The Maryland Model (part one)

Over the holidays I did a little bit of light reading, and while I was doing so it occurred to me that the General Assembly session is sneaking up on us rather quickly. In 2011 that session set the scene for what turned out to be one of our side’s rare successes in Maryland, the petition drive to bring the in-state tuition law for illegal aliens to referendum later this year. It appears that will be on the ballot since CASA de Maryland and other pro-illegal groups are dropping the challenge to the petition signatures and narrowing their focus to whether the referendum itself is legal while simultaneously fundraising to sustain the law at the ballot box.

That fundraising: $10 million. What that means: carpet-bombing the media with images of poor, purportedly law-abiding and successful immigrant families being denied a chance at the American Dream due to racist TEA Partiers who hate all those who look different than they do. Don’t believe me? Just watch.

And this nicely leads me into my main points of this post, which will be the first of a multipart series on what I’m calling the Maryland Model. You see, part of my reading over the holidays was this RedState article on what is called the Colorado Model, which led me to read the original post on this strategy from the Weekly Standard back in 2008. Read those articles (I’ll wait for you) then take a look at how the CASA de Maryland folks are fighting the will of the people here in the Free State.

While they have seven pieces to the puzzle in the RedState article, I’ve consolidated these to what I can call the 4 M’s: money, message, media, and mobilization.

Continue reading “The Maryland Model (part one)”

Pruning and polling

It’s spring cleaning a couple months early. Actually, we got outside to enjoy the nice weather and took down the tree and Christmas decorations.

You might notice I’ve taken down a few links. I have a (somewhat flexible) policy of linking to sites which are regularly updated, but after they go about three months without a post I delete the link. I figure it doesn’t do either of us good to link to what is essentially a dead site. But if you have a site you think I should link to, let me know and I’ll review it to see which category it will fit into. Who knows, maybe I’ll make up a few new ones while I’m at it.

The other update I wanted to add this afternoon was that I’ll begin the semifinal rounds of my Best Local Blog poll sometime this evening. I actually had a tie in one round so I decided to add two wildcards; those two were the highest second-place finishers. So the seeding for the semifinals is set:

  1. Delmar DustPan (367 votes, won round 4)
  2. Right Coast Conservative (143 votes, won round 1)
  3. Sussex County Angel (23 votes, won round 3)
  4. Delmarva Progressive (20 votes, won round 6)
  5. afterthegoldrush (15 votes, won round 2)
  6. A Chesapeake Journal (4 votes, tied for win in round 5)
  7. Random Thoughts of a Citymouse (4 votes, tied for win in round 5)
  8. The Other Salisbury News (162 votes, second in round 4)
  9. Delmarva Shorebirds Blog (66 votes, second in round 1)

So I have the matchups set to be as evenly seeded as possible; as I said they’ll commence later tonight or tomorrow. As it lays out one of these battles will feature a rematch of the opening round with a new opponent tossed in.

And this time it will be win or go home, as each of the three winners advances. So bloggers better round up their troops and make sure to enlist their support!

More endorsements (from the Maryland establishment) for Romney

I didn’t notice this when it came out just before Christmas, but over three dozen more Maryland elected officials made their support for Mitt Romney public, according to the Sun. Rather than the roster of mostly General Assembly members composing the September release, version 2.0 is more focused on county- and local-level officials. One name which jumped out at me, though, was TEA Party favorite and Maryland AFP head Charles Lollar. Aside from the endorsements of District 37 State Senator Richard Colburn and District 37B Delegate Addie Eckardt on the original September list, no new local leaders were added in this go-round.

Conversely, Newt Gingrich also has a key endorsement in Congressman Andy Harris.

But TEA Party leaders seem to be all over the map. I’m one who’s settled on Michele Bachmann after Herman Cain withdrew from the race, while many others prefer Ron Paul, a number like Gingrich, and scattered others have settled into the camps of the Ricks – Santorum and Perry. Not so many like Jon Huntsman or Romney, which makes an endorsement like Lollar’s cause to scratch my head.

