WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Open Friday / Weekend Forum

So what's on your mind this weekend?

Count ourselves fortunate: We're past the middle of February and we (so far) have avoided a major winter snowstorm. Can our luck hold out? I guess the next 30 days will tell. I always figure once the NCAA basketball tournament (March Madness) begins, our chances of a major snowstorm diminish sharply.

The Delaware Board of Education has voted unanimously to close the Pencader Business & Finance Charter School, following persistent problems. And the Red Clay school district has similarly voted unanimously to put together a committee to review the Delaware Military Academy. DMA certainly has a stronger academic reputation, but Auditor Tom Wagner targeted problems with financial oversight.

I know a lot of folks strongly believe in charter schools, but sadly, some seem to be fly-by-night operations. I feel sorry for the kids. It's bad enough when kids have to transfer schools because their parents move, but schools like Pencader are forced to close because of self-inflicted injuries.

Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning has unveiled a new public safety plan targeting the city's violent crime.
Something not previously discussed: Enhancements in the computer-aided dispatching system, and the installation of devices in squadcars that will give officers real-time crime information. ATF agents will assist the police department's gun unit. No mention of "jump-out" squads per se, but one assumes the WPD will pursue something similar from time to time. The Williams Administration has already ordered more aggressive enforcement of nuisance laws. Let's see what happens.

A heavy onrush of fans seeking to buy tickets quickly overloaded the Firefly Music Festival's website Thursday. Tickets sold out in three hours. Aggravated fans expressed disappointment - often with expletives - in social media.

Maryland's state legislature moved closer to repeal of that state's death penalty as the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 6-5 to send Governor O'Malley's capital punishment repeal legislation to the Senate floor.

Former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), now 80, admits to having fathered a secret child in the 1970's. It gets better. The child came from Domenici's relationship with Michelle Laxalt, daughter of another former Senator, Paul Laxalt (R-NV). Domenici was the longest-serving senator in New Mexico's political history when he stepped down after six terms. Laxalt himself was a major political figure in the 1970's and 1980's, serving for a time alongside Domenici. Michelle Laxalt: "One night's mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago." British newspapers seemed more inclined to raise the issue of perceived hypocrisy in their headlines. For example, from London's DAILY TELEGRAPH: "Senator who tried to impeach Clinton admits lovechild" Or from The INDEPENDENT: "I've got a love child, admits senator Pete Domenici who tried to get Bill Clinton impeached"

Speaking of sex scandals, the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to confront a slew of lewd revelations about the behavior of its agents: Sending naked photos to an ex-boyfriend's wife, bugging the boss' office, and using bureau phones to send explicit 'sext' messages between colleagues. Not exactly the intended use for an FBI BlackBerry...

A North Carolina hunter tests positive for a rare and potentially deadly illness known as rabbit fever, tularemia. Health officials in the Tarheel State urge people in the field to take precautions, such as wearing gloves and insect/tick repellant while hunting and handling rabbits.

The nation's most active death penalty state, Texas, executed Carl Blue, 48, convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire. Blue told the victim's daughter - entering the viewing area of the death chamber - that he loved her. "I never meant to hurt your mama. If I could change that, I would... I forgive you. I hope you can forgive me."

He told his parents that he loved them: "I did something wrong, and now I'm paying the ultimate justice. It may be crooked justice, but I forgive those people."

Then~ "Hang on. Cowboy up. I'm fixin' to ride and Jesus is my vehicle..."

Former President Jimmy Carter told CNN's Piers Morgan that President Obama thanked his grandson James Carter IV last week for his involvement in the public release of that video recording of Mitt Romney making his infamous comments about the "47 percent" of Americans. Mr. Carter: "I don't think he said 'winning the election' but thank you for helping me with the election. I don't know exactly what the words were..." Jimmy Carter also said he wishes he were closer to President Obama. The ex-President told Piers Morgan that "we don't have any relationship." Further~ "I met him early in his administration. We don't really have any relationship."

Pakistani police have registered a formal accusation from a businessman that Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman committed blasphemy (with the death penalty as a sentence) for comments Rehman made on a Pakistani TV show in 2010. Ironically, the comments which so offended this man were about reforming Pakistan's blasphemy statute. Accusations of blasphemy are on the rise in Pakistan.

India was on high alert after deadly bombings in Hyderabad.

Posted at 10:41am on February 22, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 2:13pm
It's amazing how much hypocrisy there was in people like Pete Domenici and Newt Gingrich persecuting Bill Clinton for his extra-marital affairs.

This is like Tiger Woods criticizing John Edwards for having a love-child. Pot calling the kettle black....

