Perhaps the pro-liberty crowd is still a little restless in Maryland.
Today I got an e-mail from “the Susquehanna Conservative,” a.k.a. Scott DeLong of Harford County. Let me toss out a couple caveats before I begin with my analysis of his remarks: one, he was a Collins Bailey supporter for Chair as I was, and two, Scott is part of the Campaign for Liberty group, which probably makes point number one unsurprising since that was Bailey’s base of support. This rather lengthy e-mail mainly speaks to Scott’s thoughts about our recent convention, although he opines on some other topics as well.
Upon his arrival, he noticed the same thing I did: a handful of Waterman signs but many passionate Bailey supporters out sign waving. Of course, he also highlighted the Maryland Liberty PAC hospitality room to a much greater extent than I did, because I went to several others in my travels that evening. I didn’t realize, for example, that Delegate Michael Smigiel spoke to the group and the information Smigiel related about the SB281 gun bill was quite enlightening. I truly appreciated the overview and wonder if anyone recorded all of the speakers there for future reference.
And since I’m sure I have the attention of the pro-liberty crowd – and hopefully the MDGOP leadership as well – I’d like to offer a suggestion. I’ve alluded to this before, but honestly I’m not sure I have done so in this particular forum: why not move the Maryland Liberty PAC suite out of Friday night, when the focus is more on socializing and schmoozing, to Saturday morning? As DeLong explained later, not all of the Saturday morning fare was well-attended, and to me it would be like a miniature MDCAN conference before our convention business began. Perhaps we could integrate a continental breakfast into it, but in either case I bet it would draw more than seven people.
So only a small portion of Scott’s reflections focused on Friday night. The next part, though, I found interesting. To quote Scott, “It was the Establishment versus 2 grassroots candidates,” but by the very next paragraph he darkly alludes that “The Establishment was going to pull out all the stops to make sure their candidate, Waterman, would win” by “Thugging The Vote.”
Personally I found what I heard to be happening reprehensible, then again, this is politics and “politics ain’t beanbag.” While we had a proxy unsure of the direction to go, having heard conflicting information about following the wishes of the person being substituted for versus following their own desire, I was hearing some of the same stories being related by DeLong in his account.
So let me back up the scenario a little bit. In previous discussions, Dave Parker (our county Chair) and I agreed that our county’s vote could easily (and likely would) split three ways. I actually was mildly surprised by the split as one person I thought of as a Waterman supporter picked Bailey and one other did the reverse. In the end, we were about as split as any county was – but our Chair was perfectly fine with that, and allowed us to make up our own mind.
Contrast that to the browbeating some county chairs gave to their charges, particularly those in the Waterman camp. It was disappointing, but frankly not too surprising. They weren’t going to repeat the same mistakes they made when they thought Audrey Scott had the National Committeewoman’s seat in the bag last spring. Granted, the three votes DeLong alludes to would not have changed the end result – unless it was the tip of the iceberg, and we may never really know that.
But after Scott goes through the voting process, he points out some of the goings-on between ballots for the Chair position:
The chain of events after the first round of balloting for Chairman was interesting.
The Kline and Bailey camps appeared to be genuinely cordial to one another.
It was reported that during that pow-wow that when Kline was deciding what to do that Bailey told him that if he thought he should stay in for one more round, he should.
That’s just Collins being Collins.
However, if one of their goals was to get a grassroots chair and get Pope off the RNC Rules Committee, then the Kline team really needed to be able to see the writing on the wall.
The only thing that would be accomplished with Kline remaining in the race would be the election of Diana Waterman as Chairman since she was 11 votes away and it would be virtually impossible for Kline to get enough to get close.
The Bailey team was prepared to endorse Kline had the outcome been reversed.
The supporters of these two groups clearly had more in common with each other than with Waterman and Pope.
Had either become the Chairman the other groups would have certainly had a seat at the table and would have had their ideas and input considered, and if found workable, implemented.
The Kline guys seemed like a decent bunch, but they clearly need to get better at reading the tea leaves.
Now that last statement will probably earn Scott DeLong the everlasting enmity of the Red Maryland crew, for whom I am an erstwhile contributor (as they like to point out.) One result of this particular election, though, is that it may create a change in the bylaws or the adoption in the future of a special rule where the lowest-ranked candidate is automatically evicted from the ballot. Again, we will never know if a Kline withdrawal and endorsement of Bailey would have been enough to push Collins over the top given how close Diana was in the first place, but as things turned out Bailey supporters got the next best result.
From here, Scott implores us in the pro-liberty movement to “unite for common goals” and launches into a discussion about national party affairs. I believe DeLong is correct that National Committeeman Louis Pope will be extremely resistant to change, and given some of his statements regarding the “Liberty Pack” (as he calls it) it doesn’t appear he will be of much use to the purpose of revisiting the RNC rules.
Yet some of the ideas in the “Growth and Opportunity Project” that DeLong doesn’t like are ones I happen to be in favor of. Personally. I would like to see multi-state primaries – but I don’t want the calendar front-loaded because I would prefer the primaries occur in the timeframe of May through early July, with the conventions remaining in September. With such a compressed schedule, there would be plenty of time for a grassroots candidate to gather support beforehand, not to mention “as much debate and discussion as possible.” (By the way, we should tell the cable networks that either we pick the debate moderators or they can pound sand.) On the other hand, the idea of all caucuses intrigues me as well – perhaps we can have a cutoff number of Republicans in a state (say, just for an example, one million) between a state which can caucus and a state which must hold a primary. (And yes, I think the primaries should be closed. Don Murphy hasn’t convinced me yet.)
DeLong returns to the convention narrative to talk about the reports from Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin and now-former House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell as well as the “usual parliamentary chaos.” I have to agree with Scott on that one.
There have been far too many conventions where we simply ran out of time before important business could be concluded, and to me that’s inexcusable. In one case, I had a pending bylaw change on the short end of the time stick; this time, there was the Tari Moore resolution which was tabled last fall. It always seems like we have some sort of high-priced dinner afterward that no one really wants to attend because they’re dragged out from 24 nearly non-stop stressful hours with very little sleep and – for many – a long drive home. (Next spring in Rocky Gap will be a classic example of that for those on my end of the state, just as Ocean City conventions were difficult on those who came from out west.) I understand we weren’t expecting a Chair election when this spring gathering was scheduled, but why put people through this?
Another place where I part ways with DeLong is over the Tari Moore resolution. If you want to be critical of her budget and other decisions she’s made since becoming Cecil County Executive, that’s one thing and I can accept that. But unless and until she files to run for re-election as an unaffiliated candidate, I think she deserves the benefit of the doubt that she will revert back to her Republican registration so I wouldn’t support such a resolution coming off the table.
To me, Scott is beginning to let the perfect be the enemy of the good and not looking at the 80% rule. Certainly I can pore over anyone’s voting record and find at least a few flaws, but until a better alternative comes along the idea is to try and steer them right.
Yet I think we could have had a better alternative than Nic Kipke for Minority Leader; unfortunately none stepped up to the plate. DeLong correctly points out some of the many flaws in Nic’s voting record but also savages Tony O’Donnell for his mistake of supporting Thomas Perez for a federal position several years ago.
I think Scott’s letter is shorter than my analysis, but in the end he does point out that:
I hope that some of the issues I’ve highlighted in this e-mail provide you with a starting point.
So I made it such. It’s better to get this discussion underway now so we can get through it in plenty of time for 2014, since it’s not like the Democrats aren’t dealing with their own problems.
In case you missed part 1, it covered Friday night’s events. I noted in that post that I didn’t get to bed until after 1 a.m. – this after working, driving nearly three hours, not eating right, and so forth – so I missed the breakfast speaker. Sorry.
I didn’t get downstairs until after 10:00 so my first photo of the day was noticing this addition to the lobby space.
Nice table, but no one sitting there, at least at the time. So as I (and many others) were waiting for lunch, I spied some nourishment with a curious label. Unity cookies?
Now I don’t know who arranged for these, whether it was Collins Bailey’s idea or not, or whether Greg Kline was asked. I didn’t find it out of character for Collins but wasn’t sure why Greg was excluded.
Anyway, we had our lunch, and while the food was rather disappointing, it was exciting to hear our party awards and a guy who turned out to be a fine speaker. Presenting the awards was Diana Waterman.
The formal awards presented for 2013:
- Aris T. Allen Award (voter registration): St. Mary’s County. Cecil County received an honorable mention.
- Samuel Chase Award (outstanding county): Montgomery County
- William Paca Award (outstanding Young Republican): Dave Meyers
- Belva Lockwood Award (outstanding woman): Mary-Beth Russell
- Charles Carroll Award (outstanding man): Chris Cavey
As I mentioned above, Anirban Basu turned out to be a surprisingly good speaker – after all, he toils in the dismal science of economics so I wasn’t sure just what to expect.
The head of the Sage Policy Group noted he made many of his remarks just a few weeks ago in front of a seminar put on by Change Maryland. But he noted that the business climate in Maryland “further deteriorated” as a result of the General Assembly session; as a result it would take a crisis which is not here yet to get the state to change direction.
Despite the fact the state ranks 40th in business climate according to CEO Magazine and 41st in the nation in tax structure according to the Tax Foundation, the state gained 4,700 jobs in March – a full 5.3% of nationwide job gain from about 2% of the population, explained Basu.
Yet while both Maryland and Virginia share in the benefit of being adjacent to the seat of federal government, it’s Virginia which has the “lion’s share” of large corporations. Meanwhile, Maryland is “overdependent” on the federal government to drive its economy, and while the “token gesture” of sequestration hasn’t affected the state just yet, the next quarter will be a “real stress test” for Maryland’s economy, one which Basu termed “not diversified.”
