Sunday, February 28, 2010

President Barack Obama and the Democrats’ Deception on Health and Mental Health Care: the Ignoring of Public Debate

--Richard E. Vatz

“The President’s Proposal ensures that individuals have access to mental health services in the community setting, but strengthens standards for facilities that seek reimbursement as community mental health centers by ensuring these facilities are not taking advantage of Medicare patients or the taxpayers.”


The above quote is the only emendation in “The President’s Proposal” of February 22, 2010 to hone the mental health component of the newest variation of the health care plan. The President, you surely know, has claimed to be very interested in bipartisan support and bipartisan input for the health care plan – and I believe his every word.

It appears that now, however, he hopes to force “The President’s Plan” through the Congress with reconciliation, an unprecedented parliamentary ploy for such major legislation, which requires only a bare majority to pass a bill in the Senate, avoiding the need for any Republican support. Still, as indicated above, the president assures us that he does want Republican support and is interested in conservative objections, and I believe him.

President Richard M. Nixon used to be reviled for stating “I am the President.” When President Obama used that locution to justify the hierarchical squashing he laid on Republicans at the health care summit, no one blinked an eye. Of course, Nixon was a terrible man and Obama is the Second Coming, so different standards apply.

Do you understand what the statement at the opening of this article implies for mental health centers? Neither do I, but nothing in the President's revamped plan undermines full mental health coverage, including all psychiatric diagnoses and treatments from the current and new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association made by all mental health psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, as Jeffrey Schaler and I argued in a piece in The Washington Times. Thomas Szasz’s half century of unmasking of psychiatric medical pretense is also ignored, of course, except in The Wall Street Journal.

You may recall that the president continues to be very interested, he has said, in critiques of his plan – and I believe him.

Finally, there appears to be growing realization of the pseudo-medical nature of the omnibus proposed mental health coverage. There are, just to name a few, Dr. Szasz's article, Dr. Schaler’s and my article, an article yesterday by Edward Shorter, professor of the history of medicine and psychiatry, in the Wall Street Journal, and a piece by George F. Will in The Washington Post, all unmasking the psychiatric pretension of an America mired in insurable mental illness, with varying application to health care reform.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today (February 28, 2010) that “The [health care] bill can be bipartisan even if the votes are not…” because some Republican ideas are in the final bill.

Orwellians may find that to be a rhetorical trick, but I believe her. Her statement is as honest as President Obama’s use of the summit to seek out bipartisan support on the health care bill in general, and, as will not surprise you, I believe him.

The extraordinary additional cost of insuring the “worried well” in mental health insurance will add to the breaking of the bank, but President Obama and the Democrats say they are concerned only about serious medical problems and their costs.

And I believe them.



Professor Vatz is Associate Psychology Editor at USA Today Magazine and an editor at Current Psychology


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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Talking School Board

Be sure to check out my column from today's Maryland Gazette discussing the need for an elected school board here in Anne Arundel County....something that I have talked about at length for a number of years now.

(Crossposted)


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Friday, February 26, 2010

So....

.....let's take a look at the last two people in political circles who have employed Judd Legum.

One was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who of course spent most of the 1990's engrossed in one scandal or another....or another....or another. Legum worked as the Research Director of her Presidential Campaign, and if you remember towards the end of the campaign it was supporters of Clinton's campaign that first gave worth to the asinine birther movement.

Next, Legum (as we noted) went to work for New York Governor David Paterson. Paterson, of course, admitted to having an affair with a subordinate while serving as Lt. Governor and ended his campaign for a full term today due to the fact that he is being investigated for accusations that he abused his power to protect an aide accused of assaulting a woman last October.

So if you take a look at the scorecard, the last two political candidate employers of Judd Legum are two people who embody the picture of Democrats constant embroiled in scandal. With the people Legum works for, I think we really need to be questioning the fitness of his judgment and his fitness for office. Legum has shown to be a bad judge of character considering these (and others) he has decided to associate himself with.

Sadly.....it also makes me wonder what skeletons are in Judd Legum's attic.

(Crossposted)


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being Generally Unhelpful

From the file of ways to neither win friends nor influence people comes tonight's story out of Howard County.

The Howard County Republican Club is a reasonably large group of Republicans in Howard County that has a large and extensive contact list. Apparently, that was an inviting target for club member John Wafer, who is also a member of the Howard County Republican Central Committee. Wafer, claiming to act on behalf of the entire committee, made a motion at tonight's meeting to compel the Club to hand over their entire contact list over to the Central Committee, claiming that this was "routine" and that "it happens all the time." Club members, being of sound mind, rejected the motion nearly unanimously.

There are a number of related problems that are here:

  1. If a Republican Club within the county has a larger and more useful contact list than the County Central Committee, then one of these groups has fallen asleep at the switch;and,
  2. If a Republican Central Committee member feels like the Committee is entitled (for lack of a better term) to access to a club's mailing list, it would seem that the aforementioned Central Committee member seems to think they are more important than they really are.
And nowhere that I am aware of "routinely" sees clubs turnover their lists to Central Committees. When I was President of the Anne Arundel YR's, I was never even asked to turn over the list. We information flowed down, we got it out without making a big to-do about it.

Obviously this appears to be an isolated incident, but I hope that all Republican Central Committee members take heed from this. We do not need Central Committee members to stoke ill will with committed, organized Republican Clubs, least of all in an election year. These Central Committee members need to "do no harm" as it were, and avoid taking actions that are generally unhelpful at best or, in this case, generally knuckleheaded.

(Crossposted)


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Ten Questions: Ron Miller


Name: Ron Miller
Office Sought: Maryland Senate District 27
Hometown: Huntingtown, MD Calvert County
Website: http://www.teamronmiller.com/

1. Give our readers a little insight into your background?
I am a nine-year plus U.S. Air Force veteran, technology and homeland security consultant, senior executive in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and a former political appointee with FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. I've lived in Maryland since 2001.

2. Who is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?
That's a tough question. Ironically, my family, all staunch Democrats, shaped my ideology. If you described their beliefs independently of their race or party allegiances, you'd swear they were a solidly conservative family. It wasn't until I left home that I realized I didn't believe in anything the Democrats represented. When my mother asks me why I'm a conservative and a Republican, I always tell her, "Because you raised me that way!"

I really don't have a hero in the political realm. I don't worship anyone other than Jesus Christ, and while I respect many men and women, they all have their flaws, as do I. If you pressed me, however, I'd say Jack Kemp for his tireless evangelism on behalf of conservatism, and his absolute conviction that the values and solutions of conservatism benefitted everyone, even minorities and the urban poor. His hallmark was his outreach to those non-traditional constituencies, and I can think of no one who has done it better or with more integrity before or since.

3. What prompted you to take on one of the most powerful politicians in the state?
I have an innate disdain for elected officials who believe they are above accountability and the consent of the governed, and we have two such animals where I live in Mike Miller and Steny Hoyer. I ran against both in 2006 - the switch from one race to the other is a longer story than you have time for! - and I chose to run against Mike Miller again this time.

I'm not intimidated by them; they are just men, after all. The seats they occupy don't belong to them, and they should have to stand for election against a credible opponent every election.

