WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Open Friday / Weekend Forum

So what's on your minds this weekend?

The official Delaware minimum wage will go up to $8.25 by June 2015, a buck increase over the national minimum wage. First step: $7.75 effective June 1st.

Governor Markell quickly signed the minimum wage hike into law. Lawmakers turned aside two late amendments from State Representative Michael Ramone (R-Middle Run Valley) that would have delayed implentation, and would have established subpar wages for young people, seasonal employees, and newly-hired workers (first 180 days). The longtime advocate for minimum wage increases: State Senator Bobby Marshall (D-Wilmington West). Democrats and Republicans rehashed the usual pro & con arguments over the minimum wage.

Have you noticed the decline in Wilmington shootings of late? It's no longer every other day. An encouraging sign that the Wilmington Police Department's new policing strategy is starting to work, or just the inevitable result of snow and frigid temperatures? Well, this weekend... the temperatures are moderating...

Still on weather... one long-range winter weather model, seized by social media, projects a mega snowstorm pounding our region in about ten days. But meterologists stress there's no way to really forecast special weather occurrences ten days out; even seven-day projections can go wildly awry. Indeed, earlier this week, tongues were wagging about a major snowstorm blanketing Delaware next Wednesday or Thursday. It's now more likely it'll be rain.

Dover Downs casino revenues cave. The First State's biggest casino - Dover Downs - reported net earnings plunging from nearly five million dollars ($4.8 million) in 2012 to a scant 13-thousand dollars in 2013.

In what now seems to be a new trend in Delaware, New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon is ordering the removal of questions about criminal conviction history from county applications for non-uniformed employment. The county will conduct background checks on any job applicants extended a conditional offer of employment.

National House G.O.P. leaders released their framework for immigration reform, offering citizenship status to some young immigrants brought into the United States illegally as kids. But their parents and other undocumented adult immigrants would get "no special pathway to citizenship." They could get legal status and remain in the United States if they were to "admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits)." Still, a civil war rages within the Republican Party over nearly any kind of immigration reform.

A sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices championed by New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, as newly installed Mayor Bill deBlasio announces New York City will settle its lengthy court battle over the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning, and often frisking people on the streets. The new deBlasio administration agrees to revisions ordered by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin.

Will President Obama's pledges to reform N.S.A. surveillance amount to anything?

From page one of Friday's NEW YORK TIMES:

"In nominating Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers as the new director of the National Security Agency on Thursday, President Obama chose a recognized expert in the new art of designing cyberweapons, but someone with no public track record in addressing the kinds of privacy concerns that have put the agency under a harsh spotlight.

Mr. Obama's decision to pick a military officer -- rather than someone versed in the privacy issues raised by the N.S.A.'s bulk collection of 'megadata' about the phone calls, e-mails, and on-line searches of ordinary Americans -- was made several weeks ago, when he rejected the advice of his own advisory panel that recommended that the N.S.A. and the United States Cyber Command have separate leaders..."

It would appear Canadian spooks are working in tandem with the N.S.A. According to another document dump from whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Communications Security Establishment Canada employed airport Wi-Fi to track passengers from around the globe. People passing through a major Canadian airport were potentially ensnared in a mammoth electronic surveillance net which allowed the spooks to track the wireless devices of thousands of airline passengers, even for days after they had left the terminal. (CBC News)

The passenger tracking net appears to have been a trial run of a potent new software program CSEC is developing with assistance from the N.S.A. Technology to be shared within the "Five Eyes" surveillance group of Anglo countries: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Thousands of hardline Israeli Jewish settlers congregated at Jerusalem's Western Wall to implore God to strike down at the peace plan advanced by Secretary of State John Kerry, which would establish the Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and other territorial concessions.

A reminder that escaltors can be dangerous: A 48-year-old, Canadian woman was killed - strangled - after her scarf and then her hair became entangled in the teeth of an escaltor at a Montreal train station.

Still north of the international border, but in a different province, Toronto's embattled Mayor Rob Ford - now famous for smoking crack - defends fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, now facing a variety of charges in jurisdictions from Miami to Toronto. A petition demanding that the Obama Administration deport Bieber has eclipsed one hundred thousand signatures, the number requiring a formal response from the Obama Administration.

An example of how the new demographics of northern Europe have even led to appeals at the culinary level:

From The LOCAL of Oslo: 'Don't stop serving pork for Muslims': Minister

"Norway's agriculture minister has called on the country's prisons, hospitals, and nursery schools to serve more pork, claiming that the meat is being pulled off the menu to avoid offending the country's Muslim minority.

'We cannot stop serving pork because Muslims have moved to Norway', Sylvi Listhaug, a politician for the right-wing Progress Party, said this week.

'Those responsible for food in public institutions should put pork on the menu, and then make sure that those who do not eat pork, can get something else,' she said.

Bjorn-Ole Juul-Hansen, Managing Director of the Norwegian meat industry association, told NRK that public institutions in the country were serving pork less often, although he could provide no statistics to back up the claim..."

Speaking of food in the Nordic countries, The ECONOMIST finds McDonald's restaurants in Norway sell the world's most expensive Big Mac, at 48 kroner, translating to $7.80, nearly 70 percent more costly than a Big Mac in the United States. In 2nd place, Venezuela: $7.15 for a Big Mac. In 3rd place, Switzerland (which captured 1st place last year): $7.14. In 4th place, Norway's neighbor, Sweden: $6.29.

Posted at 8:56am on January 31, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 9:34am
OK, so the Republicans should have had an easy 2014 (thanks to flailing/failing 0bamaCare, the continued Recession, and very low public approval ratings for the prez)... instead, they have decided to fight themselves over immigration.

Who realistically believes that any "illegal immigrant" would "admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits)."

The solution IMHO is to (1). actually secure the Southern border and (2). make all employers use E-verify...that's it.

It's a simple plan and a plan that could work but the real reason for the immigration debate is not about our country's economy, safety, or even human rights. The debate is over who can create more loyal voters and the Republicans are idiots if they believe granting illegal immigrants amnesty will get them more votes. I recently read a report on the percentage of LEGAL immigrants who vote Democrat vs. Republican and very few LEGAL immigrants vote for the Republicans due to (1). their views from their country of origin and (2). public benefits they received (so they prefer Big-government politicians).

I am 100% for LEGAL immigration/immigrants (even if they decide to vote Democrat), but think that it's foolish to just wave a magical politician's wand and make everyone legal and hope they follow the rules, and jump through all the ridiculous bureaucratic hoops.