Moreover, the state continues to drive businesses and high earners away. “When people are leaving your state for Delaware, you have a problem,” said Basu. Maryland businesses are in “the awkward position of waiting for the bad news to come.”
So what solutions did Anirban have? Our side needs to be constructive, tell the truth about the situation, but not come across as rooting for bad outcomes. Two things he would propose would be to completely eliminate the corporate tax rate – a move which would change corporate behavior and create the narrative that Maryland was finally open for business – and allow “right-to-work zones” to be created at the county level.
He also stated the case that taxes are okay, but it matters how the money is spent – some investment and infrastructure is better than others. “(The O’Malley administration) shows a disrespect for the market,” said Basu, pointing to offshore wind and mass transit as two prime examples. Politically, getting the message out means “you have to win one household at a time.” But he also chided the Maryland GOP, even though he was a registered Republican he noted “this room doesn’t look like Maryland.”
This was the best part of lunch, yet I didn’t take one.
With that excellent address, I didn’t mind the so-so lunch fare so much. It was time for the convention to begin.
(Sorry about the blurry photo. As usual, Wicomico was seated near the back.)
And the fireworks only took about ten minutes to begin, as a motion was made to amend the agenda and push the Chair elections to the front. This would have gone more smoothly if we had a quicker Credentials Committee report, although those of us sitting in the back were befuddled at what was going on because the sound system was absolutely brutal. This had to be pushed off because a voice vote was not clear as to who was in the majority.
So there was a little bit of business transpired on the original agenda before it was determined how many voters were in the room. Once we got to that point, the agenda change passed with a larger than 3/5 majority.
Because of that, the votes were moved ahead of the reports from the Maryland Senate and House leaders as well as Congressman Andy Harris.
As expected, three names were placed into nomination: Collins Bailey, Greg Kline, and Diana Waterman. It’s fair to say that we expected a multiple-ballot situation and it indeed came to pass.
On the first ballot, the weighted totals were Waterman 264, Bailey 207, and Kline 75. In terms of actual bodies, Waterman had 131 votes, Bailey 104, and Kline 33. Diana drew votes from 22 of the 23 counties and Baltimore City, carrying 12 outright and three – Allegany, Caroline, and Howard – unanimously. Bailey drew votes from all but four counties – the three where Diana was unanimous as well as Garrett County – carried seven counties, and took all nine Washington County votes. Kline carried only Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties and only received votes in 13 of 24 jurisdictions.
Three counties – Dorchester, Harford, and Wicomico – ended up in a tie between Bailey and Waterman.
It was figured by most that, facing the reality of the situation, Greg Kline would drop out before the second round – but he pressed on. So the second ballot remained the same and the votes were unchanged in 13 of 24 counties, but the ones which did were enough to propel Waterman to victory. In weighted votes it finished Waterman 284, Bailey 225, and Kline 37 – the actual tally in voters was Waterman 139, Bailey 117, and Kline 11.
Would Kline dropping out and endorsing Bailey have helped? We will never know, but those who split away from Kline gave just enough support to Diana for her to win.
In a gesture of unity, the two runners-up were invited to speak a few words.
For his part, Collins Bailey said we should “do everything we can to make sure (Diana) is successful…we are what Maryland needs.”
Because Diana won the Chair position outright, we had to have an election for First Vice-Chair after she took care of the formality of immediately resigning the First Vice-Chair position as well as her spot on the Queen Anne’s County Central Committee.
I was a little surprised Collins threw his hat in the ring for First Vice-Chair, particularly when Dwight Patel had campaigned for the job. Patel was also nominated along with three others: Scott Shaffer, Mary Burke-Russell, and Mary Rolle.
We were beginning to think we’d be there all night, facing the prospect of sorting through five hopefuls for the First Vice-Chair position. Instead, Bailey won the job easily, garnering a majority of the vote in both weighted totals and actual members. That balloting was Bailey 135, Patel 36, Russell 33, Rolle 30, and Shaffer 29. Each of the also-rans managed to carry at least one county – Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, and Caroline for Shaffer, Charles, St. Mary’s, and Talbot for Russell, Frederick and Washington for Rolle, and Montgomery for Patel – but aside from a tie between Bailey and Rolle in Allegany, Collins got the rest.
So the Chair question was finally settled, but there was still more controversy as some wanted to move the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee reports up so those votes could be held. Instead, we heard briefly from Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin and House Minority Leader Delegate Tony O’Donnell. (Andy Harris had already left, so we got no Congressional report.)
Pipkin was succinct: “There is no doubt that the state of Maryland has been hijacked and held hostage by the Democratic Party.” He predicted “the gun bill passed in Annapolis will not save one life” and blasted Martin O’Malley’s offshore wind scheme as “the dumbest idea ever.”
Next, O’Donnell made the case that “we had a tough, tough session…for taxpayers.” But he called on us to not repeat the mistakes of 2010 in 2014 and field a full slate of Delegate candidates instead of spotting Democrats 30 seats. And O’Donnell noted the gas tax lockbox “is really a virtual paper bag.”
As it turned out, the final piece of business accomplished this day was the Bylaws Committee report. The three items which were deemed most non-controversial were disposed of rather quickly in a unanimous voice vote. But another item dealing with what were perceived as simple housekeeping changes endured lengthy debate and a few failed motions for amendment before finally passing. (At least I think they did, as the general hubbub in the back of the room made it difficult to hear.)
Lastly came an amendment to give the College Republicans and Young Republicans a vote on the Executive Committee. What was a fairly non-controversial idea – although I had heard some logical “devil’s advocate” arguments against the proposal – suddenly became a hot-button issue when an amendment was proposed to give the Secretary and Treasurer of the Executive Committee a vote, too.
Of course, another fly in the ointment was having to do a second quorum check because a number of participants had departed. But we still had a quorum, and the amendment to the amendment allowing the Secretary and Treasurer a vote passed narrowly.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, an alarmed Diana Waterman came to the microphone and said we needed to be out of this room three minutes ago. But the College Republicans and Young Republicans went home happy because that amendment passed on a voice vote, probably about 3/4 yes. We had to hurriedly adjourn, thus sparing ourselves the National Committeewoman’s Report, National Committeeman’s Report, College Republicans Report, Young Republicans Report, and Resolutions Report. That could have created another controversy because the Tari Moore resolution may have come off the table.
I realize I’m supposed to be in the spirit of party unity now, but having a convention cut short because of time constraints for the second time in three years is pretty much inexcusable. It was bad enough the hotel seemed ill-prepared for an event such as ours, but this meeting was never really kept under parliamentary control as it should have.
Perhaps the return to the more familiar environment of Annapolis this fall will assist in having a more enjoyable convention, and Lord knows we need one after this bruise-fest.
If you are one of those who follows conservative grassroots activism, it’s likely you may have heard about the New Fair Deal rally being held in Washington tomorrow afternoon to coincide with tax day. While it will certainly be a modest event by the standards of other TEA Party rallies such as the 9/12 rally in 2009 or various Glenn Beck-led gatherings since, organizers believe a few thousand will attend with many staying around after the speeches to buttonhole various members of Congress about this new legislative program aimed at reining in government.
But the better question is: what is the legislative program? The four planks can be summarized as follows:
- No corporate handouts
- A fair tax code
- Stop overspending
- Empower individuals
The eight Congressmen who will be authoring the legislation in question, some of whom are among the most libertarian Republican conservatives in Congress, are Reps. Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Dr. Tom Price of Georgia, and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin. Mulvaney, Pompeo, and Price are among the speakers tomorrow at the event, which will also feature Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, activists Rev. C.L. Bryant, Deneen Borelli, Julie Borowski, Ana Puig, and Maryland’s own Dan Bongino. Borelli is featured in this video decribing some of the features of the New Fair Deal.
“The New Fair Deal is a four-part legislative package that ends corporate handouts, closes loopholes in a simple tax code, balances the budget, and empowers Americans with the choice to opt-out of Medicare and Social Security,” explained FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe. “Individual freedom, economic empowerment and equal opportunity are the ultimate fair deal for Americans. No more pitting us against each other while politicians and big business pick winners and losers in the marketplace at the expense of everyday individuals,” he added.
It goes without saying, though, that the devil is in the details. For example, ending corporate subsidies is great for avoiding the next Solyndra or Ener1, but my friends at the American Petroleum Institute would argue that the tax package for oil exploration is vital to the industry’s success. They may have a point, so perhaps the best solution is to prioritize which subsidies would be axed first and which ones would have more of a transition. Being a fairly mature industry, it may take somewhat longer for the oil and natural gas companies to deal with these changes, as well as the sugar farmers who were targeted in the video. I could see a time window of three to five years for these industries, but green energy? Cut them off yesterday.
As far as a “fair tax code” I honestly don’t think there is such a thing, particularly with the proposal of a two-rate system as specified. I like the idea of a “skin in the game” tax where everyone has to pay at least 1 percent (for someone making $20,000 a year that’s $200 – not a back-breaker if you know it’s coming) but I disagree with the progressive rate change from 12% to 24% at $100,000. If we are to have a flat tax, it should be one rate regardless of income. Why would I take the overtime which would push me from a salary of $98,000 (and an $11,760 tax bill) to $101.000 only to have that and much more – since the tax bill would steeply jump to $24,240 – entirely eaten up by taxes? I understand the populist idea of the secretary paying less than the billionaire, but the solution proposed would be ripe for complication because of situations like the above. I’d rather work on repealing the Sixteenth Amendment and creating a consumption tax, which would be the most fair of all because one can control their level of consumption to the greatest extent.
