Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here we go again

Not that I want to continue to prop up the left wing through pointing out their fallacies, Eric Luedtke has decided that it is time to tax the middle class into poverty through the creation of a funding source for transportation projects other than just the flat gas tax. Luedtke's reasoning is as follows: people are driving less due to high gas prices and the O'Malley Recession, ergo we need to find out a new way to make sure transportation projects can be funded.

So is the solution to do the logical thing and cut discretionary spending to cover the shortfall? Of course not, that wouldn't fit in with Luedtke's myopic worldview and limited economic understanding. Instead, he has two harebrained schemes designed to take money out of your pocket:

One alternative is congestion pricing, at least around the urban areas of Baltimore and Washington. The idea is that you set up a series of concentric rings around the cities, and use a sort of EZ-Pass system so that as commuters get closerto the center of the city, they pay a little bit as they enter each new ring. Similar systems have been successfully implemented in a number of places, most notably London.
That's right. He wants to charge you to drive on roads that you already have paid for, roads that are currently free. Now, I'm not opposed in principle to toll roads, particularly ones that are used in privatization plans that either takes highway maintenance off of the state budget, or the construction of new roads through private funding. But Luedtke's idea of brining congestion pricing to the US is the type of statist idea that is anathema to our way of life and would be devastating to the middle class and small business owners alike:
A payment of £8 is required for each day a chargeable vehicle enters or travels within the zone between 7am and 6pm; a fine of between £60 and £180 is imposed for non-payment.
That's the equivalent of $16 per day to enter downtown London, and I'm sure that Luedtke's scheme would involve similar or even higher congestion payments. It is ridiculous and it is absurd to think that such a system would even be proposed by somebody who wishes to be taken seriously.

As usual, he ends with a gem:
So, in the near future, we're probably going to see a drop-off in money for new transportation projects and reconstruction of infrastructure. Unless the state's politicians show a level of bold leadership that's not typical of politicians in bad economic times. Fat chance.
But at least there we can agree. Until Democrats show the type of leadership that understands the need to cut discretionary spending on unnecessary social programs in order to meet our common infrastructure needs, or until Democrats show the courage to call for and implement privatization systems, our transportation infrastructure will continue to remain unimproved, and the oft-raided Transportation Trust Fund will continue to dwindle....


More below the fold.

Did He Even Read the Reports?

Governor O'Malley is convening a panel, headed by former Attorney General Stephen Sachs, to review the Maryland State Police surveillance of anti-war and anti-death penalty groups in 2005-2006.

I think we can all agree that this is a good thing. However, something else in the Examiner story jumped off the page at me.

O'Malley also said no information from surveillance was shared with him when he was mayor of Baltimore, even though Baltimore police were regularly made aware of public demonstrations.
Ok, I can buy that, as executives do not involve themselves in the operations of their police intelligence agencies. However, O'Malley goes further:
"But the insinuation that somehow the city police were involved in this in an undercover capacity, there's no evidence of that," O'Malley said.
Sorry Governor, the evidence proves you wrong on that point. Perhaps you need to have Rick Abbruzzese go back and read the December 21, 2005 report, which clearly states:

On December 3, 2005 [redacted] also attended an anti-death penalty protest outside Supermax Prison in Baltimore City. [Redacted] attended in a covert capacity and were covered by two covert officers from Baltimore City Police’s Intelligence Division.
No one is insinuating that the Baltimore City Police Intelligence Division was involved Governor. We don't have to, they were involved. The proof is right there in black and white.

More below the fold.

Censochimps: House of Representatives Style

House Majority Leaders Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has decided to not bring to the floor a bill that will permanently kill the Fairness Doctrine.

The bill to permanently bury the Fairness Doctrine has been sponsored and championed by Mike Pence (R-IN). It would prevent the FCC or any other regulatory body from imposing the doctrine on the media. For some time, it appeared that Pence had the votes to pass it. Hoyer's reluctance to bring it to the floor means he is waiting to see how many seats the Democrats will gain in the upcoming election before deciding on whether to bring the measure up for a vote.

Given that the Republicans must defend 32 seats that are "open" seats this year, most analysts put the number of seats the Democrats will gain at between 20-30. If so, that would almost certainly kill Pence's bill and open the door to enacting some form of the Fairness Doctrine.

One thing for sure - this is no longer a liberal pipe dream. The threat is real.
Ah yes, lending credence to the "Free State." You are free to say anything, so long as it is government approved.

More below the fold.

Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass On Your Way Out

This National Review editorial sums up the sad sack that is Ted Stevens:

One of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’s most memorable moments of the last few years came during the Senate fight over the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” In 2005, when Sen. Tom Coburn introduced a measure that would have redirected the money Stevens had earmarked for the bridge to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, Stevens gave an apoplectic speech on the Senate floor in which he threatened to resign if the Senate passed the measure. It was the nation’s loss that the Senate voted the measure down, simultaneously missing two opportunities.

Now that a grand jury has indicted Stevens on seven counts of making false statements, it is time for him to make good on his threat. Stevens is of course innocent until proven guilty of the crimes with which he is charged. But even if he committed no crime, the facts that have emerged over the course of the federal investigation into his personal finances are damning enough on their own. The indictment was just the last straw...

indictment alleges that VECO employees did pay for parts of the renovation. It presents evidence that they did so and that Stevens knew they did. In addition, the indictment names other gifts Stevens allegedly received from VECO and then failed to disclose, such as furniture, cars, and a Viking gas grill. Stevens is accused of taking gifts worth more than $250,000 from VECO, which he did not list on his Senate Financial Disclosure Forms. The indictment alleges that in failing to do so, Stevens broke the law. From a legal standpoint, Stevens deserves the benefit of the doubt — but not from an ethical standpoint. VECO had substantial business before Congress, and Stevens used his influence to benefit the company. Specifically, he made sure that federal job-training funds went to train Russian oil-field workers for VECO. Stevens’s close relationship with VECO— even if it wasn’t as close as prosecutors allege — renders such behavior ethically out-of-bounds. Stevens should have known better.

His situation is complicated by his well-deserved reputation as one of the worst pork-barrel spenders in Congress. Stevens is notorious for his ability to secure earmarks for his home state. It is largely because of Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator, that Alaska has ranked in the top ten in per-capita federal spending since 1981. It might be easier to count the public buildings in Alaska that aren’t named after him or his fellow porker, Alaska’s sole representative in the House, Don Young.

Stevens and Young represent the main reason why the Republican Party is in the predicament it now finds itself. Thankfully Alaska's Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell is challenging Young in the primary, and Governor Sarah Palin is backing him. Hopefully he will win. It would be a good sign that conservatives can clean house in the Party of Reagan. As for Stevens, he's stayed far too long for any good he has done, its time for him to hit the bricks.

More below the fold.

Sanctuary Policies Changing Neighborhoods For Worst

Unfree State

When I go back to the neighborhood of my boyhood, I see as many as 100 or more men standing on corners of several busy intersections where homeowners have rehabbed older row houses in a once trendy part of Baltimore City.

