Wicomico County Veterans Memorial 2008 in pictures and text

May 31, 2008 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

Normally we’ve had this event on Memorial Day itself, but this year it was decided to hold this event closer to the “true” Memorial Day date of May 30th. So it was a humid morning that greeted those of us who took time to honor our fallen today.

Most of this story will be told through the pictures I use, so just hover over the picture for the accompanying caption.

This low wall is part of the Wicomico County War Veterans Memorial, where this event has been held annually since 2003.

There was plenty of water on hand for anyone who needed it. In the next picture I'll explain why it was useful.

Standing at attention, the Wicomico High School JROTC helped with the ceremony. One of the young men was overcome by the heat and humidity, but fortunately nothing too serious.

Part of the crowd that was there took advantage of the shade provided by this tent.

The ceremony itself is relatively brief, this year’s rendition lasted but 30 minutes. Pictured below is master of ceremonies Anthony Sarbanes, an Army veteran.

Anthony Sarbanes took care of moving the program along. Seated to his left in my picture is the Reverend J. Harvey Dixon, who did the Invocation and Benediction.

The next several photos are of some of the event participants and what their function was. It’s pretty much been the same program for the four years I’ve been to the event, but tradition is good in this case. One thing that I unfortunately omitted for the sake of length is the photos of those who come to the podium and do each service’s prayers – but they should be recognized. Participating were Kenny Ralph, Rachael Willey, Annette Skelton, Russell Franklin, Lavaughn Price, and Pete Layfield.

 John Lynch is the man who tolls this bell to begin the recital of Wicomico County's fallen for each war, beginning with World War I.

Ed Tattersall compiled the names of the 187 fallen soldiers with roots in Wicomico County and reads the list each year. Fortunately this year no names were added to the list.

Matthew Wallace is the bagpiper who played 'Amazing Grace'. The song sounds much more mournful when done with bagpipes.

Another tradition is the volley of arms. While it's not a 21-gun salute, these gentlemen did a fine job.

Speaking of sad songs, it was a duo who played 'Taps', Randolph Dashields and John Jochum.

Before I finish, I have one observation. You’ll notice that a lot of those who were pictured had at least a touch of gray on them. In fact, one picture I took but didn’t use was of a pair of paratransit buses, the use of which was donated for the event so veterans who were among the population now residing in nursing homes could be present. While there were a few of my age or younger, the attendees appeared to be veterans of the Vietnam era or earlier.

While we try to honor those who are now or have recently served in the military because of the utter shame we hold about our nation’s treatment of those returning from Vietnam, it would be great to see the younger veterans step up and participate more in these sorts of events – and maybe they are beginning to behind the scenes.

To close, I’ll use this picture with the flags at the Wicomico County War Veterans Memorial flying at half-staff.

After the ceremony was finished, the flags remained at half-staff. I believe the protocol is to maintain them there until noon.

More clicks, more crime?

May 30, 2008 · Posted in Delmarva items, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on More clicks, more crime? 

I was inspired to write this post by a Daily Times article by Sharahn Boykin that appeared in today’s paper. In describing the capture of seat belt scofflaws, Boykin noted that the Wicomico County sheriff’s deputy in question was spending a portion of his patrol “struggl(ing) to see far enough into each car to find what he was looking for — drivers without seat belts.”

The “Click it or Ticket” program places local police officers in the position of peering into cars and playing nanny to verify whether drivers have had the sense enough to use their safety belts – we can’t have people not using the safety equipment made available to them on cars for the last 40 years or so can we?

Sometimes I wonder if devoting manpower to programs like this in order to satisfy the twin masters of Washington bureaucracy (because I believe states had to adopt a get-tough program for safety belts to maintain their highway funding) and revenue creation takes officers away from investigating crimes which have actual victims. After all, if someone without a belt is killed in a traffic accident they may have walked away from had they been wearing their seat belts, whose fault is it in the end?

