Friday night videos episode 80

August 31, 2012 · Posted in Delmarva items, Local Music · 1 Comment 

As another summer – or at least what’s considered summer by modern culture – comes to an end over this Labor Day weekend, this episode will highlight some of the places we may be able to go see live music until the summer of 2013 begins.

I’m going to start with an event coming up in just a couple weeks, the Save the BreastFest on September 13 at Pickles Pub in Ocean City. This was something I recorded at the very first rendition in 2009 with Witches Brew – a band which is participating again this year.

Coming up in October are two events on consecutive weekends, the Good Beer Festival (13th and 14th) and the Autumn Wine Festival (20th and 21st). Once again, these events will be held outside Salisbury at Pemberton Park.

To represent the Good Beer Festival I’m going to use Naylor Mill, who played at the first one in 2010, and Everett Spells’ 2009 AWF performance gives you an idea of the mood of the AWF (hopefully without the rain this year.)

Once we get by Halloween, there has to be a use for those expired pumpkins. Punkin Chunkin has grown from being a gathering of a few hundred to a nationally recognized early November party. Representing this show are my friends from Semiblind who played there last November. This year the event will be held November 2-4 outside Bridgeville, Delaware.

Yes, it always seems to be windy during those October and November days. And once the “shoulder season” has passed around these parts, we take things indoors with a holiday musical tradition called 12 Bands of Christmas. Last year I recorded Slackjaw doing the Pantera classic ‘Walk.’ No, it’s not exactly a holiday song but I like it, warts and all.

Normally the 12 Bands of Christmas falls on a Saturday in December, but in my experience it’s been held anywhere from the first Saturday to the last, depending on venue and band availability. So we’ll call this one TBA.

The same principle – get a lot of bands together and have a go at it – reigns at the Spring Luau, generally (but not always) held around the middle of March. From 2011, here’s a Gravitate original called ’40 Hours.’

And last but not least, as the weather begins to warm and spring is in the air, we crank up the grills and the decibels with Pork in the Park – the 2013 edition will be held April 19-21 at WinterPlace Park outside Salisbury. This, by the way, is the most popular music video on my monoblogue channel, with over 500 views.

So there you have it, the calendar tour until next summer. And now a few words about this Friday Night Video series.

After a nice round 80 episodes, this will be the last one. I think three years of doing these is plenty and to be quite honest it’s getting to be more of a chore to put these together than it’s worth. In my mind I basically have a choice: stop doing them or invest in the video equipment to do them right because I’m sort of embarrassed by how some of these videos I’ve shot and featured turned out.  But I don’t have that sort of money laying around.

Moreover, these posts don’t really lend themselves to website viewership at a time when I have many more important things to discuss – that discussion is broadened considerably if I have people come and read the site! There’s no question I enjoy (and support) local, original music and I’m still going to do the occasional Weekend of Local Rock post because I still like doing them. In fact, I’m considering something for my next WLR which may be an opportunity to liven up and improve those posts. But I think the second concept of Friday Night Videos – originally, it was mainly political – has run its course.

And because I am a political animal at heart, I will leave this series with something in that vein; a TEA Party anthem if you will. I have featured this video a number of times before but it’s one that I still enjoy watching. I think this singer would be a splendid person to play at the new Heron Ponds amphitheater next summer, even if she’s just opening up for someone else.

For one last time, here’s Ava Aston with ‘We The People.’

With that, I leave Friday Night Videos behind. Thanks for watching.

The ‘No on 7’ campaign begins

August 31, 2012 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on The ‘No on 7’ campaign begins 

First out of the gate in terms of issue advocacy is the “No on 7” group which announced its presence Thursday with a new website and television ad.

Their chair, Jacqueline Goodall, had this to say about their effort:

We are excited to get the facts out about the merits of Question 7. This ad is only the beginning of a serious effort to inform Maryland voters on the consequences of the proposed gaming expansion. The costs of another casino in Maryland exceed the benefits, and voters do not deserve to be misled by false promises and misinformation.

Question 7 is the result of a rushed special session and secret negotiations that have ignored the concerns of our residents and communities statewide. Between now and November, we look forward to an open and honest debate on the facts.

The facts, as they have them, pay particular attention to the tax rates which will be paid by casino operators and lack of transparency in the process. Compare this to the jobs-based approach being used by casino proponents and they could have an uphill battle.

They don’t need to convince me to vote against Question 7, but my opposition is more to the ignorant process the state is using by the need to change the Constitution every time another casino or table games are needed. Isn’t that what a General Assembly is supposed to do? Instead, they get the fun of changing tax rates at whim and moving the money promised to education around – and they didn’t need the voters to do that.

What should have been done in this General Assembly was to submit a Constitutional change rescinding the restrictive language passed in 2008 and replace it with language similar to that which allowed the Maryland Lottery. That agency has the freedom to change games at will, select whatever outlets it wants, and so forth. No need to vote on whether the corner store can start selling Powerball tickets.

If we vote against Question 7, perhaps the General Assembly can get to work on rectifying the problem knowing that voters are watching what they do.

