Did Boehner really say that?

August 31, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016, Cathy Keim, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Did Boehner really say that? 

By Cathy Keim

The other day a friend emailed me to let me know that Speaker Boehner was at a fundraiser for Congressman Scott Tipton in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on Wednesday night, August 26, 2015, where Speaker Boehner said, ”Ted Cruz is a jackass.” She stated that he made several other offensive remarks that didn’t sit well with most of the audience.

Remember that the Speaker of the House is third in line to the presidency. As someone quipped, “The top three aren’t looking so good.”

When our congressmen return from their August holiday September 8, Congressman Mark Meadows’ motion to vacate the chair will be waiting for a resolution. Word on the street has it that Boehner did not bring the motion up for a vote prior to the holiday because he did not have the votes to dispatch with it summarily. If Boehner were deposed, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the second in command, is said to be getting positioned to claim the speakership.

That would not appear to be much of an improvement unless he learned a lesson from the unrest that caused Boehner to be removed.

The GOP leadership in both the House and the Senate has been playing a game for years now. When the conservative base gets restless and fired up, then the leadership says they will act boldly to stop whatever the issue is such as overturning Obamacare or, more recently, defunding Planned Parenthood.

Then the same kabuki dance starts once again. The House will pass a bill and send it to the Senate where it dies an ignoble death, but the Congressmen can proudly point to their votes and declare I voted for or against this terrible thing even though they knew it was a meaningless exercise from the beginning. They never intended to fight to the end for the cause. They never exerted themselves to gain traction for the issue. They never tried to lead, but only to snooker the rubes back home that do not check the vote record closely enough to get the big picture.

That is why it is so offensive that Boehner would choose to speak so rudely about Senator Ted Cruz. There are not many politicians that go to DC and continue to fight for what they campaigned for. The few that do are pilloried by the GOP leadership and despised for upsetting the apple cart.

Don’t they know that they are elected to govern? In their minds, that appears to mean rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Almost all of our politicians seem to be playing small ball while our country is falling apart. This administration has coldly manipulated their various factions into a perpetual sense of victimhood and strife.

Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, have erupted as a result of the black rage that has been carefully fueled by the Justice Department and the administration. Illegal immigration is out of control and legal immigration is at high levels which keep the job market closed to many Americans as their jobs are going to workers that undercut them by working under the table – or the employers have government-funded incentives that make hiring a foreign worker cheaper than hiring an American.

The rage is being stoked by the progressives to achieve their goals of remaking America, but they seem unaware that there are hardworking Americans that are trying to play by the rules and live their lives according to the principles that made this country great. These Middle Americans are reaching a breaking point as they are taxed to pay for the welfare costs of the illegal and legal aliens that are driving the job market down.

There was a cry for John Boehner to be removed as speaker after the last election, but only a few brave souls dared to vote against him. Now the congressmen will have another chance to get it right with Congressman Meadows’ motion to vacate:

Whereas the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent;

Whereas the Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People;

Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker;

Whereas the Speaker has intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation to be taken without notice and with few Members present;

Whereas the Speaker uses the legislative calendar to create crises for the American People, in order to compel Members to vote for legislation;

Whereas the Speaker does not comply with the spirit of the rules of the House of Representatives, which provide that Members shall have three days to review legislation before voting;

Whereas the Speaker continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process;

(snip)

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.

If our congressmen will stand with Mark Meadows and force Boehner out, then maybe we will finally have an opportunity to resist this administration’s continual overreaching.

It will require our representatives to care more about their country than about their own committee chairmanship or perk. It will require them to quit settling for useless votes to placate the folks back home while knowing that nothing is being done to reclaim America. It will require them to challenge the established powers that be in order to change from inaction to action.

Ted Cruz has been a leader whose vision for America demands that he stand against much of the small vision dealings of the leadership. I am sure that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell hate to see him coming since he is driven by principle while they are driven by a spirit of accommodation. His stands on policy issues are a stark contrast to their backroom deals and caving to pressure.

The question is: who is the jackass?

The answer may come when Congress returns from their holiday.

Tales of a community barbecue

August 30, 2015 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2015 - Salisbury, Delmarva items, Politics · Comments Off on Tales of a community barbecue 

Yesterday was a pleasant day for a barbecue, and as it turned out City Council candidate Muir Boda had one. In the space of a half-hour Doverdale Park went from abandoned to buzzing with activity – and I’m not just talking about other candidates who dropped by to engage with that working-class neighborhood. Once the DJ got going, people began to show.

