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.

My thoughts and unanswered questions about the Uvalde shooting

You know me: in most instances I like to wait a few days and digest all sorts of takes, hot and cold, before I put up my two cents about events such as this.

I first heard about what some are calling the Texas Massacre (no chainsaw required) in the afternoon and evening after it happened. Initially I thought just a couple people were involved, putting it in the category of the type of school shooting where jilted ex-boyfriend decides he can’t live without his ex and plans to make sure no one else gets her either. Obviously that’s tragic but life rolls on – unless it’s local we don’t even remember the name of the school where it occurred a month later.

But as the reported death toll from Uvalde continued to increase, we began to hear about this as an event rivaling Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland. Because it was an elementary school and not a high school, the best parallel to me is Sandy Hook, and it just so happens I wrote at some length about it in the wake of the shooting four times – once the day of, the next two days on the folly of a gun ban and the media’s fascination with guns, and a wrapup of sorts a few days later like in this situation. After re-reading all I wrote on Sandy Hook, it’s amazing how closely the Uvalde shooting is hewing to that line, even to the point of reporting how close the kids were to a break. (Sandy Hook occurred days before Christmas break, while Uvalde occurred in the last days of the school year.) Even more scary was the fact that both lone gunmen shot their parental figure first, then took off to a school important to the parent. (Initially some reports were that the Uvalde shooter’s grandmother died; in fact, she was shot in the face but managed to survive.)

The passage of almost ten years hasn’t dissuaded me from a pro-gun stance because, just like Sandy Hook, the gun wasn’t the real problem: the problem was a child whose upbringing seemed to fail in a moral sense. What parent is “training up a child in the way they should go” if the kids are playing Call of Duty for hours on end and talking about shooting up a school on social media?

But we all know that the one approach from the Democrat Party is a demand to restrict our Second Amendment rights by banning what they term “assualt weapons” or “weapons of war.” In this case, as a start they’re talking about reinstating the “assault weapon ban” that was in place for about a decade between 1994 and 2004 – funny, that didn’t stop the Columbine shooting. In addition to that, they’re seeking to nationalize “red flag” laws that have turned tragic.

Yet the more I hear about the timeline of events in the Uvalde shooting, I think the focus on the gun is misplaced.

There’s a balance which has to be kept between freedom and security. We could create hardened compounds out of our schools, with metal detectors, intruder locks on classrooms, bulletproof glazing, and so forth, but what message does that send to a child? Besides, someone has to man a metal detector, locks can be left unlocked (like the back door apparently was at the Uvalde school because it was an awards day), and glazing does nothing if there’s an open door. None of these security measures are foolproof.

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about having an armed veteran or retired police officer volunteer his or her time at a school, much like a school resource officer. (This person could be the supplement to the employed officer.) Obviously, that’s going to be an availability issue at times because people have appointments and incidents which come up in real life. On balance, though, I think between this and various non-intrusive security and procedural upgrades we would do more to enhance school safety than a gun ban would ever hope to achieve. (Apparently there was a camera system at the school so they could track the shooter’s movements – after the fact, as part of the investigation. Wouldn’t it have been nice for the police to be able to tap into that?)

The problem with banning anything is that there’s an instant black market for the product if people still desire it – and they usually do. Ban smoking in an office building and you’ll walk through a cloud at the door. When people complain about that and the facility places a restriction on smoking by the doors, they just move farther away. When they still get the complaints the facility bans it on the property, so people go to their private cars for their nicotine fix. That’s how it works.

People didn’t stop drinking alcohol for Prohibition, they just made mobsters like Al Capone wealthier. If people want what the regressives consider “assault rifles,” they will get them somehow, to the benefit of criminals. Do you honestly believe people will give them up willingly, and do you want to be the law enforcement officer to try and enforce that?

I’m just as sick of reading about these tragedies as anyone else, although I’m not going to mock the “thoughts and prayers” crowd like others do because prayers for comfort and healing are always welcome to me. If the unthinkable happened to me I would appreciate the support as I tried to piece my life back together.

But I don’t have the answers. All I can tell you is that I strongly believe the gun ban proponents are barking up the wrong tree, and their alacrity after the incident just feeds the scuttlebutt beneath the surface out there about Uvalde being a government-backed “false flag” operation to seize the media narrative, take people’s minds off the horrible economy and whatever else the government is doing to usurp our rights, and lay the groundwork for disarming the population. Sorry to sound all Qanon on you, but that’s the thought process people have been led to after the last two-plus years of being told we shouldn’t question authority and if a schmuck like me can sense it, what does that say about the trust we have in our institutions?

Something in our institutions let the Uvalde shooter down, and he wasn’t equipped to deal with it in a manner acceptable to civil society. The gun was just the tool the shooter used to exact the price that over a score of people paid.

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.

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.

Odds and ends number 111

Here you are…more of those nuggets of bloggy goodness that take up anywhere from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. They’re things that weren’t enough to merit a full post but plenty worth writing about anyway. It’s one of my longest ongoing series for a reason. So read on…

The election in question

If it was worth my writing about, it’s worth giving the results. On Saturday the city of Seaford agreed with me that the incumbents were worth retaining in an overwhelming fashion: Mayor David Genshaw won by a margin of 412 votes to 189 for challenger Pat A. Jones and City Council member Matt MacCoy won with an even 400 votes against challenger Stacie Spicer’s 199. In terms of percentages, Genshaw had 68.55% and MacCoy had 66.78%, which to me seem like a hearty mandate to keep on the trajectory they’ve established. Congratulations to both and hopefully this is the start of a year of victories for common sense in Delaware.

A little runaway

Another cause I’ve championed recently is the idea of an Article V convention, more popularly known as a convention of states. But I briefly had a pause when I read this paragraph in a story about federal involvement in Alabama’s state affairs:

That is, unless We the People join with the states to call a Convention of States. A Convention of States is called under Article V of the Constitution and has the power to propose constitutional amendments that limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

What does this mean in plain English? Basically, amendments can be written that get the feds out of virtually every area of state policy. Healthcare, education, energy, the environment, and agriculture would be among the host of issues that could be left to exclusively state control.

“Article V Patriot,” “White House says they’re going to start targeting state lawmakers working to protect children from transgender surgeries, radical sexual ideology,” Convention of States Action, April 8, 2022. Emphasis in original.

Perhaps the biggest fear that opponents of an Article V convention have is the idea of a “runaway convention” where the people who ostensibly meet to write amendments that “limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government” instead decide to do away with the Bill of Rights. While amendments can be written to get the federal government off the backs of the states, it follows that their role could be abolished, too.

