Delaware Casino Bailout Stinks

 

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Something stinks in Delaware and it’s not just the horseshoe crabs decaying on the beaches of the Delaware Bay.

It is the bailout of the state’s three casinos, which may be the worst deal in the history of bad state government deals.  And that is really saying something considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave Revel casino in Atlantic City $300 million last year, and this year Revel is declaring bankruptcy.

The Delaware deal stinks even more than that one.  Let’s go through the reasons why.

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The 10 Idiots You Meet Every Year at the Beach

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I have been going down the shore, Ocean City to be exact, since before I can remember. On the beach, an instant community is formed of all types — including outcasts. The outcasts are the ones who engage in some perverse, imposing and inconsiderate activity that breaks the serenity of the day for everyone else. I call these selfish bastards the “beach idiots” — blunt, not very clever, but appropriate.

A day at the beach should be void of confrontation and the stress it brings, so most tag-wearing, well mannered folk put up with the beach idiots without saying a word, knowing their annoying behavior can usually only last so long.

As a public service, I am here to call out the beach idiots in the desperate hope that they will see the error of their obnoxious ways.

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Why Wilmington Is So Dangerous

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Bobby Cummings seems like a great guy, quick with a smile, easy to talk with, a full-grown Boy Scout. Honest, courteous, kind, the whole package.

And that’s why I feel so bad for him. He just accepted the nearly impossible task of turning around the most dangerous city in AmericaWilmington, Delaware. Recently it passed Camden and every other city in the country in per capita murders, shooting and violent crimes.

It’s not that I don’t think Cummings can make a difference. He can, if the City of Wilmington will let him.

I didn’t realize how much Cummings is handicapped by bureaucratic idiocy until I sat down with him for a TV interview on MeTV, Channel 2. Within the first three minutes of the interview I was stunned.

I asked an obvious question, “Do you need more police officers?” And I got the obvious answer, “Yes.” Like any police chief in the history of police chiefs would say no.

“How many do you need?”

It was the answer to that question was the stunner. Cummings said, “If I could get 50 more police officers, I could start a homicide unit.”

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You Can’t Be Too Rich or Too Thin

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Fat, poor, and uneducated. On the bright side…

What is the hardest place in the Philadelphia area to live?

Thanks to data reporting by the New York Times Magazine, we have an answer. The Times used six data points to rate the livability in every county in the country: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment, disability, life expectancy and obesity.

Clay County, Kentucky was determined to be the hardest place in America to live. Los Alamos County in New Mexico, a hub of scientific research, is the easiest place to live.

But let’s get back to Philadelphia. Is anyone shocked that the City of Philadelphia is the hardest place in the area to live using these metrics? But it was Chester County, not Montgomery County, that was the easiest.

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The I-495 Debacle: Who Approved the Dirt That Broke the Bridge?

Crews work on the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after it was closed due to the discovery of four tilting support columns. The closure created heavier-than-normal traffic conditions for motorists on Interstate 95, a major East Coast artery. The bridge normally carries about 90,000 vehicles a day. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Crews work on the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after it was closed due to the discovery of four tilting support columns. The closure created heavier-than-normal traffic conditions for motorists on Interstate 95, a major East Coast artery. The bridge normally carries about 90,000 vehicles a day. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The blame game continues in Delaware as investigators try to figure out who broke the I-495 Bridge.  And at least one Delaware official is calling for a federal investigation.

The heavily travelled federal highway will be closed all summer after an engineer noticed that the bridge’s support piers were damaged.  The emergency repairs are expected to cost $20 million.

An investigation found that someone dumped 55 thousand tons of dirt under the bridge causing the piers to shift and crack. Keogh Contracting owns the dirt and is helping to haul it away, but that much dirt doesn’t just appear overnight. It has to be approved with government permits, especially since much of the dirt was piled high on state owned land.

Charles Copeland, a former state legislator and chair of the state Republican party, isn’t ready to put all the blame on the contractor.  “He didn’t just wake up one day and say ‘I’m just going to start dumping dirt under 495,’” Copeland told me during a television interview. “He did that under contracts, he did that under authorities.”

So who approved the dirt that broke the bridge?  Read more »

Dream Delaware Senate Race: Coons Vs. Castle

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Our Delaware Senate race dream: Mike Castle (left) vs. Chris Coons

When did compromise become a dirty word in politics?

This country was founded on compromise. The United States Constitution is the result of a vociferous debate by two strong-willed factions, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. They fought over states’ rights and personal liberty versus a big powerful federal government.

If that debate sounds familiar, it’s because it continues to this day, only it is uglier and more unproductive — more theater to raise money than substance.

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Could the Sixers Draft Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid?

