2015: a monoblogue year in review

I think this is the third time I’m going to try this, and I found out the last two times it’s fun to take a look back. Read on and see if you agree.

Even though Republicans were set to take over Congress, political infighting at both the state and national levels kicked January off, with the expected results of a power struggle. Andy Harris, just into his third term, had to explain an unpopular vote. Yet while there was agreement in the state that the city of Baltimore needed to be revitalized for Maryland to succeed, it seemed like the Maryland General Assembly had different priorities in its pre-filed bills. We would eventually get a bill to give Wicomico County an elected school board as well – even though it wasn’t what I wanted – but I made my plea for accountability before its filing by our five freshman representatives working as the Wicomico County delegation.

Local agricultural interests cheered when newly-inaugurated Governor Hogan pulled strict regulations with hours to spare, giving Radical Green plenty to whine about. With that in mind, on the energy front I questioned the role wind power could play, even during a chilly winter.

But in the end we found out what the Koch brothers don’t have, and that kept me laughing into February. We began the month with the first of many “it” candidates for 2016 forming the dreaded exploratory committee. Closer to home, though, our new governor laid out an ambitious agenda while the opposition whined about its negativity. Speaking of Democratic pet projects, I also made it a series of sorts on wind power in noting they weren’t getting their subsidy anymore but were trying hard to convince Congress to renew it.

February was the month I decided I didn’t need to be “mono” anymore, bringing contributor Cathy Keim on board with this post on Common Core. Adding her was perhaps the best blogging decision I ever made. On a completely different level I also noted former candidate Dan Bongino was branching out with his message.

Advancing the story on our elected school board, the month brought the scheduling of the hearing for it. The General Assembly also took up a “death with dignity” bill that Cathy opposed and increased the speed limit on certain highways. Yet with the prospect of the O’Malley PMT regulations clearing the General Assembly, Governor Hogan reached a compromise that would adversely affect local farmers anyway – despite what state groups may have claimed.

Another carryover from the previous month was the saga of replacing General Assembly members, which brought legislation seeking special elections. The fate of many legislative items took up my March; although the appointment question was settled in court I had a better suggestion and one ill effect of Obamacare was addressed. We were still stuck with the rain tax mandate, though. I challenged elected school board opponents after the hearing but the noisy, tiny minority won nonetheless.

There was no surprise, though, that Radical Green hated the phosphorus regulations. I knew that was coming, and they tried to convince legislators to pass the O’Malley version. Cathy also knew another disaster was coming with funding the federal Department of Homeland Security as the GOP folded like a cheap tent. On the other hand, Democrats were scared of Scott Walker nationally and made big claims locally.

In other 2016 news, we were shocked by a political lifer’s retirement announcement but began to formally fill out the GOP presidential field.

The local pro-life community had a gala fundraiser, but religious freedom was a subject both Cathy and I tackled at months’ end.

Once in awhile I get it wrong, but in this case I was happy to report my error about an event that would eventually occur in April. And that’s not the only reason it’s one of my favorite months, as the crack of hardwood against horsehide heralds a new baseball season where I guessed the Shorebirds’ roster.

Back in the political world, Cathy and I teamed up to discuss the redefinition of birth. I also was puzzled by a logo and, as the “90 days of terror” that is the General Assembly session wore down, I opined about Governor Hogan’s first veto but also took a look at what we avoided thanks to a local Delegate. After the session, our governor made a stop at Salisbury’s 3rd Friday event while I stopped over in Ocean City to see some old friends at the state GOP convention. Later that month, we got a full report from our GOP delegation at the Wicomico County Republican Club meeting while I suggested some ideas for 2016.

The month ended with our state suffering a black eye. Many of the policies at the root of the problem came out in May when the Democratic presidential race moved farther left. But I don’t think his entry was radical enough for this activist and her wild claims about the energy industry. On the GOP side, the list of contenders expanded rapidly. With so many contenders I thought it would be a good idea to organize debates in a fair manner.

Summer driving season became a little more bearable as Governor Hogan announced toll reductions, but I gave him a list of bills to veto while he was at it.

I kicked off summer with a Memorial Day weekend to remember, including the music. But June brought the usual idiocy from our former governor and his party allies; a lack of intelligence was also exhibited by the current occupant who failed to use his veto pen in a more appropriate manner as well as a Supreme Court majority that blew it twice in a week. The courts had another opportunity to set something right, though.

Distrust of government was everywhere: trade agreements (times two), rail boondogglesteaching history. Even the speaker for the Maryland GOP’s annual dinner was an outsider candidate. Cathy added a book review about Common Core to the mix, too.

On the other hand, we took the process the state gave to us and picked two new Wicomico County Board of Education members – much to the chagrin of local liberals.

I also opined on the next possible development hotspot, even if it’s a decade later than planned. Something else that was later than planned was my monoblogue Accountability Project that came out a month behind schedule.