Obviously the field will begin to move after Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, with Bachmann predicted to be among the first to go. However, the conventional wisdom hasn’t often been correct in this race and there’s no reason to suspect otherwise. We may yet play a part in it, and by then the question will be whether these endorsements are an asset to a thriving Romney or a liability to all those who went all-in behind the former Massachusetts governor as he limps along in the race.

Finally, a note to my readers: this will be the 451st and final post of 2011 so Happy New Year to all of you! I’m looking forward to an exciting 2012 and many historic and spirit-crushing (for statists and their fellow travelers, that is) victories to celebrate by year’s end!

Friday night videos – episode 71

After a hiatus of just over five months, I’m bringing back the series this week. Don’t anticipate I’ll do this every week, but I think it’s likely I can do this every one to three months, anyway.

All of these videos were recorded over the last two months in two venues: the first two were among the live entertainment at November’s Punkin Chunkin up in rural Delaware, while the others came from the recent 12 Bands of Christmas show I attended earlier this month.

I’ll begin with Semiblind doing a Led Zeppelin classic.

What surprised me was the wind noise not being the problem I feared, because it was a-blowin’ out there – as it always seems to that time of year.

The next band up was Vivid Season, and they did their rendition of this Fuel hit.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stick around there to see some of the other bands which were featured, nor did I get a good video of every band at the 12 Bands of Christmas.

But these young guys were impressive, as The Hooplas blended in a little funk and hip-hop on this number.

Now this is one you don’t hear a cover band doing every day. Aside from the slight false start, I enjoyed a little Pantera as done by Slackjaw. Walk on home, boy.

Another song which rarely finds its way onto playlists but should more often is The Cult’s ‘Love Removal Machine.’ Livin’ the Dream has it on theirs.

Fast forward about a decade and a half, add a couple dancers, and you get this video of Dust n’ Bones doing some Nickelback.

Just so you know, this IS Abby’s Cage, because they tell you so.

I compare this version with another band (which shall remain nameless) that did this song until the vocalist lost his beer trying to sing it. No such mishap on this one.

No beer was spilled with this, either. But Susan, the lead singer of Witches Brew, was less animated than usual on this one.

Having just watched this, I really need to complain about the lighting. It would have been a better video with one more spot on the front of the stage – so I can see the singer.

The other video which gave me difficulty was this one. First of all, We Might Collide is a six-piece band. Second, there were a lot of people up front. And third, I thought the sound wasn’t all that great. But this at least gives you a flavor.

So now you all know a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately. But I also need to hunt down more good videos and further promote the local musical talent. Maybe my friend Ridgely needs to put my channel on his Facebook rotation. (That’s called a hint.)

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this edition of FNV. My YouTube channel now has 75 videos on it (although not all are music) so I’m getting quite the collection here. Maybe I’ll dig through my archives and see what other nuggets I have over the next few months.

Obama’s path(s) to 270

It’s interesting to hear the strategy Barack Obama and his campaign are trying to put into place to fool Americans once again. But according to his campaign manager Jim Messina, there are at least forty paths he has to winning yet another term. In this video he picks out the top five.

Of course it’s nauseating to think Obama could win and ruin our country for another four years, but it’s possible if we don’t work hard to defeat him in all 50 states.

But there are also good opportunities to snatch away some of the states Kerry won – and Obama is counting on holding. Good examples would be Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan, in that order. If Obama lost in all three, he would be down to 206 electoral votes and would have to win five or six additional states in order to compete. (You can play with the numbers and scenarios yourself here.) If Obama loses those battleground states, though, it’s not likely he’s going to have any chance in states where victory is less assured.