I suppose the fact that 38 states have to ratify any amendment gives us a little bit of protection in that regard, as there would probably be 13 states that hold on to restraints on federal power. Unfortunately, there are probably as many that would oppose any conservative amendments out of spite and that’s the other area where work is needed.

I just didn’t think that particular analogy is a good “sell” for the CoS.

Thirty-eight with an asterisk*

Speaking of Constitutional amendments I got an e-mail from my old liberal pal Rick Weiland, who has branched out from his lack of success in South Dakota to a similar lack of grifting aptitude on a nationwide basis. A few weeks back he claimed it was time to enact the Equal Rights Amendment because it had passed in 38 states.

In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and also the last state needed to meet all constitutional requirements to allow it to finally become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ERA will add protections to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of gender, nationwide.

We’re 4 months into 2022 and the ERA has not been published by the Archivist. The Archivist has an administrative duty to publish the amendment and thus officially add it to the Constitution, but refuses to overrule a Trump administration roadblock to do it.

Rick Weiland, “It’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment,” April 7, 2022. Emphasis in original.

That “Trump administration roadblock” is the logical result of five states since rescinding their ratification, either by outright legislation or by its not being ratified prior to a Congressionally-imposed deadline in 1982. Meanwhile, ERA advocates claim they have the numbers but need Congress to render inoperative both the deadline and the recissions, pointing to the length of time it took to pass the 27th Amendment – first proposed as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, it wasn’t ratified until 1992. (However, Congress put no time limit on that one.) Their roadblock is the Republicans in the Senate, who have threatened to filibuster the Senate resolution (the House passed its version with a narrow majority.)

As I’ve stated from almost the beginning of this website, instead of an ERA this would be a better amendment:

Congress shall make no law that codifies discrimination for or against any person based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This Amendment shall also be construed to include a prohibition on Congress enacting additional criminal code or punishment solely based on these factors.

Pretty cut and dried, isn’t it? No mealy-mouthed “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” It’s “Congress shall make no law.” Let’s get that equal rights amendment done.

Creating more informed voters

Four years ago I was a Maryland panelist for iVoter Guide, which was a fun experience and pretty natural for me because I liked doing the research.

Well, they’ve been on the hunt for more volunteers and I reckon that their time to deal with Delaware and Maryland is coming, now that we’ve finally reached the oft-delayed filing deadline in Maryland. (Delaware’s filing deadline isn’t until July but they only have one federal race, for Congress. So they’re probably not in need of much help.)

Now, it’s possible you might be needed in another state, but it’s still an interesting process that anyone from concerned citizens to political junkies can find a part in. So why not do your part? (I think I will, hopefully in Delaware but I may be interested in other states like Ohio and Michigan, since that’s the area in and around the 419 I grew up in.) It’s much easier than creating a website from scratch.

A holiday from a boondoggle

As I wrote this over the weekend, Maryland drivers were swarming gas pumps in the state to beat the end of a gas tax holiday that expired at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday. But David T. Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute proposes an even better holiday: the state of Delaware enacting a “tax-free carbon holiday.”

As Stevenson explains, the state of Delaware – like several other liberal-run hellholes in the Northeast – joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2009. Some state have rescinded their memberships since, but the remainder soak their local utilities by demanding a fee for each ton of carbon produced, with the state deciding what to do with the proceeds.

In Delaware’s case, 65% of the RGGI proceeds go to a non-profit that’s supposed to divvy out grants for energy efficiency projects, but instead has been hoarding cash to the tune of an estimated $16 to $17 million last year, bring its total up to nearly $100 million, according to Stevenson. The other 35% is designated for the state’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), which administers programs assisting low-income consumers with the energy bills and weatherizing their dwellings. (In other words, wealth transfer.) Stevenson claims DNREC is sitting on its own cash surplus of $20 to $25 million.

We just saw the passage of a bill that uses a portion of the federally-fueled state surplus to give a $300 check to any Delaware resident who paid taxes in 2020. (That still doesn’t make up for what Uncle Sam raped us for, but regardless…) Perhaps the state can allow for an appropriate credit to any electric ratepayer in the state to soak up this surplus, which is basically money they paid as part of their utility bills anyway. Stevenson concludes that, “We note that New Hampshire returns RGGI revenue to electric customers, and Connecticut sends all RGGI revenue to its General Fund.” I like that first idea, and it can be the prelude to winding down our participation in this long-standing mistake.

The perpetual emergency

While AND Magazine has put up a lot of great content since I last produced odds and ends – including a look at upcoming election fraud, the issue with transgender men demanding to be placed in women’s prisons, and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in full control – I’m choosing just one to discuss, the perpetual emergency.

The CCP virus caused a lot of disruption in our lives, but none greater than the loss of our liberty. As author Sam Faddis notes in his opening:

At the heart of the debate over COVID-19 restrictions is the distinction between rights and privileges. For most of human history some supreme authority, – a king, a sultan, a class of aristocrats – has presumed to grant to the common people certain privileges. By definition, as privileges, they can be granted, and they can be taken away.

The American concept of liberty is built on something fundamentally different. We do not enjoy privileges. We have rights. They are enshrined in the Constitution, but they are given to us by our Creator. We do not have the right to free speech, because some ‘body of humans’ granted it to us. We were born with it, and it cannot be taken away.

For two years now powerful interests in this country have attempted to change this. They have used all the power at their discretion to convert our rights into privileges that can be taken away whenever the powers that be decide some “emergency” requires it.

The real danger therein is obvious. Once you have enshrined the principle that an “emergency” justifies the revocation of God-given rights, it requires only the declaration of an “emergency” to do it again. And again.

Sam Faddis, “There Will Always Be An Emergency – The Assault On Our Liberties Has Just Begun,” AND Magazine, March 20, 2022.

In this case, Faddis continues on to talk about how rising fuel prices are the new “emergency.” Instead of the state cutting us a check, though, he details some of the ideas the International Energy Agency – a NGO with no ties to our government – would have enforced on our nation: reduced speed limits, mandatory work from home three days a week, car-free Sundays, cutting prices on mass transit, alternate-day car access to big cities…and the list goes on.

You’ll notice two things about this: one, our government is already thinking about ways to mandate this somehow, and two, they’re not discussing the most obvious solution, which would be to increase the supply of fuel to meet demand. In an effort to save face, the Biden regime restarted oil leases on federal lands, but at a greatly reduced and limited clip compared to the previous administration, where $2 a gallon gas was not uncommon.

But liberty lost is not easily regained, even if you elect the right people. Speaking of that:

An opponent to Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney may be the most hated politician in Wyoming (and perhaps much of the rest of the nation.) Polling is as sparse as people in America’s least-populated state, but a story from last summer in The Federalist suggested she has very little support in the state anymore.

