Thursday, January 31, 2008

Now Edwards and Rudy are gone - what next?

It's a bit on the stale side newswise, but I wanted to bring their withdrawal up this evening to discuss the impact their absence from their respective party races could have.

Let's start with John Edwards. Once again he was denied the brass ring as he was in 2004. But this time I don't think he'll get the consolation prize (such that it was) of being number 2 on the ticket. If you look at how he campaigned on the theme of "soup line America" (even in his concession speech, which now serves as the remainder of his campaign site), I can't see him on the stump as the Democrat's running mate. Personally I don't think Obama would pick him and my money is on Bill Richardson getting the nod if Hillary's nominated.

But more importantly, where do his votes go? He got a solid plurality of the white male vote in South Carolina, and that's your average union person. But many of those Rust Belt states don't vote until later in the campaign and by then it may be a fait accompli.

A big deal was made in Iowa about 70% of the vote going against Hillary but I think the Edwards vote will accrue to Hillary for two reasons: first, I think most of the anti-Hillary vote had already pretty much abandoned John after Iowa when they saw Barack Obama was the stronger candidate; secondly, the race card that Bill and Hillary Clinton dealt in South Carolina will rake in the chips among the lunchbucket set in the Rust Belt. Those may be the states that Bill hits heavily after Super Tuesday because there's a lot of unionistas who fondly recall the "good days" when Bill was in office. Many of them would be all for the "two for the price of one" idea.

The Democrat polls are tightening a bit in some states but Hillary should prevail nevertheless.

As if the conservative movement didn't have enough issues, Rudy Giuliani got out of the race and backed John McCain, and in a glowing manner to boot. How about this passage by Michael D. Shear from the Washington Post:

The presidency requires someone with a "clear vision" about the challenges that the country faces, Giuliani told a room packed with television cameras. It requires a person with "will" and "perseverance" to get things accomplished for the country, said the former New York mayor.

"Obviously, I thought I was that person," Giuliani joked. "The voters made a different choice."

And then, Giuliani spoke the words that should warm McCain's heart and help fill his campaign coffers.

"John McCain is the most qualified candidate to be the next commander in chief of the United States," Giuliani said, moments after officially withdrawing. "He is an American hero, and America could use heroes in the White House. He is a man of honor and integrity, and you can underline both 'honor' and 'integrity.'"

Rudy was getting around 10% in Super Tuesday states before he exited. If you figure that 60-70% of Rudy's votes will go to McCain, that's an extra 2 to 4 points which Mitt Romney or the fading Mike Huckabee have to make up against the Republican nominee of the Fourth Estate Party and I simply don't see that happening.

More alarmingly to me, I've already noticed a trend among voting states where the Democrats have more total votes than the Republicans, and this trend is sure to continue if McCain keeps building his lead and conservative Republicans feel more and more abandoned by the process. They'll show their displeasure by blowing off Election Day.

In turn, that apathy may hit close to home. If the conservatives on the Eastern Shore decide to forgo the primary, it may boost Wayne Gilchrest's chances at staving off the twin challenges of Andy Harris and E.J. Pipkin. Judging by our September straw poll, Fred Thompson was a clear favorite among local voters and those voters also liked Andy Harris (note that this was prior to E.J. Pipkin's entry into the race.) With the Reagan-style presidential hopefuls gone, Harris, and to a lesser extent Pipkin, will have to figure out some way to motivate their charges on February 12.

Crossposted on monoblogue.


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Response to Vincent DiPietro's Letter to the Editor

In the Thursday January 31st edition of The Gazette, Carroll County liberal Democrat Vincent DiPietro submits a letter to the editor. In his letter he attacks the Ehrlich administration and sets all blame for the current problems of the state squarely in Ehrlich's lap.

DiPietro's letter states:

I am sick and tired of Republicans constantly beating up on Gov. Martin O'Malley for raising taxes by $1.2 billion. They forget to say that O'Malley inherited $1.7 billion deficit from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. who spent money he did not have, and ran up the deficit.

This is extremely disingenuous to say the least. I will agree that Republicans are beating up on O'Malley, some of it unjustly. However, neither party has been forthcoming on the issue of the budget. There is no real cooperation in Annapolis and politicians are playing off of the emotions of their constituents to push their agenda.

What Mr. DiPietro fails to mention is that the majority of the budget that O'Malley inherited and that Ehrlich ran up were attributable to mandatory funding requirements, such as the Thorton Bill (mandatory education spending). Ehrlich did not put Thorton in place, nor should he receive the blame for its contribution to the increase in the budget.

Additionally, he implies that Ehrlich's spending left O'Malley with a deficit. He fails to mention that O'Malley inherited a structural deficit, which is hardly the same as being left with a huge credit card bill. A structural deficit is when projected spending will not be covered by projected revenue intakes. In fact, O'Malley inherited a structural deficit created by required spending that was passed by several previous administrations.

Finally, Mr. DiPietro says:

The budget cuts and tax increases O'Malley proposed is to cover the wild spending of the Ehrlich era.

Again, Mr. DiPietro is being disingenuous and assuming that the readers are mostly a bunch of dumb asses. If this was the case, O'Malley would not have increased the Maryland budget beyond what was required to cover the structural deficit left by the Ehrlich administration.

O'Malley freely admits that taxes were increased to cover the budget deficit and to invest in the future of the state. Money will be used for transportation and education, among other things. To say that O'Malley increased taxes to pay for the party is dishonest.

Vincent DiPietro needs to apologize not only to Governor Bob Ehrlich, but also to the readers of The Gazette for submitting such blatantly false accusations and for pushing his one-sided view of politics upon us. He's either a very bad story teller or he's one of the most misinformed politicians in the state.

This article is cross-posted at www.votenomalley.blogspot.com.


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Plain Silliness

The Maryland Transit Administration already has a hard enough time running an operating system, and is a complete failure when it comes to keeping passengers safe. But that doesn't stop the Sun from wanting to expand the MTA's role where it does not belong....

See more below the fold....

Simply put, it says that the creation and support of transit-oriented development should be a priority for the Maryland Transit Administration. That's not a new concept, but the O'Malley administration bill marks the first effort to set the goal into law. And while there are numerous such projects in the works, support for them - political and financial - has not always been as strong as it should be.

Transit-oriented development should be a no-brainer. Building projects with retail, offices, residential and parking facilities immediately adjacent to rail or bus service increase ridership and better serve the community....

...But promoting development is quite a departure from the traditional role of the MTA as merely a builder and operator of transit lines. It means, for instance, forging agreements with developers and local government to encourage visionary projects. That may involve promoting tax abatements or zoning exceptions, the standard tools of local government-fostered economic development.
Of course, the MTA has absolutely no business in working on the kind of projects the Sun suggest that they work on. Suddenly though, the Sun seems to think that the MTA is the kind of effective government agency that should use its vast experience in development issues to help plan transit oriented development.

Of course, when you consider that the MTA can't get the easy stuff right, can't protect their customers even after promising solutions, and wants to spend billions upon billions of dollars on 28-year plans, I can see where the Sun would get that idea. I mean, they are such an effective organization and they clearly have no problems with their system. The MTA is surely the organization to lead Maryland into the next 25-years of urban policy.

Sarcasm aside, the Sun's rah-rah support of this is a complete joke, albeit unsurprising given that the bill in question is being pushed by the O'Malley Administration. And check out this nugget from the legislation:
"TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT" MEANS A MIX OF PRIVATE OR PUBLIC PARKING FACILITIES, COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES AND USES, IMRPVOEMENTS, AND FACILITIES CUSTOMARILY APPURTENANT TO SUCH FACILITIES AND USES.
So by definition, we're going to find ourselves with the MTA as a new de facto MEDCO type outfit, creating development projects that are going to be competing directly with the private sector. And those of us in Anne Arundel County know what happens when those projects, as one would suspect they would, go south, though we know that O'Malley and his team never learned those lessons.

The Administration and the Sun both seem to lack the understanding that when an organization is failing to do the job that they were created to perform, it is then probably not a good idea to task that organization with different, completely unrelated responsibilities and expect anything good to happen for our state and certainly the taxpayers.

(Crossposted)


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Good Money After Bad

I get criticized for calling for better controls on spending at public schools and universities before we throw more money at existing problems. But here is one good reason why we must do this:

The director of design and construction management at Morgan State University has resigned amid findings by a legislative auditor that the college violated state regulations in multimillion-dollar deals with a private contractor, officials said yesterday.

