The way things ought to be

October 10, 2017 · Posted in Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

With apologies to Rush Limbaugh, of course…

Is it just me, or has civility gone the way of chivalry? I don’t think people can simply agree to disagree anymore, and this is particularly the case over the last year. People who backed the lady in the race won’t even talk to the folks who backed the guy who fired everyone – of course, those supporters had a hissy fit with backers of other people in the contest who aligned better with their political beliefs and would never vote for that firing guy.

But then the lady backers complained that the others had that attitude for the previous eight years, beginning with the time they got all riled up with those tax day rallies organized simply because their president was a different race. But no, charged those supporting the guy who fired everyone, you started it by wishing that President before him was dead because he started so many wars. Before that, we all pretty much laughed at the exploits of the lady in the race’s husband because somehow things were going smoothly. Now we couldn’t really laugh at the guy before him because he was so daggone serious about us reading his lips before he betrayed us and did what he said he wouldn’t do.

Come to think of it, the last President everyone liked was Ronald Reagan. I liked him too; in fact he’s the first one I voted for. This was back in the days when we didn’t have social media, smartphones, or even a whole lot of cordless phones. So do you know what we had to do? We had to talk, either over the telephone or (even better) face to face. We actually did fun stuff like go bowling, play board games, cruise aimlessly around town in our parents’ Oldsmobiles (although we fretted that gas was a buck a gallon), and hang out or watch movies at the suburban mall (or even a drive-in, which we were fortunate enough to still have), making sure to stop in the closest drug store and buy…the large size candy.

I’m going to make a suggestion here that you may feel free to put in the hopper, laugh at, or just plain ignore. Now Lord knows I like social media (and the occasional blog post) because I write more ably than I can talk, at least in front of a lot of people. But I don’t seem to have those problems in front of my church family or the small group we have on Wednesday nights. And on Sunday evenings, I know our teenaged daughter is in a safe place because she’s in the church youth group.

You may disagree, and I wouldn’t want to be accused of pushing my religion on anyone despite the fact salvation is free for the taking. But there’s a whole lot more civility and chivalry in a church than I find anywhere else in life where people just want to argue. Granted, the group is a little more homogeneous than your average pack of people in a crowd, but I’m sure I can ask questions on a variety of topics and receive a bushel of different answers. Their one thing in common: faith in our Lord.

It would not bother me a bit if this nation entered a period of religious revival – after all, we’ve tried just about everything else under the sun and found ourselves not only wanting but increasingly angry and bitter at our lot. It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so after the better part of thirty years spent on pursuits that have loosened the ties that once bound us I think our nation is about certifiable.

It’s time to come home, America.

Taking a break – from talk radio

March 23, 2016 · Posted in Business and industry, Delmarva items, Mainstream media, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Taking a break – from talk radio 

Back on Saturday I posted an update to Facebook in response to a RedState diary. My message said:

I used to listen to Rush daily at work, or when I drove around the region in my previous job… but now I just can’t do Rush’s (or Sean Hannity’s) all-Trump, all-the-time talk radio anymore.

Part of the reason is that I work in an office and figure it’s better to pay attention to what’s going on rather than be distracted. But at one time I didn’t mind the distraction – as I noted, in my former job I had several presets for Rush depending on where I had to go that day. Prior to that I would have my radio on from 12 to 3 when I sat in my cubicle at my old jobs.

But I don’t find it as interesting anymore, and perhaps if you multiply that by a few thousand that was the reason we lost a talk radio station lately. Earlier this month the former talk radio station WICO-FM (92.5) became a simulcast for WCTG-FM (96.5), a music station with its studios in Chincoteague, Virginia. I actually didn’t know this until I saw a WCTG billboard in Delmar, Delaware and wondered why a station that far away was advertising there until I saw the 92.5 addition. Admittedly, I’m pleased because now I have a music station for my drive to work in the morning.

In the old days I would have been a little upset because the AM signal that Rush and Hannity are now presumably on doesn’t carry as far as the FM signal did – I could listen all the way down into Virginia on the days when I traveled that way. Now I wonder if this is a trend. A quick look at Wikipedia – perhaps a biased source but a source nonetheless – states Limbaugh is on 590 stations. That is less than the “over 600” generally attributed to him, but not to any great degree.

But one thing I have noticed over the last few years is a change in the type of advertiser that is found on Rush. I realize that this isn’t the era where more familiar products and services are hawked on talk radio, but it seems the advertising demographic is skewing to the same type of content you see on the nightly network news – more stuff for older folks, such as supplements and security systems. Talk radio in general seems to attract survivalists (like those who would buy the food with the 25-year shelf life) and those who would be likely to purchase precious metals because I would hear those spots, too.