Another area which suffers from being too broad is the concept of “overspending.” Even if you cut off all discretionary spending tomorrow we would still have a deficit. Yes, we do need to eliminate the concept of baseline budgeting posthaste but we also have to lose the mindset which makes people fear their budget will be cut if they don’t spend their full allocation. While thousands and thousands of federal workers are superfluous to the task of good government, we have to educate the public as to why they need to be let go – you know the media will be portraying them as victims just like they tried to make a huge case that sequestration would be devastating.
Of the four planks presented, though, I really like the idea of the last one as expressed – the power of determining your own retirement and health care needs. In just 14 years I will be eligible for Social Security, but to be quite honest I don’t expect a dime from it because the system will be bankrupt by then in my estimation. (My writing was intended to be my “retirement” but real life intruded a little more quickly than I imagined it would.) The same goes for Medicare. If I had the choice, I would tell the government to give me back the money I paid into Social Security and Medicare – let me decide how to invest it best. This legislation may well allow me that option, although I suspect it will be tailored more to those under 40 who still have plenty of time to weigh all their retirement choices.
(Remember, though, I am on record as saying “Social Security should be sunsetted.” Nothing they can propose would eliminate that stance.)
The key to any and all of these changes taking place, though, is to remember none of this happens overnight. As it stands right now, the earliest we can make lasting national change in the right direction is January of 2017. Moreover, these Congressional visionaries and any other allies we may pick up along the way will be standing for election twice before a new President is inaugurated – and if the Republicans nominate another milquetoast “go along to get along” Beltway moderate who doesn’t buy into this agenda, the timetable becomes even longer.
But there is an opportunity in the interim, though. What statement would it make if Maryland – one of the most liberal states in the country according to the conventional wisdom – suddenly elected a conservative governor and confounded the intent of the heretofore powerful liberals in charge by electing enough members of the General Assembly to foil their overt gerrymandering attempts? No doubt it’s the longest of long shots, but let the liberals think they have this state in the bag. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch them fume as a Governor Charles Lollar, Larry Hogan, Blaine Young, or Dan Bongino is inaugurated – this after the stunning ascension of Speaker of the House Neil Parrott and President of the Senate E.J. Pipkin? Those who survived the collective hara-kiri and cranial explosions throughout the liberal Annapolis community would probably be reduced to bickering among themselves and pointing fingers of blame.
Our side often points to Virginia as a well-run state, but I think there are even better examples to choose from. Certainly there would be a transition period, but why not adopt some of these ideas as well as other “best and brightest” practices to improve Maryland and create a destination state for the producers as opposed to the takers?
If this sort of transformation can occur in Maryland, I have no doubt Washington D.C. would be next in line.
As I often do, here’s a collection of little items which grow to become one BIG item. And I have a LOT of them – so read fast.
For example, I learned the other day that Richard Rothschild, who spoke so passionately about private property rights (and the Constitution in general) will be back in our area Saturday, March 2nd as the speaker for Dorchester County’s Lincoln Day Dinner. That’s being held at the Elks Lodge outside Cambridge beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets, which are just $30, are available through the county party.
While Rothschild is the featured speaker, you shouldn’t miss some of the others scheduled to grace the podium, particularly gubernatorial candidates Charles Lollar and Blaine Young as well as Congressman Andy Harris. For a small county like Dorchester, that’s quite a lineup!
The controversy over the Septic Bill is far from the only item liberty-minded Marylanders have to worry about. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been bombarded with notices over a number of issues.
For example, after what State Senator E.J. Pipkin termed as a “structural failure” regarding hearing testimony on Senate Bill 281 (the gun-grabber bill) he offered an amendment to the Senate rules to handle these cases. However, I could not find a follow-up to that bill.
What I could find, though, was Pipkin’s statement that the state was making citizens into criminals, stating “The penalties embedded within the Governor’s Gun Control bill are extreme; they would criminalize paperwork errors in ways that destroy careers, lives, and families.” And he’s absolutely correct.
“This bill does not address the issue of gun violence in Maryland. The real issue is illegal firearms in Maryland, something the Governor’s bill does not target,” Pipkin concluded.
But guns aren’t the only problem. Unfortunately, we are one step closer to an offshore wind boondoggle in Maryland despite the best efforts of those who deal in the realm of reality to stop it. One bastion of sanity in Maryland is Change Maryland, whose Chair Larry Hogan expressed the following regarding offshore wind:
It seems Martin O’Malley’s priority is to make electricity and gas more expensive. He is pushing an increase in the gas tax and pushing a wind energy policy that is not cost effective and guarantees that electricity will be more expensive for rate payers.
At the close of the last session, the governor ignored the budgeting process which resulted in a train wreck. Instead he was out on the steps of the capital, leading wind energy activists in chant that said ‘all we re saying is give wind a chance.’
There are no assurances that this offshore wind proposal will not devolve into crony-capitalism that reward friends of the governor and political donors.
Actually, Hogan slightly misses the point because true capitalism would occur when the market continues to shun the expense and non-reliability of offshore wind. I guarantee that if this project goes through it will cost those of us who use electricity in Maryland a LOT more than $1.50 a month – subsidies can always change, just like tax rates on casinos.
The aforementioned Pipkin also weighed in on offshore wind:
This legislation may represent a shift in how private business is done in and regulated by the state.
This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to weigh new criteria in approving private development contracts to build off-shore wind turbines. The Commission will now consider prevailing wage and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) participation as criteria in its contract award.
This could set new precedent. In the future, we could see every business now regulated by a state agency subject to prevailing wage and MBE requirements.
You think? Our Big Labor-friendly governor stops at nothing – nothing – to grease the skids for his union cronies. And surely this will extend to whatever road work is performed once the gas tax is increased by O’Malley and General Assembly Democrats. Wait, did I say road work? Hogan and Change Maryland question that assumption, too:
Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan backed transportation reform which has emerged as a key issue this legislative session after several years of being relegated to the back burner. Specifically, key members of the Maryland House of Delegates are advocating guiding principles to ensure much-needed investments are made in infrastructure and fundamental reforms made to transportation policy.
“Previous attempts to improve our transportation network in Maryland have been an abject failure. Our top elected officials are saying roads and bridges are crumbling, but what they won’t tell you is they are the ones who caused the problem in the first place,” said Hogan. ”Another myth that is being foisted upon us is that there is an urgent need to raise the gasoline tax, and that is simply not true.”
Hogan joins Del. Susan Krebs and other House members in instilling common-sense policy solutions to making transportation policy. These include protecting the transportation trust fund with a constitutional amendment, realigning infrastructure investments to reflect how Marylanders actually travel and restoring funds for transportation. (Emphasis mine.)
I highlighted the above phrase as a way to say, “bingo!” That, folks, is the problem in a nutshell.
This is a state which jacked up the tolls on the Bay Bridge to create a cash cow for other projects which don’t pay their own way, like the Inter-County Connector outside Washington. O’Malley’s gas tax is really intended to build rail lines most of us will never ride rather than build projects we could use, like perhaps a limited-access Easton bypass for U.S. 50, widening Maryland Route 90 into Ocean City, or building an interchange at the dangerous U.S. 113 – Maryland Route 12 intersection in Worcester County.
The gas tax proposal has led to acrimony in Annapolis, as Delegate Kathy Szeliga points out:
(Senate President Mike) Miller called House Republicans who oppose his gas tax proposal, “Neanderthals,” and “obstructionists.” In response to his comments, Delegate Szeliga tweeted, “Yabba-dabba-do, Mr. Miller,” further commenting that she hopes to obstruct and stop this massive 70% increase in the gas tax and government expansion. In response to Senator Miller’s jabs at Republicans, Delegate Herb McMillan added, “Even a caveman can see that it’s stupid to raise gas taxes when there’s no guarantee they’ll be used for roads.”
Kidding aside, you can call me a “total obstructionist” as well, Senator Miller. On the road to serfdom someone has to stand in the way, and I’m one of those someones.
Notice that I haven’t even talked about the federal government yet. One sure sign of a new year, though, is the ubiquitous Congressional scorecard. Two organizations which have released theirs recently are Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action for America.
Not surprisingly, Harris scored a 95% grade from AFP, leading the Maryland delegation – former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett had the second highest grade at 91%. As for the rest, well, their COMBINED score was 50 percent. Heritage Action, however, graded Andy more harshly with an 81% grade (Bartlett scored 67%.) Once again, the remainder of Maryland’s delegation scored anywhere from a lackluster 17% to a pathetic 4 percent.
We’re also talking about immigration reform more these days. I happen to lean somewhat on the hawkish side, so I believe these reports from the Center for Immigration Studies are worth discussing. In one, former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia looks at what happened the last time we went down this road insofar as collecting back taxes from illegal aliens – a key part of the compromise provision – was handled after the 1986 reform.
The second CIS report looks at recommendations the bipartisan Jordan Commission made in 1997, after the 1986 immigration amnesty program failed. This middle ground made five recommendations:
- Integrate the immigrants now in the United States more thoroughly;
- Reduce the total number of legal immigrants to about 550,000 a year;
- Rationalize the nonimmigrant visa programs and regulate them;
- Enforce the immigration law vigorously with no further amnesties; and
- Re-organize the management of the immigration processes within the government.
That seems like a pretty good starting point to work from, particularly the first recommendation.