It’s also interesting to note that one of the largest voting blocs in the state – Democrats in Montgomery County – has a leadership which, on balance, opposes the bill, according to David Moon and Maryland Juice. Needless to say, they’re unanimously supporting gay marriage and in-state tuition for illegal aliens, so the split on gambling is quite intriguing. I guess they really don’t want tax cuts for anyone, even casino owners.

Meanwhile, we now know the air war has been joined.

Your papers, please?

August 31, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Politics · 1 Comment 

Yesterday I ran across something I found interesting, and perhaps a touch worrisome.

Once a week, my travels for my outside (non-writing) job take me down to Virginia, and yesterday was that day as I traveled from Berlin, MD to Chincoteague, VA and points beyond. At the point where Maryland 12 crosses into Virginia I was stopped by a cadre of Accomack County sheriff’s deputies who asked me for my license and upon inspection allowed me to proceed. I thought perhaps there was a manhunt, but I found out through a little research that Virginia conducts a “Border to Border Checkpoint” on the Thursday before Labor Day each year. I even found some photos from the very intersection I traveled through, from 2008.

I’m curious, though – where are the civil libertarians on this one? Of course, I wasn’t driving drunk or recklessly speeding so people would say I had nothing to fear. But I don’t see a real purpose for this event aside from getting people used to having other, similar harassment operations like sobriety checkpoints. I don’t care much for those because I believe there’s more effective ways to catch drunk drivers like, say, patrolling near watering holes. If you really want to make this work, try a sobriety checkpoint just outside Crisfield on Tawes day or after a Ravens game, when you actually might need it. I guarantee neither will ever happen because the “wrong” people would be stopped and the public would complain vehemently.

I have nothing against the Accomack County deputy who stopped me, since he was doing the job assigned to him. It was only a momentary delay on my way through the workday. But what happens when they decide to do it twice a year, or monthly? We already have the conspiracy theorists who fret about a militarized police, so why add fuel to that fire by continuing this scattershot approach to law enforcement?

Shorebird of the Week – August 30, 2012

August 30, 2012 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – August 30, 2012 

There have been a few seasons where my first Shorebird of the Week has been a comeback story where I’ve rooted for their success. In 2012 I’ll close with one.

After spring training in 2010, the once-promising career of Bobby Wilkins looked to be over. The onetime sixth-round pick out of Valhalla High School in El Cajon, California was released at the tender age of 20 – this despite a solid 2009 season (3-1, 1.73 ERA and a WHIP of 0.98 across two levels) which included 8 shutout innings in four appearances at rookie-level Spokane. (In the Orioles organization that would be equivalent to a stint at Aberdeen.) Perhaps the Rangers weren’t impressed that he spent three seasons getting through the Arizona Rookie League after being drafted in 2007, a league which annually receives its share of raw high school and imported talent to be evaluated.

But Bobby found a job pitching for the Kalamazoo Kings in the independent Frontier League. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare all that well there, going 1-3 with an 8.61 ERA and 1.94 WHIP for the league-worst franchise. The Kings expired after the 2010 season and it seemed like Bobby’s career would, too.

Now I don’t know who persuaded Bobby to give it another shot after not pitching professionally in 2011, but the Orioles picked Wilkins up off the scrap heap and sent him to Aberdeen, where he pitched decently enough (1-1, 4.66 ERA with a 1.66 WHIP) to merit a single Delmarva appearance in late June (1 scoreless inning with a walk) and quick trip to Frederick in early July (two hits and an unearned run in two innings, with a pair of strikeouts) before being sent here for good on August 1.

Since then Bobby has provided effective outings for the Shorebirds, piling up seven appearances where he’s allowed seven hits and two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. So we may not have seen the last of Bobby in a Delmarva uniform or in the Orioles’ organization. Batters are only hitting .175 off him so far, even though he’s not known as a strikeout pitcher. He’s doing something pretty well and with every inning pitched Bobby is getting back into a groove.

Of course, whether the season’s end with Delmarva will provide a third and possibly final coda to Bobby’s pitching career remains to be seen – at this point he’s probably looked at more as organizational depth than as a prospect. But he’s been given a chance, and many players have made their comebacks through the ranks of independent baseball (current Oriole Lew Ford is one, as he was playing in the Atlantic League earlier this summer after last playing in the big leagues in 2007.) And at just 23 years old as of last week, he’s not all that far behind developmentally despite the layoff.

Those last two or three appearances down the stretch – in what many on the outside would consider meaningless games – can be the difference-makers in a player’s career. As Booby has learned the hard way, numbers which may look good don’t always save the day.

Next week I will announce my Shorebird of the Year as well as review the season.

Akin creates a pain

Cartoon reprinted via Patriot Post.

Yesterday I highlighted a Senatorial candidate who’s done almost everything right, but today I want to talk about one who’s done something disastrously wrong. Or has he, really?

To me, it’s questionable that the concept of “legitimate rape” exists, because someone made a distinction which isn’t there – obviously Todd Akin should know that rape is rape, murder is murder, and so on. Now I have no idea about the pregnancy part of it, but this is definitely a case where the candidate inserted his foot deep into his mouth – so deep he’s sucking on his shin bone.

