WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

4th of July Open Friday / Weekend Forum

So, which stories / topics / issues grab your attention on this Independence Day weekend?

Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt concedes DelDOT bungled the response to citizens' reports about the leaning pillars beneath the I-495 bridge over the Christina River in Wilmington. Three opportunities missed. Secretary Bhatt announced a new policy where DelDOT employees would prioritize reports and sightings about compromised infrastructure: Bridges, dams, dikes; high-mast lighting structures; and/or overhead signs. No more reliance on just voice-mails or e-mails. Reports would have to be communicated to managers by telephone, radio, or in person. And yes, DelDOT has enlisted the law firm, Ober Kaler, to try to recover whatever costs are owed the state. One suspects the future is going to be rather like passengers on a plane confronting a would-be terrorist. People will look more closely at pillars and highway infrastructure, and not hesitate to communicate ANYTHING which looks suspicious or questionable. DelDOT will jump on it. Probably a few false alarms will result, but that's almost inevitable.

Some fifty Wilmington firefighters show up at Thursday night's City Council meeting to demonstrate opposition to a measure that would eliminate seven vacant firefighters' positions, at a cost savings of $447,000 this fiscal year.

Speaking of firefighters, classic rock groups Styx and Foreigner say they'll donate some of the proceeds from their Thursday night concert at the Susquehanna Bank Center to a firefighters' union charity, the Widow's Fund of firefighters union Local 22. That, after fire engulfed two buses hired to transport the bands' crew members and the Philadelphia Fire Department quickly responded. The show could go on. (Styx played once at my high school many, many moons ago!)


"A divided Supreme Court on Thursday allowed, at least for now, an evangelical college in Illinois that objects to paying for contraceptives in its health plan, to avoid filling out a government document that the college says would violate its religious beliefs..."


"Governor Scott Walker may be having a little trouble stating his position on gay marriage these days.

Not so his son Alex.

Alex Walker, who will be a sophomore this fall at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, recently acted as the state-required witness to a gay marriage in Waukesha County.

Records show Shelli Marquardt and Cathy Priem married at the Waukesha County Courthouse on June 9. Alex Walker, 19, scribbled his signature on the marriage certificate as one of two adult witnesses to the wedding. The certificate is on file with the Waukesha County register of deeds.

Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for the governor, confirmed Thursday that Walker's son was present for the event for the lesbian couple. One of the two women, Patrick noted, is a relative of first lady Tonette Walker.

'Shelli Marquardt is the first lady's cousin,' Patrick said in a statement. 'She is part of the Walker family who they dearly love.'"


WASHINGTON -- "The list CBS News obtained from the House Veterans Affairs Committee shows $2.8 million in bonuses going to senior Veteran Affairs executives, with several going to officials in charge while care was delayed for veterans.

More than $9,000 went to Sharon Helman, the director of the VA in Phoenix, where 18 patients died while on secret lists waiting for appointments. Helman's bonus has since been rescinded, and she has been suspended. But Helman's regional boss, Susan Bowers, also received $9,000, despite two ongoing investigations.

Congressman Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, says bonuses created incentive for officials to hide long wait times..."


"Baghdad may be echoing with calls to arms for local militias and residents running stampedes into grocery stores to stock up on supplies, but there's unlikely to be a mass advance by the fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant into the capital anytime soon..."


"The Pentagon is weighing airstrikes in Iraq because of a growing belief that Iraqi security forces will be unable to take back territory seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham on their own, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said Thursday.

'Assessing and advising and enabling are very different words than attack, defeating, and disrupting,' Dempsey said about the current U.S. role in Iraq. 'We may get to that point if our national interests drive us there, if ISIL becomes such a threat to the homeland that the president of the United States, with our advice, decides that we have to take direct action..."


"The leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region called on lawmakers Thursday to prepare an independence referendum, a move that threatens to lead to the breakup of Iraq.

Kurdistan, where most of Iraq's 5 million Kurds live in an oasis of stability flanked by sectarian strife, has enjoyed self-rule for more than two decades, but its leaders now apparently sense an opportunity to move toward full statehood..."

A reminder about the hazards of transportation infrastructure, whether old or new (under construction):


"An overpass under construction in a World Cup host city in Brazil collapsed onto several vehicles Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring numerous others.

The incident happened in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte, where Tuesday's semifinal is scheduled to be played...."

By the way, the Fourth of July is an official holiday known as Liberation Day in Rwanda. This July 4th marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide... which some regard as the last genocide of the 20th century.