Don’t get me wrong – I do wear my seat belts about 99% of the time, unless I’m doing something simple like moving my car up the driveway. But when I see money spent on annoying advertisements telling me that cops are looking for seatbelt violators yet the crime rate locally is among the highest in the state, it makes me question priorities. Each time I see the spot played on the video board at the Shorebirds game, I have to add at the end, “…brought to you by the nanny state of Maryland.” Of course, violating the law takes a quick $25 out of your pocket. It’s sort of a non-user tax…wonder if the fines go toward paying for more annoying ads? I’m sure the insurance companies kick in a little bit of money as well, certainly they were a chief proponent of get-tough laws on safety belts because they save money on injured motorists.

On the whole, this program offends me on two levels. It makes criminals out of people who otherwise would prefer their personal choice of whether to wear their seat belts or not, and more importantly, not wearing a seat belt has become a primary offense like speeding or running a red light. The latter two are much more dangerous to other motorists, but an officer can spend a lot more time racking up revenue by peering into cars to see whether someone has their seat belt on.

If someone in the Maryland General Assembly had some cajones and really wanted to begin a movement toward a little more sanity in government, they would run the risk of offending our Washington masters and introduce a bill that would simply remove not wearing a safety belt from the list of primary traffic offenses. It’s a small step but a necessary one because it’s time to restore the Tenth Amendment and state’s rights into our country.

As I close in on the thousandth post, it’s worthy to note that this will be my first remote post not written at my trusty PC. Yes, I’ve gone wireless – but don’t look for me to go cover events on a live basis (at least for awhile.) It’s just nice to not be tethered to my little office and be able to sit outside on a gorgeous evening yet do my posting. Maybe it’ll be encouragement to write more stuff!

Also, I have an update to an earlier post I did about the Move America Forward telethon coming up in June. They have a heavy hitter on board now.

Shorebird of the Week – May 29, 2008

May 29, 2008 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – May 29, 2008 

This week's Shorebird of the Week was dressed in gold last Friday - a generous fan paid for the shirt of his back, along with shirts of Anthony's teammates.Anthony Martinez awaiting a play in a ballgame last month. This year he's alternated between playing first and serving as the designated hitter.

This week’s SotW is getting plenty of playing time, but a lot of it comes on the bench. Anthony Martinez has alternated with fellow first baseman Joe Mahoney between that spot and being the designated hitter for most of the Shorebirds’ games thus far. He’s also earned a spot as a fan favorite for his friendly attitude.

While his numbers aren’t the highest on the team, Anthony also suffers from one of the strangest splits you’ll see in a player. His batting numbers at home are absolutely miserable – a .136 average, just 11 hits in 81 at bats – but 3 of his 4 home runs have come at the friendly confines of Perdue Stadium. On the other hand, put Anthony on the road and his numbers are outstanding – he’s 23 for 70, or a .329 average. It all combines for a .225 average, 4 homers, 14 RBI, and a .636 OPS.

Hopefully when it all averages out at the end of the season, “A-Mart” will put up numbers more like those he posted at Aberdeen last season, where he hit .296 with 4 homers and 50 RBI in 65 games, or his 2006 numbers in Bluefield (.304/1/19 in 47 games). The 23 year old Virginia native was picked 11th by the Orioles in the 2006 draft, so good things were expected of him. His first full season has proven to be a test, but the bat’s woken up again a little bit of late (naturally, since the Shorebirds are on the road) and we’ll see if he can finish the first half strong. Being a pretty large guy (listed at 6′-3″ and 240) strong is something he can probably manage.

Back to the ‘Birds

May 29, 2008 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Back to the ‘Birds 

A trio of interesting notes as we munch our lunches, and all pertain to food.

If you like to eat out on a regular basis, game Tuesdays will feature a buffet at the Shorebirds’ Hardball Cafe beginning next Tuesday, June 3rd. It’s not a bad deal because for $18 (or less, just $15 if you purchase in advance) you can sit right behind home plate and enjoy a buffet of ballpark fare (like burgers, dogs, chips, etc.) I can’t say that’s a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening and with warm weather finally arriving and the kids out of school there’s a pretty good reason to show up.