So there were a huge number of Republicans who called on him to get out; in essence his funding dried up overnight. But I happen to know at least a couple bloggers from Missouri who stubbornly support Akin and would like the state and national GOP to dry up and blow away themselves. Bob McCarty (who I’ve featured several times on this page) writes:

MOGOP leaders should resign as a gesture via which they admit just how wrong they are/were to want to try to boot Todd Akin from the Senate race.

Even more telling is a note from someone who most would consider a “regular” person – i.e. not a political junkie like many of my peers. From another Missouri-based blogging friend of mine, Melinda Musil:

I think what Todd Akin said was really, incredibly stupid. I think he would probably agree that what he said was stupid. But I also don’t think that what he said accurately represented what he felt.

There’s a saying in psychology circles that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you want to know Todd Akin, if you want to know how Todd Akin will vote, look at his past voting record in the House. He voted for concealed weapons, against increased taxes, against Missouri state funding for abortion. He is conservative to the core. That’s the kind of Senator I want.

On his site, Akin is contrite:

I made a mistake. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong and for that I apologize. I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of our most important responsibilities.

The criticism from Republicans seems to center on two fronts.

One is the thought that Akin has irreparably eliminated the opportunity to flip a Democratic Senate seat in Missouri and may eventually cost Mitt Romney the state as well.

The second is that abortion is an issue Republicans can’t win, and many in the establishment would dearly love to be able to take the pro-life crowd for granted – give them enough lip service to continue receiving their votes but never really attack the core of the problem, which is Roe v. Wade. They fret about losing the women’s vote.

But there is a reality of the situation here which must be considered. Even if we get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate – heck, let’s go for broke and say we get the 2/3 required in both houses to move a Constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion, whether it includes the usual exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother or not – it’s not going to get through 38 states in my lifetime. That day doesn’t occur until we as a disposable, throwaway society change our attitude about the disposable, throwaway lives radical abortion supporters haughtily call “non-viable tissue masses.” (In truth, I don’t support the Constitutional approach anyway, feeling a state-by-state approach is more effective and more in line with the intent of our Founding Fathers.)

The reason I led off with the cartoon, though, is that what’s said has been said and regardless of how much Todd Akin backs away from his statement his words will be used against Republicans. We should know that’s how the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) play this game! In short, we have provided them with a distraction, another shiny object they can use to draw attention away from the real issues of the economy and oppressive hand of government.

If the RNC and other establishment Republicans want to drop Todd Akin like a hot potato, well, that’s their right. Obviously there’s the possibility, though, that the pro-life community which rallies to Akin’s defense isn’t going to be as likely to help Mitt Romney win his election. And again, let me stress: this issue is a distraction we’re allowing Democrats to use because they know just as well as we do that abortion isn’t going anywhere in the near-term. Yet they use this cudgel to scare women just as they use the prospect of any change to Social Security or Medicare to try and scare seasoned citizens. We know this.

Of course, there is another group who is saying they told us so, and that’s the 64 percent who supported someone else in the primary – most notably those who preferred Sarah Palin-backed candidate Sarah Steelman. But I’m sure Democrats would have attacked Steelman simply for being backed by Palin; that’s what happens when you have no record worth running on. Democrats even slyly bankrolled Akin with $1.5 million in ads for this open primary, just as they tried to tip the scales to former Congressman Frank Kratovil locally by backing the Libertarian candidate Richard Davis in 2010 with mailers to Republican and conservative households.

So Missouri Republicans are in a pickle. If Akin stays in, there’s a segment of the electorate who sees him as damaged goods. If he gets out, the state party looks spineless and the successor will be answering the same questions Akin would anyway. All in all, I’m hoping Akin goes on the attack and doesn’t play Mr. Nice Guy. He’s now at a point where he has nothing to lose so he can go ahead and lay waste to Claire McCaskill.

Hopefully the Democrats will learn in November the age-old lesson of “be careful what you wish for.” Conservatives in Missouri – and everywhere else for that matter – should just say that what Akin said pales in comparison to the real issues the liberals are trying to duck: their failed economy and their thirst for power in Washington.

A winner’s ad

Now this is a good political advertisement. It’s not overly negative, but promotes a message that we have the chance to correct our mistakes. Cede no ground, baby!

“I believe in America. I believe those successes are right around the corner.” Now that’s a true friend talking.

I look at the whole situation this way. For too long, people have written off Republicans in Maryland because it’s such a hopelessly Democratic state. But political pundits and the so-called conventional wisdom fail to ask the key question: aren’t people tired of the same old thing?

Don’t people get worn out having to deal with the same problems year after year: higher and higher taxes, more cronyism and corruption in government, and a worse quality of life as things fall apart? Why are our children not being as well educated, anyway? Isn’t the American Dream that of your kids having a better life? What happened to it?

Listen, I tend to blame one political party for many of our faults, but in countless ways it’s really the fault of all of us. Shame on us for  just simply going with the lesser of two evils, or the guy whose name they know but one for whom they couldn’t name a single accomplishment, or the one who looks like such a great guy on TV as opposed to the guy they’ve never heard of because they don’t do their political homework. If ignorance is bliss, then we must be the most politically happy people in the world.