Another study worth reading is this one from Competitive Enterprise Institute called “The Wages of Sin Taxes.” In it, author Chris Snowden takes an unflinching look at who really pays for these tolls. As CEI states in their summary:
Most remarkably, Snowdon, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, demonstrates that financial burden supposedly placed on society through the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, high-calorie foods, has little basis in reality. The myth that these “sinners” cost the rest of us money is perpetuated in large part because “government has no incentive to tell the public that these groups are being exploited, and the affected industries dare not advertise the savings that come from lives being cut short by excessive use of their products.” This type of tax is actually a regressive “stealth tax” that allows lawmakers to take money from their constituents with the lowest incomes without the pushback an upfront tax would provoke.
I would put that in the category of “duh.” Ask yourself: how much state-sanctioned money and effort do you see given by government to prevent drinking, smoking, and gambling? Yet they rake their cut off the top in each of these three vices, which are only legal because government and society have compromised on these issues.
On the other hand, those who grow or smoke marijuana or do other illegal drugs are considered criminals and tossed in jail or fined. The same is true with prostitutes in most locales. If there were tax money to be made, though, and societal mores shifted ever-so-slightly toward a more libertarian viewpoint with regards to these self-inflicted actions, they would be legal – but you’d certainly still see the public service announcements about “just say no” or the dangers of selling one’s body. (Oddly enough, I doubt we buy time around the world to warn about the dangers of illegally immigrating to the United States. Why do you think that is?)
And I don’t think items like this upcoming movie will help the libertarian cause – not because of the message per se, but the poor quality of the animation. It reminds me of those cheesy Xtranormal movies people make, sorry to say.
I also have a couple items – as I get closer to wrapping this up – that I think are worth reading. Paul Jacobs is on Townhall giving our state a little tough love regarding the drive to tighten petition rules (in a state where it’s already very difficult to succeed) while Mike Shedlock is there making a point I’ve made for several years – my daughter’s generation is being hosed.
While he’s a little bit older than the Millennial Generation, I think Dan Bongino can relate. This video is now going viral on Youtube, in part thanks to the Blaze.
Finally, I think it’s worth alerting my readers that this may be the last edition of odds and ends for awhile. No, I’m not going anywhere but in the interest of bringing more readership I’m in the process of exploring the concept of a quicker posting tempo which may or may not feature shorter posts.
I’ve always felt the ideal post was somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words, but these odds and ends posts can run 2,000 words or more. Maybe it’s better for both readers and this writer to space things out and perhaps devote 200-300 words to an item rather than wait and collect a bunch of items which could get stale after a week or two. I can’t always control the length of my Ten Question Tuesday posts or ones where I report on an event, but I can work with items like these and see what’s truly worth writing about.
As the political world and internet evolve, I think the time is right to change up the mix and tempo here just a little bit. Certainly I won’t get to a point where I’m simply rehashing press releases but I think it’s a better use of my time to shorten the average post I write.
So there you have it: another post which weighs in at 2,000 words, exactly.
Update 2-21-13: Surprisingly, the Senate companion bill (SB391) received a vote in their Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. It failed 7-4, with the committee’s three Republican Senators (Jennings, Reilly, Simonaire) being joined by Democrat Roy Dyson – that part was no shocker.
I knew this would primarily be a symbolic bill because Democrats in Annapolis weren’t going to cede back any sort of planning control to the counties upon gaining it in 2012. But I was disappointed in the vote on Delegate Mike McDermott’s House Bill 106 for two reasons: the lopsided 19-5 margin and the abandonment of common sense by two Republicans: Delegates Cathy Vitale and Herb McMillan, both of Anne Arundel County.
It’s also worth pointing out on a local level that Delegate Rudy Cane, who is the Chair of the Agriculture, Agriculture Preservation, and Open Space Subcommittee within the Environmental Matters Committee, voted to retain a bill which won’t do a thing to preserve agriculture – although it may increase the amount of “open space” as farms go bankrupt and become overgrown.
While there is a companion Senate bill, Senate Bill 391, the common procedure once a crossfiled bill is killed in one chamber is for the measure to either be withdrawn or simply not get a committee vote since the other chamber rejected it. We’ll see if Senator E.J. Pipkin, who sponsored the bill, presses for a vote anyway to put people on the record.
Since the repeal bill was defeated in committee, it will be up to counties to now either defy the state’s edict or go along with it. There is another bill pending – House Bill 1385, also sponsored by Delegate McDermott – to extend the deadline to July 1, but any artificial deadline defeats the purpose of localizing zoning decisions. Wicomico County residents will have their say on the issue Wednesday evening at 6 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center; also worth mentioning for my Cecil County audience is they’ll have a similar hearing on the Tier Map they already passed tomorrow night at 7:00 at the Cecil County Administrative Building, apparently because the state overlords don’t care for it.
Finally, it’s very likely that this HB106 vote will be one of the three Environmental Matters Committee votes I use for the 2013 monoblogue Accountability Project. So it looks like Delegates Hogan, Jacobs, Norman, O’Donnell, and Otto have an early lead on getting Legislator of the Year honors. I’d like to publicly thank them for voting for the people (and agricultural industry) of Maryland, even if it was in vain.
Perhaps rainy days and Mondays always get you down, but this potpourri of snippets I’ve collected over the last couple weeks will hopefully brighten your day. As always, they’re items which merit anywhere from a paragraph to four to five.
First of all, you are probably aware that Indiana and Michigan are the two latest states to throw the yoke of forced unionism off their workers and adopt right-to-work laws, with Pennsylvania also strongly considering such a measure. Conversely, I’m not hearing about hitherto right-to-work states making much of an effort to close their shops, which should tell you something.
And while Maryland is not a state one would consider a candidate ripe for such a refreshing change, there is a bill out there to bring our state out of the unionized Dark Ages and join other states where workers are free to choose affiliation regardless of where they work.
Best of all, this news comes from one of my favorite counties to cover, Cecil County. HB318 is being heard tomorrow, and their Republican Party leadership under county Chair Chris Zeauskas has taken a bold stand on the issue. They’re calling out Delegate David Rudolph, the Vice-Chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, as “bought and paid for by compulsory unionism – and that’s wrong.” Certainly the unions donate thousands and thousands of dollars to state politicians, most of which goes to Democrats.
But the question I have is more local. To what extent has Big Labor “bought and paid for” Delegates Rudy Cane and Norm “Five Dollar” Conway, or State Senator Jim Mathias – the king of across-the-Bay fundraisers? Surely a significant portion of their largess comes from the coffers of workers who may not necessarily prefer these policies be enacted. HB318 can help change that, but my guess is – if they get to vote on it at all (neither Cane nor Conway is on Economic Matters) – they’ll play along with the union line like good little minions.
Meanwhile, our tone-deaf governor doesn’t get it on wind farms, and I had to chuckle when I saw even the Washington Post admits Big Wind “(d)evelopers and industry analysts say those and other (subsidy) concessions will make the project reliant on further federal tax incentives or help from other states to make it profitable.” At a quarter per kilowatt hour, you better believe it needs a subsidy. Yet the Post believes it’s “likely to pass.” That depends on the level of sanity in the General Assembly; yes, a dubious precipice to cling to, but one nonetheless.
And here I thought wind was free – that’s what people tell me, anyway.
I also thought Maryland had a top-notch school system, but President Obama’s Department of Education begs to differ. This nugget came to me from Change Maryland, which continues to occupy that little place in Martin O’Malley’s mind reserved for those who have pwned him:
In the second year of the $5 billion Race to the Top initiative, the Obama Administration singled out Maryland, Washington D.C. and Georgia as coming up short on progress in fundamental areas. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Maryland did not set clear expectations for the 2011-2012 school year in the development of a teacher and principal evaluation system which rendered the data meaningless and inconsistent. Lack of coordination between the state and local school districts was cited as the primary reason for the data collection failure.
“I would like to see Gov. O’Malley reach out to President Obama while he has his attention… and seek assistance on properly implementing the Race to the Top initiative,” said (Change Maryland head Larry) Hogan. “Our students and their parents deserve a way to measure how effective their teachers are.”
I have one bone to pick with that approach, though. I would really rather not have a dependence on federal money or a federal role for education, which is more properly a state- and local-level concern. But there should be some consistency in evaluations so that underperforming teachers and principals don’t lead to underperforming schools – unfortunately, that seems to be more and more the case.
And here’s yet another example of state incompetence. On Thursday, State Senator E.J. Pipkin blasted a process which shut out hundreds of people from testifying against SB281, the gun bill:
We can’t turn away people who take the day off, drive for hours and wait even longer, to have their voices heard. Turning away interested citizens in such a manner further fuels cynicism about our legislative process. Next time, they might not come back.
Yesterday, a system that can accommodate 100, 200, or 300 people, broke down when numbers reached into the thousands.
Thousands couldn’t get into the Senate’s Miller building to sign in to testify. Those who signed in but left the building were unable to reenter. At the end of the evening, some who stayed 10 to 12 hours, were brought through the committee room, allowed to say their name, home town, and whether they supported or opposed the legislation. (Emphasis mine.)
The reason I put part of the above statement in bold: that’s what they want. The majority – not just in the General Assembly, but in Congress and 49 other state capitols as well – really would rather we just leave them alone to do what they do, enriching themselves and a chosen few cronies while leaving the rest of us to pay for it and suffer the consequences of their actions.
Now for something completely different. Several years ago, I copied a late, lamented blog whose owner is no longer with us in offering “Sunday evening reading.” Well, today is Monday but there are some items I wanted to include that I read and felt they would add to the well-informed conversation in some way.
My old friend Jane Van Ryan (who I thought “retired” but seems now as active as ever) sent along the link to this piece by Paul Driessen which discusses the concept of “sustainability.” She thought I would have something to say about it, and I do.
