Odds and ends number 24

Note: updates to the final news item are at the bottom. There is a link to a RNC whip count included too.

As one may expect, the combination of the snow and the season makes this a deathly slow news week – but here are some things I found interesting.

If you are a thinking conservative as I aspire to be, I came across a list of questions one can ask those of the liberal persuasion in a piece by Oleg Atbashian at Pajamas Media today. It always seems to me that those who have lived through statism as practiced around the world (in the former Soviet Union, Communist China, Cuba, former Eastern European Soviet satellites, etc.) and escaped to America have both a keener appreciation of the freedom we enjoy and the memory of just how their homelands arrived in the state they became.

I’m not sure if the book tour he describes will make it anywhere around these parts, but you can certainly tell Atbashian has embraced capitalism by looking at his The People’s Cube website. And you can certainly ask questions – after all, wasn’t the mantra of ‘question authority’ popular in the 1980’s? So why did we stop then?

Speaking of authority, the authority behind the Republican National Committee is at stake in an election held next month. Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post broke down who he considers the contenders and pretenders in a post which appeared late last night.

Seeing that we have a ‘favorite son’ of sorts in the race (Maryland’s incumbent Chair Michael Steele) it may be a shock to see Cillizza rank him among the three-person ‘second tier’ of contestants. I would presume Steele has the support of at least two of Maryland’s three-person delegation to the convention and most likely would get newly-installed state party Chair Alex Mooney’s vote as well. But I encourage all three to consider a second choice because I think Michael Steele has worn out his welcome, despite the successes of the 2010 campaign.

And unlike our recent state Chair election which relied on a complicated vote-tallying formula, every state and territory in the RNC universe will have an equal say – so the three votes Steele could presumably count on from Maryland are balanced by the three votes Saul Anuzis would get from his home state of Michigan, the trio of ballots Reince Priebus would secure from Wisconsin, and so on.

As a reminder, I looked at the other contenders a couple weeks ago. I suspect Maryland will have to deal with the post-Steele era in the RNC beginning next month.

Update: Heather Olsen alerted me to an ongoing whip count – judging by his comment our state Chair may be withholding his support for Michael Steele, at least for the moment.

Turning to state politics it’s worth noting that Delegate Michael Smigiel, who was re-elected in November, has prefiled two measures which were attempted last year – the eniment domain reform bill which was HB63 last year will be HB8 this time around, while the firearm licensing reciprocity bill known as HB52 in the last session was assigned to be HB9. Hopefully they will get out of committee this time around since there need only be four thoughtful Democrats necessary to bypass the committee and bring legislation to the floor (assuming all 43 House Republicans sign on.)

Finally, a weather-related note – the State of the County is snow-covered, thus Rick Pollitt has cancelled the State of the County speech scheduled for tomorrow morning. (This was announced today by county PIO Jim Fineran.) I have a question in to Jim regarding rescheduling, so if I find out I’ll amend the post to share the information.

Update: according to Jim Fineran, the speech will not be rescheduled. I’ll receive a copy for my review later today.

Update 2: Rick Pollitt released a statement with the annual report, which read in part, “Each year, I have published a printed ‘County Executive’s Report to the People’ in compliance with the terms of the Charter and then chosen to follow with an oral presentation from the council chambers. However, due to the current snow emergency and a variety of other significant items of business currently underway, I plan to publish the usual report as required but will postpone an oral presentation to a future date.” (Emphasis mine.)

No word on what the ‘significant items of business’ are. Later today I will have a review of the report.

Pusey receives key business group endorsement

One of several local candidates to score 100 percent on the Maryland Business for Responsive Government questionnaire, Marty Pusey was proud to announce her endorsement from the group. As they wrote, “your election to the state legislature will provide a much needed commitment to improving Maryland’s business climate.” Their criteria of having both a good score on the questionnaire and a solid business background placed Pusey in the position to garner the group’s support. 

(continued on my Examiner.com page…)

Obviously I think this is a big deal but in looking at the questions I would have only scored 92 percent. I disagree with their position on eminent domain for economic development purposes because as I interpreted it they’re okay with taking private property from one or more landowners who aren’t adding much to the tax base (for example, a neighborhood of modest single-family homes) just to seize it for the benefit of another favored private interest who will add more to the tax base. This was the basis of the 2005 Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision.