Monday, September 1, 2014

Red Maryland September Poll

The Red Maryland September Poll is now open through Wednesday, September 10 at 9 PM.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Red Maryland Radio: 8/28/2014

It was another episode of  Red Maryland Radio  at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

New Politics Conservative Internet Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio

On tonight's show:
  • Campaign finance reports were due this week. We'll talk details.
  • National Geographic's "Drugs Inc" episode focused on Baltimore this week. How'd that work out?
  • Mark Newgent's piece on gun control hit a nerve with the Vinny DeMarco crowd
  • And Greg and I bring you our fearless NFL season preview.
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

More below the fold.

DeMarco Apologist Omits Key Fact

Lobbyist/DeMarco Apologist
 Len Lucchi
Earlier this week, Vinny DeMarco published a banal anti-gun screed on Len Lazarick was generous enough with his bandwidth to print a factually-based response from our very own Mark Newgent.
Len posted a lengthy comment that he got from a gentleman named Len Lucchi. Lucchi identifies himself as "a longtime Maryland attorney and lobbyist."  This is in fact based in reality based on his law firm biography.

However, that's not the entire story. You see, what Lucchi conveniently neglected to note on his biographic cred in his thoughts that were sent to Lazarick was his serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Inc:
The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Inc. is a sister organization of our Education Fund. It is a 501(c)(4) organization and takes action on important issues relating to our shared goal of expanding access to quality, affordable health care. This board also includes representatives of our key constituencies and meets quarterly.
Of course the President of both Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Inc and the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Education Fund is one Vincent DeMarco.
This probably helps explain Lucchi's sycophantic piece in the Gazette in 2011 heaping religious-like praise upon DeMarco for his support of the alcohol tax.

I don't begrudge the fact the Lucchi wants to protect his precious in trying to defend the indefensible. However, Lucchi should have been smart enough to realize that he was tied to DeMarco at the hip and that he would be exposed as nothing more than a DeMarco pawn. It would make one question Lucchi's skills and strategy in trying to keep that information quiet, but given the fact that the DeMarco crew doesn't like to talk about Vinny DeMarco being in the pocket of big tobacco that shouldn't come as a great surprise either.

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Maps Reveal EPA Water Grab

A new rule proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give the agency authority over 19,000 miles of streams and other “intermittent” or “ephemeral” bodies of water in Maryland.  Hydrography maps provided to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee by the EPA detail the scope of the proposed rule.

The proposed Waters of the United States rule, which would give the EPA jurisdiction over millions of miles of streams across the United States under the Clean Water Act, has generated bipartisan backlash in both chambers of Congress.  

A letter to the EPA from Democratic and Republican House members stated, “Although your agencies have maintained that the rule is narrow and clarifies CWA jurisdiction, it in face aggressively expands federal authority under the CWA while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity.”

The letter goes on to say, “The rule would place features such as ditches, ephemeral drainages, ponds (natural or man-made, prairie potholes, seeps, flood plains, and other occasionally or seasonally wet areas under federal control.”

The EPA maintains that the new rules would not enlarge the scope of its authority under the Clean Air Act, and that the rule would clarify its authority and provides regulatory certainty in the face of recent Supreme Court decisions.  The EPA maintains the maps provided to the committee are not related to the Waters of the United States Rule.

However, the map of Maryland plainly shows how much more authority the rule would give over bodies of water in the state of Maryland.  Looking at the map the vast majority of bodies of water are classified as perennial (blue), and the proposed rule would give EPA jurisdiction over much of the rest classified as intermittent (yellow).

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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

Join us tonight for another episode of  Red Maryland Radio  at 8 PM on the Red Maryland Network.

On tonight's show:
  • Campaign finance reports were due this week. We'll talk details.
  • National Geographic's "Drugs Inc" episode focused on Baltimore this week. How'd that work out?
  • And Greg and I will bring you our fearless NFL season preview.
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

More below the fold.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Conservative Refuge Radio 8-25-14

New Politics Conservative Internet Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio

The Red Maryland Network presents another installment of Conservative Refuge Radio.

On tonight's show:

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Anatomy of a Shakedown

When Akron-based First Energy Corp. sought a $4.7 billion merger with Allegheny Energy, which serves Maryland customers through its Potomac Edison subsidiary, in February 2010, it received a taste of Martin O’Malley’s shakedown tactics.

As a condition of approval, the O’Malley controlled Maryland Public Service Commission, in January 2011 placed several conditions on the merger.  One condition in particular mandated that First Energy assist in developing a Tier 1 renewable energy source capable of generating 13,000 megawatts. 

In December 2010, Malcolm Woolf, head of the Maryland Energy Administration—appointed by O’Malley—testified before the Public ServiceCommission in favor of requiring First Energy to support a Tier 1 renewable energy project.  It was the first time Woolf ever testified before the commission since O’Malley appointed him in 2007.

Later, in December 2011, First Energy announced it had entered into a long-term power purchasing agreement with Maryland Solar, which is developing a large, 160-acre solar farm on the grounds of a former state prison in Hagerstown.   The Public Service Commission granted a special waiver to Maryland Solar to allow it to begin construction, without obtaining a certificate of public convenience, in order for the company to access a federal renewable energy grant program before it expired. 

The Maryland board of Public Works, composed of Governor O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp approved a very favorable lease agreement for the land to Maryland Solar in July 2011, by a 2-1 vote.  Franchot voted against the deal.