In some respects, Rwanda has made great economic and social progress since the terror. Christian Caryl, Senior Fellow with Washington's Legatum Institute and Contributing Editor to FOREIGN POLICY, is currently on a reporting tour in Rwanda. He tells me the expressways in Kigali put the ones in Washington, D.C. to shame. Still, he finds people still traumatized from that genocidal period.

Furthermore, Rwanda today has a rather authoritarian government. Let me give you an excerpt which appeared in The RWANDAN this week:


"...4th of July, Rwanda's sole ruling party, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), will be celebrating Liberation Day. On the 1st of July, Rwanda should have celebrated its independence from Belgian colonial rule slightly over five decades ago. Earlier, on April 7, in pomp and circumstance, the RPF and its dear leader, Paul Kagame, commemorated twenty years after the genocide of 1994.

During such events, ordinary Rwandans are harassed and coerced to turn up in tens of thousands to celebrate RPF's 'achievements'. They are forced to listen and clap to Kagame's now familiar vitriolic monologues in which he denounces those he falsely labels RPF's 'disloyal', 'corrupt', and 'genocidal' enemies.

For the majority of Rwandans, Liberation, independence, and 'never again' have just become slogans empty of meaning. For the freedom-fighters of the 1959 (MDR-PARMEHUTU) and 1990 (RPF) who shed their blood, millions of Rwandans who perished during these periods and since then, their deaths have been in vain. July 4, July 1, and April 7 have lost the promise enshrined in the revolutions that defined these periods, and have been turned into deceptive rituals to display the national flag, sing the national anthem, and intimidate Rwandans into silence and inaction..."

Posted at 8:33am on July 4, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Jul 4, 2014 3:06pm
Just like to open discussion with a holiday minded non-partisan reminder of some things our Conservatives would like to forget, and make you forget as well.....

Remember this is not partisan at all.. but a non partisan look at facts involving this nation, the USA.

0. Conservatives opposed the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution and a lot of other righteous stuff as well.

1. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

2. Long before the United States even existed, it was drawing "problem" immigrants.

3. Those Pilgrims were commies... and it saved their lives.

4. One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, hated Thanksgiving.

5. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.

6. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan decision made by a predominantly Republican-appointed Supreme Court.

7. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.

8. Reagan also raised federal taxes eleven times.

9. Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, supported gay rights, deeply despised the Religious Right, and - gasp! - liked Hillary Clinton.

10. The first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican.

11. Those "job-killing" environmental regulations? Republican things.

12. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most conservatives’ - and most other Americans' - do.

So you see, all this conservative and liberal bashing of each other is deeply American... Today's political parties are a symptom, not a deep set disease set upon our nation...

One can't get any more non-partisan than that... Happy Fourth!

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Jul 4, 2014 4:52pm

WASHINGTON -- "The list CBS News obtained from the House Veterans Affairs Committee shows $2.8 million in bonuses going to senior Veteran Affairs executives, with several going to officials in charge while care was delayed for veterans.

More than $9,000 went to Sharon Helman, the director of the VA in Phoenix, where 18 patients died while on secret lists waiting for appointments. Helman's bonus has since been rescinded, and she has been suspended. But Helman's regional boss, Susan Bowers, also received $9,000, despite two ongoing investigations.

Congressman Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, says bonuses created incentive for officials to hide long wait times..."

All of their bonuses should be rescinded. "Manure" runs down hill, so that the big cheeses rarely are affected, both in government and business. This is just another example.

Kavips: So because the "evil Europeans" came uninvited in 1492 and took this continent away from the so called "native Americans" [who themselves migrated here both from Europe as some studies show and Asia], we should today allow the Hispanics to do the same thing to us?

Most folks I know have no issue with immigration, its those who come here illegally. We as a sovereign nation should be able to choose who we let in. Why should we simply open up the flood gates and say, only unskilled, uneducated folks who have no real skills can come here and sponge off the rest of us. Essentially that is what's happening and our social systems can't handle the load.

Back when my family came to this nation via Ellis Island around 1910, they had to not just want to come here, but also have a skill or trade, etc, so that they'd not be a burden on the American society, and could support themselves. Now, due to Political Correctness, we simply overlook such things.

The border needs to be closed. Don't you find it hypocritical that Mexico has no problem allowing millions to cross from Mexico into our nation, yet apparently is rather strict about who crosses into Mexico, either from the US or Central America. Yet, if the US were to close its border we'd be seen as the bad guy. That's total nonsense.

Australia, a former prison colony of the British Empire, has rather strict rules for who can immigrate to their nation. Canada too has rules even for folks from the US, yet the US which has rules/laws, no longer enforces them. This is wrong and dangerous.

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 2:16pm
Mike there is so much wrong with your reinterpretation of immigration over the last 3 century...

