Odds and ends number 38

November 30, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Odds and ends number 38 

I have three Maryland-related items which I thought deserved comment and space on this website, so here goes.

I’ll begin with a new political action committee seeking conservative money, with an interesting appeal:

Last year’s historic election in this country showed overwhelming support for conservative fiscal policies and practices. Everywhere conservatives pulled ahead as voters showed their support and confidence.  But the … State of Maryland remains almost the last outpost where liberal unfairness reigns at the hands of a politically ambitious Governor who seems immune to criticism and immune to prosperity.

(snip)

Before you invest time and money defending political candidates for State or Federal offices in Maryland CONSERVATIVE VICTORY PAC wants to ask you WHY?  If you live in Maryland, work in Maryland, rear children in Maryland, and own a Maryland business or property and you really don’t want to relocate, CONSERVATIVE VICTORY PAC is a clarion Call to action for you.

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The beast is NOT dead

November 30, 2011 · Posted in Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The beast is NOT dead 

Could Rule 11 be resurrected by the Maryland Republican Party?

Well, Heather Olsen and I tried to place it off limits but fell agonizingly short at the most recent convention. But every time I hear the contention there won’t ever be a reason to invoke a waiver again, I’m reminded of two words: Roscoe Bartlett.

And on a recent edition of a heretofore unknown to me internet radio show called Purple Elephant Politics, MDGOP Political Director Matt Proud used the “unlikely to happen” defense regarding Rule 11, but guess which name came up as a possible exception? Listen beginning at the 14 minute mark.

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Nice plug. But the trio makes a point I’ve stated myself – as long as there’s the possibility someone can use the rules to benefit one candidate over another in a pre-primary scenario, it’s a temptation that’s too easy to resist. (In an unrelated scenario regarding the U.S. Senate race, Potomac TEA Party Report blogger Ann Corcoran reports on the lengths that a former MDGOP Chair would go to in promoting her chosen candidate. Remember, Audrey Scott was a large portion of the Ehrlich/Harris Rule 11 decision.)

In listening to the show, it’s obvious that one of the hosts was at the convention but I don’t believe she voted for our proposal. While she may not have made a difference by herself, it makes me wonder if the Maryland GOP isn’t going to be torn asunder once again because we failed to slay this beast when we could have. I don’t have a dog in the Sixth District hunt, but by many accounts Roscoe Bartlett isn’t as conservative or as responsive as many of his constituents would prefer. While he doesn’t seem to have veered as far leftward as Wayne Gilchrest did, the Maryland GOP owes the voters of the Sixth District – or any other jurisdiction in the state – a decision without their thumb on the scale.

So the ball is in the court of our National Committeeman Louis Pope, National Committeewoman Joyce Terhes, and Chair Alex Mooney. They can fall for the establishment’s call to anoint a candidate, or stand up for what’s right for Sixth District voters.

WCRC meeting – November 2011

November 29, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – November 2011 

I wasn’t sure what to think about the meeting when I found out who the speaker would be, but Wayne Strausburg turned out to be an interesting guest who had a lot of things to say.

Of course, we attended to our usual opening business, but the bulk of the meeting dealt with the prospective changes to our county Charter from the committee of fifteen interested citizens – three of whom were in the room – headed by Strausburg.

Wayne explained his role as speaker would be to relate the process and entertainment of ideas that the Charter Review Committee (CRC) would review on their way to making recommendations to County Council. As head of the group, Strausburg wanted to have a “consensus” on proposals because “we don’t take changes to the document lightly.”

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The 2011 monoblogue Accountability Project

November 28, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The 2011 monoblogue Accountability Project 

It is done.

Rather than make it a page, I made this year’s edition part of a widget. On the right-hand sidebar you’ll find what could be called the concise conservative voting guide to the Maryland General Assembly – 22 pages of ratings, notes, and a few legislative awards. For several evenings over the last month I’ve put this together as a service to Maryland voters who need to know the truth: the majority in our General Assembly really doesn’t have the state’s best interests in mind. Instead, they wish to enforce more and more power over the people of the formerly Free State.

Aside from that the guide is reasonably self-explanatory, although I added a few paragraphs to describe the method to my madness.

So dig into the data, and bear in mind the next General Assembly session (aka “90 days of terror”) is just about six weeks away. Knowledge is power.

