Testing the waters…

March 31, 2006 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on Testing the waters… 

Just checking something out…more tomorrow.

Faster than the speed of light

March 30, 2006 · Posted in Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Faster than the speed of light 

With apologies to Larry the Cable Guy, when the Democrats in the General Assembly want to “get ‘er done” they waste no time or worry about niceties such as rules. Hence, you get Senate Bill 1102. In the Maryland GOP‘s “Weekly Update” they have a synopsis of how the bill was ramrodded through:

Last Friday, the Senate suspends the rules to introduce the bill late and at the same time the rules are suspended to refer the bill to the Senate Finance Committee.

At this point the bill is scheduled for public hearing at 1:00pm,Tuesday, March 27th.

Monday afternoon at 4:30 the on-line hearing schedule is changed announcing the hearing will now occur at 6:00pm THAT SAME EVEING (sic) (1 1/2 hours notice of the hearing change.)

6:00 pm The bill has a hearing in Finance.

6:30 pm The bill is voted out of Committee (a mere half hour debate).

8:00 pm The bill is placed on the second reading calendar on the Senate Floor. The bill is then laid over for one day. (Editor’s note: I believe our Senator Stoltzfus got that layover. Too bad he couldn’t get another week – see below.)

Tuesday the bill passes 2nd reading.

Wednesday the bill passes 3rd reading in the Senate morning session.

Thursday the bill is placed on the House agenda for their afternoon session on the floor.

Current Maryland law dictates the Public Service Commission has 5 members, all appointed by the Governor “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” SB1102 changes the commission to be appointed as follows:

Two commissioners would be appointed by the President of the Senate. That would be Mike Miller.

Two commissioners would be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, one Michael Busch.

One commissioner would be appointed by Governor Ehrlich.

The real kicker of this measure is that all the commission terms – regardless of appointment date – will come to an end on April 9th, or the day before the General Assembly winds up its yearly term. Once again, the commissioners will have staggered terms, and I really love how they figured this one out.

The governor’s appointee will have his or her term end in 2007, basically just long enough to see if he wins re-election. The Speaker’s two appointees serve through 2008 and 2010. The Senate President’s appointees have terms through 2009 and 2011.

To boil it down: the General Assembly is pissed because they share a LOT of the blame for the electric rate hikes that are soon to take effect. And, of course, Democrats have a strangehold on Annapolis save for the invasive Republican who happens to sit in the governor’s chair and gets to make these PSC appointments. When Parris Glendenning and his Democrat predecessors were picking the commissioners, that was just fine with the General Assembly.

But now that all this rate increase fiasco comes into being just months before the 2006 election, it’s suddenly incumbent upon the Democrats in Annapolis to place “their” people in charge of the situation. And it’s my wager that they will bully BG&E, et.al. into rescinding or reducing their rate hike (never mind the market forces that dictate they need to raise rates, which have been frozen since 2000.)

In addition, timing is everything. Passing the bill by Friday gives the General Assembly Democrats time to override a certain Ehrlich veto on this and other related bills. And they will, because then they can claim that they gave Maryland consumers a break in their utility bills while big bad Governor Ehrlich and the utility companies wanted to stick it to the consumer – never mind that deregulation was passed in the first place by that same Democrat majority in the General Assembly and signed by a Democrat governor. The voters sure won’t get that tidbit in the O’Malley or Duncan campaign commercials certain to come this summer.

While it’s painful, there’s something that needs to be remembered about this electric price increase. Imagine you were stuck on the same hourly wage for the last six years while the price of everything went up. The only way to make more money in that case is to work more hours, and in the utility companies’ case, only so many new customers are moving into Maryland. Basically the majority of what the utilities want would be a retroactive pay raise to the year 2000 – they’ll just get it in one lump sum.

I’m not happy that my Delmarva Power rates may jump by 1/3 or more, particularly since both my cooling AND heating needs are served by electricity. But I’m less happy at the General Assembly for making yet another end run around the Maryland Constitution and usurping more power properly placed in the executive branch. While I can adjust my budget for changing electric rates, I can’t as easily control the machinations of a party in Annapolis whose sole purpose is maintaining and exercising their own power, rights be damned.

This is America…speak English!

You know, this illegal immigration thing has a lot of people fired up…here’s some just on my personal bloglist.

Conservababes: Right from New Fallujah has a particularly nasty rant.