Yet there may be a problem here, and I’m sure there are a few in the Cheney camp (which is essentially the national GOP establishment) who aren’t helping to create it by encouraging additional stalking horses to water down and spread out opposition in the Republican primary August 16. It’s possible Liz Cheney could win a huge primary with just 30% of the vote, so where would those 70% of Republicans and conservative independents turn?

Well, it turns out that the Constitution Party has a ballot spot in Wyoming and they have already selected their candidate, an erstwhile Republican by the name of Marissa Selvig. “I am beyond excited that it is official, and I am even more excited for the voters of Wyoming to have a real, constitutional choice in this race,” Selvig said in a party release. “It is long past time our elected officials honor their Oath to ‘uphold and defend’ the Constitution with integrity and honesty. That is exactly what I intend to do when I am elected in November.”

Now I’m not going to claim I know what’s best for Wyoming, but on a broad scale her platform is both well-written and common-sense. If it comes down to a four-way race between a Democrat, Libertarian, Cheney, and Selvig (those four parties were on the 2020 ballot) it will be interesting to see how Marissa does. Even if Cheney loses the primary, though, it’s possible the sheen has come off the GOP in The Equality State.

And yes, just to answer any naysayers about my Seaford endorsements, Marissa is a woman I would vote for.

A better offer

We all know that Elon Musk has offered to purchase Twitter and take it private, but given the “poison pill” resistance put up by Twitter’s current major stockholders perhaps there’s another way to introduce Musk to the world of social media – and it would cost Musk far less.

Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab, wrote this as part of an open offer to Musk:

We built our own servers, our own email services, our own payment processor, and so much more not because we wanted to, but because we had no choice if we were going to continue to exist.

What we are missing at the moment is an ISP. I fear that the next big leap of censorship is at the ISP level, with ISP’s blocking access to Gab.com. You solve that problem with Starlink. Together we can build infrastructure for a free speech internet.

I am willing to offer you a Board seat along with equity in the company in exchange for you selling your Twitter position and investing $2B into Gab. My offer is my best and final offer.

Andrew Torba, “Gab.com’s Offer To Elon Musk,” April 14, 2022.

For that matter, I could have the same issue with my ISP. Even though I’ve had the same server company for the sixteen-plus years I’ve had monoblogue, they are on at least the third owner I’m aware of and who knows how tolerant they will remain. Obviously I don’t have the coin for my own infrastructure, and I suppose that since this a hobby/obsession for me that’s the way it will stay.

But a few grand would be nice for my own server…heck, I’ll even do Starlink even though the state is finally contracting to bring me more reliable broadband.

The Delaware Way, explained once again

I could almost put this in the category of “duh” but since Rep. Bryan Shupe is one of those who tries not to let partisanship cloud his worldview, I’ll refrain.

But he brings up something that does belong in the category of elections matter: if you are a Republican in the Delaware General Assembly, your bill has a less than 50-50 chance of even getting a hearing in committee.

In the House Administration Committee during the 150th General Assembly, 67% of the bill submitted to this committed were heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, 86% of them were heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, only 38% of them were heard by the committee. In other words, 62% of bills submitted by the minority party were never heard in committee.

During the 151st Committee, which will end on June (30th), 2022, 66% of the bill submitted to the committee so far has been heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, so far 78% of them have been heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, so far only 42% of them have been heard by the committee. In other words, 58% of bills submitted by the minority party have not been heard in committee so far.

There seems to be a correlation between what party submits the bill and if the bill will be heard in this committee. 

Rep. Bryan Shupe, “Politics overriding House rules,” March 31, 2022.

There would be a bit of research involved, but it’s worth noting that the online records of the Delaware General Assembly date back to the 140th session (1998-2000.) The accusation here is damning enough, but the compare and contrast would be even better – back then the parties were more congenial with one another, with part of the reason being that the House was Republican-controlled through 2008 while the State Senate has been controlled by Democrats for at least 30 years, per Ballotpedia. It would be eye-opening to see how prior performance, particular in the era of GOP control of the House, compares to that of today.

Programming note

It’s that time of year again: the Shorebird of the Month will return for another year.

I’ve traditionally done it the first Thursday of the month, but on months where Thursday falls on the 1st or 2nd I wait until the next one. So gazing at my calendar, and bearing in mind how the best-laid plans go, these are the projected SotM dates: May 5, June 9, July 7, August 4, and September 15. The September date is so late because we have ten games currently scheduled in September – if they don’t play at least ten I will combine August and September numbers and only pick one set for the month-plus, but I won’t know that until the regular season ends September 11. Shorebird of the Year will follow a week later and picks and pans the week after that.

Aside from that, I’ll start collecting items that interest me now for the next edition of odds and ends.

Can things really be changed with a Convention of States?

It’s a funny thing: when I last broached this subject I noted that the momentum toward a Convention of States had stalled out as no state had passed a call for an Article V Constitutional convention in nearly three years. Apparently, though, getting past the CCP virus has popped the cork on the movement because in the nearly three months since I last wrote on the subject the CoS effort has gained the support of Wisconsin, Nebraska, West Virginia, and most recently South Carolina, bringing the total to 19. They’ve also come closer to melting away opposition in Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota and there was even testimony on a CoS bill in Maryland – yes, Maryland.

Granted, the Maryland bill didn’t get beyond the hearing stage – and it will probably never get beyond that unless there is a sea change in their General Assembly beginning this fall – but the fact that nearly half of their Republican delegation co-sponsored the measure is encouraging, especially since the 2021 version only had a sole sponsor. (What is not encouraging is the lack of interest from the lower Eastern Shore delegation, from which only Delegates Johnny Mautz and Charles Otto were co-sponsors. That leaves Delegates Chris Adams, Carl Anderton, and Wayne Hartman along with both lower Shore Senators, Addie Eckardt and Mary Beth Carozza out of the picture. It goes without saying that Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes wouldn’t be a backer; after all, she just voted for allowing easier access to baby murder.) On the other hand, a Democrat-sponsored Article V resolution to protect “voting rights” was not introduced this session after failing to advance in a two-year run in the MGA from 2020 to 2021.

Shamefully, Delaware is one of those states where a CoS resolution hasn’t been introduced in recent years (more on that in a bit.)

One thing the CoS has been circulating of late is an endorsement of sorts from radio host Glenn Beck, who basically told his audience that, “a convention of states is the best thing we can do” to rein in government. Beck explained that the process would not be open to making other changes in the Constitution besides those which are spelled out, which is why the Democrats in Maryland had to create their own proposal rather than just jumping on board the Republican Article V resolution figuring they could take it over.

