Friday night videos – episode 31

Back to politics again after my foray into local music. Let’s see what I can dig up here, all right?

The other day it was Earth Day and needless to say I don’t go in for the hype – neither does Mario Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Three guys who were too much into Earth Day are Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman. They are a creative bunch, though, as they spin cap and tax. Again, from CEI:

Speaking of big government, the Environmental Protection Agency has a video contest going to explain why government regulations are a good thing. Needless to say, someone had to poke fun at it – why not the gang at Americans for Prosperity?

This spotlight is on a group which wants government regulation (in the form of higher taxes) to fatten their coffers.

Perhaps the Maryland GOP can borrow this from their California brethren?

Instead, our state is faced with too many voters like this group Bob McCarty found at an Illinois rally.

This is the same rally where TEA Partiers were greeted by a riot squad.

A protest of a different sort occurred right here in Maryland. Disaffected workers in the film industry aren’t too happy with our present governor – WBAL reports.

Newt Gingrich always has something to say as well. Here he talks about President Obama’s “secular socialist machine.”

I wrote about Daniel “The Whig Man” Vovak earlier this week as he proposed to legalize pot. Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation agrees.

But I didn’t forget local music! Here’s the hard-rocking Christian group Not My Own recorded live (not by me) at Circles in Milford, Delaware.

Until next time, that’s a wrap.

Shorebird of the Week – April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – April 29, 2010 

Garabez Rosa looked a bit disgusted after making an out in this April 18 contest against Hagerstown. His solution seems to be making far fewer outs.

Garabez Rosa likes that high-bat stance, and so far it's worked well for him. This was taken April 18 against Hagerstown as well.

You may recall the cup of coffee Garabez Rosa had here last season, but this year he appears determined to continue his climb up the Orioles ladder by putting together a solid season. So far he’s had a torrid start.

After last night Garabez was hitting .353 (24-for-68) in 18 games, with a home run and 10 runs knocked in. With 11 doubles and an outstanding .925 OPS, the lanky 20 year old shows signs of becoming a power threat. It’s a far cry from the measly .125 average he posted here in 11 late-season games last year. He also has a flair for the dramatic, as his home run ended a 1-0 game against Greensboro on April 20.

Rosa, a native of Cotui in the Dominican Republic, signed at the age of 17 and after a summer in the Dominican Summer League he came to play here in the U.S. in 2008. He’s spent time with the GCL Orioles (2008), Aberdeen (2008-09) and now Delmarva – this season is his first full-season test.

But by bunching multi-hit games together he may assure himself yet another move before season’s end. Since the Orioles are thin at shortstop and will eventually need to replace 32-year-old Brian Roberts, continuing his impressive hitting may put Rosa on the Orioles’ radar screen for future middle infielders before too long.

AFP continues to build momentum

Despite the naysayers who criticize how the meetings are conducted, the local Americans for Prosperity chapter continues to grow and even attracted its biggest critic last night. He just can’t stay away.

After poking fun at Julie for her previous rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance, we got the meeting underway by looking at Wicomico County voter data. It’s interesting to note that, unlike the state at large, Democrats do not have an absolute majority in registration here, and independents, minor parties, and unaffiliated voters comprise about 1/6 of the electorate. These are the swing voters everyone craves and many lean conservative. “We must drag politicians back from the brink,’ noted WCAFP co-chair Joe Collins, “…tell them what you want.” This coming from a former two-time Perot voter who thought Obama would govern from the center – obviously recent events have made him wiser. (Hey, I voted for Perot once too.)

Dustin Mills spoke briefly for one of our scheduled speakers, Maryland Senate candidate Michael James – James needed to postpone his appearance. Mills noted that Michael was active in the Worcester AFP chapter and is a “strong, strong, strong fiscal conservative” while repeating James’s mantra of being proactive rather than reactive.

Our other featured speaker did appear. District 38B Delegate hopeful Mike McDermott went over his background and family before bringing up the fact that he was elected mayor of Pocomoke City in a non-partisan race and had to build a coalition with Democrats to get things done – it was a “well fought first year and a half.”

Having spent a brief period of time running a chicken farm, Mike thought the lack of support for the agricultural industry from Annapolis was “outrageous” and perhaps MDE needed a budget cut “to get their attention.”

