A rookie mistake?

While I work in Wicomico County, my wife and I neither live nor vote in Wicomico County. So this misdirection seems a little strange.

As you can see from the photo, I am in possession of a mailing from one Julie Giordano, who is a Republican running for Wicomico County Executive. (This actually came in our mail for my wife’s “household,” which is logical as she at least is a registered Republican.) I do believe most people who read this are familiar with the fact that I’m a recovering Marylander and ex-Republican who now lives a few miles across the line in Delaware.

So this probable simple mistake by the company mailing this out (not noticing that the address pre-printed on the flyer was in Delaware) got me to thinking about how the political process works now. One thing about my leaving the state of Maryland and the Republican Party is that I don’t get their mailings anymore, but my wife does. However, since she’s not a 4-4 Republican in Delaware yet I don’t think she gets the volume of stuff we (mainly I) received in Maryland. But what she does get seems to reflect the idea of security.

Believe it or not, I took a photo of the total of two flyers my wife received for the entire 2020 election from State Senator Colin Bonini’s ill-fated campaign for governor – one extoling his 2A bonafides and the other as a letter from his wife. (I think I was going to use them for a post I never ended up writing – until now.) It was obvious that Bonini was scanning the voter rolls looking for a few nuggets as well as cutting into the “mama bear” vote in a primary where his main competition was a woman, that being Julianne Murray (who ended up winning.) So here’s that example, a blast from the past.

We didn’t feel at home in Delaware until the political flyers started showing up. But in the election of 2020, this was all we got – both addressed to my wife. Definitely going for the female vote.

To me it’s obvious Julie Giordano is looking to shore up the female vote in an election where she’s going up against the man who’s currently the acting County Executive, but who doesn’t have a ton of name recognition because he’s never sought office before. (John Psota, who was initially appointed as the Director of Administration for the county, is the acting executive who stayed on because County Council couldn’t agree on a formal successor to the late Bob Culver, who passed away in July, 2020. After going through the process twice without success, they threw up their hands and kept Psota in the job until this year’s election.)

While Giordano has a background as a teacher and parent, this flyer talks about security, as in not defunding the police but defending them. On the other side is a quote, presumably from Julie, that says, “If you want to change policing and the end product, I suggest you go to the academy and walk their walk.”

It’s actually a pretty good flyer, but it’s not going to get Giordano any votes from our household because we can’t vote in Maryland anymore. (At least my wife’s name better not be on the list, since I made sure mine was removed.) Maybe they were thinking in terms of donations or word-of-mouth? If so, I suppose she’s getting some pixels but maybe not in the sense she would like. A better campaign would have culled the list before spending a buck or two on printing and postage given she only has about $8,000 in the bank to play with and her primary opponent was bankrolled by some serious coin. (For example, why is lobbyist Bruce Bereano involved in the Wicomico race? That’s a post for another day, particularly since a reporting date is coming up.)

Let’s hope the attention to detail is a bit better if she’s elected as County Executive. (And a message for the current one: can you get your folks to cut some of the roadside weeds around the county? It’s a hazard at some corners.) In the meantime, I’ll be interested to see what shows up in our mailbox later this fall from candidates we can actually vote for.

The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.

Odds and ends number 112

It’s time for what seems to have become a monthly or so airing of those chunks of bloggy goodness I create out of the whole cloth of my e-mail box. Say that three times fast.

As always, these snippets run between a couple sentences and a few paragraphs depending on how much I can write about them, which is why at times things get “promoted” like my last article. Anyway…

An upcoming day of action

If you live in Delaware and are into the Article V convention idea, then June 7 is the day for you. Convention of States Action president Mark Meckler – yep, the guy of Tea Party Patriots fame and a familiar name to readers of Rise and Fall – is scheduled to lead a rally on the east steps of Leg Hall in Dover. But it won’t be a stand around and cheer event as those attending will fan out and try to convince legislators that we as a state should back an Article V convention. (This is why the event is on a Tuesday.)

One of the tasks given is to “deliver an information packet (provided) to your own legislators.” However, I suspect that my legislators would already be on board considering both properly voted against a 2016 blanket recission of existing convention calls (HCR60 in that session.) Hopefully someone can say hello to Bryant and Tim for me in that case.

There’s also some interesting reading on that front from CoS, as writer Jakob Fay addresses a critique of anti-CoS talking points and adds some insight of his own.

The bill to nowhere

Speaking of our esteemed legislature, it’s up to the Republicans to save us from a sneaky tax hike. Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the usual left-wing suspects who believe our public schools aren’t enough of a money sinkhole, the three counties in Delaware now have to reassess every single piece of property.

(The plaintiff in the lawsuit was a group called “Delawareans for Educational Opportunity” described in the suit as “parents of low income students, English language learners, children with disabilities in kindergarten through grade three, and other parents with students attending high poverty schools.” Since I doubt those parents had the coin to sue the state, it’s really that eeeeeeevil “dark money” the Left claims to hate behind it.)

To address this unapproved school tax hike, Rep. Mike Smith introduced a bill that insures “that school districts collect the same total revenue after reassessment as they did the previous year.” Yeah, when pigs fly. It’s a great idea, but we know that bill goes nowhere past committee because, to Democrats, too much money for schools is never enough. But ask for school choice and you get crickets.

As they always say, elections matter. Do better this year, Delaware.

Where are the jobs?

It’s always fun to see the conventional wisdom buckle under good old-fashioned analysis, and fortunately there’s somebody who’s paid to go through this data so I can share it.

One selling point of offshore wind was its job creation aspect, but a recent analysis by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy put the lie to that. As David Stevenson concludes, “(study author) Wood Mackenzie is generally reliable, but this study misses by a country mile and is misleading elected officials and the public.”

It’s always been a pipe dream that we would somehow create thousands of jobs building, erecting, and maintaining wind turbines that only last about 20-30 years. Supposedly wind is free and renewable energy, but the millions of dollars needed to collect and harness it has to come from somewhere as does the natural gas backup plant required when the wind doesn’t blow for a spell, as happened off Europe last year.

There’s a reason I occasionally remind people that, once they received access to reliable electricity, farmers stopped using their windmills to create power.

Indivisible is so pissed over abortion

And this was an e-mail I got on Mother’s Day, no less – from a mother!

As you can imagine, the regressives at Indivisible are in a way over losing their cherished right to abort their babies practically at will. There are a couple lines worth mentioning and responding to.

The right-wing is trying to impose their narrow, cruel, patriarchal, white nationalist vision of the world on all of us. They want to force us into obeying their rules and living our lives bound by their twisted worldview. 

We deserve the right to make our own healthcare decisions. We deserve full control over our own bodies. We deserve full control over our own lives. 

Leah Greenburg, “Overturning Roe v Wade is deeply unpopular,” May 8, 2022.

Sorry, Leah, having a baby is not a “healthcare decision.” You ceded control of your body when you decided to have intercourse, so if the result of that is a human being with unique DNA then the burden is on you to carry it to term. At that point you concede “full control over our own lives” because there is another life inside you, full stop. (The irony here is that Leah and her Indivisible co-founder husband, Ezra Levin, have often put a photo of their young child at the end of their monthly newsletters.)

The second point is this:

This is a huge coup for the worst people in our country. But if you’re watching closely, you may have noticed that for a party on the verge of achieving one of its greatest goals, Republican elected officials don’t seem very happy. In fact, they don’t seem to want to talk about this at all. Instead, they’re talking about the circumstances of the leak. They seem to think if they can kick up enough of a fuss about how this came to light, everyone will forget about what the light reveals.

Ibid.

Of course the conservatives are talking about the leak because it’s unprecedented. We’re supposed to have trust in our institutions and leaking this decision was made for one reason and one reason only: to try and change someone’s mind, or, failing that, perhaps eliminate the problem. (Why do you think there’s additional security around the SCOTUS these days? This is why I thought the decision should just be released as is.)

Imagine if someone connected with a right-leaning justice had leaked the Obergefell decision taking away the states’ rights to recognize (or not to recognize) same-sex “marriage”? Wouldn’t the Left have demanded the ruling be made official immediately so that some gun-toting Deplorable didn’t coerce a justice into switching his or her vote to the right side? The Obama administration would have had Homeland Security and every other alphabet agency dropping all they were doing and turning over rocks to find the leaker so they could be punished.

So spare me the crying on both counts. Make Dobbs law and return abortion to the states so we can have our own crack at it. Speaking of that…

How to protect women (and babies)

I just became aware of this via Maryland Delegate Neil Parrott, a friend of this website and a two-time (and final) Maryland Legislator of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

In its infinitesimal wisdom, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill this spring allowing, among other things, non-physicians to do abortions (the Abortion Care Access Act), so there’s a group attempting to petition this to referendum this fall.

