Fun facts on fuel

June 30, 2009 · Posted in Business and industry, National politics, Personal stuff, Politics, Radical Green · Comments Off on Fun facts on fuel 

A set of commercials I occasionally hear on the airwaves comes from the GEICO gecko discussing “fun facts” about the company. My friend Jane Van Ryan at API sent me their own version of “fun facts” embodied in an Energy IQ quiz. (They even stole my favorite format: 10 questions!)

Now I think I’m a reasonably smart guy, but I only got 6 right! Admittedly I overestimated on some so the brain trust at API must have figured me being the cynic I am and employed a little reverse psychology on me.

But Jane commented in her e-mail to me:

Considering the gravity of some of the energy proposals being debated on Capitol Hill right now, the results (of the survey) are particularly striking.

While the survey revealed that Americans now recognize the United States will need more energy in the coming years, respondents vastly underestimated the amount of oil and natural gas that will be needed to meet that demand. Conversely, respondents overestimated the role that renewable energy sources will play in meeting future demand, the amount of oil the U.S. imports from the Middle East, and oil and natural gas industry earnings.

When you look at how the drive-by media portrays the energy industry, it’s not a surprise that Americans look at it the way they do – in general the news networks portray oil companies and their executives as a robber barons on a scale somewhere between Lucifer and J.R. Ewing from the old Dallas TV series.

On the other hand, alternative energy has been touted as the savior of America when reality dictates otherwise. Remember, even if wind, solar, and geothermal power increased tenfold over the next decade – a dubious proposition at best – the share of BTUs provided by those “preferred” alternative sources would only be about 10 percent. (It’s roughly 1 percent now according to the latest EIA figures – look at page 47 here).

Perhaps one thing helping the idea of “drill here, drill now, pay less” is the mistaken idea Jane points out about where we really get our oil. Although it’s still far too much of a share crossing our borders, the reality is that much of our oil comes from the North American continent and adjacent waters. Between our own sources, Canada, and Mexico, we get a good chunk of black gold. But we could get a lot more if the government would get out of the way instead of trying to create an artificial market on carbon as Waxman-Markey would.

(Just as an aside, do you think succeeding generations will look at Waxman-Markey the same way we look at the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff from 1930?)

In the coming days it would pay to become an energy expert and the information from API is a useful start.

To conclude one of the GEICO spots, the gecko notes, “…these aren’t fun facts; these are financially sound facts. We’ve been duped!” Sometimes a little trickery is necessary to teach us what we all need to know.

Next up for Frank – health care

There were a lot of people who were anywhere from disappointed to outraged that our recently-elected Congressman, Frank Kratovil, was one of those who voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill, better thought of as the “energy tax”. While 44 mostly “Blue Dog” Democrats (a group Kratovil likes to consider himself a part of) voted “nay”, Frank decided to send a bill that hadn’t even been completely put together yet on to the Senate.

Because Congress is now off on its Fourth of July recess, it’ll be a few days before Kratovil gets back to work with the next big-ticket item on the Obama agenda: his version of health care reform (read: eventual single-payer system like Great Britain or Canada). Understandably, a lot of people aren’t thrilled with the idea of nationalized health care.

In this case, though, my guess is that Kratovil isn’t even going to be one of those on the fence – he’s going to jump lock, stock, and barrel in favor of it. Does the phrase “Universal Health Care Means Universal” ring a bell? If not, let me remind you.

I can already see this three-ring circus being placed into motion. Unfortunately for those who believe in transparency and limited government, neither of those seemed to be the case on cap-and-trade and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see hundreds of pages added to a House bill regarding health care at oh-dark-hundred the night before the vote, which will likely be set again for a day before Congress recesses. When you’re trying to allocate huge portions of the private-sector economy, speed and stealth are your friends.

Friends, it’s more important than ever that people become aware of what’s happening. What’s quite troubling to me is that news tends to focus on trivial things like the recent passing of a number of celebrities whose names history will little note nor long remember and not on the all-out assault on freedom and liberty being waged by the current Administration and Congress with the consent of the man a bare plurality of First District voters (remember, Kratovil only had 49% of the vote) sent to Washington with the understanding he would act and vote as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat.