At red lights, these day laborers anxiously stare at each driver, and when a pretty woman happens to walk by them on the sidewalk, there are often catcalls and kissing sounds that fill the air.

These men are here seven days a week, come rain or shine. If you are bold enough to walk by them, a few will ask your for a cigarette in broken English, or even ask for money, as happened to me one day. The man wouldn't take no for an answer, and followed me all the way to my car door. He refused to move, and I almost ran over the foot of the man, who reeked with alcohol and cursed me in Spanish.

Meanwhile, a police car sits in a parking lot of a convenience store on the same block, and the officer doesn't question or challenge these groups of strangers, who now occupy the blocks of this neighborhood. He doesn't question them because he can't. You see, Baltimore is a sanctuary city, which means that Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon has instituted a don't ask, don't tell policy when it comes to illegal aliens in Baltimore.

On the street where I grew up, there is trash shewn all over the sidewalks, and in the alleys, there is broken furniture, bottles and hundreds of bags of garbage in torn plastic bags. Large rats come out even in the daylight. The spic-and-span neighborhoods of my youth are gone. In many of the houses there are 10 or more occupants living there, and they stare at you grimly as you drive by. As if to say," What the hell are you doing here? What the hell do you want?"

All the signs are in Spanish, and there are drug dealers and prostitutes working some corners.

And the amazing thing about all of this, is that the elected officials of this city cannot tell you how many of these individuals are here illegally, or even how many there are. But they do expect a budget deficit this year -- even though they collected more than $3 billion dollars that includes a big chunk from city, state and federal taxpayers.

Whenever I bring these issue up on this blog, or in person, I am called a bigot and racist, often before I can even finish a sentence. This is the easiest way advocates for this illegal invasion can dismiss me and millions of others like me when we ask these legitimate questions.

The simply truth is that such sanctuary polices are changing many neighborhoods for the worst.

What do you think?

Crossposted On UnfreeState

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The Worst Op-Ed Writing and the Best and Worst Jurisprudence in Maryland Seven Months into 2008

If I may, just a few words on this last day of July about the continuing low order, liberal dominance of Maryland print media and our courts.

On the former matter, the op-ed page of The Baltimore Sun has the most inane and specious column of the most overrated thinker in America, Garrison Keillor.

He states, “I can't remember a summer I loved so much as this. This is a factor of age - time is more precious when there's less of it remaining - and partly it's anticipation that the dogs of war who slipped in the back door eight years ago will soon be gone. In a month, the Republicans will convene a few blocks from my house and I'd like to stand across the street with a sign, but I can't come up with the right wording. "Bleaughhhh," maybe, or "Arghhhh."

My year-and-one-half-old niece is more substantive.

Lest you think this paragraph is an exception, let me offer a later paragraph: “It's no surprise that John McCain likes to bring out his 96-year-old mother Roberta, I suppose. The problem is that she is a lot perkier than he. The gentleman has had a few bad weeks, thundering in a dithery way about America's enemies, looking vaguely purposeful campaigning up and down supermarket aisles as if he couldn't remember what kind of cheese he'd been sent to buy. He surely will hit his stride after the Republican convention, but at the moment he looks to be eight years too late. The brash Bull Moose independent of 2000 has made all sorts of accommodations since, abandoning common sense when necessary, and his unsteadiness over the past couple of weeks makes his age an unspoken issue: Anyone who remembers the Iran-contra years and the president who couldn't remember is not anxious to see a genial oldster dithering in the Oval Office. There is more to the job than flashing a big grin. You do need to make sense now and then.”

To be fair, my niece wouldn’t be able to reference the Bull Moose party.

To the courts: kudos to the Baltimore Sun for exposing in a lead piece retired Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney’s long-term coddling of the dangerous William Vincent Brown. Judge Sweeney’s freeing of Brown on bail led to the mutilation of a woman who also was raped and nearly killed. In the years before this latest legal outrage, the same judge gave Brown break after break, leading to other horrendous attacks and death of innocent citizens. Enjoy your retirement, judge -- doesn’t affect your life.

Maryland judges are not uniformly dangerous to the public, however. As reported on the Sun’s inside pages this day the excellent Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory, calling a man who had attacked and repeatedly viciously stabbed an 82 year-old woman a “predator” whom the judge wished he could give a longer term, sentenced Rozza Alston to 23 years in prison. The exceptionally brave victim, Lilli Siegel whose life is understandably she says “changed forever” appeared in court to testify against this low-life.

Just a few examples above of today’s good, bad, ugly and inane.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rewarding Failure

The day after I point out once again the shortcomings of mass transit in Maryland, it looks like poor transportation planning will continue in the Baltimore area:

In a shift away from highways-first transportation policies, top elected officials in the Baltimore region have decided to direct about $340 million in previously unallocated revenue over 20 years entirely toward mass transit projects.

The action by the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board comes in response to protests from citizen advisers and transit advocates that its previous long-range plan, called Transportation Outlook 2035, was too heavily weighted in favor of road projects.

The board is recognized by the federal government as the chief planning body for transportation in the Baltimore metropolitan region. Its members include the mayors of Baltimore and Annapolis, the Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard county executives, the Carroll County commissioners and state transportation officials.

The money comes primarily from Gov. Martin O'Malley's 2007 package of revenue increases from such sources as the vehicle titling tax and corporate taxes. The added revenue from that package had not previously been factored into the regional board's long-range plans.

In a vote last week, the board determined that all of the added funds should go to short- and long-term transit projects, a shift in priorities that officials said reflects concerns about air pollution, gasoline prices and dependence on fossil fuels.

Now, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with what the Transportation Board is doing here, if it were not for two key points:

1. Highway Capacity: Anybody who drives around the Baltimore metro area realizes that there are a number of highway projects that need additional highway funds. The Beltway, Route 100, Route 29, and I-83 could all use additional lanemiles in order to meet the already existing demand for these roads, to say nothing of the demand for these roads by 2035.

2. Rewarding poor performance: It makes it very hard to take the Transportation Board seriously as a governor body if they are going to dedicated $340 million in funds to be spent by an agency that has proved that they are, in fact, beyond incompetent. While the money will not all be explicitly spent on Transit Administration related projects, suggested expenditures include additional MARC service and the expansion of the Baltimore subway line. Given the MTA's poor performance so far, why do local county government wish to reward that failure with the potential infusion of more capital for the MTA and its management to squander?

How long will it be before Maryland has adequate and responsible transportation planning? And how long before Governor O'Malley makes the necessary wholesale changes that that Maryland Transit Administration so desperately needs?


More below the fold.

So much for Hollywood's worship of "Truth to Power"

The Hollywood left always like to rally around the flag of somebody who stands up to Republicans or, more specifically, stand up to the Bush Administration. They are "saying truth to power" as the kids like to say.

Well, actor Jon Voight wrote a column in fact stating truth to power, at least the truth to the powers that be in the Democratic Party:

The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.

