Shorebird of the Week – April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – April 30, 2009 

Things were looking up for Ron Welty even during the pre-season practice session.
Ron Welty's distinctive yet classical high-bat stance has paid him handsome dividends at the plate so far this year.

Perhaps he was a bit of an afterthought in the Orioles’ 2008 draft as a 22nd round pick, but so far Ron Welty has proven to be one of the few reliable bats in the Delmarva offensive attack this spring.

After a 4-for-4 performance yesterday against the Lakewood BlueClaws, Welty raised his average to a sparkling .309 mark and became the second Shorebird on the young season to crack double-digits in his RBI total. His .815 OPS mark is also second on the team behind Joe Mahoney, giving the Shorebirds a potent lefty-righty setup in the middle of the lineup.

With his 21st birthday in the recent past, the product of Arizona’s Chandler-Gilbert Community College may not be the most polished talent on the team but he has managed to hit well at both his professional stops – his numbers thus far are on a very comparable pace to those he achieved last season in 55 games at Bluefield. There he hit .314/3/34 with an OPS of .801 and perhaps the one knock on him was walking just 9 times compared to 49 strikeouts. So far in 2009 Welty’s been more selective and walked 8 times compared to 16 strikeouts.

If Ron can make a little better contact he promises to be a dangerous hitter in the middle of the lineup; one the Shorebirds faithful can rely on for clutch hitting. So far Welty’s been outstanding with runners in scoring position, hitting .368 (7-for-19) in those situations.

If he can hold true to prior performance, 2009 may be the one and only season we see Ron Welty in a Shorebirds jersey.

WCRC meeting – April 2009

Since this will be our last meeting for a couple months and we had an informative guest speaker, there was a pretty decent showing of about 30 members for the club’s March meeting. Once through the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and treasurer’s report (the minutes were mistakenly left at home by our secretary) we got to the meat of our meeting.

Bob Miller spoke first about the “hot” time at the Salisbury Festival and opined that the attendance was “noticeably” down, basing his estimate on traffic at the nearby Powellville VFD booth – normally they had lines back to the WCRC booth for their oyster sandwiches. But our booth was still profitable; just not as much as the 2008 version was.

Next up was Ryan Biehl, who gave the Lower Shore Young Republicans’ account of their efforts. He was pleased to announce that the club had been nominated once again for the club of the year award in Maryland after winning in 2008. Member Nick Loffer is also in the running for the YR’s man of the year award.

Turning to the event front, the LSYR’s are holding a fundraiser on May 23rd featuring State Senator Andy Harris as a keynote speaker – more details will certainly be following in this space.

Filling in for an ailing county Chair Dr. John Bartkovich, Vice Chair Dave Parker gave the Central Committee report. It actually consisted of announcements of upcoming events, including this weekend’s state Republican spring convention in Hagerstown. Other events are a fundraiser for Senator Colburn and Delegates Eckardt and Haddaway on Sunday, May 3rd and the Tawes event in Crisfield in July. That same venue (Somers Cove Marina) also hosts a fundraiser for our guest speaker on June 13th.

Delegate Page Elmore pledged to “stick to the facts as I know them” for his address on the recently-concluded 2009 General Assembly session. While he called the FY2010 budget an “interesting document”, he spent a good portion of his time rehashing how we got to where we are.

Probably most alarming in Elmore’s budget discussion was how the state ended up making its books balance in the near-term future – it will be because of a $4 billion infusion of federal “stimulus” funds, which are slated to be released to the state of Maryland each October through 2011. But, Page asked, “what happens in 2012?” Assuming the Democrats are re-elected, the only way to cover the new shortfall would be to raise taxes.

Elmore also discussed the 10% of the stimulus package which is actually going toward its announced purpose: infrastructure. Most of the rest goes to education and propping up the Medicare/Medicaid system. Roads that were originally slated to be repaired under half of the 2008 sales tax increase of 1% would be somewhat covered with stimulus funds; however, the Transportation Trust Fund was still lagging its envisioned amount by $300 million. Those funds were raided to balance the state’s budget in the last couple years.

And then we have the infamous Nitrogen Reduction Act of 2009. Sponsored for the most part by Democrats whose districts would be little affected by the change, the bill mandates costly upgrades for the septic systems of those homeowners who live within the reach of so-called “critical areas” should their existing systems fail. And while the state is supposed to help these owners, the available funding covers less than half of the estimated need.

