Dossier: Roy Moore

August 31, 2011 · Posted in Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Dossier: Roy Moore 

Political resume: After being appointed and subsequently elected as a local jurist, Moore won election and served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court from 2001-2003 before being removed for not following the direction of a federal judge and removing a monument depicting the Ten Commandments. Moore has also run unsuccessfully for governor in Alabama in 2006 and 2010. He announced his presidential exploratory committee on April 18.

On campaign finance/election reform (three points): As a columnist for WorldNetDaily, Moore opined that McCain-Feingold “restricts First Amendment rights of free speech regarding political matters while making it easier for incumbents to strengthen their hold on their offices.” He’s right on the button, and I suspect he would be in favor of voter ID as well. I’ll give him two points.

On property rights (five points): While it was hinted in this article he penned that Moore was against the Kelo decision, the fact that he stood up for private property rights at a rally shows me he’s likely on the right side. Five points.

On the Second Amendment (seven points): This short treatise shows he gets why there’s a Second Amendment. Seven points.

On education (eight points): Roy states on his issue page that, “the federal government should not hamper the education systems of various states, as there is no authority for federal involvement under the Constitution. Competition between the states and freedom of various educational structures should be available to parents who are charged with the responsibility to teach their children. Charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, home schooling, Christian schools, and technical training should be encouraged.” The only part I don’t like is the part about tax credits, since I think controlling behavior through the tax code is a no-no as a permanent solution. So I’ll give him six points.

On the Long War/veterans affairs (nine points): There are parts I like about Moore and his philosophy and others I’m not so sure of. He wants a missile defense system (good) and more funding for the military (probably good, but I don’t think they need a blank check.) He believes “we should not be entangled in foreign wars merely at the whim and caprice of any President.” (I can buy that.) But to say “we must treat sovereign nations as we would want to be treated” doesn’t leave a lot of room for hammering them when needed. Maybe I’m misunderstanding his intent, but I have to grade him a step down from some others. Seven points.

On immigration (eleven points): He has a somewhat similar view to that of Jon Huntsman in that he would “allow” states to take the lead in border security. But he has a moral position on the issue as well, and I think he would be just fine on the issue because I take it he has a security “floor” in mind which states can exceed if they wish. I’ll give him seven points.

On energy independence (twelve points): “We need independence from foreign oil by freeing access to our own natural resources and developing other sources such as nuclear, solar, wind, and fossil fuels. Coal and oil supplies should be developed. Off-shore drilling should be increased but subject to reasonable regulations.” That’s the extent of Moore’s views on energy. It’s the problem with having no legislative record to back things up – I have no definition of things like “reasonable regulation.” And I’m troubled that he equates unproven pieces of the puzzle like solar and wind with items we use now. So I can only give him five points as well.

On entitlements (thirteen points): I like one statement he makes: “Churches and charitable organizations should be encouraged to help the needy and poor.” Now, if he has fidelity to the Constitution as he says he does I think he should follow through on eliminating entitlements altogether – please find for me the point in that document where Americans have a right to entitlements. I’m going to give him nine points.

On trade and job creation (fourteen points): Moore believes that we can return manufacturing by “revoking unfair trade agreements,” but doesn’t define what constitutes an unfair agreement. But he does understand the problem, as evidenced in this local paper: “Why don’t we have jobs? We’ve regulated them. We’ve taxed them out of existence. We’ve made free trade agreements and sent them south,” Moore said. I’ll give him eight points.

On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): Roy favors a government with fealty to the Constitution and either a flat income tax or consumption-based system of taxation, either of which would be a vast improvement over what we have now. Aside from the contradiction in tax policy regarding tax credits for education it’s exactly the type of thing I am looking for, so Moore gets fourteen points.

Intangibles (up to three points): On the positive side, Moore opposes same-sex marriage, is pro-life, and supports our national sovereignty. He would defund Planned Parenthood as well. And because he doesn’t advocate a Constitutional prohibition on these items (presumably leaving them up to the states) he has no negatives so he gets all three points.