Leaders of the old guard G.O.P. are listening to Big Business and ignoring the citizens of the U.S. because they don't care about us, and do care about keeping their power, wealth, and influence... so the powerful lobbyists win, and "we the people" lose.

It's time to fire the glowing orange Boehner!...and all his loyal minions too!

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 10:00am
If the U.S. - the 19th century "evil empire" hadn't stolen the Southwest - Texas, California, and everything in between - we wouldn't have to worry about illegal immigration and securing borders. But that was about rich people wanting cheap labor, too. In that case, more slave territory.

In any case, Earl, it's too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Illegals or undocumenteds, whichever you prefer, take jobs "we the people" won't touch. Without them, more big business moves offshore (if the cheap labor can't come here, they move to the cheap labor). Or business has to pay more to get "we the people" to do those jobs, or those jobs don't get done. That means crops don't get harvested and everything you eat costs more. Maybe even $7 burgers here. And without illegals to clean them, nobody would dare use the restrooms at MickeyD's.

Maybe the U.S. should have taken over all of Mexico in 1848.

Notice that Mexico tries to secure its Southern border to keep out the Guatemalans. Sort of ironic.

Maybe one solution would be to let Mexicans in but don't let them ever go back and don't let them send money home. You come, you work, you learn English, and you stay. Or forget it.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 10:31am
Billsmith and EarlGrey: How about sort of a combined version of what you both said?

Secure the border, let those who are here to stay, with the understanding they could never go back, and no, they could not send money home to Mexico or wherever. They would have a month to decide if they'd be staying under those conditions. Then we'd either see a huge exodus back below the border or we'd have a bunch staying. Then those staying would pay taxes and yes, a fine [probably in the form of a special tax that would be collected with each pay check until the fine were paid off]. After living here an additional 10 years, then they might begin the process of citizenship with yes, learning to read and write in English, knowledge of the U.S. history, G.E.D. if they didn't already have a high school diploma, etc. At the end of 15 years, assuming they'd pass all that, then they could be sworn-in as U.S. citizens and able to vote.

If we get a huge exodus rather than them staying, then fill in those gaps in cheap labor with Welfare folks, in very CCC style from the New Deal, go to work picking peaches, etc., but rather than getting paid by the taxpayers as was done in the New Deal, they would then be paid by the company for which they worked. Given, that's hard labor at the bottom of the barrel wage that only illegals would accept, those folks might be motivated to find other employment, but it would be at least be a path towards employment for some who might never have had a job before. Thus saving you and I the taxpayer from supporting them indefinitely via Welfare. Granted they'd probably still qualify for Food Stamps, Medicaid, but we'd not be paying them a salary to just sit at home watching TV all day.

So I see this as a win/win in solving two problems, illegals and Welfare bums. Obviously, those with true physical or mental issues wouldn't be doing this, but the majority are able and should be earning that Welfare check.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:13am
Mike: On paper your solution looks fine...but how realistic do you think it is that our politicians/bureaucrats would enforce any of those new laws if that meant they lost their own jobs?

Bill: Americans would do those jobs "we the people" supposedly won't touch if the employers could only hire legal citizens. Too many businesses are abusing the "undocumented" by paying them less than minimum wage and threatening to deport them if they speak out. If the employers had to use E-verify and pay huge penalties when caught breaking the law then I think the problems would settle themselves. People move to where they can work and make money for their families...that's why so many people are currently flooding Texas. If there are no jobs in one part of the country, then those looking for work will move to where jobs do exist.

I agree that there should be a minimum wage, but that wage is meant for those just starting in the work force (primarily teenagers looking for their first jobs) and as one gains experience, one's wages should go up...

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:14am
Apparently the Zionists are not about to give up their illegally seized territories in Gaza and the West Bank, nor to stop building settlements there.

Apparently they think all they have to do is play the holocaust card and International Law doesn't apply to them.
And now they've got Canadian prime minister Steven Harper pandering to them. Harper is a member of the no-longer-progressive Conservative Party. Establishment Tories allowed their party to be taken over by extreme wing-nuts from the Prairies. Shows what can happen when the tail wags the dog.

Meantime, actress Scarlett Johansson had to give up her role as celebrity spokesperson for Oxfam because of her deal as paid celebrity spokesperson for SodaStream, an Israeli business illegally operating in Palestinian territory. SodaStream is the gizmo that lets you carbonate your own drinks at home. Oxfam earlier fired "Sex and the City" co-star Kristen Davis because she was representing an Israeli cosmetics company operating illegally in the West Bank. The Zionists aren't just moving into Palestinian territories; they are building factories, too.
And Biden, Kerry, and Barry are wimping out and not laying down the law to Nazi Netanyahu.

Oh, yes! The fascistic Zionists now want to pass a law making it illegal to call anyone a "Nazi."

Time to put a trade blockade on Israel. U.S. citizens who live in Israel forfeit their citizenship and can't come back. And no sending money to Israel. If the U.S. does that, watch the price of gas come back down.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:19am
So, no need to deport anyone...sounds like the Romney plan of self-deportation.

No work in the U.S., then you go back to your family and friends. This is true for everyone, not just our neighbors to the South. There are many more "illegal immigrants" currently living in our country on expired visas from all around the world... E-verify is a better solution than attempting to deport millions of people already living in this country as non-citizens.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:28am
bill: FYI, SodaStream hires Israelis and Palestinians...


"What undermines the defamation of SodaStream by these entrenched anti-Israel activists is this booming global company's humane and practical commitment to true Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

The rallying point for BDS-ers is that one of SodaStream's 22 manufacturing facilities is located in an industrial park in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, and they accuse the company of "profiting from the occupation."

But SodaStream is far from an evil profiteer, intent on the colonial subjugation of Palestinians. The factory employs 500 West Bank Palestinians out of its 1,300 on-site employees. Describing the working conditions in the plant, in a 2012 interview with Al-Monitor, CEO Daniel Birnbaum, explains:

"We are building bridges between us and the Palestinian population, and we provide our Palestinian employees with respectable employment opportunities and an appropriate salary and benefits. We "even" purchase medical insurance for them from a private Israeli company, because I am not confident that the money we pay to the Palestinian Authority for such social benefits will actually be used for medical insurance. Our factory has a synagogue, but it also has a small mosque. We all eat the same food in the same dining hall, and if necessary, we will go through the same security inspection."