Later in June the Shorebirds will do a Beach Party out on their right field picnic deck, including pig roast. This will be on Saturday, June 21st, which is also a date that will have fireworks after the game. One thing about the picnic deck is that a lot of foul balls wind up out there. Some people consider that a bonus! The price on that is $26 per person, or if you’re a season ticket holder like me it’s $23.

I’ll tell you though that the one I’m looking forward to is the 1st Annual Ribfest in July. I like my ribs so that will be well worth passing up on my seat for a couple hours to partake in.

And it wouldn’t be a complete sellout by me if I didn’t bring up the upcoming bus trip to Norfolk on August 2nd. For $50 you get the trip down and a ticket to see the AAA Orioles take on the Richmond Braves. When the Shorebirds return on Monday you can stop by the Fan Club table prior to the game to sign up. Since the Shorebirds won last night, they’re now 4.5 games behind Lake County in the SAL North standings and the next three home games are against the Captains – time to make up some ground!

As always, a Shorebird of the Week awaits tonight. While the number doesn’t reflect the actual number of posts, tonight’s SotW will be the guy who flips the monoblogue odometer into four figures. The actual post number 1000 should come sometime in June.

Tired of gas prices?

May 28, 2008 · Posted in National politics, Politics, Radical Green · 1 Comment 

So’s Newt Gingrich, and since he pays a little more attention to the goings-on in Congress than even I do, he’s playing the modern-day Paul Revere and letting us know that the Warner-Lieberman global warming bill is coming up for debate in the next few days:

There must be something about springtime in Washington that makes Senators forget where they came from.

Next week, the Senate is set to begin debate on a bill that will raise the price of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil and aviation fuel. (View this Heritage Foundation state-by-state breakdown to find out how much Warner Lieberman will cost you). It’s the Warner-Lieberman global warming bill, and its supporters are as misguided and out-of-touch with the American people as the supporters of last spring’s immigration amnesty bill – and we all remember how that turned out.

There are two things you can do now to fight back.

First, call or email your Senator and tell him or her to vote “no” on Warner-Lieberman – “no” on raising the cost of driving to work, heating your home, and feeding your family.

Second, visit americansolutions.com/drillnow and sign our “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” petition.

The petition is simple but powerful. It says:

We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline prices by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries.

In just a few short days, over 45,000 Americans have signed the pledge. (Note: as of Sunday, June 1st that number is now north of 275,000.)

And with your help, as the Senate begins to debate Warner-Lieberman, American Solutions will present the names of 100,000 of their constituents who will hold them accountable if they fail to allow America the freedom to use its own energy resources instead of relying on foreign dictators.

Americans truly have a choice – a choice between the Pay More, Send More Money to Foreign Dictators and Cripple America Left and the Produce More, Enjoy More, Pay Less, Stengthen American Center-Right Majority.

Make your choice by visiting americansolutions.com/drillnow.

And you know how I am, I agree with Newt about 150 percent on this issue. The more exploration we do, the more oil and natural gas we find. The more oil and natural gas we find, the lower the price should become. Needless to say, doing more searching for oil and refining the results would mean more good-paying jobs in America, beginning in the construction trades and moving along to the actual work of converting the crude oil found into gasoline, jet fuel, and the like.

On the other hand, passing Warner-Lieberman would likely lead to much more government regulation and interference in the free market, neither of which produce desirable results. In Great Britain, which has gone farther into the realm of carbon taxes, a recent poll found 72% oppose paying higher taxes to fight climate change and 67% believe the government’s entire “green” agenda is just a ploy to raise taxes.

They’ve figured it out across the pond, but too late. Of course, maybe that’s why the Tories won big in local elections over there and should Warner-Lieberman pass a large backlash may occur at the ballot box soon after the impact hits Americans in the wallet. In the meantime, I have a petition to sign.

A Soros of the right?

Last week former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced the formation of a new political action committee, one in which he would be the honorary chair. As Romney notes:

I have a new organization that I hope will make a difference in preparing our nation to meet the challenges of the future — the Free and Strong America PAC.

