Knees jerked with record speed

You know, they couldn’t do much with important stuff like the economy, gas price relief, or using the state’s vast surplus of borrowed out of thin air federal funding to give the taxpayers a realistic break, but I tell you what: take an incident where kids were killed by a combination of evil that pays attention to no law and police incompetence that failed miserably in upholding the right to life of some number of children and suddenly there’s a stampede by the majority in the Delaware General Assembly to DO SOMETHING – even if it does little to nothing to address a problem. And while everyone was fixated with their criminal stupidity on one issue, they took advantage of it to ramrod a provision that may allow them to keep themselves in perpetual power.

Here are the issues I have with Delaware’s gun bills: first of all, you copied off a bill that’s been shown to do nothing in Maryland over ten years aside from curtail peoples’ Second Amendment rights. The criminals laugh and keep killing people in Baltimore, which has “achieved” a record number of homicides since the bill was passed in 2013 – the last four years have been four of their top six years in terms of homicide numbers. Essentially, all this series of bills will do is make people either criminals or defenseless, and something tells me that these newly-minted criminals who run afoul of the complex new gun regulations will be prosected with the greatest of zeal in comparison to run-of-the-mill street criminals.

Secondly, what kind of business has it become of yours just how large a magazine someone owns? Leaving aside the Uvalde police force’s ineptitude or cowardice, having a force of multiple police officers means you probably have more rounds than the criminal does. Having said that, though, would those of you who voted for this garbage rather face a quartet of armed home invaders with a ten-round magazine or a thirty-round one? Thought so. (And remember: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.)

Nine years ago I expressed my opposition to the Maryland gun law the DGA essentially copied and I still stand by every word. The only difference is the number of coffins while ignoring the hundreds of lives saved by law-abiding gun owners who respect their weapons. Ask some folks in West Virginia, for example. (And pay attention in that story to how well gun laws stopped the criminal perpetrator. He was stopped by a good girl with a gun.) Since it didn’t match the narrative, I bet you never heard this on your nightly news, now did you?

And one more thought on this gun subject: remember how Sussex County Council turned gutless on the great idea of a county-level right-to-work law because they were worried about how they would be sued? The same went for the City of Seaford when they passed the fetal remains law but put it on hold because the state bullied them with a lawsuit? Obviously the knowledge that the state would face a lawsuit on these prospective laws on Second Amendment grounds wasn’t going to stop our Democrat legislature because power-seekers gotta power-seek, I suppose.

Speaking of that, notice how they let the voting bill sit for the better part of a year before rushing to pass it in the final weeks of the session? Moreover, they rejected an amendment to push the effective date back to next year, meaning that the Democrats couldn’t stand the thought of having an election without the crutch of mail-in ballots. (Wonder how many mules are in Delaware these days?)

The least that could be done before mail-in balloting would be accepted is to clean up the voter rolls of duplicate, deceased, and inactive voters. After the 2020 election where the results of machine votes and mail-in balloting were so drastically different, an audit of the voter rolls is a must. (In 2020, machine votes would have given the state to Donald Trump, elected Lee Murphy to Congress, installed Donyale Hall as LG, resulted in a 12-9 Democrat Senate instead of 14-7, and a 24-17 Democrat House instead of 26-15. It would have flipped three offices in Kent County as well. All these changes accrued to Democrats at the expense of the GOP. What a shock they voted for it, huh?)

I know I should take a deep breath because I know God is in control, but sometimes I get angry about the foolishness my fellow man does in the name of law.

A less worrisome trend

One of the things that surprised and helped attract me to this area 18 years ago was the fact that Salisbury had a minor league baseball team. I’ve always had a little bit of familiarity with the minor league system from following my Detroit Tigers and seeing the back of thousands of baseball cards, but it never dawned on me that Delmarva was the team representing Salisbury, just like one may not guess that the old Tidewater Tides were actually playing in Norfolk, Virginia or that the Down East Wood Ducks are from Kinston, North Carolina.

After the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, we learned that a few of our erstwhile opponents in the South Atlantic League would be saying goodbye to the affiliated baseball ranks without giving their fans a chance to say sayonara to the team. While the Lexington Legends transformed themselves into a franchise in the independent Atlantic League, followed by the West Virginia Power – who were reborn as the Charleston Dirty Birds – the Hagerstown Suns disappeared from the baseball world, done in by poor previous attendance and facilities. (The good news for them: they will get a new stadium and also join the Atlantic League for the 2023 season, at least as of last September.)

In baseball’s realignment for 2021, the Shorebirds were one of five former South Atlantic League teams shuttled to the Carolina League, which flipped levels with the SAL to become a full-season class A league. (The SAL became what’s known as an advanced-A league.) In that respect we were joined in the move by the Augusta Greenjackets, Charleston (South Carolina) Riverdogs, Columbia Fireflies, and Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (who had already planned a name change from Intimidators and new stadium for 2020 before the season was scrubbed.)

This all may be old news to the folks who read this website and know I’m a passionate fan of the Delmarva Shorebirds: enough so to take the time each month to select a position player and pitcher of the month, pick a Shorebird of the Year each season, and host a page on my site for the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame for all the guys who make The Show. But it’s important to the reason I felt it necessary to do this post.

In the winter of 2020, I was very concerned that the Shorebirds would follow the fate of the aforementioned Legends, Power, and Suns. Knowing that the Orioles enjoy having most of their affiliates within easy driving distance and also knowing the game of musical chairs enforced by Major League Baseball was going to leave one team standing on the sidelines, it was apparent to me that the cut was going to come down to either us or Frederick, since the teams in the upper minors appeared safe and they were going to find a way to keep Aberdeen with the closeness to Baltimore and the Ripken influence. As it happened, Frederick was the odd team out.

Because of the pandemic restrictions for 2021, I knew attendance would be way down – truth be told, I was just happy to get the season we did given how heavy-handed the government reaction to the CCP virus was. The Shorebirds ended up with about half their usual attendance, although toward the end of the 2021 season things began to look a little more “normal.” So I was concerned about how things looked in April this season, when we had several nights with three-digit attendance figures. And I got to thinking: was it just us, or was this a league-wide thing? So I decided to do a study, and here’s how it worked.

As I said above, there were five teams that shifted from the SAL to the Carolina League which I could use as comparisons to a previous base year, 2019 – the last full “normal” season. However, the new stadium in Kannapolis eliminated that apples-to-apples, leaving me Augusta, Charleston, and Columbia to use as comparisons. While there were affilation changes at all three due to realignment, I presumed that would be of little to no effect. (Maybe somewhat in Augusta since they went from the San Francisco Giants to the nearby Atlanta Braves, but Yankees to Rays in Charleston or Mets to Royals in Columbia – eh, not so much.)

My methodology, taking games played between the season opener and Memorial Day – which was a leaguewide day off this season – accounted for both attendance and weather, since the box scores indicate both. I even came up with a formula to determine how good the weather was for each team and season because that’s an important factor as well: based on the weather at game time I factored the weather as a zero for rain or drizzle, one for overcast, two points for cloudy, three for partly cloudy, and four points for clear or sunny.

So is the issue only with Delmarva or are we not alone? Let’s take a look, beginning in alphabetical order with Augusta.

Augusta Greenjackets

Home stadium: SRP Park (2018), capacity 4,782

In 2019, they had 23 home dates prior to Memorial Day and averaged 4,125 fans per game. Their average temperature at game time was 83 degrees and the weather factor was 3.44, meaning their games generally occurred in clear to partly cloudy weather (only one had a delay.) Their record at Memorial Day was 24-27.