It’s an uphill battle to be sure – securing 25,000 signatures by May 31 and the rest of the 75,000 needed by June 30 – but if anyone knows how to do it, that would be Neil Parrott. I encourage my Maryland friends to participate.

Additional abortion insight

If you’re not reading the Substack of AND Magazine, you probably should be. I probably have eight or ten articles I could include here, including tomes on debit cards for illegal aliens and how those children are being forced to work, taking weapons away from our troops to send to Ukraine, Wuhan flu lockdowns in China, and so much more. In fact, it’s such good stuff I decided to pay for a month and see what else I can get. (What I receive for free is quite good.)

But since I’m talking about it: earlier this month, in what was basically three consecutive posts, Sam Faddis laid out part of the Left’s plan regarding abortion:

Once upon a time, the Democratic Party seemed to believe in the Democratic process. It focused on organizing and turning out the vote. No more. That party is dead.

It has been replaced by something that looks a lot like Marxist revolutionary movements throughout history. It has no use for the popular vote. It believes in the power of the state and when necessary, the use of mob violence to intimidate its foes. It is getting ready to unleash its thugs into the streets again in response to the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

While Joe conjures up the specter of a right-wing, white supremacist, trans and gay-hating wave of domestic extremism, the radical domestic movement of which he is a part is already mobilizing and taking to the streets. If the Supreme Court exercises its authority, overturns Roe v. Wade, and returns the question of abortion to the legislatures where it properly belongs our cities will burn.

Sam Faddis, “They Don’t Just Want To Kill Babies – They Want To Kill The Republic,” AND Magazine, May 5, 2022. All emphasis in original.

And when the first pro-abortion protestor is cut down by police it will be George Floyd all over again. You don’t put up fences for peaceful protest.

Let’s go on, shall we?

A group calling itself ‘Ruth Sent Us’ is calling for its followers to invade the homes of those Supreme Court justices it has identified as being likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade

(…)

If you try to sign up to participate in a Ruth Sent Us event you are redirected to the site for an organization called Strike for Choice. This group is organizing similar actions all across the country targeting businesses and corporations that it does not believe have been sufficiently vocal in standing up for “reproductive freedom.

Strike for Choice operates under the umbrella organization Vigil for Democracy, which is actually organizing a whole series of “strikes” each one of which focuses on a different point in a far left agenda. Vigil for Democracy expresses a radical agenda explicitly directed at supporters of Donald Trump and members of the MAGA movement. Earlier this year it organized a series of “strikes” outside U.S. Attorney’s offices demanding that Republican lawmakers present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 be arrested and tried for treason. In the old Soviet Union they called those show trials.

Sam Faddis, “Here Come The Foot Soldiers Of The Revolution,” AND Magazine, May 6, 2022. All emphasis in original.

These are the “thugs” that are being unleashed on the streets, as Faddis wrote. Several years ago I participated in a pro-life protest up in Easton and we just stood on a sidewalk on a day the Planned Parenthood branch there was closed, yet we had a police officer watching our truly non-violent protest. Obviously not everyone follows those rules.

Finally, Faddis concludes in his last piece:

What we are seeing is not protest. What we are seeing is not the work of disconnected local groups of concerned citizens. What we are seeing is an ongoing revolution with the intent of destroying the existing social, political and economic order. It exploded into view in the runup to the 2020 election and was aided and abetted by a new media which told us to ignore the obvious import of what we were seeing.

The target now is religion in America. Churches, synagogues, and mosques will burn. God himself is under attack.

Sam Faddis, “God Is Under Attack – The Mob Comes For Religion,” AND Magazine, May 9, 2022. All emphasis in original.

It so happens our church is currently participating in a fundraiser for a local pregnancy center. While Salisbury is fairly far away from the big city, it’s not unthinkable that their facility could be doxxed and vandalized because they promote alternatives to abortion. It tells me something when women are advised to avoid “pregnancy centers” by abortion advocates because when they visit such a place they may actually come to the realization that either they can get the support required to raise their child or can give the child to a loving adoptive family, like the adopted child of one of my relatives and his wife.

Finding my way onto mailing lists

When I used to blog on a daily basis back in the day, I was on a TON of mailing lists. (In essence, I used to try and write a single-subject odds and ends piece daily. That got to be too much with a family and full-time job.)

Once in awhile I still see the results of that time as new things slide into my e-mail. So it was with a group called People for Liberty. Now I have somewhat libertarian roots but maybe my guardrails have drawn a bit closer as I’ve gotten older and more into my faith.

But in reading about Bitcoin 2022, a National Liberty Day of Service, or a medical marijuana event called Chronic Palooza, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on how libertarianism as I see it seems to work.

In my mind, political thought is linear. You could imagine it being a highway, with one direction taking you through the villages of liberalism, socialism, and communism on the way to totalitarianism where one group controls everything and somewhere there is one person who controls that cadre. In the other direction you have the towns of conservatism and libertarianism, with the road leading to anarchy as every person has the ultimate in liberty. However, the nature of people dictates the Darwinian principle that only the strong survive, thus, somewhere there is one person who would reign supreme.

In other words, that line forms a circle where you end up in one place regardless of the road you take. Where I want to be is on the opposite end of that diameter where there’s an equal share of liberty and responsibility. In my mind, this is where faith tempers liberty to the extent required to place us on the opposite side.

I think I’m going to leave a very intense issue of odds and ends on that note. I was going to toss in some Rick Weiland for comic relief, but I’ve had enough of the loony left for now.

More revised and extended remarks

I’ve said this before, although it’s been awhile: I don’t like wasting my good writing. Like odds and ends I collect in my e-mail box that I save for later comment, I need to get better at the habit of sharing what I say on someone’s social media to this audience because the Venn diagram of their readership and my readership doesn’t always intersect.

This is set up by a post that simply said “The Empire strikes back.” What the writer meant was that current Maryland governor Larry Hogan formerly endorsed the recently-resigned Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz as his successor – essentially in response to a now months-old endorsement of Delegate Daniel Cox for the same job by Donald Trump. Along with my belief that Hogan’s endorsement was already “baked into the cake” in this race based on Trump’s backing, it was a race I commented on the other day. But I wanted to expand on my thoughts after a post in response by longtime Maryland politico Carmen Amedori:

Lots of luck with that. 95% of MD GOP voted for Trump. Meaning 95% will not vote for an anti Trump endorsement. In a fair election Dan wins.

Carmen Amedori, former Maryland Delegate and (briefly) candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

Once that post went up, another longtime Republican, Scott Shaffer, responded:

You’re quoting a “news” site written by the LG candidate? Lol. Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.

Scott Shaffer, longtime Republican Party leader.

I think the website is written by the LG candidate’s husband but anyway, Scott’s a good guy – although we’ve been on opposite sides at times over the years. His claim to fame here was his unsuccessful bid to oust Louis Pope as Maryland’s National Committeeman in 2012.

So I felt I needed to add a couple pennies to this interesting race – better than much of anything going on in Delaware, that’s for sure.

Of the MDGOP who showed up to vote in 2016 and 2020, Carmen is probably pretty close when she says 95%. (I think the polling average was in the low 90s.) But that only counts the ones who weren’t discouraged enough by the candidates to stay home. The tell would be turnout % among Rs and Ds, but that doesn’t seem to be a number easily chased down for 2020 thanks to the unique nature of the election.

On the other hand, consider the poll Carmen cites was a DGA poll, so they’re trying to bump up support for the viable candidate they believe is easiest for them to beat. Unfortunately, in Maryland a lot of “independent” voters believe all the lies and half-truths told about Donald Trump, which is why the D’s try to tie all R candidates to him. (It also obfuscates their woeful record.)

The ones who were believers in the Trump “America First” agenda will most likely vote for Dan. Whether it will be enough to win a primary is an open question; however, the constantly changing primary date may prove to Dan’s advantage because I believe he has the more passionate voters.

“Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.”

You are aware these are the influencers in the local GOP, right? Obviously if Kelly won a straw poll at the AA Lincoln Day Dinner it would be presented as proof she’s the better candidate, despite the fact it’s still a miniscule number of voters.

I’d love to see a reputable poll of the race, but no one has really polled it according to RCP. This would document the amount of Hogan fatigue in the MDGOP.

My social media response.

