Sunday, September 29, 2013

15 Minutes for 9/29/2013

ICYMI, check out this week's episode of "15 Minutes" with our guest host, Howard County Board of Education Member Brian Meshkin.



Be sure to check out a new episode of 15 Minutes every Sunday night with a new guest host. Next week's guest host will be Marta Mossburg. And be sure to catch all of our Network by subscribing to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes


More below the fold.

MDYRs letter to the District 36 Central Committee Chairs

In my capacity as Maryland Young Republicans Chairman I sent the letter below to the Chairmen of the four Central Committees in District 36 regarding the upcoming Delegate Selection Process:


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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Charles Lollar addresses Congressional Salary Concern

As you saw earlier Charles Lollar and I spoke today on the issues surrounding his PAC. We did not get a chance to talk about the salary issue from Monday, and Charles graciously sent the following via email which I post in its entirety:

Brian 
I do understand the recent query into the salary payments made to me during my run for congress, and to some it may seem a bit questionable. However I assure you it is not.  I went on sabbatical from my corporate job to run for a post with no financial help whatsoever.  Just a commitment that my job would be there for me if I would complete this patriotic duty.  It is no wonder that we have career politicians when we have a system that allows for the maintenance of such.  My competitor was a 35 year congressman living and campaigning on the tax payers dime.  At a salary of  $185k a year plus benefits he is free to raise and save as much as he wants on the backs of tax payers like me and everyday citizens that want to change things have to either be independently wealthy or borrow large sums of money from themselves just to pay themselves back on the back end when the race concludes and very little is said when payments are made on the back end in the form of reimbursements.  I have always been honest and upfront.  I am not independently wealthy and with 4 daughters and other major expenses I knew what I was up against and what has to be done to be competitive.  In addition as a Marine Corps Officer I cannot run for public office and keep my salary but a politician can.  When are we going to start looking at this dysfunctional system for what it is and bring real change instead of attacking those that are sincere about changing the process.  If we don't do something soon and I mean real soon the average "Joe - American citizen" will be completely ripped out of the process and then what will we have?  A system that works for the career politician that can run for office and keep his post on the tax payers dime and God forbid a citizen wants to bring constitutional values and raise money by asking other citizens out of the kindness of their hearts to help support the efforts.  You know in business we ask people to invest in our companies all the time and investors simply know their investments will include labor.  Well you have my word I will ensure to be more clear in the future.  I cannot be successful without the help of every single Marylander in this fight and I truly appreciate all gifts and contributions provided.  In conclusion i did ask the Board of Elections if in fact it was legal for a campaign to provide compensation for the candidate prior to reception and found it 100% legal and above board.  I will continue working hard for every single Marylander to change our dysfunctional state and system and truly understand if there are some who refuse to assist as a result of my position.  


More below the fold.

Red Maryland Election Focus 9-28-13

Another great installment of Red Maryland's Election Focus.




On the Show:

Brian Griffiths interviews Charles Lollar candidate for Governor of Maryland







Our interview with Ron George candidate for Governor of Maryland.








Our interview with Sid Saab candidate for the House of Delegates in Anne Arundel County.



We interview Chris Fiora candidate for Carroll County Sheriff.


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My Talk with Charles Lollar

I had a nice chat with Charles Lollar this morning regarding my reporting of earlier this week. I wanted to make sure that he got a fair chance to respond. These are the key points we talked about, printed with his permission:

  • Regarding the Central Collection Unit case: the case is not related to the New Day PAC campaign finance fines, but from a MVA administrative action against him, accusing him of having expired tags and being delinquent on the registration of his third vehicle. During his most recent overseas deployment Charles re-registered his vehicle in Florida and the vehicle was not registered in Maryland during that time. The state of Maryland says that it was and is trying to take action against him to recoup the lost fees. Charles said that since the vehicle was not registered in Florida during his deployment he doesn't owe anything to Maryland on this and is continuing to fight the case.
  • In regards to the New Day PAC filings, this is also related to Charles overseas deployment. During his deployment, Charles stepped down as Chairman and a new Chairman took his place. During that period is when the violations occurred. Charles has indicated that the fines were paid by the former officers, though they are not appearing in the campaign finance database. When asked about the most recent campaign finance violation with an outstanding fine that is not paid, Charles is working with the State Board of Elections to determine why that is, noting that treasurer Sam Luxenburg is very studious about those things.
We then continued the chat (off the record) for a few more minutes.