Three years later, they had 24 home dates prior to Memorial Day and averaged 4,175 fans per game – basically a wash. This despite an average temperature that was three degrees cooler and weather just slightly worse at a factor of 3.33, with just one delay. This year they were 23-22.

What this tells me is that whatever slight bit of luster the stadium has lost is being countered, perhaps by taking marketing advantage of the new Braves affiliation. (Three of their four affiliates are now in Georgia.) They look to be in pretty good shape for the time being.

Charleston Riverdogs

Home stadium: Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (1997), capacity 6,000

The 2019 season saw the Riverdogs average 4,327 fans for their 27 home dates prior to Memorial Day, with great weather: a 3.52 weather factor, with just one delay, and average of 80.8 degrees at game time. (Can we borrow some of that?) The team was 28-23 at Memorial Day 2019.

This year, despite a better team at 31-14, their attendance slumped to 3,810 per date for the same 27 dates. I don’t think there’s THAT many passionate Yankee fans in Charleston, so perhaps the reason was the weather: while the weather was less than one degree cooler at 80.4 degrees, the weather factor was down to 2.78 thanks to three cloudy days and two games that began in the rain. In terms of real bottoms in the seats, the team is down 14,000 from their 2019 total-to-date, and if that tracks for the season like 2019 did it would make a significant dent in attendance that totaled over 300,000 that year. A drier summer, though, may allow the Riverdogs to catch up or at least hold serve.

Columbia Fireflies

Home stadium: Segra Park (2016), capacity 9,077

The Fireflies were still rather new to Columbia in 2019, so they averaged 4,201 per date for their 22 pre-Memorial Day dates that year – this despite a weather factor of 2.77 and three games with rain delays, as well as an average gametime temperature of 77.6 degrees. The team wasn’t great on the field that season, hitting Memorial Day with a subpar 19-32 record.

Three years on, they still don’t have a great team despite new affiliation, trailing the Carolina League with a 14-31 record on Memorial Day. So even though the gametime temperature (77.4 degrees) held remarkably steady between the two years, and they had better weather (a 3.24 factor) and only two delays, their attendance has declined markedly to 3,367 per game.

Historically, Columbia hasn’t been able to keep a team very long – their previous team, mostly known as the Capital City Bombers, lasted a couple decades before being moved upstate to Greenville in 2005 and becoming what’s now known as the Greenville Drive. But it’s somewhat of an unfair comparison because the team came to Columbia in 2016 and had the benefit of Tebowmania in 2017, so attendance wasn’t going to stay on such a plateau. Still, a drop of nearly 20 percent would be concerning to most owners and league officials. And that leads me to…

Delmarva Shorebirds

Home stadium: Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (1996), capacity 5,200

At the start of 2019, the Shorebirds were opening a fantastic season – they began with a 24-4 record, hit Memorial Day at 39-11, and finished with 90 wins and the first half SAL North title. So despite a weather factor of just 2.96, one delay, and an average gametime temperature of 70 degrees, the Shorebirds averaged 2,398 for their 25 openings.

Fast forward to 2022, and we have the opposite team: just 16-29 on Memorial Day. While it’s seemed like a cold spring here, our gametime temperature was only a degree cooler at 69.3 and the weather factor only slightly worse at 2.86. The team had no weather-related delays. (They did get an umpire delay at a game I was at. Need to make sure not to eat where he did.)

So the drop in attendance to 2,147 per game is a little troubling, but not as significant as Columbia’s. In fact, it’s fairly comparable to Charleston’s, which means a dry and warm summer could get us back into the neighborhood of 200,000 fans overall. (We will have four fewer scheduled dates for the foreseeable future as A-ball teams are now scheduled for 132 games instead of the previous 140.) Based on average, that’s a drop of 12,000 fans for the Shorebirds right there but because most of that shortage is on the Mondays they now have as an almost-perpetual off day, it’s more like about 8,000 fans.)

And because this is a phenomenon hitting three of the four teams I studied, I think it may be the setting up of a new normal that’s hopefully just a base which can be improved upon once economic conditions finally improve – that, however, will have little to do with baseball.

If – and that’s a pretty big if at this point – the Shorebirds do somehow manage to get 200,000 fans at this point, that’s going to be a testament to a loyal fan base that hasn’t minded the mediocre-to-bad teams Baltimore has normally sent us over the years to show up and see the boys play. To see all the empty seats in April I was pretty worried Seventh Inning Stretch LLC, the owners of the Shorebirds, may find an excuse to leave our friendly confines by their selling the team to someone who wants to move it either the available facility in Frederick or the new stadium in Hagerstown but if attendance stays reasonably steady or improves for the next few seasons they’ll maintain their investment.

Do that and, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be there.

Postscript: since the original draft of this I wrote the week after Memorial Day while the Shorebirds were on the second and last two-week road trip for the season, the Shorebirds had a five-game homestand that featured wildly varied attendance figures: high triple-digits on Tuesday and Thursday, the usual nice 2,000-ish crowd on Wednesday from the Silver Sluggers (age 55+ promotion where they get discounted tickets) and solid crowds on Friday and Saturday of over 4,000 apiece – the two largest crowds of the year and first ones over 4,000. Friday may have been helped a bit by the long-awaited pro debut of Heston Kjerstad (2nd pick overall in the 2020 draft, sidelined in 2021 by myocarditis and since early spring training with a hamstring injury) and Saturday was a Little League day. Both Friday and Saturday had fireworks as well. (Sunday’s game was rained out and Saturday’s was delayed two hours by rain as well.)

Overall, they drew 12,957 for the five games, so if you round it up with what could have been a decent Sunday attendance of 2,043 to make the math easy it’s 15,000 for the set. (That number would have been doable since the Shorebirds were planning a postgame mini-clinic for kids.) Going back to my “picks and pans” last year I mentioned that their largest 6-game set in 2021 brought 14,249 to friendly confines of Perdue; well, this year they beat that number with the last 6-game set before Memorial Day and most likely would have again this week had rain not foiled those plans. (In looking back, though, that six-game set was only five due to a Thursday rainout so it probably would have been someplace around 16,000 for six games – just about even with what we drew the last week of May.)

Going forward, the end of the school year will hopefully help build the midweek numbers a bit and there are several good promotions and big-crowd events still to come. So I feel a little less worried than I was and I like having the numbers to back it up.

A rookie mistake?

While I work in Wicomico County, my wife and I neither live nor vote in Wicomico County. So this misdirection seems a little strange.

As you can see from the photo, I am in possession of a mailing from one Julie Giordano, who is a Republican running for Wicomico County Executive. (This actually came in our mail for my wife’s “household,” which is logical as she at least is a registered Republican.) I do believe most people who read this are familiar with the fact that I’m a recovering Marylander and ex-Republican who now lives a few miles across the line in Delaware.

So this probable simple mistake by the company mailing this out (not noticing that the address pre-printed on the flyer was in Delaware) got me to thinking about how the political process works now. One thing about my leaving the state of Maryland and the Republican Party is that I don’t get their mailings anymore, but my wife does. However, since she’s not a 4-4 Republican in Delaware yet I don’t think she gets the volume of stuff we (mainly I) received in Maryland. But what she does get seems to reflect the idea of security.

Believe it or not, I took a photo of the total of two flyers my wife received for the entire 2020 election from State Senator Colin Bonini’s ill-fated campaign for governor – one extoling his 2A bonafides and the other as a letter from his wife. (I think I was going to use them for a post I never ended up writing – until now.) It was obvious that Bonini was scanning the voter rolls looking for a few nuggets as well as cutting into the “mama bear” vote in a primary where his main competition was a woman, that being Julianne Murray (who ended up winning.) So here’s that example, a blast from the past.

