Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Democrats are going to continue to eat their own

I think it is getting to the point where Republicans have to hope not necessarily that John McCain's campaign goes and wins the election, so long as they don't go out and lose it. The Democrats seem to be taking care of the winning part for us. (H/T Soren Dayton of Red State via Marc Ambinder):



You just can't make this stuff up....

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Real Quiet

I notice that Maryland Democrats, both on and offline, have gotten real quiet about the troubles of Ulysses Currie. Considering the fact that her in Maryland time, and time, and time, and time again it is the Democrats who are always implicated in some sort of corruption scandal in Maryland.

Free State Politics and the other opinion leaders in the liberal blogosphere are quiet. David Paulson is keeping his mouth shut (for once) too. But hey, I'd get tired of going to bat for these guys, too.

But I keep noticing how much more critical Republicans are of their own, which I think speaks volumes of the charachter difference between the two parties these days. Most Republicans (not necessarily the ones in DC, mind you, but most) put principle and integrity ahead of victory. Not so much with a lot of Democrats these days...

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The art of movable standards and a life well lived

I normally do not do this, but there are three things that I cannot stand.
- Someone using the art of movable standards.
- Someone accusing me of censorship.
- Someone asking an academically dishonest question to prove a point.

Enter my earlier post "Whining Piety" and comments from "a life well lived."

This person asked in regards to the governor and his stance on the death penalty, "SHOW ME AN SCHEDULED EXECUTION THAT DIDN'T TAKE PLACE IN MARYLAND BECAUSE OF ANYTHING DONE OR NOT DONE BY THIS GOVERNOR."

This is disingenuous on its very face for the following reasons. The defacto moratorium was decided in December 2006, after the election in which then-Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) was defeated. No one in their right mind would start an issue for their successor to deal with a month later. So to ask if there were any scheduled executions that didn't take place is not only a dishonest question, but a "gotcha" question in order to say, "I got one over on you."

In addition, it's a misplaced question to boot. The question is whether Governor O'Malley honored his oath of office by not being proactive on it either way, instead of leaving the issue in limbo, and in my opinion (and that of The Washington Times) he did not.

Since you are not impressed with The Washington Times, how about The Capital in Annapolis whose very editorial from April 20 was titled "Death penalty issue needs decision, not endless delays." The editorial board wrote, "We have no problem with capital punishment, but if the people of the state - through their legislators - want to abolish it and replace it with a system of ironclad life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentences, so be it. We do have a problem with endless procrastination, legalistic nitpicking and waiting on the outcome of jury-rigged studies."

I am for the death penalty, but if the people through their legislators want to abolish it so be it. But to call me blood thirsty, is unfair. It is similar to calling someone who does not agree with the current war in Iraq, unpatriotic.

In addition, I heard O'Malley on WBAL (1090AM) on the day where he announced that new protocols be issues for the death penalty. As the saying goes, it's not the words, it's how the words are said. The way he said his words were similar to the times from earlier this year he complained about his low poll numbers and similar to when he complained about this being the toughest year he has had politically.

As far as the Supreme Court goes, they did what they were suppose to do. The agreed to hear the Kentucky case in September. That news happened nearly 10 months after O'Malley took office, and nearly half a year after the 2007 general assembly session ended. O'Malley could have easily started the process of issuing new protocols at that point as there was no guarantee that the supreme court would hear the case in question. The high court heard the arguments in January and it was decided in April, a few months ahead of scheduled. Reports from September speculated that it would be summer before a decision is rendered.

I am not asking you to be impressed. Admittedly, there are some people who do write better than I do that I am impressed with. I am simply here to present an argument and get you to think about it whether you agree, disagree or otherwise.

Now to another comment made by "a life well lived" which actually involves a movable standard. He asks in the entry "Black Wall of Silence" the following:

"Where's you're demand that Sen. David Vitter resign from the Senate in shame for his continuous and unabashed infidelity and declaration that because he hasn't resigned yet, the entire Republican Party is responsible and a "REPUBLICAN WALL OF SILENCE."

Since you seem to be fond of playing the intellectual stalker, I am sure you read my most recent PolitickerMD.com column "Ronald Reagan is Dead" where I stated that "Not every person in a political party agrees with each other, but they have core values that unite them." That means that I do not agree with everything in the Republican Party. Lord knows that statement could not be any truer for the Democratic Party, although I am mindful of Will Rogers and his famous quote.

Remember folks, I was a supporter of BILL Clinton when he was President. I still say to this day that the whole impeachment trial involving Lewinsky-gate was a waste of taxpayer money, just to find out if Clinton had a chick on the side. Not that I am a fan of Adultery, but Sen. Vitter was in the same category as Clinton in regards to having an extra-marital affair. The congressman who resigned recently was just reckless. By the way, I don't care if they are Democratic or Republican, if you acted as Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) did, I think you should resign.

And finally (and I apologize in advance for this one to those who will find this over the top,) Who the hell do you think you are in accusing me of being "more comfortable with the right-wing pattern of focusing on the real or imagined controversies of liberal African-Americans because you think they are easier targets upon which you can thrust a momentary episode of scorn?" I have as much right to speak on those controversies as you do in taking me to task on my commentaries.

I am sorry that I have made you and the rest of the secret order upset in being honest. I am sorry that I thought Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson wasted everyone's time in getting someone fired who is virtually nothing in regards to the black community, let alone the community at large. I am sorry I am not the good ol' black boy who walks in lock step with the rest of the secret order and agree blindly with the democrats and wallow in victim hood.

As I had said in April, only I will give you an extended version, I was not around for the civil rights era, I cannot relate to black liberation theology, I am not naive to that fact that racism is still around, I have been discriminated against in the past, I have been spat upon, I have been insulted, I have been talked down to, I have been called a nigger TO MY FACE, I have been counted out on race alone, I have been told to give up, I have seen others discriminated against, but instead of looking for a hand out and wallowing in a self-inflicted pity party, I got off of my ass and start chasing bigger fish because my time on this planet is too short and I have goals I would like to achieve before my time is up.

So how friggin' dare you accuse me of taking easy shots at the black community because of things that I see that I do not agree with, that I find offensive and just flat out wrong and goes against the grain of common sense. You tell me what is a good reason to collect welfare at home when you are perfectly able to get a job. Please tell me, what is "white" about learning how to read and speak properly? Please, oh please, explain what is wrong with co-mingling with white people? What was the grand prize for getting Don Imus kicked off of MSNBC and fired from CBS Radio? The latter entity, keep in mind, encouraged Imus to be offensive to everyone. Overall, I am still waiting on an answer from a question I asked last year, how is one qualified as being "black enough." The insulting part is that wallowing in victimhood, begging for a handout and screaming racism when it need not apply ARE CELEBRATED!

From what I recall from the civil rights era is that NO ONE BEGGED FOR JACK! They stood their ground in peaceful protest and worked hard to get everyone's attention about a grave injustice that is not even in agreement with the teachings of Christianity. The fruits of the civil rights movement are being enjoyed by my generation. In case you missed it, Dr. Martin luther King Jr. said that they were bought for cheap! That means there is more work to be done and in my opinion things are good, but when you have a judge in New York that gives a pass to three cops who went trigger happy, we are not quite there yet.

I apologize for those who found the last few paragraphs over the top, but I take GREAT offense to the question that I will continue to leave standing because it need not apply. To the person posing the question, I apologize for nothing I have just said in regards to your question and accusation of me taking shots at black people because its easy. You said the question will sting, congratulations, you were right about something for once in this exchange, but you crossed the line!

Respond if you wish, but keep in mind, I will no longer take you seriously after your last question.


More below the fold.

Red Maryland and The Ehrlichs Redux

I have the honor to once again be a guest on the Kendel and Bob Show on WBAL. I will be on tomorrow morning from 9-10:30.

We will discuss the flap over the nomination of Little Tommy Miller, Nat Exum, and I'm sure the breaking news about Ulysses "Lobbyists have no influence" Currie .