Maybe the issue for me is how serious it’s become. You used to laugh when you listened to Rush, but for me there doesn’t seem to be the humor in it anymore.

And with the advent of social media I can get a lot of conservative news and commentary without appointment radio. (Perhaps my new favorite is The Resurgent.) Others can listen all day to internet radio and podcasts to get their political fix – Lord knows there are enough would-be Limbaughs, Becks, and Hannitys out there. I’m not one who listens to the plethora of possible content – just let me read it and be done with it.

I may still turn on Rush from time to time when I go out for my lunch hour, but I think the days of listening wall-to-wall have come and gone. Everything has its season, and it wouldn’t shock me to find more and more political talk radio stations trying a different format in the months to come.

10 from 10: Welcome to the Rushalanche!

November 29, 2015 · Posted in Personal stuff · Comments Off on 10 from 10: Welcome to the Rushalanche! 

October 5, 2007 is a day – to borrow a phrase from some failed presidential candidate – that is forever seared into my memory. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried to call Rush Limbaugh on “open line Friday” but I amazingly got through, Snerdly liked the question I was going to ask, and right after the 1:30 news it was time for my big show business break. (I have the transcript as a private page. Think I did the job of making the host look good.)

And yes, it did fry my server. But for one glorious day I had several thousand people read my site – who knows, maybe some are still around.

**********

Since most of you readers have never heard of monoblogue prior to my conversation with Rush, a little about my website.

I started this a couple years ago because I couldn’t write a letter to the editor every day. But in the last 22 months this has become my hobby/obsession and the actual reason I wanted to call in was to see what websites are considered the top sites for conservative thinking so I can link to them and use them to improve my own writing.

On monoblogue, I cover a variety of subjects ranging from national and Maryland politics to my love of baseball and local music. Another goal is to inform the voters of the Eastern Shore and elsewhere of the political choices they have and editorially push them in the “right” direction.

So welcome to monoblogue, and I hope you come back often. And thank you for the “big show business break” Rush!!!

P.S. There’s been many great comments so far and I’m going to spend some time this weekend answering them. I’ve always been proud of those who comment (I think I have the best readers of any website) and you folks continue the tradition. Plus you’ve given me valuable insight on good websites, some I already knew of and a few I didn’t.

And for those who ask, in maybe two hours you’ve topped my best WEEK ever. Now the challenge is to keep all of my new readers, and I look forward to it. My thanks to you and to Rush for taking my call.

**********

I would be remiss if I didn’t add the companion post I did for the new audience. It was a day I’ll never forget.

The end of many roads

November 2, 2015 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2015 - Salisbury, Delmarva items, Politics · Comments Off on The end of many roads 

I was struck today by a Facebook post from an old friend of mine, a former co-worker from Ohio who I credit with introducing me to Rush Limbaugh. (We had the original “Rush room” at our office. It’s a long story.) He and his wife are both running for office in their little town, with him running for City Council and her seeking a seat on the local school board. (Yes, like probably 90% of other Americans, they have an elected school board.)

One thing I had to gently chastise him about is that the campaign didn’t end today like he said – it ends tomorrow when the last vote is cast. Regardless, he and his wife are among the many thousands who are trying for everything from township trustee to governor (Kentucky and Mississippi have gubernatorial elections tomorrow.) We talk a lot about the Presidential horse race, but those tiny races that involve just a few dozen voters mean the world to those local candidates. The vast majority of them have no desire to be on the debate stage with Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, et. al. – they just believe they can bring new and improved ideas for making their towns or cities great again, perhaps saving the idea of America in the process.

Years ago, I was one of those who stood out in the cold all day for a municipal candidate or two, whether for my Council district or for mayor, or some other office. The memories start to blur after awhile, although it was always an uphill battle supporting Republicans in Toledo and Lucas County – that much I remember. It seemed like the teachers’ union, Teamsters, or UAW always had people working polls while the GOP had – me. (They worked shifts, I was there all day. I was precinct chair, so I considered it my job.)

In this day and age, running for office can be a lot of work. Perhaps the toughest part of seeking an elected position is getting enough buy-in from people to become volunteers. While thousands run for office, and many more thousands make a living (or at least some small paycheck) working in politics as a profession, the fact is voters in this country exist in the millions. It’s a tremendous task to contact all of them for a national campaign, arduous at a state level, but once you reach the county and local levels retail politics is possible. I don’t think Ben Carson is going to knock on my door, but both Keyvan Aarabi and Muir Boda did this year, as did Josh Hastings last year and Jake Day the year before. (Alas, I was home for neither this year. I just know they were here by the literature they left.)