The key, though, is getting the truth out about Obama’s record. Frankly, it sucks – and if America were truly paying attention Obama would be lucky to get 30 percent. (Unless, of course, the idea was to get more Americans reliant on government, in which case the policies are working like a charm to the detriment of our prosperity and our very republic.) But there are a lot of sheeple out there who still blame Republicans – you know, the party which barely controls 1/2 of 1/3 of the government – for everything that goes wrong. If that theory was true, things should have been hunky-dory before the 2010 election and Democrats should have expanded their majorities. Didn’t happen that way, did it?

(I know, everything’s the fault of those damn uppity teabaggers. Well, I prefer to be called a TEA Partier and we’re the ones who are trying to right the ship, thank you very much.)

So I think it’s long past time to stop the circular firing squad Republicans seem to have and point our guns in the correct direction, that being the record of the current occupant of the Oval Office. That also means those of you who don’t like Ron Paul should know that he would still be an improvement over Obama.

More importantly, though, it also means those of you who fervently support Ron Paul better listen well: if you get into a pouting snit over the next few weeks because he doesn’t get the nomination, GET OVER IT. Don’t go into the pout-whine sequence this fall and stay home on Election Day.

It’s highly likely that I won’t like the nominee either, but you better believe I’ll vote for him because it’s far easier to convince someone who’s 70 to 80 percent of what you like to continue in the right direction than to have someone on a full-throttle run the other way. That, my friends, is the situation we are in now. Despite the best efforts of many House Republicans (and a handful in the Senate) to dig in their heels, without the Oval Office and conservative majorities in both houses we are as effective as a sapling against a herd of buffalo, and I’m very tired of seeing the side of liberty being run down.

So now we know what some of the tricks up Obama’s sleeve are, and don’t believe they’re really calling bullshit on raising a billion dollars. That can buy a lot of votes, and they need to buy as many as they can get because a lot of people are fed up. The question is whether it’s the right group of people in the right states.

Somehow if the Democrats win the election with a minority of popular votes but a majority of the electoral votes, they’re not going to consider themselves illegitimate like they did George W. Bush. Don’t think it can’t happen again.

Odds and ends number 40

It’s no secret that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is traditionally a slow news week, so this is more of a reminder about a couple upcoming events which will sandwich a somewhat local news item.

On Saturday, January 7th the 18th Annual Rich Colburn Brunch takes place at the Holiday Inn here in Salisbury at 11 a.m. Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is the master of ceremonies, and tickets are $25 (or 5 for $100.) Colburn noted that, “It is a great honor to again have Sheriff Lewis serve as Master of Ceremonies for this event. Since being elected in 2006, Sheriff Lewis has worked hard to reorganize and restructure the Wicomico County Sheriff’s department.  The dedication he has shown to this community show his commitment to Wicomico County and the citizens who live here.”

If interested, reservations may be made by January 3rd by calling (410) 924-0098.

This is more of a big deal than one may think as Colburn will gain a larger chunk of Wicomico County for his district in the next go-round. Obviously we Republicans are familiar with Colburn from his work in the Maryland Senate, where he’s among the busiest pre-filers in the state – he was first to the post with a bill to allow for a specialized “vintage” license plate similar to one Delaware allows on certain vehicles, which will be SB1 in the 2012 session. Perhaps that’s not a bill of great import, but Rich is one of the harder workers in the body.

The more newsworthy item is the repercussion from Gary Johnson’s withdrawal from the GOP Presidential sweepstakes to seek the Libertarian nomination. Because Johnson is changing parties, Gary’s Maryland campaign director Kevin Waterman had to step down. Since Kevin sits on the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee and party bylaws prohibit publicly supporting anyone but Republican candidates, he decided to resign from the Johnson campaign. In a note I received, Waterman writes:

My decision to step down as state chairman is not an easy one. I fully support Gov. Johnson’s platform and his message of liberty, and it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as a part of this campaign and to work with all of you. I’m not leaving because I disagree with any of the moves the campaign has made. But I still hold out hope that even if the RNC has proven itself wanting that there is hope of moving the Maryland Republican Party in a more liberty-oriented direction and I can’t continue to work towards that end without remaining within the Party.