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 12:00pm
Earl, maybe the management of the company is trying. But look at the comments earlier about illegal aliens working in this country. Only 38 per cent of the work force is Palestinians. 62 per cent are illegal aliens (Israelis), living and working in the West Bank in violation of International Law and against the wishes of the Palestinians and their government. We wouldn't stand for something like that here; why should Palestinians?

Bottom line: The Zionists are trying with this factory and the industrial park in which it's located, and the Israeli workers living to establish a claim on territory that is not theirs.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 2:34pm
Earl: Maybe agribusiness could get U.S. citizens to work in the fields. Maybe MikeyD could get U.S. citizens to clean the rest rooms. For minimum wage? Doubtful. It would probably take more than that, plus basic benefits. People in the U.S. have been sold a bill of goods about being middle-class, entitled to middle-class jobs and middle-class lifestyles. Now you have to sell them on going back to working class jobs and working class pay. And you have to do something about welfare and all the incentives people have not to take minimum wage jobs. But whatever you do, everything will cost more. That's the part you didn't address. How much are you willing to pay for the satisfaction of deporting illegals?

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:07pm
Briefly on the minimum wage. I tried to give it a plug among minimum wage workers at the grocery store in Glasgow, and they were all excited about it.... until I said 50 cents... Aw, that's nothing, and they got very disappointed.

One said I work 20 hours a week, so that is just $10 to me. I just get my dad to buy a double 20 nuggets, and I'm eating my week's raise...

Their comments drove home it was much ado about nothing. The rancor from the Republicans is really only misguided emotion about their feelings towards the lower class, instead of being over any viable economics...

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:22pm
bill: Ag-businesses could (if no U.S. citizens really will do the work) have a Seasonal Green card for workers in the fields. If the non-citizens are willing to have access to the jobs here and return once their jobs are finished for the season (and returning next season) then that could be at least on approach to solving the Ag-business portion of the Immigration issue.

When I was a teenager I cleaned restrooms, dug ditches and worked at several other minimum wage jobs...then I completed High School, went to college and got a job...I have been working ever since and make a bit more than minimum wage thanks to my many years of experience and education.

I did notice something rather interesting this past summer while visiting relatives up in Maine...almost all McD workers, construction workers and all other minimum wage-type jobs were done by Caucasians of all ages. So, yes average Americans will do the jobs if no one else will.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:25pm
The mantra from the GOP/TEA folks is that minimum wage jobs are "starter" jobs mainly intended for teens. Interestingly, in the movies soda jerks [kind of the Mickey D's equivalent of their day] were adults, the teens got to sweep the floors, stock shelves, empty the trash. Since I didn't live then, I can't say for sure this is correct, but that's what I see in any such movie from that time when a drug store, soda fountain, hamburger joint scene is featured.

Granted in the 50's, 60's, and 70's the fast food jobs were teens, other than the supervisors and managers. But the reality today is, it's not mainly teens I see when going into any fast food joint [be it here or in other states I've visited on vacations], it's adults, with an occasional teen. Why is that? I believe it is because all those great factory jobs of the 50's, 60's and 70's have left the US for the cheap wage third world, no environmental reg nations. So what is left for those former factory workers, yep service sector jobs at banks, credit card banks, retail, and of course restaurants and fast food. The banks pay better than the other jobs, but nothing like those former factory jobs. So a former factory worker who's working in today's world at a bank, credit card bank, retail, or the food industry is making far less than they were in their old job, before they were laid off. That's how we now have the oxymoron "Working Poor" in the US today. It also explains why so many teens have a difficult time finding a job, they're now competing with adults who will be far more reliable and won't have any age restrictions for what they can do at work via the child labor laws or conflicts due to school, etc.

So that's why the minimum wage needs to be raised, the world has changed since we were kids and those "kids' jobs" are now mostly adult jobs. Sadly people who work at McDonald's can't afford to eat at McDonald's.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:27pm
EarlGrey: I too visited NH a couple of years ago and noticed that too, what you're not saying is there are very few minorities [blacks and even fewer Hispanics] in those states. It was odd, not seeing any blacks or Hispanics in Portsmouth, NH anywhere.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:31pm
Mike: As you can see from my post above yours, I agree with the the Tea Party-types about the "starter jobs/min wage/teens" but I also don't think that the Republicans should push against raising the minimum wage...it's not a fight worth having.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:37pm
"EarlGrey: I too visited NH a couple of years ago and noticed that too, what you're not saying is there are very few minorities"

Mike: That is part of the equation, but what I'm saying is that the jobs that supposedly no Americans would ever do were still being filled by plain old Americans...without need of importing "illegals".

Allan Loudell
Fri, Jan 31, 2014 3:56pm

(New York Times)

The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge on the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had evidence to prove it...

Also, again (New York Times)

The State Department released a report on Friday that could pave the way toward President Obama's approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline...

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 4:24pm
Is anybody surprised?

And now that the chemical leak in West Virginia has passed from media attention, and the railroad oil spills likewise, we can look forward to the "fruited plains" having a coating of oil, black gold, Texas tea, where the buffalo used to roam. We will pay to clean it up. And we will pay to compensate the farmers for their lost crops and fields. And we will pay more for oil, because the oil companies have to make up their loss. I wonder how much of a pay-off Obama is getting?

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 6:45pm
Bill: Your theory about leaving Texas as part of Mexico could be so, however we need to consider also that, in reality, the border would just be shifted further north, so the immigration issue would be in Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, and Louisiana as all those states would be bordering Mexico.

As to the Obama pay-off, all I can say is he's the pay-off king.

Fri, Jan 31, 2014 7:05pm
Pizza: The two sides of the current border are identical. Blindfold somebody and plop them down in Sonora or Arizona without any road signs and they wouldn't be able to tell which country they are in. The part of Mexico the US took was largely unused and uninhabited. And not really good for much. Neither is the great plains (once called "the Great American Desert"). Keep in mind that Westerns are filmed in California. The West looks nothing like what you see in most Cowboy movies. There'd be a huge, desolate and empty buffer zone between occupied Mexico and the fertile regions East of the 100th meridian.

