Odd and ends #4

Just a bunch of little stuff, not necessarily enough in each part to make a full post. So hopefully the total is greater than the sum of its parts.

First of all, I noticed a week or so ago that the Justice For All? blog was having some issues with Google. It appears Hadley has the blog back up and going but without everything previous to this month. That’s unfortunate because one thing I feature on my blog is what I consider the best of my comments elsewhere (“My Feedback”) and JFA has a bunch of them, which are now dead links.

But Hadley is certainly not alone in his complaint, as Michelle Malkin attests.

If you are familiar with the story of monoblogue, you’ll recall that I once had a Blogger account. But I decided to leave Blogger shortly after a post I did in July of last year, and it was for economic reasons. I really didn’t want to consciously support a company whose employees gave over 95% of their campaign contributions to liberals and their causes. (To that end, you’ll notice I have no Google ads.)

It was through some of the other local blogs that I saw the rechristened “Son of Wal-Mart” (aka House Bill 1510) was defeated in committee. Interestingly enough, the vote was 13-9 to kill the bill. Since I’m all but certain that Democrats are a majority on the committee (as they are in the House of Delegates overall) it has to mean that they were feeling heat from someplace. The $64,000 question is whether it was:

a) the negative press on it, including articles in the Wall Street Journal and mentions on Rush Limbaugh’s show

b) the fact that 2006 is an election year for each and every one of the 188 Senators and Delegates in the General Assembly, not to mention two key statewide races

c) the power of the blogosphere, including myself.

While I’d love to think the answer was c) I think the reality staring Democrats in the face made b) the answer. Even though the vast majority of Democrat seats are likely “safe” because of voting demographics, it’s not totally out of the question for enough seats to flip over to the GOP to enable a re-elected Governor Ehrlich to have his vetoes sustained. It’s bad enough for the Democrats that the gay marriage issue was thrown in their lap by a judge; thus, passing “Son of Wal-Mart” this year would truly energize another conservative base of voters.

Speaking of voting bases, it’s starting to look like the long wait for county offices to attract candidates is over. We now have four candidates for Sheriff and three for county executive. The remaining question is how many people will flock to county council seats, especially with the recent turnaround on annexation.

I think Monday’s WCRC meeting will be an interesting one because of this and other issues.

Once again, if you read this blog on a regular basis you’ll find that I’m very pro-growth. One main reason is that my paycheck depends on people wanting to invest in development, whether of a business or residential nature. And it’s not just Wicomico County, but all over the Eastern Shore and beyond.

In our business, we have a lot of regulations to deal with, mostly of a restrictive nature. Honestly, 95% of them are common sense – one example is having fire-rated tenant separation walls so a fire in one unit is less likely to spread to another. The amount of exemption from certain fire code items you gain by installing sprinklers is another sensible restriction.

But in the case of Wicomico County and the whole growth controversy, I’m a little befuddled. Part of the reason is because I’m a “come here” so I have a short point of reference. In my readings of the local blogs, though, I’ve gathered two important nuggets. One is that somewhere, probably locked away in the most secure vault on the Eastern Shore, is Wicomico County’s master plan. Well, it must be locked away, because to hear the local blogosphere, it’s being ignored!

The other item is the subject of “pipestem” annexations. I was under the impression that Salisbury was attempting to streamline and square off their boundaries. But instead they run their boundaries several miles farther out, extending pipestems like so many tentacles and latching themselves further toward Delaware and other county borders.

It seems to me that it’s much easier to annex land in Maryland than in Ohio, mainly because Ohio has a township form of government for unincorporated areas. So when a city or village expands, there’s automatically a government entity that gets smaller and the township trustees generally fight annexations tooth and nail because it shrinks their tax base. Several times in my home area annexation battles have ended up in court. In one case, the battle was over city sewer and water being extended to unincorporated areas in exchange for not fighting annexation – but the township residents wanted no part of the higher city tax rates and sued the city.