We may get the government we deserve, but it’s not the government I want. This shouldn’t be the government you want, either. We can do better; we’ve tried it their way for eighty (almost) uninterrupted years and one has to agree this experiment in liberty created by our Founding Fathers has been botched, with the only question now remaining (and the one to be answered in this election) being whether the decline is reversible or, indeed, whether the experiment is even redeemable at all.

This Dan Bongino guy deserves a chance, and while some may rightfully argue he’s untested in the ways of politics, I would have a lot more faith in someone who made an honest living putting his life on the line for another man than one who has lived off the good graces of the electorate via a familiar surname for over 4 1/2 decades. What have we really received from career politicians anyway?

It’s time for average people to truly have a voice, and this video should have a helluva lot more views than the 150 or so it had when I embedded it. So let’s get to work.


Radio days volume 17

August 28, 2012 · Posted in Mainstream media, Personal stuff · 4 Comments 

Well, I hope this is the beginning of a renewed trend.

There was a time when I was on the radio a lot more than I have been recently, which led me to see just what volume number I was on because my last radio interview was in April, 2011, when I was featured on the liberal gabfest Thom Hartmann Show.

As it turns out, yesterday’s radio appearance on Blaine Young’s WFMD-AM show wasn’t all that much different in that I was promoting something I wrote, but it was the first of what I hope are many radio appearances to promote my book So We May Breathe Free: Avoiding Ineptocracy.

And perhaps I’m my own harshest critic, but I thought I left a lot to be desired. In my defense, I have to say there were two strikes working against me: my shot was delayed an hour because of unrelated events in Frederick (which made me a little bit more nervous) and I didn’t really get a transition – it was just boom! I’m on. That definitely threw me; I’m more used to having a bit of an introduction but I guess Blaine’s show doesn’t work that way – I just have to be more prepared for that. Obviously I know why I wrote the book, and I honestly think I’m as qualified as any other so-called political pundit to be an analyst. But I sort of staggered through that part of the interview because I was a little off my game. I need to work on that portion.

I did enjoy the conversation about Maryland politics, though. No, it really didn’t relate to my book but I suppose it does enhance my political bonafides by having a relatively detailed discussion of a political subject. There’s nothing wrong with promoting my website as well as my book.

Overall, I’d give myself a C-minus for the effort, but the real test is whether my book sales will ratchet upward. Obviously I do these radio interviews to help sell books because if I don’t sell So We May Breathe Free my ideas don’t make it into the marketplace and I happen to think I have pretty valid ideas. Some of my more fervent backers swear I have plenty of writing talent, but that has to translate into sales and hopefully I didn’t miss an opportunity today.

Still, I want to thank Blaine Young for extending that chance. Maybe this Delmarva player wasn’t quite ready for Frederick yet, but once I knock the rust off I’m sure I’ll get better – remember, it’s been about 16 months since I did a radio show and I thought I did pretty fair on the last one. So if you have a radio show or know someone with one – even if it’s just a little internet station – I’m happy to come on and promote my book. You need content and I need sales, so let’s see if we can strike a deal.

There’s one thing I thought about during the hour delay and wish I had said in the actual interview, though. You have to love a system where someone like me – who has no pedigree and was basically ignored by the literary world – still has the opportunity to express a message. I can live with putting myself out there and being a total flop based on the weakness of my argument, but what I can’t abide is never getting the chance at all. Yesterday I got my chance, and I’m confident I’ll get more because I’m going to keep knocking on the door.

WCRC meeting – August 2012

August 27, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – August 2012 

It was a more crowded room than usual this month, telling me the excitement is palpable for this November’s election. The additional crowd was treated to a pretty thorough presentation on the county’s redistricting process by Redistricting Committee Chair Joe Collins, with additional insight provided by County Council member Gail Bartkovich.

Of course, we did the usual preliminaries: the Lord’s Prayer, reading of the minutes, and introduction of distringuished guests as well as a quite involved Treasurer’s Report thanks to expenditures for the Crab Feast.

But when Collins introduced his subject, he noted that his previous outsider’s perspective was changed by becoming part of the process and trying to “herd cats.” The cats in question were the seven members of the Redistricting Committee, each recommended by an individual County Council member. It’s worthy of noting that, as Bartkovich explained, two Republicans selected Democratic members – one to make sure a member of their Central Committee was on the panel and another who selected a Democratic woman at the eleventh hour so there would be a female representative. (Presumably the one minority member was picked by the lone minority member of County Council, their only Democrat.) So what could have by rights been a 6-1 GOP majority was voluntarily made more bipartisan. (Hear that, Martin O’Malley?)

Collins pointed out the state’s process had “plenty of bad ideas” so the county’s goals were simple: districts which were compact and contiguous, with roughly equal population and minimizing movement from one district to another.

But the “compact” proved difficult to achieve with the mandate of having a minority district, Joe said. The goals of contiguous and equal in population were done quite well, with the deviations running at less than 100 people off the desired number for any district – compare that to the allowable of 5 percent, which in Wicomico County equals about 1,000 people more or less than an even five-way split. They were “just about as equal as we could get them,” said Joe. But it was hard not to shuffle people around between districts because, as Joe explained, the minority population had migrated somewhat and what was a majority-minority district when drawn in 2000 was no longer so. This map makes District 1 almost 60% minority.