Justice for All? links to an article by economist Thomas Sowell.

Michelle Malkin always has a lot to say, illegal immigration is one of her pet issues to begin with.

NewsBusters blogger Matthew Sheffield looks at the influence Spanish-language media carried.

Timmer at Righting America is looking for the backhoe to start building the fence.

The American Princess weighs in with her take.

The Goldwater is back in town and he must have picked up a good strain of attitude while he was away. Now, THIS is a “new tone.”

Bobby Eberle at The Loft critiques the Congressional responses to the issue.

Now it’s my turn.

The key word to me is “illegal.” Yes, I realize that practically all of us were descended from immigrants at one time or another, even native Americans who supposedly came over from Asia when there was a land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. And I’m sure not everyone who we count as our ancestors went through Ellis Island, some were likely stowaways who managed to elude detection. Of course, many who live in the area are generations removed from people who had no choice in the matter as they were brought over as property to be sold in the slave trade. Regardless, we’re living in the here and now and I’m at least a third-generation American. I speak and write passable English, and I’m proud in a stubborn sort of way that I made it through 13 years of public school and four years of college never having learned a foreign language.

So imagine my surprise when I moved here, over a thousand miles from the Mexican border, and see bilingual signage in the stores and find there’s a Spanish-language radio station on the dial. It turns out we have a large Spanish-speaking population here, mostly from Mexico. They came here to “take the jobs Americans won’t do” in the chicken plants. But they also mow the lawns, hang the drywall, and do other manual labor work in the area. Now those jobs I have seen Americans do where I come from.

I don’t want to be one who denies a person who wants to come to America the opportunity to do so. BUT, the huge difference between the immigrants who protested in Los Angeles and elsewhere the last several days, and the immigrants from Germany and Poland who happen to be my forefathers is that my ancestors tried to assimilate themselves as best they could and become American citizens. Both then and now, newcomers to America worked hard at low-echelon jobs to create a better life for their families – but my ancestors most likely came over legally, and the last thought on their minds was trying to recreate the conditions of their native lands. They wanted to be American first, last, and always.

The time has long since come to start taking care of this problem. Unfortunately, most of the solutions being proposed have the appearance of condoning the criminal activity that brought many immigrants here in the first place. I have seen some commentary about how those on the Mayflower and other colonists didn’t have a visa or green card to enter the country either, but I’d venture to guess that the statute of limitations on harassing their method of entry is well past.

The protests of the last few days have proven one thing: the Balkanization of our country has taken root. It was seeded by bilingual education in the schools, watered by a lack of caring by politicians of all stripes who sought the immigrant vote (whether they were citizens or not), and fertilized by the advent of multiculturalism where American is just the back end of the hyphenated phrase and certainly not the important or worthy end. Now, like that last dandelion in the field, the one where you just can’t pull the root out of the ground and the Roundup just isn’t working, we’re stuck with that stubborn weed.

I’m not alone in my view. The polls suggest that a majority of Americans want immigration reform. But as usual, the politicians inside the Beltway don’t seem to hear the voice of the common folks. The only thing that may make then listen is a shakeup come November. To finish my analogy, it may take a shovel and a little bit of sweat, but a change in November might just get the rooted weed of Balkanization out from among our amber waves of grain.

WCRC meeting – March 2006

It was double-barrel speaker action at the meeting this month. Our scheduled speaker Jack Lord, candidate for Delegate in District 38B, was joined by county executive hopeful Ron Alessi. Each table had a few flyers advertising Alessi’s campaign kickoff, and I received one afterward (more on that later.)

The business portion of the meeting was pretty brief. We have $10,000 more in the treasury this year than we did at the comparable time in 2005. Signup sheets were passed out for our booth at the Salisbury Festival next month (the club will be along Market Street). I didn’t sign up yet because I think there’s something else I have planned that day, needed to check my calendar.

Also, the date for our Lincoln Day dinner (in cooperation with Worcester and Somerset counties) is Friday, June 9, at Salisbury University. I thought they mentioned a speaker but I’ll be damned if I caught the name of the person. Yeah, poor reporting on my part. We’ll see how this blog post compares with what the Daily Times says because James Fisher, one of their staff writers, was also present at the meeting to catch the remarks of Lord and Alessi. But one theme of the dinner speakers will be the anti-business climate that Maryland currently is saddled with (read: Fair Share.)

