Craig event first in post-Bongino gubernatorial landscape

I told you about this several days ago, but the details look nice in the flyer:

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I also found out in the interim that another June 5 stop was scheduled at the Tidewater Inn in Easton beginning at 1 p.m. But there’s no Facebook event for the Easton stop, which conflicts with the information put out in Wednesday’s media advisory. That listed a three-day tour with stops in Havre de Grace, Baltimore, Hagerstown, Silver Spring, Prince Frederick, Annapolis, Salisbury, and Easton, along with a newly-added evening reception in Annapolis June 5.

Over the last year Craig, along with Blaine Young of Frederick County, have quietly been making plans to run for the state’s top spot; however, David has probably made the most public of scenes about it with this three-day announcement tour while Young has mainly appealed to party activists and other officials behind the scenes.

On the other hand, Charles Lollar – who has had a “draft” campaign over the last several months – is also expected to make his plans formal in the next few weeks. We may get more of a clue when he stops in Dorchester County next week; this comes from their party treasurer Bill Lee:

I am very excited to announce that gubernatorial candidate Charles Lollar will be speaking at our 2nd Saturday event here in Cambridge. Charles is a very dynamic speaker that speaks from the heart and unscripted. If you have never heard Charles speak, do yourself a favor and make plans to attend our next 2nd Saturday “Peoples Voice” event on June 8th.

As they note on their webpage:

The meetings will be held at the High Spot Gastropub in downtown Cambridge on the second Saturday of each month starting at 10 a.m.

So I’ve covered three of the four prospective major candidates at this time. Ron George will be holding his kickoff event June 5th from 6 to 8 p.m. in Annapolis, which actually means that his event will overlap the planned Craig event. Perhaps a bit of one-up-manship there?

Over the weekend I plan on beginning to add the 2014 links – I know, yikes! But we are less than 13 months away from the primary and a scant nine months from the filing deadline, since the General Assembly unwisely moved it to February.

Update: Interesting reports from Anne Arundel County, where they held a straw poll at their Lincoln Day Dinner. Local Delegate Ron George won, which wasn’t necessarily a surprise. But Dan Bongino had his name crossed off the straw poll ballot and indicated he was backing Ron George. The obvious question is whether Dan’s supporters helped George gain the victory, and when – or if – Bongino will issue a formal endorsement.

While party leaders and the establishment tend to pooh-pooh the prospect of a Bongino endorsement – pointing to his 27% showing last year – he tends to have some of the most passionate followers and ran a campaign into the headwinds of a third candidate and without a great deal of state party support, as many worked with the Romney campaign in adjacent “battleground” states. So Dan’s endorsement may make Ron George competitive with David Craig IF he can keep his backers interested.

Shorebird of the Week – May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – May 30, 2013 

Once in awhile you’ll find a steal in the later rounds of the amateur draft, a player most scouts overlooked or didn’t think would be good enough to fit. Whatever the case, the Orioles seem to be getting more than they expected out of Maryland product Josh Hader.

Hader, who wasn’t drafted last year until the 19th round, impressed experts enough with his performance last season to be considered one of the Orioles’ top 15 prospects just a year removed from Old Mill High School in Anne Arundel County. Yes, he’s only 19 years old – does that seem familiar to Oriole fans, a 19 year old phenom pitching well for Delmarva?

After being drafted last year, the Orioles sent him down to their Gulf Coast League affiliate in Florida, where he dominated enough (2-0, 2.66 with just 12 hits allowed and 35 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings) to earn a late-season promotion to Aberdeen. With the IronBirds he was even better, posting 13 strikeouts and just two hits allowed in 5 relief appearances covering 8 1/3 innings. So the obvious question would be how he handled the long season and starting rotation for a more advanced league here with the Shorebirds.

So far, so good. In eight starts Josh has pitched 42 1/3 innings, allowing just 29 hits and posting a 1-2 record with a 2.13 ERA. That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges – while Hader is averaging about a strikeout per inning (42 to date) he’s walking far more batters than he did at the lower levels – 21 thus far. But batters are only hitting .193 against him, and that will play well whatever the level.

His next start could be a test, as the rotation would set him up against a Greensboro team which has given him fits so far in two starts (13 hits and eight runs – five earned – in 10 2/3 innings.) If Josh can make the adjustments required from a good professional pitcher, it may show that his lofty accolades are well-deserved. Hader is slotting himself for success at higher levels, which isn’t bad for a kid from Anne Arundel County.