Tune in, log on, get informed.


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Marylanders Are The Devil!!!

Attention Maryland drivers!!! You are the Devil!!!

In a statement by DC Councilman Jim Graham, Maryland drivers are driving at "hell bent" speeds and we are the devil.

Okay, everyone. He's onto us. We all need to think of a new plan for getting through DC. Fortunately, we are the devil, so we should be able to come up with something quick.

And while we come up with our new plan, let's conveniently ignore those wonderful drivers from Virginia. Those SUV's with Virginia tags pushing your bumper to go faster on the Dulles Toll Road are actually Maryland drivers in disguise.


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WOW! The Sun smacks O'Malley AND Miller...for a change

When I saw The Baltimore Sun's editorial "In the name of the father" this morning, I knew that it was going to discuss Senate President Thomas Mike Miller's son, Thomas V. Miller III, getting through the first hurdle in the nominating process for a judgeship in the Anne Arundel County District Court.

What I was not expecting is that The Sun would pick the side of common sense. Instead of cheerleading O'Malley (like it has openly done for the past three years or more,) they said that O'Malley's executive order tainted the nominating process. The editorial board also said that the elder Miller should have stayed silent while adding that would be "a hardship for the Senate president, we know."


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The Message of the Black Church

So another clergyman from Obama’s Church, Trinity, has gotten in trouble for what he’s saying. I’m sure you’ve seen it, if not, here it is. And he’s apologized, Obama’s disowned, and the Politico reports that the Obama campaign insiders thinks that Pfleger should of “known better” than to attack Hillary from the pulpit.

The problem is, everybody is wrapped up in the messenger, the personalities and not the actual message. If this is really the state of the black church message, this country is in trouble. Pfleger's assertions that we continue the victimization of African Americans and refuse to move on from the "past that divides us" or )some other slogan that Obama would use to appeal to whites) should be the concer.


More below the fold.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BLACK WALL OF SILENCE

A little over a year ago, the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson along with the rest of the Secret Order of the Society of Black People were calling for Don Imus' head after referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as Nappy Headed Ho's.

Let's see what has happened during that time:

- Imus was back on the air by that Fall on WABC-AM in New York (with an ever growing syndication network including WJZW-FM in Washington.)

- The Advocate based in Los Angeles posed as donor's to Planned Parenthood asking if they can give money for a specific purpose...aborting Black Babies. I am sure you have see the video on YouTube by now, but if you haven't, here you go.

That video was posted in February (Part II was posted in April.) You would think that the Secret Order along with the self-appointed but far from official Black leaders would have said something by now. THEY HAVE NOT SAID A WORD.

Enter The Rev. Dr. Clenard Childress Jr., founder of BlackGenocide.org, who says that the "leaders" owe Don Imus an apology. I agree with this piece that Dr. Childress wrote. Sharpton and Jackson have raised hell over less than this. While I am "moderate" on abortion issues (by moderate I mean just because the government says you can, does not mean it's right,) I have to call out the undeniable racism of Planned Parenthood. Not even a whisper (or at the very least a real statement) about this from anyone.

Oh, and before anyone starts screaming racism about the "Secret Order..." remark, I am Black.


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FBI Searching Ulysses Currie's Home

WBAL Radio is reporting that the FBI is executing a search the PG County home of State Senator Ulysses Currie. Currie chairs the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. FBI agents are also searching the Lanham headquarters of Shoppers Food Warehouse in connection with the search of Currie's home.

No details on the nature of the search...yet.

Readers may remember Currie is the legislator who said, "Lobbyists almost have no influence on the vote."

Is Nat Exum sweating?


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O'Malley Math From Herb McMillan

The following op-ed comes from Herb McMillan, a former Delegate from Maryland's 30th legislative district.
O'Malley Math

The public relations blitz to revive Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley’s 37% approval rating is in full swing. Last week, posturing as fiscal conservatives, Governor O’Malley and liberal legislators claimed to have slashed Maryland’s budget by $1.1 billion since July 2007. It’s undisputed that they’ve raised sales, income, and other taxes by $1.4 billion. But if O’Malley actually made $1.1 billion in real cuts in conjunction with his $1.4 billion tax increase, wouldn’t Maryland have eradicated its $1.7 billion deficit and project an $800 million surplus, even without slots? Yet unless slots pass, Maryland projects a $600 million structural deficit just five months after the biggest tax increase in Maryland history. How is that possible?

It isn’t the economy. That resulted in a $300 million reduction of revenue estimates, so we should still have a $500 million surplus, even without slots. It isn’t that we don’t tax enough. Maryland had the 9th highest total tax burden per person before O’Malley’s tax hike.

It’s O’Malley’s spending. O’Malley hasn’t cut the budget, or used the $1.4 billion tax increase to cover the deficit. Last year’s budget spent $30 billion. This year’s budget spends $31.2 billion. That’s a $1.2 billion (4%) increase. A budget that increases spending by $1.2 billion hasn’t been cut. If state spending increases 4% per year for the remainder of O’Malley’s term, it will grow 13%. How many of us have paychecks that will grow that fast?

When tax and spenders like O’Malley say they’ve “cut the budget” it means “we’re spending more, but not as much as we want.” Maryland’s General Fund budget is driven by formulas that mandate automatic annual spending increases, regardless of need or results. Liberals spin legislation reducing mandated increases into “ budget cuts”, even when they still result in higher spending. This year, state education funding increased by 4%, but not by as much as the Thornton formula required. Using O’Malley Math, the education budget was cut even though education spending increased by $185 million.

That’s just part of the O’Malley Math equation. During the Legislative Special Session called to “fix” O’Malley’s $1.7 billion deficit, spending on new or expanded programs nearly equaled spending reductions. Additionally, 40% of the $1.4 billion tax increase went to increased spending, not deficit reduction. Total spending wasn’t cut, it was redistributed and increased.

When the Special Session ended in November, Maryland still projected a $377 million deficit. This year, despite a record tax increase, the legislature had to raid the Transportation and Chesapeake Bay Trust Funds to balance the budget.

O’Malley Math attempts to put a fiscally conservative face on a liberal agenda that equates more government spending to a better quality of life for everyone. Unfortunately, putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it a prom queen. The budget formulas mandating increased spending also require the redistribution of your tax dollars to other counties. The state spends an average of $6,270 in education aid per pupil. Montgomery County receives only $3,789 per pupil, while Baltimore City receives $11,235 per pupil. Anne Arundel County receives $4,356 per pupil, the fourth lowest amount in Maryland.

You are paying more in state taxes, but they aren’t being used to improve your quality of life. Seventy-six cents of every state tax dollar collected in Anne Arundel County is spent in another county. More spending isn’t improving our test results either. Advocates for Children and Youth noted that Maryland’s scores on independent national tests had failed to improve, despite a $2.2 billion increase in education funding since 2002. Students have performed only marginally better on state tests.

George Santayana noted that fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you’ve forgotten your aims. Maryland’s budget has doubled, increasing by $15 billion in the last ten years. Yet test scores have shown little improvement, the Chesapeake Bay is no cleaner, and crime is worse. O’Malley’s solution is to…….spend more.

We cannot spend ourselves out of a deficit or tax and gamble ourselves into a better quality of life. To successfully resolve our problems, including the deficit, we must change the big government mindset that created them, not simply repackage spending increases as budget cuts.

With spending exceeding tax receipts, O’Malley plans to resolve his deficit with slots. That’s a tough sell. To many, Slots and cuts instead of higher taxes are arguably the lesser of two evils. Slots after a record tax and spending increase are just an additional evil.

As Maryland families struggle with higher taxes, rising gas prices, and sky-high BG&E bills, they’re going to feel what the numbers already show: O’Malley math doesn’t add up to a better quality of life.

Herb McMillan is President of the Maryland Taxpayers Association and served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003-2007. Data used in this column was obtained from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.


