Monday, March 28, 2011

Time for Action on Civil Unions--03/28/2011

Last week we saw the introduction of Delaware's "Civil Union and Equality Act of 2011", which allows same-gender couples to have the rights and responsibilities on the state level that accrue to opposite-sex marriage. There is a nice article on the issue in today's Wilmington News Journal, at|topnews|text|Home.

The bill is now in the state Senate's Administrative Services/Elections Committee. To continue its progress and ultimately be successful, it must, as the first step, be voted out of that Senate committee, and be allowed to the Senate floor for a vote.

Three of the members of the committee are sponsors of our Civil Unions bill, so please prioritize contacting the other three members of the committee who are not sponsors and who have not publicly declared their support for the bill:
• Senator 302-744-4117
• Senator 302-492-1511
• Senator 302-744-4168

BOTH the State Senator and the State Representative for your district NEED TO HEAR from each registered voter in their district that supports the Civil Union bill.

Go to to find their contact info, and for a sample script for what to say.

Don't delay, please do this as soon as possible.
• If you do nothing else, it is vital that you contact Senators Booth, Lawson, and Marshall and ask them to at least let the bill go onto the full Senate floor for a vote.
• For further information and help, visit Equality Delaware and "like" Equality Delaware on Facebook.
• Feel free to forward this email, but only to friends and allies, not to your entire address book. Anti-equality persons should not receive this, and spam is unhelpful.

Thank you for helping Delaware move toward equality!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Delaware's New Civil Union Bill--03/22/2011

There's a link on the Governor's page at (try to find me in the second picture--next to Rep. Kowalko. Yes, our backs are to the camera.

There's coverage at at

Most importantly, Senate Bill 30 (SB 30) is now online, at

It is assigned to the Senate Administrative Services/Elections Committee--with three firm YES votes (sponsors/co-sponsors), including the bill's prime sponsor, Senator David Sokola.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PDD Call for Action--03/12/2011

On Tuesday House Bill 19 (HB19), the Ned Carpenter Act, aka the Drug Law Reform Bill will come to the full House for a vote. It is the result of a large amount of work by a slew of stake-holders, including Attorney General Beau Biden and SURJ (Stand Up for what’s Right and Just). SURJ’s executive director Joanna Champney spoke to PDD at our February meeting on this issue, of returning discretion to our state’s judges, and of the process for this bill.

Please contact your state senator and state representative, and to urge their support for the Drug Law Reform Bill. I recommend that before you call, you go online ( and see whether your elected officials are already co-sponsors. If so, thank them for their support, remind them of the House vote on Tuesday, and encourage them to ask their colleagues to join them. If they are not already a sponsor/co-sponsor, ask them to read up on the bill, contact Representative Melanie George (the bill’s sponsor) if they have questions, and (if they are a representative) vote for its passage on Tuesday.

This upcoming week the Delaware civil union bill (not yet numbered, as we haven’t yet closed the doors on co-sponsors) is being finalized, to be introduced the following week. The lead sponsors are Senator David Sokola and Representative Melanie George (do you notice a trend here?). Again, please call your elected officials in Dover, and ask for their support. Encourage them to co-sponsor the bill by reaching out to either of the two lead sponsors. Please send your feedback (ie, they were lukewarm, hostile, supportive, whatever) to me ( so that I can pass it onto Equality Delaware, whose two board members spoke to us at the March PDD meeting (I am also the Treasurer of Equality Delaware).

There is a Rally to Save the Working Class at the Circle in Georgetown also on Tuesday the 15th, from 5:30-6pm. See For questions, call Ann Nolan at 302-644-7128.

By the way, as a result of the Press Release we issued on Thursday about the New Castle County Council’s recent actions, I am having an interesting e-dialog with Councilman Smiley.

Friday, March 11, 2011

PDD Statement on NCCounty Council--03/10/2011


(Wilmington) The Progressive Democrats for Delaware (PDD) commends the New Castle County Council's passage earlier this week of Councilwoman Lisa Diller’s proposal requiring rule changes to be submitted to council members in writing a week in advance and Councilman Dave Tackett's proposal to require that all agenda titles (including consent calendar titles) clearly describe the items to which they refer. The fact that these two measures were adopted nearly unanimously (Diller’s measure passed 12-1, and Tackett’s measure passed 13-0), shows how indefensible secretive and closed government, devoted only to the interests of developers, is. Delaware voters want open and transparent government, a cause which PDD has long championed.
The New Castle County Council should continue to adopt measures reforming the way it does business. The next action that must be taken is the reconsideration of the measure that led to this conflict: the unknowing waiver of a series of deed restrictions on the proposed site of the Governor’s Square III shopping center in Bear. This measure was passed secretly, without several members of the Council knowing that they had approved it, as it it was placed on a section of the agenda for noncontroversial items that are voted on in bulk and without discussion-it was a Trojan Horse. What’s worse, the public also had no knowledge that this measure had been approved at the meeting. PDD agrees with County Council President Tom Kovach's refusal to sign this measure, as it was approved in a dishonest manner. The County Council must reconsider this project, and allow for public discussion, debate and a public vote.
Open and transparent government is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It is a good government issue. We applaud the members of the New Castle County Council who have taken steps to make the council more open and transparent, rather than less so.
Progressive Democrats for Delaware(PDD) is a grassroots Liberal action group pledged to support a wide range of progressive legislation and candidates at the local, state and federal levels.
Contact: Paul Baumbach, President 302-562-4546
PDD Website:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Environment-loving people needed next Wednesday morning in Dover--03/03/2011 post

Local environmental-focused blogger Tommywonk ( shares the following:

I don't know if you are aware of the concerted backlash against renewable energy here in Delaware.