Rumor has it…

Certain quarters of the Maryland blogosphere are reporting that one prospective participant in the governor’s race is going off in another direction. A website called The Red White Blue as well as Jeff Quinton at RedState have both made the assertion that something I heard when speaking with a representative of another politician was true – Dan Bongino will be announcing his intention to reclaim the Sixth Congressional District seat for the GOP. Shades of Alex Mooney!

This is particularly interesting to me when you consider that just last week Bongino put out a release purportedly critical of Martin O’Malley:

Sadly, the plague of bureaucratic, government corruption is not limited to the IRS and DOJ. It appears that the O’Malley administration is attempting to rival the Obama administration in bureaucratic ineptitude with its newest scandal. The lavish, inappropriate spending of federal “stimulus” funds by Baltimore City school staff on fancy dinners and expensive watches is another sad example of the very real penalty of an increasingly unaccountable and growing government. The growth of both federal and local bureaucracy has created a ‘soft tyranny’ of diffuse responsibility. When government grows large enough to diffuse responsibility among many than the responsibility for managing it effectively belongs to no one.

But that O’Malley criticism was absent in a statement Dan made yesterday on Facebook. Instead, it leaned more in a direction critical of Washington:

The recent spate of scandals is indicative of a trend line moving painfully in the direction of a “Members-Only” government.

In over a decade within the ranks of the Secret Service, and many years in the White House, I was unfortunate enough to have been a witness to this system, which has become strictly insider-driven.

Those who are appropriately “connected” live by a completely different set of rules & government means something completely different to them. The tax code, healthcare policy, election law, environmental regulation and many other areas have been corrupted and are being used as tools to both punish and reward.

There are solutions out there but you must push your Representatives. A simplified tax code, patient-centered healthcare reform, a reduction in the burgeoning administrative state and the rolling back of many administrative functions to the states would reverse this destructive trend and help restore us to vibrant growth and give our children hope that this is not the best it is ever going to be.

Interesting choice of words: “you must push your Representatives.”

Yet the obvious question I first had when I heard this assertion was: Bongino lives nowhere near the Sixth District. There’s nothing stopping Dan from moving to that area prior to the 2014 election, though, nor does the law preclude a “carpetbagger” from representing a district because Congressmen need only live within the state they represent. Perhaps it’s still the second-best Maryland option for a Republican despite Roscoe Bartlett’s 20-point loss last year. (Andy Harris isn’t going anywhere.)

But if you look at election results, the numbers indicate an uphill battle for Bongino: he ran seven points behind Bartlett’s pace in Montgomery County – albeit these are countywide numbers for Dan and his was a three-way race.

On the other hand, Bongino carried Frederick County over Ben Cardin (although not necessarily the Sixth District portion, which Bartlett lost by 20 points.) Bongino was 400 votes behind Bartlett in Washington County, just over 1,000 votes behind in Allegany, and a little over 200 behind in Garrett. In the latter three counties, though, Rob Sobhani drew 19 percent, 13 percent, and 4 percent respectively. These counties also lie completely within the Sixth District, permitting a more direct comparison.

So I’m sure Dan Bongino has the same information I do, and probably more since he has the time and staff to delve into precinct-by-precinct results. The obvious question is whether he can make up twenty points.

One thing Democrat John Delaney has now that he didn’t have in 2012, though: a voting record. But John will have plenty of money, and perhaps the one advantage Bongino would have over would-be challengers like Delegate LeRoy Myers – who decided earlier this month not to seek another term as Delegate – is the success he had nationalizing his Senate campaign.

Of course, all this speculation could be for naught, just as the phony Bongino/Keyes ticket was last month. This is doubly true considering the source, who would likely benefit from Bongino skipping the governor’s race. But if anything it proves that Dan Bongino has some mojo as a prospective candidate for something, whether he stays home or becomes a proverbial carpetbagger.

Maybe Andy Harris should watch his back.

A social media victory

May 29, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on A social media victory 

In case you missed it earlier tonight – and to be quite honest, most people who don’t follow social media missed it – those on the left were out to protest Senator Ted Cruz and his appearance at a New York Republican fundraiser by bombarding his Twitter account with admonitions on his positions and a hashtag (for the Twitter-illiterate, that’s the “pound” symbol, #) of #youcruzyoulose. Catchy, but certainly irrelevant.

Of course, as we often do, our side caught wind of this “protest” and came up with the idea of Tweeting our support with our own hashtag, to wit:

Senator Cruz was pleased:


And the point was made, as #youcruzyoulose had nowhere near the staying power of #cruztovictory, which was the top-trending hashtag on Twitter for part of the evening.