He asked what the country has done with Reagan’s legacy and reminded us that there’s been two generations who haven’t had such leadership – Reagan grew up in the era of our grandparents. As for the roiling, passionate debate we’ve had over a number of topics nationally, McDermott counseled us to “simmer over the summer” and hold on to that passion until closer to election time.

When I asked him about the prospect of working with Norm Conway, he said “I can work with him.” Norm’s a nice guy, but he’s a tax and spend liberal too.

We also need conservatives in the General Assembly to help change the tax system, opined Mike, and told us that “Maryland needs to sell some land” rather than continue to spend Program Open Space money (hear hear!)

Julie returned to the rostrum to go over some ideas for an organizational structure and seek out leadership volunteers. “We are the engine driving change,” she said, but it was getting to be too much for just a few people to handle.

We then had a series of speakers briefly go over being an election judge or poll watcher as well as reports on county and city government and a brief wrapup of state activities by Nick Loffer.

Kim Trenka called the county’s budget problem “a spending problem” and said we need “to challenge our county leadership.” While Rick Pollitt equated our low tax rate with reduced services, Trenka had some ideas on positions which could be eliminated, such as the two at-large County Council members and Pollitt’s public information officer.

S.J. Disharoon saw the city’s freshly revealed budget as having some “strange numbers” and called it “a big sieve…money’s being wasted.” He also criticized Mayor Jim Ireton for leaving the fire chief position unfilled so long and reminded us that Ireton said to him, “I’m going to make government smaller.” Apparently this is more by chance than by choice.

With the absence of Council member Gary Comegys due to illness, Disharoon saw this as an opportunity for members Terry Cohen and Debbie Campbell to “exert their power” – a 2-2 tie vote means measures do not pass. S.J. ended by warning, “if you don’t pay attention…(the government) will fool you.”

Loffer did alert us to an upcoming grassroots training on May 12 at our Brew River location.

As always, the meeting ended with what’s called “vent and purge,” and one observer made the point that we don’t need a family history as much as we need issue-based discussion from candidates – after all, no one is going to stand in front of us and tell us he or she is a scoundrel. However, character is a trait we should know about, yet it also has to be about keeping one’s word. Our job is to keep those in office flying right and place their feet to the fire if they stray.

I’m not sure who will be speaking next time around, but we are trying to get another U.S. Senate hopeful for June.

A unique revenue enhancer

April 29, 2010 · Posted in Baltimore Examiner · Comments Off on A unique revenue enhancer 

If there were ever a post which earned my moniker of “Political Buzz Examiner” this may be it.

Montgomery County is facing a massive budget shortfall nearing $1 billion, and one candidate for County Executive has a unique solution for tackling the issue: legalize marijuana. And he’s a Republican.

(continued on my page…)

Are Conway and Mathias trying to buy votes?

One of my fellow Examiners, J. Doug Gill, brought up the point about the $15 million of state largesse going toward “bond bills” this session, but after looking at the projects funded I wanted to bring the point closer to home – so I did a little bit of investigation and simple math.

The state approved a number of projects in the State Capital Budget Bill, and one thing I was curious about was how the money was doled out. First, though, I had to see what the “proper” proportion of funding was based on population. The sequence below covers each Maryland county (and Baltimore City) and its percentage of the state population based on 2009 estimates. The (parentheses) is what percentage of the $15 million the county in question received.

  1. Montgomery – 17.05% (13.23%)
  2. Prince George’s – 14.64% (17.93%)
  3. Baltimore – 13.86% (7.63%)
  4. Baltimore City – 11.18% (14.03%)
  5. Anne Arundel – 9.14% (7.33%)
  6. Howard – 4.95% (5.93%)
  7. Harford – 4.26% (1.33%)
  8. Frederick – 4.00% (2%)
  9. Carroll – 2.98% (1%)
  10. Washington – 2.56% (1.83%)
  11. Charles – 2.50%  (2.33%)
  12. St. Mary’s – 1.81% (1.4%)
  13. Cecil – 1.77% (1%)
  14. Wicomico – 1.65% (2.73%)
  15. Calvert – 1.57% (1.67%)
  16. Allegany – 1.27% (1%)
  17. Worcester – 0.86% (1.67%)
  18. Queen Anne’s – 0.84% (1%)
  19. Talbot – 0.64% (0.07%)
  20. Caroline – 0.59% (0)
  21. Dorchester – 0.56% (0.87%)
  22. Garrett – 0.52% (1.33%)
  23. Somerset – 0.46% (0)
  24. Kent – 0.36% (0)