Scott contended that Cox would be “Brian Murphy 2.0” because he doesn’t have a ton of name recognition and it’s possible he may be right. But I don’t think either of the two have a ton of name ID and the Maryland media is going to be vacuumed up by all the Democrats fighting for airtime prior to the primary. To me, it’s a race that’s Kelly’s to lose but if Larry Hogan keeps playing the RINO the association with Larry may hurt her.

Mt. Hermon Plow Days 2022 in pictures and text

Not bad for a repeat.

You may recall that the 2021 version was the icebreaker to what became a long series of return events after the Wuhan flu unnecessarily wiped out a year of our lives. This year marks the return to normalcy for the event, with one exception: the wind was once again not a factor. While we didn’t have the shirtsleeve weather that we were blessed with last year (a week later than normal because of when Easter fell) the weather was still superb for early spring on Delmarva, with sunny skies complementing temperatures in the low 50s.

Because a lot about the event is constant year-to-year, I was going to have a goal of sticking close to the number of photos from last year, but like a late April Fool’s joke I blew through that number. However, I did cull a few from my initial pass at it and kept it under 20. As always the captions help add to the thousand words.

We’re going to start this tale by telling you its location. Since Plow Days began it’s always been at this little produce farm out Mount Hermon Road. It’s about as unpretentious a location as you’ll find: anywhere that flips its calendar from 15 to 16 with a touch of marker or paint doesn’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to putting on airs. It’s perfect for Plow Days.

I heard a little of the story behind the Adkins farm: turns out the creator of Plow Days grew up as a neighbor of this farm’s patriarch, Milbourne Adkins – who also grew up to be a pastor of a nearby church. So when Oren Perdue was looking for a venue, they struck a deal: get some of the Adkins ground ready for the season in return for an opportunity for sharing the Perdue ministry and providing a day of real horsepower and wholesome family-friendly entertainment.

It’s a larger than life rendition of Pastor Oren Perdue, the founder of the Salisbury Baptist Temple. This photo graces the space next to the sign-up table for their Summer Fun camp, which for over 30 years has been held in and around SBT. Kim’s daughter is an “alumnus” of the camp she attended regularly for several years growing up.

Pastor Perdue continued, noting his parents bought the farm he grew up on for $41 an acre – this was back in the Depression era, of course. Many years later, with his mother in ill health, it sold for many times that. He claimed that a bumper crop of cucumbers in its first year paid off the land, but wistfully noted it’s a lot tougher on farmers today. (If I may add my take on his story – which I don’t doubt for a second – the farms of today are in the hundreds or even thousands of acres and grow a multitude of crops. I live in the midst of one.)

Here’s the real Oren Perdue, still going strong in his later years. While he retired as pastor of Salisbury Baptist Temple a few years back and more recently turned over the reins of the Summer Fun camp to his longtime trusted assistant, he still helps out with both as he can. And he puts on this event each spring.

This event, then, is a reminder of a time that the much younger Perdue wasn’t all that far removed from. One thing I missed in my photo essay from last year was the corn shelling, but not this time. I have another omission made right this year, but I’m saving it for later.

If you didn’t know what this horse was up to by the angle of my photo, I’ll show you the result. As Pastor Perdue said, sometimes the horse is a bit reluctant to go up there but once he’s there he does fine. The way I see it, that’s just an uphill treadmill for modern-day walkers, right? Just happens to be horse-powered.
Somebody’s going to eat this all-natural corn when it’s ground into cornmeal. If nothing else, the local birds and wildlife will have a field day. Something tells me, though, that they were a little more careful gathering the corn in the old days.

As I wrote up above, part of the deal was getting the back 40 for the Adkins farm plowed. This team did a nice job in an environment that’s not as rural as it once was.

Try as I might to capture an idyllic rural scene, that storage facility just down the road wasn’t going to cooperate, or go anywhere.

While Pastor Perdue’s ministry and musings are a valuable part of the proceedings, Plow Days also gives the young ones an introduction to rural history and farm animals they may not normally see up close.

Honestly I’m not sure if this team was done for the day or awaiting its shift, but these pairs were a popular item. The ten teams for the event came from Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina.
Wagon rides were also a hit with kids and adults alike, creating some of the longest lines around at the peak of the day. I believe this event was added back after being absent last year.
The kids loved the kids. Yes, I had to go there – after all, you need something to keep our young ones off the phones (or at least use them simply for taking pictures.)
I wonder how the conversations went after, “Dad, what’s that little building there for?” I suspect the answers were met with either high-pitched giggles or a sigh of “eeeeeewwwwww!” (That may have also occurred if one of the horses left some road apples about.) Thank goodness there were more modern facilities available, although it’s fair to note the concept here hasn’t really changed. Anyway, enough with the bathroom humor.

The event kept its usual attractions of good food and local craftspeople hawking their wares on a well-traveled midway.

I think there were more food vendors than last year, so hungry people had a good choice of fare.
This is one end of the midway. The rock climbing wall made a return trip, keeping the kids captivated. And for whatever reason, this year’s predominant color of Plow Days swag was red.
At the other end of the midway was our friend Brent Zockoll and his pottery. He’s began to create a little specialty of pottery featuring horsehair; needless to say, it’s a big hit among this crowd.
Brent Zockoll (in the green cap, with the dirty hands) was a main attraction as he threw clay today. Nothing like combining business and pleasure on a lovely spring day.

It’s worth giving you a little insight on Brent since he’s become something of a success story. Nine years ago Brent left his sales job to pursue his passion of creating pottery, and after a few fits and starts (including a fire that heavily damaged his garage/studio) he’s made a go of the business – an endeavor he also uses to spread the Gospel.

As for my other omission made right: the other thing I missed getting a picture of last year was the entertainment. Once again it was the Mt. Olivet String Band, but this time I can show you what they look like.

The Mt. Olivet String Band in all its glory, putting a bluegrass spin on Americana favorites. You probably know the guy on the right by his soothing voice if not his face: it’s Charles Paparella, better known as the “Travels with Charlie” guy on the local news.

Although it seemingly contradicts the Book of Ecclesiastes, I have to tell you there were a few new things under the sun this year. (Perhaps they were only new to me.)

One thing was the sharp antique pickup truck below, which complemented the little maroon car I pictured last year. (I almost included a picture of its rumble seat, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.) But there’s a story behind that truck, too.

It’s a nice old Ford truck from D. Lombardo and Sons that presumably (from its Maryland plate) dates back to 1925. That’s Mrs. Lombardo standing at right, supporting her husband’s campaign.

It occurred to me as we were on our way (we had to run another errand before we went to Plow Days) that I would likely find hot and cold running politicians there, since it’s an election year in Wicomico County. The Lombardo in question is Darren Lombardo, and he’s running for the county school board. In talking to him I realized he is worth checking out because he has a philosophy regarding school choice I tend to agree with. I’ll stop short of a formal endorsement because I don’t know about his opponents, but as I said, worth checking out if you’re one of my Wicomico readers.

Normally if we go anywhere like this, people know my wife because she works in the medical field so they’re often her patients or former coworkers. But in any event featuring political types, the tables are turned because people notice me and this was the case here. (It was either that or my Detroit Lions hoodie.) I ran into Joe Holloway, David Snyder, Linda Luffman, Addie Eckardt, Jamie Dykes, and Larry Dodd there, and there were others, too – I heard John Cannon and John Psota being introduced and Dodd was walking with Dutch Schwemlein, a newcomer seeking an at-large County Council seat that I was introduced to. Linda was looking to meet up with another newcomer, A.J. Angello – who is the primary opponent for Joe Holloway.

(The scorecard: Holloway, Dodd, and Cannon are current Wicomico County Council members looking to keep their jobs, Snyder is seeking the open County Council District 2 seat, Luffman is looking to be re-elected to the county’s Republican Central Committee, Eckardt is running to retain her State Senate seat, Dykes is the incumbent State’s Attorney, and Psota is the incumbent appointed County Executive who was granted the job after Bob Culver died in office in the summer of 2020, after the 2020 filing deadline.) I got a little bit of a lowdown on what’s up with the county election, particularly the slates, from Linda, while Snyder informed me of a strange technicality that made him withdraw his candidacy for the seat when it opened up a couple years ago due to Marc Kilmer’s resignation. (I may expound on that in the future.)

Quick aside: in jogging my memory of who I ran into by looking at the candidate list for Wicomico County I saw there were 14 candidates for the Republican Central Committee this year, so far. Damn, that’s a popular unpaid and pretty much thankless job.

But back to Plow Days: the true test of these people will be how many come back next year – not to be introduced to the crowd like the politicians are, but to support it. I think Plow Days is the type of event that’s worth backing as it deftly combines history, ministry, and an awareness of what makes a rural area so unique.

