So, which stories / topics / issues are capturing your attention?
Confronting the resistance from the public, and consequently, lawmakers in the Delaware General Assembly, to Governor Markell's proposed, dime-a-gallon, gas tax hike, DelDOT lists some of the road projects facing indefinite delays, including the planned widening of Route One between Tybouts Corner and Route 273. Whether this gambit persuades lawmakers to pass the increase - or boomerangs because of what they might see as stifling pressure - remains to be seen.
Something bipartisan in Dover: Delaware House members unanimously approved a bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Sussex County political intrigue even got some attention in New Castle County: Sussex County Council member Vance Phillips (R-Laurel) has filed to run for re-election to his District 5 seat despite pleas from the Sussex County G.O.P. leadership to step down. Of course, Phillips is fighting the accusations from party volunteer Katelynn Dunlap of violent sexual abuse.
Rank-and-file officers in the Wilmington Police Department appear to be in an uproar after interim Police Chief Bobby Cummings seemed to go out of his way to undercut his own officers' (and PIO's) account of what transpired at the scene of a fatal shooting in the Hedgeville community. The press release issued just after the event said a "hostile crowd" of some two hundred people hurled rocks at officers performing CPR on the victim, 39-year-old Teddy Jackson.
But days later, the interim chief told a crowd assembled near the scene of the shooting (Elm & South Harrison Streets) the press account released last Friday wasn't as "correct" as it could have been. He said the release should not have mentioned the estimated number of people. He also appeared to dispute the account of "rocks" being thrown. It would appear Cummings was trying to appease community passions - perhaps an attempt to rebuild trust with the residents - by lowballing the initial account. But did he do so at the expense of the truth? Did he metaphorically throw the cops who made the scene (and his PIO) under the bus? Doubtless Cummings isn't speaking this way without the knowledge and the approval of Mayor Dennis Williams. So is Mayor Williams talking out of both sides of his mouth when he talks about cracking down on the sorts of people disproportionately responsible for the shootings and drug-trafficking, yet he seemingly won't back his own officers in this case?
In the aftermath of the bloodshed at that public high school in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.
From The PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:
MEASURES to PREVENT VIOLENCE in SCHOOLS FALL SHORT, EXPERTS SAY
"Teaching students alternatives to violence and improving their access to mental health services are among the best ideas officials say they have for preventing the kind of bloodshed that has struck a long list of schools, including Franklin Regional High School.
But they say progress on arresting school violence nationwide has been hamstrung by a lack of funding, deployment of school-safety programs that haven't worked, and a failure to properly train school staff and students.
'We're 15 years after Columbine, and you'd have thought we would have solved that problem', said John Matthews, executive director of the Texas-based, Community Safety Institute, referring to the 1999 rampage at a Colorado high school in which seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold fatally shot 12 students and injured about 20 others before committing suicide..."
Embattled U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has offered her resignation to President Obama, and the President has accepted that resignation. That will end a Sebelius' contentious, five years as HHS secretary, tarnished by the stunningly incompetent rollout of the President's health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials insist Sebelius decided to step down on her own, and was not forced out. Replacing Sebelius: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. But, of course, we can expect an acrimonious confirmation hearing.
Now here's a story about a G.O.P. Delegate in Virginia that doubtless gives other Republicans nightmares...
From The WASHINGTON TIMES:
VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN BOB MARSHALL STANDS by REMARKS THAT RAISE EYEBROWS -- DEMOCRATS SEE an EASY VICTORY
"Delegate Robert G. Marshall has said that disabled children can be God's vengeance against women who have had abortions. He has described incest as sometimes voluntary, and he has questioned the sexuality of a Supreme Court justice who has favored marriage equality.
But unlike W. Todd Akin, whose offhanded reference to 'legitimate rape' cost the G.O.P. a winnable Senate seat from Missouri in 2012, Mr. Marshall is unbowed over his history of controversial rhetoric as he seeks a seat in Congress representing Northern Virginia.
'I don't care. I mean, if I say something in public, I say it in public,' Mr. Marshall said Thursday.