A few days ago I was in a conversation with people my age when it was brought up that people who lived through the Great Depression had no idea they were living through such a period – they just knew things were hard economically. We don’t have the benefit of standing 20 years hence and looking back knowing what happened and assigning a name to it. All we know is that economic times are difficult and pretty much everything government’s tried to address it has only served to put America deeper in debt and more beholden to foreign creditors without much to show for it. Someone may be getting wealthy but it’s not the average guy or the family on Main Street.

At what point do we realize that the answers being tried in Washington aren’t the approach we should take? How many will tear themselves away from the unceasing news cycle mourning the death of a so-called “King of Pop” and look at someone who’s amassing the power of a king himself by appointing “czars” to take over major industries?

Once in awhile the news will speak to the unrest in Iran over their recent election or pause to speculate more recent events in the small Central American republic of Honduras, where their President wished to circumvent a constitutional restriction on his time in office (shades of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela). Those who seem to care (expressed, for example, in the TEA Party movement) are derided as kooks or worse.

When caring about my country becomes the sign of being a kook, well, I guess I just happen to have a lot of the nation’s hard-working producers on my side so I’ll take my chances. Hopefully the smooth talk of politicians like Frank Kratovil won’t work its magic the next time they’re on the ballot.

Sunday evening reading

June 28, 2009 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Sunday evening reading 

When former Salisbury blogger Bill Duvall had the Duvafiles blog (which closed after the 2008 election) he had a regular Sunday feature called “Sunday Evening Reading” that simply linked to interesting items he found over the previous few days. While I may or may not do this every week, I thought with the amount of reading I do for this website it would be a good idea to allocate the title and tradition, so here goes.

The editors of the Center for Individual Freedom recently opined on how to redefine conservative governance, particularly at a time when the country is moving away from it. Wait, let me take that back: the GOVERNMENT is moving away from it. The organization also points out the skewed poll which claimed Americans are foursquare behind healthcare reform.

Speaking of that sore subject (pun intended), a recent editorial in the Washington Examiner asks a logical question: why not fix Medicare first?

And then we have other pieces on government run amok. One of my favorite bloggers, Hans Bader, dug deep into new Obama Administration regulations which will more risky loans to low-income borrowers. Look for this bailout, oh, about 2017.

One postmortem to the cap-and-trade energy tax that passed could be filed under the category, “Dude, where’s my bill?” David Freddoso at the Washington Examiner explains.

I’ll take it easy on you all this week and actually wrap up with some pop culture. On the American Thinker website, I found Rick Moran wasn’t quite as fawning about the late Michael Jackson as most. But he has nothing on Tim Patterson at Gunpowder Chronicle, who termed the deceased King of Pop a “pervert.”

(Just as an aside, isn’t it amazing how celebrity deaths seem to come in threes? In the space of a week we lost Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. Then in aside #2, the death of pitchman Billy Mays just went and screwed my theory up.)

Hopefully this is not a bad start and beats reading the continual bickering between local bloggers.

Identity theft tied to illegals: study

Last week I got this from the Center for Immigration Studies. Let me tell their side first and I’ll add to it at the end:

In May of this year, a Supreme Court decision severely impeded the use of identity theft charges as an immigration enforcement tool. In June, several people were arrested after a fraud scheme was uncovered at a Florida driver’s license bureau. In July, a new Utah law targeting illegal aliens and document fraud will take effect. As these examples show, illegal immigration is inherently tied to document fraud and identity theft. As states continue to search for answers, it is apparent that the Federal government has not yet found a working legislative solution to deter these crimes.

A new Backgrounder by the Center for Immigration Studies considers how illegal aliens perpetrate document fraud and identity theft, the effects on the victims of this crime, as well as some proposals to deter it. “Illegal, but Not Undocumented: Identity Theft, Document Fraud and Illegal Employment,” is written by Ronald Mortensen, PhD, a retired career U.S. Foreign Service Officer and former Society for Human Resource Management senior executive.
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Kratovil (and Castle) make your utility bills skyrocket in time for the Fourth of July

While I was away this evening Frank Kratovil and Mike Castle made it almost a Delmarva sweep voting in favor of H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” energy tax. Only a brave Democrat in VA-2, Glenn Nye, kept it from being three-for-three in the anti-American vote department.