Jack Lord was the first speaker. A brief biography: he is an Eastern Shore native, but has lived in several places. Married for the second time, his wife was also present at the meeting. After graduating high school 40 years ago, he briefly worked for DuPont before being laid off. At that time, he got involved in law enforcement, first as a cadet, then as a State Trooper for 25 years before retiring in the early 1990’s. Now he has a small farm in Worcester County.

He’s termed himself as a “stealth candidate”. This isn’t the first time he’s ran for office, he also ran for the same seat in 2002. What got him involved in politics was the negative attitude toward farmers and agriculture in general of our former governor, Parris Glendening. Glendening blamed agricultural runoff as a major source of bay pollution, and one measure passed under his administration was the “nutrient management plan.” Basically it’s red tape for farmers to deal with. Since both of his delegates, Bennett Bozman and Norm Conway, voted in favor of the bill mandating the plan, Jack decided to make a bid to replace one of them in the House of Delegates. That bid got him through the primary (second of three GOP candidates) but fourth of the four in the general election with just under 10,000 votes, or 19 percent.

In his view, our current delegates “are not representing the area”, basically they’re “voting for whatever (House of Delegates Speaker Michael) Busch wants.” Jack also mentioned the veto overrides that Bozman and Conway voted for (such as the Wal-Mart bill), lack of a solution for the medical malpractice problem, and cited their support of the now ill-fated electrical deregulation, all items he wanted to change if he was sent to Annapolis. Jack made special mention about being able to work with Governor Ehrlich and possibly having the region benefit more with having a representative friendly to the governor’s interests.

Basically, his question that he encouraged people to ask Bozman/Conway voters from 2002 was “what have they done for you the last four years?”

A few questions were raised from the meeting attendees. Key among those had to do with crime (‘there’s not much a state delegate can do” with local crime issues); social issues (unlike the questioner, Lord doesn’t think the incumbents are vulnerable on social issues); and education. While acknowledging education is a problem, Jack also conceded he’s not likely to get much support from them through their union, “I don’t even mess with the teachers.”

One final point he made was that, despite being chair of the Appropriations Committee, Norman Conway has not brought home much in the way of bacon, or in Jack’s term, the Eastern Shore “gets the crumbs.” However, some of the money we do get through our current Delegates is for dubious purposes that can be described as “feel-good, pork projects.” The hopeful stated that it was a question of “pork vs. priorities” for the “common good.”

Ron Alessi then took to the podium for some brief remarks, mostly touching on issues he felt were most important to the county: schools, growth, and jobs.

He stressed that some of the problems with our schools stemmed from a lack of local control, and another root cause of their troubles was a lack of safety within. More community involvement was one part of the solution.

In Ron’s opinion, you “can’t cut growth off.” But you can place it in areas with the proper infrastructure for it. He did note that one advantage to the growth in retirees moving here was that they use fewer services than the average family would. But one other item he pointed out was a need to bring some sort of job creation to the area. Part of that would be saving our economic backbone, the poultry industry, insofar as possible, but the other piece of the puzzle would have to be enticing some sort of business or industry that could keep our college graduates here. A commenter noted that many students come here from the western shore, like the Eastern Shore area, but can’t find a decent job here so they go back to the Baltimore/DC metroplex where good jobs await at high salaries.

Another item Alessi pointed out was Wicomico County’s revenue cap. In his view, we need to work within the money that we have. It’s been pointed out elsewhere that one of his opponents wants to do a “phantom” budget which would be the budget if the revenue cap didn’t exist.

That was pretty much the extent of Alessi’s remarks and the meeting. I did get a chance to speak with Ron Alessi briefly afterward and I did ask him about more concrete job-producing steps, since that’s my pet issue in the November elections. Ron did note something about trying to get more research grants, since I pointed out that technology jobs are not as dependent on transportation issues we have here on the Eastern Shore.

While he may feel we have a pretty good transportation network, I beg to differ. Part of it was my experience living in a city that sits at the junction of major north-south (I-75) and east-west (I-80/90) interstates, lying along the main rail line between New York and Chicago, and right by one of the Great Lakes, where oceangoing ships are commonplace at the port. Toledo has all that convenient transportation yet is still in an economic slump. They still have the same problem with local college graduates leaving town for other opportunities.

