Archive for November, 2011

Last Thursday morning, Thanksgiving morning, the MS Society with sponsor PNC held a 10k, 5k, kiddie run, etc. to raise money. It was a beautiful day and around 3,000 people showed up. I ran in both the 10k & walked the 5k. Both races went right passed the block that contained Wilmington’s tent township known, euphemistically, as “Occupy Wilmington Delaware”. As the 3,000 people went by the OWD folks, no one from the “occupiers” was evident. Not a one. No one from tent city cheering on the runners & walkers. These runners & walkers were real people participating in a Thanksgiving community event, donating money, and creating a positive result for those individuals and families suffering from MS.

I simply ask, why did the OWD folks miss out on this? You couldn’t miss it; you had to ignore it.

My opinion is that this very small group of nay-sayers and angry-lefters really has no connection to the broader society. Instead, they, themselves, are a 1% consisting of whiners without a positive message. Now that the News Journal has stopped giving them free publicity, they have vanished into their own little anti-social tent township. They are the real 1%. A 1% with no sense of civic participation.

I have blogged at length for several years at the crony capitalist state that exists in the U.S. & in Delaware. I have made positive proposals to solve these problems. I now understand that generating positive solutions is outside the capacity of these folks, just like participating in positive, community activities is outside of their ability, too. It really is sad.


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I had thought that the 99 week extended unemployment was nationwide and was talking about it in my office several weeks ago.  Another agent in my office was absolutely beside himself with joy today to find something that I might be wrong about.  There was an article in the NJ talking about the “jobs bill” or something and one sentence referred to 99 weeks in the highest unemployment states which suggested that I was incorrect on a fact.

As it turns out 21 states are 99 and 6 more are 93 (like Delaware) so most are 93+.  The lowest are 60 weeks.  So, I was wrong.

It took me forever to find this information, so for no other reason than that, see the attached.

Unemployment Weeks by State

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From Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (Subscription required):

This Thursday, in a parish hall not far from the New Jersey town green where George Washington once made his winter headquarters, as many as 300 people will gather for their Thanksgiving meal. Some will be homeless, some will be mentally ill, some will be old, and some will be folks and families who have just hit a hard patch. For all of them, Morristown’s Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center is one of the few blessings they can count on.

In many ways, this soup kitchen illustrates Tocqueville’s point about the American genius for voluntary association. Having started out in a local Episcopal church, it has grown into a network that links restaurants, corporate sponsors and community groups with volunteers from nearly three dozen church congregations, including this reporter’s. The result is a hot meal to anyone who comes to the door each noon, no questions asked.

This the men and women of the Community Soup Kitchen have provided for 26 years, not once missing a day. Now comes a challenge greater than any snowstorm or power outage. Earlier this year, the Morristown Division of Health ruled that henceforth the soup kitchen would be considered a “retail” food establishment under New Jersey law.

From that single word far-reaching consequences have flowed. In a column for a local blog, Ray Friant, a volunteer from the Morristown United Methodist Church, called the rule “crazy.” Over Sunday breakfast at a local diner, Mr. Friant, his wife, Emmy Lu, and another church couple who also volunteer at the kitchen, Barbara and Jim Morris, spell out what they mean by crazy.

Most obvious is the higher cost: at least $150,000 more a year. To meet this increase, the kitchen is asking each participating church to up its own contribution. Some congregations don’t have the money. For those that do, it will mean less for some other need.

Much of this cost results from a new prohibition on people donating food they’ve prepared at home. For those on the giving end, often this was the only way they could participate, so eliminating their contributions means eliminating volunteers. For those on the receiving end, it means no more homemade meat loaf, lasagna, cakes and so forth.

All, of course, in the name of food safety. Still, one suspects that when a co-worker brings a tin of Christmas cookies to a friend inside Morristown’s Division of Health, those cookies are not forbidden because they do not come wrapped from a supermarket or approved restaurant. Yet this is precisely the restriction these officials have imposed on men, women and children whose only hope for a home-baked cookie might be at the soup kitchen.

Finally, there’s the utter soullessness of the thing. For example, many of the women would bring their own aprons from home. No more. Now it’s all latex gloves, throw-away aprons, and a ban on food servers even entering the kitchen. In short, more institutional cafeteria than Grandma’s house…

The column goes on, but you get the point. If you think something like this only happens in New Jersey, I know of a non-profit in Delaware that had a similar prohibition placed on it, negatively impacting its religious purpose.