Most counties get a smaller share than their population because there were a number of “statewide” projects funded like the Maryland Food Bank. But it’s interesting that both Wicomico and Worcester did well, and that’s perhaps because Norm Conway faces a tough election (as does Jim Mathias, assuming he runs for the open District 38 Senate seat.) On the other hand, counties which were shut out are represented by Republicans in Districts 36, 37, and 38. Nothing like a little slap at the minority, who weren’t as well-rewarded as certain Democrats.

Granted, I think the $15 million may have been better zeroed out given our state’s fiscal circumstance but it seems that many in the General Assembly leadership use this as a slush fund to help their most vulnerable incumbents, particularly in an election year.

Undoubtedly the projects selected can be considered worthy – in Wicomico County state dollars will assist the Salisbury Zoo and the Parsonsburg VFD; meanwhile, Worcester County will enjoy improvements to Pocomoke City’s VFD facility (which just so happens to be in GOP challenger Mike McDermott’s backyard.) But are they worth the taxpayer money or the $14 million-plus where we had to scratch the rest of the state’s back to get these crumbs? The Senate approved $210,000 for the two counties while the House gave Conway and Mathias $450,000 this time around.

By comparison, the House allocations to Wicomico and Worcester counties in 2009 totaled $250,000; in 2008 they were $145,000; and in 2007 $450,000. The Senate granted $150,000 in 2009; $275,000 in 2008; and just $50,000 in 2007. It’s something which makes you go, “hmmmmm….” doesn’t it?

Maryland Congressional incumbents in catbird seat financially

April 27, 2010 · Posted in Baltimore Examiner · 2 Comments 

One idea of the relative strength of a political campaign is the amount of money it’s raised. As we stand six months out from the November elections, it’s no surprise that Maryland’s incumbent members of Congress (with one exception) lead the way in both money in both money raised and cash on hand.

In the lone statewide race, incumbent Senator Barbara Mikulski trails only Eighth District Congressman Chris Van Hollen in cash on hand with just over $2.7 million in the bank. Among her GOP challengers only Eric Wargotz has cracked the six-digit barrier in either cash on hand or total contributions to date, with Wargotz sitting on a small war chest of $118,321. So far Eric’s raised just under $200,000 for his effort, with his closest competition being Jim Rutledge and his total take of $74,709.

(continued on my page…)

WCRC meeting – April 2010

April 26, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – April 2010 

After some of the craziness of March’s meeting, things returned to a fairly normal pace and routine this month.

We did the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, then the minutes of both February and March were read. Following that, it was revealed that our efforts at the Salisbury Festival only netted a meager profit thanks to the “small crowd,” with the lack of steamed corn on the cob also making an impact.

A series of reports followed, beginning with the Lower Shore Young Republicans presented by Dustin Mills. Several of their members braved the poor weather to help at the Salisbury Festival and they were putting the “final touches” on the state convention, where they expected somewhere between 125 and 150 to attend.

The LSYR food drive will occur May 8th at three of the four Salisbury area Food Lion stores – confirmed are the Nanticoke Road and Snow Hill Road locations, with the other being either Tilghman Road or Fruitland.

Dustin and I split the Central Committee report; he remarked on the upcoming GOP Spring Convention in Ocean City and I on the success of the Lincoln Day Dinner with Bob Ehrlich.

We then had a number of campaign updates.

Ed Nelson commented on the Salisbury stop on Andy’s bus tour on Friday. While 30 people showed up on an early Friday morning, Nelson said the candidate was “satisfied” with the press coverage as his campaign is “gelling together.”

Dustin Mills (again) referenced the Michael James campaign for State Senate, telling us Michael was “extremely active” compared to his 2006 effort and lauding the “positive reception” Michael received at the Salisbury Festival.

Don Coffin spoke up and announced he was holding a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge on Saturday, May 22 at his farm. A recent fundraiser for Rutledge in Salisbury raised about $3,000 so there’s support here on the Eastern Shore for the candidate.

Bonnie Luna spoke on behalf of Bob Ehrlich’s campaign, recounting his kick off tour which stopped in Parsonsburg and Ocean City.