We didn’t feel at home in Delaware until the political flyers started showing up. But in the election of 2020, this was all we got – both addressed to my wife. Definitely going for the female vote.

To me it’s obvious Julie Giordano is looking to shore up the female vote in an election where she’s going up against the man who’s currently the acting County Executive, but who doesn’t have a ton of name recognition because he’s never sought office before. (John Psota, who was initially appointed as the Director of Administration for the county, is the acting executive who stayed on because County Council couldn’t agree on a formal successor to the late Bob Culver, who passed away in July, 2020. After going through the process twice without success, they threw up their hands and kept Psota in the job until this year’s election.)

While Giordano has a background as a teacher and parent, this flyer talks about security, as in not defunding the police but defending them. On the other side is a quote, presumably from Julie, that says, “If you want to change policing and the end product, I suggest you go to the academy and walk their walk.”

It’s actually a pretty good flyer, but it’s not going to get Giordano any votes from our household because we can’t vote in Maryland anymore. (At least my wife’s name better not be on the list, since I made sure mine was removed.) Maybe they were thinking in terms of donations or word-of-mouth? If so, I suppose she’s getting some pixels but maybe not in the sense she would like. A better campaign would have culled the list before spending a buck or two on printing and postage given she only has about $8,000 in the bank to play with and her primary opponent was bankrolled by some serious coin. (For example, why is lobbyist Bruce Bereano involved in the Wicomico race? That’s a post for another day, particularly since a reporting date is coming up.)

Let’s hope the attention to detail is a bit better if she’s elected as County Executive. (And a message for the current one: can you get your folks to cut some of the roadside weeds around the county? It’s a hazard at some corners.) In the meantime, I’ll be interested to see what shows up in our mailbox later this fall from candidates we can actually vote for.

The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.

Shorebird Player and Pitcher of the Month: May 2022

If things had turned out ever-so-slightly different, I would have had dual repeat winners for the first time. Until the last week of the month, Darell Hernaiz was once again the clear leader of the band insofar as the top position player went, but instead of getting another award he got something more important: a long-overdue promotion to Aberdeen on May 24.

In the interim, this month’s eventual winner did something you don’t see every day: hit a natural cycle of (in order) single, double, triple, and home run. That 5-for-5 day last week (with another single added for good measure in a 14-6 win at Charleston) vaulted Isaac Bellony past the absent Hernaiz and into this month’s honor. The switch-hitting outfielder ended the month with a slash line of .250/4/20/.845 OPS, all of which led the qualifiers. (One hitter had a better average and OPS but in a limited number of at-bats, only 16.)

The 20-year-old native of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands was signed back when the Orioles were beginning their push to rebuild the international pipeline in the latter days of Dan Duquette’s tenure as general manager. (For context, Bellony was signed on July 27, 2018 – right in the midst of five major league selloff trades that brought over a dozen players to the Orioles’ starved minor league system. Those begat a haul that soon brought former Shorebirds Jean Carlos Encarnacion and Jean Carmona over.) Isaac showed some potential in the Dominican Summer League when he began playing in 2019, so after the year-long minor league hiatus he was promoted to the Complex League in Florida, hitting .259/4/11/.804 OPS overall, primarily for the Orange team (37 of 39 games.)

In the absence of Hernaiz, Isaac has become the primary offensive threat for the Shorebirds, and despite his average falling off a little bit in May, his overall .262/6/30/.843 OPS at the end of May led the remainder of the team in those slash categories. One item that may change in the future, though: like Cedric Mullins before him, future success may dictate the switch-hitting may be dropped as Bellony’s only 1-for-21 as a right-handed hitter this season. Given his stat sheet now has a handful of left-on-left at-bats, that may have already occurred.

Fans of the Shorebirds may have noticed the international flavor of the team this year, particularly as Bellony represents a product of the emphasis on scouting abroad. Isaac is the first homegrown international position player to be a Shorebird of the Month since 2017 (current Shorebirds coach Daniel Fajardo was the last) but I suspect there may be more in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, on the pitching side Daniel Lloyd was definitely in the mix for repeating the honor of Shorebird Pitcher of the Month, but instead I chose to honor another player recently promoted to Aberdeen.

While Alex Pham was only in for two hitters in this May 15 game against Salem, his body of work since rejoining the Shorebirds last month was enough to give him the nod as Shorebird Pitcher of the Month.

Righthander Alex Pham was here at the very tail end of an extended 2021 season, pitching in three games as a wrap to a year that sent the Bay Area native from his senior campaign at the University of San Francisco to Wareham, Massachusetts for a brief pre-draft stint in the showcase Cape Cod League circuit to five games (and all of 6 2/3 innings) in the Complex League to two weekends and a week here. Looks like he pretty much covered all the corners of the country.

While Alex was unscored upon here, a couple rough outings in Florida contributed to an overall 3-1, 4.63 mark and 1.543 WHIP. A 12:3 strikeout to walk ratio was also promising for a guy not picked until the 19th round. (Just like Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame pitcher Josh Hader – granted, Hader is by far the most successful from that year’s round, just three of whom even made the Show.)

Pham didn’t show up here this season until the end of April, so I’ll take the liberty here of lumping in his single one-inning appearance with April to his May stats. It all worked out to a 1.59 ERA in six appearances covering 11 1/3 innings, where Alex allowed just eight hits and struck out 15 while walking seven for a 1.324 WHIP. Perhaps those aren’t eye-popping stats, but Orioles management has been aggressive with moving up the 2021 draft class and considering Alex will turn 23 later this fall they wanted to see how his outstanding breaking ball (it was very fun to watch batters react to it) would play at a higher level. (So far, so good – his Aberdeen numbers are a shade better than he had for the Shorebirds.)

Pham emerged from a scrum at the top of the pitching heap that included the aforementioned Lloyd as well as Hugo Beltran, Shane Davis, Alejandro Mendez, and Preston Price. Hopefully those who remain will keep making it hard to select the next Shorebird Pitcher of the Month.

I’ll be back to the normal first Thursday selection in July for the June honorees.

Late edit: I’ll have to hunt down an outfield photo of Bellony since he was promoted to Aberdeen just as this came out on June 9. I’m now 4-for-4 on promotions this season.

Another reminder: elections matter

In the wake of Uvalde the politicians generally divided on two sides, with one side being more “bipartisan” than the other. And while there were a few courageous folks who reminded the people that the gun, no matter how “scary” it looks, is an inanimate object that could sit loaded forever and do no damage unless and until someone picked it up, most politicians licked their finger and stuck it up in the wind. Since the media was blowing around the theory that the shooting was all the fault of the “assault rifle” that the shooter was carrying, that’s how the politicos came down.

While it was a disappointment – but no surprise – that a fair number of RINOs came out on the latter side of finger-stickers, as it stands right now we have a Democrat in charge of this state. And, of course, he led off his usually boring and non-controversial “week in review” e-mail with his statement on what we should do post-Uvalde:

So many across the country are feeling helpless and hopeless this week. A massacre of an elementary school classroom has come on the heels of a racist mass shooting in a grocery store. But elected officials — here in Delaware and across the country — are not helpless. The reality is we can do something about these horrific tragedies. In every state in the nation, and in Congress, we have the ability to pass legislation to make it harder and harder for people to get their hands on weapons that cause these mass murders.

We have made progress here in Delaware, but it isn’t enough. I’m committed to working with the General Assembly to continue doing our part to prevent these shameful, appalling, unnecessary tragedies. In the meantime, my heart is with the victims and their families.

“Reflections On This Week,” Governor John Carney, May 27, 2022.