Boda is running in City Council District 2, but as the map is drawn many areas are a short walk from the adjacent District 4. It is the district where outgoing Mayor Jim Ireton is running for City Council, but opponent Roger Mazzullo was there meeting and greeting voters. Doverdale Park is actually in that district, with Boda’s on the other side of Decatur Street.

Mazzullo had a table full of items with his name on them, but very little further information. This display was there for the cuteness factor.

In talking to Roger, I gathered his concern was economic development and jobs, as both he and his wife operate businesses. Ironically, both do most of their business outside Salisbury on a regional and national level.

As the event went on, I noticed there were three types of people. Some came for the free food and left, while the kids naturally ate and drank while playing basketball or riding their bikes. But a select few stayed and chatted with others there in the park’s modest picnic pavilion.

Those who did stick around found a number of fellow City Council candidates and others who wanted to hear this neighborhood’s concerns. Boda and Muzzullo stuck around for the whole thing, but Delegate Carl Anderton was there as were April Jackson from District 1 and Laura Mitchell from District 5. Barring a write-in campaign, she is unopposed for re-election but was there for a good hour or so hearing from folks.

I’m not a great judge of crowds, but I would guess 75 to 100 people came by. Of course, not all of them were voters – and in hindsight, speaking as a Central Committee member, there should have been someone to register voters there – but it created a good impression and Boda has to because he lives just down the street from there. So those are his neighbors he hosted.

While we contemplate how many billions – yes, billions with a “b” – the Presidential candidates will spend on mass media, it’s nice to get a reminder that Tip O’Neill’s adage that “all politics is local” still rings true.

monoblogue music: “A Rainy Week in Paradise” by Elessar Thiessen

August 29, 2015 · Posted in Music Reviews · Comments Off on monoblogue music: “A Rainy Week in Paradise” by Elessar Thiessen 

Oftentimes when I review a musical work, my mind tries to categorize it into something that it sounds like. But the recent release by Winnipeg’s Elessar Thiessen eludes that pigeonholing; traversing the territory of adult contemporary music with ease.

Whilw he begins with the rain and brief acoustic number Another Love Song – which seems to serve as an extended intro to the romantic I Need A Woman – this rainy week in paradise generally manages to produce an acoustic feel with a blend of guitar, drums, piano, and occasional organ.

There are a few highlights on the early stages of this one: the buildup to a tasty solo on Lover Dear leads into the upbeat I Don’t Wanna Go. Later on the track that veers most toward rock, When The World Ends, quickly and almost imperceptibly becomes the song Without Him through a spoken word bridge. There’s a hint of something different (perhaps Western swing?) in the shuffling track Truth.

Among that sextet which makes up the middle of the album, though, is a song called You Girl that features vocalist Alexa Dirks as the girl in question. To me, the song was a little off-putting and I think it may have been what I thought an unusual rhythm or just the drum track in general. Others may hear it differently, of course – here you go.

Even though the thought of a rainy week in paradise may seem depressing, Thiessen makes it hopeful and optimistic in the title track. Wrapping up the 11-song effort are an ode to his sibling called Sister and another song that well conveys the acoustic/electric dichotomy, The Perfect Bloom.

Having walked back through Thiessen’s effort in my mind’s eye, I still can’t really put it in a specific genre. I suppose this is one where I can definitely encourage listeners to judge for themselves; after all, they will determine whether Thiessen remains a secret to those outside his home area or broadens his appeal.

Back in the game

August 28, 2015 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Personal stuff · Comments Off on Back in the game 

After some technical difficulties with my server and then the internals of my site, I am back up – and not a moment too soon. I’m going to try and get a record review in for tomorrow and Cathy Keim has some wisdom to share this weekend as well.

So don’t fret for me, I’m fine and hopefully monoblogue will stay that way too.

Shorebird of the Week – August 27, 2015

August 27, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – August 27, 2015 

At this time of year, I start to wonder about who may be in the Shorebirds’ plans for next season – although we still have a mathematical chance at making the postseason, the odds of our hot streak coinciding with West Virginia’s utter collapse are about the same as hitting the Powerball the week after you win MegaMillions. The more sure bet is that Ademar Rifaela will be in the Shorebirds’ outfield to begin 2016.

A 20-year-old product of Curaçao, the island that produced the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop and a growing number of other big leaguers, Rifaela packs some surprising power in a 5′-10″, 180 pound frame. After not hitting a homer in his first pro season, spent with the Dominican Summer League Orioles back in 2013, Ademar socked four home runs in just 34 GCL games last year and has five with Delmarva in 48 games. A 2-for-5 night last night brought his batting mark to .266, which is better than his career mark by nearly 20 points. His OPS going into last night was a healthy .765, among the top marks on the team among the active roster.