But, since I got the flyer, I assume it’s public information that Ron Alessi is having a campaign kickoff on Friday, April 7th at 5:15 p.m. at the City Center Atrium in the City Bistro. I can’t attend myself since I have a prior commitment to my bowling team. But if you have a question for him, go on out and ask him yourself – that’s what I did.

Update: Actually, the DT article wasn’t too bad, although they messed up the district number in the online headline.

Win some and lose some

March 26, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Win some and lose some 

Two votes in the Maryland Senate have caught my attention. On the “good” side is the failure of a measure to stop the Blackwater development in Dorchester County. Whether you’re for growth or against it, to me it’s a victory for two reasons.

First and foremost, government shouldn’t be allowed to change the rules in the middle of the game or place additional hoops for a developer to jump through. There’s provisions against ex post facto law in both the U.S. and Maryland constitutions. (If you look at the upper right hand corner and the rest of the article, you can guess what I spent a little time reading tonght.) Once the Blackwater subdivision came closer to fruition, a Baltimore County delegate introduced the measure.

The second point is that; to me, private property rights trump environmental concerns in this case. There’s three roadblocks still remaining to Blackwater according to the Sun article: a lawsuit by the environmentalist Chesapeake Bay Foundation, approval by Cambridge City Council, and approval by the Maryland Critical Areas Commission, which “has jurisdiction over areas within 1,000 feet of Chesapeake Bay tributaries.” If this is true, MCAC ought to be hammering the City of Salisbury over their illegal sludge pit rather than worry about that portion of a development that happens to fall close to a small tributary of Chesapeake Bay. But it’s much more satisfying to the environmentalists to ruin someone trying to make a good return on his investment than to nail a fellow governmental agency.

On the bad side of the Senate ledger was an affirmative vote on Senate Bill 1075. (h/t to Delmarva Dealings.) Like I said, tonight I was reading the Maryland Constitution and Article 8 notes:

That the Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers of Government ought to be forever separate and distinct from each other; and no person exercising the functions of one of said Departments shall assume or discharge the duties of any other.

While Maryland code does require appointments be with the advice and consent of the Senate, it doesn’t imply that it has to be done each term. Oddly enough, this wasn’t a problem until now, mainly because Governor Ehrlich is a Republican seeking re-election and the last several Maryland governors have served two terms. Thus, I feel SB1075 is a violation of the Maryland Constitution, and it would be most proper for Governor Ehrlich to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Now, that would make things interesting come next January if Gov. Ehrlich is reelected, since the bill’s effective date is this June. Makes it more important to get enough GOP Delegates and Senators elected to thwart the Democrats’ chances at overriding a veto.

Odd and ends #4

March 24, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics, Wal-Mart · Comments Off on Odd and ends #4 

Just a bunch of little stuff, not necessarily enough in each part to make a full post. So hopefully the total is greater than the sum of its parts.

First of all, I noticed a week or so ago that the Justice For All? blog was having some issues with Google. It appears Hadley has the blog back up and going but without everything previous to this month. That’s unfortunate because one thing I feature on my blog is what I consider the best of my comments elsewhere (“My Feedback”) and JFA has a bunch of them, which are now dead links.

But Hadley is certainly not alone in his complaint, as Michelle Malkin attests.

If you are familiar with the story of monoblogue, you’ll recall that I once had a Blogger account. But I decided to leave Blogger shortly after a post I did in July of last year, and it was for economic reasons. I really didn’t want to consciously support a company whose employees gave over 95% of their campaign contributions to liberals and their causes. (To that end, you’ll notice I have no Google ads.)

It was through some of the other local blogs that I saw the rechristened “Son of Wal-Mart” (aka House Bill 1510) was defeated in committee. Interestingly enough, the vote was 13-9 to kill the bill. Since I’m all but certain that Democrats are a majority on the committee (as they are in the House of Delegates overall) it has to mean that they were feeling heat from someplace. The $64,000 question is whether it was:

a) the negative press on it, including articles in the Wall Street Journal and mentions on Rush Limbaugh’s show

b) the fact that 2006 is an election year for each and every one of the 188 Senators and Delegates in the General Assembly, not to mention two key statewide races

c) the power of the blogosphere, including myself.