(It’s also worth noting that the 2000 map drawn by a Democratic County Council had the two most Democratic districts as the smallest two and the most pronounced Republican district as the largest. This map is much more even-handed.)

Bartkovich filled us in a little bit on the process, telling those assembled that maps were sent to each municipality and each firehouse for public inspection. There were “very few comments,” she said, which in my opinion means the committee did a good job. (I wholeheartedly endorse this map.)

The one big complaint about this map came from the Board of Elections, which saw the number of precincts rise from 38 to 52. In part, though, the state is also at fault because of how they gerrymandered the county with its legislative districts. In contrast, the county’s redistricting committee tried to use natural and significant man-made boundaries to the fullest extent possible – case in point: the eastern half of the county is almost perfectly divided into two districts by U.S. 50.

Bartkovich announced it was likely the County Council would preserve this map, but with a “little tweaking.” Most of the changes sought were in the minority district, but others were more procedural: there are precincts with fewer than ten voters under this plan, so small portions may change for that sake. “Your committee did an excellent job,” Bartkovich told Collins. (I’m holding them to that, by the way.)

Turning to the Central Committee, Dave Parker related a number of upcoming events: a convention watch party at GOP headquarters on August 30 (to watch Mitt Romney accept his nomination), sign waving on August 31, the Addie Eckardt fundraiser I briefly detailed yesterday on September 9, Andy Harris’s Bull Roast on September 22, the state party’s Oktoberfest on October 19, and of course the Good Beer Festival and Autumn Wine Festival, where we will have a presence.

Cynthia Williams made the not-so-shocking announcement that the GOP headquarters was out of most Romney items except a lone t-shirt and some buttons. The same is true for Dan Bongino items, which Shawn Jester said they “can’t keep on the shelves.” (One reason for this I’ll share in an upcoming post.)

We received some good news from Woody Willing, who told us the local Board of Elections had done its job and purged unqualified voters from the voter rolls – most had come back as not living at the listed address. Over 900 voters were taken off from the most recent purge moved from active to the inactive list – now if other counties would do their job, Election Integrity Maryland wouldn’t have to nag them about it. Woody also had a minor victory to report on the scholarship front, as the WCRC scholarship will be listed by the Board of Education for this coming school year.

Speaking of EIM, Cathy Keim restated the group has online poll watcher training available and also announced that certain counties are crying out for Republican election judges – for example, Prince George’s County needs over 400. Locally, though, Keim announced “I have the utmost confidence in our election board.”

I duly noted (and was backed up by many others) that attendance at the Farm and Home Show was poor. Unfortunately, I also found out the awards were well-attended – but we had already pulled up stakes. That was my fault; I took the blame.

Bob Miller assessed that we “got through (the Crab Feast) okay” but he was ready to hand it over to a younger man. We indeed found someone who will take up the reins for next year.

Cynthia Williams, who is helping out with the Lower Shore headquarters, noted the hours of operation (10 to 8 weekdays, 10 to 4 Saturday) and added there are “lots of spaces on the signup boards.”

The annual Christmas Party will be December 2 at 5 p.m., announced Ann Suthowski. One change, though, will be the location as we move to Mister Paul’s Legacy for the event.

And while it wasn’t part of the agenda, there was a lot of talk about the “2016: Obama’s America” movie, which one observer called “a very unsettling movie…I can’t find fault with it.” Several in the crowd had already seen it, but it was recommended that the others make tracks to check it out.

Our next meeting is going to be unique as we leave the familiar confines of the Chamber of Commerce building to hold it at our Lower Shore headquarters on South Salisbury Boulevard. It will still be on the fourth Monday (September 24) at the same time.

Crying poverty

I just had to laugh when I read this from our President. I think I should pick it apart a sentence or two at a time.

When I’m out there talking to voters, we talk about what we’ve done, what we plan to do over the next four years, and why the other guys have dangerous plans to go back to the policies that failed America for almost a decade.

What you have done is wasted trillions of dollars, maintained a horrible economy and high unemployment rate, and pandered to every Democratic constituency at the expense of average working people. Given that the last time Republicans were fully in charge (including Congress) we had a good economy and low unemployment, I wouldn’t say these were “policies that failed” if I were you, Barack.

But there is another question that keeps coming up, and you need to know about it: “Why do I see so many more ads for the other guys?”

Because you were so confident you would raise a billion dollars in this campaign that you didn’t begin your own SuperPACs until late in the game. And no one likes a loser.

You don’t need me to tell you that the Romney campaign is outraising us — that billionaire ideologues and corporate interests are piling on tens of millions more in negative ads trashing us, and that all of it means that undecided voters in battleground states like Iowa could be seeing false, misleading, negative attacks at a rate almost twice as often as they hear from us.

Oh, so blaming Mitt Romney for a steelworker’s wife’s death at a company he had nothing to do with several years after the fact isn’t false, misleading, or negative? Spare me. If you want to run on your record, be my guest. But you can’t and you know it.