Here in Maryland, it’s almost like Wicomico County has a “whatever…” attitude toward annexation, less area to take care of. Since it seems all the state money to run government comes from the same pot, there’s not a net loss to the county by losing territory, but it’s fewer miles of road to fix or less snow to plow.

Growth is an issue I can see both sides of. To me, it’s not growth that’s the problem, since it’s going to happen if an area is reasonably attractive. We happen to be in an area that has a nice climate and a rural feel that many seek. And it’s my opinion that even doubling the population wouldn’t change that.

County executive candidate Ron Alessi alluded to my concern when he spoke of getting good jobs here. But how can that get done? In a perfect world, each house that’s constructed also gets some place for the homeowner to work, as well as the public facilities necessary to maintain the house’s safety, utilities, accessibility to the job through improved roads, etc., etc. But it sounds like we have shortages of most of the other facets that go into a good community.

Delmarva has some assets to a company looking for a good location to place a factory or other facility. It has a nice location for “quality of life” issues and at least Delaware is somewhat business-friendly. The minuses are transportation needs, since it’s difficult to access a lot of places from here with Chesapeake Bay. But if there’s a company who doesn’t have a lot of time-sensitive issues, we’re as good a place as any to locate, maybe better than most.

Rather than kowtow to every residential developer in the region, what are we doing to get more jobs to the area? I’m not saying we need a Kia plant but someone ought to sell the region better to job providers. (Having a more business-friendly General Assembly would help too.) White-collar corporations could be lured to our area’s proximity to DC and the Northeast – close enough for easy access, far enough away so you don’t smell it.

I’m going to end this overall rant with one close to my heart. I sent and received e-mail from Brian Cleary, who’s the Operations Manager for Clear Channel of Delmarva (they run, among others, 96 Rock.) The subject was this year’s “Thirsty Thursday” band lineup at the Shorebirds games. It pissed me off royally when I read:

Sadly, the Thirsty Thursdays with the Shorebirds this year will not feature live bands … last year, we were able to secure the bands for the Shorebirds. However, for a number of reasons, we backed off playing the local music (ratings the biggest factor – the lack of cooperation and enthusiasm from the local acts one of the others), so those bands aren’t really working with us any more…(i)nstead for this year’s Thirsty Thursdays, we will have Whiskey & Cowboy broadcasting their show at the stadium.

Come on, what could’ve been better than beer, ball, and bands? Leave it to somebody to mess up a good thing.

It’s a very sad state of affairs when this is all the better we can do. One thing I got to love quickly about the area when I moved here was the support the local radio stations gave to regional bands. Instead of playing Nickelback for the 300th time, 96 Rock would play a local band’s song in a semi-regular rotation, plus every week they did “Local Lixx” which was an hour of local music. Now, I know some of the local bands dropped the ball (there’s a larger audience on the Internet, particularly myspace.com) but free airplay is free airplay, people. Do you think I wouldn’t like a plug for this blog on Bill Reddish’s show?

It really sucks because last year’s “Thirsty Thursdays” introduced me to some great groups like Control Freaks, Not Alone, Chowderfoot, and 7 Days Torn, among a host of others. There’s just so many good groups out there in our area that deserve support and another outlet for supporting them has vanished. Instead, we’ll be “entertained” by a wannabe morning crew that happens to be on in the afternoons.

Hopefully I’ll still get to see some good bands at “Beast of the East” this year, but since I think 96 Rock brought those bands in last year, it remains to be seen. No one’s announced yet at the site. The band list for “Pork in the Park” is up already though, they have an interesting assortment of groups.

It’s less than three weeks to the real beginning of spring. When the Shorebirds play and we get the twin weekend events of Pork in the Park and Beast of the East, it’s time to get ready for another fun Delmarva summer!

A buried quote, but it’s true

I actually stumbled across this by accident, reading about former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko running for mayor of Kiev in his native Ukraine.

“Klitschko is young and energetic. Ukraine needs people like him,” said supporter Valentyna Rudenko, 60, waving a small Klitschko campaign flag. “And he lived in America. I want to live like you do in America. He understands what that means.”