I want to thank Charles for reaching out and allowing us to present his side of the story.


More below the fold.

Giving lip service to debate


From The Baltimore Sun

Giving lip service to debate

Balto. Co. Superintendent Dallas Dance demonstrates the principle that those in power often don't want to hear dissent when they seek public input


By Richard E. Vatz

September 27, 2013

There has been great controversy regarding the forcible removal of a Howard County parent from a Maryland State Department of Education town hall meeting a week ago after he insisted on orally asking a politically inconvenient question about the Common Core curriculum. Only written questions were allowed.

Robert Small was roughly grabbed and physically removed from the meeting and humiliated and handcuffed, although charges of assaulting an officer were later dropped by Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger. There is no evidence in the available video of the incident that Mr. Small provoked the off-duty Baltimore County police officer who was providing security at the event sufficiently to warrant such treatment.

In an uncharacteristically intemperate assessment, Mr. Shellenberger defended the arrest and initial levying of charges in view of Mr. Small's "[violation of] the rules of the meeting and [disruption of] the meeting."

Mr. Shellenberger surely cannot believe that those minor irritations justify such an undemocratic overreaction on the part of a police officer.

The Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance never mentioned Mr. Small's removal in his statement regarding the public meeting, even though the security agent acted per the request of Mr. Dance's chief of staff. Of course not. He was uninterested in disagreement and, as a Sun editorial characterized his actions, was trying "to silence Mr. Small."

Mr. Dance only wanted to have the appearance of open public discussion and the appearance of entertaining the marketplace of ideas.

I have participated in hundreds of public speaking events in my career: as featured speaker, panelist, and organizer, as well as a member of the audience.

The issues at town hall meetings, open to the public, are who controls the agenda and who controls the spin. When organizers of such a public hearing of major issues decide that members of the audience will be able to submit questions in writing only, it is to deny everyone but the moderator and/or the members of the panel an ability to determine what is discussed and what it means.

They decide what questions to allow, and there is no oversight. Submitted questions then can be ignored without dissent. Even the questions chosen do not have to be read verbatim or in their entirely. Often the appearance of tendered questions merely serves to placate citizens in opposition to the policy issues at hand.

That flaw can be mitigated if the person selecting and answering the questions is a trusted, neutral third party, but that was not the case here. Members of the audience had reason to doubt whether Mr. Dance would ask the hard questions — and those doubts were amply justified by the way things turned out.

Decades ago, the current McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College, Thomas Cronin, wrote a perspicacious article titled "Everybody Believes in Democracy Until He Gets To the White House" in a Duke University journal, Law and Contemporary Problems.

Professor Cronin argued in that piece and in lectures that whereas presidents give rhetorical cover to democracy, once they have the reins of power, they are not much interested in promoting free speech or dissent. The same tends to be true of people in lesser positions of power, as evidenced by last week's town hall.

The fact is that most people know how to employ the necessary rhetoric to provide the appearance of wanting to hear all sides of policy disputes, but many simply don't want to hear disagreement and don't want genuine public debate.

Irrespective of the quality of Mr. Small's objections, the stifling of dissent while appearing to give full airing to Common Core's set of standards was the operant motive of the sham public meeting hosted by Mr. Dance.

Richard E. Vatz teaches political persuasion at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013). His email is rvatz@towson.edu.

Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Red Maryland Radio: 9/26/13

It was another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this week:



On tonight's show:

This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


More below the fold.

