Addressing turnout for 2 too

February 28, 2009 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2009 - Salisbury, Delmarva items, Politics · Comments Off on Addressing turnout for 2 too 

With the Salisbury city primary election upcoming on Tuesday, I received a press release from Debbie Campbell’s campaign this evening simply pointing out where the lines are drawn for the City Council race. In the linked .pdf file, the area of District 1 is shaded pink while her District 2 is shaded yellow. I suppose one could call it breaking news, at least in terms of when it hit my e-mail box.

For the most part the area of Salisbury lying north and west of the Wicomico River is shaded pink, except for the area along Pemberton Drive beyond the school and West Salisbury Little League diamonds, which are part of District 2. Much of Salisbury’s minority population is segregated into District 1.

In turn one could make the assumption that turnout in District 1 will be heavier than average because they’ll have a Council race to vote on whereas those in District 2 will only have the Mayoral primary, which may dampen turnout to some extent.

In my mind this gives somewhat of an advantage to the two Democrats on the ballot in this “nonpartisan” election. As we’ve found in 2008, the vast majority of the minority vote goes toward the Democrats and their area will be turning out in numbers greater than average. Meanwhile, most of the city’s Republican base lives in District 2, where voters  may have a lack of motivation to show up for voting on a chilly March day.

So if you want to get a Republican on the final ballot it’s going to be definitely up to Republicans getting to the polls and voting for Bob Caldwell or Mike Della Penna. Let the Democrats be lazy Tuesday.

I also got a note from Muir Boda regarding his campaign contributions. So far his coffers are somewhat shy of Debbie Campbell’s and a good deal of his money comes from self-financing. As far as contributions go Boda trails by about a 2.5 to 1 margin; however, both candidates are in arrears to themselves for a significant amount of money.

Neither have attracted a large number of contributors. Campbell’s list includes several prominent names while the two largest contributions to Boda’s cause (aside from family and self-financing) came from former City Council member Lynn Cathcart and local businessman John Robinson, who both maxed their alloted limit.

It was good of Boda to provide me the list, as he sent it to my Facebook page. And while he trails in fundraising at this time, I suspect much more money will come to that race after the mayoral race is set. Once the contenders are separated from the pretenders that’s generally when the tempo and degree of fundraising usually increase.

Odds and ends no. 18

It’s time to clean out my “blog ideas” e-mail closet again.

Let’s start with something that I noted during the 2008 campaign but haven’t had the time to follow up on in the aftermath – the impact of political action committees and how well they supported candidates. I haven’t gone through and compiled their effects yet (it’s on my to-do list) but noteworthy is the formation of SarahPAC, named after guess who? Sarah Palin.

It’s actually a pretty site, with two types of scenery. But the aim of SarahPAC is:

Dedicated to building America’s future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.

SarahPAC believes America’s best days are ahead. Our country, founded on conservative principles and the fight for freedom, must confront the challenges of the 21st century with integrity, innovation, and determination.

SarahPAC believes energy independence is a cornerstone of the economic security and progress that every American family wants and deserves.

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals. Join us today!

I’m not so sure that health care and education would be the goals I’d set unless it was to get the federal government out of both areas. But it’s yet another PAC that’s gearing up for the 2010 campaign.

Another sore spot of health care was considered as a victory by the American Cancer Society.

As many of you recall I participated in Relay for Life last year because I have family members afflicted with the disease. While I’m still planning on participating this year, I’m a little disappointed that the American Cancer Society saw this as a victory:

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama has signed into law a measure that will save lives by lowering smoking rates and reducing tobacco consumption while giving millions of uninsured children access to quality health care.

The new law expands the successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by increasing the federal cigarette tax by the largest amount ever, to a total of just over $1 per pack. The increase will prevent more than 900,000 smoking-related deaths, deter nearly 1.9 million children from smoking, and encourage 1.4 million adults to quit.

Is this like creating or saving 3 million jobs? Perhaps the numbers are correct, but one could look at this as a blow to the hopes of keeping Social Security and Medicare solvent too. Meanwhile the feds expanded SCHIP not by covering more poor children but by increasing the income and age thresholds for eligibilty. To me, SCHIP was a bad idea to begin with and proves that even a GOP-controlled Congress can make mistakes sometimes.

