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Showing posts from April, 2013

"A government of laws and not of men"--not in Delaware under the Markell administration

Two items from today's WNJ prove John Adams' point. First, we find that when Governor Markell wants something, the niceties of existing regulation or the traditional independence of regulators is not to be allowed to stand in his way. Governor Markell wants an Alabama corporation to build a rehabilitation hospital in Middletown.   This may or may not be a good thing, a needed thing--I simply do not know.  But what I do know is that the administration's approach should be setting off alarms all over the place. First, he replaced Delaware Health Resources Board members who did not share his views in the middle of the process of considering the certificate review for the hospital.  Much of the rest of the board resigned in protest. Then, the Governor prevailed upon pet legislator Quinn Johnson of Middletown to introduce legislation specifically exempting ONLY "rehabilitation hospitals" from certification review. There are two takeaways here: 1.  This beha

Who speaks for Delaware teachers?

I've been thinking about this for awhile now, but Donald Gephardt's well-intentioned op-ed piece in today's WNJ has crystallized my thinking. There's this, which is right on point: We give no control of what goes on in the schools to the teachers, yet we give millions of public dollars to groups of people – many of whom have no educational credentials – to begin new charter schools, most of which are not doing any better than the public schools   we already have.  Unfortunately (at least from my perspective), his solution is rather ... academic ... instead of robust: The core of the problem is that K-12 teaching has never been a profession. Teachers have no say in choosing and evaluating their colleagues. There is no incentive to “share the good stuff” between them. Perhaps it would motivate good teachers to stay – and to continually improve – if they were given more professional responsibility in their workplace. As anemic as I find his solution, I am forc

Paul Herdman and Vision 2015: It is all the teachers' fault ....

That's the conclusion you could reasonably draw from Paul Herdman's op-ed piece in today's WNJ. In his latest new "Five Step" program for improving education, Herdman effectively says that Delaware education has failed to live up to Vision 2015's lofty goals because the teachers we have are not good enough. Step One--according to Herdman--is "recruiting the best" teachers.  In Herdman's view this obviously means that the teachers we currently have are not good enough to do the job, and should be replaced with unlicensed temporary help from Teach for America, Vision 2015 devotees from the Delaware Leadership Project, and .. . " scouring the country to find top teachers and leaders to serve in our highest-need schools."  In other words, if you are already teaching at Highlands, or Warner, or Richardson Park, or Bancroft, you are a loser that we plan to get rid of just as soon as we can find somebody better.  (Hear that, Mike Matthews?

A modest proposal for ending the "Drug War" in Delaware

Four steps is all it would take to end Delaware's drug war: 1.  Fix the medical marijuana bill.  This is already being contemplated, I understand.  A medical marijuana bill without an actual delivery method is worse than useless because it is mere tantalizing to those in chronic paid.  This is a simple fix, except for the propensity of the Drug Enforcement Agency to get involved with ignoring state laws about drugs that DEA doesn't like.  So as a specific legislative flourish, this revision should include language that requires the Delaware Attorney General to defend any legitimate distributor of medical marijuana or any patient legally using it from all Federal charges. 2.  Decriminalize personal use of marijuana.  As an interim step toward legalization, decriminalization would replace the possibility of jail time and a permanent record with small civil fines.  This would, frankly, also discourage intense enforcement.  It would also render much of Delaware's drug court

In which the News Journal discovers the truth--and then mis-interprets it

In a rare burst of candor about the Obama administration, the WNJ editorial page discovers that the administration's claim that Obamacare is driving down medical costs is false: “The  idea  that we have licked the problem of health care cost increases is no more probable today than it was in the past,” Drew Altman and Larry Levitt, Kaiser’s president and vice president, said. “Our nation has made no fundamental change in how health care is paid for or delivered.”   This means the claims that the  Affordable  Care Act, or Obamacare, was slowing the cost increases even before it went into effect just are not true.   Likewise, according to the Kaiser report, when  prices  start going up over the next couple of years, Obamacare will not be the cause either. So far so good. But then the editorial writer takes a bit of a detour: This expected return to increasing costs means the debate about Medicare and Medicaid will have to continue. One of the first things we must do is r

Teacher education reform: solving another problem we don't have

I don't often blog about issues that directly affect Delaware State University, and before I begin I need to make the point that the opinions expressed here are mine alone, and not those of either DSU or the American Association of University Professors. That said ... Senate Bill 51 [to which I would link if it were up on bill tracking yet] is an absolutely ridiculous extension of state power at the behest of Governor Jack Markell to waste time and money solving a problem that simply does not exist. Here's the lead-in from today's WNJ : Aspiring public school teachers in Delaware will face new academic challenges if legislation proposed Thursday is successful.   The bill is meant to improve the quality of educators in the state’s school system. It would set higher standards for being admitted to teacher-education programs within Delaware and introduce tests that graduates  must pass to prove they are ready to teach.   The changes would, for the first time, set

Gerrymandering is not all of the problem in Delaware: Libertarians, Greens, IPOD shut out by structural barriers