Another Blow to the Sacrosanct Ranking

Nothing has been more sacrosanct to the O'Malley Administration that the alleged ranking of our state public schools as the best in the nation. In July I wrote about how the state performance on the Maryland School Assessment was an inadvertent admission that our schools were far from the best, but the recent report about state SAT performance underscores that point: 

Virginia students received their highest scores ever on the modern SAT college admission test this year, and scores also rose in the District even as national averages remained unchanged. Maryland’s scores dropped for the third straight year, according to data for the Class of 2013 released Thursday.
I'm sure that Governor O'Malley loves the fact that our neighbor to the south (who is beating us in nearly ever economic statistical category) is now also beating us in education, too.

Now, here's what the Post article has to say about the Maryland state scores:
In Maryland, SAT scores fell by four points overall, a dip equally split between math and writing. Overall SAT scores in Maryland have fallen three years in a row, this year landing at 1483. 
Maryland officials said they took heart in an increase in student participation. They cited a 2.4 percent increase in the number of African American students taking the test and an 18.25 percent jump in Hispanic students taking it. State officials have been encouraging underrepresented minorities toward higher education. 
“This has been a goal. We’re trying to get students whose parents haven’t gone to college to start thinking about post-secondary education,” said Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education.
So if you believe that response, we as Marylanders should not focus on the fact that students are seeing a decline in overall performance, but the fact that participation has increased, particularly in minority students. Don't get me wrong, increasing SAT scores is certainly not a bad thing in principle, even if does continue to feed the notion that all students should go to college regardless of their desire or ability to do so. However, there's a very damning issue that is buried in this story; With more minorities participating, is this further statistical evidence that minorities are underperforming in state schools and that MSDE officials are not doing enough to raise student achievement in all sectors of the state?

What's more troubling about the SAT score drop is it's relationship to the drop in scores on the Maryland School Assessment test that I mentioned back in July. If you remember, State Superintendent Lillian Lowery blamed the drop in test scores on the introduction of Common Core in some school districts, with Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance actually saying that the drop in test scores was a positive thing because it showed the successful implementation of the new curriculum since the test was teaching the old one. Either way, I argued at the time that this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that students were being prepped solely to take this week's test and not prepare them academically for college or the real world. The decline in student performance on the SAT certainly goes a long way in confirming that fact and showing that no, Maryland's public school are not educating students in the way that the need to be educated in order to succeed.

I'm sure that Governor O'Malley has a fancy chart that tries to explain this all away, but the bottom line is the Maryland's schools continue to fail students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers. We continue to have a school system that is not providing the education students need or the results that parents and teachers demand at a value that is easy on the taxpayer. All the while, Martin O'Malley will continue to dance around with the coveted #1 ranking that means nothing to students who are ill-prepared for the world.

This state needs to stop failing our kids. 


More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio Tonight

Join Greg and I tonight as we bring you another huge episode of Red Maryland Radio tonight at 8.

On tonight's show:
All that and more tonight. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8, only on the Red Maryland Network.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lollar's New Day PAC delinquent on Campaign Fines

Earlier this week we talked about Charles Lollar being paid a salary from this 2010 Congressional Campaign. While there was no violation of law in that instance, there are legal problems relating to Lollar's New Day Maryland PAC.

As it turns out, the New Day Maryland PAC owes approximately $1,750 in fines to the Maryland State Board of Elections for late filing of campaign finance reports covering a period from July 2011-present:



Under Maryland state law the Chairman and Treasurer of a campaign finance entity is personally responsible for the fines and violations; the fines cannot come from campaign funds and must be paid out of personal dollars.

Interestingly, § 13-332 of the Annotated Code of Maryland notes that a Candidate or Treasurer who fails to file a campaign report or pay the late filing fee is actually disqualified from eligibility to be a candidate for public office until such fees are paid. Including Governor, theoretically meaning Lollar faces disqualification from a second straight Gubernatorial election.
§ 13-332. Disqualification — Eligibility to be candidate or treasurer. An individual may not become a candidate for any public or party office in this State or become a treasurer for a campaign finance entity if, as to any campaign finance report due under § 13-304 of this subtitle from, or on behalf of, that individual during the preceding five calendar years: (1) there exists a failure to file as specified in § 13-327 of this subtitle; or (2) the individual has failed to pay a late filing fee that is due. (An. Code 1957, art. 33, § 13-403(b); 2002, ch. 291, § 4.)

