The Delaware General Assembly met twice earlier this week to consider funding options for Sussex Technical High School District. The Sussex County Delegation (consisting of nine state representatives and five state senators) continues to study Sussex Tech’s impending financial crisis. Five budgetary proposals were originally included in a study attendant to House Concurrent Resolution 2, previously passed in January. Subsequently, other options have emerged for consideration.
Sussex Tech administrators have been steadily seeking legislative approval to more than double the STHSD’s current property taxes over the last two years above the current limit as currently permitted by statute. Delaware’s three state-created countywide vocational school districts are legally empowered to raise school taxes (with the approval of the General Assembly and Governor) without a referendum as required for all other non-countywide public school districts.
Currently, STHSD taxes 23.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value. District officials desire a new ceiling authorizing an approximate 115 percent tax increase over six years, ending with a new rate of 50.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.
According to State House Minority Leader Danny Short (R- District 39, Seaford): “Nothing is off the table. Sussex Tech’s finances are not sound and it’s because of the decisions of their leadership. Now, they not only want us to bail them out, they want us to use their bucket too. We’re not going to be rushed into acting because of the situation in which Sussex Tech officials have placed their school. We will act as soon as we reach a consensus that is right for the thousands of Sussex Countians that have a stake in this.” , he stated in a media release. Short is one of the bill’s prime sponsors.
Speaker of the House, Pete Schwartzkopf, (D- 41st District, Rehoboth Beach) weighed in as follows: .”Sussex Tech administrators embarked on an aggressive multi-year expansion plan, even planning a lavish new school. The people that are being asked to foot the bill for this did not approve it. The General Assembly has not approved it. There are multiple issues we need to address with Sussex Tech. This goes beyond Sussex Tech to how they work with, and are perceived by, the county’s other districts.”
Several matters will remain in suspension, including massive new school construction, expansion, curriculum plans and selection of the incoming freshman class until Sussex Tech’s issues are resolved:
(1) More than 700 applications have been submitted for 425 planned openings.
(2) Sussex Tech has increased enrollment over the previous three years, with a
current student population of 1,545.
(3) Sussex Tech officials claim that they need the revenue increase to meet their stated goal of serving 20 percent (approximately 2,120) of the county’s high school students by Fiscal Year 2020.
(4) The cost of the proposed school construction is not reflected in Sussex Tech’s current property tax hike proposal.
Sussex Tech officials submitted proposals to the Delaware Department of Education for a capital improvement plan with a cost estimate of between $279.8 million and $316.5 million. The local share of the plan would range between $112 million and $126 million, according to the HCR 2 report.
The Sussex County delegation will continue their deliberations next week, before the two-week Easter Recess.
Currently, there is no legislation pending before the General Assembly that would address the constitutional issue of equal protection under the law and other public interest issues by requiring voter approval of proposed vocational school district tax increases, as legally required in all other Delaware school districts.
In seemingly coordinated moves Obama’s continued rhetorical attacks against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appear to be in synch with Plaestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ Address to the Arab League, stating that Israel’s election result proves it doesn’t want peace.
Abbas, while addressing the Arab League Summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday said that election results in Israel indicate that it has no desire to reach a final status accord, according to reports from the Jerusalem Post. Abbas also vowed to hold elections as soon as possible in order to initiate the process of rebuilding the Gaza Strip and accused Israel and Hamas of being responsible for the delay in rebuilding the area.
While addressing the Arab League, Abbas also congratulated the Arabs in Israel, who united for the first time and received thirteen seats, He accused Israel of attempting to turn a political conflict into a religious one by going to Al-Aksa Mosque, “and this is liable to lead to an explosion in the region,” Abbas said, according to reports from the Jerusalem Post.
The Obama Administration’s undiplomatic behavior toward Netanyahu and Israel, appears to equal Abbas’ severe anti-Semetic attitude, which hinders chances of peace from developing in the region. Obama has taken a decidedly hostile stance against Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli people, while exchanging “love letters” with the Supreme Leader Khamenei., and a country vocally expressing extreme hostility toward America, screaming “death to America” and other rhetorical phrases to the Iranian masses.
Delaware State Representative Sean Lynn (D – District 31 Dover) has sponsored legislation that would require all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets at all times during operation on Delaware roads.