Bob McCarroll also gave us an update on his bid for office.

In other news, Dustin Mills pointed out some of the numbers behind the recent Rasmussen Poll on Maryland’s race for governor. We know that Ehrlich trails O’Malley 44-47 in his race, but Maryland is a state which gives President Obama more support than the average state and is more supportive of Obamacare. Yet Martin O’Malley has a 22 strongly approve/29 strongly disapprove, or a factor of (-7) compared to a national average for President Obama running in the negative teens. But tellingly, about half of Free Staters have a “throw the bums out” mentality when it comes to their own delegate.

We also learned that the AFP meeting Wednesday may have Delegate candidate Mike McDermott as a speaker but Michael James had to drop out – he’ll have a surrogate for the meeting.

The bulk of the meeting’s discussion centered on the club’s financial plan for the upcoming election, which eventually passed without objection. Once we finalize the slate of candidates come September the WCRC can be a huge help to local Republican candidates.

Our next meeting is May 24 and still on the docket despite her change in office sought is Carmen Amedori.

It’s not lucrative being green

April 25, 2010 · Posted in Liberty Features Syndicate · Comments Off on It’s not lucrative being green 

Because my last column didn’t clear for publication last week and this one is more time-sensitive, you get two LFS op-eds today.

April presents both the onset of spring for most of a winter-ravaged nation and the odd calendar quirk of tax filing day being followed one week later by Earth Day. Both days affect one’s financial situation, but for different reasons.

Undoubtedly there’s an entire industry which profits from the annual taxation ritual, but the arrival of Earth Day always gives its own set of groups and industries their opportunity to seize the spotlight in an attempt to burnish their “green” bonafides – one of the most prominent and in-your-face examples being the NBC-Universal family of television networks (which includes the Weather Channel) going wall-to-wall with specifically themed episodes and constant reminders to reduce, reuse, and recycle for the good of Mother Earth. The Earth Day celebration has surely blossomed since the first one in 1970.

Despite what those on the Left seem to believe, in that forty year period we’ve come a long way in reducing the impact of pollution. Yet all this has come at great cost, and it’s a toll which is borne by those very people they were trying to help.

For example, the price at the pump or to heat your home is impacted by the $12 billion or so energy companies spend to conform with environmental regulations. On a larger scale, compliance with the byzantine layers of red tape in the environmental arena cost Americans over $220 billion annually according to a 2004 study by the Small Business Administration, and these numbers are sure to increase with legislation like the so-called “cap and trade” bill pending in Congress.

These hidden taxes add up, but rarely get mentioned when politicians tout a bill to clean the air or address global warming by adding a few thousand more pages of regulations to the volumes already in place.

At times these products of bureaucracy can produce ironic results. One would think that BP Solar of Frederick, Maryland would be well-positioned to profit from the push toward more renewable energy. Instead, the manufacturing plant and its 320 jobs are being phased out because solar panels can be made more cheaply overseas. Similarly, do-gooders promoting the creation of green jobs through building wind farms are surprised when they find a large percentage of wind turbines are produced abroad as well.

Environmental advocates may argue all the overseas manufacturing is because those markets are more mature than ours, and they have a point. Europe in particular is bedeviled by a lack of oil and natural gas resources for their population, a shortage which forced them to find other means of energy production sooner. While Europe has a reasonably decent standard of living, it’s clear that having a larger percentage of their energy consumption come from clean sources hasn’t advanced their status beyond that which we enjoy here in the United States.

For an economy to thrive while maintaining a decent quality of life there needs to be a balance. Certainly we’ve learned over the years that our planet doesn’t have infinite resources and we can’t be wasteful with that we’ve been blessed with.

But there’s a danger with shifting the balance too far the other way; it’s a cost measured in the loss of freedom. Being too restrictive can have the same harmful effects on us as unfettered polluting once did. Before the pendulum swings too far in the wrong direction, we need to consider what the Earth Day zealots are doing to our wallets before we give in to their demands.

Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer. This article came online at LFS on April 19, and I put it up today as we mull over our recent Earth Day celebration. Me? I went to a ballgame!

Has the time come for a real maverick?

