It’s almost becoming a running joke now.
Larry Hogan can crow as he wishes about raising $450,000 in the initial months of his campaign (although a significant portion was his own money, as I’ll document later this week) and make hay about being on both TV and radio in most parts of the state, but the reputation he’s building as a guy who avoids debates and tough questions is getting harder to shake.
Let’s begin with the television ads. As I speculated when I first wrote about it, it was indeed a cable buy, but now it’s spread across most of the state:
Two days after his campaign reported raising more than $450,000 in its first filing period, gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan significantly expanded his TV and radio advertising campaign. His first 30-second ad entitled “Dedicated” which began running in 11 Maryland counties on April 3 is now airing on cable networks in a total of 19 counties.
The presser mentions radio, and I can vouch that the Hogan campaign is on our local talk station since I heard the ad Thursday. It’s a fairly good spot, but using the live audience feed on what Larry had to say in his stump speech was a little distracting because of the applause lines used. He also mentioned last Saturday when I spoke to him before our Lincoln Day Dinner that he had done another interview that day with WGMD-FM out of Georgetown, Delaware – a station popular in the Ocean City/Ocean Pines area. This is one area Hogan has used to advantage – one-on-one interviews where he can take his time to answer questions and steer the conversation back to his main campaign topics. When the questions depart from those areas, in at least one well-known instance Hogan’s called them “crazy.”
In the release, Hogan is quoted as saying:
Through our one-on-one meetings with voters in their homes, places of work and communities and now with statewide advertising, Boyd and I are bringing our message of fiscal restraint and common sense reform to Marylanders who simply can’t afford another four years of single party rule and incompetence by Annapolis elites.
Yet that message can’t seem to stand the scrutiny of direct questioning with other candidates present. On May 9 the Maryland Public Policy Institute is hosting a GOP gubernatorial debate and just three of the four candidates are participating. I’ll give you three guesses as to who declined, first two don’t count. You would think Larry can change pre-scheduled events with a month’s advance notice when he had a late change to his official announcement due to a predicted snowstorm (which indeed occurred.) So the excuse that “we have a lot of scheduling conflicts” won’t wash if he misses the May 31 debate scheduled for here in Salisbury.
Another candidate who developed the reputation of missing events early in the campaign has cleaned up his act to a large extent, and the party he’s promoting at the upcoming state convention in Bethesda promises to be a tightly-packed gathering if the guest list is accurate. Emceed by WMAL radio’s Larry O’Connor, the sponsor list includes “Ben Carson, Jr, Jimmy Kemp, Henry Marraffa, Richard Rothschild, Armstrong Williams and many others.” Most readers know who Ben Carson, Sr. is but this event features his son. Similarly, Jimmy Kemp is the son of onetime GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Jack Kemp (1996) and, like his dad, a former pro football quarterback. Marraffa and Rothschild are local elected officials, but Armstrong Williams is best known as a syndicated columnist. So it’s an eclectic group of conservatives who will be featured at Lollar’s soiree, and perhaps Lollar will get a Carson endorsement after all.
As I have done from time to time on Christmas Day (in years I just didn’t leave the site dark) I’ve also decided to take a break from politics on Easter and present to you something much more important and lasting.
After all, He is risen! Back to those matters political tomorrow.
I didn’t know it at the time, but perhaps slating this review for Easter weekend was most appropriate for the March release from Christina Rubino called “(A)live from the Scrapheap.” A decade ago, Rubino was an up-and-coming player in the New York music scene, working on several projects and eventually finding her way into an all-female Depeche Mode cover band called Violator.
But after a few years of touring and ongoing substance abuse, Rubino backed away from the scene five years ago, and the healing process continues with this barebones, mainly acoustic production.
Listening to the first two songs, The Gateway and Pending the Lost Soul, one may think the album will go off in a folk/bluegrass direction, one which is rather upbeat. But that hopeful feeling disappears and the scars become visible in the next track, Nothing to Gain.
On that track and on the next one, Little Bee in D, Rubino ponders her fall, lamenting at the end of Little Bee that “everything turned gray.” The bleak, relatively stark feeling of emptiness expressed by the album’s cover seems to fit these middle tracks. But if not for these setbacks and tribulations, Rubino sings in Tidal, “I’d have nothing to sing about.”
Redemption begins on track 6, Aria Divina, where she pleads, “God show me where I’m going, and who I should be. Please light the path I’m walking, and help me walk humbly.” It’s not the smoothest path, as Seems and Waiting To Break testify – in the latter, Christina wails, “every time I flip a coin it lands on tails.” But the next two tracks, Stix n’ Stones and Breakout, return to more complex and upbeat instrumentation. Even the finale, Billy’s Song, while it talks about loss, does so in a hopeful way.