I’m curious to know what was promised to the two of them to get them to vote for a bill that, according to Bill Wilson of the group Americans for Limited Government, would “increase the prices of oil, gasoline, coal, and natural gas across the board, and thereby ‘incentivize’ alternatives like solar, wind, and hybrid vehicles. It won’t work, because the alternatives are inefficient, have a lower yields, and are more expensive.”

Perhaps the devil is in the details, such as the 300-page amendment tucked into the bill early this morning. In any case, I breathlessly await the poor excuses that both of these Congressmen will have when they drag their tails back to their district over the Fourth of July weekend. I know I have hard questions for them.

Update on the Troop-A-Thon

June 26, 2009 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Update on the Troop-A-Thon 

Yesterday I brought up what’s becoming an annual event: the Troop-A-Thon sponsored by the pro-military group Move America Forward. While last year’s internet broadcast (which featured co-hosts blogger Michelle Malkin and MAF head/radio host Melanie Morgan) raised just over $1 million, this year’s event (which was co-hosted by Morgan and blogger Andrew Breitbart) raised a smaller sum – $603,049. Obviously the take was disappointing to MAF.

I watched or listened to about 1/3 of the Troop-A-Thon as I was doing other tasks and one problem they definitely had was a lack of technical proficiency with their guests who were appearing via internet. Perhaps it was the simple bad luck of being online at the same time as the Michael Jackson death saga – and the massive internet traffic such a breaking event has become known for causing – but it’s definitely something which needs to be worked out.

It’s also noteworthy that their viewership was significantly lower this year. Last year as I recall the constant audience ranged between 2,000 and 3,000, but this year’s observations generally showed viewership in the 1,100 to 1,800 range. It’s fairly consistent with the lower grand total.

I also noticed that the care packages were more expensive, since I purchased one. This year they ran about $25 apiece as opposed to $15 last year. Unfortunately this will also impact the number MAF can send out. However, each care package is supposed to be for two troops so perhaps the increased price is for double the supplies.

Regardless, the novelty may have worn off for the Troop-A-Thon but I presume it will be back for a third year in 2010. We’ll likely still have troops in harm’s way in both Iraq and Afghanistan so the need will still be there.

Shorebird of the Week – June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – June 25, 2009 

Ryan O'Shea on the mound May 23rd against Kannapolis. This game started a four-start stretch where he dominated opposing batters, allowing just 5 earned runs in 28 innings, fanning 20 while walking just 3 and allowing no walks in three straight starts.
In this picture taken May 12th, Ryan O'Shea keeps a wary eye on Greensboro runner Kevin Mattison. He would pick Mattison off before the next pitch.

He’s seen some of his fellow rotation-mates move on in the Orioles chain, but lately Ryan O’Shea has become the rock that the staff is built on. The 23-year old hurler used the stretch around his birthday back on May 29th to compile four straight quality starts (allowing no more than two earned runs in 7 innings of work in each outing), piling up three of his five victories on the season and issuing nary a walk in three of those appearances. While his last two starts weren’t as sparkling, he’s put together some good numbers and has a great chance to become a staff leader in a number of categories for 2009.

At the halfway break, Ryan led the team in innings pitched with 72, tied for the lead with his 13 starts, and was third on the staff with 53 strikeouts to go with a sound 3.13 ERA. He also had the lone complete game on the Shorebirds’ staff, albeit it was a 7-inning game back on June 4th.

O’Shea was drafted by the Orioles back in 2008 out of the University of New Orleans in his hometown. The 27th round pick put up decent numbers in Aberdeen last season (2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 33 innings spanning 16 appearances) but did not become a starter in the professional ranks until this season. However, if he continues to put on good performances, he might remain a starter for awhile longer.

Troop care package redux

Last year I brought up an effort to put together care packages for our troops abroad put together by the group Move America Forward. It was this time in 2008 they did an 8-hour internet telethon to raise money and awareness, and tonight they do it again with a cavalcade of stars:

An All-Star lineup of celebrities will team up this Thursday, June 25, 2009 for a historic effort to send the largest shipment of care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas.

The celebrities, military figures, and leading politicians will participate in the “Honor Their Service” TroopAThon – an 8-hour Jerry Lewis style telethon that will be broadcast online at www.TroopAThon.org.

The TroopAThon will broadcast from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from 1:00pm – 9:00pm Pacific // 4:00pm – Midnight Eastern.

Celebrities participating in the event include: President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer, John Ratzenberger, Ann Coulter, Gary Sinise, John Ondrasik, Dennis Miller, Jackie Mason, Kevin Farley, Gavin McLeod, Melanie Morgan, Andrew Breitbart, Michelle Malkin, Debbie Lee, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Greg Gutfeld, Andrea Shea King, Curtis Sliwa, Hughes Sullivan, Mark Williams, Martha Zoller, Jake Rademacher, Jed Babbin, Chuck Holton, Rich Lowry, Michael Graham, John O’Hurlsey, Tammy Bruce, Robrert Davi, Matt Sanchez, Megan Ortagus, Connie Stevens, Deroy Murdock, Ed Morrissey, Kylie Wiliams, Matt Lewis, Monica Crowley, Noel Sheppard, Pete Hegseth, Robert Spencer, Roger L. Simon, Roger Hedgecock, Ron Winter, Walid Phares, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Buzz Aldrin, Rick Allen, Gerald McRaney, Jerry Haleva, Pat Sajak, Dale Dye, David Zucker, Pat Boone, and Charlie Daniels.

It seems like a lot of people to fill an 8-hour slot, but that’s actually less than 10 minutes apiece. Most of these people are drawn from the circles of conservative media so it should be a pretty entertaining evening. It will also be interesting to see if they beat last year’s $1.055 million haul or fall short because the media’s awareness of our troops has fallen off with the change in the Oval Office.

As I noted in the wrapup piece I did last year, there was a fairly constant viewership of 2,000 to 3,000 for the 2008 troop-a-thon. Let’s see if America can beat that, despite the competition from weighty issues such as the upcoming Waxman-Markey vote and situation in Iran.

Panic in Detroit

And in a lot of other places too; that is if the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill (H.R. 2454 – fair warning: the bill is a 1,092 page .pdf file) gets through the House and on to the Senate.

Here’s just some of the reaction. Let me start with the Americans for Limited Government group:

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today strongly urged Congress to reject legislation “that will deliberately increase the costs of gasoline, oil, and coal at a time when the American people can ill afford it.”

“While the American people are dealing with a brutal recession, soaring unemployment, and about to be hit with massive inflation, Congress in the Waxman-Markey bill is proposing to make energy more expensive to service a radical environmentalist agenda,” said Wilson.

“It is up to the Congress to stop this legislation dead on its tracks, before it causes an economic train wreck that will take decades to overcome,” Wilson added.

(snip)

“This bill was rejected last year, and should again be rejected this year, because it’s an economy-killer.  It will cost jobs, it will cost progress, and it will cost prosperity.  That is the price,” Wilson said.

Wilson says that what makes the bill even worse is that the science behind cap-and-trade is contrived and misleading.  “The whole premise of global ‘warming’ is based upon flawed computer models that predict climate change, and are not based on actual observable data that can be confirmed.”

Wilson pointed to a study from APS Physics, “Climate Sensitivity Revisited”. “The Monckton study proves beyond any doubt that the UN International Panel on Climate Change’s computer models that ‘predict’ climate change greatly overstate the impact of carbon emissions.  In other words, ‘man-made’ climate change is not real, and yet Congress is ready to reorganize the entire energy sector around the idea.” (Emphasis mine.)

Joining in the chorus was another pro-freedom group, Americans for Prosperity. AFP Policy Director Phil Kerpen:

The Pelosi/Reid/Obama team has been unable to pass cap-and-trade thus far for one simple reason: it’s an enormous tax.  The country is struggling to cope with the current recession but the politicians in power don’t seem to care how this bill will affect your family.

President Obama famously said during the campaign “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”  But he also pledged not to raise taxes “even one dime” on middle class Americans.  Well it looks like he may be poised to break that promise.

We must band together and speak out with one voice in opposition to this egregious tax hike that will have virtually no beneficial impact on the environment.  In fact, the EPA has even admitted that cap-and-trade could increase carbon emissions, as jobs flee the country and the painful regulations this bill will impose.