But the question has to be asked: why Cruz? After all, he’s only 1 of 100, the junior Senator from a state which is pretty much owned by Republicans right now. How is he a threat?

Well, he is conservative, but so are a handful of others. He’s also relatively outspoken, although not to the extent of fellow Senator Rand Paul. Maybe it’s because he’s *gasp” a Latino who’s not down with the immigration amnesty bill? (Cue the game show bell, “ding ding ding.”) Yes, that and he’s pro-gun as well.

We don’t need 100 Ted Cruz clones in the Senate, but about 50 others will be fine. Let’s have some more fun with the #youcruzyoulose crowd, shall we? Just another #cruztovictory in the realm of social media.


Making money with guns

May 29, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Making money with guns 

I guess this makes perfect sense, and I’m surprised more conservative politicians don’t use this method. I would think most localities have a range of some sort – in fact, there are eight on the Lower Shore –  but this comes from the Maryland Liberty PAC and will be held this weekend. (Sorry, I have no link and the e-mail wasn’t available as a webpage. All emphasis in original, and I decided not to blockquote this since it’s center-justified as the original was.)

Maryland Liberty PAC will be holding a special fundraising event this weekend.

We’d like to see you there! See below for all the details!

Breakfast at the Range
Support 2nd Amendment Rights for All Marylanders

Saturday June 1, 2013 8AM – 11AM
Horst & McCann Inc. (
2137 North Fountain Green Road
Bel Air, MD 21015


ENJOY A MORNING OUT! Breakfast and baked treats while, some lead down range and chatting with likeminded patriots.

Only $50!

Tickets include: Breakfast, Firearms Safety Class, Firearm Rental, 25 Rounds of Ammunition, Targets, and 30 minutes in the shooting lane. Eye and ear protection will be provided. Range Safety Officers on duty to guarantee safety and provide help and advice when needed.

Range Rentals Available:
.22LR Pistols- Ruger Mk III, Ruger SR22, Ruger Single 10 Revolver, GSG 1911
.22LR Rifles- S&W MP15/22, Ruger 10/22, Henry Golden Boy Lever Action
.38Spcl- S&W 686 Revolver
9mm- XDM-9, Glock 17, Sig Sauer P226

Both range rentals and personal firearms must use provided range ammo.

If you plan on bringing your own firearm you must use range ammo.

Ticket only includes ammo for .22LR, .38spcl, or 9mm calibers. If your personal firearm is not one of these listed calibers then you must purchase ammo out of pocket.

Photo I.D. & waiver required for participation!

Black powder firearms are prohibited.

All State, Local & Federal Laws apply. Range rules must be followed at all times, no exceptions!

Cash and Check accepted.

Make checks payable to Maryland Liberty PAC

For Tickets and Information Call 410-569-4821.

Something tells me there will be a few petition signatures collected there, assuming the threshold for May collections has been met.

To me, this isn’t exactly out-of-the-box thinking as other entities have held gun raffles to raise money, but it is a little unusual to have a fundraiser at a gun range. (Seems like the kind of business I could use as an advertiser, too.) There may only be 20 people who attend but in that event that’s still $1,000 in the MLPAC coffers before expenses.

Perhaps the one question I would have is what people will do with the time they are not in the shooting lane or listening to the safety course. Presumably one will get their chance to shoot for a half-hour (or however long it takes to squeeze off 25 rounds) then change guns if they desire.

Either way, the event seems like a natural fit for celebrating liberty.

Big Corn vs. Big Oil

I found this article by Steve Maley, crossposted on RedState and his home website, quite amusing. In it he talks about a website called The Oily Bird, stating that:

It’s one of the cheesiest anti-oil PR campaigns I’ve seen: a “promoted” twitter account called @TheOilyBird, a snarky oil company h8r. Enviros and greenies retweet @TheOilyBird’s oil industry bashing, without bothering to look at its source.

The source is an entity called Fuels America, which as Maley points out is a consortium of ethanol industry and Radical Green groups. They defend the renewable fuel standard (RFS) by noting:

But right now, the RFS is under attack. A series of misguided assertions seek to blame this forward-looking energy policy for a recent spike in the price of corn, one of the many crops used for renewable fuel production. Make no mistake: corn prices are going up because the United States is suffering the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, not because of the RFS. While this drought is certainly harming rural communities, dismantling or slowing down the RFS would cause even greater damage.