Generally recorded with only two or three instruments, “(A)live from the Scrapheap” takes advantage of her collaboration with producer Jerry Farley (who also plays on the album), guitarist Matt Brown, and backing vocals from longtime friend Francine Bianco, who previously teamed with Rubino as a folk duo called Ruby and White.
Yet in this case the music is simply a backdrop, a vehicle for catharsis. While the 11 tracks run a little bit over 44 minutes, they’re the result of what may have been a lost half-decade or so in Rubino’s life. If there’s one thing I took away from listening to this album, it’s that she’s a survivor. Granted, that’s not the most unique of instances, as thousands upon thousands of artists and musicians over the decades have struggled with inner demons for which they found release via addiction to various substances, and many of them didn’t make it back. Christina cites Janis Joplin as her original inspiration, and Joplin was one of those tragedies who died at a very young age.
Rubino, however, is on the road back and the message of redemption is a good one to remember on this weekend.
As I alluded to before, Rubino has toured in the past with various bands but most recently has stuck close by her New York base. It’s not to say she may not try and back her album if it does well – I could easily see her taking the show on the road as she writes additional material. She may not look the part of a vulnerable musician given her tattoos and overall appearance, but she sure sings it.
I’ll cheerfully admit that her style of music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was obvious to me that Rubino has poured her heart and soul into this one, perhaps more so than most. As I always say, listen for yourself and see if you agree.
The law of unintended consequences strikes again.
It took over a month for this to come to my attention, since the original Bay Journal article by Tom Horton came out on March 6 and movement may have occurred since. Be that as it may, the article seems to want to heap blame on the county as much as the state – problem is the county is now following rules dictated by Annapolis, in essence losing its identity.
Here are the issues, as laid out by Horton:
(Farm owner Ted Wycall’s) plan was to increase sales and production to boost his income – “about what a (Wicomico) county teacher makes,” enough to live on, but not to retire, or pay the latest $8,000 tractor repair. He would have moved his 54-foot-square market onto 60 acres that link his farm to a busy road, where more customers would stop.
But highway officials said he’d have to spend $50,000 for a “deceleration lane” for his roadside market, never mind that nearby crossroads don’t have any.
He could avoid that by running an access drive off a side road; but the impervious surface of that driveway, plus that of his market building, would entail stormwater pollution expenditures of more than $20,000, plus weekly paperwork he has no time for.
He’d actually be removing more impervious surface (old farm buildings) than he’d create; but because those buildings predate stormwater regulations, he’d get no credit for that, the Maryland Department of the Environment confirmed.
A state-of-the-art septic tank to handle wastes would be $15,000 or more. They can be built for much less, but regulations require such systems be certified. This has winnowed the field to a few outfits that provide only top-of-the-line units.
Ted’s requests to substitute a waterless, composting toilet, used extensively by groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and National Park Service, were rejected by the county.
So was his argument that new greenhouses he needs to expand on his current farm be exempted from stormwater rules: “You are a developer,” said a dismissive e-mail from a county official.
By my count that is two state agencies and probably two different areas of county government involved.
While I’ve never patronized Wycall’s roadside stand, I have often wondered how it stays in business because I notice when I drive by it there aren’t many customers. (Coming from the south I often cut through “the forest” from Pocomoke, so I eventually drive by the farm’s Nutters Cross Road location. Problem is not many others drive there, aside from local traffic.) I gather his idea was to build a new facility to front on Snow Hill Road, which is Maryland Route 12. Because it would be new, it is supposed to comply with all these rules surely Wycall supported upon enactment. This educated guess comes from knowing the nature of his business and taking the liberty of looking up his voter registration – let’s just say I wasn’t surprised about the party affiliation. Bear in mind as well that Wicomico doesn’t yet have the “rain tax” which would likely hit Wycall hard just as he completed his upgrades because we’re probably at the front of the line for its expansion.
Yet the Greenbranch Organic Farm situation is not drastically different than that of any other business owner who wants to expand – it only attracted Horton’s attention because this was a more “noble” calling than that of the average poultry producer a mile or two away. (In fact, it was groups with that same mindset who tried to bankrupt a local poultry farmer just a few miles from Wycall for making a simple error in sludge storage where the state fined him a modest amount.) If that other farmer wanted to expand his chicken operation, the same regulations would apply but Horton might not mind so much then.