Just to use Salisbury as an example, there will only be six winners tomorrow while eight others will see their dreams dashed. In that latter number will be at least one incumbent member of City Council as redistricting put them together; on the other hand, the incoming mayor and one incumbent Council member will win the moment they vote for themselves. It’s the other twelve who will be sweating it out tomorrow night.

I really have a vested interest in only two races. I live in District 2 and was pleased my friend Muir Boda lived in the same district, so if you do I encourage you to vote for him.

Literally across the street from me is District 4. One has to wonder why current mayor Jim Ireton – who vowed that “help is on the way” in his initial campaign – is retreating from the mayor’s office where he can best provide said help to run for City Council. My guess is that he knew rather quickly Jake Day would crush him if he ran for another term, and at the speed which Day not only racked up support over the incumbent Debbie Campbell in 2013 but became Council president upon taking office it was likely Jim tried to shape his district to his advantage, figuring he would have an easy ride onto Council to keep his hand in the game.

But the recent push by Ireton to punish landlords via rent control isn’t about empowering renters, but beating up political opponents and dividing the city between haves and have-nots. Otherwise why exempt multi-family residences? On the other hand, I was impressed enough by Roger Mazzullo that I crossed the aisle to take his ad. I doubt I would agree with him on every single issue, but he wants the city to be more business-friendly and so do I. The soon-to-be-former mayor may argue he’s for business too, but he seems to have it in for a group who invests in the city and we’re tired of the drama. The citizens of Salisbury should make a clean break from the Ireton era and elect Roger Mazzullo.

By this time tomorrow night we should know who will be working with Jake Day to move Salisbury forward. Feel free to ask me for suggestions.

And after the campaigns are over, win or lose, take a few moments to appreciate those who sacrificed many evenings, weekends, and family events to present themselves for serving you as an elected official. They’re not always the most popular lot but at this local level they’re doing it for their hometowns rather than personal gain. Even if they lose, I hope they stay involved.

The end of Walker

September 22, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The end of Walker 

Think back with me, if you will, to those frosty days of last winter and early spring. Remember when Rush Limbaugh seemed to mention Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on an almost daily basis as a guy who knew how to take it to liberals? There was a point where people were openly clamoring for him to get in the GOP race, thinking he – not Jeb Bush – was the man to beat. After all, the Democrats had thrown the kitchen sink at Walker three times without beating him, even after he stared down the unions in Wisconsin and got them to blink.

In the post-mortem of Walker’s shuttered campaign, my take in general is that he shouldn’t have waited until June to get in. Had he jumped sooner, it’s possible that some of the others at the bottom may have taken a pass because he may have used his reputation to line up support. Granted, I’m sure some of his most inside people knew weeks in advance what Walker’s intentions would probably be, but waiting until later can be seen as indecisive or not having the fire in the belly.

But I want to talk about my thoughts on Walker as a potential President. As my faithful readers know, I do a lot of reading and comparison on candidates to find the one I think is best. He or she may not be on top in the polls at the moment, but this is after all the time for choosing.

Early on, based on reputation, I thought Scott Walker would be one of my top picks but he disappointed me at every turn. I didn’t see him as the conservative answer we needed on several issues, and his sliding back and forth on a few was worrisome. At the time of his suspension I had just wrapped up the dossier on entitlements and he had a plan that was somewhat conservative but also had some strains of big government like age-based tax credits. With me, he never really got the traction to get out of the middle of the pack.

On the other hand, Rick Perry usually did well and he would likely have finished in my top 5 based on his thoughts about shifting power to the states in many areas. But he was outside the top ten cut, so no one really noticed he was withdrawing.

Walker’s rapid decline in the polls came as people began coming to the realization that he was a nice enough guy and maybe can fight on a state level, but not a particularly accomplished debater. Truthfully, he wasn’t adding much to the race until his Hail Mary regarding curtailing public sector unions and establishing national right-to-work. (States would be allowed to opt back out, so never fear – the Democrats who run Maryland into the ground would have demanded a Special Session to appease their union toadies.)

It’s a great idea, but it looks like someone else will have to run with it now.

So-called expert believes women can only be prostitutes and maids

Okay, now that I have your attention, allow me to add some context. If I did show prep for Rush Limbaugh, this story would be placed in the “lighthearted stack of stuff.” (This explains why I kept it around for a couple weeks.)

Back on April 20 – which somehow seems appropriate – the Washington Times ran the story I allude to in the title. It detailed an April 6 lecture by “a key figure behind New York’s statewide ban on fracking.” Biologist Sandra Steingraber said the following:

“Fracking as an industry serves men. Ninety-five percent of the people employed in the gas fields are men. When we talk about jobs, we’re talking about jobs for men, and we need to say that,” Ms. Steingraber says in a video posted on YouTube by the industry-backed group Energy in Depth.