Somebody gets it. This woman was born and grew up under the thumb of the Soviet dictatorship, but a small taste of freedom and prosperity makes her want more. It was actually in the sports section of the Comcast website, obviously the hate-America media didn’t catch that quote before the story went out.

Overdue honor

It’s a bit off the beaten track for monoblogue, but this is why I have a “personal stuff” category.

After eight tries, Black Sabbath finally made it to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. For whatever reason, a group cited as a major influence to many of today’s bands couldn’t get into the Rock Hall while contemporary British groups like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were inducted quickly after they were eligible (1996 and 1995 respectively.) A sign of the performers’ respect was that one of the first of the “tribute” CD’s that became popular in the 1990’s was “Nativity in Black”, which featured 12 groups and their versions of classic Sabbath songs from the early ’70’s. But critics and Hall voters turned a deaf ear until this year. (The same goes for fellow 2006 inductee Lynard Skynard, who’s been eligible for a number of years.)

And, unlike the punk icons Sex Pistols, Ozzy Osbourne seemed genuinely honored to be inducted, saying, “I was getting a bit tired of getting my hopes up year after year, but I’m happy we’re finally in. It’s a great honor and hopefully it will lead the way to more heavy-metal acts being inducted.

Sabbath had Ozzy as a frontman for their first eight studio albums, but when he left the group continued with a variety of lead singers, most notably Ronnie James Dio. Some of that turmoil may have been a cause of their delay in getting this overdue honor. But a group that could just as easily turn out a pleasant song even Mom could love (like “Changes” or the instrumental “Laguna Sunrise”) could then put together a cruncher like the familiar “Iron Man.” With the simple drumbeat opening followed by a funeral dirge-like power chord you knew this song was going to be heavier than the humid air on a Delmarva summer day. And people who know me (or pay attention to the albums I put in my Amazon.com column) can figure out I like it heavy.

I had a lot of fun looking up some of the stuff for this, particularly the tour dates. I was shocked to see that Sabbath actually played once at the Civic Center here, December 5, 1981. That would have been the “Mob Rules” tour with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and a week after they played my old hometown of Toledo. I missed that one, must not have had the money since I was a senior in high school at the time and had no job. The Salisbury date was sandwiched between gigs in Philly and Richmond.

One sign that I’m getting old is that a lot of the groups I grew up liking are now or becoming Hall-eligible. AC/DC was the first of this crop to be inducted in 2003. Some of my other faves who I think will get in eventually, based on their body of work:

Metallica will become eligible in 2008. They’re almost certainly a shoo-in.
Judas Priest has been eligible for several years, since about 1998. They’ve had a fair comeback after Rob Halford returned to the group, which might help.
Van Halen became eligible in 2003. But the question: do you induct David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?

There’s a bunch more who have pretty good careers but are sort of iffy as far as the Hall goes.

Iron Maiden became eligible in 2005. I think they should get in before Metallica myself, but Metallica will likely be first.
Alice Cooper’s been eligible since the mid-90’s. But he’s somewhat dismissed as a theatrical rocker more than a musician.
Ted Nugent became eligible as a solo artist in 2000, as part of Amboy Dukes and the MC5 before that. His outspoken conservatism may turn off a lot of the music critics, who lean the other way.
Guns n’ Roses – if “Chinese Democracy” comes out before 2012, they could get in. They are the Boston of Generation X.
Motley Crue – they’ll be eligible in 2008, and their successful comeback might help their cause. They’re among the first of the early ’80’s L.A. metal bands, along with…
Ratt – who had a lot of commercial success, but not a ton of critical acclaim. Also eligible in 2008.
Def Leppard – became eligible in 2005. A little like Black Sabbath in that their early albums were considered their best and later ones more substandard.
KISS – For a group whose gimmick was their face paint and personnas, they put together a great career based on easily accessible hard rock with the occasional ballad tossed in. Not a critic favorite, though, which is why they’ve been eligible since 1998.
Motorhead – Lemmy is God, but he can’t get in the Rock Hall without votes. They’re much more of a success in Europe, which means American critics dismiss them to an extent. I think they’ve been eligible since 2001.

