Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Refuge Podcast # 60 - 2008 General Assembly Awards

Your source for conservative, Republican news, views and insight it is the Conservative Refuge Podcast. You can listen by visiting here:

The blogger roundtable, with Red Maryland contributors Brian Griffiths and Mark Newgent convene to hand out the Second Annual General Assembly Awards. Who were the best and worst members of the General Assembly this year? What were the best and the worst ideas that came of out the 2008 session? Our blogger contributors give their choices.

One year after the school board petition drive, Brian Griffiths and I discuss the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Commission as they consider candidates for the two vacancies on our county school board. Have the promises of those who supported this process been kept? Are the members of this commission more capable of picking school board candidates than the voters?

In our closing segment, I offer some thoughts on the departure of John Flynn as Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party and the choice of Justin Ready as his successor.

Share your thoughts and feedback!

Spread the word!

Greg Kline
Host, Conservative Refuge Podcast

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

But what about the independence of scientists?

What about it? You see, William Gray (as I have noted before) is the world renowned meteorologist from Colorado State University, famous for his hurricane season predictions. He's also a global warming skeptic. And one for whom the university tried to curtail funding for recently:

By pioneering the science of seasonal hurricane forecasting, William Gray turned a university far from the stormy seas into a hurricane research mecca.

But last year, the long-term relationship between Gray and Colorado State University, where he has worked for nearly half a century, nearly unraveled in an episode that highlights the politically charged atmosphere that surrounds the global warming debate.

University officials told Gray that handling media inquiries related to his forecasting required too much time and detracted from efforts to promote other professors' work.

Gray, who has emerged as a leading voice of skepticism about global warming, reacted hotly, firing off a memo to Dick Johnson, head of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and others. He didn't buy the too-much-media reasoning.

"This is obviously a flimsy excuse and seems to me to be a cover for the Department's capitulation to the desires of some (in their own interest) who want to reign (sic) in my global warming and global warming-hurricane criticisms," Gray wrote in the memo obtained by the Chronicle.

Gray initially declined to speak about the issue. But on Tuesday, Gray acknowledged the dispute.

"You see, so many people in our department make a living off the global warming threat," he said. "So I think that's part of why they came to me."

Since last year, he said, the university has "backtracked" on its position.

CSU officials said late last week that they intend to support the release of Gray's forecasts as long as they continue to be co-authored by Phil Klotzbach, a former student of Gray's who earned his doctorate last summer, and as long as Klotzbach remains at CSU.

Gray, an emeritus professor at CSU who has taught dozens of graduate students who populate the National Hurricane Center and other research institutions, has become increasingly vocal in his skepticism about climate change, saying the planet is warming due to natural causes.

Other than once again noting the fact that the concept of scientific "consensus" on global warming is pure crap, I have to ask this question; is the row over funding at Colorado State related to his skepticism of global warming. And if it is, would not the global warming believers be crying foul if, say, a scientist who believed in global warming had his fundingcurtailed by a Republican administration?


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Mighty George Keeps Striking Out

Mighty George W. Bush keeps striking out on energy. For someone who was once the owner of a Major League Baseball Team and an oilman and has an MBA, he keeps striking out on the cross between energy, the economy, and fiscal policy.

First, he seems wholly committed to plunging the world -- including the United States -- into a foolish and preventable world food crisis:

"And the truth of the matter is, it's in our national interest that our farmers grow energy, as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us," Bush said.

We have a finite amount of land that can support corn production. That amount of land is made smaller if we don't realize that corn is an exhaustive crop: it removes nitrogen from the soil at exponential rates, requiring the use of artifical fertilizers and manure to "reinvigorate" the soil for the next season. We learned this long ago with another exhaustive crop: cotton. This ultimately raises the cost of corn production AND does in fact damage the environment.

Because we have a finite amount of land, and because corn is such an important part of our economy, we have to make a choice. Use corn for fuel, or food. Trying to support both only paralyzes our economy.

But Bush's ignorance on this matter isn't limited to farm economics. He doesn't seem to realize that a large part of the increase in the cost of light sweet crude is from his own actions. By not working agressively to bring back King Dollar, Bush is driving the cost per barrel up because oil is traded in dollars. The hastening decline of the dollar is what has driven the cost of a barrel of light sweet crude - the best crude for gas and diesel refining -- from $100 to $120 in under six months. Don't take my word for it... listen to Larry Kudlow, one of the smartest economists on the planet.

The second action is his insistence on not tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The SPR exists to alleviate supply problems. But, in fact, we do not have a supply problem for crude oil. We have a cost issue. That is because, since last fall, the government has been issuing fill orders for the SPR, and has been filling it with light sweet crude. Right about the same time new regulations went into effect mandating lower sulfur diesel and home heating oil. (Note: #2 fuel oil, used in homes, power plants, and commercial applications, is the same as diesel, but for color additives to distinguish whether the "road tax" has been paid). The value of light sweet crude therefore is higher than sour crude (read: higher sulfure content). Saudi and Iraqi crude is considered sour. North Sea, Russian, and US crude is mostly sweet. West Texas Intermediate -- the old fashioned Permian Basin stuff that made J.R. Ewing famous and made Bush a lot of money -- is in between. Venezuelan crude is typically called "heavy", having more sulfur than even Saudi crude.

If the government were to start pushing SPR stocks into the market -- and then refilling the SPR with sour or heavy crude -- you would see some temporary downward adjustments in the price while the President works with the G7 to stabilize and raise the dollar.

Combine those actions with a suspension of the ethanol mandates, a supsension of the tariff on imported ethanol, and the tariffs on imported sugar, and you will see a decline in food prices across the board, and decline in fuel prices as stresses on the fuel and food supply chain are relieved.

This isn't rocket science, and does not require an MBA or a PhD in economics. All it requires is some frakking common sense.

Crossposted on Gunpowder Chronicle

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Doug Gansler Plays the Race Card

Attorney General Doug Gansler took a break from carrying O'Guvnah's water to leave the capital and travel around the state discussing the recommendations of a task force on ways to improve voting in the state of Maryland. Of course, none of the recommendations included "require photo ID for anyone attempting to vote".

Instead, Doug Gansler decided to play the race card.

According to the Calvert Street Communist Pary Newsletter:

"This is America in the 21st century, yet it took three hours to exercise their franchise," Gansler said. "It reminded me of the days of literacy tests and poll taxes -- obstacles to voting -- to just merely exercise one of the most fundamental rights that we have in our democracy."

Literacy tests and poll taxes? Are you frakking kidding me? Who is this frakking ass clown?

The election in 2006 saw some of the largest turnout in the state in over four decades. The local boards of election - which answer not to the Attorney General, but fellow water-carrier for the Democrat Party Linda Lamone -- dramatically underestimated the demand that would be placed on the system. On top of that, Linda "Peter Principle" Lamone has done a miserable job choosing the right voting equipment for the state, too. So in 2006, after decades of crappy ass turnout, the system was overloaded.

It wasn't discrimination. It wasn't Jim Crow. It wasn't Bull Connor. It was an incompetent state bureaucrat who inadquately prepared her agency and its subordinates. Trying to turn this into a racial thing is such a fundamentally cheap shot. It's bush league. The State of Maryland deserves better from its Attorney General.

  1. I think several big questions need to be asked about our election process:
  2. Why can't voting machines work like ATMs? Billions of dollars flow through ATMs every day, with an error rate well under 1%. The same companies that make ATMs also making voting machines (like, say, Diebold). So why can't we have voting machines that work like ATMs?
  3. Why can't we require a state-issued ID in order to vote? Image a state-issued ID with a pin number that could be inserted into an ATM-like voting machine. You walk up, use the machine, vote, and walk away. Votes can be recorded and stored real-time. Heck, votes could even be transmitted to a central counting office real-time. You could cut down on the nonsense at the voting locations where records are out of date, lines, etc.
  4. If you really want to increase turnout, why don't we require citizens to vote in order get their tax refunds? Or to claim a tax benefit? Or to receive government benefits? The one thing we would need to do: make sure all ballots include a "none of the above" option.
  5. If we are worried that ballot measures (like the slots referendum) aren't clear to voters, why don't we make sure that the politicians do a better job of meeting with constituents to explain them. I've lived in Northern Baltimore County for 14 years now. I've met my county councilman once. I know my delegate, because he was my seventh grade math teacher. But I cannot remember the last time State Senator Larry Haines was spotted in the Hereford Zone. It seems to me our elected leaders aren't fulfilling their leadership options here.