In a statement, campus officials acknowledged that university staff had failed to follow Maryland procurement rules. The university has acknowledged adding a $3.1 million allowance into its bid for a 2005 contract and then using $2.6 million of the surplus funds to pay Whiting Turner Contracting for cost overruns on four other campus projects without getting state approval.

The fact of the matter is that such rules violations are probably extremely common throughout state government. The question leads us to this: how much money has the state wasted through paying of higher than necessary fees for services because some employees could not be bothered to follow the rules?

This story further proves the problem with throwing good money after bad when it comes to education. We have seen, both in secondary and higher public education, no desire to account for the money that is being spent in these schools. Union officials and administrators would prefer to kvetch about the need for more money before, not after, proving that the money they currently have is being efficiently and effectively spent. I bet that if it were not for this legislative audit, the inappropriate use of of funds here at Morgan State would have gone unnoticed due to the lack of proper accounting procedures in place in the University hierarchy.

(Crossposted)


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From Capetown to Catonsville

South Africa is facing daily power outages, which is halting its economic growth.

But after three weeks of chronic failures —after regularly irregular vexations with lifeless computers, stove tops and stoplights — public forbearance has given way to outrage. This nation, long a reliable repository of cheap, plentiful electricity, finds itself pitifully short of juice.

The government has confessed to an “electricity emergency” and has begun a program of rationing for industrial users. This is a mortifying turn for a country that considers itself the powerhouse of Africa and resists comparisons to its underdeveloped, famine-plagued neighbors.

But electricity shortages, now expected to be a fact of life for the next five years, are more than an embarrassment. They threaten continued strong growth here in a nation that accounts for a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s economic output and ranks among the world’s top 25 countries in gross domestic product.

Because South Africa is an engine of growth for the region, a slowdown here would also affect its neighbors, undermining global efforts to reduce poverty and damaging South Africa’s own drive to slash its woeful unemployment rate of 25.5 percent.

One of this nation’s largest employers, the mining industry, virtually halted production for four days last week because Eskom, the dominant, government-controlled utility, could not guarantee enough power to ventilate and cool the deep underground shafts. Companies that mine gold and platinum restarted production only on Tuesday after emergency negotiations with Eskom, South Africa’s Chamber of Mines said.

“The shutdown of the mining industry is an extraordinary, unprecedented event,” said Anton Eberhard, a business school professor at the University of Cape Town and an energy expert. “That’s a powerful message, massively damaging to South Africa’s reputation for new investment. Our country was built on the mines.”


And how did this happen?


The current crisis stems from Eskom’s lack of capacity to generate enough power, and its inability to keep many of its plants working.

The predicament was foretold. In 1998, a government report warned that at the rate the economy was growing, the nation faced serious electricity shortages by 2007 unless capacity was expanded. The government, led by President Thabo Mbeki, who assumed office in June 1999, tried unsuccessfully to induce private investors to build additional power plants. Only belatedly did it permit Eskom to begin the necessary expansion.

“The president has accepted that this government got its timing wrong,” Alec Erwin, the public enterprises minister, said last Friday at a much-anticipated news briefing that broke a mystifying public silence...

South Africans are appalled by the daily interruptions to their lives. Workers sit idle, televisions flick into darkness and silence, elevators stall between floors, gas stations cannot pump, cakes remain forever half-baked. Every intersection with disabled traffic lights becomes a four-way stop, with drivers in each direction maddeningly delayed as the endless lines of cars inch forward.


Does this sound familiar?

Future power shortages and brownouts are predicted for Maryland due to lack of supply and increasing demand. Yet the mental giants in Annapolis are proposing legislation, which will DECREASE incentives to create generating capacity, and INCREASE energy costs and bring about energy rationing.

crossposted on The Main Adversary


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What Are You Doing...

... on Super Tuesday?

Dear Red Maryland readers,

You are cordially invited to the Baltimore Area Young Republicans, Super Tuesday Party at Ropewalk Tavern in Federal Hill on Tuesday February 5 at 6:00 PM.

Full disclosure: I am a member and officer in the state wide organization.

Come join me and other Red Maryland contributors, along with like minded conservatives as we watch the Super Tuesday primary returns in a shrine to Ronald Reagan. You can literally drink one for the Gipper. Free appetizers and drink specials are available.

Ropewalk has a great collection fine cigars as well. Purchase one to take home and smoke because Big Daddy gumint won't allow you to smoke in a public establishment, even where the proprietor would allow it.

If you plan on attending please respond to the Evite and mention Red Maryland. The event is free for paid BAYR members. Not a paid member? You can pay at the door, its only $20, which is thankfully not yet subject to the 20% sales tax increase.


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President McCain=Nixon 1971

Despite the eloquent Red State arguments for McCain, I remain unpersuaded. I will admit though, that Ben Domenech almost had me with the Anchorman reference.

I support Romney, and lord knows he isn't the perfect candidate. However, I can't at this time, support McCain, who is clearly at odds with the conservative base on many impoertant issues.

Conservative disatisfaction with McCain reminds me of Nixon in 1971. Not that I remember 1971, I wasn't even the proverbial gleam in my parents eyes yet, but conservatives did suspend their support of Nixon for being too liberal. Nixon famoulsy said, "we're all Keynesians now" and William F. Buckely politley said good luck with that.

I can see a repeat of this should McCain win the nomination and prevail in November.

How could this happen? Let's go down the list.

McCain-Feingold's assault on free speech

McCain's amnesty bill

McCain's support for economy crushing global warming policies. No wonder the man dissembles when he's asked about the economy.

McCain is not entirely with us on judges or taxes either.

Conservatives must seriously ask themselves if they want to battle a Republican president on these issues, especially if the Democrats control congress.


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House Republicans Propose Repealing Tax On Computer Services

The efforts to repeal the sales tax application on computer services have numerous co-sponsors, including a handful of Democrats. The press release reads as follows:

Media Release

January 30, 2008

Contact: Carrie Simons-Sparrow, 410-841-3401
Shannon Oxley, 410-841-3401

House Republicans Present Alternatives to Computer Services Tax

Annapolis – House Republicans today outlined a plan to repeal the expansion of the sales and use tax to computer services. The Republican proposal does not require replacement with revenues from other taxes nor does it require shifting the tax burden to local government.

“The expansion of the sales and use tax to computer services was one of the more egregious examples of the get-it-done-quick attitude that permeated the Special Session”, said Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell. “It was pushed through in the dark of night, without any public input. The citizens most impacted were never given the opportunity to voice their concerns”.

The sales and use tax was expanded to include computer services during the Special Session in November and is set to go into effect July 1. There are several bills aimed at repealing the tax including
HB 187, HB 253, and HB 326.

“Over the last several weeks there have been several other taxes floated as alternatives to the computer services tax”, said Minority Whip Christopher B. Shank. “These have included everything from an increase in the alcohol tax to an increase in the gasoline tax. We are confident that the computer service tax can be responsibly repealed without backfilling with additional taxes.”

The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) has estimated $200 million in revenues from the sales tax expansion. Members of the House Republican Caucus worked with DLS budget analysts to identify $203 million in spending reductions.

“Maryland continues to have a spending problem rather than a revenue problem and this was not remedied during the Special Session”, said Delegate Gail Bates, the Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee and the lead sponsor on HB 187. “Reasonable spending reductions can completely negate the need for the computer services tax.”


“The computer services tax sends the wrong message at a time when we are trying to promote Maryland as a leader in the knowledge-based economy”, said Assistant Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway, the lead sponsor on HB 326. “These are high paying jobs in a clean industry that is not confined by geographic borders. Their business can be conducted from anywhere in the world and we simply cannot afford to lose them.”


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McCain To Win

As a rule I've tried to keep this blog focused on Maryland and Maryland issues. But the 800-lb gorilla in the corner is the upcoming primary and the 2008 general election. Martin O'Malley can only tax us so often, and the Republican caucus jointly and severally sell out only so frequently, before it stops being newsworthy. And, sadly, it stops being a source of outrage.

I've never been a John McCain fan but I intend to vote for him and work for him in 2008.

Rarely does a party or movement get everything it wants in a candidate. We are not going to get it this time. Neither, for that matter, will the Dems.

Rather than bore you with my thoughts I'd like to point you to two of the best pieces of writing you will find on the internet. The first, and by far and away the most stylish bit of writing you will encounter today, is by my friend and Red State colleague Ben Domenech titled The Last Action Hero. The second is by my Red State colleague Dan McLaughlin, and from which I pinched the title of this post, called McCain to Win.