And if the South had been allowed peacefully to secede, the Mexican border would be somebody else's problem. Besides, in all likelihood, the CSA would be virtually a third world country offering little incentive for Mexicans to want to move in.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 4:58am
Christian college drops 'Crusaders' nickname from its sports teams so it doesn't offend 'global society'

* Maranatha Baptist University in Wisconsin is dropping the word 'Crusaders' from its sports teams
* The college's Crusader mascot will also change
* Executive vice president Matt Davis says there have not been complaints about the name
* Davis says the topic has been in discussion for some time and the Board of Trustees decided 2014 was time to update
* 'Our world has changed since 9/11 and we’ve become a more global society,' he says
* The word Crusades to some speaks of heroics but for others - namely Muslims - it speaks of bloody murder
* Ibrahim Hooper from the Council on American-Islamic Relations says he 'welcomes the spirit of the change'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549711/Christian-college-drops-Crusaders-sports-teams-effort-global-society.html#ixzz2s3xsil6q

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 5:11am
'We laugh at naked bodies and take apple butter from old ladies': Ex-TSA agent confirms your worst fears about airport security

* Former TSA agent Jason Harrington blasts the 'useless' X-ray scanners- but said that the agents enjoyed laughing at passengers' looks #
* Told how TSA agents worried about radiation levels from the machines just like passengers but had to repeat the official government line
* Confirmed that the security scanners regularly issued extra checks based on passengers' nationalities- and if they were rude to the TSA agents
* Worked at Chicago's O'Hare Airport from 2007 until 2013 but then left and is now writing a book about his time as an agent

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549647/We-laugh-naked-bodies-apple-butter-old-ladies-An-ex-TSA-agent-spills-secrets-security-line.html#ixzz2s417yf6c

PS: If you get liquor at the Duty-Free Shop, they confiscate that and have a party.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 5:13am
Business is not your friend, even if you work there.

Cancer-stricken woman sues her employers after she was sacked just hours after she told them she needed time off for chemotherapy

* Elisa Madonia is suing S37, a property management firm, which fired her
* The Illinois-based company allegedly terminated her contract after receiving a letter from her doctors outlining her treatment
* Madonia has been battling oesophageal cancer since October

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549262/Cancer-stricken-woman-sues-employers-sacked-just-hours-told-needed-time-chemotherapy.html#ixzz2s41XPH5I

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 5:18am
No wonder Pizza is so angry but you think he'd be PO'ed at Domino's (and Bain Capital, which controls it) and not the government...

Domino’s Delivery Workers Settle Suit for $1.3 Million

Carlos Rodriguez Herrera said he often worked 65 hours a week as a deliveryman for a Domino’s pizza shop on East 89th Street in Manhattan but was paid for just 45 hours. A co-worker, Anatole Yameogo, remembers working from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. one Saturday, but his pay-stub said he worked just five hours that day.

“One manager told me you will work more than 50 hours a week but we’ll pay you for 40,” Mr. Yameogo said. “That helps the managers increase their bonus.” ...

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 7:44am
I find it amazing how 100,000 Americans can demand the deportation of Justin Bieber but they won't demand the deportation of illegal immigrant lawbreakers who are murdering Americans and bankrupting the welfare and medical systems. And I'm sure it ain't just Mexicans committing these crimes.

My goodness, Justin Bieber is a Hollywood actor, and probably one of the 2% that Mike From Delaware wants to raise taxes on. Instead of deporting him, why not just extort about 75% of his millions so the government can have more money to waste? Come on! Don't you know a cash cow when you see one?

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:20am
... illegal immigrant lawbreakers who are murdering Americans and bankrupting the welfare and medical systems..."
Isn't it nice to have somebody to blame for all the world's problems. By making it about illegal immigration, Pizza can avoid making it about race or ethnicity - which is what anti-immigrant prejudice has always been about.
Funny, I missed the part about all the shootings in Wilmington being done by "illegal immigrants."
People hated Italians, too, when they showed up here but without them, nobody in this country would have heard of pizza (or the jobs it creates). Not that real Italians would recognize the stuff Domino's peddles.
By the way, right now it's up to 231,480, having passed Declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and Pardon Edward Snowdon. Coming up is a petition to protect Amanda Knox from being deported.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:22am
Pizza: PS. Justin Bieber is not a "Hollywood actor," he's a Canadian recording artist.
But then you think Ronnie was an actor.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 9:50am
Ah come on Bill. I'm trying to play nice here!

At least we can agree on the bad pizza Domino's peddles.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:06am
Hey Bill: Here's something else we can probably agree on. Let's deport the current POTUS back to Kenya and deport Joe Biden to Rikers Island.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:20am
EarlGrey said: "Mike: That is part of the equation, but what I'm saying is that the jobs that supposedly no Americans would ever do were still being filled by plain old Americans...without need of importing "illegals".

What you're not saying though is that those jobs are no longer just starter jobs for high school kids, but have become jobs that adults are taking, because they can't find anything better. THAT's why the minimum wage needs to be raised.

How sad is it that some breadwinner who was making far better money working in industry has been reduced to working at McDonald's saying "Would you like a hot apple pie with that meal?" Add insult to injury, the pay is far below what he/she made in their former occupation that even though they are still working full time hours, they aren't making enough to pay their bills existing bills, feed their family, keep them in their existing home, etc, etc, and actually qualify for government assistance as their salary now puts them below the poverty line.

This is what turns so many off the the TEA party, because they call such folks, TAKERS, yet have no problem giving tons of money to their corporate pals and making sure not one dime of extra tax comes from those richest 2%. The TEA party is the party of the well to do and those who believe they will eventually become the well to do.

Sadly, many people who are NOT well to do, will vote against their own best interests protecting that wealthy well to do class of folks, only because they believe or hope that someday they too will be in the well to do class.

Reality is most won't make it there, so they are actually sticking it to their own families and to themselves.

We all love to call Bill Clinton the "slickmeister", but fact of the matter is, people who are wealthy, like Rush, Hannity, Beck, and conservative politicians who also happen to be wealthy, etc, are really the "slickmeisters" as they've sold the working class folks who have conservative values that they too will become like them someday, so back us up. The dirty little secret is, that isn't going to happen.

I agree with your idea of E-verify, but the government, be it DEM or GOP/TEA needs to actually ENFORCE the laws, but neither do to any great extent. The other thing that needs to happen is for the fine to be very high, so it is no longer just he cost of doing business, but will seriously hurt a companies bottom line if they are caught hiring illegals. Funny I never hear the TEA folks advocating such a thing, because they pals of the corporate world have bought and paid for their votes. The DEMS are no less innocent as they never advocate that either, because they see those illegals as future DEM voters. Just another reason I'm NOT either DEM or GOP/TEA, but Independent.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:36am
One of Allan's topics is: "Dover Downs casino revenues cave. The First State's biggest casino - Dover Downs - reported net earnings plunging from nearly five million dollars ($4.8 million) in 2012 to a scant 13-thousand dollars in 2013.