It’s an attitude I can sum up with one final photo.

The banner wasn’t for sale, it was placed as a message and invitation. We need more of that in 2022 America.

Like Oren Perdue noted on this fine afternoon, farming doesn’t seem to be an avocation that’s drawing young people. I came from a place where the blue FFA jackets were still a common sight 40 years ago, but here and now people aren’t as interested in keeping that vital lifestyle going. And having just lost my dad recently, it makes me realize I don’t know how much longer the stalwarts of Plow Days – who are close to his age – have on this earth, so we need to keep this slice of history and an occupation that ranks among those preserving the lifeblood of our nation alive as long as possible.

Things aren’t always what they seem

I haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to Maryland politics the last few years but every so often I find something rather intriguing. In this case, it’s not too many miles away in Dorchester County.

I saw that over the weekend their county Republicans had their Lincoln Day Dinner. Initially I learned this thanks to a social media post by a locally noted political sign critic but then it went further when I noticed a promoted post on that same social media outlet that led to this blog post.

Apparently we are still far enough away from the primary that Republicans are coming to the Eastern Shore to solicit votes, and in this case the Dorchester LDD featured the two leading contenders for their gubernatorial nomination: Delegate Daniel Cox and onetime Delegate and Hogan administration official Kelly Schulz. In this particular retelling of events it was obvious that the writer was heavily favoring the Cox campaign, which is fine. What’s most interesting, though, is that the contact address for the Shore Times blog where the article came from is the exact same one used by Marc Schifanelli for his school board campaign in Queen Anne’s County. Of course, students of Maryland politics know that Marc’s wife Gordana is Cox’s running mate. So we’re not exactly being stealth here, and I will give credit for pointing that out in due time.

On the other side of the equation – and not being too stealth themselves – is The Duckpin, a site which seems to spend its time tearing down Cox, who they swear up and down isn’t much of a threat on par with the other two no-names in the race. Yet somehow Dan lives rent-free in their heads as they keep writing about him instead of promoting their endorsed choice in Schulz. (Apparently Brian Griffiths wanted to write about more than politics, so Red Maryland was put to bed and The Duckpin was born. He finally figured out what I knew over 16 years ago.)

Anyway, I was reading a piece on the race that made the claim about the link and indeed it’s true. So give the man his credit. But what’s the big deal?

Here’s the problem with being a Republican and running for governor in Maryland: you have to survive a GOP primary.

In 2010, Larry Hogan deferred to Bob Ehrlich, who then proceeded to lose even worse to Martin O’Malley than he did the first time. You may recall there was this phenomenon going around the country back then called the TEA Party…well, they liked this heretofore unknown businessman named Brian Murphy in the gubernatorial primary and enough of them tuned out the overly moderate Ehrlich once Murphy was dispatched back to anonymity to doom Bob to defeat in the general.

In 2014, there was an open seat and the Democrats decided to promote their bland, personality-free LG Anthony Brown to governor. Larry Hogan had spent the four years building up a grassroots group called Change Maryland and he parlayed that into securing the nomination then winning in November – thanks to a lot of the people who abandoned Ehrlich because he wasn’t conservative enough for them. This despite the fact Hogan’s website was about content-free and you couldn’t nail down what he was actually for, just what he was against based on Change Maryland.

Fooled you once… the next time in 2o18 Hogan only won because the Democrats went extreme left with their choice for governor; otherwise, the election was a disaster for Republicans on the order of 2006. (Had he run in 2018 instead of this cycle, we would be commenting on the prospects of Governor Franchot’s re-election. Or perhaps Governor Delaney’s.)

So here’s the problem with Kelly Schulz. In looking her up in the archives of the monoblogue Accountability Project, I had forgotten that she was relatively conservative by my standards – not enough to be a consistent Legislative All-Star (she was just one time in eight years I covered her) but she had an 85 average and that’s very good for a Maryland politician. (With an average that high, I would be hailing her as a savior in Delaware.)

But what I didn’t see when she went into the Executive Branch was a great deal of conservative innovation. It’s good that her “proudest accomplishment (at DLLR) was guiding Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program,” but I would have rather seen efforts to wrest the state from the grip of its unions by edging it toward right-to-work status or taking a hacksaw to regulations like Donald Trump did at a federal level. And the question I have: is this the record of a conservative?

Member, Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019; Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission, 2019; Small Business Resources and Data Collection Work Group, 2019; Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, 2019-20; P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, 2019-21. Board of Directors, Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture, 2019-22; Animal Waste Technology Fund Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Aviation Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Bainbridge Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Coast Smart Council, 2019-22; Correctional Education Council, 2019-22; Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, 2019-22; Maryland Cybersecurity Council, 2019-22; Interagency Disabilities Board, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Commission, 2019-22; Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund Authority, 2019-22; Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities, 2019-22; Interagency Food Desert Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Green Purchasing Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, 2019-22; State Highway Access Valuation Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, 2019-22; Maryland Manufacturing Advisory Board, 2019-22; Council on Open Data, 2019-22; Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, 2019-22; Maryland Port Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Public-Private Partnership Marketing Corporation, 2019- (chair, 2019). Executive Board, Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting, 2019-22; Renewable Fuels Incentive Board, 2019-22; Rural Maryland Council, 2019-22; Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, 2019-22. Board of Regents, University System of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Workforce Development Board, 2019-22; Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019-22.

Member, COVID-19 Small Business Task Force, Baltimore City, 2020; Task Force on the Economic Future of Western Maryland, 2020-22; Maryland Food System Resiliency Council, 2021-22; Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission, 2021-22; Maryland Semiquincentennial Commission, 2021-22; Work Group to Study the Transformation of Manufacturing in Maryland’s Emerging Digital Economy, 2021-22.

Maryland Manual online, accessed March 22, 2022.

Granted, I’m sure most of these are ex officio positions she gathered as the Secretary, but no one said she had to accept a position on the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities or the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council. Her acceptance to me equates with support.

That’s not to say I’m the biggest fan of Daniel Cox, who has styled himself as something of a Trump fanboy. But if you drive around on the back roads of Dorchester County that I frequent on a regular basis on the way to my in-laws’ house, you see a lot of Trump paraphrenalia and a lot of Cox for Governor signs. (Not many people go through Eldorado or Rhodesdale, but I do.) It’s a slice of the electorate that probably won’t turn out for someone endorsed by Larry Hogan because they can’t stand what he’s become. While many were pushed over the edge by the bad blood between Larry Hogan and Donald Trump, they were placed at the precipice like I was after our side was quickly sold out by Hogan to the environmentalists who saddled farmers with onerous phosphorus regulations and later saw Larry kill a golden opportunity for economic growth with an ill-advised fracking ban. So Hogan’s support is electoral poison in those quarters.

Certainly there will be those who say that their staying home and not backing Kelly Schulz will ensure Democratic victory in November. But then again, the same prediction of GOP doom holds true if Cox wins so why not stand up for what you believe?

And people wonder why some of us are so fed up with the system?

Odds and ends number 109

Because I did quite a bit of e-mail list pruning over the holidays – it was easier than shedding those holiday pounds, which are still there – it took a little longer for me to find compelling items I wanted to spend anywhere from a couple sentences to a couple paragraphs on. So here we go again.

A cure for insomnia

You may not have noticed this while you were putting on pounds and using your gas-guzzling vehicle to drive around and buy holiday gifts, but Delaware now has a Climate Action Plan. Of course, it involves the folly of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions – as if our little state will make much of a difference on that front – and actions they term as “maximize resilience to climate change impacts.” They fret that “Delaware has already experienced over 1 foot of sea level rise at the Lewes tide gauge since 1900. By midcentury, sea levels are projected to rise another 9 to 23 inches and, by 2100, up to an additional 5 feet.” These are the people who can’t tell you if it will snow in two weeks but they’re sure of this one. Moreover, these assertions were easily swatted out of the park.

The only climate action plan we need is to first follow Virginia’s lead and ditch the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, since that’s simply a wealth transfer mechanism from middle-class pockets to utilities to government to entities they deem as those in need of “equity.” After that, it’s time to repeal every last renewable energy mandate and get back to reliable power, not dependence on arbitrary and capricious wind and sunshine for our electricity. The dirty little secret is that we need those fossil fuel plants as backup anyway so we may as well get our use out of them. Don’t believe me? Well, the Caesar Rodney Institute agrees:

Did you know Delaware has been mandating wind and solar power in addition to providing subsidies for both for over a decade? In 2021, the mandate required 21% power from wind and solar, increasing to 40% by 2035. So far, 90% of the wind and solar mandate is being met with out-of-state generation, with only 2% of electric demand met by in-state solar. At night, when it’s cloudy, and in winter, when solar power drops 40% compared to summer, reliable power is needed for backup.