In an era of 20 to 30 years ago, the county would have made Wycall’s life easier. The light traffic count of his expanded operation would be handled by attentive driving and perhaps a slightly wider shoulder on the highway, a run-of-the-mill septic tank would have been just fine, and no worries about impervious surface because chances are a gravel parking lot would have been perfectly acceptable. (It probably still would be except for the handicapped spaces federal law now dictates.) Since then, in its effort at assuming complete control over our lives justified as one of “saving the Bay,” businesses now have to pony up the extra cash and effort to do all which was asked of Wycall and much more. It’s intriguing that the Wycalls are considering packing up and moving to Montana, where “there are almost no rules.” In terms of being friendly to business, it can’t be much more clear than that.
Yet the denizens of Radical Green who read this will only shrug their shoulders and blame the county for being a bunch of redneck hicks who bend over backwards for Big Poultry but won’t give this heroic little guy and his acorn-rooting pigs a break, this before advocating to expand some of these regulations to other waterways like Lake Erie.
I’m sorry that the Wycalls are facing such difficulty with their situation – if they want to run an organic farm and charge people premium prices for the privilege, well, there’s one born every minute. But sometimes it really is true that you reap what you sow.
The excitement level isn’t quite the same as it was two years ago, but last night’s start for Hunter Harvey proved he could draw a lot of the same interest Dylan Bundy did in his meteoric 2012 rise. The duel against Hagerstown’s Lucas Giolito drew regional attention as a battle of hot prospects and it didn’t fail to live up to its billing.
No, there’s very little chance Harvey will follow the Delmarva-to-Baltimore in one season trail blazed by Bundy, but so far this season last year’s first-rounder (22nd overall) has given people a reason to compare this 19-year-old with the 2012 phenom. In three starts, Harvey garnered his first professional win in Asheville and pitched 17 innings, allowing but 8 hits and 2 runs. He’s 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA and based on his 18/4 K/BB ratio has a microscopic 0.71 WHIP. No, that’s not quite the same as Dylan but still really, really good.
And Hunter seems to shine when the spotlight is on, matching Giolito goose egg for goose egg last night as the Shorebirds eventually won the scheduled opener to the doubleheader 1-0 in 15 innings. (Game 2 was scrubbed for a later date.) Hunter allowed just one hit in six innings, striking out seven and walking one, although he also hit two batters. This continues a pattern of success Harvey established last season in splitting time between the Gulf Coast League and Aberdeen. In 25 1/3 combined innings among eight starts, Hunter allowed 21 hits while striking out 33 and walking just 6, for an ERA of 1.78 between the two stops.
So the ceiling on this kid is pretty high, and I’d say the odds are very good that an appearance in the SAL All-Star Game could be the end of Hunter’s Delmarva career. Barring a setback, it seems like Harvey will need more of a challenge than South Atlantic League hitters – many of whom are three to four years older and more experienced – are putting up at the moment.
As a follow-up to a story I wrote about a few weeks back, the leadership of the Wicomico County Education Association is accusing opponents of an upcoming vote to disassociate the union from the Maryland State Education Association of entering the WCEA headquarters, changing the locks, and taking over operations. WCEA president Kelly Stephenson announced the following on their website and Facebook page:
On April 15, 2014, Gary Hammer et al., entered the WCEA offices, changed the locks and codes, removed or altered office equipment and purported to illegally fire the Association’s only employee. These actions were not taken in accordance with the governing documents of WCEA or in accordance with the law.
The democratically elected leadership of WCEA would like everyone to know that we are continuing to exercise the duties of the office. We will not be bullied and these actions will not affect the business affairs of the Association. Member services, including member representation and contract negotiations with the Wicomico County Board of Education, will continue unchanged. Further, this attempt to subvert the democratic process will not succeed: on April 28th and 29th, the Association’s vote on Bylaws changes will proceed, and members will be able to decide for themselves whether to become self-governing.
There’s little doubt that the vote will be acrimonious, with the local union putting out flyers and messages like the ones below.
Opponents of the change – or at least of the current leadership – began a petition drive to recall those leaders, with the office entry being the result of what they claim was a successful recall with over 700 members signing their petition and simultaneously selecting an interim slate of directors. I don’t doubt this rump directorate is comprised of those who favor remaining in the MSEA and decided this lockout was the way to go.
The obvious question becomes whether this “palace coup,” if you will, is valid. This amended version of the WCEA bylaws (with the changes slated to be voted on later this month) suggests the answer is no. But as I see it this episode demonstrates the lengths the state union would go to in order to keep its county-level affiliate in the fold. And even if the membership is allowed to vote and decides to maintain its ties to the MSEA, how many people will lose trust in the union’s leadership as a result and drop out of the union?
In doing the research for this piece, I noticed the accusation about my “right wing blog” support. Naturally there is a political aspect, but I find it interesting that one of the small handful of Republicans the MSEA endorsed around the state was from here in Wicomico County: they backed Christopher Adams for one District 37B seat over a Democrat. But I don’t have a dog in this fight, aside from the notion that it’s an interesting story based on the aspect of localizing government, which is a conservative point of view and fits right in with a rather conservative county mindset. Our child doesn’t attend a public school.
Interesting times lie ahead for the public school teachers of Wicomico County. For the first time in a long time, it appears the state union is actually taking Wicomico County seriously.
I was perusing a LOT of e-mail today because I had a short night and long day, and among the items I found was from this Rasmussen survey:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey conducted over the past weekend finds that 75% of American Adults have filed their income taxes, while another 13% expect to do so by today’s deadline. Five percent (5%) plan to get an extension.
Since I did the taxes for both Kim and I over the weekend, I think I qualified in that 75 percent category. (Surprisingly, I didn’t get screwed but probably screwed myself by giving an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam.) But what I can’t figure out is the 8 percent who are unaccounted for – are those the people who pay estimated tax? Or, were these the people who don’t earn enough to have to file? Way back when I was in college I had that situation, only filing because I wanted the money from my backup withholding back. It may have only been $50 or $100, but it was my money. Otherwise, if 8 out of 100 aren’t filing, that seems like a whole lot of civil disobedience.
Yet while April 15 is the day of infamy when we pay our tribute to the Internal Revenue Service, the real day we’re relieved from this annual burden falls on April 28. That’s the day those of us working in the Free State since January 1 finally pay our debt to the federal and state governments, according to the Tax Foundation. (Those of you reading across the line in Delaware are relieved a little earlier, this Friday the 18th as a matter of fact. Go out and tip a 16 Mile or Dogfish Head to celebrate.) Meanwhile, the state where Anthony Brown was endorsed to lead doesn’t have Tax Freedom until May 9, so he would feel right at home there in Connecticut.
Naturally, the whole idea of filing a return is one of aligning what the government thinks you should owe (and takes out of your paycheck) with the actual amount due after all the calculations are done. They don’t really mind sending your money back – or adding a little extra to that amount if you qualify for the earned income credit – but heaven help you if you owe them more than a few hundred dollars. They’ll have the audacity to penalize you even more money then! Unfortunately, that doesn’t work both ways, but most people believe they’ve pulled one over on the feds if they get a few thousand dollars back. $5,000 looks great as a lump sum, but if people were smart they’d work it in such a way they get the extra $100 a week. (That’s not always possible, though – again, the government sets the withholding rules and I’m sure they’re not doing it for us to accrue a benefit.)
Many of us live our lives in order to avoid paying taxes one way or another. But wouldn’t be easier if the nation did what several states have already done and decided to live without an income tax? I think the FairTax is a pretty good idea myself and talk about it always peaks this time of year. While nothing can be done about until 2017, why not lay the groundwork for doing something more than talk?
It’s unfortunate the press conference wasn’t a couple weeks earlier, because the announcement had all the makings of a great April Fool’s joke. Unfortunately, the joke has been on Maryland taxpayers so earlier today Congressional candidate Dan Bongino and gubernatorial candidates David Craig and Ron George made their endorsement of Anthony Brown for governor of the Nutmeg State, Connecticut.
Having it on April Fool’s Day may have helped with media coverage, though. The main rags of the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post didn’t give the rally any coverage aside (at least not yet) with the only mention a three-day old piece in the Sun.
Be that as it may, I get the point that the tongues were firmly in cheek this morning. Then again, people like me only represent maybe one percent of the electorate and aside from perhaps a slight thought about the monetary aspect of the money blown on the initial iteration of the Maryland Health Connection website, those who have maintained their health insurance throughout may just shrug their shoulders. We’re all used to government boondoggles. The joke may be lost on them.
In an effort to make news out of this, Ron George put out a release noting “Ron George joins Dan Bongino to Endorse Brown/Ulman for Connecticut.” The first paragraph packs most of the punch:
When Obamacare was rammed through a partisan Democratic Congress, no one was happier than Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. He leapt at the opportunity to get out from behind his boss’ shadow and prove why he was the most capable candidate for the next Governor of Maryland. Two years and $260 million taxpayer dollars later, Anthony Brown is dodging any and all responsibility for the failed Maryland Health Exchange and is part of an administration that is actively covering up this massive scandal. Anthony Brown’s solution to the mess he created is simply to spend hundreds of millions more in taxpayer dollars to adopt the “Connecticut” model of government-run health insurance.