I noted back in January why I’ve begun to feel this is the better solution to our longstanding issues with government, but let me give you another analogy: if you are related to an alcoholic, do you just let them continue down their self-destructive path or do you get together with caring friends and family to do an intervention? Government will not fix itself because there are too many in it for themselves and their little fiefdoms of power, so someone else has to come along to starve that beast.

I’ve been in politics long enough to see what normally happens with “reformers” when they are first elected to office. They promise the moon but once they get there the excuses begin and the reform becomes going along to get along. The people the TEA Party sent to Congress in 2010 first said they couldn’t do anything because they only had half of Congress. In 2014, once they got a Senate majority, they bemoaned the fact that Obama was still in office, and promised action once a Republican was elected President.

In 2016, we got the ultimate reformer in Donald Trump and what did Congress do? Well, maybe it’s better to to say what they didn’t do: after six years of promising to repeal Obamacare, when they had the opportunity they didn’t do a thing – not even the damned “repeal and replace.” We got a temporary tax cut that the Democrats are already trying to dismantle, and government is bigger than ever because, as fast as President Trump was undoing regulation, the Biden regime is working triple-time to replace it, and then some. For having the barest of Congressional majorities, the Democrats are doing more to pursue their regressive agenda than those who promised the TEA Party the swamp would be drained ever did.

We could elect 60 new conservative House members this fall and somehow get to a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Senate, while overcoming the Democrats’ best effort to swipe the election in 2024 with Trump, DeSantis, or whoever but there would still be excuses. Perhaps an external intervention is in order here?

Obviously there is risk in “imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms for office for its officials and members of Congress.” Balancing the budget may mean significant new taxes, the Swamp can figure out workarounds on limits to power and jurisdiction, and term limits don’t apply to entrenched bureaucrats that are much of the problem. But if we can get the momentum in putting together a Constitutional convention, perhaps we can work at the problem in a new manner. If the regressives are against it, claiming, “The constitutional convention idea is a special interest-funded, anti-democratic endeavor that will almost certainly strip power from the American people, while leaving our cherished constitutional rights up for grabs,” then maybe it’s not such a bad idea. That’s pretty much how they play, isn’t it?

In looking up the author of that op-ed, Claire Snyder-Hall, I found out she is the executive director for Common Cause Delaware, a self-described “nonpartisan citizens lobby, dedicated to fostering open, honest and accountable government at every level.” You would think they would be for a more limited government because there’s less incentive to be secretive, dishonest, and unaccountable when the honey pot is smaller, but no. One of their “accomplishments” is that they:

…was also the primary organization responsible for stopping the dangerous legislation to call for a Constitutional Convention in 2016.

(…)

Recent Activities

May 2016

Vote on House Concurrent Resolution 60 – Rescinding the Article V Call for a Constitutional Convention. 

Delaware rescinded all calls for a Constitutional Convention. House and Senate leaders joined with Common Cause Delaware to pass HCR 60 and stopped Delaware from going down a dangerous path. Common Cause made a difference by educating and opposing the convening of a Constitutional Convention.

Common Cause website, “About Us” and “Our History.” Accessed April 12, 2022.

If you recall from January, that HCR60 vote was one featured on that year’s monoblogue Accountability Project. A vote against HCR60 was a proper vote. But the first part of that blockquote was why I changed the paragraph above: it turns out there was legislation introduced in 2015 to join the call for convention, which unfortunately was stricken in 2016. I’d love to have any of the Senators involved (Dave Lawson, who was the sponsor, Gerald Hocker, or Colin Bonini) explain why it was stricken. (I presume it means the same as withdrawn, which is a term I’m more familiar with because Maryland uses it.) I wish there was some sort of voting record on it as there was with HCR60, but maybe we can get some insight from the trio.

So there is precedent in this state, and maybe this idea is something we can keep in our back pocket for this fall’s campaign. It’s time to get the First State to be on this list with nineteen or more of its brethren. What do we have to lose?

A quick leg up for Palin

It didn’t even take a day for the Congressional candidacy of Alaska’s “mama grizzly” Sarah Palin to gain a key backer: our 45th President.

Wonderful patriot Sarah Palin of Alaska just announced that she is running for Congress, and that means there will be a true America First fighter on the ballot to replace the late and legendary Congressman Don Young. Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big. Now, it’s my turn! Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska. She was one of the most popular Governors because she stood up to corruption in both State Government and the Fake News Media. Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen. Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down, and I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind this wonderful person and her campaign to put America First!

Donald Trump, “Endorsement of Sarah Palin,” April 3, 2022.

It’s a campaign that brings back my own memories of a time when the TEA Party was looking for a leader but found out that the media was going to absolutely hound anyone who promoted a conservative platform. While much of the enthusiasm and support of the 2008 McCain campaign was because of Palin, she indeed had to put up with “very evil, stupid, and jealous” people inside and outside her campaign. (The selection of Palin was once described as a “Hail Mary” but McCain was also rumored to be considering Democrat Joe Lieberman as his running mate. That would have been throwing from the tailgate party outside the stadium.)

There are something like 40 or 50 candidates already lined up to try and win the seat, which is interesting in that it will be a very short gig for the winner. I presume most of these candidates are also trying to be placed on the November ballot to run for the position on a longer basis. (The late Rep. Don Young, who was the lone Alaska representative, served for nearly a half-century and was ironically first elected in a special election himself: Mark Begich won the 1972 Congressional race over Young despite dying in a plane crash a few weeks before the election, but Young won the special election to succeed him.)

Given her name ID in Alaska, it’s likely Palin will vault to the front of the field. But Alaska has ranked-choice voting, meaning Palin could get the largest plurality of the votes yet lose to someone who had more second-choice votes.

One of the biggest “what ifs” in modern politics is what would have happened with Palin had she not been hounded out of office by lawfare after her loss as part of the McCain ticket. Should Palin have completed her term in office and been re-elected in 2010, as the most recent vice-Presidential pick she would have been the GOP favorite to oppose Barack Obama in 2012, and she would have done so with massive TEA Party support. The Beltway liberals couldn’t have had that – it may have been a Donald Trump-style win for Palin as the working-class voters came from out of the woodwork to shock Obama and the Democrats.

Palin’s no spring chicken anymore – I know because her and I are just a few months apart in age – but if you go by Don Young standards she still has three decades to serve. Even if she wins, though, I don’t see Presidential aspirations in her immediate future: it’s exceedingly difficult to get much traction in that kind of race from a House seat where you are one in 535, even if you were Speaker like Newt Gingrich was. On the other hand, Alaska’s next Senate race after this year isn’t until 2026, and it’s easier to be nominated for the White House from the Senate – plus she would have had four years in the House to learn the ropes in Washington. Would Palin 2028 or Palin 2032 be a possibility? She would still only be in her sixties, much younger than a Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Perhaps we’ll see if the Mama Grizzly still has a little bit of mojo – but she has to win this election first.

