So, which stories / topics / issues have captured your attention here at the end of the week?
An early-morning, overturned tractor-trailer at I-95 and Route 141, which completely closed down I-95's southbound lanes - at a time when I-495 remains closed - underscored how our tiny state can become utterly gridlocked. People in Delaware generally commute fewer miles to work, but our traffic jams can create far more paralysis. Never a good thing!
A new Miss Delaware emerges, after the one crowned earlier this month lost her crown -- for the "crime" of being too old. A tearful, still 24-year-old, Amanda Longacre of Bear tells WDEL News that she had handed over a contract, her driver's license, birth certificate, and social security card to Delaware pageant officials, and they ruled her eligible at the time. Then, a scant two weeks after receiving the crown, she was informed she was too old to compete.
I'm not a fan of pageants, but it would seem this young lady has been wronged. Pageant officials locally don't know their own rules? Wouldn't they have a computer program through which they could run birthdates to determine eligibility? No great shock: Pageant officials wouldn't answer questions about Amanda Longacre's disqualification "due to the possibility of pending litigation." Duh! With a year's contract as Miss Delaware, scholarship money, etc., Longacre quit her job, fully expecting she'd have this new gig for a year.
That in no way diminishes the achievements of the new Miss Delaware, Brittany Lewis of Wilmington, installed during a short ceremony at the Dover Downs Hotel Casino.
The Delaware General Assembly has given final approval to a measure that would bar legislators from becoming paid lobbyists until a year after they office. So state Representative John Kowalko (D-Newark South) has won a small victory. Not that he wouldn't have wanted a longer time frame. And here's the kicker - this "revolving door" measure wouldn't take effect until 2017. Leave it to state lawmakers to dilute any reform.
If they were really serious, maybe they'd make it for five years -- or life. Whether in Dover or Washington, it is repugnant that former lawmakers can start a second career as lobbyists, whose friendships and familiarity with the system make them invaluable to outside interests. It's gaming the system.
The DuPont Company has downgraded its earnings outlook for the second quarter. Blame lower-than-projected corn seed sales, as well as other factors.
Often it seems political parties and movements confirm stereotypes about themselves because of the inexplicably sophomoric rhetoric or actions of some of their functionaries. Latest example: The 2nd District Republican chair in Arkansas, Johnny Rhoda, stepped down after comments about Hillary Rodham Clinton's chances in Arkansas. Rhoda was quoted as saying HRC "would probably get shot at the state line". He says he feels the media took his remarks out-of-context. Memo to political functionaries, the media, and talk-show hosts: Avoid the problem entirely. You never, ever refer to a President or potential Presidential candidate getting shot, even within a more nuanced broader context. This country has had too many assassinations and attempted assassinations, and this country has too many crazies.
And leave it to conservative pundit Ann Coulter to provide ammo to enemies of the conservatives who would stereotype all conservatives as dangerously parochial, jingoistic, know-nothings. Reacting to the United States' apparent surge of enthusiasm for soccer - with a boost from Team U.S.A. staying alive in the 2014 World Cup - Coulter declared America's newfound enthusiasm for soccer and the World Cup reflects this country's 'moral decay'. Coulter sums up her reasons: Soccer downplays individual achievement; "liberal" moms like soccer; no other sport ends in as many scoreless ties; you can't use your hands in soccer; etc. Plus, she views soccer as something "foreign" being forced on the United States (just like the metric system, which liberals adore because it's also European).
Let's be clear. I'm not a soccer fan; I haven't watched a minute of the World Cup; and I actually confess agreement on the point about the low scores and scoreless ties. But a sign of America's 'moral decay', Ann? (A Canadian invented basketball, noted for its high scores and celebrity players!) Now I might agree if someone assailed America's preoccupation with ALL sports - especially foisted upon the academic environment at high schools and colleges, as a sign of moral decay - or at least, the opiate of the masses, as sports displaces religion!
Former Senate Majority / Minority Leader Howard Baker of Tennessee has died. He was 88.
Baker, whose campaign literature once described him as a "close friend and trusted advisor" to President Nixon, later famously challenged Mr. Nixon: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" But even in the 1970's, you could sense the developing storm on the Right, as Baker was excoriated for helping lead the Panama Canal treaties through the Senate. Yet, Baker still commanded enough integrity and respect that President Reagan used Baker as a lifeline after Iran--Contra, when Mr. Reagan appointed Baker as White House chief of staff.