Since I’m not afraid to proclaim my help and hope comes from Jesus Christ, I suppose I don’t fall within that “so many” category. Maybe we just need more to join those ranks.

And yes, our elected officials aren’t helpless. But we don’t need legislation to make it harder to get guns – we need legislation to make sure more of them are around when and where they’re needed, such as in West Virginia the other day.

What has to be obvious to all but the most fanatical gun grabber is that the Uvalde shooter was a mentally sick individual. As with most of these incidents, the bread crumb trail was easy to follow after the fact – unfortunately, no one put the pieces together beforehand and got the kid the help he could have used.

This message is about the other 99.999% of gun owners who are responsible enough to know what their weapons are capable of and treat them with due respect. There’s only a small percentage of them who would even desire to carry them around, but what if even 5% of those gun owners used a right to carry concealed? That’s one portion of the solution we can use, but I guaran-damn-tee that’s not what Governor Carnage has in mind when he says he wants to make it “harder and harder to get their hands on weapons.”

However, I titled this post “elections matter” because there’s a simple fact at play here: despite the fact there’s a few short weeks left in our regular General Assembly session, that’s more than enough time to whip out more gun-grabbing legislation. (Generally, the worst of legislation is the knee-jerk type that comes together the quickest. I’m sure all those gun control lobbyists already have their wish list bill ready to go, just waiting for a crisis such as this. Can’t waste it!) But you definitely can’t discount the thought of a Special Session later this summer to deal with gun legislation, especially since the Democrats nationally have nothing else to run on and it’s an election year in Delaware too.

Alas, we can’t get rid of John Carney until 2024 and he’s term-limited anyway. (One 2023 story will be the battle to succeed him, which will start in the latter half of the year.) Because of the census and redistricting, though, every seat in the General Assembly is up for election this November. Also on the ballot is the important law enforcement post of Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Kathy Jennings is not term-limited out but has a Republican contender in Julianne Murray.

Let’s look at the General Assembly, though. While the filing deadline isn’t until July 12, most of the Senate incumbents who are running for re-election have already filed: the exceptions are the embattled Darius Brown in District 2, John Walsh in District 9, and Dave Wilson in the 18th District. The House, however, is a bit more muddled as the majority of incumbents are still waiting to file, including most of the group from Sussex County. We know that Rep. Steve Smyk is leaving District 20 to try for the Senate District 6 seat that’s opening up with the retirement of Senator Ernie Lopez and a Republican, Bradley Layfield, has come on board for the newly-relocated House District 4 in the Long Neck area.

Being that we are still a month and a half away from the filing deadline, it’s the way-too-early guesstimate of the chances that Delaware Democrats withstand the battering their party label is getting from the sheer incompetence (or intentional destruction) of the Biden administration, but at the moment here’s how things look.

In the Senate, there is a Democrat only filed in 7 seats, a Republican only filed in 6 seats (one would be a flip, at least until John Walsh or another Democrat files) and 8 seats up in the air as both a Democrat and Republican have filed. At this second, it is possible that the Republicans could get the majority but more likely they could cut into their 14-7 deficit. A four seat pickup isn’t that much of a stretch, though, considering just a few years ago there was a special election where control of the Senate was in the balance.

In the House, the disparity of filings has the Democrats enjoying a 15-5 bulge but all that changes once Republicans begin to file. (At the moment, one is replaced by a Libertarian, which would be a historic day for that party.) The GOP would have to hope the GOP wave currently sweeping the nation isn’t dashed by the breakwall of redistricting that favored the Democrats as much as possible – remember, just population changes likely flip a seat as the former Democrat Rep. Gerald Brady’s District 4 seat was the one moved to Sussex. The GOP needs six addtional seats to gain control, but with all 41 House seats up as usual this is their best chance in a decade and the political winds are the most favorable for them since the Obama wave ended Republican control back in 2008.

Returning to the Senate for a moment, bear in mind the GOP picked up at least one seat each election during the TEA Party era, even despite Christine O’Donnell. (In 2008 things looked really bleak as it was 16-5 Democrat then, even with there still being a handful of centrist-to-conservative Democrats in the Senate back then.) So a four seat gain is a stretch, but because all 21 are up it’s possible.

Assuming they get control, at that point all the Republicans need is a spine. Granted, that may be more difficult for them to come by than legislative control but it would be nice to have the other side have to come over to be bipartisan for a change and maybe they can get common-sense legislation like elimination of gun-free zones on most public property and funding the construction and staffing of places for those kids who show signs of becoming the next Uvalde shooter to go for the help they need. (And that includes faith-based initiatives.)

Indeed, elections matter. Let’s do better in November, Delaware.

Odds and ends number 112

It’s time for what seems to have become a monthly or so airing of those chunks of bloggy goodness I create out of the whole cloth of my e-mail box. Say that three times fast.

As always, these snippets run between a couple sentences and a few paragraphs depending on how much I can write about them, which is why at times things get “promoted” like my last article. Anyway…

An upcoming day of action

If you live in Delaware and are into the Article V convention idea, then June 7 is the day for you. Convention of States Action president Mark Meckler – yep, the guy of Tea Party Patriots fame and a familiar name to readers of Rise and Fall – is scheduled to lead a rally on the east steps of Leg Hall in Dover. But it won’t be a stand around and cheer event as those attending will fan out and try to convince legislators that we as a state should back an Article V convention. (This is why the event is on a Tuesday.)

One of the tasks given is to “deliver an information packet (provided) to your own legislators.” However, I suspect that my legislators would already be on board considering both properly voted against a 2016 blanket recission of existing convention calls (HCR60 in that session.) Hopefully someone can say hello to Bryant and Tim for me in that case.

There’s also some interesting reading on that front from CoS, as writer Jakob Fay addresses a critique of anti-CoS talking points and adds some insight of his own.

The bill to nowhere

Speaking of our esteemed legislature, it’s up to the Republicans to save us from a sneaky tax hike. Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the usual left-wing suspects who believe our public schools aren’t enough of a money sinkhole, the three counties in Delaware now have to reassess every single piece of property.

(The plaintiff in the lawsuit was a group called “Delawareans for Educational Opportunity” described in the suit as “parents of low income students, English language learners, children with disabilities in kindergarten through grade three, and other parents with students attending high poverty schools.” Since I doubt those parents had the coin to sue the state, it’s really that eeeeeeevil “dark money” the Left claims to hate behind it.)

To address this unapproved school tax hike, Rep. Mike Smith introduced a bill that insures “that school districts collect the same total revenue after reassessment as they did the previous year.” Yeah, when pigs fly. It’s a great idea, but we know that bill goes nowhere past committee because, to Democrats, too much money for schools is never enough. But ask for school choice and you get crickets.

As they always say, elections matter. Do better this year, Delaware.

Where are the jobs?

It’s always fun to see the conventional wisdom buckle under good old-fashioned analysis, and fortunately there’s somebody who’s paid to go through this data so I can share it.

One selling point of offshore wind was its job creation aspect, but a recent analysis by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy put the lie to that. As David Stevenson concludes, “(study author) Wood Mackenzie is generally reliable, but this study misses by a country mile and is misleading elected officials and the public.”

It’s always been a pipe dream that we would somehow create thousands of jobs building, erecting, and maintaining wind turbines that only last about 20-30 years. Supposedly wind is free and renewable energy, but the millions of dollars needed to collect and harness it has to come from somewhere as does the natural gas backup plant required when the wind doesn’t blow for a spell, as happened off Europe last year.

There’s a reason I occasionally remind people that, once they received access to reliable electricity, farmers stopped using their windmills to create power.