Free and Strong America PAC will support officeholders and candidates who are dedicated to promoting public policies that will strengthen America at this critical time in our history. I invite you to check out our website at FreeStrongAmerica.com to learn more about us and some of the candidates we are supporting.  While there, you can  sign up for our newsletter, spread the word about us to your friends, and even make a contribution to support our efforts.

I must admit — it feels good to rejoin the fight. Thanks again for your support and friendship.

I didn’t realize Mitt knew me that well. Anyway, the PAC has already selected a number of candidates to get behind, from GOP Presidential standardbearer John McCain to several Congressional incumbents and hopefuls in six states. This list includes:

  • Dean Andel, CA-11 (candidate vs. Democrat Rep. Jerry McNerney)
  • Michelle Bachmann, MN-6 (incumbent, 100% lifetime ACU rating)
  • Tom Feeney, FL-24 (incumbent, 97.6% lifetime ACU rating)
  • Keith Fimian, VA-11 (candidate for an open seat created by the retirement of Rep. Tom Davis)
  • Joe Knollenberg, MI-9 (incumbent, 87.29% lifetime ACU rating)
  • Connie Mack, FL-14 (incumbent, 88% lifetime ACU rating)
  • Tom Price, GA-6 (incumbent, 89.5% lifetime ACU rating)

Additionally, 4 of the 5 incumbents are members of a group called the Republican Study Committee, which tends to push for legislation in a conservative vein. So it appears that the FSA PAC is off to a pretty good start insofar as supporting good candidates goes. (It’s almost by default that you have to support the top of the ticket, so I’ll let that slide.)

One thing that’s not present on the Right nearly as much as on the Left is a group of big-money players. Obviously Mitt Romney, while spending a ton of money on his Presidential aspirations, still has a few dollars in the bank to play with and hopefully he can help bankroll this group and other similar groups much as a George Soros donates to a number of radical left-wing organizations. For every Club For Growth that does donate to solid conservative candidates who favor less government regulation, you have a number of labor unions who coerce their members into paying dues that end up supporting the radical big-government types on the left side of the aisle.

Unfortunately, those who have deep pockets tend to prefer that government do all it can to enable those pockets to remain full, whether through tax laws they can buy loopholes around or regulations that favor their businesses (known as rent-seeking.) It’s much more rare to find one who wants to create wealth the old-fashioned way, being innovative and working hard to improve their product or service for the market at large. Whether or not you agreed with everything Mitt Romney stood for, it’s good to find out he’s staying in the political game and making Soros and company spend more of their green to win.

Another pro-troop effort underway

May 27, 2008 · Posted in National politics, Politics · 6 Comments 

Yesterday an effort was launched to send “the largest single shipment of care packages in U.S. history” to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ll allow the Move America Forward group to pick up the story from here:

A team of patriotic leaders are working together in a historic undertaking with the goal of sending the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in American history.  The care package drive will result in the shipment of not just 1,000 care packages — a feat accomplished by the Grand Ole Opry in October 2007.  Organizers similarly won’t settle for just the 10,000 packages shipped as part of an impressive effort undertaken by the Nevada Girl Scouts.  And they plan to surpass the efforts of the terrific organization, Operation Gratitude, which undertook a multi-day effort to pack and ship 50,000 care packages last year.

Move America Forward, the nation’s largest pro-troop organization, has launched this historic drive to rally Americans to show our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan just how much support they have from the American people back home. The effort kicked off today, Memorial Day – and will run through the months of May and June.

The grand finale for the push will take place on June 26th when a Jerry Lewis style 8-hour Internet Telethon (“From the Frontlines”) will take place. This cutting edge production “From The Frontlines” will be broadcast live online by UStream.tv and hosted by Melanie Morgan & Michelle Malkin. Live and taped reports will be broadcast from our troops serving in Iraq & Afghanistan during the historic 8-hour event.

Americans can sponsor the care packages from Move America Forward by ordering via this link from MAF’s online webstore partner: TheCampaignStore.com.