“The jobs for women are ‘hotel maid’ and ‘prostitute,'” she says. “So when fracking comes into a community, what we see is that women take a big hit, especially single women who have children who depend on rental housing.”

Needless to say, if a conservative said that women were only qualified to be prostitutes and hotel maids, we would have that splashed all over the front pages for months on end. Instead, it took two weeks to leak out to the Washington Times and, aside from that, it’s barely been mentioned. A cursory news search for Ms. Steingraber only found a few articles on smaller outlets about upcoming speeches and minor reaction to this story.

The Times also quotes another anti-fracking activist who compares the procedure to rape:

Ms. Steingraber’s speech, titled “Fracking is a Feminist Issue: Women Confronting Fossil Fuels and Petrochemicals in an Age of Climate Emergency,” comes after Texas anti-drilling activist Sharon Wilson was criticized for comparing fracking to rape in a March 30 post on Twitter and her blog.

“Fracking victims I have worked with describe it as a rape. It is a violation of justice and it is despoiling the land,” Ms. Wilson said in her blog, TXSharon’s BlueDaze. “Victims usually suffer PTSD.”

I tell you, Valerie Richardson’s story could be comedy gold – but these people take this stuff seriously, and that’s a shame.

While the oil and gas industry isn’t female-dominated by any means, it’s often a function of physical strength and skill level – the women who are coming into the field aren’t typically found at the wellhead but in what the industry calls “downstream” jobs. None of them involve prostitution or scullery work, but they’re usually not going to get their hands overly dirty at the jobsite because they are the technicians and engineers as opposed to the guys doing the drilling and extraction. And that’s just fine – they’re making an honest living. So Steingraber may be right in the specific that nearly all wellhead jobs are held by males, but as an industry she’s well off base.

Yet the problem with this line of thinking is that it pervades the brains of liberals who occupy places of power, such as the EPA or, closer to home, the Maryland General Assembly. The Radical Green leftists in the MGA still haven’t received the “war on women” meme, but they don’t have to be as sly about it, either.

As you are likely aware I am currently working on the 2015 monoblogue Accountability Project, and some of my venom is saved for the idiocy which passes for oil and gas industry expertise. Pro-abortion legislators are continually trying to strangle Maryland’s fracking industry before it even makes it to the crib, as you’ll see when I wrap up the mAP in the next few weeks.

One good example is a proposal on the waste products of fracking, which is originally proposed would have made it illegal for a person to “accept, receive, collect, store, treat, transfer, or dispose of, in the state, waste from hydraulic fracturing.” Well, that pretty much covered it: a backhanded ban on the practice. I have at least one other example in the mAP, so be watching.

For America to prosper, we need to create our own energy. And when we have the bountiful resources that we do and can extract them at a reasonable, market-based price, why not do so? You can see the depths opponents have to reach to make their point, which means their argument is a futile one. Drill, baby, drill!

The Democrats’ biggest fear (for now)

March 2, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The Democrats’ biggest fear (for now) 

It’s a concept I first heard from Rush Limbaugh, but it makes common sense: your opponents will show you what they are most afraid of by what they speak about and the terms by which they do so. In this case, perhaps their biggest fear going into 2016 is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who was the subject of a DNC e-mail I received featuring this quote:

The DNC characterized this as an unsavory comparison, which some called a “gaffe.”

Obviously Walker was trying to portray himself as one who actually has a spine, unlike a lot of those who are in federal office at this time.  As a governor he has little foreign policy experience, but he has faced down more than his share of policy-based adversaries given his stance against the public-sector unions in Wisconsin. (It’s interesting to note that the Democrats in that Wisconsin case turned tail and ran rather than stand and fight for their beliefs. Par for the course.)

But Scott Walker has surged to the top of the polls because he’s maintained a relatively conservative line through the four-plus years he’s served as Wisconsin governor, winning not just two but three elections where Democrats have thrown the kitchen sink at him, including a trumped-up ethics investigation. A state that was considered to be safe for Democrats is now up for grabs because a conservative has led it for an extended period of time and performed successfully. That turnaround and the fact he actually stared down a key liberal constituent group and prevailed explains much of Walker’s appeal at this stage of the game. It’s a record none of the Democrats currently eyeing the nomination can match.

You may also recall that Walker was the subject of liberal wailing and gnashing of teeth a week or so earlier when he didn’t bite on questions about Rudy Giuliani’s remark questioning Barack Obama’s love of America. Add this to the CPAC speech and more and more on the Right are convinced Scott Walker is the Left’s biggest fear going into 2016 – so, to the liberals, he must be destroyed at all costs. Walker is hardly an elite or establishment GOP fellow, and it’s that relationship with the common man that Democrats fear, unlike Mitt Romney who they could (and successfully did) portray as a Wall Street patrician.

