Presenting: The Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2021

It may now be a misnomer because three of this year’s four inductees were Shorebirds of the Month, but I also have a couple Shorebirds of the Year who were never a weekly/monthly honoree here, so I can be fast and loose.

Back when I decided to go to the monthly format, I made this honor more of a performance-based award than it had been previously. Sure, there have been players who were one-month flashes in the pan, but by and large the talent has come through and it’s beginning to show now that we’re four seasons into this new format. Two of the four inducted this year were selected in the first SotM season of 2017 and one comes from 2018. Only one holdout is from 2016, and, for the first time in six seasons we do not have a player from 2014 as they have finally cycled out after sending eight players to the Hall of Fame. I don’t foresee ever having that sort of success out of a single year again.

Given the big club’s era of rebuilding and lack of interest in trading away prospects, it’s no surprise that all four in my Class of 2021 debuted with the Orioles, although one didn’t stay long afterward.

I was a little shocked that Ryan McKenna would be my first honoree this season as he debuted April 5, in part because he was a position player at a time when the Orioles needed pitching. They would get it with my other three players: Zac Lowther on April 25, Jay Flaa two days later on April 27, and finally Alex Wells on June 26. It was so fast I thought I would have a huge class of six or seven, especially with the revolving door of pitcher tryouts the Orioles were having – 14 of their 16 major league debuts this season were pitchers. And while it’s true none of these guys made a great impact, they still gained the valuable experience that could make them better – I don’t see this as a repeat of the Class of 2011 where the majority of the guys only made the Show for that one season.

As we transition into the Elias era and players he drafted from 2019 on begin to close in on the brass ring, we still see a number of late Duquette-era players on the cusp of perhaps making up the Class of 2022 – assuming a full non-lockout season, of course.

Believe it or not, though, that Shorebird of the Week crop in 2014 still has a couple guys out there playing who have not debuted yet. But I would be shocked if the agate type featured David Richardson, Luis Gonzalez, or Mitch Horacek – teams may be desperate for pitching, but I don’t think they are that desperate to use journeymen pushing 30 if they’re not already there. Similarly, you have 2016 Shorebirds of the Week Jesus Liranzo, Ofelky Peralta, and Brian Gonzalez toiling in the AAA ranks last season. None are on 40-man rosters.

More realistically, we look at those who are still standing from 2017-19. Only Preston Palmiero and Steven Klimek are non-major leaguers still active from the 2017 honorees, and while Palmiero made it to AAA this season and hit well, he’s a long shot to make the Angels. Klimek is now a minor league free agent.

The odds are much better for the 2018 Shorebirds. DL Hall was the only Shorebird of anything placed on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, making him the safest bet of anyone who’s still waiting for his debut. The next most likely in this group is infielder Mason McCoy, but others with outside shots are outfielder Zach Jarrett and pitchers Tim Naughton and Brenan Hanifee. Brenan may be more of a 2023 candidate since he’s missed two seasons to injury – but the Orioles still like him and have waited on him since 2019, when he was at Frederick.

Even more so, the Shorebirds of 2019 were a loaded class. After Hall, the two best prospects to be potentially featured in the Class of 2022 are pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and outfielder Robert Neustrom. Also lurking in the wings from making it to Bowie are pitchers Drew Rom and Grey Fenter, who was picked in last year’s Rule 5 Draft by the Cubs and returned in spring training. Less likely to make the jump are infielder Cadyn Grenier, outfielder Johnny Rizer, and pitcher Ryan Wilson. They are coming into make-or-break seasons, with Grenier also available for the Rule 5 draft.

Missing 2020 means we have a big gap, and none of the Shorebirds I selected in 2021 made it past Aberdeen this season. It will be interesting to see how they fare as their success (or lack thereof) will determine what the classes of 2024 and 2025 look like.

With the publication of this post, I’ll bring the newly updated SotWHoF back live and allow you to read and enjoy.

Reaching sweet sixteen

It’s gotten to the point where every year I have no idea how I did it and am amazed and thankful I’ve gotten through another one, but here we are – monoblogue’s sweet sixteenth birthday has arrived! Last Thursday I counted all my blessings for Thanksgiving, but one other one is this website because it’s enabled me to have a touchstone through the years, a journal of more than just thoughts and opinions but also occasionally of breaking news and first-hand coverage of events that may have slipped through the cracks otherwise.

And it’s a journal with a lot of entries – according to the back end of my site, where such things are accounted for, this is post number 5,225. I’m not sure if that counts or not my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame post I have publishing tomorrow but is already completed; regardless, that’s a lot of posts and words to be put up by one person who doesn’t write for too much of his living.

It’s quite apparent how my site evolved from occasional look at the political scene to daily news and commentary until I saved myself from perhaps being consumed by the monster five years ago and took the steps back from both the daily grind and the political world within about a month of each other. I kinda like where I have it now, although along the way I lost about 2/3 of my readership or more. I was looking at this the other night to document this and found that, back in 2014, I had over 70,000 visitors to this site. After the 2016 shift away from daily posts, that number dwindled to a point where 2019 featured less than 1/10 that number, averaging only about 120 visitors a week. Since I haven’t really stepped up my writing pace that much, the increase back over 30,000 this year makes me wonder if it’s counting bots and crawlers incorrectly or not – regardless, I always say that even if I have one reader who I inform or (even better) inspire to act to preserve our liberty, then I did my job.