Of course, given the rampant incrementalism the General Assembly is famous for, look for all homeowners with septic systems to have this mandate in a year or two. As the owner of a home with a septic system, I guarantee it.

Page noted that he and most of the rest of the Eastern Shore delegation fought the legislation “tooth and nail” – only the uber-liberal Rudy Cane voted in favor of the final bill in the House. All to address perhaps 6% of the pollution coming into the bay.

Other key issues Elmore spoke to were the two-tier drivers’ license bill, which mandates proof of legal presence for new applicants but allows existing license holders to renew without proof until 2015 (or two state election cycles), limiting early voting to six days and excluding Sunday voting on the 2010 election (but not in 2012), and securing the funds for three new Medevac helicopters per year until the entire 12-copter fleet is replaced. It’s a key issue for Shore residents because of the distance to medical facilities for severe trauma cases in this rural region.

All in all, the Delegate told those present he “enjoys the game of wits” in Annapolis and looked forward to continuing to serve. When asked later whose seats he considered vulnerable locally, he simply stated “we’re all vulnerable” and wouldn’t elaborate further.

Briefly, we addressed an issue of old business as the committees suggested in the last meeting were still being formed.

Two pieces of new business were considered; one being our annual donation to the Wicomico YMCA (which garnered no opposition), and the other a question about where the club stood on the Wicomico County downzoning issue. At this point the club is not taking a stand, although many members do not support the changes.

With that, we adjourned until June 22nd as our next fourth Monday date falls on Memorial Day.

Salisbury Festival Saturday in pictures and text

April 26, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 5 Comments 

Photos and observations from yesterday’s events, or at least some of those which occurred while I was there.

Let’s begin with this one that I darn near stepped on:

I got there a little late for watching the young folks working on this but here's a sample of what was done to about 20 feet of sidewalk as part of Arts on the Plaza.

At least this year there wasn’t any rain to wash it away. Seems to me it was either last year or the one before where we had a little thunderstorm blow through about closing time.

But this year one could argue the weather was near-perfect; perhaps a little bit hot for some of the old-timers and those whose booths landed them in the sun for the better part of the day. Since I brought up Arts on the Plaza, here’s a couple looks at the attendance. The first shot I took around noon, the second about 1:30.

Looking from the corner of Main and Division Streets, Arts on the Plaza had a relatively modest showing at noon.

As you can tell, compared to the shot above things had picked up to a more steady stream by 1:30 or so. The shot is taken from practically the same vantage point in both cases.

I also took comparison shots along the next block of Main Street, but from different perspectives in this case. For the first shot from noontime I simply crossed over Division Street and looked easterly, the second shot is taken from the Baptist Street corner by the Chamber of Commerce (who sponsors the event and should be commended for their support.)

Main Street wasn't all that busy yet at noon. Heck, there weren't even lines to get into the porta-potties.

The streetscape looked much less anemic at 1:30. As an aside, I also appreciate PRMC bringing over their van each year because I take advantage of the opportunity to get a quick checkover. The other aside is that I wouldn't have liked the job of costumed character (as in the one Aaron's had) yesterday!

Another observation I have is that the people who schedule talent were somewhat shrewd in making the Festival attractive. By putting the groups with multiple participants on the Court Street and Government Office Building stages they at least bring the parents of the kids down to check out the rest of the exhibits and such for a little while. On the other hand it doesn’t do a whole lot for Arts on the Plaza.

And while last year there were a number of bands I wanted to check out, this year there were just two for whom I stuck around to see part of their show. I’ll put those in a future post since I have 16 photos in this one already!

One aspect of the Salisbury Festival which rarely disappoints me is the Wheels That Heal car show. These are five of the best cars I saw – unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to write down the owners’ names but they know who they are and they do a lot of work keeping this Detroit iron in fine running order.

I’m ranking them from five to one in this case; not to say there weren’t other cars I really liked but there’s a couple I think I’ve posted before too.

A sharp two-toned 1958 Chevy Bel Air. It's the oldest car I'm featuring, and I'll bet by the end I could've fried an egg on the trunk.

This is a 1964 Studebaker, one of the last Studebakers made as I recall. The brand was pretty much going away by then, which makes this model a rarity.

Before Detroit came up with the SUV, their idea of a crossover vehicle was placing a pickup bed on a auto chassis. For GM it was the Chevy El Camino, of which this is an example from 1971 (it's even an SS model). The front on stock models was basically identical to that year's Chevelle.

Here is a 1968 Pontiac Firebird, which GM put out so Pontiac dealers could have a 'muscle car' like the Chevy Camaro. In truth I like the Firebird's styling a little better than the Camaro's. It wasn't like later on when the sole difference between Chevy and Pontiac models seemingly was the badge on the front.

Before GM made it a sedate economy car later on in the 1980's, the Nova was actually a pretty neat sportster. This was my favorite car in the show, a 1963 Nova SS convertible.

Because of its timing after city elections and this being an off-year, there wasn’t the political posturing present at some Salisbury Festivals. Aside from the Wicomico County Republican Club maintaining its usual booth in the food court, I think the picture below may have been as political as it got.

The fine folks from Maryland Right to Life were making their pitch at the festival, but certainly were low-key about it. At the moment abortion isn't such a hot-button issue since pocketbook issues are more at the forefront.

Speaking of the city election, newly installed Mayor Ireton was out and about most of the day checking on things. Here he’s chatting with local resident Tim Spies (whose son plays in one of yesterday’s featured bands, Naked Brunch.)

Mayor Jim Ireton (right, with sunglasses) was very visible at the festival - I crossed paths with him a couple times during the time I was there.

Another charitable cause that’s getting more and more of a presence in the Salisbury Festival is the brain tumor awareness group HOPE (which stands for Helping Others by Providing Encouragement). One fortunate brain tumor survivor is Sandra Wyatt and here she’s being interviewed by Channel 47.

I didn't watch the 6:00 news on WMDT (since I was otherwise occupied as you'll see) but hopefully they gave Sandra a nice few seconds of television exposure.

This proclamation was from May 1, 2008. I’m thinking that a similar one will be in effect this year, whether this coming Friday or at a comparable point on the calendar.

Governor O'Malley proclaimed May 1, 2008 as Brain Tumor Awareness Day.

After leaving the Festival, I went over to the Salisbury Zoo. A charitable event I’ve been pleased to participate in for the four years it’s been in existence is the Ben Layton Memorial 5K Run/Walk.

I made it early to the Ben Layton Memorial and registration was well underway.

Whether it was the heat or the economy, I noticed registration was down a bit this year – at least judging by racer numbers. The highest I saw last year was in the 160’s, this year the highest number I saw was 142.

Here’s my portrait from yesterday.

Okay, I really don't have that big of a bulge on my side. Normally I carry a fanny pack under my shirt so my keys, cel phone, and inhaler don't jiggle in my pockets.

As far as personal notes, two things stick out from the event. One is that the frequent commenter “Final Frontier”, who was one of the many volunteers along the race course, revealed herself to me – not that I had time to properly introduce myself, but still – and the second was that I had my personal best time of about 37:40 for walking the 5K. It was second-best for the event and unlike last year I at least kept the 5K walk winner within sight of me (he was roughly 30 seconds ahead).

The only big issue regarding the race was the problem the organizers had in tabulating results – they still hadn’t finished up by 9:30 so many of those who won their age groups didn’t receive their due.

Because the organizers wanted suggestions for next year’s event I have a few and since this is my forum, here they are.

One mixup was that one of the overall 5K runner winners was listed under a 5K walker. (Kudos to the 3rd place winner who was honest enough to note there were two runners in front of him and not just one.) I can see where the mistake can be made because the categories are listed as one row on the registration. Perhaps the list can be vertical and separated by a brief description of the event, like this. Imagine there’s a checkbox next to the bold print.

5K Run

A competitive event with winners by gender in several age group categories. The scenic course runs through the Salisbury Zoo and adjacent City Park.

5K Walk

For both competitive speedwalkers and those who would like a nice long stroll to round out their day, this runs along the same course the runners use.

2K Fun Walk

A perfect opportunity for a pleasant evening walk, this is one event the whole family can enjoy and contribute to a good cause at the same time.

If the entrants mess that up, well, then I can’t help them.

The other new feature tried this year was a live auction. I can see why this was nice to fill up the dead time after dinner is served as the results are calculated, but I think it may be more lucrative if done as a silent auction. As an added benefit you can start the bidding during registration and then move the items up to the Elks Lodge during the race for additional bidding time as patrons wait for dinner.

