Category Archives: Change

God, The Republic and Civil Rights; If Not Now. When?

As a Sussex County Committeeman, I attended Monday night's GOP meeting that started in chaos and ended in chaos.  Instead of parliamentary rule, a dictatorship emerged and seemingly established itself over the cries of dissension of the the body of republicans.  People attempted to move resolutions to the floor and were disallowed and no reason given.  Sussex County Chairman Ron Sams soon lost control of the meeting and decided that he would allow no new business to take place that he didn't approve of. At 9:00pm someone raised a motion to adjourn without any business of substance taking place.  A vote was taken and the nays took the vote.  Ron Sams refused to conduct any business and shut off the lights.  a person yelled, "we'll meet in the parking lot."  The dictatorial manner that this meeting was conducted in, by Ron Sams was inexcusable and and out of line with the bylaws and Read more

Sussex County Council 2009 Highlights

by Vance Phillips, President, Sussex County Council As 2009 draws to a close, it’s only natural to reflect on the year gone by. For the Sussex County Council, 2009 was historic. In January, three new members took their seats on the five-member body only to be greeted with news that record deficits were looming, largely because of the economic collapse of 2008. To the members’ credit, the new council took immediate and decisive action, implementing various cost-cutting measures. These actions would reduce losses by 75 percent. Simultaneously, council directed the county’s budget committee to prepare a realistic balanced budget that avoided tapping reserves or raising taxes. As a result, council in June passed a lean budget that was 16 percent smaller than the previous year, helped in part by staff reductions, voluntary unpaid leave, and changes to the employees’ medical insurance Read more

A Proposal For Term Limits in Delaware

There are a number of reasons why I support term limits. First, it forces a change in leadership periodically, thus bringing fresh blood to the legislative bodies. It creates a large pool of leaders needed in any party, if that party wishes to easily find candidates to run for the many elected positions in the state, counties, cities, and towns. There are some negatives to term limits. It may not eliminate the career politician, as it wouldn’t restrict those that wished to run for another office after their term in their current position expires. It may also force out those elected officials who do a good job, but in balance it would force out those that aren’t doing the job well. Here is a proposal I have for term limits for state offices. There are some compromises built in that may make it appealing to a larger audience. Across the board there would be a limit of three consecutive Read more

Doubting Robert

37th District candidate Rob Robinson was on WGMD yesterday afternoon and I took the time to tune in a check it out. Bill Colley came right out of the gate with questions about the candidate's relationship to "Working Families For Delaware's Future." a group that was canvassing the 37th with "hit" literature about Robinson's opponent, Ruth Briggs King. Robinson indicated he had a "disclaimer" on his website, asking the group to basically lay off. It wasn't the first time questions were asked about the candidate's relationship to the group, there had been a flyer circulated, and stories floating around. He said his campaign tried to contact the group but they were unsuccessful. A "listener" sent in an e-mail. It took the listener "30 seconds" to find the group's contact number with an Internet search, it was the third listing. The listing is for the canvassing job on craigslist, Read more

House Education and Labor Committee Calls For Investigation Of President’s Speech To Students

Yeah, you heard me, the year was 1991: Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event." Meanwhile Democratic Leadership was quick Read more

Obama Grabs More Power And A Lebanese Man

The White House is appointing itself "The Interrogation Czar" in yet another move that makes me wonder if Congress is ever going to step in and do some of the stuff we elected them to do: President Barack Obama has approved creation of a new, special terrorism-era interrogation unit to be supervised by the White House, a top aide said Monday, further distancing his administration from President George W. Bush's detainee policies. The administration has also decided that all U.S. interrogators will follow the rules for detainees laid out by the Army Field Manual, according to senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision. That decision aims to end years of fierce debate over how rough U.S. personnel can get with terror suspects in custody. President Barack Obama has approved the creation of a new interrogation Read more

The National Republican Party has Yet to Recover

Pew just released their latest stats on the political climate and thing are still sliding south for President Obama and the Democrats.  However, there is also a lesson to be learned for the Republicans.  Their loss does not equate to your gain.  (See graph below.)  Republicans have a lot of work to do in order to gain ground.  Even if the Democrats continue to fall from grace and loose big in the next couple of elections, I will consider it a failure on the Republican side if they don't improve their favorability.  There is plenty more fun data to pour over in the Pew article so give it a good read if you are into that kind of thing. Read more

Senator Carper’s “Video Chat”

From the event’s host, The News Journal:
Join a Web video chat with Sen. Tom Carper on the plan to reform health care live at 5 p.m. today on DelawareOnline.com. You can be a part of the discussion by posting your comments and questions.
Will this be the new forum for health care discussions across the country so our elected officials won’t have to face their constituents?

UPDATED: OBAMA’S ASTROTURF

Yes, "astroturf" has finally been located at a town hall meeting about health care. I'm going to give you the Cliff's Notes version, and urge you to read the original blog post by Matt Bramandi at LoneStarTimes.com with a big ole HAT TIP to him for knowing when to use Google. Here's apparently how it went down: At the Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee health care town hall meeting where this happened: During a question from Tracy Miller, self-identified as both a constituent and a cancer survivor, Rep. Jackson Lee picked up her cell phone from the podium and took a call. The entire room was abuzz, with both those for and against recognizing the rudeness of such behavior. It didn’t faze Rep. Jackson Lee at all, she continued talking and finished her conversation. (*cough cough* Reps. Pelosi and Hoyer? is that an "un-American" etiquette faux pas, too?) Rep. Lee takes a question, Read more

Part III: “Silent No More Rally” The Videos

I walked around the Silent No More Rally in Dover yesterday and talked to most of the people who were involved in putting together the event and the organizations who had tables at the event, and one guy with a good hat. I guess I should mention that I was there from about 12:30 until well after 5:00 and I didn't see one bus pull in to drop off protesters. No air conditioned tour buses with people from Montana, nothing. And, for the record, I know exactly what people bussed in to attend rallies look like, I was at two of the three public hearings on casino gambling. So here's a little video of some of the key players behind yesterday's "Silent No More" rally. It's all very simple, I asked them for their names, the name of their organization, how their organization was funded, and their raison d'etre. (OK, so French doesn't seem appropriate here, but I'm using it Read more

“INDECENT”

The Lubna-Ahmed al-Hussein trial in the Sudan will resume on September 7th. Who is this woman and what did she do that has her facing 40 lashes for "indecency" in the Sudan? She wore pants in public: Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who waived the immunity she has as an employee of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, will be sentenced Tuesday. She has been charged with violating Article 152 of Sudanese law, which metes out a punishment of 40 lashes for those who commit “an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing.” Hussein was one of a group of 13 women arrested July 3 for wearing trousers in public in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Ten of the women agreed to receive 10 lashes as punishment, but Hussein took her case to trial instead, according to the AFP reports. The hearing today was adjourned as protesters, including some women in...gasp...pants, were Read more

Harry Reid’s Selective Memory Kicks In

According to a report in The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is blaming the media for setting the August deadline to pass healthcare legislation: Reid said reporters created a fictitious deadline of a successful vote by the August recess, and downplayed the fact that the chamber won’t meet that mark. “That is a deadline that you created,” Reid told a group of about 75 reporters. “It’s not like we don’t have a product. Significant progress has been made … The mere fact that this wasn't done by last Friday or by five o’clock doesn't mean we’re not going to get a quality product." So, I've gotta ask, where was Senator Reid when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, was sure she'd meet Obama's deadline in an article from this past May: Speaker Nancy Pelosi told President Obama today that the Democratic-led House will have a health care bill on the floor before Read more

READ THE BILL

Rep. John Conyers finally admitted what we already knew, that our elected officials on Capital Hill don't read those pesky pieces of paper that turn into laws and taxes and even wars because it's just too darn hard: “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers. “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” I say enough is enough, you people (yes, I said, "you people" and I mean it) wanted to be in Congress and the Senate, well, it's time for you to know what you're voting on. It's time that you start doing your homework instead of having lackeys and lobbyists do it for you.... That's why I'm proposing that all Representatives and Senators attend a mandatory, Study Hall from 9am to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so they Read more

Memories…

Remember back when presidential candidate Barack Obama said this: When there are meetings between lobbyists and a government agency, we won't be going to the Supreme Court to keep it secret like Dick Cheney and his energy task force, we'll be putting them up on the Internet for every American to watch. Well, apparently that's out the proverbial window. The White House is keeping information about Obama's meetings with coal executives and lobbyists a secret: CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request [PDF] to the Secret Service on May 15, requesting “all records relating to any visit” made to the White House by the CEOs of 16 major coal companies and lobby groups. In their response to the request [PDF], the Secret Service claimed that the logs qualify as presidential and vice-presidential records and thus aren’t covered by FOIA—and could also be protected Read more

Hooray For Open Government!

resolutedetermination over at Resolute Determination has this inspiring report up:
I just called the Division of Research at Legislative Hall to get my hands on a copy of the budget. I was told that the public has no right to review the budget until after the General Assembly passes the bill.
So how can any Delawarean make suggestions about what should be cut from the budget if we can’t see the budget? Get it, noman?