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Prairie Home Ignorance

Garrison Keillor's inane op/ed in the Baltimore Sun serves to prove a point I've been making about progressive cosmopolitans (Brian calls them urban liberals) and their discontents.

A patriotic bike rally is sort of like a patriotic toilet-papering or patriotic graffiti; the patriotism somehow gets lost in the sheer irritation of the thing...

You don't quite see the connection between that and these fat men with ponytails on Harleys.... It took 20 minutes until a gap appeared and then a mob of us pedestrians flooded across the street and the parade of bikes had to stop for us, and on we went to show our patriotism by, in my case, hiking around the National Gallery, which, after you've watched a few thousand Harleys pass, seems like an outpost of civilization...

There stood Renoir's ballerina in pale blue chiffon and Monet's children in the garden of sunflowers. And Mary Cassatt's "The Boating Party," which I stood and stared at for a long time. A lady in a white bonnet sits in a green sailboat, holding a contented baby in pink, as a man rows the boat toward a distant shore. (Perhaps the boat is becalmed.) The man wears a navy blue shirt, he is preoccupied with his rowing, and the lady looks wan and mildly anxious, as well a mother should be. The baby is looking dreamily over the gunwales. Is the man a hired hand or is he the husband and father?

A work of art can lift you up from the mishmash of life, the weight of the unintelligible world, and vulgarity squats on you like an enormous toad and won't get off. You stroll down past the World War II Memorial, which looks like something ordered out of a catalog, a bland insult to the memory of all who served, and thousands of motorcycles roar by disturbing the Sabbath, and it depresses you for hours.

If anyone cared about the war dead, they could go read David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter or Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers or any of a hundred other books, and they would get a vision of what it was like to face death for your country, but the bikers riding in formation are more interested in being seen than in learning anything. They are grown men playing soldier, making a great hullabaloo without exposing themselves to danger, other than getting drunk and falling off a bike.


Keillor's sand pounding ignorance is astounding. The bikers he refers to is the CHARITY organization Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to veterans groups and to assist active military and families. They also work on behalf of POW/MIA issues. They don't merely read about citizen soldiers they actively work to assist them, which is more than one can say about Keillor.

Keillor represents a cosmopolitan strain in our society, which views America as all about "progress" and holds attendant views of patriotism as nothing but "dissent" and "change." These notions are quite different from the type of patriotism typified by Rolling Thunder.

I'm speaking here of a cultural divide in America. The "global we" versus the "American we."

Obviously the spectacle of Rolling Thunder is offensive to Keillor's cosmopolitan sense of patriotism. How dare they obstruct his high-brow outing of viewing art of Renoir and Cassatt. The "global we" scoffs at such low-brow "irritation."

Keillor's reaction to Rolling Thunder is typical of cosmopolitans in that they don't really think that "the American we" has anything worthwhile to offer about patriotism or any other issue for that matter. In fact the "global we" get downright testy whenever they get a whiff of the "American we" talking about patriotism, call it patriotism paranoia.

The "American we" does indeed have important things to say about a whole host of issues, patriotism included. The sad fact is that the loud roar of Rolling Thunder falls silent on the tone deaf ears of cosmopolitans like Keillor.


More below the fold.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Attention Ron Smith Fans

The Ron Smith Show fans will be meeting this Friday, May 30, at 5:00pm at Panera Bread in Hunt Valley. Come listen to the last hour of Talk Show Man's program.

Skip Loeffler talk with us about the Maryland Constitution, the workings of the General Assembly, and the 2010 Constitutional Convention.

Visit their website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ron_smith_fans and read about the group or view the poll to RSVP for Friday.


More below the fold.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Poignancy

As many of you know myself, Greg Kline, and others have spent a significant amount of time talking about GOP branding and how the Republican Party needs to right the ship in order to achieve electoral sustainability in 2008 and beyond. And nowhere has the argument for such a necessary rededication to principles has been found than today's Wall Street Journal piece penned by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn:

Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.

Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn't good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

And if that doesn't cut to the teeth of the argument, nothing will. Make sure to read the whole thing.

One of the points that Coburn mentions time and again is the need for Republicans to start acting like Republicans again. And that is something that all Republicans need to embrace. Furthermore, this is not a problem just at the Federal level, either. We have seen time and time and time again where Republican elected officials even here at the state and local level have gone to unprecedented lengths to aid and abet Democratic efforts to raise taxes, increase the size of government, or support Democratic programs for pet issues.

Unfortunately, friends, this is where the rubber is meeting the road for our Republican future. Our "farm team" both here and across the nation are being weaned on "compassionate conservatism" and running and governing on ideals that are anathema to the conservatism that endeared our party and our leaders to the electorate. These candidates and elected officials are being sold a bill of goods that puts greater importance on the next election than the next generation.

Connecticut GOP Executive Director Heath Fahle also makes solid points on The Everyday Republican and on his blog at The Next Right:
It falls on us to not be distracted by talk of a ‘new and improved brand’, and instead focus on promoting our values, especially those that we forgot about when Republicans were in power - a smaller government that cuts up the national ‘credit card’ and starts reducing the national debt, a simpler government that requires less red tape and agita to get things done, and a more fair government that does not favor one set of lobbyists over another - rather favoring sensible policy over foolish ones.
There is no silver bullet that will return Republicans and conservatives to ascendancy. But it will take Republicans from the grassroots level on up to stand up to big government Republicans, stand up to these liberals who wish to lead the party astray, and to reclaim the Republican Party for what it is. As Senator Coburn concludes:
Regaining our brand is not about "messaging." It's about action. It's about courage. It's about priorities. Most of all, it's about being willing to give up our political careers so our grandkids don't have to grow up in a debtor's prison, or a world in which other nations can tell a weakened and bankrupt America where we can and can't defend liberty, pursue terrorists, or show compassion.
The responsibility, friends, is ours.

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

What's good for the goose....

Here's something funny regarding legislators getting wined and dined by lobbyists:

Sean Dobson, executive director of Progressive Maryland, is critical of the current system but said the state should not revert to allowing individual meals.

"There should be zero tolerance for giving a lawmaker anything of value," said Dobson, whose group advocates for working-class families.

So, who commented on the story discussing these dinners?

In January, shortly after O'Malley introduced the bill, the entire membership of the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the legislation was invited to Ruth's Chris Steak House by Alexander & Cleaver, the firm hired by ACS. Among the attendees was the company's director of marketing.

Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery) said that no hard sales pitch was made at the dinner but that it did provide a chance for the company to make its case in a relaxed atmosphere to lawmakers with qualms about speed cameras.

"If people went in agnostic about how they were going to vote on the bill, they probably had their questions answered," Hucker said.

And of course Tom Hucker was a...former executive director of Progressive Maryland.

So, can one suppose that Hucker's position on these free dinners changed somewhat when he become the recipient of such largesse?

(Crossposted)


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Aren't you over your carbon limit, comrade?

For better or for worse, Britain once again is taking the lead on completely insane policymaking:

Every adult should be forced to use a 'carbon ration card' when they pay for petrol, airline tickets or household energy, MPs say.

The influential Environmental Audit Committee says a personal carbon trading scheme is the best and fairest way of cutting Britain's CO2 emissions without penalising the poor.

Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.

And how would this cockamamie idea work?

Every adult in the UK would be given an annual carbon dioxide allowance in kgs and a special carbon card.

The scheme would cover road fuel, flights and energy bills.

Every time someone paid for road fuel, flights or energy, their carbon account would be docked.

A litre of petrol would use up 2.3kg in carbon, while every 1.3 miles of airline flight would use another 1kg.

When paying for petrol, the card would need to swiped at the till. It would be a legal offence to buy petrol without using a card.

When paying online, or by direct debit, the carbon account would be debited directly.

Anyone who doesn't use up their credits in a year can sell them to someone who wants more credits. Trading would be done through specialist companies.