I also believe that, after nearly 40 years in the General Assembly, Mike Miller is incapable of the bold steps we're going to have to take in order to fix our budget woes in the mid-to-long term. We're going to have to take risks and share sacrifices, and we're going to have to throw conventional wisdom out the window. He won't do that because his emphasis is on maintaining the status quo and holding power. Neither serve the interests of the people of Maryland.

4. Maryland is facing a budget crisis; how would you address it?
The Maryland budget is so far gone that we have to start over again. The incrementalism that has plagued our elected officials in Annapolis has brought us to a crisis point, and we have to be big and aggressive in solving our problems.

We start by zero-basing the budget and reaccomplishing it, asking hard questions along the way, like "This is a worthy cause, but should government be funding it?" "Is this a state or local government responsibility?"

Mandates shield off 2/3rds of the budget, and that handcuffs our efforts to devise a permanent solution. Lift state mandates and push back on federal mandates, using the 10th Amendment as it was intended. Force each program to justify its existence.

Every program ought to have a defined and measurable public benefit as an outcome, defined and measurable objectives to reach that public benefit, and a plan to accomplish those objectives. Not a single dime goes to a program until after they have an approved performance plan.

This entire process ought to be completely transparent and open to all Marylanders, from the committee debates and votes all the way to the final vote before it goes to the governor for signature. We should design websites to make it easy for citizens to find the information they need; right now, the General Assembly's web presence is byzantine and difficult to navigate for anyone other than lobbyists and policy wonks. Unless the release of information adversely affects public safety or violates a citizen's rights, it all should be out there in the sunshine for all to see.

Just as the sun rises, the sun also sets. Every program should be monitored regularly, and should report back periodically to ensure it is on track to meet its objectives and, ultimately, its public benefit. If it isn't working and cannot be corrected, then it should be terminated. All programs ought to be considered for termination at some point in their life cycle unless they represent a permanent expense. Not all government programs should last forever.

5. Many Republicans are concerned about the bloated size of Maryland government; what government programs or agencies (if any) would you cut, reduce, or eliminate?
Education and health care costs must be on the table and subjected to the same rigorous analysis I've described. Not only are they the largest expenditures in the budget, they are also the fastest growing ones. The sentiment to wall them off from critical review and realloaction is understandable, but is not showing sound stewardship of Marylanders' tax dollars. We're not being honest with them if we say we can do this without including them in the mix.

I'm not convinced that the education budget is designed or allocated efficiently and effectively. For all the positive results we've seen overall, we still have serious problems with school systems in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, and they've had a lot of money sent their way. We need to look at how much is directly affecting the student and teacher in the classroom, and then critically evaluate costs from there. Other school systems are educating their children well for less money per student; we need to learn from them. We need to examine the success of charter schools and use them as the laboratories of innovation they're meant to be.

Health care costs will continue to rise, and all the proposals to expand coverage will just dump more participants into a dysfunctional system. My approach to designing a health care budget is similar to how I'd address education. Start with the patient and the doctor, and work from there.
We have a severe doctor shortage in Maryland, especially in rural areas, and you can't have health care without medical professionals to administer it. Texas enacted comprehensive tort reform many years ago, and doctors are coming back into the state to practice as a result. Lower the cost of doing business for doctors and more of them will stay or set up shop here. It's common sense, but we've let too many people confuse the issue with blizzards of words and numbers. As my mother always says, "Use the common sense God gave you!"

We need to strip most of the mandates from our health insurance regulations and establish a basic package that is more affordable, and give consumers the option to add services as they want or need them. That would not only bring costs down, but would also encourage more insurers to come to Maryland, further enhancing competition.

I have many other ideas, but these are a good representation of how I'd propose to do business. By the way, I'd also look very critically at state land purchases and many smaller programs which, in my view, are involved in areas in which government has no business.

6. Many counties budgets are being crippled by Maintenance of Effort requirements; would you support eliminating or reducing those requirements?
Yes. Maintenance of effort requirements are bad regulations masquerading as educational reform. The counties ought to have the flexibility to make budget decisions without being shackled by the state, and they should be able to sit down with their local school boards to work out solutions when economic times are tight. Threats of fines and reduced aid are reflective of the heavy hand of government, and such bullying should cease. Again, my rule of thumb when it comes to making education budget decisions is to start in the classroom and work your way out from there.

7. What proposals would you champion to help Maryland businesses and entrepreneurs?
We need to cut our corporate tax rate to be competitive with other states in the region. With our highly educated labor force and available office space, there's no reason why we should lose out to northern Virginia every time a major business wants to relocate to our region. I'd kill the so-called "millionaire's tax" - it's losing money and discouraging our small businesses and entrepreneurs. Tax credits are an anemic response to small business concerns; they hire when there's work to be done and income to pay salaries, not to get a $3K per person tax credit that won't even cover salary and benefits for a month.

We need to convene a regulatory review board to critically examine regulations and determine which ones can be eliminated. If it can't demonstrate a positive impact on public safety or worker protection, it's gone.

In the long term, we need tax reform so we're not dealing with these budget crises from year to year. We need to encourage savings, investment and wealth creation, and we need to stop using the tax code to reward or punish behavior; that's not the purpose of taxes. I support a taxpayer bill of rights because I believe in restricting government's ability to raise taxes on the people; they would be forced to defend their proposals to the people and, if they say no, it's not the people's problem, it's the government's problem for not making their case. I also believe we need to determine how to streamline or simplify the tax code, whether it's a flat tax, fair tax or whatever kind of tax system encourages individual wealth creation and small business growth.

8. Two of the most important issues facing Maryland are concerns with transportation and the environment; on which issue do you place a greater priority, and how would you address it?
Transportation issues are reaching a critical mass, and we need to address the concerns in creative ways. Large-scale infrastructure projects, with their lag time and potential for fraud, waste and abuse, can't be the only solution. Locating business offices closer to where people live is a solution that links back to my economic proposals to attract more companies to Maryland. Knowledge work and services are the predominant industry in our area, and we can expand them without significant environmental impact. Telecommuting ought to be encouraged as well.

I would also look into the smart transportation grid programs being implemented in other states to see if they would work here. My impression is that Maryland lacks a comprehensive plan for transportation; it seems to respond to the squeakiest wheel or the loudest elected official. None of these transportation projects operates in a vacuum; we need an integrated, comprehensive plan for the entire state. Sound project management practices and priority setting will go a long way toward giving people assurances that their government is being smart and prudent about transportation.

The environment is a vital component of Maryland's quality of life, but we're throwing money at the problems with limited to no success, and we're not engaging all citizens to become active participants in maintaining and enhancing the environment. More community and voluntary efforts can have positive effects; we all want to be good stewards of the land on which we live. Giving Marylanders more information on what individuals can do, and then encouraging them to act, can lead to dramatic improvements. I'm an advocate of self-governance, and we need more of it in confronting environmental issues.

9. Following on that last question, Maryland passed cap and trade legislation in 2009 and the Maryland Department of the Environment is working with environmental special interests to write the regulations. If elected what would you do to mitigate or nullify what are sure to be economically ruinous dictates?
We need to involve more than just environmental special interests in developing regulations, because they have vested interests pointed in one direction, and that doesn't serve the people of Maryland. If businesses and communities are not equally represented, it's a sham. I wouldn't allow a single regulation to be enacted if it doesn't emerge from a consensus between affected parties. It's good governance and, while some people decry the difficulties in reaching consensus, our government is designed to be inefficient and incapable of running roughshod over our liberties. Consensus is the ultimate goal of good policy and, if we don't have it, there's probably a good reason why it shouldn't be done. Elitism or arrogance has no place in our republic.

10. If you had a choice of any Republican to be the nominee of our party for President in 2012, who would it be?
As you can probably assume, I'm a policy and solutions person, so that's always an important consideration for me. As a result, I'd like to see Bobby Jindal as the GOP nominee in 2012. He is a highly intelligent and experienced policy maker, and he's accomplished a great deal in his relatively young life. He appears to be an ethical man with great integrity and the courage of his convictions. His uniquely American story, a story that all legal immigrants recognize, is appealing, too. He may lack the flash and dash of many other candidates, but we have good examples in the Governor's House in Annapolis and the White House in Washington of what style without substance and experience gets us.

One other thing; despite his great intellectual and political accomplishments, he appears to be a humble man. I'm tired of politicians and other elites who think we're too ignorant, intolerant, or incompetent to govern ourselves, and they've not been shy about expressing their feelings to that end as of late. I prize education, but without the leavening of experience and humility, it leads to condescension and arrogance. We've had enough of that.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Playing the Hand Your Dealt

I don't often disagree with Streiff's assessment of local politics, but I don't think his assessment of yesterday's budget hearings does the Republican Caucus justice in this regard.

As soon as President Miller and Speaker Busch called for public hearings and a public airing of Republican ideas; the caucuses were faced with a Hobson's Choice:

  • Show up; or,
  • Not show up.
Of course, there were consequences to the Caucus picking either choice:
  • Show up, and you get the opportunity to air your grievances publicly, in front of citizens and the media. You get the opportunity to show the people and legislative leadership that there are, in fact, real alternatives to the failure of Martin O'Malley and the Democrats to lead on this issue; or,
  • Don't show up, and then the story becomes Republicans not wanting to present their ideas on fixing the budget.
Tony O'Donnell, Chris Shank, David Brinkley, EJ Pipkin, Steve Schuh and other Republicans down in Annapolis did the best they could with the hand that they were dealt; in fact, I think that Republican leadership, in actuality, called the bluff of the Democrats. I am not sure that Speaker Busch thought the Republicans had real budget solutions to offer (never mind all of the amendments that O'Donnell, Lowell Stoltzfus, and others have offered over the years).

The fact that Republicans participated in the budget hearing was the best of all possible solutions, particularly when you consider the media hellstorm that would have followed had the Republican caucus balked.

That leads into a different problem; everybody and their brother knew that the Republican budget ideas were not going to get a fair shake in the media. Which leads me to wonder where the hell the Maryland Republican Party has been on this issue. What messages, emails, and talking points have gone out to aggressively push the Republican side of the story?

Frankly, there are two points that need to be said about the State Party media operation;
  • One, it seems to comprise short, pithy, not particularly aggressive our meaningful press releases; and,
  • Two, it seems to me that we here at Red Maryland seem to have a more aggressive and organized media operation than the State Party does.
Republican legislators in Annapolis did what they had to do yesterday; they played the hand that they were dealt.

Now, we have to do our part to grow their numbers this fall....

(Crossposted)


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When Will They Ever Learn

Watching the a significant slice of Maryland's GOP delegates and a few senators in action metaphors come to mind: Charlie Brown having the football pulled away, the battered spouse saying "just don't hit me in the face."

Maryland is in dire financial straits (O'Malley Watch covers the story well). It has been since the election of Martin O'Malley, who, other than discovering a "structural deficit" and spending four years blaming the last guy, has done nothing.

Each year the Democrats in the General Assembly do diddly squat to remedy the problem and they challenge the handful of Republicans to find an alternative to the Democrats spending their way out of a deficit. Every year we have the same sorry spectacle of the Democrats demonizing the Republican alternatives as a smokescreen.

From today's Washington Post:

Democrats and the state's largest public employees' union sharply criticized the Republican proposals, saying they would cut deeply into education and other public services valued by Marylanders. The union said the Republicans' plan to end furloughs for 80,000 and lay off 500 workers would do more damage to employees' morale.

Del. Melony G. Griffith (D), chairman of the Prince George's delegation, specifically took Republicans to task for proposing to eliminate of a set of education grants that benefit Prince George's and Montgomery counties more than any other areas. "Did you not consider that reducing funding . . . would lower the gains we've made?"

For playing the game and presenting an actual strategy for reining in out of control spending what do the Republicans get? Were their suggestions seriously considered? Did the Post or Sun say, "hey, those were some pretty good ideas?" Of course not. The were simply mau-maued. Now the Democrats will shove tax increases into various or our bodily orifices and they will do it by protecting Maryland from the Republicans.

At some point they need to learn. When you are in the opposition you have a duty to oppose. You don't have a duty to go along. You don't have a duty to give the other side a campaign issue. The story in 2010 should be the utterly profligate nature of the O'Malley administration and the serial irresponsibility of the Maryland Democrat party.

But it won't be. Children will be left uneducated. Old folks will be buying cat food. Liberal arts majors will go unemployed. The MVA will slide into inefficiency. If Republicans win.

At some point you'd think they would learn. The Democrats don't need their ideas or their votes to govern. What they need is a foil and a strawman to campaign against. And we keep giving it to them.

Year. After. Year. After. Year.

Just don't hit me in the face.





More below the fold.

Here's something to think about...

.....when you get your post-snowmageddon BGE bill.



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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vinny DeMarco: Friend of Big Tobacco


Vinny DeMarco is a friend of Big Tobacco.

Yep you read that right. DeMarco is one of Big Tobacco’s or more specifically Phillip Morris’ best allies.

Here’s why.

Last summer Barack Obama signed into the law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act with DeMarco on hand in the Rose Garden to witness the event. Faith United Against Tobacco, a group organized and managed by DeMarco lobbied heavily for the bill.

So did Phillip Morris the largest tobacco company in the United States. In fact Phillip Morris has “supported legislation that would provide for tough but reasonable federal regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration for more than eight years.”

According to Tim Carney, author of Obamanomics, Phillip Morris products accounted for 50.4% of all cigarettes sold in stores in the last quarter of 2008. Phillip Morris’ Marlboro’s accounted for 41.6% of those sales. That is, Marlboros outsold all cigarette brands than Phillip Morris’ top two competitors combined.

It is in pure self interest that corporate giant Phillip Morris would support the regulations embodied in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The law imposes mandates on it’s competitors such as tests on ingredients in the smoke, which it already conducts. It also imposes advertising and marketing restrictions that hurts Phillip Morris competitors while decreasing advertising costs for the widely known Marlboro brand.

When the law was first introduced back in 2004 Phillip Morris and its corporate parent, Altria, fully endorsed the bill. Carney notes that between 2004 and 2009 the gestation period of Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Altria spent $88 million in lobbying.
According to Slate the public health benefits are dubious at cements Phillip Morris’s market dominance.