At this point, though, what difference does it make? To Americans who want a clear choice for President it makes all the difference in the world.

The new “it” candidate

In each Presidential cycle, there always seems to be a candidate who breaks through against the conventional wisdom choices and becomes popular because he is a new face and excites the populace. Barack Obama was one of those in 2007, and he rode that early wave of popularity all the way through to the White House. They are usually from the opposition party to the one in the White House.

But aside from Obama, usually that particular politician flames out early in the process just as Howard “the Scream” Dean did in 2004 and Herman Cain did in 2011. So whether the cycle is going back in the other direction or we’ll hear the same old song is up to the voting public.

This cycle’s early “it” candidate has been through the electoral wringer quite a bit in the last four years, though, so he’s not exactly a completely unknown quantity. But over the last couple weeks, since the Iowa Freedom Summit, the star of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has rapidly ascended in the Republican ranks, putting him up into the top tier of candidates. Walker drew praise from no less than Rush Limbaugh, who believed the Wisconsin governor has clearly expressed a conservative manner of governance in his tenure over a previously staunchly Democratic state. “I believe Scott Walker is the blueprint for the Republican Party if they are serious about beating the left,” said Rush.

Walker, who recently formed an exploratory committee, comes into the race as one of several successful GOP governors. It’s a group that includes recent or current governors in Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, and Chris Christie, along with former governors Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush. This group with executive experience has served to push back many of the other contenders, such as Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, who don’t have as much time in the national spotlight. (One exception in that group is Rand Paul, who remains among the top dogs.)

Yet the argument for a candidate like Walker is simple in light of the last six-plus years of having a president who learned on the job: it’s time to put the adults back in charge. In fact, you have to reach all the way down the Democratic field to Martin O’Malley to find a person who’s actually run anything on a scale that several GOP aspirants have – and O’Malley’s legacy was so poor that he couldn’t even get his lieutenant governor to succeed him in a majority-Democratic state. Otherwise, their top half-dozen contenders got their political experience mainly from the Senate and despite the oversized ego required to be a Senator they really don’t have a lot of qualifications for the job. Good or bad, four of the preceding five Presidents before Obama served as governors of their state.

The question going forward will be how much scrutiny Walker will receive, although having survived both a recall effort and re-election should mean there’s not too many secrets we don’t know about him. Much will be made about Walker’s lack of a college degree (he attended Marquette University but did not graduate) but it hasn’t stopped him from running the ship of state in Wisconsin. Consider him a magna cum laude graduate of the School of Hard Knocks.

I can see why Walker would be popular, though. He has the record of success against Big Labor Chris Christie can only dream of and beaten them back at the polls in a way John Kasich of Ohio could not. And while he doesn’t have the job creation record of a Rick Perry in Texas, his state also doesn’t have the energy potential Texas has. Wisconsin did rank fourth last year in the number of new manufacturing jobs, as industry has traditionally been the state’s economic bread and butter.

So is Walker the outsider the GOP rank-and-file is looking for? Time will tell, but he’s the buzz on social media right now and for good reason.

The high road

For the most part, the votes are counted in the 2013 elections. A few conservatives won, but others lost – and that’s always disappointing. I’m going to leave the finger-pointing to others, but some reactions to the Virginia and New Jersey races worth sharing came from national heavyweights Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh as well as new media names like Peter Ingemi, Soopermexican, and Dan Riehl.

But for now I’m going to focus on the state races, which despite being a year away have attracted a fair share of headlines. One sidebar story to most, though, is roiling Maryland’s conservative new media, as it’s full-on open warfare between blogs and personalities supporting gubernatorial candidate Charles Lollar vs. blogs and personalities which are claiming to vet Lollar for a number of issues ranging from out-of-state tags on the announcement tour bus to pulling a salary during his 2010 Congressional campaign to missing key GOP events.

I thought one generous olive branch was extended by J. Doug Gill on his radio show this evening. Why not talk out these issues and get some explanation from the guy on top, the leader of the campaign?

I know people on both sides of this issue; for example I’m friends with Jackie Wellfonder and work with her closely as part of Wicomico County Republican Club leadership – having met her as a local leader in the Dan Bongino Senate campaign, yet I also know Julie Brewington as an earnest believer in her cause who worked in the development of the local TEA Party as well as the former Americans for Prosperity chapter we had here. She also stuck her neck out to try and change Annapolis by running for office. Certainly, the results weren’t what Julie would have desired because she finished last, but few people make the commitment to run for such elected office. I consider her a friend as well. Sad thing is that there’s probably 80 percent or more common ground there but Julie is a local leader for Lollar and Jackie is on record as pining for Larry Hogan, so there’s now plenty of animosity there.