Lest you think we're all in the bag for McCain, take a quick tour of the front page and you'll find at least the diversity of opinion that Brian Griffiths catalogued on this site.


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Baltimore Delegate Leaves Session for Florida Getaway




You can’t make this stuff up. The Maryland State Legislature works a scant 90 days a year. Really, it’s less than that when you consider they typically don’t convene on weekends. In turn, some days consist of 15 minute get-togethers. For this measly amount of work, delegates and senators earn anywhere from $43,500 to $56,500 a year. Do the math. That’s a lot of dough for the little time they are required to show up. Now, some will argue that an elected official has obligations throughout the course of the year. Still, these gatherings are totally optional for these guys. Heck, even attending a session isn’t a requirement for this gig.

Clearly Baltimore politician Sandy Rosenberg isn’t going to allow an inconvenience like a scheduled session get in the way of his annual trek to Florida. While many legislators will be debating bills and answering constituent questions, Del. Rosenberg will participate in the Orioles fantasy camp down in Ft Myers, Florida. Apparently this marks the 14th time Del. Rosenberg has pulled such a stunt.

If the sheer audacity of doing this weren’t disturbing enough, the arrogance of Del. Rosenberg’s explanation for his decision should be met with absolute outrage outrage. Here’s a direct quote from today’s examiner:

“It’s early enough that the press of legislation is not as high,” Rosenberg told The Examiner. “We haven’t voted yet in committee. And I found that it hasn’t affected my ability to get [bills] through the legislature.” The issue “was raised in my last campaign, and I’m here,” he added.


District 41 residents have a duty to retire this guy. No, I don’t live in that district but as a taxpayer I am entitled to feel this way. Obviously, this cockiness must not bother his constituents. Although an opponent raised this disturbing fact prior to the 2006 election, voters still sent Del. Rosenberg back. Why doesn’t the electorate send a loud and clear message to these clowns? Instead, the likes of Sandy Rosenberg and Don Dwyer get re-elected despite thumbing their nose at the people who entrusted them.




Crossposted


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can We Be United Please?

I know this is an smack to my own, but I smack the other side too.

from Maryland Politics Today

I have a special opinion about the primary contest for the United States President, this comes in light of recent events. This message or shouty goes to the Conservative wing of my party, the Republican Party, especially the ones further to the right than I am.

I guess this can go back to the day when conservatives mourned the dropping out of Fred Thompson from the race. I never saw so many sad faces on conservatives, since former President Bill Clinton got a pass on his impeachment trial...I considered myself a Democrat back then. But the backlash that soon followed from conservatives who either would support Mitt Romney who is a great flip-flopper than John Kerry or just skip the process altogether.

Conservatives, I implore...I ask of you...to please....STOP YOUR FRIGGIN' BITCHING!

Here is the problem as your Friendly Uncle PKB sees it. I can say Uncle PKB because I have been one since January 5. On the Democratic side, you have Barack Obama who can bring people together, but two things are going to hold him back. Number one, Guilty White Liberals. I will refer you to my comment from earlier this month on why I think Obama will lose, although this go round, he not only established some great name recognition, but he also made the Black Boy Network look bad. Number two, Experience. Obama, for me and a lot of people (across the spectrum for the record), does not have enough experience. While I don't think he should wait until 2016 as former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young suggested, I would have liked to see him wait until he completed his first term as Senator before jumping in. I would at least give Hillary Clinton credit for at least winning another term in the Senate.

Speaking of which, Clinton will divide this country further apart. I know that the Republicans on Capitol Hill would stifle her at the drop of a hat. Don't expect this great Democratic tidal wave come November. I am of the belief that things in the legislative branch, particularly the Senate, will stay the same. But I have a great problem with people who develop a completely different dialect at the drop of a hat to pander to people. If you are a Democrat and believes that Clinton can bring the country together across party lines, I'm not going to sugar coat it, you are crazy.

Now to my party. Let me start with Fred Thompson who was disorganized right out of the gate. If the man cannot organize a campaign, he cannot organize the government, especially if he plans on limiting the role of government in peoples lives. Plus, Thompson did not look all that healthy to me. Imagine what he would look like after four years on the job.

Speaking of campaigning clusterbucks, Rudy Giuliani. He should not win because he is an arrogant, dishonest creep. No pun intended on the creep. We are talking about someone who wanted to move his estrange wife out of the official residence during his term as Mayor of New York Ctiy, with the kids, and move his creeper in. He doesn't have any moral integrity what so ever.

This came abundantly clear where two unarmed black men were shot by the NYPD. He defended the actions of the NYPD both times without any reservations. The second incident involving Patrick Dorismond prompted Giuliani to release a SEALED juvenile record. I don't care if the guy is dead, if the record is sealed, it should not see the light of day, let alone a press conference. I should also note that people complain about how President Bush talks, have they heard Giuliani?

Then you have Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo, the two men who want to fence off America. Sorry guys, it's a lot easier to enforce the law than to build a 700-mile waste of taxpayer money. Trust me, I know, ask Arizona.

Your best choice for President is either Mike Huckabee or John McCain. Remember, I don't endorse people on this forum. Huckabee because he is not trying to fence off the borders. McCain because he doesn't always tow the company line.

Let me remind you what people should be looking for in a United States President...A LEADER. Someone who will make the decision based on what is good for the country, not what's good for prideful arguments.

For the past eight years, except for the time after 9-11, there has been nothing but petty partisan squabbling which came to a head in the 2006 election. This is evident by Maryland paying the price through higher taxes. Under normal circumstances, a Governor with that high of job approval rating would not get voted out of office. Once the Democrats got control of the Congress, the attempts at making more political points became worse.

Now I know what you are thinking, "Kenny, that's politics." Well, this goes beyond politics. We are in a war, where our soldiers are half a world a way and House Democrats are playing with their paychecks and ultimately, their families here at home. The Republicans are not fighting for what is best for the country, they are fight a battle of trying to keep the conservative movement alive. The contenders are more worried about their philosophy winning out.

Believe me when I say that the conservative movement is not dead, nor it is dying. People in the patry like me do not want the Republicans to take a hard turn. Look at how wonderful making a hard turn is working out for the Democrats. Republicans need to get back to the simple core values of the party and two other things. Stop trying to build a fence and stop making Ronald Reagan into an idol.

America will benefit more from a united Republican Party, than a united conservative front. Anyone who says they would rather not vote in any election, has slapped this country in the face. People have died for our right to vote in a free nation, and people are still dying. The least you can do is to go vote on February 12.

P. Kenneth Burns is the editor/writer of Maryland Politics Today and is a contributor to Red Maryland. He lives in Laurel, Prince George's County. His email is kennyburns@marylandpolitics.us.


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It's Time, Pastor... It's Time...

Mike Huckabee, I really wanted to support you. Being a conservative Christian, I thought you resonated a message I longed to hear. Then I learned that your record in Arkansas left a bit to be desired, and with you not garnering the conservative vote, even with the withdrawal of Fred Thompson, I threw my support behind Mitt Romney, the only one left with a chance at the nomination, and the win in November, that still had conservative leanings.

With Rudy bowing out, and throwing his support behind John McCain, Mitt could sure use some help.
Mike, you got almost as much support as the NY Mayor, so don't you think it might be time... to bow out gracefully and give your support to Governor Romney? Prove you really are the conservative you claim to be, prove doubters like me wrong. Take one for the team, the conservative base you claim to court. Please don't stay in 'til the "ninth inning", but please get on the bench, and give Mitt a chance. Please! Thanks, Pastor Mike!


Crossposted on Maryland Chesapeake Blog by Chester Peake


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Court Where the Death Penalty Always Takes a Holiday

Posted by Robert Farrow

THE HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT


by James H. Lilley

Any cold-blooded murderer hoping for a free pass for his crime should pray that his case be heard in the Howard County Circuit Court. Having a Capital Offense tried before a Judge and Jury in Howard County, Maryland is the equivalent of winning the Power Ball and Mega Millions drawings on successive nights. Certainly your odds of winning those lotteries in consecutive drawings would be greater than having a death sentence handed down in Howard County. If you don’t believe it, ask Brandon Morris. Morris executed Corrections Officer Jeffrey Wroten while effecting his escape from a Western Maryland hospital. But, today Judge Joseph Manck saw fit to spare him the death penalty he so much deserved, and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Looking back on Manck’s record as a judge, I’m surprised that he didn’t award Morris 10 millions dollars for the inconvenience caused by bringing him to trial, and set him free.