I suppose I can say my piece to them when I go there this summer. I’m taking my vacation in August to that part of Ohio, selected because the Shorebirds play at Lake County that week. Helps to have a stepdaughter live in that area too. It’s funny, I used to live about 100 miles from the Hall and have never been there. But I’ll change that this summer, and thank them for finally giving the best early British metal group (Led Zeppelin = overrated) their due.

Late note: looks like some nice prices on Amazon.com…buy your fill of Sabbath!

Update on HB1510

Since there was an article today in the Daily Times and I found out in looking the bill status up that a hearing on it was held today, it appears that the so-called “son of Wal-Mart” may be gaining traction. (Also a h/t to Duvafiles is in order.)

We can still stop this attempt to drive business out of Maryland. Get informed and get involved.

The first reading bill text and now the fiscal notes are available online.

monoblogue’s first poll

Since everyone else is doing it and I’m curious how Delmarva feels:

I believe this is courtesy of GOP Bloggers. Like I said, “everyone else” is doing it. (Saw this on the Detroit-based American Princess and NYC-based Suitably Flip. Bet I know who does better here.) Now I’ll just have to await the results, assuming it turns out right on this entry.

Oh, also I added more links to the “Let the People Decide” portion of the bloglist, and placed them in some sort of order…although the Maryland U.S. Senate race almost defies order.

Not sure if this will work or not – I had some trouble with it. Let me know if it works for you.

10:00 March 19th edit:

The overall poll has over 10,000 votes – just 8 from monoblogue. Come on Delmarva, I’m disappointed in you! Anyway, here’s the results as of a few moments ago.

Positive votes (would vote for, go in the + column)

1. George Allen – 5,363
2. Rudy Giuliani – 5,123
3. Mitt Romney – 4,017
4. Newt Gingrich – 3,726
5. John McCain – 2,288
6. Sam Brownback – 2,230
7. Mike Huckabee – 2,092
8. Tom Tancredo – 1,952
9. Bill Frist – 1,586
10. George Pataki – 763
11. Chuck Hagel – 563

Negative votes (would NOT vote for, go in the – column)

1. George Allen – 1,771
2. Rudy Giuliani – 2,754
3. Mitt Romney – 2,791
4. Mike Huckabee – 3,130
5. Sam Brownback – 3,335
6. Newt Gingrich – 3,679
7. Tom Tancredo – 3,894
8. Bill Frist – 5,381
9. John McCain – 5,840
10. Chuck Hagel – 5,871
11. George Pataki – 5,883

Thus, including both sets, we get this result:

1. George Allen, +3,592 (+35.3%)
2. Rudy Giuliani, +2,369 (+23.3%)
3. Mitt Romney, +1,226 (+12.1%)
4. Newt Gingrich, +47 (+0.5%)
5. Mike Huckabee, -1,038 (-10.2%)
6. Sam Brownback, -1,105 (-10.9%)
7. Tom Tancredo, -1,942 (-19.1%)
8. John McCain, -3,552 (-34.9%)
9. Bill Frist, -3,795 (-37.3%)
10. George Pataki, -5,120 (-50.3%)
11. Chuck Hagel, -5,308 (-52.2%)

Personally, I would vote for Allen, Gingrich, or Tancredo; and not vote for Giuliani, Romney, Frist, McCain, Hagel, or Pataki. Brownback and Huckabee elicit no feelings either way. But judging by the number of negative votes vs. positive votes (over 14,000 more negatives) I’d have to say the electorate is in a pissy mood. Since I have 6 negatives vs. 3 positives, count me in.

Ongoing 2006 election feature

Since we’re now inside 6 months to the primaries in both Maryland and Delaware, I think it’s time to do a public service and begin to link to various campaign websites of all the candidates I can. Tonight I started with the Maryland U.S. Senate race and linked to the three main contenders – Ben Cardin, Kweisi Mfume, and Michael Steele. If you look to the right at the Bloglist, it’s under the category “Let the people decide.”