HB 54 is co-sponsored by Reps. Stephanie T. Bolden, (D — District 2 East Wilmington) and Debra J. Heffernan (D – District 6 Bellefonte, Claymont, Edgemoor)
Text of the bill follows:
SPONSOR: Rep. Lynn & Sen. Simpson
Reps. Bolden, Heffernan; Sen. Henry
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
148th GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HOUSE BILL NO. 54
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend § 4185(b), Title 21 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:
(b) Every person operating or riding on a motorcycle shall have in that person’s possession wear a safety helmet approved by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security (hereinafter “Secretary”) through the Office of Highway Safety and shall wear eye protection approved by the Secretary; provided, however, that every person up to 19 years of age operating or riding on a motorcycle shall wear a safety helmet and eye protection approved by the Secretary.
Section 2. This bill shall take effect upon its enactment.
Currently every motorcycle rider is required to have a helmet in his or her possession while riding. This bill requires that the person, along with any passengers, actually wear a helmet. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Since 2014, of the 15 motorcycle fatalities in Delaware, only 6 were wearing helmets at the time of crash.
No clear pattern of the bill’s chances for passage has, as yet, emerged. The debate is framed in the general context individual freedom versus state power, as well as safety factors and economic considerations.
Attempts to contact http://www.abateofde.com/ for the organization’s comment were unsuccessful during the preparation of this article.
PARENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS WITH DELAWARE EDUCATION INITIATIVES AND LEADERSHIP
Delaware parents call for representation and transparency regarding educational changes impacting their children
Press conference scheduled for April 1 at 5:00pm, outside Legislative Hall in Dover, DE
Dover, DE, March 25, 2015
Delaware parents are increasingly frustrated with the management of the educational system in the state, especially given the conflicting messages being issued by legislators and education officials. There is an apparent disconnect between what parents want and what those making decisions are offering, and the children are caught in the crosshairs. Most parents are not interested in having their children used as guinea pigs, political pawns, or leverage in the fight over accountability.
“Our children are more than test scores. I got involved because of the concerns I had with the education of my son, a young student with special needs,” said Kevin Ohlandt, local blogger and parent involved in this call to action. “There needs to be more learning, play,and socialization in school, especially in the early grades. These standards and all the test prep are making students less motivated to learn and it is taking the joy of learning away from them.”
Parents statewide are forming coalitions with other parents, community members, business leaders, legislators, educators, and even local school district officials, including school board members. As the ties between the stakeholders increase, they become more and more aware of the many different hats most people involved in education wear.
“Sure, I’m a teacher, but I’m a parent first and foremost,” said Red Clay resident Jackie Kook. “With two children in elementary school now and two more who will be in the next few years, I’ve got a lot to think about when it comes to Delaware’s educational future. My kids will be directly impacted by the decisions made today, so I need to take action now.”
The parents are concerned with the effect Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment have on schools, the revolving door of education groups taking money from the schools, confusing messages from the Delaware Department of Education about parental rights regarding testing, education initiatives championed by Delaware Governor Jack Markell with very little stakeholder input, and the lack of responsiveness and transparency from some elected officials around educational initiatives. The most immediate event parents are very upset with is the parent opt-out process in Delaware. There has been mass confusion among the Delaware Department of Education, school districts, charter schools and different education groups in Delaware. House Bill 50, introduced by Delaware State Rep.
John Kowalko and Delaware Senator Dave Lawson, would allow for parent opt out in Delaware. However, somepoliticians have publicly stated it will never pass and parents fear it won’t even be held
for a vote, much less a discussion, in the 148
the General Assembly. This is a bi-partisan bill, with concerns held by bi-partisan citizens that their voice will be stifled by the policy-makers of our state.
The press conference will be held outside Legislative Hall in Dover on April 1, 2015 at 5:00pm.
# # #
If you would like more information about this, please contact Kevin Ohlandt at email@example.com
MIDLANTIC DISPATCH co-founders, David Anderson and Donald Ayotte were interviewed live on WGMD’s Jim Rash Show at Atlantic Cellular regarding the Northeast Region’s newest internet news aggregate, http://www.midlanticdispatch.com , earlier this morning.
Speaking over the 92.7 FM airwaves, Host, Jim Rash praised the features on the website and said that he finds it a convenient source of news for show preparation, as so much news material is available in one place.