My site’s been around long enough to make me realize it is sort of a dinosaur – you don’t see many long-form blogs anymore. As an example, a couple weeks ago I told you the story about Karen Wells, who was a blogger before she got into local politics in her town. Ousted as mayor in the most recent election, she put up a social media post revealing her intention to return to blogging along with a screenshot of her former blog from 2009 and its links – out of perhaps 15 blogs there, there are only two still operating that I’m aware of and mine is one of the two. You could say I’m a survivor and I suppose at this point I’m a lifer: I have no face for video and don’t think I can converse for a podcast in such a way to make it interesting. I like this format where I can choose my words carefully and easily edit out the mistakes before (and even sometimes after) publishing.

Another thing I have noticed over the years is that I have several different audiences. There are readers of mine who don’t care a whit about my politics, but can’t wait to see who my Shorebirds of the Month will be and speculate about who will be the next member of the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. By the same token, back when I had a lot of Weekend of Local Rock posts and album reviews I had a handful who followed my site just for that stuff. Of course, I also have my “stick to the politics!” crowd, too, as that was (and is still) the bread and butter of my site. While I’m sure it didn’t do wonders for my readership because I didn’t pick a specialty, I can say that I would have never made it sixteen years any other way. The burnout on particular subjects and lack of quality writing on my part was the reason I stopped doing this daily.

So, while in past years I’ve set a number of lofty goals for myself that were (in looking back) probably unrealistic – wealth? I will likely make far more in a month as a staff writer for The Patriot Post than I’ll ever get in the tip jar here – the only real goal I have this year is to try and keep writing good stuff on an occasional basis. I still plan on doing Shorebirds of the Month for next season and will definitely keep my ear to the ground on Delaware’s political races and General Assembly. (Thanks to compiling last session’s votes, I already have a head start on the monoblogue Accountability Project for next year.) If I think about it and have the time, though, I do want to keep working on repairing the old posts where needed because the photos were missing or they were old Examiner posts that are no longer on their site. As I say, don’t let good writing go to waste and that’s part of my legacy here.

So I’m going to close this little state of the blog address by once again thanking all my readers – near or far, every time I post or just one visit to read an obscure tale – because I couldn’t have enjoyed this nearly as much without you. Remember, I only have to impact one to be a success in my eyes so everything else is gravy in that regard.

An idea for Black Friday

I’ve talked about this many times in the past, so much so that it’s become a holiday tradition of its own. But Black Friday is always a good time to bust out this sampling of Made in America gifts from each state, courtesy of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

For the eighth year in a row, AAM has put out this list of American-made products.

Obviously you’re not going to get the big-screen TV or cool electronic gadget from these small companies, but there is an array of stocking stuffers and specialty items that can be useful year-round, most of it hand-crafted by individual entrepreneurs. In fact, this year’s Delaware offerings fall into the jewelry category, featuring what’s called “wire-wrapped jewelry around stones, sea glass and other beach treasures” as well as a bonus company that sells “a large catalog of eye-catching rings.”

It’s a statement I’m going to play with in a moment, but AAM President Scott Paul reminds us that, “This (supply chain) crisis is a reminder about why it’s so important for our national and economic security that the United States is able to make stuff right here at home. Buying your holiday gifts from this guide is a good way to support companies doing the right thing – and show others they can make money manufacturing here at home, too.” They’re even doing a Cyber Monday webinar featuring a few of these artisans, although it’s not really conducive to working stiffs, being that it’s a mid-day webinar.

The parent term Black Friday has become so ubiquitous to retail that it’s spawned several new variations – we have Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday now. Except for the latter, which is devoted to charity, each of these terms most likely describes the companies defined in the Holiday Gift Guide – small businesses that do most (if not all) their business online and depend on people’s gift giving for their livelihood. (Let’s face it – aside from the satisfaction quotient, do you really need jewelry? I own one piece, and that’s my plain wedding ring.)

Since the AAM began soliciting ideas for their Holiday Gift Guide back in October, though, there are some places for whom the concept wouldn’t work as personalized gifts require longer lead times. As one example, Brent Zockoll is a good friend of mine – locals to the Salisbury area are most likely familiar with his company, Zockoll Pottery. And while he has a collection of available items, a lot of his work is contract work, made in batches, so he’s not the best fit for the Guide. But he is a small businessman, making stuff in the rural environs of Parsonsburg, Maryland – which, last time I checked, was part of America – whose livelihood has become slinging clay, not keeping a bricks-and-mortar shop open. (Once in awhile though, and especially around the holidays, his studio becomes a retail outlet – check his social media for details.)

I look at it this way: the more things we produce and buy in America, the less we have to depend on nations who maybe can’t stand our freedom because their religion prohibits it or countries who have nuclear missiles pointed our way. Yes, we live in a world dependent on trade, but I’d rather be the one in the most powerful position so we can maintain our freedom. That’s the biggest gift of all.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

After a hiatus last Thanksgiving, I have returned to write my annual Thanksgiving post. I should explain, though, that the reason there was no holiday post last year wasn’t completely the pandemic, but the Wuhan flu did have something to do with it.

For a couple years, we had been taking vacations as a family – the “we” being my wife’s extended family of her sisters, assorted husbands, significant others and kids, and her mom. In 2020 we were supposed to go in June, but all the uncertainty over the CCP virus led the sister who planned all this to postpone the trip to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. I’m not sure who had the bright idea to make it a Thanksgiving excursion, but that’s what we did. And I usually don’t take my laptop on these trips and didn’t think to write a post beforehand. So much for tradition.