"It is a dream come true for Philip Morris," Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, told me. "First, they make it look like they are a reformed company which really cares about reducing the toll of cigarettes and protecting the public's health; and second, they protect their domination of the market and make it impossible for potentially competitive products to enter the market." Other tobacco companies have taken to calling the bill the "Marlboro Monopoly Act of 2009."

It's hard to fathom where Congress is finding the political cover necessary to pass an industry-sponsored love letter like this one. But it's coming from Philip Morris' partner in crafting the legislation: a nonprofit anti-smoking organization called Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

DeMarco’s Faith United Against Tobacco is a creature of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids was a direct but secret ally of Altria in the push to pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This was part of Phillip Morris’ Project Sunrise designed to divide and conquer the anti-tobacco movement in the late 1990s.

Media reports laud Vinny DeMarco, famed foe of evil big tobacco, for his principled stand and organizational genius. Yet DeMarco was right there in the middle of all of it a willing participant in Project Sunrise, helping Phillip Morris sell more cigarettes.

Keep up the good fight Vinny, you've shamed Phillip Morris--all the way to the bank and market dominance.

Of course, as head of Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, DeMarco needs Phillip Morris to sell more cigarettes, especially in Maryland because the tax proceeds fund his pet cause of ever expanding government run health care.

Instead of handing out jars of his mom’s tomato sauce to lawmakers he might as well be handing out cartons of Marlboros.


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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Russ Mitchell: An Anchor’s Anchor in a Sea of Personality-Centered News

--Richard E. Vatz


For so long I have found the CBS, NBC and ABC evening anchors to be bright and competent, but utterly opinionated and at odds with the old standard of disinterested presenters of the news. Not every night is off-putting, but enough are that watching the current (and former) network news anchors is often a chore.

At the same time I have found the outrageous salaries of these anchors to be inconsistent with the necessity of keeping large numbers of field reporters active, with Brian Williams and Katie Couric, for example, earning a news-quality-destructive $8 million and $15 million or so dollars a year respectively.

But most Sunday nights I can watch the CBS Sunday edition of CBS Evening News with the feeling that I am being genuinely edified, since the anchor is Russ Mitchell. CBS has a long history of compromising its evening news with anchors whose personalities affect each story’s interpretation implicitly or explicitly. This has been the case with all major networks for a long time, especially CBS (with the exception of Bob Schieffer for a short while), which has provided personality-centered news since after Douglas Edwards in 1962. I know Walter Cronkite is everyone’s favorite ex-news anchor, but he considered it appropriate to fight for his own agenda in his role as news anchor, particularly in foreign policy.

For almost four years Mr. Mitchell has been the anchor of the CBS Sunday News report. He has won local and national Emmy Awards, as well as awards from United Press International and the National Association of Black Journalists.

But most impressive is his straightforward presentation of the news, unadorned by predilections for self-referential news presentations. The worst in network anchor history on this account was surely Barbara Walters decades ago, but more subtly such personality-centered news anchors include currently Ms. Couric, Mr. Williams and Diane Sawyer.

The 49-year-old Mr. Mitchell shows that straight news anchoring can be quite fascinating, as evidenced by his Sunday news broadcasts as well as segments for which he does the reporting on that show, such as his piece (February 21, 2010) on Homeless Female Veterans. Good anchors are not dull anchors, and Mitchell’s presentations are clear, serious and riveting.

I know that despite periodic ideological fairness, Ms. Couric and Mr. Williams and Ms. Sawyer are all liberal (I know; I know; Ms. Sawyer worked for Richard Nixon –that one dubious conservative link shouldn’t fly any more). I honestly don’t know Russ Mitchell’s politics – maybe he’ll be politically corrupted if he becomes CBS’ main anchor, but I doubt it.

And an additional bonus is his unadorned, unaffected sign off: “Good Night.”

Russ Mitchell: a competent, non-politicized major network news anchor whom one can watch without the self-aggrandizing distraction of the personality of the news anchor.

What a relaxed, informative joy on Sunday nights.


----------------------------------
Professor Vatz teaches an advanced course in Media Criticism at Towson University


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Friday, February 19, 2010

Keith Olbermann Uses MDDems Tea Partiers are Racist Meme

Keith Olbermann is taking his cues from the Maryland Democratic Party.

On the increasingly less watched Countdown Wednesday night, Olbermann asked “Where are the people of color at the Tea parties?”






Interestingly enough none other than Isaac Salazar, New Media Director of the Maryland Democratic Party tossed this very same tea partiers are racist meme at the Annapolis Tea Party protesters back in January.



Like Olbermann, Salazar was blissfully unaware that there were indeed people of color at the rally. Indeed one such person, Charles Lollar, running for Congress in Maryland’s 5th district was a featured speaker. Friend of Red Maryland, and challenger to Mike Miller--Ron Miller--with whom I spoke at length attended the rally. Corrigan R. Vaughn running for Senate was there as well.



Thus the left’s absurd notion of “diversity” is exposed. Everyone must look like America and think exactly like them. And those people of color, who don’t espouse doctrinaire principles…well we’ve seen those ugly attacks before, just four years ago.





Salazar is merely reprising the ugly tactics his employer used against Michael Steele during the 2006 senatorial campaign. It was Maryland Democrats who said party trumps race in defending their execrable racial attacks against Steele.



Talk about worst person in the world.


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tripping Over the "low bar for respectability"

My colleague and resident raconteur Brian Griffiths pointed out Baltimore Sun political reporter/blogger Paul West’s not too subtle shot at him and Red Maryland over the Mikulski retirement rumor.

The genesis of West’s shot at Brian and Red Maryland most likely stems from this post, where, in addition to calling him out for shoddy biased reporting on Obama’s stimulus. I also had a little photoshop fun with him. I didn’t know he had such delicate sensibilities. Man up Paul. You are a blogger now aren’t you?

By the way Paul, would it have killed you to report that we noted Chris Cillizza’s tweet that the Mikulski rumors were not true? Or that Brian clearly labeled the report as a rumor, and we clearly tweeted it as…a rumor.

Please Paul, do tell us more about the “low bar for respectability”. Try not to trip over it while you’re at it.


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An Elected Maryland Democrat Fundraising During Session?

Is Democrat Delegate Heather Mizeur illegally soliciting campaign contributions during the legislative session?

Maryland election law states:

Contributions may not be solicited, accepted, or deposited by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, a member of the General Assembly, or a person acting on behalf of any of these individuals, during the Legislative Session, which begins on the second Wednesday in January of each year and continues for 90 days.
If you look at Mizeur’s ActBlue page it appears she is currently soliciting donations.























If you click the “Contribute” button is takes you to a contribution page where you can fill out the information to make a campaign donation to Mizeur.













Just to be sure I clicked on the link to her District 20 colleague, Tom Hucker, and you get a message saying “Contributions not currently accepted via ActBlue.”





















The same message comes up rest of the elected Democrats on the ActBlue directory for the House of Delegates.

While we applauded Delegate Mizeur’s efforts on behalf government transparency, she still needs to play by the rules.

We find it quite cheeky that Maryland’s corporately funded Democratic Party is busy manufacturing outrage over Andy Harris’ chief of staff legal fund raising while one of their own elected officials is illegally soliciting campaign contributions during the legislative session.
As we like to say here at Red Maryland Turnbullshit happens.


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Ten Questions: Carmen Amedori




Name: Carmen Amedori
Office Sought: U.S. Senator
Hometown: Carroll County
Website: http://www.amedoriforsenate.com




1. It’s been six years since you have served in elective office; why now? Why the U.S. Senate?
Holding elected office should not be a career, but rather it should be a point in a person’s life that, together with their work in the private sector and the community, creates a fabric upon which sound and rational choices can be made. I am not running for the Senate so that I can build a political resume, I have one. I am not seeking this office so I can leave and move to a private sector job. I am running because I believe that my background and experience in the private sector and government, have well prepared me to help solve the problems we are facing.

I have a deep and abiding love for our state, nation and for the people of Maryland and everyday I am saddened to watch as we come closer and closer to the brink of the abyss.

Maryland’s next Senator must know and understand our great state. It must be someone with the wisdom to recognize the underlying problems we face, and with the maturity to end the partisan bickering the Senate constantly engages in, and bring together people of our state, Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated, to solve the problems of national security, the growing debt, a deep recession, and increasing health care costs.

2. Barbara Mikulski has been in the Senate for twenty-four years. What are your biggest criticisms of her job performance?
Bailout Barb has only one mission in the Senate and that is to support the Democrat agenda. We need a new Senator who will look beyond party lines and do what is right for the people of Maryland and our nation. For example, according to Americans for Tax Reform, Bailout Barb never votes in favor of the taxpayer. She has a record of voting Zero percent of the time to support us taxpayers. That is a record of an extremist liberal who does not compromise.

Moreover, during this recession we need a Senator who will work with the small business community so that we can create more jobs. Three out of every four new jobs in Maryland are generated by small business. Yet our Senator has a life time rating of 35% from the United States Chamber of Commerce. That means she votes against our job creators 65% of the time. How can we ever restore our economy with a Senator like that?

3. You served six years on the Maryland Parole Commission; what insights about government were you able to learn from your time on the Commission?
There is a failure on two fronts –education and personal responsibility. There are many people who were not properly educated and so a life of crime is their only alternative. Our educational system and their parents dropped the ball. I met many people who could not read until they were incarcerated. It is a terrible shame that due to a poor educational system, these young people lacked the knowledge to become productive members of society; instead becoming street thugs who only knew crime for survival. One way to help resolve our education system failures is to create more competition to the system by allowing for school choice and allowing more Charter schools to be established.

I am also a strong believer of personal responsibility. We have to stop being a nation of victims and encourage our children to take responsibility and to take pride in themselves.

4. You served six years in the House of Delegates representing Carroll County; what do you think was your most significant accomplishment from your time in the House?
At the time I left office, in 2004, I had a 100 percent rating with Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG) achieving MBRG’s highest cumulative business vote rating of 96 % for a 4-year period. I always voted on the side of The People and will continue to do so as Maryland’s next US Senator.

5. Of all the issues facing our country, what would your priorities be as a U.S. Senator?
My first would be to revive the economy with controlled spending. Bailout Barb has never met a spending program she didn’t like. For instance, the Federal government spent $2.5 million for a Census Ad during the Super Bowl. Those were our tax dollars being used on a television ad. As the your next Senator, I will work to establish a Sunset Committee. This committee will scrutinize federal programs to determine if they are necessary and where they can be cut. This committee will investigate duplication of services and to make sure programs are still necessary. It will allow for greater accountability in tax dollars. On Capitol Hill, we have hundreds of committees devoted to spending our tax dollars. We need at least one committee looking for ways to cut spending.

Furthermore, we need to free ourselves from burdensome taxes and regulations on businesses. And, we need to make sure hard-working Americans are keeping their legal tender. I support a flat tax. I’ve always been a fan of Steve Forbes and continue to support a tax system where we pay for what we use.

We also need to aggressively address the issue of illegal immigration. These illegal residents have placed such a strain on our system and taken jobs from our legal citizens. Illegals comprise 6% of our population. We need to enforce our laws to deport them upon arrival. We are a country of laws and must not support amnesty like the incumbent Senator and her support for the creation of a Path to Citizenship which is nothing more than granting amnesty.

6. Do you support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
Yes, but I will not allow it to be used to raise taxes, but instead to cut spending. We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.

7. We know that with the election of Scott Brown, Obamacare as we know it is dead; what ideas do you have for improving health care for average Americans?
Unfortunately, Obamacare is not dead! Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are still threatening to use the nuclear option to pass it. With that being said, real health care reforms starts with controlling costs. We need to cap medical liability so people are not using the system as a get rich quick scheme and doctors are not over spending by implementing so much defensive medicine. The next step is to allow more competition into the health insurance industry by allowing small businesses to band together to buy health insurance across state lines. Finally, we need to address the issue of portability and pre-existing conditions. These issues have been neglected for far too long.

8. What is your position on cap and trade?
Cap and trade should actually be called cap and tax. This legislation will burden every family with another $3200 costs in taxes. I am opposed.

9. Many Republicans are concerned about the bloated size of the federal government; what government programs or agencies (if any) would you cut, reduce, or eliminate?
I am in favor of creating a Sunset Committee. This committee will scrutinize federal programs to determine if they are necessary and where they can be cut. This committee will investigate duplication of services and to make sure programs are still necessary. It will allow for greater accountability in tax dollars. On Capitol Hill, we have hundreds of committees devoted to spending our tax dollars. We need at least one committee looking for ways to cut spending.

More specifically, recent banking legislation passed creates an agency to protect consumers from unfair credit card practices. That is a very noble cause, but we already had an agency to do that. Also we should not have a new layer of government with these so-called czars who have no accountability to the Senate.

10. How will you use social networking during your campaign, and if you win would you continue to use social networking to be accessible to your constituents? I have a Face Book page, Twitter and a website www.amedoriforsenate.com. As a State Delegate I earned a good reputation of always being a listener and accessible to my constituents. I will continue that tradition. Yes, I would continue to employ the social networking tools for communication on all levels.


More below the fold.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Go West

Paul West of the Sun took a not-so-thinly veiled shot at me for my reporting of the Barbara Mikulski rumor from Monday:

On Monday, shortly after Bayh surprised Democrats by announcing that he was quitting, an obscure right-wing blogger posted a report that Mikulski, too, would be announcing in the next few days that she will step down. The groundless report was picked up by other blogs--including some that clear the very low bar for respectability in this realm--without bothering to check its validity.
Now....go back to my post. I mention in very large letters that 1) this was a rumor, 2) that it was the first that I had heard of it and, 3) that I wouldn't at all take it to the bank. How many times do I have to label something as a rumor before people understand that.

Regarding West's assertion that RedMaryland clears "the very low bar for respectability in this realm", I will concede the point to West as a subject matter expert given the fact that the Sun fails to clear the very low bar for respectability in the realm of reporting quite often...


More below the fold.

MD Chamber and Retailers Appear to Make U Turn on Unemployment Insurance Deal

On Monday we reported that the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Retailers Association were close to a “deal” read sell out to the O’Malley administration on changes to Maryland’s unemployment insurance fund.