April 25, 2010 · Posted in Liberty Features Syndicate · 4 Comments 

A few election cycles ago Republicans ended up nominating a real, honest-to-goodness old warhorse for their presidential candidate, putting him up against a scandal-plagued incumbent Democrat. With the off-year elections two years before bringing a resounding GOP victory, Republican regulars shrugged off the 23-year age gap between the two nominees and presumed that the contrast between the incumbent’s lacking character and their nominee’s homespun charm could still score them an upset victory.

But thanks to a lackluster campaign and just enough of a third-party effort to deny the incumbent a majority of the vote, Republican stalwart Bob Dole lost the 1996 election to Bill Clinton. It was an era which placed the term “triangulation” into the political lexicon and Clinton executed that strategy masterfully in winning a second term.

In fact, recent history suggests Washington insiders don’t do well as Republican candidates. George W. Bush won because he cut his political teeth in Texas, far from the nation’s capital. Similarly, Ronald Reagan governed California before winning the White House on his second try and America expected more of the same when they elected a Beltway insider to succeed him in Vice-President George H.W. Bush. Conversely, Dole and John McCain were longtime Republican fixtures in Washington, perhaps alienating them from the party grassroots.

To that end, a number of names being bandied about for the GOP nod in 2012 come from the ranks of state governors. While Bobby Jindal of Louisiana declared last week he was not in the running, there’s still several current or former state chief executives in the mix – Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Texas’s Rick Perry, 2008 candidates Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, and of course former second banana Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Yet there is a Beltway insider who has enough appeal among the conservatives who attend events like CPAC or last week’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference to beat most of the above-mentioned names in their straw polls – he won the CPAC vote handily and just missed winning the SRLC balloting by one vote. If nominated, he would be 26 years older than the current incumbent Democratic president.

Somehow Ron Paul has escaped the wrath of being perceived as a Washington insider despite serving three stints in Congress totaling 20 years. Obviously he didn’t do particularly well in a crowded primary field in 2008 as far as gathering votes goes, but he proved a potent fundraiser and has become a darling among the portion of the Republican Party which preaches fiscal conservatism and limited government through his Campaign for Liberty organization. More importantly, he has an appeal among young conservatives which belies his age.

And with economic issues in the forefront this time around, one Achilles heel of Paul’s 2008 bid – his strident opposition to the war in Iraq – is off the table. His domestic policies generally follow a line which straddles conservatism and libertarianism, making him a definite friend of the TEA Party set.

It’s doubtful that many of the Presidential players for the 2012 cycle are going to make their intentions known before the 2010 election because of November’s potential for upending the Democrats’ stranglehold on our legislative branch. This wait-and-see approach serves to gauge the strength of TEA Party politics and the general anti-incumbent mood.

But don’t be surprised if the gentleman from Texas doesn’t toss his hat back into the presidential ring next year and is more successful this time around. Unlike Bob Dole, it’s not likely this elderly Washington insider will be uninspiring on the campaign trail.

Michael Swartz, an architect and writer who lives in rural Maryland, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer. This happened to be posted on April 12.

Weekend of local rock volume 32

April 24, 2010 · Posted in Delmarva items, Local Music, Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

This is an example of judicious editing, as I could have easily put up 40 shots – instead I distilled it to 14.

A week ago Kim and I were at Pork in the Park as two earlier posts this week suggest. But I intentionally held off on doing the musical portion until now. On Saturday a total of eight bands performed and we saw six – seven if you count the tail end of Power Play.

We pick up the action with the ’80s cover band Riot Act. They won their spot by winning the Battle of the Bands last year, over my objection. But they came with one purpose:

Although they did a pretty good set, my socks stayed on throughout.

These guys are a five-piece band with one lady who alternates between guitar and keyboards.

The five players of Riot Act played during the early afternoon at Pork in the Park. Photo by Kimberley Corkran.

This year they didn’t have the several costume changes they featured last time I saw them at Pork in the Park. The biggest switch was this getup by the bassist who does their short rap segment.

This part of the show was where they segued Van Halen's 'Jamie's Cryin' into a rap song and back.

This will give you a good idea of the crowd who was watching.

It was a fairly decent afternoon crowd during Pork in the Park and a lot of folks got into Riot Act. Photo by Kimberley Corkran.

I’m the kind of guy who will give the benefit of the doubt to local musicians. But the singer really needs to work on remembering the proper lyrical sequences – he messed up 2 or 3 times that I noticed.