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 6:09pm
Allan said: "The Williams Administration has already ordered more aggressive enforcement of nuisance laws."

Good about time. Now lets see if they really do it and enforce those nuisance laws. Time to clean-up Wilmington. The same thing needs to happen in the county so that the criminal element doesn't decide to move its operations to NCC.

Yes, we've had a great winter so far, but we're not out of the woods yet. We've had some significant snow in March, so let's not count our chickens until they hatch.

A good question to be asked, how many Charter Schools do we have in Delaware? How many have failed? I'd like to think that more have been successful than failures, but that might not be correct. So Allan or Kavips or someone who's good at getting this sort of info, let us know the truth.

My point is the public school system and the teachers' unions are quick to bad-mouth the charter-school system while ignoring the far larger problems in their own school systems. They essentially are seeing the splinter in the charter schools' eyes while ignoring the log that's in theirs.

Oh, wait, that was a reference from the Bible. Can't have ANY reference to God in the public schools unless it's Muslim, or you're using God's name in vain. But let's give away as many condoms, birth-control pills, and teach that abortion is the ONLY way or the #1 way to prevent getting pregnant to our kids. Heaven forbid (oh can't say heaven, another God reference) Dover forbid, we tell the kids that NOT having sex outside of marriage is the BEST way to not get pregnant. Can you imagine a sex-ed teacher telling the girls that they should want to wait to have kids when they're married and that without having a husband to support those kids makes their life and the child's far more difficult, because that's an archaic view that also comes from the Bible.

So instead, let's teach that Heather has two mommies or that Dad has a new roommate, and it isn't Mom or even another woman. The public schools for years have had an agenda and we're reaping the crop of the seeds they've been sowing [golly I could never be a public school teacher, just can't help myself in using imagery from the Bible - I'm such a pointy-headed Christian].

I'm not saying there aren't problems with some charter schools, and those need to be addressed and apparently are and good riddance to a lousy school for whatever reason, be it public, charter or private, but my question is, WHEN is the state going to start fixing our public schools?

The public schools don't need more money, they get far more money per student than any private school or charter school and still get far worse results. Money apparently is NOT the answer. Yet to hear the public-school folks whine, it's all about the children. Yea, really? Then why are so many of the children unable to read the diploma you give them? Why should anyone support a referendum? It's not like the product the public school produces improves so you feel good about the investment; rather it continues to get worse. So why throw more good money after bad?

Start having real discipline in public schools again where the rules are enforced for ALL students, no matter their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc. No nonsense. Have dress codes, no cell phones, no ipods. Just as in my day, if you brought a transistor radio to school the teacher took it and gave it back to you at the end of the school day. Retake control of our public schools where the adults are in charge, not the kids, give homework that is graded each night, and you get a zero if the work is not done, etc., etc., so that you make that diploma worth something. THEN I'd be delighted to vote for your referendums, but until that happens, I'm voting NO every time; it's way past time for the state to fix the public schools. More money is NOT the answer.

Apparently Firefly is a success. So such an event can succeed in little Delaware - how cool is that?

Yep, all sorts of hypocrisy from both sides of the political aisle. Gingrich being one of the worse, but the DEMS are just as hypocritical, just another reason I'm a registered Independent.

Says a lot about Obama that he had no relationship to former DEM Prez Jimmy Carter. Of course Carter didn't do very well while Prez and maybe Obama didn't want folks to see him as the 21st-century version of Jimmy Carter [given how poorly the economy has been doing, that's a real possibility]. So maybe I can't blame him totally, but Carter is a former Prez and Obama might have been able to get some insight from him or found a useful job for him to do.

However, Clinton - that is Bill and Hillary - both probably could give Obama more useful insight that Carter, but still I remember reading about how Truman gave GOP Herbert Hoover a job after WWII. Apparently the two got along well and it certainly was a good thing for Hoover, who must have been feeling pretty bad given the Depression that started during his time as Prez. But my point is, Hoover still had been a sitting Prez and deserved to be treated with respect and a DEM gave that GOP former Prez the respect, etc., that maybe Obama's not giving to one of his own. Ironic wouldn't you say?

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 11:52pm
An interesting commentary from Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio: NBC declares war on Christians. He gives examples of this in his piece.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 1:26am
Teatime: You continue to castigate the GOP, but there's a day of reckoning coming when you'll be begging them to rescue you from the catastrophe the donkeys caused.

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 1:32am
MFD: Thanks for the Todd Starnes article. The Peacock Network was once respectable, but it's no longer the network of Huntley-Brinkley, who were the Fox News of their day.