Ralph Nader On The GM Bankruptcy

Former Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader chimes in on the GM bankruptcy: Today's bankruptcy declaration in federal court by General Motors is an avoidable, crude weapon of mass devastation for workers, dealers, auto suppliers, small businesses and their depleted communities. For GM's voiceless owners -- the common shareholders -- it is a wipeout. The proximate cause of the bankruptcy was supposed to be the inability of GM and the government's auto task force to reach an accommodation with GM's bondholders. But late last week, the bondholder problem was moving toward rapid resolution, and was clearly resolvable. Why then are GM and its multibillion government financier proceeding with bankruptcy? The bankruptcy and the GM restructuring plan are the product of a secretive, unaccountable, Wall Street-minded government task force that assumed power because of a Congressional abdication Read more

So How Much?

This week Governor Markell pulled an astonishing, double-secret-pinky-swear fact out and smacked Delawareans in the face with it: “This isn’t over,” Markell said. “The bottom line is, we still need to find the funding to do all the things we need to do.” Markell said lawmakers who opposed his proposal were voting against something that could reduce proposed pay cuts. “It’s disappointing, but I hope it’s a wake-up call to the state’s 30,000-plus employees,” Markell said. “Those that vote against this bill, or went not voting, sided with the casino owners.” Yes, sports gambling fans, after the first failed House vote on the gambling legislation, the Governor decides to tell the public that his 8% across the board state employee pay cut was contingent on the gambling legislation passing. Well, late last night Governor Markell got what he wanted and Read more

The Waterboy

Today I found out that my state representative thinks his job is to be the Governor's waterboy: "Part of my job is to carry the water for the governor and it's just that simple." ~ Rep. Pete "The Waterboy" Schwartzkopf We just got out of an election season where John Carney, the former Lt. Governor, and Jack Markell, the State Treasurer at the time, took great pains to articulate that as separately elected officials they were NOT there to "carry the water" for Governor Ruth Ann Minner...yet somehow my separately elected 14th District Representative thinks being Governor Markell's waterboy is HIS job? Are you kidding me? The people of the 14th District deserve to be represented by someone who doesn't think their job is to be the Governor's lackey, "it's just that simple." Read more

$328,835

$328,835 is the pricetag for the White House's tragically stupid New York City photo-op according to the Air Force. Check it out: The flight by the VC-25, a modified Boeing Co. 747, and two F-16 fighter jets cost $328,835, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein said. $328,835 for a picture at a time when many Americans are struggling financially, losing their jobs, and being kicked out of their homes. But, as they say in infomercials, that's not all.... It's being reported that the Feds were totally aware that the moronic stunt would send New Yorkers straight for the Prozac, but they demanded that the public be kept in the dark and "threatened" to punish the city if there was a leak: Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret Read more

Governor Markell Holds Roundtable With “Delaware Bloggers” Leaves Out A Few

chimp3 Governor Jack Markell held a “roundtable” in Newark this morning with “Delaware Bloggers.” Strangely missing from the “roundtable” were bloggers from Sussex County, the majority all of Kent County, and any blogger anywhere in Delaware that even slightly smacked of conservatism.

Fear Mongering And Loathing…

Fear Mongering And Loathing In Las Vegas Delaware Once upon a time, I worked for a wise candidate who told me that when budget cuts are on the horizon, an administration will threaten teachers' jobs or pay to scare and anger the masses. That way, when a teacher's 8% pay cut ends up being a 4% pay cut, the masses are relieved, the teachers end up being grateful that it was only a 4% pay cut, and the administration looks like the compassionate hero. Governor Jack Markell's new budget proposal with an 8% across the board cut in state employee's pay and a massive expansion of gambling in the state is a far cry from what we heard during the days of Candidate Jack Markell, a sure sign that at the end of this story, there will be a dearth of heroes... Candidate Markell, had a plan. It was over 70 pages long and he called it his "Blueprint for a Better Delaware" Maybe you heard about it Read more

Congress Out Of Control

...Congress warned AIG execs to return their millions in bonuses - or face a possible new law taxing those payouts at up to 100%. "They should voluntarily return them. If they don't, we plan to tax virtually all of it," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer declared on the Senate floor. The idea that our government may be passing "new laws" in a fit of rage that can wipe out "virtually all" of someone's paycheck scares me. We all need to hope that the Great Eye of Schumer doesn't turn on our source of income someday. Read more

Markell Announces DNREC Secretary

Governor Jack Markell has announced that a Californian named Collin O'Mara is his pick to head up the train wreck known as DNREC. O'Mara is described by the Markell Administration as a "climate prosperity leader" and a "climate prosperity expert." Well, I had no idea what the heck either of those things were, so I Googled both of those job titles and only came back with references to Markell picking this O'Mara guy as the new Secretary of DNREC. So not only will we have a "climate prosperity expert" heading up DNREC, but apparently we will have the world's only "climate prosperity expert" as the head of DNREC. Over at greendel.org they had this to say about the Markell pick: Calls to Mr, O’Mara and to Gov. Markell’s office have not been immediately returned. Nobody in the newsroom of the San Jose Mercury that we talked to had heard of him. He appears to have no formal science Read more