So that’s my contribution to the dialogue on the subject. It would be nice to do something special for the fifth anniversary next year. (Oddly enough, the event has now lasted as long as the namesake’s lifespan.) I would be curious to know how many people have participated in all four so far since you brought up the fact I had done so during the awards ceremony. Certainly I’m sure I’m far from the only one who has.

It was a busy Saturday for me as you can see, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Trust me, I slept rather well afterward!

Light posting ahead

April 24, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Light posting ahead 

Because of the confluence of work and nice weather I’ve found the time to post and enjoyment of sitting inside have been on the wane lately. I’ve also found that this time of year isn’t all that great for readership anyway because people are out and about.

Saying that, this is just to tell faithful readers that over the next 10 days or so there may be some days off. At the moment I am planning just a few posts:

  • The Weekend of local rock 23 post I promised with the bands from last week. I may include Salisbury Festival bands in that as well.
  • An overall pictorial post on the Salisbury Festival.
  • My semi-annual “market basket” grocery price comparison post.
  • The monthly report on the Wicomico County Republican Club meeting, although that may come out a couple days after the fact because of work.
  • Coverage of the Spring Convention of the Maryland Republican Party. Sadly, it doesn’t appear I’ll be able to cover the social aspect due to a previous commitment that evening.
  • And of course a new Shorebird of the Week.

There’s truthfully not much happening in the political world, which is generally the case during the warmer months of the year. So consider this fair warning, but check back in case I do bring up something new.

Shorebird of the Week – April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – April 23, 2009 

Richard Zagone is this week's Shorebird of the Week for masterful pitching in his last start.
The distinctive high leg kick of Richard Zagone makes him more fun to watch on the mound - he reminds me of the Tigers' Dontrelle Willis.

A left-hander with good movement on his pitches, this week’s Shorebird of the Week is starting pitcher Richard Zagone.

In Tuesday evening’s game against Hagerstown, Richard recorded 19 outs – of those 16 were from ground balls. It was an amazing performance as batter after batter for the Suns beat balls into the Perdue Stadium turf and watched helplessly as Shorebird infielders increased their assist totals and fielding percentage. While he didn’t record the win because Hagerstown tied the game after he left, Zagone silenced the Suns to the tune of just two hits.

Overall, the 2008 6th round draft pick out of the University of Missouri has made three starts thus far and sports just a 1-1 record but an outstanding 1.72 ERA and even better 0.89 WHIP. Less than one batter an inning is reaching against the 22 year old Illinois native.

It’s seemingly a continuation of the magic Zagone had last year with Aberdeen, where he dominated the NY-Penn League with a 7-1 record and allowed just 14 walks and 57 hits in 65 1/3 innings of work, amassing a solid 2.89 ERA. Richard may be a pitcher who only stays here for a short time as he’s shown mastery of two levels thus far in his short career.

Again, it’s a philosophy

April 22, 2009 · Posted in Inside the Beltway, Maryland Politics, National politics, Personal stuff, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Again, it’s a philosophy 

One of the articles I was asked to write for the Patriot Post this week delves into a recent Washington Times story by Chuck Neubauer about a sweetheart deal that involves a company Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband runs, CB Richard Ellis, and legislation she introduced to allow the FDIC to use $25 billion in TARP money to prevent home foreclosures.

I’m not writing here to get into the nuts and bolts of that deal. Instead the story points out yet again that the difference between government as practiced and as our Founders intended remains a chasm, and the gap seemingly only grows wider with each passing day.

People can argue all day about whether Feinstein and her husband intentionally flouted Senate ethics rules or were interested in adding to their already sizable fortune through the contract in question; however, my query is about what possesses someone who is entrusted by the public to represent their best interests to be involved in any questionable situation where she can benefit from taxpayer money?

And the problem isn’t one of having a working spouse, far from it. The problem is the cavalier attitude about spending the taxpayer’s money to prevent foreclosures – a problem which had at least some of its origin in the very government attempting to bail it out.

Much of the anger expressed at our Tea Parties was directed toward politicians who failed to see that government could not and should not attempt to serve as the solution to all of our (real or imagined) problems. But it’s not only politicians; they simply serve as a convenient scapegoat. Too many in society joke about getting their share of the bailout, yet the problem isn’t financial. The problem is one of expectations, as far too many in the public have been conditioned to expect a handout.