I'm still keeping an eye out for when the Obama administration unleashes it's fury on the church. If that happens, a lot of Christians, particularly in the black community, will finally see how they got hoodwinked.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 23, 2013 9:20am
Mrpizza: I've heard some of Todd Starnes' commentaries on Fox News Radio. He has good insight. Good commentaries.

My only disagreement with your post above is comparing the old NBC NEWS with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley with today's Fox News. No, Chet and David just reported the news, no political spin. Fox spins the news just as MSNBC and their parent NBC does. The difference is Fox spins to the right and MSNBC/NBC spin to the left.

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 10:23am
Members of Congress are often very two faced when it comes to sex. I remember the Maryland First District Congressman (Republican) who was vocal against homosexuality. Got himself arrested trying to pay a 16-year old boy for sex. Kinda ruined his bid for re-election.

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 1:34pm
Wow, just looking over this list, my thought was that it seems like a lot more news stories are out there today, than at any one point during most of our lifetimes. I don't know if Newtown Connecticut opened the door, or if this is normal after an election, but there seem to be so many crises popping up all over now...

Allan, what's your take? I wonder it we have changed and have become more pluralistic in our viewpoint, and not singularly focused on one or two issues in depth.

I know the political fight over the last two years, was a unifying theme, on in which every other news story was balanced against when reporting. I know there is only 60 minutes every hour, so picking and choosing stories is based on what most will consider interesting. It just seems now, so much is happening so fast, and all of it is important...

Although it seems minor, the threat and the scariest story in Allan's collection above, was the one about rabbit fever. This is the first I've heard of it. Is it really that deadly or was this just a victim with a weaken immune system?

Growing up, I heard stories of rabbit fever from rural folks, but they were all historical anecdotes told by grandmothers and grandfathers..

I guess the fear is that even in suburbia, rabbits are rather frequent, making me wonder if we are all at risk?

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 2:50pm
MFD: Perhaps you're right about Huntley-Brinkley, but I do know from research that both were conservatives, whereas Cronkite was blatantly liberal.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 4:03am
JimH: I had to do some research to find out who you were talking about because I was unfamiliar to such a scandal in Maryland. Turns out that Robert Bauman was in Congress long before I ever moved there, which was in 1985, when Roy Dyson held the seat. Since then, we've had Wayne Gilchrest and Andy Harris.

Unfortunately, people like Mr. Bauman give a big black eye to our party. However, Sodom and Gomorrah can be found today in every walk of life, transcending political, socioeconomic, and religious boundaries.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 4:06am
Allan: I'm glad Mr. Blue found Jesus before he was executed. While I am adamantly for the death penalty, I don't wish for anybody to go to hell.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 12:36pm
I may have mentioned it earlier here, I can't remember, but I used to be for the death penalty until I learned that 100% of America's prison wardens were against it.

That took me aback because they were on the front lines of this issue. Their reasoning was pragmatic. They said having an old man die of old age was the most effective tool to make the entire prison population realize the huge senselessness of their crimes. It made all more philosophical and a lot less trouble.

The effect of executing someone lasted about 24 hours they said.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 12:40pm
As for the Pakistani currently pressing charges against our ambassador, I think having a drone stop by his address to pay a visit, might put things to him in their proper perspective.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 1:07pm
As for stories about hypocrisy, and I remember the Pete Domenici incident very well, because he weighed and weighed on it, pondering it for a while and then came out with a very moral condemnation of it...

it carried a lot of weight in the proceedings because he was not a partisan Republican but instead was one of the good ones who was independent, voting which ever side best benefited New Mexico.

I contrast todays reporting with that of the news coverage of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man who had a sexless marriage of convenience with Eleanor, and who both flirted with love interests elsewhere, and the Press was responsible for understanding it would be bad if it got out, and kept it quiet. Furthermore, on the same principle, they keep news of how poor his health was, from all Americans. Latter many Americans were shocked that he possessed not the robust stature his voice carried over the radio airwaves.

We only see hints of his frailty in the Yalta Picture, where he is sandwiched between Churchill and Stalin...

In one situation the press did its best to even lie to maintain the attachment of proper morals to those real men and women working in government.

Today, it is as if they do their best to disrupt any attachment of morals to the real men and women in office. What a huge difference over just 70 years.. That is a long time but most of us grew up under the morals I just mentioned.

I'm sure there is great pressure from institutions, whether Penn State, the Catholic Church, or today's Republican Party, to espouse the values you are supposed to say, even when you know they are terribly compromised.