What else happens if you don't file your reports and don't pay your fines? Well § 13-335 of the Annotated Code of Maryland gives us that answer:
(a) Show cause notice. — (1) If the State Board determines that there has
been, for more than 30 days, a failure to file a campaign finance report within
the meaning of § 13-327 of this subtitle, the State Board shall issue the notice
prescribed in paragraph (2) of this subsection to the responsible officers of the
campaign finance entity in violation.
(2) The notice shall demand that, within 30 days after service of the
notice, either:
(i) the failure to file be rectified and any late filing fee due be paid; or
(ii) the responsible officers show cause why the State Board should not
ask the appropriate prosecuting authority to prosecute the responsible officers
for a violation of this subtitle.
(3) In its discretion, the appropriate prosecuting authority may refer the
matter for action to the Central Collection Unit within the Department of
Budget and Management.
(b) Penalty. — A responsible officer who fails, without cause, to file the
campaign finance report and pay the late fee within 30 days after service of the
notice prescribed in subsection (a)(2) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor
and on conviction is subject to the penalties prescribed in § 13-603 of this title
Pay particular attention to subsection (a)(3) that discusses referring the matter for action to the Central Collection Unit. The Central Collection Unit (CCU) s an agency, as noted, within the Department of Management and Budget, that debts owed to the state of Maryland are referred to. The prosecuting attorney to whom a campaign finance violation has been referred to can refer  these campaign finance violations to the CCU at their discretion.

Which certainly makes this case found on the Maryland Courts Case Search site, very interesting.


So on September 11, 2013, a judgment against Charles Lollar was rendered in the Charles County District Court in favor of the CCU, awarding a total of $1643.24 cents.

Nothing specifically connects the New Day Maryland PAC fines to the Central Collection Unit case against Lollar, but the evidence can easily lead one to the conclusion that the two stories are related.

On Monday afternoon (before I posted Monday's story) I asked Lollar Campaign Manager Karen Winterling for a comment both on the salary Lollar was paid during the 2010 Congressional Campaign and the Central Collection Unit case. To date, Winterling has not responded.

Lots of folks in the Lollar camp are righteously indignant that Red Maryland is reporting on Lollar and the things that he has done, though it would seem they should be bothering their candidate for answers instead of us for just talking about facts. We will continue to vet our candidates to ensure that we have a Republican nominee who is worth of carrying the torch of our party.


More below the fold.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Broadside 9-22-13.


Last night on The Broadside,

Howard County Board of Education member Brian Meshkin joined us to talk about the arrest of Robert Small, the parent who was arrested for questioning Maryland school officials about Common Core.

U.S. News ad World Report Columnist Peter Roff joined us to talk about how Wisconsin unions are trying to strike back at Governor Scott Walker, and how the federal budget showdown in Washington will play out.

The Broadside, along with all Red Maryland Network programming is available on Itunes.







More below the fold.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The $65,000 Question

Not to make it seem like I'm picking on Charles Lollar and his campaign, but a review of his Federal Election Commission filings reveal and interesting series of payments made to Lollar from his campaign account.

In all, the filings report that Lollar received $65,000 in disbursements from his 2010 Congressional campaign account. All of the forms are easily viewable. Just click here and conduct a search for Lollar and you will be able to view the same reports that this data was culled from.



Of most interesting note on the above spreadsheet are the following, which imply that Lollar was being paid a salary by the Lollar for Congress Committee:
  • July 14, 2010: $500
  • July 20, 2010: $1,000
  • August 2, 2010: $500
  • August 11, 2010: $2,000
  • September 13, 2010: $8,000
  • October 4, 2010: $11,000
  • November 2, 2010: $12,000
  • December 1, 2010: $12,000
This means that according to FEC records Charles Lollar received $47,000 in what was labeled as salary from his Congressional campaign account during the months before and immediately after his 2010 Congressional campaign.

