterial chains of command.

This feeling is perhaps best put by this phrase: “We were doing so well……..how could this have happened to “us”?”

Eloquent as always, Jud’s Rant sounds the alarm.

To echo, I would like to borrow a this phrase from Lord of the Rings: The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife: stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all.

And so along this vein, it was sad to read of Copeland’s upcoming support of Delmarva Power’s status-quo decision, when it was leaked that Delmarva not supporting ANY of the three options to generate new power in Delaware.

To paraphrase his comment, he said something like,… “a company should be allowed to make the decisions that affect it’s own well being. Government should not dictate to a corporation how to run its business.”

To be honest, if someone who had possibilities of achieving a future governorship, were to tell me that government should stay OUT of my own personal decisions that affect me and no one else, I would say “whoopee” and pledge my support.

But if I were, and forgive the insensitivity for no malice is intended, being raped and a potential governor came out and defended the rights of my rapist to “run her business as she saw fit”…….. my support would, and should go to anyone, even former enemies, who would step up and champion my rights for a change.

Figuratively speaking, all of Delaware was and still is, being financially raped by Delmarva’s rate hike last year.

Having the most touted Republican gubernatorial candidate, far more interested in pandering to future contributors, than in alleviating the suffering of his own state’s people, amply gives credence to the growing disbelief that, perhaps it really is true, the Cheney/Bush ticket has morally bankrupted and effectively killed the Republican party everywhere, as recently evidenced in the Republican dominated seventh district’s election.

However I would be remiss if I were not to confess that as a dull, self indulged, overwhelmed by daily life citizen, I did not find the Republican Party currently far more fascinating than the old guard Democrats who still wear their pants too high, and currently run the politics of this state.

The excitement generated by Dave Burris in standing up for American principals, as opposed to Republican ones, awes me.

Tyler’s last campaign, long on solutions, short on “old guard” support, signaled that political bravery was not “just” a provincial Democratic one.

The current buzz in today’s Republican House of Delegates, now void of Wayne Smith, is both refreshing and hopeful.

The Republican push for “Karen Petersen’s Vision of ‘Open Government’ ” is smart, inspiring, and long overdue.

And on the national scale, shadowing the local trend, Mitt Romney’s campaign, as viewed through unfiltered non-partisan eyes, still generates exciting possibilities when compared to front-runner Hillary’s campaign, who by some accounts has already been prematurely ordained as our next president.

So it behooves me to understand why this party, now on it’s death throes here in Delaware, still continues to insist on its adherence to the “old” ideas of energy generation, instead of being forward thinking and becoming supportive of Blue Water Wind’s proposal. This is the one proposal which allows Delaware the freedom to create it’s own cheap energy, instead of buying it from its high priced neighbors.

One would think someone at least would look at the numbers. 94% of Delawareans support wind power. The Democratic old guard, labor, and Minner’s inner office are vulnerable on this issue, having been caught with NRG’s coal dust underneath their fingernails. If Republicans ever needed a popular campaign issue at the right time, this is it.

Those of us who watch politics are always surprised and amazed when a new issue that political pols think is insignificant, resonates through the general public and becomes the central campaign divider and emphatically decides the election.

The Republicans have an opportunity to do that. Just as they attempted with open government his year, they can use this issue to again make themselves relevant to Delaware’s voters.

For those of us paying 60% more in energy costs this year, it is not too late.

Let us hope that Copeland has not hammered too many nails into the coffin’s lid, still allowing for their sleeping corpse to wake up, raise its head and look around, and climb out of the casket before it’s buried six feet under.

10. FSP did not mention Romney for 3 days. Something is wrong.

9. Preliminary reports show wind power to be the second choice to gas fired plant. Risky choice.

8. If generals resign, we will not go into Iran. War is over. Military stocks fall.

7. Wayne Smith retires. Now it will be much more difficult for corporations to screw average citizens.

6. All of the Libby jury showed up wearing red.

5. Al Gore won an Oscar making “Global Warming” an official policy of the United States of America.

4. Someone actually totaled up Bush’s deficit and figured out how much we were in the hole.

3. Obama’s strong showing puts doubts that insiders Hillary or McCain will win.

2. Mysterious Men in Black showed up at Kilroy’s, driving a MIni Cooper and then forgot to “neuralize” him when they left.

1. They lied to us about 9/11. They lied to us about WMD’s. They lied to us about Valerie Plame. Who would ever expect that as we approached an election that they would lie about the fourth quarter’s economic data?

Karen Peterson has been promised the designation SB 04 for her Open Government initiative.

The blogging community should have a large part in whether this passes. All Senators and House Reps must feel the heat if they insist on business as usual.

But as for now, almost all of the Senate Democrats are co- sponsors and four of the Republicans are actually signing on as co-sponsors as well.

This should be the best year in state politics, ever.