Read more

Local disclosure

February 26, 2009 · Posted in All politics is local, Bloggers and blogging, Campaign 2009 - Salisbury, Delmarva items, Politics · Comments Off on Local disclosure 

This is an interesting item I was allotted on Tuesday night. City Council candidate Debbie Campbell sent me this press release, which read in part:

City council member Debbie Campbell, candidate for reelection for the District 2 council seat, will post her campaign finance report for the reporting period ending 2/25/09 on her website today in the “Press Room” and “Hot Topics” tabs.

“I continue to advocate for transparency in government and politics.  While campaign reports are available to the public through filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the government, I am happy to make the reports easily accessible to the public.” says Campbell.  “I appreciate the contributions that have been made to the campaign and the support that I have received through volunteerism.  It would be my honor to serve Salisbury for a second term.”

What I noticed about the actual report is how few people have actually contributed to her cause. If you throw out a couple contributions I’m guessing were made in order to verify the PayPal system really works, there’s fewer than 30 contributors thus far with just two opting to use PayPal.

I’ll grant that Mrs. Campbell has no need to worry about votes until April because of her primary, but Debbie’s biggest expense seems to be the items she paid for herself, including $896 to a Houston firm for yard signs and car magnets. (I wonder if the Campbell’s Soup cans are among the $10 for “table decorations.”)

Perhaps I’m just used to poring over pages and pages of contributions to see just who likes candidate A or candidate B but it sure seems like very few people are currently willing to put a financial stake into that Council race (since Muir Boda reads my site sometimes I’m curious how his finances have shaped up thus far as well.)

To this point, money hasn’t really corrupted politics in that Council district. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the real fundraising drive begins now that the pre-election disclosures are pretty much out of the way.

Post-worthy comment #98740

I was thinking about writing a follow-up to President Obama’s speech last night but all that would’ve been was republishing the Maryland GOP’s response along with my thoughts, which mostly echo Jim Pelura’s sentiments anyway. It doesn’t help that the Maryland Democrats don’t see fit to trumpet their President’s accomplishments, or at least attempt to pin blame on Obama’s predecessor for everything that’s gone wrong for the last fifty years. They must know that I would have plenty of fun blowing all those straw men away.

Instead, I happened to moderate comments moments ago and stared at two of them, which for simplicity’s sake I’ll meld into one statement:

So what did you Reddies do to boost the real Rep(ublican) candidate in the Salisbury Mayoral contest — Bob Caldwell (not Della Penna)? Nothing, I presume!

First of all, neither Caldwell nor Mike Della Penna was present at our meeting Monday night.  (Both did have literature onsite, as did Jim Ireton. Now that takes a little chutzpah.) I presume that may have been because City Council meets at the same time; however, our meeting ran late enough that either or both could have made an appearance. Of the two, Mike has actually attended more GOP events over the recent past.

But both the Republican Club and the Central Committee have adopted a policy where we don’t support any candidate prior to the primary as a body. Certainly I’m sure both organizations have those who support one or the other, most likely more support Caldwell simply based on name recognition. Furthermore, the election only affects a small number of members – only one of the seven elected to the Central Committee actually lives inside Salisbury, although at least three others work within city limits. Likely this is true among the WCRC membership as well.

But, one may ask, why did we invite Pocomoke City mayor and General Assembly candidate Mike McDermott to our meeting? Well, he’s the first one to declare. We’ll be happy to entertain GOP candidates for the General Assembly as they decide to jump into the race – after all, we have 17 meetings – give or take – until the primary, assuming the state maintains a September 2010 schedule.

Without even knowing whether we’ll have a stake in the race, we’re co-sponsoring a Mayoral forum in Salisbury next month with the Wicomico County Democratic Club. One would like to think that one of the two Democrats contending for the post would be eliminated, although turnout will obviously be key. This is especially true when you consider District 2, where the vast majority of the city’s GOP stalwarts reside, does not have a contested City Council primary.

However, just because neither the Wicomico County Republican Club nor the party’s Central Committee have backed a candidate, my commentor (who went by the nom de plume “Bubba Buster” this time; this person comments regularly under a variety of names) should not assume that there’s no GOP interest in the race. We’re just allowing the party faithful the freedom to back whichever candidate they want. Read more

A sign of things to come

This article that appeared last week in Business Week and republished on Yahoo News scares me to a great extent – at least the symbolism of it.

The economic fall of New York City due to the financial crisis is contrasted to the boom of Washington, D.C. in the piece by Peter Coy. But I see it as a microcosm of the larger shift our nation seems to be undertaking from capitalism to socialism. Washington’s boom corresponds with the growth in power and reach of the federal government, which has come to echo the old saw about Washington’s southern efficiency and northern charm.