We were extremely critical of their decision as all too often Maryland business representatives sell out their constituents for the bone O’Malley deigns to throw them.

According to an email obtained by Red Maryland from Chamber president Kathleen Snyder to Senator Mac Middleton, it appears the Chamber and MRA have reversed course.







From: Kathleen Snyder
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:33 PM
To: Middleton, Thomas Senator Cc: Burt, Tami; Ronald Adler; Allyson Black;
Subject: Md Chamber and MRA position on UI bill
Importance: High

Sen.Middleton, let me personally thank you for your leadership on trying to build compromise on the UI bills this session. While the business community did not ask for the bills as drafted, the Maryland Chamber's and Maryland Retailers' representatives on the UI Oversight Committee, our members and those of many local chambers throughout the State appreciate the Administration's and your efforts to address the issue in Maryland. After three months of good faith negotiating, the Maryland Chamber and the Maryland Retailers jointly believe that these complex issues, including those of the most recent proposed amendments, deserve further vetting by the UI Oversight Committee after session. Therefore, we will continue to oppose the bill.

Specifically: The Chamber strongly supports the payment plan option and reduced
(0.5%) interest rate which would provide cash flow relief to employers throughout Maryland.

We have consistently stressed this point throughout the process and fully support them. We trust DLLR will move forward with the payment option plan administratively since that is the key issue impacting small businesses.

We do not support moving from Table F to Table E under any circumstances v We are concerned about the intended and unintended consequences of the various proposed benefit changes, and feel that they would benefit from the wisdom and more complete vetting by the UI Oversight Committee.

We are uncertain that the latest proposal re disregarded wages would guarantee the cost neutrality that we were seeking and even more uncertainty about future decisions regarding offsets by the Secretary of DLLR, with or without the consent of the UI Oversight Committee.

The Maryland Chamber and the MRA support the immediate action of passage of the payment plan and the reduced interest rate, with the UI Oversight Committee taking our original offsets as well as the Administration's under review after the session since there is no apparent agreement on any of them. Thank you for working with us. We look forward to continuing discussions in the future.

Kathy Snyder, CCE, President/CEO
Maryland Chamber of Commerce




Good to see the Chamber and MRA finally found their backbone.


More below the fold.

Premeditated Multiple Killing, Tenure and the Insanity Plea

--Richard E. Vatz


Never, in retrospect, has murder been so unsurprising.

According to those present, Amy Bishop, a bitter, tenure-denied faculty member at The University of Alabama at Huntsville, sat quietly through a faculty meeting, took out a gun after about an hour and began to execute her colleagues, one-by-one. When a colleague, who had on earlier occasion offered Bishop help in her tenure battle, grabbed her to stop the mass murdering, Professor Bishop pointed the gun at the colleague, but it jammed, a stroke of good luck in an otherwise ugly, luckless scene.

Amy Bishop may plead insanity – why not? The mystifying and thoroughly invalid plea (see volumes by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and endless articles by Jeffrey Schaler and this writer) is part of Americana and is unquestioned as a legitimate concept, although not its specific use, by most citizens.

The plea and its brother – not criminally responsible – stem from theoretical notions that some people, when they kill, lack the capacity to formulate criminal intent.

There is no evidence that anyone who illegally kills someone intentionally lacks criminal intent. How would that be measured outside of mystifying arbitrary interpretation by professionals legally enfranchised to do so, like psychologists and psychiatrists?

Irrespective of your feelings regarding people’s lacking the volition to murder, Amy Bishop did not. She was a miserable human being – miserable to neighbors, kids, colleagues and others – throughout her life. She killed her 18-year-old brother after an argument in 1986 and tried to escape, using a shotgun to try to commandeer a car from a Ford dealership. Why wasn’t she charged in 1986? No one knows, but her mother testified that it was an accident.

In 1993 she was a major suspect in the attempted murder of a Harvard Medical School professor who upset Bishop due to a negative evaluation.

In the current killings Professor Bishop was reputedly outraged at not receiving tenure. Tenure decisions often involve more than just a cold, empirical analysis of scholarship, teaching and service; they involve interpretation throughout, and such evaluation in all but the most patently worthy cases is an art, not a science. But part of tenure evaluation at many colleges and universities is collegiality, which, however sterilely defined in university documents, means “Are your colleagues willing to spend an academic lifetime with you.”

I do not know all of the particulars of the Bishop tenure case, but I can tell you that given some of what has leaked out – complaints by students; publication co-authored by one’s children in a vanity press – it is not hard for anyone to make a case against Professor Bishop.

This is an old story: bright professor with non-slam-dunk credentials being evaluated by fearing and loathing colleagues who thank God she’ll be gone after a negative tenure review. Professor resents the action, appeals, and seeks legal advice.

In this case, however, she murders her hierarchical superiors.

Unusual, yes. Hard to fathom this individual committing such a crime?

Hardly.

It’s called premeditated murder, and Alabama provides for the death penalty.

Let's hope they come through in this case.




Richard Vatz teaches rhetoric of psychiatry in his Persuasion course at Towson University and is Associate Psychology Editor of USA Today Magazine and an editor at Current Psychology


More below the fold.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More on Frederick County School Failures

With Frederick County Schools being closed again tomorrow, it looks like the Frederick County Government can't do its job either.

School Superintendent Linda Burgee posted a message on the FCPS Webpage in which she encouraged people to help out:

I encourage every able citizen to lend a shovel, snow blower, ice pick or deicer to the snow removal effort in your community. Make sure the sidewalk in front of your home is passable. Next time you sprinkle deicer in your driveway, sprinkle a little extra on that ice patch in the street. Shovel a few extra feet of snow, perhaps at the bus stop around the corner or in the one-lane section of your road. And imagine the magic an entire neighborhood’s fleet of snow
blowers could perform to clear the way to a quicker opening!
Well, what the heck do I pay my county and state taxes for? Why should I being asked to help out by plowing or deicing sidewalks?

In my part of the county, my daughter can walk from my house to her school (about 3/4 mile away) on completely cleared sidwalks, and crossing only two streets the whole way. the people in my townhouse court have gone above and beyond in getting our neighborhood passable, including shoveling the road when the HOA didn't come by and plow our road.

But let's also talk about priority. As I mentioned in my previous post, there was a snowblowing tractor on a main road that was already cleared. There was a snow blower working on side walks leading to the local high school, which is good. But if there are roads that are not passable, then why is the country working on roads that are passable?

I pay and inordinate amount of money in taxes for a bunch of services that have absolutely no impact on me, so I think I have done more than my part to get my neighborhood into shape enough for my daughter to get to school. If the schools need help getting roads cleared, why are they asking me, why aren't heads rolling at country/state road departments? Why doesn't the county have more workers out?

Then there was this little bit:
After hearing the latest road condition reports and forecasts from the County’s highway department and local municipal leaders today, we have decided keep schools closed through Wednesday, February 17. This will allow road crews to continue their work and our bus drivers to personally drive their routes in their own vehicles to identify trouble spots.
As I have said, hardly any snow has fallen since last Wednesday, so why weren't but drivers traveling their routes on say Sunday or Monday when schools were closed for the weekend and President's Day? What the heck are people thinking? Why are we only now asking bus drivers to examine their routes, after closing the schools for the seventh scheduled school day in a row?