A news aggregate actually does not store external content and other copyrighted material on-site, but organizes headlines and links in a convenient and readily accessible form and may also feature original news and information. It is designed to extend the reach of participating news media – not to compete with them, according to Midlantic Dispatch President and Managing Editor, Don Ayotte.
CEO David Anderson elaborated that the essential idea of the Midlantic Dispatch is to properly balance and integrate local and national news. The Midlantic Dispatch also features a wide variety of participating international news sources such as BBC, der Spiegel, the Jerusalem Post, ITAR—TASS , Xin Hua and many others.
The Midlantic Dispatch made its official début on the internet on March 15, 2015. It currently serves the states of DE, MD, PA and VA; includes Washington, DC and plans to include NJ and the entire Northeast Region of the US as it expands and evolves. Its management encourages investigative journalism, topical discussion, analysis, original features and other relevant content. It affords an opportunity for media students, freelance writers and professionals an opportunity to extend their readership.
Contact Don Ayotte at (302) 344-4433 for further information.
March 24th Senator Carper of Delaware was the lone vote in favor of President Obama’s budget proposal. What’s up with that?
I am assuming that Sen. Cruz chose not to vote on the proposal due to his recent announcement about running for President, but something tells me he would not have voted in favor of it if that were not the case.
State PTA Board of Managers 26 to 1 Vote in favor of Opt Out and Support House Bill 50.
On March 24th the Delaware Parent Teacher Association voted to support parental rights to opt out of Smarter Balanced Assessment amid criticism of the Smarter Balanced Assessment for the fact that it punishes right answers not arrived the preferred method with no credit but gives credit for wrong answers with the work shown, is not statistically valid, has no growth model, is not designed with appropriate accommodations for handicapped or special needs students and is not timely in producing results.
The DE PTA did not recommend which choice a parent took, but strongly backed the right to choose. Many members plan to support the rally for HB 50 on April 1 around 5:00 pm at Legislative Hall.
Note the author is a regional VP for the Delaware PTA.
Delaware PTA Supports Parent’s right to Opt Out of Smarter Assessments
As the largest volunteer parent advocacy association, PTA has always supported choice, a parent’s right, obligation and responsibility to take an active role in their child’s education. We believe that a parent’s right to make decisions about their child’s participation in statewide assessments is part of this choice.
Delaware PTA will not encourage any parent to opt their child out of the test. We firmly believe each decision and subsequent reason for opting out is unique. We also firmly believe that this is a personal decision that must be made by the parental unit. We realize that while there are parents that support the Smarter Assessments and have chosen to allow their child to participate in the assessment, there are also parents that do not support the assessment and do not want their child to participate in the assessment. We do not believe that it is appropriate to support one decision by restricting another.
As a result, on March 24, 2015 the Delaware PTA Board of Managers passed a motion to support a parent’s choice to opt their student out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
This passage of this motion allows Delaware PTA to:
Advocate for a legislative process that allows a parent to opt their child from the Smarter Mathematics and Smarter ELA Assessments by supporting HB 50;
Work with parents, teachers and district leadership to ensure that any child not participating in the assessment receives alternate academic instruction;
Address parent/teacher concerns of fear and/or intimidation regarding the parent opt out
Encourage parents to continue to collaborate with their child’s teacher to support academic success
We are aware of the state’s plans to convene a task force to assess the amount of testing state wide. We are also aware that some believe this should be our focus, and not the parent’s right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. While we do agree that we need to reduce the amount of statewide testing, adopting this singular approach to the exclusion of acknowledging a parent’s right to opt out, ignores the fact that parent and teacher concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessment go far beyond the amount of testing. We believe both issues should be addressed with fidelity and to do anything less is an affront to the many parents that have invested large amounts of time researching the assessment, communicating with teachers and building leadership and making painstaking decisions regarding their child’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
We encourage our community partners, school districts and other stakeholders to support a parent’s choice to opt their child from the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
This is an interesting way to make such an important announcement. The video released was vintage Cruz and speaks to the mood of middle America. Others will now likely join the field officially in the next couple of weeks. America has the world’s most interminable campaign season.
The world lost one of the most innovative and successful statesmen of the 20th century. Lee Kuan Yew died this weekend. Singapore was transformed into the 10th largest economy in Asia and one of the world’s wealthiest nations from a colonial backwater in a generation. It is a testament to good government. pro-business policies, and traditional values. 50 years ago the average per person GDP was $550; today it is $55,000. The nation has the best health care outcomes, the best education and public safety. It is number 1 in quality of life and the best place to do business. It is a modern jewel.
Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said “Singapore is basically a conservative society…The family is the basic building block of this society. And by family in Singapore we mean one man, one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit.” The founder pointed out that the conservative social polices are foundational to its success. I believe any successful nation is build on a strong family, strong business environment, respect for the law, smart government policies, and opportunity for its people. Singapore is a shining example of this truth.
Lee had some wisdom for America. He once said, “The success of America lies in its dynamic economy sustained by an uncanny ability not just to produce the same with less, but to constantly innovate”.
The system of bundling channels in packages by cable networks has come to an end in Canada. Cable Companies have been ordered by Canada’s communication regulator to allow customers to choose the channels they want, instead of forcing them to accept packages that bundle many channels together. A sort of an a la carte system of pick and choose by the cable customer, will soon come into reality
Canada’s cable customers have been complaining about the amount of channels they are required to take, many of which they don’t watch or are not interested in. Canada’s two largest cable providers BCE and Rogers have started streaming services to compete with existing internet providers.
Will America be next? Many people think so. Both the U.S. and Canada’s cable providers are struggling in a major shift to internet TV. People that are fed up with cable providers that sell packages people don’t watch but pay for, have started dropping their cable providers in lieu of the convenience of the more lucrative choices of companies such as Netflix, that provide customers with their choice of movies on demand.
As North American tastes become more distinct and internet sophistication broadens, ordering from an a la carte menu will cause a decline in cable providers that bundle generic packages of unwanted channels. This will cause cable TV to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Contrary to popular belief, Barrack Obama @$400,000/year is NOT the highest paid head of state, according to a recent article in Business Insider.
In fact, the POTUS is number two, behind Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong , who annually earns a cool $1,700,000 for heading the world’s 190th largest nation of 270 square miles. ( Nice work if you can get it. )
Rounding out the Top 5 are: (3) Prime Minister Stephan Harper of Canada @ $260,000, (4) Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany @ $234,000 and (5) President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma of South Africa @ $223,500/year, respectively.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin rates number 10 @ $ 136,000/year.
Although the Obama Administration attempted to deal a humiliating blow to Netanyahu’s victory in the recent Israeli elections by not calling and congratulating the leader, BiBi seems not to be bothered by the American president who has snubbed not only BiBi, but all of Israel. The animosity between the two leaders seems to increase almost daily.
Even though Netanyahu has toned down his previous remarks, opposing the formation of a Palestinian state, Obama has become extremely hardened toward the Israeli leader and BiBi is obviously returning the favor. Obama has finally emerged from the closet with his hostility and by his actions, has favored Iran, causing all of Israel to wonder about their greatest ally across the Atlantic.
Despite the Israeli leaders recent re-election, the Obama, BiBi chasm widens and Netanyahu continues to favor Iran, Israels most threatening foe in the region. Obama’s new Iran deal would ease sanctions immediately, if implemented, would allow enrichment of nuclear grade uranium.
The senate’s letter to Iran’s leaders along with House Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu was considered a direct “slap in the face,” by the Obama Administration. The situation is severe for the Israeli, and a majority of Americans consider Israel our greatest ally and welcomed Netanyu’s speech to Congress. The gap also increases between Obama and the American people as the administration strays further from traditional American values
The only bright side to this dilemma, would be the fact that Obama is a VERY lame duck president with a hostile congress that will tighten their grip on his unbridled dictatorial executive orders and further diminish his previous “divine right” to rule.
According to a 3/18/15 article in the Washington Times by Dave Boyer, President Barack Obama now advocates the idea of nationwide mandatory voting along the lines of the Australian model. Speaking before a town hall event in Cleveland on Wednesday, he said that compulsory voting would be a better short-term strategy to counteract the influence of large campaign contributions. Citing the very poor turnout of Democrats in the last general election, he further stated that “It would be transformative. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
Penalties for not voting in Australia include fines and possible jail time.
Although he did not officially commit to pursuing a mandatory voting initiative at the federal level, the idea essentially raises legal, moral and constitutional questions of infringement of Free Speech, freedom of political expression and association, conscience, jurisdiction over state and local elections and enforceability. Furthermore, the fundamental relationship of individuals to the State is called into question as nonvoting can be interpreted as a form of protected political expression or philosophical statement.
The idea of mandatory voting is statist in scope as it violates individual freedom of choice. Other than political convenience for parties in power, the US Government can state no valid compelling reason for requiring all eligible citizens to vote, even though a large voter turnout is conventionally desirable from a political standpoint to theoretically constitute a government more accurately representative of the People.
It must be pointed out that major dictatorships such as the former Soviet Union have used the mechanism of mandatory voting to ensure 100 per cent turnouts in one party systems, presumably to bolster their “legitimacy”.
Currently, 11 of 22 nations currently enforce compulsory voting, with 173 nations out of 223 surveyed (85%) reporting no mandatory voting schemes and 4 (2%) having no elections. The complete list of governments currently enforcing nationwide mandatory voting schemes includes: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, Ecuador, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Nauru, Peru and Singapore, with varying degrees of penalties . Some nations have more limited specific or regional mandatory requirements. In the USA mandatory voting was incorporated in the 1777 Georgia Constitution, but was omitted from the revised state constitution of 1789.
Further information is available at: www.idea.int/vt/compulsory_voting.cfm#practicing
There is a growing socio-psychological and personal disconnect between increasing numbers of citizens and the political process itself due to various cultural factors and distractions including but not limited to: public corruption, apathy, cynicism, “propaganda fatigue”, perceptions of powerlessness in the face of growing elitism, unenlightened materialism, complexity of life issues, social alienation, and various forms of escapism such as preoccupation with entertainment and proliferation of various non or extra-political subcultures.
Simply forcing citizens to vote when they are personally apolitical, disinclined and/or uninformed will not improve the electoral process or the choice of candidates (assuming that the votes are electronically counted correctly in the first place, and other forms of election fraud are minimized ). The debate takes place in the overall context of questions regarding electoral integrity such as, multiple voting, improper registrations, non-citizen voting and fraudulent voting by persons posing as deceased registrants not removed from the rolls. (This may even imply a backdoor for mandatory national identification cards).
Political parties and politicians should bear this in mind before advocating more state control, abuse of power and intrusion into the lives of the American People as the system has been skewed and tainted towards special interests at public expense, thereby causing large numbers of citizens to feel that their vote does not matter. Accordingly, mandatory voting will only treat the symptoms instead of the underlying “disease”.
The popular quasi-proverbial conceptions of voting for the “lesser of two evils” , “Tweedlededee vs. Tweedlededum” and “holding one’s nose before pushing the lever” partially illustrate the depth of the problem. Before being herded off to the polls to vote for entrenched candidates and parties, we may legitimately ask the question: “Is it our duty to keep the same types of politicians and parties in power?”
Eric Bodenweiser ended a long nightmare for both him and the victim and headed off a new trial, with a no contest plea to two counts of a Class A misdemeanor. The Office of the Attorney General issued the following statement.
Eric Bodenweiser, 56, of Georgetown, pled no contest to two counts of third degree unlawful sexual contact in Sussex County Superior Court this morning. The plea, secured by Deputy Attorneys General David Hume and John Donahue, resolves a case that previously resulted in a hung jury in June, 2014.
As a result of the plea, Mr. Bodenweiser is classified as a sex offender. Sentencing is currently scheduled to take place May 22, 2015.
The victim in the case said, “I’m glad that this has finally come to an end and I can finally move forward and get on with my life
It is interesting that the office never mentioned that the felonies were dropped. The current AG seems to be clearing the decks of old cases.
I am wearing green today to celebrate since I am as Irish as Hillary Clinton.
I laugh about how on St. Patrick’s day everyone is Irish, during Oktoberfest, everyone is German, on the 4th Saturday in June, everyone in Dover is African American, and on 5 May,everyone is Mexican because Doverites love a chance to join the party. The reality is that I think it is good. We can all celebrate one another’s heritage because we are one family, the American family. If we value what one another brings to the table, diversity is a strength. If we were all exactly alike, why would we need one another?
There are voices today which would divide us like we were before Selma. Please block them out. Remember, we are one people, we are an exceptional people because despite our issues, we have an understanding that the value of a person is his/her inherent value. All persons are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. Most Americans are beyond the silliness of making a big deal of minor differences and know that instead of dividing us, it is an opportunity to make us stronger. We are united by our vision, our values, and our humanity.
March 16, 2015
Secretary of State John Kerry
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry:
I find your opposition to congressional oversight offensive and hypocritical and your posture towards Israel deeply disturbing.