Yet look where this infighting has gotten us – talk of blackmail, mea culpas on subjects better left unsaid (and really irrelevant to the campaign), and talk of “vicious attacks.” I don’t know which wheel squeaked first – although as you’ll see below I have a guess – but I hope my wheel is the one that squeaks last. If Charles Lollar is running a poor campaign, the voters will figure that out soon enough. There isn’t a campaign among the four Republicans with a realistic shot of winning the nomination that I wouldn’t support when compared to the Democrats in the field who promise the same old bromides of tax, spend, and redistribute in an effort to buy more votes.

My gosh, if we as conservatives have enough pride to not fall for the redistribution trap, let’s not get bogged down in this crap. If people spent half as much time and energy working out the obvious flaws in Lollar’s campaign – and yes, the lack of a website for a week was a legitimate criticism of an unforced error, as were some of the missed appearances – as they did in figuring out ways to trash the Red Maryland crew, which may be of use to them later, they would stand a much better chance of winning.

I think it was a main protagonist of Red Maryland, Greg Kline, who got this whole ball rolling with his June assessment that Lollar “does not seem ready to be a serious contender for the Office of Governor of Maryland.” Since then, the Lollar camp has seemed hypersensitive to any criticism from that direction, which includes by extension Wellfonder (a Red Maryland radio host) as well as Jeff Quinton (also a former Red Maryland radio host.) Moreover, the blowback even extends to the Steve Hershey appointment. It almost seems like a cynical attempt to “slime the messenger” is at play here.

Now you can trust me when I tell you this “erstwhile contributor” to Red Maryland has had many differences with them over the years. But I have to say that they are an important piece of Republican politics in this state, for better or worse. I would have more respect for those running the Lollar campaign if they pointed out the differences between their guy and the other Republicans running than I do with their spending time worrying about what a group of bloggers thinks. If you disagree with Kline’s assessment, prove him wrong and step up your game.

As for myself, it’s time to concentrate on the issues. I think Sunday I’ll break out the first of several parts of my dossier, which is pretty much complete in several areas, so look for that.

A blessing or a curse?

July 8, 2013 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, Business and industry, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on A blessing or a curse? 

For many bloggers who dream about breaking the big story, the point at which the day finally arrives and you get national attention may be one of the most exhilarating in an otherwise humdrum journalism career. However, as the recent case of one of my blogging friends illustrates, you can run the risk of having your most important work ignored for, in this case, a literal fluff piece.

This tale begins two years ago, when Bob caught wind of a Missouri couple who faced $3.9 million in fines from the USDA for the egregious offense of selling over $500 worth of bunnies in a calendar year. Obviously it was a good story of government run amok and it received some attention among those in the conservative news media at the time.

Eventually this story developed into a guest blog by a South Carolina magician who related three tales of overaggressive enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, and as it turns out one of those three contacted McCarty about the latest insanity from our bureaucracy regarding disaster plans for these rabbits. Once again, the story went viral and was mentioned in a number of conservative news outlets.

At first, Bob seemed to be pretty cool with this. But several days in, McCarty seems to have second thoughts:

Only one week in, I can already say it’s been a good month at BobMcCarty.com!  At the same time, however, I must say things could be much better.

(snip)

While I appreciate the attention this story has received, I would much prefer seeing our nation’s top bloggers, journalists and radio personalities devoting some attention to the topics I cover in the two nonfiction books I wrote during the past four years:  Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO.  Why? Because my books deal with life-and-death issues that impact our men and women in uniform who serve in harm’s way. (All emphasis in original.)

In fact, as the original rabbit post was gaining attention, Bob was wrapping up work on Three Days in August, which came out in October, 2011. In May of this year came his second book, The Clapper Memo, and as he notes both books deal with issues impacting our military. (Bob spent several years in the Air Force as a public relations officer, so he has a military background.)

It’s obvious that Bob is worried about being typecast as the guy who does the “rabbit stories” much like an actor who’s made his career playing comedic roles always longs to play the meatier dramatic parts; meanwhile, the aspects of the actor’s roles which involve outstanding acting are overlooked.

And it’s ironic in a sense because I came to Bob’s attention as a result of my own huge day, the Rushalanche I had back in 2007. While it didn’t involve any story I broke – just being able to promote my site on Limbaugh’s show – it still ranks as my all-time best readership day to this very day. But I’d love to have that sort of audience daily for my commentary because I think it’s important to receive a daily dose of common sense with a pro-liberty, pro-prosperity message.

As it relates to Bob, all this occurred when he was more of a full-time blogger and taking the plunge of going to his own domain, just as I did a couple years earlier in starting monoblogue. Over the next couple years he provided great coverage of TEA Party events in his locality, which so happens to be the St. Louis area where relatives of mine live. So I used a lot of his video when he was being a photojournalist for the initial incarnation of my “Friday Night Videos” series, but eventually he retreated from the full-time grind to finish Three Days in August.