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Is the TEA Party electoral poison?

Well, to answer the question, Rasmussen conducted a poll which stated 43 percent now see the TEA Party label as a negative. Of course they do, since the media constantly portrays the TEA Party as part of the problem and not part of the solution. I think the number around here who would agree with the 43% is only about half of that.

But the labeling trend is definitely not in the favor of those who believe in smaller, more limited government as independents dislike the TEA Party label by a 42-25 margin. Generally they are the ones who fall in the middle politically and supposedly it’s the great unwashed whose votes pile up on election day.

So here’s my message to the 43 percent: if you don’t buy the TEA Party and its message of limited government it’s only because you believe the lies told about the TEA Party by those who have a vested interest in keeping things just the way they are!

Do you want to know the way it is? We spend way too much money in government, and it’s money we create out of thin air. The question now isn’t if we’re heading into an inflationary era, but when and how much. It’s sort of like our experience with Hurricane Irene – some got a little wind, some got a little rain, but most had some sort of damage done to their towns and dwellings. All that differed was the degree.

So follow the money. If you didn’t get a raise last year or – worse – lost your job, well, what has the current big-spending government done for you? Maybe you’re getting some sort of transfer payment like unemployment benefits or food stamps but wouldn’t you really rather have the standard of living of being a productive full-time worker returned to you? As it stands you have less but government has more because they set the rules and print the money! Let my people go!

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Dossier: Fred Karger

August 30, 2011 · Posted in Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Dossier: Fred Karger 

The first in my series of dossiers covers GOP candidate Fred Karger of California. He was one of the first to announce for the campaign, forming his exploratory committee back in July 2010.

Political resume: Karger has never held elective office, but has managed federal, state, and local political campaigns over a 35 year span. He bills himself as the first openly gay Presidential candidate.

On campaign finance/election reform (three points): Interestingly enough, Fred supports lowering the voting age to “16 or 17.” And this report states he’s against voter ID. If anything, I question the wisdom of allowing youth to vote (maybe the age of majority needs to revert to 21) so it doesn’t sound like he and I would agree on the issue. He’s docked all three points.

On property rights (five points): No apparent position, so no points.

On the Second Amendment (seven points): No apparent position, so no points.

On education (eight points): He wants to make school “more interesting and fun.” Well, I’d like them to learn more critical thinking and actually know something when they graduate without burdensome federal regulations. I will give him a little credit for knowing the key obstacle to improving education (the teachers unions) and at least giving a nod to charter schools, but we can go much further. He believes the school year should be longer, which is a double-edged sword but played right can be to our advantage. Three points.

On the Long War/veterans affairs (nine points): Fred is an enigma on foreign policy – he wants out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but thinks we should be in Libya! Yet “Israel…must be defended at all costs.” That saves him from being docked even more. I’ll take off five points as well since he’s very, very squishy on the subject.

On immigration (eleven points): Fred joins the chorus calling for “greatly improved border security” but also advocates “a path to citizenship for immigrants already living in the country.” Smells like amnesty to me, so I take three points off.

On energy independence (twelve points): What Karger doesn’t seem to understand is that forced conservation of energy is counterproductive to a growing economy. Certainly looking for ways to get more done with less energy usage is a good thing, but mandating reductions isn’t practical for growth. If someone needs to explore alternative energy, let it be the private sector (see Herman Cain above.) He loses another six points.

On entitlements (thirteen points): He thinks the size of entitlements needs to be on the table. But that’s about all the service he gives to it so I have no idea what else he wants to do. I’ll grant him one point.

On trade and job creation (fourteen points): Karger wants to “work with…corporations to incentivize them to keep their jobs in America,” but doesn’t explain how. “I believe in the private sector” isn’t a policy. Two points.

On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): Unfortunately, Fred would like to raise taxes on millionaires, but in the same breath claims he’s for “small government, lower spending, and personal responsibility.” It doesn’t seem to me that Fred has thought about how to achieve these broad goals, so I can’t give him more than two points in this category.

