Odds and ends number 43

More of the small stuff you love! Let’s begin with this.

Up in the Second Congressional District, GOP candidate Larry Smith is challenging his four rivals to eight hour-long debates on various issues. But considering he has more to gain than two of his rivals (who serve in the Maryland General Assembly) that’s probably a pipe dream – not to mention they would likely be in session several nights a week.

But the key complaint Smith has is simpler: “This election should not be decided on who has the most insider endorsements, but rather who would be the best representative of the voters of the district.” All that is true, but if these debates were to come to pass I would hope that a conservative runs them, rather than the debacles we have seen with the GOP Presidential debates and their “gotcha” questions.

I wish Mr. Smith the best of luck in going to Washington.

Another Congressman wanted to make sure that there are no excuses to halt the exploration for natural gas in Maryland.

Last week Andy Harris held a hearing regarding the EPA’s findings in groundwater research in an area where fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is being performed. The EPA study is being questioned by experts who contend the study is being biased to show groundwater contamination which isn’t there.

“This hearing exposes how the EPA is willing to use junk science to promote unnecessary fear about the safety of hydraulic fracturing in an attempt to carry out the President’s climate change agenda,” said Harris. “The testimony was clear that this study is not applicable to Marcellus Shale, so hopefully Governor O’Malley won’t use this flawed study as an excuse to advance his own climate change agenda.”

Both Harris’s opening statement and the webcast are available for inspection. You may recall this was the hearing where a documentary filmmaker (not friendly to the oil and gas industry) was ejected for not seeking the proper credentials beforehand.

Speaking of oil and gas, the prospect of a gasoline tax strikes fear into Maryland drivers. I’ve already covered this at some length, but I wanted to point out a quote from a release I received from Maryland Business for Responsive Government concerning the Purple Line, a proposed light-rail system between New Carrollton and Bethesda. MBRG states:

The governor claims the increase is necessary to fund transportation projects, including the Purple Line, a $2 billion light-rail boondoggle meant to run between Bethesda and New Carrollton. This unpopular scheme could result in more than 300 families being tossed out of their homes through eminent domain.

This project is typical of leftist transportation policies that seek to redistribute wealth from automobile commuters – the vast majority – to the handful who prefer a government-subsidized ride. According to the latest Census Bureau data, only 5.2 percent of Marylanders take public transit. The absurdly optimistic forecast that 60,000 will use the purple trolley means the subsidy will be $33,000 per daily rider. It would be cheaper just to hand each of them a free car. (Emphasis mine.)

Isn’t that what liberals want to do anyway? Traffic will be just as bad, and the subsidy worse because the train will go from suburb to suburb. Unless someone has done the traffic study to prove this is a popular route not directly served by highways, I suspect this will indeed be a colossal waste of money. On the other hand, at $5 million per lane mile we could build a 4-lane expressway from Salisbury to Dover to connect to the existing improved section of Delaware Route 1 and have money left over for building a few needed interchanges at major highways. That would do a lot more good for Delmarva’s economy.

Instead, Martin O’Malley wants to build a slew of wind turbines around the state and off Ocean City. Maybe he should go watch this before he spends our tax dollars tilting at windmills:

I would imagine that a number of people who live out in Western Maryland and can’t cash in on the Marcellus Shale natural gas underneath their property have fallen for this racket – and I mean that in a literal sense. Just wait until they build these offshore and another Hurricane Irene lumbers by just off the coast. You don’t need to worry about that with fracking.

Last week I pointed out some of the GOP reaction to Martin O’Malley’s State of the State address. But I missed this one, and it’s pretty cute. Delegates Susan Aumann and Kathy Szeliga had their own take:

However, I have one objection – I hope they’re not playing ‘Angry Birds’ while they’re supposed to be taking votes or attending a hearing. Aside from that, they are right on target. And as others have pointed out, losing the Amazon sales via the ‘app tax’ could really hurt their bottom lines. Not so much here, but I like having the option open – at least for my friends.

Now let’s talk a little bit of activism. At the last WCRC meeting speaker Cathy Keim described what Election Integrity Maryland is doing, but in passing remarked about efforts in Wisconsin to verify recall signatures – a process rife with fraud thanks to multiple signatures from selected signers and obviously fake names like ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘Adolf Hitler.’ Regardless, these were supposed to be counted unless the validity of the signatures is challenged.

Verify the Recall is looking for volunteers to help with the effort of checking for duplicate signatures and against the database of existing voters. It would be utterly hilarious if the petition effort was found to have come up short because of the absolute and insidious fraud perpetrated by Big Labor and other anti-Scott Walker liberal groups.

Voter integrity will be one of the subjects of the next Worcester County TEA Party meeting at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, February 17 in the Ocean Pines Community Hall. They’ll also receive a legislative update from Delegate Mike McDermott. Hopefully I’ll get on-the-spot coverage from my correspondent over Worcester County way.

As I have the last two times, I’ll go through the sites I’ve added on my sidebar. Both of these are national sites which many of you have already heard of, but I had heretofore overlooked Instapundit and The Right Scoop. Not anymore. You may also notice I enhanced my link to the Maryland Democratic Party with a new widget in order to be fair and balanced.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish a happy 101st birthday to our late fortieth President, who was the first  President I cast a vote for in 1984 and for my money hasn’t been equaled in my lifetime before or since. Rest in peace, President Reagan, for you are sorely missed. The centennial hoopla may be coming to a close but the legacy remains.