A prime example of this comes at tax day – the very day we here in Salisbury stood in the pouring rain and cold to protest – when most filers assume they’ll get a handsome tax refund but forget that all they’re doing is getting money which was confiscated from them over the course of 52 weeks back in one lump sum – without interest. (For the purpose of this argument, I’ll ignore the fact that many are simply getting a handout from the federal government because they don’t pay taxes in the first place.) In truth, a prudent government would not take enough money to give you that large sum back.

Nor would a prudent government be such an alluring target for scam artists who ponder ways to enrich themselves by adding a pork amendment for a favored constituent or writing arcane provisions designed to punish particular behavior or reward another. For just as surely as shifting the rules of the game to tilt in one’s favor, myriad financial interests vie for a place at the table of government in a neverending effort to use the tax code to reward or punish behavior.

Even the FairTax, which I prefer to our current byzantine system, does modify behavior to an extent by favoring non-consumption or reuse over buying items anew. In one respect that is an argument for retaining a flat tax based on income or money earned, but on the whole I believe a consumption tax is better. In either case, only enough revenue should be raised to do those functions the federal government is assigned to do by the Constitution.

Certainly, honorable men and women need to be elected to legislate that which government needs to do. But it’s been my longstanding belief too that if you provide less of a temptation for scofflaws, their behavior will improve. If you don’t have that cookie jar in the first place, the kid’s not going to sneak over and take out a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies while you’re not looking.

It’s up to us to rid government at all levels of as many cookie jars as we can, because that’s a diet we the people can all live and prosper with.

Pork in the Park 2009 photos

April 21, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 4 Comments 

Fair warning: this may be part one. In truth, it is already one of at least two parts because many more photos will be featured in the upcoming Weekend of local rock volume 23 post that I’ll do later this week. But I’m also looking forward to seeing all the photos my companion took (more on that later.)

To make a long story at least somewhat shorter, I spent my day Saturday amongst a large number of people who entertained the same notion as this bumper sticker adorning a competitor trailer:

I may make an exception for ice cream but certainly I had some good barbeque on Saturday.

Perhaps you recall that I had a lot of fun with some of the competitors’ signage last year. Well, this year it was my lady friend who enjoyed taking the pictures in the back lots so I let her have at it for the most part – she may account for that third PitP-related post. But I did find this example one of the most amusing:

I think that next year's awards should also have a category for best signage. This one is from Saucy Butts BBQ.

This shot was one I took while wandering around back in the competitors’ area.

Here's just a sample of the rustic conditions some of those vying for the coveted titles endured. The entry from local favorite Chef Fred's is close to the foreground on the right.

What intrigues me about this whole KCBS enterprise is the lengths some of those who were there go to to secure the top prizes. Check out this trailer for example:

Making hots, with a cot. Unfortunately I don't recall just whose trailer this is.

Here’s some of what they were playing for. I noticed after I took the pictures that I didn’t get the entirety of the Grand Champion trophy in the frame, which was sort of a shame.

These trophies went to top entries in a number of categories, including pork, chicken, brisket, dessert, and even one termed 'Anything Butt'. The biggest ones went to the Maryland State Champion, Reserve Champion, and Grand Champion. Plus they received cash prizes.

In case you’re wondering, the Grand Champion was an outfit called I Smell Smoke! The remainder of the contestants stacked up this way, with Florida Skin and Bones placing second and Who Are Those Guys crowned as Maryland State Champion as the top-finishing Maryland team. The next picture is some of those I Smell Smoke! grillers getting their hug in after they were declared the winner.

This was a winning hug - not only for the big trophy but a cool $2500 prize.

By the way, the recipient of the hug is the woman who runs the show, Sandy Fulton of the Wicomico Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Hopefully she’s not too ashamed of being a photo subject here but she deserves a picture of her own because it’s a tough job putting this together and she does it well.

Sandy Fulton of the Wicomico DPRT gets the job of handing out trophies and checks. But I bet 99 percent of her time on this is spent well behind the scenes.

One thing to consider about this event is the economic impact it has for the community. Take for example the entry fees alone.

Each entrant of the 92 who were involved (which is a record once again) paid at least $250 for the opportunity to compete – right there that’s $23,000. That balances nicely with the $18,000 in prizes given out. And out of those 92 entries, just 18 managed to earn back their entry fee in prize money with the I Smell Smoke folks making the best return at $2,750. However, practically all of these participants spent at least some money in the local economy – perhaps not for their lodging but certainly in a number of other ways.