Driessen’s main point is that the concept of “sustainability” as preached by Radical Green doesn’t take into account future technology. It would be like watching “Back to the Future” knowing that it was filmed three decades ago but set in the modern day today – for example, who drives a DeLorean these days? Sometimes their predictions seem quite humorous, but we know technology has taken many turns they couldn’t predict when the movie was written and filmed.
While oil, gas, and coal are “old” technologies, who’s to say we can’t improve on them? As long as there is a supply which comes to us at reasonable cost, you can’t beat their reliability when compared to wind which may not blow (or gale too hard) and the sun which seems to be stubbornly parked behind a bank of clouds as I write this. Instead of dead-ends like the E15 technology which ruins engines (but is acceptable to Radical Green) why not work with what works?
But perhaps there is a sense of foreboding brought on by the Radical Green propaganda of a collapsing ecosystem. One way this manifests itself is by a lack of willingness to have children, which goes in well with the decaying culture of life in this country.
Last week in the Wall Street Journal, author Jonathan Last advanced his theory that our nation is heading down the same road as other moribund industrialized nations – not necessarily because of policy, but because of falling birthrates. According to Last, we as a nation have been below the replacement birthrate for most of the last forty years. Whether this is through abortion or other lifestyle choices isn’t important to him; instead, it’s become an ongoing problem of our population aging – as Jonathan puts it, “(l)ow-fertility societies don’t innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt increasingly toward health care.” Put another way, those energy advances I write about above may not appear because more demand will come for health-related technology advancements.
Instead, what has primarily increased our population over the last few decades is immigration, a large part of it illegal. Normally I’m right with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but I have to disagree with their stance on E-Verify. I can understand their point regarding civil liberties, but no one says mandatory E-Verify has to be permanent. Instead, I would like to see it set up to be a five-year plan with one possible five-year renewal – this would give us ample time to secure the borders and address those who are already here illegally. (Ideally, they would return to their country of origin and reapply to come here legally.)
Understandably, that may be a pipe dream but I’d prefer not to reward lawbreakers in a nation built on the rule of law. We have enough of that already given the greed of the redistributionist state.
And so ends another edition of odds and ends, right around the length I like.
Thanks to Dee Hodges and the Maryland Taxpayers Association for alerting me to the fact there are three bills worth testifying over next week. This is a slightly edited summary of what’s coming up.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: SB 391 – Repeal of Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, sponsored by Senator E.J. Pipkin, in Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. This bill isn’t likely to pass – but it should. The act itself is about constraining farmers from being able to sell or develop their own property. The intent is to crowd people into the central cities. The obvious eventual result will be that costs go up, housing especially, while rural property will gradually become worthless. Even more people will choose not to live and work in MD. This is all in the name of preserving agricultural lands while other environmental laws and regulations are making it more and more difficult to farm.
Wednesday, Feb. 13: SB 275 – Offshore Windmills, sponsored by the President of the Senate (on behalf of the Governor), in Senate Finance. This bill has been rigged to pass out of this committee by the transfer of Senator Muse (a Democratic offshore wind opponent) to another committee. This is a bad bill which will prove excessively costly in future utility bills. Other states bordering the Atlantic have been at this for a number of years and still have not started construction. Outside consultants in New Jersey expressed high negatives about cost effectiveness several years ago. Some outside investors have been reluctant to invest in these projects so that they can move forward. A cost-benefit analysis has, to date, not been presented to legislators. All of these items should spark concern about committing to offshore windmills. Legislators, especially those on the Finance Committee, would be failing in their fiduciary responsibilities to the citizens they represent to pass this bill out of committee without complete and satisfactory answers. Call or write or email everyone on this committee.
Thursday, Feb. 14: SB 276 – Death Penalty Repeal, also sponsored by the President of the Senate (on behalf of the Governor). Will repeal mean our prisons will suffer from the restiveness of a growing population of inmates with no possibility of parole? What other obstacles will repeal present to our judicial system?
I’ve already spoken at length and provided testimony about the cross-filed companion to SB391, so I may just send along the same document to Senator Pipkin.
Meanwhile, we have played around with the concept of offshore wind for the last half-decade and have made no progress. The reason this effort is stalled isn’t because of lack of effort, but lack of economic sense. It’s the same reason Bluewater Wind pulled the plug in late 2011, according to NRG Energy President and CEO David Crane, who said in a release at the time:
Our people have worked hard and we’ve made a considerable financial investment in the Wind Park, but that effort cannot overcome the difficult and unfortunate realities of the current market. We’re not giving up, but at this moment we can’t rationally justify further investment in this project without the prospect that it can move forward within a reasonable timeframe.
Translation: it’s an economic loser the market won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, and the supposed $1.50 per month rate increase won’t cover the costs to the utility. At the very end of the fiscal note it’s worth pointing out that two similar projects are running (in current prices) between 18.7 and 24.4 cents per kWh, compared to the national average of around a dime per kWh.
Lastly, we have the death penalty, which is already been eradicated in a de facto way by Maryland’s refusal to execute any of the five death row inmates we have. Since Martin O’Malley doesn’t believe in the law, he won’t carry it out and instead wants to change it. (Gee, too bad we can’t do that with our tax burden.)
Now I’ve heard the argument that executions are more expensive than keeping the criminal in prison for the rest of his or her life. Yet the reason this occurs is the enormous cost of endless appeals in the process. If we limit the appeals to one per appellate level, that would do more to contain costs. And it seems to me that, if the government puts its mind to it, executions can occur in a relative hurry. (Timothy McVeigh was unavailable for comment.)
On the other hand, one also has to ask: what if you get a Chris Dorner situation, but he’s taken alive. Shouldn’t we have the death penalty as a deterrent and example? Why take it off the books?
I look at it this way: I am pro-life, but pro-death penalty. To explain away this apparent contradiction is easy: by making the conscious decision to kill another without provocation, in a premeditated fashion as part of the commission of a crime, is to forfeit your right to life. Whereas an unborn baby has no choice in the matter, the perpetrator does.
In a well-run state, the first bill would pass and the latter two would be laughed out of the General Assembly. Unfortunately, we don’t have a well-run state yet so the best we can do is stop the bleeding.
You know ‘em, you hate ‘em. Those inaccurate revenue generators which were placed for dubious purposes of “safety,” speed cameras, will have their repeal discussed in hearings in both the Maryland Senate (February 20, 1 p.m. under Judicial Proceedings) and House of Delegates (March 5, 1 p.m. under Environmental Matters.) We’ll deal with the same committee chairs many of us dealt with Wednesday when the O’Malley gun infringement bill and repeal of last year’s septic bill were discussed, Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Maggie McIntosh.
For all the complaints they receive regarding the ongoing political soap opera in Cecil County, it should be noted that the lead sponsors for SB785 and HB 251 are Senator E.J. Pipkin and Delegate Michael Smigiel, respectively. Other Senate co-sponsors are Richard Colburn and Nancy Jacobs, while a bipartisan group of 12 Delegates co-sponsors the House version. (It’s bipartisan due to Delegate Nathaniel Oaks of Baltimore City.)
One group happy to see these bills get to the hearing stage is the Maryland Liberty Caucus, and they’re targeting Delegate McIntosh’s district with literature to make sure the message gets across. I would imagine they will make an attempt to do the same with Senator Frosh’s district, although Montgomery County isn’t as well-known of a speed camera haven as Baltimore City is.
The part which interests me the most will be finding out who testifies at the hearings. Obviously the companies which operate the speed cameras will have representatives there since it’s their golden goose being threatened. The question to me is how much law enforcement backing these will get, because it makes their jobs easier – unless they have to clean up the accidents from people suddenly slowing down to avoid the fines. (Of course, then they write the citation for not maintaining assured clear distance.) Of course, the local jurisdictions will be testifying against the repeal bill as well because it’s a revenue stream they’d like to continue.
But if it were really about safety, there would be a physical police presence at a work site or school zone. Not only could they actually witness the speed of a car, they could also check for erratic driving and other offenses. All a speed camera does is track someone for speeding, at least in theory, even hours after school has let out or during school holidays when no children are present. (To me that’s proof it’s all about the Benjamins, or in the case of these cameras, the pair of Jacksons.)
And while I doubt the repeal would pass, the record will be clear as to who stands for the people and who stands for Big Brother. And it would be fun to watch the city crews remove all the cameras they installed – it would be something worth recording with a camera for the ages.
But you wouldn’t have to pay $40.
In the nearly 48 hours since I put my two part convention coverage to bed, there has been quite a bit of interesting reaction to what I wrote and the events of the confab in general. Much of it emanated from the left side of the political spectrum, including a ‘progressive’ blogger from Maine with his take on the Brent Littlefield incident I related.
Gerald Weinand, who writes the website called Dirigo Blue, sniffled in his e-mail to me that:
I assume that you understand that it’s not difficult to “infiltrate” a twitter stream – you simply have to use the hashtag everyone else is using. And since the one used by the Maine Dems for their convention last June had been advertised at the #mepolitics hashtag, both Brent Littlefield and Jason Savage would have seen #MeDemConvo.
Here is my write up of Littlefield’s little game with Gov. O’Malley. Feel free to cross post it at your blog, or link to it. I think you’ll find that O’Malley handled it very well indeed.
Well, Gerald, you have your link and I know enough about Twitter to be somewhat conversant in the lingo. But if you consider O’Malley spitting out angrily that Maine Governor Paul LePage “worship(s) the false idol of tax cuts” as “handled it very well,” please continue to exist in your dream world. Hijacking a Twitter thread is quite fun, and certainly the Democrats in attendance didn’t handle it so well if you believe Brent Littlefield.
In reading the comments on Dirigo Blue, the one which pined for Maryland to annex Maine got me to thinking: we’ll trade you governors in a heartbeat and even throw in a few members of the General Assembly to be named later, like when I wrap up the monoblogue Accountability Project.
