Friday, March 03, 2006

Why The State GOP Doesn't Win Elections

This has Mike Protack written all over it. One day, maybe two after Jan Ting entered the race for Senate Protack issued a press release ripping Ting for using immigration as his big issue. Protack chided Ting for being concerned about immigration now, when he worked in INS 15 years ago. Because apparently Protack was the only one back then who foresaw the massive influx of illegal immigrants and all that it would bring.

Now on the eve of a big GOP dinner and straw poll, letters have been circulated to GOP big wigs ripping Ting for being anti-Vietnam back in the 60's. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!!

I guess Republicans in Delaware are in awe that Tom Carper flew a navy jet in that war. Not to denigrate Carper in any way, I like the guy, but at this point Vietnam service doesn't really mean anything to anyone. If anything Ting was ultimately on the right side of that issue way back when. But apparently his protests of the war are a weak spot for him. Well, I guess that's if you really want to see Protack try and break that 15% mark in a general election.

Now the airline pilot may or may not be behind it. We don't really know yet. But there may exist a deal between Protack and the GOP in Delaware that if by a certain date later this year, if it appears that someone else is the guy the GOP wants Protack will back out. That means, no bitter primary. Even if that's the case though, I'm doubtful Protack follows through on it. And this could be the latest of many slimy attacks between now and that date as Protack tries to protect his candidacy. But even as Protack may attract a few votes here and there to his side, he's alienating many more Republicans in the state. Before he was seen as a major annoyance. I'm sure a big chunk of the party would love to be able to dispel him from their ranks. But if this keeps up, there won't be many Republicans in his party willing to issue even a no comment when asked about him. Mike, many in your party are ready to turn on you viciously. It's going to start coming soon, too.

Some blame Protack for Judge Lee not being the current governor of Delaware. The state GOP finds a great candidate to challenge Carper, and even if at his best Ting may not be able to match up with Carper this year, if Protack keeps playing dirty it may be the straw poll that breaks the elephant's back. Republicans already say Protack is the best thing the Democrats have going for them. That isn't a compliment. Though it does appear like he's going to prove that adage once again. I think this is the first time I've seen a political party actually hate one of their own candidates for a major office. Let me put it this way; the Democrats could run Barbara Lifflander for statewide office and if her opponent was Protack she'd win easily.

Am I clear now?

Why Biden vs. McCain Would Be A Dream

First off, who knew that the latest issue of GQ (the one with that dude from Lost on the cover) had a profile of Biden inside? It's a pretty interesting read. Certainly paints a different picture of the man from what I hear down here in Sussex, including from some Dems.

Anyway, deep into the article it mentions a pledge that Biden and McCain made to each other that if they're the nominees for their parties, they'll actually campaign TOGETHER. Not as a joint ticket, but to actually show up at places and hold impromptu debates with each other. Supposedly like Kennedy and Goldwater agreed to do in '64. Can you imagine McCain and Biden duking it out in a respectable manner all through 2008's cycle?

Of course, as GQ said immediately after that statement:

"It's a lovely notion, isn't it?
What's likelier to happen is that the bloggers and the talk-radio loudmouths will try to bury a Biden candidacy in 1987's muck."

Right now my gut tells me neither one win the nomination anyway. Some days I think Biden would be fine, more often though I think that not only is there no way he gets it but it's better that way anyway. Luckily it's still 2006. Besides, it'll be more fun to see how many Republicans Mike Protack can piss off between now and the summer. Mike, I know the airline industry is tough but if you want to endear yourself to the party you've got to change your slimy ways. Right now, you're just not well liked.

Additional Comment: Biden stressed repeatedly through the article that he felt one thing working against him was that he wasn't liberal enough for the Democrats. I read that and I think to myself you know, Biden is to the left of me. But I think Bush is awful too. Where exactly do I sit then? Thinking about it more though, I think that's more Biden trying to appeal to middle America. On foreign policy though, if I think back to a lot of what he's said over the last few years it's not that bad. Yeah, he talks a lot. Yeah, he's more politics than he is real. Yeah, if you're not Meet the Press or Chris Matthews he doesn't have time for you. Yeah, I'm not saying this with much certainty yet. But, after reading that article, maybe he isn't that bad? Good thing 2008 is a long way away. If foreign policy will be the most important Presidential focus over the next several years, the Dems, and this country could do a lot worse I guess. Even if they could do better too.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

IR School Board Ready To Piss Away Taxpayer's $$$

To those that congregated at the special school board meeting earlier this week, it was a gutsy move. They stood up for principle. Stood up against the ACLU. And as they're going to find out, stood up to their insurance company and the lawyers involved by telling them all to fuck off. No one is going to tell the Indian River School Board they can't take the time during school board meetings and other school-related functions to pray "in Jesus' name."

No one said that board members and anyone else involved in the schools can't take their own time to pray. If I'm not mistaken, part of the deal with the ACLU and the plaintiffs in the matter is that all non-denominational forms of prayer and thanks would be perfectly acceptable. But that isn't good enough, not in a place where ACLU is a four letter word. Rumors are abundant that not only did they want the righ to pray the way they want to, but they also sought hard to squash anyone else's attempt at religious content that didn't conform to their style of Christianity.