You may not have expected Rifaela to move up as soon as he did, given the fact he got off to a slow (6-for-30) start with Aberdeen, where he played his first seven games this year. But an injury to catcher Tanner Murphy created the roster spot and the promotion of Jay Gonzalez a few days later opened up the lineup card – Rifaela has held it down most of the time since.

One thing which may change going forward is Ademar’s spot in the lineup. While he often bats leadoff, Rifaela is not a high-percentage base stealer nor does he draw a lot of walks. He seems more suited for the 5 to 7 part of the lineup.

In any case, Ademar has positioned himself as a prime candidate to anchor the Shorebirds’ lineup around next season. But with a lack of outfield talent in the organization as a whole, he may move up faster than I think. If you ask me, though, little more seasoning wouldn’t be a bad thing for Rifaela. He has plenty of time to grow into a solid corner outfielder at the highest level.

A different level of discourse?

August 26, 2015 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2016 - President, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on A different level of discourse? 

I’m not much in a writing mood tonight, what with all the bad news of late. But I did have an observation on what I guess I can call the “Trump effect.” Maybe it’s coarsening our national dialogue, but it’s also leading to bold statements.

For example, last week Louisiana governor (and presidential candidate) Bobby Jindal caught word of a Planned Parenthood protest in front of his residence. The state gave notice earlier this month that it was cancelling Planned Parenthood’s state Medicaid funding, so organizers who opposed the cuts were holding a rally. Well, that is until this happened, as his campaign detailed.

Maybe it inspired Planned Parenthood to try their own tactics to drive away protestors.

But the question is whether this brash technique by Jindal, who is somewhere between low single digits and an asterisk in the polls, would be something he would have done a year or two ago before the heat of a Presidential campaign. As I detailed a few weeks ago, Jindal doesn’t have to prove his pro-life bonafides. Yet the views his video has received in two days barely matched the attendance Trump had in one recent rally, and as I’ve said before someplace Trump shares something in common with the NASCAR audience waiting for the eighteen-car pileup. Admit it: you watched the Fox debate for that reason.

What Jindal did sort of walks the tightrope between appropriate and beyond the pale. Maybe it was just overkill because there were only a couple dozen protestors on Planned Parenthood’s behalf.

I think there are a number of things that save the day for Jindal: one is that it was a relatively understated display. In fact, he may have helped spread the word on those Center for Medical Progress videos a little bit, but they weren’t the gaudy, almost over-the-top photos associated with certain aspects of the pro-life movement.

Second, in the time I’ve been studying the candidates, Jindal has consistently scored well. Something like this may be a little bit of showing off but it is in line with his core beliefs.

Finally, it was effective. Whether Jindal can win in court or not, he has made his own good-faith effort to defund Planned Parenthood. That’s a popular place to be with voters.

Aside from the cop being at our rally in Easton and the perceived slanting of coverage, our efforts were more or less the norm. It would be nice if Bobby Jindal helped put the defund effort on the map.

The expected return

August 25, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, Senator Watch · Comments Off on The expected return 

It’s not that I haven’t expected Rich Douglas to jump into the Maryland U.S. Senate race. But after a steady diet of discussing foreign policy, Rich made the leap with a populist appeal:

Today, millions of American workers — hourly, salaried, union, non-union, or jobless — face an unprecedented crisis: Congress has become their adversary rather than their defender. A Congress too compromised or indifferent to restore the American workforce to a place of honor on our nation’s priority list undermines the liberty, livelihood, and security of us all.

In Congress, sheltered Maryland incumbents have thrown American workers to the wolves. Some of these Maryland career politicians even applauded in April when U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez said that Marylanders who are worried about uninvited foreign workers are ‘enemies of the community.’ Americans deserve better. They deserve unswerving loyalty from Congress. I am announcing for the Senate because too many Maryland incumbents are disloyal to voters.

Larry Hogan’s 2014 victory set the stage for improvements in Maryland to American worker conditions. To move ahead, Maryland requires a new team on Capitol Hill. I am convinced that Maryland has the wherewithal to overtake Texas in job creation, unless the political machine which brought Maryland rats, riots, and the rain tax smothers urgently-needed reform.

In 2016, voters have the power to challenge that machine. Maryland can send a seasoned, common-sense Republican veteran to the Senate who is eager to challenge career politicians making American workers outcasts in their own country.