Another Maryland leader who was the subject of some speculation was Alex Mooney, Chair of the Maryland GOP. While the effort to oust him got nowhere despite those who thought he should resign, one guy who may have a little egg on his face is another liberal blogger, David Moon of Maryland Juice.
Just prior to the convention Moon ran with a story which told anyone who bothered to listen that Montgomery County GOP chair Mark Uncapher was seeking the top spot if Mooney were to leave via a no-confidence vote (like Jim Pelura did three years ago). When that didn’t happen, Moon blamed the source:
In the comments below, Mark Uncapher denies that he is seeking to displace Alex Mooney. Our source may be full of it, or perhaps the mission may be aborted. We may never know.
Yet the most interesting parlor game may be figuring out the “Deep Throat” who passed the information on to David Moon. As he describes the “anonymous source” and how the allegation came to light:
In a private conference call with Frederick and Howard County Republicans and Audrey Scott, Mark Uncapher said he wanted the state chairman job. I was at the meeting.
Of course, that story could be the most crimson of herrings but it’s intriguing someone is willing to put that sort of dirt out on our side, is it not?
Yet one thing I found odd and a departure from recent convention history: this time Montgomery County wasn’t the center of attention. Instead it was a county 1/10 the size which captured the bulk of the unrest in the proceedings.
Whether it’s because I find the politics in Cecil County so interesting or because I get to hear so much about it from friends and fans, Cecil County receives a fair amount of attention on this website. We all now know that newly inaugurated Cecil County Executive Tari Moore changed her political party to unaffiliated, leading to a resolution being placed before the state GOP convention and eventually tabled. One take on this move was to foil the “Smipkins” (i.e. allies of District 36 Delegate Mike Smigiel and District 36 Senator and Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin) who control the Cecil County Republican Central Committee – had Moore stayed a Republican they would have selected the list she would choose her successor from and insured a struggle to enact her agenda, according to writer Nancy Schwerzler.
But the other side of the story was presented by Cecil County Council member (and primary foe of Tari Moore) Diana Broomell, who wrote on her personal website:
Tari Moore’s move to renounce the Republican Party in order to hijack control of the new Cecil County Council insures special interests will now effectively control both the Executive and Council side of our new Charter form of government. Where are the checks and balances if the County Executive controls both the Legislative and Executive side of government?
Diana was also kind enough to share some of her background and respond to a post I did several months ago on the Cecil County primary.
Perhaps it’s time for Cecil County Republicans to remember the 80 percent rule. As long as you can agree with Tari Moore (or, conversely, with the “Smipkins”) 80 percent of the time, the chances are pretty good that a conservative agenda is being furthered because they probably both would work toward the same ends on most issues. Yet given the choice between E.J. Pipkin and Andy Harris (as this battle by proxy played out) I think I would tend to favor Andy’s side of things because over time Harris has proven to be more conservative.
But Cecil County residents have an advantage very few other Maryland residents do: for the moment, they are represented almost entirely by Republicans. There aren’t many places as solidly in the GOP camp as Cecil, so they need to set an example for the rest of us. Leave the petty power struggles to the other party – while the results can be painful in the end, it’s still a lot of fun watching them get it wrong time after time.
When I last left you in my narrative, I had just gone to bed after several hours of fun and carousing with many people, some of whom had names and faces I sheepishly admit I couldn’t keep straight. But I think I can get all of these right.
My alarm I’d set for 6:30 never went off so I was a little late for breakfast, and regrettably only caught the end of Ken Timmerman’s remarks. He used a Biblical parable to conclude, saying “we are coming from the desert” and in the process of “picking our Moses for 2014.”
“Organize, organize, organize…never, never, never give up!” exhorted Ken.
He was the lead-in for Delegate Neil Parrott, who’s pictured above. His remarks centered on what’s in the future for MDPetitions.com.
Thanks to the passage of Question 5, Maryland now has the “distinct honor” of having the most gerrymandered Congressional districts in the nation, Neil claimed. But in all of the questions, Neil pointed out in his experience that having someone at the polls influenced the results in our favor to some extent. We could have used more poll workers, said Neil.
We also could have used more money to spend as we were well outspent on each issue, particularly Question 6. Proponents also shrewdly changed the message; for example, Question 4 was made to not be about illegals but about kids. And because the petition was done last summer, the “passion wasn’t there” against Question 4 after a one-year lapse while proponents had the money early on to quietly spread their message.
“What we need to do is reinvent ourselves,” said Parrott, claiming we had winning issues but no campaign. In the future – and there were at least a couple bills which would probably require a petition to attempt to overturn coming out of this year’s session – there had to be a four-pronged strategy for victory: get the petitions out, defend them in court, challenge the biased ballot language (Question 5 was a good example of this, said Neil), and run full-fledged campaigns.
A more full-fledged campaign might be more like those on either side of Question 7, as the campaigns for and against expanding gambling spent twice as much on that issue than Bob Ehrlich and Martin O’Malley combined for in their 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
One other item Delegate Parrott touched on was a privacy bill for petition signers, which he’ll reintroduce this session.
While the groups went off into their individual seminars, I wandered around the Turf Valley facility where I found tables for the aforementioned MDPetitions.com and the similar effort to keep the petition process from being made more difficult.
Right behind the MDPetitions table was a large-scale and signed copy of a “no confidence” resolution sponsored by Baltimore County Chair John Fiastro, Jr.
I also peeked into the convention hall where the action would begin after lunch.
Yep, placed in the back again. But this room was well set up for such an event because it was wide but not deep. Eventually my only complaint would be that we needed a second projection screen for our side of the room because the county signposts would be in our line of sight of the one provided.
Others were also skipping the seminars to work out issues, such as the Maryland Young Republicans. From the snippets I overheard, they were working out details of their own upcoming convention June 1st in Montgomery County.
Before we met for the convention we had to be nourished, so lunch featured speaker and “unusual political consultant” Brent Littlefield.
Littlefield focused mainly on running the campaign of Maine Governor Paul LePage in 2010, noting that a political campaign was “not just tactics, but strategy.” He explained how he microtargeted certain blocs of voters to effectively compete in a seven-person primary where his candidate was outspent 21 to 1.
As for 2012, Brent told us the message was lost, but there was still a reason we’re all here – we believe in certain principles. But we have to expand our circle of influence, not just talk to friends.
Brent also related an amusing Twitter incident he helped to bring about involving Martin O’Malley and his trip to Maine, leading O’Malley to call Maine Gov. Paul LePage a governor who “worship(s) the false idol of tax cuts.” It was great because he took the fight directly to the enemy, infiltrating their own Twitter feed.
It’s worth exploring as well that the Pledge of Allegiance at lunch was led by two-time Congressional hopeful Frank Mirabile. By itself it’s not newsworthy, but Frank took advantage of Alex Mooney’s invitation for further remarks to note the average age in the room was “well above what we need to be” and that we had to break out of our comfort zone. Obviously he had to do so to campaign in portions of his district.
That snippet brings me back to the Maryland Liberty PAC suite and the younger people I saw there. The convention hall could have used some of those younger folks with energy – as one example, I’m 48 and I’m one of the younger members of our Central Committee. Let’s not drive the youth away.
I’ll step off my soapbox now, since this point in the narrative is where the convention fun begins. And like the Executive Committee meeting the previous night, it began with a special guest.
“It’s good to be around friends for once,” said Dan Bongino. But he wanted to take a few minutes to thank us for our support and ask how we can fix this moving forward. “We can win this,” Bongino concluded.
But to win it will probably take a little more money than party Treasurer Chris Rosenthal said we had. And while we had whittled down our line of credit significantly during the fourth quarter of this year, Chris told us “we’re not out of the weeds.” This year will feature a “tight, but conservative” budget for party operations.
Chair Alex Mooney was pleased to see the full workshops, but again cautioned in his report that this meeting could be a long one. We have “things to discuss and air out,” said Alex. He related the story of the bitter RNC meeting he attended where several new officers were elected, a process which took multiple ballots for each. Yet at meeting’s end, there were no “bad sports.”
“If you don’t intend to walk out after this meeting and fight the Democrats, then walk out now,” said Alex. I didn’t see anyone leave so I guess we can turn our guns in the right direction – outward.
As Alex said, there is reason for optimism going forward. And it seemed like he understood that the petition process needs to be followed through on, saying that getting them to the ballot was one success but we need to “take the next step.”
We then had a presentation from party Executive Director David Ferguson on the goals established for this year: financial stability, a modern political infrastructure, successful petitions, and planning for 2014. Something about that presentation I found interesting: of the petition signers for each question, only 59% of those opposing in-state tuition for illegal aliens, 72% of those who opposed the gerrymandered Congressional districts, and 52% who signed the petition against gay marriage were Republicans. Questions 4 and 6 had fairly bipartisan opposition, at least at the petitioning stage. We can build on that.
But now, said Ferguson, “our job is to take out every Democrat in ‘red’ counties.” As I look at that task, it means we work on solidifying the 18 that support us now and start to erode our advantage in the five which most heavily vote against their self-interest as time goes on.
He also announced a new program in the works based on the national “Young Guns” program. It will be tailored not just to candidates, though, but to Republican organizations as well. “Our money should go back to your candidates,” concluded Ferguson.
The legislative reports on the Senate and House, respectively, were given by Senator E.J. Pipkin (above) and Delegate Tony O’Donnell (below).