Our state is a beneficiary of this shift in power, although I feel that as a whole it’s detrimental to the interests of the state. Because a large portion of the population in our state has a direct or indirect stake in a large, powerful federal government (either directly as an employee or indirectly in serving among the many entities who seek to shape federal policy) they tend to view government as something to be desired and not feared. While Governor O’Malley sees the state as “One Maryland” the part he caters to is that part which tends to depend on the government for some aspect of their existence, whether through employment or handout.

On the other hand, New York City’s wealth and power was predominantly built up by the hard work of millions of Americans who wanted to invest in their future and their children’s future. But much of that wealth was blown away in the market crash which, ironically, was brought about in part by events occurring in Washington. It’s quite unfortunate that markets now listen to what the government does more often than what happens with the Dow Jones Industrial member companies.

In a perfect world, Washington D.C. would be a sleepy backwater on the order of our smallest state capital, with just enough facilities to address the functions Constitutionally mandated for a limited federal government. Alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case anytime soon.

WCRC meeting – February 2009

Once again we had another dynamic speaker to address our group at the latest Wicomico County Republican Club meeting this evening. Tonight it was Pocomoke City mayor and legislative candidate Michael McDermott.

First we had the usual formalities, this month led by outgoing First VP George Ossman who subbed for club President Marc Kilmer. After the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, minutes from January and treasurer’s report, we next heard a letter from our January speaker, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis. In it, Lewis saluted the Republican Club and thanked us for our support. It was a pleasant surprise; normally our speakers don’t take a few moments out of their day to thank us for our support.

Next up came the monthly report from the Young Republicans and their President Mark Biehl. Their February 7th food drive was termed as a “huge success” and they’re in the beginning stages of putting together a fundraiser for Andy Harris and his 2010 run. Mark also announced the March meeting would return to the Flavors of Italy restaurant on East Main Street on Thursday, March 12th.

Dr. John Bartkovich then asked to defer his Central Committee report to later in the agenda so we could hear from our scheduled speaker. Read more

An apt cartoon

February 23, 2009 · Posted in Business and industry, Kratovil Watch, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on An apt cartoon 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it looks like I can save a whole lot of typing by inserting this recent cartoon by Michael Ramirez:

This political cartoon by Michael Ramirez pretty much sums up what a lot of America thinks about the so-called 'stimulus' package.

Now there is an argument that there should be some RINO pellets in that pile and that contention is a correct one to an extent. However, when you consider that had any of the 58 Senate Democrats thoughtfully departed from what became the party line and dissented from the stimulus package, you should realize that those “no” votes would have been enough to sink it as well. Certainly there is plenty of blame to assign to Senators Specter, Snowe, and Collins, but there’s a lot of Senators who have a “D” after their name who are equally guilty. At least there were still seven Democrats in the House who showed some cajones – unlike our so-called “independent” representative who doesn’t trust in the people to drive our economy despite the fact they’ve done it for what, 230 years or so?

Anyway, what Ramirez drew up simply serves as a timesaver for my rant. We’re stuck with this thing now, at least insofar as immediate spending is concerned. Perhaps over the next four years we’ll put the adults back in charge and terminate what we can of this boondoggle. Until then, look for a bleak economic outlook and yet more attempts to jumpstart the economy by attaching the cables to the tailpipe instead of the engine.

Carnival of Maryland 53 is up

February 22, 2009 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Carnival of Maryland, Maryland Bloggers Alliance, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Carnival of Maryland 53 is up 

As one of my duties as the head honcho of the Maryland Blogger Alliance, it’s my pleasure to point out that the 53rd Carnival of Maryland is up at The Political Octagon. Thus begins the 3rd year of our semi-weekly roundup of highlights from our state’s blogosphere (and sometimes beyond).

Today also marks a somewhat sad day but one I figured would happen sooner or later. Of the twenty sites that were on the original most influential list that BlogNetNews began back in 2007, mine was the last one to survive being on the top 20 list every week, until today. Then again I suspected this might be the case once I decided to cut down my posting frequency from the 10 or 12 a week to the 5 you got to read this week. Obviously I have many new demands on my time and something had to give.