So instead of dwelling on the numerous foreign policy failures of the Senate and Obama administration, Douglas is going with a blue-collar persona. Among the items on his issues page is a statement, “Marylanders losing their homes at tax auctions aren’t thinking about ISIS.” It seems to me he’s learned from his 2012 run, but again he’s probably going to face a younger, more dynamic opponent in Chrys Kefalas. Douglas is 58, Kefalas is 35.

Kefalas is also counting on a populist appeal, stressing his work for the National Association of Manufacturers over his work in government for the Justice Department and Ehrlich administration. Obviously more will enter the race, but most of them will be the common rabble who fill out the ballot every two years. It’s not uncommon for GOP voters to see ten or more names on the ballot, but the burning question is just how many of them will be elected officials running from cover.

Like last time, the key for the top two contenders will be how they deal in their opponent’s arena. Douglas takes the advantage in foreign policy, so how the candidates deal with pocketbook issues will be the subject of scrutiny.

WCRC meeting – August 2015

It was via a roundabout route, but we finally heard from the man who’s presumptively Salisbury’s next mayor, Jake Day. Because Jake had another place to be this evening – the Salisbury City Council meeting that he ran as their president – we had a succession of speakers to fill the time. It was interesting to note that several of these speakers dropped in as our meeting was going on, which told me they were looking forward to hearing what Jake had to say.

But we began as we always do, with the Lord’s Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and introduction of distinguished guests, all done by our first vice-president Muir Boda, who filled in for our under-the-weather president Shawn Jester. We then did the swearing in of new second vice-president Dave Snyder, who pledged to be “a very good listener” and work to recruit 100 new GOP voters and new club members.

I took a little time to thank people for helping out at the Wicomico County Fair, as did Dave. My one suggestion was to perhaps look into a spot for outside next year.

In a Central Committee report, Mark McIver called the elected school board “one of the biggest things on our plate.” He added there was a new initiative called “We Decide” that was a non-partisan group to back an all-elected school board, and related the urging from County Council that we should participate in these hearings. It was going to be “an 8-week push.”

Mark Edney added his two cents, informing us that there will be an initiative this fall to address the issue of vacancies in the General Assembly through the state party’s bylaws. Noting the issues faced by Carroll County, Edney intoned that it was “important that we get this right” because members of both parties in the General Assembly sought to take away the power local Central Committees had to choose successors.

Joe Ollinger updated us on the Crab Feast, which had most of the items in place except a silent auction coordinator. It’s still on schedule for September 12 at Schumaker Park.

Speaking of food, Muir Boda announced his own, more modest event this Saturday at Doverdale Park. His community barbecue was slated for 3-5 p.m. but volunteers could show up at 2:00. Boda remarked he had three opponents in the election, so getting out the vote was paramount.

He also commented that the proposed city curfew was a “big issue” but questioned whether it would be enforceable given current resources and the spread-out geography of Salisbury. By itself, a curfew “won’t solve youth crime,” Muir said.

Senator Addie Eckardt, who had arrived after we began, spoke briefly about her upcoming annual bike ride through the district that will cover Wicomico County on Thursday. She also praised Governor Hogan, who has “put a great team together.” It would help government become, as she put it, more responsive and cost-effective.

Delegate Christopher Adams remarked about his attendance at the defund Planned Parenthood rally in Easton as well as a stop last week at Wallops Island in Virginia. They were expecting to resume launches at the pad damaged in an explosion last fall by March, he said.

Looking forward, though, he wanted to concentrate on regulatory reform, as some needed changes could be done more easily through that avenue than through the legislative process.

Fellow Delegate Johnny Mautz predicted “a really busy session” next year but expressed his disappointment in getting a low 25% score from the League of Conservation Voters. I looked up the floor votes they scored: two were anti-fracking measures and the other was the “repeal” of the rain tax sponsored by Mike Miller. So pro-business was not going to meet pro-environmnet with the LCV.

Bunky Luffman stood in for Delegate Carl Anderton, commenting to an earlier point made about regulation by bringing up the sprinkler mandate that is halting construction locally. One local developer lost a builder who refused to build more dwellings – they weren’t able to make money with the mandate and additional costs.

Most of the legislators had come late to hear Jake Day, who spoke for about 15 minutes and answered questions for another 20. Apologizing both for being late and a lack of sleep as a new dad, Day told us he was “very excited” about becoming mayor. As a Council member he was pursuing a pro-business agenda, but noted “I have found a roadblock in the current administration.” Like the state of Maryland, his effort would be to attract business: “I want us to be competitive,” said Day, citing Delaware under Jack Markell as a “more friendly and welcoming environment.” Perdue’s decision to move some of its corporate operations to Delaware “sent a message,” said Jake. “The economy will be first and foremost on my mind each day.” His idea was to grow jobs “locally and organically,”

One area he saw as a job creator was downtown, for which revitalization was important to Jake. It’s “part of the renaissance” of Salisbury, said Day. He criticized the “lack of active leadership from the top” and sought a City Council that was cordial, but aggressive. He also announced the intention to continue divesting the city’s surface parking lots, believing successful downtowns do better with infill rather than surface parking.