Ultimately this is going to be a colossal embarassment for the board members. I have a better chance of getting enveloped in a sizzling and torrid affair with Jessica Biel than these folks do of winning their case. The settlement negotiated by their lawyers and the plaintiffs would have meant a $1 million payoff. Now? Who knows. When they lose their insurance company will be absolutely livid after the insurer's lawyers were told to go to hell. IR taxpayers, welcome to a property tax increase. The damages awarded will be likely more than a million dollars I'm sure. That'll lead to a bigger increase. And of course, the cost of paying Neuberger and all the associated court costs will have to ultimately lead to yet an even bigger tax increase. Well, either that or else residents better not expect any sort of services next year.

Later this year you can expect a proposed bill to circulate through Dover that would absolve school board members from being named as defendants in future cases, thus making sure they never have to pay out of their own wallets anything when the board gets sued. Whether there's enough support in the legislature to pass it remains to be seen, but if some have their way it will be. But one can only hope that ultimately, when the IR Board gets smacked down harder than Delaware's basketball team in a road contest, it won't be the taxpayers subsidizing their foolish arrogance. Because to penalize the students and the innocent residents who are caught up in this idiocy only because of where they live would be an injustice. These board members are brazenly gambling with other people's money. When they lose, the consequences shouldn't be felt all over southern Delaware.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Delmarva Power To Phase In, Make For Bigger Increase

Well, sort of. Rather than just see your bills jump up 59%, Delmarva Power will start phasing in their electric hikes starting in May, and continue over the following 13 months. Their average bills will see increases of $18 starting on May 1st, then another $18 on January 1st, 2007. June 1st, 2007 will see a $34 increase on the average bill on top of all that. That'll turn out to be about an extra $20 on our bills after that, because of what they're calling "interest" on the phase in.

Is that really what we wanted? Is that really better?

Honestly, will 13 months do anything for our bank accounts other than make it FEEL like the power increase won't be as bad? It likely won't for mine. Just give it to me all at once so I know what to expect. And see my post further down the page regarding the actions of lawmakers in this whole debacle.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Downstate Dems Decide Not To Bother In 41st

Because it wasn't amusing enough the first time it happened, we'll be treated to Round 2 this year. Indeed Barbara Lifflander will try again to unseat John Atkins in the 41st district. And by try I mean her name will be on the ballot just so there's a name there. We'll see Mike Protack voted Senate Majority Leader on Capitol Hill before we'll see Lifflander voted into the state house. The Dems have been talking about taking some seats from the Republicans this year. And maybe they will. But it won't be happening there. Knowing that, at least the Democrats decided to keep us entertained the next eight months.

Delmarva's Power Problem

The power company goes before the Public Service Commission later today expecting to propose ways that they can make their imposed 59% strike somewhat easier for everyone to swallow. Then in a grand ceremony up in Newark they'll announce them to the rest of the world. Well, the meeting before the PSC isn't closed or anything, but then my last line wouldn't sound so good.

Now unless you're a DuPont you're probably noticed that gas prices are a little bit higher than they were before, and by higher I mean that I may consider buying a pansy ass hybrid next time instead of another F-350. It's the way things are today. But the fact that this would happen right when our swift-thinking legislators decide is the time energy de-regulation will be a good idea is both not that much of a surprise and a terrible bout of bad timing. Granted Pepco deciding not to buy in bulk ahead of time (or however Markell explained it) was a colossal error working against us, but hey, what are we going to do, burn candles?

No matter what happens, it's pretty clear we're going to have to face the increase one way or the other. Delmarva Power doesn't even HAVE to do much of what they're proposing. I mean, we're all to a certain extent on fixed incomes, regardless of age. Some of us are just more than fixed than others, again regardless of age.

Most lawmakers in Delaware are entrenched in office. It's damn near impossible to lose once you're in there, unless you're Shirley Price. House and Senate leaders played the entire state for short-sighted fools by forcing that pay raise to go through a year ago, knowing full well that by this November few of us will remember, and those of us that do won't blame our legislator but instead someone else's. Now many of them, on a part-time basis make more than a lot of others do working full time. They've made being an elected official nice work if you can get it. With this latest crisis at hand, now they've got to scramble to come up with something else to prove how hard they're working for YOU even if there's some suspicion to that. Terry Spence wants to take your tax dollars and put it on your bill for the rest of the year. How very Republican of him, though it IS an election year. (Another aside, does anyone ever get tired of hearing Senator Bunting talk about how he's the ONLY legislators who voted against de-regulation? I don't, and he should rub it in their faces every time.)

Ultimately what we in Delaware need to do is think long and hard between now and November about just how much Delaware's politicians are thinking of us, and not them. Many of them upstate, some of them here downstate, are damned fools if they think they can say they're doing the jobs we put them there to do. It's time for voters in Terry Spence's district to think about the way the legislature has moved under his tenure. Voters in Bridgeville, I know it's a reflex but hasn't Thurman Adams' time in the legislature shown that the only thing Adams worries about is what his buddies in politics stand to gain? Voters in Laurel, just what the hell has Biff Lee done? The answer is, barely anything more than Bobby Outten who is the most worthless legislator in Dover. Hopefully the residents of Harrington remember that.