“What Delaware Needs in State Electric Power Generation?”, Caesar Rodney Institute, December 26, 2021.

So we are subsidizing other states. Unfortunately, we are probably in the same boat for awhile but, rather than muck up the shipping lanes entering Delaware Bay with useless wind turbines or put hundreds of acres out of use for agriculture with ugly (and generally Chinese-made) solar panel farms, we could just build a series of natural gas generating plants with a minimal infrastructure investment in additional or expanded pipelines. It’s the better way.

Losing the hand

If you recall the 2010 election, the Beltway pundits bemoaned a missed opportunity in Delaware because Mike Castle lost in the Republican primary to TEA Party favorite Christine O’Donnell. (Some guy wrote part of a chapter in a book about this.) After their favored candidate lost, the Delaware GOP establishment took their ball and went home, resulting in a schism that still occasionally pops up to this day.

Well, Mike is back in the news as he was recently selected to be part of the board at A Better Delaware. As they describe it:

During 40 years in public office, Gov. Castle served two terms as governor, from 1985 to 1992, before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for nine terms. While in Congress, he served on the Financial Services Committee and on the Education and Labor Committee and was a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and working across party lines to build bridges and form coalitions to find pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing problems.

“Former Gov. Mike Castle Joins A Better Delaware Board,” January 18, 2022.

What do we get when we reach across party lines? Our arm ripped off and beaten with it. Democrats in Delaware have zero interest in working with Republicans (let alone the conservatives who need to be in charge) so I don’t see the use of this relic who exemplifies everything that frustrates common-sense Delawareans about the Delaware GOP. If you want A Better Delaware, you need to elect people vowing to do whatever it takes to undo the forty years’ worth of damage done by the Democrats. They can shut up and sit down for awhile.

But it would be cool if Christine O’Donnell took a job there.

Tone-deaf

Anymore I use part of my odds and ends to pick on that crazy one from South Dakota, Rick Weiland. (You thought I would say Kristi Noem?) Just two weeks ago he wrote, “It has never been more important for the Biden administration and Congress to go bold and make sure everyone has enough high-quality masks to protect themselves and others.” Weiland was advocating for some boondoggle called the Masks for All Act.

Of course, we all know that two weeks later mask mandates were being dropped all over the blue-state country by Democrat governors who claimed to be following the science, and they did… right up to the point where the “science” affected their chances of holding on to any sort of power. It’s all about power, folks, and don’t you forget it.

But Weiland is the same nut who rails on about “insurrectionists” in Congress and deplatforming Fox News because it, “consistently downplays the seriousness of the pandemic, while amplifying risky treatment alternatives like ivermectin (and) is allowed to spew disinformation directly into the homes of millions of Americans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” Yet people take this stuff seriously. I just thought you needed a good laugh.

Invading the Shore

Speaking of crazy people…

It took awhile, but now we seem to have a branch of Indivisible of our very own on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. “We are IndivisibleShore,” they write, “and are here to help you help progressive candidates win elections in Maryland, specifically The Eastern Shore and Eastern parts of the Western Shore.”

Well, that’s about the last thing they need – talk about an invasive species. Besides the Zoom training sessions, they also promise, “We have phone banking, door knocking (when safe) and postcard writing available. We also will be sponsoring music events and get togethers when safe.” One out of five ain’t bad if the band is halfway decent, as I’m quite aware that most musicians are on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

This guy gets it

Now we can come back to sanity.

One thing I recommend reading (or hearing, since it’s a brief weekly podcast) is the Castle Report. While Donald Trump was a fine president, I think Castle would have been Donald Trump on steroids when it came to trimming the government back to Constitutional levels (provided he had a like-minded Congress.) He’s the reason I joined the Constitution Party here in Delaware. (And somehow I’ve managed in one article to talk about two different guys surnamed Castle. Odd. Or maybe an end.)

This week he talked about the Canadian truckers’ convoy and it’s one of his best. One thing to ponder from his piece – ask yourself who this sounds like:

So, who is this man, Justin Trudeau, and what are his qualifications to hold the office of Prime Minister of Canada? Other than the fact that he was elected by a majority of Canadian voters, he has only one qualification and that is he is the son of the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Pierre was of military age during World War ll but declined to serve. He built his fortune and his political career at home while Canadians were dying on the battlefields of Europe. Pierre was apparently a devout communist and never met or even heard of a murderous, dictator he didn’t love. He went to the Soviet Union to participate in the great achievements of Joseph Stalin. He wrote glowing praises of Mao’s regime in China. He had a friendly relationship with Castro and visited with him in Cuba. Some of the praise he heaped on Stalin was of new Russian cities built from the rubble of the great war, but he never mentioned the many thousands of slaves who died building those cities.

Justin seems to have nothing to recommend him to Canadians except he follows in his father’s communist footsteps. What, I wonder, is his own merit or his own achievement? He has no scholarly achievement, no publications to his name, no business experience, but he is an accepted legacy, member of the global ruling elite and, therefore, protected.

For example, as a young man, he often appeared in blackface and sang the Harry Belafonte classic, The Banana Boat Song. He now says he considers that racist but no resignation, and no groveling apology. He is also free to call the truckers racists because one truck flew a Confederate flag.

“Unacceptable Views”, Darrell Castle, The Castle Report, February 11, 2022.

It’s worth mentioning that the Canadians are just the first, as other nations have gotten into the act. But imagine this: thousands of everyday Canadians lined Canada’s main highway east from British Columbia to cheer these truckers on, in subfreezing weather. It was a little bit like a Trump rally in terms of enthusiasm, but instead of a political figure these folks were there for a political statement and not the opportunity to glom onto celebrity. That’s a key difference. Let’s pray for their success.

Play ball!

While the major leaguers are locked out and almost certainly won’t begin spring training on time, our Delmarva Shorebirds are on track to begin their spring training on February 28 and begin the regular season April 8, as they are unaffected by the lockout. There are lots of reasons to go to the ballpark already, but the Shorebirds have an interesting promotional schedule worth checking out.

It’s a good way to bring this 109th edition of odds and ends to a close.

The Free State speed bump

Since Delaware doesn’t have a U.S. Senate race on tap this time around, I haven’t been paying much attention to that aspect of the political world. But then I saw a name that, like a blast from the past, caused me to notice Maryland’s U.S. Senate race. Unfortunately, it’s sort of for the wrong reasons.

As is often the case in Democrat-dominated Maryland, the federal races are dotted with a collection of crackpots and perennial candidates. Some of them on the Democrat side are probably on the ballot with the thinking that, hey, maybe if the guy dies after the filing deadline but before the primary I could get into Congress. That makes a wee bit of sense when you think about it, but I’m not sure why there are those same type of candidates on the GOP side since they haven’t won a statewide federal race in over thirty years.

I have learned over the years that most of these guys who are on the federal ballot are running on a shoestring, and as such have no FEC account. That sort of bankroll may have worked for New Jersey’s Edward Durr in a small State Senate district, but that ain’t happening statewide – especially when the incumbent has a mid-seven figure war chest he probably won’t even have to tap. Thus, there’s not much you can argue about the chances of George Davis, Nnabu Eze (who ran before in 2018), or John Thormann, as none of them have an active FEC account at this time – and it’s getting a little late to start one.

And those who do? Hoo boy….

This piece is an introduction to Jon McGreevey, also spelled McGreevy, who apparently also goes by the name Ryan Dark White. All that was getting into tl:dr territory, so make up your own mind since he has defenders, too. Whatever he goes by, McGreevey has an FEC account with no reported receipts, disbursements, or cash on hand.

(Remember, the incumbent has, in order for the last reporting period, $5,363,914 in receipts, $1,910,932 in disbursements, and $3,932,023 cash on hand.)

And then you have John Berman, who comes from the Rocky De La Fuente school of running for Senate in several states at the same time – he’s running in Ohio and Wisconsin so Maryland must be a betting hedge. However, Berman has not actually filed in Maryland (but has the empty FEC account just in case.)

So, compared to all that, fellow GOP Senate hopeful James Tarantin sounds relatively sane. Naive – which may be a good thing – but sane. And his message is simple: “I wish to be a public servant because I want to Heal America.” He also has an FEC account and – surprise, surprise – there’s a little bit of money in it. Maybe enough for a good State Senate race, but you have to start somewhere. And that’s the state of play for the Republican Party in Maryland, which is why I saw the name Diana Waterman come across my e-mail. And this is what she said. (The e-mail has lots of ellipsis.)