It's important to note that what Lollar did in receiving a salary to run for Congress is by no means illegal, and has been done a number of times over the years, by such candidates including Alan Keyes and Joe the Plumber.  While the practice of paying one's self a salary to run for office illegal, it is certainly frowned upon and was not necessarily the intent of those donors who were contributing to Lollar's run against Hoyer.

As a fiscal conservative first and foremost, the idea that one of our candidates for Governor would pay themselves a salary in order to run for office is off-putting. It's bad enough that we consider incumbents who have served a long time in office as "professional politicians", but receiving a salary to run for office means that you're receiving a salary not just for being a public servant, but merely in attempting to become a public servant. That means literally being a professional politician, receiving a salary like running for office is your job. And it gives me great pause about the future viability of such a candidate who has undertaken such a course of action...

I reached out to Lollar campaign manger Karen Winterling for comment but have not received a response. I will be delighted to provide a response when one is available.


More below the fold.

Taxes and Regulation will limit Maryland's Wallops Island boom

I've written about space policy and how it relates to Maryland before, but today's Baltimore Sun ran an editorial about Maryland's opportunity for another piece of the pie. The editorial writers have capitalized on the recent satellite launch from the Wallops' Island facility on Virginia's eastern shore, and note the following:

That distinct possibility represents an economic coup not just for Virginia but for Maryland as well. A stone's throw from Chincoteague and Assateague islands, Wallops has long been closely linked to Maryland's Eastern Shore, drawing workers from nearby Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties. The benefit to the region is significant — more than 1,600 jobs and nearly $400 million in economic impact, according to a 2011 Salisbury University study.
Such jobs are a prize worth pursuing. From entry-level technician to lead scientist, they are held by highly paid, highly skilled and highly educated individuals. Should Cygnus succeed and land a long-term NASA contract, the sky may literally be the only limit. The Wallops spaceport could support many more such public-private partnerships in space exploration and science.
The Sun editorial isn't particularly wrong in that context. Salisbury is a mere 40 miles from the Wallops Island facility, and the Maryland side of the Shore boasts two four-year universities, a transportation hub for railroad, air, and road, as well as Ocean City. However, the Sun's ability to determine how best to attract jobs and workers to the Maryland side of the border is....curious:
Is Maryland doing everything possible to support this venture? Certainly, its elected officials have been helpful, particularly U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who has long championed NASA generally and Wallops and other local facilities specifically. But Maryland and the Shore counties must also take steps to attract aerospace professionals and their families by investing in the kinds of lifestyle amenities they seek — good roads and transportation, safe and attractive communities with public assets like museums and parks, quality health care and child care and first-class public schools, colleges and universities.
The assumption of the Sun editorial staff is that workers and businesses are going to be most attracted by "amenities" and "public assets." They go on, derisively, to say this:
Rock-bottom tax rates? Lax environmental laws? "Anything goes" development policies? Not usually high on the list for highly-educated white collar professionals or their ilk.
Of course that fact is an inconvenient truth and just a flat out false statement on the heels of the attention that Governor Rick Perry's pursuit of Maryland jobs and businesses. As we have long noted here, Maryland faces some of the highest marginal tax rates, is second in income tax revenue as a percentage of government funding, and is near the bottom in tax friendliness, has ever increasing energy rates, terrible roads despite higher gas taxes, schools that don't perform up to their vaunted #1 ranking. Even worse for the Sun's hypothesis is that in the Wallops Island region Maryland will be in direct competition with Virginia, which as Change Maryland notes took nearly 11,500 residents and $390 million in tax revenue from Maryland from 2007-2010 without competing directly against one another as in this instance.
If you had a choice between low taxes and low regulation, and high taxes and high regulation, where would you move your family or business?
I think we all agree that Maryland should do what we can to woo businesses and workers to the Maryland side of the Eastern Shore. But to think that the current menu of taxes, fees, and regulations are going to our side of the border more attractive to these folks is to be in serious need of the a reality check. Until we enact policies that will ease the regulatory climate, lower taxes on businesses and individuals, and enact actual solutions to fix education that don't involve just throwing money at the problem, we will always be behind the 8-ball when competing against Virginia. And no amount of state spending, university presence, or "amenities" is going to change that until we address the root cause of this tax and regulatory environment...