Yet he’s a very good e-mail promoter so I still find out about posts he thinks are interesting, and that’s how I received his recent lament. So before you pigeonhole (or is that rabbithole?) him into the same category that features the dreaded “cheezburger” cats, be aware that the guy has serious things to say.

He can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat, but you can consider buying his books.

 

The Maryland internet radio shakeup

Over the years I have compiled a (very) occasional series of posts called “Radio days.” The idea originally began as a post-mortem of my first radio guest spot way back in 2007, but I’ve stayed with the concept for subsequent appearances. They’ve become much more infrequent as the most supportive local radio station adopted a syndicated morning show – most of the series of posts arose from a stretch where I was a monthly guest on Bill Reddish’s old “AM Salisbury” show.

But where terrestrial radio has gone away from individually-hosted shows to national syndication – at least in a smaller market like Salisbury – internet radio is thriving. Granted, no one is making a living like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, or other talk radio giants are, but the success of internet radio stems both from narrowcasting to a specific but passionate market and having the convenience of being able to listen later. (The aforementioned talkers will let you do that, too, but it will cost you.) If I can’t catch a show at its appointed time I can sit and listen at my convenience later that evening or even a few days or weeks after the original airing.

The success of this turned out to be one of the subjects of my TQT interview with Andrew Langer a few months back, and oddly enough he figures in this post as well. “The Broadside,” a radio show he co-hosts with Mark Newgent, is one of just two shows not affected by a shakeup at Red Maryland Radio, which has emerged as a leading voice in Maryland politics. On Friday they announced a revamped lineup with three new radio hosts (fellow bloggers Jackie Wellfonder of Raging Against the Rhetoric, Jeff Quinton of The Quinton Report, and Examiner and former WBAL radio host J. Doug Gill), and two new shows focusing on the efforts of The Watchdog Wire (to which I contribute) and the 2014 elections.

On the other hand, three former RMN shows are leaving: “Lock and Load Radio” (previously “Seeing Red”) with hosts John and Andi Morony, “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Radio”  featuring the quartet of Jim Braswell, Ethan Grayson, Tom Smith, and Paul Drgos, and Braswell’s Friday “Red Maryland Happy Hour.”

Those three will become the backbone of a new network called Free State Radio, to join “The Non-Aggression Principle”, which was formerly “Maryland Libertarian Radio.” They claim to have more of a national focus with the new network, as these shows were centered more around specific issues and politics in general than Maryland-centric issues. The resulting shuffle has most affected Wellfonder’s yet-to-premiere show, as it has bounced around from being originally envisioned as a Thursday evening show to Sunday evenings and now Tuesdays.

From what I have gleaned from listening to some of those involved,  the parting was on the hasty side and perhaps not the most amicable. Regardless of the circumstances, though, one has to marvel at the growth of the medium in just a couple years – what once was two shows is now going to be eleven, (Another strong Maryland contender, “Purple Elephant Politics,” seems to now be on at least a temporary hiatus. Maybe they’ll be next in the Red Maryland Network fold.)

Yet one also has to ponder the effect on the blogs involved as well. While Red Maryland has trimmed its number of contributors over the last couple years to around a half-dozen or so, their posting tempo has decreased significantly over the years to a point where they’re running about one to two new posts a day, with many of those simply promoting their radio network. The others involved post with a little lower frequency, although Quinton is known to have multiple posts a day on occasion. Surely even one hour-long show a week requires far more time and effort than sitting in front of a computer and talking for an hour, particularly in remote locations, so it will be a challenge for these bloggers to continue putting out quality content. On the flip side, though, having hand-transcribed 20- to 25-minute interviews, it’s likely they will be substituting 8,000 words of spoken content for perhaps 1,500 words of written content – and probably less, since in an hour’s time there may be editing and rewrites. I’ve been working on this post off-and-on for several hours today with perhaps about 60 to 70 minutes actual writing time, so there is some efficiency therein. But every blogger is different.

Another question I have has to do with money and sponsorship. Obviously I’m unsure as to whether the fledgling Free State Radio network has any backing; meanwhile, Red Maryland Radio is essentially self-sponsored as well as its income is derived from merchandising on Zazzle and Greg Kline’s law firm, which seems to be their one “outside’ sponsor. While Blogtalkradio makes money from the commercials they play prior to the podcasts as well as premium services for more well-heeled hosts willing to pay up to $250 a month for the privilege, they’re only sharing a portion of their revenue once you jump through hoops and build a large enough audience – similar to something like Examiner for bloggers. (From experience I know that’s a very difficult venue for success, particularly with a focus on politics.) While there’s probably money available from various campaigns as they get rolling for 2014, the question is whether they would spend the money on a somewhat limited audience rather than try their luck with cable TV or terrestrial radio.