While I’d love to think the answer was c) I think the reality staring Democrats in the face made b) the answer. Even though the vast majority of Democrat seats are likely “safe” because of voting demographics, it’s not totally out of the question for enough seats to flip over to the GOP to enable a re-elected Governor Ehrlich to have his vetoes sustained. It’s bad enough for the Democrats that the gay marriage issue was thrown in their lap by a judge; thus, passing “Son of Wal-Mart” this year would truly energize another conservative base of voters.

Speaking of voting bases, it’s starting to look like the long wait for county offices to attract candidates is over. We now have four candidates for Sheriff and three for county executive. The remaining question is how many people will flock to county council seats, especially with the recent turnaround on annexation.

I think Monday’s WCRC meeting will be an interesting one because of this and other issues.

Once again, if you read this blog on a regular basis you’ll find that I’m very pro-growth. One main reason is that my paycheck depends on people wanting to invest in development, whether of a business or residential nature. And it’s not just Wicomico County, but all over the Eastern Shore and beyond.

In our business, we have a lot of regulations to deal with, mostly of a restrictive nature. Honestly, 95% of them are common sense – one example is having fire-rated tenant separation walls so a fire in one unit is less likely to spread to another. The amount of exemption from certain fire code items you gain by installing sprinklers is another sensible restriction.

But in the case of Wicomico County and the whole growth controversy, I’m a little befuddled. Part of the reason is because I’m a “come here” so I have a short point of reference. In my readings of the local blogs, though, I’ve gathered two important nuggets. One is that somewhere, probably locked away in the most secure vault on the Eastern Shore, is Wicomico County’s master plan. Well, it must be locked away, because to hear the local blogosphere, it’s being ignored!

The other item is the subject of “pipestem” annexations. I was under the impression that Salisbury was attempting to streamline and square off their boundaries. But instead they run their boundaries several miles farther out, extending pipestems like so many tentacles and latching themselves further toward Delaware and other county borders.

It seems to me that it’s much easier to annex land in Maryland than in Ohio, mainly because Ohio has a township form of government for unincorporated areas. So when a city or village expands, there’s automatically a government entity that gets smaller and the township trustees generally fight annexations tooth and nail because it shrinks their tax base. Several times in my home area annexation battles have ended up in court. In one case, the battle was over city sewer and water being extended to unincorporated areas in exchange for not fighting annexation – but the township residents wanted no part of the higher city tax rates and sued the city.

Here in Maryland, it’s almost like Wicomico County has a “whatever…” attitude toward annexation, less area to take care of. Since it seems all the state money to run government comes from the same pot, there’s not a net loss to the county by losing territory, but it’s fewer miles of road to fix or less snow to plow.

Growth is an issue I can see both sides of. To me, it’s not growth that’s the problem, since it’s going to happen if an area is reasonably attractive. We happen to be in an area that has a nice climate and a rural feel that many seek. And it’s my opinion that even doubling the population wouldn’t change that.

County executive candidate Ron Alessi alluded to my concern when he spoke of getting good jobs here. But how can that get done? In a perfect world, each house that’s constructed also gets some place for the homeowner to work, as well as the public facilities necessary to maintain the house’s safety, utilities, accessibility to the job through improved roads, etc., etc. But it sounds like we have shortages of most of the other facets that go into a good community.

Delmarva has some assets to a company looking for a good location to place a factory or other facility. It has a nice location for “quality of life” issues and at least Delaware is somewhat business-friendly. The minuses are transportation needs, since it’s difficult to access a lot of places from here with Chesapeake Bay. But if there’s a company who doesn’t have a lot of time-sensitive issues, we’re as good a place as any to locate, maybe better than most.

Rather than kowtow to every residential developer in the region, what are we doing to get more jobs to the area? I’m not saying we need a Kia plant but someone ought to sell the region better to job providers. (Having a more business-friendly General Assembly would help too.) White-collar corporations could be lured to our area’s proximity to DC and the Northeast – close enough for easy access, far enough away so you don’t smell it.

I’m going to end this overall rant with one close to my heart. I sent and received e-mail from Brian Cleary, who’s the Operations Manager for Clear Channel of Delmarva (they run, among others, 96 Rock.) The subject was this year’s “Thirsty Thursday” band lineup at the Shorebirds games. It pissed me off royally when I read:

Sadly, the Thirsty Thursdays with the Shorebirds this year will not feature live bands … last year, we were able to secure the bands for the Shorebirds. However, for a number of reasons, we backed off playing the local music (ratings the biggest factor – the lack of cooperation and enthusiasm from the local acts one of the others), so those bands aren’t really working with us any more…(i)nstead for this year’s Thirsty Thursdays, we will have Whiskey & Cowboy broadcasting their show at the stadium.