Intangibles (up to three points): On the plus side, he would like to legalize marijuana. But on the negative side, he’s all for taxing and controlling it. More negatives for Fred are that he’s pro-choice and obviously supports same-sex marriage, plus he’s supported Democrats in the past. It’s a net of two points deducted.

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Is so-called sustainability more important than growth?

August 30, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, Radical Green · Comments Off on Is so-called sustainability more important than growth? 

Last week before Irene burst onto the scene I read an interesting article by Ann Miller, a Baltimore Examiner.

Apparently the folks in Carroll County have regained a dose of common sense and are trying to apply the brakes to the steamroller called Plan Maryland. Obviously this is a cause which Wicomico County should sign up for as well, given how much the state has attempted to bully local governments into giving up control in the recent past. As we have seen in its dealings with the poultry industry, Annapolis (and by extension, Washington) does not know best.

After all, the goals of Plan Maryland are:

…centered on growth, preservation and sustainability. The “growth” goal is to concentrate development and redevelopment in towns, cities and rural centers where there is existing and planned infrastructure. The “preservation” goal is to preserve and protect environmentally sensitive and rural lands and resources from the impacts of development. And the “sustainability” goal is to ensure a desirable quality of life in our communities and rural areas while preserving the significant natural and cultural resources that define Maryland.

Given that goal, one could reasonably ascertain that the “war on rural Maryland” is far from over. Just because Governor O’Malley didn’t get his initiative of banning septic systems for large developments through the General Assembly doesn’t mean he won’t try an end run like this document, which notes:

With Smart Growth, many thousand fewer septic systems would be installed since the same number of households would connect to community systems with far better treatment, preventing tons of nitrogen discharge into Maryland’s waters.

(snip)

Smart Growth limits additional wastewater and stormwater pollution by reducing the addition of septic tanks, limiting the amount of forest and wetlands removed for new development, encouraging smaller lawns, and preventing impervious surfaces.

Of course, they forget to mention that what growth does occur becomes much more expensive.

And what the state can’t get through legislation they get through regulation. They already would like to get us out of our cars:

Land use decisions at the local level and housing policy programs need to more effectively consider infrastructure capacity and need to manage demand for travel, to make decisions that will be financially wiser for Marylanders. Moreover, a smarter linkage between where we grow and how we get around has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases, cut air pollution, support the creation of more compact communities, and provide Marylanders with more options on how they move from place to place.

So don’t be looking for that wider road anytime soon – they’ll spend the money on a bus route no one rides.

And that’s the problem – I don’t believe that a one-size-fits-all solution dictated from on high like Plan Maryland is necessarily going to work in the best interests of our area. Read more

Walking back an error

You may have noticed that I stopped updating my personal Presidential selection process. Well, there was a reason for that.

In thinking about this, the problem with doing posts by topic is that I can’t account for comings and goings into the race – my posts had plenty to say about Tim Pawlenty but he dropped out; conversely, I haven’t made mention of Rick Perry. Over the next few days I’m going to rectify this, and it may make things a little easier on me and improve the posts as an added bonus.

In addition to my regular posts, I’ll be adding a ‘dossier’ series detailing the top Republican and Democratic candidates (in essence, those I already link to.) Obviously this will be a thumbnail look at how I see them since I also link to their campaign websites, but this can give insight on issues I feel are important as well.

And instead of doing them in alphabetical order, I’m going to do them more or less in polling order from lowest to highest – some of these candidates aren’t necessarily represented on most polls.

Yes, I’ll admit it – I screwed up by doing this the way I did it originally. But in creating a dossier I can make these posts all about one candidate and lead people into doing more research on them, plus it gives me the flexibility to add any new candidates eventually.

I think this will make the posts more readable, and that’s the goal. Look for them over the next few weeks.

Surviving Irene

August 28, 2011 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Surviving Irene 

This is where I normally park my car. Luckily, I moved my car up by the garage.