Leave it to the British to institutionalize bad policies under a Gordon Brown's stewardship (which, if there is anything fortunate about it, is making Tony Blair look like a Thatcherite and helps give ascendancy to the Conservatives, such as happened in London).

Of course, such a policy has not been well thought out by the MP proposing it. What about government agencies? Tourists? Local schools? How in the world does such an idea work? And what type of penalties does one receive for being a "carbon criminal" and selling petrol without the proper papers?

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling that such idea may again see life in a General Assembly near you...

(Crossposted)


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Frank Kratovil Wants YOUR $2,300

As noted before, Queen Anne's States Attorney (and Democrat Congressional candidate) Frank Kratovil claims to be running as a moderate / conservative Democrat. Kratovil also loves to whine about where his opponent, Maryland Sen. Andy Harris (R-7), is raising his money.

Of course politics loves hypocrisy, particularly when coming from Democrats. Perhaps this explains why Kratovil is raising money at a fundraiser hosted by local lefty Mike Pretl.

080609KratovilFundraiser

Pretl, in addition to being a nice guy, possesses impeccable lefty credentials. In addition to his work with WET (our own local radical tree-huggers), Pretl is also affiliated with the "Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition" (a group whose ultimate goal is to socialize our healthcare system). While I never asked him, I wouldn't be shocked to find out that Mike is a '60's veteran of the SDS, the Rap Brown era SNCC, and / or even the Weatherman.

I will give Mike credit. He's a true believer.

Now there's certainly nothing wrong with Kratovil having a fundraiser in Wicomico County, or at Mike Pretl's home. The problem lies with Kratovil's rank hypocrisy.

He whines like a baby that Andy Harris is raising too much money from out of state. He also is trying to sell the voters of Maryland's First District that he is a "different kind of Democrat".

It is true that Harris is raising money from out of state. That money primarily comes from two sources:
  • Doctors - who are more likely to support one of their own for elected office (that's why Kratovil's contributor list is chock-a-block full of lawyers).
  • Individuals who believe in personal liberty, low taxes, and a strong economy. Many of theses relatively small contributions are being bundled through the Club for Growth.
Kratovil is raising out of state money too; and his reported totals are a bit misleading. Kratovil's a recipient of Big Labor's generosity with their members' money. Even the money reported as coming from locals and District Councils does not necessarily come from local sources.

That leads us to the little house on the Nanticoke on June 9th. Kratovil wants First District voters to believe that he is a died in wool, Eastern Shore conservative Democrat. Forget the fact that he's from PG County.

Why would a prominent arch-liberal like Pretl be raising money for Kratovil if his expected performance in Congress is more closely allied with my point of view than Pretl's? The answer is simple, Pretl and his liberal Democrat friends know that Kratovil would be more allied with "Little Tommy" Pelosi and the radical left wing of the Democrat party than Kratovil is willing to let on.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Whining Piety

Not that I expect Governor Martin O'Malley (D) to read this, however I must insist on telling him, with all due respect, to please STOP WHINING!

O'Malley, as quoted in this morning's Baltimore Sun, "I wish we would arrive at a point where we would repeal the death penalty, but I do not have the luxury in this job or the permission in this job only to enforce laws that I'm in favor of and that I agree with. So, sadly, we'll be moving forward with those protocols."

Let's start off by saying that on it's face, this quote is completely bass ackwards. This man, chose not to enforce a law that he did not favor for the past 18 months. I will give him the benefit of the doubt for the first three months because the general assembly was trying to repeal the death penalty, but the problem is that those efforts ultimately failed.

This man was constitutionally bound to uphold the laws of the state of Maryland. You mean to tell me that he waited a full year and a half before he realized his oath does not allow him to pick and choose the laws he doesn't like to enforce? I'm sorry, I am not buying it. I would also like to add my voice to the skepticism of House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell (R-Dist. 29C). When O'Donnell stated that "This governor continues to drag his feet. He wants to convince Marylanders he wants to issue regulations to implement our state law when in fact I think he has no intention of ever doing so."

Two parallels in this one. O'Malley stated that developing new protocols would take most of the year. There is also a commission to study the death penalty...again. Either way, I have a feeling that everything will come to ahead in January 2009 at this rate.

The other parallel that O'Donnell pointed out was that Governor O'Malley was dragging his feet again and that he wants to convince Marylanders he wants to enforce state law when he has no intention to. Remember this time last year, O'Malley was going to propose "budget cuts" to the Board of Public Works? Well, the $300,000 that was proposed (and subsequently approved) was window dressing to convince us that O'Malley was willing to make cuts.

So here we go again with the Governor playing the pious PR campaign in order to win the popularity contest. You remember that contest, the one he mentioned earlier this year, where stated that he would sacrifice being popular to looking at himself in the mirror. I can imagine that it's starting to become a bit harder to do that this year. Especially since his tax hike is not going over so well, then there is the business of the BGE rate hikes that he vowed to stop. Now, his obstruction of the death penalty is starting to slip away, bit by bit. It's not a good thing to be Governor Martin O'Malley these days.


More below the fold.

Welcome to a New Contributor

I am delighted to welcome our new contributor Professor Richard E. Vatz. Dr. Vatz is a Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication Towson University and Associate Psychology Editor for USA Today Magazine.

Dr. Vatz is a frequent guest on WBAL Radio, among other media outlets. Vatz has been guest on William F. Buckley's legendary Firing Line, and moderated a Towson debate between Buckley and George McGovern. Governor Ehrlich has guest lectured Dr. Vatz's "persuasion" class at Towson twice year since 1993.

Welcome Dr. Vatz.

And without further ado here is Dr. Vatz's first post to Red Maryland.

We'll get him up to speed on this new fangled Internet thingamajig soon ;)


Stay in the Race, Hillary

The national Democratic Party is roiled by the fight between those who want Hillary Clinton to fight through to the final June primaries and/or the Democratic National Convention and those who want her to quit the presidential race – last month.

What should the conservative position be?

The principled position (the only relevant one, since concern exclusively about consequences is the purview of liberals) should be to support Hillary’s continued efforts. This is not – and I emphasize not – due to the perception by many that Barack Obama would be more difficult for Republicans to defeat in a presidential race. Parenthetically, I do not necessarily share that view anymore, but it is arguable. It is not the appropriate basis, however, for conservatives qua conservatives, to support her staying in the race.

The Washington Post narrates the argument Obama supporters – but not Obama himself -- that “she has received more votes than Sen. Barack Obama. Her calculation includes invalidated results in Michigan and Florida, where the candidates didn’t campaign, and apparently excludes the estimated results of four caucus states that don’t release voting totals. Regardless, delegates determine the nominee, not the popular vote.”

The Post then lists the scenarios under which each is leading in popular votes as well as the delegate count thus far by which Obama leads by a mere – but relatively difficult to overcome – 183 delegates.

I can think of no principle by which Sen. Clinton should quit the race. Millions have backed her; to many she represents the first woman who has contested for the presidential nomination who could actually win it; and there is no reasonable basis to disenfranchise the few states left in the Democratic primaries. This consternation comes from the party which uses as a mantra “Count all the votes?” Lord.

Were Sen. Clinton to quit, she would sustain all of the stereotypes of women’s lack of toughness. It would be devastating. There is not even any basis for the claim by Obama supporters that her participation would hurt his candidacy in the general election; more likely, it would help by attenuating the resentment of her supporters that she did not get a fair hearing.

Finally, the specious argument that superdelegates should reflect the primary vote is counter to the raison d’etre of their appointment. If they were simply to follow unquestioningly the popular vote, why have them at all?

This writer is no Hillary fan, even though she has certainly won my admiration for her brave behavior under fire in Bosnia in 1996. I am a McCain man, despite some qualms.

Those points notwithstanding, Sen. Hillary Clinton is 100% correct and justified for staying in the Democratic race.

