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Showing posts from 2014

A reply to Salon's R. J. Eskrow, and his 11 stupid questions about Libertarians

Posts here have been in short supply as I have been living life and trying to get a campaign off the ground. But "11 questions to see if Libertarians are hypocrites" by R. J. Eskrow, picked up at Salon , was just so freaking lame that I spent half an hour answering them. In the end (but I'll leave it to your judgment), it is not that Libertarians or Libertarian theory looks hypocritical, but that the best that can be said for Mr. Eskrow is that he doesn't have the faintest clue what he's talking about. That's ok, because even ill-informed attacks by people like this make an important point:  Libertarian ideas (as opposed to Conservative ideas, which are completely different) are making a comeback as the dynamic counterpoint to "politics as usual," and so every hack you can imagine must be dragged out to refute them. Ergo:  Mr. Eskrow's 11 questions, with answers: 1.       Are unions, political parties, elections, and

Freedom, cheap buses, journalism

Yesterday's WNJ carried a story entitled  Stopping 'Chameleon' Bus Lines is No Easy Task . Notice first, the assumption inherent in the title:  somebody in authority is trying to look out for you. Here are the first several paragraphs:     At the end of 2011, federal regulators slapped a shutdown order on Double Happyness, a private, super-low-cost bus line running from Wilmington to New York’s Chinatown, for what they called  “a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety.” But buses kept running from the station, a spartan storefront at 3 W. Fourth St., under the name New Everyday Bus Tour, a company owned by the brother of Double Happyness’ owner. Last month, after racking up a long list of violations of its own, New Everyday’s authority, too, was revoked by the U.S. Department of Transportation after it did not provide proof of insurance. And, once again, buses are still running from in front of the station, to the same terminal in New Yo

Talking about pollution in Delaware without the lies and evasions

Like the Vichy French police official Louis in Casablanca  who was "Shocked! I tell you, shocked!" to discover gambling at Rick's Place (while pocketing his winnings), the strategy of Governor Jack Markell, the rest of Delaware's "major party" politicians, the Editorial Board of the Wilmington News Journal, and our so-called "corporate leadership" has been to pretend that the discovery of pollution in the First State is the fault of . . . Delaware citizens. More to the point, it is Delaware citizens who are going to be hit with a $700,000,000 bill for a multi-year clean-up--the overwhelming majority of which will find its way into the hands of the same corporations who dumped toxic chemicals into our air and water for years. THIS is the famed "Delaware Way." I'm going to lay it out for you.  It will be long and it will be unlovely, and I will take no prisoners. I'm not ready to get into finding (and funding) the solutions

Helping Delaware (and Joe Miro) solve the Medicaid conundrum

Two months ago, in a post covering the Delaware government's immense surprise at rising Medicaid costs , I quoted this from the WNJ: Officials in Markell’s administration say they were surprised this fall when the federal government signaled it would shift some Medicaid costs back to the state. The move was triggered by a technical change in the way federal economists calculate personal income, and could cost the state an unexpected $25 million. And I said this: I'm not sure who really believed that (A) adding 20,000-30,000 people to the 215,000 people in Delaware already on Medicaid wasn't going to cost more; or that (B) the cash-strapped Feds weren't going to look for a way to shift more of the expense downward.  Nobody's repealed the law of gravity recently.   Last week the WNJ reported that the General Assembly's budget committee and the 22nd State Representative District's own incumbent Joe Miro are now getting around to grappling with this issue

Delaware's war on poverty is a war on poor people!?

With today's WNJ story about the fact that Delaware flunks any reasonable standard of effective Public Defenders for our poorer citizens, we come full circle to discover the Democrats' and Republicans' plan for eliminating poverty in Delaware . . . . . . which is to convict and incarcerate poor people. Remember 2001, when Delaware was criticized by the ACLU for cutting the budget of the Delaware Parole Board?  More than likely you don't, because I can't find evidence that any news organization in the State picked up the story. Remember "bail reform" last year?  It's really important to note exactly who the State bragged about as the support for this bill: Reform efforts led by Attorney General, Rep. Keeley, Senator Henry [and] . . .  the Wilmington Mayor’s Office, the Wilmington City Council, Wilmington PD, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Delaware Police Chiefs Council. I'm sure you saw this hailed as a major "anti-violent cri

Delaware public education: you are getting what you voted for

There is an old saying, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." This is pretty similar to what various Delaware educrats and (unfortunately) union leaders are saying about the new Smarter Balanced Assessment and Common Core Standards. To wit: "The reality is that our 15-year-olds are below average on mathematics, and they're average in reading," Michael Watson, the state's chief academic officer, told a gathering of school leaders last week. "These higher standards mean our students will be more competitive, and it means they will be more ready for college and careers." This is in fact such an idiotic argument that in an culture run by common sense (as opposed to Common Core), Mr. Watson would have been required to quit his position in abject shame. Think about this:  "Higher standards mean our students will be more competitive." What they don't want you to look behind the curtain and see is that this is the old