Appearing on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” you described the letter forty-seven U.S. Senators signed and sent to Iranian officials regarding ongoing nuclear negotiations as “unconstitutional.” Congress has the constitutional responsibility to serve as a check-and-balance on the executive branch. As has been done with immigration, health care and many other issues, the Obama Administration is once again deliberately bypassing Congress and exceeding its constitutional authority.
Frankly, your criticisms are hypocritical. You launched yourself into the public spotlight by directly and publicly criticizing the executive branch in a Senate committee hearing forty-four years ago. In 1985, you did more than just send a letter to a foreign nation—you flew to Nicaragua to negotiate with Daniel Ortega and other Sandinistas despite express opposition from the Reagan Administration.
You describe the Senate letter as “unprecedented” and “wrong.” The fact is, your willingness to trust Iran and undermine Israel is what is unprecedented and wrong.
Moreover, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently came to Washington and explained how a deal with Iran would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, threaten Israel’s existence and embolden terrorists around the world. Prime Minister Netanyahu is a Churchill in a world full of Chamberlains. Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East and Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism. As an American, I am embarrassed that you, Vice President Biden and other high-ranking administration officials boycotted Netanyahu’s address to Congress yet never miss an opportunity to visit with Iranian leaders.
I have the greatest respect for your long record of service to our country, beginning with combat in Vietnam. During those difficult years, you risked your life in a war that many Americans experienced only from afar. I also respect your role as Secretary of State. Hopefully, you will extend respect to those faithfully executing their oath of office in the U.S. Senate and to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who like you, want to stop terrorism worldwide.
Governor Mike Huckabee
Delaware 41st District State Representative, Rich Collins (R- Millsboro) says that is just a matter of time before the State of Delaware will tax e-cigarettes in light of declining tobacco tax revenue according an article in Delaware House of Representatives e-Newsletter of the Republican Caucus
E-cigarettes, as non-tobacco battery-operated devices that vaporize various flavored liquids and various chemicals, into an inhalable smokeless form that may or may not contain nicotine, currently do not fit the definition of tobacco products under the current state tax code.
The decline in state tobacco tax revenues comes as a result of intensified state and federal smoking cessation programs, the popularity of e-cigarettes smokeless alternative and high state cigarette taxes themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationwide cigarette sales have declined 30 percent since 2004.
Laws often lag decades behind rapidly developing technologies. As an example, until last year it was legal for minors to purchase and use e-cigarettes in Delaware.
Delaware has raised its tax on cigarettes three times between July 2003 and July 2009, from a levy of 24-cents to $1.60 per pack.
State cigarette tax revenues are currently declining. Delaware collected $114.7 million in tobacco taxes in Fiscal Year 2014. According to the Delaware Financial Advisory Council’s December estimates, that total will drop to $106.5 million in FY 2015 for a projected reduction of 7.1percent.
On the national scene, The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Minnesota and North Carolina have already enacted taxes on e-cigarettes. At least 17 other states have either considered e-cigarette tax legislation last year or are currently introducing similar bills this year.
Managing the Herd- Can Elephants, Lions, Tigers, Rhinos and an Ass Coexist?
By Larry Mayo
“If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” Thomas Jefferson penned these words in 1811 and they ring true today in reflection of the state of the Republican Party here in Delaware.
The GOP is without a doubt a group of highly opinionated individuals, ALL attempting to come together to reach a common end, good governance of our county, state and nation through the Republican party. The problem , as I see it is that we have three FACTIONS, as George Washington would have called them, with seemingly three differing roads to this common end.
First let me define them as I see them; First is the “establishment Republicans”, sometimes disparagingly referred to as the “RINO’s”,I would call them the . Who’s best attributes are, THEY KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE GAME OF POLITICS! They by far, know how to maneuver, plan strategically, see the details needed to run a winning campaign, the numbers, the hot buttons etc. Their worst attributes are, they sometimes lose sight of the principles and ethics espoused in the platform of the party, Adherence to the constitution, the principle of individual liberty, and the source of all of our rights, and seem to have a fervent desire to avoid controversial positions. Thereby their main focus becomes getting a majority by any means needed. Let me remind those of you who are of this faction what the definition of “politics” is according to the Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language: POL’ITICS, noun The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals.politics as a science or an art, is a subject of vast extent and importance.