Naturally, Ron didn’t mention David Craig, who was also there – as shown on his Facebook page.
Honestly, I’m not sure this is more than a blip on the radar. But as time goes on, the question which really should be asked is whether the Connecticut system, which was designed for a state roughly half Maryland’s size, will fit out of the box. More importantly, where will the extra millions needed to make this work come from? We’re already a long way in the hole just to buy the original pig in the poke, so what will give? Will it be insurance rates, reimbursements to providers, or the old standby of sticking it to future generations by raiding other funds and bonding to backfill the hole?
It’s almost too bad Doug Gansler didn’t stop by to make it a bipartisan backing of Brown for governor of Connecticut. Instead, he’s choosing to spend a little money on a simple website which asks the question “did Anthony Brown come clean today?’ (It’s also handy for gathering contact information via the attached “petition.”)
If we really wanted to improve the prospects for those who rely on health insurance coverage in Maryland, how about talking about measures which could open the market up more? After all, Barack Obama allowed some to keep their “substandard” plan that they liked, so what are the standards now? Make everything available, from bare-bones catastrophic coverage on the one side to something that pays for two hangnails a month among the other elements of a “Cadillac plan” on the other, and the market will find its level. I’ll bet it doesn’t waste millions of our tax dollars, either.
Update: Added David Craig:
Today’s announcement was an opportunity to highlight the failed policies of the last seven years and Anthony Brown’s inability to successfully lead Maryland’s healthcare exchange.
Jeannie and I believe the best solution to this disaster is for Anthony Brown to resign like Kathleen Sebelius, the former HHS Secretary.
It wouldn’t be a Wicomico County Lincoln Day Dinner without the guest of honor, now would it?
But it was that and much more as about 100 people enjoyed the festivities last night in Salisbury. I was a little disappointed in the attendance, but those who missed the affair missed some stirring words from both our four featured speakers – the GOP gubernatorial candidates – save Jeannie Haddaway pinch-hitting for David Craig, who was in Frederick tonight – and Delegate Mike McDermott.
Our event is set up so guests have an opportunity to talk to candidates before and after the proceedings. So before dinner was underway, acquaintances were made and renewed, such as Delegate Ron George speaking with the newly-goateed Delegate Charles Otto.
I like that look on Charles. Meanwhile, Larry Hogan and wife Yumi spoke to Wicomico County Council member Joe Holloway. I believe fellow Council member Bob Culver is back to camera.
As I noted earlier, Jeannie Haddaway was taking the place of David Craig and visiting her alma mater. In the background is Larry Hogan’s LG pick, Boyd Rutherford.
Candidates were also taking advantage of the space provided for literature and signs.
Things began to get going when the Union troops and band arrived in the room.
This heralded the arrival of our sixteenth president, who is a popular subject. In this case, it was with Senator Rich Colburn (left) and John and Gail Bartkovich. Gail is the outgoing Council member from District 3, while the good doctor John was our county chair for several years.
One new wrinkle we added this year was a Union band, described by Lincoln as “the Eastern Shore detachment of the 3rd Maryland Irregular Regimental Band,” which played traditional music during the prelude to the ceremonies.
The troops sat behind Lincoln as he made his remarks, with a little banjo accompaniment toward the end.
As he always does, Lincoln made remarks which tried to use the words of yesterday to relate to today’s world, leading off with a tale about General George McClellan, one which he concluded by stating the case “the lunatics are running the asylum.”
“Our greatest enemy is voter apathy,” he continued. “It cheats honest citizens.”
And just as the British Empire sparked a revolution by resorting to tyranny, Lincoln called the modern situation “mental torture.” Now, “A lying tyrant is in control,” Lincoln added, “We need to be a stumbling block to tyrants.” But he ended on a hopeful note, believing “America shall not pass away.”
Our county Chair Dave Parker then secured the floor for a number of announcements as well as praise for one outgoing member of our Central Committee.
First of all, we learned that there will be a gubernatorial debate among the GOP candidates here on May 31, at Salisbury University. Once the June 24 primary is history, we will convene for the Wicomico County Republican Club Crab Feast on September 6.
