Thursday, October 16, 2014

Announcing the NEW

Red Maryland, the premier blog of conservative politics and ideas in Maryland, has launched a newly redesigned site at!
This new website was designed is part of our ongoing relationship with the Liberty Alliance, a network of web sites dedicated to advancing Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness that leverages the power of new media to promote traditional values and generate more than 1,000,000 page views each day.

Liberty Alliance includes such conservative web notables as Col. Allen WestBrad Stine and Matt Walsh, conservative celebrities Kirk Cameron and Victoria Jackson and other great conservative websites like Eagle RisingBarbWire and PolitiChicksjust to name a few.
Our new site is designed to be user friendly and informative, while incorporating all of the great content from Red Maryland's past.
All of our new content will be over at the new site, so be sure to switch your bookmarks over to our new site for the best in Maryland conservatism. 

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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

It's another big episode of  Red Maryland Radio tonight on the Red Maryland Network.
On tonight's show:
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.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baltimore Orioles 2014: Greatness for Them and Joy for Their Fans

--Richard E. Vatz

I said I would be of this opinion if they lost, and I am:

It was a magical, magical year, and the O's brought us incredible joy through their talent and character.  What a good and decent crew.  What a uniquely good manager.

As my wife summed it up, "it was a wonderful season."

Without qualification.

Congratulations, O's...and thank you.

Professor Vatz teaches at Towson University

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Controversial Former Candidate Running Ferrar's Campaign

An interesting tidbit appeared in this Capital story from yesterday about House of Delegates Candidate Chuck Ferrar:

Ferrar combines support for increased transportation funding and local implementation of a stormwater management fee with business acumen he says will help bring jobs to Maryland. He hired former Annapolis mayoral candidate Zina Pierre to run his campaign and said he possesses the ability to compromise when revising legislation.
What the story failed to mention, of course, is Zina Pierre's checkered history.

In 2009, Zina Pierre was the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Annapolis. At least she was briefly. For you see, Zina Pierre was forced off the ticket as the Democratic nominee due to a personal financial scandal. As Paul Foer reported at the time:

Zina Celestine Pierre, the recent upset winner in the Democratic Primary for Mayor, has a lengthy history of legal troubles that have repeatedly landed her in court for issues such as mortgage foreclosure, tax lien and a credit union judgment.
According to state records easily available online, Zina C. Pierre is listed as a defendant in 18 civil lawsuits and 3 traffic cases in Prince Georges County, the earliest being 1990 and the most recent two being filed in March of 2009. In all cases she is the defendant. 
Five of the civil lawsuits are listed as still active and involve a mortgage foreclosure, a credit union judgment against her (over $6,000), a State of Maryland tax lien ($653), another approximate $6,000 judgment against her and what looks like her company, and another lien. These are just the active and open lawsuits. Among those listed as closed are lawsuits involving Hecht's and Jaguar Land Rover of Annapolis.
This is whom Chuck Ferrar entrusted his campaign for the House of Delegates, which certainly brings into question the judgment that he would bring to the State House if he were to somehow be elected. To say nothing of how uncomfortable it must be for Ferrar and Speaker Mike Busch to work together since Busch helped to throw Pierre under the bus back in '09.....

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The Dandy Versus Rough Around the Edges: Nod Goes to Hogan


--By Richard E. Vatz

I suppose this will be what passes for a fair debate on NewsChannel 8, with no obvious prejudice but with The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson asking repeatedly one-sided questions in favor of Anthony Brown and with his (Brown’s) getting three shots at the devastating legacy and cost ($288 million, said Larry Hogan) of the healthcare run-up, while Hogan got one.

Much of the debate otherwise was a replay of the campaign this far:  Brown was more rhetorically dexterous and Hogan was incredulous at what he claimed were false imputations of policy arguments and positions.

The format allowed some ad hoc participation, and I think if you add up the minutes, Brown was advantaged by this.  It was not outrageous, and the debate as a whole was generally informative, even if it was not quite up to the fairness and equity in the WJZ-Baltimore Sun debate.

Bruce DePuyt was a fair enough moderator, and he and questioner WTOP’s Shawn Anderson were just fine in their roles, but Ms. Johnson, as noted, appeared to be consistently quasi-hostile to Hogan.

Writing several days ago on Brown’s accusation that Hogan’s “privately telling ‘extreme’ gun-rights activists that he would use executive orders to roll back some gun-control measures — something that Hogan has publicly said he would not do,” she became what we call in persuasion theory a “special pleader,” pressing and pressing this issue after it had been discussed earlier in the debate.

Again, Hogan denied he would do any such thing, as Johnson had written in the Post a week ago, and that he could not respond to unnamed sources. Perhaps he can be asked about this four or five more times.