Ah yes, blame it on the weather. After four years of subpar yields, it’s natural that corn prices would be high. But the question is whether the ethanol mandate is bringing farmers to the decision to grow corn rather than soybeans or wheat, both of which also enjoy solid prices. If it weren’t for the artificial demand for corn, though, perhaps prices would be somewhat lower – there’s no doubt the demand for ethanol plays a part, although supplies could also be higher than they otherwise would be.

As it stands now, farmers are desperate enough for land to grow crops on that they are plowing under former golf courses, tearing down unneeded outbuildings, and otherwise maximizing their acreage for growing. Obviously a percentage of this activity is to get in on the bonanza of ethanol subsidies, which, if the EPA has its way, may even stretch the mixture to an E30 blend of 70% gasoline and 30% ethanol – a point where cars would have to be specifically engineered for the blend.

Yet ethanol is a less-efficient, more corrosive alternative to straight gasoline in its current configuration. Drivers fret about the loss of fuel efficiency and those who have small motors, particularly boaters, have become painfully aware of the hazards of E15 fuel in their engines. Many go out of their way to locate ethanol-free gasoline stations to do their refueling.

I would also contend that rural communities are suffering more harm from regulations which preclude growth in their areas – such as the anti-sprawl initiatives exemplified by PlanMaryland and our septic bill with its tier maps – then a drop in corn prices would provide. Since corn is also a significant staple in American diet as well as feed for millions of farm animals, a drop in the per-bushel price would eventually be reflected in less expensive trips to the grocery store.

If ethanol is good enough to stand on its own merits, one would think the ethanol filling stations would soon be setting up shop in locations where gasoline stations were being abandoned. But they’re not. So why should we be saddled with an inferior product just to make a small group of farmers happy?

A weekend to remember, 2013 edition

May 27, 2013 · Posted in Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 2 Comments 

The last time I did this combo was two years ago and I called it “A weekend to remember.” This rendition will be somewhat longer but recount the same two events two years on: the 8th annual Concert for a Random Soldier at the American Legion Post 28 outside Millsboro, Delaware and the annual Memorial Day celebration here in Salisbury at the Civic Center – I believe this is the eleventh under its current format and location.

It was a little windy in Delaware yesterday, but the show went on.

I missed last year’s CRS but in many respects it was like embracing a long-lost friend: several of the acts play the event year after year, and the organizer who tirelessly puts it all together is Terri Clifton, on behalf of the Chad Clifton Foundation – named for her son who was killed in Iraq in 2005.

Of course, she has a lot of support in the effort. This year I noticed the presence of the state’s Vietnam Veterans Association in a much more prominent role.

As always, since it’s a Concert for a Random Soldier, nearly a dozen bands and acoustical acts played in the event. I’ll highlight them in a future Weekend of Local Rock post, but this shot was taken as the Joey Fulkerson Trio was playing.

But there were other things going on as well. It’s hard for me to resist a car show, with this black 1959 Chevy El Camino grabbing second overall. It won the monoblogue prize as my favorite, though.

A close runner-up in both instances (third overall) was this Chevy, which as my memory serves is a 1962 model.

It’s rare that you see a bumper sticker on these classics, but the owner here felt he had to make an exception.

That was pretty much the extent of the political, although one musician noted that a government which wasn’t doing anything could learn the example of these people, who were doing something. That something was supporting Guitars for Vets, which uses music as therapy for returning veterans who need the help.

Not only were the bands donating their time, so were the people making the food.

Grilling chicken (mb) (640x480)

It takes a lot of effort behind the scenes to make this sort of things work, even to the extent of decorating the tables.

But sometimes you just have to give it up for divine assistance with a near-perfect day – certainly not blazing hot and humid like our Memorial Day weekends are generally known for. I just liked this picture.

Those who gathered this morning at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center this morning probably also appreciated the cooler weather, although the gathering didn’t seem to be any more or less attended than usual.

Upon arriving, I heard the mournful sound of bagpipes and saw a brief practice going on.

There is a point to be made with that, trust me.

But in general, the ceremony remained within its familiar ritual, down to the same donation box. It wasn’t very full when I peeked in, though.

As always, the master of ceremonies was Tony Sarbanes, an Army veteran and former County Council member. Sitting beside him were members of each service branch who would contribute with the recitation of their branch prayers and Ed Tattersall, who annually reads the names of the 190 Wicomico County men who have been killed in action since World War I.