Nor can one discount the draw of perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 attendees over the course of three days. Sure, many of those who ate at the event went to the out-of-town vendors but many chose local names too.

Speaking of which here were two new rib vendors I hadn’t noticed before this year.

Jack's Barbeque had a stack of honors that they had no issue with proclaiming. But how were the ribs? Read on.

And then you had the smaller tent of Jacked Up BBQ, who sadly ran out of food early on Saturday.

I had my lunch ribs at Jacked Up and dinner from Jack’s. Hands down, there was no comparison.

To me, ribs are good when they are meaty and all you have left in your hand afterward is a practically clean bone. Jacked Up BBQ filled that bill. Damn, those were good ribs and it was saddening for me to see them out of food by dinnertime – especially since it made other lines longer.

By the way, Famous Dave’s was new too, but since they have a restaurant here I can eat at anytime I went with the aforementioned two. This is how the food court looked about noon, it was already pretty busy.

Looking back toward Famous Dave's you can see that the food court was a hopping place. And maybe we'll see someone local on a paper towel commercial.

Farther down the way, I took a couple shots of the midway. They were from roughly the same area, with the first one looking west about noon and the other looking east about 7 p.m.

It was pretty busy at noontime, but I'd say the peak was more about suppertime because hungry people wanted ribs.

This was a shot I took about 7 p.m. and there were still huge crowds there. I was pretty amazed.

The next shot is not one I borrowed from the Autumn Wine Festival, but it’s good to see a local vendor taking their chances on a more down-home event. I’d be curious to know how sales were.

I wonder just what kind of wine goes with ribs. (Apparently they feel theirs does.) But does it also depend on whether the sauce is hickory, garlic, or more conventional?

My last shot was one taken from where I was sitting to enjoy the music. With the exception of grabbing supper and a beer run or two, that’s where my lady friend and I were camped out from about 3:30 until after the Battle of the Bands ended.

This shot turned out to be a very pretty one as the sun set on a fabulous day of eating and drinking.

One more thing. By my count I have fourteen photos in the post. With the exception of Sandy Fulton, who helped to organize the event, and the bands that will appear in a future post, having someone in more than one shot as a subject would purely be coincidental. Considering I spent about 12 hours there it’s to be expected that I took a wide variety of photos, as did my girlfriend. (I’m hoping to see those later this week when we next meet.)

Apparently that wasn’t the case on some other blog. I suppose if people didn’t know I have Kim as a girlfriend they would now, not that I’m ashamed to admit it (hell, just go to my Facebook page if you don’t believe me.) And I appreciate those who defended me; however given my checkered past with this photographer it’s no surprise I’m the somewhat “random” photo subject – I actually joked with Kim about this very prospect before we even went to Pork in the Park.

Anyway, since my plan is to spend more time with Kim I suppose I’ll warn my friends not to be surprised to see us as a featured piece from the Salisbury Festival. I guess it goes with the territory of having a website read by “83 people.”

Let’s hope that 2010 brings more vendors, more entrants, more good weather, and more chances to see good pictures from one of the signature events of our area’s annual calendar.

A new link

You may notice I made a couple changes here over the weekend. 

First of all I removed the Salisbury city election box on the left hand side since the election is now complete. More importantly though I added a new link under the Eastern Shore blogs on the right.

Don’t Tread On Me! is an outgrowth of the Salisbury Tax Day Tea Party and promises to be a new gathering place for political activists – just don’t tell Janet Napolitano. (You may also notice in the photo up top there’s a guy holding up a camera about center frame wearing a hoodie. That would be me.)

As founder Chris Lewis notes in the second post:

Enough is enough. I am tired of the lies, of the selfish and greedy nature of the politicians who do not listen or care what we have to say. The people who should be sacrificing, are the politicians, not the people. They work for us. it is time to take our country back from the elitist idiots who are screwing up America. This will and must start right here in our local communities. We can no longer be satisfied to work all day, take care of our families, enjoy time with our loved ones and offer our time to local communities and charities; we must now be more active in local, state and federal politics.

Well said, but this sentiment was more succinctly phrased by President Eisenhower in 1954:

Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.

In either case, it is good to see more and more people waking up to face some of the ills afflicting our nation. And, to the critics who echoed the vapid utterances of Janeane Garofalo about these Tea Party protests being solely about having a black President, take note that the first post-Tea Party act involves…private property rights. That sounds pretty racist to me.

