So which stories / issues / topics grab your attention this weekend?
As WDEL reported exclusively, motorists were left stranded after filling up at the Getty service station along Basin Road in New Castle. This seems to happen every so often. Beware if the gasoline seems to be pumping at a snail's pace!
Snow removal and repairs of potholes are leaving pockmarks in DelDOT's budget. Look for some other roadwork to be delayed.
Meanwhile, Wilmington's Mayor Dennis Williams has asked City Council members to allow the city treasurer to issue a bond anticipation note to finance four million bucks in road improvements and repairs. The Williams Administration wants to jumpstart road repairs after the harsh winter.
Sadly, the pace of Wilmington's street shootings is picking up. As I suspected, looks like the exceedingly cold weather put somewhat of a damper on them...
Looks like the Barley Mill Plaza dispute will go on beyond most of our lifetimes: The new Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine closely questioned the contention of the owner of the Barley Mill Plaza that the lower court went too far when it rejected the project's rezoning.
It also looks like Governor Jack Markell's push for a new water tax to fund a clean-up of Delaware's waterways may suffer the same fate as his proposed, dime-a-gallon gasoline tax increase: Rejection.
Delaware's Senator Chris Coons is coming under a barrage of criticism from liberals/progressives for his recent remarks about the Ukrainian crisis (To AIPAC: The escalating crisis between Ukraine and Russia is partly a result of "our perceived weakness because of our actions in Syria...") and his Wednesday vote against Debo Adegbile's nomination to lead the civil rights office in the U.S. Department of Justice. Adegbile was a member of the legal defense team representing Mumia Abu-Jamal, tried and convicted for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
Of course, the Abu-Jamal case has become a cause celebre for civil rights and anti-death penalty activists. The crusade to free Abu-Jamal drives passions on all sides. But you have the principle that everyone confronting charges is entitled to the best legal representation possible, and Adegbile cannot be faulted for trying to represent his client to the best of that lawyer's ability. That is central to our legal system. Coons argued it would be difficult for him to collaborate with law enforcement and mayors if had voted FOR the nomination. Coons' critics increasingly complain Coons lacks spine. Furthermore, just looking at practical politics, it's unlikely Coons would pick-up a viable, electable, well-financed Republican opponent, so there's no justification for Coons to act like a "DINO". He's not in Mary Landrieu's position.
Most of the nation moves its clocks forward over the weekend as we shift to Daylight Saving Time. I've posted before about my hatred for Daylight Saving Time. Wish Delaware were Arizona.
Vladimir Putin, in this case, had the right idea: Just move all the time-zones to Daylight Saving Time permanently.
Here's a headline from an analysis in NATIONAL JOUURNAL...
"IS BEN CARSON the REPUBLICAN who CAN DEFEAT HILLARY CLINTON?"
The article notes how Ben Carson has been omnipresent at the annual C-PAC convention, the Conservative Political Action Conference. For example, any conservative activist riding the free shuttle to the conference is treated to a video on the bus's screens explaining why Carson is "the only candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton" in 2016. The first two thousand people checking into their hotel rooms get Carson on their room-keys.
"Before you laugh, consider this: The group that put Carson on the hotel-keys has outraised Clinton's draft committee, 'Ready for Hillary'; has been on the ground in Iowa; and is working from the playbook written by Howard Dean and Barack Obama..."
Also at that C-PAC conference: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - not invited to the conference last year - described himself as a "pro-life" leader who has effectively governed a blue state. Abortion is not the sort of thing Christie has talked about very much in rabidly pro-choice, New Jersey.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, delivered a predictably fiery speech, demanding the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and the need "to repeal every single word of Obamacare".
Florida Senator Marco Rubio targeted the Obama Administration's foreign policy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - facing a tough Tea Party challenge in the Bluegrass State - raised a rifle in the air as he walked on stage.
By now, it's become rather obvious most European nations are resisting tough economic sanctions against the Russians because of the financial repercussions. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, western Europeans and the Russians have become economically intertwined.
But don't dismiss U.S. business pressure too. From The WASHINGTON POST:
AS TALK OF SANCTIONS on RUSSIA HEATS UP, BUSINESS GROUPS DRAW CAUTIONARY LINE
By Howard Schneider & Holly Yeager
"Business groups are pushing to ensure that any economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are joined by as much of the rest of the world as possible, warning Congress and the Obama Administration that unilateral U.S. action would put tens of Billions of dollars of American investment and trade at risk of retaliation.
Company officials say they are caught between fast-moving U.S. foreign policy and their interests in a market that many have been courting -- both in the key energy sector and beyond.