Prayer readers (mb) (480x640)

Sarbanes stepped aside for a invocation by the Rev. Harvey Dixon and singing of the National Anthem by Ronny Cheezum before leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the colors were lowered by the Wicomico High School JROTC.

With SM Chief Dave Suiter ringing the Red Knights Memorial Bell before the list from each conflict, Sgt. Tattersall read off all 190 names.

While those who read the branch prayers and conducted the ceremony tended to be of the Vietnam generation and older, there were signs that youth was beginning to be served. As the wreath was being laid, bagpiper Matthew Wallace was joined for the first time by his son Payton.

After the Wicomico County Sheriff’s detail presented the volley of arms, the event was concluded with the playing of Taps and a benediction. John Jochum has played Taps in this ceremony before but I didn’t recall Tara Bramble having done so.

So it appears more of the next generation are taking an interest, which is an encouraging sign. Another is the media attention, as I wasn’t the only media there.

Granted, those I ran into over the weekend were probably but a few of the Americans most interested in honoring those who gave of themselves so we can have the freedom we enjoy today. This isn’t the time to debate whether we are really more or less free than we have been previously, or whether the most recent sacrifices have been in vain. We have 360 or so other days for that.

But many millions more look at the Memorial Day weekend as a gateway to summer, bolstered by the fact that a few decades ago the federal government changed the date from May 30 to the last Monday in May. (Just like Independence Day, this year that date would fall on a Thursday.) Great for tourism and commercialization of the holiday, but bad for remembering the actual sacrifices of those who have fallen.


As you might know, one of the traditional items I do for my readers is compile the monoblogue Accountability Project, with this year’s version likely to come out next month. (I have to do some slight tweaking to the format, which may take a little more time.) But a few days back I received an item from the Maryland Campaign for Liberty regarding speed cameras, from which I excerpt:

We had no illusions that the Statists in Annapolis would seriously consider a pro-liberty proposal like getting rid of speed cameras throughout the state.

Why would we be satisfied with just accomplishing these three goals you might ask?

Because we were able to get politicians on the record.

And boy, did we get them on record.

Between now and the next legislative session we’ll be holding politicians accountable for their votes in committee.

Our job as activists is to connect the legislative season to the electoral season.

The goals they were alluding to were to have the speed camera bill introduced, get a hearing on it, and put it to a vote, which it received in committee. All three were accomplished, but to the surprise of many (including me) neither the House bill nor a Senate companion received a single committee vote – this despite the fact three of the bill’s co-sponsors (Delegates Jay Jacobs, Wayne Norman, and then-Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell) sit on that Environmental Matters Committee. Norman was excused from the vote, but O’Donnell and Jacobs voted in line to kill the bill. The same was true for Senator Nancy Jacobs, who did nothing to back the Senate version she co-sponsored, although that vote was likely a perfunctory formality because the Senate vote document notes the bill is “Dead in House.”

Still, one would think a sponsor would at least vote for his or her bill, so I wonder how that vote came about in committee.

I’ll cheerfully admit I don’t know the ins and outs of how these committees work when they sit down to vote, but I would venture to say I know more about the legislative process than 99% of Maryland residents because I study the votes. It’s sort of sad to consider that not all of the 2700 or so bills introduced in the 90 day session receive a committee vote, although Environmental Matters voted on about 85% of the bills they were assigned this year. Many of those were rejected in a similar manner.

And the Campaign for Liberty people make the same point:

Wouldn’t you think that at least a few Republicans would have voted the right way on such a no-brainer liberty bill?

Think again!

I make it my business to study bills and voting patterns, so I know that not all bills being considered in a committee are voted on in a unanimous manner. Take the three examples I’ll be using for the mAP from that same Environmental Matters Committee: HB44 failed on a 16-7 vote, HB106 (the Septic Bill repeal) failed 19-5, and HB252 (also sponsored by Delegate Smigiel) died in a 17-6 vote. I actually look for split votes, because unanimous votes generally show either broad support, a complete lack of guts, or a bill simply way too far out of the mainstream to even get a motion. HB251, in my opinion, fell into the second category.

So perhaps the Campaign for Liberty is correct in chastising those who didn’t vote to support the speed camera repeal, because there were several other votes where they were unafraid to stand in the minority. Hopefully next year their effort will gain steam, since the other side typical introduces bad bills several years in a row before legislators are cowed into approving them. Maybe the same is needed for good bills, too.

Next stop Maryland? Or is it already here?