-Richard Vatz


More below the fold.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Appeasement, Patriotism, and Free Speech



Barack Obama and his supporters like his advocates at MSNBC, are in high dudgeon (do they know any other kind) over President Bush’s remarks to the Israeli Knesset marking the 60th Anniversary of the birth of Israel.

In the video, (see below) Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews revel in his dispatching of over matched radio host Kevin James on Hardball. Matthews repeatedly asked James, “What did Chamberlain do wrong” at Munich? Meaning British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who foolishly thought he had secured “peace for our time” after essentially ceding the whole of Czechoslovakia to Hitler.



James inexplicably did not have an answer. Maddow and Matthews spent the rest of the segment pretentiously self congratulating each other for slaying their fabulous straw man. Of course if you know anything about Munich or even listened to Obama’s foreign policy pronouncements then the story is more complex than Maddow and Matthews’ neat little package suggests.


“What did Chamberlain Do?”
Needless to say Chris Matthews did not heed his own advice, and his analysis leaves a great deal to be desired.


Initially, Hitler only wanted the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, which contained many German-speaking peoples. Oskar Schindler was a Sudeten German. Hitler however, grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia anyway because all Chamberlain wanted to do was talk in order to avoid war at all costs. The mountainous terrain of the Sudetenland was a far better defensible position against the Wehrmacht, than say the open plains of the Polish frontier. The full annexation of Czechoslovakia also exposed Poland’s southern flank to attack. Poland fell the next year.


The key fact Matthews glosses over is that handing over Czechoslovakia (who had no representation at the conference) to Hitler at Munich was the result of talking with the enemy.


Matthews can crow all day, but it is telling that he did not feature a guest who actually knew anything about Munich.



More mopery from Maddow and Matthews below the fold



Just Words?
Talking with Hitler in and of itself may not be bad. However, this presumes Hitler had reasonable demands. Apparently, Bruce Ramsay of the Seattle Times is the one person left in the world who thinks he did. The point here is that Hitler’s demands were quite unreasonable and talking to him only raised his stature and further emboldened him.


Unfortunately, there are those in our country who don’t understand this very salient point. Columbia University committed a similar form of capitulation by providing an esteem-raising opportunity last fall for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called the Holocaust a myth and said Israel, should be wiped off the map. Jimmy Carter tossed away his last shred of credibility when he conferred the imprimatur of an ex President of the United States on the terrorist group Hamas. We can also point to the long drawn out “talks” with Slobodan Milosevic during the 1990s, which allowed him to butcher Croats, Bosnians, and Kosovars. We know that it wasn’t talking that stopped Milosevic, it was American airpower.


Like I said before talking with one’s adversaries in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However talking without preconditions is something else entirely. For example, it would have been prudent for Chamberlain to have had as a precondition for meeting with Hitler that he take annexing the territory of a sovereign nation off the table, which brings me to the president’s supposedly offending lines:


Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.


Let’s say for the sake of argument that Barack Obama was the intended target for President Bush’s line about appeasement. Was it all that inaccurate? Obama himself said unequivocally, that he would meet with American adversaries without precondition. Now his website does say that he supports “tough, direct” diplomacy. Direct Obama’s diplomacy may be, but take away preconditions, and the adjective tough no longer applies. Perhaps Chris Matthews is too busy enjoying the thrill that goes up his leg to actually understand exactly what Obama’s words actually mean.


Historian Victor Davis Hanson hits the crux of the problem for Obama:


The problem here would not be in theory talking with an Iran or Syria…but in a priori signaling to tyrants such an eagerness to elevate their grievances to head-of-state diplomacy. Under what conditions, how long, and to what degree Obama would be willing to exercise non-diplomatic options when talks proved futile would adjudicate whether his preference for unconditional talks devolved from diplomacy to appeasement.

If a President Obama were to enter into multiple negotiations with Iran, and if Iran were to continue to subvert the Lebanese government and threaten Israel through its surrogate Hezbollah, and continue to develop a nuclear arsenal while promising the destruction of Israel, at what point would he be willing not merely to cease talking, but to accept that his negotiations had done more harm than good and thus required a radical change of course — and would it be in time?



It is clear Maddow and Matthews played in the shallow end of the pool on this issue. Both historical and contemporary facts are inconsequential to them, they were more interested in caterwauling about how in Matthews words, “the whole mindset of the last several years…has been to shut up critics.” The rich irony is that it never dawned on them that they’ve been saying the same thing for the “last several years” and not once have they been silenced. Rather they are given prime time slots on a cable news network to act as if they are.



“Peolple are Basicly Exterminated”
We know the real issue isn’t about what appeasement was or was not. The real issue is that Obama and his sycophants want to create a shield around him where any legitimate criticism is out of bounds.
MATTHEWS: …If you don‘t like a war policy you get branded with a name. You are unpatriotic. You are a cut and runner, you are an appeaser. You can‘t argue politics in America anymore. You can‘t question power. Because if you question it, you‘re going to be drummed out of acceptable society. You are going to be called an appeaser.
These magic words are used for one purpose, to shut you up, so that they can proceed with the policy. And I think that‘s a real problem…. that in a society like ours, arguing over policy, arguing over what our role should be in the world shouldn‘t be unpatriotic or seen as unpatriotic. And many—most cases should be seen as the essence of patriotism. Giving a damn about our policy, what it ought to be, arguing, standing up and having a real debate. We didn‘t have that when we went to war in Iraq. Some, it‘s the media‘s fault. People were intimidated in challenging this president and his war policy. And I think we‘re better off with a hot debate, I
think.

MADDOW: Do you think that this is something new? Do you think that this is something specific to our current contemporaneous politics that we‘ve got these buzzwords and bumper sticker slogans, whether it‘s appeasement or fighting over there so we don‘t fight them here or they hate our freedom. Any of these terms. Are they designed to be repeated and not to be interrogated?

MATTHEWS: Well, just look at the way people are basically exterminated or tried to be exterminated. Bill Maher makes a comment which may not have been the right comment, but he was making a point he was trying to make about stand back weaponry compared to people killing themselves. You can argue about the niceties of that. The Dixie Chicks say something about the war and they shouldn‘t have said it overseas, but they said it. The shutting up of opposition is critical to running a country in an undemocratic way. Let‘s put it that way. So you have buzzwords like appeasers or cut and run and they are used over and over again by the most mindless people. The trouble with them is they tend to work. The dittoheads can use them. Anybody can use them and they seem to have the same effect. They cause people to run from criticism.


Exterminated? Matthews reveals the absurdity of this line of reasoning. It must be that tingle going up his leg again. Its not that people like Matthews run from criticism they deliberately deflect it by smearing those who level it.

Last I heard, Real Time is on hiatus, due to return to HBO in August. Unless of course by hiatus you mean Bill Maher has been marched off the to the gas chamber. No one shut the Dixie Chicks up. What happened was some of their now ex-fans exercised their same first amendment right to voice their disagreement with what Natalie Maines said. No one actually shut them up. In fact, they even produced a documentary about how they were being “silenced.” So much for oppression of their right to speak out.

As with nearly all progressives, their conception free speech is an echo chamber where their pronouncements go unchallenged, and when a conservative shows the temerity to do so progressives recoil like Dracula from sunlight. William F. Buckley hit the nail on the head when said, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

Funny how Matthews says that we “better off with a hot debate” but cries foul anytime a debate rears its head.

The Peril of "Unity"

Fred Barnes calls this schtick patriotism paranoia:

There's method in the Democrats' paranoia. They've figured out how to use it to their advantage: Blame someone for calling you unpatriotic, and you may blow off their legitimate criticism, even stigmatize them as smear artists, while you're seen responding more in sorrow than in anger.


Democrats have a problem when it comes to foreign policy, and they know it, which is why they reflexively turn to patriotism paranoia to avoid having to answer their critics.Obama himself is a master at this game. In response to Bush’s Knesset speech Obama called it the “politics of fear.” That is, criticisms of his foreign policy positions are off limits.