Democrats, who have built dossiers aggregating the delegate's more outrageous statements from recent years, have been salivating at the prospect of his emergence from a G.O.P. primary field this month seeking to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf.
Unlike Mr. Akin, who appeared to be speaking extemporaneously when he said women's bodies know how to 'shut down' pregnancies in cases of 'legitimate rape', Mr. Marshall's comments aren't gaffes..."
Another story about an apparent conflict between private conscience and providing certain public services.
From WOIO Action news in Cleveland, Ohio:
CAB CONTROVERSY: SOME CLEVELAND CABBIES REFUSING to PROMOTE A MAJOR EVENT
"Some local cabbies are taking a stand and refusing to promote a major event in the area.
The protest centers around signs promoting the Gay Games that are on top of airport cabs.
Some drivers, for religious reasons, are refusing to drive the cabs. And we're told these are predominantly drivers of the Muslim faith.
19 Action News reporter Brian Duffy spoke with about 20 cabbies at the airport who are still driving and all of them confirmed there are drivers who have walked off the job in protest. Representatives of AmeriCab, one of the three cab companies on the job at the airport, also confirmed the protest but say only one of their drivers has been reassigned..."
I posted recently about the coming independence referendum in Scotland, and whether the break-up of Ukraine could portend other break-ups in Europe. (Of course, we saw the disintegration of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia after the implosion of the U.S.S.R.) The English-language newspaper and website, The LOCAL of Rome, carried a story entitled:
WHY ITALY MIGHT NOT EXIST in FIVE YEARS
"With Europe's eyes on independence referendums in Scotland and Catalonia, Italy's own potential breakaway states have failed to get much attention. But separatists in Venice - and other parts of Italy - have the wind in their sails..."
This account further argues the separatist winds are indeed stronger in Italy than in the United Kingdom: "And Venetians are not alone -- Lombardy, Sicily, and Sardinia all have significant independence movements..."
According to the latest report from the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, the Central American country of Honduras retains the world's top murder rate (90.4 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants), almost double the second-highest country, Venezuela (53.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants). Indeed, the report has nations in the Americas overtaking Africa as the region with the most "peacetime" murders. Blame gang warfare and Mexican drug cartels.
An Israeli court fines a Palestinian prisoner the equivalent of $1,499 whose semen was smuggled from prison. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Club Association, the Israeli court both fined Abdul Karim Rimawi, and deprived him of family visits for a couple of months. According to this report, Rimawi - who has served a dozen years of his 25-year sentence - helped to smuggle out his own semen from behind bars two years ago, and eight months ago, his wife gave birth to a boy. More revealingly, apparently the Palestinians regard clandestine in-vitro fertilization as the latest form of resistance against the Israeli "occupation".
Speaking of Israel and the Palestinians, former President Jimmy Carter accuses Hillary Rodham Clinton of not doing enough to push peace in the Middle-East during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State. In an interview with TIME magazine, the former president said that "when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry's coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues." Of course, Kerry's current Israel--Palestinian negotiations appear to be on the ropes, perhaps validating then Secretary of State Clinton's decision NOT to invest so much energy and time. I think former President Carter's remarks reflect two elements: His genuine, emotional attachment to the Middle-East, and desire to find an Israeli--Palestinian solutio against all odds, and his apparent estrangement from the Clintons.
And while we're on the subject of the Clintons, a woman hurled a black-and-orange shoe at Hillary Rodham Clinton as the former secretary of state was starting the keynote speech to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. HRC ducked, apparently successfully. She joked about it, and the audience laughed and applauded. Secret Service took the woman into custody. One of the folks attending the convention gave a reporter a piece of paper apparently from the shoe-throwing woman. The paper looked like a copy of a U.S. Department of Defense document with a "Confidential" imprint and dated August 1967, with a reference to Operation Cynthia in Bolivia. Strange. Hillary Clinton wasn't exactly responsible for any U.S. policies during the 1960's. Remember when then-President George W. Bush dodged two shoes thrown by that Iraqi journalist during a news conference in the Iraqi capital in December 2008?