But playing the race card to issue a bunch of meaningless "measures" to help speed up the election process is despicable.

Gansler should know better.

Crossposted at Gunpowder Chronicle.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Gambling the Future

The battle now begins for the November ballot measure that would amend the Maryland constitution to allow slot machine gambling in the state of Maryland. The idea of slots in Maryland has been a long time coming-- since at least 2002, when it was a hallmark of Bobby Ehrlich's campaign. Ehrlich was thwarted for four consecutive years by House Speaker Anheuser Busch. Thwarted until his defeat... and a massive state deficit caused by the profligate and morally bankrupt spending habits of a General Assembly addicted to our wallets.

Mark me down as a member of the anti-slots group, but not for the reasons others oppose slots.

I actually think that expanded gambling in Maryland would be a great thing. Gambling is largely recession proof. Gambling in America today -- since the collapse of La Cosa Nostra -- is an incredibly well-regulated and profitable business. It is one of the reasons that Henderson County, Nevada (which encompasses Las Vegas) is still one of the largest growing areas in the country. And gambling jobs pay well, since good pay is a great incentive against theft.

But I think the slots referendum is bad law, and I think the implementation chosen by the Unholy Triumvirate of O'Guvnah, Mikey Miller, and Speaker Anheuser Busch is downright stupid.

It's bad law because using a referendum to provide revenue raising measures is expressly forbidden in the state constitution. It's lazy legislation, and a good signal that most (if not all) of the arrogan twits in the General Assembly have been there too long. Lacking the courage of even a Private Eddie Slovik, the General Assembly punted in November. There is a yellow streak in Maryland, and its not the Calvert crest in the flag. It runs right down the center of the State House.

It's stupid, because if slots should be anywhere, it is at racetracks. But this slots bill puts the slots in Baltimore City at a new parlor to be built near M & T Bank Stadium, not at Pimlico. It's stupid because it doesn't use a natural location like the Timonium Fairgrounds-- one the state's greatest wastes of valuable land. It's stupid because it basically forces Worcester County to host a slots parlor that it doesn't want.

And it is stupid because it doesn't go far enough.

Here is my idea. Let's go whole hog. Forget slots, we need legalized gambling. Full-blown, all-in, all-out gambling. But not in our neighbhorhoods. Not in our cities. Not in our towns.

We need to resurrect the idea of the old bay schooners that used to travel to Tolchester and Rock Hall. Build a fleet of solid bay schooners that are essentially floating casinos. Set up routes that are natural tourist destinations, and limit attendance to adults over the age of 21. The routes I have in mind? Simple:

  • Baltimore to Havre de Grace
  • Baltimore to Rock Hall
  • Baltimore to Annapolis
  • Annapolis to St. Michaels/Kent Island
  • Salisbury to Crisfield
  • Cambridge to Crisfield
  • Crisfield to Solomon's Island

You could even run an ocean-going boat out of the Ocean City area.

Gambling would begin a half-hour out of port, and end one half-hour before entering the next port. Alcohol would flow freely. Bands and music would play. The boats could even be themed around ideas like a Roaring 20s boat, an Old West Saloon, a Vegas-theme casino, etc. Just like in real casinos, passengers would buy in chips, and cash out at the end of the night. Income taxes could be collected directly at the end of the trip, reducing the cost of enforcement and collection through the Comptroller's Office.
Smart tourism types could even build packages around the boats: take the Friday night boat to Havre de Grace and come back on the Sunday return trip (or to St. Michaels, etc.) Maryland could single-handedly build a new tourism industry around some of its smaller towns, antique destinations, and beds and breakfasts.
Coupled with the Maryland Lottery, you open a whole new bevy for promoting our thirty-year old lottery. Imagine drawings held live right on the boats. Keno parlors on the boats. Special lottery-sponsored raffles.

Throw in a reasonable mandate for non-profit support -- through casino night fundraisers -- and you can raise the level of philanthropic giving in Maryland.

And the best part? We handle the concern of community activists who don't want gambling and slots in their towns (like those in Lutherville-Timonium).

It would also provide employment opportunities for watermen who are seeing their livelihoods slowly ground down from pollution or catch limits. Who better to operate a fleet of bay schooners than men who have spent their entire lives on the water?

It's an option that should be explored before we run headlong into a dumb slots plan that is both legally questionable and economically unsound.

Crossposted at Gunpowder Chronicle

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An Inspired Choice

Justin Ready has been tapped to be the New Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party. And if you are expecting to come here waiting to read me blasting the choice....then you'll be disappointed.

The selection of Justin is an inspired choice. Justin actually brings together a lot of the practical perspectives that one needs in order to be a successful Director in the modern age. He has strategic, grassroots, legislative and organization experience. Most importantly, and this is something that I have been harping on for a while, he is a blogger who has some understanding of the importance of the new medium.

Jim Pelura went out on a limb in naming Justin and interviewing a lot of nontraditional candidates. I thank him for that, as well as giving me the opportunity as well. And I am glad that he went against the grain. Rumors swirled all weekend that the choice was going to be Harris Campaign Manager Chris Meekins, and had Meekins been selected we would have looked back at the age of John Flynn as the halcyon days of good management, and we all know how poor of a job Flynn did during his tenure.

I wish Justin well and look forward to working with him.


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A Question for Jim Rosapepe

Following up on Kenny's post below.

Jim Rosapepe's claim that Enron's "urging" was the cause of the 1999 "deregulation" of Maryland's electricity market begs the question, is Enron behind his support of Global Warming Solutions Act?

Perhaps Rosapepe is ignorant of the fact that Enron was the head cheerleader for the Kyoto Protocol. Enron lobbied both the Clinton and Bush administrations to circumvent the Senate and issue policy directives, which would "do more to promote Enron's business," and be "good for Enron stock."

...a 1998 letter, signed by Enron's then-CEO Ken Lay (and a few other bigwigs), asking President Clinton, in essence, to harm the reputations and credibility of scientists who argued that global warming was an overblown issue. Apparently they were standing in Enron's way. The letter, dated Sept. 1, asked the president to shut off the public scientific debate on global warming, which continues to this date. In particular, it requested Clinton to "moderate the political aspects" of this discussion by appointing a bipartisan "Blue Ribbon Commission."

The purpose of this commission was clear: high-level trashing of dissident scientists. Setting up a panel to do this is simple -- just look at the latest issue of Scientific American, where four attack dogs were called out to chew up poor Bjorn Lomborg. He had the audacity to publish a book demonstrating global warming is overblown.

But what about Kyoto itself, which Enron knew would never be ratified by the required 67 senators? In 1998, Kyoto enjoyed the support of about 12 senators. "We urge the Kyoto Protocol not be submitted to the Senate in the near future, where pre-emptive rejection would remove the U.S. from a political leadership role," said Lay's letter. In other words, Lay wanted to derail the normal democratic process of having our elected officials vote on a treaty, so that Enron could prosper.

While that was happening, Enron commissioned its own internal study of global warming science. It turned out to be largely in agreement with the same scientists Enron was trying to shut up. After considering all of the inconsistencies in climate science, the report concluded: "[T]he very real possibility that the great climate alarm could be a false alarm. The anthropogenic warming could well be less than thought and favorably distributed."