Marylanders are looking for elected officials who can understand what they encounter in their day to day lives…someone who has struggled to make ends meet but through hard work has been successful….someone who understands and values the importance of family and the role of family in creating a responsible and caring future generation…and someone who will work hard every day to try to make a better world for all Marylanders. James Tarantin is that person.

James believes that it is time to retire career politicians and put our government back in the hands of the people. 

He truly wants to be the voice of the people so that he can help them to fulfill their dreams. 

I know James will work tirelessly to represent all Marylanders in DC.

Diana Waterman, former MDGOP state party chair and former MFRW president.

I can vouch for the first statement, since I don’t think he’s run for anything before. So why not run in a statewide election? After all, someone has to get that 35% of the vote a Republican with no money will automatically get in Maryland.

There is one other unique thing about that Senate race: insofar as I know, there is no “Trump-lite” candidate out there like there is in the governor’s race (Dan Cox.) So the Maryland Republicans can hash it out among themselves and see if they can somehow find lightning in a bottle.

The problem with this cycle in Maryland is that all the other statewide offices come up this year as part of the state’s rather unique four-year election cycle, so no one can run from the cover of holding office this time around. In order to run for the Senate you would have to give up what’s likely a rather safe seat and place in the minority. In presidential years you may see a popular GOP officeholder or two stick their neck out to run for federal office, but not in a state office year. Add to that the feeling that the state GOP was hoping in their heart of hearts that Larry Hogan would take a shot at the seat and it explains the shallowness of the field. If Hogan somehow decided to jump in tomorrow with a late entry, ninety percent of Tarantin’s endorsers would withdraw their statements to back Larry – we all know it.

And this goes back to the shallowness of the GOP bench in Maryland. While Larry Hogan managed to win two terms as governor, arguably the state party is worse off than it was when he began in 2015. That weakness is manifesting itself in a race like the Senate contest.

Book review: Sheriff Mike Lewis – Constitutional. Uncanceled. by Haven Simmons

This book came out last month, and it’s an intriguing one.
Cover image via Amazon.

One would think I don’t read books anymore, and to be honest I had no idea it had been over a half-decade since I reviewed one here on monoblogue. However, I believed this would be an interesting tome with which to renew the tradition, given the local connection of both subject and author, a retired communication professor from Salisbury University.

Moreover, I thought I could shine a unique light on the book as both a published author myself – someone who knows what it’s like to put together a book requiring hours of research and attempting to make it palatable to a reader who wishes to know more about the subject – and as a former constituent and eventual supporter of the title subject. There were quite a few names familiar to me dropped within the book; as one would imagine that drove a lot of my interest in reading a volume that my wife actually purchased for her enjoyment. (It’s why I’m waiting a week or so to put out this review so as not to give her any spoilers.)

Mike Lewis, however, was not just my sheriff when I lived in Wicomico County before crossing over to Delaware two-plus years ago. Arguably the national platform for drug interdiction and Second Amendment support he’s created via his frequent media appearances make Lewis the third-most recognizable figure of his generation with a Salisbury-area background, trailing only Terminator series actress Linda Hamilton and longtime Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel.

Furthermore, not only are Lewis and I almost perfect contemporaries in age and upbringing as we were both born in the same year and have at least some (in my case) amount of rural background, there’s always been that political aspect surrounding him – once he became a household word in Wicomico during his first campaign in 2006, swamping a four-person GOP primary field with 59.7% of the vote then winning handily that November, Mike got to a point where supporters would have jumped at the chance to help elect him to any higher office he wanted. One interesting tidbit I found in SMLCU is that he once promised his wife he would only serve two terms as Sheriff, but instead filed for a fifth last year. Should he be re-elected in 2022, though, he would match his immediate predecessor, the late Sheriff Hunter Nelms, with five electoral victories. Coming back for a sixth term in 2026 would give Lewis the opportunity to serve even longer than Nelms’s 22 years on the job. (An old-school conservative Democrat, Hunter was appointed in 1984 to finish an unexpired term and served through the 2006 election, where he opted not to seek another term.)

In an epilogue describing his book, Simmons recounts the three themes he was attempting to address: first, Lewis’s ambitions and accomplishments, second, those things that the policing profession entails, and lastly, “the big picture of government and the greater society that places law enforcement in a crucial, albeit vulnerable and often underappreciated position.” Out of the three, the book scores well on the first and last parts, but becomes a bit of a drag on the second portion, much of which comes out as a laundry list of offenses that takes up the book’s second, lengthy chapter – 66 pages out of a book that’s 177 pages, excluding epilogue, acknowledgements, end notes, and photos. (That extra material brings the book to 221 pages overall.)

The problem with that second chapter is that dozens of arrests are detailed, including one I really didn’t need a reminder of – the embarrassing Julie Brewington DUI incident from 2018. (I served with Brewington, a TEA Party leader in Wicomico, for my final two years on the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee.) This list could have been honed down to perhaps a couple dozen of the biggest ones, and the final part of the chapter that mainly deals with incidents in the local schools and at Salisbury University should have been a standalone chapter, particularly as the book then transitions into the seminal case that has occurred under Lewis’s watch: the Sarah Foxwell murder case from Christmas 2009. (One departure from the book: while Lewis talks about tying yellow ribbons to mailboxes to denote yards that had been searched by property owners, I distinctly recall they were asking for red shirts or rags because I remember tying one of my old red shirts to a wagon wheel we kept at the end of the driveway where we then lived in the Foxwell search area so they knew we had checked our property. Perhaps – surprisingly – Mike’s memory is less clear than mine on that one, or maybe it was an either/or situation since most houses don’t have yellow ribbon on hand.)

However, once that slog of a second chapter is complete, the book moves along at a nice pace through the time period and events that made Lewis a household name among county sheriffs nationwide, among them the Foxwell case, assisting at the Baltimore riots in 2015 and becoming an impromptu spokesman for the police gathered there, and Mike’s advocacy for the Second Amendment. We also get a glimpse of then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign stop in nearby Berlin and the fact that Lewis initially backed Marco Rubio in the race thanks to a previous encounter with him on a drug interdiction fact-finding mission to South America.

SMLCU also gets its share of ink from a couple local politicians, most notably former Wicomico State’s Attorney turned Circuit Court Judge Matt Maciarello and State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, who gushed that, “Mike Lewis was and is the real deal when it comes to defining a top cop – a leader through and through, who day in and day out, leads by example.” While Wicomico County has strong leadership in that regard, it should be pointed out that there was a modest write-in campaign against him in 2018 that netted perhaps 7% of the vote – most likely from malcontents in the local “defund the police” crowd who don’t like Lewis’s aggressive stance toward crimefighting. I have news for them: it’s clear from this book that he doesn’t like them, either.

Unfortunately, all books have a cutoff date for production and printing, so one loose end that would have been worth following up and asking more about was the effort by Lewis to declare Wicomico County a Second Amendment preservation county last year. It ends with a vow to reintroduce the legislation this year, but the question is whether the county would take up something like that in an election year. There were a lot of disappointed people when Lewis backed away from the bill, which many believe is necessary as a counterweight to the overbearing government in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. The book quotes former Delegate Don Dwyer as claiming, “The role of the sheriff is to be an interposer between the law and the citizen.” Added Dwyer, “Sheriffs do have the power to nullify or ignore a law if it is unconstitutional.” Pointed out several times in the book is the fact the sheriff (as opposed to a police chief) is an elected official, thus the public trust is placed upon the officeholder with the accountability of election always in the background.

In sum, a tidier book may have gotten the point across with more brevity, but overall this is an interesting look at a law enforcement officer who has perhaps gone out of his way to have an outsized influence on people both inside and outside his chosen profession. I recall when Mike was first running that I worried about his outside interests:

Lewis is a wonderful teacher. I sat in last month’s WCRC meeting and was fascinated by Mike’s presentation. I’m not a cop but I learned a lot about traffic stops and drug interdiction from just 20 or 30 minutes listening to him speak. Had Hunter Nelms decided to run for another term, I’m certain Mike Lewis would be starting a second career traveling the country and even internationally as a teacher and expert on drug interdiction. It almost seems like a waste having him as a county sheriff when he could do a great job and touch many more people with a career path like he was contemplating.

For Wicomico County Sheriff,” August 20, 2006.