Well, we survived Irene. In all honesty, I think it’s blowing harder now at 11:00 in the morning than it did for a good chunk of last night.

By the way, that branch was the largest limb that fell in our yard. That’s important because normally I park my car there! Luckily, I had decided to move it right up by the garage to keep it out of the wind – and away from the row of pine trees.

It seems to me that this hurricane was very unusual insofar as I would expect hurricanes to be. I was expecting conditions to deteriorate as the eye drew closer, but it seems like the worst time of it was yesterday afternoon and early evening, several hours before the center of the storm came by. On the back side, the wind is howling outside at about the same amount of time after the eye of the hurricane passed. Granted, the closest experience I had to a storm before this was Ernesto a few years back. Aside from the duration of the event, Irene’s effects seemed comparable to me.

Yet the sizzle didn’t match the steak. I’ve been glued to the Weather Channel for a couple days trying to see what would happen, but all they seemed to talk about was North Carolina (naturally, since the hurricane was supposed to make landfall there) and New Jersey/New York City. Okay, that’s a major center of population. But they didn’t send anyone to Ocean City and didn’t make much of an effort to pinpoint when Irene would affect us. I got more information from our local news than the channel which is supposed to be “the hurricane experts.”

Hopefully everyone within the reach of my words had a similar story to mine – other than a little water in the basement, the few branches down, and a bit of a flashing failure on my chimney (we had water running down the front of our fireplace, which faces east into the wind) we got through this just fine. My significant other even went to a wedding yesterday afternoon and we never lost our power.

So now I guess I can dump the pot of water we left on the stove, drain the bathtub we filled in case we needed to flush the toilet, and place the dozen or so plastic ice bags we made into the garage freezer. Oh, and eventually move my car back now that I dragged that branch out of the driveway and take the basement furniture off the blocks. So it’s another busy day about these parts.

Ridin’ the storm out

August 26, 2011 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

Because of the weather conditions and the prospect I’m not going to have power, you probably won’t see new posts here until Monday.

As of right now, the Salisbury area is expecting the peak of the storm to hit about 2 a.m. Sunday, with sustained winds of 54 miles per hour. We could get 6″ of rain or more as well. Over in Ocean City, their sustained winds would be 67 m.p.h. – just short of hurricane strength, but certainly enough to do plenty of damage (not to mention the 6′ storm surge.) From my days in the architectural field, I recall that now mechanical and electrical units have to be set at 8′ above sea level, so it’s going to be very likely buildings may see significant damage in that regard too if the surge is just a bit higher.

We are pretty much as prepared as we will be; luckily it seems that the storm is weakening a bit more than first thought. Still, it’s going to be awhile (if ever) that we will be back to ‘normal.’

Oh, one other piece of good news: it’s likely we’ll never have to go through a Hurricane Irene again. Major hurricanes which affect large areas have their names retired, so the next cycle will have a new female “I” name. But what is it about “I” hurricanes? Isabel, Ike, and now Irene have been very damaging storms the last few years.

By the way, I have no clue why my website has been down from time to time. I’ve asked my server company to investigate but it’s one of those sporadic outages which drive me nuts.

Shorebird of the Week – August 25, 2011

August 25, 2011 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – August 25, 2011 

David Baker looked relieved to be through an inning, but in truth he has pitched well for Delmarva.

David Baker took the hill last night against Lakewood and pitched effectively despite the team losing 5-1.

As part of a duo (along with last week’s SotW Matt Bywater) which has stabilized the starting rotation to some extent, David Baker has taken advantage of an opening in Delmarva’s staff to prove he can be effective at this level.

The native of Hemet, California began with a bang, pitching seven shutout innings against Asheville back on July 14 and hasn’t really looked back – six of his eight starts since joining the Shorebirds would meet the definition of ‘quality’ starts (three or fewer runs allowed in six or more innings.) Overall with Delmarva his 3-4 record belies a solid 2.92 ERA, 43-17 strikeout to walk ratio, and .199 average against. His 1.03 WHIP is outstanding.