If all that isn’t enough, this is the part I like best:

The Jelly Belly candy company (maker of President Ronald Reagan’s favorite candy) has donated 100,000 bags of their gourmet jelly beans that will be included in the care packages to assist in the effort.  While the jelly beans shipped in the past were warmly received by the troops, military members say their real value comes in being able to hand out the candy to the children of the war-torn nations in which they are serving. These 100,000 bags of gourmet jelly beans are now being used to launch a “Candy Diplomacy” program as gifts to Iraqi and Afghani children. Each bag is printed with the following message (in both English & Arabic): “A gift from the American people in hopes that your country will one day enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have in the United States.” (Emphasis in original.)

Not only will the June 26th internet “telethon” feature the aforementioned Melanie Morgan and Michelle Malkin (lots of M’s there) but radio personalities Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, WorldNetDaily CEO and columnist Joseph Farah, Human Events editor Jed Babbin, Chris Ruddy of NewsMax, and others involved in various pro-military charities. Hopefully the tote board can be lit up to a high number, and although I don’t believe it’s possible to support the troops without supporting their mission this is an opportunity for anyone to help out. 

And I may be on a diet, but I think I can spare a few calories to pick up a package of Jelly Bellys. A gesture like that deserves a few extra sales, so I’ll pick one up and maybe you should too.

May 30: Name dropping update from Move America Forward:

Rush Limbaugh made headlines in 2005 when he traveled to Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops serving in the war on terror.  As he reported to his huge listening audience, he witnessed first-hand the “awe-inspiring” jobs our troops were doing there.

Now Rush has signed on to help the pro-troop organization, Move America Forward to send the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in history.  The drive will culminate in a June 26th 8-hour web-a-thon called “From the Frontlines” that will feature video reports from our troops serving in Iraq & Afghanistan – and Rush has agreed to participate in the program that will be hosted by Move America Forward Chairman, Melanie Morgan, and blogger extraordinare, Michelle Malkin.

Fourteen poor questions

Well, most of them anyway. I have a little experience writing political questions and all these come across to me as simply asking whether the responder will go along with the pet projects that the AIA advocates, rather than about a philosophical approach to government. Yes, I’m ripping on that group I belong to again.

Granted, the last four questions are a cut better than the rest. Just for fun, I’m going to pretend I’m a Congressional candidate and answer them as I would if I were seeking their endorsement or the cash from ArchiPAC. Most likely they’d make a beeline to donate to my opponent’s coffers! The headings alone pretty much tell the story.

Making Our Communities Vibrant 

1. What is your position on federal programs to increase the availability of affordable housing or workforce housing?

Constitutionally, the federal government has no role in determining housing; however, states are free to do as they please. I believe the programs in place are counterproductive because they interfere with the free market and the extra infusion of cash raises housing prices for all of us.

2. Do you support increasing the share of federal transportation dollars that are used for public transportation and for community enhancement programs?

No, I believe that, if anything, federal transportation dollars should be used to fix our aging highway infrastructure and improve those places where most people, and more importantly the majority of goods, travel – our interstate and other federal highways.

3. Would you support increasing funding for programs that promote the preservation of historic buildings and spaces and increasing the current historic rehabilitation tax credit?

While the cause can be described as noble, philosophically I’m against any sort of targeted tax credits because I believe that taxes should be as flat and fair as possible.

4. Would you support increasing the amount of federal money to be used to clean up brownfields?

I would rather see states increase their incentives to corporations to clean these sites up themselves. Again, this really isn’t properly a federal issue according to the Constitution.

Protecting the Public’s Health and Safety

5. Under federal law, federal agencies must procure architects and engineers on the basis of qualifications, not by the lowest bid. Do you support the continuation of qualifications-based selection for the procurement of architects and engineers at the federal level?

I would like to see a blend of the two philosophies, the best-qualified company for the lowest price. Perhaps streamlining the federal process and rolling back regulations placed on companies who do business with the federal government would encourage more companies to apply.

6. Do you believe that the federal government has a role in helping communities plan in ways that mitigate the effects of natural and man-made disasters? How would you reform the federal emergency management system to better help communities rebuild after disasters?