Priorities and thinking are not being done and the people who suffer are the kids. My daughter is going nuts, my work has been disrupted beyond measure, my wife (who is paid hourly by the University System of Maryland is now into unpaid leave) It costs almost as much for a babysitter as it does for my wife to take the day off without pay.

This issue is not about student safety, it is about being afraid of a lawsuit. Some kid gets hurt on the way to school, slips on an icy patch and then sues the school. It is fear, not safety driving this decision.






More below the fold.

Frederick County School Board Failure

Now it is getting ridiculous!!

Despite the fact that almost no snow has fallen on Frederick County in nearly a week (six days today) aside from a dusting that fell yesterday, Frederick County schools are closed again tomorrow. That makes 11 days missed because of snow.

Now if the problem is that some roads have been plowed, then why in the heck did the county have big tractor snow blowers and snow plows clearing snow off the side of a road that was not only passable but had been clear enough for days. The priorities are clearly skewed.

If the problem is that some kids who have to walk to school have no sidewalks (not the problem in my neighborhood) then why isn't the county addressing that problem? For parents out there who complain about sidewalks and their walking kids, sorry, get up off you butt and drive your kids to school or make arrangements to have a neighbor drive them. If you boss is that inflexible that being late would be a problem, how has that boss been since you haven't been at work for over a week?

This is an educational and decision making disaster of monumental proportions and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

For sure now, the Frederick County schools will be given a waiver to not hold a 180 day school year because that would cut into summer vacation and extend teaching days for the union without their consent. Sorry, the School Board's priority has to be education, not wondering what to do about extending into summer vacations and/or the union contract.

The School Board and Board of County Commissioners has failed in managing this task--miserably.


More below the fold.

Foreign Money and Possible Campaign Finance Violations in District 9A Race

We’ve had quite a bit of fun with Judd Legum (D-Soros) and his out of state campaign contributions. However, another Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates is taking out of state campaign cash to a whole new level.

Maryann Maher, a Democrat running in District 9A in Howard County has raked in nearly $40,000 in campaign contributions. A tidy sum for a delegate race to be sure. A quick look at Maher’s 2010 campaign finance report shows that she received $39,176 from 108 donors.

The bulk of that sum $30,650, (78% of her total take) came from eight donors. Not one of those donors is from the state of Maryland let alone the district she seeks to represent. Of those eight donors, two live in the Dominican Republic, one lives in Canada, and two live in Puerto Rico. The other three live in South Florida. Five donors, including the two Florida donors wired $18,650 of their contributions through the same foreign bank, Banco Polular Dominicano.

Now, to be fair to Maher there is nothing illegal in any of this as Maryland law allows foreign donors. Given that Maher was born in Puerto Rico and spent significant time in the Dominican Republic, she’s probably following the old “family, friends, and fools” method of raising funds.

However, Maryland law states “A person can contribute no more than $4,000 to one campaign finance entity, and a total of $10,000 to all campaign finance entities, during the four-year cycle.”

Looking at Maher’s 2010 report it appears possible that her committee accepted $750 in contributions over the $4,000 legal limit. The spreadsheet below shows a $3,500 contribution to Maher from a Leo Perez Freixas of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on December 23, 2009, wired through Banco Popular Domincano. It also shows five separate $250 contributions totaling $1,250 between June and October 2009, from a Leo Perez with the listed address 8260 NW 14th St., Doral FL.

Ma Her Scribd



8260 NW 14th St. is the address of the Miami office of the foreign company Express Parcel Service International, which just happens to be headquartered in--Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. EPS specializes in international parcel shipping and correspondence from the Dominican Republic. Many EPS customers use the 8260 NW 14th St as their mailing address.

EPS does not list it’s corporate officers, management team, or employees on it’s website. I called the Miami office and the woman on the other end of the line could not confirm or deny if a Leo Perez Freixas or Leo Perez was affiliated with EPS. She did say Leo Perez was most likely a customer, meaning he was using EPS as a drop address or PO Box.

A Google search of Leo Perez Freixas returns his public Facebook page, which just happens to show he is a fan of…EPS, and a friend of Maryann Maher.



Leo Perez Freixas _ Facebook
Does this prove conclusively that Leo Perez and Leo Perez Friexas are one and the same, and made illegal contributions to Maher’s campaign? No,

However, the coincidence of a man with a similar name as $3,500 foreign donor,using the domestic shipping address of foreign shipping company said foriegn donor is a "fan" of to make five separate contributions is to say the least, highly suspicious.


More below the fold.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MD Chamber and Retailers Sell Out and Cut a Deal With O'Malley on Unemployment Insurance

It appears the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Retailers Association are close to cutting a deal with the O'Malley administration on unemployment insurance.

After initially opposing O'Malley's modernization plan, which included federal stimulus, the Chamber and Retailers have agreed to the plan in return for "offsets" the two organizations believe will mitigate the increased liabilities state businesses will face in accepting federal dollars.
Red Maryland has obtained an email from chamber president, Kathleen Snyder sent to local members over the weekend and the document outlining the proposed amendments.



We are in the final discussions about the UI modernization bill that has undergone many changes since our last Chamber Action Network alert. The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Mac Middleton has asked us to verify that local chambers are in agreement with the Maryland Chamber and the Maryland Retailers Association that:


1. We embrace the payment plan and reduced interest rate options identified in the bill. This will help small businesses pay their taxes easier during these tough economic times. We appreciate the Administration’s and Sen. Middleton’s recognition of this important measure and urge implementation of those components immediately.


2. We are grateful that the Administration has heard our concerns that taking the $127 million in economic stimulus funds would cause long term liability costs to employers throughout Maryland. A number of offsets have been proposed and the Maryland Chamber agrees that the amendments would nearly balance out the liability as long as no funds are taken from the Trust Fund, meaning we should stay in Table F for 2010 and not move to Table E. Such a move would reduce the amount of funds going into the Trust Fund and thereby continue to negatively impact the long term health of the fund.



UI - Outline of Proposed Amendments 2-5-10[1]

Got that. There is no guarantee that O'Malley will agree to the proposed offset amendments to a bill, which the Chamber opposes. There is only a demand from Mac Middleton and O'Malley that the Chamber and Retail Association "embrace" what scraps O'Malley sees fit to give them and be "grateful" that he even bothered to listen to their concerns.

At the GOP pre-session briefing last month Delegate Ron George scolded the Chamber representatives for taking "the wind out my sails." Meaning that too often the Chamber lacks the courage of it's convictions and sells out it's members for the serving of thin gruel O'Malley and the Democrats' table.

There's a sentiment that O'Malley dislikes business. That isn't entirely true. He likes politically reliable business, and by continuing to lie prostrate before him, like a dog hoping for a bone from it's master, O'Malley can safely rely on business representatives to roll over.


More below the fold.

RUMOR: MIKULSKI TO RETIRE?