The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds. I know this process well. I was caught up in the hysteria during the Vietnam era, which was brought about through Marxist propaganda underlying the so-called peace movement. The radicals of that era were successful in giving the communists power to bring forth the killing fields and slaughter 2.5 million people in Cambodia and South Vietnam. Did they stop the war, or did they bring the war to those innocent people? In the end, they turned their backs on all the horror and suffering they helped create and walked away.

A very much needed slap to the face of the Hollywood left.

Of course, the mindset of the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of American society can be best summed up by this idiotic post by some idiot named Jeffrey Wells at a blog called "Hollywood Elsewhere":
My honest deep-down reaction is that I now have a reason to feel negatively about the guy. I'm not saying Voight is on the HE shit list (although the idea certainly feels good -- just as it felt good to imagine the same thing last spring about Tina Fey when she became a rabid Hillary person on SNL), and I certainly don't think a symbolic condemnation along these lines would matter much to anyone. Nonetheless, it's going to be hard henceforth not to think of Voight as some kind of diseased wingnut.
That's right, the people who are trying to entertain America thinks that anybody who doesn't believe the Barack Obama, and that people who are not obsequiously subservient to the extreme leftist direction he is taking the Democratic Party and the direction he wants to take America, these people think that you and I (and probably 52% of their potential audience) are diseased. Diseased.

What a sad and pathetic statement from a sad and shallow community that isn't half as smart as they think they are.

What of course is most humorous is the fact that the same people who glorify Communist sympathizers who were blacklisted during the 1950's, these people who stood out for the crowd and stood up and spoke truth to power, are the same ones who ostracize conservatives for speaking up for the things that they believe in. These people are shallow, smug, and narrow minded in ways that I cannot dream of.

Hollywood's intolerance in the name of tolerance is said and pathetic, and maybe explains why the movies that most push a left-wing agenda bomb at the box office.


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Frank Kratovil's Friends Levy Tax on Workers

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has pledged to spend $150 million in the 2008 election. There's just one problem. As David Anderson noted, the SEIU doesn't have $150 million to spend on political activity.

Since the government wouldn't give them the money - the lefty solution of choice - they've opted for another liberal fave - TAX. Unfortunately for the SEIU (fortunately for you and I), they can't tax the average citizen - YET. Instead they have imposed a tax on their membership at the local level.

This levy of $6 per member may be illegal. Does that really matter? In the world of Frank Kratovil, Barack Obama, and Fidel Castro it's the ends that matter, not the means. Of course we can all agree that electing Barack Obama to the presidency and sending Frank Kratovil (who the SEIU has already maxed out to) to Congress is far more important than pesky little details like the rule of law, personal liberty or freedom of speech.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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At Least There Are Roads In Annapolis

The Annapolis city council last October enacted a $25 tax on each resident in the city in exchange for the city doing general maintenance on sidewalks, taking the burden away from property owners. The tax was set to raise $500,000, but generate over $17 million in liability! Even if the city council didn't know those exact numbers, they certainly knew that they were drawing the short stick in that deal. So why do it? Well, my guess is to set a precedent. There is a ton of property in this city that is property-tax exempt for one reason or another, and this sidewalk tax would have avoided that by taxing everyone. If you set a precedent by taxing everyone $25, it's a lot easier in the future when you want to hit everyone up for $1000.

The public and the media largely ignored this issue until residents began receiving their bills for $25 a couple of months ago. People without sidewalks realized that they were being charged for sidewalks. Others were concerned with the city taking on so much liability. The city council began to hold hearings on the matter, and the tide began to turn towards repealing the tax. As if that weren't enough, the tax was unconstitutional, and word came from the Attorney General's office that the tax wouldn't pass muster.

Alarmingly, the issue didn't die there. In a recent work session, Mayor Moyer asserted that the unconstitutionality of the tax was only established in an advisory opinion--rather than case law--implying that she was willing to run with the tax until the city actually got sued and the tax could be invalidated in a more formal manner!

This brings us to Monday's city council meeting. The council considered O-21-08, which would have repealed the tax. But, that's not all it did. The bill went on to define the process by which sidewalks are to be repaired from now on:

-private property owners are responsible for sidewalk maintenance and upkeep.

-the director of public works, at his subjective whim, can determine that a sidewalk is "necessary for public convenience and safety", and compel a person to fix or install a sidewalk.

-after being notified, a person has 20 days to obtain a building permit and make the repairs. Or, they can file an appeal which must be done no later than 30 days after notification.

-design specifications for the sidewalk must be approved by the director of public works in accordance with standards that he designs.

-a 'Sidewalk Assistance Revolving Fund' is to be established, funded with 5% of the city's allocation of the State Highway User Fee.

That bill was better than the $25 tax, but not by much, and it failed. What did pass was R-34-08, a bill which suspends collection of the $25 tax but leaves the original O-12-07 intact. More importantly, it enumerates a laundry list of nearly 20 things that the city must due in regard to sidewalks--things that should have been considered before O-12 was enacted in the first place.

The result is as follows. Property owners are still responsible for first-time installation of sidewalks, but the city is on the hook for repairs. This is halfway to the solution that makes sense to me, which is to have the city be responsible for it all and pay for it out of normal funds. Speaking of funding, R-34 is not good. While it repeals the fee, it leaves the provision requiring a Sidewalk Fund. So, there is a mandatory fund without a source of funding, and mandatory spending without a source of funding = structural deficit. This is easily resolved by removing the fund and creating a capital program for sidewalks, but the fact is R-34 does not do this.

So in summary:
1. no more $25 tax
2. city taking more liability for sidewalk maintenance
3. no established funding source for said maintenance
4. further study needed

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The KGB's Source at the Baltimore Sun

A Pulitzer Prize winning Baltimore Sun reporter was a Soviet dupe and a source of information for the KGB.

Researching the history for my series on the MSP story, I came across some interesting historical nuggets. In Christopher Andrew’s The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, I came across this passage:

..The KGB reported that a journalist from the Baltimore Sun “…said in a private conversation in early December that on assignment from a group of Texas financiers and industrialists headed by millionaire [H.L.] Hunt, Jack Ruby, who is now under arrest, proposed a large sum of money to Oswald for the murder of Kennedy.”
Cue the needle scratching off the record. What in the hell is a Baltimore Sun reporter doing having a private conversation with the KGB!

Checking the footnote, Andrew sources the statement to an appendix in Boris Yeltsin’s book A View from the Kremlin. The appendix recreates old KGB memorandums. In this case, the memos dealt with the KGB’s reaction to and ascertainment of the political ramifications the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Typical of the KGB mindset, its governing body, the First Chief Directorate, interpreted the event as a capitalist conspiracy. The KGB used its own delusions in its political warfare against the United States. The KGB fabricated a fake letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to then CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate infamy, which said asked for more information “'before any steps are taken by me or anyone else.” The KGB forged the letter—dated two weeks before Kennedy’s assassination—in the 1970s, after Hunt surfaced in Watergate investigation. This was part of a disinformation campaign by the KGB to link the CIA to Kennedy’s murder. To the extent that many people still believe that a conspiracy among the CIA/Mafia/Military Industrial Complex conspired to murder Kennedy, the trick worked. It definitely fooled Oliver Stone.

