Odds and ends number 36

Let’s begin with an item that only gets a couple paragraphs because of the circumstances. While I’m not at liberty to share the names of those who applied, I think I can safely say that we have no shortage of applicants to send four qualified prospects up to County Council in order to fill the District 4 seat made vacant by Bob Caldwell’s passing. Offoceseekers are both male and female, represent a broad spectrum of ages, and should be very interesting to screen. So that seat will be in good hands.

Now I could have had a great scoop in releasing the names but I respect the wishes of my Chair and the process too much to let any undue influence sway the decision, a circumstance which would certainly occur if the names were made public. Remember, this is not a typical political campaign because we as a Central Committee only make recommendations. The time for voting will be later and it will be done by County Council, not our committee.

All right, now for something a lot different.

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Where the action was

October 30, 2011 · Posted in Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Where the action was 

I’d love to have said I was there, but family has to come first and my parents came from many miles away.

But I was cheered to see the lineup for the Turning the Tides Conference presented by the Maryland Conservative Action Network, as it included a number of luminaries as well as breakout discussions on a number of subjects near and dear to the hearts of conservatives in Maryland and everywhere else, for that matter. Not only that, the event drew over 200 activists from across Maryland and received coverage from both the old and new media outlets. They even had their very own counterprotest from a liberal former member of the House of Delegates.

So it sounds like we had a nice event. But now the question is ‘where do we go from here?’

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A Halloween message

October 29, 2011 · Posted in Business and industry, Delmarva items, Personal stuff · Comments Off on A Halloween message 

Yes, I know I’m a couple days early since the holiday isn’t until Monday night. But I guess this holiday begs a question.

It seems to me that over the last decade we’ve become a group of people who go just as much all out for Halloween as they do for Christmas. In both cases, it’s an effort to outdo the neighbors with more decorations, more effects, and more partying than the rest of those on the street.

Yet on the other hand there’s also a trend of trying to get kids off the street and into “safe” Halloween celebrations like Night of the Living Zoo, for example. While there’s been the rumor of candy tampering around for years, there’s not the evidence to back it up. Having been a parent who did the trick-or-treating run through the neighborhood for a few years a couple decades back, I know we tossed out a few items which seemed suspicious but generally what my daughter received passed muster.

Halloween has become serious business. While it’s nice to see a vacant storefront taken over for a month or so, I’m not sure that the economic impact is lasting anymore than the length of time that miniature bag of M&M’s exists in the kid’s goodie bag before it’s consumed. And before I was talked into going to a costume party last year, I don’t think I’d dressed up for Halloween since I was maybe ten. (At least Kim and I won for best couple.)

But I think this newfound emphasis on Halloween takes away a little bit from the next big holiday on the calendar – the poor, maligned festival known as Thanksgiving. That’s now the excuse to begin shopping for Christmas, although you may snag a little bit of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie beforehand while watching the Lions and Cowboys play football. (For once the Lions game looks like the better contest since they play the Packers while Dallas takes on the hapless Miami Dolphins. We also get a nightcap because we live in the Baltimore market and the Ravens host San Francisco.)

As for me, I’ll be glad to see all the ghosts, goblins, and fake spiderwebs put away for another year. Of course, it will only be a matter of time before stores go all out putting out the Christmas stuff. (This is also why I’ve been less able to update my site, as my workload at my outside job ramps up for the holidays too.)

But if you are out and about Monday night, try to keep it safe for the little ones. While the whole tainted candy scare is an urban myth, the reality is that there’s a few careless children struck by cars every Halloween. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, let’s be careful out there.

Another baseball season closes

October 28, 2011 · Posted in Detroit Tigers, Personal stuff, Sports · 2 Comments 

It’s another reason to hate the wild card, the designated hitter rule, and the idea that home field advantage in the World Series is based on the league which wins the All-Star Game.

St. Louis had the worst record of any of the eight teams entering the post-season but managed to make the playoffs and get hot – beating teams that finished well ahead of them in the standings. But because they happened to have the home field advantage in the World Series, it may have been enough to catapult them to a world championship. Granted, Texas couldn’t pitch their way out of a paper bag in the last two games but perhaps the result would have been different had they been at home for games six and seven.

(Not that the designated hitter would have made much of a difference, but it is a slight advantage to National League teams when American League pitchers have to hit. I just would prefer pitchers get to hit in the American League.)