So the question becomes one of the size of the pie. While we all try our best to expand our audience, the vast majority of people will remain devoted to pop culture, ignorant of political trends toward the erosion of our freedom, and perfectly content to allow the world to dictate their lives as long as they can be entertained. I believe the ancient Romans called this bread and circuses.

But as long as someone is trying to ring the bell, there’s the chance they may get noticed. So while a radio gig is probably not in the cards for me – at least not in an hour-long format where I have to carry the show – I’d be glad to lend my expertise as a guest or just listen to what some of these fine folks have to say. In many cases I already have.

Chances are they will have a better message than the one being put out by the party in power in both Annapolis and Washington, D.C.

Limbaugh ‘slut’ controversy no Fluke

Fair warning – some language NSFW.

Considering that the story took a couple weeks to play out, there’s no doubt that Sandra Fluke’s biggest career move to date has been to be called a ‘slut’ by none other than Rush Limbaugh. If not for that, it’s doubtful anyone outside the world of far-leftist hyper-pro-choice and LGBTQ politics would have heard of her, and Barack Obama wouldn’t have picked up the phone to give her a ring.

In fact, so few knew who she was that it didn’t originally send up red flags to most when Democrats tried to sign her up to testify at a House hearing, portrayed as a 23-year-old Georgetown Law School student. When her original attempt to testify before a House committee chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa was rebuffed because, in Issa’s judgment, she couldn’t be properly vetted, Fluke became the star witness in a Democratic show hearing put together by Rep. Nancy Pelosi – a star witness because she was the only witness. Nice effort to hear from all sides there, guys – at least the Republicans asked for your input. It was at that hearing she made the claim that contraception had cost her and others she surveyed a total of $3,000 over the three years she had been at Georgetown Law School, which didn’t cover the expense in their health insurance plan.

Later, however, it was revealed that she entered Georgetown Law in part to challenge the rule regarding contraception coverage. It was also learned that nearby pharmacies sell the most commonly available birth-control pill for as little as $9 per month, putting the lie to the $1,000 per year figure.

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  • 2018 Election

    Election Day is November 6 for all of us. With the Maryland primary by us and a shorter widget, I’ll add the Delaware statewide federal offices (Congress and U.S. Senate) to the mix once their July 10 filing deadline is passed. Their primary is September 6.

    Maryland

    Governor

    Larry Hogan (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Shawn Quinn (Libertarian) – Facebook

    Ben Jealous (D) – Facebook Twitter

    Ian Schlakman (Green) Facebook Twitter

     

    U.S. Senate

    Tony Campbell (R) – Facebook Twitter

    Ben Cardin (D – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Arvin Vohra (Libertarian) – Facebook Twitter

    There are three independent candidates currently listed as seeking nomination via petition: Steve Gladstone, Michael Puskar, and Neal Simon. All have to have the requisite number of signatures in to the state BoE by August 6.

     

    U.S. Congress -1st District

    Andy Harris (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Jenica Martin (Libertarian) – Facebook Twitter

    Jesse Colvin (D) – Facebook Twitter

     

    State Senate – District 37

    Addie Eckardt (R – incumbent) – Facebook

    Holly Wright (D) – Facebook

     

    Delegate – District 37A

    Frank Cooke (R) – Facebook

    Sheree Sample-Hughes (D – incumbent) – Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 37B (elect 2)

    Chris Adams (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Johnny Mautz (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Dan O’Hare (D) – Facebook

     

    State Senate – District 38

    Mary Beth Carozza (R) – Facebook Twitter

    Jim Mathias (D – incumbent) Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38A

    Charles Otto (R – incumbent)

    Kirkland Hall, Sr. (D) – Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38B

    Carl Anderton, Jr. (R – incumbent) Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38C

    Wayne Hartman (R) – Facebook

     

    Delaware

     

    U.S. Senate

     

    Republican:

    Rob ArlettFacebook Twitter

    Roque de la FuenteFacebook Twitter

    Gene Truono, Jr. –  Facebook

     

    Libertarian (no primary, advances to General):

    Nadine Frost – Facebook

     

    Democrat:

    Tom Carper (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Kerri Evelyn HarrisFacebook Twitter

     

    Green (no primary, advances to General):

    Demitri Theodoropoulos

     

     

    Congress (at-large):

     

    Republican:

    Lee MurphyFacebook Twitter

    Scott Walker

     

    Democrat (no primary, advances to General):

    Lisa Blunt Rochester (D – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

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