One of Enron's major consultants in that study was NASA scientists James Hansen, who started the whole global warming mess in 1988 with his bombastic congressional testimony. Last month, he published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicting exactly the same, inconsequential amount of warming in the next 50 years as the scientists that Enron wanted to gag. They were a decade ahead of NASA.

General Electric, which bought up Enron's natural gas and renewable energy interests, after it went belly up in 2001, now lobbies Washington for similar draconian policies embodied in the Liberman- Warner bill.

Funny how Rosapepe never called attention to Enron or General Electric's massive lobbying effort in "urging" the two administrations to enact Kyoto or Liberman-Warner. In fact, Rosapepe was a chief sponsor of the Global Warming Solutions Act and one of its most vocal supporters. Rosapepe even pulled his rhetoric straight out of the Enron playbook, during a senate hearing on the bill, when he scolded industry for "denying the facts about global warming."

So Senator Rosapepe, if it was wrong to follow Enron's lead in Maryland's electricity deregulation, then why is it okay to follow their (and General Electric's) lead in support of equally dangerous global warming legislation?

More below the fold.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rosapepe Continues To Blame Enron; nearly a year later

(MDPT) -In this week's edition of the Laurel Leader, Prince George's Senator Jim Rosapepe (D-Dist. 21) continues to blame Enron for urging the passage of utility deregulation in Maryland, while advocating for re-regulation. The spin machine is cranked up.

In the letter to the editor, Rosapepe called the 1999 rate deregulation as disaster for working families and a boon for Constellation Energy. He also said that Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) "stood up" to the parent company of BGE and "forced them" to roll back $2 billion in overcharges.

This is not the first time my Senator has pulled this one out from nowhere. He originally came up with this one last year, when he wrote, basically the same thing in The Gazette. The current letter was also published in this weekend's edition of The Gazette as well.

Another politician, trying to re-write history. And so it goes...

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Clearing the slate

Before I even begin, let me say right up front in the interest of full disclosure that I'm running to be an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis this coming September.

Now that I have that out of the way, here's my gripe - and it's shared by some others who have e-mailed myself and others throughout the state's Republican Party.

Apparently for previous conventions the state party selected a slate of Delegates and Alternate Delegates for approval at the state convention immediately before the national one. This time, though, state party Chairman Jim Pelura declined to pick a slate, deferring the decision to the conventioneers - a move I agree with 100 percent. It can be argued that those areas which already have a large number of votes will naturally hold sway and dominate the process, but at least it gives a chance to those who may or may not be favored by those in charge of the party in any given year.

Earlier this week though I got an e-mail from the Maryland Republican Party's First Vice-Chair, Chris Cavey, who obviously felt a slate was necessary to assure some sort of "diversity":

MDGOP will not present an official slate of candidates for RNC Delegates/Alternates at our Annapolis Spring Convention, May 10, 2008. Several of us, however, thought it would be a wonderful idea, plus a show of solidarity, to build a team of both party and campaign leaders from other Presidential campaigns.

We are not asking the McCain campaign for an “official blessing” (even though we would be honored to have such a blessing) but have informed them of our efforts to bring MDGOP members and our legislative leaders, as one, behind our party’s nominee, Sen. John McCain.

All of us know that you will naturally be voting for friends and honoring your commitments made prior to this letter. Maryland has many leaders and there are only 20 slots for the convention. This list is a recommendation for you, as you fill-out your ballot. It is a broad and fair representation of Republican leaders, plus demographic representation; we hope that you will consider all or part of this team for your approval.

Thank you,

The Unity Team Members

This so-called "unity team" comprises the following candidates for Delegate:

Joan Becker, State Senator David Brinkley, Chris Cavey, Chuck Gast, Mike Geppi, Anne McCarthy, Delegate Tony McConkey, Delegate Tony O'Donnell, Patt Parker, and Corey Stottlemeyer.

Then you have these people standing for Alternate:

Nicholee Ambrose, Ashley Barbera, Sharon Carrick, Kevin Igoe, Katie Nash, Gloria Murphy, Mike Pappas, Rex Reed, Delegate Chris Shank, Loretta Shields.

First of all, I don't give a damn about gender or race representation because I want the best person for the job. If we have all white guys, so be it - the same goes for if they were all Asian women. What I do want is a pretty decent proportion of geographical representation, with emphasis on regions that actually elect Republicans!

Because the first 24 Delegates and Alternate Delegates are elected based on Congressional District, it is almost certain that some areas of the state will be more well-represented than others. This is the composition of the group as it currently stands, by county:

Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, 8 apiece
Baltimore County, 7
Prince George's County, 6
Baltimore City, 4
Harford and Washington counties, 3 apiece
Frederick, Howard, and Talbot counties, 2 apiece
Calvert, Carroll, and St. Mary's counties, 1 apiece - for a total of 48.

This is how the Unity Slate would change the composition:

Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, 10 apiece
Montgomery County, 9
Baltimore City and Prince George's County, 6 apiece
Washington County, 5
Calvert, Frederick, Harford, and Howard counties, 4 apiece
Carroll and Talbot counties, 2 apiece
Queen Anne's and St. Mary's counties. 1 apiece - for a total of 68.

Wow, we picked up one county in this bid for geographical diversity. Granted, it is an Eastern Shore county but those of us south of Easton and at the western extreme of Maryland, counties that have proven to be decidedly loyal to GOP candidates, get zip. We can't do anything about the rules subdividing the state by Congressional district for the purpose of selecting conventioneers, but at our convention we can certainly pick folks from areas that actually vote for the party in order to reward loyalty.

Now some will see this missive and call me a troublemaker who's dividing the Maryland Republican party. Well, I have news for you - it already is fractured and that's the natural result of a "big tent" policy where people who are comfortable with John McCain's views on a number of subjects clash with those of us who are pro-border enforcement, pro-First Amendment, and believe that the theory of manmade global warming is a bunch of hot air in and of itself.

We're more agreeable to a point on state issues because, quite frankly, Martin O'Malley has been a disaster thus far as Governor; but even in the First District people don't always get behind the best candidate for Congress, State Senator Andy Harris. They have the misguided view that Democrat Frank Kratovil will be a "centrist moderate" - centrist my ass. He'll be another Pelosi lap dog and in your heart of hearts you should know it. Quit being bitter about Wayne losing. If the result were different I'd be supporting Congressman Gilchrest even though we disagree on many issues, same goes for John McCain.

So if you're reading this and can vote for the Delegates and Alternate Delegates to represent Maryland at the national convention, bear in mind two things: rewarding those areas that are loyal to the GOP and electing their candidates, and hewing to a conservative line in order to help influence the direction of the platform. I think I fit both bills; however, if you feel differently that's your decision and I'll stand by it. Either way, I'm going to enjoy my vacation time whether it's in August or the week of Labor Day.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

They're signin' our lives away...

Today Governor Martin O' Malley had another one of his bill-signings. The PR Puff Piece (thanks to spinmiesters Abbruzzese and Hansen) touts the bills that will "Protect Maryland's Environment" (by making it harder for humans to live here- the only species it is evidently allowable to put on the endangered list??).

It also says that legislation will "Help Secure Maryland's Energy Future"... yeah, right! It thwarts lawsuits going back and forth with BGE/Constellation, but what does it do to really produce more energy? That old slogan of theirs that the cheapest watt is the one not needed belies a real hesitation to actually produce more power. I guess they will just make the power we have now more expensive. That's supposed to be emPOWERing Maryland? The ultimate is the statement from Senate President Mike Miller that the Governor "delivered on his promise to the BGE ratepayers". Uh, excuse me? When our 72% increase was not really stopped, and will wind up being even more, that is not solving the energy problem one bit. I guess with less people living and working in Maryland, we won't need all those nasty power plants after all? That's supposed to be a solution??

Also in Annapolis: Earlier, Baltimore County Exec. Jim Smith spoke at an event for MACO, the Maryland Association of Counties. That group will be pushing hard for the slots Constitutional Amendment... for the children, of course! Slots-for-tots!