At the risk of making this the return of FNV on a Saturday (because I’ve featured videos on two posts in a row), I became aware of this video through a pro-liberty friend of mine who found it on a site heretofore unknown to me called The Unsolicited Opinion. While this comes from the People’s Republic of California, we can rest assured that there is something similar afoot in Maryland.

Now bear in mind that the landowner didn’t wish to develop his property for a residential use, but an AGRICULTURAL one.

The discussion initiated by my pro-liberty friend which made me aware of the video was one on conservation easements; that is a sore subject with me as is the concept of transferable development rights. I pointed this out in my reply:

This is why I’ve always maintained that development rights should only be sold on a generational basis (20-25 years) and Program Open Space should be chopped out of the state budget. Land taken off the property tax rolls by state ownership means taxes go up for the rest of us.

But in concept, no one really “owns” their property: property taxes = rent to government. Try not paying them and see what happens.

There are many other encroachments on our rights over the last few years, particularly in the septic bill but also in seeing critical areas legislation covering land farther and farther away from bodies of water. What used to be a 100-foot buffer in subdivisions is now 200 feet, for example. It’s all done in order to preserve Chesapeake Bay, although whether this overzealous assault on property rights is actually working to that end is a questionable proposition. It seems to me as if the goalposts continue to move in terms of what defines a suitable water quality.

So where should the line between the public good and the interests of the landowner be drawn? Most localities have some sort of zoning code in place, and generally they are thought of as the compromise point between unfettered development and overly restrictive regulations. Unfortunately, the general trend has been towards more restriction – one could consider the tier maps now adopted in most Maryland counties as yet another form of zoning, but with potentially economically disastrous consequences for those hapless enough to be stuck in Tier IV without hope for development potential. It reminded some of us of the “downzoning” controversy we had here in Wicomico County a few years back.

But don’t be surprised if some of the stealthier moves in next year’s Maryland General Assembly session come in the area of infringements on property rights, cloaked in the guise of “saving the Bay.” It’s not hard to write legislation so it doesn’t take effect until after the election, so the Annapolis liberals can campaign on good intentions knowing the undesirable results will only come when they are safely back in office – four years later they can come back with yet another “fix.”

It’s time to end that vicious cycle.

Rage against ‘The Machine’

May 24, 2013 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2014, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Rage against ‘The Machine’ 

Oh, I’m sure I torqued those communists with the title of this piece, but it lends itself to a delicious irony. Just watch the video.

Perhaps a little overblown on the scale of quirkiness, the video still is rather effective in getting across its main points. (As I saw it, though, a little judicious pruning and it could have easily made it into a two-minute window.)

To me, the irony is that the band RATM and the CVPAC video are fighting against the same thing. The big difference is how we address the problem and what we see as a solution to it. Obviously we’re not leftists, and where the idea of collectivism generally fails is that it runs counter to human nature because people don’t seek equality, they seek to be more equal than others. Our side would prefer to limit the influence of government and enhance the opportunities for individuals to improve their lives as they see fit, in particular allowing them to keep more of the fruit of their labors.

Ordinarily I would be disappointed in such a modest goal as securing 19 Maryland Senate seats if it were the sole aim of, say, the Maryland Republican Party. But as a small political action committee, the Conservative Victory PAC seems to have set an agenda which is realistic for the scope of their work.

Just as an example, I’m sure CVPAC would be gunning for the seat of District 38 Senator Jim Mathias, in whose district I reside and for whom I’ve not voted because I studied his record and believed we could do far better. According to Jim’s 2013 campaign finance statement, he had about $105,000 on hand when the report was due in January and I’m sure that figure will probably be several thousand dollars greater after his annual fundraiser next month. My educated guess would be he’ll be closer to $150,000 – by comparison, the two most likely Republican challengers (Delegates Mike McDermott and Charles Otto) have less than $10,000 apiece as of the January reporting date. So having CVPAC on their side would be some help, although it’s likely Republicans will be outspent here anyway. (Off topic, but I hope that the popular former District 38 Senator Lowell Stoltzfus takes a key role in the GOP campaign as well.)

This is an example of where grassroots can come in handy and political neophytes can get their feet wet. 2014 will have a multitude of opportunities for learning how to reverse the curse of Democratic mismanagement which has plagued this state for decades. It may not be the most slickly produced video out there, but for the people who put it together it’s a chance to see how that particular rendition of the message plays out – it can be tweaked, amplified, or buried as necessary.