The federal government has no role in helping communities plan because each community needs to be responsible for itself. And given the inefficiency and fraud that FEMA has become famous for, maybe it’s time to scrap that whole idea.

7. In Congress would you support a federal “Good Samaritan” statute that would provide architects and engineers qualified immunity from liability for negligence when they are providing services on a volunteer basis in response to a declared disaster or emergency?

It’s a good idea. However, I can see the tort lawyers all over this one fighting it tooth and nail.

Designing a Sustainable Future

8. Do you support increasing funding for programs at the Department of Energy that promote energy efficiency, such as the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Federal Energy Management Program?

No, as a matter of fact I think the Department of Energy should be abolished. It creates no energy, while the private sector does a great job of doing so.

9. Do you support tax incentives for designing and building energy efficient buildings?

Similar to Question #3, I do not believe in targeted tax incentives; moreover, the benefits of energy efficiency should be apparent to owners anyway. Let the private sector and competition do its job.

10. Do you support setting national goals for energy efficient building codes and authorizing the Department of Energy to propose amendments to existing model codes if those codes do not meet energy efficiency targets?

No, because the situation in each state is different. Take “cool” roofs, which are generally white and reflective of solar rays. They’re a good idea in southern climes where the air conditioning load is decreased but in northern areas they actually are somewhat counterproductive in increasing the heat load. A blanket regulation would not be as efficient a solution as allowing those who are closest to the situation at hand to dictate how it is addressed.

Helping Architects Get Down to Business

11. What policies would you support to reduce the costs of health insurance for small businesses?

Policies that work to get the inefficiency of government out of the health care market and the private sector into it. One area of interstate commerce which the federal government could address is allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, allowing people in highly regulated states the opportunity to purchase less expensive “no-frills” insurance from less regulated states.

12. Do you support reforms that minimize lawsuit abuse and to promote the administration of a fair civil liability legal system without jeopardizing the public interest?

Yes, in particular the “loser pays” approach to lawsuits and a cap on punitive damages. These don’t have to be enacted federally, though – states can take it upon themselves to pass needed reforms.

13. Would you support an increase in the cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers?

I would support an increase only after we take care of border security and also enforcement against those who overstay their visas. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, up to half of illegal aliens are those who overstayed their visas, and increasing that number would in turn increase the problem.

14. Would you support the repeal of the three percent tax withholding on government contracts and the elimination of the 10 percent retainage on fees for federal contracts with architects and engineers?

Yes on both counts. Give architects their money! There should be no tax withholding, and insofar as retainage goes, architects shouldn’t have retainage. Most of our work comes before the building is even started. If the architect is doing construction administration then the retainage can be placed on that portion of the contract.


It’s likely that the only ones who will answer this questionnaire are the ones who already get the donations from ArchiPAC – most of them are Democrats. They certainly eat up those sustainability questions and love to play with the tax laws in order to regulate behavior. Obviously I feel the opposite way, placing my faith in the people and the free market. Also interesting to me was that there wasn’t any member input on the questions insofar as I know.

Of course, if the American Institute of Architects wants a good list of questions that deal with a philosophical approach to governance perhaps they can start by looking here.

Vets getting political

May 26, 2008 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Vets getting political 

Another one of those releases I received just in time for Memorial Day, this one questions presumptive Democrat candidate Barack Obama’s foreign policy declaration about meeting with our enemies unconditionally.

(Last Friday) Vets for Freedom Political Action launched its first internet advertisement, which asks Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) why he is willing to meet, unconditionally, with foreign dictators, but has shown no interest in meeting with Commanders on the Ground and has not visited Iraq in over 2 years.

The 60-second ad… features retired Iraq war veteran Sergeant Garrett Anderson. Sergeant Anderson served in Iraq with the Illinois Army National Guard, and was severely wounded when his patrol was hit by an IED.

The ad highlights the unfortunate fact that:

1) Senator Obama has never met, one-on-one, with the Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.