More below the fold.

Tonight The Broadside, Tonight 8pm



Tonight we talk about the arrest of  Robert Small, a Howard County parent, who dared to question Maryland school officials about Common Core.  

Howard County Board of Education member, Brian Meshkin joins us to talk about the incident and the issues surrounding Common Core. 

Tune in here tonight at 8pm on The Red Maryland Network.

We'll be taking your calls at 760-259-2711.



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Sunday, September 22, 2013

15 Minutes for 9/22/2013

ICYMI, check out this week's episode of "15 Minutes" with our guest host, West Virginia Young Republicans Chairman Rob Cornelius.




Be sure to check out a new episode of 15 Minutes every Sunday night with a new guest host. Next week's guest host will be Howard County Board of Education Member Brian Meshkin. And be sure to catch all of our Network by subscribing to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes


More below the fold.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Parent Arrested for Questioning Common Core



According to video first reported by Anne Miller of Examiner.com and a report in the Baltimore Sun, Robert Small, a parent from Ellicott City, was forcibly removed from, then arrested after a public forum at Ridge Ruxton School in Towson.  




The forum was organized by the Maryland State Department of Education on its implementation of the controversial Common Core standards.

Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance and Maryland's state Superintendent Lillian Lowrey ran the forum.

Small began interrupting Dance, asking pointed questions about Common Core.  According to the Sun, the format of the forum prohibited the public from asking questions during the event, all questions were submitted to Dance and Lowrey prior to the presentation.

Small said, "I find out know my kids are being prepared for community college, you talk about colleges but you're not talking about which colleges, you're not preparing them for Harvard."  Small went on, "How is lowering America's educational standards to prepare kids for community college because that's what it's all about."

As small was preparing to make his point an off duty Baltimore County police officer acting as a security guard approached Small loudly saying "Let's Go, Let's Go."  According to the Sun, the officer acted on the order of Dance's chief of staff, Michelle Prumo.

As the officer led Small away from his seat, he said to the parents in attendance "Don't stand for this, you're sitting here like cattle, you have questions confront them, they don't want to do it in public." It was at that point the officer forcibly yanked him by the arm.  Small said "Is this America, this is not a CNN political debate, you're managing and filtering the questions."  At that point the officer had pushed Small to the back of the auditorium and pulled out handcuffs.

As Small was led away you can hear member of the audience say "You're asking softball questions."
Small was handcuffed outside the school then taken to a Towson police station for detainment. Small was charged with second degree assault of a police officer, and disruption of a school event, both of which carry $2,500 fines, and the possibility of jail time.

In addition to questions about lowering educational standards, Common Core also raises serious student privacy concerns.  As part of accepting federal Race to the Top funds, Maryland had to implement Common Core and strengthen and enlarge the scope of its statewide longitudinal student database it created when it accepted federal stimulus funds in 2009.

The Maryland Longitudinal Data System is a massive student tracking database that makes student level data available to “parents, students, teachers, local education authorities, community members, unions, researchers, and policy makers.”

The database collects information on students beyond their academic life into their work careers.  Combined with regulatory changes at the federal level, the U.S. Dept. of Education can now share that information--without parental consent--to any entity it deems an authorized representative.

The federal government is prohibited from creating a national student database. Through Common Core and Race to the Top, however, they've coerced the states to do it for them.

In June, Lowrey dismissed privacy concerns about Common Core, saying " I just don’t know where this is coming from. The Common Core curriculum is just replacing what we have. The student data bases that we have, are the student data bases that we’ve always had. Parents have to understand that we've always had this data, because we have to make decisions. We have firewalls over firewalls. We're very meticulous about the confidentiality of our students."

However, a February legislative audit of the Maryland State Department o Education found inadequate controls over securing critical firewalls and monitoring network traffic.

Small was not the only one at the meeting who felt school officials were avoiding tough questions about Common Core.  Ann Miller, who recorded the incident, also reported that Dance had screened, omitted and edited questions submitted by parents.