Pipkin was proud to address the “irate, tireless minority,” and took advantage of our attention to once again call Martin O’Malley the “2 billion dollar man.” That’s how much working Maryland families pay extra each year thanks to the tax increases O’Malley and Democrats in the General Assembly passed over GOP objections. And while Republicans put together a balanced budget each year – one which doesn’t require any tax increases at all – it’s ignored by the majority party. They “won’t stop digging the hole,” said Pipkin. Instead, they want to raise the gas tax – not to fix roads like they might claim, but because $4 billion has been promised to expand the Red Line and Purple Line.
“We provide a different vision for Maryland,” explained Pipkin, one which provides a state where you want to live and not a state you want to leave.
Tony O’Donnell started out his remarks with a movie review – go see “Lincoln.” It made him proud to be a member of the Republican Party. After seeing the infighting end in an effort to pass the Thirteenth Amendment (over Democratic opposition, he slyly added) he realized once again that “Maryland is worth continuing to fight for.”
Tony alluded to his own Congressional campaign, pointing out he had received 95,000 votes and that was the highest vote total for a Fifth District Republican since Larry Hogan in 1992. O’Donnell believed that “we can go to 50 seats (in the House of Delegates) – we can go to 60 seats.” One mistake from 2010 he didn’t want to repeat was having to recruit candidates in the summer before the election. It was a team effort to find 141 House of Delegates hopefuls, but we had to “let no seat go unchallenged.” (In the 2010 election, Democrats got a free pass for 34 seats – almost half of what they needed for the majority.)
Nicolee Ambrose spoke in her first National Committeewoman’s report about the Super Saturday program and lessons we could draw from it. While it had its successes, we needed to rebuild our campaign infrastructure and focus on targeted voter contacts with a eye toward long-term outreach as well.
For 2013 she suggested the Super Saturday concept work more toward voter registration. Other projects on her wish list was IT training for local party leaders (something the RNC is willing to do) and ramping up a grassroots committee which Faith Loudon had volunteered to head up.
Louis Pope was far more blunt and expanded on his “painful” theme from the evening before by revealing some of our losses: Obama won single women by a 67-31 count, Hispanics 71-28, blacks 93-5, and Asians 73-22. He also garnered 60% of the under-30 vote and a majority of those who made under $50,000. Obama “changed some of the issues on us,” said Pope. Instead of the jobs and economy, it became the (so-called) ‘War on Women.’
“We’ve reached a turning point,” said Pope, who believed the one silver lining we had was that we’ve “reached the bottom.”
After all these external political reports were concluded – a process which took nearly two hours – we then turned to several internal committee reports. For the first time in several conventions, though, we had no prospective bylaw changes so the newly created Bylaws Committee could simply note that fact and alert us at the county level that some possible revisions may come at us next spring.
Similarly, the Nominations Committee had no report. So it was up to the Resolutions Committee to provide the day’s final drama.
Interestingly enough, the order Resolutions Chair Andi Morony presented these in was supposed to be least to most controversial, but the very first resolution presented by Cecil County Chair Chris Zeauskas drew heavy debate. This was a resolution condemning newly elected Cecil County Executive Tari Moore for changing to unaffiliated status; a resolution which contended, among other things, that her election “was obtained through deception and false pretenses.”
And while proponents of the resolution – not just in Cecil County, but in other Republican circles – believed Tari Moore had “sold out” Cecil County Republicans, there were those who noted her principles hadn’t changed but the stalemate which exists between her and some of the four remaining members of the Cecil County Council (all Republicans) could only be broken and her agenda implemented if she was allowed to select her own replacement. Meanwhile, this was described in one media report as a proxy battle between Republicans E.J. Pipkin and Andy Harris, with Pipkin in favor of demanding Moore resign and Harris confident of her return to the GOP fold after her replacement is selected.
Once several had spoken on both sides, a motion was made to table the resolution. With our weighted voting system and the fact I couldn’t tally the vote as it was going, I can’t give you the split in actual bodies but the motion to table passed by a 285-230 voting margin. Thus, the resolution was killed for this convention, although it could theoretically return in the spring.
After careful consideration, I voted to table the resolution; however, our county split 6-3 in favor of tabling. The reason I decided to do so was figuring that she was trying to stand by both conservative principles and trying to better Cecil County. There’s little chance a Democrat or liberal would be put into office, but if she does select one I would be more inclined to support a similar resolution in the spring. Call it a “wait and see” approach for yet another item which could divide the overall party over a county issue.
Resolutions two and three were both very easy to pass and worthwhile to do so. The second introduced condemned the passage of Senate Bill 236 and its resultant attack on property rights, while the third was a Resolution of Commendation for Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild and his battle against the UN’s Agenda 21. Both were introduced by Scott DeLong of Harford County and both passed by unanimous voice vote.
The final resolution was the one I showed the mockup of earlier; authored by Baltimore County Chair John Fiastro Jr., it advised our three Republican National Committee members to oppose the re-election of RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
That also drew a lot of debate on both sides, but in watching those on the “anti” side line up it was apparent that not enough people were willing to rock the boat. The resolution ended up failing by a 223-286 count.
Yet Wicomico County was one which unanimously supported the amendment. While others had their own reasons and I was advised by a few people that there was a hidden agenda at work, my take on this was that I knew it was utterly symbolic at best. Opponents argued that having the Chairman mad at Maryland could hinder the state in getting national funds, but right now we pretty much get along without them anyway. If Reince Priebus doesn’t understand there are legitimate reasons we and others are unhappy with him and can’t put on his big boy pants and deal with them, well, then there’s not much hope he would be a successful Chair come 2014 either.
The dual themes of our convention were a look back at what really happened in the 2012 election and what we can do to improve our lot in 2014. To a significant number of us in the Maryland GOP, that soul-searching has to occur at a national level as well – after all, when Mike Duncan ran again for RNC Chair after the 2008 blowout we suffered there was no shortage of people calling for his head and he withdrew after just a couple ballots. So why the rush to bring back Priebus after failing to defeat the worst incumbent since Jimmy Carter, losing two Senate seats to shrink our minority to 45, and eight House seats including one here in Maryland?
But with the defeat of that resolution, our Fall Convention was over. And it made me realize a few other things are over as well.
The time for playing games is over.
The time for accepting the status quo and “this is how we’ve always done it” is long past over.
It’s time to go to war. If the Democrats think we’ve put on a “war on women,” well, let’s actually give them a war. I call it the “war on voting against one’s self-interest” (yes, a little wordy but it will have to do) and it starts today.
I actually meant to do this post over the weekend, but real life intervened. I’m hoping the expanded version of items which are really too short to merit a full post but worth a couple paragraphs is more chock full of interesting because of it.
Tomorrow (October 18) the Bongino campaign is doing a unique moneybomb event:
During our “Now or Never” event, you will be able to make donations designated specifically to get Dan’s campaign advertisements on radio, television and the Internet. These ads are a crucial part of our get-out-the-vote efforts and you will have the unique opportunity to choose the media outlet on which you wish to see the ads run. (Emphasis in original.)
So if you donate you get to choose. (I vote for advertising on this website. Is that an option?)
Unlike some others in the race, Dan’s campaign has been the closest to the grassroots and certainly has worn through the shoe leather. Regardless of the perception about where Dan stands in the polls, I think the voters’ brief flirtation with Rob Sobhani is coming to a close as they find out there’s not a lot of substance behind the sizzle.
I didn’t note this at the time, but since the Benghazi massacre is still in the news it’s noteworthy that Dan is among the chorus who thinks heads should roll:
I take no comfort in this, but Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice must resign in light of the Benghazi tragedy. It was a tragic failure in leadership.
He went on to decry the “current administration’s position that politics takes priority over security for our men and women in the foreign service.” Given the fact that Hillary Clinton now insists on taking full responsibility, it indeed behooves her to resign her post.
I’ve also found out that Dan will be in the area twice over the next couple weeks. On Thursday, October 25 he will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser here in Salisbury at the local GOP headquarters, tentatively scheduled from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., and on Tuesday, October 30 the PACE group at Salisbury University is hosting a U.S. Senate debate in their Great Hall at 3 p.m. That’s sort of an unusual time to have an event such as that, but it is what it is.
And apparently Dan has had his fill of complaints from Sobhani about Rob’s debate exclusion. This comes from Dan’s Facebook page:
Regarding the debates schedule, there is no effort to keep the candidate out of the debates. His campaign is fabricating stories in an attempt to distract from his confusing platform… Any forum he was not included in was due to the fact that he was not invited by the host.
I’ve spoken to the campaign about this issue and any assertion that Dan doesn’t want Rob Sobhani in the debates is completely false.
Speaking of debates, this is one which just might be crazy enough to actually work.
Created by the TEA Party Express group, this is the debate where the moderators are conservative. Of course, none of the nominees or incumbents will actually participate – but in this era of YouTube and 24-hour media coverage, video is a wonderful thing. Honestly, it’s simply going to serve as a reminder of where candidates have said they stand on key issues ignored in the other debates.
But I don’t think these guys are going to play it as comedy, like taking single words and catchphrases carefully spliced together like a shock jock might. Given some of the names already announced as participating in the event, it may come down to being just as informative as the real thing – and in many cases, Barack Obama actually will get to have his teleprompter.
This event will occur next Tuesday night, October 23, at 9 p.m.
Following up on a post I did a few days ago on Protect Marriage Maryland endorsements, the group has added Fourth District Congressional candidate Faith Loudon to its preferred candidates. No real surprise there, and if it chips a few percentage points off an otherwise monolithic black vote for Donna Edwards, so much the better. Hopefully they’ll also vote against Question 6 as well.
Meanwhile, those who support Question 7 may have stepped into some hot water with this ad.