Manck offered several reasons for sparing Morris’ life and, par for the course, they were as lame as the judicial system has become. Of course, he said he wanted to spare the victim’s family from having to face years of appeals. The family countered by saying they didn’t care if they had to face endless years of appeals, Morris deserved the death sentence, and the court failed to do its job. Tracey Wroten, wife of the victim, said the decision to live through the appeals process should rest with the family, not the judge. Washington County Prosecutor, Charles Strong agreed with Tracey Wroten, and said that although the Prosecutor’s in this case did their jobs, the court failed the Wroten family. Next, Manck brought out the crying towel, and began the sad tale of Morris’ horrible life. Poor Brandon led a terrible life, being abused and left to fend for himself. So, instead of fighting back and making something of himself, he chose a life of crime and became a career criminal.

America has become a society of excuses, and Morris just followed along with the others who refuse to accept responsibility for their own lives. Today, we have excuses for everything from poor grades, to bad driving habits and rape and murder. Just point the finger at someone else, or blame society as a whole. I know men, black and white, who led terrible lives as children, and were abused and abandoned, but today they are successful businessmen. Why? Because they had the courage to fight for themselves and chose not to follow the sheep, and whine a never-ending list of excuses for their failures.

Of course, I’m sure Judge Joseph Manck would also claim that he knew nothing of Morris’ actions during his trial. Morris continually gave the finger to the victim’s family and friends, and mouthed obscenities to law enforcement officers. At one point he also gave the finger to TV cameras, hoping to give the viewing audience a show of his sentiments for the victim and the judicial system. Morris’ body language, and his punk smirk everyday said he’d gladly kill another law enforcement officer if the opportunity presented itself. By sparing his life, Manck pinned another thug badge of honor on Morris. This thug badge of honor was earned with the blood of an innocent man, and that blood now stains the hands of Judge Manck and the Howard County Circuit Court.

Brandon Morris will never walk the streets a free man again, but he should be facing a dark hole six feet under the ground. He should be sitting on death row, waiting to hear the door open, and having someone coldly tell him, “It’s time.” Brandon Morris is like so many others who butcher innocent men, women and children—a cruel, calculating killer. And, like them, he deserved to die.


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Donna Edwards and The Vast Leftwing Conspiracy

Donna Edwards is the progressive saint of the FSP folks. They are touting her new "stakeout" ad against Al Wynn. Watch it below. Edwards films Wynn departing the office of big nuclear power company and shows the other "big corporate special interests" that fund Wynn. However, note the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters endorsement logos at the end of the ad.



The Sierra Club and LCV are big players in the constellation of progressive advocacy groups National Review contributor Byron York documented in his book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. One of York's major arguments is that the left's commitment to campaign finance reform and law is purely notional. The left's largest financiers like George Soros, championed campaign finance reform because they saw it as a tool to hamper rich evil Republicans. York points out many many instances of campaign finance shenanigans on the left. The point being, that the left and their special interests are on the side of the angels and not subject to the rules.

PolitickerMD's coverage of Al Wynn's FEC complaint against Donna Edwards reveals that she might be another example of what York noted in his book.


In a letter to the FEC, Lori Sherwood, the congressman’s campaign manager, wrote, “Based on my examination of various records and documents I believe the Donna Edwards for Congress Committee has received substantial assistance by way of unreported, in-kind contributions from organizations who profess to have operated independently of the Edwards Campaign.”

In a lengthy complaint, Sherwood claimed that as executive director of the social justice organization the Arca Foundation, Edwards was “responsible for administering and overseeing grants that are awarded and distributed” by the group – grants that go to some of her campaign's biggest supporters.

“By way of example and not limitation, the Arca Foundation contributed $100,000.00 in grants to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) from 2004-2006,” Sherwood said.

“That after having been intimately involved in the award of an Arca grant to the LCV, Donna Edwards was appointed to the Board of Directors of the League of Conservation Voters,” she continued. “After receipt of grant money from Ms. Edward's group and her appointment to the LCV Board, LCV endorsed Donna Edwards for Congress in 2006 and 2008.” Sherwood goes on to allege that the “LCV and its principals contributed over $15,000.00 to the Edwards campaign through its board members, employees, and the LCV PAC.”


The complaint also alleges other non kosher relationships with other progressive organizations like EMILY's List and Friends of the Earth.

EMILY's List Executive Director Ellen Moran denounced Wynn's complaint saying:

"EMILY's List is proud to stand with Donna Edwards, a champion for women and families and a leader we know will bring the kind of change the voters of Maryland's 4th District so desperately want. It is a sad indication of Rep. Wynn's desperation that he resorts to launching specious attacks against non-profit community groups, environmentalists and organizations representing workers and women's rights."


And so we come to the left's excuse for everything. Its okay to violate campaign finance laws because their special interests are the good special interests, Therefore, the rules don't apply to them and to point out that discrepancy is bad form. Special interests are special interests no matter where their money goes.

Nothing may come of the allegations and honestly I don't have a dog in this the Democratic primary. I lived in the 4th in Wynn's earlier terms and I can't say I was represented well by him back then.

However, Donna Edwards is a tool of special interests just as she paints Al Wynn to be. True, if she is elected you probably won't have to stake her out at a corporate lobbying firm. You will find her at the lobbying offices of the special interest groups: Sierra Club, NOW, SEIU, LCV, and ACORN.

I wonder what Edwards and the FSP folks think about ACORN, a group implicated in vote fraud and cited by the NLRB for illegally firing its employees who deigned to form a union.

But they are progressive special interests so they couldn't possibly be a bad influence on our politics.

crossposted on The Main Adversary


More below the fold.

Daily Times Supports Drivers' Licenses for Illegals

The Daily Times doesn't want you to wait in line for your drivers' license. Isn't that sweet. The bottom line is that the Real ID act is a minor inconvenience and worth the price of helping to protect the sovereignty of our nation.

Do we want illegal aliens voting in Maryland elections? Without Real ID, that is exactly what we are getting. Go to your county Elections Board. If you present a valid Maryland license or ID, that is all you need. Yet, illegals are permitted those under the current law. The requirements to vote are clear, yet no proof of citizenship is necessary.

The Daily Times argues that being forced to obtain a copy of your birth certificate (at a cost of $15) in order to obtain a drivers' license is simply too onerous. Of course, a tax increase on Salisbury residents (as the "Tilghman Times" refused to critically examine) that amounts to hundreds of dollars is perfectly OK.

I am honestly perplexed at the arguments made by our local newspaper. While it is no secret that I am no fan of their editorial policy, I never would have accused them of supporting illegal immigration or of being anti-American, until today. The paper will of course argue that this was not their argument. Perhaps ... but it is surely the result.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Another Foolish Idea from an Anti-Gun Liberal




Headlined in yesterday’s edition of the Examiner is a goofy proposal from Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer. Specifically, Moyer suggested that gun manufacturers should be required to produce micro-stamp imprints of a gun’s serial number on its shell casings. Does the mayor seriously believe that’ll prevent even a single murder? If she does, she’s gone further around the bend than originally feared.

Face it, career criminals are not walking into a gun shops and purchasing their weapons from a federally certified firearms dealer. Instead, they deal in stolen weapons obtained on the streets. For some odd reason, this fact always seems to escape the gun grabbers. Hence, even if a round produced an identifying mark, it’ll likely be traced to some poor sole who wasn’t anywhere near the scene of the alleged crime. Better yet, the weapon may even be traced back to the FBI.

Really, what good are these silly laws to begin with? Besides being an additional (and unnecessary) expense for someone looking to make a legal purchase of a gun, these types of statutes are also impractical. Overall, too many unrealistic assumptions have to come into play. First, we have to foolishly theorize an assailant obtained his or her gun legally. Then, we have to hope he or she made the purchase while living in the state of Maryland. In other words, having an arbitrary rule like this in Maryland without having similar provisions in others makes such a law idiotic.

It seems as if the usual suspects aren’t calling for further restrictions on the lawful ownership of weapons, then they are seeking measures like this that drive up the cost of obtaining arms. Ironically, limiting the availability of weapons either by restriction or cost only ensures law abiding citizens will not have the means to fight back. When that happens, our society takes a huge backwards.

