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Archive for December, 2009

Circle the wagons.

With a new year imminent it’s only fitting to see how the taxpayers of our state continue to be kept out of the loop and fed dribs and drabs of what is really happening with their money.

Today it is announced that the Laurel School district admitted they ‘diverted’ taxpayer money from where it was suppose to go. Diverted is a nice word for steal.

The Dept of Education advised the school district NOT to call the police. Now I’m no Charlie Copeland, but as a rule the police are the first people you call when there has been a theft. 

Instead we have DOE advising that the police not be called? (I simply have to wonder if this is the mindset that runs Homeland Security in DC)

To take it one step further if this had been a charter school the FOR LEASE sign would already be up and the school shuttered with the school board doing alot of talking with the AG’s office.

I’m a native and proud of it, but this circle the wagons mentality we have within government has to end.

I’d love to ask the owner’s of the Thriftway in New Castle that is CLOSING due to embezzlement what he thinks the differerance is between him going out of of business and the state police investigating versus the Laurel School district where our money was simply diverted and the cops never notified.

This is criminal and yet all that will happen is the person diverting the funds will retire complete with pension, DOE will announce stricter controls on bookeeping. Laurel’s school board will announce a comprehensive review, etc, etc, etc.

I sure hope Joe Hurley and Gene Maurer know about this. “Your Honor there was no theft, just a slight diversion.” It works for DOE and Laurel so why not every other criminal?

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Finally some good news in Delaware on the Alternative Energy front…

From RenewableEnergyWorld.com:

Motech To Purchase GE’s Delaware PV Module Assembly Plant

Motech Industries Inc. this week signed an agreement to acquire GE Energy’s Delaware solar module assembly operation, just months after GE said that it would halt production at the facility in 2010. The plant, which is located in Newark, Delaware assembles crystalline silicon based photovoltaic modules and currently employs 75 people.

As part of the acquisition, Motech will be granted the rights to use GE Energy’s module trademark for two years. In addition, Motech will assume the responsibility to provide warranty services to GE’s existing module clients.

“We are pleased to announce this agreement to purchase the solar module operation from GE Energy” said Dr. Simon Tsuo, chairman and CEO of Motech. “We will do our best to maintain the high quality and safety standards GE has established at this factory.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in early January 2010. The companies said that the agreement is built on the foundation of an existing relationship between Motech and GE Energy where Motech has been a supplier of solar cells to GE Energy for the past four years.

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Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency
By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
12/28/09 12:24 PM EST
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Sen-Dodd-D-Conn-slashed-aviation-security-funding-for-pet-constituency-80209967.html
Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it’s worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.

Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.” The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd’s ill-fated presidential bid.

The text of the amendment is below:

(Purpose: To provide additional funds for FIRE grants under section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974)

On page 77, between lines 16 and 17, insert the following:

SEC. X (a) The amount appropriated under the heading “firefighter assistance grants” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” under by title III for necessary expenses for programs authorized by the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 is increased by $10,000,000 for necessary expenses to carry out the programs authorized under section 33 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 2229).

(b) The total amount of appropriations under the heading “Aviation Security” under the heading “Transportation Security Administration” under title II, the amount for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems under the first proviso under that heading, and the amount for the purchase and installation of explosives detection systems under the second proviso under that heading are reduced by $4,500,000.

(c) From the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated before the date of enactment of this Act for the appropriations account under the heading “state and local programs” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” for “Trucking Industry Security Grants”, $5,500,000 are rescinded.

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Defending the Homeland

I blogged not to long ago on an analysis between global warming and missile defense. We’re spending a huge amount of time and energy to focus on a “crisis” called “man-made” global warming meanwhile we’re allowing the current defense of America from our enemies to go fallow. From the Guardian UK (The whole article can be found here):

Yes, the buck stops in the Oval Office. Obama may have rather smuglygiven himself a “B+” for his 2008 performance but he gets an F for the events that led to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarding a Detroit-bound plane in Amsterdam with a PETN bomb sewn into his underpants.  He said today that a “systemic failure has occurred”. Well, he’s in charge of that system.

If you threaten to criminally charge members of the CIA for doing their job; if you refuse to call this a war; if you promise to bring terrorists caught on the battle field trying to kill American soldiers to New York for criminal trials; if you spend more time on David Letterman, in Copenhagen, and schlepping for the Olympics than you do meeting with generals; then what do you expect? If you spend more time trying to socialize 20% of the US economy after having taken over the financial services sector and the automotive sector then what do you expect? If you play “I’m a nice guy not like mean-old-George-Bush” with Ahmedinejad, Chavez, etc then what do you expect?

Here’s what the Administration missed:

“Abdulmutallab’s father spoke several times to the US Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria and visited a CIA officer there to tell him, apparently, that he feared his son was a jihadist being trained in Yemen.

After 9/11, the huge bureaucracies of the Homeland Security Department and the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) were created. Inside the DNI, the National Counter Terrorism Center was created. These organisations were created to “connect the dots”…If NCTC knew about it, then did someone at the National Security Council within the White House?