Indivisible is so pissed over abortion

And this was an e-mail I got on Mother’s Day, no less – from a mother!

As you can imagine, the regressives at Indivisible are in a way over losing their cherished right to abort their babies practically at will. There are a couple lines worth mentioning and responding to.

The right-wing is trying to impose their narrow, cruel, patriarchal, white nationalist vision of the world on all of us. They want to force us into obeying their rules and living our lives bound by their twisted worldview. 

We deserve the right to make our own healthcare decisions. We deserve full control over our own bodies. We deserve full control over our own lives. 

Leah Greenburg, “Overturning Roe v Wade is deeply unpopular,” May 8, 2022.

Sorry, Leah, having a baby is not a “healthcare decision.” You ceded control of your body when you decided to have intercourse, so if the result of that is a human being with unique DNA then the burden is on you to carry it to term. At that point you concede “full control over our own lives” because there is another life inside you, full stop. (The irony here is that Leah and her Indivisible co-founder husband, Ezra Levin, have often put a photo of their young child at the end of their monthly newsletters.)

The second point is this:

This is a huge coup for the worst people in our country. But if you’re watching closely, you may have noticed that for a party on the verge of achieving one of its greatest goals, Republican elected officials don’t seem very happy. In fact, they don’t seem to want to talk about this at all. Instead, they’re talking about the circumstances of the leak. They seem to think if they can kick up enough of a fuss about how this came to light, everyone will forget about what the light reveals.

Ibid.

Of course the conservatives are talking about the leak because it’s unprecedented. We’re supposed to have trust in our institutions and leaking this decision was made for one reason and one reason only: to try and change someone’s mind, or, failing that, perhaps eliminate the problem. (Why do you think there’s additional security around the SCOTUS these days? This is why I thought the decision should just be released as is.)

Imagine if someone connected with a right-leaning justice had leaked the Obergefell decision taking away the states’ rights to recognize (or not to recognize) same-sex “marriage”? Wouldn’t the Left have demanded the ruling be made official immediately so that some gun-toting Deplorable didn’t coerce a justice into switching his or her vote to the right side? The Obama administration would have had Homeland Security and every other alphabet agency dropping all they were doing and turning over rocks to find the leaker so they could be punished.

So spare me the crying on both counts. Make Dobbs law and return abortion to the states so we can have our own crack at it. Speaking of that…

How to protect women (and babies)

I just became aware of this via Maryland Delegate Neil Parrott, a friend of this website and a two-time (and final) Maryland Legislator of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

In its infinitesimal wisdom, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill this spring allowing, among other things, non-physicians to do abortions (the Abortion Care Access Act), so there’s a group attempting to petition this to referendum this fall.

It’s an uphill battle to be sure – securing 25,000 signatures by May 31 and the rest of the 75,000 needed by June 30 – but if anyone knows how to do it, that would be Neil Parrott. I encourage my Maryland friends to participate.

Additional abortion insight

If you’re not reading the Substack of AND Magazine, you probably should be. I probably have eight or ten articles I could include here, including tomes on debit cards for illegal aliens and how those children are being forced to work, taking weapons away from our troops to send to Ukraine, Wuhan flu lockdowns in China, and so much more. In fact, it’s such good stuff I decided to pay for a month and see what else I can get. (What I receive for free is quite good.)

But since I’m talking about it: earlier this month, in what was basically three consecutive posts, Sam Faddis laid out part of the Left’s plan regarding abortion:

Once upon a time, the Democratic Party seemed to believe in the Democratic process. It focused on organizing and turning out the vote. No more. That party is dead.

It has been replaced by something that looks a lot like Marxist revolutionary movements throughout history. It has no use for the popular vote. It believes in the power of the state and when necessary, the use of mob violence to intimidate its foes. It is getting ready to unleash its thugs into the streets again in response to the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

While Joe conjures up the specter of a right-wing, white supremacist, trans and gay-hating wave of domestic extremism, the radical domestic movement of which he is a part is already mobilizing and taking to the streets. If the Supreme Court exercises its authority, overturns Roe v. Wade, and returns the question of abortion to the legislatures where it properly belongs our cities will burn.

Sam Faddis, “They Don’t Just Want To Kill Babies – They Want To Kill The Republic,” AND Magazine, May 5, 2022. All emphasis in original.

And when the first pro-abortion protestor is cut down by police it will be George Floyd all over again. You don’t put up fences for peaceful protest.

Let’s go on, shall we?

A group calling itself ‘Ruth Sent Us’ is calling for its followers to invade the homes of those Supreme Court justices it has identified as being likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade

(…)

If you try to sign up to participate in a Ruth Sent Us event you are redirected to the site for an organization called Strike for Choice. This group is organizing similar actions all across the country targeting businesses and corporations that it does not believe have been sufficiently vocal in standing up for “reproductive freedom.

Strike for Choice operates under the umbrella organization Vigil for Democracy, which is actually organizing a whole series of “strikes” each one of which focuses on a different point in a far left agenda. Vigil for Democracy expresses a radical agenda explicitly directed at supporters of Donald Trump and members of the MAGA movement. Earlier this year it organized a series of “strikes” outside U.S. Attorney’s offices demanding that Republican lawmakers present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 be arrested and tried for treason. In the old Soviet Union they called those show trials.

Sam Faddis, “Here Come The Foot Soldiers Of The Revolution,” AND Magazine, May 6, 2022. All emphasis in original.

These are the “thugs” that are being unleashed on the streets, as Faddis wrote. Several years ago I participated in a pro-life protest up in Easton and we just stood on a sidewalk on a day the Planned Parenthood branch there was closed, yet we had a police officer watching our truly non-violent protest. Obviously not everyone follows those rules.

Finally, Faddis concludes in his last piece:

What we are seeing is not protest. What we are seeing is not the work of disconnected local groups of concerned citizens. What we are seeing is an ongoing revolution with the intent of destroying the existing social, political and economic order. It exploded into view in the runup to the 2020 election and was aided and abetted by a new media which told us to ignore the obvious import of what we were seeing.

The target now is religion in America. Churches, synagogues, and mosques will burn. God himself is under attack.

Sam Faddis, “God Is Under Attack – The Mob Comes For Religion,” AND Magazine, May 9, 2022. All emphasis in original.

It so happens our church is currently participating in a fundraiser for a local pregnancy center. While Salisbury is fairly far away from the big city, it’s not unthinkable that their facility could be doxxed and vandalized because they promote alternatives to abortion. It tells me something when women are advised to avoid “pregnancy centers” by abortion advocates because when they visit such a place they may actually come to the realization that either they can get the support required to raise their child or can give the child to a loving adoptive family, like the adopted child of one of my relatives and his wife.

Finding my way onto mailing lists

When I used to blog on a daily basis back in the day, I was on a TON of mailing lists. (In essence, I used to try and write a single-subject odds and ends piece daily. That got to be too much with a family and full-time job.)

Once in awhile I still see the results of that time as new things slide into my e-mail. So it was with a group called People for Liberty. Now I have somewhat libertarian roots but maybe my guardrails have drawn a bit closer as I’ve gotten older and more into my faith.

But in reading about Bitcoin 2022, a National Liberty Day of Service, or a medical marijuana event called Chronic Palooza, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on how libertarianism as I see it seems to work.

In my mind, political thought is linear. You could imagine it being a highway, with one direction taking you through the villages of liberalism, socialism, and communism on the way to totalitarianism where one group controls everything and somewhere there is one person who controls that cadre. In the other direction you have the towns of conservatism and libertarianism, with the road leading to anarchy as every person has the ultimate in liberty. However, the nature of people dictates the Darwinian principle that only the strong survive, thus, somewhere there is one person who would reign supreme.