However, for our purposes here, the KGB memo gives a clue to who the reporter is. The full text of that portion of the memo before Andrew’s ellipsis reads “Ward, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, who covers foreign diplomacy, said in a private conversation…”

The Baltimore Sun reporter in question is Paul W. Ward, who won the Pulitzer in 1947 for his series Life in the Soviet Union.

It turns out Ward had been an unwitting KGB/NKVD source for at least 20 years. A September 9, 1944 NKVD cable from New York to Moscow, informs NKVD intelligence chief, Pavel Fitin (codename Viktor) that:
In a talk with IDE [YaZ] the correspondent of the Baltimore Sun Paul Ward completely confirmed what BUMBLEBEE [ShMEL] said in regard to the principal aim of CAPTAIN’s [KAPITAN] meeting with BOAR [KABAN]. CAPTAIN also intends to discuss the question of India. Joseph BIRD [BERD], a correspondent of the “Washington Star” said roughly the same thing to TODD, an employee of the Editorial Office [REDAKTsIYa].

As you can see from the link of the decrypted cable, IDE [YaZ] is Samuel Krafsur, a Soviet agent used to recruit and pump American journalists for information. BUMBLEBEE [ShMEL] is none other than Walter Lippmann, CPATAIN is Franklin Roosevelt, BOAR [KABAN] is Winston Churchill, and [REDAKTsIYa] is TASS the official Soviet news agency.

What this document tells us is that the KGB residence in New York was corroborating for Moscow what Walter Lippman had told another KGB agent, Vladimir Pravdin; that Roosevelt and Churchill were having disagreements about post-war Germany and Britain’s role in the occupation.

None of this suggests that Ward was Soviet agent. Rather it speaks to the remarkable success the Soviets had in placing agents in the American press corps. Walter Lippmann is a prime example of how the Soviets used unwitting American journalists to glean information and insight into American politics and policy. Two Venona decrypts June 8, 1943 and July 28, 1943 reveal that Soviet agent Jacob Golos placed Mary Price Wolfe (codename DIR) as Lippmann’s secretary to gain insight into the sources of Lippmann’s columns. Sources like Lippmann and Ward provided key insights for the Soviets, into American politics in general and the Roosevelt administration in particular. An October 23, 1944 cable reveals that the NKVD and famed muckraker I. F. Stone flirted with each other.

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The Brian Griffiths Minute: 07-29-2008

The usual "high-quality" audio and video feed is decided less so for this show when even compared to the usual version. But hey, that's the perils of taking the show "on location":


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Did RM save Maryland's leftroots


Last month, I called for the revival of the state’s liberal blogosphere. That call has been answered! And the saviors of the online left are... the online right.

As I ended my series on the state of Maryland blogdom, Isaac Smith and Eric Luedtke resumed regular posting on Free State Politics. That has attracted significant attention from Red Maryland, the nexus of the state’s conservative blogosphere. Over a nine-day period from 7/17/08 through 7/25/08, conservative bloggers criticized Luedtke by name in nine posts on five different days. Luedtke’s views on transit, education and the environment made them howl like coyotes in the hills!

These Red Maryland bloggers have probably never met Eric Luedtke. Slightly-built, Luedtke has the appearance of a first-week college freshman searching for his backpack to avoid being late for class. A soft-spoken teacher from Burtonsville, he is no proponent of the two-by-four liberalism practiced by some on this blog. The laptop-toting, coffee-sipping Luedtke is about as threatening as dew on the grass.

So not only are conservatives in this state tasked with saving the state from high taxes, big government, and statism, but apparently we are the only ones around capable of saving the left wing too.

Jeesh, do we have to do everything around here?

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Hoyer Non-Committal On State Police Spying Investigation

Unfree State

As some political insiders predicted, the red hot calls for a Congressional investigation into the Maryland State Police spying on peace activists and anti-death penalty protesters appears to be cooling down.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the the Washington Post that he "might" support a Justice Department investigation but in the same breath Hoyer said he was pleased to hear police Superintendent Terrence say the program had been a mistake.

This is a clear signal that Democrats have come to the realization that such an investigation could backfire on them even though spying occurred during Republican Gov. Robert L. Erhlich Jr.'s administration. That's because then Mayor Martin O'Malley's Baltimore Police Department participated in the unwarranted surveillance, according to the 46-page state police document obtained by the ACLU.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. elaborated on the controversy surrounding State Police spying of peaceful demonstrators uncovered by the ACLU on his WBAL radio talk show Saturday morning. Ehrlich once again said he was not informed of the surveillance that occurred during his term, and that the state police were aided by Baltimore City Police under then Mayor Martin O'Malley-- plus Baltimore County Police knew about it.

To listen to an audio clip of Ehrlich's statement click here.

Limited supply of 'Bring Back Ehrlich 2010' bumper stickers available!
Click here for more info.

Crossposted On 

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Socialism - Not Big Oil - Is Cause of High Gas Prices

You've heard it all before. Big Oil is picking your pocket. Speculators are to blame for $4 gasoline. We need to drill less, and conserve more. We need to tax the oil companies more.

True to form, the Left can't grasp why gas prices are so high because the refuse to acknowledge a central premise of price structure - the free market. It is the very socialism promoted by "progressives" which has been a major culprit in the high price of oil.

Recently, oil prices have dropped a bit. Why? The market is working in America and its citizens are making a deliberate effort to conserve energy in order to save money. A classic case of supply and demand - the free market at work.

Overseas, countries like China, India, Mexico and Venezuela subsidize the price of fuel. What is the effect? A gross distortion of the market.

More Socialism Below the Fold

Why conserve, when fuel is cheap? This is precisely the argument used by the Al Gore types when they previously advocated HUGE increases in the federal gas tax. If we had to pay as much for petrol as they do in Europe, we would all be stuffed into Minis.

Of course, to make such an argument now would simply guarantee Republican majorities throughout the land. Yet, why won't the Left recognize the same logic when it applies to their socialist brethren?

That's different.

It is, but only because they wanted a government imposed price distortion in this country that was the inverse of what we are seeing in countries like China and India today.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Brian Williams and Katie Couric’s Apparently Permanent Reputations

How many major errors of judgment and how many acts of improvement must occur before reputations of networks news anchors change?

Brian Williams, NBC News anchor, and Katie Couric, CBS News anchor, should be wondering, but my guess is that only the latter is incredulous.

Williams and Couric’s ratings continue to be high and low respectively, despite Williams’ sub-par work, while Couric makes efforts to correct her shortcomings – ideological and others -- to no avail.

You hardly ever hear any criticism of Williams, due, this observer speculates, to his good looks and smooth, easy-going and inoffensive style, yet this is the anchor who, along with the equally irresponsible president of NBC News, Steve Capus, facilitated the airing of the bragging, non-newsworthy, self-promotion tape of the killer the day following the Virginia Tech terrorism.