Crime was another top issue. Day observed that criminal activity was starting at a younger and younger age, so the city could have to “pick up where the parents left off.”

It was an enlightening address, but the questions were good, too. The first one out of the chute was about the “rain tax.” Jake disagreed with the state mandate, but believed it was necessary for a city which had ignored the issue for over a century. He was willing, though, to reduce property tax rates and scrap the city’s inventory tax to help even things out.

And when I asked why the city couldn’t use its water and sewer fund surplus, Day said the surplus was being depleted too quickly. Basically the relief would be short-term at best.

Corollary to that initial question was a discussion about the closing of Labinal, which will cost the city hundreds of jobs. While the popular opinion was that the state’s difficult business climate drove them away, Day said the answer was more simple: Texas (and Mexico) were closer to their main customer base, and Salisbury mainly served military clients whose contracts were winding down.

A second concern was the issue with fire service. Rather than the “big mistake” of giving ultimatums through the media, Jake was working closely with county officials in coming up with a long-term solution. He conceded it probably wouldn’t be all the city wanted, but noted that he and County Executive Bob Culver were “working well together.” The key was making things more fair in a way that doesn’t alienate non-city residents.

Our wastewater treatment plant was the subject of a question. Calling its saga “a scar on Salisbury’s history,” Day announced the next phase of renovations would begin in October. Bunky Luffman, who formerly worked at the plant, pointed out it had reduced the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorou, but not enough to meet more stringent state standards that changed midstream.

A final questioner tested Day on his “number one challenge – is my (business) location safe?” Crime was a concern for local businesses, and “a lot of solutions to our challenges are economic,” Jake said. He vowed to show leadership and compile more data on the current conditions.

We finally let Jake go, so that Boda could announce our next meeting would be September 28. Hopefully it will be as chock-full of information as this one was.

Mainstream media showing bias again?

By Cathy Keim

Editor’s note: Last night, as I was finishing my article on yesterday’s rally in Easton, I received an e-mail from Cathy with this piece, which she called “How the Media Distorts a Pro-Life Rally.”

Read on and I will have more thoughts at the end.

Yesterday 128 protesters gathered at the Planned Parenthood facility in Easton, Maryland, from 9 to 11 a.m., while thousands of protesters gathered in front of about 300 PP facilities across the nation. According to the Planned Parenthood website, they have about 700 facilities total. So what, you say.

That information that I just wrote took a few seconds to obtain online, but the WBOC reporter that covered the protest in Easton managed to get the first sentence of her article incorrect.

Pro-life protests happened in front of all Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide Saturday afternoon calling for federal defunding of the nonprofit.

Notice that it states that protests happened in front of all PP clinics on Saturday afternoon. According to my math, 300 protests do not cover 700 facilities, nor is 9 to 11 a.m. an afternoon event.

After reading the first sentence, I knew that we were not going to get unbiased coverage for our event and I was correct.

Next comes a quote from “authority,” the interim president and CEO of Maryland’s Planned Parenthood, Dr. Amina Chaudhry:

Planned Parenthood’s medical providers and staff are the best in the country. We have the highest professional standards, and we take swift action if we are ever aware of an instance where those standards aren’t being met.

There is no evidence to back the claims; in fact, the whole protest was over the videos which showed evidence of quite the opposite nature. But her assertions are allowed to stand and are followed by a quote from a protester whose profession and qualifications are not noted.

But protestors including David Smith of Parsonsburg, are convinced Planned Parenthood is practicing body and organ harvesting, without actually having seen said videos.

“There are several videos out there and I have not seen them, but we really believe from what I understand that once anyone sees those videos, they’re just so horrific,” said Smith.

The reporter took her time and asked many protestors for statements until she found the perfect one from a protester who had not actually seen the videos. It was disingenuous of her to troll about for that quote when there were numerous protestors that could have addressed the videos.

In fact, although I introduced myself to her and was clearly in charge of the event, she did not ask me a single question.

Next the reporter returns to her “authority” for an attack on the “right wing extremists.”

Chaudhry further explained in a statement that the attacks on the nonprofit are steered by right-wing extremist agendas.

“Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services are making outrageous and completely false claims. They are engaged in a fraud, and other claims they’ve made have been discredited and disproven.

The group behind these videos has close ties with organizations and individuals who have been linked to the firebombing of abortion clinics and threats to the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion. The real agenda of these baseless attacks has become totally clear: to ban abortion and limit women’s access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. The vast majority of the public rejects this extreme political agenda and rejects the fraudulent campaign behind it.”

In a few sentences, the group of peaceful citizens who came to stand up for the right of the unborn baby to live rather than be killed in the womb and sold for profit was turned into extremists that support firebombing abortion clinics and threatening doctors.

If you take the time to watch the videos, which I have, you will see doctors casually talking about altering the abortion procedure so that they can acquire better fetal tissues to sell for profit. Changing an operation in order to get fetal hearts, lungs, livers, etc. undamaged is illegal in itself.

Who is the extremist here? The peaceful protestor who wants the baby to be able to live or the doctor who is cheerfully describing how they destroy the baby in the most profitable way? Another doctor describes turning the baby into the breech presentation so that they can deliver the fetus without crushing its skull. It is better for selling to have the whole baby undamaged, except that the baby is dead, of course.

The reporter does admit that this protest is unprecedented in scope. Never have so many protestors joined in so many places simultaneously, but she quickly recovers with a closing statement that:

(A) number of state agency officials in Georgia, Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota and Florida have investigated Planned Parenthood clinics there and have not found any evidence of illegal activity.

There are about 700 PP facilities in the country. It is entirely plausible that not every facility is involved in the baby parts for profit scheme. The fact that some clinics have not been proven guilty, does not prove all of them innocent.

How biased these reporters are! All protestors are linked to firebombing clinics, but not all PP facilities are linked to selling baby parts.

It has been my experience, that whenever I have had the misfortune to be interviewed or take part in an activity where reporters cover the event, the coverage is almost always inaccurate, incorrect, and often completely biased.

That was certainly the case for today’s coverage of the #ProtestPP rally in Easton yesterday. It’s not just yesterday, though – CNS News has tracked the coverage devoted to the scandal so far, and, shall we say, it is lacking.

Here is a link to a Washington Post piece on the #ProtestPP events that shows a more evenhanded approach.

Compare the two and see for yourself the difference. Our local WBOC report should be filed under opinion pieces.

Editor’s note redux: The Post piece wasn’t perfect either but was better.

But when are we going to drop the pretext that mainstream reporters are unbiased, yet folks like us who write for the “pajamas media” are unworthy of trust because we have a slant? I will cheerfully admit I see things through the lens of a conservative.

I was asked by Cathy to come along to document the event and take photos (it doesn’t hurt that I am pro-life myself, though.) I think I could have done a better job in some respects, but I believe I did what journalists are supposed to do – create an account of what really happened there. It’s why I took the time to video and upload the statements of both Andy Harris and Mike Smigiel.

It reminded me of how the initial TEA Party rallies were covered. If those who create the “news” don’t agree with your narrative it’s dropped down the memory hole.

I think the better approach for WBOC would have been to place the opposing view at the end, sort of like the State of the Union does.

I also think we should all thank Cathy for her efforts. But like they said during the rally, this is not a one-day thing – so there’s time for the media to get it right.

Pastors and politicians punctuate Planned Parenthood protest

This morning I got up with the sun to help cover one of around 300 coordinated local rallies aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood in the wake of their sale of baby parts exposed in a series of investigative videos from the Center for Medical Progress.

The Easton site was selected because Salisbury’s office had closed last spring. And while detractors claim the facility, which is located in a nondescript office complex with several other tenants, doesn’t do any abortions, they still support the overall brand.

As you will hear in a bit, the facility is not the only one which provides its services. Plenty of care is available and accessible. (It’s ironic the facility was closed today, but the protests were intentionally scheduled for off-hours.)

The rally began at 9 a.m. with about 50 people lined along the street in front of the facility.

In all, there were a dozen speakers, mainly representing the pastoral community. We had clergy representing churches from Berlin to Centreville and several points in between. First up was Keith Myer, from Harvest Baptist in Salisbury.

As he spoke, the gathering was growing, spilling into the front yard of the facility and later across the street.

Another Wicomico County minister who spoke was Shawn Seldon, who represents a church in the small hamlet of Tyaskin.

He lamented Planned Parenthood as “the largest morgue in the country.” But when it came to those on the other side, it was not our job to cast stones but instead “love the hell right out of it,” he said.

If the Seldon name rings a bell, it should because his wife Jackie runs the Eastern Shore Pregnancy Center here in Salisbury. Both she and her counterpart from the Choices Pregnancy Center in Easton were there.