In other words, that line forms a circle where you end up in one place regardless of the road you take. Where I want to be is on the opposite end of that diameter where there’s an equal share of liberty and responsibility. In my mind, this is where faith tempers liberty to the extent required to place us on the opposite side.

I think I’m going to leave a very intense issue of odds and ends on that note. I was going to toss in some Rick Weiland for comic relief, but I’ve had enough of the loony left for now.

Incremental progress?

So the much-ballyhooed 2022 school board elections are over, and the winners will soon get to place their stamp on their respective districts for the next four years (in most cases.) More to the point of this post, though, it was about this time last year that I wrote the following:

It was a great idea for Patriots for Delaware to take that first step (of endorsing school board candidates), and now they have some inkling what to expect. Hopefully come May of next year, they will be celebrating some initial victories on the road back to sanity for the state of Delaware.

“Disheartening numbers,” May 13, 2021.

As it turned out, the Patriots for Delaware did get a couple victories – but also a couple stinging rebuffs as well.

This cycle was interesting in that the state GOP also got involved by noting which school board candidates were registered Republicans, so to me you had three groups of hopefuls worth watching:

  • Those candidates endorsed by Patriots for Delaware – a total of 11.
  • Those candidates listed as Republican. In contested elections, there were also a total of 11, but there wasn’t as much overlap as one might think.
  • Incumbent candidates. Here in Sussex County there was only one in the five contested school board elections. By my count statewide there were nine, which is surprising given the number of seats available.

While the P4D batted a collective .000 in contested elections last year (their one winner won by acclamation) they improved to 2-for-11 this year by winning contests in Delmar and Milford. However, at the same time they lost two incumbent endorsed candidates in the Colonial and Capital school districts as they were among those seeking re-election who fell short. Basically they lost a little ground in terms of directly endorsed candidates as the winners won in smaller districts.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did a shade better in going 3-for-11, with the caveat that three of their losses came in seeking the same seat in the Smyrna district. (Perhaps they did a good job of splitting the vote for the incumbent, who won.) Out of their two incumbent GOP stalwarts running, the one who had the P4D endorsement lost (Leo Magee in the Colonial district) while the other one who wasn’t so endorsed won (Linda Hitchens, here in Laurel.)

The incumbents were the story to me. Particularly in Sussex County, there were a number of incumbents who chose not to run again – Hitchens was the only one in the five contested Sussex elections. Out of nine incumbents who ran around the state, though, five of them lost at the ballot box, so there was a lot of change made in that respect. Two of the five holdovers who lost, as I noted, got the Patriots for Delaware endorsement so that may have been a step backward, but one of the Republicans knocked off an incumbent in Smyrna so their representation stayed fairly even. (Along with Hitchens, another Republican retained her seat in the Woodbridge district over a P4D-endorsed candidate.)

So where do we go from here?

The one thing that stuck out at me about this race locally was the deluge of signs purchased for (or by) Linda Hitchens. I mean, I tip my hat for making the expenditure because it helped her win, but that expense may have been overkill and now she’s stuck with a garage full of signs for four years. But it led me to learn a little something about Delaware’s campaign finance laws:

Notwithstanding § 8003 of this title, or any other provision of this chapter, a candidate for election to a school board or to any other public office that pays less than $1,000 per year is not required to form a candidate committee if the candidate signs under penalty of perjury a statement, in a form prepared by the Commissioner, certifying that the candidate does not intend or expect that the candidate’s campaign will receive or spend, from the date of the first contribution or expenditure on behalf of the candidate’s election until the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, more than $5,000. If, notwithstanding the execution of the statement, the candidate’s campaign nevertheless receives more than $5,000 in contributions or expends more than $5,000, including any contributions or expenditures by the candidate, before the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, the candidate shall, within 7 days after the receipt or expenditure in excess of $5,000, notify the Commissioner and cause to be filed all reports that would otherwise have been required under this chapter.

Title 15, section 8004, Delaware Code Online.

Basically the candidate signs a form similar to what I called an ALCE when I ran in Maryland, so they don’t have to publicly account for their spending in a small-dollar election. That’s why I don’t find campaign finance information on most school board candidates.

It makes me wonder if conservative groups like Patriots for Delaware should endorse with cash rather than Facebook posts. A $500 donation, good list of supporters – that list of e-mail addresses and social media friends has to be good for something – and a couple volunteers in any school district can litter the place with yard signs that bring name recognition. Moreover, if there’s more name recognition it may be our supporters that fill in the gap between what little turnout there is (in Laurel it was 2.4%, with the biggest downstate total Milford’s 7.84%) and even 10% turnout, which would swamp all the elections. To use Laurel as an example, if they could have brought turnout up to 10 percent strictly with supporters of Joe Kelley, they would have won that race by over 700 votes! Even getting it to 5% turnout with his supporters would have won it.

To use another example, in Seaford, getting out just 1% more turnout with supporters of P4D-endorsed George Del Farno would have taken it for him, as Seaford lagged with abysmal 2% turnout.

Based on the last couple years I had an over/under of 400 votes for Laurel, but for the second straight year we fell short. (In the last three years we have gone from 582 votes in 2020, mostly in person, to 358 last year and just 283 this year. So my wife and I were almost 1% of the electorate, as I talked her into voting. As a reasonably local comparable, Woodbridge went from 282 in 2020 to 722 last year back down to 436 this year. I guess some races are more interesting than others.) Still, it’s worth noting that it’s not just our side trying to ratchet up turnout – supposedly the Democrats were doing their own GOTV drive for school board elections, but I’m not sure that has as much impact down here.

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on the legislative races this fall, since everyone in the Delaware General Assembly is on the ballot this year. But the lesson we can learn from the school board race is that our side needs to figure out a way to cut through the noise and turn out voters.

Spilling the beans

Editor’s note: I actually wrote this on Saturday and debated putting it up for Mother’s Day, but chose not to. So you get it a couple days after.

What seemed like a quiet week in the leadup to Mother’s Day was suddenly roiled last Monday by the leak of a draft ruling revealing the Supreme Court was planning on repealing its badly considered Roe v. Wade decision from 49 years ago. Obviously the mainstream media, which should be focusing on who had the audacity to violate the Court’s trust and prematurely release what is obviously a controversial decision, is now fanning the flames of protest as aggreived supporters of abortion scream about “muh rIGht to PriVaCy!”

It’s become apparent that some radical spilled the beans in a desperate attempt to head off the decision, probably hoping that what appeared to be a 5-4 ruling would be nullified by a “change of heart” by one of the nine jurists. The early money was on a clerk in Sonia Sotomayor’s office, but I heard an interesting theory the other day that it was someone connected to recently-appointed justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is likely in the process of being brought up to speed regarding the Court’s procedures.

(I say 5-4 because, despite the so-called 6-3 “conservative” lean of the Court, the draft decision was not written by John Roberts. Usually the Chief Justice writes the majority opinion.)

Regardless of who decided to breach the Court’s trust, that person has stirred up a tempest comparable to the January 6 aftermath, leading many to fear for the safety of the conservative justices – who are now the subject of protests at their homes – and a call to release the decision as is.

I think that’s the way they should go, for several reasons. First of all, I do not put it past the deep state Left to attempt to assassinate one of the majority of five, which would set up a 4-4 tie, thus affirming the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that the Mississippi law this case is deciding is unconstitutional (and by extension that Roe v. Wade is constitutional.) Or, if it were learned that Roberts allowed Alito to write the majority opinion that he would join in, that would perhaps lead to the “solution” of putting KBJ – who has already been confirmed to replace Stephen Breyer – in to replace this hypothetical slain SCOTUS jurist to rule on the case she hadn’t heard because “abortion on demand must be saved!” (It sounds crazy, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who has already thought about this.)