Shorebird of the Week – May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – May 23, 2013 

It’s rare that a player spends a full year with Delmarva without being named a Shorebird of the Week, but back in 2010 Matt Hobgood managed that dubious distinction. Quite frankly, his numbers (3-7, 4.40 ERA in 94 innings covering 21 starts) were quite pedestrian and nothing you would expect from a guy picked 5th overall in the 2009 draft out of Norco High School in California. As we saw a couple years later with uber-prospect Dylan Bundy, we were expecting dominating performances and getting nothing of the sort.

The story got even worse in 2011 as Hobgood had some serious setbacks, including a nightmarish 8-game stint at Aberdeen where Matt went 0-6 with a ghastly 10.46 ERA and WHIP of 2.4. Something was definitely wrong, and Hobgood finally went under the knife in April of last year, missing the entire 2012 season due to rotator cuff surgery. In a March Baltimore Sun piece, Hobgood described himself as pitching pain-free for the first time in four years this spring. In essence, 2013 is the first season we’re seeing the “real” Matt Hobgood.

And what a year he’s having with Delmarva! On Tuesday Matt pitched a season-high five innings, shutting down Lakewood on just one hit, striking out seven and lowering his ERA to 1.17 in the process. Granted, Matt was soaking up innings in a one-sided blowout we lost 9-2, but by one report he was touching 98 on the stadium radar gun. In the outing where I took these photos last Thursday Matt blew away the last hitter of the night with 95-96 MPH heat. (That outing was actually one of his worse ones, where he allowed two runs in three innings.) Overall, Matt leads the team with four victories – all in relief – and has allowed just 17 hits and 12 walks in 30 2/3 innings, giving him a WHIP of 0.95 to go with 24 strikeouts.

Obviously the length of Hobgood’s outings is suggesting he may return to a starting role, but for now Matt is in the bullpen pitching long relief. If you consider that, had he gone to college, he would be at an appropriate level for a 22-year-old midlevel prospect (as opposed to a Kevin Gausman) it seems like the school of hard knocks has taught Matt about the lessons of pitching – and of life without baseball – as much as the grind of pitching for a Division I program would have.

Pledge drive

May 23, 2013 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Pledge drive 

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for several weeks, but kept putting off because it’s hard to put into words. But I decided I had better get it in while I still have a few readers left, as readership on a political site generally declines markedly over the summer and that begins with Memorial Day weekend. Pretty much every year I’ve had this site I’ve noticed that trend, although perhaps this summer of scandal may help reverse it a little bit.

Bloggers generally fall into two groups: those who have the wherewithal to make a full-time gig out of it because they can relate their other work to it and those who may not blog every day because they have other outside work which pays the bills. In my case, I straddle both worlds to some extent but economic conditions have forced me to do this with an outside job, so I’m slipping more and more towards the latter. For the most part, this economic reality is why I can only do a post or two a day – fortunately I’m very much a night owl, I can get by with maybe six hours of sleep a night, and many of my posts (including this one) are written well after 10:00 at night.

There are two or three general methods bloggers use to make ends meet, particularly the ones who are trying to make a full-time gig out of it. Most of the bloggers I link to sell advertising on their site, a number which includes me. (More on that in a little bit.)

Another favored method is the tip jar, which can be effective in its own way. Once in awhile I’m pleasantly surprised when mine is rattled and a little bonus shows up in my PayPal account.

The third and final method, but one you don’t often see on political sites, is a sponsored post or one with keywords. I have a couple non-political friends who use this tactic to some extent, but one has a “mommy blog” and the other has multiple websites.

If you look at my “ads” page, which I updated last night to reflect the contents of this post, you’ll notice I have three possible types of advertising. I’ve always been surprised no one has ever taken me up on the banner space I have on my header since it would be so prominent; however, John Robinson has been a steadfast supporter over the last few years with his sidebar ad and I have a couple text link ads as well. I used to have a couple others but their economic situation changed and they couldn’t sponsor me anymore.

Of course, I have the tip jar and, if you read the ads page, the opportunity to sponsor a series of posts such as my Shorebird of the Week post. So in that respect I cover all three bases, and I try to use some social media to build my audience. monoblogue has its own Facebook page I try to update at least once or twice a week. It’s been stuck on 94 followers for too long, though.

With respect to all that, I would say I have probably grown my audience so that, barring a major discovery by a much larger site that refers to my humble little space a lot – such as my Rushalanche 5 1/2 years ago – I am probably at a point where my audience isn’t going to get tremendously larger unless some changes are made in the posting tempo. In short, the direction is up to you, my loyal readers.