Top U.S. companies such as PepsiCo, General Electrics, and others have touted their involvement in Russia as central to their global strategy. That has involved aggressive investing - PepsiCo is now the largest food and beverage company in Russia, earning $4.8 Billion in the country in 2012 - and joint ventures such as GE's with two Russian firms to manufacture gas turbines in Rybinsk. Ford Motor Company recently announced a partnership with the Sollers car company. Aerospace giants such as Boeing are among the top U.S. exporters to Russia..."
Interesting. Kind of reminds me how how those conservative, staunchly anti-communist farmers in the nation's heartland nonetheless sacrificied principle when they strong opposed President Jimmy Carter's grain boycott of the U.S.S.R. after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. That is indeed ironic on a couple of levels. But one wonders - if President Obama presses financial reprisals against Russia, even if the U.S. does so unilaterally, and Congressional Republicans egg him on to do even more, WHO will these big corporations blame -- the President or the traditionally "pro-business" Republican Party?
With the Ukrainian crisis still smouldering, hardly anyone is following Afghanistan anymore (except for, obviously, families with sons and daughters in that country):
But, a predawn U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan's Logar province killed five Afghan soldiers and injured at least seven others. The U.S. military apologized. Afghan President Hamid Karzai's reaction was unusually low-key, despite the continued stalemate between Washington and Kabul over keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of the year.
Massachusetts state lawmakers quickly okayed a bill to outlaw "upskirt" photos... in other words, criminalizing the practice of surreptitiously taking photographs of "the sexual or other intimate parts" of women or children in public. Legislators responded in record time after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Peeping Tom laws protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms or bathrooms when nude or partially naked, but did not necessarily protect people in public places.
In a somewhat similar vein, Delaware state Representative Andria Bennett (D-Dover) will introduce legislation targeting so-called, "revenge porn".
Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent announces she's "queer" in a blog post in response to Kentucky's decision not to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. The 27-year-old, African-American woman posted the announcement on her blog last month, some 17 years after she claims she first admitted her same-sex attraction to her mother. According to Yahoo, she's the first publicly known, lesbian contestant to have competed at the national level.
Posted at 9:07am on March 7, 2014 by Allan Loudell
Here's some good news for Republicans and TEA folks and gives some creedence to what EarlGrey and Mrpizza have been saying that the G.O.P./TEA Party could make some gains in the 2013 Congressional Races.
According a Gallup poll, it would appear the Republicans [RED] states are increasing, and the Democratic [Blue] states are decreasing since 2008, where there was a 30-state lead in Blue states vs, in 2013, where there is only a 3-state lead.
"Blue states outnumbered red states in the U.S. last year, 17-to-14, according to Gallup Daily tracking of party preferences. That three-state advantage for the Democrats is down from a seven-state lead for the Democrats in 2012, and well short of their 30-state lead in 2008 -- Gallup's first year of state measurement. Still, it's larger than the near-tie in the party balance of states found in 2011."
So that might mean that IF the Republicans can come up with a really solid candidate; stay away from those "female" issues [do not allow Rick Santorum or any other Republican male to speak anywhere on such topics]; and not be some crazed looney extremist, they could give ole Hillary a real run for her money and just possibly beat Mrs. Clinton in 2016.
It's been awhile since the G.O.P. has been that smart [Republicans seem to shoot themselves in the foot quite often], but who knows, could 2014 be the year of a "new" Reagan, especially with the Ruskies starting up their old games of aggression again [I hear the strains of "Meadowlands" playing in the background by the Russian Army Chorus]?
Also, many working folks are ticked-off by how much more THEY are paying for THEIR health-care insurance so that college girls like Sandra Fluke [or whatever her last name is] can have FREE Birth-Control pills, Free Abortions, etc., etc. Apparently she's running for Congress, go figure.
So the only thing left I can see to help cement a solid victory for the G.O.P./TEA candidates for Congress in 2014, and for President in 2016, would be their platform stating those 55+ would not have their Social Security messed with in any way, but there will be a new plan for those under 55. THEN, they'd have me and many others who are in that group 55+ [I'll be 63 in May] who need that Social Security and do not want any reductions to benefits or pushing back when they can retire from what it is now set up to be. This is a sizable voting block of people who DO VOTE so it would could make the difference in winning or losing a given Congressional race in 2014 or the Presidential race in 2016, so being very clear and out spoken on this issue seems to me to be the wise approach if the Republicans hope to capture a significant piece of that voting block.
My point is, 2014 and 2016 could be big years for the G.O.P./TEA party IF they don't shoot themselves in the foot.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 11:28am
Thanks Mike... Yes, 2014 should be a good year for the Tea Party, and other Republicans who voted against the "Affordable" Care Act. ACA has been the huge train-wreck I predicted as well...
