Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Will McVay vs. Mr. Parrott

Posted to the Delaware State News forums:
The Kent County Young Republicans had been organizing a debate between the two Republican candidates for the 32nd Representative District race, Ellis Parrott and Will McVay. Both candidates had agreed to participate in this debate, and then, suddenly, last week, Mr. Parrott had a change of heart and withdrew. He posted the following reason on his Facebook page.

“For everyone concerned, the reason I will not debate McVay is he owes his allegiance to the Libertarian Party not to the Republican Party. If anyone would like to know how I stand on issues, they can call me 670-8345 or e-mail me at ellisparrott@gmail.com. Ellis.”

While Will is, in fact, the vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, he is also a registered Republican and he has paid the necessary filing fee to contest the primary. Will has been very open about his political affiliations and how this differentiates him from his opponent. All the more reason that the Republicans of the 32nd District are entitled to a debate between these two candidates. I would think Mr. Parrott would be eager to point out those differences to the voters of the 32nd.

Is it possible Mr. Parrot is intimidated by Will’s track record of forceful advocacy for his ideas and intimate knowledge of the General Assembly? Why else would he resort to such a sorry excuse for backing out of the debate? Should Mr. Parrott win his primary, will he then refuse to debate his Democratic opponent because he owes his allegiance to the Democratic Party? If he should get elected, how will he stand up to the opposition in the state legislature if he is too intimidated to debate an opponent in the much-friendlier venue offered by the Kent County Young Republicans?

What does allegiance to the Republican Party have to do with one’s qualifications to serve the voters of the 32nd District, anyway? Aren’t the voters the ones to whom a candidate for public office owes their allegiance? I think Mr. Parrott’s decision not to debate is shameful, and his excuse, laughable.

Daniel Bentz

I would tend to agree.  Thanks, Daniel.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Searching Your Cell Phone

A friend posted this article on Facebook today.
The law has well-developed doctrines protecting the privacy of our desktop computers, landline telephones, and filing cabinets. But modern cell phones perform all of these functions, and more. If the police are free to rummage through any cell phone that falls into their hands, every arrest would automatically give the police access to a treasure trove of private data that they would otherwise need a warrant, based on probable cause, to obtain.
The courts ruled that they are.  The judge in this case said:
While text messages may be legally protected in transit, he argued that they lose privacy protections once they have been delivered to a target device in the hands of the police. He claimed that the same rule applied to letters and e-mail.
 I agree with the dissenting judge.
One judge dissented from the Washington State rulings as well. "Sawyer engaged in a continuing search when he first searched the contacts list on Daniel Lee's iPhone to find Hinton's phone number," wrote Judge Marywave Van Deren in her dissent. Sawyer "used Lee's iPhone to send and receive messages from Hinton. Under these circumstances, I would hold that Sawyer was required to obtain a search warrant."
IF my opponent was willing to engage in any kind of discussion with me, I would be very curious about his role as a local magistrate and his resulting opinions on this issue.  Did he have anything to do with issuing search warrants?  Does he think police should need a search warrant to search a cell phone, delete its contents, or impersonate its owner in a text message?  Would he have issued a warrant to conduct such a search?  Does he see anything problematic with appointing former police officers to the Justice of the Peace court?  Delaware is a small state and lots of people know each other socially even though they are supposed to be holding each other accountable professionally.

I think that Delaware should implement laws requiring police to obtain a search warrant prior to rummaging through cell phones that currently hold a great deal of private information and offer an opportunity to compromise our identities.  I also think that we need to very carefully ensure that there are adequate checks and balances between the executive and judicial branches, a role the Senate performs as a very effective rubber stamp.

If anyone can get a response from him, please ask my opponent for his opinion on these issues.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why You Can't Have a Debate

This is the extent of the engagement I've been able to get from my primary opponent regarding this election.  I think Mr. Parrott is doing the district a disservice by refusing to discuss the contrasts between the two candidates seeking the Republican nomination.  Please remain respectful, but please encourage my opponent to participate in this discussion.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welfare for Drug Testers

Someone recently asked me about drug testing welfare recipients.  I've had this conversation a few times, but here's my response.  I thought it was pretty good.
I wish we'd have drug tested the Fisker executives before we paid out their welfare.

Joking aside, I completely understand where you're coming from. As a Libertarian, we take it as an article of faith that private organizations can more effectively, accountably, and efficiently provide welfare services through charitable contributions than the government can through tax revenues anyway. Welfare should not be a lifestyle and we should not be paying it out to drug addicts. I totally agree with you there. My concern, as it was last week, is with how we get there. The states where this has been tried already have not realized a net savings.


I am also concerned about the effectiveness of drug testing as a mechanism for screening drug users. The science is such that only marijuana users can be caught after up to a month of not using. Heroin and cocaine users can test negative after a few days. Unless the program includes even more funding for supervised tests, it is also possible to mislead a drug test by using someone else's...sample. I think this will amount to a big giveaway to drug testing companies and little to nothing in the way of savings or improved work ethic.

I am concerned about abuse of social welfare programs though, and I think there are steps that can be taken to address a lot of it. I think Delaware primarily needs to consider its eligibility criteria, such as assets instead of just income and more stringent requirements for maintaining benefits. Better accountability and identity verification for use of the EBT cards may also stop some of the abuse. We also, as you said, need to facilitate people getting actual work by removing the regulatory barriers to their doing so.

I hope you can understand where I'm coming from on this issue. My position is unlikely to change.
I completely empathize with the people going to work every day, knowing that their taxes are being withheld to fund the drug habits of those too lazy to earn an honest living.  It's one of the reasons I got into this messy "politics" business to start with.  Drug testing companies, though, would just be another welfare recipient adding to the cost of government without solving the problems of abuse in corporate and social welfare programs.  We must effectively solve the problems facing our state and our country.  Not emotionally attack them.

Irony Day

Found this one on Facebook today.

How many of the grievances listed against King George III is our own government currently guilty of?

More good pics from the social networks:

Happy Independence Day.  Don't forget the reason for the season.