This year, thankfully for many reasons, we are back to our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, and you get this post.

Speaking of traditions, I’m completely surprised that more isn’t being made that this year is a quadricentennial anniversary of our first Thanksgiving 400 years ago. It makes me wonder what things will be like in five years when America celebrates its 250th birthday, particularly when I remember how we as a nation celebrated the Bicentennial in 1976, when I was 11. I suppose when the 1619 Project and its emphasis on slavery is more of a thing than the 1620 project of pilgrims seeking freedom to worship as they pleased it’s a sign of the times.

And I would imagine that people feel less than blessed these days. There is so much uncertainty in the world as people worry about their jobs, health, and families. At the moment I’m blessed enough to enjoy all three, but it takes some work, some vigilance, and some common sense to keep all of these things, and you can’t take them for granted. But could you ever?

Each day I try to take a few moments with my Savior and often as part of my prayers I pray a prayer of thanksgiving, even for little things like the opportunity to be with our small group. I probably don’t thank the Lord as often as I should for all my blessings: one in this case being the God-given talent of writing and having a place more or less of my own to write at, and another of having readers like you who have cared enough to stop by and see what I have to say. It’s not a number that makes me financially wealthy (not that I’m trying too hard to be) but if I steer one in the right direction I consider this a successful venture.

So whether you eat during the Lions game (they’re 0-9-1 and playing the 3-7 Bears, so I don’t blame you) or eat at dinnertime like we do, just take time to count your blessings, too. I’m going to get back to something I did for a few years and close with Philippians 4:4. Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Additional developments

Last week I promised you I was going to dig into Delaware’s redistricting? Well, I have all these piles of dirt around me and yet there’s still more gold in them thar hills, so that is a series I may begin in December since this is the time of year I take care of other blog business: the annual Thanksgiving post (if I don’t decide to use a prior version), my anniversary post on December 1, and the induction post for my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2021. (I may push that back a week to December 9, depending how the others and the updating of that page go – updating it takes longer and longer as the roster of members increases each season. Because of that, the SotWHoF will likely go dark for a bit as I start this maintenance this coming weekend.) Usually I try to do this sort of housekeeping last, but then I noticed I’d been away a week and I don’t like to leave y’all hanging too long.

One thing that happened in the interim was the local election in Delmar, Maryland. It would have normally been a boring ballot in a small town except for them having the whole controversy about the on-duty killing of Delmar Police Cpl. Keith Heacook this past April. Once things calmed down a bit, that incident sparked an allegedly well-funded slate of challengers in the town election as neither of the two incumbent commissioners opted to run again; meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Karen Wells drew her own opponent as she decided to seek another term. Last Tuesday the new broom swept clean as the reformer slate won all three positions. (They were assured of winning one commission seat as just three ran for the two slots, but the slate outperformed.) So Wells, who had been Mayor since now-Delegate Carl Anderton resigned the position to represent the town in Annapolis after the 2014 election, was ousted after six-plus years in office.

While it’s a peripherally Delaware story only because of Delmar being “the town too big for one state,” the other reason I brought it up was that Wells was a blogger before she moved into public office 12 years ago. I used to link to her sites, the most recent being Off The Cuff, a site for which she apparently turned the keys over to someone else when she became an elected official. I welcome her back to the game because she’s going to provide both insight and oversight to her erstwhile constituents in Delmar.

It was rather funny as well because on social media she shared a screen shot of Off The Cuff from 2009, with a list of blogs that were “good” and “bad,” with the “bad” one being Salisbury News. I think out of the fifteen or so sites listed, mine and Salisbury News are the last two survivors. (And I’m the last one with the original author.) Maybe I’m the glutton for punishment, but it would be nice to have some of the old gang back. I miss those days of blogging.

Was Delaware gerrymandered?

Earlier this week the state of Delaware had new legislative districts come into effect. They had to be in place by one year before next year’s election so, after the usual suspects blamed Donald Trump for the late Census data – which had to be finagled to account for the last known address of the prison population – the Democrats got their maps through.

Over the next week or so, I’m planning on digging deeper into these numbers and districts. I don’t know where pockets of R or D voters live specifically, but just based on the population and registration numbers there are a few things which merit a second glance. I know my districts didn’t change, so there is that.

Since the candidates may now file in their new districts, I was hoping the state would update their website accordingly so we could see who was already running in 2022. Alas, it was not to be.

However, I did find an interesting calendar of municipal elections for next year. Our friends in Laurel are one of just a handful of towns in the state with no election next year – however, they were one of those that didn’t cancel their balloting this year. (Just one Delaware town remains yet to decide this year, although I happen to know that just across the border in Delmar, Maryland they vote next Tuesday in a hotly-contested mayoral race, among other things.) Maybe next year there will be interest in the tiny town of Bethel, which is just up the road a piece from me.

In looking at this year’s list, I noticed most of the spring elections were bagged, probably due to a lack of candidates. But more of the fall elections took place, which to me shows a newfound interest from the grassroots. It’s something to follow once the calendar flips over to 2022.

So I didn’t want you all to think I forgot about you. This is the month I start getting together my compilations and update some of my pages – hard to believe we are two weeks from Thanksgiving, 20 days from sweet sixteen for my site, and three weeks from inducting the Class of 2021 into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. It’s a busy month behind the scenes here.