I covered Howard Baker several times when he came to Memphis. He could command a room, despite not being tall.
It's worth considering: Could a Howard Baker be elected - let alone flourish - in today's Washington? Indeed, one thinks back to those bigger-than-life senators, notably, Howard Baker's father-in-law, the even more legendary Senate Minority Leader Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-IL).
Did anyone else find irony in what some of today's Republicans had to say on the occasion of the passing of Howard Baker?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, from the neighboring state of Kentucky: "Senator Baker truly earned his nickname, the 'Great Conciliator'. I know he will be remembered with fondness by members of both political parties." Will McConnell one day be remembered "with fondness" by most members of EITHER political party?
In a free speech ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had gone too far by creating 35-foot "buffer zones" around abortion clinics, to insulate patients, from anti-abortion, pro-life activists.
The high court repudiated President Obama's "recess appointments", at least those made when the Senate was still TECHNICALLY in session, holding pro-forma, theoretical sessions every three days. A victory for Senate Republicans. Of course, the President's "recess appointments" would have to be seen in the broader context of Senate Republicans' undying efforts to thwart the President's nominations.
Posted at 9:01am on June 27, 2014 by Allan Loudell
First thing... Last night, on a vote to go forward with the Smarter Balanced Assessment, surprisingly in the Delaware Senate, it failed... (The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the Common Core test which all who are not connected financially to Common Core have said is of very poor quality.) Whoop. Whoop. Yea. Yea.
An hour later, that vote was rescinded and a new vote taken. It passed. Four Delaware senators switched their vote to vote in this terrible test... Of 50 states, only 10 are left still on board with the Smarter Balanced Assessment... Last night for one hour, Delaware dropped it down to 9.... These senators included Rick Jensen's favorite, Greg Lavelle, and three Democrats, Senator Ennis, Senator McBride, and the arch-nemesis of all Wilmington's residents... Senator McDowell....
I spent a long time looking and this was the only vote I could find this session ever to be rescinded and voted upon again.... I think some phone lines got pretty hot in Legislative Hall between 8:30 and 9:30 last night.... I hope the insulation held up.
This definitely proves one thing.... This is a very bad policy, so much that tricks, delusions, and magic (political graft) have to be used to get it to pass a public body... By definition, a good bill is one that allows both sides to air their grievances and then still passes, because a majority are informed and think it is a good bill...
I would even call Obamacare a good bill, by that definition. All attempts were made to stop it, and despite all odds... it still went forward and is truly keeping medical costs down for all. So that means, that despite some obnoxious invectives hurled its way, the real problem were those people hurling the invectives, and not the bill.....
This Delaware HB bill 334 never got the chance... Every trick was tried to get it slipped through with no one watching... Then, last night happened....
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 11:56am
The other side of the revolving door, is a politician who was elected in 2002 and has served for the past 14 years... They tire and leave. What are they going to do? The first words out of a Human Resource officer will be: What can you do?...
This guy/girl is unemployed, and will be for a long time... What worth does he/she have to society? Where on earth will he be employable? Surely not in a business or occupation where some kid out of college is 100% more up-to-date in knowledge than this veteran legislator... "I'm sorry, Senator Lavelle, but we don't think you have the ability to put things on our store shelves as quickly as the kid who came in after you filled out your application.... "
Which means, if a person risks all to serve the public, and then has nothing... who is going to do it?
The problem is: We feel lobbyists are bad... because we only think of those bad ones. But visit Legislative Hall and you will see advocates of all kinds... for bird sanctuaries, for pets, for nursing mothers, for old people, for veterans, all visiting legislators to express concerns on impending legislation.....
I don't think we'd have as much consternation over lobbyists if we were to use state funds to create a lobbying concern whose express purpose was to argue the side of "We, the People." If this non-aligned, non-profit affiliation were to hire legislators to use their knowledge to get things through faster, we'd all be cheering...
The problem with lobbyists is that if you pay someone to lobby, they can... If you have no money and depend on volunteers, you will have your cause presented eloquently sometimes, and at other times, no one will be there... When a legislator only hears one side of an argument, that argument usually makes pretty good sense.....
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 12:47pm
Kavips, I only see one flaw with your argument. Serving in the Delaware General Assembly is a part-time job. It pays as a part-time job and it is assumed that you will continue to work at your "primary" job. I have known state representatives who were DuPont lab techs, school teachers, insurance reps, etc. All too often, they also have State jobs they rarely show up at!