Seriously, I’d like to know why the one law that would effectively reduce gun crimes is often the one most vehemently opposed by the anti-gun crowd. Mandatory prison terms for those that brandish weapons in the commission of a crime would automatically make our streets safer. Most gun owners, including myself, would have no qualms getting behind such idea. Why does the same concept repulse those who supposedly harbor so much outrage over gun crimes?



Crossposted


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Monday, January 28, 2008

Citizens for Better Government Update

As the controversy about the Citizens for Better Government continues to grow, it seems clear that many have not gone back and listened to what Delegate Kipke said on the Conservative Refuge Podcast and compared it to the group's recent campaign finance statement.

While I would still urge everyone to go back and listen to the entire 20 plus minute interview in context, below the fold I break it down a bit to show why there has been such a firestorm of criticism on the heels of the group's recent disclosures.





I will give the time in the show and the summary of the statements made. (Again, don't take my word for any of this listen to this interview for yourself and visit the links provided.)

6:30 Delegate Kipke explains the group is changing from a PAC to a Slate so that the Delegates can have "full control over how the money is spent."

7:30 Delegate Kipke acknowledges the change was based upon concerns about Lawrence Scott but personally vouches for his character of the group's members.

8:20 Delegate Kipke repeats that the Delegates wanted to control how the money is spent.

14:45 Delegate Kipke assures donors that they need not be worried that the money spent by the group was going to go to Lawrence Scott or that he would benefit in anyway.

16:10 Delegate Kipke says that the group is not a money making scheme for Lawrence Scott.

From the campaign finance report, we know that all of the money that was spent was funnelled through Scott Strategies, Inc. in apparant contradiction to the above statements and personal assurances by Delegate Kipke.

This is the most damning aspect of this whole story. Mr. Scott received the money and directly controlled how it was spent. The group has refused to make any further disclosure of expenses or will not admit or deny whether Mr. Scott received any consulting fees.

8:05 All the organizers have "invested equally."

16:35 All of the organizers have "invested our own money."

According to the group's own finance report, no contribution from Delegate Kipke appears and the contributions from Delegates Schuh and King come from campaign not personal accounts. [Correction - Friends of Nic Kipke did report a donation to the slate before the filing deadline. I apologize for the error.]


Again, despite the public statements that each of the Delegates "invested our own money" nothing in the state's campaign finance database supports that claim. The donations that were made were from campaign accounts, which included the donations of others. Also, no in-kind donations appear negating any claim of that type.


19:25 Delegate Kipke mentions (and I wholeheartedly acknowledge) his reputation for honesty.

The above statements along with Kipke's reputation were intended and, in fact, did quell the criticism of this group as they headed toward their fundraising dinner. The group's only statement filed under penalties of perjury, however, appears to contradict many of these statements.

Why is this important? Let me share with you a portion of an email from a listener named Erran

"I listen to all of your podcasts. I think you can do an "I told you so" podcast with a pretty clear conscience. If theses three delegates are going to become the face of the local party, the party should demand total honesty from them. They all seem like nice people but I can't say that I trust one of them although I trusted Kipke the most of the bunch until this."

" Kipke seems like a stand-up guy and how he could be manipulated to lie is beyond me. I suspect King and Schuh put him up to it. Someone in the local Republican party should put these guys to the test. Get them to come onto your show to defend the lies they are telling. I don't have access to the masses like you do but the only commodity the party has given its many public struggles in Maryland is honesty. I hope you will take up the cause to flesh this out so that these three start playing team politics."

I think that says it all.


More below the fold.

A Bill we can all get behind

There's a bill out there in the General Assembly that I hope all of us, left and right, can get behind...

I've been working with my friend Nic Kipke on HB 378, a bill that severely increases the penalties for Animal Abuse and Aggravated Animal Cruelty. Fortunately, the bill has bipartisan support with 25 sponsors on the bill.

The increased penalties will include:

  • Double the jail-time and fine for misdemeanor animal cruelty;
  • Double the fine for felony aggravated cruelty;
  • Impose tougher jail-time for felony aggravated cruelty; increasing from 3 to 5 years the maximum sentence, providing for a mandatory minimum of 1 year, and prohibiting the suspension of the mandatory minimum;
  • Mandatory psychological counseling for those convicted of both the misdemeanor and the felony charge.
I have made a copy of the press release available online.

Obviously in the wake of the Michael Vick incident animal cruelty has become something that has been much higher in the minds of Americans. It's unfortunate that it took a heinous act by a famous athlete in order to bring this issue to the forefront.


There are two things that are particularly noteworthy about animal abusers. One is the fact that we as a society should not allow for our fellow citizens to harm animals just for the sake of harming animals. That's not exactly something that promotes civilized society. But secondarily, animal abuse is a gateway for other notable psychological problems. A lot of criminals start out their devilish ways through the abuse of animals. Jeffrey Dahmer and the Boston Strangler are two of many serial killers, for example, who started out with aggravated animal abuse before moving up to crimes more and more heinous with each passing example.

We cannot minimize the need for tougher penalties on crimes committed against people. However, when you consider the history of violent criminals, hopefully this bill will serve as a deterrent, both to stop people from committing crimes against defenseless animals, and to make sure that the people who commit these crimes pay severely for what they have done.

The Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on this bill on Thursday, January 31st at 1 PM. I encourage you to testify, submit written testimony, or contact members of the committee to voice your support for this important legislation. As I said, this is the kind of bill both Republicans and Democrats can support and hopefully we can work together to push this meaningful legislation through.

(Crossposted on blog.briangriffiths.com and Free State Politics)


More below the fold.

Privatized Transit in the Dulles Corridor?

Lots of our liberal friends criticize me for my stance on the private funding on transportation infrastructure, but it looks like such ideas are being bandied about for the construction of Metro's Northern Virginia Silver Line:

Private equity investors are drawing up proposals to partner with Virginia for a rail line to Dulles International Airport as hope fades that the federal government will help fund the 23-mileMetrorail extension.

State officials said several equity groups have expressed interest in investing in a rail since Thursday, when U.S. transportation officials declared the project unfit for federal funding. The $5 billion project had been counting on a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

Private purchase of the rail line or the Dulles Toll Road to fund the extension would attract strong opposition from those who believe such public infrastructure is far too valuable to hand over to for-profit corporations. But with the outlook for keeping the rail project alive bleak, regional business and political leaders who are adamant that the rail line must not die are increasingly of the mind that private partnership must be considered.

"You gotta build this thing," said William D. Lecos, president of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. "So whatever contingency is fastest, bestest and quickest is good with us. We've always been supportive of the public-private concept. If that turns out now to be the contingency we can pursue, provided we can get on that course quickly and with some level of certainty, then that's what we should do."

Folks in Northern Virginia have been looking for over 25 years for a Dulles rail extension, and with the disqualification of the project from receiving federal funds, it looked liked the project may never get built. Now, with private companies in the mix, it looks like there is still hope for the project. When you consider how much of the Dulles Corridor's planning is tied into the future of this line, it remains and important project for the future of this area.

I hope that the private companies get a legitimate chance to build and operate this system. It will show, hopefully once and for all, that there can be a great public benefit to privatized transportation options in our area.

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Broken Record

I said before that the MTA's plan to reduce violence would not be effective, and it's certainly turning out to be that way:

Maryland Transit Administration Police and city police were seeking at least two young males who assaulted a 19-year-old man aboard a No. 8 bus Saturday night as it headed south on York Road from Towson toward the city, an MTA spokeswoman said.

About 11 p.m., several youths left the movies at Towson Commons on York Road, boarded the bus and became rowdy, said Jawauna Greene, the spokeswoman. She said that as their behavior became more disturbing, at least two of them assaulted the passenger for no apparent reason.

When is the O'Malley Administration, with their newfangled "law and order" focus, going to get serious about protecting those people who have to use mass transit on a regular basis? Because at the moment, I'm not sure anybody in the Administration gives a damn about the safety of these folks.

Right now, anybody who rides public transportation is extremely vulnerable. I just wonder if the O'Malley Administration is actually going to try and do something about it.

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Red Maryland in the News: Fighting Global Warming Hysteria

From today's Annapolis Capitol:

More than 100 people are at work on the final draft report of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

Though a small but vocal group of conservative activists charges that the input of all those people isn't affecting much. Rather, they say a consulting firm, the Center for Climate Strategies, is calling the shots and pushing Maryland to adopt a plan that's a carbon-copy of plans passed by other states.