Now LaVar Arrington can do as he pleases, but FedEx is none too happy about their logo being prominently featured as part of the spot. Spokeswoman Maury Donahue said her company will review the ad, but they have no involvement in the issue.
But it appears the Washington Redskins do have a role, according to a Capital Gazette article questioning a $450,000 payment to the team just days before the ad was taped. It also gave Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat and Question 7 opponent, an opening to remark on the team’s involvement:
As a ‘Skins fan, the Comptroller respectfully encourages them to focus on the important tasks at hand, such as protecting RG III, shoring up their kicking game and making sorely-needed improvements to one of the league’s lowest-ranked defenses.
I’d be more interested in what the NFL has to say considering their stance on gambling, and that’s likely why they had to choose a player who’s no longer active. Much as Arrington hates losing, he may well end up on the short end of the score November 6.
Unlike Questions 4, 6, and 7, which have seen a healthy amount of media coverage, Question 5 on redistricting has been the red-headed stepchild of the quartet. But State Senator E. J. Pipkin is trying to change that a little bit:
It’s just a little bit longer than a 30-second ad, which makes me wonder how many will see this video. But this makes a lot of sense considering the Maryland Democrats who put this together definitely flunked the “compact and contiguous” requirement.
But let’s not flunk the idea of protecting the vote. Election Integrity Maryland is holding one final poll watcher training session:
Election Integrity Maryland is offering its last Poll Watcher Training session before the election, on Wednesday, October 24 – Thursday, October 25. This comprehensive, 1-1/2 hour course is taught via webinar from the comfort of your home computer from 7:30 – 8:15 each evening.
Registration is required. The cost is $15, which includes a spiral bound Training Guide mailed to each participant.
Signup is here. Now I prefer to work outside the polling place in an attempt to change hearts and minds, but you can provide a valuable service to your fellow citizens in this way as well.
We know that the other side is ready to go (h/t Don Stifler):
I’ll definitely occupy my vote this year, and you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be for that failure named Barack Obama.
Finally, another requirement the Democrats in charge of Annapolis seem to be flunking is honesty in economic reporting. Instead of giving us the real news – which has been generally bad – they’re resorting to obfuscation. Jim Pettit at Change Maryland sent this along to me last week:
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently hosted an Annapolis summit for advocates of what is called a “Genuine Progress Indicator.” The national forum received scant media attention and the issue itself has largely been under the radar of most mainstream media outlets.
The impetus behind the Genuine Progress Indicator, or GPI movement, is to supplant traditional federal government statistics with new and arbitrary criteria that deducts what other government bureaucrats deem as environmental and social costs that accrue from prosperity.
Maryland is one of two states which have enacted a form of this method of statistical legerdemain, as Vermont signed this into law earlier this year.
Obviously Larry Hogan and Change Maryland delight in being a thorn in Martin O’Malley’s side, but the real question is why this is even being considered in the first place. To me, it comes from the same line of thinking which believes rural development should be shelved in favor of promoting “greenways” and packing people into urban centers so they can “improve” our “quality of life.”
But regardless of every statistic which can be measured, there is no way government can insure happiness. To use a baseball analogy, even if a pitcher absolutely owns a hitter to the tune of the batter being 0-for-20 against him that’s no guarantee the next at-bat won’t produce a home run. The radical Left can disparage capitalism all they want, and I’ll admit it sometimes doesn’t work very well. But these mistakes can be easily rectified by the market, and there’s no need for government to intercede. GPI is just an excuse for a greater attempt to control outcomes, with the folly of believing in equality of outcome uppermost in their minds.
It all goes back to that old saw about lies, damned lies, and statistics. When it’s in someone’s vested interest to cook the books we all know what sort of trouble can ensue. But I don’t need numbers to see that people are hurting, and it’s not from capitalism but instead from the lack thereof.
A lot of little (and big) stuff to talk about in this edition of odds and ends. I want to start local as a follow-up to something I wrote last weekend about the Wicomico Board of Education. Wicomico GOP Chair Dave Parker believes the headline originally placed in this Daily Times story was “misleading,” and it was indeed changed online to that which you see in the story.
The original, however, was “Wicomico County GOP committee protests Board of Education nominee.” Yes, the Daily Times got that one wrong – the protester was me, speaking on my own behalf. Maybe Jennifer Shutt is familiar with my work and I suppose I have my share of influence, but I don’t speak for the committee as a whole.
Now that I have that cleared up, I can add a note sent to me by the “pretty in pink” Delegate Addie Eckardt, whose Crab Feast & Sausages fundraiser is rapidly approaching – Sunday, September 9 is the date. It’s going to be held at J.M. Clayton’s in Cambridge from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the cost is $50 per person.
But if you’re a local Republican and don’t have the $50 lying around, you can still help. Our erstwhile headquarters coordinators Cynthia Williams and Bonnie Luna are looking for a few good men (and women, too) to staff our party headquarters from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. (We’re not opening on Sundays.) You can stop by the headquarters at 800 S. Salisbury Boulevard or call (410) 742-0308. We’re not picky in that respect.
Libertarian Muir Boda was kind enough to pass along a note regarding candidate forums he’s been invited to. One in particular is local:
“The Eastern Shore Farm and Environment Candidate Forum” presented by the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. September 24, 2012 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Salisbury University’s Great Hall at Holloway Hall. PAC-14 will be recording the forum.
Unfortunately, I’m sure I can’t be there to tell you what really happened because that’s also the night the Republican Club meets. (I wonder if the CBF knew that when the date was selected.) But it will be interesting to see what softballs they lob up there for Democrat Wendy Rosen to answer – from what some non-biased observers have told me, that’s about all she can handle. After all, anyone who brings up the eeeeeevil Koch brothers in conversation may be worth the price of admission in entertainment value, but the scary thing is: some people believe her.
Hopefully more believe this:
This comes from Worcester County and I have one of these shirts. And yes, I get good comments from it. You can do the same for a $15 donation to the Worcester Republican Women’s club – contact Joan Gentile: joanierags (at) verizon (dot) net.
More local reaction comes from the Wicomico Society of Patriots, which sent me a sampling of opinions on the movie “2016: Obama’s America” that’s now playing locally:
- I…went to today’s 1:05 show, and although (as a TEA Partier) I consider myself ’informed’, it was well worth the ride from Ocean Pines. The production was excellent, entertaining, factual, and to some was probably shocking. I’m glad to say that it was a big crowd for a matinee. Even if your mind is made up, you should attend if only to show your support for the efforts of the conservatives who made this movie possible.
- I was there also… sitting on the point of my chair and asking, “how was that possible?”
- Bring your friends, especiallly if they are a kind of democrat, or don’t know what (way) to vote !!!
- Thank you Cathy for the update. I had a friend go see it at 3:00 this afternoon, and she said it was very unsettling. She also said the attendance was good, but very few young people. The time of day may have had something to with that. We will definitely be going to see it.
- We went with two other couples tonight and all of us were motivated to keep up the fight, and even for those who “pay attention” we all learned some new things.
- Saw the 5:30 show…packed…I’ve put out the word too…we are going to have to work, but good will prevail over evil!
I have not seen the movie yet, but probably will before it goes away next weekend. Whatever the attendance is – even if they’re selling out theaters around the country – you can bet your bottom dollar that pressure is being brought to bear to get that movie out of there by next week.
Speaking of upcoming events but looking at a state level, while Maryland and Virginia have had a family feud of sorts through their respective governors, a guy who knows something about family feuds is doing a fundraiser for Maryland businesses.
I’ll let Jim Pettit pick it up from here – he’s good at this sort of thing:
Legendary comedian Louie Anderson will headline Maryland Business Leadership Political Action Committee’s second annual fundraiser at the Baltimore Comedy Factory Wednesday, October 17th, for one show only.
“We don’t think politics and business in Maryland is a laughing matter,” said MBLPAC Chair Cal Ewing, “but we do think it is important for business to come together and support a shared goal – a better business climate in Maryland to create jobs.”
The PAC is an offshoot of the Maryland Business for Responsive Government group which is frequently cited on this site. Eventually they’d like to raise $250,000 for the 2014 election and Anderson’s appearance will help them get there $100 at a time.
Finally, I thought it was worth pointing out that Democrats seem to make up rules as they go along. I know that’s not news to many of you, but Senator E. J. Pipkin and Delegate Michael Smigiel believe the recently-passed gambling bill violates the Maryland Constitution on two fronts:
- the Maryland Senate adjourned for more than three days and without the consent of the House, violating Article III, Section 25 of the Maryland Constitution, and, more importantly…
- “The (gambling) bill combined revenues, tax rates, and gambling expansion into one piece of legislation. Allowing for the referendum in November violates Article XVI, Section 2,” said Pipkin. Smigiel added, “In the past, we have sought to allow voters take to referendum fiscal matters like tax increases and spending by removing Article XVI, Section 2 from the Constitution. Every time Assembly leadership has rejected these efforts. Now, the General Assembly has passed a bill that in addition to expanding gambling, puts tax matters and appropriations up for a vote.”
Of course, since the Attorney General is a Democrat that complaint, however valid, will get nowhere fast. It’s another reason to vote AGAINST the gambling amendment, Question 7. Let’s make that an unlucky number for a General Assembly majority disinterested in proper process of law.
Somehow I made it through without mentioning Dan Bongino or Andy Harris. Oops, I guess I just did, didn’t I? That’s quite all right, both are worth mentioning.
Oh, one more thing as I toot my own horn. Tomorrow afternoon in the 4:00 hour (around 4:15 is what I’m told) I will be a guest on Blaine Young’s WFMD radio show. We’ll be discussing my book So We May Breathe Free. I asked about the possibility when he was here and we made it happen.