Needless to say, the usual caterwauling about court packing and breaking the filibuster to codify baby murder into federal law started almost immediately – almost as if someone was tipped off about what was going down so they could get that Astroturf opposition underway.

To me, though, overturning Roe v. Wade places the question where it belongs: at the state level. Unless they quickly traveled from somewhere out west or the Bible Belt South, it’s highly likely those aggrieved women who were already protesting at the Supreme Court last week will still have their cherished “right” to murder babies in the womb because their states (including both Delaware, passed in 2017, and Maryland, which rejected an effort to repeal a 1991 law expanding access to abortions in 1992) have short-sightedly dictated it be so. Not only that, there are certain entities who are already lining up to pay for women to travel to states that allow abortion to do so. (As an example, those who hail Elon Musk as a hero for purchasing Twitter may not like his company’s promise to do this.)

I will grant I didn’t always feel this way. If I lived in Maryland back in 1992 I probably would have been fine with rejecting the repeal proposal because back then I believed the lies the pro-choice side regularly puts out, particularly the bits about “unviable fetal mass” and “clump of cells.” It took a little bit of thought and realization that life had to begin somewhere, and there was a reason people have baby showers and gender reveal parties besides being a way to score free stuff off of other people: there was a life which had been created and the parents were eagerly anticipating it. And despite the fact I became more libertarian as I grew older, I departed from their orthodoxy that the right to choice of the mother trumps the right to life of the child, regardless of whether it could survive outside the womb or not. (Hence, I’m much more likely to support a pro-life Libertarian candidate than a pro-abortion one. That’s a party with a robust debate on the subject.)

As for the tired argument that pro-abortionists make about bringing a child into a poor family or abusive situation, or bringing a severely handicapped child into the world, I would counter that there is always someone out there who can give the child the proper care and loving home it deserves. There’s a reason states have safe haven laws. Moreover, the argument is always paired up with the charge that those who are against abortion on demand also don’t support government-paid health care, child care, and so forth. Your point? Those are the type of laws that should also be decided at a state or even local level – of course, the problem there is that states and localities don’t print money and have to balance their budgets – thus, they demand Uncle Sugar in D.C. pick up the tab.

I know I have people who disagree with me on this question, but the bottom line is: if their mother had made the “choice” to abort them, they probably wouldn’t be here to bitch about it. So they should thank God that their mom did not, and do what they can to make sure other babies have that same opportunity. We now see over the last 49 years what the false vow of “safe, legal, and rare” has led to.

For Laurel Schools 2022

I tried this last year and came close to success for a second time so why not try again?

After a three-year hiatus in the late teens, we in the Laurel School District are now on our third straight year of a contested election for school board. (I guess they wanted me to move into the district first?) Two years ago I voted for Jana Pugh, who won handily over the then-incumbent Brent Nichols only to see Nichols return in 2021 to win an open seat back by seven votes, outlasting Joey Deiter, who I supported.

If I thought Nichols seeking a third term was bad, guess what I get this year? Incumbent Linda Hitchens, the board president, is seeking a third term of her own and as I noted the other day she has signs all around her end of the district. I’d love to know who donated the money for the signage (or if they’re out of her pocket) but there are no financial reports yet for school board candidate committees insofar as I can tell.

One thing I noticed about Hitchens and her platform was an insinuation in an interview with the Laurel Star newspaper that she wanted to “help to rebuild what we had prior to the pandemic.” I’ll grant that some things were lost because the state closed schools (unnecessarily) but shouldn’t most of that rebuilding already be done? We’re through a full year of in-person classes now. (Those who went to private schools were back even sooner, and it appears from my limited experience with our church school and teachers therein that those students are pretty much caught up.) Add that to my experience in Maryland where school board members we appointed were term-limited to two five-year terms, which assured that new ideas would be tried, and to me our election would come down to either staying home or voting for her opponent, who got off to a slow start with me.

So I’m not the most enthusiastic backer of Joe Kelley, who’s obviously isn’t a politician based on how he’s run his campaign. However, the one claim to fame he has is a system that’s been tried for awhile in Arizona (and probably a few other areas) called Move On When Ready. As I read it, kids aren’t necessarily assigned to grade but work toward subject mastery, as in this example from an Arizona school system. I don’t think this is the be-all and end-all, but putting Kelley on the board brings a new perspective and idea to what seems to be a moribund school district.

One thing Kelley did get was the Patriots for Delaware endorsement; however, I don’t know if they liked his answers to their survey questions or if he was the only one of the two to respond. Unlike last year, the Democratic Socialists have something better to do than “recommend” school board candidates, nor could I find an endorsement list from the teachers’ union. (The Democrats will be doing a GOTV effort this weekend, but they’re close to the vest on who they’ll back.) But I did find a list of candidates from the Republican Party – not necessarily endorsed, but presumably registered Republican. (Among them is Linda Hitchens.)

What’s interesting to me is that the GOP and Patriots for Delaware are at odds on not just the Laurel race, but also in Delmar where Dawn Adkins Litchford is the P4D choice but Lauren Hudson is the Republican, and Woodbridge where the Republican is Rita Hovermale but the P4D backs Corey Grammer. They both agree in Seaford on George Del Farno, though. Out of 11 selected by Patriots for Delaware, only five are listed as Republicans, and one has been outed as a Libertarian.

But if you’re in the Laurel School District, don’t be afraid to vote like I will for Joe Kelley. While I think Linda Hitchens for her decade of service, it’s time for some fresh ideas.

Shorebird Player and Pitcher of the Month: April 2022

Back for another season, and I’m kicking it off with a very familiar face as my first Shorebird position player of the month.

My first Shorebird position player of the month for 2022 is carrying over his success from last season, when he was named the Shorebird of the Year. Here’s Darell Hernaiz during the opening weekend against Fredericksburg.

In fact, Darell Hernaiz is one of just a few Shorebirds of the Year to begin the next season with Delmarva. But unlike the others, who won simply as being the standardbearer on a well below-average team, Darell is stuck behind a whole host of more highly-regarded prospects on the left side of the infield, several of whom he shared time with here last season.

So while Darell’s still here, he’s spent his April crushing the competition to a point where Hernaiz is the unquestioned best offensive player on the team, slashing .322/5/16/1.009 OPS – all numbers which led the Shorebirds’ attack.

While Darell was highly placed as a 5th round draft pick in 2019 out of a Texas high school, the Puerto Rican native still languishes behind guys like Gunnar Henderson (drafted ahead of him in 2019), 2020’s Jordan Westburg and Coby Mayo, and Cesar Prieto, a Cuban shortstop signed this offseason and assigned to Aberdeen. Even though Prieto was hurt recently, the Orioles opted to move Greg Cullen’s rehab to Aberdeen rather than finally promote Hernaiz. Perhaps it’s the seven errors Hernaiz committed that keeps him here, but one has to wonder if Darell will be one of those guys who leaves as a six-year free agent and makes it with someone else. Meanwhile, he’ll hopefully just keep raking and contend for a back-to-back honor no one has done before.

I reached back to the tail end of 2021 to snag this photo of Daniel Lloyd, who was literally the last Shorebird pitcher fans at Perdue Stadium saw in 2021. Here he closed out the 4-3 win over Fredericksburg last September 12, receiving his lone decision from last season. That’s why I keep all my old photos!