So how did this guy fly under the radar? While he was drafted in the 14th round in 2009 and pitched effectively (1-0, 2.30 in 15 2/3 innings) in limited GCL duty later that season, his 2010 numbers for Bluefield were terrible – 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in 4 starts covering just 13 2/3 innings. Maybe the problem was giving up 11 walks in that limited span.

But whatever the 20-year-old Baker did wrong last season, he’s seemed to fix the problem this season. After being one of the few bright spots of Aberdeen’s horrible start this year (1-2, 2.45 in five starts where he fanned 23 and walked just 8 in 25 2/3 innings) the organization challenged him a bit at Delmarva and David has more than measured up.

Interestingly enough, David is more of a fly-ball pitcher than most so his game is more about getting people to hit the ball in the deepest parts of the park – he has allowed 7 home runs in 75 innings overall this season. Yet giving up a solo home run may not be the worst thing in the world compared to what happens when a sinker ball pitcher’s stuff doesn’t sink. Watching him last night, the runs he allowed came on a pair of line-drive singles and a home run – but if not for a pickoff play gone awry he may have escaped the inning with no runs. Otherwise, the BlueClaws didn’t threaten David all night.

Obviously the next challenge for David will be advancing to pitch a full season next year, whether here or in Frederick. But Baker has shown he can handle this level quite well and may be putting himself on the Orioles’ radar screen for future scrutiny.

McDonough: Obama ‘should be impeached’

August 24, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on McDonough: Obama ‘should be impeached’ 

I won’t be able to make his press conference later today, but I suppose the question now is whether Pat wants to draw up the articles of impeachment next year or serve as one of the jurors. He delivered a scathing indictment of the President, part of which is detailed here:

“President Obama has created a backdoor amnesty law for 15 million illegal aliens through an unlawful policy that circumvents Congress. The consequences and impact of this reckless action on the people of the United States is enormous.”

“Mr. Obama’s administration with its characterization of citizens as terrorists, creation of enemies’ lists, and the attack against state laws with tax payers’ financed litigation is beginning to make Richard Nixon look like a Boy Scout.  Lawlessness and disrespect for justice are promoting the illegal alien agenda,” said Delegate McDonough.

It’s obvious Pat is a hardliner on immigration, as evidenced by his role in the recent SB167 petition drive. But it would be the longest of shots that President Obama would actually be impeached, and it’s not even certain that he’ll be in office if Pat is indeed elected since polls show a number of Republicans neck-and-neck with him at this stage in the game. (I know, that and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.) Yet Pat “maintains that if he were a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, he would initiate the articles of impeachment process.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing he’s not there, though, since Bill Clinton became the object of sympathy during his impeachment. And just like in the case of Slick Willie, if Obama is challenged in such a manner it’s a sure bet the press will be hounding the GOP for putting partisan politics above what’s best for the country and blaming the TEA Party for the whole situation.  And it’s even harder to explain to a basically spoon-fed and ignorant American public how Obama is violating the Constitution with his “disrespect for the rule of law” (as McDonough puts it) than it was to maintain that Clinton’s impeachment was not about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky but the fact he committed perjury in front of a grand jury.

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WCRC meeting – August 2011

August 23, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – August 2011 

Last night’s was an interesting and informative Wicomico County Republican Club meeting to be sure, as County Council president Gail Bartkovich filled us in on some of the ins and outs of county government as it stands now.

As always we began with the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and my reading of the previous month’s minutes, with a treasurer’s report added for good measure. But Bartkovich began with some good red meat, announcing the elected school board resolution will be discussed once again – she also detailed how she came to be aware of the changes Delegate Conway proposed in a last-second meeting before the hearing. They were also getting input from the local NAACP regarding both the school board issue and redistricting in a future face-to-face meeting.