As it turns out, he was more of a multitasker than I gave him credit for – since I endorsed his chief Republican opponent for the primary before backing Lewis in the general – and the book overcomes its flaws to make most of those points.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I am (indirectly) quoted in this book as “a blogger.” Simmons quoted a blog post I did in 2013 at the Second Amendment townhall meeting held by Lewis, which is also credited in the end notes. I guess, thanks to this review, Haven now gets unsolicited advice for a second edition of this book should one come about.

The perils of redistricting

I noticed on the news the other day that my home state of Ohio had its proposed Congressional redistricting map tossed out by a 4-3 Ohio Supreme Court ruling, with the Republican chief justice joining the three Democrat justices in claiming the map was, “a plan that is infused with undue partisan bias and that is incomprehensibly more extremely biased than the 2011 plan that it replaced.”

I’m going to be the first to admit that the Ohio Republicans in 2010, after being infused with the energy of the TEA Party, made it their mission to wipe out Democrat representation. One memorable piece of gerrymandering was shoestringing the Toledo-based Ninth Congressional District (my former home district) along the south shore of Lake Erie to the edge of Cleveland in order to place two Democrat representatives, Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich, in the same district. When both sought the seat in 2012, Kaptur prevailed and all but ended Kucinich’s political career.

So the Republicans have to go back to the drawing board, and in an interesting twist of state law, maps that pass without bipartisan support may only be left in place for four years. And the Ohio ruling gave yet more ammunition to Democrats to claim we need a national standard – enter my old uber-regressive friend Rick Weiland, who e-mailed me to say:

Republicans are only months away from rigging a decade of elections.

(snip)

In 2016, the Democratic governor of North Carolina won re-election with 51% of the vote, the same year Donald Trump won the presidency with slightly less than 51%. Yet, even though Democrats are winning approximately 50% of the votes statewide, they’re still ending up in a permanent minority in the state legislature.

Thanks to all of our hard work, Georgia has become a quintessential battleground state. But thanks to Republican gerrymandering, Republicans are expected to win 9 or 10 of Georgia’s 14 congressional seats. In Gwinnett County, Georgia, which has seen its demographics shift from 90% white in 1990 to 30% white today, this is not at all recognized by the maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature.

And, in Ohio, where Republicans win about 53% of the vote, the GOP is favored to win 80% of congressional seats.

“Freedom to Vote Act would ban partisan gerrymandering,” e-mail from Rick Weiland, January 11, 2022.

You can throw out that last sentence for the moment. But let’s talk about how people vote, and I’m going to take a look at Maryland for the moment because, unlike Delaware, they actually have Congressional districts.

In the last three Congressional elections, this is the share of the aggregate Congressional vote each party has received in the state of Maryland.

  • 2020: Democrats 64.7%, Republicans 34.8%, others 0.4%
  • 2018: Democrats 65.3%, Republicans 32.3%, others 2.4%
  • 2016: Democrats 60.4%, Republicans 35.5%, others 4.0%

In that time period, Democrats have held consistent around 55% of registered voters, while the GOP slipped slightly but stayed around 25%. Given that ratio one can assume unaffiliated voters split roughly 50-50, although in 2016 it looks like they tilted somewhat toward the GOP and slightly favored Democrats in 2018. (Another factor: there were fewer third party aspirants on the 2020 ballot, as the Libertarians and Greens didn’t field candidates. That may have had something to do with ballot access issues for the minor parties in Maryland, which has a stricter criteria for access than Delaware does.)

To make a long story short, in a given election between two candidates statewide in Maryland the split should run 65-35 in favor of the Democrats – in fact, 2020 was a perfect example of this. However, when you split the state into districts you’ll find that there are pockets of heavier Republican registration, and in 2010 the Democrats (who control redistricting) chose to pack as many Republican stalwarts as possible into the First District by switching portions of GOP-dominated Carroll County into the First and burying the rest in a tide of MoCo Democrats by placing it in the Eighth. This was done in order to swamp the formerly-Republican Sixth District in a separate crush of MoCo Democrats by eliminating its Frederick and Carroll county portions and instead thrusting it further into MoCo. (And as I’ll note momentarily, it worked.)

In the 2010 district map, centrist Anne Arundel County was mercilessly jigsawed into four different districts, while the more populous Democrat enclaves of Baltimore City and Montgomery County were sliced into three and Prince George’s into a hacksawed two based on the party’s need for dominance, maintaining through the decade a 7-1 advantage gained when the Sixth District flipped from Republican to Democrat thanks to the additional leftist MoCo voters. Once the map was approved, all but one of the changes in Maryland’s Congressional delegation during the decade came from retirement or death, as the only incumbent to lose at the ballot box was Sixth District Republican Roscoe Bartlett in 2012 – the chosen victim of Democrat redistricting. The same occurred in 2002 after that round of Democrat-controlled redistricting, when the Second District seat previously held by Bob Ehrlich (who won his run for governor) and Eighth District seat held by Connie Morella (who lost a re-election bid) flipped, changing Maryland from a 4-4 state to a 6-2 Democrat state. Aside from the Democrats gaining the First District for a term with Frank Kratovil in 2008 before he lost to Andy Harris, that’s the way it stayed.

This time around it’s the aforementioned Republican Andy Harris who is the target of Democrats, as they opted to not pack Republicans into the First and instead brought it back close to the configuration that gave the First District Kratovil in 2008 as part of Anne Arundel was once again placed in the First. (Additionally, Harris no longer lives in the district, which is now completely outside his home in Baltimore County.) Anne Arundel gets a slight break this time, though, as they are only in three districts, as is Baltimore City. MoCo now has the distinction of being cut in jagged fourths by the map.

By comparison, the map presented by Governor Larry Hogan’s redistricting committee (made up of equal portions Republicans, Democrats, and independents) came up with a Congressional map that respected county boundaries as much as possible. No county was chopped into more than three districts: in Baltimore County, only the extreme southern tip was placed in the city-centric Seventh District while the rest went into a Second District exclusive to the county and the First District. Meanwhile, Montgomery County had its own district in the Eighth, with a little piece of the western end of the county staying in the Sixth District (as has been traditional) and the rest – a slice along its eastern border – joining the northern half of Prince George’s County in the Fourth District. But since that would likely be a 6-2 Democrat split, it wasn’t good enough for the rabidly partisan General Assembly – never mind that a truly representative state of Maryland would probably shake out as a 5-3 Democrat majority based on their voting pattern.

(As you’ll see in its 160-plus pages, this Hogan redistricting committee proposal also covered state legislative districts, with the key change the elimination of multiple-member Delegate districts. The Democrats hated that, too.)

In circling back to Weiland’s plea – which echoes that of the most rabid Congressional Democrats – one has to wonder where the energy for leading by example went to. What happened to criticism of states like Maryland, Illinois, or California, where Republicans are gerrymandered out of any semblance of power? This is particularly true when Marylanders were presented with an alternative that was more fair.

The problem with pretty much any district map done geographically is that keeping things compact and contiguous means that you get urban areas that vote 90% Democrat (and have enough population for a district of their own) surrounded by suburban and rural areas that swing 70-30 or more the other way. To take a state like Ohio, you could easily get a 10-5 Republican split by just keeping the large three-C (Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland) urban counties in their own districts, plus maybe one that combines the Akron/Canton/Youngstown area and one based in Toledo. Just divide the rest of the state 10 ways, and it could pass muster geographically. Move north into Michigan: give the city of Detroit its own district and split up the suburbs into thirds or fourths – those are your D districts in Michigan. Given the size of the other cities in the state, there’s not enough urban area for a Democrat-dominated district.

(Turns out they were pretty close, giving Detroit two districts and the suburbs three, including combining the downriver Detroit suburbs and Ann Arbor area for a third strong D district. But the state is being sued by the “Detroit Caucus” because the city lost a seat from the hack job previously in place.)

Perhaps the best example of this approach is in Nebraska, where one district is basically the city of Omaha and close-in suburbs, another is the Omaha exurbs and the college town of Lincoln, and the third is everything else. In theory, all three representatives could now live within about 25 miles of Omaha – but one would have a heckuva district to cover. (The change from before is that the “rest of the state” district now comes close to Omaha – prior to this year the Lincoln district completely surrounded the Omaha one.)

What I do know is that the solution doesn’t lie in Congress. When the hypocrisy of ignoring the beam in your eye to focus on the speck in your brother’s eye (as described in Matthew 7:3) is so rampant there, they aren’t the answer. If the regressives had their way, districts would pinwheel out of urban areas in just such a manner that centrist and Republican voters would be shut out by their urban counterparts – who would also be in charge of counting the votes, and since urban areas always seem to report last, they would know just the margin of “mail-in votes” they need to create.