Depending on the 2014 results, we shall see if the Republicans side with a G.O.P.-type or Tea Party-type candidate... if the Tea Party repeats its 2010 results next year, then the Tea Party will be a huge force in 2016; however, if the Tea Party flops (as Karl Rove, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham hope) then the Tea Party's influence will be dramatically weakened.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 5:37pm
Every year starts out as a good year for the Tea Party provided they don't shoot themselves in the foot.... as of yet, it has never ends that way.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 5:50pm
And every year there is a CPAC conference which generates enthusiasm among party regulars...
Maybe this year will be different....
GALLUP POLL REPORTS MORE PEOPLE ARE IDENTIFYING WITH THE G.O.P.
A week from Sunday, Crimea votes on becoming Russian. It looks like a 60/40 split in favor of doing so. My guess many opposed will not vote, to throw out the claim of legitimacy, but unfortunately, with a vote in favor, and an existing Russian army on that soil, it is practically a done deal. Our position becomes one of stressing you have to leave even though those people voted to become part of your nation.. Kind of hard to make that stick...
Time to start on the next move. Which would be to offer American troops to be stationed in those little nations surrounding Russia, so the Baltics and small European nations as well as Ukraine, don't have to worry about us coming to their aid. We will be dying with them if attacked, and our retribution shall be fierce.
That would do the most to diminish Putin's allure to his people. All could see that before Putin started rattling sabers their was no Western military influence anywhere next door; now they are surrounded and finding themselves in embattled positions again...
That would in fact be more of a bargaining chip against Putin than sanctions. You pull back to your bases we tell him, and we won't come over with our military hardware. Oh yes, if we come, we'll bring our missiles this time too.
Of course, in doing so, we would need to raise America's top marginal rate up to the 80% mark and this time, pay as we go. I don't think anyone who is wealthy could possibly object to that; they owe it to America... After all we are trimming our debt rather nicely under Obama and the Democrat Senate. It would be ashame to go the other way.. Tax the wealthy, pay as we go, and let's get this done.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 6:27pm
The Obama Administration did send a dozen F-16 fighter jets and three hundred military personnel to Poland for a training exercise in response to the Ukrainian crisis, according to the Poles.
The United States will also station six F-15 fighter jets in neighboring Lithuania in response to "Russian aggression in Ukraine, and additional military activity in the Kaliningrad region" (Kaliningrad is the Russian enclave which borders both Poland and Lithuania.)
Turkey okayed a U.S. Navy warship - thought to be the U.S.S. Truxtun docked in Greece - to pass through the Bosporus into the Black Sea region.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 11:06pm
Kavips: Your plan would start WWIII...I think most Americans are sick of war and tired of being the "world's police".
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 9:07am
EarlGrey and Kavips: I think our stationing F-16's in nearby bases in Poland and Lithuania is enough show of strength.
If we did do more. then I'd agree with Kavips we should pay as we go, meaning the wealthy should pay more, but my guess is that won.'t happen, you and I will pay more.
So my response is to default to EarlGrey.'s comment: Yep I agree, most Americans are tired of being in war where we get our men and women killed, spend money we don.'t have and end up with the situation being no better than it was before we stuck our nose into it. We don.'t need to be the world.'s policeman.
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 11:29am
I don't know which Republican candidate can beat Ethel Rosenberg, but I guarantee it ain't Christie. How do I know? .The media love him too much, just like they loved Dole, McCain, and Romney. They always celebrate the ones they know will lose, because except for local radio, the media are always in the liberal corner.
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 11:31am
I know the "world's policeman" argument is a tough one and it's difficult for a president to know whether or not an invasion of a foreign land is a good risk to take until after the fact, but remember, that's also the debate they were having on December 6th and September 10th.
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 3:53pm
I would like to back up to Earl's point on WWIII... He's right. My actions "could" start WWIII; but there is another side to that very equation which is this; they could also... NOT start WWIII.....
Before moving forward let's review history: Two 20th-century European Wars. During the First World War or Great War, the real "war" started when Germany launched its surprise attack across Belgium towards France. It was code-named the Schlieffen Plan and called for the encirclement of France's troops by swinging to the West through Belgium, dropping South quickly, and then coming eastward underneath the French Lines. The plan was to march through Belgium and the plan called for the neutral Belgians to acquiesce and for Britain not to step in. Both wrong guesses which on day-number-one completely destroyed the entire German plan. The sole reason for the Germans' unprovoked attack on France was because the Schlieffen Plan originally drawn up, had called for a quick onslaught against the French, winning, and then shifting all war materials to go after Russia. Since Russia and France were aligned, had the Germans initially attacked Russia in response to Russia's war with Austria, that left France free to invade from the West.