Another apparent P.R. snafu for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)...
From The NEW YORK POST:
TSA BARS MUTE STROKE VICTIM from FLIGHT, FORCES 8-HOUR BUS RIDE
"A woman claims an airport security agent refused to let her disabled sister on board a plane because she couldn't say her own name.
Sherry Wright says she was shocked at the treatment they received at Los Angeles International Aiport, where her sister Heidi was due to fly to Phoenix.
The problems began when Heidi, who was left wheelchair-bound and unable to speak or write after a stroke a decade ago, was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration due to an expired driver's license, CNN reported..."
Did you catch the business story about Ikea - which we more commonly associate with stores selling inexpensive home goods and furniture, plus with a Swedish menu & Nordic foods in its food court - is getting into the wind-farm business in the United States? (This does not represent some massive shift for Ikea's corporate culture; Ikea has invested in wind-farms in Canada and in Denmark.) Ikea bought an energy project under construction in Illinois, Hoopeston Wind.
The fourth annual "State of the Bible" survey conducted by the Barna Group for the American Bible Society finds a sharp increase in the number of Americans who consider The Bible merely the teachings of men, than the Word of God.
The so-called Millennial generation - Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 - appears to be leading the charge in that direction.
While roughly one-in-five Americans continue to read The Bible at least four times a week, and see The Bible as divinely inspired, an equal percentage doubts The Bible's relevance and authority, representing almost double the percentage of skeptics polled in 2011.
The American Bible Society vows to connect with more of those young adults through their cellphones with daily verses, and Bible studies.
Related news: The HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW's April edition includes several articles supporting the authenticity of a papyrus fragment that quotes Jesus as saying the surprising words "my wife." Experts believe the document dates back to a range between the sixth and ninth centuries, probably earlier. The script is in ancient Coptic. The translation has Jesus speaking of his mother, his wife, and a female disciple known as "Mary". Mary Magdalene? Of course, the notion of Jesus as married or even non-celibate is incredibly controversial. The HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW did include a rebuttal from a Brown University Egyptologist who heaped scorn on claims of authenticity for the document. He said the document not only looked phony and was "hilarious", but he had never seen Coptic manuscripts displaying bold-faced letters.
Posted at 8:22am on April 11, 2014 by Allan Loudell
"Embattled U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has offered her resignation to President Obama, and the President has accepted that resignation. That will end a Sebelius' contentious, five years as HHS secretary, tarnished by the stunningly incompetent rollout of the President's health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials insist Sebelius decided to step down on her own, and was not forced out. Some observers noted Sebelius did not appear with the President last week as he ran a victory lap on the announcement that health-exchange enrollments had topped seven million."
Sebelius had better prepare herself for her new official role of "Scapegoat for everything wrong with 0bamaCare"...now that she has stepped down the bus (under which she will soon be thrown) is rapidly approaching.
btw, even if the ridiculous 7.1 million number is real... the real information that needs to get out is WHO actually signed up. Was it young/healthy/previously uninsured "folks" or other "folks"?.... Without the young/healthy signing up the system crashes just like the failed web launch for ACA.
"...of the people who have paid their first month’s premium on the Obamacare exchanges, and are thereby enrolled in coverage, 76 percent were previously insured, and 24 percent were previously uninsured."
Mr. Loudell, have you been following the latest IRS-gate scandal revelations? Like the collusion (e-mails) between Representative Cummings (D) Maryland and Lois Lerner @ the IRS to single out True the Vote (and other Conservative groups) for "special" IRS attention?
Nixon was impeached for having an enemies list and thinking about weaponizing the IRS against his "enemies"... this administration has apparently actually used the IRS against conservative opponents...and we hear crickets.
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 9:55am
Regarding the Wilmington police situation, police press releases and statements (not necessarily speaking about Delaware) are routinely filled with falsehoods and spin benefiting the officers. So are police reports, which for some reason, are not public in Delaware. It's not difficult to believe a press release made the officers look as good as possible.