I’ll start checking into who has actually filed for what races. My intention is to link with as many of this area’s campaigns as possible. So here’s a list of what I consider “area” campaigns:

Maryland:

United States Senate (what I started tonight)
U.S. Congress – Maryland District 1
All statewide campaigns (Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General)
State Senator and House of Delegates – Districts 37 and 38
County offices in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, and Dorchester counties, particularly County Executive and County Council as applicable to the jurisdiction.

Delaware:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – at-large
State Senate – District 20 (District 21 is not up this year as I understand it)
State Representatives – Districts 38, 39, 40, 41
County offices in Sussex County.

Virginia:

United States Senate
U.S. Congress – Virginia District 2 (covers the Eastern Shore of Virginia).
Most of their races in 2006 appear to be local mayor/council races, they run on an opposite calendar of local/state elections than does Maryland.

If you come across a link I don’t know about (or if you’re a candidate) let me know at my e-mail address here: michael@monoblogue.us. You may recall earlier I linked to a press release from House of Delegates candidate Sonny Bloxom – I’m open to that as well (with certain restrictions.) And it’s a good thing I linked to the press release because otherwise I’d have misspelled his name!

Seriously, it would be great to have all the sites here and make this a “one-stop shop” for election info, so that’s my goal for the campaign season.

Update: I found a batch of new links (added tonight) on a site called politics1.com so a hat tip goes to Ron Gunzberger, who runs the site.

A rant I agree with

I couldn’t have written this better myself. A h/t goes to DetroitPatriotette for turning me on to the post.

I’ve always wondered what happened to the Humphrey wing of the Democrat party. Look at FDR – he came up with much of what’s considered “big government” today, but he wasn’t afraid to prosecute a war to protect our shores when we were attacked. Many of today’s leftist Democrats make Pat Buchanan look like a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Reagan Democrats split away when the Humphrey wing of the party was frozen out of the power structure, and the prevailing mood of the Democrat apparatchik became that of being pro-abortion, anti-gun, anti-military, and anti-God. The Democrats have continued on that course for the last quarter of a century, and it seems to me that the alternative they present is solely to have the federal government do whatever President Bush and the GOP doesn’t want done.

To me, the country really hasn’t moved rightward – the political parties have simply moved leftward and out of touch with the will of the people. Americans still want what they’ve wanted for 200+ years, but few in either party seem to be willing to sacrifice their political power and cede it the the people to allow these things to happen.

Just slightly ahead of my time

On Michelle Malkin’s site I ran across a post regarding suicide bomber threats at NCAA regional basketball or conference tournament sites. Where have I seen that theory before?

It’s a crime!

Thanks to Delmarva Dealings for pointing out the Daily Times printed my letter to the editor yesterday. Now, normally they call me to verify but I guess they must read the blogs and found I “crossposted” it anyway. Thus, I never heard a thing, and I don’t get the print edition here (we do get it where I work.)

What I’d love to know is why the DT editor chopped it up so bad?!? I write a certain way on purpose. Sure it may be wordy, but as Rush Limbaugh would say, “words mean things.” I take plenty of time to write, because I want to type out my thoughts and opinions in a manner that expresses them completely.

However, if you followed the link and you’re discovering monoblogue for the first time, welcome! Glad you’re here. But I’m betting that if you saw that online link to my site on the DT website, you’ve likely already read my blog from being linked in other places. Of course, the more readers I get, the more likely I can get actual paying advertisers to come to my site…that would be cool. At least then I could make my server fee back.

Actually, the real reason I was getting ready to write a post was something I saw on Justice For All? almost a month ago, but it was almost immediately buried in the avalanche of MDE/zoo/Salisbury Water Treatment plant news. It was a 5 part pictorial called “No Gangs in Salisbury.” To refresh your memory:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Despite the fact that the news is old blogwise, it doesn’t mean we are any less likely to see gang trouble this year. No one wants a repeat of last year’s random homicide incident, only this time involving, say, MS-13 or ABM.