We also have a somewhat familiar face as the Shorebird Pitcher of the Month, as Daniel Lloyd came up with the wave of 2021 draft picks at the tail end of last season. But while Daniel struggled a bit as a Shorebird in 2021 (1-0 but with a 6.17 ERA and 1.971 WHIP in nine appearances covering 11 2/3 innings) he’s done what many players have in their return to Delmarva: put up markedly improved numbers. In eight innings in April Dan allowed but one earned run and only five hits (and walks) while striking out 11. He only allowed a run in one of his five appearances in April and kept the streak going to begin May, running his ERA down to 0.90.

A South Carolinian born and bred, I’m sure Dan is enjoying the Shorebirds’ current week in Columbia, where he pitched for the University of South Carolina after starring at Summerville High School in the Charleston area. He was selected by the Orioles in the 14th round last season, and opened his career with one inning in the Complex League before reporting to Delmarva last August. Dan is one of a handful of pitchers who the Shorebirds retained this spring after many of them got our home cooking for the first time last season now that Delmarva no longer has a buffer team in Aberdeen for rookies out of the former Gulf Coast League.

Since Dan is only 21, he’s certainly at an appropriate level for his advancement and will probably see a lot of late-inning situations for the Shorebirds as the season goes on. At this time, Lloyd has not been in a save situation but the guys who get holds eventually get that chance, so we will see.

Unlike the position player competition, which Hernaiz dominated, the pitching came down to several guys as the month ended, with bad outings doing in a couple competitors. A very reasonable argument, though, could have been made for Juan De Los Santos to have grabbed the brass ring, and it was a close contest where Lloyd barely prevailed.

The trouble with populism

Anyone who has read here over the last 16 years or so can guess that, most of the time, I vote for the Republican candidate in a electoral race. But there have been exceptions over the years, especially when I have a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate I like better, and 2020 was one of them.

When I endorsed for Delaware’s U.S. Senate race 18 months ago, I noted:

(Lauren Witzke) would be an almost automatic choice except for two places I vehemently disagree with her: one being the idea of incentivizing marriage and family through government policy (as opposed to that of merely not penalizing it) and the other being her stance against right-to-work as some sort of appeal to Big Labor voters – never mind that jobs tend to accrue to right-to-work states when all other conditions are substantially equal. Those are two big strikes against her, and her reaction to RBG’s death was very nearly strike three – somehow she managed to foul it off and stay alive.

“For Delaware 2020,” monoblogue, October 25, 2020.

Thanks to the Libertarians running a right-leaning candidate I voted for Nadine Frost instead, and it turned out I didn’t cost Lauren the race by doing so; in fact, she trailed all four other GOP statewide candidates and I don’t think it was because Chris Coons is all that popular.

The allusion to RBG upon her passing was really controversial, but in looking that gem up I found this quote from Witzke:

“Well the truth of the matter is that the Delaware GOP keeps losing and they think they can beat the liberals by becoming more liberal and that’s not gonna be the case, this is war.”

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media, “GOP Senate candidate retains party backing, despite condemnation of social media posts,” September 21, 2020. Quoting Lauren Witzke.

Perhaps it’s a good thing Witzke hasn’t thrown her hat into the House race (since there’s no Senate race this year) because then how do you explain “becoming more liberal” with this social media complaint?

In full support of Student Loan Forgiveness:

Having crippling student loan debt makes it as difficult as possible for young people to buy a home, get married, and have children. An entire generation has become a slave to debt, signing their lives away at 18-not knowing that the US Government would import the third world to compete with them and push wages down in the workforce.

If the GOP was really the “party of the working-class” they would get behind this and get this done, in addition to seizing college endowments to prevent it from happening again.

Lauren Witzke, Social media post, April 28, 2022.

Never mind she got slaughtered in the comments, I have to say my piece too.

There’s a difference between conservatism and populism. One big worry I had about a Trump presidency early on was that the GOP would be pushed in a more populist direction, but he generally managed to straddle the line well and didn’t let his populist side out too much.

But in Trump’s term, he made two moves toward canceling student loans: in September 2019, before the CCP virus struck us, he signed an executive order that canceled student loan debt for permanently disabled veterans, which he estimated would save veterans “hundreds of millions” of dollars. And of course, during the pandemic Trump began the process of pausing student loan payments and interest that Joe Biden has continued, saving an estimated $90 billion for borrowers.

A pause of payments and interest, though, is a lot different than wiping out their student loan debt. And it wouldn’t necessarily help the working class, according to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Bear in mind that graduate degree holders – who don’t tend to be working-class – hold 56% of the outstanding student loan debt, so they would benefit the most from forgiveness.

It was a long, long time ago but I was one of those who took out student loans to go to college and I remember handing Sallie Mae about $120 or so a month beginning six months after graduation. I’m not going to say it was easy or that I always paid them on time, because student loans are a little like medical bills: hard to collect because you’re not taking away the ER visit for the flu, the knee replacement, or the bachelor’s degree if the payments are late like you can for a car or a house. But, over the span of fifteen years and a couple forbearances and refinances, I got my student loans paid off. Even as liberal as we considered Bill Clinton to be back in that era of my student loans, the idea of forgiving them for the masses was not seriously considered.

Aside from the giant issue with seizing college endowments – don’t you love it when government confiscates private property? – there are three huge problems with what Witzke and much of the other regressive community is backing.

First off, I’m still looking for the place where it says our federal government should have a role in education like this. One thing that disappointed me in the otherwise relatively stellar Reagan legacy is that he couldn’t convince the public to warn Congress that the Department of Education was really unnecessary, and maybe they need to think about defunding it if they wanted to stay in Congress. Reagan was a “Great Communicator,” but not so much a lobbyist for creating a public outcry for ridding us of an unnecessary Cabinet post. More recently I was hoping Betsy DeVos would help that process along, but, alas, Donald Trump couldn’t compete with the votes purchased with Zuckbucks and…well, you know what happened. Then again, you read what Trump did with student loans in the grafs above so I don’t believe he was really down with the struggle, either.

Secondly, it further erodes the idea of commitment. We already have issues with the concept when it comes to marriage and relationships in a culture where celebrities seem to be having a contest as to who can have the highest number of marriages and divorces and the most kids out of wedlock, with our society either cheering them on (as in “you do you”) or just turning a blind eye. This is how our culture has devolved since the era of our grandparents; an era which Witzke seems to want to restore – she uses the policies of the nation of Hungary as an example* – but this time through generous government subsidies that our ancestors didn’t need and, out of pride, would have likely refused anyway. Having the government step in and say, “yeah, we’ll pay off the student loans you took out for your womyn’s studies degree” just feeds the entitlement society we’ve become. Student loans, then, go from a hand up to just another handout.

Finally, on the college front, the biggest part of the reason those ivory towers have become so fat and happy financially these days – with those endowments that Witzke covets for government seizure in the millions or even billions of dollars – is that they have raised tuition and fees with impunity knowing that the government makes student loans widely available for any warm body they accept. Students don’t even have to get a degree, but the college gets paid for spouting off whatever the woke flavor of the day is and now the taxpayers will be footing the bill. If it were the colleges having to come up with the coin for the failures of their students, you better believe they would be more prudent and careful with who they let in and what is taught, don’cha think? It may make ditchdiggers out of all those “diversity, equity, and inclusion” department hires but the world needs honest labor, too.

There’s been a political cartoon turned meme making the rounds for awhile that makes the point more succinctly than I did, but I’ll go with a paraphrase: You took out a student loan, pay it back. I didn’t say it was easy or without sacrifice, but honor a commitment for once.

(*) I will give Lauren credit in that she writes well in an Ann Coulter vein. But I still disagree with her on this student loan thing.