First of all. Our taking the land from native Americans was not legal. It is only legal because you are seeing it with American Law... By your exact standard, Latin Americans moving in here should be judged by Latin American Law which says that it is ok to cross the border and get jobs in America and raise your family...

The Latin American moving in on our turf are exactly like the Europeans moving in on native American turfs... Except for one thing... Latin American people are better behaved....

I'm laughing so hard at you saying that our takeover of this continent was legal by our laws.... That's funny.

As for choosing who comes in... who decides? Latin Americans? or US Citizens... The only reason Latin Americans walked over the border was because they didn't need boats. Otherwise they are no different than those who stepped on ships in ports around the world, and arrived here with nothing and hustled for a job... There is zero difference between latin Americans here, and say Irish, Italians, or Iranians who landed here 100 years earlier...

If we had the exact same immigration policy now as they did then, and just rubber stamped whomever showed up, we wouldn't have this huge 20 million immigration problem now, would we?

This problem was produced because prejudiced white people in Arizona, California, said ... we want their cheap labor, but we don't want them as "Mericans... They's Mexicans and heaven forbid, if they interbreed with us pure white stock."
So... since we needed labor, American corporations arranged for them to come over illegally and paid for us to look the other way....

It is a myth, that originally they came illegally... We could by using the exact same tactics used in Ellis Island in 1900 to 1915, declared them legal as the made regular border crossings, and handed them their papers...

Where did you get that myth that everyone had to have a skill or trade to land in Ellis Island? Does Prostition Count as a trade? Does smuggling count as a trade? Does pickpocketing count as a trade?

The US rubber stamped everyone who came in.... Go back an look it up... Our Latino population is far more skilled than any immigrant crossing in the first decade of the 1900's... I'm can't believed anyone as learned as are you, would fall for the hate propaganda race purist still put out.....

Do you know why most people prefer to hire latinos over whites and blacks whenever they get the opportunity? Do you know why Latinos work 3-4 jobs for whites single?

It is because they do a better job. They are the most skilled people working with hands on this plant... And they have an attitude that is grateful for any job given...

It is next to impossible for a white or black to get a job in the kitchen of a restaurant for example, because they just can't keep up... Their is no bias in hiring... unless it is by experience pros who don't want to waste time training to redo it weeks later... But Latin Americans make restaurants work. Whites and Blacks can't do anything but manage.

So when it come to skills, someone from Transylvania who cut wheat with a scythe, was easily stamped and allowed entry. WE are denying legality to people who run successful restaurants... Something very few people can do...

So that statement is false. I would be interested if you could find actual facts, not filtered by race purists, to attest to the myths you stated above...

You say the border needs to be closed? What it needs is to be controlled. Do you not see the hypocrisy of putting a wall around the US, you who lived when a Wall was constructed around Berlin? If we processed everyone wanting to come into the US, there would not be people walking 300 miles across desert to get to Phoenix... 300 miles is like walking here to WV.... Could you walk 300 miles? I don't think I could, but I know I couldn't in temperatures over 75. They do it in temperatures over 111... Why? Because they want that bad to live in the US... They're smart, not dumb. The dumb ones stay behind... just like the dumb Europeans stayed behind and did little more than exist with no upward social movement...

What if your ancestors upon landing in Ellis Island, we're told they couldn' land... Just like you are telling these very same latin Americans doing the very same thing your ancestors did?

Sorry, but in America, we have the prejudiced people here you know, and they say we can't take any more Catholics... Only protestants are allowed in here... So you will have to somehow go back or stay in jail till we send the next ship of rejects back to Europe....

That didn't happen to your ancestors, but if you read the hysterical (pun intended) letters to the editors of that time, there was no love here in the US for ANY immigrant who was not White, Northern European, and Protestant...

But fortunately for you, we stamped them in and said... Welcome to America... Our generosity impressed Europe so much, one nation built a statue in our honor and erected it in NY Harbor...

It's time we start calling the racial purists out for what they are... That way people unknowing of the truth, will have an alternative other then believing their lies are truths simply because they are the only thing in the vacuum...

The only reason for not legalizing Americans who have done so much to rebuild our economy, is because of racial purity. "We don't want dem kind in our neighborhoods".. of course they can't say that, so they hide behind untruths that Mike illustrated for all, above...

As for driving down wages? Uh, we have unions... make them stronger and that wage difference goes away... Don't believe me? Ask any restauranteer how much he pays his Latin American cooks... In Delaware it is $12-15 an hours... They are there because of their work. Not to drive down wages. Has anyone shopped for a landscaping service? There is no difference between Latins or others in price. Most are Latin because they are gifted with plants and do such amazing work..