Senator Carper takes a stand . . . and Delaware Democrats need to do the same

A lot of people have asked me why, if I intended to be a serious candidate for the Delaware General Assembly, I didn't bite the bullet and run as a Democrat. Here's a major reason why I can't do that: Senator Thomas Carper (D-Fortune 500) has taken a firm stand as one of only three US Senators voting against the restoration of Cost of Living Allowances for retired military veterans. Senator Carper is, of course, a former Naval aviator, who receives $1,400/month in retirement pay. He says, “We‘re making some progress on def­icit reduction in this country, but our def­icit is still a half-trillion dollars this year, and that's huge," he said.  "If we are serious about making progress, all of us who are able to do something to help out need to do that.  I think Americans are willing to do their part if asked, and I think they look to people like me to try to provide some leadership and set an example." No, Senator Carper, we're not look

Democrat and Republican parties owe Delaware over $288,000 for 2012 alone

Every two years the citizens of Delaware take part in taxpayer-funded elections, choosing between the ballot-qualified candidates of two "major" and three "alternate" or "minor" parties. In many cases there clashes within the Democratic and Republican parties--primaries--to determine who will be the candidate in the General Election.  These are purely partisan contests that benefit only the parties themselves, and yet taxpayers--including non-affiliated and alternate party voters who comprise about 35% of the electorate--pay for them. Moreover, these primary elections are expensive.  A recent Pew study concluded in March 2013 that, across the nation, Democratic and Republican primaries cost American taxpayers over $400 million.  The "per voter" cost of such elections varies wildly, from $1,57/voter in Tennessee and Texas to over $11/voter in New York.  A reasonable average cost (since I cannot find specifics on Delaware costs) would be about

Idiotic statist comment of the day

“The wireless industry must take action to end the victimization of its customers.” This moron is San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who wants the law to require cell phone producers to incorporate a "kill switch" for lost/stolen phones. The smartphone industry, you see, has been victimizing its customers by producing and marketing devices that are so desirable that 1 out of 3 robberies nationwide now involves smartphone theft. And that's the manufacturer's problem, exactly how? Let's also note that this requirement would make it possible both for hackers and law enforcement to access your phone. Now it may be a quite salable item, this phone with a kill switch, and I'm certainly not against anybody who wants to pay for such a device in his or her phone. But I don't happen to want one, so why the hell should I be paying increased prices because the only solutions that DA Gascon can think up are authoritarian?

It's official: the News Journal thinks you're stupid

In today's editorial about Governor Jack Markell's "realistic" plan to fix Delaware's infrastructure via $250 million in new taxes (highlighted by 10 cents per gallon gas tax increase) and $250 million in borrowing, the WNJ editorial board finds four reasons that such a plan is probably going nowhere. And, guess what? All four reasons boil down to the idea that YOU--the voter--are too stupid to support a plan that's good for you. Lest you think I'm making this up, let's look: Guess what? That realistic plan appears to be going nowhere.   There are four reasons the proposal is in trouble:   First, this is an election year and members of the Legislature are afraid of raising taxes in an election year. Translation:  Delaware legislators believe that Delaware voters are too stupid to ever vote for them again after they voted for a tax increase, no matter how necessary. Unfortunately, this flies in the face of the facts.  It wou

The simplest question of the day to answer . . .

Bloom surcharge tops $5; lawmakers ask why Now, of course you can read this question two ways--but either way it is still simple to answer: Reading ONE:  Lawmakers ask why the Bloom surcharge has risen so high? Simple answer:  Because, like Nancy Pelosi, they apparently weren't paying attention when the original deal went through. Reading TWO:  Lawmakers ask why Delaware's government was stupid enough to buy a pig in this particular poke? Simple answer:  Because no matter what stupid stuff they do, people are still convinced that voting for Democrats and Republicans actually represents a choice, so there is no real electoral accountability for our politicians. Here:  think about this-- If a similar surcharge, averaging say $2.5 million per month since mid-2011 had been in place, we'd have already raised $75 million of the $100 million that Governor Markell claims is necessary to clean up pollution in Delaware's waterways instead of funding a plant that mi

Just put me down on the "doggone . . . road to perdition"

Former Congressman Alan West and a lot of others are seriously disturbed by the Coke Super Bowl ad that had people singing "America the Beautiful" in different languages.   Aside from quoting Teddy Roosevelt, West opines: If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing “American the Beautiful” in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you? Let's parse this--and in the process provide an example of Libertarian thought applicable to Delaware. First, the idea of ascribing social inferiority based on language, and the idea of using the power of the government to try to restrict or channel the languages that people can speak (the allusion to TR) is pretty much anathema to libertarians. Then I note that those who argue that neither businesses nor the government should have to treat with people who don't speak En

There are numbers between Zero and 500 million

Today's WNJ highlights what most people already knew :  there aren't enough votes in the Democratically controlled General Assembly to pass a ten-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase in order to raise $500 million and borrow another $500 million for a massive infrastructure improvement plan. Blame it on an election year if you want to, but the reality is that with about 27% of all Delawareans living in poverty, and probably another 30-35% on the edge of teetering into home loss or bankruptcy producing debt with some major unexpected illness or expense, the idea that "it's just a dime" or "it's just $5 per car each week" is simply not salable. What is truly ironic is that Governor Markell spends 98% of his time governing like the corporate,  laisse faire  capitalist that he is, and then can't quite figure out why his more liberal/progressive-sounding budget ideas meet opposition.   With the exception of a handful of legislators, the Democrat