Oh well, times are tough; people don't have all that extra discretionary cash to waste at the casino. They've got competition from both MD and PA. What do other businesses do when they are faced with such problems? They improve what they are offering to better compete with their competition. So Dover Down, Del Park, and Harrington Raceway need to improve what they do. If that doesn't work, then just as with other businesses, they'll go out of business. It is what it is.

NO, NO, NO, we the taxpayers do NOT want to subsidize their casino business, nor their horse-racing business. THAT is THEIR problem if they can't make a go of it.

No to corporate welfare. I'm sure if Domino's, DuPont, Bank of America, Liquor World, Macy's, Frontier Airlines [who fly here], Trailways Bus Corporation [which provides interstate bus service here], Marriot Hotels, etc., etc., were having problems, Delaware would not bail them out, so why do we have to give the gambling industry something we'd not give those other corporations?

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:45am
MFD: I know you sometimes say the rest of the country takes no notice of Delaware. Here's what NPR told them about Delaware and its casinos on Thursday...
Lawmakers To Address Delaware's Troubled Casino Industry

A task force is expected to issue recommendations this week to lawmakers on how to overhaul the state's casino industry. Competition from nearby states cost Delaware's three casinos $13 million — a 5.5 percent drop in tax revenue between 2011 and 2012. Some analysts say the industry may be facing layoffs or worse without help.

Once again, rich people play the "jobs" card and get whatever they want.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:52am
Pizza: I'll go part way with you. But don't go "birther" on me.

And no jail for Biden. I'm not worried about him shooting up Wilmington and I don't want to pay for his room and board. I like what Eddie Murphy said to Dan Akroyd in "Trading Places." "The best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."

What you said about "cash cows" applies more to rich politicians (and corporate moguls) than to teen idols.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 11:34am
Yep, you got that one right, Bill.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 11:40am
Bill: To address the story on this Domino's settlement, it appears to me that the individual franchise in question was engaging in illegal activity. I would expect the DA in Manhattan would be conducting a criminal investigation into the matter. I would also think that Domino's corporate would be cancelling the franchise with this owner as I doubt corporate would condone this activity.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 12:56pm
Pizza: Agreed. I assume tomorrow will be a very busy day for you.

Meanwhile, although Chris Christie killed an added rail tunnel between Manhattan and New Jersey, and backed up traffic on and around the GW Bridge, last night he went into Manhattan for Howard Stern's 60th birthday bash and - surprise, surprise - traffic on the Hudson River crossings had no back-ups. Baba Booey.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 2:52pm
Pizza... if you are so hot on getting rid of illegals, just figure a way to get them all to sing Justin Bieber music, and I'm sure America will come around to your side....

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 2:58pm
Legalize marijuana on the racino grounds, and people will play slots just to be able to fire up... Even willing to have a big super BOWL party....

Ironically, the super BOWL is between the only two states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage... Wonder if they'll let players smoke during the game...

Good question for Allan on Monday's noon hour... What recently distinguishing legal factor now applies to only two states, and both those two states were represented in the SuperBOWL last night... "

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 3:17pm
Kavips: I'll get right to work on that one.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 4:23pm
To Mike From Delaware: For the past two years, you've been beating the drum about taxing the 2%, pretty much to the point it's fallen on deaf ears, including mine.

If you want the wealth of the 2%, what you need to do is first find out what it is they do to earn that 2%, then learn how to do what they do to earn the 2%, then finally locate an opportunity to earn the 2%.

At your age, it may be a bit of an uphill climb, but if you start now, you may be able to get to that level of income by the time you're 80.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 5:22pm
Pizza: How do you account for the fact that (as the depression-era song said) the rich get rich and the poor get poorer? Fewer and fewer people control an increasing share of the wealth in this country and the opportunities for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder to move to the top are less than they were - less than in any developed country. Concentration of wealth is greater than even in the days of the robber barons in the 1890s and after the turn of the last century. Seems like the game is rigged. What about that?

And you tea people talk about how you hate taxes (who doesn't?) and want to cut spending. The issue should be how well the money is spent. If we have good roads, that's money well spent. Rural electrification was money well spent. The utilities weren't going to do it. Boehner talks about cutting spending but his home town got electric lights because of government spending. And electricity and damns to generate it created prosperity where it never existed before. The space program was money well spent because they had to develop computer technology that is the basis of the device you are using to read this. So, you tea people should be looking at quality of spending, not quantity. And at the "welfare" going to corporations and rich people; more than complaining about food stamps (a program which exists mainly to benefit agribusiness).

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 5:56pm
Billsmith: Well said.

Mrpizza: so how well are you doing in becoming one of the 2% given the fact you work for the U.S.P.S. & Domino's? (I assume you sleep sometime, have a life with Mrspizza & your kids, grand kids,etc). Most folks no matter how hard they work won't become wealthy, it is what it is. Doesn't make us slackers or the wealthy any sort of hero. God has given all us different abilities. Some folks are the type that no matter what they touch turns to gold. Others could be handed a gold bar & it would turn into lead.

Many of the pampered upper-class didn't earn it, but inherited it. Luck of the draw, we got middle class or working class parents those folks had wealthy parents like Bush Jr. It is what it is.

I never said I wanted to be wealthy (sure I wouldn't mind getting some gigantic check in the mail, but also realize that's not going to happen). I just don't think we should genuflect & treat them better than the rest of us get treated, including paying taxes.

I realize we just won't ever see eye-to-eye on this. It explains partly why you're TEA person & why I'm not. I realize I'm a pay check away from needing the social safety programs the government provides, you are in denial & hopefully won't ever needed those "evil" government programs.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 7:04pm
MFD: I'm not trying to become one of them, and while I agree that God has given everyone different abilities, there's no such thing as luck of the draw, either. Yeah, the Kennedys and the Duponts inherited their wealth, but most of the people you're complaining about took risks and started and built companies. Some succeeded and some failed.

I think everybody probably has a God-given ability to become quite wealthy, it's just that most of us don't discover what that ability is. It takes a lot of effort and for most of us it's easier to just get a job.

I think where you make a mistake is to think that God needs any program from any government or even any church in order to provide for his people. He rained manna out of the sky for the Israelites, who by the way were a stubborn, rebellious, and unbelieving people. If he did that for them, then how much more does he care for those who are obedient to him? You should keep in mind that God is the one who created this earth in the first place, so he is not dependent on anything.