Odds and ends number 110

Yes, the mailboxes need pruning again. As I noted in my previous post, sometimes I will promote posts that deserve a full retelling, but that’s not to say these dribs and drabs of bloggy goodness aren’t important – just not quite deserving of a full post.

Time for a victory garden, and more

A few weeks back I discussed the return of a local blogger who can now be found on Substack. Another resource that can be found there is AND Magazine, which was its own website but has moved on to a two-tier subscription-based approach. (I get the free stuff, and that’s plenty. But if you’re really into it, they have “exclusive content” for paying subscribers, too.)

I like the resource since it has more of a foreign policy interest than most conservative news sources – for example, who else talks about the alliance between Iran and China? – so my interest was piqued more than usual with two recent posts.

The first dealt with a shortage we haven’t heard much discussion about: what happens if we don’t have fertilizer?

Global fertilizer prices have tripled under Biden. That doesn’t just mean that food costs will rise. It means in many places farmers will not be able to afford to buy fertilizer. They will grow crops without fertilizing them. The yield from those crops will be a fraction of what they would be if they were fertilized.

Sam Faddis, “Time For A Victory Garden – Joe Broke The Economy Too,” AND Magazine, March 9, 2022.

Maybe it’s just something I’ve noticed this year, but it seems to me that more farmers here in Delaware are using our abundant natural resource of chicken manure. I have a saying I bust out in the late winter and early spring, “Smells like Delaware.” It’s the odor of chicken poop, but the farmers obviously love it.

But that brings up a point that Maryland farmers are regulated in how much they can use because they have to closely monitor phosphorous levels in the soil thanks to Larry Hogan starting out well but caving to the environmentalist wackos at the start of his first term. (However, in re-reading these 2015 posts, maybe Maryland farmers got a reprieve this year, just at the right time. But I doubt it since we’re talking seven years ago and the prospects for relief seldom last that long.) I don’t see those familiar mounds on Maryland farms and I wonder how they will be affected.

Anyway, perhaps the chicken industry is saving us again. But the other article notes that we may not be salvagable with regard to rare earths. As Faddis noted last week:

If you don’t have rare earth minerals, you don’t have a “green” economy. Your new Tesla does not go very far without a battery in it, and that battery can’t be made without rare earth minerals.

The reserves of rare earth minerals are scattered all over the world. Forty percent of those reserves are in China. China’s control over rare earth minerals is much greater than that figure would suggest, however. Over 70% of the actual rare earth mineral production is in China. China’s control over the actual processing of rare earth minerals is even greater than that. Fully 90% of all rare earth minerals are actually processed in China.

Sam Faddis, “If You Liked Being Dependent On Middle East Oil You Will Love Being Owned By China,” AND Magazine, March 11, 2022.

Knowing our luck, Delaware is sitting on top of a mountain of rare earth materials but the people in charge will say, “oh, you can’t dig them up.” That’s how it seems to work for oil. But don’t you think we should spend some of this government largesse seeing what we do have?

Updating my party

Since I haven’t seen fit to change my voter registration – even though I already have one interesting contested Republican race in Delaware – news from the Constitution Party still interests me.

One piece is from the state of Wyoming, where the Republicans may not be the only ones with primary fun. There are rumblings that two candidates may seek the CP ballot slot for Congress, and even though one is a former Republican who left that race and perhaps sees this as an easier way to be on the ballot, that’s how the party grows.

The other details their national convention, which will be held in, of all places, Erie, Pennsylvania. Nothing against Erie, a town which I have passed by a couple times on I-90 and which houses the AA affiliate of my Detroit Tigers, but I guess you can tell the new party chair is from Pennsylvania. And it’s at a local “freedom loving” church, which I’m sure will set off the local “separation of church and state” mafia. Which leads to my next question: when is the Delaware CP convention? Job one for them is to get some of these other conservative parties to join us so we get ballot access, too.

Speaking of churches, here is something from iVoterGuide which may be of interest. In 2025, with a Republican president and Congress, it will be high time to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

Energy boondoggles, followed up

You know how I feel about the Green Raw Deal, so when I get news from the Caesar Rodney Institute that highlights some of the foibles of our government’s headlong rush to environmental insanity I’m going to share it.

One part noted, “The Biden Administration has created a new federal agency to spend infrastructure funds for full battery electric vehicle charging stations. The Joint Office of Energy & Transportation will spend $2.5 billion in federal funds to place EV chargers in poor neighborhoods.”

It made me wonder where my closest charger is, and according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center I would have to travel to Galestown, Maryland. If you have ever been to Galestown you know it’s a speck on the map, but it has a town hall and someone had the brilliant idea to put a charger there. Wonder if the mayor (or the town) got an electric car so someone uses the thing?

The other talks about PJM, which is a major electric grid operator. They seem to have a problem: “The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers that want to connect to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is planning a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 energy projects, most of them solar power.”

Solar power plays havoc with an electricity grid because it’s simply not reliable. Imagine a humid summer day in Delaware: most of your solar panels are getting sunshine and adding to the grid, but then some of those pop-up thunderstorms pop up and suddenly there’s no sun in that area. What does a grid operator do to meet the demand but go to the backup natural gas system that has to be kept around for redundancy’s sake? Just skip the middleman.

And then you have this absurdity from our governor, as if new cars weren’t already expensive enough. “The (new) regulations mandate that a certain percentage of the vehicles delivered for sale in a state are (zero-emission) vehicles. Manufacturers receive credits for each delivered vehicle based on the type of vehicle, range and other factors. Each year, manufacturers must meet a ZEV credit amount that is based on average annual sales. In states already in the program, the automobile industry has successfully met the required percentage.

This sounds a lot like the RGGI scam that Delaware utility ratepayers are already saddled with. If they don’t sell enough of these cars, the manufacturers have to pay the state of Delaware. Problem is, we don’t want them because I have no desire to pay a couple grand for upgrading my home electrical system or shuffle off to Galestown to charge my car for x number of minutes to go anywhere.

A new link and leader

I wasn’t really intending to be so CRI-heavy on this one, but the name I saw rang a bell.

If you remember on Friday I discussed the Delaware school board races. One of those who ran upstate in the crazy election of 2021 was a lady by the name of Dr. Tanya Hettler, who lost her bid for a seat in the Brandywine school district way up in the northeast corner of the state, almost completely geographically opposite from where I live.