These people have another career. It is not like the General Assembly is all they know. When they leave office, they have skills beyond knowing the ins and outs of government. "Lobbyist" is not the only position they have open to them.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 1:57pm
HB334 pushed through pretty much the same way ACA was...both of these bad choices were passed by "representatives" who don't listen to those they supposedly represent. The ACA was passed with no representatives even reading the bill...I would guess some at least read HB334 (which is why they voted against it) and then they received political heat and balked/re-voted/and passed this sad bill. I'm curious who "helped" them change their minds? Most informed parents, teachers and even teacher's unions are against Common Core.
"Smarter Balanced Assessment"...sounds Orwellian as none of the three are true.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 2:29pm
Update on the Scott Walker "scandal"....
Gov. Scott Walker was not target of investigation.
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker(R) was not a target of an investigation into allegedly illegal campaign coordination related to the state's 2011 and 2012 recall elections, according to a lawyer for the special prosecutor running the probe."
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 2:46pm
If true, that would be good news for Scott Walker... The mind benders on the House Bill last night would have been Governor Markell, Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott, and probably the admission that if the Smarter Balanced was not approved, that we didn't even have a back-up plan, since all eggs had been put in this basket... Don't know and can't say because I haven't even had time to look into it, but here is also a Charlie Copeland connection running between all 4... Mostly, it would be the governor who probably had to say... Look, what will it take.. I'm begging you here... Name your price... anything... I beg you... we can't embarrass our state on the national scene by not passing this piece of legislation...." or something along those lines... Each got something good out of the deal, which if you remember, is actually how the Emancipation Proclamation was slipped through the House in 1863... Same methods, same quid pro quo...
Whereas those voting for the Emancipation would be seen as heroes by history... these are already being called Judus by the DSEA and parents of school-age children.... (A reminder that Judas thought he was doing the right thing too.)...
The luster of 30 pieces of silver did not last long for Judas once he finally realized what he'd truly done....
He had been so wrong... When in doubt, listen to your heart, not your head or someone yelling at you...
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 3:33pm
As the right-wing extremist you all know me to be, I have always distanced myself from Ann Coulter for reasons mentioned above. She gives conservatives a big black eye each time she opens her mouth.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 3:40pm
I'm very pleased to see that Amanda Longacre is apparently suing the pageant organizers. Had Miss Longacre lied about her age, that would be something different, but in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pageant and they should have just eaten their mistake rather than cause this poor woman public humiliation. Additionally, I think Brittany Lewis should have refused to let them crown her and that all the remaining contestants - while not required to - should have taken a moral stand in support of Miss Longacre.
I hope Miss Longacre wins a HUGE settlement.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 5:57pm
I see there's been an update in the two hours since my post about the beauty queen. It's good she'll get to keep the scholarship money, albeit $9,000 won't even pay for a full year of school these days.
I still hope there's a lawsuit given the fact she now won't be able to compete in the national competition and again, the public humiliation as a result of their negligence, not hers.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 6:03pm
I should add they may have to move the trial out-of-state, as I'm sure it will be impossible to find an impartial jury in Delaware or even a 100-mile radius of Delaware.
If she sues, they should try to settle to save their own a**es.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 6:09pm
Pizza, that won't happen. The committee is a string of volunteers who gather once a year because they love doing what they do... These are very small events attended only by families of the contestants.... If you think your daughter is pretty, sign her up. They start in communities, then the winners move up to compete for state... They get free space... donation of the casino... free food... donation by someone, and prizes are donated... Most volunteers are family people too... There is no money....
A lawsuit would shut down Ms. America in Delaware.... And even Amanda's lawyer wouldn't get a nickel.. so from his perspective,... what's the point...?
Now to the fault... As always, there are two sets of rules... One given out local... one kept under lock and key at headquarters... (That is so if they want to expel someone, they can make up a reason slip into the rule) Every major business operates that way... The local rules did not say the Ms. America had to be 25 after January 1st the next year... The local rules said that she had to be up to 24 in order to compete....
Ok. So competition occurs in the time frame while she is 24. She's ok. Only when the data was sent to headquarters, did the one geek there in charge of dotting all the i's, and the only one who knew the secret written rule, notice how it stood out against all the other contestants' birthdays...