Lost in Obama’s flowery rhetoric about hope, change, and unity is that they are his code words for patriotism. In other words, Obama is guilty of exactly the same offense that he and his supporters like Chris Matthews constantly accuse Republicans and conservatives of committing. Obama’s campaign manager said that questioning patriotism has no place in his campaign. Really, then I await his explanation of Obama’s sponsorship of the Patriot Corporation Act, where the government would determine which corporations are patriotic and which are not. Under Obama’s plan, corporations are deemed patriotic only if it plays by his rules.

Obama claims his real adversaries in his bid for the White House are “cynicism” and “divisiveness.” Hence, when anyone dares criticize him or his policy prescriptions out comes the “divisive card” or the c-word. The shrieking harpies at MSBC lap up the pablum and spit it back out like an infant learning to eat solid food for the first time. To criticize Obama is to stand athwart hope, and change and “all good things.” If questioning of a Democrats patriotism real or imagined (mostly imagined) by Republicans or conservatives, then why is it kosher for Obama to do so?

Obama tells us that unity is the “great need of the hour.” Only through unity can we fix our “broken souls.” The real sin is that we broken-soul conservatives are cynical enough to see through Obama’s rhetoric and are divisive by pointing out the dangers of what he means. We bitterly “cling” to the quaint notions of individual liberty and limited government espoused by the founding fathers. The founders rightly feared unity as a danger to our liberties, which is why they designed our government to be divided so that the vile forms of unity could be dissipated. Jonah Goldberg, writing in the May 5 edition of National Review (subscription required) reminds us of the lesson we all should have learned from the Federalist Papers:

“Divisiveness”—the setting of factions—against faction, one branch of government against another, and the sovereignty of the individual above the group—was for the founders the great guarantor of our liberties and the source of civic virtue.

Never mind that no one is questioning Obama’s patriotism, rather his foreign policy judgments. When progressives claim that the “right-wing” is questions their patriotism, it really is just them telling us, in code, to shut up.




More below the fold.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Justin Ready Interview

I had the opportunity to interview via email our new State GOP Executive Director Justin Ready. Below the fold is the full Q&A, and it provides a lot of insight into Justin's view on our current situation here in Maryland, where we go for the rest of 2008, and how our party is preparing for 2010 and beyond.

I greatly thank Justin for taking the time to do this!


* * * * * *
Brian Griffiths: You've been on the job for a couple of weeks now, how are you adjusting to the new position.
Justin Ready: I am adjusting pretty well, I think. Its still a process of learning more about day to day responsibilities and technical "stuff" while also looking to move the Party forward and take the next, crucial steps in fundraising and grassroots development. No matter how busy things get, it is an absolute privilege to wake up every morning and be able to work to advance the Maryland Republican Party.

BG: How different is your role as Executive Director from your previous roles on campaigns or in the General Assembly?
JR: In the General Assembly, policy and legislation are the primary concern. In my position with both Senator Greenip and Delegate Jennings, I spent the lions share of my time on researching and in some cases developing legislation, communicating with constituents, and working on problems that individual constituents brought to the Senator or Delegate's attention. At the State Party, it's a little different in the sense that my job is not to make policy but to work very hard to build a strong political infrastructure and organization to elect Republicans and grow our party.

There are a lot of similarities to running a campaign except your pushing all of your candidates while working to stockpile resources for the future.

BG: What are your goals for the rest of 2008?
JR: Building a stronger grassroots infrastructure, increasing the coordination between elected officials and the MDGOP, increasing our file of reliable donors both small and large, working to be sure we hold onto Congressional Districts 1 and 6 while working with our challengers in the other six districts, and beginning the process of recruiting and training great candidates for our races in 2010. How's that for a short list lol? Putting the party in position to elect more Republicans is what I see as my primary objective.

BG: In the past, the state party apparatus has been accused of meddling too much into the affairs of local central committees. What do you think the relationship should be between the state and local parties?
JR: The state party is empowered by the local parties, and not the other way around. I'm not sure about past situations, but my job is to work with our local chairs and central committee members on advancing broad goals not micromanage their processes. The only exception I would make is if there is some extreme case of fiscal mismanagement, corruption, or criminal activity. Even then, it's best handled locally.

BG: One of the concerns that many Republicans have deals with fundraising. How do you plan on ensuring that the party coffers get into and stays in the black?
JR: Our fundraising has been strong this year but we must use this election year interest to expand our donor base. It is so important to bring more and more small and large donors into the party. Part of the challenge is developing good relationships with people around the state who are able to invest a substantial amount, while also letting the small and medium level donors know just how important their donations are. You'll get tired of hearing me say this, but it just takes working very hard and also reaching out beyond our normal boundaries to find new donors.

BG:. There have been several proposals in recent years to allow the state and local parties to endorse in competitive primary elections, something that has proven rather controversial with Central Committee members and activists alike. What are you thoughts on these proposals?
JR: The position of the state party is to stay out of primaries and I think it is the right position. The Republican primary voters in each district should decide and then we should all come together behind the winner of the GOP primary. There are not enough of us to fight amongst ourselves during the General Election. That does not do anything to advance our cause or beat Democrats.

BG: The 1st Congressional District race was particularly ugly and caustic. What do you see as your role in bringing the party back together?
JR: Well, I think the party in many ways is back together. Senator Harris has reached out to supporters of his primary opponents and nearly everyone has gotten completely behind his candidacy, because the major debate in the primary was over policy issues. He has the support of every Eastern Shore GOP Central Committee and the elected officials on the Shore. My job as ED is to point out that the election in CD1 is between a liberal Democrat who wants higher taxes and more government spending and who wants to be an "ally of Governor O'Malley's in Washington," and a common sense conservative who wants lower taxes and less wasteful government spending. When Republicans, Independents, and moderate Democrats see the difference between Andy Harris and Frank Kratovil, I am confident Andy will be our next congressman. My role is to work with the local parties and activists to ensure that our entire Republican infrastructure is doing all they can to bring about victory. It hasn't been a hard sell. Andy Harris has really energized the Republicans across the board as well as many independents and Democrats.

BG:. Despite the party registration numbers, Maryland has a very vibrant conservative blogosphere. How do you think that bloggers can help the party, and how will you try to engage them?
JR: The conservative blogosphere in Maryland is doing a wonderful job of getting information out to activists all over Maryland. The commentary and issue spotlighting that happens on the blogs really encourages our elected officials and lets them know that they are not alone in the fight. With the dominant print media in this state being so left of center, it is vital that we have alternative outlets.

My plan is to be sure we are keeping bloggers in the loop with what we want to do message wise, while respecting their autonomy. It means treating bloggers as allies but not expecting them to be lockstep with us all the time. In addition, I would like to see the conservative blogosphere call attention to our candidates for office and work to drive volunteers and donations toward GOP candidates that are putting their name on the line to help build our party.

BG. One concern that I have had and have argued for is that the 2010 elections are much more important than the 2008 elections due to the composition of the General Assembly, the governorship, and the impending redistricting after the 2010 census. How important is 2010 in your eyes, and what preparations are you taking now for that election?

JR: It is vital for our party to come out of 2010 with positive progress. Even if we do not win the governorship back or a U.S. Senate seat (although those are certainly major goals), we must pick up seats in the General Assembly. If so called "moderate" Democrats are able to come to Annapolis, vote for higher taxes or ridiculous government programs and then get re-elected, then there will be no stopping the left-wing from completely dominating all aspects of our state.

As far as preparations go, my passion is finding hungry, committed candidates for State Senate, House of Delegates, and our county offices throughout Maryland. They must be willing to work hard, raise money, and take an active role in getting themselves out in the community. Our party must stockpile financial resources so that we can have the ability to go after vulnerable delegates and senators BUT we must use our limited resources intelligently. Through identifying winning messages and pairing those messages with grassroots effort from solid candidates, we can make solid gains in 2010. We have to be smart about it as a party though. We need Republicans in every district to get behind their candidates and also their GOP incumbents to ensure that we hold our seats and make gains.