Some also paint me as an anti-establishment rebel within the MDGOP fold, and it sometimes drives me crazy when we try the same old centrist approach and wonder why we keep losing in this state. Obviously there are issues that Kevin and I don’t see eye to eye on, but I respect his efforts and think his decision and stated reasons are the correct ones. Indeed, we need to push this state in a more liberty-oriented direction.

And that explains my final item – a new TEA Party group is forming in Worcester County.

On January 13, 2012 their first meeting will be held in the Assateague Room of the Ocean Pines Community Center at 6:30 p.m. with Congressman Andy Harris as their featured speaker. With a mission statement like this…

We exercise, protect, and promote the principles embodied in The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights through attracting, educating, and mobilizing the people to secure public policy consistent with these core values; fiscal responsibility, open and constitutionally limited government, and free markets.

…the visit from Congressman Harris may not necessarily be the slam dunk he thought because of a couple of his votes.

But since Harris won’t have to worry about a third-time grudge match against Frank Kratovil, the atmosphere should be relatively cordial and ripe for a frank (no pun intended) discussion about what will happen in 2012. It’s a conversation which needs to occur for the TEA Party to be most effective.

The first domino to fall?

Well, that didn’t take long. This morning the Sears Holdings conglomerate, which operates both Sears and KMart stores around the country, announced over 100 underperforming stores would be closing in the next few months. It’s too early to tell whether any of the stores on this part of Delmarva will be among the victims – there are KMart stores in both Salisbury and Rehoboth Beach, a full-service Sears at the Centre of Salisbury, a smaller Sears in Seaford, and Sears Hometown stores in Rehoboth Beach, Milford, Easton, and Onley.

The story cites one expert who claims Sears “offers a depressing shopping experience and uncompetitive prices.” To be honest, I work there more than I shop there and neither is done all that much. But I’m told their prices are fairly steep and most of the clientele I see when I am in there is older.

Yet the trouble also extends to KMart, as the combined concern reported same-store sales for those open a year or more were off 5.2% for the most recent quarter, which included the holiday season.

I don’t often delve into business stories like this, but if you read my Christmas message you’ll note that I pondered what the retail season may bring:

I suppose if I see a lot of “Going Out Of Business” signs in 2012 I’ll know there was a lot of coal left in retailer’s stockings.

Well, looks like Sears and KMart may have received a double dose of anthracite. It’ll be interesting to see how other retailers do once the holiday season numbers come in, and also whether any local Sears stores are on the chopping block.

Why add to the debt?

Obviously this post I cite is an oversimplification of the educational approach needed for many children, but I thought it was appropriate to point this out given the fact a small group of parents – backed by an all-powerful school board and sympathetic County Executive and newspaper – are putting big-time pressure on our County Council to approve the debt necessary to build a new middle school.

But Richard F. Miniter, a writer posting on the American Thinker website, makes the case that education can be as simple as applying a little discipline and effort, given the vast library now available to anyone who has an e-reader and cares enough about their child to make sure they learn. And there is a time savings, as Miniter writes:

It also sums down to a little block of time because without having to get ready for the school bus; the bus ride; dispersing to classroom; disciplinary issues in classrooms; having to raise your hand to go to the bathroom; noisy, chaotic hallways scenes every fifty minutes; noisy, chaotic lunch periods; announcements; fire drills; lectures about bullying, respecting alternative lifestyles, or strangers; then preparing for the bus ride home, followed by homework, one can do a better job with a child in two hours than a traditional school classroom setting can in eight.

Now extrapolate that to the building itself. If one can learn in the small space of time allotted to learning at home, it can also be assumed that learning can be achieved in a regular school building, regardless of the age.

Continue reading “Why add to the debt?”

A parting on the left

It looks like the rumors may be true, the exploring is over, and Republicans can rejoice in the fact there will be a potentially divisive primary fight for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Ben Cardin. (h/t: Maryland Juice.)