Hence over time, I have come to the humble conclusion, that what people do before God, they do before God. He will be their judge. I'll let Him handle that, because my opinion matters little anyway. All my efforts at judgment need to be kept just to keep myself in line... lol.

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 9:17pm
Getting back to Mike on Charter Schools...

Only 17 percent of charter schools provided a better education than traditional schools, and 37 percent actually offered children a worse education. Meaning a charter school has only a 1-in-7 chance of being any better than a public school… And a 2-in-7 chance of completely ruining the kids in its care.

Standards being used by the charter-authorizers to judge school performance are terribly weak.

For the majority of charter schools, poor first-year performance will give way to poor second-year performance.

Between 1994 and 2004, 26 Charter Schools received charters in Delaware. Eleven failed to even open.

Nationwide. 66% of Charter Schools fail for the following reasons:

People who were initially focused on providing an improved learning environment for children find themselves increasingly engaged in issues such as funding for permanent facilities, personnel-relations procedures, and school-board management, all the while trying to understand and meet the state and federal laws for which they are still responsible.

Simply put, it is the lack of business acumen that causes schools to fail... They often fail even after sucking money out of the Public District in which they are located, meaning all kids in that district now get a substandard education.

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 12:05am
Kavips: Perhaps you have a point about the prison wardens and the effects of execution. However, the effect execution has on the person executed is that they'll never kill again nor will there be risk of prison break by said executee.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 10:15am
Kavips: Your point about the prisoners makes sense. How seeing some old man who's spent the past 40 years of his life in prison everyday out in the yard or at meal time, just might make a more solid impression on a young 20-something prisoner. When he gets out, he might be motivated more to not commit another crime. Interesting point.

Thanks for the info on Charter Schools. Based on the data you provided, I think I can better understand why the Public School System is against Charter Schools. It's taking their money and NOT delivering a better product. So essentially The Charter School of Wilmington and the Cab Calloway School of the Performing Arts are sort of flukes in terms of being successful. Most of the others are NOT doing the job even as well as the mediocre Public Schools. Now THAT's a scary thought.

Still doesn't let the public schools off the hook for their lack of quality and improvement in delivering a better product in terms of educating all of our kids.

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 1:10pm

Mr. Pizza, I doubt I'll ever see the day when I'm begging the GOP to raise taxes on working class people, or starting new wars, or letting crazy people get guns to shootup the schoolkids in Newtown.

The GOP policy is a failure and was categorically rejected by the people in the most recent election.

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 6:42pm
Teatime: If the GOP policy was categorically rejected by the people in the most recent election, then why did the people re-elect them as the congressional majority? You want to explain that one to me? Huh?

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 12:09am
Mrpizza: Congress has an approval rating of something like 12. Problem is everyone thinks Congress (both Senate and the House) are doing a lousy job, but they like THEIR Senator and Congressman/woman. So as a result, the same knuckleheads keep getting reelected. The GOP only controls the House, the DEMS control the Senate AND the White House.

The President won fair and square, it wasn't a photo finish close to the wire win, but a clear win. So the people spoke and chose Obama's ideas over Romney's and the GOP, no matter how the right-wing spin-machine on Fox and talk radio want to spin it.

The sad thing is that election was the GOP's to lose. This was a shoe-in for the GOP and they managed to blow it. The TEA folks within the GOP along with Grover Norquest forced the GOP to be too radical, too far to the right. This loused up the moderate Mitt Romney. If Mitt had been the Mitt Romney who was Governor of Mass., he probably would have won. The nation actually wanted a moderate who could be a Republican like a Mitt Romney, but got this "other" Mitt Romney who was the Mitt Romney on TEA party steroids.

This made it easy for the DEMS to pick holes in what Mitt said, because he wasn't consistent at all with his record as Governor. So which Mitt Romney were we going to get, the real Romney who did a great job in Mass or this Grover Norquest/TEA party creation? Then Romney really did himself in with that 47% speech. So the people spoke. Obama won. You may not like it, but it is what it is.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 6:23am

You conveniently overlook one fundamental point: Gerrymandering.

Republican-dominated legislatures and governors in many Southern / Plains / interior states drew Congressional district lines to accentuate the Republican advantage. I've noted this vicious circle before.

G.O.P.-dominated legislatures drew lines which effectively squeezed out moderates of BOTH parties, but especially moderate white Democrats. So you ended up with a Faustian bargain, for example, in the South, were House seats are divided between white suburban and rural Republicans (very conservative) and urban Democrats, often African-American / Hispanic (very liberal). Then, those white conservative Republicans - to run up the score - can characterize ALL Dems as very liberal because the only Dems from a particular state happen to be African-American or Hispanic, and very liberal. This creates a cultural situation in some states where white kids growing up inevitably associate the Dems with cities and "minorities". It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. I challenge you to refute this.