As I said up top, I work outside the home, and the reason I do so is that writing alone doesn’t pay the bills. While I have a current very loyal client for my writing and have done paying work for others in the past, I would love to secure a paying position writing political commentary. Unfortunately for me there are probably 200,000 other people who would say the same and maybe 1,000 such positions in the country. That’s not to say there’s no room for new talent, but the odds are against a blogger who has a thousand or so readers a week getting that break. If that blogger got to ten thousand or even fifty thousand readers a week, though, then there’s more of a chance.

Thanks to Jackie Wellfonder, at CPAC I met Pete Ingemi, who does a site called Da Tech Guy on Da Radio. I’ll call it DTG for short.

Now Pete is a very nice guy who would probably give you the shirt off his back. He’s also a struggling blogger, as evidenced by his pitch:

I was a Computer Tech who used to blog at the HiWired blog before we were all laid off and let go. I now support myself with a Radio show on WCRN 830 AM. I buy the time from the station, sell ads and live off the difference. That and DaTipJar is it.

I would be very interested in a position writing either a regular column or blog for your group or media organization.  I would be willing to provide a weekly column for $40 If you are interested in carrying Under the Fedora, let me know.

If you notice on DTG, Pete also has a little thermometer-style widget tracking his weekly progress in making his rent money, with the goal being $300 a week. Obviously he also does his radio show, which I haven’t yet heard but is probably worth a listen just for the thick Bahstan accent. That’s apparently how he makes his living, and it’s a wonder he’s made it to CPAC for so many years.

Just as a comparison, Pete’s site is ranked 176,143 on Alexa and I’m at 368,769. (I have been as low as in the 250,000 range, though.) I would presume his readership is probably about fivefold what mine is, though, since that top 200,000 echelon is hard to crack without probably 500 to 1,000 readers a day. I think in order to get to that level I would probably have to do 3 or 4 posts a day – maybe I could get away with two if they are really meaty. Obviously I would need to work on more of a social media presence as well.

But here’s the rub – if I’m lucky I can get two posts in a day, and generally they are on subjects I can write relatively quickly about. Obviously I write a lot about Maryland politics, which is good but somewhat limiting. I would love to write more in-depth on a number of issues but I simply don’t have the time to do so and function well at my paying job. One thing I pride myself on is having at least some content every day, unlike other sites which may post 5 times a week one week then go for a week without an update. If you thought building an audience with one post a day was tough, try doing it with one a week.

Pete tries for $300 a week from his tip jar, which works out to $15,600 a year. So I got to thinking, gee, if I had 150 readers pledge to donate $100 a year to my cause – that’s less than $2 a week; you’ll pay more than that in new taxes and fees annually if you live in Maryland – I could probably leave my part-time job and write full-time once I got the first 50 to 75 donors in. And if I could write full-time, I could build up my audience because I could develop other aspects and storylines I’ve been wanting to delve into but couldn’t because I’m so worn out from my outside job and its associated travel. Yes, I can live on six hours of sleep a night but that doesn’t mean I’m as focused after doing so for days on end.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be a donation – I also sell ad space and would be happy to work with you if you have a product to sell. Something I noticed last night on Google Analytics – for the first time, Salisbury is not the city with my highest number of visitors. Perhaps I should be scared by this fact, but that distinction now belongs to Washington, D.C. Over the years I have gone away from local news for the most part, which makes sense because there are others who already cover that ground. Obviously I keep my hand in this area for certain events and subjects, but that’s not my main focus anymore.

Quite honestly, there are but two likely outcomes. If nothing comes from this, well, I can muddle on for the time being but there may come a day when I have to make the choice of cutting back on this enterprise because it’s not paying the bills. If you think of the time I’ve spent here which could be doing other things, it’s quite an expensive hobby.

On the other hand, I could get enough people to take me up on my offer to pave the way for success: more readers and advertisers here, more writing and media opportunities elsewhere, a much broader success for my second book (and perhaps a renewed interest in the first.) I don’t mind sending out autographed copies for the right price.

Once I compared my site to another by saying mine was like National Review and his was like National Enquirer. The readership comparison at the time was similar, too. But I pressed on, confident that what I wrote enabled me to sleep at night because it was written with integrity and to high standards.

But one thing I have said over the years is that if an area doesn’t grow, it dies. The same is true with blogging – either I slowly fade into obscurity or I catch a second wind and thrive. It’s happened before with the Rushalance and perhaps it can happen again if 150 people (or more, they are always welcome) care enough to chip in.

So who wants to be first?

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