The problem we have today is that government has replaced God, and it's unfortunate that as a believer you say you're a paycheck away from needing a government program. What if the politicians bankrupt the country and those programs run out of money to the point that they can't even print it anymore?

It's time for Christians in this country to take inventory and ask themselves who they really believe in. Most of us don't really believe God because we live in a country where everything is ready-made and we're used to structure. But what if that structure gets disrupted?

I would admonish you to focus on God as your source and this world's system as merely a means. The TEA party is trying to save that system from collapse, but if that collapse actually happens, are you ready for God to be the absolute only thing you have left? I'm not sure that I am, but that's a goal every believer should have in today's uncertain times.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 7:05pm
MFD: Actually the club is even more exclusive. You have to be in the top one per cent.

Here's Wikipedia's summary:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, between 1979 and 2007 incomes of the top 1% of Americans grew by an average of 275%. During the same time period, the 60% of Americans in the middle of the income scale saw their income rise by 40%. Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has decreased by $900, while that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000, as federal taxation became less progressive.

Political factors that led to top tax rate cuts —such as those by Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980's in the United States and the United Kingdom - where accompanied by other legislative changes, such as deregulation, which may have caused top incomes to rise, not least on account of the impetus they gave to the growth of the financial services...and legal services sector.

From 1992-2007 the top 400 income earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. In 2009, the average income of the top 1% was $960,000 with a minimum income of $343,927.

In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. The top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%. From 1922 to 2010, the share of the top 1% varied from 19.7% to 44.2%, the big drop being associated with the drop in the stock market in the late 1970s. Ignoring the period where the stock market was depressed (1976-1980) and the period when the stock market was overvalued (1929), the share of wealth of the richest 1% remained extremely stable, at about a third of the total wealth. Financial inequality was greater than inequality in total wealth, with the top 1% of the population owning 42.7%, the next 19% of Americans owning 50.3%, and the bottom 80% owning 7%. However, after the Great Recession which started in 2007, the share of total wealth owned by the top 1% of the population grew from 34.6% to 37.1%, and that owned by the top 20% of Americans grew from 85% to 87.7%. The Great Recession also caused a drop of 36.1% in median household wealth but a drop of only 11.1% for the top 1%, further widening the gap between the 1% and the 99%. During the economic expansion between 2002 and 2007, the income of the top 1% grew 10 times faster than the income of the bottom 90%. In this period 66% of total income gains went to the 1%, who in 2007 had a larger share of total income than at any time since 1928.

In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth between 2009 and 2012, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Dan Ariely and Michael Norton show in a study (2011) that US citizens across the political spectrum significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality and would prefer a more egalitarian distribution of wealth, raising questions about ideological disputes over issues like taxation and welfare.

The article has footnotes to the original sources.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:14pm
Mrpizza: I might have a few paychecks before needing help from my church or the government, but still the point is how many of those folks who were laid off during the Bush/Obama recession ever expected to be laid off & needing help from the government? God does & has always provides. Sometimes he uses miraculous means like manna, other times he uses worldly things like the government & corporations. God can use Athiest's to do his will so surly God can use, if he chooses, the government.

Just because someone is poor doesn't mean they've not been living in God's will as there are many faithful Christians all over the world who are as poor as church mice; & other very wealthy Christians who are playing church, I'm not saying that there aren't any faithful Christians who are wealthy, but being wealthy is not the criteria as to who's being faithful to God. Jesus said we are to take up our cross each day, not look in our mailbox for a check. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where the Apostiles ended up wealthy, so by the Prosperity Gospel they must not have been living in God's will or understood what their gifts are.

Seems like we are to use our gifts to further God'd kingdom, not for our own kingdom. All I want to hear after I die is for Jesus to say to me well done, my faithful servant, enter paradise.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 8:16pm
Billsmith: thanks for the info, it's worse than I ever imagined.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 9:36pm
MFD: Didn't say that. How are you defining wealthy? If you think it's possessing millions of dollars, you've missed the point. The point is where the wealth you have is coming from. Either God is the source of your wealth, or the world's system is the source of it. If the world's system is your source rather than just a means, then you're trusting in uncertain riches.

I'm trying to drive home the point that you need to stop relying on the natural and start believing in the supernatural. How do you do that? You search the scriptures and then start praying those scriptures, because they won't work for you if you don't use your God-given authority to make them work, not only for you, but for the people you claim to care about. You need to stop feeling guilty and start taking the land.

Once again, this is not about dollars and cents. God will only use the supernatural if his people call in the supernatural. If Christians don't believe they have authority, then they'll end up just like the rest of the world.

You can do what you want, but since Jesus said he's overcome the world, then I'm going with him.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 9:45pm
I would like to address the issue of income inequality with the following:

Even some soldiers asked Jesus, "And what should we do?" He told them, "Never extort money from anyone by threats or blackmail, and be content with your wages". - Luke 3:14

Sat, Feb 1, 2014 10:17pm
To both Bill and MFD: The rich will always get richer and the poor will always get poorer as long as the riches are the uncertain ones we're told in scripture not to trust in.

It's time for God's people to come out from among the world and be separate.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Feb 1, 2014 11:38pm
Mrpizza: I totally trust in God. He has provided everything I need & desire. You miss my point, which is that The Lord can use any means he wants to get the job done. You've heard the story of the man who was caught in a flood, he couldn't get out. A fireman in a boat came by & the man said , no thank you God is going to rescue me. The waters got deeper finally the man is on his roof when a coast guard helicopter comes the man again refuses their help proclaiming God is going to rescue me. He dies & when he arrives at the Pearly Gates he asks The Lord I prayed for you to save me, why didn't you? The Lord replies, my son I sent a boat & a helicopter which you refused to accept. God uses anyone he chooses to do his will. It doesn't have to be a miracle to be from God.

You go to the doctor & his training makes you well, God gave that man the gifts to be able to do use the science God created to make you well, it doesn't have to be a Miraculous healing to be a healing. It can be, but more often than not it isn't Miraculous. I had a miraculous healing in 1971 so I totally believe in Devine healing, but have also received many more healings from the years from The Lord that were not miraculous. I give God the credit for both kinds of healing, because they both come from him.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 2:20am
Pizza: Did you miss all the instances when Jesus made it clear he was not a fan of rich people?

If you guys are right about hell, I hope there's a special place in it for those parents who let their kids suffer and die, while they prayed with some faith healer, rather than get the kids medical attention (which could have easily saved them).

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 2:47am
So, Michelle is upset because Barry was flirting with the blonde Danish prime minister? Ever see pictures of Obama's White mama? Like father, like son.