Crossposted on Maryland Chesapeake Blog

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They Couldn't Have Cared Less

Interesting report from WBAL

It has been two years since the General Assembly overrode a decision by the State School Board to privatize four high schools in Baltimore and have the city hire a third party to run seven low performing middle schools.

State School Board member David Tufaro tells WBAL Radio the information he has reviewed show those eleven "remain in general very low performing schools." He says he doesn't consider himself an expert on the information but he has looked over a number of factors. Some of the eleven will be closed this year, or in the coming years after the Baltimore City School Commissioners voted for that action recently.

Tufaro says "the question needs to be asked did then Mayor O'Malley and did our elected representatives and the General Assembly as a whole act wisely, prudently on behalf of the students of Baltimore City. And I would submit based on the information I know, no they clearly did not."

He believes the lawmakers were acting in political interests and protecting aspects of a failed school system.

Now this is just preliminary, but Mike Miller, Martin O'Malley, and Mike Busch would never play politics with poor students (or working families) as pawns, only to drop them like a bad habit after they retake the governor's mansion. Right???

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Racial Politics: Obama and Steele

Great piece over at the Politico about the Democratic Party being the new home of racial politics.
Doug Heye draws interesting parallels and highlights Democrat double standards comparing Obama's run for the White House to Steele's 2006 Senate campaign. He also rehashes some of the past low blows from the usual suspects.

The editorial page of the Baltimore Sun dismissed Steele’s experience and used race to do it. Steele, the Sun charged, brought “little to the team but the color of his skin.” cough--Diane Donovan--cough. Four years later, the Sun continued to attack Steele, who had at that point served a full term as Maryland’s lieutenant governor and was running for U.S. Senate. While patronizingly labeling Steele a “likable man and persuasive speaker,” the Sun urged a vote against Steele “on the basis of record and experience alone.”

These attacks dovetailed perfectly with Steele’s opponents and were echoed by The Washington Post, which editorialized against Steele twice in the waning days of the campaign. Dismissing a likable, persuasive African-American on the question of experience sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Watching the attacks on Obama these past weeks, anyone who followed the 2006 elections knows what Yogi Berra meant when he quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

In the 2008 presidential race, Obama should consider himself lucky. He has not been called “slavish” by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Steny H. Hoyer, or an “Uncle Tom” by Maryland state Senate President Mike Miller, as Michael Steele was...

Still, the Obama camp’s outrage over questions it says are race-based — concerning whether a three-year senator has the experience to lead the free world — cannot be taken entirely seriously.

After all, it was Obama — whose presidential campaign has engaged in its own racial rhetoric, “(D-Punjab)” — who questioned Michael Steele’s experience to become one of his colleagues, saying that while Steele is an “affable person” (articulate? clean?), his record was “pretty thin.”

He then urged a predominantly African-American crowd to vote for the candidate with the “longer record of working on behalf of the African-American community.”

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby it's gonna get cold outside!

Once again, more scary scientifically-based reasons to think that the Ice Age is on it's way:

THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.

What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

As always, read the whole thing. And remember this; the evidence that we are entering a period of natural, solar-related global cooling is just as strong, if not stronger, than the evidence that we are suffering from anthropomorphic global warming. And it's all the more reason why states and countries should not trip over themselves trying to pass far reaching legislation (i.e. O'Malley's Global Warming Solutions Act) without seriously considering the scientific and economic ramifications of such legislation.....


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Wow! What a Comeback

Paul Foer, who gave us this ridiculous screed, had.....this for a comeback:

It's no secret that the blogosphere is open to anyone with access to a computer. That is its beauty and its downfall. Here in Maryland we see some of the worst examples of angry, hateful rhetoricians who spend their days and their energy attacking and condemning just about anyone who does not agree with their extremist views. I must admit that it appears to me that they tend to hold what I think most fair-minded people would call hyper-conservative viewpoints. Whether it is gun control, global warming, immigration, abortion or you-name-it, you'll find these angry, mean spirited people spouting off, ranting and raving, name calling and spewing vicious and venomous vitriol at anyone, but especially other bloggers, with whom they disagree.

I know. I get attacked by them all the time.
Of course, I'm not really quite sure what the point of Foer's rant was all about. Let's face it, we are trying to engage in an exchange of ideas. Something that we do with other liberals in the blogosphere all the time. Problem for Foer is the fact he thinks its mean that somebody thinks he's wrong. Which is sad, because I gave him an opportunity to engage and even posited to him a question that I suppose he has no answer for.

Paul, all I'm asking you is to "communicate more effectively through written or spoken words" (your words, not mine) in an effort to tell me why I'm wrong. And pointing fingers and telling me I'm mean isn't what I'm looking for, either....


More below the fold.

Peace Kills

Paul Foer’s inane rant dovetails—no pun intended—closely with Charles Derber and Yale Magrass’ Baltimore Sun Op/Ed, in which they call on Democrats to “renounce the morality of militarism,” whatever that means, and “engage in straight talk about war and war heroes.” They argue that Democrats must use John McCain’s status as a Vietnam War hero to talk about the “immorality” of that war and the current conflict in Iraq.

Derber and Magrass, and to an extent Foer, have a problem. The facts of history are inconvenient for their narrative. Their imbuing of “ultimate moral force” into “peace heroes” is problematic and does not mean what they think it does. Their assertion begs the question: What kind of peace do “peace heroes” seek? History tells us the peace they sought was not the Coca Cola commercial Derber and Magrass would have you believe.

They write: “…the architects of unjust wars are not honorable or heroic but immoral moralists, those who wage evil in the name of good… they must create a new language of heroism…The peace hero - even more than the war hero - should be the ultimate moral force in the world we now inhabit.”

American communists and fellow travelers of the late 1930s, such as folk singer Pete Seeger and entertainer Paul Robeson, were also peace activists. However, their activism on behalf of peace meant toeing-the-line in support of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact, where Hitler and Stalin agreed to a non-aggression treaty and annexed portions of Poland for each other. This treaty effectively consigned Poland’s Jews to the Final Solution and a large portion of Poland’s officer corps and technical elite to Katyn Forest Massacre at the hands of the Soviets. The moral actions of these peace activists involved calling Franklin Delano Roosevelt a warmonger for having the temerity to support Great Britain against Germany and its short-time ally the Soviet Union. Their idea of “peace” was carrying water for Stalin, even if it meant supporting Adolph Hitler.

What “ultimate moral force” did peace activist Julius Rosenberg exhibit by passing classified information regarding the Manhattan Project and radar proximity fuses to the Soviet Union? Information the Soviets used to threaten American cities and develop anti-aircraft weapons used to shoot down American pilots.

What ultimate moral force did Vietnam era peace activists Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda display? Their efforts brought about the collapse of South Vietnam, Orwellian reeducation camps, and the genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge. Hayden played a crucial role in executing Hanoi’s plan to sow domestic dissent in America. Hayden traveled several times to North Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, and Paris to meet Communist North Vietnamese and Viet Cong leaders to collaborate with them. He even offered advice on conducting psychological warfare against the United States. Hayden and Fonda labeled the torture of American POWs “propaganda” and called returning POWs, like John McCain, “liars.” Hayden cultivated a radical caucus in Congress, where he worked to end American aid for anti-Communist efforts in Southeast Asia and divert it to the Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia. When fellow peace activist Joan Baez spoke out about the North Vietnamese genocide and reeducation camps, Hayden and Fonda called her a tool of the CIA.

Derber and Magrass are well within their right to question the morality of going to war. Indeed, it is a legitimate concern in our republic. However, investing ultimate moral authority in peace activists while blind to the dangerous consequences of their false peace, breeds moral relativism, and worse, a lack of resolve to understand that there are times when we must stand and fight.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Peace requires not only the absence of violence but also the presence of justice.” The “peace,” that the peace activists of the 1930s and the Vietnam War era desired did not end violence nor established justice.