So she didn’t run this year, but she has a new gig:

I have spent the last three years writing for my blog “Deep Thoughts with Dr. Tanya,” focusing on counseling, family, and parenting issues. Over the last year, I have increased my focus on education issues due to running for the local school board. Through this experience, my eyes have been further opened to the many needs in education in Delaware, and I have been writing to inform our citizens of these problems and their potential solutions.

I am very excited to join the team at the CRI…as the director of the Center for Education Excellence and continue my work.

Dr. Tanya Hettler, March 1, 2022.

I just permalinked to her blog the other day since it seems like she has her head screwed on straight. (Interestingly enough, she’s also involved in the Convention of States movement I recently began to follow.) But as CRI describes her job, “As director, Dr. Hettler will lead policy research efforts for an important and much-needed overhaul of Delaware’s K-12 public education system that has consistently failed students over the past 15 years.”

Lady, let me give you a clue on what’s needed: it’s called “money follows the child.” They don’t need an overhaul of the system as much as they just need to start back over and let parents decide what to do with that education money. It may be enough to convince a faithful working mom to homeschool or give a boost to Christian schools that take Proverbs 22:6 seriously.

Once again, the e-mail box is cleaned out and now I can get on to other fun stuff.

It’s not “Let’s Go Brandon” anymore?

Leave it to the Astroturf group to demand top-down, executive level solutions.

I haven’t commented on our friends at Indivisible for awhile because, quite frankly, everything they touched in this Congressional session turned to crap thanks to the bipartisan overtures of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. We didn’t have to endure Bilk Back Better or the election theft act because Indivisible couldn’t convince a majority of Senators to do away with their filibuster rules – although Lord knows they tried (and probably spent seven figures or so of dark money in the process.)

But, it is said, where there is a will there is a way and the group that prides itself on grassroots action is demanding top down with a new initiative called, “Let’s Go Joe!” As they describe it, the new idea is “to cheer on President Biden and encourage him to take action on the issues that will most impact everyday Americans.” Unfortunately, by that I don’t think they mean putting a permanent curb on the “Green New Deal” or getting a handle on government spending, even though those would help.

I suppose I will allow them to describe this further:

We’re going to use all the tools in Indivisible’s playbook to encourage Biden to take action. That means public events. It means behind-the-scenes lobbying. It means tweets at the White House. It means digital ads. It even means (you guessed it) calls to members of Congress. We’ll be asking President Biden to do something very simple — use the power that the American people invested in him to take action on some of the top issues of our day: things like student debt, lowering prescription drug prices, climate change and more. 

“New Program: Let’s Go Joe!” – Indivisible e-mail, February 16, 2022.

(As you can tell, I held on to this awhile. This post was promoted from an upcoming odds and ends post.)

As has been the case all along, one asset of the Indivisible movement that was often missing from the TEA Party (because the TEA Party was truly grassroots at its heart) was an explanation of the marching orders, and this is no exception. Based on the scripts they’re pushing on their shiny new Let’s Go Joe website, their first two pet issues are declaring a climate emergency and wiping out student debt.

Needless to say, Brandon doesn’t need a whole lot of help to do this if he was so inclined. But while Indivisible is shouting in one ear, the Democratic Party brass is whispering in the other and showing him polls that the party is going to get shellacked in November unless gas prices come down and inflation is reined in. And no, the solution is not going hat in hand to the Saudis, the Venezuelans, or the Russians because what we’re experiencing now is a preview of life under the Green Raw Deal.

Moreover, while he may gain a few votes among the Millennial crowd for cancelling student debt, the Democrats already have made sufficient inroads among that group so it would be a case of diminishing returns compared to the number of Gen X, Generation Jones, and Boomer voters who would be pissed off that they had to work their way through college or paid the full freight while little Austin, the barely-employed social science major who has plenty of money to maintain his man bun and nose ring because he’s still hanging in his parents’ basement, got his $80,000 in debt paid off with the stroke of someone else’s pen. (Myself included: it took me fifteen years and a couple refinances but I paid my student debt.)

Right now the group that based itself on the TEA Party is seeing how we on the conservative side felt after we had a weak Republican candidate not necessarily of our choosing lose in a Presidential election that a Reaganesque candidate would have won easily. In essence, five years after their Astroturf founding, Indivisible is working in the much the same situation the TEA Party was in 2014, five years after its formation: a majority (albeit much more slim) in the House and a working minority in the Senate. While Indivisible ostensibly backs Joe Biden, you know that in their heart of hearts they really wish they could have cheated Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders into the job. (If it weren’t for a far more compliant press, Indivisible wouldn’t even have the one thing the TEA Party couldn’t get until a few years later, the Oval Office.)

But it’s not a bad idea to put a bug in the ear of our elected representatives that we really don’t want what Indivisible’s Astroturf is pushing. Here in Delaware it may not do a lot of good directly, but they should know this state isn’t as squarely behind their adopted occupant of the Oval Office as one may believe.

Remembering the last pump price crisis

With gas prices seemingly going up on the regular, I decided it would be an interesting exercise to revisit the last time we saw this sort of surge at the corner station. When I see this topic discussed on the happy-talk show Delmarva Life this afternoon, we know it’s on people’s minds.

The time was 2008, which was an election year but under different circumstances. Our so-called “war for oil” over in Iraq was on somewhat shaky ground, but the bigger culprit in the uncertainty was the Great Recession we were enduring at the time, culminating in the financial panic that caused GOP candidate John McCain to temporarily go off the campaign trail and staining further the legacy of President George W. Bush.

It was in April that I first noticed the issue, as I added gas prices to a occasional series of posts I did at the time called the market basket. At that time, the pump price in Salisbury was $3.419, which seems reasonable compared to today, but remember most people were still making less than $15 an hour back then. (Minimum wage increased to $6.55 an hour that summer.) Then the next month I commented on a piece by energy writer Hans Bader and later on I noted in passing that Newt Gingrich had become involved, back when he was more relevant as a political force and not a commentator. (Bonus reading from fourteen years ago: my three part series on a better stimulus. See how it stands up in this era.)

Back then I posted a lot more, so here’s something resembling a two-part series on pump prices and how the Left saw them. Some things never change. And then I talked about Chuck Norris saying his piece – amazing the video is still there – and how it was affecting our Congressional race. Also, back then I commented a lot more on commentary like this.

And then we got Nozzlerage. You have to take my word for it now that the video is gone, but that was hilarious. Too bad the idea behind it was the unsound one of flex-fuel cars, which would only lead to creating more ethanol. And years later I found out the push to keep Congress in Washington over the summer to address the oil issue came from a person who would be an early TEA Party leader a year later. I even had more Newt, despite the fact prices were finally coming down, and refutations of comments I received on the site.