So, Michelle and Barack Obama: What IS the state of your union? Rumours their 21-year marriage has been racked by screaming rows, allegations of infidelity and a string of jealous fights

* Rumours surround frostiness between the couple in recent months
* Reports claim they are now sleeping in separate bedrooms
* Notorious selfie with Danish PM was the 'last straw', sources claim
* Newly-slim First Lady 'planning her own life' for after end of husband's term

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550129/So-Michelle-Barack-Obama-What-IS-state-union.html#ixzz2s9CcJwp5

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 2:52am
Fox News: "A conservative retirement community." That must make right-wing talk radio - Rush, Beck, Hannity, Jensen - a reactionary assisted living facility. Tea people aren't going to be with us much longer.
The average age of Fox News viewers is 68 and a majority of them are politically conservative and white

* Nielsen TV data through mid-Januray shows that the average age of Fox viewers is 68
* The average viewers at MSNBC and CNN are 60, and the average is 62-64 for the broadcast network
* Only 1.1 per cent of Fox viewers are black

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550377/The-average-age-Fox-Viewers-68-majority-politically-conservative-white.html#ixzz2s9Hsz4Ts

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 5:28am
MFD: I think we're both right.

Bill: The truth is that Jesus had both rich and poor friends.
The rich people he "wasn't a fan of" were those who got their wealth by exploiting the poor, similar to the establishment politicians of today.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 7:28am
Pizza: Really? It doesn't say "the rich man who got his wealth by exploiting the poor." It just says "rich man." In any case, the only way people become rich is through exploitation (or inheritance from somebody who did the exploiting).

What you guys were tossing back and forth is not the viewpoint of all of Christianity. Many, perhaps most, Christians believe that god created the world and "man" in his image and then gave the world to people, who have free will to use it for better or worse. God does not micromanage people's lives of the universe. MFD says he does not accept the "prosperity gospel" but he's getting pretty close to it.

I tried passing a Camel through the eye of a needle. Can't be done. I even tried passing a Lucky Strike through. That didn't work either.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Feb 2, 2014 8:20am
Billsmith: I am not in to the Prosperity Gospel at all. God does still do miraculous things, but as I said uses the "ordinary" far more. Long story short, in 1971 I was in an automobile accident, fell asleep at the wheel, and with my eyes closed, my car left the road as I drove through a small wooded area , somehow didn't hit any trees (miracle #1). Then once through the woods the car hit a chain linked fence causing the car to flip over on its back. I was not wearing my seat-belt, so I was thrown threw the windshield and landed on the ground on my back. Then, I was taken to the nearby Air Force hospital on the base. They did an exploratory operation believing I was bleeding internally , after I woke up after the operation the doctor came in & told me I was this close to death (held his fingers about an inch apart) and said, there's not a damn thing I can do to save you, and walked out of the room. I prayed, the Act of Contrition over & over as I was preparing to meet God face-to-face very shortly. My folks were driving frantically to the medical center, hopefully to get there before I passed away, as the hospital had called them, telling them the same thing. The doctor couldn't explain what happened, but laterm when the nurse took my readings, all were normal. They kept me there for two weeks, to be sure. Miracle #2) was a divine healing. I was still a Catholic & didn't know anything about divine healing so I hadn't prayed for that, I just prayed the Act of Contrition to seek God's forgiveness for my sins. I was 20, & very scared. Apparently God wasn't ready for me to die, and 43 years later, I'm telling you about it. So I totally believe in Divine healing, but realize it isn't the only way God does things.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 10:11am
Bill: You are correct in saying that God created the world and gave man free will to use for better or worse. Man has of course chosen to use it for the worse. No, God won't micromanage lives except for those of us who totally surrender our lives to him. I'm trying to surrender as much of my life as possible because it's a whole lot safer in God's hands than in my own hands, left to my own devices.

I believe Mike misunderstands what he calls prosperity gospel because he has it confused with materialism. You can actually have no money at all and be more prosperous than somebody with millions. Where I come down on this is I'm digging deep into scripture to find what God has to say about it so that what God says will be my first thought rather than my last resort. No politics, not even the ones I support, are necessarily 100% in line with God's word, and I believe God's people can have a far greater effect with their prayers than anything else. So in my case even though I'm a TEA supporter with my vote and a small amount of my money, I consider the prayer meeting to be more effective than the political convention of whatever party may be your cup of tea.

I'm sorry you believe anybody who is wealthy got it by unjust gain. There have been many visionaries throughout history who have invented and made affordable to the average person products and services that have made our lives better, and scripture tells us that wealth and riches are a reward for achieving that vision.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 10:46am
Pizza: There are also many more visionaries and inventors you never heard of who died poor. The biggest SOBs get the credit and get the money. And later they hire people to tell you how wonderful they were. Wealth and riches are a reward for having good lawyers and maybe being a good poker player.

MFD: If you loose your job or the bank takes your house, don't expect god to fix everything for you. You may not think god is going to make you rich but it's pretty close to say god will keep you from being destitute and homeless. Lots of people in the world with terrible lives. Should we blame god for failing those folks? Or is god just playing games with Satan like in the Book of Job?

The ER saved you. Glad you came through OK (and were in the service so you didn't have to worry about insurance or medical bills). But god could have nudged you to wear your seat belt or helped you stay awake. Every time there's a huge disaster and a lot of people die and some people don't, they thank god for sparing them. Who was responsible for the fire, flood, earthquake or whatever in the first place? Notice they call all these things that kill people and destroy property as "acts of god."

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 12:44pm
PS: Pizza, the vast majority of rich people don't produce anything. They are lawyers and money changers. They play games with other people's money. Legal and financial services dominate the ranks of the super-rich. Exploitation is what they do. They are not your friends.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Feb 2, 2014 2:10pm
Interestingly, the military being the military took me back to the site of the accident after they released me from the hospital & explained what happened. If I had been buckled in I'd have been upside down, & only would have needed to do was unbuckle my seat belt.

God does do Miraculous healings, I can't explain why he blessed me with that healing I surly didn't deserve it. I do believe God does step in at times, just as in Bible times. I believe the mistake the Prosperity Gospel folks make is they are seeking those miracules rather than seeking to do God's will & taking up their cross & following Christ.

I've wondered many times when I've reflected on that accident, that if I had prayed for my own healing that night would he have honored that prayer vs. my prayer that night of repentance & asking his forgiveness for my sins. I'll tell you, when you believe you're going to be standing in front of God possibly in a very short time you really realize how puny your own "righteousness" is, truly like a filthy rag. Talk about a humbling experience.