Come on, what could’ve been better than beer, ball, and bands? Leave it to somebody to mess up a good thing.

It’s a very sad state of affairs when this is all the better we can do. One thing I got to love quickly about the area when I moved here was the support the local radio stations gave to regional bands. Instead of playing Nickelback for the 300th time, 96 Rock would play a local band’s song in a semi-regular rotation, plus every week they did “Local Lixx” which was an hour of local music. Now, I know some of the local bands dropped the ball (there’s a larger audience on the Internet, particularly myspace.com) but free airplay is free airplay, people. Do you think I wouldn’t like a plug for this blog on Bill Reddish’s show?

It really sucks because last year’s “Thirsty Thursdays” introduced me to some great groups like Control Freaks, Not Alone, Chowderfoot, and 7 Days Torn, among a host of others. There’s just so many good groups out there in our area that deserve support and another outlet for supporting them has vanished. Instead, we’ll be “entertained” by a wannabe morning crew that happens to be on in the afternoons.

Hopefully I’ll still get to see some good bands at “Beast of the East” this year, but since I think 96 Rock brought those bands in last year, it remains to be seen. No one’s announced yet at the site. The band list for “Pork in the Park” is up already though, they have an interesting assortment of groups.

It’s less than three weeks to the real beginning of spring. When the Shorebirds play and we get the twin weekend events of Pork in the Park and Beast of the East, it’s time to get ready for another fun Delmarva summer!

A buried quote, but it’s true

March 19, 2006 · Posted in Politics · Comments Off on A buried quote, but it’s true 

I actually stumbled across this by accident, reading about former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko running for mayor of Kiev in his native Ukraine.

“Klitschko is young and energetic. Ukraine needs people like him,” said supporter Valentyna Rudenko, 60, waving a small Klitschko campaign flag. “And he lived in America. I want to live like you do in America. He understands what that means.”

Somebody gets it. This woman was born and grew up under the thumb of the Soviet dictatorship, but a small taste of freedom and prosperity makes her want more. It was actually in the sports section of the Comcast website, obviously the hate-America media didn’t catch that quote before the story went out.

Overdue honor

March 19, 2006 · Posted in Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

It’s a bit off the beaten track for monoblogue, but this is why I have a “personal stuff” category.

After eight tries, Black Sabbath finally made it to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. For whatever reason, a group cited as a major influence to many of today’s bands couldn’t get into the Rock Hall while contemporary British groups like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were inducted quickly after they were eligible (1996 and 1995 respectively.) A sign of the performers’ respect was that one of the first of the “tribute” CD’s that became popular in the 1990’s was “Nativity in Black”, which featured 12 groups and their versions of classic Sabbath songs from the early ’70’s. But critics and Hall voters turned a deaf ear until this year. (The same goes for fellow 2006 inductee Lynard Skynard, who’s been eligible for a number of years.)

And, unlike the punk icons Sex Pistols, Ozzy Osbourne seemed genuinely honored to be inducted, saying, “I was getting a bit tired of getting my hopes up year after year, but I’m happy we’re finally in. It’s a great honor and hopefully it will lead the way to more heavy-metal acts being inducted.

Sabbath had Ozzy as a frontman for their first eight studio albums, but when he left the group continued with a variety of lead singers, most notably Ronnie James Dio. Some of that turmoil may have been a cause of their delay in getting this overdue honor. But a group that could just as easily turn out a pleasant song even Mom could love (like “Changes” or the instrumental “Laguna Sunrise”) could then put together a cruncher like the familiar “Iron Man.” With the simple drumbeat opening followed by a funeral dirge-like power chord you knew this song was going to be heavier than the humid air on a Delmarva summer day. And people who know me (or pay attention to the albums I put in my Amazon.com column) can figure out I like it heavy.

I had a lot of fun looking up some of the stuff for this, particularly the tour dates. I was shocked to see that Sabbath actually played once at the Civic Center here, December 5, 1981. That would have been the “Mob Rules” tour with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and a week after they played my old hometown of Toledo. I missed that one, must not have had the money since I was a senior in high school at the time and had no job. The Salisbury date was sandwiched between gigs in Philly and Richmond.