As I see it, the main cause of gang problems in Salisbury is not quite what one may think. I recall seeing a news item last year about several incidents where alien workers were robbed but couldn’t or didn’t report these incidents to the police. The reason most theorized is that these workers were here illegally and didn’t want to draw attention to themselves and their crime by reporting a crime perpetrated on them. So they just bore the loss of hundreds of dollars in cash silently.

Many of these laborers speak little or no English, and don’t have bank accounts. Either they are paid in cash or use a secondary vendor to get their checks cashed (Wal-Mart will cash a payroll check for a modest fee.) It’s not been uncommon for me to complete my shopping at Wal-Mart (particularly the one in Fruitland) and find myself behind a group of Mexican laborers who pull out a large wad of cash to pay for their groceries. Obviously this fact isn’t lost on the criminal element, who see these people as an easy target. Knowing that the foreign population generally carries a large amount of cash and is hesitant to report being relieved of it by threat of force, it almost becomes a sport to see who can get the largest amount of ill-gotten gains.

Then the question becomes: what happens to all that loose untraceable cash? A lot of it ends up in the pockets of those who ply the narcotics trade. And where there’s a thriving drug market, there’s generally gang formation. So you begin to see various garages and other buildings “tagged” with gang graffiti marking their turf and sending hidden messages to competing gangs.

One thing I was curious about and I finally looked into tonight was how one can get in touch with the local police and sheriff’s office. In Toledo, there’s an anonymous tip line one can call if they have information on a crime committed (obviously, if one’s in progress, 9-1-1 should be dialed.) But there’s no such thing here. It’s particularly important that one can call in tips anonymously, since dealing with a gang like MS-13 can be dicey.

Now it could be that the criminal investigation sections of the Salisbury PD and Wicomico Sheriff’s Department do handle anonymous tips, but they don’t advertise that kind of service, nor is it known if they’re bilingual. Let’s face it, until some sort of meaningful immigration reform and enforcement is passed on a federal level, Salisbury’s going to be a bilingual city.

The other thing is something that struck me driving along on Saturday. I was driving down Church Street to work and I saw a group of people fixing up a porch. Since they were mostly Caucasian, I didn’t figure they were native to that mostly minority neighborhood. I’m guessing it was a church group who was doing their part to help a less fortunate member of the community.

So why couldn’t a group adopt a block on a Saturday and paint over some of the gang tagging? Have Home Depot or Lowe’s pitch in and donate a few gallons of paint. It could even be the community service element for those who are sentenced to complete community service, still better if they were unruly juveniles who were quite possibly the ones to deface the building in the first place.

It will have to be an ongoing effort, because the gangs will come back a few times. But they eventually lose interest, or more likely, hit another block where their colors will last for a longer time.

I look at it this way. There’s probably as many if not more gang-bangers and wannabes on the streets than there are cops. Generally cops are better armed, but they can’t be everywhere at all times. So the deciding factor in taking care of the gang problem is the citizens. But the citizens generally want to just get along in life and stay out of the way of the gangs – a healthy fear. That creates a condition which perpetuates the problem.

The suggestions I posted here are just a tip of the iceberg. Much needs to be done at all levels of society (notice I didn’t say government) to eradicate the gangs from all sides. The most effective tool to me would be drying up their money supply, but that’s going to take pressure on all levels of the drug trade.

We’re going to have a new sheriff in town come November. First and foremost on his/her agenda is going to be the gang problem, and the remedies prescribed during the campaign will be tested soon after the oath of office is sworn. Let’s hope they work.

Outstanding comment

I just moderated a comment to a previous post that’s likely better than the post itself, so I’ll link back to that post. It was a comment that does a great job of what I like to see comments do: move the conversation forward.

I didn’t want the comment buried in a post that’s several back in the pipeline. That would be a shame because not everyone reads past the first post or two. So here you go.