After the military finished with me the civilian court had their turn. No other cars were involved & the only damage caused was to my car (it was totaled) & one piece of chain link fence that belonged to the base.

Even so the civilian court fined me a fine that literally was my entire pay check as it was a military town they knew how much I was being paid & I had just been paid & after I walked out of the court room I had only a couple of dollars left until my next pay check.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 3:25pm
MFD: I'm sorry but when you talk (or write) some of these things, it sounds like self-loathing. It seems like most of the prayers and hymns in Christianity boil down to "I'm a worthless piece of s___." And this is supposed to be god's image? And god is supposed to love people who fit this description? Why should he? It does not seem that Christians love themselves.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 4:00pm
Bill: I would agree with you about some of those hymns you speak of. Many Christians, while saved from their sins, still live in Babylon because their minds haven't been renewed, and unfortunately, that has included song writers. Let me leave you with a couple of uplifting praise songs:



Mike from Delaware
Sun, Feb 2, 2014 6:45pm
Billsmith: not self loathing, no in the flesh I've got a pretty healthy ego. An analysis that might better explain. I play piano, I've played in bands, done some supper club work as a soloist, and yes also play in church. I'm not a great pianist (not being humble just an honest assessment). People enjoy my music as it is a pleasant sound. However, I have heard many other local pianists who leave me in the dust. I'm minor league, they are in the majors, some could be of star status if they chose to go that route. It doesn't make me loathe what I do on the piano, but I know the level of my talent. It's healthy to be around other pianist's, because they keep me from thinking more of my abilities than is warranted.

So as I walk in my walk with Christ, I strive to be a good person, honoring God in all I do. I believe some Christians start believing they did that on their own, thus the self righteous thing that turns folks like Billsmith off to the faith. Think about it, we study & learn about Jesus, accept his free gift of love, forgiveness, grace, & salvation, but in our mind actually coming face to face with Jesus is a long way off in the sweet by and by.

That night when I was faced with the imminent fact that I was going to be meeting Jesus face to face in possibly in a couple of hours made my sinfulness really glare out at me. I was going to be meeting face to face with Jesus, God's Son, who was without ANY sin. Would he say welcome my faithful servant or get away from me I never knew you. It's no longer head knowledge, or even heart knowledge, but as real as life & death. In moments my brief 20 years on Earth were going to be judged, by the highest court in the universe. Until you've been in that spot you won't understand what I felt.

No not self loathing, just facing the fact of my sinfulness that night in a way most don't get to do until they are geezers at the end of life. It is my hope that because of that night, my walk with Christ became better, more loving, less about me & more about Christ & honoring him in how I treat others. Someday, I will stand before the living Christ in the highest court in the universe, I know my acceptance into heaven won't be because of what I've done, but because of what he did over 2000 years ago on the cross at Calvary. So now I can approach that court with my prepaid ticket already approved of & signed by Jesus himself. That is the Blessed assurance that hymn talks about. So rather than be boastful or full of self loathing I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart, because in spite of my sinfulness, I have been made clean & righteous in God's eyes & will be welcomed into his presence. Now that's something to be excited about.

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 8:44pm
The following is the ultimate illustration of what happens when Republicans "reach across the aisle" to Democrats:


Sun, Feb 2, 2014 10:11pm
Don't underestimate the popularity of Ted Cruz. Following is the results of the latest Newsmax poll of likely Republican presidential front-runners:


Mon, Feb 3, 2014 8:17am
"What you're not saying though is that those jobs are no longer just starter jobs for high school kids, but have become jobs that adults are taking, because they can't find anything better. THAT's why the minimum wage needs to be raised."

Mike: I said I don't think the Republicans should fight against the minimum wage. But what you are missing is that raising the minimum wage is only a short-term/feel good fix...the solution is to fix the economy...Texas gets it, why can't the rest of the country? And before you claim these jobs are all oil jobs...that is not the bulk of new jobs created in Texas.

Fix the economy and we won't have to argue about the length of unemployment benefits or food stamps either... this president does nothing but short-term fixes that extend into long term chaos and disaster. He has had more than 5 years to fix the economy, but the focus of this administration never stays on the economy...

BTW, The minimum-wage jobs I saw this summer up in Maine were filled mostly by young, legal citizens (not the elderly)... there were even kids mowing neighbors lawns for their summer jobs... how long has it been since you have seen a neighborhood kid mowing lawns in your neighborhood? It's been years since I have, so those jobs are done by whom, if not neighborhood teens?

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Feb 3, 2014 8:47am
EarlGrey: Texas is a right-to-work state, so union activity is very low there; thus the wages also are very low there as compared to here in the Northeast, where union activity is far higher, as are salaries.

So the G.O.P./TEA answer is to kill off the unions and allow the employers to set as low salaries as possible. Then they'll want to hire more people. Just remember, those who work at McDonald's can't afford to eat at McDonald's.

I'm not the biggest fan of unions, because of their greed and excess, but on the other hand, the great-paying factory jobs of yesteryear were largely in part due to the unions fighting for decent wages and benefits. The TV show called "Homefront" was an excellent way to see some of those post WWII issues as yes, for many great factory jobs, employers didn't want to pay decent salaries, but due to the unions, ended up paying great living wages/benefits which helped create the miracle economies of the 50's and 60's that us Babyboomers enjoyed as kids.

Granted, there is balance and the unions got greedy and became their own worst enemy. Somehow we've got to regain the good without having the bad in that old system. One major difference today vs. the golden days of the 50's and 60's was today we're competing with the Third World for those jobs.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Feb 3, 2014 8:56am
EarlGrey: My two sons did cut grass in the neighborhood, prior to them getting jobs in fast food [my youngest is 23]. In my neighborhood, a working class neighborhood, you will see kids going aroung cutting grass and shoveling snow. Granted in the more upper middle class and upper crust neighborhoods, you'll not see that.

At the Portsmouth NH McDonald's I saw some teens, but mostly young adults with an older person as the manager, but no minorities of any kind. It was kind of like a flashback to my childhood where you only saw minorities in Wilmington, rarely in the suburbs. It seemed very "Twilght Light Zoneish". I kept waiting for Rod Serling to appear. I wanted to ask, where did all the minorities go? Even at the hotel, where we stayed, the chamber maids were all white, no minorities. When we got home and I checked NH's population has 2% minority most of which live in their one "large city" Manchester.

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