BG: One recent criticism of the state party apparatus has been candidate recruitment, two particularly egregious examples being the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts this year. Have you started candidate recruitment for 2010, and do you think that the party will be able to field stronger candidates for Congress in the future?
JR: We are in the beginning stages of candidate recruitment. My goal is to have quality candidates for every state legislative district and congressional district in Maryland. There are many districts where, with hard-working and enthusiastic candidates, we can pick up seats in the General Assembly. In off year elections, we also have a much better chance in the six Democratically held congressional seats because Democratic turnout is much lower. One of the lessons that I learned running races in 2006 was that in districts with a strong senate candidate and strong delegate candidates, you had a much better chance of picking up House or Senate seats than if you just had one strong State Senate candidate or 2-3 strong House of Delegates candidates. It's important that we have qualified people up and down the ballot. We're working on identifying what ought to be our top targeted districts statewide and want to get our candidates trained and setting the table in their districts very early on.

BG:. Voter registration numbers in recent years have indicated that the younger demographic is registering as independents more than in previous years? How do you think we can reach these voters?
JR: I think we have to have a strong message and show them that they can trust us when we are in power. Also, Maryland Republicans have to break through the stereotypes created on the national level about Republicans. We are the party in Maryland that fights for working families, small business entrepreneurs and employees of businesses small and large. We want to cut taxes, stop wasteful spending and provide free market solutions in health care and energy.

The Democratic Party in Maryland (and nationally) believes that government knows best how to run your life. They want to control how your kids are raised, what car you drive, and whenever they spend too much money, they want to make you pay for their largesse by increasing your taxes. Why do they always blame us for the problem and not their over-spending? Because they think that we taxpayers are greedy, that's why! They think we are desperate for more and more government intervention in our lives and without big government there, we wouldn't have a hope of making it on our own. So they tell us they are hiking up taxes "for our own good". If we can succinctly express this to independent voters, I am confident that we can win a large percentage of them over.

BG: Any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
JR: Be a rebel...fight the establishment... support Maryland Republicans.

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Wait....we're rewarding students for what?

You've got to hand it to the Maryland Transit Administration. Sure, they can't actually provide safe reliable mass transportation, but they are trying to corner the market on stupid, half-cocked ideas:

Maryland Transit Administration officials are offering discount cards for area businesses to students who pledge good behavior on city buses, an incentive that transit administrators hope will help curb disrespectful and violent behavior.

The discount card will offer 10 percent to 20 percent off purchases at 12 city establishments, including Dunkin' Donuts, Cold Stone Creamery, Shoe City, Downtown Locker Room and other places.
That's right, the MTA is going to offer discounts to teenagers to not break the law.
"The pledge is no magic panacea for things going on in the community," Greene said. "It's symbolic in its nature. It's not there to be a law enforcement measure or to do anything but take a step to reward good behavior."
No, it's really a symbolic gesture to show once and for all that MTA leadership has completely lost their minds. Instead of taking proactive steps to make public transportation safer, they are going to instead try hair-brained schemes to bribe young riders to not act like thugs.

We have reached a sad point in civilization when we governmental agencies feel it necessary to reward people to ensure they don't act in an antisocial or criminal manner. But it's also sad that Governor O'Malley refuses to clean house at the MTA, and that he refuses to put an adult in charge to fix the sheer mess that mass transit has become in our state...

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

The Porcari Principle

Are you familiar with the Peter Principle, the certain people rise to their own level of incompetence? Well, in Maryland we have the Porcari Principle, where certain politicians rise to an even higher level of incompetence.

It is named after Maryland Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari, whose fundamental incompetence has been on full display these many months since O'Guvnah kissed the Blarney Stone and suckered the state into electing him Governor.

John D. Porcari presides over a Department of Transportation that has admitted that it cannot protected riders on MTA bus routes.

John D. Porcari presides over a Department of Transportation that -- through massively incompetent maintenance and mismanagement --- has turned Light Rail into a great white elephant. After discovering ONE crack in ONE wheel on a CAR NOT EVEN IN SERVICE, the MTA was forced to go to single-car trains, which caused massive overcrowding and hour-long delays along the core of the line between Timonium and Glen Burnie. Things are SO BAD, the line between Penn Station and Mt. Royal Station is closed, having been replaced by a "bus bridge".

John D. Porcari presides over a Department of Transportation that has so fundamentally mismanaged the operations of Thurgood Marshall-Baltimore-Washington-International Airport, they will have to forgive over $30 million in rent and fees due to the state because airport officials miscalculated the square footage of the new terminal constructed for Southwest Airlines.

Let me repeat that: airport officials miscalculated the square footage of the new terminal constructed for Southwest Airlines. That is what John D. Porcari admitted to the Board of Public Works today. The people THAT WORK FOR HIM couldn't DO THEIR FRAKKING JOBS.

Where does the buck stop? The state loses $32 million in revenue, and everyone just leans back in their leather chairs and goes "damn, that's too bad!"

No, it is incompetence. It is negligence. It is gross negligence that leads to the state taxpayers being charged more to make up for the sheer arrogance and unbelievable incompetence of JOHN D. PORCARI and his staff of underlings.

One thing we can be sure of: under an O'Guvnah Administration, competence is not a job requirement.

Crossposted on Gunpowder Chronicle


More below the fold.

Avoidance

Fortunately, John Leopold was told to take his tax hike and shove it:

Anne Arundel County Council members yesterday scrapped the proposed boost in the hotel tax and severely scaled back an affordable housing initiative yesterday as part of a laundry list of cuts to afford a pared-down budget for the school system.

After two weeks of deliberations and hearings, school officials who met with the county auditor determined that they needed $21 million - not $51 million - to close a budget gap.

I'm not saying I necessarily support all of the Council's decisions: I mean, Kevin Maxwell has somewhat been rewarded for his bad behavior and fiscal mismanagement in this regard as well. But I am glad to see that both Republicans and Democrats united to find other contingencies in the budget, and told Leopold to keep his tax hike. And he doesn't like it one bit:

Mr. Leopold condemned the council's actions, calling them "indefensible."

"They've taken the cold fiscal reality of 2009 and made it decidedly colder for 2010," he said.

No, what is indefensible is Leopold, a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, always resorting to tax increases to cover spending instead of presenting the County Council with a balanced, responsible budget. What is going to make 2010 cold for Leopold and for all of us is the fact that Leopold was able to pull the wool over Republican eyes in the 2006 primary.

Of course, on the issue of taxes John Leopold is the biggest con man in the Republican Party. Always talking about being tax averse and being for the taxpayer, then trying to find new and creative ways to take more and more money from taxpayers. And remember, this is the same Leopold that supports Martin O'Malley's tax policies.

Leopold's behavior on the issue of taxes betray him as the unrepentant liberal that he has always been....

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

The Violent Attack in Federal Hill You are not Hearing About

On Sunday my Examiner colleague Adam Meister broke the startling story of a violent attack in Federal Hill early that morning. He has two interesting follow-ups as well. Outside the Examiner news division's story yesterday evening, no other Baltimore media outlet has even picked up the story.

According to the victim:

... the girl grabbed me by the pony tail and threw me to the ground. At that time others joined in and all were kicking, punching and stomping on me. and were frantically trying to get the girl and others who had joined in to stop, but the girl still had me by the hair and was smashing my face into the sidewalk and kicking me even more. I fortunately had my purse in between the sidewalk and my face, or I would have lost all my teeth/probably bashed my face in.In the mean time, blank's roommates/friends came out of the house to try to help and several of them were also thrown to the ground and injured.