Instead, Dr. Dance added insult to injury by screening, omitting, and editing parents’ questions. 
Questions from the audience of about 160 people, which consisted of parents, PTA members, teachers, and school administrators, were submitted on cards prior to and during the 1-1/2 hour meeting for the Q&A period which lasted about 40 minutes. 
Dr. Dance chose which questions to read or omit, opting for teacher and school administrator or softball questions. But he also altered the wording of the questions themselves. 
My submitted question:“What is the process for parents to review what data has been or will be collected on our kids, where it is stored, how it will be used, and with whom it has or will be shared? What are parents options for opting out of data collection on our kids?” 
What Dr. Dance read:“As a parent, I’ve heard a lot of information aroIund the state Longitudinal Data system. What is the process to review what data is being collected on students, where is it stored, how will it be used, with whom will it be shared?”After the question was answered, I called out, “Can parents opt out?”, but was ignored. 
My submitted question:“Although Common Core was adopted by MDE three years ago, in exchange for a quarter Billion dollar federal incentive grant through Race To The Top which is conditioned upon adherence to Common Core, parents weren’t informed until after its implementation. The MDE has not valued nor requested parental input. Instead, there was no transparency or even the courtesy of notifying parents much less consulting them. No wonder parents are up in arms. You’ve awakening the Mama Bear. Why haven’t parents across the state heard of Common Core until the month of its implementation?” 
What Dr. Dance read:“As a parent, I was a little disappointed that I’m just starting to hear so much information around the Common Core state standard. I want to be informed as most parents across our state. As a parent, how can I learn more information around Common Core?”


Small told the Sun in an interview that he felt that school officials were not allowing the public to express their views about Common Core. "I'm being manhandled and shut down because I asked inconvenient questions. Why won't  they allow an open forum where there can be a debate? We are told to sit there and be lectured to about how great Common Core is."


More below the fold.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Red Maryland Radio: 9/19/2013

It was another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this week:



On tonight's show we talked about a number of things:
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


More below the fold.

Democratic Delegate Candidate Proposes to Ban Guns Already Banned


Maryland Reporter has the story on Democratic House of Delegates candidate, Jordan Cooper’s proposal to make Maryland’s gun laws even more stringent than the new law set to take effect October 1.

Jordan Cooper
Cooper, who holds a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, wants a total ban on all assault rifles and “biennial renewal of gun licenses, and government confiscation of guns not properly licensed or renewed.”

Here is the text of his legislative proposal:

WHEREAS firearms have taken the lives of far too many Americans; and,
WHEREAS firearms have increasingly been used in the perpetration of national tragedies; and,
WHEREAS current firearm regulations have proven insufficient at thwarting public massacres; and,
WHEREAS encouraging responsibility and accountability among gun owners is in the interests of all Marylanders; and,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
1.     THAT all assault rifles, without exceptions for those firearms grandfathered in recent legislation, be outlawed in Maryland.
2.     THAT to provide for responsible gun ownership in Maryland, all firearms will be registered in a statewide database and that all firearm registrations will be regularly renewed on a biannual (24 months) basis.
3.     THAT all firearms lacking registration with the state or having expired registrations be surrendered to the State and that the State proactively seek to retrieve and confiscate all firearms with expired registrations exceeding six months.
4.     THAT every firearm recovered from the scene of a crime or discovered to be in the possession of a convicted felon is cross-listed with this firearms registry database.
5.     THAT to penalize straw purchasing of firearms, the owner of every firearm used in a homicide or robbery be penalized in accordance with the determination of the Secretary for the crime regardless of their (non)-involvement in the crime.

Note Cooper’s use of the word “assault rifle.”  That term has a very specific meaning in U.S. law and military nomenclature. In a 1994 article in the Journal of Contemporary Law, David Kopel cited the Pentagon definition of “assault rifle.”