But the huge event was the one slated for September 27. After twice being unsuccessful at getting a Lincoln Day date, we got the next best thing: Lt. Col. Allen West will be appearing in Salisbury for a series of events September 27. Those who attend Central Committee or Wicomico County Republican Club functions already know this, but we put out the formal word tonight at Lincoln Day.
Before we heard from the gubernatorial candidates, we also took a few moments to honor one of the few Republicans in Maryland whose Presidential vote has truly counted – this man served on the Electoral College from Maryland in 1972 for Nixon and 1984 for Reagan. For the better part of five decades Blan Harcum has been a fixture in Wicomico County GOP politics, but after this election he will take a well-deserved retirement from the Central Committee. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Blan about his tenure.
And as it turns out, Larry Hogan has known Blan “for a long, long time.” He drew the opening slot among our four, and in doing so decided to play up his experience in both the private sector and executive branch under former governor Bob Ehrlich. “I’ve spent a lifetime challenging the status quo,” Hogan said, accusing our current leaders of “actually causing the problems.” Rather than “be something,” he wanted to do something about them and that was why he decided to run.
Naturally, Hogan spoke about Change Maryland, noting that it “successfully changed the dialogue in this state.” He could sense the frustration with the “huge disconnect” between the people and their government as well as the belief the state was heading in the wrong direction. Regarding the “arrogant, out of touch monopoly” in Annapolis, he believed it was “about time the politicians in Annapolis listened to the rest of us.”
As he has often done in his stump speeches, Hogan returned to three main points: creating jobs, helping out the middle class, and getting government off our backs. He related his day in Salisbury, with stops in several area businesses as well as a Little League opening day and the downtown Easter Egg hunt.
Charles Lollar also told us about his day, one spent taking the fight to Democratic strongholds and crossing paths with Democrat Anthony Brown on three occasions, debating him once. He was inducted into the 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County, heard Brown say at a Howard County forum that “Maryland is doing fine” – while 1 out of 3 in portions of Baltimore are jobless – and went to a Veterans for Democracy meeting back in Charles County where he was “disinvited” to speak because of “political pressure” his name has brought. On top of that, his second daughter is going to her first prom tonight. “I’m not doing this for me…we’re doing this for you,” said Charles.
But his message to the Republicans was that whoever the nominee for governor may be, he has to have the “intestinal fortitude and integrity” to speak our convictions. His basic agenda would be one of economic solvency, installing a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to slow budget growth, and eventually eliminating the personal income tax – a proposal which got him the support of economist Arthur Laffer.
He knew it would be difficult, but concluded that “I don’t play politics very well, but I do enjoy a good fight every once in awhile.” Whoever wins the primary has to care about the ideals of the minority community to earn their votes, Charles stated in closing.
Representing David Craig, who couldn’t be here tonight but was instead over in Frederick County, was his lieutenant governor candidate Jeannie Haddaway. We’re out “covering the state as much as we could,” she explained. Reflecting on the recent General Assembly session, Haddaway remarked that “there are people in Annapolis fighting for you.” Some of the more controversial bills only passed by slim majorities, added Jeannie, because Democrats are reluctant to vote for them but have to contend with their “top-down agenda.” Thanks to what’s gone on the last few years, “our state is in really bad shape,” said Jeannie.
She corrected Larry Hogan’s remark about private sector experience, noting David Craig worked in a factory when not teaching and her own work as a small business owner. Their priority would be to straighten out the budget then “put money back in your pocket” through elimination of the income tax.
Haddaway pointed out 40 percent of Democrats were undecided, perhaps because they didn’t like the options and may consider a Republican who would “try something different.” And even in heavily Democratic districts, Craig had won. “We have won collectively 14 general elections,” she said. “Whoever turns out is going to win this election.” She promised that if Craig won and she became the state’s first Eastern Shore lieutenant governor, “the Eastern Shore will be forgotten no more.”
While he was holding up the flyer for an upcoming event in Ocean City in the photo above, Ron George opened up by discussing running mate Shelley Aloi – like many of us, I met her for the first time tonight. (She and Ron happened to sit at our table, along with our next speaker and his wife and the Parkers.)
Ron spent much of his time talking about the General Assembly: “I felt like I needed Rolaids constantly,” remarked George – but considered it an “honor” to serve with our Republican “warriors.” His pitch was combining his business experience with time served at the “front line” of issues as a member of the General Assembly – one who formed the Doctor’s Caucus “to build consensus” and a related group called the Physician’s Advisory. That group had uncovered waste within the exchange and the failures of health care contractor Maximus early on.