Yesterday, NBC aired Williams’ interview of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yielding no news, no answers to the critical questions of whether Iran will stop their processing of uranium – no answers because Brian Williams, who must have learned his interviewing technique from Barbara Walters, was unable or unwilling to ask follow-up questions. Ahmadinejad, true to his history, filibustered and filibustered and filibustered. He said it’s good for the United States to treat Iran with respect, and Iran doesn’t need – nor does any country – nuclear weapons. Is there anyone who has not heard this from the Iranian president?

Katie Couric, historically no ideological friend of this writer, has made efforts to improve her work by tightening her news show and, unlike her colleagues, asking some tough questions of the anointed one, news media’s consensual President-to-be, Barack Obama.

Williams’ interview of Barack Obama was, unsurprisingly, substance-free and follow-up free. One more terrible interview this year and he’ll retire the 2008 Insipid Interviewer Cup (IIC).

The result of the recent professional actions of these two news principals: no change in reputation; no change in popularity.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.
Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University

Addendum: In the excellent Washington Post article on the parents of the Virginia Tech gunman {"A Year After Massacre, Family Lives in Darkness," April 16, 2008] Sandhya Somashekhar and Sari Horwitz detailed the poignant shame experienced by the murderer's ingenuous and decent parents and relatives.
In one section of the piece reference is made to the effect on them of NBC's airing of the "hate-filled video that Cho had mailed to the network" (and to that network alone).
In interesting contrast there is no shame or even any remorse indicated by the president of NBC News, Steve Capus, or NBC's Evening News anchor, Brian Williams, since the coverage of the killings. Their selfish, journalistically irresponsible and indefensible decision to air the killer's own self-serving, trite self-justification brought tremendous additional pain to the parents of the victims and others. As Peter Read, father of victim Mary Read, had said, "For the love of God and our children, stop broadcasting those images and those words."

More below the fold.

To O’Malley: Killing Video Slots Hurt Parochial Schools

Unfree State

In a recent interview, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley offered no relief for Southern Maryland parochial schools hurt when they lost major funding by O’Malley’s signing a bill that did away with video gaming terminals in the rural county.

When the reporter from the County Times of St. Mary’s County asked O’Malley if he planned on helping the schools -- which educate 20% of the county’s population -- with with another source of funding, O’Malley gave the following cryptic answer:

“I know we do something annually on textbooks; we did not cut that in the budget. It’s a challenge on the gambling front; but that bill didn’t eliminate all of the assorted charitable things,” O’Malley told the Times.

So, while cities like Baltimore and other heavily Democratic jurisdictions could greatly benefit from slots if they are legalized under O’Malley, it doesn’t appear the parochial schools of Republican-dominated St. Mary’s will!

What do you think?

Limited supply of ‘Bring Back Ehrlich 2010′ bumper stickers available!
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Crossposted on

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If Barack Obama Has A Choice ...

... Why Shouldn't You (and Your Child)?

The greatest scandal in this nation is not high energy prices, or the war in Iraq, or even public corruption (except tangentially). No, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, the GREATEST SCANDAL facing the United States is "the profound failure of inner-city public schools" (and many schools outside of our urban wastelands).

Democrats, slaves to the NEA and its satellites, refuse to discuss school choice - except to sabotage it. Yet, we constantly find success stories despite the attempts of the Teachers' Guild and their pals in the MSM to delude the public.

Twenty (20) privately managed Philadelphia schools (20 of the 45 lowest performing schools in Philadelphia County) are showing dramatic improvement compared to their NEA run counterparts. Of course that meant that the Democrat elite had to start dismantling the project.

More Choice Below the Fold

In the Los Angles Unified School District, the drop-out rate in charter schools was dramatically lower than the district, AND STATE averages. Seventy percent (70%) of LA Unified's charter schools outperform their neighborhood peers. The net result - the school board opposes the expansion of charter schools in the district.

The Democrat Congress wants to dismantle Washington, DC's "Opportunity Scholarship" program before it shows success. They have already refused to reauthorize it.

Barack Obama claims that real education reform is just "tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice". He shows his lack of knowledge, and hypocrisy, by claiming, "although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom."

Obama is wrong. It is the kids at the bottom that benefit most. The kids at the top already have options.

If the Democrats were serious about providing a first class public
education to most, if not all, American children we would see school
choice as part of their plan. Do we?

Why should they. Liberal elites like Barack Obama and his wife don't have to worry. The Obamas send their daughters to an elite private school.

YES WE CAN! - Be Hypocrites

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

More below the fold.

Hoist on His Own Petard

Offering further proof that he is a walking, talking left wing trope, Eric Luedtke cites the Wall Street Journal in his pedestrian analysis of the latest IRS income and tax data:

From that bastion of liberalism, the Wall Street Journal:

In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income.

Gives some credence to the argument behind the millionaire's tax. Unfortunately, that tax sunsets in 2010, in the midst of an election year. So two years from now we could see another fight over whether the fabulously rich can afford high taxes, or whether we should cut services for the rest of us instead.
Luedtke glosses over the very salient fact that this stratum’s tax burden has increased along with their income. In fact, if you bother to look at the data, the tax burden of the top 1% in earners is almost double their share of income. Furthermore, as a separate WSJ editorial notes, The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%” of all income taxes.

Look at the chart and you will see who pays their fair share of the taxes in this country

The editorial also notes that Luedtke’s favored presidential candidate, “He who must not be criticized,” wants to raise the tax rate on the top half of earners. And, even more puzzling, is how he seems to want to increase the tax burden on all levels of the income ladder, especially the lower end.

The facts belie much of Luedtke’s tired and false argument.

My family happens to fall within that top 10%. Both my wife and I work, and contrary to Luedtke’s delusions we are not “fabulously rich”, we live in a modest city row house, do not spend extravagantly; we save for retirement, and for college tuition for two children. We feel the pain at the pump and the added costs on our food and energy bills. We manage by cutting back and spending within our means, would that our state government could do the same.

I know, I’m so bourgeoisie. However, my political proclivities don’t mesh with radical bohemians of Hampden or whatever politically chic trend is en vogue among the bobos of Roland Park.

Anyway, for folks like Luedtke their solution is to tax, tax, and tax some more, adding more burdens on to working families like mine. Apparently, middle class folks—like my family—paying the lion’s share of the tax burden is not progressive enough for him.

What Luedtke fails to understand is that, as Stephen Moore has shown, lower tax rates means “progressivity—in terms of total taxes paid—has risen.” That is, lower taxes stimulate economic growth and hence overall increase tax receipts.

Conversely, when you raise tax rates, you hinder growth and as the WSJ editorial states:

The last time tax rates were as high as the Senator [Obama] wants them --the Carter years -- the rich paid only 19% of all income taxes, half of the 40% share they pay today. Why? Because they either worked less, earned less, or they found ways to shelter income from taxes so it was never reported to the IRS as income.

The beautiful irony here is that in favoring higher taxes on the “fabulously rich,” Luedtke is actually supporting less progressivity in actual taxes paid by the “fabulously rich.”