But I like the NBA and NHL models, where the better team gets home-court or home-ice advantage throughout. I wouldn’t even mind a model where a team with a better record only has to break even to advance (say, win two of four or three of six.) Back in the old days it was the best team in each league, based on their performance during an entire 162-game season, that played for the title. On the other hand, St. Louis has won their last two titles based on pedestrian regular-season performances but getting hot at the right time. Can’t take it away from them, but sometimes rewards should go to those who did best in the long run.

We’ll see how things go in 2012. Yet one thing we learned is that each game, each inning, each strike really matters. Just ask Texas; if they had one more strike – twice – they would be celebrating their first title. But they couldn’t get it.

But even earlier, events during the season added up. I went to one big league game this year, when I saw my Tigers play in Baltimore. This was the one game that Doug Fister lost as a member of the Tigers as the Orioles won that day 8-5. But the impact turned out to be huge, as a Tiger win that day would have changed the following:

  • Instead of the Tigers playing the Yankees and Texas against Tampa Bay, the opponents would have been reversed: Texas vs. New York and Detroit vs. Tampa Bay.
  • And instead of the Rangers having home field in the playoffs based on a better record, the Tigers would have had home field based on winning the tiebreaker – they were 6-3 against Texas in the regular season.

Everything counts. Orioles fans celebrated a day of otherwise playing out the string on the last day of the season as if they won the World Series because they rallied in the last inning to beat Boston, knocking them out of playoff contention because Tampa Bay came back from 7-0 down to beat the Yankees. Of course, New York had already salted away a division title so the game didn’t much matter to them.

I guess I’m a traditionalist at heart, and seeing a team that couldn’t even win its division based on a lengthy 162 game schedule get the whole ball of wax irks me. Yankee fans brag about their 27 world championships, but how many were won back in the period before playoffs began? There’s a pretty good chance they would have been knocked out of contention in many of those seasons had the rules of today been in effect.

So next year my Tigers have a little unfinished business to attend to – get the home field advantage and keep it all the way to a world championship. By the way, the Yankees won 20 titles in the pre-playoff era.

Where will they find work?

October 27, 2011 · Posted in Business and industry, National politics, Politics · 2 Comments 

Last night – when I actually wrote this thanks to the magical ability to prewrite posts for this website – something reminded me of a short discussion I had with a customer at one of the stores I worked at this week. She brought up a point I hadn’t thought about. I will, however, cheerfully admit I don’t know the protocol about military enlistment so I’m not sure at which point the problem will occur.

The gist of what she said is that I was working pretty hard at the task I was doing, but I should be glad I have the job. She then pondered out loud what the soldiers coming back from Iraq will do for jobs now that they’re being pulled out.

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Required reading?

October 26, 2011 · Posted in Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Required reading? 

There’s any number of things I could be commenting on this evening, but tonight I’m going to talk about…books.

A story caught my eye yesterday and reminded me of something I read a few days ago about a man in a similar predicament. It seems that taxpayers have ponied up over $70,000 to buy copies of President Obama’s books, translated to a number of languages for usage in various embassies around the world. While the Washington Times story by Jim McElhatton wryly notes that the State Department didn’t spend any money buying books by George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, I’m just waiting for the first crank to tell me that the former wasn’t smart enough to write a book. (Yet no one is doubting he wrote Decision Points like some question Obama’s handiwork. They just marvel at Bush’s compilation skills.)

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Life’s been good: Bongino gets second Congressional endorsement

October 25, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, Senator Watch, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Life’s been good: Bongino gets second Congressional endorsement 

Coming from a guy who no one thought stood a chance in the 2010 election, perhaps it’s a sign of hope for U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino. Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, who won his election by 291 votes out of over 200,000 cast and knocked out a heavily favored three-term Democratic incumbent, has given his endorsement to the upstart first-time Republican hopeful. Walsh has developed a reputation as a fiscal bulldog in his brief tenure, which may come to an end next year as Illinois Democrats have eliminated his seat and forced him to go against another Illinois Congressman, Randy Hultgren.

Walsh likes the Marylander’s thoughts on spending and the role of government:

“Career politicians and Washington insiders have spent away a generation of American prosperity and failed to lead,” said Congressman Joe Walsh. “Dan’s personal integrity and bold leadership from the Secret Service is desperately needed within the U.S. Senate.”