But instead of being ticked off at Cummings, perhaps the Wilmington PD should ask itself why a hostile crowd of 200 would throw rocks at officers trying to assist someone. Shouldn't they look at themselves and try to figure out where and why this relationship went so wrong and how both sides could begin to repair it? I'd be upset if my boss made me look bad in public, but I'd also question why he even felt it was necessary to do so. Cummings didn't do this out of thin air.
Also, if there was a crowd of 200, then someone would have been recording the entire scene on a cellphone. The police also should have dash cam video available. In addition, it's time for Wilmington's officers to start wearing lapel cameras. These sorts of things are standard in a lot of places.
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 10:18am
That's one of the things our reporter Tom Lehman is looking into.
Money supposedly was appropriated for cameras in the squad cars, but it hasn't happened.
As far as your earlier point, we may be looking at a vicious circle in terms of the relationships (or lack thereof) between the cops and the "community".
To Mr. Grey...
I am aware of the IRS-gate revelations; did an interview on the air with CBS's Congressional correspondent Bob Fuss yesterday (Thursday).
But I suppose Darrell Issa's own reputation as a bitter partisan (and his own tainted background) has undercut the credibility of his committee's investigation.
Further, on former IRS official Lois Lerner invoking her 5th Amendment right not to incriminate herself in response to Issa's questions (Yes, I'm aware of the wrinkle that Lerner said something before invoking that right for the first time!): Records retrieved by the Congressional Research Service show no American has been successfully prosecuted for invoking his/her 5th Amendment rights before Congress.
Indeed, we have to go back to the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee and its red-baiting witch-hunts of the 1950s. One particularly revealing case: A woman from Buffalo, New York, named Diantha Hoag, canned from her job at a factory after Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI) accused her of being a communist. She pleaded the 5th, but ONLY AFTER ANSWERING MORE QUESTIONS THAN LERNER EVER DID. Hoag noted (before that Congressional committee) several places where she had lived; said she worked at a Westinghouse factory, and that she realized Westinghouse contracted with the U.S. military. But this woman from Buffalo categorically refused to answer questions about her associations, any communist connections, etc.
A judge at the time repudiated Joe McCarthy's attempts to force her testimony.
If Issa keeps at it, it could become Issa = Joe McCarthy, whose colleagues censured him a short time after this episode.
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 11:44am
I understand many have issue with Issa/partisanship...but there are now e-mails documenting Representative Cummings and Lerner both were involved in using the IRS as a weapon against political foes.
A copy of the e-mails is at the bottom of the article in above link.
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 7:30pm
Allan: I'm not surprised that they found a manuscript of Jesus mentioning his wife. Scripture has forever referred to the church as the bride of Christ. I suspect that's what it means. Here's a link to 18 verses of scripture referring to exactly that:
I would say Delegate Marshall is a bit over the top with the "God's vengeance" comment. That's not to say that disabled children couldn't be the result of damage to the reproductive system caused by abortion. It's just like drug use. If you shoot up heroin or snort cocaine, you're very likely to fry your brain. That's not God's punishment, it's just the biological consequences of abusing the body. As for Elena Kagan's sexuality, I think I too have some questions about it.
It goes without saying that I'm cheering for the Muslim cab drivers. I'd live in the street and eat dog food before I'd participate in promoting any such event. It will be interesting to see if the homosexual thug establishment will sue the cab company. In light of recent court rulings against Christian business people, it's become very clear to me that gay marriage is a money grab for LGBT extortionists and the American Criminal Liberties Union.
Sat, Apr 12, 2014 12:19pm
Down South, Phillips should not be penalized for his affair, because she is gorgeous. That's the end of that.
Sun, Apr 13, 2014 8:04am
Pizza: "That's not to say that disabled children couldn't be the result of damage to the reproductive system caused by abortion."
Are you serious? That's like saying that I should get a facelift so that my kid will be better-looking.
Sun, Apr 13, 2014 10:47am
Dunmore: Since you appear so typically ignorant of the damage abortion does to people, here are some facts:
In a national poll, and I can't find it now, I think it listed the total as only 1 out of 5,000 who care one bit about getting rid of abortion... That still means there are 63,000 activists nationwide who will show up at protests, write letters, and call in to talk shows, but overall, it really is a droplet in a rain bucket...