Maryland Solar is a subsidiary of Beowulf Energy, which is overly guarded about information about its operations.   O’Malley’s former chief of staff, Michael Enright is Beowulf’s managing director. 

So here we have a company looking to do business in state of Maryland being shaken down by the O’Malley machine in order to enrich his crony, and assist the Governor achieve a political goal by amassing more renewable energy.

The $550,000 First Energy donated to the O’Malley controlled Democratic Governor’s Association between 2010-2011 didn’t hurt either.  Of course, when the Baltimore Sun looked into the massive amount of cash companies with business interests in Maryland poured into the DGA after he took the helm, O’Malley said there were no connections between the donations his decisions as governor. 

Governor, meet grain of salt.

First Energy wasn’t the only energy company to get a taste of the O’Malley way in 2011.  Chicago-based Exelon, which purchased Constellation Energy, which owned Baltimore Gas and Electric got the same treatment.  After Exelon agreed to $1 billion in extra concessions, O’Malley finally gave his blessing to the merger.  The concessions included Exelon paying $30 million for offshore wind development—a key political goal for O’Malley—, $2 million to state universities to fund wind energy research.  

Maryland Public Policy Institute energy expert Tom Firey described the Exelon deal:

Thomas A. Firey, a Maryland Public Policy Institute senior fellow, said the focus on alternative energy seemed political and counter-intuitive to market forces.

"If a wind farm or other alternative energy project makes sense, it will happen anyway," Firey said. "And, if they don't make sense, then it's really just well-dressed corporate welfare." 
Firey said it seems like the deal was more focused on securing funding for politically popular items like wind farms and poultry litter plants than getting further rate relief or rebates for BGE ratepayers. He also cautioned that there could be fallout from the deal that makes Maryland look unfriendly for businesses. 
"It's a shakedown for which the public really doesn't get much," Firey said. "And, it's yet another red flag for any businesses down the road thinking of doing business in the state not to come here. It's Annapolis machinations at its best."

Maryland has a reputation as state with a dreadful business climate.  It is, unless you’re politically connected.

More below the fold.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Air Raid: 8/24/2014

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio

On this week's episode of The Air Raid, I talk about the threat posed by ISIS and how liberarian foreign policy is a great danger to the inerests of all Americans.

Don't foget The Air Raid airs on Sunday nights at 8, only on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

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Red Maryland News Hour: 8/22/2014

Current Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio

On the Red Maryland News Hour for 8-22-14, Red Maryland News Director Duane Keenan travelled to Ocean City for the Maryland Association of Counties Annual Convention, and we hear from both Larry Hogan and Anthony Brown.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Politically Connected Regents will decide fate of USM

One of the stories that has gone underrated until recently has been the search for a new Chancellor of the University System of Maryland. Brit Kirwin is leaving the powerful and lucrative ($518,000 yearly salary) position to do something else, and the University System Regents are in the market for a new Chancellor.

This isn't a small deal for taxpayers in the state of Maryland. The 2015 University System Budget shows that the System is a $5.1 billion enterprise that employs almost 29,000 people. The USM budget constitutes 13% of the operating budget, and is responsible for the biggest of our state institutions of higher education. 168,000 students are part of the University System. Everybody either knows somebody who attends a USM school or has their degree from a USM school.

Let's just say that the selection of Chancellor is a big deal.

An article in Thursday's Sun highlighted the challenges that face the Board of Regents in selecting a candidate. It is an unenviable task to be sure. It would appear the the candidate that everybody wants is Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, and he wants nothing to do with the position:
Hrabowski, who has led UMBC to national prominence in his 22 years as president, said he would not be considered as a candidate for the chancellor's job.

He said he has been wooed over the years by "public and private institutions" with "invitations to discuss possibilities" but that he has long been happy to stay at UMBC, where he earned a salary of $428,800 last year. 
"My decision to not be considered has more to do with my commitment to UMBC than anything else. I think the chancellor's position is a great opportunity," Hrabowski said. "Each person has to decide what's important to him or her. ... It's simply a personal choice."
Notwithstanding a draft effort as suggested by the Sun Editorial Board, that will leave the Regents looking elsewhere. Ultimately it means the Regents will have to decide if the next Chancellor is should be somebody who is an educator or comes from a different walk of life. To me, there are pitfalls to both. Hiring an educator may be bringing in somebody who is familiar with higher education, but not politically savvy or, worse, not open to new ideas in higher education. Hiring somebody outside of the higher education might bring a lot of gravitas, but could bringing forth somebody who is not familiar with higher ed policy or might bring about unwanted attention (like the University of California system hiring Janet Napolitano, for example).
There are a number of issues that the new USM Chancellor is going to have to face, including that bloated $5 billion budget that spends more on staff salaries and benefits than they do on classroom instruction, as well as competition from private for-profit education institutions. And that's what concerns me about the Regents making this selection.

The position of Regent is one of the sexier sinecures that a Governor can hand out to influential supporters. Governor O'Malley is no exception. Members of the Board include donors who have given almost $150,000 to O'Malley, Brown and other Democrats (click here to see a chart of all of the donations). It also includes a former Congressmana former State Senator,  O'Malley's former Deputy Chief of Staff, and prominent Baltimore minister Frank Reid.  That fact is of great concern to me, as it opens up the likelihood that the Regents will select somebody who is an ill-prepared Democratic functionary instead of a qualified educator or qualified business leader.

The Regents selection of Chancellor will have a huge impact on the direction of public higher education for the next ten years. We should all be watching...

More below the fold.