As it turned out, I was right in that drilling for our own oil and using fracking technology to extract more natural gas drove prices down to more acceptable levels. We got to a point just a couple short years ago where we became a net energy exporter, and we made Newt’s dream of $2.50 a gallon gas come true – in fact, in some places we beat his expectations by over a dollar.

So if I was right last time around, don’t you think we need to go back to the tried and true? We know there’s plenty of good technology in the energy field, so let’s drop the lease moratorium and let energy companies explore in new places, too. That would be a start. And let’s stop siccing Fedzilla on these companies – that’s a phrase I was reminded of on this trip down memory lane.

But I’ll conclude with a much newer phrase: let’s go Brandon.

Book review: January 6 – How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right, by Julie Kelly

A comprehensive look at what REALLY happened.

That, my friends, is a long title. But it’s an important book.

I’m going to tell you where I was on the afternoon of January 6, 2021. I was working at my desk at my “real” job when I somehow got word about people breaching the Capitol. To be honest, once I heard that news I was a little scared about what was going on because, yeah, I knew there was a Trump rally in DC that day but I figured it wasn’t going to be that big of an affair. Had the BLM/antifa crowd infiltrated that mob and gone in there to cause trouble? After reading Julie Kelly’s book, chock-full of her research and original reporting, I fear the answer may be far worse than that.

One of the most helpful aspects of January 6 is the timeline Julie puts in early on in the book. We hear a lot about snippets of what went on, particularly the unnecessary murder of an unarmed Ashli Babbitt or the suspicious death of Rosanne Boyland, but knowing the order of events is essential for gathering the big picture of what went on surrounding the nation’s capitol that fateful day.

Yet in reading the book, I found Julie’s narrative most helpful in determining why we are having the aftermath. It’s not unheard of to have a government building breached as a part of protest: just in the last decade or so we’ve had union supporters occupy the Wisconsin state house to protest legislation they believed would weaken their outsized political impact, those who opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court invading the Senate office building, and out in Oregon we had incidents from each side of the political spectrum in 2016 and 2020. (Note the militia protestors took over an unoccupied building in the most rural area of the state.) Of all these protestors, the only ones who faced major charges were the militia members – the nearly 300 arrested at the Kavanaugh protest were “being processed on site and released.” Their charge: “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding,” which carried a possible 90-day jail sentence and $500 fine.

In fact, this disparity between the felony charges brought forth, even to the non-violent protestors in the January 6 cases, and those faced by Kavanaugh protestors, who most likely got off with little or no punishment despite the possible sentence, is another focus of Julie’s book. (I didn’t hear about so-called comedian Amy Schumer doing hard time, did you?) Keeping in regular contact with those arrested and still holed up in a dilapidated D.C. jail awaiting trial over a year later, Kelly gives their side of the story with regard to the conditions they are being kept in as well as the abuse being heaped upon them by a legal system that’s routinely violating their Sixth Amendment rights. Remember, for most on the Capitol grounds, their actual offense could be easily construed as that same “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding” which was the case with Kavanaugh, meaning they’ve served that time and then some. (Later on, in a separate article, Julie argues that there’s no way these January 6 defendants can get a fair trial without a change of venue.)

But even more worrisome to lovers of our Constitutional republic is the possibility that the Capitol protest was something of an inside job. Some people smelled a rat the night before, yelling “Fed!” when (agent provocateur?) Ray Epps repeatedly declared “we must go into the Capitol!” to anyone who would listen. But Kelly’s timeline and subsequent video research reveals that Epps and several others who were on the FBI wanted list for their involvement with the (so-called) insurrection seemed to be the ones organizing the breach of the Capitol grounds, which, unbeknownst to those attending the Trump rally, were closed for public access by an order the night before. (To give you some context, had those restrictions been in place at the 9/12 rally I attended in 2009, I and thousands of others would have been subject to arrest. And I never set foot inside.) As Kelly writes, Epps and others were taking down restricted area fencing while Trump was still speaking so those coming from the rally wouldn’t have known. Furthermore, no such restriction was in place in 2017 when Donald Trump won a controversial and protested election.

Just the implication that some faction was weaponizing the FBI is chilling enough, but Kelly goes farther by looking into the bureau’s infiltration of the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot, which led to over a dozen arrests in Michigan and other states. Ironically enough, the head of the Detroit FBI field office, Steven D’Antuono, was promoted after the Whitmer arrests to become the D.C. field office head. (This is the one place in the book I noticed a glaring editing mistake, one of the few flaws in the tome.) Is it possible that the skeptics of January 5th were right in smelling a federal setup that ensnared otherwise peaceful protestors?

Kelly wasn’t looking for trouble: in fact, when 2021 began she described her plans as “to continue reporting on COVID hysteria, feckless Republican leadership in Washington, and the Biden regime’s plans to reconfigure the economy around climate change dogma. The nonstop drama surrounding Donald Trump, I figured, would take a welcome break.” Nope, not so much.

Instead, Julie’s task became that of writing an indispensible book if you want to begin to understand the drama unfolding at the Capitol that chilly winter day. (Even if you don’t, it’s still an indispensible book.) Yet the shame of deadlines and publishing is that this history is still being written insofar as the effects of January 6 were likely guiding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s extremist overreaction to a trucker protest as well as the potential response to a truck convoy of our own.

To call this a “war on terror against the political Right” may have been the most prescient portion of Julie Kelly’s work, because we’re seeing it come true in real time. The question is just how much we’ll put up with before the time comes when risking arrest is the least bad option.

Odds and ends number 109

Because I did quite a bit of e-mail list pruning over the holidays – it was easier than shedding those holiday pounds, which are still there – it took a little longer for me to find compelling items I wanted to spend anywhere from a couple sentences to a couple paragraphs on. So here we go again.

A cure for insomnia

You may not have noticed this while you were putting on pounds and using your gas-guzzling vehicle to drive around and buy holiday gifts, but Delaware now has a Climate Action Plan. Of course, it involves the folly of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions – as if our little state will make much of a difference on that front – and actions they term as “maximize resilience to climate change impacts.” They fret that “Delaware has already experienced over 1 foot of sea level rise at the Lewes tide gauge since 1900. By midcentury, sea levels are projected to rise another 9 to 23 inches and, by 2100, up to an additional 5 feet.” These are the people who can’t tell you if it will snow in two weeks but they’re sure of this one. Moreover, these assertions were easily swatted out of the park.

