Sunday, January 27, 2008

Progressive Update--01/27/2008--Obama, Wind Power, and Obama

A few quick notes. The invitation to the Obama fundraiser I’m organizing is at the end of this. Note that it is this Wednesday, not Thursday as I earlier mistakenly stated.

On the topic of this Thursday, Michelle Obama is coming to Delaware this Thursday, 11:30am at the Grand Opera House, and 2pm at Del State in Dover. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is. Please email to, or call HQ at 302-573-2540 to RSVP or for questions.

Wind Power and Scooter Libby Justice coming to Delaware. Remember way back when our illustrious President (not that he can spell illustrious) said that anyone in his administration who was involved in the disclosure of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identify would be swiftly dealt with. Scooter Libby was indicted and found guilty of obstruction of justice in this investigation. How did Bush deal with this criminal? He commuted Scooter’s conviction, essentially pardoning him. He stands by the rules unless he doesn’t like the result. That is Scooter Libby justice.

Well, Delmarva Power and several other (Delmarva-paid) legislators had no problems with the open-bid and open-meeting process for finding Delaware’s next energy source until the outcome was that offshore wind power was the winner. Now Delmarva and some of our legislators are saying that the process was not sufficient. I’ve had enough of Scooter Libby justice. Clearly the process would have been fine for Delmarva if the winning bid had been some fossil-fuel powered generating plant that brings them greater profits, and us worse health and higher costs and less security at home.

Ask your legislator these simple questions—did you vote for House Bill 6 that defined this process? If so, were all the steps under the law followed? Was there an open bid process? Did it consider all qualifying bids, whether from sea-based or land-based wind power? Were all experts for and against each proposal permitted to speak to the state regulating agencies which considered each bid? Were there open meetings for the public (including legislators who are, contrary to their own opinion, members of the public) to attend?

If your legislators say NO to any of these questions (and they really can’t), that they were uninvolved in House Bill 6, that this process was not followed, that an open bid process was not followed, that expert witnesses and open meetings were not held, then I have no problem if they work to slow down the BlueWater Wind process. However, if all of these steps were done, then stop this Scooter Libby justice system of standing by a process unless it results in an ending you (or your lobbyist friends) don’t like, and then changing the rules. Let’s reject the George W Bush model of governing.

I’m organizing a fundraiser for the Barack Obama campaign this Wednesday. If you are interested in attending (or sending a check), please read on. I am hopeful that the campaign will send Chris Lu, the campaign’s state communication director, who went to law school with Obama, and has been his chief legislative aid during Obama’s years in the US Senate. Note that I list a suggested contribution—it is just that, a suggestion, more is welcome, as is less. The campaign needs your money, to pay for signs, bumper stickers, ads, and transportation (say to bring Michelle Obama to Delaware).


Barack Obama “I’m asking you to believe” Fundraising Party

When: Wednesday, January 30th, 7-9 pm

Where: 3 Tufts Lane, Newark, 19711

RSVP by January 29th, to so I can estimate for drinks and desserts

Campaign offices and TV ads cost money, and Barack isn’t hitting up corporate America for donations; he needs contributions from you and me. Let’s raise at least $2008 for Obama on the 30th, just in time for Super Dooper Tuesday on February 5th.

This is a fun-raiser and a fund-raiser, so bring nothing but yourself and your checkbook (suggested donation of $50 per person, checks to be made out to Obama for America—if you contribute more than $200, please provide your occupation and employer information)

If you can’t make it, don’t let that stop you from mailing an Obama for America check/donation to my home (38 Country Hills Drive, Newark, DE 19711) by the 30th, and we’ll add it to the total.

For those of you who have already contributed the maximum ($2,300 per individual) towards his primary campaign, please join us without your tired checkbook, but plan to infect us all with your Obama-fever.

Please come even if you don’t RSVP, and don’t feel terrible if you RSVP but can’t make it at the last minute—I understand.

Barack Obama is in a very tight contest with Hillary Clinton to win the nomination of the Democratic Party. If you would like him to win, then please back up your good wishes with a contribution, and come and join us on the 30th to celebrate working together to help Obama become the next President of the United States.

Paul S Baumbach

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Progressive Update--01/17/2008--Delegate Stuff & More

I would appreciate your help. I would like to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which will select the Democratic Party nominee to run for President in November. In this email I will describe how the process works, and, if you are interested, how you can help me go to Denver (at my cost) to participate in this process. (You can also use this to help yourself be selected to go to the national convention.)