A pair of follow-ups

November 27, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, Radical Green, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on A pair of follow-ups 

Just to update a couple stories I’ve featured recently…

You likely recall the story about the Hudson farm in Berlin and their trouble with environmentalists determined to extract their pound of flesh from this chicken growing operation. I received a note from former Maryland GOP head Jim Pelura which noted this sort of problem isn’t new, and farmers shouldn’t bear the brunt of the blame. He forwarded to me a copy of a letter he wrote to Kim Coble of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation back in 2005, part of which I excerpt here:

Thank you for your letter and brochure outlining the CBF’s position on agriculture’s part in the over-nutrification of the Chesapeake Bay. It was well written and concise.

However, I must take exception with the underlying premise that Maryland agriculture (both animal and crop) is the major cause of pollution in the Bay.

By using the Maryland Department of the Environment’s own figures, a major cause of Bay pollution is malfunctioning sewage treatment plants. I would even go so far as to suggest that sewage treatment plant malfunctions are the major cause of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution of the Bay.

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), close to 700,000,000 gallons of raw or minimally treated sewage was dumped into Maryland waterways in 2004. So far in 2005, there has been nearly 400,000,000 gallons of raw or minimally treated sewage that ended up in our streams and rivers. (Additional 3 million gallon spill in Arnold, Maryland this week).

As an advocate for Maryland agriculture, I have been following this situation for some time. The Maryland Department of the Environment has been aware of this situation, and in 1995 realized that antiquated and poorly maintained sewage treatment plants were a major cause of Bay pollution. (Emphasis in original.)

So the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and their environmentalist allies should know what the problem really is – but it’s more difficult to sue a city or other unit of government than it is to pick on farmers or big bad agribusiness in general. As the Hudson family is finding out, being the little guy makes it much easier to pick on you. Thanks to Jim for the update.

I also heard from Laura Mitchell of Salisbury City Council, both in person at the Winter Wonderland of Lights unveiling last night and on her Facebook page this evening. It seems she’s not giving up on her dogged fight against a city charter change:

Tomorrow night at 6:00pm in the Salisbury City Council Chambers, I will ask the Council to consider a Resolution to put the recent Charter Amendment on the 2013 ballot for a non-binding referendum vote.

More than 2,300 people signed the petition asking that the Council give the decision to determine the structure and operation of their government back to the voters. I heard that message loud and clear and I hope that my colleagues will as well. If you would like to help deliver the message of strength and unity and the desire for an inclusive City government in Salisbury, please join me at the meeting at 6:00pm.

You may speak during public comments if you wish, but there is no requirement to do so. Your presence will speak volumes. Please join me in turning up the volume of our message to a level that demands recognition.

I hope to see you there!

While I don’t support the Charter change because it’s a case of the legislative branch usurping the power of the city’s executive, I’m not sure a non-binding vote is the way to go; after all, the Charter change will go through regardless. The only reason this could be relevant is the timing – one of the three who voted for the change (Debbie Campbell) will be on the ballot, while the other two offices up for grabs will be that of Mayor Ireton (who will presumably be seeking re-election) and Council member Shanie Shields, who said at the beginning of this term that it would be her last. So there would be a new member in her place as well.

Having said that, though, the prospect is there of a different 3-2 configuration tossing out the Charter change 18 months from now and taking us back to the old way. Obviously 2300 people (including myself) were interested in preserving the system in place and that would be a significant chunk of the electorate with a vested interest in the 2013 race.

I will have another piece of news tomorrow morning concerning state politics – those who follow me on Facebook already know what it is. Tonight I’ll put the finishing touches on those tasks I need to do on this site to accommodate the new feature.

Johnson the turncoat?

November 26, 2011 · Posted in Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Johnson the turncoat? 

This isn’t a completely unexpected development, as it echoes the path Ron Paul once took.

But according to this story I found on Politico, Gary Johnson isn’t ruling out a third-party run, probably as a Libertarian. Obviously he’s frustrated that he hasn’t been involved in many GOP debates and can’t make any headway in the polls because of that.

And in all honesty, he’s probably just as good a fit as a Libertarian as he is a Republican. In fact, there have previously been GOP candidates who have jumped into a third party when their path to the nomination was blocked – Alan Keyes in 2008 and Pat Buchanan in 2000 are two recent examples.

The question, of course, is what sort of impact Gary would have on the general election should he receive the Libertarian nomination. Normally the Libertarian gets a percent or two of the national vote, and if Johnson stays within the polling range he’s exhibited in seeking the GOP nod he’ll probably get in that range nationally. But the question is who he’d get the votes from?

If the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich it’s possible Johnson may draw support from disgruntled Republicans who don’t like the party’s nominee, which could hurt their Presidential bids. But nominating a candidate like Herman Cain or perhaps Rick Perry won’t help Johnson much because conservatives will stay with the GOP. Instead, Johnson may appeal to some independents who aren’t enamored with Barack Obama but like Johnson’s reformist mantra without the social conservatism the GOP tends to favor.

There’s little doubt that Gary Johnson doesn’t have a path to victory within the Republican Party, so the question is whether he would actually play a true maverick and attempt to bring his message to the voters in a different fashion. With the advent of the new media, he may pull off the role of spoiler.

Harris draws first challenger

November 25, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Harris draws first challenger 

There won’t be a Kratovil-Harris round 3, but the First District race won’t be a walkover, either.

Instead, a Baltimore County business owner and “arts advocate” has entered the race for the First District seat Andy Harris won in 2010. It appears Wendy Rosen’s main planks will be a “Buy American” push and a claim to “GOP values.”

But Wendy is having a tough go of it so far. While it’s a young campaign, the fact that she has only 44 likes on her campaign’s Facebook page and, more telling, a total of $550 donated so far (on a $100,000 goal) may suggest that her struggle will be quite the uphill battle.

Obviously there’s not a lot to go on since Wendy is in the Congressional arena for the first time. And while her business ownership would be an asset insofar as appealing to moderate voters goes, she can’t lay claim to the “Eastern Shore values” mantle Frank Kratovil rode to success in 2008 – in fact, she may not survive a primary challenge if a politician well-known on this side of the Bay jumps into the race. There has been the rumor floating around that Jim Mathias may take a shot at it because it’s the middle of the state’s four-year cycle; of course that hasn’t been uttered as much lately because the new First District lines make the district lean quite a bit more Republican.

It would appear that Wendy’s best chance would be to have no primary opponents so she can concentrate on the November, 2012 race. But that’s probably not going to happen as the last 10 election cycles have only seen two races where a Democratic nominee was unopposed from the First District: 2010, where Kratovil was the incumbent, and 2002. Including those two races, an average of 3.4 aspirants have sought the Democratic nod.

And the other wild card is having new territory added to the district, as it now stretches farther westward than in previous years. Unfortunately for Democrats, that new area is pretty solidly Republican – yet it’s possible a Democratic candidate could emerge from those new areas.

Obviously I’ll keep an eye on developments in this race – and anything can happen over the next 11 months – but for the time being it appears Andy Harris doesn’t have a lot to worry about.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

November 24, 2011 · Posted in Personal stuff · Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving 2011 

As always I’d like to take a little time on this holiday which values family and the things we hold dear to wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.

In my case it will be spent with both friends and family, although technically I haven’t married into my significant other’s family. I don’t suspect that will be the case for all that many more years, and it will give me something more to be thankful for when the day arrives.

For those who travel, it looks like the weather in these parts will be conducive for doing so. I have about two hours of driving between the two stops I’m scheduled for, but luckily these are both pretty much off the beaten path so traffic shouldn’t be an issue.

So I hope all of you who take the time – whether daily, weekly, or even a first-timer – to read my site have a great holiday. Even though times have been somewhat rough over the last couple years, I’m thankful for what I have and look forward to spending time with people I hold dear (while watching my Lions taking on the Packers and hanging that first L on their record.)

After today, we’ll be into the hustle and bustle of trying to find the right Christmas gift and making New Year’s plans, so it’ll be six weeks of overdrive for our schedule and overindulgence for our bodies. So take the time today and relax. Work will be back before you know it – heck, I have to work Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

 

Preview

November 23, 2011 · Posted in Personal stuff · Comments Off on Preview 

Just some items I’m planning on, for your reading pleasure. Aside from a simple Thanksgiving greeting I’m taking tomorrow off.

I’m finishing up the 2011 version of the monoblogue Accountability Project. All the vote tallying is done, so all I need to do is the little writeup as to why I would vote for or against a certain bill. I’m shooting for Monday to release this.

Later in December, baseball fans who are warming themselves discussing the Hot Stove League will get to enjoy the newest induction, honoring players now eligible for the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. I have a lot of new members this year!

If all goes well I’ll have a couple new Weekend of local rock posts and perhaps bring back Friday Night Videos.

And of course I will have plenty of political news to comment on. Remember, the Iowa caucuses are now less than six weeks away.

I’ve noticed readership is back on the upswing, so it’s up to me to keep you coming back as I close in on monoblogue’s sixth anniversary. Hopefully you’ll agree there’s a lot to look forward to, even in a slow news time of year.

Relenting, but briefly

A small Worcester County farm has been the subject of an environmentalist maelstrom over the last few years, but recent developments suggest the state is pulling back its full-court press against the Hudson farm outside Berlin. The farm made news when it was sued by the Waterkeepers Alliance based on a spill of chicken waste which reached the watershed. It was later learned that bacteria in the body of water wasn’t linked to the stored sludge on the farm – which also could have been Class A sludge from the Ocean City waste water treatment plant – but the MDE still fined the operators $4,000.

Needless to say, the Waterkeepers Alliance is no friend of farmers. As their staff attorney sneered in a 2009 news release announcing the suit, “If you want to find out why the Chesapeake watershed is so polluted, then you don’t need to look any further than this facility and others like it around the Eastern Shore.” So it has nothing to do with the leaking municipal sewage plants or anything which happens upstream in Pennsylvania or New York – it’s just greedy agribusiness and corporate farms wantonly polluting the landscape (read: farmers trying to make a living.)

But besides the obvious concern about the farm the Maryland Department of the Environment,which was apparently resolved to their satisfaction in the 2010 decision to fine the operator, the most recent controversy arose from the fact that law students from the University of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic are representing the Waterkeepers Alliance in the suit. In short, the state of Maryland is complicit in trying to run this Perdue grower out of business – hence O’Malley’s concern about the law school’s role in a “state-sponsored injustice and misuse of taxpayer resources.”

My question is much simpler, though. Why does the Waterkeepers Alliance, an organization which collected over $3 million in FY2010 and $16 million over a five-year period (see part 2 of Schedule A), need a group of college law students to help, anyway? Has the Kennedy family fortune melted away that quickly? I doubt it.

Others have also weighed in on the issue, and backed O’Malley’s suddenly stiffened spine. Kim Burns of Maryland Business for Responsive Government added, “the precedent the law school’s action sets for land use policy and economic development all over Maryland is horrendous. The law clinic’s action has already caused serious damage to the viability of the farm, the use of the land, and to an industry critical to Maryland, to operate lawfully and without unwarranted government intrusion…Governor O’Malley is correct to hold the clinic accountable.”

Meanwhile, Congressman Andy Harris chimed in by stating “tactics like this, especially when they are backed financially by the state, will destroy the poultry industry. Governor O’Malley was absolutely right to question whether this is an appropriate use of state resources.”

It’s understandable that a law school needs to have some method of showing prospective students the ropes. But this particular case seems to smell about as much as the manure pile, and since the MDE had already resolved the issue to its satisfaction perhaps the Waterkeepers Alliance should have sued the MDE on their own instead of trying to pick on a small family business.

Instead, the radical greenies choose to take a stance against an industry that’s the lifeblood of this area. All the better to create wildlife corridors and “greenways,” I suppose. If this attack on farming keeps up, someday the environmentalists may get their wish – a depopulated Eastern Shore littered with the ruins of a once-thriving agricultural industry. Like sunken ships made into artificial reefs, the remnants of chicken houses, family farms, and industry will slowly be taken over by nature and become habitat for Gaia’s creatures. Too bad no one will be around to enjoy it.

Trust me, this is only a temporary pullback in the War on Rural Maryland. I didn’t hear of any pledge by the Governor to defund the Environmental Law Clinic because of this transgression, so once the controversy blows over it will be back to business as usual.

Coming up short

November 21, 2011 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Politics · 1 Comment 

In a Pyrrhic victory for the Camden crew on Salisbury City Council, fellow Council member Laura Mitchell glumly announced she had fallen short of the required number of signatures needed to place the issue of their most recent City Charter change on the ballot. While she collected 2,327 signatures it was well short of her goal of 3,000 and the required 20 percent of registered city voters. Ironically, though, more voters signed the petition than voted in the election which placed Mitchell on City Council.

It seems to me, though, that there were valid reasons for bringing this question to a referendum. As I read the measure, it placed City Council in a position where they would be usurping some of the power reserved to the city’s executive. I’ll grant that Jim Ireton and I don’t see eye-to-eye very often and it’s my hope that a strong conservative candidate emerges for the next mayoral election in the spring of 2013. But in this case I think he was correct in opposing this change, since it essentially serves to weaken what was intended as a strong executive form of government similar to that of Wicomico County, the State of Maryland, and our very nation. In each instance, positions under the executive branch are selected by the executive but require the advice and consent of the legislative branch.

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Crony capitalism: it’s not just for the feds anymore

A story broken today by Mark Newgent of Red Maryland details the incestuous political relationship between Delegate Maggie McIntosh, who chairs the Environmental Matters Committee in the House of Delegates, and a number of other Maryland officeholders. According to Newgent, Delegate McIntosh has personally brought in nearly $400,000 to her direct-mail and consulting firm, called McIntosh Files, from other Annapolis politicians including Governor O’Malley.

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