Ron also spoke about his work on the electoral process, closing a loophole for the next cycle so a donor couldn’t form multiple LLCs just to circumvent campaign finance limits. Audits, too, were another major part of his platform since he’d found where Prince George’s County “totally misused” $400 million. “That kind of waste has got to stop.”
George went over a couple parts of his ten-point promise, one which “will fix the drain that Baltimore is” and strive to rebuild the state’s manufacturing base in small communities like ours. “I cannot cut welfare payments unless I have those entry-level, mid-level jobs,” said Ron.
He also made an announcement about a Monday event to be held in conjunction with Dan Bongino and David Craig, endorsing Anthony Brown for governor…of Connecticut. “How’s that (health care) working out for us?” added Jeannie Haddaway.
But the rhetorical storm was brewing.
You knew Delegate Mike McDermott was working on a stemwinder when he noted, “the problem with Democrat math is that they follow Common Core logic.” This after he noted losing the two GOP Senators in 2010, including the seat he seeks, “opened up the floodgates of hell on the social side.” This didn’t count the pilfering of various trust funds or the “blank check” to uncovered patients for the budget.
But once he got going on the “outrage” on the bathroom bill, it was on. “It should be unacceptable to all Marylanders,” he said. We gave each gubernatorial candidate ten minutes – Mike was still going strong after fifteen.
“The tragedy of Maryland politics can be turned around,” he said. “Don’t send a governor to the governor’s mansion without sending them reinforcements” of five Senators. His voice rising, McDermott made the case that North Carolina “worked on making government work for the people” after the GOP took over and raised its business friendliness rating from 46th to 17th in two years. “They’ve brought that state back! It can happen here.”
“If we can’t make the case for change this year,” Mike thundered, “the Republican Party can never make it.”
“We can take Wicomico County by storm! If there was ever a county which needed good leadership and change, it’s this one. I’m tired of being up there, and being in a welfare county…I challenge you to take it back,” an emotional McDermott concluded. He had to dial it back some for the benediction that he delivered.
Our friends in Worcester County have the chance to have a great team in Annapolis: Mike McDermott in the Senate, and Mary Beth Carozza and Charles Otto in the House.
So ended another Lincoln Day Dinner. It wasn’t quite what we bargained for when we started planning it last year, but those who were there were treated to a good event nonetheless.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case looking over the cover of the recent Latimer House release “All The Rage” gives a very good idea of this complex yet strangely accessible collection of ten songs.
Formed by an eclectic assortment of musicians with roots from around the world in 2010, the Prague-based band has put out an album which to my ears was a little bit like good jambalaya is to the palate: something with a lot of flavors you may not expect, but combined well for an overall enjoyable experience.
The base is laid by the opening tracks This Is Pop, Burn, and Eye Can See, all relatively punchy and upbeat songs with a good riff to them. You even get the hint of political commentary in This Is Pop, while Burn introduces a string section to the overall composition.
That addition and subtraction of elements continues through the tracks, something which got me thinking about what was missing. As the collection went on, it seemed like just as I was thinking that a stone was unturned, as if on cue I’d hear it in the next song. When it occurred to me that a song with harmonies was missing, along came Red Hot Sequin Blues and Splash! A slower ballad? Try Your Love on for size. The toe-tapper I was looking for turned out to be Love’s Undermined. Surprises seemed to abound with each track, so listening a second time made me notice things I missed on first impression.
Tasty, complex instrumentation comes in many of the songs as well: the horn of Follow Your Heart as well as Red Hot Sequin Blues, the echoing chorus and cheerful keyboards of Birdcage Walk, the string section revisited on Bubblegum, and even the bass-driven intro to Splash! made for good variation. Bubblegum also provides additional commentary on pop culture in its lyrics.
While all ten songs have enough variation and manage to hold the listener’s interest, perhaps the only drawback I can see is that some may grow weary of vocalist Joe Cook’s somewhat nasal voice and delivery – but then again it’s worked for Bob Dylan for years.
The band is based out of Europe and has had more of its popularity there, but there is a connection to the States as bassist Michael Jetton hails from Virginia. It may not be on their timetable just yet, but there’s always been a market for Europop in this country so an eventual tour here may not be completely out of the question. Right now, though, it appears that Latimer House is simply happy playing music with a good collection of guest artists helping out along the way.
If indeed this is really pop, then Latimer House seems to be keeping it in good hands. This is the kind of danceable, accessible stuff that’s a reminder of a simpler time, and these guys show the pop genre can still be done quite well. As I like to say though: don’t just take my word for it – listen for yourself.