“Our nation is approaching a fiscal precipice; we simply cannot sustain our financial future unless we have proven leaders like Dan to fight for the interests of hard-working Americans who have been shut out of the political process. The raw passion Dan has for his family and country is refreshing. I am proud to stand by his side in his bid to replace the failed status quo.”

But the question becomes one of how important such an endorsement is in the grand scheme of things. Aside from being the namesake of a popular classic rocker and a media darling on the conservative talk shows, how much will this influence the decision of an average Maryland Republican? Not many but political junkies have heard of Utah Senator Mike Lee, who also endorsed Dan a couple weeks ago.

Still, the endorsement allows Dan to stay in the news cycle for free, which is important at this stage. It also makes his resume a little bit better for voters to consider.

WCRC meeting – October 2011

October 24, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics, Radical Green, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – October 2011 

I suppose we were lucky he didn’t have a lot more to say.

The idea behind having Delegate Charles Otto of District 38A as this month’s guest speaker was for him to give us a rundown of the recently-completed Special Session, and once we went through the regular business of the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, welcoming of guests, Treasurer’s Report, and a moment of silence for departed County Council members Ken Matthews and Bob Caldwell, it was time for Otto to speak.

After noting that one year ago we were in the midst of a heated campaign and thanking us for the opportunity to serve, Otto termed the Special Session a “success” – if only because they stuck solely to redistricting questions and didn’t make any attempts to raise taxes.

He then showed those assembled a number of the new maps, drawing snickers from some but getting the obvious comparison of District 3 to a Rorschach inkblot test. Yet that configuration received more than the requisite 85 votes (a 3/5 majority) for passage as an emergency bill, so pending any court action these are now Maryland’s Congressional districts. One piece of good news: “Andy Harris can stay in office as long as he wants to,” Otto said.

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A thumb on the scale?

Last week before I took my little vacation I came across an article by Meg Tully and Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News-Post regarding Roscoe Bartlett’s Congressional seat. We already know that, thanks to some serious gerrymandering by Annapolis Democrats, that the seat is no longer a fairly safe Republican one as it had been for the last ten years.

But I bring up the news item because of its last lines:

Voters in the proposed 6th District supported President Barack Obama in the 2008 election by 56.6 percent, according to a Maryland Democratic Party analysis. The Maryland Republican Party found that 57.45 percent voted for Obama in the proposed district.

But Alex Mooney, chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, said his group supports Bartlett.

“We’re definitely 100 percent behind his re-election efforts,” Mooney said.

I am too – if Bartlett wins the primary, of course. However, there are at least three Republicans who have announced they are running against Congressman Bartlett in the 2012 primary: Robert Coblentz, Joseph Krysztoforski, and Dave Wallace. It’s possible one of those gentlemen could garner enough support to oust the incumbent as Andy Harris did here in the First District back in 2008.

Perhaps Mooney was being a little inartistic in his remarks, but when conservatives have seen the party establishment throw their support behind the candidate they perceive as being most electable before the primary, well, that rubs us the wrong way.

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Much ado about little

October 21, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on Much ado about little 

Our Special Session ended yesterday, and all of the bluster was, well, just talk.

In sum, there were three bills passed. Of course, the new Congressional gerrymandering was just one of the three, with the other two being changes to board of education districts in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

And as I predicted without knowing the results until today, the local Democrats don’t mind gerrymandering as long as it’s not applied to them. The trio of Rudy Cane, Norm “Five Dollar” Conway, and Jim Mathias all dutifully supported the governor’s plan. On the other hand, while the Republicans were united against the bill I salute Delegate McDermott (and 11 others) for even voting against the suspension of the rules to allow two readings in one day – heel dragging as necessary.

So we had three days of peace and love or however the old song goes, but no huge jobs bill or tax increases yet. We had quite the buildup on this session, didn’t we? But in the end there wasn’t much to it.

What this also means is that I can complete my monoblogue Accountability Project for 2011 and simply add the redistricting vote into the mix. In theory I could add some of the floor amendments but those votes were by and large reasonably the same. Look for that in the coming weeks.

And since an opportunity has presented itself for a couple days off, I’m going to take advantage. It’s not often that I spend time away from my site, but this weekend will be one such time. I may moderate comments but don’t count on it.

Come Monday it will be back into the fray. Now that the Special Session has reached sine die, we can expect a few political moves from would-be Congressional candidates I’m sure. As predicted, Rob Garagiola wasted no time getting into the Sixth District race now that he has a friendlier voter composition. Don’t you love ambition?

Candidates sought for District 4 seat

October 20, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Candidates sought for District 4 seat 

First, the boilerplate:

The members of the Wicomico County Council have expressed their condolences and sincere sympathy to the family of Bob Caldwell, who was elected from District 4 and served on the County Council with honor and distinction, until his death on October 11th. The County Charter states that when a council vacancy occurs before the end of the term of office, the Central Committee of the party to which the respective member so vacating was affiliated, shall prepare and submit to the County Council a list of four nominees for the vacated council seat. Each of the nominees must be of the same political affiliation and reside in the same councilmanic district as the council member whose seat has become vacated.

As Bob Caldwell was a registered Republican, the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee is seeking District 4 Republicans who are interested in being nominated for appointment to the County Council. Interested persons should contact Dave Parker, Central Committee Chairman, at 410 749-4030, or WiCoGOPChair@yahoo.com for complete information about applying. The GOP Central Committee is asking for all materials to be submitted to the Committee by October 31st. The GOP Central Committee will screen all applicants and it plans to conduct interviews on November 7th.

This notice is issued by the Wicomico County Council on behalf of the GOP Central Committee to help inform members of the public and potential applicants of the procedure. When the Committee has compiled its list of four nominees, it will be submitted to the County Council. The County Council will consider and interview the nominees, one of which will be selected for appointment by a majority vote of the remaining members of the County Council.

Wicomico County Council

Gail M. Bartkovich
County Council President

Now here’s what would be on my wish list for someone to nominate.

  • A young person, preferably born after me (I’m 47.)
  • Doesn’t matter to me if it’s a man or woman; after all whichever gender is picked has the majority.
  • Is conservative but is also perceived to be electable for the district, which skews Democratic.
  • Acceptable to the TEA Party, which likely goes with the point above, and finally…
  • Has already contemplated how to run and win in 2014 regardless of what the district may look like – remember, we haven’t done our redistricting yet.

Not much to live up to, huh? I’ve already had one prospective person call me so I guess the race is on.

Oh, and to those who always say their vote doesn’t count – had one person changed their mind last year and the coin flipped wrong, we might be talking about the Democratic Central Committee making this decision had David MacLeod met his fate instead of Bob Caldwell. Food for thought.

Stuck, unless a judge bails us out

October 19, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Stuck, unless a judge bails us out 

I’ll let Maryland Republican Party Chair Alex Mooney get the first word in:

Earlier today, the House of Delegates passed Governor O’Malley’s gerrymandered Congressional District Plan.

After only a short debate, the House voted to pass it 91-46. It needed 85 votes for passage. We were 7 votes away from stalling the Governor’s plan. 7 votes. And last night, we were only 3 votes away from stopping it in the Senate. (Emphasis in original.)

Well, you already know how I feel about the situation, but I have two other observations to add before I call it a night.

First of all, there probably is or will shortly be a party at State Senator Rob Garagiola’s house because the governor did his level best to put him in Congress – never mind he has nothing at all in common with the residents of the “traditional” Sixth District.

Second, my hunch is pretty strong that we have one more Republican Senate entrant, and his name will not be Eric Wargotz. I think Pat McDonough sees the writing on the Congressional wall and will go for a statewide race. Of course, there is one caveat – he would have to do a lot of campaigning during the regular General Assembly session. But we know he’s running for something and it’s more likely now that a statewide race will be his preference.

But it’s those seven damn votes in the House of Delegates and three in the Senate which may haunt us for the next ten years. Even more so is the thought we were thisclose to keeping two Senate seats, and if we were only one vote short perhaps one other Democrat besides Senator Muse would have turned. (Knowing that, we also know that Jim Mathias voted for the plan. I also looked up the committee vote, and sure enough Delegate Norm “Five Dollar” Conway voted it out of committee. Why am I not shocked?)

So we fight on. In 2014 it’s time to remember this because they can’t get rid of all the conservatives. If we turn out 100 percent we still win.

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