Put the myths aside. We never ran this nation on myths and we shouldn't start now...

Those opposing immigration come in two camps. One simply hates. The other is ignorant and buys their excuses without checking them out...

Those who do check out all facts, become advocates for immigration reform... We make such a big deal over how we handled the Japanese. We are far worse today in dealing with what should already be American citizens....

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 2:40pm
Another topic..

Here is the other side of the European Court saying Google had to delete links asked of it...


It is hitting newpapers known for good journalism rather hard... "It's like going into libraries and burning the books you don't like.."

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 4:35pm
I would think from Kavips' first post that he thinks we'd be better off if we were more like Rwanda.

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 4:43pm
Ya know, come to think of it, perhaps Kavips should go visit Rwanda for a few weeks so he can see what kind of country his "best president in our lifetimes" is trying to turn America into.

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 5:04pm
America: Love it or leave it.

That includes YOU, Obama!

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jul 5, 2014 6:41pm
Kavips: Each of those European groups(German, Irish, & Italian) were not welcomed here with open arms. The Anglo Saxon Protestants didn't want Catholics or Lutheran's here.

From what my family told me you did need to have some skills so that you could find employment. They did not just rubber stamp everyone. They also checked each person for illness and that could prevent you being allowed in.

I never said it was right or legal when the Spanish came here & started taking the land from the so called "Native Americans nor when the English & the French did it too. But because it happened back then doesn't mean we should allow it to happen again. That was my point. Don't go make this a race issue. I don't want anyone be they Mexican or Italian coming here illegally. I believe we should be able to decide who migrants here, just as other nations.

I have a 2nd cousin who had to migrate to Canada first when coming from Italy, because the quotes for Italians being allowed in to the USA was met. So he & his wife went to Canada. A number of years later migrated here.

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 7:48pm
Changing the subject but still about immigration, Mike, can you give us (historians), more details or stories of what they told you about coming over?

And Pizza, get your fact right. Republican polices are trying to make us a third world country, not Obama... In Rwandi, 95% of all income goes to the top 1%... In the US 95% of all income went to the top 1%...


This is because of our Bush Tax Cuts, a republican policy. As you well know, cutting taxes bankrupts a country... Raising taxes to proper levels where they are needed, creates a very happy society....

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 11:21pm
You Mr. Kavips, are a kook.

Sun, Jul 6, 2014 1:24am
MFD: I just learned an interesting statistic a couple of days ago about Ellis Island. Did you know that the total number of people coming over on the boat only amounted to about 12-million? I was totally floored when I heard that.

And we have how many million illegals here presently?

Sun, Jul 6, 2014 2:18pm
Pizza, you can call me a kook all the times you want. For it doesn't mean a thing... except for the global warming effect it might create... What you seem to be completely unable to do, however, is dispute any of my facts...

Which means, if you can find no proof to dispute them then simply put, you are wrong and I am right. If America wants to get better it had better do what is right, instead of what is wrong... Don't agree? Where then is the evidence?

If you wish I was wrong, blaming me, just makes you look childish and silly. Like a little 5th grader screaming at his mom because he KNOWS the truth... there IS as Santa Clause...

I'm not worried about anyone believing you for one second, just like any parent is not worried someone will blame the parent for telling the truth about Santa Clause... lol..

If you can't refute facts.. Like those above, perhaps you should switch sides and become an Obama supporter? He is right. You are wrong... Simple as that...

Sun, Jul 6, 2014 4:32pm
Kavips: There's only one possible cause of global warming: It's the gas you and Bill Smith pass.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 8:24am
Kavips: Here are some of what I found: a couple ways to be deported back to Europe from Ellis Island:

"Treatment for the Medically Certified
The PHS encouraged its officers to spend as much time as necessary to make accurate diagnoses of those "turned off the line" [8]. Some were confined, often for many months and sometimes years, in the isolation units in the southernmost wing of Ellis Island. Over time, the IS granted medical treatment to more and more immigrants, often justifying it on humanitarian grounds. Of those who applied for hospitalization after 1907—which included not only the medically certified but also those in need of treatment for a condition not covered under the immigration law, such as diarrhea—only 13 percent were denied treatment. Most did not apply for treatment of Class A conditions because, if the request was granted, the immigrant was required to pay all medical expenses. Immigrants granted hospital treatment at Ellis Island and other ports were often deported for inability to pay hospital expenses associated with Class A conditions."