Obama took three days before speaking to the American people, emerging on Monday in between golf and tennis games in Hawaii to deliver a rather tepid address that significantly underplayed what happened. He described Abdulmutallab as an “isolated extremist” who “allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body” – phrases that indicate a legalistic, downplaying approach that alarms rather than reassures. Today’s words showed a lot more fire and desire to get on top of things – we’ll see whether Obama follows through with action. In the meantime, he went snorkelling….

It seems that two of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) planners behind this attack were released from Guantanamo Bay during the Bush administration. That calls into question the competence of Bush administration officials but also the wisdom of closing Guantanamo Bay.

I’ve got an idea… Let’s quit the silliness… Let’s put destroying the best healthcare delivery service in the world on the back burner. Let’s quit trying to regulate carbon dioxide. Let’s quit tying up the entrepreneurial engine of the United States. With all the free time, let’s focus on protecting Americans from our enemies.

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Congratulations to the Governor and Lt. Governor for finally taking the “stimulus” fund expenditures seriously. I have blogged about this on two previous occasions, questioning the $200,000+ dollars being spent on Vince Meconi and the Lt. Governor’s office while “stimulus” funds were being allocated to the 99th Congressional District and worse. WBOC in Kent/Sussex Counties also tagged the administration for failing to maintain appropriate controls.

Kudos to the Administration for finally realizing the this was a gaping problem that needed to be fixed. Better late than never, and I’m glad that Resolute Determination had a role in forcing better government in Delaware. Not good government, mind you, but better government — of course, including the Lt. Governor and former Sec. Meconi, this is now the 3rd person that the administration has put in charge of watching this pork.

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A teachable moment.

In education a teachable moment comes about often unexpectedly, as in when the kid who has been struggling all of a sudden “gets it”. For some teachers such a moment compels them to stay in the game despite moderate money and bureacracy that is reminscent of the Gong Show.

However in Red Clay 3 weeks ago a teacher gave an administrator his own teachable moment. In fact so did 3 others in the RCCSD food chain receive such an experience.

This story is the talk of the district.

The teacher with a Masters and 33 graduate credits on top of that is an English teacher. Gerunds, adverbs, Chaucer, subject verb agreement and the like.

Her supervisor is a former gym teacher. Nothing against wiffle ball but in today’s society we need literacy much more then we need punt, pass and kick. (yea, I know obesity in kids is a problem but you need to rank your priorities)

So the administrator gives her 2 bad evaluations as of 12/1. She is unable to “effectively transistion from one lesson to another” and “students are not actively enagaged”.  

This means he has been told from the powers that be she needs to cover even more material for the Spring testing bonanza and some of her kids are asleep, stoned or just could care less about the profound excitement allegedly endemic to page one of The Brothers Karamazov. (I still don’t understand that book)

After a meeting 3 weeks ago she needed to give a response back. In writing.

Frustrated beyond words and aided by several glasses of Pinot Grigio she wrote the following missive:

“Per our conversation of today please note the following. I do need help in mastering these goals and objectives. I respectfully ask that no more evaluations be done until all of you have effectively modeled for me how to achieve these outcomes. I feel certain that I will need at least 4 class periods where I can observe you showing me how to make these outcomes occur. I look forward to each you performing these skilled tasks for me.”

Her buddy who works at Duncan Road aka main office quickly learned of a call from the director of secondary education to the building administrator where they all agreed that she was doing a good job all in all.

An email to her arrived confirming that she is showing adequate effort after all. 

Now this is true education reform.

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This has to be one of the best letters the News Journal has ever printed.   Sounds like Jeff Boykin is planning a political comeback!  I miss the homemade signs (orange spraypaint on cardboard) of the 2006 primary (Boykin lost 25.3% to 74.7% to Carl Colantuono).

Perhaps he’ll primary Short for the 7th?  Or not run for congress against Lavelle?

And his beef with the police?  He is probably still upset about when they arrested him for allegedly threatening to burn down a church if that church removed his poorly made campaign sign from their lawn.

December 28, 2009

Over the last few days, there have been two horrific crashes in Brandywine Hundred. One on Concord Pike – in Rep. Greg Lavelle’s 11th District – and one in Rep. Bryon Short’s district that closed Grubb Road for hours.

Meanwhile, every day there are three shiny, brand-new state trooper cars sitting empty at Penny Hill. My calls to Short – at least four – are ignored. I have no idea why Lavelle cannot or will not demand a police presence on Concord Pike.

I guess he is too busy not running for Congress. Say what you like about Rep. Wayne Smith – he always took or returned my phone calls, and he would never have tolerated such inaction by the lazy state troopers of Penny Hill.

Perhaps New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner can get some county mounties up to U.S. 202 before someone is killed by the Pennsylvania drivers who do 60, 70 and yes, 80 mph on a road with a speed limit of 40.

Jeff Boykin
Talleyville

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