There is a Delaware Delegate Selection Plan, which defines how Democrats in Delaware select their delegates to go to the national conference and actually elect their nominee to run for President in November? It is long and it is not as clear as it could be. I have (in my mind) improved the wording in this posting, at times diverging from the more confusing wording used in the Selection Plan. I will try to cover the most important steps.

Delaware will send 10 ‘Subdivision-level Delegates’ and 3 Alternates to the convention. There are also Unpledged Delegates and Pledge Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates, however amongst us mere mortals, the path to the convention is in the Subdivision-level delegates and alternates. These 13 slots are divided amongst Wilmington (2), the rest of New Castle County (5), Kent County (3), and Sussex County (3).

Your Role #1—Be a registered Democrat in Delaware, and vote at the Primary on February 5th. I encourage you to vote for Barack Obama. The 13 slots are divided amongst the presidential candidates based on the percentage that each receives in the February 5th vote of the public, so my chances of going will improve as Obama receives more of the vote of Delaware Democrats on the 5th. Read on if you will consider participating further.

RD CaucusDelaware has 41 RDs, Representative Districts. Each has one state Representative serving the district’s residents in the House of Delaware’s General Assembly. To find out what RD you are in, go to and in the left side look for a box to enter your nine-digit zip code. After pressing enter, the page will fill with your national, state-wide, and local representatives. Look for your State Legislature > Representative. The district number is listed. Remember this number.

Each RD is holding a Caucus from February 8th to the 29th. Each RD will select 4 primary and 2 alternate people to attend the state convention/caucus on April 5th in Dover. You can go to and look for the entry for the caucus list. A partial list is available at (I have no idea why the list is not complete, as these meeting dates/times were due weeks ago). If you wish to vote at the Caucus, you MUST complete a Delegate/Alternate Application Form, and turn it in by January 31st. I have several (email me if you would like one), or you can contact (302-328-9036, or to request your own. Please remember to mark the State Convention box in the top, and not the National Convention.

Warning—If you complete one of these forms, you will be added to the DelDems database, and you will likely receive regular emails and mailings. Of course, most of you are already on their list, so this may not be a significant concern.

Your Role #2—If you wish to participate further, request, complete, and submit your Delegate Form by 1/31/08 at 5pm. With this accomplished, you can vote at your RD Caucus for a person to go to the state convention on April 5th. If you wish to support me, then if you live in the 23rd RD, then please submit your form with Barack Obama as your Presidential Preference, attend the 23rd RD Caucus on 2/11 at 7:30pm at West Park Elementary, caucus with the Obama folks, and vote for me to be selected to go to the state convention.

If you wish to support me but do not live in the 23rd RD, then consider if you are willing to go to the state convention. If so, submit your form with Barack Obama as your Presidential Preference, attend your own RD Caucus (by checking the schedule), caucus with the Obama folks, and ask them to vote for you to go to the state convention.

If you are selected by your RD, you will need to fill out another Application Form, and turn it in by March 5th at 5pm (completing it as you did the earlier one, except marking National Convention in the box near the top this time).

State Convention/Caucus—On April 5th the state convention will be held. Only those selected at the 41 RD Caucuses will be permitted to vote. All 165 or so folks will go to the caucus of their Presidential Preference, and in these subgroups they will vote on who goes to the national convention. Again, the number of delegates to the national convention that support any particular candidate will be determined by how many votes that candidate received at the February 5th Presidential Primary in Delaware (so please vote).

Your Role #3—If you are selected by your RD Caucus to go to the state convention/caucus, and you selected Barack Obama as your Presidential Preference, then you are able at the state convention to vote for me (or anyone else in the caucus) to go to the national convention.

Delaware Civics class dismissed.

That was long enough, that I’ll keep my remaining comments fairly brief.

For local information on Barack Obama’s campaign, go to and find events and shortly volunteer opportunities. Now that Iowa and New Hampshire are behind them, the Obama campaign is really gearing up in Delaware.

For information on Jack Markell’s campaign for Delaware’s Governor, go to . Earlier this month I declared my support for both Barack Obama for US President, and for Jack Markell of Delaware Governor. Look at the recent posting at my blog for my rationale.