So the streak is over. It’s been fun, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the list again but probably not to the extent that I once was. I’ll still track it as I have in the past because the horserace aspect appeals to me regardless of who’s on the list. And there are many fine websites in Maryland that, quite frankly, are probably more deserving of inclusion right now.

It seems to me though that the influence ratings place a premium on how many posts one does a week, particularly when all BlogNetNews consists of is an aggregation of what’s posted on member websites. Obviously the more posts one has, the more opportunity one would have to stay up top on their site and I presume on their influence list. With 10 to 12 posts a week I was always close to the top, with 5 to 7 I fell off the list. I don’t think my writing became worse, just less frequent.

So this week you’ll only see one little badge with my common-sense rantings and ravings – I’m still on the Delmarva list but awhile back I missed a week on that one so the Maryland streak was the only one remaining.

Now that I’ve finished hijacking my post for my resigned complaint, let me return to point and tell you that the next edition (number 54) of the Carnival of Maryland will go to a first-time host, Insane Baltimore. That will occur on March 8th – hopefully by that time I’ll also be able to update our MBA widget to reflect the increased membership of late because Blogrolling will be back online. If you want to join our growing group, let me know via the e-mail address on my upper left-hand column – just above the BNN ranking.

Maryland’s pod

This morning I took a little time to see about something I assumed would be true and I was absolutely 100% correct. So far there have been 64 recorded votes in this Senate session and our two erstwhile, well-meaning, but for the most part incorrect Senators have voted in the exact same manner all 64 times. At least in Delaware you get a little variation between Senators Carper and Kaufman – they have voted at odds with each other 6 times in 59 votes.

To tell you what this means, let’s look at what the not-so-Free State’s not-so-dynamic duo has supported in just this edition of Congress.

They both voted for the “porkulus” package conference report. In addition, they voted against a direct rebate on taxes rather than spending the money (in other words, they feel the government knows better where to spend your money than you do), voted for ACORN funding with the “porkulus” money, for maintaining the Clinton tax on Social Security benefits, against decreasing our taxes in general, for expanding the government in general with “porkulus” funds, and for maintaining a tax break for their Hollywood friends.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they allowed the expansion of SCHIP, but against expanding it to the unborn. Meanwhile, they also cast their ballots in favor of people scrapping their private insurance to get on the government dole and against the true intent of the SCHIP program, which was to help low-income children be covered. Nor will the unborn in other nations we assist be spared, in part because of their votes.

They also voted to allow the tax cheat Timothy Geithner to head the IRS and against true freedom of choice whether to join a union or not.

Yet the majority of Maryland voters elected these two – only six counties voted against both the last time they were on the ballot. (We should thank the voters of Carroll, Cecil, Garrett, Harford, Queen Anne’s, and Washington counties for their common sense – unfortunately the lower Shore needs to become hip to Senator Mikulski’s true record by November of 2010.) I have to ask if these sorts of votes are what the electorate truly wanted.

There has always been a “throw the bums out” attitude among the general public, EXCEPT when it comes to their own bum. I’m sure both Senators are decent people in person, I don’t recall meeting either in person so I couldn’t say from personal experience. But their voting record is dreadful, particularly in this session which has primarily focused on pocketbook issues. Simply put, they don’t trust you with your money and believe only the government that placed us in this economic mess can allow us to get out of it. If that’s not a definition of insanity, it’s pretty damn close.

Then again, Maryland voters have proven time and again that they vote with their eyes wide shut and against their better interests – that is, unless they enjoy being sheeple.

The next guy on the unemployment line

February 19, 2009 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off on The next guy on the unemployment line 

I’m not sure how this guy is going to keep his job after what went on today. Mocking the all-important stimulus package on a cable network not named FOX?

Rick Santelli is his name, and in many respects he’s exactly correct. Why should I, a guy who’s played by the rules and financed my home in a prudent manner, be the one who’s left holding the bag?

It’s especially true now that I’ve gone into business for myself. If I succeed to any reasonable degree (which I have confidence that I will) all that may get me is a higher tax bracket. Is that the American Way?

We have tried three different styles and types of stimulus packages now – first direct payments to the taxpayers, next bailing out the banks to create more credit, and now the Keynesian spending of government money to prime the economy. You can see on the bottom of the video in the occasional scroll that the markets REALLY love this  – otherwise would they be scraping the bottom of the barrel at levels unseen in several years? And it’s funny that no one is blaming Presidential policies for the market tanking.

What do we do next if this latest stimulus doesn’t work? Will there be any businesses left to create jobs? I don’t want to find out but I’m afraid I will.