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Killing his oath softly

Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for lethal injection, you would think that Maryland would be joining other states in resuming executions. The free state is not, and we haven't been able to since late 2006. Despite all of this Governor Martin O'Malley (D) is taking his sweet ol' time in coming up with new procedures since the death penalty repeal has failed two years in a row.

Click Here to read my column

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Global Warming Quick Hits

The folks over at Planet Gore have been on their game lately, perhaps because yesterday was Lenin's birth...uhh I mean Earth Day, and alarmists tend beclown themselves even more than usual.

Wind power has been a topic in Maryland lately as Governor O'Malley announced that lands under the auspices of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources would not be available for commercial wind power generation.

Environmentalists love to tout the benefits of wind power and they especially cite Denmark and its "no cost" implementation as a prime model for the United States to follow. However, as Iain Murray notes, the cost to consumers in government subsidies to wind generation far outweigh the savings on Danish energy bills.

Here in Maryland, wind power needs state mandates (or timely campaign contributions) for its product and federal subsidies as well in order to make a profit, because its product is expensive to produce and generate. But hey it can create well paying new jobs to replace the old one's killed from global warming legislation, right?

I've been doing a lot of research into the Marine Corps lately. I can tell you they are pissed off at Time Magazine's latest cover, which desecrates Joe Rosenthal's legendary photo of the Marines raising the flag on Mt. Surabachi. Kevin D. Williamson drops some righteous anger on Time and its green idiocy:

Yes, protecting the environment is important; no, enacting stricter CAFE standards or embracing a cap-and-trade system for emissions is nothing at all like our fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, whatever Photoshop shenanigans Time wishes to indulge.

Time’s green enthusiasm leads them trouble in other ways, too. Consider this sophomoric howler of a sentence from the green issue: “The green jobs that cap and trade could help create would be a big employment sector — including production of wind turbines, pollution scrubbers and more. Obama and Clinton talk about spending $150 billion over 10 years to create millions of those jobs, but it’s the sale of pollution allowances that would raise that money. No cap and trade, no jobs. That seems simple — but not to the campaigns.” Not simple, but simplistic. Time’s writers and editors apparently are entirely incapable of appreciating that the $150 billion they’re so eager to spend isn’t going to materialize out of the allegedly warming air. How many jobs would that $150 billion create if government didn’t appropriate it? And how exactly is paying for a “pollution allowance” different from paying a tax? Time never thinks to ask. Why? Because this is the moral equivalent of Iwo Jima — haven’t you heard?

The elevation of environmentalism to the “moral equivalent of war,” particularly while American troops are fighting a real war, is the cheapest sort of juvenile politics and a sop to the self-importance of Al Gore and his admirers. It’s also an excuse to stifle debate; Mr. Gore famously insists that “the time for debate is over.” One hears in this formulation a longing for the unquestioned authority of martial command, and perhaps an echo of Vladimir Lenin, on whose centenary Earth Day was first observed. Military rigors have their place. The troops at Iwo Jima did not debate with their officers about the logistics of the invasion. But we aren’t at Iwo Jima, and we certainly do not owe Al Gore or the editors of Time the ready obedience of soldiers at war. Time’s editors should be ashamed of themselves for drafting the heroic dead of Iwo Jima into their rhetorical war

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Burns Media Centre...

I figured now (almost a year after moving into the renovated Burns Media Centre, I would show it off, now that it is completely built, sans a few tweaks. As many of you know, I made an appearance on Warren Monks "Word On The Street" this evening on WAMD (970AM). I figured this would be an opportunity to show off one of the capabilities, but to allow me hands free in case I would of had to look up something. It was a marriage of conveniences since I was not able to make it up to Harford County this time. In any event, above is the set up.

I use three computers over all. The third one you do not see is a Toshiba laptop that I do most of my computing on for the moment. Eventually that role will be turned over to the desktop on the left (the black flat screen). You can see the top of the desktop in the lower left of the screen. The computer on the left will be handling a lot of the multimedia and everyday computing tasks, including writing blog entries for Maryland Politics Today in addition to Red Maryland and Salisbury News. This computer, although it has WindowsXP screen saver in the monitor, also runs SUSE Linux. I am currently working on installing a professional broadcasting digital audio program on it. The program runs on a Linux environment. So whenever I am about to record, I just reboot into Linux and I will have my sound panel ready to go.

The computer on the right had been handling a lot of multimedia production. This computer will eventually be converted into a machine that only does audio recording. The actual CPU can be seen in the lower right. You can see hints of a little black box on top of the computer, which is an external hard drive that practically stores everything, including the chyron-style graphics for MarylandPT.

You will also another little black box under the white monitor. That is called an AutoHybrid which is made by a company called JK Audio. This box allows me to connect to a phone line to make appearances or to conduct phone interviews. The AutoHybrid also allows me to send audio clips down the phone line. The mixer you can see on the left is configured so that when I am on the phone, people can hear me, but they won't hear themselves back.

The microphone is on the skinny black pole straight ahead (of course) and above the monitors are a VCR, cassette player and an audio compressor/limiter which really squeezes a lot of ambient noise (background hiss.) There is also a color printer/copier/scanner on that shelf as well (yup, HP product.) I should note that the VCR video source is connected to the recording computer on the right. I can pull in the video source through the computer thanks to the ATI All-In-Wonder Video Card. The audio from the VCR runs to the mixer independently of the computer.

Back to the main desk area, the to outermost black boxes are speakers that I use as studio monitors. Underneath the desk and out of the shot is the amp to power the speakers. I can shut the speakers off independently without shutting off the amp.

A couple of miscellaneous notes, next to the speaker on the right is a Police/EMS scanner (which I have had for eight years now) and yes, there are two phones at the Media Centre. The white phone to the far right is my regular land line (which I use for the auto hybrid) and the other phone (to the right of the keyboard on top) is an office line which is powered through a VOIP service. Also, out of the shot is a Laser Printer which I use for everyday printing.

So there you have it, a behind the scenes look at the Burns Media Centre. Thanks for letting me go off the beaten path in this entry, I just had to show the goods off.

More below the fold.

Radio Update

For those of you keeping track, I will now be on WAMD AM 970 Aberdeen from 6:30-8-ish tonight, with Kenny Burns joining Warren and I at 6:30, and the previously scheduled Mark Newgent at 7.


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Even Some Libs See Danger in Climate Change Policies! (See Addendum)

Read this from Roy Innis, of all people...

NEWS From the Congress of Racial Equality

For Immediate Release: 4-22-08 Contact: Brian McLaughlin, CORE, 212-598-4000

Famed Civil Rights Leader Says New Battle Is Brewing For Minorities and the Poor

Congress of Racial Equality’s Roy Innis Says Opposition Is Rising To Climate Change Proposals Because Of Their Disproportionate Impact On The Poor

Salt Lake City (April 22, 2008) – Roy Innis, long-time leader of one of America's original civil rights organizations, warned today that a new civil rights battle is brewing because of the disproportionate impact on America’s working poor of higher energy prices caused by climate change proposals and other extremist environmental schemes.

“What is under attack is the ability to tens of millions of Americans – many right here in Utah – to afford to live and prosper in this great nation and continue to climb the ladder of economic opportunity,” said Roy Innis. “The culprit of this new civil rights battle? Environmental policies and laws that increase the cost of energy and economically enslave those Americans who most struggle to climb the ladder of economic success.”

Innis was in Salt Lake City as part of a conference entitled, “Earth Week ’08: The Future of Utah,” hosted by the Sutherland Institute.

Innis said misdirected global warming proposals, proposals to limit public access to public lands and policies that restrict access to America’s abundant energy “are driving up the cost of energy and consumer goods.”