The key point of Gail’s discussion, though, settled on the creation of a Charter Review Committee. Required by charter on a decennial basis, Bartkovich announced that 25 county residents (some who had served on the previous committee a decade ago) were volunteering their time and talents – of that group, about 15 to 17 would be selected and the County Council would appoint the committee’s chair, with the committee then deciding on a vice-chair. The selection process would occur next month, with the first meeting (open to the public, by the way) to be held sometime in October and most likely at Council chambers. The series of public meeting would lead to recommendations, which would be voted on by County Council. They would vote whether to present the question to the public at the 2014 General Election. Read more

Harris slates townhall meeting

August 22, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Harris slates townhall meeting 

Sure, it’s kind of short notice and perhaps not the best time of day for us working folks but Congressman Andy Harris has scheduled a townhall meeting for tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) from 4 to 5 p.m. at Adam’s Ribs in Fruitland.

Certainly there are a lot of topics which could be brought up – and it will be interesting to see if the moveon.org crowd or someone in a chicken suit shows up. But I’d like to hear what Harris has to say about getting the nanny state off our back. I understand that not a whole lot can be done while Democrats rule the roost in the White House and Senate, but there can be a number of opportunities for positive change in appropriations bills which have yet to be passed. We need to stay on the offensive.

But all in all I believe those of us who believe in the right things locally ought to come out and give our Congressman a show of support. Those few cranks protesting his office or donning a chicken suit aren’t the majority in this district or even this town – those who work hard to make a living despite the obstacles thrown up by government are. We just need not be silent or silenced.

Oh, and one more thing: it’s nice to see that our Congressman likes to show up in person for these townhall meetings. A phone call is so impersonal.

This generation’s ‘New Coke’

August 21, 2011 · Posted in Business and industry, Personal stuff · Comments Off on This generation’s ‘New Coke’ 

Rarely has a product fallen so far, so fast, as the HP TouchPad. Last Thursday the company said they were discontinuing the product barely a month after pulling out all the stops to introduce it.

This was interesting to me not because I own a TouchPad, but because the company I work for as my outside job was responsible for setting up TouchPad displays in a number of stores, including Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot among others. So HP’s decision cut a few hours from my schedule as I would audit the displays to verify if units were working properly as part of my regular chores. (Fortunately, I still get to check all the other HP products there.)

Yet what may have been most stunning is the speed in which HP pulled the plug. Apparently the units weren’t exactly flying off the shelves at Best Buy and the retailer’s desire to return unsold units to HP prompted the decision.

I will cheerfully admit I am not a technical sort of person when it comes to electronics. As long as I could get the units to run a demo loop in my rounds I was a happy guy, and that was the extent I played with the TouchPads. (One of my stores did have a balky unit, though. Maybe they weren’t the only one.) I leave computer repair to the experts, which is why I’m typing this post on my PC keyboard – my laptop is in capable hands as it gets the failing hard drive replaced and memory added.

For those of you who aren’t a certain age as I am, the reference at the top was to the drink Coca-Cola introduced in the mid-1980’s as a replacement for the original formula of Coca-Cola. In the annals of corporate decisions, that was the epic fail of my generation, much as the Edsel was the punchline of my parents’ peers.

But look at the timelines involved. The Edsel lasted about three years before Ford decided enough was enough, while New Coke went about three months before Coca-Cola realized they made a horrible marketing mistake and brought back the original formula. This episode lasted barely a month – heck, a poorly received television series sometimes gets a longer run than that.

Yet TouchPads aren’t unpopular when sold at $99. That was a way to eliminate the backstock to be sure, although one can be sure that HP was losing a ton on each unit. (Apparently they’re refunding the price difference to certain buyers as well so more money lost.)

It’s not unusual for new businesses to fail, but when an established company makes a blunder this large there are lessons to be learned for another generation. The question is whether HP can recover from this gaffe, as rumors are swirling that they may leave the PC business or otherwise downsize operations. The HP TouchPad tagline “Everybody On” apparently was a pipe dream, but how much long-term prospects are injured by the failure remains to be seen.

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