One sign that I’m getting old is that a lot of the groups I grew up liking are now or becoming Hall-eligible. AC/DC was the first of this crop to be inducted in 2003. Some of my other faves who I think will get in eventually, based on their body of work:

Metallica will become eligible in 2008. They’re almost certainly a shoo-in.
Judas Priest has been eligible for several years, since about 1998. They’ve had a fair comeback after Rob Halford returned to the group, which might help.
Van Halen became eligible in 2003. But the question: do you induct David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?

There’s a bunch more who have pretty good careers but are sort of iffy as far as the Hall goes.

Iron Maiden became eligible in 2005. I think they should get in before Metallica myself, but Metallica will likely be first.
Alice Cooper’s been eligible since the mid-90’s. But he’s somewhat dismissed as a theatrical rocker more than a musician.
Ted Nugent became eligible as a solo artist in 2000, as part of Amboy Dukes and the MC5 before that. His outspoken conservatism may turn off a lot of the music critics, who lean the other way.
Guns n’ Roses – if “Chinese Democracy” comes out before 2012, they could get in. They are the Boston of Generation X.
Motley Crue – they’ll be eligible in 2008, and their successful comeback might help their cause. They’re among the first of the early ’80’s L.A. metal bands, along with…
Ratt – who had a lot of commercial success, but not a ton of critical acclaim. Also eligible in 2008.
Def Leppard – became eligible in 2005. A little like Black Sabbath in that their early albums were considered their best and later ones more substandard.
KISS – For a group whose gimmick was their face paint and personnas, they put together a great career based on easily accessible hard rock with the occasional ballad tossed in. Not a critic favorite, though, which is why they’ve been eligible since 1998.
Motorhead – Lemmy is God, but he can’t get in the Rock Hall without votes. They’re much more of a success in Europe, which means American critics dismiss them to an extent. I think they’ve been eligible since 2001.

I suppose I can say my piece to them when I go there this summer. I’m taking my vacation in August to that part of Ohio, selected because the Shorebirds play at Lake County that week. Helps to have a stepdaughter live in that area too. It’s funny, I used to live about 100 miles from the Hall and have never been there. But I’ll change that this summer, and thank them for finally giving the best early British metal group (Led Zeppelin = overrated) their due.

Late note: looks like some nice prices on Amazon.com…buy your fill of Sabbath!

Update on HB1510

March 16, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Maryland Politics, Politics, Wal-Mart · Comments Off on Update on HB1510 

Since there was an article today in the Daily Times and I found out in looking the bill status up that a hearing on it was held today, it appears that the so-called “son of Wal-Mart” may be gaining traction. (Also a h/t to Duvafiles is in order.)

We can still stop this attempt to drive business out of Maryland. Get informed and get involved.

The first reading bill text and now the fiscal notes are available online.

monoblogue’s first poll

March 16, 2006 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off on monoblogue’s first poll 

Since everyone else is doing it and I’m curious how Delmarva feels:

I believe this is courtesy of GOP Bloggers. Like I said, “everyone else” is doing it. (Saw this on the Detroit-based American Princess and NYC-based Suitably Flip. Bet I know who does better here.) Now I’ll just have to await the results, assuming it turns out right on this entry.

Oh, also I added more links to the “Let the People Decide” portion of the bloglist, and placed them in some sort of order…although the Maryland U.S. Senate race almost defies order.

Not sure if this will work or not – I had some trouble with it. Let me know if it works for you.

10:00 March 19th edit:

The overall poll has over 10,000 votes – just 8 from monoblogue. Come on Delmarva, I’m disappointed in you! Anyway, here’s the results as of a few moments ago.

Positive votes (would vote for, go in the + column)

1. George Allen – 5,363
2. Rudy Giuliani – 5,123
3. Mitt Romney – 4,017
4. Newt Gingrich – 3,726
5. John McCain – 2,288
6. Sam Brownback – 2,230
7. Mike Huckabee – 2,092
8. Tom Tancredo – 1,952
9. Bill Frist – 1,586
10. George Pataki – 763
11. Chuck Hagel – 563

Negative votes (would NOT vote for, go in the – column)

1. George Allen – 1,771
2. Rudy Giuliani – 2,754
3. Mitt Romney – 2,791
4. Mike Huckabee – 3,130
5. Sam Brownback – 3,335
6. Newt Gingrich – 3,679
7. Tom Tancredo – 3,894
8. Bill Frist – 5,381
9. John McCain – 5,840
10. Chuck Hagel – 5,871
11. George Pataki – 5,883