The 9-12 Delaware Patriots, Progressive Growth Alliance and the Caesar Rodney Institute have been showing up for recent meetings of the Renewable Energy Taskforce (of which I am a member). They are pushing to roll back recent progress in promoting renewable energy here in Delaware.

We supporters of renewable energy to show up for these meetings.

The meeting is Wednesday, March 9 from 9:30 to 12:00 noon in the Public Service Commission office, 861 Silver Lake Blvd Ste 100, Dover, DE, 19901.

Here is the link:

The proceedings can be fairly technical, but citizens are given the chance to address the taskforce at the end of the meeting. We have seen in recent years that most citizens support renewable energy. It is important that supporters show up, and not allow a small, vocal and poorly informed minority divert us from moving forward.

According to the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) submitted to the Public Service Commission by Delmarva Power, the health benefits of reducing coal power and deploying more renewable energy will be $1.8 billion to $4.3 billion over the next ten years. The figure is based on epidemiological estimates for health effects (such as lung disease and cancer) of reduced emission of NOx, SOx and particulate matter from power plants.

This is why renewable energy matters, and why we need supporters to show up.

For more on the IRP, see


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Response to Comments on Inside Job--03/02/2011

As I prepared thoughts on the comments from Tom, I exceeded the limit for a comment, so I am instead presenting it here as a (new) full post.

On the big screen excesses appear larger than life. Scale is lost.

The incentives for Wall Street execs have been outrageous for many years, and this continues to grow--this was partially addressed by Sarbanes-Oxley nine years ago (well it was exposed then, not stopped). That said, their armor is chipped away with each blow-up, and society is slowly building up the resolve to stand up against it. It is close to a miracle that the financial reform law was passed last year. The process is painful to (almost) all involved, but as Martin Luther King, Jr, said, the arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

The money culture on Wall Street is unchanged (hence the Wall Street II movie last year). I agree that the culture on Wall Street is toxic. This became clear in the hearings after the blowup, where brokerage firms were selling what they knew was crap to their customers. One noteworthy such broker was Henry Blodgett from Merrill Lynch, who was banned from the industry, and yet is "now the editor and CEO of The Business Insider, a business news and analysis site, and a host of Yahoo TechTicker, a finance show on Yahoo." Slowly consumers are wising up to the built-in conflict of this culture, as witnessed by the decline in the brokerage industry.

Wall Street is indeed working (and spending) hard to dismantle the financial reform law. When I was in DC last April lobbying for the bill, I was impressed that the Delaware Congressmen and staffers that I met put more weight into the voice of Joe and Jane Citizen than the lobbyists (or at least the Democratic Congressmen and staffers). I am hopeful that this very battle becomes a clear line between the Republican and Democratic Party, and helps to strengthen the Democratic Party, which I feel is required to properly balance necessary Wall Street regulation.

I disagree with Ferguson on some of his attacks on Obama's team. First, I feel that there is a vast difference between Greenspan and Bernanke. Greenspan is a libertarian, laissez-faire, and was staunchly hands-off on the regulation front. Bernanke, in my opinion, was very proactive in addressing the meltdown, much to the country's benefit. Summers doesn't do anything for me, however I generally like Geithner. Note that if you refuse to hire someone with advanced public and private credentials, the highly-paid and highly-incented financial wizards will be able to dance around you.

I do agree with Ferguson that Mary Shapiro's appointment by Obama to lead the SEC was an awful choice, a true choice of a fox to guard the hen house.

On the issue of greater concentration of financial firms, Ferguson failed to mention a major development. Each of the investment houses changed their charter to become bank holding companies during the meltdown, to be eligible for bailout funds, subjecting them to additional regulation. The law still needs to be adjusted to build in 'too big to fail' protections, likely a 'pay your share' fee to cover adequate insurance against such failures, fees which could well be large enough for large firms to force them to split up.

When I said that much of the information didn't surprise me, I didn't mean to say that I knew that it was all going on. However, as Mark Twain noted, history doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes. Much of the excesses were uncovered and documented in the bust, which was largely co-caused by Wall Street excesses.

The crap inflicted on us by the evils depicted in Inside Job was ultimately overcome by 1) significant actions by governments and central banks across the globe, and 2) basic economics, which calls for goods and services to be produced as needed by the world's population. Despite the gross mismanagement of financial firms, the world's economy has grown (after inflation) by 3.3% since 2007 (pre-meltdown).

I know that I am an optimist. I consider myself more of a 'glass half-full' optimist, than a 'rose colored glasses' optimist.