As the United States Defense Department's Defense Intelligence Agency book Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide explains, "assault rifles" are "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges."[21] In other words, assault rifles are battlefield rifles which can fire automatically.[22]
Weapons capable of fully automatic fire, including assault rifles, have been regulated heavily in the United States since the National Firearms Act of 1934.[23] Taking possession of such weapons requires paying a $200 federal transfer tax and submitting to an FBI background check, including ten-print fingerprints.[24]


Cooper is proposing to ban guns that have already been banned since 1934.  This disingenuous use of language by gun grabbers is not new, they use deliberate imprecision to perpetuate useful myths in pursuit of their policy wishes. Hence the wholly invented term "assault weapon."  Gun grabbers like Cooper use both words interchangeably to make semi-automatic (one trigger pull-one shot) weapons like the AR-15 appear to be no different than a fully automatic AK-47. 



More below the fold.

Fact Checking Martin O'Malley


When Governor O’Malley takes to the airwaves or the oped pages he relies on two distinct rhetorical crutches: a straw man opponent to knock down, and his outright torture of data and statistics to make them wholly at odds with reality.

O’Malley’s response, in the Washington Post, to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s ad blitz knocking his record and Maryland’s dismal business climate is no different.

O’Malley is, as William F. Buckley Jr. would say, a pyromaniac in a field of straw men.  Those straw men are stuffed with twisted facts and outright lies. 

As with most of O’Malley’s statements there is a yawning gap between his words and the truth.

Budget

This is a lie O’Malley has told since 2011.  It was a lie then, and no matter how much those phantom spending cuts grow each year, it is still a lie.

State spending data from the non-partisan Maryland Department of Legislative Services shows that the state budget for the current fiscal year is $36.9 billion. O’Malley’s first budget totaled $28.7 billion.  That is a 30 percent spending increase of $8.2 billion in real dollars.




Taxes
“The conservative Tax Foundation ranks Maryland as having the eighth-lowest tax burden on mature firms, while Texas ranks 12th.”

The Tax Foundation has already rebuked O’Malley for cherry picking its data to create this false talking point.  Of Maryland’s overall business tax climate the foundation says:

Maryland is somewhere in the middle of the pack for sales taxes, and somewhere near the top for mature businesses and bottom for new business.  But for overall tax structure, Maryland is near the bottom: an unfriendly 42nd out of the 50 states.

In fact, Governor O’Malley has increased taxes and fees more than 40 times removing $9.5 billion from the state economy according to the grassroots group Change Maryland.


Thanks to Governor O’Malley’s several income tax hikes, Maryland businesses face the 7th highest marginal income tax rates in the nation.






Education
Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation,” By investing in our schools, which Education week has ranked No. 1 in the nation since 2007.” 

O’Malley’s source is a report from the left leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, which relied on flawed data supplied by the states. The Huffington Post said “undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results, making cross-state comparisons inaccurate and volatile.”  Last year the U.S. Department of Education released new graduation figures, in which the states used common rigorous data, allowing for true state-by-state comparisons.  That data shows Texas outranks Maryland in graduation rates.  Texas ranks 3rd in the nation with an 86 percent graduation rate, and Maryland 5th with an 83 percent graduation rate.



Furthermore, the same Education Week Report that ranks Maryland No. 1, also shows Maryland schools are failing their most vulnerable students. Maryland ranks 50th in the poverty gap for 8th grade math and 38th for 4th grade reading poverty gap. 



And the students Maryland does graduate from high school, a large percentage of them need remedial courses when they get to college.  According to this report from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, 61 percent of core community college students (those who took a college preparatory track in high school) needed remedial math instruction. Fifteen percent of core students attending a Maryland four-year institution needed remedial math instruction.

The education reform group Student’s First ranked Maryland schools 17th in the nation and they received a grade of D in areas of elevating teaching, empowering parents and spending wisely and governing well.



What the Education Week rankings really say is that Maryland schools aren’t so great at student achievement, but are tops spending money, which, from O’Malley’s budget record, we know he excels at as well.


Healthcare
“Texas ranks 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.” 

This is a misleading claim because California actually has the highest number of uninsured under age 65 uninsured in the nation, according to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

To paraphrase Buckley again, don’t insult Martin O’Malley’s intelligence by suggesting he believes what he says.



More below the fold.

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