At issue here, is whether a person is responsible for knowing something they could not possibly know? Under Republican philosophy they are... Obama should have known Benghazi was going to happen and scrambled the entire air force to Libya. Lois Lerner should have known when her computer went down that she would be held in contempt of Congress 3 years into the future because of it... They are equally harsh on their own... Karl Rove should have known that his computer to add votes to Ohio was hacked and would be shut down on election day allowing all those extra votes to sit in Karl's computer and never be cast... He should have known he was hacked... Mitt Romney should have known the Affordable Care Act would be upheld by the Supreme Court and become the law of the land, so he should have fought it 11 years earlier in Massachusetts instead of calling it the Republican answer to Hillary-care....
Democrats, understand. Decisions get made on the data at hand. Most are good decisions, and the bad decisions you learn from such decisions are better made in the future.... That is why anyone who cares about America's future needs to look hard at each candidate's method of operandi and vote for the ones who decide on what they see, not some outdated philosophy from ancient Greece....
And on a final note, sadly for Amanda, a long acre does not have very much width....
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 8:32pm
Yeah, leave it to Kavips to politicize an injustice committed against a totally innocent person.
Of course, I wouldn't expect anything better out of the communists at Obamaville.
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 8:38pm
I guess in Kavips' world, Amanda Longacre is just "collateral damage" like Ambassador Stevens. Only Trayvon Martin gets any sympathy.
Sat, Jun 28, 2014 7:30am
Ya know, come to think of it, if Brittany Lewis had been the "wrong age", betcha they'd have just kept it quiet and not said anything for fear of a racial discrimination suit, not to mention Al Sharpton would be camping out in Delaware for the next six weeks as part of his ongoing self-promotion campaign.
The bottom line is the same, though. It wasn't Amanda's fault that the local organizers blundered. It's completely unethical and just plain tacky to strip Amanda of her crown when they were the idiots, not her. In my mind, Amanda Longacre will always be the legitimate Miss Delaware, and yes Kavips, I would still say that even if Brittany Lewis was white.
Sat, Jun 28, 2014 7:41am
By the way Kavips, the "low level volunteers" argument doesn't wash with me. Headquarters has an obligation to eat the mistake and fire the people that made it.
And while we're making it political, why hasn't your president fired the IRS chief, the NSA chief, and the chiefs of every scandalized department in the government (which is just about all of them)? I'll tell you why, because it's his bidding that they're doing, and if he fires them, it will derail his communist agenda. So he'll tell whatever lies to the American public he has to in order to cover it up.
Reminds me so much of the USSR.
Sat, Jun 28, 2014 7:44am
Time now for another award-winning music break:
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 10:28am
Just read the WDEL news article from the State Fire Marshall saying that ALL fireworks are illegal in Delaware. WOW !! BIG DEAL. If the state doesn't enforce the law then it isn't a law. Every Fourth of July, Cinco de Maya, Labor Day, Ground Hogs Day [OK that might be an exageration] in many parts of New Castle County many folks provide those communities with some pretty impressive fireworks displays. Funny no arrests, as the police blotter in the News Journal never records any, or WDEL. They only report if someone gets hurt by fireworks. Every year there are not less folks doing fireworks, but more. The cops must be hiding out in the donut shops with earplugs on so they don't hear any fireworks, as there are plenty illegal displays happening.
So why have a law if you're not going to have the cops out enforcing it? The lack of enforcing these small laws just enables some folks that hey I got away with this, so maybe I can get away with.........thus some of the problems we have today in Delaware and the US.
Just remember friends, he who goes forth with a fifth on the fourth, may not come forth on the fifth.
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 1:18pm
I'm confused. I thought professional fireworks displays were legal in ALL states. Are you telling me otherwise, or are we talking about fireworks purchased by ordinary people like me who would be likely to blow their hand off if they played with them?
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 3:09pm
Mrpizza: professional fireworks displays are legal in Delaware. Everything else is illegal, including sparklers.
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 6:43pm
Personally, I'm glad they're illegal. There's too much potential for amateurs to hurt not only themselves, but innocent bystanders who may cross their path.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 8:19pm
Mrpizza: I believe you are missing my point. I too am glad they are illegal for non-professionals, but if the state doesn't enforce it, the law is useless.
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 11:09pm
Now Mike, you and I both know that both the state and federal governments only enforce the laws that are convenient to the politicians' agendas. Laws are no longer made to protect the public, except for certain "victim" classes.
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