The only climate action plan we need is to first follow Virginia’s lead and ditch the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, since that’s simply a wealth transfer mechanism from middle-class pockets to utilities to government to entities they deem as those in need of “equity.” After that, it’s time to repeal every last renewable energy mandate and get back to reliable power, not dependence on arbitrary and capricious wind and sunshine for our electricity. The dirty little secret is that we need those fossil fuel plants as backup anyway so we may as well get our use out of them. Don’t believe me? Well, the Caesar Rodney Institute agrees:

Did you know Delaware has been mandating wind and solar power in addition to providing subsidies for both for over a decade? In 2021, the mandate required 21% power from wind and solar, increasing to 40% by 2035. So far, 90% of the wind and solar mandate is being met with out-of-state generation, with only 2% of electric demand met by in-state solar. At night, when it’s cloudy, and in winter, when solar power drops 40% compared to summer, reliable power is needed for backup.

“What Delaware Needs in State Electric Power Generation?”, Caesar Rodney Institute, December 26, 2021.

So we are subsidizing other states. Unfortunately, we are probably in the same boat for awhile but, rather than muck up the shipping lanes entering Delaware Bay with useless wind turbines or put hundreds of acres out of use for agriculture with ugly (and generally Chinese-made) solar panel farms, we could just build a series of natural gas generating plants with a minimal infrastructure investment in additional or expanded pipelines. It’s the better way.

Losing the hand

If you recall the 2010 election, the Beltway pundits bemoaned a missed opportunity in Delaware because Mike Castle lost in the Republican primary to TEA Party favorite Christine O’Donnell. (Some guy wrote part of a chapter in a book about this.) After their favored candidate lost, the Delaware GOP establishment took their ball and went home, resulting in a schism that still occasionally pops up to this day.

Well, Mike is back in the news as he was recently selected to be part of the board at A Better Delaware. As they describe it:

During 40 years in public office, Gov. Castle served two terms as governor, from 1985 to 1992, before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for nine terms. While in Congress, he served on the Financial Services Committee and on the Education and Labor Committee and was a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and working across party lines to build bridges and form coalitions to find pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing problems.

“Former Gov. Mike Castle Joins A Better Delaware Board,” January 18, 2022.

What do we get when we reach across party lines? Our arm ripped off and beaten with it. Democrats in Delaware have zero interest in working with Republicans (let alone the conservatives who need to be in charge) so I don’t see the use of this relic who exemplifies everything that frustrates common-sense Delawareans about the Delaware GOP. If you want A Better Delaware, you need to elect people vowing to do whatever it takes to undo the forty years’ worth of damage done by the Democrats. They can shut up and sit down for awhile.

But it would be cool if Christine O’Donnell took a job there.

Tone-deaf

Anymore I use part of my odds and ends to pick on that crazy one from South Dakota, Rick Weiland. (You thought I would say Kristi Noem?) Just two weeks ago he wrote, “It has never been more important for the Biden administration and Congress to go bold and make sure everyone has enough high-quality masks to protect themselves and others.” Weiland was advocating for some boondoggle called the Masks for All Act.

Of course, we all know that two weeks later mask mandates were being dropped all over the blue-state country by Democrat governors who claimed to be following the science, and they did… right up to the point where the “science” affected their chances of holding on to any sort of power. It’s all about power, folks, and don’t you forget it.

But Weiland is the same nut who rails on about “insurrectionists” in Congress and deplatforming Fox News because it, “consistently downplays the seriousness of the pandemic, while amplifying risky treatment alternatives like ivermectin (and) is allowed to spew disinformation directly into the homes of millions of Americans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Yet people take this stuff seriously. I just thought you needed a good laugh.

Invading the Shore

Speaking of crazy people…

It took awhile, but now we seem to have a branch of Indivisible of our very own on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. “We are IndivisibleShore,” they write, “and are here to help you help progressive candidates win elections in Maryland, specifically The Eastern Shore and Eastern parts of the Western Shore.”

Well, that’s about the last thing they need – talk about an invasive species. Besides the Zoom training sessions, they also promise, “We have phone banking, door knocking (when safe) and postcard writing available. We also will be sponsoring music events and get togethers when safe.” One out of five ain’t bad if the band is halfway decent, as I’m quite aware that most musicians are on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

This guy gets it

Now we can come back to sanity.

One thing I recommend reading (or hearing, since it’s a brief weekly podcast) is the Castle Report. While Donald Trump was a fine president, I think Castle would have been Donald Trump on steroids when it came to trimming the government back to Constitutional levels (provided he had a like-minded Congress.) He’s the reason I joined the Constitution Party here in Delaware. (And somehow I’ve managed in one article to talk about two different guys surnamed Castle. Odd. Or maybe an end.)

This week he talked about the Canadian truckers’ convoy and it’s one of his best. One thing to ponder from his piece – ask yourself who this sounds like:

So, who is this man, Justin Trudeau, and what are his qualifications to hold the office of Prime Minister of Canada? Other than the fact that he was elected by a majority of Canadian voters, he has only one qualification and that is he is the son of the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Pierre was of military age during World War ll but declined to serve. He built his fortune and his political career at home while Canadians were dying on the battlefields of Europe. Pierre was apparently a devout communist and never met or even heard of a murderous, dictator he didn’t love. He went to the Soviet Union to participate in the great achievements of Joseph Stalin. He wrote glowing praises of Mao’s regime in China. He had a friendly relationship with Castro and visited with him in Cuba. Some of the praise he heaped on Stalin was of new Russian cities built from the rubble of the great war, but he never mentioned the many thousands of slaves who died building those cities.

Justin seems to have nothing to recommend him to Canadians except he follows in his father’s communist footsteps. What, I wonder, is his own merit or his own achievement? He has no scholarly achievement, no publications to his name, no business experience, but he is an accepted legacy, member of the global ruling elite and, therefore, protected.

For example, as a young man, he often appeared in blackface and sang the Harry Belafonte classic, The Banana Boat Song. He now says he considers that racist but no resignation, and no groveling apology. He is also free to call the truckers racists because one truck flew a Confederate flag.

“Unacceptable Views”, Darrell Castle, The Castle Report, February 11, 2022.

It’s worth mentioning that the Canadians are just the first, as other nations have gotten into the act. But imagine this: thousands of everyday Canadians lined Canada’s main highway east from British Columbia to cheer these truckers on, in subfreezing weather. It was a little bit like a Trump rally in terms of enthusiasm, but instead of a political figure these folks were there for a political statement and not the opportunity to glom onto celebrity. That’s a key difference. Let’s pray for their success.

Play ball!

While the major leaguers are locked out and almost certainly won’t begin spring training on time, our Delmarva Shorebirds are on track to begin their spring training on February 28 and begin the regular season April 8, as they are unaffected by the lockout. There are lots of reasons to go to the ballpark already, but the Shorebirds have an interesting promotional schedule worth checking out.

It’s a good way to bring this 109th edition of odds and ends to a close.