I want to clarify this by saying THIS IS A RUMOR. But the blog The Vail Spot posted this about an hour ago that was picked up by Instapundit:

I've just heard from an impeccable source that Barbara Mikulski, the Democratic Senator who is up for reelection this November, will choose to retire. Mrs. Mikulski is expected to make her formal announcement in the next few days. Mrs. Mikulski seriously fractured her right ankle last fall just prior to Edward M. Kennedy's death. Due to the severity of the fracture, she had to have open reduction surgery, that included the insertion of pins, as well as the use of special surgical boots, during recovery. She had tried to arrive in time for Mr. Kennedy's funeral but was turned away.
This is the first I've heard of anything leaning towards a Mikulski retirement. I wouldn't take it to the bank, but I wanted to bring it to the statewide conversation, because this would create a MAJOR change in the political environment and pretty much throw everything we know about statewide elections in 2010 out the window.


More below the fold.

Judd Legum's Philosophy of Governance

Judd Legum, the out-of-state funded Democrat for Delegate in District 30, also has a side gig in addition to be a candidate and a trial lawyer as the Chairman of the Market House and City Dock Committee of Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen's transition team. And buried deep in this Capital story about the failure of the Market House rehabilitation project to get on track are Legum's thoughts about how Market House should operate:

The committee recommended the formation of a commission to determine exactly who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Market House and what businesses will move into it. It's more important to reflect the character of Annapolis than for the property to turn a profit, Legum said.
Emphasis mine.

So, just to be clear, Judd Legum has absolutely no problem whatsoever with Annapolis City Taxpayers operating an ostensibly for-profit enterprise that competes with local private businesses for customers and revenues operating at a loss. That of course would mean that city taxpayers could see themselves footing the bill for more of Market House's operating costs than would be legitimately necessary; a philosophy that has already failed at the state level.

In Judd Legum's world, soaking the taxpayers for the ineffectiveness of government is a perfectly legitimate position to take. We need to make sure that Judd Legum doesn't bring his backward philosophy of governance to the State House next year...

(Crossposted)


More below the fold.

Global Warming is Meme-tastic

Courtesy of Instapundit. Don't watch this if you offended by word reading words that rhyme with truck...



More below the fold.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reality Check on Climate Change

So, for all of you folks who believe that both the federal government and the State of Maryland should adopt radical climate legislation that will do tremendous damage to our economy. Well, read this. Let me quote the operative part of this story:

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.



More below the fold.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It’s No Coincidence His Initials Are MOM

"Stop already with the 'Scrape my street down to the pavement.' That cannot happen for the next 72 hours. We ask that you be the great citizens, great Marylanders, great Americans that you are and bear with us." –Martin O’Malley


I admit the depth of O’Malley’s smug condescension gets lost in textual quotation. However, here is the video of the governor with his sanctimonious feathers in full plumage. It's fingernails scraping across the proverbial chalkboard.

Why did O’Malley scold Marylanders after the second wave of snowpacalypse?

The answer is easy. O’Malley is a nanny state progressive, and they don’t take well to complaints from those they perceive as children, i.e., the rest of us.

One need only take a look back at his state of the state speech—brimming with nanny state paternalism toward the individual—to find the impetus for O’Malley’s petulant outburst.

As I wrote about the speech last week:
Like so many progressives, O’Malley’s concern for the “individual” isn’t about the individual per se but rather yoking the individual to the will of the state. It’s no coincidence that the individual is subordinate to the state in placement in that paragraph, for in theory and practice, progressives value the state above the individual…In O’Malley’s eyes the individual citizen is mere tool for advancing the will of the all encompassing state.

According to O’Malley “Great citizens, great Marylanders, great Americans” don’t question their public masters. They shut up, they don’t complain—especially about him—and do what they’re told.

After all, we can’t have a little thing like democracy getting in the way of dear leader MOM strapping us into the car seat of the minivan of state on the way to the sunny uplands of “One Maryland,” now can’t we.


More below the fold.

Friday, February 12, 2010

O'Malley Campaign Contributor got $8.4 Million in State Contracts

According to the state campaign finance database, Pennsylvania-based Gannett-Fleming Inc.—through corporate, PAC, and individual donations from company officers—contributed over $20,000 to Martin O’Malley since 2005. In return for that investment, O’Malley has awarded Gannett Fleming with $8.4 million in state contracts over the last two years, records from the Maryland Funding, Accountability and Transparency website show.

No wonder O’Malley dragged his heels implementing the law mandating the site.

Let me remind you once again that Gannett Fleming is a financial benefactor of the Center for Climate Strategies, the global warming alarmist advocacy group to which the governor outsourced state climate policy that produced policy recommendations favorable to Gannet Fleming’s business interests.

It’s nice to know that despite all of O’Malley “tough decisions” on budget cuts, he still found room to lavishly reward a campaign contributor with taxpayer money.

For the record, Gannett Fleming gave disgraced former Baltimore Mayor, Sheila Dixon over $8,700.

Once again, it pays to be a part of the Corporate Democrats of Maryland.


More below the fold.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Celebrate the Day...

.....we bring you the musical stylings of Minnesotans for Global Warming. (H/T Instapundit)



More below the fold.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hey Maryland Democrats: Come Get Some


The apparatchiks of the Maryland Democratic Party are initiating a “Media Monitoring & Rapid Response Program

According to an internal email and Power Point file “obtained” (read handed to) by Maryland Politics Watch, the Dems built a team of volunteers throughout the state to monitor all manner of media outlets and “respond” if necessary.



The MDP [Maryland Democratic Party] Communications Staff will - in collaboration with other Democratic representatives - identify needs for a media response or will proactively amplify our message as it pertains to the “news of the day” by activating one or more of following teams:

LTE (letters to the editor) Teams
Radio Call-in and TV Monitoring and Response Teams
Online Publication Comment Posting Teams
Electronic Media and Blog response Teams

MDP Communications Staff will send relevant policy information and talking points to Regional/County Leaders – who will, in turn, relay that information to our media Teams. Team members will use the information to perform their assigned task, and report any progress and action to their County Leader who will relay that information to MDP Communications Staff.Rapid response volunteers will constantly monitor their assigned form of media.

Upon the discovery of an article, blog, online publication comment(s) or radio segment that they (the team member ) believe requires a response, will immediately send an email to their County Leader who will in turn, relay the information to MDP Communications Staff.

From that point, after consultation with all appropriate parties, the MDP Communications Staff will determine whether to gather talking points and data for a response to be generated. If a response is needed, then the process mentioned above (“From Annapolis to the ground”) will begin.


Glad to know Maryland Democrats are pouring all the corporate money they receive into playing Big Brother. I’m sure top two state lobbying firms Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver and Alexander & Cleaver are glad the $63,000 they gave will go to salving bruised Democrat sensibilities over that fact that someone dared disagree with them. We are at least sure that the Dem’s former Executive Director, Josh White (MD4Bush’s old boss) turned RLL&S lobbyist probably didn’t mind this foray into the lives of others.

While on it’s face this Democratic political police force may look like an improvement over their old bologna sandwich, note that it’s staffed by their Social Media Director, the laughable Isaac Salazar.


In his short stint, Salazar has managed to beclown himself on health care issues, slandered the Annapolis tea party protesters as racists, all the while patting himself on the back for his petulance.


While we are not proponents of the infinite monkey theorem, the Democrats would be better served this elections season by bringing in a million monkeys banging away on typewriters.


So, on behalf of all of us at Red Maryland: COME GET SOME!


More below the fold.

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