Wind Power—This is on hold at the moment. My frustration level (with how Dover operates) is over the top on this issue—every time BlueWater Wind, the winning bidder is asked to jump through a hoop, they do and then find yet another hoop presented—it never ends!! It sounds like the best approach for citizens to use for sharing their views are to write to Russell Larson, Controller General, Legislative Hall, Dover, DE 19901, or to the ‘leadership’ at General Assembly. Of course the leadership are those who don’t take calls, such as Thurman (I never met a desk drawer veto I didn’t like) Adams. I suggest that you remind Mr. Larson that while he supposedly serves at the pleasure of the ‘leadership’, the leadership supposedly serves at the pleasure of the public. You can also write to the Wilmington News Journal or other area paper, or call into WDEL and share your views. You can also contact your state Senator and Representative, and encourage them to (loudly) encourage their ‘leadership’ to represent your view, and to compel Larson to vote to approve the wind contract.

Presidential Forum in Newark—I am helping to organize a forum for each presidential candidate who will be on the ballot in Delaware to be represented, at the Unitarian church in Newark (, on Saturday the 26th (Democrats from 10 to noon, Republicans from 1 to 3pm). Please see the attached flyer, please plan to attend, and please tell your friends (and enemies). We have Rick and Brian from WDEL doing the moderating. We need a full audience to make this a screaming success. How else will your friends determine who to vote for on February 5th? For the flyer, go to

Paul S Baumbach

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Progressive Update--01/06/2009--Finally off the Fence

Sorry for the back-to-back postings—events are hopping! A big election year is underway.

How the view up here?

I’m tired of being on the fence; I’ve had enough. Uncle! I have assiduously remained uncommitted regarding the candidates for President, and for Delaware Governor. I had what I thought were good reasons for remaining perched on the fence. I’ll share some of these reasons briefly, but would like to take more time on why I’m off the fence.

Governor—There are several Democrats running for Delaware Governor this year. I know two of them pretty well, John Carney and Jack Markell. Both have worked very hard for Delaware, and I like both candidates very much. I wanted to hold off on selecting a candidate to back for one primary reason—strategically, I dislike it when good Democratic money is used to beat a good Democrat. I have generally preferred Jack Markell, however I don’t like the idea of spending money ‘against’ John Carney.

That concern was trumped last week. Our esteemed General Assembly in Dover had the gall to halt the wind power project, in a typical unannounced, closed-door meeting, the hallmark of all that is wrong in Dover. This move is exactly the reason that we desperately need to OOGA, Open Our General Assembly, by removing the exemption that our General Assembly has from FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act. Their gutless move is exactly the reason that the public must insist that General Assembly needs to pass Senate Bill 4.

Enter Jack Markell. On Friday Markell issued a press release in which he calls the legislators to task. He takes a very un-Dover stance, stating that the public has the right to know what is going on behind closed doors that will impact our wallets. Markell and Carney are generally on the right side (in my opinion) of most important issues. However on Friday, Jack Markell made clear that he is a real leader, who puts what is right ahead of politics (and risking offending the ‘good ole boys’ in Dover). Jack Markell pulled me off the fence on Friday, and I thank him.

I will be sending a check to his campaign this week, and I encourage each of you to go to to learn more. I still like John Carney, and respect the heck out of him. However, Jack Markell is my choice for Delaware’s next governor.

President—I have been developing a 2008 New Years resolution for a few months. I want to be a delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. That has affected my backing of presidential candidates, and caused me to remain on the fence for longer than I’d like. (A second reason is that as my church’s Social Justice chair, I organize presidential primary forums, and it is easier if I am viewed as unbiased.)

I really like the field of Democrats running for President. As a matter of fact, I like my least favorite Democratic candidate more than I like my most favorite Republican candidate. It amazes me that the Republican candidates are uniformly in their dream state, ignoring the fact that the Bush tax cuts have produced an incredible budget deficit, that Bush’s immoral war has caused dramatic harm to our country and the people of Iraq, that the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay are diametrically opposed to the Constitution and our Founding Fathers’ principles.

Only two men (and two women) will be selected as delegates from suburban New Castle County, in which I live, to go to the national convention. This has put pressure on me to declare my support for a candidate who would earn enough delegates in Delaware to give me a chance of being selcted. The pressure was sharply reduced on Thursday, as Delaware’s own Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential race, and as Barack Obama won in Iowa.

With Biden out of the race, my first-choice front-runner is likely to get at least one-third of the vote in Delaware, and therefore I am able to ‘come out of the closet’, and publicly declare my support for Barack Obama (

Most of the Democratic candidates have good positions on health care, the Occupation of Iraq, tax policy, etc. If you are interested in which candidates share most of your views, go to I warn you that it does not put any ‘weights’ on the questions. Biden’s opposition to a woman’s right to choose, on which I differ from Biden, is rated as importantly as Hillary’s support for Mandatory Three Strikes sentencing laws, on which I disagree with Clinton, but which I don’t consider as important as being pro-choice.