2) Senator Obama has not visited Iraq, and our brave troops on the ground, in over two years. His last visit to Iraq was January 2006, and he was there for less than two days.

3) On April 8, when two-dozen Illinois veterans went to his office for a meeting, Senator Obama was unwilling to meet with them. He was in the office, just wouldn’t come out. Sergeant Anderson was a member of that group.

This is the first in a series of ads from Vets for Freedom PAC.

In my continuing effort to figure out the new version of WordPress I now have, I’m going to try to embed the ad here. But if it doesn’t work, you can still check out the Vets for Freedom website.

And the group is getting political, as I noticed they’ve endorsed a quintet of Congressional candidates across the country who served in the military recently. Most notable among them is Duncan D. Hunter, the son of the Presidential candidate of the same name and hopeful to succeed his father in Congress when the elder Hunter retires after this term. I wonder if they’ll throw their support behind Naval reservist Andy Harris in our local race as well.

A timely message from Freedom’s Watch

May 25, 2008 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off on A timely message from Freedom’s Watch 

Some of you may know that I get occasional notes from a fine group called Freedom’s Watch. With this being Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be worth sharing their perspective on some recent events involving our troops and how the Democrats really feel about them and their mission.

As Americans take time this Memorial Day to remember those who have given what Lincoln called “the full measure of devotion” to protect our freedoms, here in Washington it is politics as usual – actually, it’s even uglier than usual.

Congress this week found time to honor a college basketball team, Arnold Palmer, and Frank Sinatra…but then went home for a two-week vacation without funding American troops in combat, putting even the paychecks of our soldiers in jeopardy.

That’s bad enough, now this video surfaces in which Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a leading congressional liberal, admits that Democrats lied to the public on the War in Iraq to win control of Congress.  You’ll be outraged by what you see.

In response, Freedom’s Watch is launching a telephone campaign to inform Americans about Congress’ cynical and reckless dereliction of duty and how it’s hurting our troops.  On our behalf, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan will be calling constituents all across the country telling them what their representatives are up to and asking them to deliver to Congress a simple message:  stop playing politics and support the troops!

Yes, they might be robocalls but sometimes the means of bringing the message to the public needs to be more direct, Lord knows this sort of story never finds its way to the drive-by media. We’d never know about the Kanjorski video if it were up to them.

In the meantime, take a few moments this weekend to contemplate those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Blog construction – traffic (hopefully) maintained

May 24, 2008 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Blog construction – traffic (hopefully) maintained 

This is simply to warn the half-dozen of you who may read here in the next few hours (yes I know traffic is dreadfully slow on the Saturday night of a holiday weekend) that you may find my site inaccessible while I upgrade to WordPress 2.5.

It’s a good time to take care of this so I shall.

And I have, thank you very much to the person who wrote the automatic updating plugin. Man, that is sweet! But this version looks a LOT different as far as editing and whatnot, so we’ll see how things go. I may have to relearn a few things – but you can teach an old dog new tricks once in awhile.

Weekend of local rock volume 15

May 23, 2008 · Posted in Delmarva items, Local Music, Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

I warned you this was coming, and it has arrived. But tonight I’m going to look at two bands who are both good at what they’re doing and doing good with either the show I’m depicting, or an upcoming show.

As many of my readers know, last Saturday I participated in the Courageous Christopher 5K walk and I left you with this picture:

The band Red No Blue was the entertainment at the postrace picnic last Saturday.

What I chose not to show until this post was another telling picture:

If you look about halfway down the list, you may see a familiar name - one I just mentioned.

Not only did Red No Blue donate their time, apparently they made the donation to qualify as a Silver Sponsor. I thought that was outstanding because a lot of folks would make a bigger deal of this; instead the group just played their bread-and-butter mix of alternative/pop hits made popular over the last decade or so. Here’s a couple shots of them in action.

Red No Blue playing at the Courageous Christopher postrace picnic. The singer started out with an acoustic guitar...

...then spent the second half of the set plugged in, which I preferred.