A guy who I doubt messed up on lyrics (or if he did I wouldn’t have known) was Tom Principato, who followed Riot Act on stage. It was a definite transition from ’80s glam to a blues-rock gumbo. Speaking of gumbo, it’s part of the title to one of his several CD’s which were available for sale there.

I don't know if the lady is Mrs. Principato or just a fan, but she was moving and grooving to what Tom and his band were laying down.

Tom is also a Pork in the Park veteran who was here in the same timeslot last year. He may have even wore the same shirt.

Blues-rock guitarist Tom Principato once again held court at Pork in the Park. Next month he's back in the area, playing a show in Berlin.

But he and his band kept the crowd entertained as they prepared for the awards ceremony.

The four parts of Tom Principato's band. It's sort of unique to have both a drummer and percussionist to go with bass and lead guitars.

And, just like last year, after the awards ceremony we were treated to the Southern rock of Smokin’ Gunnz. They also had their swag for sale, but part of the picture is intended to show how breezy it was out there.

Yes, it was a little breezy out there. I was tempted to pick up the long-sleeved rebel flag shirt just for an extra layer.

One thing I liked about Smokin’ Gunnz is that they play a wide variety of songs from the genre. They started with five Lynard Skynard songs but they weren’t the five you may expect – there were some forgotten gems in there too.

They didn't just play 'Free Bird' when they played Skynard - Smokin' Gunnz can play some of the deeper album cuts too.

And here’s to wireless equipment.

Say hello to your friendly neighborhood lead guitarist.

Speaking of equipment, could you imagine the chaos which would ensue if someone spilled their Yuengling on this bad boy?

This is what you call a professional sound rig. As windy as it was, the sound came across really well so thumbs up to the crew here.

As the day turned into night and the wind kept a-howlin’, the crowd thinned out somewhat for the 95.9 The Sports Animal Battle of the Bands. The station changed format (it used to be 96 Rock) after the event was announced, so I wonder if edition 3 will occur next year.

Unlike last year, just 3 bands participated, with two of them being repeat performers. One of them was Order 6-D6.

When I saw them back in January, Order 6-D6 talked about getting another guitarist but this was still the same four-piece band.

With there only being 3 bands each played four songs, with Order 6-D6 choosing 3 originals and one cover song. I think being first up hurt them again because they didn’t win; perhaps they should have again.

Next up was Dakota John, who played as I recall a two original, two cover set. They were the only band I saw who hadn’t played here last year – yet they’re from Salisbury.

Dakota John showed a lot of energy and promise. While they're not quite there yet, they have the potential to be a solid band.

I think I would have liked them better if the vocals had been more pronounced. The lady can sing but I had a hard time figuring out just what she was singing. Maybe it was the cold.

Your winner was CIA, which stands for Conjured in Absence. Good thing I scored a shirt because now I can remember that. (It was tossed out and landed right by me, so I picked it up. I didn’t pull any journalistic strings.)

I'm curious to know what these guys sound like with their regular guitarist. The player on the far left stepped in 10 days before since their regular guitar player couldn't make the show.

I wouldn’t have given them first because having the fill-in guitarist made them a bit rough around the edges musically, but they went last and that seems to be a good spot, plus their best song was the original song they did to close the show. To me they were a close second but I’m not a judge.

And maybe I was just popsicle-frozen by then since the temperature had dipped into the low 50’s and the wind was whipping the flags around Pork in the Park. I was glad to be in a warm car because Kim couldn’t take the cold and left before CIA began.

As part of winning, I believe CIA gets to play as part of the “Suds at the Shorebirds” event next Saturday. (Damn, I have to miss it – couldn’t you have picked a date where I wasn’t at our spring convention?) So you can go and judge for yourself whether they deserved to win.

Friday night videos episode 30

April 23, 2010 · Posted in Delmarva items, Local Music, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Friday night videos episode 30 

In a way, this is going to be sort of a “best of” version. What I wanted to do was go through the videos I have (about 30 in all, some of which are on my Youtube channel already) and find some of the best ones where bands were doing original songs. Lord knows we have a lot of cover bands around here, while others do a mix of both their own stuff and songs popularized by other bands.

There are six videos I’m featuring tonight, all done by local bands over the last six months or so. So sit back and enjoy the tunes.