In the Second World War, Hitler was allowed to take little pieces and with hindsight, we see he signed the non-proliferation pact with Stalin over Poland, to allow him the opportunity to also attack the West, neutralize it, with Russia a silent partner, then pivot, and focus his war machine on the Soviets... The French had the Mignot Line, which was a truly magnificent set of batteries facing Germany which could capably drop ordnance precisely onto any road 20 miles within the Border. The British had an expeditionary force in the West, and in the middle, through Belgium, were the Ardennes, which were completely unguarded since marching an Army through mountains was unheard of. But that is where the attack came...
In both cases war was inevitable, perhaps. So that being said, if war is inevitable, which is the better option? To choose the ground and the location? Or be surprised by the location and have to retreat somewhere else to stand your ground and in the meantime risk annihilation? In the case of the Second World War, we stood our ground from the island of Britain....
In either historical case, had there been armies in Belgium, the war could have been contained far more quickly in the Lowlands, and probably never reached the World War category it did....
Fewer lives, both military and civilian, would have been lost in either case.... The battle-lines would exist right outside Germany proper, and not hundreds or thousands of miles away. The cost of war would be inflicted upon the aggressor nation itself, and unlike the early part of both great wars, its citizens could not go on as if life were normal, and fully support the leader who brought them to that level of predicament.
The counter-argument which was proposed by Ron Paul, and seems to have passed on to his son as well, is that if we do not prepare a defense, if we trust everyone, and stay here on our shores, we will not get attacked. I believe their worst fear is that if we build up tensions, by standing our ground over there, that a mistake or mis-read will cause one side to fire, initiating a conflagration leading to a great costly war... That would be the Battle of Lexington scenario..
So... That is history. Now, WWIII, I can think of no instances where if given an opportunity, an aggressor simply chooses to stop transgressing. Usually the aggressor chooses to stop because the aggressor has reached a limit. As with any force in nature, whether water, lightning, or animals hunting, the path of least resistance is also always the one taken in war. None of us would go up to Muhummed Ali and sucker punch him in the face... We would find another way to get what we wanted...
Likewise, if the cost of war is too high, even dictators turn to diplomacy in order to try to achieve what they wish.
That is what we have to do. Make the cost of war so high, that the Russians have second thoughts, and cooler heads in the Kremlin opt to try to find ways of less resistance to achieve their ends...
As for a couple of planes, that is a symbolic act, and does not spell a commitment to defending the rest of Europe, as does positioning large forces of Ground Troops backed by tanks, and commit to batteries of anti-ballistic missiles. As a secondary consideration, I'm sure our military brethren currently serving, would appreciate the pleasnt geographical and morality change from war-torn Afghanistan. At least the beer is good in Europe...
But the point should not be lost. Unlike Syria, which until Russian intervention, we were going to ramp-up escalation for purely punitive reasons... the entire point of ratcheting up our readiness, is to get Putin to change his mind....
When the Soviet people compare the global love and respect with which they were basking in, just 2 weeks ago after the finale of the Sochi games, to having American tanks armed with missiles, parked on their front lawns with turrets pointed directly at them, realizing they are again vilified as in 1980's.... it puts tremendous political pressure on Putin...
The U.S. must take its cue from Putin, and understand that force is the only method with which he expresses himself. Therefore we must talk his language....
Sat, Mar 8, 2014 5:40pm
I was driving back from Philadelphia in a government car, and as a courtesy to the next user, I always refill the tank before turning it back in. The Getty station in question was where I usually went to refill as it's easier to go 141 to 273 to Hare's Corner the back way, rather than 13. However, in this case, I decided instead to buy gas at the Sunoco on 13 by Manor Park because it was late afternoon and I didn't want to be delayed by William Penn school bus traffic.
Guess angels were watching over me.
Mon, Mar 10, 2014 8:23pm
On another note, Allan don't know if this is a surprise to you, or if you get advanced notice, but I was surprised to hear your voice late Sunday night interviewing (was it Politico?) about the Texas primaries...
Was on Top Ten Countdown filling in WDEL's Sunday night slot.... had your interview, if I remember correctly, in spot 6....
I have to expand... but the announcer is setting up the story, and then I assumed he'll be going to either a Houston or Dallas station, and he says ... we now have Allan Loudell ( I think: is he moonlighting in Texas?) from Wilmington in Delaware, at station call letters, WDEL....
Tue, Mar 11, 2014 6:03am
You heard my interview on the nationally-syndicated "Talk Radio Countdown", hosted by Doug Stephan.
Doug or his producers scan affiliate stations' websites for podcasts of suitable interviews.
I don't get any advanced notice that they're going to use one of my interviews. I just hear about it from listeners like you or sometimes, even from a former co-worker or classmate somewhere else in the country! Or, I might accidentally hear the interview myself if I happen to be in the car, listening to WDEL on a Sunday night.
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