I thought they put on a good show. But there were two things that were a shame about it. First of all, the generator that was supplying the power for a large portion of the event kept cutting out on the band during the first half of the show, before the awards presentation. So they’d get into a song and phffft…there went the juice. After the awards the power problem was straightened out but there weren’t a whole lot of us around to enjoy the tunes. I know, I’m a little obsessive about local music but I would’ve liked some more company to watch the band play.

Still, Red No Blue deserves kudos for stepping up to the plate for a good cause. If they decide to run the event again I’ll certainly be inclined to participate and hopefully beat 40 minutes the next time.

After a break of about 8 hours, I headed eastward to West OC and Trader Lee’s to catch a frequent subject of the WLR series and good friends of mine:

Not only is the band cool, having the red light splash onto their sign made that an awesome pic too.

If you’ve never seen a Semiblind show, why the hell not? All right, I know not everyone who reads my site lives in or visits the greater Delaware area but if you do, go scope them out – these guys are good. They can do everything from classics like the Doors or Janis Joplin to new stuff like Finger 11. One of the folks at Trader Lee’s thought having Janis there, or at least depicted, would be appropriate:

Okay, Janis Joplin's been gone awhile but I think she'd approve of how Michele handles her songs.

However, I actually like Semiblind’s original songs better, and I really wish they’d do more in a show. I will grant that they’re breaking in a relatively new drummer, as Andy took over just a few months ago:

I had fun fixing this picture so you could actually see Andy back there hammering the drums.

He seems to be working himself into the group just fine, though. The other parts of the rhythm comes from Asher on bass, while Michele will pitch in on songs that Jim sings.

Michele doing the tamborine and Asher playing his bass. It's a great combination.

The sound of the band is defined by Jim’s guitar though. The dude can shred when he puts his mind to it and because last Sunday was his birthday the mind was definitely there. I was just happy to get a shot of him looking up and used a little photo magic to make it look good:

Jim was jamming on this song. But that's generally the case anyway, he just didn't have vocals on this particular song.

Semiblind is pretty unique that they have two lead singers, which expands the list of songs they can do. Toward the end of the show though I found out that my Myspace friend Casey of Agent 99 has a little competition:

It's not a bottle-green bass, but I think red is more Michele's color anyway. She played the bass line to this one pretty well, so categorize her as multitalented.

I always like to toss in a gratuitous Michele shot when I do these.

My gratuitous Michele shot. It turned out pretty good aside from a touch of redeye, don't you think? Never mind I tried about 6 times to get just the right shot - after all, disk space isn't hard to come by.

Now, way back at the start I alluded to the two bands doing good. Obviously, Red No Blue did their part for the event they played at. In this case, Semiblind wasn’t playing for a cause aside from the paycheck and celebration of Jim’s birthday. (It was definitely the most wild Semiblind show I’d seen, and a load of fun.)

Semiblind does have not one but two shows on their upcoming docket that are for a cause. On Sunday afternoon (the 25th) they’re one of the bands at the Benefit for a Random Soldier that will be held at the American Legion hall in Millsboro, Delaware. The event is designed to help families of those Marines who have died defending our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After that, the next benefit Semiblind will entertain at is coming up Saturday, June 7th at The House Bar and Grill in Laurel, Delaware (right where Routes 13 and 9 meet.) This is an all-day event to defray the medical expenses of B.J. Mohr, who was critically hurt in an auto accident and actually put together by members of the group Another Vicious Cycle, who will be playing along with Semiblind and numerous other bands (I believe it’s a 10 band lineup.) Yes, I’m all over that one and likely it’s the subject of WLR volume 16.

And people wonder why I support local music as I do. It’s because they’re pretty cool folks who are looking to make their big break and if I can help them out as they would help others then I’ll do what I can. This weekend, besides taking time out to honor our fallen veterans whether it be at a parade or a ceremony like we have locally, taking in some local rock would be a great way to kick off the summer of 2008.

Late edit: One cool thing about WordPress 2.5.1 is that I can insert media into my post, so let’s see how it goes. Here’s a sample of how Semiblind sounds live.

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