The common progressive response to this is that tax cuts are government handouts to the rich. Of course, this is complete nonsense. I have cited Rick Moran’s smack down of Ezra Klein in previous posts, however it is so instructive of the major difference between conservatives and progressives about the role of government that it bears repeating here:

I’m glad it would never occur to you Ezra because trying to compare a tax cut to an entitlement program is the most stupefyingly idiotic analogy I have ever seen a lefty make. It’s not even worthy of Oliver Willis. It’s not even comparing apples to oranges – more like peaches to elephants.

But Klein’s analogy is instructive. Not of leftist stupidity although you’d be hardpressed to find a more doltish example of liberal witlessness. Rather, it points up very nicely the difference between a liberal and conservative on the reason and function of government.

Klein has no trouble equating a tax cut with an entitlement program because he sees the tax cut as a gift from government. It is government as daddy giving us a boost in our allowance. More prosaically, it is, like SCHIP, just another responsibility of government – in this case, by “giving money back to the people,” consumerism is encouraged.

But tax cuts have nothing to do with government and everything to do with personal property. That money is the taxpayer’s. It is already in his pocket. A tax cut is nothing more than a law preventing the government from reaching into the taxpayer’s pocket and taking away his property. It is not a gift or a favor or even a responsibility of government. A tax cut has everything to do with expanding personal liberty and nothing whatsoever to do with government being nice to taxpayers.

This simple, basic, liberty loving concept has been forgotten by liberals like Klein who see tax cuts as part of a government “plan” for the economy hence, monies that the government will forgo collecting in order to modify or encourage some kind of economic activity. In short, the money “given back” to taxpayers is really the government’s money to begin with, theirs to do with as they see fit.

To not see how that concept turns the idea of freedom on its head reveals a moral blindness that makes it easy to posit that all property is subject to government approval and control. It justifies eminent domain and host of other egregious threats to human liberty that used to be a concern of liberals but is now seen as an impediment to government management of most every facet of people’s lives.

Emphasis mine

More below the fold.

Soros/ Move On's latest "gem"...

The gang who can't seem to "move on" from losing the 2004 presidential election is proving once again that they are in Obama's pocket. Here's their latest ad they are hoping to put on Comedy Central & Mtv. I'm sure that audience will eat it up.

Here's a much better ad, not as "up', but dealing with more important and tangible issues.

More below the fold.

Monday, July 28, 2008

RedMaryland radio is back Tuesday

RedMaryland Radio, hosted by Greg Kline and yours truly, is back on the air Tuesday evening at 5:15 on Oldies 970, WAMD in Aberdeen.

Our guest tomorrow will be Terry Gilleland, former member of the Maryland House of Delegates

Have a question for Terry? Question for us? Comments you want us to read on the show? Let us know at our new show email address,
And be sure to check out our website at Be sure to listen to past shows posted under the "Past Shows" section of the site.

Check us out: (H/T Radio Locator)


More below the fold.

Too Smart by Half

Eric Luedtke trots out a theory that Mike Miller is in all actuality going to retire, he's just not telling anybody at this point in order to keep the Senate together in one place.

Luedtke's thought process there is completely rational, and totally something that Mike Miller would do in order to continue being Master of the Senate. However, whee Luedtke's analysis goes wrong is right here:

Martin O'Malley's polling numbers have been, in the words of one West Wing character, 'Less than yeasty.' He needs to bring those poll numbers up to have a good shot at re-election. In order to bring up his poll numbers, the Governor is going to need the legislature to, you know, legislate. And not just normal naming of post office legislating, but big time get popular and ground-breaking stuff done legislating. Now, if Miller is retiring in 2010, and that fact is public knowledge, the State Senate's Democratic Caucus would spend the next two years splitting into factions as Senators Frosh and Middleton jockey for position.
And I don't think he could possibly be any more wrong here. The reason that O'Malley's poll numbers are less than yeasty has everything to do with what the Senate has done for O'Malley. Miller led the Senate towards higher taxes. Miller ensured the Senate didn't cut parts of the budget to make up the difference. Miller helped the Governor pass his ludicrous spending plans. Let's face it: Mike Miller being Mike Miller and helping out Governor O'Malley is exactly why the Goveror's poll numbers are in the tank. O'Malley got what he wanted, which is something that taxpayers are less than enthused about.

The funny thing is that if Miller had stayed retired, and Luedtke's "Lord of the Flies" scenario came to pass, the Senate would be virtually in a stand still. And that means that none of the Governor's out of the mainstream tax and spend proposals would ever see the light of day. In that scenario, the divided Senate protects O'Malley from O'Malley, with the only piece of legislation derailed that would hurt the poll numbers would be the likely temporary election year tax cut that Democrats always like to pass.

In Luedtke's analysis, he assumes of course that a Miller retirement would have been the end of the universe:
But as for the whole idea of keeping the Senate Democratic Caucus in line, here's something our Democratic State Senators need to remember - if O'Malley loses, all of us lose. Not just in the larger sense of getting stuck with another four years of Bob the Golfer. But also in two very serious ways: 1. A strong showing by a Republican gubernatorial candidate could increase Republican turnout and swamp some of our Senators in the more marginal districts, decreasing our advantage in the Senate, and 2. Whoever is elected Governor in 2010 will have significant power over the redistricting after the next census, and could create districts in such a way as to completely screw with Democrats, as happened with the Republican gerrymandering in Texas. Sitting Senators stuck in the same district. The map redrawn to create Republican districts in Democratic jurisdictions, such as northern Montgomery County. It. Would. Be. A. Disaster. In other words, if the Senate didn't do its job without papa Miller to ride herd, they wouldn't deserve re-election, because they'd be doing serious damage to the party.
Because for Luedtke and his ilk, the party always comes before the people. And he, of course, forgets what happened when the Glendening map was thrown out in court for....completely screwing Republicans and conservative Democrats, with sitting Senators stuck in the same district.

Of course, Luedtke calls it a disaster....I call it a good start.


More below the fold.

What remains unsaid

The Sun again realizes something that has existed for quite some time:

Maryland's rural areas are likely to have a serious shortage of doctors in coming years, the state's medical establishment has warned.

Two government panels that are preparing recommendations on the problem for the governor and the 2009 General Assembly are studying the conclusions of a report by the Maryland Hospital Association and MedChi, the Maryland state medical society.

The report, known as the Maryland Physician Workforce Study, concludes that a shortage of doctors in rural Maryland is likely to worsen significantly by 2015 as older physicians retire and new ones choose to practice elsewhere.
Of course this is almost identical to an article they wrote in January that said the same thing.

But more troubling is the fact that, like the January article, the Sun provides political cover for the Democrats. What remains unsaid is that t was the Democrats, remember, who objected to Governor Ehrlich's medical malpractice reform during the 2004 Special Session. It was the Democrats who wanted to allow for unlimited caps on lawsuits against doctors and medical practitioners. And it was the Democrats whose obsequiousness to the trial lawyer lobby led them to create a situation like this one, that encourages doctors to pack up and leave the state.

And that's to say nothing about higher taxes...

That's what is pathetic about the Sun's article. The failed medical malpractice reform, combined with higher taxes and higher expenses, are driving doctor's out of the state. Like just about every problem facing Maryland right now, the cause for this one can be laid squarely at the feet of the Democratic majority...