Jackie noted that when women come to her center and take advantage of their services, “things change in the ultrasound room.” They see that their baby is not a tissue mass, but a living human being developed in the womb.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of all of the pastors but I did get a number of quotes. For example, John Abbott of Faith Baptist in Berlin reminded us that “thou shall not kill” means you don’t kill innocent life. Chris Williams of Covenant Family Church in Centreville added that, “our hearts should be broken as a nation,” and called abortion “the antithesis of the good news of the gospel.”

Also representing his congregation was Eric Olson of the Oasis Covenant Fellowship in Easton, who spoke early as I was taking photos. We also heard from Barbara Kelly, a post-abortion counselor who told us “abortion doesn’t have to happen.” She added that women come to her decades after their procedures, a “trauma” that happens as they grow old and wistfully think about the child they never had.

The only minor bit of controversy came when the lone tenant who was open at the time, a pediatrician’s office, asked us to move back onto the sidewalk. As you’ll see in the videos, we were larger than the right-of-way.

I think their issue was twofold: supposedly people were cancelling appointments this morning and “the children are upset.” I suspect it was parents who simply didn’t want to face the facts.

So our last speakers, pastor Jason Shelton of Providence Presbyterian Church in Salisbury and the lady representing Talbot Right to Life (who secured the permit for the event) did their speaking from the street.

Sheldon cited heavily from 2 Timothy 3, adding that we have become “a bloody and callous people.”

I noted above that we had politicians as well. One who spoke was local Delegate Christopher Adams.

Citing his own experience with his kids, Delegate Adams opined that “parenthood means life” and described the connection between abortion and profit as “disgusting and immoral.” He continued that we weren’t on the slippery slope here in Maryland, but “the bottom of the chasm.”

There were two other political speakers of note, who both happen to seek the same office. Congressman Andy Harris spoke early on, followed a few turns later by challenger and former Delegate Mike Smigiel. I fired up my moribund Youtube page to share the videos of their remarks, Harris first.

To his credit, Smigiel and his aide Cody Leach stayed for the whole thing.

As with a rally such as this, there were a number of good signs. You’ll see a number of pink ones which remind us Planned Parenthood sells baby parts, but there were other descriptive ones too.

The fine folks from Worcester County opted to take a group photo.

Fortunately, there was some media there to spread the word (besides me.)

Nicole Edenedo of WBOC-TV filed this report, which managed to avoid me until the very end when it showed my good side. It was interesting observing her work – I guess reporters don’t bring cameramen anymore, and she did well memorizing her wrap at the end that she repeated to herself a couple times.

From what I was told, yet another CMP video was released today. With 300 protests scheduled nationwide today, even if they only averaged the 125 or so we had that’s 37,500 people who came out on a summer weekend to make their displeasure known.

You may have noticed a police car in the background of my videos. Despite the fact we were on a quiet street and had a rally Myer described as one where we were “calm, peaceful, left no trash, respected the police, stayed consistent with the time allotted for the protest, stayed out of the street, and didn’t damage any property,” we had an officer spend his morning watching us. I suppose it was SOP given the chance of a counter-protest, but none was to be found.

As I noted, the only issue was that we were too many for the sidewalk. My colleague Cathy Keim took the lead in getting this together, with a lot of help and maybe a dash or two of divine providence, and as such deserves kudos.

This is the first step along a road that leads first to the defunding of Planned Parenthood by the federal government but ends when abortions are no longer commonly accepted as the law of the land. Remember, even Hillary Clinton said abortions should be “rare.” I just disagree that they are “safe” – especially for the unborn – and their legality should be at the very most a state matter.

The best time to be pro-choice is making the choice not to create kids if you’re not ready or willing to take the responsibility. As a method of birth control, it’s worth remembering that, unless you are destined to carry the son of God, abstinence works every time.

Gaining interest

August 21, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Gaining interest 

On a Friday night in Alabama, it’s probably not unheard of to have 20,000 people in a football stadium. But the only game going on was a political one, for Donald Trump was holding a campaign event in Mobile.

Now think about this for a second. We are 14 1/2 months out from the Presidential election and five months out from the first votes being cast. But 20,000 people braved s sultry evening to hear a candidate talk tough on immigration because it is a key issue to voters like them. Indeed, there is the celebrity factor you won’t get with even a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush because The Donald is a TV star. (It’s not like we haven’t had an actor as a President; only the medium would be different. “B” movies evolve to “reality” TV.)