This is the year that Delawareans can enact some change in the legislature. We've been reminded over the last year that once someone gets to Dover, more often than not they only care about keeping that commute going for as long as they want. And even if how they voted on something a bunch of years ago will keep that commute going, changing their minds and voting differently next time is perfectly reasonable. And while it shouldn't, that somehow makes it pretty hard to hold lawmakers accountable for all their other sins, leaving the best chance we get to be often wasted by reflexive and partisan voters.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Steve Summers continued

So Newsblues is saying that moments before a 6pm newscast, one produced by someone whose relationship with Steve is less than monumentous (her words, not his, or our's), Summers walked out and said he had enough of this shit 20 minutes before showtime. Then moments before the show would start he evidently changed his mind, but was instead escorted out for I guess the final time.

Being that some of the staff at WBOC like to glance at this particular site on occassion, I figured I'd appeal to them for the full story. Feel free to drop what happened on here, or on the mailbag friendly where we saw the newsblues story. It's pretty clear that he wasn't the most endearing figure there. Hmm, perhaps that statement eclipses the previous one declared the understatement of the year less than two full months into 2006. Anyway the beauty of anonymity is that you can say what you want and not have to worry. I imagine that outburst was a sight to see, one that was even monumentous.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Media Note: Another News/Talker Hitting Delmarva

Great Scott broadcasting is expected to bring another news/talk station to Delmarva. Rumor has it they'll be flipping their current programming on 107.5 FM. It's the area's second attempt to chip into WGMD's news/talk audience. If they want to achieve any success perhaps they'll try harder than 101.1 FM out of Ocean City. That station has two hours of local content a day, and the rest of the time syndicated fare. Their ratings? Wayyyyy down.

If Great Scott puts more local content on perhaps people will tune in and listen. But if all they're going to do is run syndicated shows from across the country it'll be a waste of time. Especially since all the syndicated programming available is 4th and 5th tier content that no one either listens to or has even heard of. Great Scott's reputation isnt' exactly sterling in this area which has me wondering. If a talk station turns on a microphone and no one's listening, did they really say anything?

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Races Start To Heat

With candidates starting to file against the statewide candidates running for congress this year, I got to wondering who will come closer to knocking off the incumbants Carper and Castle. Will it be the Democratic Dennis Spivack, running in a decidedly Democratic state who gives Castle a run for his money? Or will Jan Ting, the Republican professor from Philadelphia making Carper spend some of that money he's raised? The answer obviously right now is that we don't know.

But come November, I'd be surprised if Ting doens't give Carper more of a race than anyone first thought someone could. And while Castle's office on Capitol Hill isn't likely to need movers either, I somehow expect him to finish better than Carper. And that's no knock on the junior senator from Delaware, who is doing a fine job in DC. But early on it appears as if Ting is more than just a sacrificial lamb. He may not win, and I'd be surprised if he does, but I hope this isn't his only stab at it. If this is a warmup for '08, when Biden runs for the Presidency, Delaware may lean more Republican on Capitol Hill in two years, even if the rest of the state is a solid blue.

How Is This Guy Still Allowed To Smile In Salisbury?

Unless the owners and management at WBOC are trying to turn a once good TV news department and run it into the ground, it's time to wipe that silly smirk off his airheaded face.

For months now, every month without fail someone has always made it a point to leave. There are nearly as many producers needed as there are on staff. Their morning show idea has been described as painful, awful, and worse and worse every day. Professionalism was not a requirement for that gig. Reporters can't wait, can't WAIT until their contracts are up and they can leave. Most of them know the exact day that is, and at the same time laugh that they aren't counting. No, of course not. This is the same guy who demoted Steve Hammond, who is as well liked as anyone on Delmarva and whose professionalism is only exceeded by the character that makes him who he is. He was replaced by someone most everyone in Salisbury and beyond consider part of the problem at the station. And while you can't just let Hammond go, if you're the weekend sports anchor, you are as well liked and well respected in the newsroom and in the field as most anyone else there, but you've also been treated like crap from the time Bob Laun quit, until she was told her contract won't be renewed this spring. They decided to do the counting for her. Just the latest in a long run of idiotic decisions that has staff morale at an all-time low.

The WBOC that once was isn't anything close to what it is today. It's now virtually unrecognizable on the inside to many who were in the not so distant past. The content, the standards, and the product have declined and people notice. There's the saying, floggings will continue until morale improves. Floggings would likely be an improvement compared to how many are treated now.

Now watching the news, it's obvious a lot of their reporters work hard, and some of them are clearly better than others at what they do. But it's hard to think that the man pictured above could do a worse job running the show there. Lucky for them, the folks running WMDT are more than content to half-ass it and keep their reporters and producers focused on moving on as well.