More below the fold.

Go Green by Saving Green

Resident arena apologist Dan Rodricks couldn't go three days without talking about the new arena, with yesterdays column adding new levels to his preposterous stance on the matter:

Here's how Baltimore gets the world's attention, attracts an NBA or NHL franchise, pulls in a major corporate sponsor, establishes another tourist destination a couple of blocks from Camden Yards, helps foster a new sector of jobs in Maryland and reduces long-term operating costs of its new downtown arena: with pizza made from tomatoes grown on the premises.

It is absolutely essential that the city recruit a visionary architect to design the new arena, and this design must be green from the ground up - even below ground - and I'm not kidding about including a terrace or hothouse for a tomato garden.

When I say "green," I don't mean 20 percent green. I mean green beyond green - far beyond what has been achieved in public and private spaces so far. Baltimore's new arena should meet or surpass goals of the U.S. Green Building Council. It should have a major wow factor architecturally but also set an example of sustainability for the nation and the world.
So to recap, Dan Rodricks, who already thinks that spending millions to build a new arena is more important than fixing schools and eradicating violent crime, now wants to double the cost of the arena, while increasing the price of tickets and concession on the middle and working class families of the area, just to make his bleeding heart feel better.

That's not to say that some of his ideas aren't good. I have no problem with the use of solar panels, particularly in light of the more effective and cheaper solar technologies that are out there these days.

But when you consider that fact that this new arena will be used more than the current arena, and the fact that the probably location of this arena is going to create traffic congestion worse than what we current see for the facility, wouldn't the most environmentally friendly suggestion regarding the new arena, if Rodricks were really serious about putting the environmental issue first, would be to not build it in the first place?

Rodricks support for the arena is somewhat inconvenient given his wacko environmental stances over the years. The easiest way to reconcile this is to save Baltimore taxpayers some green of their own, in the manner of the money that can be saved by not building this silly project.


More below the fold.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Republicans Want Currie to Step Down

Unfree State

Maryland Republican leadership is calling for Prince George's County Sen. Ulysses Currie to step down from his powerful position as chairman of the state's Budget & Taxation Committee while he being investigated by the FBI for alleged corruption. 

"While Currie has not yet been charged with a federal crime, he has clearly violated state ethics laws by hiding his employment as a lobbyist for a large supermarket chain," Republican Party Chairman James Pelura said in a prepared statement. 

Pelura also commended Democratic Sen. President Mike Miller for pushing for Currie to stand down until this investigation is resolved.

In light of the litany of investigations and ethical lapses (Mayor Dixon, Senator Currie, County Executive Johnson, and Senator Nathaniel Exum),  Pelura also recommended a serious review of Maryland's ethics laws. 

We couldn't agree more with Pelura on both counts!

There is something smarmy about having a man who is being charged with taking money from a business to perform favors heading a committee that controls the purse strings of the state, where  current ethic laws make it easy for politicians to slip and slide through loopholes and avoid prosecution. 

What do you think?

Limited supply of 'Bring Back Ehrlich 2010' bumper stickers available!
Click here for more info.

Crossposted on 

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ehrlich On Spying: Aided By City Police & Balto. Co. Police Knew

Unfree State

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. elaborated on the controversy surrounding State Police spying of peaceful demonstrators uncovered by the ACLU on his WBAL radio talk show this morning. Ehrlich once again said he was not informed of the action, and that the state police were aided by Baltimore City Police under then Mayor Martin O'Malley-- plus Baltimore County Police knew about it. 

To listen to an audio clip of Ehrlich's statement on click here.

Ehrlich added it was up to Democratic Gov. O'Malley to change the procedure involving the approval of any future State Police surveillance. Ehrlich also defended his golfing hobby, in a tongue and cheek response to an O'Malley remark that the former Governor was unaware of the spying because he had been too busy playing golf!

Limited supply of 'Bring Back Ehrlich 2010' bumper stickers available!
Click here for more info.

Crossposted on 

More below the fold.

Video On Casa's Site Shows White Professionals Begging For Work!

Unfree State

You could say that Casa De Maryland, an advocacy group for legal and illegal immigrants, is trying to show white professionals how it feels to be an immigrant standing on a corner looking for work. 

A new video linked to the nonprofit's Web site shows a group of middle-aged, professional white men and women in suits and ties standing in the street waiting to be hired by a Hispanic man in a pick-up truck. You got to see this to believe it!

I find it racist and ageist. The only people it shows begging for work are middle aged and white! Surely, this is not accidental. What happened to the diversity Casa so strongly embraces? 

Please tell me what you think.

Click here to view the video 

Limited supply of 'Bring Back Ehrlich 2010' bumper stickers available!
Click here for more info.

Crossposted on

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Messing with the wrong Mariner

While the debate is going to rage about how wasteful it is to spend hundreds of millions on an arena in Baltimore, has anybody noticed that the City is going out of its way on this arena deal to screw one of its leading corporate citizens?

Sure, everybody has their own opinion of Ed Hale, but does it really make any sense to bring substantial financial ruin upon the only franchise that has called the Baltimore Arena home for the last 28 consecutive years? Of course it doesn't. Only a hard-headed, on the take idiot would come to the conclusion that you should tear down the current venue, kick out the current tenants, and build a brand new venue with the same crappy traffic and location problems as the old venue.

But of course, the person they are screwing is Ed Hale. And he has the money to do something about it. And it looks like Ed Hale is going to go into business for himself:

With Baltimore possibly building a new arena on the site of his team's home, 1st Mariner Arena, Blast owner Ed Hale will be looking for a new place to play - or he might just build one himself in Baltimore County. "I knew this could eventually happen," he said of the arena building site. "I've looked at UMBC and Towson University for possible places to play, but they don't work [because of small capacity]. And I've looked at possible sites in Baltimore County to build an arena - to privately build an arena - outside the city that would seat from 12,000 to 15,000. A nice size for our team and small concerts. And I've already had calls from people in Baltimore County with property who have said, 'If you want to do it, let's go.'" Hale said he will look into all of his options, including a lawsuit, if he finds he is severely damaged. "[The Blast] was never taken into account," Hale said when asked about the city's decision to build a new 18,500-seat arena on the 1st Mariner site. "We've been there for 20 years. Bernie Rodin brought the team to town in 1980, and we're not relevant? I've been a pretty good citizen. I've never asked for anything, and not one thing has been given to me."
So let's follow this. The city really had two options here. They could choose to build the arena in a new location, then tear down the old arena and sell the extremely valuable real estate for downtown redevelopment. Or, they could tear down the old arena and build a new one on top of the land, leaving the city without an arena and screwing over their one leaseholder.

By choosing option # 2, the city has created an interesting dilemma. If Hale goes through with his plan, now the Baltimore area will have two brand new arenas that will potentially be in competition with each other for some of the same shows, some of the same attractions, and some of the same sports teams. And on top of it, the Hale venture is going to probably be more accessible for the dollars of suburban families that will be needed to make either arena profitable. Does that make any business sense at all for the city of Baltimore?