Feb 22, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Andrew Wiggins (22) speak with media after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 85-54. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 22, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Andrew Wiggins (22) speak with media after the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won 85-54. Photo | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

So the Philadelphia 76ers get the shaft in the draft again. Maybe, maybe not — it depends on who you believe. I desperately want to believe Eliot Shorr-Parkes of the Newark Star Ledger who paints a dream scenario after another draft nightmare in a series of Sixers draft nightmares dating back to 1974 when the Sixers lost a coin flip for the No. 1 pick and ended up with Marvin Barnes instead of Bill Walton.

Walton led the Portland Trailblazers to the 1977 NBA Championship and won the MVP the following year. Barnes never played a game for the Sixers. His pro career was cut short by drug use; he spent time in prison and was homeless for a time.

“We got screwed again” was the prevailing sentiment of Sixers fans last week when it was disclosed that Kansas center Joel Embiid required surgery for a foot injury. Most NBA analysts had the 7-footer going to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first pick in the draft. Duke forward Jabari Parker, considered the most NBA-ready star in the draft, would then go to Milwaukee with the second pick. And Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas forward just out of High School with unlimited potential, would fall in the 76ers lap.

And now there seems no hope of getting Wiggins. Again, maybe, maybe not.

The latest mock draft from CBS sports analyst Matt Moore still has the super-freshman going to the 76ers. Moore has Cleveland taking Parker and then the Milwaukee Bucks taking Dante Exum, a 6’6” guard who plays in Australia and seems to keep climbing up the draft chart as teams see him in workouts. (He is coming to Philadelphia to workout for the Sixers this week.)

And Moore isn’t the only one; Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News also has Wiggins still going to the Sixers with the third pick. Lawrence thinks the Cavaliers will still take Embiid at No. 1 and then Parker will go to Milwaukee.

Granted, most mock drafts have Wiggins and Parker now going one and two leaving the Sixers deciding whether to pick the 7-foot, bad foot Embiid. That would mean for three years in a row the 76ers had acquired a 7-footer with injury problems. Andrew Bynum was a disaster. Much like Embiid, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel was projected to be the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, but a knee injury late in the season caused him to fall to New Orleans at the six spot, the 76ers then traded for the rights to Noel, who (expectedly) sat out the entire last season.

Embiid has already had his surgery and it reportedly went well, but he is still expected to be out 4-6 months and will miss most of next season. Would the 76ers take Embiid at No. 3 and pair him inside with Noel, potentially giving Philadelphia the most imposing dual presence since the Liberty Towers?

Maybe they won’t have to pick him at No. 3 to get him. The 76ers also have the tenth pick in the draft. The Sixers got the pick along with Noel for then-All Star guard Jrue Holiday.

That could turn out to be a phenomenal trade if Jeff Goodman from ESPN is right. He thinks Embiid will fall all the way down to the Sixers at No. 10.

So could the 76ers end up with Wiggins at No. 3 and Embiid at No. 10? Probably not. I am just delivering you the same good news that Lloyd Christmas got in the movie Dumb and Dumber. I’m telling you there’s a chance.

Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.

Turmoil Over Testosterone Study Leaves Doctors, Patients Dangling

The news was enough to make a testosterone induced manly man shrivel.

It was late last year that JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, published the results of research that claimed that men who use testosterone supplementation have a 29 percent greater chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke within three years of use.

Until the study, testosterone was the hottest medical product on the market. You couldn’t listen to talk radio or watch a sporting event without being asked if you had “low-T” during the commercial break. That would explain why you were sitting on your couch instead of playing basketball, having sex and generally enjoying your life. The announcer then promised that a gel, a pill, or an injection would transform you from a disinterested lump of flesh into a man again.

Now those ads have been replaced new ones from law firms looking to sign up clients for class action lawsuits. Read more »

The Dangers of a Marijuana Gold Rush

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My neighbor’s son packed up his car and headed west to find his fortune, like thousands of other people who heard about a modern day gold rush.

But it isn’t a pot of gold they seek, just pot. Specifically, the business of pot.

The hope of those filling the west-bound highways in a modern wagon train is that they will learn the business of legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington and then come home to open their own businesses as more states see the tax benefits of legalization.

Early reports from the West are positive, or at least they were. Both Washington state and Colorado report a huge tax influx to the treasuries and a strange side benefit – crime is down: win-win.

Not quite.

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Nutter and Comcast Are Olympic Quitters

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I love Philadelphia, but I guess it’s not a world-class city after all.

The worst part is that it wasn’t a New York Sports fan, a national magazine list, or a hack comedian who made me face that fact, but our own city leaders. That’s what stings the most about the news.

Mayor Michael Nutter, Comcast Executive David L. Cohen, et al, confirmed our standing when they announced that the city was withdrawing from the bidding process to host the 2024 Olympics. So we are not even going to try because we can’t compete with the big boy cities. Sigh.

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