Standard issues and responses 
There were the standard issues and responses, and, again, Hogan’s general attack was that Brown had solutions to problems that he was part and parcel of creating as lieutenant governor and that Brown had never publicly spoken up about such matters.  Hogan asked if Brown ever voiced his objection to Gov. Martin O’Malley concerning his misgivings, but Brown never addressed that.

The weakest Brownian answers concerned the question by DePuyt, “Are Marylanders overtaxed?” and Brown said yet again that he didn’t see the need for raising taxes, but never addressed the question or why he should be believed that he would not raise taxes when he had made the same promise four years ago.  There were also no answers to the $10 billion spending rise, the loss of jobs, the rise in unemployment (despite the infusion of federal jobs, unmentioned by Hogan) or who was responsible for Maryland fiscal policy if not the governor and lieutenant governor.

I am going to jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge if Hogan again pursues his “pursuing mental illness history will cut down on gun violence” argument without ever giving any evidence that such pursuit has had any effect whatsoever.  Why don’t reporters question him on this?  Because they believe that “mental illness” is the cause of gun violence, without any evidence as well.

Finally, as a pox on both their houses, is no one going to talk about the elephant in American society, single parent households which contribute outrageously disproportionately to crime and other social pathologies, or is the answer just to buy government overseeing of our children at earlier and earlier ages, say pre-K and pre-pre-K education?

I must say that as disappointed as I was substantively in Anthony Brown’s evasions and sophistry, his elocution is near-perfect.  I hope my students someday present as well as he.  Hogan’s is not bad as a rough style, often associated with ingenuous honesty, but most audiences prefer style such as Brown’s.

Edge to Hogan.

Professor Vatz teaches Persuasion at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (Kendall Hunt: 2013)

--MarylandReporter 10/14/2014

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How Taxpayers Help Pay for the Democratic Ground Game

This Friday, schools across Maryland will be closed for "professional development."

It is not coincidental that on this "Professional Development" day, teachers from across the state will be traveling to Ocean City for the Maryland State Education Association Convention.

Join thousands of your colleagues from across the state in Ocean City on October 17-18 for the 2014 MSEA Convention: Our Profession. Our Association. Our Voice. 
Some of the workshops that are being offered Friday are of relevance to professional development and teaching, however some of them aren't. Friday afternoon at 1 PM, for example, will be this workshop which deals with "professional development."

How Do We Get What We Want? Organize!
Join us for this special session on organizing successfully in your building and local, whether the issue is professional, political, or your principal. This highly interactive session will be led by NEA organizing guru Floyd Cox, and will begin Friday at 1 p.m. in the Bayfront Ballroom. You won’t want to miss it!

So on Friday afternoon as part of "professional development" teachers will get the opportunity to learn union organizing skills that they will need to, in part, try to help elect Anthony Brown and other Democrats this November.

Of course since this is "professional development", this is a paid work day for teachers who attend the convention. That means that your tax dollars will be used to pay for teachers to learn union organizing skills to work on behalf of Democratic candidates.

As for teachers who don't wish to attend the convention? They have to go through with their professional development the old fashioned way.

So to recap, schools will be closed on Friday for a professional development day that exists mainly to allow for teachers who are also union activists to engage in union building activities to prepare to help Anthony Brown and Democrats at the ballot box on Election Day. Taxpayer dollars are helping to pay for training that will help Teacher's Union activists, who of course have Election Day off, to get out the vote for the Democrats.

Obviously, the teachers union has every right to organize a convention. However, the idea that the convention should be held on a weekday, that schools should be closed so people can attend it, and that those who wish to attend should get credit for a paid workday for going, is frankly insulting to the voters of Maryland and goes against the idea that the teachers union is working on behalf of the children of our state. Instead of teaching this Friday, union activists will get paid to go to what amounts to a Democratic Party rally instead,

This is the kind of culture that we need to fix here in our state.

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Why Obamacare Cancelled Your Insurance and Why it Will Cancel Your Insurance Again

Image courtesy Mercatus Center
Last year, millions of Americans, including 73,000 Marylanders, lost the insurance—President Obama assured them they could keep—due to Obamacare. 

Cancellations will continue in the years to come. 

These cancellations are a feature, not a bug in Obamacare.

In a new video, Mercatus Center, Robert Grayboes, a Senior Research Fellow for health policy explains why more cancellations are to come. 

Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) establishes four narrow bands of coverage based on actuarial value  (AV) or the percentage of medical bills an insurance plan pays for.  Beginning this year the AV of all plans must fit into the narrow Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Platinum bands with established under the law. 

Bronze: AV of 58-62
Silver: AV of 68-72
Gold: 78-82
Platinum: 88-92

Any insurance plans that pays and AV outside the bands is not considered insurance by Obamacare and must be cancelled. 

The banding is so perverse that a plan with a AV of 59 is okay, while a plan with an AV of 98 is considered subpar.