July kicked off the process by which I determined who I would back in the 2016 presidential election. I looked at education, Second Amendment, and energy to begin the selection. Meanwhile, statewide politicians descended on Crisfield for an annual event.

I also cast a skeptical eye at Maryland business climate improvement based on a nationwide survey of small businesses, but this came before a regulatory reform effort. However, Cathy pointed out one legacy Larry Hogan kept. Nationally, we got the first rumblings about dissatisfaction with Speaker of the House John Boehner. Maybe it’s that squeezing of the middle class thanks to Obamacare.

And while I kept the site dark on Independence Day, I wanted to make sure I expressed my pride in America.

August began with a report that hit me where I live – building permits have ceased as part of the War on Rural Maryland. Speaking of rural Maryland, I also spent a day at our rebadged county fair. Here in Salisbury, we found out who filed for the 2015 election. Two candidates started their efforts with a community barbecue.

I also continued my series on the 2016 Presidential election with posts on social issuestrade and job creation, and taxation, while I handicapped the first GOP debate. After that, the talk was about Donald Trump and how much interest he was receiving. Later in the month, Cathy wrote about what was said by John Boehner regarding a different candidate.

Planned Parenthood was big news, and a rally in Easton brought over 100 who wanted them to lose their federal funding. (That may have been my headline of the year, too.) While my coverage may have had some bias, Cathy thought the local TV station really showed its true colors. But Planned Parenthood even affected the national political races.

As September began, we found out Larry Hogan has work to do to gain the confidence of small businesses, but with the occasion of Labor Day it was time to see how worker freedom was progressing.

I had my thoughts on the Kim Davis situation, while Cathy weighed in on the Iranian deal and the very soul of the GOP. It was time to get serious as summer was coming to a close, which also meant it was time to pick a Shorebird of the Year and relate things from a fan’s perspective.

Also that month, my presidential series came to an end with an endorsement after a look at immigration, foreign policy, entitlements, and the role of government.  On a local political note, we all survived the monsoon that was the WCRC Crab Feast and began a series of hearings prescribed to determine the shape of our local board of education, to which I added history and context. Those hearings were dull, however, compared to the one involving Radical Green.

And of course, those seeking election were there at 3rd Friday, as was I. The campaign moved into October with one pet project shot down in flames and aspirants revealing their financial positions as the day of voting drew near.

Nationally, we learned that John Boehner finally resigned, which prompted Cathy to thinking about the truth and the spin. She also covered the second Easton Planned Parenthood protest since I was away. I did make it to a local pro-life fundraiser, but I was more concerned about the state of making things in the country. We also got some tough love and a tax plan from my endorsed presidential candidate.

The fall is also festival time around these parts, so I wrote and photographed the Good Beer and Autumn Wine festivals.

The Salisbury city election came in November, and although only one of my two endorsed candidates won, I was encouraged by the new composition. After four tries, my friend Muir Boda finally won an election so his swearing-in was emotional. However, it also created a headache for our local Republican club.

The county GOP, though, had a successful Lincoln Day Dinner and hosted the kickoff for a U.S. Senate candidate that Cathy covered. But an event in another state made me ask: what about non-partisan elections and redistricting? I also had to say goodbye to electing my endorsed presidential candidate, but renewed my acquaintance with the state GOP convention after a yearlong hiatus.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Cathy related a class she attended that could make a difference and made a modest immigration proposal. I also related how our state tax policies were scraping the bottom.

After I closed the month before by supplementing my posts with a celebratory “10 from 10″ series, December opened with my tenth anniversary. Just as a reminder:

I still think I can utilize these writing talents that God gave me for the common good of enhancing peoples’ awareness of the benefits and advantages that freedom and liberty, firmly based on a moral, Judeo-Christian foundation, can bring. It’s not a fight I’ll win in ten years or perhaps even whatever time I have left in this world, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try and do so anyway.

Politics slowed down a bit for the holiday, but I did have to ask Radical Green what they would do for business around here if the chicken farms went away? (No answer yet.) Cathy began what should be an ambitious series on immigration, which I look forward to reading more from. And not everyone likes Donald Trump – or the GOP, for that matter. I also wrapped up the city elections by seeing who gave to what (or to themselves.)

I also let you know that high wages may not be the problem with American manufacturing, and that the government shouldn’t always be our answer. Sadly, we just keep doing the same old thing – it’s always about more revenue.

For those non-political things, I returned to baseball for a day with my newest Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame class, gave you the top 5 records I reviewed this year, and said goodbye to a friend with my Christmas message.

That’s where I’m going to leave it because this is always a long post to compile. I counted 157 links, so you have a lot of reading to do – it may take you until 2016 to do so. In the next few days I will pull out my crystal ball and see if I can look forward to events locally, statewide, and nationally.