Reaction to the Daily Times

With the several letters written and published in today’s paper, I decided to add my two cents’ worth. This was mostly because, with the exception of Peter Gerardo who stated he edits a blog, it didn’t appear to me that anyone who wrote actually was a blogger.

So we’ll see if this makes it into print soon. Generally a letter of mine (if published) takes 2-3 days from my computer to their paper, mostly because they call me to verify I wrote it. Look at this as a possible sneak peek of Thursday or Friday’s paper.

To the Editor:

A lot of interesting comments were in the Daily Times recently about the local blogosphere and its effects on the Delmarva political scene. While I’m not one of what I call the “big three” (Delmarva Dealings, Duvafiles, Justice for All?) two of the three are kind enough to link to my site as does The Goldwater’s Oracle. So yes, I am a local blogger.

Blogging is not my “real job.” It’s something I do because I care about my country and my adopted home state and city. I have a number of passionate opinions about political issues and since the paper couldn’t print a daily letter from me, I went out and actually spent the money for server space and a website to call my own. People are free to read it and comment on what they see there, and, except for when they’re not germane to the subject at hand, I’m not afraid to post the comments. My blog also provides me the freedom to write about other subjects near and dear to my heart that aren’t political but I feel strongly about nonetheless.

The other unique thing about blogging is that there’s many different styles. Some have frequent short posts about specific news items, while others are more editorial-style commentary. Mine falls under the latter category. If there’s an item I comment on, I’ll generally link to it so the reader can judge for himself whether my opinion holds water. For example, recently I commented on a pending bill in the General Assembly and linked to the actual text so a reader could get the context.

Recent news items have shown the promise of the blogosphere. There are things that can be improved about our area, and having a source to point them out without going through the established local media or being ignored by an uncaring local government is quite revolutionary. It’s a bit like a Block Watch program, with many eyes keeping a sharp lookout of neighborhood goings-on and reporting to others when things are amiss.

I decided to write this letter because it seemed from those published that, with the exception of Mr. Gerardo who edits a blog, none of the writers had an inside scoop on what goes into one. As there are many styles of blogs, there’s also a vast range of opinions held within them. Yes, my blog features my political viewpoint, but that is stated right on the top. I don’t hide the allegiances I’ve formed or claim to be non-biased.

So, because I’m signing my name at the bottom of this letter, and it’s easy enough to follow a link to reach my site from the aforementioned blogs, it’s apparent that I’m not anonymous, either. My goal is to have a well-written, persuasive blog with both news and views. Follow the links and tell me if I’m succeeding – I welcome the feedback.

Michael Swartz
Salisbury

Speaking of feedback, I had some not-so-nice things said about me regarding my last post. The funny thing is, I still link to his website. Go ahead and take a gander at what he says on his site, then tell me I don’t get a variety of viewpoints.

Another one to stop

I was doing research for a comment I was going to submit to another website and ran across an interview Senate candidate (and Congressman) Ben Cardin did with a “friendly” site (MyDD.com) and interviewer Jonathan Singer. What leaped off the page at me was this quote:

Singer: Now let’s look at something specific to your state of Maryland. Your state legislature enacted a plan that would mandate that large companies, like Wall Mart (sic), provide at least some healthcare benefits, either directly to workers or through contributions to the state program. Should Congress look at a similar plan?

Cardin: Congress should pass a program that provides for universal health insurance coverage.

It is not acceptable for us to have 45 to 47 million Americans without health insurance. It’s not fair for those who have health insurance to pay for those who do not have health insurance. That was the frustration in Maryland, where you had companies that were not only paying for their own employees but literally paying for their competitors’ employees because of the extra cost for the uninsured.

So the Congress should pass legislation that guarantees that every person in this country has health insurance, and it’s in every one of our interests that that be done.

I wonder if he knows James Hubbard? So, not only would we get tagged with higher taxes and a health insurance mandate here in Maryland if HB1510 passes, but if Cardin wins (and remember, his term would extend beyond the 2008 presidential election and could be the same time as Hillary’s re-election) we might have the same thing nationwide.

Spread the misery around: the unofficial credo of the Democrats.