And yes, I will delve into this data.

Weekend of local rock volume 76

Subtitled: The long-awaited return!

You know, I never really thought I would go almost 2 1/2 years between WLR volumes 75 and 76. But thanks to some irresponsible (or sinister) technicians in a Chinese lab, we had this pandemic from what some call COVID-19. I call it the CCP virus; regardless, it put a real damper on live music for the better part of a year and a half, including two summers. This fall we are finally beginning to see a recovery back to normal and one thing that sealed the deal for us going to the Unify Delaware Festival last month was the opportunity to see some live performances.

You may recall that in the past I’ve done a lot of multiband shows where I basically have space for the photo and a short overview. This time, though, I really have a bit of room to stretch my legs, as it were. The Unify Delaware Festival had three acts scheduled, and I caught the latter two: Jovon Newman and Trent and the Trainwreck. (The band I missed was Lincoln City.)

The second act, who played when the largest number was present, was local singer Jovon Newman.

Newman presents a unique story and, it can be argued, is a product of new technology that allows easier integration of a instrumental backing track. (I have a social media friend several states away who does the same thing, but specializes in Frank Sinatra songs and others in that vein.) I certainly won’t argue that Jovon doesn’t put his own stamp on things, though – one song with a twist I enjoyed is a tune that should be in his wheelhouse, Wagon Wheel.

Jovon wasn’t afraid to engage with the audience, such that it was when he began. It’s an advantage of his performing genre.

In reading his story, I can see just how he got his stage presence and demeanor. Jovon looked like he was having a good time and as the show moved along the crowd warmed up to him. His song mix was a pleasing combination that drew from both country and pop, so he was working in that crossover appeal with an audience that was most likely to lean in that direction.

Newman, though, only did about a 50-minute set, which left sort of a blank space that didn’t get filled by the DJ immediately. (You can see the next band was already pretty much set up in the photos.) It may be a product of him primarily playing on social media rather than a stage, but as he fills out his repertoire a little bit (he’s put out two singles in recent months) Jovon could get enough to be a headliner. If not, he has a valuable daytime job with the Delaware Air National Guard, which allows him to make music a hobby he can really devote himself to. (Sort of like writing for me, I guess.)

After that long pause, we were treated to Trent and the Trainwreck. As they describe it, they play “Southern Rock, Country, Red Dirt, originals, and everything in between.” Based on what they played: check, check, check, check, and check. (Okay, I’m assuming they did “Red Dirt” since that’s a description I’d not heard before. But I think they played it since they covered the rest.)

Closing the festivities for the day were the country-rockers Trent and the Trainwreck.

As opposed to Jovon Newman, who primarily “plays” online, Trent and the Trainwreck have done a fairly full complement of shows in various configurations: over the last few months they have played venues all over the coastal regions of slower lower Delaware like Lewes, Milton, and Rehoboth, venturing as far as Ocean City once, and in looking at social media they are already lining up shows for 2022. (One intriguing show: it looks like they’re playing the hopefully-resurrected Blessing of the Combines in Snow Hill, Maryland next August.)

So these guys had fun. As an example: the second song in, as I’m downing a great burger, was Folsom Prison Blues. All right, good choice for the crowd. But then it suddenly morphed into a song I wasn’t familiar with but somehow fit: I Don’t Even Know Your Name by Alan Jackson. Interesting, since I was today years old when I learned what the song was called – I just remember the lyric about marrying the waitress. Then back to Folsom Prison we went.

Throw in a couple originals of theirs, and you get the idea. I always have a thing for bands unafraid to play their own stuff – it may not be great or even that good, but to me (as someone who, admittedly, can’t carry a tune in a bucket) that’s how you grow as a musician. I think doing the originals will also help them shape the cover songs to their style better since they didn’t always quite to seem (to my ear) to match a complementary vocal style to the cover song. But maybe that’s the Red Dirt style coming out? (Just kidding.)

I think I’ll put up a few more pictures of the band that Kim took now…

My apologies to the drummer – if I had known Kim was taking these I would have gotten a close-up. They always get the short end of the (drum)stick.

Okay, I’ll show myself out. Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait 2 1/2 years to do the next volume of Weekend of Local Rock (and my first as a Delaware resident.)

Thoughts on the offyear Tuesday

Back in the summer, there was this political race going on. Everyone thought the guy who had been in office for four years and hand-picked his successor after that was going to cruise to victory, since we had just elected a still-popular President with whom he shared a party affiliation.

But sometime around Labor Day, the shine began to come off that President thanks to some REALLY bad decisions he made. Meanwhile, the school year began and there were a lot of parents who saw what their kids were being exposed to in school and that they had to wear face diapers, and they didn’t like it one bit. So they began coming to school board meetings only to get resistance from the status quo in the school boards.

Then came the debate, the one where this supposed shoo-in told parents it wasn’t their job to chime in on what their children were taught. Proving how out of touch he really was, this candidate brought in surrogates from all over the country to campaign for him, including that unpopular President. And the opponent? He took the parents’ side, and made it his mission to tell them so by traveling all over the state to meet with them in person. Like a certain President’s ice cream cone left out in the sun, Terry McAuliffe’s polling lead melted away and Wednesday morning Virginians were officially told there would be a Republican governor come January once McAuliffe conceded.