Last week, when I was in Iowa, voters told me they were feeling it. The numbers back it up: Our side is getting outspent 2-to-1 on the air there.

Does that count the fawning press coverage and the softball radio interviews you’re arranging? I’d say your side is only having the playing field leveled. Long live the Citizens United decision.

But the folks asking me about this don’t want an explanation — they want to know what I’m going to do about it.

Looks like the old pout-whine sequence to me. Just go out and hold another high-dollar fundraiser with the self-loathing of the so-called 1 percent like you always do.

And the fact is that solving this problem is up to you.

Personally I don’t consider this a problem.


You’re getting this email because you know what the stakes are in this election. You know the facts about what we’ve done to prevent a deeper crisis and to start building an economy that works for the middle class.

Wouldn’t that be what you called “digging our way out of the hole?” Last time I checked, the best way to get out of a hole is to climb, not dig. If you want to build an economy that works for the middle class, let them get paychecks and not government checks. Stand aside – and quit spending so much money! Get a clue.

But for someone who’s not as engaged, these ads may be an important and possibly even primary source of information about the choice in this election.

Sadly, that’s true. But there are more and more informed people because they’ve finally seen through the miasma of “hope” and “change” through outlets like mine (if I may be so presumptuous.)

So it’s a bad situation if 90 percent of them are false, negative attacks on us.

Questioning his record = “false, negative attack” – and raaaaaacist to boot!

We’re losing this air war right now.

I’d like you and your socialist Democrat buddies like those who “represent” Maryland in Congress to lose the election as well as the air war.

I don’t have as much time to campaign this time as I did in 2008, so this whole thing is riding on you making it happen.

I know, you can’t miss that tee time or fundraiser, can you? George W. Bush gave up golf because he was hounded about playing in a time of war, but chasing a little white ball around and the need to stay in office for you and your cronies by trying to raise millions trumps actual governing, doesn’t it? Just keep a few White House lawyers busy writing Executive Orders to usurp the power of Congress.

Honestly, is it a surprise that Barack Obama spends campaign money as he does taxpayer money – a lot of spending with little to show for it? I guess he thought the GOP would run another John McCain who crippled himself with campaign finance regulations. No such luck.

So just keep sending me your whiny e-mails, Mr. Obama. Although it may be a mite uncomfortable, I hear tee times are easy to get around Chicago after January 21.

Odds and ends number 57

A lot of little (and big) stuff to talk about in this edition of odds and ends. I want to start local as a follow-up to something I wrote last weekend about the Wicomico Board of Education. Wicomico GOP Chair Dave Parker believes the headline originally placed in this Daily Times story was “misleading,” and it was indeed changed online to that which you see in the story.

The original, however, was “Wicomico County GOP committee protests Board of Education nominee.” Yes, the Daily Times got that one wrong – the protester was me, speaking on my own behalf. Maybe Jennifer Shutt is familiar with my work and I suppose I have my share of influence, but I don’t speak for the committee as a whole.

Now that I have that cleared up, I can add a note sent to me by the “pretty in pink” Delegate Addie Eckardt, whose Crab Feast & Sausages fundraiser is rapidly approaching – Sunday, September 9 is the date. It’s going to be held at J.M. Clayton’s in Cambridge from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the cost is $50 per person.

But if you’re a local Republican and don’t have the $50 lying around, you can still help. Our erstwhile headquarters coordinators Cynthia Williams and Bonnie Luna are looking for a few good men (and women, too) to staff our party headquarters from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. (We’re not opening on Sundays.) You can stop by the headquarters at 800 S. Salisbury Boulevard or call (410) 742-0308. We’re not picky in that respect.

Libertarian Muir Boda was kind enough to pass along a note regarding candidate forums he’s been invited to. One in particular is local:

“The Eastern Shore Farm and Environment Candidate Forum”  presented by the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. September 24, 2012 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Salisbury University’s Great Hall at Holloway Hall. PAC-14 will be recording the forum.

Unfortunately, I’m sure I can’t be there to tell you what really happened because that’s also the night the Republican Club meets. (I wonder if the CBF knew that when the date was selected.) But it will be interesting to see what softballs they lob up there for Democrat Wendy Rosen to answer – from what some non-biased observers have told me, that’s about all she can handle. After all, anyone who brings up the eeeeeevil Koch brothers in conversation may be worth the price of admission in entertainment value, but the scary thing is: some people believe her.

Hopefully more believe this:

This shirt is available for 15 dollars from the Worcester County Republicans.

This comes from Worcester County and I have one of these shirts. And yes, I get good comments from it. You can do the same for a $15 donation to the Worcester Republican Women’s club – contact Joan Gentile: joanierags (at) verizon (dot) net.