Futhermore, let's remember Democrats actually cast MORE votes for U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans. The renowned political analyst Charlie Cook - analyzing the results - found House Democrats outearned their Republican counterparts by 1.17 Million votes! Because of the way Congressional lines were drawn, by Cook's calculation, Dems won 50.59% of the two-party vote, but just 46.21% of House seats. So the GOP got 234 seats; the Dems 201 seats. By a later tally, the Democratic margin was 1.36 Million votes.

By another calculation, the Democrats would have to win at least 55% of the national vote in House races to change the House from Republican to Democratic-dominated.

Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying. I'm sure if the shoes were reversed, the Dems would reshape Congressional district lines to THEIR advantage. That's hardball real politics.

But you gotta admit - at some level - it takes a lot of gall (and irony) for Republicans to have engineered a situation actually empowering liberal African-American Democrats in the cities (squeezing out any white "moderates" in the process), then paintbrushing the entire Democratic Party as the same as those urban liberal black Democrats, thereby only increasing the racial / ideological polarization.

Allan Loudell

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 7:02am
MFD and Allan: Both good observations. I would also add that the GOP except for Reagan and a small handful of others have always been lousy at public relations and never seem to learn from their mistakes. Also, anytime the left starts to misrepresent something the right is doing, Republicans buckle and capitulate in order to avoid conflict. They negotiate from a position of weakness and fear.

I'm going to continue to do what I can to whip them into shape. Wish me well.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 7:12am
It's funny. The left thinks the same: That Dems, even liberal Dems, buckle and capitulate in order to avoid conflict.

Just read what Delaware Liberal has to say about Delaware's Congressional delegation, especially Senator Carper and Representative Carney.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 8:20am
Mrpizza: Sometimes GOP members are their own worst enemy. I wish you luck in whipping them into shape. You've got your work cut out for you.

We're supposed to have two political parties and right now we have 1 1/2. The GOP is the 1/2 as it is damaged and the party needs to get its act together. Our nation functions best when both parties are strong and vibrant, working together to find that middle-ground, so that we as a nation don't drift too far to the left or too far to the right.

In Delaware it's even worse as the Delaware GOP is pretty much non-existent in a statewide sense. The Del GOP needs to regain control of the party from the extremists in Sussex County (Yes, they are TEA folks who are not like our friend EarlGrey, but are extremists) so that moderate Republicans can run for statewide office. The Christine O'Donnells types are not viable candidates in this very Blue Democratic state. So if GOP'ers ever hope to regain some statewide seats and maybe some Federal seats in Congress, they need to be MODERATE GOP types like a Mike Castle. Delaware isn't Mississippi or South Carolina. Delaware is more like, a Mass or Maryland. So moderation is where it's at if the GOP wants to have a real presence in Delaware.

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 3:03pm
This idea just occurred to me reading Allan's post of gerrymandering above, but imagine if a state were to divide up its districts based on the first letter of the last name? One could use Department of Motor Vehicle records to decide where in the alphabet to draw the line, but if your name fell between A-F, your would be in Representative 1's district.... It would divorce locality interests from Federal Representation, but, then all of Congress, whether Democratic or Republican, would be based on that state's overall vote, and more in tune with a majority of thinking going on across the whole of that state, than instead of basing one's votes on keeping the most extremist of extremes happy with your service.....

It would necessarily grease the wheels of cooperation in Congresss, since that is how one would get ahead in the new system...

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 5:30pm
Kavips: The problem with your A-F idea is those folks would be from all different parts of the state. Someone from Milford or Seaford would have different issues they'd want their Senator or Rep to work on vs. someone from Wilmington. Some things would cross over, but not all. That's why the districts are for a given local area. The problem is both parties have gotten pretty slick in gerrymandering. THAT shouldn't be allowed. You draw a square and keep expanding it until you have the correct number of voters that are to be represented. THAT's how it should work.

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 6:06pm
Allan: Carper and Carney are not good examples of what you're talking about, as Carper is a gentleman and Carney is a drone.

The Democratic hierarchy (Pelosi, Reed, Feinstein) typically go on TV and call Republicans nasty names and go into a dissertation about how the right wants dirty air, and children and old people to starve to death. I sure wouldn't call that capitulation.

Mr. Boehner gave me a slight glimmer of hope today when he said that Senate Democrats need to get their --- in gear.

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