State Senator C. Anthony Muse of Prince George’s County will emerge as the first serious challenger to Cardin from the left. While there are several others who also share the Democratic line, the reality is that most are perennial fringe candidates (take Lih Young as a nearly incomprehensible great example) who would be fortunate to pick up 10 percent between the lot of them. As proof of their perennial nature, four of the other Democrats vying for Senate were on the ballot just two years ago: J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe picked up the 13% of the vote Martin O’Malley didn’t get in the Democratic primary for governor while between them Chris Garner and Lih Young bagged just under 9% in the 2010 Senatorial race. (Garner did finish second, a respectable 75 points behind incumbent Barbara Mikulski.)

But Muse presents a different sort of challenge, making the race perhaps a little more reminiscent of the 2006 primary where Cardin emerged victorious from a crowded 18-candidate scrum with only 44% of the vote, beating Kweisi Mfume by just three points. While Cardin has the obvious advantage of incumbency, he may have the same difficulty in Prince George’s County – where Mfume trounced Cardin by 55,000 votes – but fewer names to split the other 12,000 votes from there which went to the sixteen others in the 2006 race. Moreover, the disadvantage to Muse in not being as well known in the Baltimore area as Mfume was would likely be negated in the rapidly growing counties of southern Maryland, where Muse is more recognized. So there is a definite path to victory in Muse’s case.

However, one handicap for Muse which will help Cardin immensely is that the primary campaign will overlap with the General Assembly session. Unless Muse is willing to give up his State Senate seat, he’ll have one hand tied behind his back insofar as fundraising and campaigning goes.

So what does this mean to the Republican who emerges from the GOP primary? For one thing, a strong primary challenge to Cardin will help negate the monetary advantage he’s certain to have – as of the September 30 filing Cardin had a war chest of $2.3 million he was sitting on, with no Republican even into six digits with their total. It goes without saying that a Democrat in Maryland is going to have a financial advantage over a Republican, but it would be more advantageous to see some of that used up well before November.

But there are two other possible effects. Muse was the lone Senate Democrat to vote against the Congressional redistricting plan Martin O’Malley and his cronies foisted upon the state because it was felt that minorities got the shaft. Add the bruised feelings sure to occur when minority voters feel put upon by the Democratic establishment once again because they’re expected to unquestioningly back a white candidate who defeated one of their own in the primary and, though they’ll turn out in droves to support the top of the ticket, the remaining races may see serious undervoting. The trick will be getting Republicans who know the state is likely written off by the national GOP to turn out and vote for the whole ballot. Most Marylanders will only see three races: President, Senator, and their local Congressman. (A smattering will get other local races and ballot issues to vote on as well.) While turnout is usually best for a Presidential election, it’s still nowhere near 100 percent.

It’s nice to see a little bit of drama on the other side for a change, and it could serve as a warmup for the real battle royale sure to come once 2014 rolls around and offices aplenty open up across the state.

Wishes for a Merry Christmas 2011

As always, I will take Christmas Day off to spend with my loved ones which are around. So this will have to suffice until Monday.

It seems like this Christmas has been more muted than past renditions, but maybe that’s just me. Sure, the economy is in the tank and a lot of people aren’t working but there have been times where the stores I’ve worked have been busy – and times where it seemed more like an average day in July based on the number of people walking around the store. As always, though, everyone is looking for the deal.

(By the way, thanks to those who used my Amazon affiliation to purchase their items. It’ll make me enough for a little stocking stuffer for myself.)

I couldn’t tell you if my perception is reality or not since I don’t add up the sales totals. I suppose if I see a lot of “Going Out Of Business” signs in 2012 I’ll know there was a lot of coal left in retailer’s stockings. Lord knows we can’t burn it anymore so there’s got to be some use for it.