Thus, including both sets, we get this result:

1. George Allen, +3,592 (+35.3%)
2. Rudy Giuliani, +2,369 (+23.3%)
3. Mitt Romney, +1,226 (+12.1%)
4. Newt Gingrich, +47 (+0.5%)
5. Mike Huckabee, -1,038 (-10.2%)
6. Sam Brownback, -1,105 (-10.9%)
7. Tom Tancredo, -1,942 (-19.1%)
8. John McCain, -3,552 (-34.9%)
9. Bill Frist, -3,795 (-37.3%)
10. George Pataki, -5,120 (-50.3%)
11. Chuck Hagel, -5,308 (-52.2%)

Personally, I would vote for Allen, Gingrich, or Tancredo; and not vote for Giuliani, Romney, Frist, McCain, Hagel, or Pataki. Brownback and Huckabee elicit no feelings either way. But judging by the number of negative votes vs. positive votes (over 14,000 more negatives) I’d have to say the electorate is in a pissy mood. Since I have 6 negatives vs. 3 positives, count me in.

Ongoing 2006 election feature

March 13, 2006 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Ongoing 2006 election feature 

Since we’re now inside 6 months to the primaries in both Maryland and Delaware, I think it’s time to do a public service and begin to link to various campaign websites of all the candidates I can. Tonight I started with the Maryland U.S. Senate race and linked to the three main contenders – Ben Cardin, Kweisi Mfume, and Michael Steele. If you look to the right at the Bloglist, it’s under the category “Let the people decide.”

I’ll start checking into who has actually filed for what races. My intention is to link with as many of this area’s campaigns as possible. So here’s a list of what I consider “area” campaigns:

Maryland:

United States Senate (what I started tonight)
U.S. Congress – Maryland District 1
All statewide campaigns (Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General)
State Senator and House of Delegates – Districts 37 and 38
County offices in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, and Dorchester counties, particularly County Executive and County Council as applicable to the jurisdiction.

Delaware:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – at-large
State Senate – District 20 (District 21 is not up this year as I understand it)
State Representatives – Districts 38, 39, 40, 41
County offices in Sussex County.

Virginia:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – Virginia District 2 (covers the Eastern Shore of Virginia).
Most of their races in 2006 appear to be local mayor/council races, they run on an opposite calendar of local/state elections than does Maryland.

If you come across a link I don’t know about (or if you’re a candidate) let me know at my e-mail address here: michael@monoblogue.us. You may recall earlier I linked to a press release from House of Delegates candidate Sonny Bloxom – I’m open to that as well (with certain restrictions.) And it’s a good thing I linked to the press release because otherwise I’d have misspelled his name!

Seriously, it would be great to have all the sites here and make this a “one-stop shop” for election info, so that’s my goal for the campaign season.

Update: I found a batch of new links (added tonight) on a site called politics1.com so a hat tip goes to Ron Gunzberger, who runs the site.

A rant I agree with

March 12, 2006 · Posted in National politics, Politics · 3 Comments 

I couldn’t have written this better myself. A h/t goes to DetroitPatriotette for turning me on to the post.

I’ve always wondered what happened to the Humphrey wing of the Democrat party. Look at FDR – he came up with much of what’s considered “big government” today, but he wasn’t afraid to prosecute a war to protect our shores when we were attacked. Many of today’s leftist Democrats make Pat Buchanan look like a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Reagan Democrats split away when the Humphrey wing of the party was frozen out of the power structure, and the prevailing mood of the Democrat apparatchik became that of being pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-military, and anti-God. The Democrats have continued on that course for the last quarter of a century, and it seems to me that the alternative they present is solely to have the federal government do whatever President Bush and the GOP doesn’t want done.

To me, the country really hasn’t moved rightward – the political parties have simply moved leftward and out of touch with the will of the people. Americans still want what they’ve wanted for 200+ years, but few in either party seem to be willing to sacrifice their political power and cede it the the people to allow these things to happen.

Next Page »

  • I haven't. Have you?
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Link to Maryland Democratic Party

    In the interest of being fair and balanced, I provide this service to readers. But before you click on the picture below, just remember their message:

  • Part of the Politics in Stereo network.