“These policies cause widespread layoffs, leaving unemployed workers and families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive, wear and do spirals out of control,” he said. “They threaten to roll back much of the civil rights progress for which civil rights revolutionaries and Dr. King struggled and died.”

More at the Crosspost on Maryland Chesapeake Blog.

ADDENDUM- (To Keep Brian at the top of the Blog for a while)...

In other greenie news…

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith today announced a new cabinet-level position. It will be a government-wide “environmental coordinator”, whatever that is supposed to be.

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown at a school in Landover today encouraged kids to “do their part to fight against global warming and become stewards of their environment”.

I wonder if going hunting to thin-out the dear (or bear) heard would qualify? Somehow I doubt it.

Then our esteemed O’Governor went to give federal testimony again (He’s been doing a lot of that lately). Taking a dig at President Bush and the law they love-to-hate (No Child Left Behind), he & Congressman John Sarbanes pushed for the “No Child Left Inside” Act. Martin also signed one of his famous executive orders, this one forming a “Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature”. Both of these efforts will promote environmental brainwashing… uh… I meant environmental literacy, yeah, that’s right!

Does he have something against houses & classrooms? Oh, the kid’s parents won’t be able to afford the former, and he didn’t fully-fund schools so he can’t afford to build enough of the latter.

More below the fold.

Economic Lunacy

North Carolina is facing the same bullet Maryland dodged when the Global Warming Solutions Act died in the House Economic Matters Committee this past legislative session.

The policy recommendations emanating from North Carolina's Climate Action Plan Advisory Group are eerily similar to those recommended by our own Maryland Commission on Climate Change. Why is that? Well because they were written by the same Soros/Rockefeller/Heinz funded alarmist advocacy group the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS).

Carolina's John Locke Foundation, a free market think tank, commissioned the Beacon Hill Institute to conduct a peer review of CCS' economic analysis. CCS claimed that its policy recommendations would create jobs, benefit that state's economy and help stop global warming.

Beacon Hill's findings lay bare the fallacy of CCS' claims.

North Carolina would lose more than 33,000 jobs and face a $4.5 billion hit to its Gross State Product by 2011, if lawmakers adopt just a fraction of the policies under consideration now to address climate change. A Boston-based economist who has analyzed the policy proposals will deliver that message Tuesday to a legislative study group.The policies studied also would cost the state more than $502million in investment, lower real disposable income by $2.2 billion, and reduce state and local revenue by more than $184 million, said David Tuerck, chairman of the Suffolk University Department of Economics and executive director of the department’s research arm, the Beacon Hill Institute...

"You can’t create jobs that are good jobs — that are adding to the state economy — by shifting workers from more productive to less productive activities,” he added. “You can’t create good jobs, the kind of jobs you want to create, by increasing energy costs, by increasing the price of electricity, by imposing what amount to new taxes. This is not the way to create jobs. All these claims about job creation and the like are bogus claims and unsupportable by even the most naïve sort of economic analysis...

Saner heads may prevail in the Tar Heel state. In Maryland however, the environmentalists are looking to reload the clip and put two in the head of our state's economy.

More below the fold.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Continuing indoctrination

As a registered architect here in Maryland and member of the American Institute of Architects, one thing I have to accomplish on a yearly or bi-yearly basis is acquiring a certain number of continuing education credits. As an AIA member, I'm required to have 18 learning hours per year while as I recall the state requires 24 learning hours per registration term (mine is two years and I have until the end of April, 2009 to complete that number.) Either way, I've never been a fan of mandatory continuing education but unfortunately the AIA tends to push this in every state's legislature because, quite frankly, it's a pretty good cash cow for them. Ohio was one of the last holdouts who didn't require this non-billable crap but the main reason I opted not to maintain my Ohio registration was their adoption of CEU requirements in 2005.

I can see the requirements for continuing education in certain professions like medicine, law, or education. Doctors and nurses need to keep up with the latest techniques and pharmaceuticals, attorneys have to be aware of changes in law and regulation, and teachers hopefully can learn the latest in educational techniques and dealing with more and more types of problem children, but with the exception of the latter case these folks pull in a lot more coin than architects do and their professions change at a much more rapid pace.

While I'm certainly not against architects keeping up with the latest in technology and (in particular) building codes, to me this is simply something a good architect does as part of his or her overall task and the important stuff can be covered in just a few hours of reading per year. They only put out an edition of the International Building Code every three years and yearly supplements are relatively brief. Meanwhile, brick, stone, concrete, steel studs, and 2x4's don't change a whole lot over time.

Unfortunately, the organization I belong to sees things differently and they sure didn't ask my opinion on this recent directive I received:

During the March 2008 AIA National Board of Directors meeting, it was approved that beginning January 1, 2009 the AIA would require all members to complete four (4) hours of sustainable design. These 4 Sustainable Design (SD) hours would be included as part of the current 8 hour/HSW requirement. They are not additional hours to the 18/8 LU hours that the AIA already requires. This requirement would run until 2012, at which time it will be evaluated.

The AIA is currently finalizing the rules of Sustainable Design (SD) Learning Units. During the course of this summer the AIA/CES will be establishing the infrastructure for CES providers to determine, register, and report their future continuing education courses to qualify for Sustainable Design (SD) learning units. These rules will be based upon the following definition.

Sustainable Design (SD) Learning Units

Sustainable design is achieved through an integrated design and delivery process that enhances the natural and built environment by using energy sensibly with a goal toward carbon neutrality, improves air and water quality, protects and preserves water and other resources, and creates environments, communities and buildings that are livable, comfortable, productive, diverse, safe, and provide enduring value to our community and society as a whole.

To qualify as Sustainable Design learning units, the content must meet 4 thresholds:

  1. It must address the AIA definition of sustainability.
  2. It must be a structured (third-party) program (i.e. no self-study).
  3. At least 75% of program content must qualify as HSW.
  4. Its primary purpose must address at least one of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Measures of Sustainable Design and Performance Metrics:

    Design & Innovation; Regional/Community Design; Land Use & Site Ecology; Bioclimatic Design; Light & Air; Water Cycle; Energy Flows & Energy Future; and Materials & Construction to reduce product-cycle environmental impacts and optimize occupant health and comfort.
The only thing this all seems to sustain is cash flow into the AIA coffers, particularly since there's not the self-study option that's available for other areas - including the eight required health/safety/welfare credits. Since the organization is also heavily into pushing requirements for so-called "green" construction at the federal and state levels (thus attempting to artificially create a market by fiat where one doesn't exist) it's certainly making its effort to have all of their membership drink heavily from the goblet of green Kool-Aid. While it may be time for me to leave the organization, I'm certainly going to get some parting shots in before I go.

To that end, I have their 2012 evaluation already written here in 2008. How about working to get the government off our backs instead of trying to get them further into areas they don't belong, and while you're at it laying off this forced manmade global climate change propaganda?

Crossposted on monoblogue.

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This deserves an answer

In my critique Saturday of Paul Foer's somewhat bizarre rant on in-school war protesting, Streiff made an interesting comment:

Does your view hold true for students supporting the war, or those who want to miss school to attend the annual March for Life?
I think it's a question that deserves an answer: does Paul Foer or other liberals who support students missing school or disrupting the school day to protest the war also support the right of conservatives protesting abortion or supporting our troops to do the same?

It's a fair question, and I think I know what the answer is going to be...


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Radio Redux

Mark Newgent and I will again be appearing on Warren Monk's Word on the Street program Tuesday night from 7 pm to 8-ish pm on WAMD, AM 970 Aberdeen.

We will have a number of things to discuss, so check below to see if you can hear us tomorrow night: (H/T Radio Locator).


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Name the Elephant at the Zoo

The elephant. It is the proud symbol of the Republican Party. However, in the state of Maryland, it is a symbol of hatred, especially in Annapolis. On the other hand, we have a new elephant that gives everyone a chance to be proud.