Objectivity

In reviewing comments last night, I found where frequent commentor “Final Frontier” rather pithily dismissed John Leo Walter’s citation of a Heritage Foundation piece about President Ronald Reagan because of the source, one she considered somewhat biased.

At the same time, I received my usual weekly assignment item from the Patriot Post; this week they asked me to write a short piece about the controversy regarding politicization of next year’s census by the White House, particularly once they picked a Republican to head the Commerce Department.

It got me to thinking about how someone can see a scholarly look at the legacy of a President she dislikes as so biased, yet presumably belong to a party which has no problem with taking an educated guess regarding how many Americans live here and where exactly their domicile lies.

According to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, it’s up to Congress how the Census is completed:

“The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as (Congress) shall by Law direct.”

The problem occurs when Congress uses that count to distribute over $300 billion in funding based on those figures. For every person not counted or placed in a different jurisdiction, that’s $1,000 in federal funding one could call misallocated. Forget that there’s homeless people who may not wish to be counted and many millions here illegally who shouldn’t be.

In the runup to the last Census, there was a bid to allow for statistical sampling to determine the population in particular areas. Fortunately the Supreme Court decided that was improper insofar as Congressional districts are concerned, but they left the door open for states to redraw their legislative districts in that manner. If you look at how Wicomico County is drawn legislatively by the state of Maryland, one has to ponder whether there was sampling used or just a mad attempt to run our county’s map through a jigsaw.

To me, it seems like the Democrats want to do a census in the same manner they want to count votes – just like in a close political race, they want to magically “find” a few extra residents in areas they control. If a count is to be done, it needs to be done accurately by counting as many willing residents as possible. It’s a citizen’s civic duty to stand and be counted – but just once.

The secret revealed

February 17, 2009 · Posted in Personal stuff · 4 Comments 

I hope you didn’t miss me TOO much yesterday. But there was a reason I took a blogging day off.

There are some of you who already knew this, but many of you didn’t know that back in December I was laid off from my architectural job. In and of itself, that isn’t unusual because the building industry has simply been pummeled by this recession – so I joined a whole lot of other people in that field on the unemployment line.

It was because so many people were chasing so few jobs in the local area that I finally decided now was a good time to consider something new. My choice was either to stay in my field but have to leave a place I’d moved to by choice and had grown to consider home, or stay here but try something new.

Over the last week or so I’ve been hard at work studying, and this morning I took and passed my exam to sell health and accident insurance. Then I signed a contract to become an associate for AFLAC. Yes, I’m now under the wing of the AFLAC duck.

However, my capacity is not one of employee. In reality, I have taken the step to become one of the millions of small businessmen (and women) out there who now make their living through sales as an independent contractor.

My job is still client service as it was for my previous employer, but it’s up to me to create my own wealth. Fortunately, I believe that I have an excellent product to sell – once I learned all that AFLAC can do for those who get hurt and miss work (or become sick with cancer, which hits me close to home) I was thinking, “man, I wish my previous employer had this!”

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to help employers understand how AFLAC can be a benefit to their employees, and can even save them money.

The biggest hurdle I have to success then is actually getting in the door and introducing myself and AFLAC to employers. After that, I’m pretty confident they’ll jump at the chance to offer employee benefits that round out what used to be considered a full benefit package – after all, health insurance will pay for hospital and doctor bills but what about the other bills that inevitably pile up?  That’s where AFLAC comes in.

Now many of you know me through what I write. Obviously not all of you align with my political viewpoint, but few people would argue that I don’t exhibit integrity, truthfulness, and diligence with what I write. That’s the same way I intend to approach my new venture.

Here’s what I’m asking. If you are an employer, I’d just like to have a few minutes of your time to explain what we have to offer. If you’re an employee, well, AFLAC always tells people to ask about it at work and you can tell those you work with that you know someone who can explain the benefits.

And even if you’re neither, if you know someone who is I’d appreciate the introduction. Besides, I do need a few dry runs at doing the presentation and everyone has to start someplace.

If you’d like to arrange a time to allow me to introduce (or reacquint) myself and how I can help your business, I’d be grateful for the opportunity. My cel number is (443) 523-5367.

By the way, I will note that I’m sure that the opinions expressed on this site may not necessarily reflect the opinions of AFLAC. But they didn’t always reflect my previous employer’s either, so I think I’ll be okay.

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