Of course, a turning away from the material at Christmastime – whether caused by economic doldrums or not – isn’t all bad. We still have family and the original reason we celebrated the holiday to begin with as items to fall back on. Besides, the stuff we buy is generally of a fleeting amusement – things which may eventually find their way to the back of the closet, break down, or otherwise fall from usefulness in a short time. But family is hopefully much more long-lasting.

As has been the case over the last several years, for your holiday listening pleasure I bring you my friends from Semiblind doing  ‘O Holy Night’. (You may have to goose the file and start Windows Media Player to get it to play, but it’s worth it.)

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and readers.

The antithesis of smart growth

Read the quoted paragraph and tell me what’s wrong with this picture. It comes from a Washington Times story by David Hill, from Wednesday:

The population of the District of Columbia is growing faster than that of any state in the country, according to a new U.S. Census report that shows an acceleration of a trend in which largely skilled and educated workers have flocked to the city’s resilient local economy and its well-paying jobs connected to the federal government.

I don’t begrudge people getting jobs, but shouldn’t we be trying to lessen the influence of the federal government?

And a reason for the growth Hill cites in the story strikes me as ironic:

Former Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who served from 1999 to 2007, is credited with starting the trend with a pro-development, business-friendly agenda that helped revive the downtown commercial districts and neglected neighborhoods while improving schools and public safety.

So are we to assume that a conservative agenda would create growth? That’s the way I read this, as the Radical Green platform can’t stand development and wants to punish business aside from a few certain favored industries. Lord knows our federal government doesn’t have a “pro-development, business-friendly agenda” with the guy in charge now, not by a long shot. Yet that approach turns out to be a boon for Washington; unfortunately their gain is our pain.

Obviously there will always be a group of people who work in government, even if it is rightsized. There are legitimate functions which need to be performed and can only be done through that arena. But I wouldn’t mind seeing the population of the District of Columbia decline, or simply grow only because Washington is a nice city with plenty of tourism possibilities because of its history. Those who thrive because of the ever-increasing size and scope of the nanny state are the ones I’d love to see get real jobs – after all, the world needs ditch diggers too.

The spirit of giving…3,200 signatures

Now I think I’ve received everything – but then again I haven’t.

I’ve never been asked to sign a nominating petition for a Presidential candidate to get on the Maryland ballot, until yesterday – but it wasn’t for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, or Michele Bachmann. Strange thing was that the person in question is someone I’ve never heard of, but he’s attempting to start at the top.

Oregon resident Mark Callahan is one of the dozens and dozens who have filed with the Federal Elections Commission to run for President, and in order to get on the Maryland ballot he needs to have at least 3,200 valid signatures (with at least 400 from each Congressional district.) I checked out his website, and while he might not get my vote I’m certainly willing to help him out. His platform is conservative with some libertarian touches, in my rough estimation. I think he’d be better served running for Congress or perhaps a local state of Oregon office first, but I suppose some people just like to start at the top.

So how was I selected for this task? I suspect that Callahan made a pretty logical decision of contacting the over 250 Central Committee members in Maryland, of which I am one. Little did he know he would get some free press out of the deal, although I’ve noticed he has visited Iowa and New Hampshire like the more well-known candidates have. No campaign swing through Maryland yet.

But perhaps the largest stumbling block Callahan may have is his age; if elected this year he would be by far the youngest President because he doesn’t reach the Constitutionally mandated age of 35 until next May. Still, if you want to get him on the Maryland ballot his petition form is here. Heck, I’ll sign my name for him just as I would for any serious GOP candidate.

Who knows? Maybe this little taste of the national political world will stand him in good stead later in life; after all, Herman Cain was a little-known Presidential candidate for the 2000 election and turned the world upside down a dozen years later. And considering the fact Mark’s taken the time to do a little campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire it certainly makes the case he’s not just in it to see his name on the ballot line. Maybe – just maybe – we may see the same resurgence Cain had from Callahan around 2024.

Just make sure to stay faithful to your spouse and don’t give money to strange women.