It’s also worthy of note that Chris announced in his first post a run for a Wicomico County Council at-large seat, so perhaps he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Certainly we will hear more about that as the months progress although the start of filing is only about 2 1/2 months away as I recall.

As one who has been slogging in the trenches of political activism in my own little way for awhile, it’s good to have some company in the foxhole. Let’s hope that Lewis has a hit on his hands and Wicomico County gets an activist group of citizens on the right side of the political spectrum for a change.

Carnival of Maryland 57

For this blogging carnival I actually didn’t get a large number of submissions so I took a little bit of editorial license and did some searching amongst the best Maryland blogging has to offer to supplement what I did receive. I know that posting falls off somewhat when the weather gets nicer so we’ll let those who may have sent something along slide – it’s not like I can’t find good material.

Besides, this also gave me a chance to read and look at some good items from blogs I enjoy.

Let’s begin with the political. Tim at Gunpowder Chronicle is never afraid to share what he thinks about the doings in Annapolis and a recent article compared the state’s budget process to being hooked on crack. Then again, Bernie Hayden at Maryland On My Mind thinks the whole General Assembly is useless after a session spent on “distractions and trivia.

And then there are others who look at the attitude exhibited by those we vote into office and wonder if they’re the new elite class. As in the Orwell novel Animal Farm, Soccer Dad posits that some of us are more equal than others.

Naturally I chimed in on the political arena, as my site’s bread and butter comes from talking politics. I scanned the scene at Salisbury’s Tax Day Tea Party last week in a pictorial post.

One debatable aspect of the role of government is exhibited in the prospect of a new Montgomery County stadium for the DC United professional soccer team. While Marc Korman at Maryland Politics Watch thinks the idea isn’t sound from a financial standpoint, Going to the Mat‘s Matt Johnston points out that DC United is one of the few consistently successful sports franchises in Maryland and without a stadium the prospect of relocation is real.

A Maryland team that’s probably not going anywhere is the Orioles and in the last couple weeks the team opened on a good note. Oriole Post was there and has the scoop. So far they’re still hanging in with a .500 record after tangling with some tough AL East opponents.

Spring is also the time for a more natural rebirth, and one of the Carnival’s most frequent contributors checks in to close things out. The Ridger shows Maryland at its natural best with Blossom on the Bough, Dark-eyed Juncos, and more birds of a feather, all originally posted on her blog The Greenbelt.

At the moment I’m not certain where Carnival of Maryland 58 will be held; however, the schedule says it will be there on May 3rd.

District 1 decided – or is it?

Perhaps the “every vote counts” mantra is cliche but you might want to ask District 1 Councilwoman Shanie Shields about that. The final count of five absentee votes remaining from the April 7th city election put Shanie on top by a 133-132 margin over challenger Cynthia Polk. Of course, the closeness of the margin dictates a recount and once in awhile there’s a vote miscounted here or there.

What I wonder is if there is a recount, will occur in time to be complete for the swearing-in ceremony on Monday? That would be yet another bizarre chapter in Salisbury history if Shields is sworn in yet the recount finds Polk being the winner.

If not, then the question becomes whether Shields will stand by a remark she made earlier in the campaign and make this her last term. We have until 2013 to find out but given the razor-thin margins prevalent in that district recently, an election with no incumbent would certainly be a free-for-all.

Shorebird of the Week – April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – April 16, 2009 

Joe Mahoney was welcomed back as part of the Meet the Team dinner last week.
Here's Joe at the plate during a game early last season. This year he's wearing number 25.

The Shorebird who seems to be having the best time of it at the plate thus far is this week’s Shorebird of the Week. Fresh off a stellar 6 – RBI performance on Sunday at Lakewood, Joe Mahoney has leapt to the top of the South Atlantic League charts for runs batted in. What’s also surprising on the young season is that Joe leads the team in steals with 3! That’s a number already topping his 2008 total of 2 stolen bases.

Granted, last year was nothing special for the 22-year old first baseman from New York by way of the University of Richmond. He only hit .222 in 95 games with 7 home runs and 61 RBI while whiffing 96 times. All told his .624 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) was nothing to write home about.

But Joe came into 2009 noticeably thinner and it’s beginning to show at the plate as he’s legged out two triples on the young campaign. Better still, it took over 20 at-bats before SAL pitchers recorded their first strikeout of Joe, so his batting eye is appreciably better too. Perhaps 2009 will be the breakout year expected of Joe when he was drafted in the 6th round back in 2007.

In the meantime, I’m bursting with anticipation of our home opener! This year I may be able to leave the winter coat at home as the league mercifully set our opener a full 13 days later than last year’s chilly, rainy, and damp 14-inning debacle. If it wasn’t the coldest I’ve ever been at a ballgame it was pretty darn close.

So hopefully you’re reading this AFTER you’ve enjoyed a thrilling home opener won by our Shorebirds. Or it could be a blowout loss; regardless baseball is back in town!

Pictures from Salisbury’s Tea Party

Yep, I made it – a little later than I would have liked but I managed to roll in while they were still reciting the Bill of Rights. As usual, the captions of the photos help tell the story.

This pretty much summed up the mood of the participants:

Who knew that a phrase from a movie about television, part of the mass media derided by some speakers, would sum up the feelings of those who were present?

And talk about a nasty day weatherwise. I think the event happened to take place on the coldest day we’ll see in April, and certainly one of the wettest.

I took this shot when I arrived about 5 p.m. Some were estimating about 500 people present at the event's peak, I'd say that guess was only a little optimistic.

But despite the need for umbrellas the crowd was in good spirits.

Here's another shot of the crowd taken from about stage left looking toward Division Street.

There were even some who were smart enough to work to the downtown traffic. Many speakers had their words punctuated by the horns of passing motorists on Division Street.

Some of the protestors lined up along Division Street for passing motorists' reactions.

Since some people are going to assume that this Tea Party was a radical right-wing nut idea, may as well toss them a little red meat.

The picture's a touch blurry but still legible. I didn't look for the car missing the rear license plate.

Still, there were a number of sharply worded and humorous signs there. It was half the fun of taking pictures.

To be honest I think the answer to this question is 'no'.

Two sets of sentiments I share for the price of one.

Nothing wrong with borrowing a little bit of Ronald Reagan every now and then.

This may have been the best usage of an Obama phrase in the whole bunch. He sure is on his way to doing so.

There were numerous speakers during the event, most taking two to three minutes. Aside from the Pledge of Allegiance and reading of the Bill of Rights there was no set list of speakers.

One of many speakers who made his feelings known during the Tea Party.

In case you’re wondering, the event organizer was Chris Lewis and he’s in the black and yellow jacket to the left of the speaker in the photo.

This gentleman was a particularly inspiring speaker.

I actually got video of him with my phone…guess I’ll have to figure out how to get it on here.

There was only one overtly political speaker I saw. You might know this guy.

State Senator and Congressional hopeful Andy Harris was on his third Tea Party of the day, having gone to Annapolis and Bel Air as well.

This was another interesting display. I honestly hope they didn’t actually USE all of this but simply brought the boxes to make the point!

Is this an argument for the FairTax or what?

While I think I saw a Daily Times reporter there as well, I was quite disappointed that just one TV station bothered to be live at the event – especially since Channel 47 is just around the corner!

Channel 16 (WBOC) was the only TV station doing live shots from the event.

As one of those who jumped in line to speak, let me tell you I thought it was a very moving experience.

I chose to speak on a subject I’ve touched on peripherally and that is the war on prosperity. A couple posts back I expressed the sentiment in the “Going Galt” movement but in this case it was simply noting that President Obama’s “soak-the-rich” tax scheme was an attack on the American Dream and prosperity in general. As I asked (I’m paraphrasing since I didn’t write the remarks beforehand), “why bother working hard and putting your nose to the grindstone for the tax man to take it away?”

While there were a number of folks in the crowd who were familiar to me (including at least one elected official besides State Senator Harris), the majority were just everyday folks who weren’t necessarily political until today and may not be political next week – they’re just frustrated with the direction our nation is going.

But people like me who have been in the fight for awhile would like to see them stay engaged because this is what America is truly all about – a government for the people and by the people, not dictated to the people.

For those among the 400 to 500 people who braved the cold and rain with their signs, I have a suggestion. Don’t toss out your sign, just stick it in the front window of your home or business. (So what if it got a little wet and runny, as long as it’s still legible.) Let others know which side you’re on and that you still feel you have the right to speak out and present your own petition for a redress of grievances.

We can yet take back our nation, the trick is to keep this fire burning for 18 to 42 months. The job can be completed by November of 2012 if we work hard at it.

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