Government has a necessary purpose. Keeping food from the poor and needy is not one of them.

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Overcrowded by Choice?

Linden Hill Elementary is having to use temporary classrooms (trailers) due to having too many students. I supposed that it is due to the fact that the kids who go there actually benefit from the experience and so are not fleeing to private schools. But this got me thinking about why the person who draws the feeder pattern was allowed to screw up resulting in expensive overcrowding. It does not appear that they did.
According to reports, they have six temporary classrooms. With their average class size being about 25 kids, that leads to an excess of about 150 kids. I checked to see how many kids had been allowed to “Choice” into Linden Hill. The answer: 130.
Enough said. Someone seems to have “Chosen” to overcrowd this school.

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Yesterday, Governor Markell said the following (as quoted in The News Journal):

[The Governor is trying to find] the intersection of economic development, improving the environment and improving public health.

He made this comment while trying to take credit for NRG’s conversion of a Dover coal-fired power plant into a natural gas fired plant.

Natural gas is cleaner burning than coal, and as a result of fracking, is plentiful in the United States and cheap… Hence, the natural gas is at the intersection of economic and environmental benefit. But, less than a week ago, this same Governor said that he was against fracking (aka cheap natural gas) because

The very efficacy of the [Delaware River Basin C]ommission’s regulations depend heavily on state law or regulation but the decision-makers in each state have yet to determine whether sound science will ultimately prevail.”

We know, of course, that Delaware has not been following a policy of “sound science”, but one of an almost religious zealotry around global warming alarmism. This administration’s on-going efforts to force expensive energy on the low income residents and struggling small businesses have been repeatedly publicized.

So, on November 18th, fracking is bad, but on November 22nd, fracking is good.

You can’t have it both ways, Governor…

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The following information from the Energy Information Agency shows why the short term dream of alternative energy is just that… a dream. Why Governor Markell, arguably an intelligent guy, can’t figure this out, despite the prevalence of the facts, is a mystery. There are some hints to the mystery’s solution, however. Al Gore, the patron saint of “Man-made” global warming, is a partner with Kleiner Perkins, the Venture Capital firm that brought both Fiskar Automotive & Bloom Energy to Delaware.

Governor Markell is being fooled at the expense of Delaware’s economy and small businesses. At least he is being fooled by smarter people than fooled Ruth Ann Minner. The outcome remains the same… Whither Delaware.

Energy Information Agency Installed Base 2010 MW Electricity Gen 2010 mm MWh % of Total Gen. Implied Capacity Factor EIA Levelized Cost 2016 per MWh <—Levelized cost incorporates upfront and ongoing capital costs, cost of capital, fuel and other operating costs, capacity factor and related power transmission investments (in 2009 dollars) for new construction
Coal 316,800 1,847 45.40% 67% $95 – $110 Abundant and cheap, but with a substantial range of environmental problems
Natural gas 407,028 988 24.30% 28% $60 – $70 Capacityfactors understate potential utilization
Nuclear 101,167 807 19.80% 91% $114 Efficient once built; very expensive to build (costs rising sharply in recent decades)
Hydro 78,825 260 6.40% 38% $86 Most viable sites already in use after incentives in the 1960s-1980s
Wind 39,135 95 2.30% 28% $97 Low capacity factor, maturing technology; cost more than doubles offshore
Biomass/wood 11,406 56 1.40% 56% $112 Expensive to aggregate and collect; high capital costs relative to energy density
Geothermal 2,405 18 0.40% 85% $102 Very expensive, except near areas with active geothermal reservoirs
Solar PV/CSP 941 1 0.00% 15% $210 – $312 Expensive, low capacity factors; this segment is commercial (non-res) installations

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Since the “Super Committee”  did not agree to a deal, the media is squealing about the terrible cuts that will result from the automatic cuts or Sequestration.  I heard one of them, this morning, claiming that 1,500 air traffic controllers will have to be laid off and all sorts of other calamities.
This chart shows that there are No Cuts; only a slight decrease in the planned rate of increase. 

I guess they figure if they wail as they are, the public will believe them and think that there is nothing more to cut.  That sets them up to believe tax increases are the only way left to tackle the deficit.  If a government does stuff like this, it is called propaganda.  Here we just call it network news.

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