And talk about coattails! Not only did Glenn Youngkin win his race in what would have been considered a stunning upset even a month ago, he brought along his party’s lieutenant governor and Attorney General candidates as well as enough House of Delegates members to flip control of the body back to the GOP.

All over the country, it seemed like the GOP was ascendant. They came close to winning the New Jersey governor’s race, in a contest they were predicted to lose by double-digits. Down the ballot, a three-time candidate who reportedly spent $150 on his campaign (not counting slate money, which bumped it up to about $2,000) knocked off their Senate President, a longtime machine Democrat. Even better, it was a tough day for so-called progressives, who saw their candidates and causes shot down all over.

There is such a thing as overreach in politics. Overall, we are still a center-right country and the far left hasn’t quite sold us on their snake oil yet. They’re working on it with the youth but the occupant of the White House is the conservative’s best salesman. It doesn’t, however, guarantee success in beating them back next year.

And if I wanted depressing results, I only had to turn to my old hometown. As they circle the drain, they elect the same old morons and vote to raise their own taxes then wonder why they don’t succeed – unless success is considered making everyone dependent on a failing city government. Even their suburbs aren’t immune, as a good friend of mine lost his re-election bid to their town council. Now those are some voters who voted against their best interests.

So, with these results in hand, we now begin the 2022 campaign in earnest. Those of us in Delaware will have a quick detour in the spring to determine school boards (now those should be interesting campaigns) but the real action will come next fall as all 62 seats in our General Assembly will be up for grabs with spanking new districts. (Mine will be the same old ones, though.) We also elect our treasurer and attorney general, a race which already has some interest. In the next few days these races will begin to populate as the new districts become official – I think that’s why we don’t have a candidate list yet.

Odds and ends number 107

This will be a little shorter than some, but I thought it was a good time to clear out the mailbox and give you some good reading.

All solar and wind is all wrong

Recently I got an e-mail from the Caesar Rodney Institute that told me:

Proposed legislation nationally and in some states would establish a requirement 100% of electricity be generated from “renewable” sources such as wind and solar power. This policy will lead to unacceptable electric price increases and blackouts. 

100% Wind and Solar. 100% WRONG.” Caesar Rodney Institute, October 8, 2021.

This goes in the category of “duh” for me, but apparently some states are thinking they can pull this off – and in principle, perhaps they can. But there is a big problem with the reality, to wit:

When we look at states from Virginia to Maine, with some of the most aggressive requirements for wind and solar power along with taxes on emissions from power plants, we see two disturbing trends. One is more reliance on imported power. The Virginia plan drops reliable power generation from 95% now to 45% in 2035, and imports from other states grow from 25% to 40%. The RGGI states have increased imports from 5% in 2008 to 17% in 2019. Electricity exporting states are also under pressure to reduce conventional power generation. Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf would like to cut generation by 30% by 2030, which would end exports. Massachusetts is importing 57% of its power, Delaware 50%. It is likely there will be very little export power available, requiring each state to generate 100% in state.

Ibid.

The second part is the government-created market for so-called “renewable energy credits” (read: mechanism for wealth transfer.) I like looking at farm fields, not 600-foot tall wind turbines (that would make all of us sick from the low-frequency noise) or acres of solar panels that might power a few hundred homes at peak efficiency, not twenty years down the line.

If I store a tankful of natural gas or a lump of coal for a time, it works pretty much as well as it would have when I put it there, at a cheaper price point. Let’s ditch these phony market mandates, shall we?

A Made in America call

My friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing alerted me to this irony: those who created the CCP virus and allowed it to come to our shores are benefitting from dumping cheap N95 masks on our shores while American companies suffer.

At least that’s how James Wyner, the CEO of the Shawmut Corporation tells it. “We worked hard to create an American-made product that wasn’t dependent on foreign governments like China. We labored around-the-clock to get things up-and-running in 120 days, and created hundreds of new jobs in the process. Our masks received rave reviews for comfort and protection. Now Made in China imports are back.”

Interestingly, the tariff suspension was put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 to deal with the spot shortage of PPE, but no one from the Biden regime has reinstated it. Wonder why?

One can say Wyner is living up to his name because there was always this risk, but we can substitute a lot of things for N95 masks that we should be making – including the aforementioned solar panels that are often made in China.

And since I’m talking about AAM, it’s worth reminding readers one of their annual programs is the Made in U.S.A. Holiday Gift Guide and it’s time for suggestions. Now that Halloween is just about in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start the stampede to Christmas. (Thanksgiving? What’s that?)

WTF is he thinking?

So did you know that AT&T is “by far the largest single funder of One America News”? Me neither. Just looking at it as an observer, maybe it has something to do with DirecTV, which AT&T owned until recently. And when I checked into the story, I found out it was true.

Okay, this is a problem why? (And full disclosure here: we are DirecTV subscribers and my package includes OANN. Can’t recall the last time I watched it, though – maybe immediately post-election?)

Well, the reason I bring this up is because Rick Weiland – miserably failed political candidate and my semi-correspondent loony leftist from the otherwise sane bastion known as South Dakota – sent me an e-mail demanding AT&T cut ties with OANN. Get a load of this rubbish:

Listen, the bottom line is clear: AT&T has not only been helping to spread disinformation about everything from the 2020 election to public safety during the pandemic, it’s also been instrumental in the success of Donald Trump’s favorite cable news channel while it continues to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6th.

AT&T needs to take bold action and join the fight against deadly disinformation — by cutting all ties with OAN. And (sic) your name to demand action now!