Meanwhile, officials with the state and the center are quick to defend the work as being timely and crucially important."We decided to work with them because they have staff with a lot of expertise on these issues," said state environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson, who also serves as chairman of the climate commission. "They bring to the table the ability to inform us about what different cities, states and countries are doing."

The disagreement started with frustration over the commission's interim recommendations in November, to slash carbon-dioxide emissions in the state and promote energy efficiency.

Then, global-warming critics were galled to find out the center is controlled by another group that makes no bones about its environmental advocacy.

Mark Newgent of Baltimore has written extensively about the center and the climate commission on the Red Maryland blog as well as on his personal blog. He said Maryland is getting a raw deal by "essentially farming out its policy discussions to an advocacy group."

Mr. Newgent said he's not sold on the idea that humans are causing global warming. He also said he thinks the commission's process wasn't carried out in a forthright manner.

"I'm nitpicking at the process because we're supposed to have transparent and open government," he said.

He said he is further irritated by the fact that when he filed a Public Information Act request for documents about the center and the commission, the Maryland Department of the Environment told him he'd have to pay $1,381.40 to get copies.

David K. Kyle of Pasadena once ran for the state Senate as a Republican, and now he's a "conservative independent," he said. He, too, said he doesn't like what he's hearing about the climate commission and the center.

He said he laments that the commission didn't entertain discussions about global-warming science. There are too many questions about global warming to jump into coming up with ways to combat it, he said."

Their mind was already made up," he said.

Maryland has not paid for the center's work. When the center works with states - 25 and counting - it often brings its own funding.

That's what has some activists concerned - they say that funding comes from left-wing organizations and colors the process.

The center's Executive Director Thomas D. Peterson didn't say who is funding the work in Maryland, but said the donors don't influence the work that's being done."

We take the objectivity of our work very seriously," Mr. Peterson said.

To ensure the report's objectivity, he said donors must give the money with "no strings attached" and that there are enough funding sources so that no one source controls a majority of the money.

He said the private funding is needed because many states have an interest in developing climate plans but don't have the money to pay for it.

"Most states are broke," he said. "It's very difficult for states to mobilize funding for new initiatives if they're not mandated and fully funded."

Paul Chesser, a North Carolina activist who has been working to discredit the center on behalf of the conservative John Locke Foundation, said the center is putting on a repeat performance in state after state.

"They're all the same policy ideas," he said.Mr. Peterson said his staff has come up with more than 300 possible ways states can reduce greenhouse gases. Each state typically picks about 50 that will work best based on their sources of emissions.

The state commissions "want to learn from what other states have done, but they want to do something that is tailor-made to their state," he said.

Ms. Wilson, the state environment secretary, said tapping into the center's expertise helped speed up the commission's process.

Ms. Wilson said the allegations that the center pushes its own ideas on the commission are false.

It's not clear whether the concerns about the center will have any effect on state lawmakers, who will consider several bills that include one of the key recommendations of the climate commission.

The central focus will be on the Global Warming Solutions Act, which would require the state to slash emissions and set up a cap-and-trade program for major sources of greenhouse gases.

The bill faces an uncertain future. It died without action last year, and so far this year, it hasn't gained the public support of the governor or the leaders of the Senate or the House of Delegates.

Mr. Newgent, the blogger from Baltimore, acknowledges there's likely nothing that can be done about the center's consulting deal. But he thinks the Global Warming Solutions Act can be stopped.

"I hope it's not too late," he said.


More below the fold.

Scandalous





When Judge Joe Manck resigned his position as an Anne Arundel County judge last year, it was a day for celebration. For years, we watched as this creep handed down light sentences to some of the most vile creatures ever to walk the streets of this county. Recall, Bill O'Reilly's crew once showed up at Manck's house after he gave a child molester 4 months for sexually abusing his eight year old daughter. Likewise, Manck's indifference to criminal behavior likely cost a Florida woman her life back in August.

When I heard that Judge Manck would be hearing the case involving Brandon Morris, the thug who brutally murdered a corrections officer, I immediately questioned what the chief judge in Howard County could be thinking. I realize that Howard County got stuck with this case as a result of a change of venue. Still, one would have thought The Honorable Diane O. Leasure would have exercised more common sense than to tap ome of the most soft judges in the history of jurisprudence. No doubt, her flawed decision to allow Manck to hear this case, despite his well publicized leniency, was troubling on its face.

Well, as predicted, Judge Manck refused to give the death penalty to this vile creep. Instead, Manck thought a life without parole sentence would suffice for an animal who stood over his victim as he pleaded for his life. What happens when this creep kills again? His victim may be an officer or it may be an inmate. By this sentence, Manck has sent Morris and all other lifers a loud message that they essentially risk nothing by taking as many lives as they choose.

If Brandon Morris manages to kill anyone again both Manck and Leasure will have blood on their hands. Of course, Manck already has plenty on his. Manck should never be allowed to hear another criminal case anywhere. In turn, Leasure should offer her immediate resignation.

Crossposted


More below the fold.

DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?


Professional talk radio guest Frank DeFilippo is in high dudgeon over the fact that he received a RNC fund raising mailer. Oh the horror! He was so upset he felt to the need whine about it on WBAL.com.

I get mail from the DNC and every liberal group under the sun. I casually dump them in the trash can as I would any other waste and move on. It appears DeFilipo is upset that the algorithms in the RNC database did not recognize him as a haughty Democratic muckety muck. Unfortunately most listeners to the Ron Smith show do know Frank.

The RNC database managers had no idea who Frank DeFilipo is, neither does your average citizen. Okay so Frank was upset and felt the need to pontificate on such an outrage. Fine, whatever. However, DeFilippo felt the need to take some unwarranted shots at we natavist proles suffering under the false consciousness imposed on us by our capitalist masters.


It also must be said, upon professional evidence, that the relevant Zip Code is one of the most fertile fund-raising warrens in the region and so it is how this unapologetic New Deal Democrat, by no means because if his impecunious presence, is now encoded on the mailing list with the GOP’s captains of industry as well as the yammering know-nothings who inhabit its lower ranks.


Yammering know-nothings? Quite a cheeky statement given that it takes one caller to the show to reveal the intellectual bankruptcy of most of DeFilipo's positions. Look at DeFilipo's political philosophy, "unapologetic New Deal Democrat," its easy to see the empty well of ideas and arguments he draws from.

Why dwell on the merits of this policy or that, when its much easier to demean your opponents as yammering know-nothings.

crossposted on The Main Adversary


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kent/Queen Anne's District One forum

If you want to know my take on the event, go here. I'm not going to crosspost a 3300 word wrapup. A lot of reading, but I feel it's informative and well worth it.


More below the fold.

Seller's Remorse

During the special session, Brian Griffiths reported that O'Malley purchased slots votes from delegates in return for administration support for their pet issues. Brian specifically mentioned Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez from Montgomery County who sold her slots vote in return for a two tiered driver's license system.

Brian was right. According to Marc Fisher in the Washington Post, Gutierrez is none to happy about O'Malley's abrupt u turn on implementing Real ID.

"The governor did not keep his promise," Gutierrez says. "This is what he promised me when he was begging for my vote for the slots referendum, which I gave him. And that is the last time I do that."


More below the fold.

Huck!

This is another video that my son J. B. put me on to:



It's my understanding that these two young men are students at SU. They were recently down in South Carolina campaigning for Mike Huckabee.

I might not be a Huckabee supporter, but these guys are great! You can see all of their videos on Matt Robins' YouTube channel.

cross posted at Salisbury News and Delmarva Dealings

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Roasting the Gipper

Hat Tip to K-Lo at The Corner

Don Rickles ribs Governor Reagan at one of the classic Dean Martin roasts.


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Yes We Can!

Democrat Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has been criticized by his Democrat opponents for acknowledging that Ronald Reagan was the last great paradigm shift in way that America is governed. Obama is also taking another cue from the Ronald Reagan campaign of 1980 - optimism and change.

We must remember that the GOP gave away their Congressional majorities in 2006. The Democrats did not win, and certainly not with new ideas. Even in 2008, Obama's remaining opponents (Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)) are embracing a negative rhetorical approach to this campaign. Obama, on the other hand, has adopted a positive and uplifting rhetorical style that is far more reminiscent of Reagan's "Morning in America" than Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain".



Even when Obama is conveying the exact same concept as Clinton or Edwards he manages to deliver it in a more uplifting package.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings and the Campaign Edge

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Further Proof of Why I Cannot Support McCain

From Andy McCarthy in The Corner:

I'm starting to think Sen. McCain should not be allowed to mention the other candidates' names within 30 days before a primary. I mean, he levels an allegation about Romney that's just flat not true, and if some organization wanted to run an add calling him on it, they would be in violation of his "reform" of campaign finance regulations. What a racket!