Remember for every 1 person who cries out against abortion, there are 4999 who either don't care or are pro-choice....
On to Ukraine:
Just heard back that the alleged build-up of Russians on the border is propaganda by the West and therefore is not true... It appears that those totals are including the 25,000 stationed in Crimea, and there are only 10,000 left scattered across the length of a very long frontier.
Reports I've gotten say troops there are very relaxed and are not tensed up for a fight.
This gels with other bits of info. Kerry says he has spoken directly to the military and they are pulling back..
Plus almost daily, Obama and Putin speak directly to each other.
The Russian separatists who show up on camera are pleading for Putin to arrive. The Russians would have already arrived if that had been their long term plan.
The Russians see the West as being the ones instigating the throwing out the legitimate Government, Yankovich, and then trying to impose Ukraine severity upon the Russian inhabitants.
It was really stupid of Ukraine to force the language issue. After all, that is what caused the entire problem including Crimea. One would expect similar unrest here in the United States if Marco Rubio because our 2016 president and insisted the new language would now be Spanish....
The West has the need to create a crisis buzz out nothing as well. NATO was caught flat-footed over Ukraine. It needs to send a signal to those other nations, including the Baltics, that it can and will stand up to a Russian threat... To have a Russia that is withdrawing troops, is not much of a threat.
The 25,000 troops in Crimea are certainly there on defensive terms. They just took over Crimea; without them there, one would certainly expect Ukraine to march in and take it back if there was no penalty for doing so. And remember, Russia's Southern fleet is there. They need the 25,000 troops for the fleet's defensive back-up...
If those troops instead were to swing south towards Odessa, it would open Ukraine to counter-attack, coming down from the northwest right up the isthmus and possibly make it all the way over the navy sea base... Russians are practical, and we can probably rest assured that they are staying put.... and not being adventurous and subsequently putting their entire fleet in danger.
Of course, anything can happen. But it was the Russians who called an emergency Security Council meeting Sunday night because of fears of war, and not the Ukrainians...
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 5:50am
Kavips: Interesting read on Ukraine, and while you're right about the outrage that would be caused if Rubio (or any other politician of either party) decreed the U.S. language to be Spanish, it's interesting that the same outrage has been directed at politicians, mostly Republican, who have wanted legislation to make English the official language because if that happened a lot of Hispanics would be forced to learn it. The left can't have that because it would threaten their power.
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 8:00am
American's view on abortion is changing...many Planned Parenthood sites have stopped performing abortions and many states are now actually inspecting abortion clinics after the infamous Kermit Gosnell case in Philly cast a bright light on the horrendous conditions. There is also a surge of support to end ALL abortions after 20 weeks of age (minus cases of incest/rape)
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 10:07am
Pizza, knowing that most Hispanics today know English better than many born nationals, I think an English requirement for citizenship is fair. But it should also be legal for a business to market itself to people of other languages if it sees a market opportunity for doing so. Yiddish is one example.
Earl. If the concern for abortions and the closing of clinics was solely due to the horrific conditions there, that would be a good thing.
If it is motivated by a nanny state mentality, where the perpetrators are simply saying, "you can't have an abortion because I say so.. nah, nah, nah, " then that is wrong....
Still, for every anti abortion activist, there are 4999 others who don't care or believe that the option should be there if necessary.
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 12:07pm
kavips: Please provide link for your 4999 number...I don't believe it unless it's for Delaware, Maryland or California.
And, I agree, it's good that these clinics were closed down due to the horrendous conditions inspectors found once they finally started inspecting the clinics...many of these legal clinics were no better than the "back alley" operations many pro-choice proponents fear would return if Roe v. Wade were overturned. I wonder...was it the fear of bad P.R. that allowed many of these clinics to exist?
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 7:42pm
kavips: You are absolutely right that private businesses have the right to advertise in as many languages as they wish. That's just good ole common sense free enterprise, the economic model America was built on.
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