The contest to name the baby elephant at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (more commonly known as the Baltimore Zoo), will be coming to a conclusion soon. The winner will be announced on Saturday April 26th.

The final names are:

1) Chewie
2) Crush
3) Duke
4) Samson
5) Zeus

Now, the problem with these names is that none have anything to do with Baltimore or Maryland. You honestly cannot have an elephant named Duke in Maryland. I think the name of the elephant should have something to do with our great city or state. I have come up with my own list of potential names that you can vote on.

1) Drive-by Shooting (we could call him DBS for short)
2) GSW (short for gun shot wound)
3) Structural Deficit
4) Stop Snitchin'
5) Carbon Credit
6) School Teacher Beater
7) Slots
8) Computer Tax
9) Speed Camera
10) Overzealous Liberal

Vote on your favorite or give your suggestions!

This posting is cross-posted at

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lacking Speculation

There has been a lack of speculation out there regarding the possible names who are being considered to fill the vacancy as the Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party. In fact, I have heard of no names being seriously considered, at least names that have made their way to me.

The quick turnaround of the deadline for resumes to be sent to Jim Pelura seems like it may limit the ability of the party to conduct a national search for a replacement. It will be interesting to see if that in anyway impacts the final selection.

So at this time, I can only speculate as to how many resumes have been submitted for the position. But I can confirm this: that after receiving encouragement from several individuals, I have in fact submitted my resume for consideration. I am extremely grateful for those individuals who have confidence in my abilities and in and asking me to consider serving. And while I do not expect to be selected to fill the vacancy, I feel like I have a duty given my critique of John Flynn's job performance to seek the opportunity to replace him.

We'll see where we go from here...


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shorter Paul Foer: "Kids don't need to learn, they need to recreate the '60's!"

Paul Foer over on his blog and at FSP is horrified that students who disrupted the school day at Annapolis High School were suspended:

Here is what the Capital story tells us:

Three students were arrested at Annapolis High Thursday afternoon for staging a sit-in to protest the Iraq war, according to county police.

Kit Whitacre, 17, was among the students arrested. He said they had only been sitting on the floor for about 10 or 15 minutes when administrators began threatening them, and the police officer stationed in the school called for backup, flashing sets of plastic handcuffs.

"We just sat down in front of the main office," Kit said. "We didn't want to go to class, because we felt it's unfair other people our age are in Iraq."

County police said yesterday they charged the three students with disorderly and disruption of school activity. They would not give names of those arrested because the report has not yet been filed, and because those arrested are juveniles.

Bob Mosier, a spokesman for the school system, said "appropriate disciplinary action" was taken against the protesting students. He would not specify what disciplinary action was taken.

"You can't disturb the instructional day," Mr. Mosier said. "That's in the code of student conduct."

Now, I will say that arresting the students was probably a little over the top. But I don't see a real big problem with suspending the students for their actions. Their actions are no different than any other stunt pulled to intentionally disrupt learning in their school. The students made a choice to make a spectacle of themselves and they got suspended for it. It's not like they were suspended specifically for protesting the war.

Paul Foer then takes it completely off the tracks:
Contrast this to the Vietnam era when we had a draft and for most purposes, had to pay for the war. The young people went nuts, and their protests eventually brought about an end to the war. And our country seems to have collective amnesia about every lesson we should have learned from that folly. So, after all these years in Iraq, trillions squandered and many thousands dead,we seem to forget all the lies foisted upon us by Bush and Cheney Incorporated. Instead, we take a few students who sat down peacefully and suspend them for ten days.
If Foer wants to argue the war, he can go ahead and do so and spill his offbeat, fringe opinions about the war to his hearts content. But to say that the kids should not be suspended because the war is still going and that's what we are doing "instead" of "learning the lessons" so to speak about the war is foolhardy.

Then, Foer seemingly encourages students to shut down the school day:
Perhaps, yes perhaps, if cooler heads prevail, we'll get a massive student protest going and maybe we'll shut the whole school down for ten days. That might make a point. As the parent of an Annapolis HS student, I'm all for it. It might make the lessons my son is learning about US government and history all the more meaningful. And if he gets suspended for ten days, we'll go visit all the war memorials in Washington, stroll among the gardens of stones at Arlington, visit our Senators and Congressman to protest. He might learn more than he does in school.
Apparently, Foer thinks that nonviolent protest of a war is more important for his son than actually receiving instruction that will prepare him for the rest of his life. And as a parent, Foer has that right. However, he does not have the right to take opportunities for learning away from the other students at Annapolis High School. He doesn't have the right to encourage protest of a war in lieu of learning about science, about history, and about math. For some of these students who go to Annapolis High, education is the only way out of their socioeconomic situation. They may only have the opportunity to go to college through what they learn during the school day. Why should they be denied that right when some of the uppity Annapolis-area bourgeoisie want to relive the Sixties vicariously through their children.

Ironically, Foer's idea to shut down Annapolis High will take educational opportunities away from the lower and middle classes who attend Annapolis. It may also keep kids out of college who then, ironically, may feel like they need to enlist and wind up fighting in the war that Foer so passionately opposes. Funny, I thought liberals were for education and against sending our kids to war.

Foer's assertions that this kind of nonviolent protest should be encouraged are disturbing. We should be encouraging students to go to school to get an education, not do the bidding of their parents by protesting a war. Education is everything, and nobody on the right or the left should be encouraging its disruption for any reason.


More below the fold.

Two Days Late

Two days after reading it here, the Sun finally gets around to reporting John Flynn's departure (without crediting me, of course):

Party seeking new director
The Maryland Republican Party is looking for a new executive director after John Flynn resigned this week to take a job as general counsel for Americans for Prosperity, a public interest group in Washington.

Flynn became the party's executive director in January 2007 as Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley took office after defeating former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Later that year, the party reported that it was nearly broke. State GOP Chairman James Pelura said yesterday that Flynn helped rebuild the party and draw more small donations that allowed it to pay off debts.

"I was left with a lot of debt and very little fundraising ability in the way of large donors," Pelura said. "The Republican base is excited and energized again, and John was instrumental in helping me see that through."
I'll let you interpret the comments that you just read regarding the state of the party for yourselves...


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Did Obama give Hill the Finger? Or just scratch his face?

Notice his expression and the reaction of the crowd in this video.

"We report, you decide..."

Crossposted on Maryland Chesapeake Blog

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Friday, April 18, 2008

From the Halls of Kilimanjaro to the Shores of the Polar Ice Caps

Earth to Time Magazine: The Marines fought and actual threat to the United States at Iwo Jima.

Lt. John Keith Wells, who led the platoon that planted the flags on Mt. Surabachi said, “That global warming is the biggest joke I’ve ever known... we’ll stick a dadgum tree up somebody’s rear if they want that and think that’s going to cure something.”

Semper Fi, Lt. Wells, Semper Fi.

More below the fold.

About Those Green Jobs

Alarmists love to tout the "green collar" jobs that their "low carbon" future will bring.

Forget for a moment that after accounting for the "green collar" jobs any national global warming legislation like Liberman-Warner, might create, we will still see a net loss of millions of jobs.

Those green collar jobs like wind turbine technicians don't pay very well either.

This is a cruel untruth, especially in economically depressed areas. Very few permanent jobs will likely be created—perhaps a couple of low wage maintenance employees. According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Lab on windplant jobs, the national average is one maintenance employee for every 12-15 turbines. A 20 turbine windplant in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania now employs only two maintenance employees. Forty miles south, the Mountaineer wind facility in West Virginia, with over 45 turbines, employs three to four workers. For two windplants proposed for Western Maryland (Clipper Windpower and Synergics Wind Energy, both LLCs), the developers have pledged to pay each of their maintenance employees little more than $18,000 annually, less than a living wage for a family of four in this country. The collective capital value of their facilities, however, is projected to be in the neighborhood of $140 million....