Once everything cleared, we stumbled into the house to discover blank, blank, and an innocent bystander (who had been sleeping and came out to see what was going on) had all been stabbed. blank's was just a superficial wound, but they got blank in between 2 ribs in the liver. He is set to be released from the hospital today. The other boy who came out to help has a collapsed lung from being stabbed and was also stabbed in the head. He is going to be at Shock Trauma for at least 4 more days. I have a bloody ear, elbows, knees and multiple bruises through out my body. I had actual foot prints on my back from where they were kicking me.

Read the whole story. It sounds unbelievable, but has been confirmed by the Baltimore City Police Department.


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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunlight, Please

Even the Capital, long a cheerleader of the Anne Arundel School Board Nominating Commission, is aghast at the closed door tactics adopted by the Commission during their selection process:

Although the public knows who was chosen, it is been kept in the dark about why they were chosen. That's a troubling sign for a new public body....

....Public bodies should be transparent. That's what the commissioners promised the public at their very first meeting. And isn't a robust discussion about future school board members the public's business?

A private meeting to discuss these nominations - on the ground that this is a personnel decision - may be within the letter of the law, but has nothing to do with the law's spirit.
And I agree. But some of the other points the Capital makes don't necessarily serve their point:
If you apply for an influential public office, enduring a public discussion of your qualifications - and perhaps your temperament - isn't too much to ask. Would we want a county executive or County Council member chosen behind closed doors? Why should it be any different for a school board member who will have a major voice on our children's education?

A full and open discussion keeps the public informed and assures people that a public body isn't mired in cronyism or conflicts of interest.

Openness is not always convenient or easy, but it keeps public officials honest. We doubt legislators intended to drop a cloak of secrecy around this process when they created it last year.

And I couldn't agree more. But what hoots down their argument is the fact that the Capital is against an elected School Board. All of the things they say are correct, but can only be done justly and properly in a situation where the voters, not political cronies of Martin O'Malley and John Leopold, get the final say on who gets to serve. I want candidates to be scrutinized by the public. I want their qualifications discussed. But I want it done by the voters, not the unelected hacks that make up the Commission.

The public would be best served if the General Assembly were to right this wrong, disband the Commission, and allow the voters to elect the members of the School Board as soon as humanly possible.

(Crossposted)


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In Frank Kratovil We Trust

True to form, Michael Swartz (of MonoBlogue fame) offered us some excellent analysis of Congressional candidate Frank Kratovil and his campaign. Without disagreeing with Michael, I believe that questioning Kratovil's sincerity on certain issues needs to be explored a bit deeper.

Kratovil claims that he is not a liberal. I take him at his word. In all honesty, there is no evidence that Kratovil possesses any true political philosophy. Kratovil will pander to any group in order to attain the votes necessary for victory.

Frank Kratovil is the poster child of the post-Reagan Democrat candidate. The Rahm Emmanuel / Chris Van Hollen strategy is to run candidates, like Kratovil, who can campaign like a moderate / conservative yet revel in the total lack of political and moral courage that they may come to Washington and betray their constituents.

Kratovil traverses the length and breadth of Maryland's First District telling his would be constituents that he will be tough on immigration, protect our environment and protect our 2nd amendment rights. Can he be believed?

Let's assume for one flashing moment that the Maryland First actually sent Frank Kratovil to Congress. During his "freshman orientation" he will hire a staff, recommended to him by the likes of Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a true bastion of conservative thought and belief. He will draw lots for an office. He will be privileged to have brief, private meetings with the likes of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Speaker "Little Tommy" Pelosi.

During these meetings it will be explained to him that Pelosi, Hoyer, and the balance of the Democrat leadership will try to allow him to keep his word to "the folks back home". However, when needed it will be EXPECTED that he vote, not according to the needs of his district, but according to the wishes of the leftist special interests who rule his party. Of course there will be no mention of ideology or philosophical belief because the post-Reagan Democrat, by necessity, has none.

If elected, it will be explained to Kratovil that he need not worry about voting against the wishes of poor, unknowing and uneducated masses across the Chesapeake Bay. By selling out the best interests of his district, he will be rewarded. Assignments to choice committees and canvas bags stuffed with special interest money are the perquisites of those that obey the iron law of "Little Tommy".

Did I mention PORK? Barrels of bacon for the obedient Judas.

If Kratovil were true to his word? A cramped office on a dark corridor of a high floor. No money funneled through the leadership. Assignment of committees of least relevance to his district. Such are the awards for not selling the souls of the people who elected you.

Given the choices, can we honestly expect a hypothetically elected Frank Kratovil to be tough on illegal immigration when the Democrat party line is to register illegals to vote within 30 minutes of crossing the border? Will Kratovil protect not only the hunting heritage of the Eastern Shore, but our inalienable right to keep and bear arms?

As for the environment, the question lies not in how much protection will be provided to our ecosystem, but in how much taxpayer money can be spent on frivolous government boondoggles that merely provide lip service to environmental stewardship.

We can only hope that the votes of Maryland's First District see through the smoke and mirrors and realize that what Frank Kratovil says will seldom, if ever, translate into what he would do.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Slots Moral Arguments Sacrifice the Many for the Benefit of the One

Two local clergymen, Rev. Byron Brought and Rev. Jonathan Weaverhad a column in Sunday's Washington Post arguing a moral reason for denying slots.

I don't doubt the sincerity of these men who argue that state sanctioned gambling is a form of exploitation of a human weakness for profit. It is hard to argue that viewed fromt that standpoint, it seems unfair. Brought and Weaver write:

Those who say slots will create revenue for the state don't acknowledge the catastrophic ramifications of such a decision. For the state to win, the player must lose. As people of faith, we are called on to speak out to protect Maryland from the insidious vice of gambling.

As with many bad habits, playing slots can begin the downward spiral toward addiction. Those who begin to gamble with slots can find themselves craving a bigger rush and a more exciting payoff. And legalizing slots would create a new state-sanctioned industry that would take advantage of those who already struggle with addiction. What might seem like an innocent game would have negative repercussions for our entire community.
The Reverends go on to cite crime and corruption, the old standbys of slots opponents.

But what the Reverends fail to note is that gambling has a long history in our state and one argument for allowing slots is to provide a means of financial support to another gambling based industry--horse racing. Weaver and Brought don't argue for the elimination of horse racing and the betting that coexists with that industry. (Although to be fair, I would assume that they would make such and argument). Yet, no one talks about the "crime and corruption" that derives from horse race betting. We only worry about crime and corruption as a result of slots. Odd.

The problem with slots, as it is envisioned by legislative proponents is that slots themselves represent a type of governmental addiction far more devastating than gambling addition. Our state will become dependent, in a manner that only a junkie can understand, to the revenues generated by slots. Instead of cutting spending or reigning in government, the response of the legislature in future lean times will be to expand slots, expand gambling, etc. Instead of making the hard choices inherent in government, the legislature will take the easy way out.

I think slots are a legitimate business and I see no reason to deny their existence on moral grounds. Slots are no more immoral than horse race betting or the weekly poker games with friends. Gambling is not a negative vice, it is a neutral vice. Just like alcohol having some beneficial effects when taken in moderation, gambling in moderation has no negative effects. Are some people prone to addiction? Yes, but that is hardly a reason to deny a pleasureable activity to the rest of society just because some small percentage need to control themselves better.

However, I oppose slots as a govnermental funding mechanism. Slots, as a business, should be taxed no differently than any other business (and the less the better on that score).

Maryland's slots proposal is designed to create a funding addiction that this state can no more afford than a recovering alcoholic or recovering gambling addict. Perhaps that would be the better argument.


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If it's Tuesday, it's WAMD

Kenny Burns, Joe Gagliardi and I will again be among those appearing on Warren Monk's Word on the Street program Tuesday night from 7 pm to 8-ish pm on WAMD, AM 970 Aberdeen.


As always, we are most appreciate that Warren gives us conservatives a chance to be on the radio and, in some small way, serve as the voice of the Silent Majority here in Maryland

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).



(Crossposted)


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