The first one was done back in October at the Save the…Breast Fest and features my friends from Semiblind. It’s too bad I was so close because it makes the sound it bit rough, but the song still shines.

Later that month I found myself in the small community of Trappe, Maryland, where Trappetober Fest was going on. This band is called Perfecting Kate and they’re from Denton, Maryland.

At the 12 Bands of Christmas last December, I got two bands playing original stuff. First up is Woodstok Nation.

The other is the Paul Lewis Band.

Later in February I went to a great benefit concert put on to benefit the Haitian relief effort where Not My Own played.

Lastly, I have a new video from the Delaware-based band Crookedfinger, just uploaded this afternoon.

Hope you enjoyed this look at original music as much as I did being there! Next time it’s back to political stuff.

Harris bus tour stops in Salisbury

As I wrote yesterday, leg number one of Andy Harris’s districtwide bus tour was scheduled to stop in Salisbury this morning, and indeed it did.

Congressional candidate and State Senator Andy Harris emerges from his tour bus at its Salisbury stop, April 23, 2010.

Along for the ride was, among others, Harris campaign chair and two-time candidate for governor Ellen Sauerbrey.

Harris campaign chair Ellen Sauerbrey chats with a supporter at the tour's stop in Salisbury, April 23, 2010.

Speaking in front of about two dozen supporters including fellow State Senator Rich Colburn, Harris outlined his plans should he be elected.

About two dozen supporters listened as Harris outlined his plans should he be elected.

Congressional candidate Andy Harris spoke about health care and job creation in his remarks to a tour stop in Salisbury, April 23, 2010.

Telling those gathered that “we can no longer be the silent majority,” Harris described the need for a turnaround, as he represented a group who liked the America we had prior to the growth of government.

Turning to the health care bill, Andy opined that, “the government doesn’t think you can make the best decisions” – we didn’t need bureaucrats to do the jobs physicians should be doing.

Harris then discussed the lack of jobs in the First District. While Maryland as a whole has an unemployment rate significantly below the national average, 7 of the 9 Eastern Shore counties suffer from double-digit unemployment rates. “The approach in Washington is wrong,” said Harris, who advocated an across-the-board tax cut to help solve the problem.

His best applause line, though, concerned the ouster of Nancy Pelosi should the GOP win back the majority in Congress this year. It came after he concluded that part of Washington’s problem was spending and that having a value-added tax (VAT) would make the problem worse.

Harris was kind enough to take a few questions after his prepared remarks.

The first had to do with immigration reform, as Arizona is primed to pass tough anti-illegal immigration legislation. Indeed, the federal government should enforce immigration laws but we do need legal immigrants to supplement our labor force, said Harris.

What can we do about health care reform now? asked another. “The health care debate is not over,” Andy stated. While some of the provisions are agreeable, the taxes on items such as durable medical devices will have a deleterious effect on care as a whole. But Congress does have the power of the purse and can choose not to fund the most egregious portions of the bill.

In that vein, I asked, is there some sort of workaround to keep the Bush tax cuts around beyond their expiration date at the end of this year?

While Andy didn’t have an answer as to tactics, he did correctly note that this uncertainty affects business decisions – entrepreneurs are “waiting for a signal” from the federal government on a number of issues including taxation.

Returning to health care, the final question posed regarded turning health care back to the states. Harris noted that some states (like Maryland) do just fine with the system they have while others like Massachusetts are struggling. The federal government should have little to do with health care, he said.

Harris spent about 30 minutes in Salisbury, which was longer than I expected. But I knew this would be the prime media stop.

A reporter from WBOC asks Andy Harris questions. The question he was answering when I took the picture had to do with offshore oil exploration, which Harris favors as a way for America to use more of its own resources and states to gain from revenue sharing.

A reporter from the Daily Times interviews Andy after the event.

Besides the WBOC reporter – who left before Harris actually spoke from the podium – and the Daily Times, the media cabal consisted of myself and a couple other local bloggers.

But one remark from Andy I overheard as he was preparing to leave seems to be the thought we all have on our minds: “November is our last chance…I’m convinced of that.” Given the direction our nation is being dragged into, I think Harris just may be right.

One other observation – unless he said it in a private conversation, I never heard the name of his opponent cross his lips during this stop, a stop held within sight of his district office. Hopefully it’s a sign of a clean campaign.

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