Secondly we have the “Libertarian wing” sometimes referred to by others as the “PAULBOTS” or WEED WACKOs. They have a wonderful understanding of the importance of individual liberty and adherence to the constitution, but seem to lack the patience to accept a partial victory in the short term, in order to move the ball down field, and many of these don’t acknowledge the source of Liberty. The Preamble of our Constitution refers to the “Blessings of Liberty” and the Declaration of Independence as all of you know states quite clearly that “We are endowed by our Creator” with our rights.
Thirdly, we have the “Religious Right” otherwise referred to by the previous factions as “Bible Thumpers”. These folks know that God is the source of Liberty, that without a religious and moral society, individual liberty is simply a slogan, an unattainable pipedream. John Adams said; ”Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”To them ethics is far more valuable than any short term win. The problem here is that sometimes they lose sight of the fact that some issues are not the purview of our civil government, and have no place in policy or legislation in a free society. In addition, others mistakenly think they are trying to “force their religion on them, which is silly, since anyone who understands Christianity knows that even Christ Himself doesn’t force you to believe in Him, it is a voluntary faith.
Some of us, in fact I would say many of us are a mix of two or all three of these factions.
Now, as I have described this to you, has it not become obvious that all three have something positive to contribute to the goal of the Republican Party?
Here’s my suggestion. How about instead of pointing at each other every time we have a setback, and blaming each other when we lose. How about we do what we do in our own families. Accept the fact that in order to ever be a MAJORITY we NEED each other, just as our Federal government needs three branches to perform properly, we need the assets that each of these factions bring to the table! To accomplish this we each need to first admit that we ALL have some of these negative attributes and NONE of us (as much as we would like to think otherwise), have ALL of the positive ones.
Continue reading Managing the Herd–Guest Post by Larry Mayo→
David L. Anderson and Donald R. Ayotte Launch New Enterprise, ‘The Midlantic Dispatch’
David L. Anderson and Donald R. Ayotte are pleased to announce the creation of their newest enterprise, “The Midlantic Dispatch.” www.midlanticdispatch.com
This new media platform will be a “news aggregate” that will include news from the Mid-Atlantic Region that will include Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is our goal to provide informative comprehensive regional news coverage of the Mid-Atlantic Region on one site for the convenience of our readers.
Anderson and Ayotte currently administer Delawarepolitics.net, a political analysis blog, which reaches thousands of Delawareans each week. Ayotte formerly freelanced for Gannett Communications and worked as a hard news reporter for Today’s News-Herald, a daily newspaper based in Lake Havasu City Arizona. Anderson is currently serving as a Dover City Councilman, and was a political editor for the 90’s publication, “Christian Lifestyles Delaware.”
The Midlantic Dispatch will be a free site for the reader and news resources and will not be a blogsite. Although Delawarepolitics.net will retain its own internet entity, it will become integrated with the Midlantic Dispatch.
The Midlantic Dispatch is not only a news aggregate but also a news media publisher and will not compete with existing news outlets, but instead will enhance their reach. Local media will have a platform that puts them on par with the national sites.
Violence Breaks Out at Peaceful Protest As Two Police Officers Are Shot—-Police Chief Thomas Jackson Resigns
A thirty-two year-old officer from Webster Groves was shot in the face and 41 year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, after an apparently peaceful protest gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Dept, turned violent. Both men were conscious and were taken to a hospital, being listed in serious condition.
Ferguson Police Chief, Jackson resigned following five other officials that either resigned or were fired in the wake of Attorney General Holder’s scalding speech condemning Ferguson’s discriminatory police practices. Jackson commanded Ferguson’s police force for five years before the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown an alleged racial shooting, that drew global attention.
“I saw the officer go down and the other police officers drew their guns while other officers dragged the injured officer away. All of a sudden everybody started running or dropping to the ground,” Said Marcay Pitchford, 20, who was among the protesters. She told the AP that the protest had been mostly peaceful until she heard the shots.
Someone at the scene was heard saying, “acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening.” The person was not identified in a video that was taken at the scene.
More that a dozen police cars blocked the street and police in riot gear with drawn guns, circled the police station.
The Justice department’s civil rights division released a statement stating the U.S. government remains committed to reaching a “court enforceable agreement” that would address Ferguson’s “unconstitutional practices,” regardless of who’s in charge of the city.