It’s time to kill this tax-hiking, job-killing, freedom-stifling legislation once and for all and your representative’s vote will be crucial on this bill.

The e-mail urges us to call our Congressman, which in our case is Frank Kratovil.

One voice I pay attention to on energy issues is that of my friend Jane Van Ryan at the American Petroleum Institute. She passed along this letter that API president Jack Gerard sent to each member of Congress while she weighs in on the Energy Tomorrow blog.

I’m not going to lie to you and say I read the entire bill – heck, most Congressmen haven’t either. But the part which worries me the most is buried fairly deep, as most sinister provisions of a measure are. Section 702 states:

SEC. 702. ECONOMY-WIDE REDUCTION GOALS.

`The goals of the Safe Climate Act are to reduce steadily the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions such that–

  • `(1) in 2012, the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions does not exceed 97 percent of the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions in 2005;
  • `(2) in 2020, the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions does not exceed 80 percent of the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions in 2005;
  • `(3) in 2030, the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions does not exceed 58 percent of the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions in 2005; and
  • `(4) in 2050, the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions does not exceed 17 percent of the quantity of United States greenhouse gas emissions in 2005.

To illustrate this better, I need to use an indicator made available by the federal government. (The key pages of this 439 page .pdf are pages 47 and 51.) If you assume, as I do, that greenhouse gas production is roughly equivalent to energy usage (since our sources haven’t changed significantly in the last few decades – we’re still burning fossil fuels for the most part) then in 2005 each person used 340 million BTU of energy. This is a number which has remained remarkably constant over several decades and actually peaked way back in 1978-79.

To achieve the Waxman-Markey numbers on a per-person basis, though, we’d have to retreat to 330 million BTU of energy per person in just two years. Okay, maybe that’s doable, although the last time we came in under that amount was 1987 (under that evil anti-environmental President Reagan).

But in one decade we would have to retreat to 272 million BTU per person to meet the 2020 mandates. Folks, we haven’t seen that level of energy usage since the early 1960’s. And I don’t know about you, but my lifestyle isn’t conducive to that of an era when the Beatles were the “in” thing musically and many of us weren’t born yet. It gets even worse as restrictions become tougher, bringing our per-person usage back to pre-1949 levels by 2030. (The EIA statistics only date back to 1949.)

If you look at page 47, that chart breaks down where energy usage comes from. Just about 7% of our BTUs come from “renewable” sources and the vast majority of those are hydroelectric (think of dams) and biomass (generally burning garbage). Less than 1% comes from the environmentally favored solar, wind, and geothermal power sources.

And it’s this paucity of renewable energy sources that scares me most. The government can work until doomsday building “clean” sources but they would come nowhere near meeting demand. Naturally, they would need jillions of our tax dollars to do so and that’s where the cap-and-trade “energy tax” comes in.

In a nutshell, this artificially-created market creates a “commodity” out of carbon, where those who use it “excessively” can purchase credits from those who have them available, although all these credits originally eminate from the federal government.

Maryland is one of several states who already have a somewhat similar scam ongoing called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. While there is supposedly a small benefit for all of us through the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund (the fund where Maryland’s RGGI auction proceeds are supposed to go) it looks more like a handy means of income redistribution based on target households. Certainly the miniscule savings we may receive is going to be overshadowed by the higher prices we pay for consumer goods once businesses pass on their increased energy costs under Waxman-Markey.

Just to be clear, if someone wants to put up a windmill in their back yard or slap a solar panel on their roof to “save the planet”, be my guest. But don’t expect me to willingly pay higher taxes and increased utility bills just to make some do-gooder politicians feel better and think they’re making a dent in so-called global warming. Until you blot out the sun, you’re barking up the wrong tree when it comes to climate change.

Update, Thursday 10 a.m. : Paul Blumenthal, writing for the Sunlight Foundation Blog, points out that the 1,000-page plus version of the bill I cited from the GPO was mysteriously fertilized overnight and is now significantly larger.

Another budget-busting feature I found was that any jobs created by the bill had to pay the so-called “prevailing wage” in compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act. Look for Section 338.

Update 2, Thursday 2 p.m. : Once again this is a featured national post on the Red County site. They even kept my title this time.