There are candidates on the right and left, in Trump and Bernie Sanders, who seem to be drawing large crowds wherever they go. Trump is talking tough on immigration and foreign policy while Sanders is portraying a socialist nirvana paid for by soaking the rich with an exorbitant tax rate. Since 99% of the audience thinks they will get something for free, naturally they will be supportive.

Liberals would discount Trump’s appeal as blatant racism designed to appeal to Southern whites. “Of course he will draw 20,000 in Alabama,” they chortle knowingly, “since all that live there are mouth-breathing racists who won’t let go of their Confederate flags or Bibles.” Two to three times a week I get DNC e-mail sneering about the latest thing Trump said.

But there is something about a candidate who vows to “make America great again.” It seems the last time we were in such a state of malaise it was at the end of a Democratic administration which reigned in an era shortly after a military defeat. Granted, we don’t have the “misery index” of inflation and unemployment that plagued Jimmy Carter’s one and only term, but we don’t exactly feel like we’re in an economic boom, either. America, by and large, gets tired of a party in power after eight years – aside from the deviation of an “extra” Republican term because Ronald Reagan won in 1980 and was succeeded by his vice-president George H.W. Bush, we have gone over six decades in that pattern. Democrats are not as wildly popular as Ronald Reagan was, so odds are the pendulum will swing back in 2016.

And Donald Trump has survived every pitfall predicted. No one thought he could get a campaign off the ground at first, then it was decided by the conventional wisdom that his comments about John McCain would sink him. After that, it was the Fox debate and people were sure they had him when Megyn Kelly was bleeding from wherever. Perhaps Trump has more political lives than Morris the Cat, but it seems that no matter what epitaph the political class writes for him, the rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated.

To be quite honest, I tend to agree with Trump’s immigration stance. I’m sure it will be one of, if not the, highest score out there once I wrap up the immigration portion of my Dossier series.

Yet Trump is beginning a high-wire balancing act with his immigration proposal. On one side, he has to begin coming up with reasons to vote for him besides empty catch phrases, but on the other he needs to maintain the shoot-from-the-hip style that endears him to many voters among that 20,000 who showed up to watch him. If you replicated the same conditions in Salisbury, you might only get 5,000 – but that would be tenfold what any other candidate, including Sanders, would draw here.

I’m definitely not sold on Trump as the GOP standard bearer, and history is littered with candidates deemed “inevitable” a year out from the election who failed to win a single primary. America may get tired of Trump’s attitude and fire him from the GOP field, but there is that specter of a Perot-style run lurking. I was one of those disaffected Republicans who was so disappointed in the Bush 41 performance that I voted for Perot, and there were enough of us to swing the election the wrong way. Lesson learned.

I hope that I hear more from Trump on the important issues. Since he is all but a shoo-in for the next debate, maybe the questions won’t be the “gotcha” style ones employed by Fox. One can only hope, anyway.

Shorebird of the Week – August 20, 2015

August 20, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the Week – August 20, 2015 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone through a couple of guys who have taken the long way around to get their shot with the Shorebirds. But Max Schuh is not one of those as a 7th round selection by the Orioles in the 2014 draft, out of UCLA – it was sort of expected that he make the climb up a level despite just 12 innings with Aberdeen last year. With the IronBirds he only put up pedestrian numbers – a 5.25 ERA and 1.58 WHIP won’t turn a lot of heads.

But while he didn’t break camp with the Shorebirds in April, Schuh came along just after Memorial Day and joined the team from extended spring. And once he shook off the rust of pitching in real games and got his ERA into the twos, it has stayed there. Despite not being a classic power relief pitcher based on his strikeout rate and number of hits allowed, Max has been effective when it counts.

His best asset seems to be his control, as Schuh has walked just 13 batters in 41 professional innings to date; on the other hand, he has given up over a hit per inning over that timespan. That trend has abated over the last few weeks, though, with the exception of a poor outing Max had at West Virginia. If he can get himself under a hit per inning, it will move him onto the Orioles’ radar screen.

As I stated above, Max seems to be on that proverbial schedule a prospect out of college has – the first pro season in the advanced rookie league, followed by a full-season squad the next year. Granted, Schuh is a year older than average for this level but it’s the expected career point, and he’s pitched well enough – particularly as a lefty – to merit a step up next season. Since Schuh has been groomed thus far exclusively as a reliever, he could end up being one of those pitchers known as LOOGYs – left-handed one-out guys. They come on to face a left-handed batter or two late in the game and they seem to last in the game forever, or at least into their forties.

I have no idea if that’s the career Schuh will have, but the fact he turns in generally consistent performances each time out bodes well for his future.

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