Straight talk for me but not for thee!


More below the fold.

Don't Do Dumb Stuff

I just spoke with one of the campaigns in the First District, and there is an epidemic of sign-stealing and sign desecration happening on the Shore right now. And it appears that signs from all three major candidates are being impacted.

Everybody: knock it off. We lived through this kinda crap in Anne Arundel County back in 2006 and it didn't make anybody look good then, either. And given the tone that this race has taken on, it's like adding gas to a fire.

If you're doing it: stop. If you know who's doing it: turn them in.

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Some high-level backup for my thoughts

As most people know by now, President Bush and House leaders approved an economic "stimulus" plan earlier this week, a package that will be put to a vote in the House next week. It will take members of Congress with real stones to say "no" to this but they would have my support. I disagreed with the whole concept and said so here.

While I'm no better than an armchair economist, there is a group out there who actually studies the "dismal science" of economics and they share my skepticism about the effects such a program would have long-term. The Club For Growth also sees this as the "wrong way" to go. According to Club President Pat Toomey:

"One-time rebates and temporary business tax breaks that the President and the Democrats seem to be coalescing around are the wrong approach. If we truly wanted to stimulate the economy, we would make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent tomorrow. Instead of doling out temporary rebates, it is essential that we increase incentives for work, savings, and investment, and you do that by lowering marginal tax rates and making those reductions permanent so people have the confidence to plan and take risk."

So far so good. Toomey and his group also address another tax issue:

"Temporary rebates, as many have discussed, are merely a redistribution of wealth from one group of taxpayers to another, without changing the underlying factors that drive economic growth. They won't help us avoid a recession."

"In contrast, permanently indexing capital gains for inflation will boost the economy by encouraging capital formation and investment. It will almost certainly boost the stock market instantly. If President Bush wants to stimulate the economy immediately, rebates won't do the trick, but indexing capital gains for inflation will be a big help."


I also think that suspending backup withholding would put money in people's pockets immediately, but I guess the Club For Growth won't go that far.

What makes this a little more relevant to the local scene is the fact that, as astute voters like the ones who read monoblogue or this site know, Andy Harris has the endorsement and financial backing of the Club For Growth. (At least Red Maryland has the endorsement part down, as you'll see here.) The question may have to be asked at tomorrow's GOP candidate forum in Chestertown whether the aspirants on our side have the will to tell Americans that a little pain right now will make for better times in the long run or if they'll pander to the short-term desires of our instant gratification society and "stimulate" them.

Crossposted on monoblogue.


More below the fold.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Red Maryland Endorsements

What you see listed below are the candidates that have been endorsed by Red Maryland's contributors, receiving the coveted "Red Maryland Endorsement". Read on below the fold to see the vote breakdowns and comments from our contributors:

  • President: Mitt Romney
  • 1st Congressional District: Andy Harris
  • 2nd Congressional District: No Endorsements
  • 3rd Congressional District: Paul Spause
  • 4th Congressional District(Republican): Michael Moshe Starkman
  • 4th Congressional District(Democratic): Donna Edwards
  • 5th Congressional District: No Endorsement
  • 6th Congressional District(Republican): Roscoe Bartlett
  • 6th Congressional District(Democratic): Andrew Duck
  • 7th Congressional District: No Endorsements
  • 8th Congressional District: No Endorsements
LOTS to see below the fold...



PRESIDENT

  • Mitt Romney- 5
  • John McCain- 3
  • NOT John McCain- 1
D.C. Russell: As for President, I am absolutely opposed to John McCain and will not vote for him under any circumstances. That being said, I am generally turned off by the rest of the field. I probably won't make a final choice until just before I vote. Some days I'm tempted to vote for Ron Paul simply out of protest against all the others, but I'll probably end up going for Romney, Thompson, or whoever has the best change of beating McCain.

G.A. Harrison: One of the things that I always look for in a candidate is honesty. That's why I was a big supporter of Phil Gramm's back in 1996. I may disagree with a McCain on a few issues, particularly campaign finance and immigration, but at least he's been pretty straight as to what he believes.

Brian Gill: For me, private market/career success is very important, and Romney has the best background in that regard. I like the fact that he has been an executive rather than a legislator, and I like his message/policies enough.

In strict political terms, I like Romney a lot. Most of the recent Presidents have ascended from the office of Governor, which Romney has over every candidate—D or R. He is a lot prettier than McCain and Rudy, and a heck of a lot prettier than Hillary—and these things matter a least a little bit. He has the best “outside of Washington” argument, for what that’s worth.

Streiff: This is as painful a statement as I have ever written but with the withdrawal of Fred Thompson from race John McCain is the best choice for president. Whether you like his positions or not, John McCain has been constant in both his virtues and vices. His positions are long held. He carries an lifetime ACU rating of 82.6%. His voting record on both life issues and the Long War have been flawless. There are a lot of things I don't like about McCain. His opposition to tax cuts. His acquiescence, if not down right complicity, in the growth of the federal government. His jihad against political speech. His willingness to toss conservatives under the bus if it garnered a positive lede in the New York Times. That I do support McCain despite these flaws indicates the seriousness of my reservations about Governors Huckabee and Romney and Mayor Giuliani.

Matt Johnston: Like others have expressed, I was something of a FredHead (although I was quite miffed that he took his sweet time getting into the race and then didn't really make as solid an effort as I think he could have.

But here is why Romney is my guy--he has a proven track record of getting things done. No, I didn't like his MA healthcare plan, but at least he put something forward instead of sitting around blabbing about it. His work on the MA education system is stellar, although I think it won't translate to the national scene very well. (See what I mean, it is hard to get really jazzed about this race). But what I like most is that he takes the issues and tries to solve them. Instead of yakking about solutions, he tries them out. As an executive, he was paid to make decisions, both in government and in business, and his success is hard to deny. He has more executive, and wide ranging executive, experience than the other candidates from both parties (except perhaps Bill Richardson, but that is a moot point).

No candidate is perfect and there is no reason to expect a perfect candidate. Mitt Romney is a great candidate and would be a great president.

Mark Newgent: Mitt Romney I explain here.

Greg Kline: My reasons for supporting Mitt Romney are here.


* * * *

FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT:

  • Andy Harris- 3
  • Anybody but Andy Harris- 2
  • TIE: Gilchrest, Andybody but Wayne Gilchrest, and E.J. Pipkin- 1
Brian Griffiths: I think I have been rather outspoken about my disdain for the way that Andy Harris has run his campaign, and has continued to run his campaign. It's sad because Andy Harris has wasted this opportunity to make a difference. Yes, he is politically more in line with my views than the other candidates. But E.J. Pipkin and Wayne Gilchrest are good men, something that remains in question about Harris given the campaign he has run. As I promised, I do not endorse any candidate, but do tell you to vote for somebody who is not Andy Harris...

Chester Peake: Would really like to support Andy, but he and his campaign are making it increasingly less likely I will be able to do so. Not so sure about E.J., so may wind up supporting the incumbent even though I disagree with him on almost every issue due to the nice guy/better the devil you know factor.

G.A. Harrison: Harris, no question....What are the arguments against Harris? The biggest one is that he has run a "negative" campaign. First of all negative sells, whether we like it or not. Except for a few hardcore Pipkin partisans that's it. The flip side is that in the last few weeks no one has run a nastier campaign than Pipkin. What's worse is that it's been stupidly nasty. You never call names yourself (or have senior staff do it). That's what surrogates are for.

Before Harris officially entered the race I called up Lowell Stoltzfus and asked him point blank if Harris was worth spending any time on. His response was that Andy is the real deal. And he has proven to be. Sure you can nit-pick a few votes, but where has Andy seriously strayed from Reaganite orthodoxy?

Pipkin on the other hand has myriad problems when it comes to social issues. He's pro-abortion and has supported a bizarre gay union law (I know, technically it's registration). Personally, I don't care about the latter and while I'm pro-life I will not withhold support from an otherwise good candidate based on that issue alone. Now let's look at this practically. Will social conservatives pull the lever for Pipkin in November? No!

Andy doesn't need to make a big play on social issues because he has bona fides there and the word will spread within the various communities. He'll get strong NRA support for the general. My only concern is that Kratovil will run a good campaign and that Andy's campaign lacks. If he had run a better primary race early on Pipkin wouldn't even be an issue. He's still run a better race than Pipkin.