Tracking the Shorebirds 2009

June 23, 2009 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Tracking the Shorebirds 2009 

For the third year in a row, the Shorebirds’ mid-season break gives me an excuse to follow the baseball fates of those players who I’ve selected over the last 3 1/2 seasons as the Shorebird of the Week. There’s no shortage of players I looked into for 2007 and 2008 still active at some level, from the most obscure leagues to The Show.

In 2006 I selected the first 22 players who achieved SotW honors. It turned out to be a diverse class, with two of the most successful “alumni” future inductees into the yet-to-be-created but forthcoming Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. In all, ten of those players are still playing ball, mostly farther up the Orioles’ chain. Playing with the Frederick Keys is Chorye Spoone (who is on the disabled list, but is also listed on the Orioles’ 40-man roster) while Bowie’s roster has Brandon Erbe (currently on a rehab assignment with Aberdeen) and Jon Tucker. Aberdeen is also the temporary home of infielder Blake Davis, who is listed there as being on rehab duty.

Other members of the class of 2006 are farther along. We all know that two former Shorebirds of the Week made their major league debuts this season; of the pair Brad Bergesen continues to thrive in Baltimore’s starting rotation while David Hernandez put in some quality starts in a brief stint with the O’s in May and June. He’s now pitching at Norfolk and joins fellow 2006 and 2007 SotW honoree Brandon Snyder on the Tides’ roster – Snyder was promoted to AAA over the weekend.

The 2006 crop has also seen its share of players who didn’t make it with the Orioles. Most are now out of baseball, but three toil on – one in another organization and two with independent league teams. Lorenzo Scott Jr. was actually plucked by the Florida Marlins in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft and continues playing in their organization with the AA Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League. Meanwhile, two other veterans of independent baseball continue trying to make a splash there as Trevor Caughey plays with the Edmonton Capitals of the Golden Baseball League and Vito Chiaravalotti plays closer to his home with the Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks. Unfortunately, it appears that my 2006 Shorebird of the Year, Ryan Finan, is one of those no longer playing.

With three players being repeat honorees in 2007, there were 19 new Shorebird of the Week selections that year. As they aren’t as far along in their development, more of them still have a chance to catch on with the Orioles – 12 began the season in organized baseball but Chris Vinyard was released from Frederick in May. Still playing there are Pedro Beato, David Cash, and Billy Rowell. The Bowie Baysox are loaded with a good share of 2007 honorees, with Wilfredo Perez on their disabled list and Chad Thall, Miguel Abreu, Tim Bascom, Ryan Ouellette, and 2007 Shorebird of the Year Danny Figueroa all on their active roster. We even have a 2007 honoree remaining with the Shorebirds, as Victor Castillo is currently on our disabled list after appearing in a handful of games earlier this season.

Unlike the earlier 2006 group, none of the 2007 SotW honorees who aren’t in the Orioles chain are playing in an independent league (that I’m aware of); however, Brandon Tripp is playing for the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League – another Florida Marlins affiliate. The FSL would be comparable to the Carolina League where Frederick plays.

Last season was unique in that I picked 22 “new” Shorebirds of the Week – none of 2008’s players were repeat selections. By and large, most of these players have moved up to the Frederick Keys. That list includes Pedro Florimon Jr., last season’s Shorebird of the Year Sean Gleason (who also had a stint with Bowie), Matt Angle, Wally Crancer, Brett Bordes, Cliff Flagello, Tyler Henson, Zach Britton, Brian Parker, and Nate Nery (who advanced after a brief stay here at Delmarva.) The Keys’ disabled list has 2008 honorees Matt Tucker and Ryan Adams.

Two other Shorebirds of the Week from 2008 have made the jump to Bowie. It’s no surprise that Joe Nowicki skipped Frederick, but John Mariotti (who was injured for a good portion of 2008) is now pitching for the Baysox. The news is not so good on the injury front for Tony Butler, who has languished on Delmarva’s disabled list so far in 2009.

There are three players from last season who have made a repeat appearance in Delmarva for 2009 and are still here at the halfway point. While Brendan Monaghan has fought an injury for much of the campaign, Joe Mahoney and Cole McCurry are both key contributors to the Shorebirds’ success thus far.