In the video, Grayboyes compares Obamacare to a school.  A grade of 59 would be passing, but a 98 would be an F.  “In any other school you’d be the valedictorian” Grayboys says.  But under Obamacare “you’re sub par and you fail.”

 “It’s not the fault of the insurance companies, by law they have got to cancel your policies if they fall outside one of those narrow bands.”

“Every year, under the ACA, the AV calculation changes,” says Grayboes.  Using the example of a gold plan bought in 2014 that has an AV of 81 percent. After a couple of years at renewal time the plan changes to 83 percent—falling outside the gold band.  “Guess what, its now subpar, its cancelled” Grayboyes states.   Now you must find a new plan, and possibly a new doctor.

“You best get used to this year after year, after year, after year, that’s the way the ACA is written.”


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Thumb on the Scale

It was only a matter of time before the usual suspects in covering the gubernatorial race for Maryland’s largest mainstream media outlets began putting their thumb on the scale for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.

Case in point: John “Watchdog” Wagner—an accomplice in the O’Malley administration’s abuse of the Public Information Acttrolled the Maryland Shooters message boards for a hit piece regarding the Maryland Firearms Safety Act A hit piece the Brown campaign has been deceitfully exploiting.

What’s interesting, is that in Wagner’s journalistic judgment, the message board postings of the Maryland Shooters weighed more than what former Delegate Mike Smigiel told him. 

According to Smigiel, he told Wagner:

Mr. Hogan's chief of staff, Mr. Crim asked me if I would meet with him and Mr. Hogan to explain some of the intricacies of SB-281. I agreed and did.  At no time was Mr. Hogan asked for any favors for the 2A community nor were we promised any thing. 

Smigiel also told me that Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contacted him with similar questions.  Smigiel said he told both reporters that questions about the Firearms Safety Act were a red herring to distract voters from economic issues.  “People are worried about the loss of businesses and jobs and the high taxes and fees that are making Maryland too expensive to live in.”  Smigiel said.

Wagner also asked Smigiel what gun rights advocates would like to see from Hogan if he were elected.  Smigiel said he would like to see Hogan put a stop to the O’Malley administration’s illegal search and seizure of guns from law-abiding citizens just to pump up StateStat statistics.

“Neither the Sun nor Post used my comments or mention that I specifically deny there was any deal with the 2A community and Hogan.”  Smigiel said.

It is also interesting that Wagner—and the rest of Maryland’s political media failed to cover the sworn testimony of retired Maryland Police Captain Jack McCauley.  McCauley testified under oath that the O’Malley-Brown administration ordered him NOT to answer legislator’s questions about SB 281, the Firearms Safety Act, because the bill was “not about policy; it is just votes.”

McCauley, former head of Maryland State Police Licensing Division, and officer in charge of the Firearms Enforcement Section within the state police’s Criminal Investigation Division.

In a signed affidavit in Kolbe v. O’Malley, McCauley revealed that at a March 28, 2013 hearing of a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, the O’Malley administration ordered him to NOT to answer Smigiel’s question regarding the efficacy of certain provisions (ban on certain firearms and magazines) of SB 281.

In his affidavit McCauley stated:

“As I began to respond, I was commanded by Shanetta Paskel, the Deputy Legislative Officer for the Office of Governor Martin O’Malley, not to answer the delegate’s question.”

Had he been able to answer, McCauley said he would have told the committee that SB 281 would have no effect on crime in Maryland, that banned weapons were almost never used in crimes in the state, it would have no impact on mass shootings, and that those wishing to acquire a magazine with a capacity greater than ten rounds would purchase one out-of-state, rendering the ban ineffective, except to restrict the choices of firearms and magazines by law-abiding citizens.

According to McCauley, after the hearing, Paskel explained to him in a hallway outside the hearing room, the reason she ordered him not to answer the question because the bill was it was “not about policy; it is just votes.”

McCauley confirmed to me that no one from Washington Post or the Baltimore Sun has contacted him about his testimony.

One would think that a Maryland State Police Firearms expert—testifying under oath—that the O’Malley-Brown administration prevented him providing testimony that would have undermined the entire rationale for its signature gun law would be a story for the two largest newspapers covering state government. 

One would think that the Washington Post’s lead state political reporter would be interested in covering the legislative legerdemain pulled on Good Friday to kill a duly passed amendment from SB 281—the only one that would have actually punished violent criminals.

Or the Democratic majority that voted down amendments to take away good time credits for those who commit violent crimes with guns, and add funding for mental health initiatives to SB 281. 

One would think that the Washington Post would show more intellectual curiosity why Maryland would need a sweeping new gun law when it was already in the midst of a 33 percent drop in gun deaths over the prior eight years according to data from the FBI’s annual Crime in the United States reports.

One would think… but this is an election year. 

Disclosure: I have done paid research work (not this piece) for Change Maryland and Hogan for Governor.

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