Jeff Raffel makes the point in today's WNJ that something is amiss with Delaware political re-districting: In the 2012 election ... few seats in the Delaware General Assembly were competitively contested. All of the 21 seats in the Delaware Senate were up for election in 2012 but only two turned out to be very competitive, that is, with two candidates running where one received less than 55% of the vote. Indeed, 10 of 21 seats had only one major party candidate running (always the incumbent). In the Delaware House elections in 2012, 7 of 41 seats were competitive, with half the seats contested by only one major party candidate. Incumbents who ran for reelection were reelected. Raffel rightly attributes partisan redistricting (read gerrymandering) as a major element in this Soviet-style outcome of constantly re-electing incumbents, although he does miss a couple of points. Delaware is, in essence, a one-party state at this point.  In many districts it is now the primary that is

The invasion of Boston

It is important to realize, first , when you are trying to understand what just happened in Boston, that the Boston metropolitan area is a Tier 1 city for the Department of Homeland Security's Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) into which hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) have been funneled over the past several years. Then, second , it is important to realize that the reason authorities were so ready to order the "lockdown" [which is, in itself, a euphemism for martial law] is that they have been training to do so several years.   Operation "Urban Shield" is a training plan for a multi-disciplinary response to a major terrorist incident, and if you take the time to view this video [produced with DHS grant money] , you will realize that not only have Massachusetts authorities been preparing to invade their own city, they have been conditioning the citizens to expect it. Third , you need to know that the whole apparatus has been coordinated throu

Incredible idiotic comment of the--what?--month, year, decade? from Jon Moseley

This one you just have to read to believe : No Christian can oppose the death penalty, unless they have never read the Bible and are ignorant of Christianity. Jon apparently attends the Church of the Righteous Lethal Injection. And people wonder why the Republican party in Delaware is now a bunch of dinosaurs waiting for the comet to hit.

Some people have little sense of history and even less of irony...

Case in point, an organization calling itself MassResistance , apparently a conservative group in the Bay State, which has a screed out there about how marriage equality is ruining their state . Here's one of my favorites: It has become commonplace in Massachusetts schools for teachers to display photos of their same-sex "spouses" and occasionally bring their "spouses" to school functions. At one point, both high schools in my own town had   principals who were "married" to their same-sex partners   who came to school and were introduced to the students. So if anyone actually knows the history of "massive resistance," they will know it is totally appropriate to play around with the wording a bit here: It has become commonplace in Massachusetts schools for teachers to display photos of their Negro "spouses" and occasionally bring their "spouses" to school functions. At one point, both high schools in my own town had

I must have hit the big time ... UPDATED--AGAIN--AND YET AGAIN!!!

... because now I have my own fan club. In the first deft move, the standard bearer for IPOD in northern Delaware condemns a Libertarian rather than actually taking on, say, anybody in office. The UPDATE:  it turns out that good old IPOD Jimmy has been adding people to his group without their knowledge.  One of them contacted me and asked to be removed from the photo.  I was happy to oblige, and if you are also listed here and did know he was using you for his infantile vendetta, please let me know. The second UPDATE :  it turns out that IPOD Jimmy added more than one person without his or her knowledge.  That person has also contacted me and asked to be removed because they didn't know that this had happened. The third UPDATE:   yet another person was added to this group without his or her knowledge.  It pretty much seems that once people discover the company they are keeping, they cannot wait to get out. My fan club is apparently getting smaller and smaller eac

News Journal editorial page endorses an increasingly invasive police state

In the national glee that apparently ensued following the capture of the second Boston bombing suspect, one aspect of the conversation is strangely lacking in the MSM:  a discussion of the implications of the massive manhunt for the civil liberties of American citizens. What is almost as disquieting as the fact of the bombing itself is the fact that law enforcement had an effective brigade of armored infantry ready on a moment's notice to move into and shut down one of America's largest metropolitan areas. I remember working in 2002 with representatives of the Department of Homeland Security on potential responses to urban terrorism at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.  The executive assistant for homeland security to the Governor of South Carolina assured me that homeland security spending would be "the new revenue sharing that militarizes police across America in ten years." At the time I thought he was crazy.  [By the way, two years l

Delaware GOP supports a poll tax for all future candidates

It is presented as a "transparency" bill, but Danny Short's HB 84 is actually an attempt to make it more difficult for people who are not lifelong politicians to run for office [read "normal citizens"]. HB 84 would require all candidates-- candidates nominated by a major political party that did not file to run in a primary election, unaffiliated candidates, candidates for minor political parties, and candidates in special elections for the General Assembly... --to submit to a Criminal Background Check to get on the ballot. Notice that no matter what shows up on the Criminal Background Check, you cannot be disqualified from appearing on the ballot. So why have the requirement? Three reasons: 1.  [Their stated reason]: By requiring that certain candidates’ criminal history information be made available to the public in advance of an election, this Bill supports transparency in government and recognizes that elected officials work for the people. M

What Congress (both Dems and GOPers) and the President can agree on ...

There is too much financial transparency for senior officials. So while you were watching the explosion in Boston, and President Obama was condemning Congress over gun control, guess what? A wonderful piece of bipartisan legislation gutted the STOCK Act and let them all off the hook together. Remember this:  when it comes down to the money, they ALL (from Nancy Pelosi to Marco Rubio) belong to the same club.