During windplant construction, a few security guards and some local earth moving crews will be hired for a few months, while the bulk of construction is typically completed by primarily foreign labor, since the turbines are often manufactured in Europe with warranties serviced by the manufacturer. A recent study by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on the "Top of Iowa" windplant showed that, of the 200 total construction jobs, only 20 were local—and all disappeared within six months.

O'Malley's PSC is close to granting Clipper Windpower approval for an application on Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. Clipper's chairman is a former Enron official and delegate to the Kyoto Conference.

Readers will remember Synergics Wind LLC, especially its owner former head of the Maryland Democratic Party, Wayne Rodgers, and how Mike Miller and Ulysses Currie greased the skids allowing him to circumvent the PSC.

These projects were foundering in 2006, in fact Tom "The Advocate" Pelton noted that they lacked "financing and contracts with electricity distributors." Why? Well, because wind energy is very expensive to produce and distribute, which is why it needs government mandates. Mandates like O'Malley's recent increase of Maryland's renewable portfolio standards, which requires state utilities to purchase portions of its electricity from renewable sources like wind from 9.5% to 20%. Can you say rent seeking!

So there you have it Wayne Rodgers (did I mention he's the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party maybe David Paulson could clear that up for me) and a former Enron man are conspiring to keep wages low in order to reap the huge windfall profits from their rent seeking efforts.

Edited for clarity and new information.

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Talking Out of Both Sides of the Editorial Page

The Baltimore Sun editorial board is a perplexing bunch.

Concerning the failed Global Warming Solutions Act in the Maryland General Assembly, they wrote on March 25:

And any sensible legislator should agree that adopting statewide greenhouse gas policies that might prove far too costly for steelmaking and lead to the loss of more jobs than the minuscule environmental benefit could possibly justify would be worse than inhospitable.

Today April 18, regarding their view to ignore President Bush’s dopey global warming proposal they write:

But there is a serious, sensible proposal out there: a Senate bill that aims to reduce American greenhouse emissions by nearly a third by 2025…The Senate bill, sponsored by Republican John W. Warner and independent Joseph I. Lieberman, neither of whom is known for wild-eyed views, would set limits on emissions and allow companies to trade credits.

So let me get this straight, the Sun doesn’t like a state bill that would kill jobs, create energy rationing, and increase energy costs in return for minuscule environmental benefit. However, the cheer lead for a federal bill that would result in the loss of millions of jobs, create energy rationing, and cause energy costs to soar, all for minuscule environmental benefit.

Oh by the way, the only countries that achieved dramatic carbon dioxide reductions were the former Soviet republics and its Eastern European satellites. They achieved those reductions through complete economic collapse. Although they don’t realize it, this is the “low carbon future” our friends at Free State Politics would have us endure.

More below the fold.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What kind of day has it been?

A pretty big one:

All in all, a fairly big day for state politics and the Maryland blogosphere...


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Cut Bait NOW

I was always kinda confused as to why Andy Harris would hitch his wagon to factually challenged third-rate Delaware blogger Joe Albero in the primary season. It seemed odd that Harris would put himself in league with someone so controversial and disliked in the Eastern Shore precincts that will be so crucial to victory in this November's General Election.

Today, Albero added to his extensive history with Maryland's judiciary today now that he is facing charges related to an investigation by the Comptroller's Office.

Now, I'm not here to bury Albero; he has enough problems and I don't want the kinda karma slapping me in the face that slapped him in the face (though certain sections of the blogosphere think this is like manna from heaven)....

...but the Harris Campaign needs to extricate themselves from Albero now. The fact of the matter is that Harris cannot have this kind of albatross hanging around his neck for six-plus months. True, Albero has no official role in the campaign, but Harris does associate his campaign with Albero and makes extensive use of Albero's blog to propagate information about his campaign. And given Senator Harris' position on taxes, having someone associated so closely with the campaign involved in an investigation stemming from the Comptroller's Office probably doesn't send the kind of message the Harris Campaign wants voters to get.

Time will tell what the campaign will do, but the Harris team needs to cut bait right now.


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More Rumors: Sauerbrey 2010?

There is another rumor I got hold of this evening, and that one is that 1994 and 1998 GOP Gubernatorial nominee and current Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010.

This is certainly exciting news, and may help explain her presence as a speaker at numerous Lincoln Day dinners across Maryland. Secretary Sauerbrey, almost defeated Parris Glendenning in the 1994 gubernatorial election and can probably launch the most credible challenge at Barbara Mikulski.

It's time that Maryland had a Senator who actually represented the people's interests and not the left's special interests, so I enthusiastically hope Secretary Sauerbrey runs.


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This is not what my tax dollars are for

The Kratovil for Congress campaign sent around an e-newsletter today, conveniently located at this site, that has an interesting tidbit:

Wednesday, May 7
Hampton Improvement Association
5:00 -6:00 p.m. at Notre Dame Prep, 815 Hampton Lane, Towson. Sen. James Brochin will introduce Frank Kratovil. Call 410.841.3648 for details.
In case you don't know, the 841 exchange is a State Government exchange for legislator's offices. The kind of office for, say, Sen. James Brochin.

I'm pretty sure I don't pay taxes so that legislators can run blatantly political activities out of their offices, so I'd sure like an explanation as to why this is the case in this situation.


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This note from Jim Pelura is being sent around, sent yesterday:

From: "James Pelura"
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 20:21:44
Subject: Bittersweet news

Dear Republican Leaders,

It is with mixed emotions that I contact you tonight.

John Flynn, our Executive Director, has given notice that he will be
embarking on a new and exciting adventure in 2 weeks.

As you all know, John has been instrumental in carrying out my plan to
return the State Party to the county Central Committees and the grassroots
Republicans of our beloved Maryland.

I am dismayed in his leaving but extremely happy for him and wish him every
success and happiness in his new position. He will be missed!!

Due to time constraints, I will be interviewing for this position on
Tuesday, April 22
at MDGOP headquarters. Please spread the word and have
the applicants e-mail their resumes to me at
by Monday, April 21, 2008.

Dr. Jim Pelura
Maryland Republican Party

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BREAKING: John Flynn out?

GOP Insiders are telling me that Maryland State GOP Executive Director John Flynn has resigned from his post to take a job with the Harris for Congress campaign.

More news and comment to follow...


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Concealed Carry In Maryland

For years, the state of Maryland has avoided a trend that many states have openly embraced. Why doesn't Maryland allow their law abiding citizens to conceal a handgun?

As it stands now, Maryland only allows select individual to obtain a hand gun permit. Of those, only corrections officers, former police officers and those engaged in professional activities (specifically doctors and pharmacists) can carry a concealed weapon in this state. Also, select individuals can receive a permit if they can prove "recent" threats against their wellbeing. It should be noted that all these persons listed must still submit to a lengthy permit process before approval will be granted.

It's actually easier for Maryland residents to obtain an out-of-state permit. A Utah concealed carry permit is recognized in 32 states. Unfortunately, Maryland is not one of these states. In fact, this state only recognizes licenses issued here. As a result, other states generally don't recognize the Maryland permit. Despite their rigorous application process, the Maryland permit is only accepted by 11 other states.

Therefore, if someone wished to venture into Delaware or Virginia, a Maryland handgun permit would not be valid. By contrast, if the same person received approval after completing the one page Utah application, they would be able to carry their weapon in every surrounding state except West Virginia. Right now, the closest states that recognize a Maryland permit are Kentucky and Tennessee.

Honestly, I cannot see the big issue with concealed carry. A criminal isn't going to be deterred by a rigid Maryland law. By the same token, a law abiding citizen will not take the risk. As a result, when a good guy is robbed by a bad guy, s/he has no means to protect themselves, their family or their belongings.

Normally, I am a proponent of state's rights. When it comes to concealed carry laws, the state of Maryland choses to infringe upon the constitutional rights of it's law abiding citizens. Therefore, I hope the Supreme Court eventually inserts itself into this argument.


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