Unless AT&T hears from us — it will continue to fund the network that has fueled an insurrection, dozens of voter suppression bills, and the proliferation of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“WTF is AT&T thinking?”, Rick Weiland, October 11, 2021.

Now I’m not crazy about DirecTV – it’s one of the few options I have for TV watching out here in God’s country – but when you consider the Reuters “investigation” comes down to a entrepreneur creating a product to address a market need, I shrug my shoulders on this one. I think Merrick Garland is doing far more to whitewash what happened on January 6th and Weiland isn’t asking us to kick him out of office.

And next week I expect an e-mail from Weiland condemning a recent attack on a federal building. Should I hold my breath for the call on people to drop their funding? Thought not.

If I want to watch the partisan media, my satellite brings me CNN, MSNBC, and so forth. Maybe we should do more to encourage a variety of viewpoints instead of shutting down those we don’t agree with. However, AT&T did hear from me recently: I sent in another month’s bill.

This one worries me a bit

I think this is more because I’m on a mailing list than being anything resembling a power blogger anymore, but I guess at least someone was thinking of me and it’s worth a few lines.

To avoid going all tl:dr on you, I’m just going to link to the Executive Summary of the 2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength from the Heritage Foundation. While I obviously have an interest in our nation remaining free and independent, I also have an interest in having several young men our stepdaughter knows from being classmates (in the same class as well as a few years ahead or behind) stay on this side of the grass as enlisted men. So judge this one for yourself.

Sunday evening reading

This is more for a particular author than for individual articles. And it all began with selling a book.

You may recall last year during the pandemic that I introduced people to a site called ammo.com. While they sell ammunition, I look at them now as a provider of a different kind of weaponry: potent arguments for limiting government and history you don’t find anywhere else. Where else can you find a retailer that sees deplatforming, righteousness, and the decline of civil society as topics worth discussing? (Being a former league bowler from a Rust Belt bowling town, the latter hit me where I live.)

It’s an alternate view of history and society complements of a writer named Sam Jacobs. If I were to bring back Ten Questions or do a podcast, he would be a subject because I’m curious how he got to a political point not all that far off of mine. They never told me how they liked Rise and Fall, but I do like hearing from their website each Friday.

Speaking of Friday, a programming note: I pushed it back a week because of website issues I was having, but the return of Weekend of Local Rock is now scheduled for the coming weekend. I may get a post in midweek if the mood strikes me (particularly with the offyear elections on Tuesday.) We will see.

But this should do for now, right? Mailbox is clean as a whistle.

A potentially disturbing report

In order to run the 2022 election properly, perhaps we should understand why fewer and fewer people trust the results from the 2020 election.

In 2022, the state of Delaware will commence with early (and often) voting for the first time. It wasn’t our choice, since no one but the General Assembly voted on it, and I don’t recall a real crush of voters demanding Election Day become Election Month. We also may or may not have the same mail-in ballot issues that we had in 2020 since the powers that be keep on telling us the pandemic is real. (It is, but we are nowhere near spring 2020 infection levels.)

Before I continue, I’m going to throw some numbers at you. In Delaware:

  • Biden/Harris defeated Trump/Pence by 95,665 votes.
  • Chris Coons defeated Lauren Witzke by 105,750 votes.
  • Lisa Blunt Rochester defeated Lee Murphy by 84,990 votes.
  • John Carney defeated Julianne Murray by 102,591 votes.
  • Bethany Hall-Long defeated Donyale Hall by 88,295 votes.
  • Trinidad Navarro defeated Julia Pillsbury by 91,438 votes.

While the margins seem impressive, it’s worth pointing out that in terms of machine votes (in-person):

  • Trump/Pence defeated Biden/Harris by 208 votes.
  • Chris Coons defeated Lauren Witzke by 8,415 votes.
  • Lee Murphy defeated Lisa Blunt Rochester by 3,510 votes.
  • John Carney defeated Julianne Murray by 6,516 votes.
  • Donyale Hall defeated Bethany Hall-Long by 835 votes.
  • Trinidad Navarro defeated Julia Pillsbury by 7,014 votes.

I will grant that Democrats, who seemed to be more afraid to live than Republicans who stood in somewhat socially distanced lines on a cool but clear Election Day, were far more prone to send in their ballot. They took good advantage of the rules and the COVID-tilted playing field that made gaining name recognition for the Republicans an uphill battle since many events were scrubbed thanks to the CCP virus.

So it’s disappointing (but, alas, not shocking) to find that the Patriots for Delaware advocacy group has been looking into the 2020 election and finding the numbers don’t add up. This is the operative portion of a recent report by their “election integrity team.”

The election integrity team has found that there are 1,768 people who voted on Nov 3, 2020, after they died. Shockingly, 1,165 of these dead voters are recorded as having voted at a polling place, on an ES&S voting machine (ID required). The others mailed in their ballots.