Instead of doing the right thing and crate a situation that benefits all stakeholders, the city is going to do the boneheaded thing and engender negative feelings and potentially a direct competitor to their brand new arena enterprise. It makes me wonder if anybody on Mayor Dixon's staff truly understands the rules of business and the rules of economics....


More below the fold.

The Tool and his Arena

Baltimore's favorite toolbox Dan Rodricks once again pipes in with his tired argument about how important it is to build a new arena in downtown Baltimore:

As for the nattering negativists who will surely say this is a dumb idea, that it will never work, that Baltimore will never get this and never get that - well, blah, blah, blah. We've heard it all before. Mr. Grumpy-Gills really should treat himself to the big picture sometime. I know. It's hard. You've grown accustomed to thinking weenie and being cynical. After all, that's part of our national culture, and the condition has long been acute here in Baltimore...

...But, really, the many of you who think small, and who make a hobby of ridiculing Baltimore and taking glee at the city's flaws, you who today think building a big, new arena on the site of our old, dumpy-but-still-bookin'-dates one is a foolish idea - you really need to get out more.

Seriously, the city has changed and is continuing to change. News flash: It's getting better. You should swear off blog entries, power down your PCs and get out of your basements for a day. Take a walk downtown.
Seriously, Rodricks needs to lay off the bong water and get real. Baltimore has sky high crime, with crime still at near crisis levels on a per-capita basis. Taxes are out of control. The Mayor is on the take. Schools are falling apart and failing to educate people. But Rodricks, in his infinite wisdom, thinks the most important thing to do is building a friggin' arena.

It takes a sports columnist, Rick Maese, to bring any common sense to the pages of the Baltimore Sun on this issue:
It's handy and it's dandy. Easy to fold and easy to hold. When you see your favorite politician, pass it on. When you see your local sports team owner, be sure to share. Because here it is for the very first time: The definitive, dead-on, no-excuses checklist.

If your city can't check off each of these items - ahem, pay attention, Baltimore - then maybe it should think twice before throwing public money at a sports arena or stadium.
And Maese goes on to list several common sense things that should be required to be in place before the city of Baltimore spends one penny on the construction of this new arena.

Somebody in Baltimore needs to get their priorities straight. Better schools, better roads, and safer streets are more important than a brand new sports arena. An arena is a symbol, yes it's true. But only an idiot like Rodricks would place more importance on spending hundreds of millions on a symbol, then spending money to truly reform the city's needed substance.

Of course, the city has other problems too, which I'll address in my next post.


More below the fold.

Refuge Podcast #63 - O'Malley Fiddling While Maryland Burns (jobs at least)

Jam packed with all the conservative goodness you have come to expect it is the Conservative Refuge Podcast. You can listen by visiting here:

In our opening segment, I share a fascinating article from the Annapolis Capital pointing out how Maryland's economy compares with the national economy as a whole. As liberal tax increases take hold, Maryland is hemorraghing jobs. You need to hear these numbers!

Our blogger roundtable, with Red Maryland contributor Brian Griffiths and local attorney and potential county council candidate James Braswell, discuss the recent appointments to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, including unregistered democratic lobbyist Teresa Birge. Is the Governor appointing board members who will support unbridled spending and push for higher taxes? Were more qualified candidates rejected because they lack the necessary political connections with O'Malley? Our blogger contributors offer their insights and opinions.

In our closing segment, we open the Fat Files and I share a report that Asian obesity rates are on the rise. The article highlights the absurdity of the obesity alarmists as they romanticized the life of hardscrabble Asian peasants and objecting to the "malling" of Asia.

Share your thoughts and feedback!

Spread the word!

Greg Kline
Host, Conservative Refuge Podcast

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Do Illegals Work at Anne Arundel's Golf Course?

It seems the trials and tribulations of Anne Arundel County's "Compass Pointe" golf course now include the possible hiring of illegal aliens. This is in violation of County Executive John Leopold's policy to have no County Contractor or Vendor do so.

See below...

Audra Harrison
Public Information Officer


Annapolis (July 25, 2008) - County Executive John R. Leopold today
released the following statement regarding the County’s Compass Pointe
Golf Course and Billy Casper Golf, LLC, the management company
contracted to manage Compass Pointe:

"We are currently reviewing the information we have from our contract
with the management company, as well as gathering any information
available from the company and authorities. If it is found that the
management company has in any way knowingly violated Executive Order 24,
the County will exercise its right to terminate the contract with Billy
Casper Golf, LLC. I have been very clear that the County will not do
business with companies that hire illegal immigrants."

Attached are a letter and a copy of Executive Order 24 sent to Joe
Livingood, Senior Vice President of Billy Casper Golf, LLC from Anne
Arundel County Attorney Jonathan Hodgson.

For a re-type of what was on the pdf attatchment, go here...

More below the fold.

Instead Of State Stat O'Malley Needs Gov. Arnold's Plan!

While Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley uses Capitol Hill as a photo op for his so-called 'StateStat" program, he should instead be following the example of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

Schwarzenegger is facing mounting deficits like O'Malley, but unlike our Governor, Schwarzenegger refuses to increase taxes -- instead opting to cut spending.

Not only that, Schwarzenegger has shown the guts to stand eyeball to eyeball to the liberal Democratic hordes in the California Assembly by threatening to cut state workers' pay to the minimum wage of $6.55 an hour, if lawmakers don't stop paying games and give him a responsible budget he can sign, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It's clear by his actions that Schwarzenegger gets it, and the O'Malley simply doesn't.

What do you think?

Limited supply of 'Bring Back Ehrlich 2010' bumper stickers available!
Click here for more info.

Crossposted on

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Big Labor Keeping An Eye On Their Boy Frank Kratovil

One of the things that fascinates me most about writing for a blog is where your readers come from. One of the analytics packages that Delmarva Dealings subscribes to gives me a nice GoogleMaps mashup with markers of where the last 100 or so readers came from. It's gratifying to see that you have someone in Lithuania, Ireland, South Africa, or Australia reading what you write from Salisbury, MD. When you see that our service people are checking in from Iraq, Germany, or Afghanistan you feel honored. It's even more interesting to see where some of your American readers are coming from.

Recently I've noticed that I have readers in Pittsburgh. Given that the only person that I know there is the Episcopal Bishop, Bob Duncan (and he's away at the Lambeth Conference), I was curious as to who might be interested in what I have to say there (Bob sure never shared my politics). The readers are coming from the offices of the United Steelworkers of America.

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Why would a union be interested in what I have to say? They only seem to be interested in what I have to say about Democrat congressional candidate Frank Kratovil. I've noticed the same with the NEA and some of the state teachers' unions; but at least they also read my rants on other education issues.

But wait! I thought Kratovil was a moderate-conservative Democrat? I thought Kratovil was independent? No tool of the special interests he.

Let's just wait until the next financial disclosure. The next time that Kratovil or his shills in the media mention the Club for Growth (which is money from small, average donors), ask yourself who is diving deep into the liberal, special interest cesspool.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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