"Each medically certified individual received a hearing before an IS Board of Special Inquiry (BSI). Here, a panel of three IS officers questioned the immigrant about his or her occupation, finances, and family residing in the United States. The procedure was intimidating, and, indeed, between 1891 and 1930 nearly 80,000 immigrants were barred at the nation's doors for diseases or defects. Yet the vast majority were allowed to enter the country—on average, fewer than 1 percent were ever turned back for medical reasons [11]. Of those who were denied entry, most were certified, not with "loathsome and dangerous contagious diseases," but with conditions that limited their capacity to perform unskilled labor. Senility (old age), varicose veins, hernias, poor vision, and deformities of the limbs or spine were among the primary causes for exclusion. That so few of the more than 25 million arriving immigrants inspected by the PHS were excluded sets into bold relief the country's almost insatiable industrial demand for cheap labor."

"But while the demand for labor had assured that the flow of European immigrants to the U.S. would continue relatively unrestricted, in the years after World War I political elites successfully argued that the immigration of "undesirable" southern and eastern Europeans had to be cut off at the source. The Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration numerically and made national origin the basis for admission into the U.S. "

So yes there was a prejudice against Italians and other "olive colored people" from Europe, it wasn't just against Mexicans and Asians.

Here's the part you'll be the most interested in Kavips:
"Yet the demand for labor conformed to racial ideology. Influenced by scientific racism, the medical examination procedures differed for European, Latin American, and Asian immigrants. On the East Coast, the medical exam served more of a processing than exclusionary function for European immigrants. Non-Europeans faced more considerable medical obstacles to entry at the nation's Pacific Coast and Mexican border immigration stations. At Texas border stations, PHS medical inspectors stripped, showered, disinfected, searched for lice, and physically examined large groups of immigrants. All second- and third-class Asians immigrants arriving in San Francisco endured a physical exam similar to that conducted along the Mexican border in addition to routine laboratory testing for parasitic infection, which required detention at Angel Island for one or more days. Disease, health officials argued, was not so easily "read" in the "inscrutable" Asians, particularly the Chinese."

So yes the non-Europeans were less welecomed than those from Europe.


Still all these folks came through customs, that is the issue today. It's not their race, but that these illegals are coming here and NOT going through the immigration process as prior generations did. Sadly the politicians are fighting this for political reasons: The DEMS see these folks as future DEM voters so they have no incentive to stop the flow of illegals. The GOP has businesses that like getting the very slave wage labor so the GOP has no incentive to stop the flow of illegals thus the grid lock we have on this issue.

I don't blame the illegals for wanting to come here, but I don't believe we should simply allow anyone to walk in. We are the only nation, as far as I know that does this. It seems dangerous and reckless. As I said in an earlier posting, its not racial, I don't want Italians coming here illegally either.

Actually what I think we, as a nation, should do is allow those illegals who are already here and who are working and not breaking any other laws, to stay deporting the others; also we should ship to Mexico all our Welfare folks who've made a career of sitting home and collecting Welfare [this would not include folks who've been laid off due to this economy], so essentially those who've been on Welfare prior to 2007 when the economy crashed. I think that's a fair trade. At least most of the Hispanic folks want to work and are hard workers, so they'll be come tax payers, those folks who are career generation after generation Welfare folks are simply leeches and as Mexico doesn't seem to care who they allow to cross into America, I believe we should return the favor.

I also believe those on Welfare should have to go to the Welfare office once a week to pick up their check, not get it mailed or automatically deposited onto to a plastic card. They should also have to go and work for the taxpayer three days per week, with a government supervisor [a paid job for some folks] where they pick up trash, cig butts, sweep streets, etc, leaving them 4 other days to go search for real work. My guess is if these things were required of physically able Welfare folks, they'd be a tad bit more motivated to take a job than to sit home saying they can't find anything [hard to find stuff sitting from your front porch stoop all day still dressed in your bath robe]. It's time to stop supporting the healthy, young lazy, folks who just want to get over on the system, be they black, brown, red, white, or yellow skinned. It's not racial, its about being a leech or a sponge.

So that's my spin on this issue.

Mon, Jul 7, 2014 9:32am
Most of us believe that our childhood and way of life is what would be best for everyone else... maybe that's why our President Barack Hussein 0bama II wants so badly for our country to become a Third World country. He is an American citizen born in Hawaii and therefore legally able to be president, but his childhood memories/morals/ideology are not from our country. (He spent 1967-71 (age 6-10) in Indonesia with his second father Lolo Soetoro).

Those who voted for this man are to blame more than the man himself... he never lied about his intentions, but those who continue to defend him are either blinded by loyalty or through willing ignorance.

Tue, Jul 8, 2014 7:28pm
I'll bet if we staffed the border with proctologists standing ready to give each prospective immigrant a colonoscopy without anesthesia most of them would be turning tail and running back to Mexico.

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