Unfortunately, some of last year’s SotW picks have seen their careers downslide or come to an end. It surprised me to find last year’s main closer for the Shorebirds, Mick Mattaliano, on Aberdeen’s roster, while Luis Noel is back where he came from and pitching for the Orioles’ entry in the Dominican Summer League. And it appears that the dream has come to an end for Anthony Martinez and Brian Valichka as my search for them on the MiLB and independent league websites was fruitless.

So far all 11 of my 2009 choices (which include the aforementioned Mahoney and McCurry) are still playing for the Shorebirds, but Richard Zagone and Ron Welty will have a chance to play one extra game as they represent the Shorebirds on the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division All-Star team. I’ll update this post once I see how they fared in the contest being played in Charleston, West Virginia this evening.

Update, as promised: Richard Zagone drew the start for the North All-Stars and threw a scoreless first inning, fanning two but allowing a hit and a walk. He did not allow a run, though. Ron Welty came on as a substitute in the top of the 6th, and after striking out his first time up he ripped a base hit in the bottom of the 9th and came around to eventually score the winning run for the North squad in their 8-7 win!

WCRC meeting – June 2009

After a month off because our normal meeting date fell on Memorial Day, the Wicomico County Republican Club reconvened this evening with our first announced candidate for 2010 to address the group.

As always, we took care of club business first with a couple twists. After the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, club Secretary Dave Parker gave us a summary of April’s meeting and we received a quick rundown of income and expenses in the absence of our treasurer. Despite the slight departure from normal, the 30 or so attending didn’t mind.

Mark Biehl began the report process by discussing the recent doings of the Lower Shore Young Republicans. Their recent barbeque fundraiser “turned out really well” and they will have 2 of 12 Maryland delegates to the national YR convention later this year. Their next meeting will be on Friday, July 10th at a location to be announced.

The other report from the Central Committee was deferred because county Chair Dr. John Bartkovich was running slightly late. Instead, we moved ahead on the agenda to hear our speaker, United States Senate candidate Jim Rutledge.

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge looks over his notes one last time before speaking to the Wicomico County Republican Club, June 22, 2009.Rutledge started by recounting his family history rooted in working occupations such as farmer, veterinarian, and coal miner – it all “taught him (the value of) hard work from being a young, young child.” When Jim decided not to follow his father’s footsteps into the veterinary field he decided instead to practice law, where he’s made his career for over 20 years.

Expressing the thought that we “need leadership in this party, this state, and this Senate…to speak the truth” to what is happening in our nation, Rutledge went into some of what he considered “pressing issues.”

First and foremost was health care, which he termed was “really ‘rationcare'”. From discussing the subject with those in the know about the history of various systems around the world, Jim told us that for minor incidents socialized medicine was “okay” – if you have a cold or a minor emergency they can fix you right up. But once that minor ailment becomes something like blowing out a knee, that’s when the dreaded “waiting list” comes into play. Need an MRI? Prepare to wait awhile. And if you have a terminal illness, you may never be placed on the waiting list to begin with. Rutledge pointed out that members of Canada’s Parliament aren’t shy about crossing the border for treatment because they can afford to do so, unlike many of their constituents.

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Progress made

This is a heads-up…boy July 4th is coming quickly.

Those of you who have been reading this site regularly for the last year or so – or those of you who may have stumbled across because of a mention someplace else – may recall that last year I embarked on the monoblogue Accountability Project. In my original rendition, each of the 188 members of our General Assembly was ranked and graded on votes they took over the 2007 and 2008 sessions, including the Special Session in 2007. Obviously this year I add the votes for 2009.

Last year I missed my self-imposed deadline of having the Accountability Project done on July 4th; instead I was a couple days behind. The good news is that I finished the hard part this weekend, compiling a total of 65 votes by the General Assembly (33 in the House of Delegates, 32 in the Maryland Senate) and retallying the term totals to reflect 2009’s votes. So I only need to do the writeup for the page this week and it should go as scheduled on July 4th at noon – just after the Salisbury Tea Party wraps up.

On the whole, I was quite disappointed with the session this year. A lot of those who had really good records slipped a little bit while I didn’t get many pleasant surprises on the Democratic side. There were no “perfect” members of the General Assembly – the best had all but two votes “correct”.

On July 4th I’ll reveal who they were.

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