More local reaction comes from the Wicomico Society of Patriots, which sent me a sampling of opinions on the movie “2016: Obama’s America” that’s now playing locally:

  • I…went to today’s 1:05 show, and although (as a TEA Partier) I consider myself  ‘informed’, it was well worth the ride from Ocean Pines.  The production was excellent, entertaining, factual, and to some was probably shocking.  I’m glad to say that it was a big crowd for a matinee.  Even if your mind is made up, you should attend if only to show your support for the efforts of the conservatives who made this movie possible.
  • I was there also… sitting on the point of my chair and asking, “how was that possible?”
  • Bring your friends, especiallly if they are a kind of democrat, or don’t know what (way) to vote !!!
  • Thank you Cathy for the update.  I had a friend go see it at 3:00 this afternoon, and she said it was very unsettling.  She also said the attendance was good, but very few young people.  The time of day may have had something to with that.  We will definitely be going to see it.
  • We went with two other couples tonight and all of us were motivated to keep up the fight, and even for those who “pay attention” we all learned some new things.
  •  Saw the 5:30 show…packed…I’ve put out the word too…we are going to have to work, but good will prevail over evil!

I have not seen the movie yet, but probably will before it goes away next weekend. Whatever the attendance is – even if they’re selling out theaters around the country – you can bet your bottom dollar that pressure is being brought to bear to get that movie out of there by next week.

Speaking of upcoming events but looking at a state level, while Maryland and Virginia have had a family feud of sorts through their respective governors, a guy who knows something about family feuds is doing a fundraiser for Maryland businesses.

I’ll let Jim Pettit pick it up from here – he’s good at this sort of thing:

Legendary comedian Louie Anderson will headline Maryland Business Leadership Political Action Committee’s second annual fundraiser at the Baltimore Comedy Factory Wednesday, October 17th, for one show only.

“We don’t think politics and business in Maryland is a laughing matter,” said MBLPAC Chair Cal Ewing, “but we do think it is important for business to come together and support a shared goal – a better business climate in Maryland to create jobs.”

The PAC is an offshoot of the Maryland Business for Responsive Government group which is frequently cited on this site. Eventually they’d like to raise $250,000 for the 2014 election and Anderson’s appearance will help them get there $100 at a time.

Finally, I thought it was worth pointing out that Democrats seem to make up rules as they go along. I know that’s not news to many of you, but Senator E. J. Pipkin and Delegate Michael Smigiel believe the recently-passed gambling bill violates the Maryland Constitution on two fronts:

  • the Maryland Senate adjourned for more than three days and without the consent of the House, violating Article III, Section 25 of the Maryland Constitution, and, more importantly…
  • “The (gambling) bill combined revenues, tax rates, and gambling expansion into one piece of legislation.  Allowing for the referendum in November violates Article XVI, Section 2,” said Pipkin.  Smigiel added, “In the past, we have sought to allow voters take to referendum fiscal matters like tax increases and spending by removing Article XVI, Section 2 from the Constitution.  Every time Assembly leadership has rejected these efforts. Now, the General Assembly has passed a bill that in addition to expanding gambling, puts tax matters and appropriations up for a vote.”

Of course, since the Attorney General is a Democrat that complaint, however valid, will get nowhere fast. It’s another reason to vote AGAINST the gambling amendment, Question 7. Let’s make that an unlucky number for a General Assembly majority disinterested in proper process of law.

Somehow I made it through without mentioning Dan Bongino or Andy Harris. Oops, I guess I just did, didn’t I? That’s quite all right, both are worth mentioning.

Oh, one more thing as I toot my own horn. Tomorrow afternoon in the 4:00 hour (around 4:15 is what I’m told) I will be a guest on Blaine Young’s WFMD radio show. We’ll be discussing my book So We May Breathe Free. I asked about the possibility when he was here and we made it happen.

WCRC Crab Feast 2012 in pictures and text

Never let it be said that Republicans are a fair-weather party.

A rainy day certainly dampened the area surrounding Schumaker Park as the Wicomico County Republican Club held its annual Crab Feast yesterday, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. The picture below was taken at one of those rare points where the rain died down to a light shower, rather than the torrential downpour which plagued the event.

We still had our usual solid crowd of about 250, who I am convinced would come out in a hurricane for crabs and camaraderie. If you added a little wind I think we would have had a nice tropical storm like this same weekend in 2011 because there was a point it rained to beat the band.

One casualty of the weather was the silent auction, which for many items had to become a live auction because the tally sheets got all wet under the tent. Some items stayed out of the rain, though.

And the weather played havoc with the roster of speakers as well. I think this was the result of having to do a live auction, but in most years several elected officials will make remarks. This time the bulk of the talking was done by Congressman Andy Harris.

Harris only made brief, somewhat boilerplate remarks about his race and the need to change the regime in Washington beginning with the removal of Barack Obama but continuing with the urgency of putting Dan Bongino in the United States Senate. (Unfortunately, Bongino couldn’t represent himself at the event; his county coordinator Shawn Jester filled in.) “Party today, but work for the next 73 days” to the election, Harris admonished us.

We also heard quite briefly from Delegate Addie Eckardt, who reprised her message delivered at the GOP headquarters opening last week about the need to “turn this ship around.” Also expressing his thanks for continued support was Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello.

So it wasn’t like the event in other years where a number of candidates seeking election locally or statewide were there to speak and press the flesh – while most made their rounds, they chose to be acknowledged but not make remarks. I don’t know if Matt Holloway or John Hall came, but I saw the remaining four GOP members of County Council there (Stevie Prettyman, Gail Bartkovich, Joe Holloway, and Bob Culver) along with the other three local Republican officials – Maciarello, Sheriff Mike Lewis, and Orphans Court Judge Bill Smith. We also had Delegate Charles Otto come up from Somerset County to join us. (Update: WCRC officer Marc Kilmer assured me that John Hall was there. Maybe I didn’t hear him being introduced.)

In that respect, look for next year’s event to be chock full of would-be aspirants for office because the 2014 event will be after the state election primary for the first time in several years unless they make it a spring event. (Once a late-September gathering, the Crab Feast migrated forward about a month beginning in 2010 to a late-August date – last year was an exception thanks to Hurricane Irene.)

I can say that I made the Republican Club a few dollars myself since I donated two copies of my book to the auction, and they sold for above face value. Then again, my contribution paled in comparison to how these buttons did, as well as the 50-50 drawing.

So after two years in a row of a late-August downpour (at least this year the hurricane was down in Cuba) chances are next year should be a beautiful afternoon like we’ve had in the past. In the meantime, the beer was cold and by many accounts the crabs delicious, so what’s a little rain?

Weekend of local rock volume 48

August 25, 2012 · Posted in Delmarva items, Local Music, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Weekend of local rock volume 48 

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a WLR post – almost four months to be exact. But there was a reason I put this together so quickly, for it is also somewhat newsworthy. (After all, Channel 16 was there too.)

But if it’s a rock show you wanted, it’s a rock show you got.

I’ll get back to headliner Riot Act later, but first a few words about the facility itself. For some, this may have been a buzzkill:

Now I understand there was security there and, as you’ll see in a moment, food and beverage vendors. But what’s going to happen with this policy are parking lot parties – I saw one group with adult beverages significantly stronger than the $5 beer they were selling.

Still, there were a couple beer tents and one food tent set off to the side.

While it was a little pricey (on par with the food prices at a fair or festival) I will say they picked fairly well, as Adam’s Ribs has pretty choice chow.

There was also what I presume is a VIP reserved seating area for tonight’s Kellie Pickler/Chase Rice show already set up. It was all but empty last night, though.

Obviously the facility is still in the process of being completed, but it will be interesting to see how they run the shows once they have things in place next year.

Anyway, this was how the place looked as I walked in. Front Page News was playing.

I would say perhaps 300-500 people were there at that point. As you can tell, it was cloudy out and the forecast called for a chance of showers; luckily the rain held off.

That allowed me to get relatively close up to get this shot of the opening band Front Page News, which was honored to be the first band to play the facility and did a nice job with their classic rockers. I only heard about half their brief show, though.

Shortly after Front Page News left and while Blue Junction set up the crowd was treated to a natural light show thanks to a gorgeous sunset.

I didn’t get as good of pictures as I would have liked of Blue Junction, but I thought their set was the highlight of the evening. They were the one band which mixed in some of their originals with covers of legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention they had DJ Flea between sets and the youth dance troupe Feet of Fire also provided entertainment. The lead singer of Anything Goes liked having the dance floor – such as it was – filled by these young people, although she joked that they would have feet of filth afterward.

Anything Goes sort of lived up to its name as they did a number of song mashups, like the ‘Heartbreaker’-‘Heartbreaker’ duo where Pat Benatar morphed into Led Zeppelin and back again. I guess it’s a unique way of entertaining when you have a 45-minute set and want to do about 15-20 songs.

I’m sure it kept this guy busy.

You may notice in some of these shots the backdrop says “Riot Act.” Well, they were the headliners and no one else had a curtain to cover theirs. Both they and Anything Goes made liberal use of the dry ice fog, though.

Now I’ve seen Riot Act a couple times before so I know they play a variety of rock classics from the Eighties era. But I have two minor criticisms of their show.

One is that Riot Act seemed a little bit uneven and out of sync, particularly in the middle of the show. The other is that they played a couple of the same songs that Anything Goes did – in the vast territory of 1980s pop-rock, there was much more than ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Separate Ways’, but they were played twice, and by consecutive bands, no less.

I know many bands at multi-act shows change their set list on the fly, so why couldn’t Riot Act?

Obviously this free show was used as a shakedown cruise for tonight’s main event, where I would guess there will be as many or more than the perhaps 1,000 people who were there for at least part of last night. I would say this turned out to be a success for the new facility, which will hopefully be made even better once they make it more of a true amphitheater with berms and a dedicated seating area.

But I think they need to relax the no-cooler rule because, if they want to promote a family-friendly facility they can’t price the family out of going due to the cost of food and drink. Maybe they need to start a Sunday afternoon local free concert series where they ditch the no-cooler rules – they can even pass the hat for a free-will donation to keep the facility going and/or local charity.

Despite those flaws, we will see if Doug Marshall has a hit on his hands with the Amphitheater at Heron Ponds or if it will be another idea which doesn’t fly on Delmarva. Tonight’s show will be a test since the forecast is less than optimistic.

Update 7:30 p.m. Saturday: “Less than optimistic” was an understatement as 2″ of rain has fallen on Salisbury today – unfortunately the Kellie Pickler show had to be scrubbed. Maybe next year.

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