Numerous problems are apparent when we take a closer look at the details surrounding these dead voters. For example, 91% of confirmed dead voters have been deceased since at least 2015 and have a history of voting after death. Meaning, 1,608 dead voters are not only recorded as having voted in 2020 but also voted in 2016 and/or prior elections, after they died. Half of the dead voters were registered to vote and/or sent in ballot applications, after their date of death.  22% of dead voters have been dead for decades and in hundreds of cases, generations. In one specific case, the voter died in 1963 and cast a ballot on an ES&S voting machine in 2020. Furthermore, Title 15, Chapter 17, Subsection 1705 (a) of Delaware Code states, ‘The State’s Office of Vital Statistics shall send each month to the Department and to the State Election Commissioner a complete and accurate file or list of each person 16 years of age or older who has been reported to have died within the State since the previous report.’  ‘(c) Upon receipt of a file or list from The Office of Vital Statistics, the Department shall cancel the registration of each registered voter whose name is on the list.’ Why hasn’t Anthony J. Albence, our election commissioner appointed by Carney, adhered to Delaware election laws? How do votes from the deceased get recorded on a voting machine?

Continuing on, one of the qualifications to register to vote in Delaware elections is that you must be a DE resident. The team has found that 2,117 people voted in our 2020 General Election who had previously moved out of state. These votes are in direct conflict with the DE qualifications to vote and should not have been counted. Period. Also, there are 1,854 voters who moved before the election with no forwarding address and voted in Delaware in 2020. If the mail-in portion of these voters do not have a forwarding address, how did they receive the ballot they used to vote in our election?

Additionally, the team discovered an anomaly in the mail-in/absentee ballot return rate. Nationally, mail-in ballots are returned at a rate of 71%. According to information received from a Department of Elections FOIA request, 168,629 mail-in ballots were sent to voters and 168,355 were returned. This amounts to a 99.8% mail-in ballot return rate. That is a 28.8% higher return rate than the national average and is statistically impossible. For perspective, 28.8% of mail-in ballots is equal to 48,480 votes.

Last, the analysis of election data totals has shown some curious findings. For example, the Department of Elections FOIA states that 168,629 mail-in ballots were sent to voters. However, there are 191,323 mail-in ballots recorded in the ‘voted file’ from Election Day, with 187,381 of those ballots officially accepted. How is it possible for election officials to receive over 22K more ballots than they sent out? The total amount of votes, both machine and mail-in, recorded in the ‘voted file’ is 530,411 votes. The total votes recorded on the Department of Election website is 504,010. A difference of 26,401 votes. Why were tens of thousands of votes from Election Day not counted in the official totals on the state website?

The election integrity team is committed to getting to the bottom of what happened on Nov. 3, 2020. They will be releasing a series of updates over the next several weeks with the intent to educate Delawareans on the details of what their canvas is revealing and the blatant disregard of The People’s right to a free and fair election by our legislature, election officials, and governor. These elected and appointed officials take their salaries from our hard-working hands; therefore, they owe us an explanation in the form of a forensic audit of every single vote. Delawareans should HOLD contributions from any candidate and incumbent in every political party until they do their jobs to protect Delawarean’s essential right to choose their leaders. Without a free and fair election, we can no longer be considered a Republic. It is our duty to unite and stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to save Delaware. We The People have the power. We cannot allow our public servants to spin their wheels until the next fraudulent election. The time to fix 2020 is now.  

God bless The People of Delaware and God bless these United States of America. 

“Election Integrity 10/26/2021 Update,” Patriots for Delaware, October 26, 2021.

These are the sorts of abnormalities that could be explained away in part, and the reason I went through the numbers at the top is to show that the results overall may not have changed anyway, even if all of the “extra” mail-in ballots were Democrat votes and the “shortage” of machine ballots accrued to Republicans, which would almost be statistically impossible. (But, had this been so, it would have made the House and Lieutenant Governor races veeerrrrry interesting.) So Lauren Witzke probably should back off her call for Chris Coons to clean out “her” office.

However, saying that, it’s more possible that the Democrats “stole” two Senate seats from the GOP. Even though the two Senators in question were the two largest RINOs in the Senate, the fact that Democrats succeeded in getting a 2/3 majority in the Senate is important in whether legislation passes or perishes.

What this all tells me is that there’s a lot of work to do before Election Day 2022 – organizing watchdog groups, demanding a culling of the voting rolls, and developing a strategy for countering the Democrats’ advantage in mail-in votes. (It would be even better to go back to pre-2020 rules but it’s certain the majority won’t let that genie return to the bottle.)

And yes, we should get a forensic audit of the 2020 vote.

Just so I don’t have another P4D-related post in a row, I think I will toss in a odds and ends post before I do Weekend of Local Rock next weekend. I had a website issue for a couple days that held this post up.

Unify Delaware 2021 in pictures and text

Well, the stars aligned just so as the family obligation I thought was yesterday turned out to be next Saturday and my balky knees didn’t balk so walking around wasn’t too unpleasant. So Kim and I took the 45-minute drive across slower lower to Hudson Fields over Milton way to check out the first (hopefully first annual) Unify Delaware Festival.

Veterans of this site know how this works now: the photos get their own caption and help tell the story, although I may write a little more to move the narrative along. Fair warning: it’s a long post alert because I picked out 29 pictures.

Hudson Fields is probably better known as an outdoor concert venue, but the place provided plenty of room for the UDF. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Entering the Unify Delaware Festival it didn’t look like much, but it turned out well nonetheless.
For a first-time effort, the event had an impressive and broad list of sponsors.
Given the Patriots for Delaware slogan “Freedom in Unity” it’s no surprise that was the chosen theme.

Let me talk a moment about the sponsor. I saw some scuttlebutt planted by certain political operatives on social media questioning the motives and principles of Patriots for Delaware, with the scare quotes about them being an “anti-vax” and “anti-mask” group. Does “my body, my choice” only apply in situations when government coercion isn’t present? There were a few there in masks, and that was fine because it was their choice. Let’s work from that happy medium, shall we?