He may not be much for participating in debates, but by the standard I set a few days ago Larry Hogan is a more-than-successful fundraiser. Today his campaign released a press statement claiming that the Hogan juggernaut raised $422,000 from over 1,800 individuals in just 68 days. (The official numbers are due next week, so this is a preliminary tally.)
Speaking on this, Hogan was thankful for the generosity:
Thanks to our supporters, volunteers and staff we’ve surpassed our outreach and fundraising goals. The incredible outpouring of support from middle class voters across our state shows that Marylanders want a governor who’ll put working families and small businesses ahead of Annapolis elites.
Yet a quick look behind the numbers reveals a few interesting things.
First of all, it appears that many of the donations are maxing out the $250 allowed for matching contributions, as the average works out to about $234 per. So you’re getting your share of smaller numbers, but it’s likely the report will show a high number who pitched in the most allowed. Moreover, it bears pointing out that Hogan only promised to use matching funds in the primary, so there’s a lot of room for these donors to come back and upgrade to the maximum $4,000 allowed should Hogan win in June. This may be a shrewd strategy to compete in the general election.
But I found the comparisons to other campaigns at the 68-day stage a little disingenuous, because they’re apples and oranges. Eighteen months out from an election is generally not prime fundraising time, and no contender makes a whole lot in the summer before a campaign year – for example, David Craig raised about $250,000 in each of the last two years but it was clear he wouldn’t rest on those laurels and fundraising wasn’t a big push at the time. As long as candidates have enough to keep the lights on a year out, they’re happy, so saying that his campaign is more popular than the others based on that fact alone is a little misleading.
We also don’t know how much cash on hand any of the campaigns have, and going forward at this stage that’s a far more important number. With Hogan making a television ad buy, some part of that $422,000 is already spent.
Yet as time goes on, it’s becoming more clear we may be looking at a two-person race, unless the campaign finance reports of Ron George or Charles Lollar show they’ve cut into the significant fundraising advantages David Craig already enjoyed and Larry Hogan has appeared to establish. Grassroots support is great, and taking the message to underserved areas helps build the Maryland GOP for the future. Reaching nearly a million Maryland GOP voters, however, isn’t free, and there’s a reason it’s called broadcasting – media reaches a huge number of people other methods do not.
These warm and fuzzy commercials Democratic contenders are putting out are simply to build a brand association, because very few of those voters are going to look at the issues until the end, if at all. The more discerning group on the GOP side is fine with questioning the record of the incumbents, but they’ll want a little more depth when all is said and done.
As a closing aside, David Craig is going to try and raise a little money on Sunday as he hosts a fundraiser of his own:
Please join the Eastern Shore’s own Jeannie Haddaway and me on Sunday, April 13th at Sailwinds Park in Cambridge.
Our friends from all over the Eastern Shore and across Maryland will be gathering for fresh seafood, cold drinks, and good times. The event will be held from 12pm-4pm. Tickets are $60 in advance and $70 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
I will say that based on the forecast he is going to luck out in that respect. Next thing you know we’ll be sweating in Crisfield, but only one GOP gubernatorial candidate will be there as a nominee.
You may do a double-take at the photos, because this week’s SotW is a holdover from last season. The top photo came from the final home game of 2013, while the bottom one came from last week’s exhibition game against Salisbury University. In any case, David Richardson is trying to jump-start his Orioles career with a big year and his first full-season experience.
David has been in the organization quite awhile compared to many of his teammates – a 17th round selection from 2010 out of Hillsborough Junior College in Florida, he went to the same high school as major league standouts Dwight Gooden and Gary Sheffield. Perhaps his slow climb up the ladder is in part because he was originally drafted as an outfielder. But the 23-year-old got his first taste of the South Atlantic League at the end of last season, and while the overall numbers looked subpar – an 0-1 record with an 8.76 ERA in 10 appearances, with a 12/8 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings and 2.19 WHIP – much of the damage was done in two appearances against Lakewood where he gave up 11 runs in 1 1/3 innings and was pinned with his losing decision. Against the rest of the SAL he had a fine 0.82 ERA.
Because Lakewood hasn’t appeared on the schedule yet, David is holding his own thus far in 2014. In three appearances Richardson has pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run (a home run), striking out two and walking none. It translates to a 2.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP on the young season.
Richardson had some experience as a starter for two seasons in Aberdeen, but seems to do much better in relief. He’s been used thus far in low-leverage situations, closing out losing efforts in two of his three outings, but continued success could see him be placed in a setup role. It will be interesting to see how David can handle the grind of a full season as well.