Michael Swartz: For First District, I'm endorsing Andy Harris based on my study of the candidate stances on the issues that I hold dearest. However, E.J. Pipkin is solid on a number of issues too so either would be a good choice over Wayne Gilchrest - I just think Harris is a better fiscal conservative than Pipkin and, while social conservatism isn't high on my issue list, Harris is a better choice there as well. And yes I know Joe Albero is a big Harris supporter but I supported him first.

But if either of them won, I'd work to get them into Congress. Wayne Gilchrest wouldn't even get a yard sign in my yard (he didn't in 2006 either.)

Unfortunately, I can see a situation where Harris and Pipkin cannibalize and split all the anti-Gilchrest votes and Wayne wins again.

Streiff: Andy Harris....He's the conservative in the race. It is as simple as that.

Greg Kline:
This is a tough one. Forgive me if this endorsement reads like a disclaimer. To some degree, it is a reflection of the truly divisive and negative trajectory this race has taken.


Wayne Gilchrest deserves a challenge. His transgressions against the conservative voters who put him in office make it just that he sweat this race out. I personally have run against Republican incumbents who went off the reservation too often. There is a place in our party for that and should logically have led me to support one of the challengers in this race.

But something funny happened on the way to the forum. The challengers in this race have shown themselves undeserving of representing me and my neighbors in CD-1.

Andy Harris has run one of the most negative races in Maryland history. I would be a hypocrite to say I opposed criticism of an opponent’s record, especially an incumbent. I do not. Harris, however, has taken the negative attack to a level beyond anything we have ever seen. It would truly be newsworthy if he actually issued some positive statement or espoused some agenda of his own and his specious attacks on E.J. Pipkin strain his credibility beyond the breaking point. He has also chosen to associate with unsavory operatives, reprobate politicians who endorsed Gilchrest and Harris in the same month, and has relied on out of state interests to such a degree as to cast doubt that his campaign emerges from the grassroots of this district.

E.J. Pipkin is little better. His entry into the race smacks far more of political opportunism than principle, hardly what we need more of in the United States Congress.

Wayne Gilchrest has said that he has had to polish his conservative credentials in this race. While they may not shine as much as some would like, they are there. Gilchrest has been a named a Hero of the Taxpayer by the Americans for Tax Reform five times and supported pro-growth tax policies throughout his career. While not going far enough, Gilchrest has supported legislation to make English our nation’s official language, to expand border patrols and immigration enforcement. He seeks to rein in what he acknowledges is out of control spending in Washington.
Beyond policy, though, no one can argue that Wayne Gilchrest is a honorable, decent man. For all the negative attacks on his voting record, none have assailed his character. That is why he has had the support of so many conservative leaders in his district and in Washington.

It is why he has my support as well.

Bud the Blogger: Contrary to the popular (yet grossly incorrect) belief in the Anne Arundel County blogosphere, I often find myself supporting republican candidates for political office. Besides their life experience, some of the traits I look for in a candidate are intellectual honesty, independence and a conservative ideology. After reviewing all the candidates vying for the republican nomination in the First Congressional Primary, one person stands out above the rest. E.J. Pipkin should be the choice of voters on February 12th.

Unlike the other State Senator seeking to unseat the incumbent, E.J. Pipkin didn't grow up a child of privilege. His father worked as a electrician and his mother served as a cafeteria worker. Meanwhile, E.J. (which stands for Edward Joseph) flipped hamburgers at McDonald's simply to make ends meat. In order to pay his way through college, E.J. Pipkin needed to work full time in construction. While many young men would have took an easier route, E.J. Pipkin hung on until he received his master's degree in 1978.

In 2002, E.J. Pipkin got elected to the Maryland State Senate in most impressive fashion. He defeated a long time incumbent by an astounding 25 percentage points. In his time in the Maryland Senate, E.J. has established himself as someone who'll put the interests of his constituents above all else. While the republican establishment stood up for BGE almost 2 years ago, E.J. Pipkin broke ranks with his party leadership and stood up for the consumer. He even went so far as to solely sponsor a bill that would have returned $500 million to ratepayers. All but 5 state senators went on to vote in favor of his bill. Unfortunately, then Governor Ehrlich made the flawed political decision to veto the same.

Even though he garnered wide range bi-partisan support for this bill, he received unfair criticism within republican ranks because he didn't walk in lock step with the governor. For the record, I voted for Governor Ehrlich both times, but in the case of BGE, E.J. Pipkin stood up for the good guys.

E.J. Pipkin also stands on the right side of many vital issues. Pipkin is a stealth warrior for 2nd amendment rights. As a candidate for Congress, Pipkin has vowed to end pork barrel spending and pass a constitutional binding balanced budget amendment. By doing do, it makes his promise to fight tax cuts practical. The special session gave a preview of what we could expect from a Rep. Pipkin. He stood up and became the leading voice against O'Malley's tax hikes.

E.J. Pipkin is a leader we can trust to fight for us in Washington. Don't buy into the gross distortions you'll see and hear in campaign ads. By merely examining Pipkin closely, as I have, you'll see he stands out above the rest.

Mark Newgent: Anybody but Gilchrest. I prefer Andy Harris. However I think we would be well served by EJ Pipkin as well. But I live in Baltimore City and I admit great unfamiliarity with CD1 issues, especially on the Eastern Shore. I am stuck with scion of Sarbanes so my endorsement doesn’t mean much.


* * * *
SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
  • No Endorsement
Brian Griffiths: I cannot endorse a Ron Paul troll in this contest, even as the only candidate in the race. This speaks more to the failure of John Flynn and party leadership to recruit a candidate than anything else....

* * * *

THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
  • Paul Spause- 1
Brian Griffiths: Paul Spause is the only credible candidate in this race, and I endorse him for this tough contest.


* * * *
FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT(Republicans)
  • Michael Moshe Starkman- 4
D.C. Russell: Living in PG County, the only Congressional races I have focused on are 4 and 5. In 4 (my district) I endorse Michael Moshe Starkman.

Michael Swartz: I'd also like to put in a plug for Michael Moshe Starkman in the 4th District, simply because he had the gonads to answer my Ten Questions.


* * * *
FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT(Democrats)
  • Donna Edwards- 2
  • Albert Wynn- 1
Streiff: Given that a Democrat is going to represent M-4, Albert Wynn is an infinitely better choice than Donna Edwards. Edwards is a creation of the fringe left Move On.org. The last thing the Congress needs is another moonbat. Wynn is a reflexive leftist but not a movement leftist. If you've got to deal with a leftist it is best to not have to deal with a true believer. Prince George's County has enough problems without being represented by Donna Edwards.

Matt Johnston: Contrary to what other people may think, if Edwards wins and she is indeed a "moonbat" then she will be marginalized pretty quick. Wynn has his head more in Maryland politics than in his Congressional duties. Just a gut feeling but there it is.

Brian Griffiths: It comes down to the fact that both Al Wynn and Donna Edwards are going to put politics and special interests before the people. We know that both are going to be beholden to liberal interest groups first and foremost, despite the noted problems of this district. But so long as Donna Edwards wants to run to the left of Mao, do lame stakeouts, and get endorsements from celebrities, us on the right will have a good time making her the new face of the Maryland Democratic Party.


* * * *
FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
  • No Endorsement
* * * *
SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (Republicans)
  • Roscoe Bartlett- 2
Matt Johnston: To be frank, I would much rather see some real challengers to Barlett (Alex Mooney comes to mind quickly), rather than the parade of horribles currently running. Mooney, I think, is biding his time until Bartlett retires. That being said, Bartlett is far and away the better candidate. I think his time has come and gone, but if we are to have a caretaker, far better it to be a Republican than a Democrat. Should Bartlett lose, look for a real conservative to jump into the race. The big problem is the leftward trend in lower Frederick County thanks to all the refugees form the People's Republic of Montgomery County.


* * * *
SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (Democrats)
  • Andrew Duck- 1
Streiff: Duck had his wee-wee knocked in the dirt in 2006, despite Democrat successes nationwide. He, like Edwards, is a creation of Move On and Daily Kos and his credentials are limited to a tour in Iraq and working on the Carter/Mondale campaign. Why would I support this feckless and perennial loser? Because Jennifer Dougherty would be a formidable candidate.


* * * *
SEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
  • No Endorsement

* * * *
EIGHTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
  • No Endorsement


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