I’m going to move on with the post. In any event like this where one is present, the first place I go is to the car show. They had one – but when we got there, someone else was dropping in to check things out.

After the National Anthem was sung at noon, we had a skydiver drop in. They ended up auctioning off the flags later. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Want. I bet it’s a cool way to flatten stuff (besides pavement.)

Oh, they had more than cars there. Lots of construction implements, this above being one sample. Now we’ll do the cars, beginning with the overview below and then focusing on some beauties.

There were probably 40-50 cars in the show, which was pretty good turnout to me.
Of the group, this was probably my favorite – a first-generation Chevy Monte Carlo.
There were several Camaros there, but I always thought the Pontiac Firebird was a little cooler – even with the flames.
It’s almost Halloween, so why not have a designated driver? Better than the hearse on display down the line.
If there’s a little red truck, my wife will find it. It’s the same model year I am, but in a LOT better shape. Photo by Kim Corkran.
What is this thing?

It’s a Thing.

Yeah, I know it’s a thing, but what’s the car called?

I told you, it’s a Thing!

The Laurel and Hardy-type references can go on and on with this one. Thanks, Volkswagen. Someone also had a nice Karmann Ghia there.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we had cars in character. You can’t see the Darth Vader on the hood. Pity. Photo by Kim Corkran.
This guy wasn’t part of the car show, but the window was worthy of inclusion.
You’ll have to trust me because I try to avoid photographing kids, but we had the trifecta there: planes, trains (the little tram running around), and automobiles. I think they were taking very brave people up in this plane.

Thanks for indulging me on that one. There was a lot of other stuff going on, and I have a nose for finding certain people and groups.

This group is seeking a Convention of States to address term limits, a balanced budget, and government overreach. Problem is getting 34 states in our (supposedly) federalist republic to agree that’s a bug and not a feature.
They clustered the political groups together so people could stay away. (Just kidding – sort of.)

A little scoop about the Julianne Murray tent – according to the volunteer in her tent, Murray was not present because she was fundraising upstate. Part of the reason: she will have a primary opponent (read: stalking horse.)

There were quite a few vendors there. It wasn’t an overly expensive event to set up for (having done Good Beer Festival and Autumn Wine Festival in the past, by comparison this one was really affordable) so it was a strong showing for a first-time event.
A prime example of unity: tie-dye shirts. Or maybe my wife just liked them. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Sure, these were vendors, but the flags were placed in a sweet spot for photos.
This HAD to be a big seller. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Blessing or a curse? An event that drew hundreds of people only had two food vendors. I will say the Blue Ribbon Burger that came from SmashMouth (on the right) was a smash with me! Probably in my top 20 I’ve ever had, it was that good. The taco place (Tacos Mexigo) on the left looked like it had good stuff too, but they ran out of burritos and I like them better than tacos.
The kids had their own place to play as well. Bet there were a lot of tired little ones.
As predicted, I did not participate in the loosely organized cornhole tournament.
And if I can’t accurately toss a bean bag…well, are you kidding?
The organizers had their own space with information and various other ways to attract those dollars from your wallet. My finger was not part of it.
If you liked this sign, it was yours for the low price of $10.
It was a modest silent auction, but decent for a first-time event.
Later on, there was a live auction for several larger items. This design was one of the boards they used in the cornhole tournament.

You notice the stage there? Well, I have some good news: I get two posts out of this! After a extremely way too long hiatus, the Unify Delaware Festival provided me the occasion to bring back Weekend of Local Rock next week! So look for more pictures and text, and maybe some suggestions for their prospective repeat performance next fall – right in the middle of campaign season. Should be fun like this one was.

And to all the naysayers: you really, truly missed an opportunity to unify with a bunch of good people.

The prospect of unifying

I used to do this more often, but still there’s once in awhile I’ll promote an upcoming event even if my prospects for attendance are limited.

Saturday looks like a nice day weatherwise, with a high in the upper 60s. What is most likely to keep me away is the possibility of a family obligation.

What piqued my interest in this event is the sponsor (Patriots for Delaware) and the idea that it’s billed as a family-friendly event. That’s not to say there won’t be hot and cold running politicians there – after all, $10 a person is pocket change for most of them – but it’s not the focus of the proceedings. I would be scoping out the silent auction and maybe dropping a coin or two on the 50/50 raffles while checking out the car show and the bands.

(I like to play cornhole, but my time in the cornhole tournament would be limited to the amount of time it takes for my opponent to throw a half-dozen bean bags in the hole. This is based on experience.)

Of course, this is a busy time of year for everyone as fall sports are in full swing, families begin to get ready for Halloween, and a lot of other church and school-sponsored fall festivals dot the calendar on October Saturdays. The weather is generally cool and that brings people outside, too. So their prediction of thousands may or may not be optimistic – I would consider Unify Delaware a smashing success with 5,000 people. Having worked on the Autumn Wine Festivals for several years, I know it draws about that many during a two-day run – granted, it has a higher price point but they serve alcohol, which Unify Delaware won’t do. Unify Delaware will have more space, too. So I think attendance of 5,000 is very doable, and as a fundraiser it could reach six digits.

So if the family and the old arthritic knees are willing, I may see you there Saturday. Sounds like fun for an afternoon.