This is why Congress should not be in charge of their own elections – it’s bad enough what we sometimes have to put up with at the state level.

Will the ground crumble under their feet?

With more and more people crying “let’s go Brandon,” Joe Biden’s poll numbers cratering, and with a Virginia governor’s race (supposedly a bellwether race when Democrats win it) that’s tighter than anyone expected, the Democrats and all their associated special interests are deeply worried about impending doom in the 2022 midterms. They’re so worried, in fact, that I got an intriguing e-mail Saturday from my old foes at Indivisible that started out this way:

Our progressive champions in Congress have fought like hell for us this year. 

For an inclusive recovery that meets the moment. 

For affordable housing. 

For our climate. 

For a path to citizenship.

For lower prescription drug prices.

For affordable childcare.

For a democracy of, by, and for the people. 

How much of it are you willing to give up? How much are you willing to leave unfinished? How many of these things are you willing to let slip away?

Right now, Mitch McConnell and other Trump-loving Republicans are working hard to take it all away and reclaim their congressional majority. And the truth is, unless we start fighting like hell for those members of Congress who fought like hell for us this year, Republicans could win (they only need to win five seats in the House and one in the Senate).

If Republicans are successful, every one of our priorities will be dead on arrival.

Together, we’ve got to start fighting to say we’re not willing to cede any progress. Not one law. Not one priority. Not. One. Inch.

That’s why yesterday, we launched our new electoral program for the 2022 election cycle: Give No Ground. (link added)

“Make sure Republicans don’t get control of Congress next year!”, Indivisible e-mail, October 16, 2021.

In truth, their regressive champions got awful greedy given their lack of a mandate. What they thought was a mandate was really a reaction to a president for whom the media had nothing good to say and whose record should have spoken for itself – but hindsight is always 20-20. Meanwhile, the regressive track record during the Biden regime is really, really detrimental to our interests; hence, the horrible polling. So what will they do?

First off, they got their house organ of CNN to write up a puff piece, which explained that:

The list from Indivisible, a grassroots organization with groups across the country, overlaps in part with the campaign committee’s slate. The beneficiaries of its new “Give No Ground” initiative will receive an initial donation to be followed by bespoke investments, potentially including help with voter mobilization, rapid response messaging and outreach in multiple languages.

“Indivisible launches project to protect Democratic incumbents in 2022,” Gregory Krieg, CNN, October 15, 2021.

“Help with voter mobilization”? Good luck with that.

They plan to spend a minimum of $1 million of dark money (that’s not what they say, but that’s what it surely will be) to prop up seven House incumbents from six states as well as Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia. The list from the House is “Reps. Katie Porter and Mike Levin of California, Lucy McBath of Georgia, Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Andy Kim of New Jersey, Antonio Delgado of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.” Except for Cartwright, these representatives came in on the Democrat ripple of 2018, while Cartwright’s district shifted that year due to court-ordered changes in Pennsylvania’s district map. (He was initially elected in 2012.) District changes for this year may make things more difficult for some of these incumbents, but most come from Democrat-dominated states.

It will be interesting to see if the program expands to Maryland once their redistricting is complete. As it stands, the First District (as it’s known at the moment) has longtime Republican Andy Harris seeking a seventh term he once pledged not to seek. (Most likely he’s wishing to be back in the majority again.) While only one Democrat, David Harden, has officially filed against Harris, the odds-on favorite to win that primary is former state legislator and onetime gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, who moved to the Eastern Shore once she lost her race for Maryland’s top spot. She’s been outraising Harris over the last few months but Andy still has plenty of cash on hand, nearly a 2:1 edge. Yet depending on how the district is drawn, there may be additional resources flowing Heather’s way. And yes, she fits right in with those regressives because she checks a lot of their boxes: LGBT female with a very liberal voting record in the Maryland General Assembly over her tenure there.

On the other hand, the situation in Delaware is bad for Republican prospects, as the leading GOP Congressional candidate right now is the one who just lost to incumbent Lisa Blunt Rochester by 17 points 11 months ago. (He did win the votes on Election Day, though – it was the mail-in ballots that provided LBR’s winning margin.) With legislators unable to “run from cover” based on a 4-year term because all 62 seats in the Delaware General Assembly are up in 2022, the question becomes whether anyone will give up a seat for this lottery ticket of a chance.

Worth remembering in all this, though, is that despite Joe Biden’s “victory” in the election last year, he had coattails that were tucked in. A party that was predicted to improve its majority in the House came close to losing it and it took two special elections in the Senate for that majority to be created. (Moreover, for want of about 15,000 votes, David Perdue didn’t get a 50% + 1 majority in his race, which would have made the point moot.) So even if you figure there was an anti-Trump vote in 2020, there’s no Trump on the ballot in 2022. Most of my readers are smart enough to know that Democrats will try to put him there in an attempt to scare independent voters, much as every Republican was a “TEA Party” Republican a decade ago whether we liked them or not.

So here’s hoping that Indivisible wastes all that money. Hey, it will keep a certain class in the Swamp afloat for awhile until they figure out the next grift.

A brief rebuttal

As I alluded to in my last post, I did get a response from Jen Kuznicki in her podcast on August 23 – a podcast I didn’t have a chance to sit down and listen to until last night. (In the interim, she’s done another I haven’t listened to yet.)

Given her response, two things were clear to me: one is that I should have done Jen’s section as a separate post from the part about the Tea Party Express. I think she got bogged down in more of a comparison with the TPX than I had intended to make. My point with them is that they were soliciting money to get consultants rich instead of really helping conservative candidates, and that point remains. Somewhere in the podcast I think Jen mentioned giving money to individual candidates, and I agree with (in fact, encourage) that approach.

The second part is that I probably agree with her assessment on the Republican Party about 70 percent, except there are portions of the country where getting involved in the GOP are more difficult than others. Just as a personal example, I was elected twice as a precinct committeeman in Toledo and surrounding areas and appointed twice. In the one election I was opposed, it was one of maybe a half-dozen contested precinct races in the entire county (out of perhaps 300, since precincts in Lucas County are generally tiny, like a handful of blocks in some cases.) In the cases where I was appointed, the precinct was empty because no one sought the job. I literally lost my election in Precinct P of my ward and immediately got asked if I wanted to represent Precinct Q next door since no one ran there.

In places like that, it would be simpler for a motivated group to take over the party – get enough people elected in home precincts and have the interest to be appointed to other precincts that need people. Then they can have the muscle to get folks elected to the executive committee where the real decisions are made.

On the other hand, my experience in Maryland was that I had to run countywide in order to get a seat at the GOP table. In one respect it was good because it skipped the really low precinct level (otherwise, our county would have had about 50 different elections) but it also made each seat require much more effort in highly competitive areas. In my first election there were seven running for seven seats countywide so I won automatically, but in my last two we had thirteen vying for nine seats. In other places around Maryland, though, there may have been a half-dozen scrambling for just one spot in a particular legislative district – it all depends on how each county does things. I think that’s a factor that can’t be ignored.

There’s also something to be said for political clubs, which are a large factor in some areas and basically ignored in others. Taking over a club can get you influence if you play it right, but it can also lead to a divisive conflict that allows the opposition to get a foothold.

Jen also mentioned author Craig Shirley, who I wasn’t all that familiar with. But in doing a shovel’s worth of digging, I found out he’s now a columnist for Newsmax and recently he did a piece on Reaganism I found interesting. One good pull quote:

For my wife Zorine and I who were foot soldiers in the Reagan Revolution, it began months earlier, possibly years earlier, when in the mind of a young man or young woman, or in Reagan’s mind itself, a spark was ignited and an original thought provoked which said, “Enough is enough. This is my country, and it is being run into the ground and I am not going to take it anymore. Because our ideas are better than their ideas.”

“Reaganism and Understanding It,” Craig Shirley, Newsmax.com, August 16, 2021.

Indeed, I believe our ideas are better than their ideas, which is why I keep doing this. But the one place I may disagree with Jen somewhat is that perhaps we are limiting ourselves too much if we concentrate on taking over one political party. As we have seen over the last twenty years, the fortunes of the Republican Party have ebbed and flowed based on public mood moreso than their philosophy, which has stayed relatively constant. Perhaps a better and concurrent strategy – one which the TEA Party had mixed success with – would be to take over the local boards and commissions to establish a beachhead of good governance, then work up through the system. (It seems like this is the method being attempted by the Patriots for Delaware.) As I’ve said before, governing is the hard part – but it’s harder when the citizenry is apathetic to needed improvements.