I find the site in useful in doing what the media is failing at miserably—seeing how the candidates’ positions differ. I examined the positions of the leading three Republican candidates. It shows those who are anti-choice (McCain, Romney), those who prefer coal over alternative energy (Guiliani, Romney), those who support discrimination based on sexual orientation (Romney), those who wish to piratize Social Security (McCain, Romney), those who desire to cut taxes further on the rich (Giuliani, McCain, Romney), and those who support the Patriot Act (Giuliani, McCain, Romney). The media instead focuses on pressing issues like ‘what did you dream about last night?’, and ‘what is your pet peeve?’ With a media like we have, it is hardly surprising that we’re suffering through eight years of Bush.

Again, I feel that every Democratic candidate is far superior to each and every Republican candidate. I think that they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I recognize that several candidates are ‘better’ than Obama on some issues, for instance the war (Kucinich seems better), and experience (Richardson seems better). I’m fine with that. I’m not a singe-issue voter; I’m looking for the total package, and I think that Obama is it.

We’ve all been told that Obama can’t be President. They said that we can’t elect an African American. They said that we can’t elect such a young man. They said that Obama doesn’t attract Republican voters. Well, Iowa showed us 1) that while valid, these concerns are not serious, and 2) that those who spread these concerns are more often than not opponents, masquerading as analysts.

Of the three leading candidates, I feel that Obama is the most truthful when speaking his mind. This is very important to me. I feel that Obama gets ‘the vision thing’, that he can picture how to make the world better, and he can describe it to others. It amazes me that Hillary complains about the ‘false hopes’ that Obama shares. We can not achieve great things if we aim low. Hillary Clinton doesn’t get this. Obama aims high, and that is what we need. I want our country to be led by a President who aims high.

Barack Obama is in many respects a polar opposite to John Kerry. He has vision, and he can inspire. Check out his speech from Thursday night at

Obama inspires me. I hope that I am able to be an Obama delegate at the convention that nominates him in Denver in August. Later this month I will share with you the delegate process, and what lays ahead of me in this quest.

In the meantime, count me in Barack Obama’s camp. I’m signing up on their website, and I’ll be donating.

I’m off the fence, and quite happy about aiming high, and thinking optimistically about our state and our country. Thank you, Jack Markell and Barack Obama.

Paul S Baumbach

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Progressive Update--01/04/2008

Three quick items

OOGA—Open Our General Assembly—Please join a push to open up Delaware’s legislature to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act. Find out how to make your points to your legislators and newspapers at

More importantly, drive to Dover this Tuesday, the 8th, to let our state Senators that five years in a desk drawer is too much, and that Senate Bill 4 deserves a vote. Let Rebecca Young know if you will be going, by emailing her at She has a limited number of OOGA T-shirts, and she will have buttons. WDEL will be broadcasting all afternoon from Legislative Hall. There will be a carpool from New Castle, leaving at 12:30pm. If you can make it, PLEASE DO!!!

Wind Power in Delaware—Proving how much we need to OOGA, the General Assembly leadership, in a closed-door session, forced Russell Larson, their Controller General to defy the public (who support bringing wind power to Delaware by 20:1) and to ignore the experts at the Delaware Public Service Commission which studied the Bluewater Wind proposal for a year and found it to be in the state’s best interests. Larson put wind power on hold. Of the four government arms to decide on the next form of energy for our state, only one is closed to the public, the General Assembly’s Controller General, Russell Larson.

What can you do? Let your representative and senator know that you are fed up with ‘business as usual’ in Dover, in closed-door sessions, and in the General Assembly leadership ignoring the voters and caving to corporate interests. Let them know that you want them to stand up and insist that Russell Larson support the Bluewater Wind contract already approved by the Public Service Commission, without further disgraceful delay.

Presidential Primary Forum—One state down, forty-nine and DC to go. Delaware’s primary is February 5th. My church (directions at is sponsoring two forums on Saturday January 26th. All Democratic candidates are invited to send a representative to the morning forum, from 10am to noon, and all Republican candidates are invited to the afternoon forum from 1-3pm. Please reserve the date and time, and come and find out which candidate you will be voting for on February 5th, and tell a friend.

Paul S Baumbach

Send me an email if you would like to be removed from this email list.

You can find this and all past emails at my blog site: