Monday, June 30, 2008

Should They Clean House at the NRCC?

Josh Kahn poses some interesting questions in his post regarding the state of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He then loses it all at the end.

The NRCC has NEVER been a great source of talent for winning campaigns. The same kind of cronyism exists there as in most other areas of politics. The NRCC should be a conduit for funding, and that's it!

Kahn is fairly on track until he discusses message:

If “traditional Republican messages” are so bad then maybe the NRCC shouldn’t have used them for their IE campaigns in all three districts. Many of the pieces they ran in these campaigns looked like they came straight from 1998, not 2008.
That's not the problem Josh. Andy Harris swept a Republican primary (and probably a general election) using a message straight out of 1988. The difference is that Harris came into a campaign in a fairly conservative district carrying a great deal of bona fides as a true conservative.

A Republican is not necessarily a conservative. I'll tolerate a liberal / moderate like Wayne Gilchrest because he doesn't lie about who he is. Of course, when a real conservative comes along and says, "I want your vote", he's got it.

Trying to run candidates in a cookie cutter fashion, all claiming to be "conservative" will not work. Is that because the message is wrong? Hell no! The message is fine, but the public rightfully doesn't trust the GOP to deliver the conservative message.

I would have supported a candidate like Andy Harris no matter what line he ran on the ballot. Unfortunately, the GOP thinks that they can continue to run people like Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and keep getting them elected. Politicians like McHenry - who will literally say anything to get elected or curry favor with those that can help them - are now being elected by the Dems. In fact, Harris' opponent in the general election, Frank Kratovil, is a carbon copy of McHenry, except for that he's running on the Democrat line. Of course, the DCCC loves him!

Hopefully that cycle will end soon. However, that will simply put us on even footing with the Democrats. The public will not trust either of us.

The solution is not message, or technology. The solution is grassroots appeal to the electorate with a consistent conservative message and the willingness to start sacrificing our own GOP incumbents in order to start convincing a skeptical public that we really are the conservative party.

The majority of the electorate will not appreciate throwing out the likes of Boehner, Blunt and the GOP appropriating class. However, it will send a message to activists who will then be motivated to fight for victory. Even Reagan didn't do it all himself.

G. A. Harrison publishes Delmarva Dealings and contributes to Salisbury News and Red Maryland.

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The Importance of the Heller Decision

Yes, we all want to keep our guns; but that is not what makes this decision so important. Andrew Langer of the Institute for Liberty explains the importance of this decision to ALL of us, whether we own guns or not.

Read his most recent column at

Contrary to what many of us may believe, the Constitution does not convey rights upon individuals. Our Founding Fathers had read John Locke and knew that we are endowed with certain rights. The purpose of the Constitution is to LIMIT government, not to bestow rights; just read the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Rarely does the U.S. Supreme Court deliver a ruling that confirms what our Constitution is all about. That is why the Heller decision will prove so important.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings Red Maryland

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O'Malley's Subsidized Health Plan Goes Into Effect

Unfree State

Phase one of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's so-called Health Coverage Act goes into effect tomorrow when Maryland taxpayers will begin subsidizing the insurance premiums of small businesses and their employees.

Under O'Malley's socialized medicine approach taxpayers will pay up to 50% of the health insurance premiums of small companies with 2 to 9 full-time workers, as long as their average wage is below $50,000.

Not only that, under O'Malley's plan, which goes into effect July 1, taxpayers will pay for the expansion of Medicaid to cover parents with incomes up to $20,500 for a family of three.

Over the next 16 months, O'Malley's plan will have taxpayers pick up a good portion of the health insurance tab for about 100,000 individuals and 1,500 small businesses.

What's wrong with this picture?


Think about it. While many of us scrape and save in order to pay our health insurance premiums, O'Malley is rewarding those who don't by having the rest of us subsidize them.

A fairer solution would have been to offer a special state tax deduction for health insurance premiums as an incentive for lower income individuals to protect themselves and their families. This approach is teaching a person how to fish, rather then giving the catch every day -- the O'Malley way.

However, that would have reduced the size of and the dependency on government, while O'Malley's grand, socialized medicine approach grows the size and strength of the welfare state.

It also gives the state much more control on whom companies can hire and what they produce. After all, if they don't measure up to the latest state diversity or environmental demands, they could lose their subsidized health care!

What do you think of O'Malley's plan, which is just the first step in a deliberate journey toward socialized medicine?

Crossposted on

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Kratovil Goes After Special Interest Money

While the story in this morning's Daily Times might be filed under "Better Late Than Never", we have to appreciate a few nuggets provided by Gannett's local outpost. We all know that 1st District Democrat congressional candidate Frank Kratovil has been targeted by the DCCC. This means money and other support. What I found interesting was where he's earning his money from.

To kick off the new relationship with the people who will rule over Kratovil IF he is elected, the DCCC put together a little soirée hosted by Patton Boggs. Patton Boggs is one of Washington's largest lobbying shops.

I find it interesting that Kratovil criticizes his opponent, Maryland Sen. Andy Harris (R-7) for taking money from the Club for Growth. However, the Club for Growth's money comes from small contributions given by citizens like me who support lower taxes and less economic regulation.

The money that Kratovil will be raising through the DCCC will be large contributions from lobbyist and special interest groups that want big government contracts or want a larger government to affect greater control over our lives.

I'm sure Frank will be telling us that he's a man of the people.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Manufactured Outrage

Leftist Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the newly created University of California, Irvine School of Law is an interesting fellow. Not because he is described as a constitutional law expert, but because of his manufactured outrage when it comes to judicial activism:

The Supreme Court's invalidation of the District of Columbia's handgun ban powerfully shows that the conservative rhetoric about judicial restraint is a lie. In striking down the law, Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion, joined by the court's four other most conservative justices, is quite activist in pursuing the conservative political agenda of protecting gun owners.
If the terms "judicial activism" and "judicial restraint" have any meaning, it is that a court is activist when it is invalidating laws and overruling precedent, and restrained when deferring to popularly elected legislatures and following prior decisions.
Never before had the Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment bestows on individuals a right to have guns. In fact, in 1939 (and other occasions), the court rejected this view. In effectively overturning these prior decisions, the court both ignored precedent and invalidated a law adopted by a popularly elected government.
And the article goes on like this in a relatively uneducated line of thinking.

What's humorous is that the generally accepted view of judicial activism is that such activism creates rights or constitutional violations out of thin air without regard to the Constitution. Regardless of your position on the issues, such creation of rights existed with issues such as abortion and as with gay marriage: courts magically created these rights out of thin air without any Constitutional citation. It's hard to interpret the Second Amendment as it is written and say that such right is being created out.

It seems like a lot of Chemerinsky's beef seems to be that the court in Heller overruled precedent. And I have always found the reliance on precedent to be a very lame-ass, weak-kneed concept. If Courts rely on precedent, particularly when precedent is wrong, that does not help propagate the Constitutional rights of anybody. This is something I wrote about last November in another article regarding guns:
Lasson also completely whiffs on the concept or precedence. Under Lasson's worldview, the Supreme Court's decision in 1939's United States v. Miller is sacrosanct on the issue and cannot be challenged. Of course, there are a number of fallacies with the concept of precedence. Why should a decision be continued to upheld when it is wrong? Under Lasson's warped logic that means that Brown vs. Board should never have been issued as it stood due to the precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. And under the same logic, Tileston v. Ullman and Poe v. Ullman would have precluded the decision in 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut...and that case paved the way for Roe v. Wade . I don't hear Lasson arguing the concept of precedence in those cases because the decisions do not match with his leftist worldviews.
And Chemerinsky's argument follows the same predictable mad leftist ranting.

It concerns me that
Chemerinsky has been tasked to start a new law school as it's dean, mainly because I worry that there will be more lawyers manufacturing synthetic outrage while misinterpreting the role of the court in society and threatening our basic Constitutional rights as Americans...


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What We Have Accomplished and the Long Road Ahead

Adam Pagnucco at the progressive oriented Maryland Politics Watch has a very good series on the Maryland blogosphere.

Here is what Pagnucco has to say about Red Maryland.

Red Maryland, possibly the most-read political blog in the state, is a seething lava-pit of ideas, criticism, debate and above all hunger. Its contributors are outsiders. They have little access to money, influential officeholders, mainstream media or any of the conventional tools of political power. All they have left are ideas – lots of them. And thousands of their readers share them with their friends and spread their message. This is exactly what William F. Buckley, Paul Weyrich, Milton Friedman and many other conservatives did before the Reagan presidency. This is how to build a movement.
I'm honored that this little blogspot site is mentioned in the same breath as the late great William F. Buckley. It is in his tradition that we at Red Maryland stand athwart history yelling stop. We are building a movement. Whether it is Brian and Greg developing Red Maryland Radio on WAMD or my appearances on WBAL, in less than a year we have put Red Maryland on the map.

To our readers: stay hungry, get involved. William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955, Reagan was elected 25 years later. We need not wait that long again. We must concentrate on finding and supporting conservative candidates.

However, for the foreseeable future conservatives will always be Henry V's happy few. But we do not need complete political control to affect policy. We can break the tide of creeping collectivism, and the erosion of our liberties and values. With passage of Jessica's Law, the thwarting of the Global Warming Solutions Act along with in-state tuition for illegal immigrants we can have an effect.

Adam goes on to call for a re-invigoration of the progressive blogosphere. I'd like to see that. As much as I disagree with Adam and Isaac, and the Free Staters, I welcome their return. Our debates with FSP have been fiery and heated, but Maryland's political blogosphere is better off for it. Like Don Corelone said to Sollozzo I wish them luck so much as their interests don't conflict with ours ;)

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Puff Piece

The Sun today ran a pretty irritating puff piece about the new members to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. Not irritating because a piece ran, but irritating because reporter part time as a government relations consultant and as special assistant to the director of state relations for the University System of Maryland" all without actually mentioning that Birge was working as a lobbyist.

Birge, 36, who has two children, said she hopes to use her background working with the House of Delegates' Appropriation Committee to help demystify the budget process for her constituents in West County. After watching the county executive and the superintendent battle over budget items, she wants to find a way to tone down the rhetoric and work together.

"That was very difficult for everyone," Birge said. "I would hope in the future we could avoid that."
Read as: "I am going to stand for the status quo and support whatever Superintendent Maxwell wants me to support. I would hope in the future we can tone down the rhetoric by having the County Council and County Executive roll over and die and do whatever the Superintendent asks."

As expected, it looks like the Sun will be in the bag for the retention of Birge and the continuation of this cockamamie "retention election" farce...


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Are O'Malley and Angelos Making Peace?

Unfree State

The bitter enmity between Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos could be a thing of the past.

The Washington Post is reporting that the two men had dinner together in Little Italy last week, which was arranged by Senate President Thomas V. (Mike) Miller Jr.

"It was about moving forward in the future. None of the problems of the past were brought up," Miller told the Post.

It could be that both men realize it now makes sense to make peace.

In O'Malley's case, making friends with Angelos at a time when the Governor's popularity ratings are rock bottom, might serve as a insurance policy if he has to face Comptroller Peter Franchot in a tough Democratic primary battle, or former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in a general election in 2010. Although a Democrat, Angelos backed Ehrlich in the last two elections, in part because of his long-standing feud with O'Malley.

But now facing the prospect of a Barack Obama presidency for the next 4 to 8 years, Angelos could be hedging his bets by making nice with O'Malley, who is now strongly supporting Obama.

What do you think? What does the meeting mean, if anything.

Crossposted on

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Listening to Frank's side

Since I promised to do so, last night as I was working on a future monoblogue post/page I took a listen to the radio interview Frank Kratovil did with Delmarva Public Radio. In this hour-long interview Kratovil touched on a number of subjects; my impressions are lurking just below that fold.

To begin, Kratovil established a strategy of attempting to paint his opponent, State Senator Andy Harris, as an "extremist." His was a two-pronged approach. One side of the argument focused on the endorsement and large campaign contributions from the Club For Growth and another endorsement from the Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly's group.

In case you're wondering just how "extremist" these two groups are, I took a few moments to find out what they actually stand for. While I disagree with a few items on each, for the most part the Club For Growth and Eagle Forum stand for what we used to call traditional American values which both parties more or less embraced until the era of McGovern. Furthermore, just like the unions who are sure to bundle the member dues that they charge for the privilege of belonging to the organization, the Club For Growth bundled member contributions for the Harris cause. (At least the Club's fundraising was voluntary, unlike the unions.)

The second front of this war on Harris's "extremism" was Kratovil's generalization of Senator Harris's voting record. He noted that on many occasions Harris has been in a small minority as far as Maryland Senate votes are concerned. However, given the fact that the General Assembly as a whole has been controlled by tax-and-spend Democrats for decades, even a strict party-line Senate vote of 33-14 can be construed as a tiny minority. Maybe Andy doesn't work and play well with Democrats but given the far-left liberals who pass for Democrats in Maryland, to me that's not such a bad thing.

Another charge made by Frank Kratovil against Andy Harris was that Andy stood for the "status quo." Instead, Frank countered that America was on the "wrong path", and, like the man at the top of his ticket, Kratovil stood for change - although Frank took it a step further and insisted on "substantial change." The only problem with that approach is that, whereas Barack Obama is running to succeed a President who's of the opposite party, Frank Kratovil is running to join a body which is already controlled by his party, one which the conventional wisdom states will be even further in the tank of Democrat control come January, 2009. It would be nice to change a Congress which has done nothing to address the issues the Democrats ran on in 2006; unfortunately that change won't have a backer if Frank is elected.

One issue where pressure has been brought to bear on Congress to address is earmarks. Using an example of beach replenishment in Ocean City, Frank not only chided Andy's support of that as contradictory given Andy's "second-worst" environmental record in the General Assembly but counter to the idea of ending earmarks. To Frank, getting items for the local district wasn't so bad as long as they benefitted more than a handful of people.

It might be worth explaining to Mr. Kratovil that the reason earmarks are so reviled by the taxpaying public is that they are tacked onto bills with little or no debate, and the practice has become endemic in recent years as politicians of both parties have jumped into the game with both feet. It's one thing to draw up an actual bill to do beach replenishment and make it go through the Congressional process, quite another to slip it in as part of a much larger "must-pass" bill. There are a few in Congress who are attempting to stop this madness, and those few don't reside in Frank's party. Moreover, to get goodies for your district it's understood the quid pro quo is to vote for everyone else's too. OC gets its beach replenishment but some city in California gets a bike trail, North Dakotans get a new monument to a local hero, and so on - all out of our pockets.

Turning to economic issues, Frank told the radio audience that he was all for giving tax cuts to the middle class folks but ending the tax breaks he claimed were in effect for the oil companies and their executives. Yes, class envy at its finest on display. Obviously those who favor a fairer, flatter tax system aren't going to have a friend in Frank Kratovil.

However, most people who actually paid taxes did so back in the spring. A much larger number of us have more recently felt the pain at the pump as tankfuls which used to cost $25 now run upwards of $40. Not surprisingly, the worst job to have at the auto dealership isn't used cars anyomore, now it's trying to sell those once-popular F-150's, Suburbans, or Grand Cherokees.

Frank's approach to this problem isn't a gas tax holiday (which he dismissed as "not a long-term solution"), nor is it apparently securing more domestic oil supply. Instead, Frank believes in that Democrat mantra of conservation and alternative fuels. Another way of putting it is that Frank will end the so-called "subsidies" to oil companies which have been proven to be a reliable if expensive energy supplier and instead subsidize the unproven and even more expensive area of "alternative" energy with federal money and narrowly targeted tax incentives. (Again, instead of fairer and flatter taxes it's the usual left-wing tactic of using the tax code to regulate behavior.)

The trick with conservation is that being miserly with resources inhibits growth to a large degree. Certainly if I use a little less electricity by keeping my air conditioning off it'll save me a couple dollars a month on my electric bill, but on a corporate scale they're already attempting to run as efficiently as possible. In their case, using the same amount of power wouldn't allow them to increase production if the demand arose.

On a larger societal scale, conservation generally means cutting back. Instead of buying that aforementioned Grand Cherokee, a growing family may have to squeeze into a Chevy Malibu and sacrifice the extra space. More importantly, that family may find that rising energy costs are making them forgo their annual vacation to someplace like, say, Ocean City. If 100,000 families decide to skip the OC vacation, suddenly the businesses there suffer and either have to lay off employees or in more extreme cases shut their doors permanently. (I know the natives will enjoy the lack of traffic but it comes at a steep cost, don't you think?)

The other problem with Frank's approach is that what cannot be achieved by conservation alone invariably is an excuse for the government to jump in with more regulation. One example is Kratovil's call for higher CAFE standards for fuel efficiency - in this case, the market may achieve what he wants without government interference as the high price for gasoline increases sales of smaller cars and dampens SUV and large truck sales to the extent that the Hummer is now on the endangered species list. (This blogger comes to the same conclusion from the opposite direction, considering his thought about a $4 floor on gas prices.) Nevertheless, Frank's all for regulation and powering cars with switchgrass, not for increasing domestic oil production and refining. To him, it's time to end our dependence on gas and oil. My question is with what? You can't fill your tank with sunshine or wind.

Despite the obvious economic impact energy prices are having on our wallets, Frank still feels the most important issue in this election is the Long War. Once again, he advocated for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and pulling our troops mostly out in favor of a multinational force, meanwhile taking the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group as gospel. Never mind that what we're now doing seems to be working and slowly troops are being pulled out anyway as the Iraqi Army takes over more and more of their own security duty. The only thing that seems to be giving al-Qaeda hope is the prospect of a Barack Obama victory, and Kratovil falls right along in that line.

There were a lot of other issues touched upon in the hour-long interview, particularly on some hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage. But I encourage you to listen for yourself and see just how moderate Frank really is. After hearing the interview, I'm more convinced that Frank's going to be well left of where the district lies politically, and to me it's better to err on the side of conservatism and small government than tax-and-spend socialism.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

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Dixon's High-Quality Lifestyle An Eye Opener!

Unfree State

Ever watch the program, the lives of the rich and famous?

Well, recently we've been treated to our own homegrown version, except it's called the lives of the elected elite and politically connected. In case you haven't guessed, I am talking about the recent revelations about Mayor Sheila Dixon's lifestyle as revealed in court documents filed by the state prosecutor.

Oh, sure, I've often perused the campaign records of various elected officials and seen the hundreds of thousands of dollars of tribute being pumped into their coffers by their developer and company benefactors. But it's only when an investigation of one of these officials becomes pubic through court documents does someone like myself get to see what this can mean in the real world.

Details of shopping junkets, fur coats, $500 pairs of shoes, gift exchanges, which Dixon did not disclose, was shocking -- even to someone as cynical as I am.

After all, Baltimore property owners pay some of the highest taxes in the country, and even with its $3 billion budget, the Mayor and city legislators are always asking the state for more, more and more money to run Baltimore!

And what is even more shocking is the attitude of Dixon and other elected officials when confronted with hard questions about these seemingly conflicts of interest. "It's a witch hunt," they cry.

Dixon lashed out at the press last week and once again accused reporters, who can barely afford to fill their gas tanks, of treating her unfairly. How dare they question her? Why won't they just let the Mayor do her job? And of course, as always, the ugly, overused race card is stuck in all of our faces: "They're singling her out because she is black and a woman!"

Yet, the truth is, we all got a peek though the window of Baltimore politics and saw what we saw.

It is a life where no one has to meet a real budget or produce a product. If they spend too much, they just raise taxes. They are chauffeured about in SUVs -- the price of gas is no problem. They buy only the best, eat and stay at world class restaurants and hotels -- while many of the unemployed I know shop at the local Thrift Shop and think it's a big deal if they can take their families out to eat at a fast-food joint once a week.

The only tragedy of this whole Dixon melodrama would be that when all is said and done, nothing really changes, and the elite will continue to live their lives of privilege, while the rest of us pick up the tab!

Crossposted on

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SPEAKING DEMOCRAT - Reasonable = Liberal, Activist

The new Democrat-speak. You need an interpreter to understand the rhetoric.

Reasonable = Liberal, Activist

Democrats will appoint reasonable judges to the courts.

Translation -

Democrats will appoint liberal, activist judges to the courts.

As the recent Heller decision illustrates, we can scarcely afford the appointment of any more reasonable judges to our nation's courts.

Thanks to Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) for his great video tutorial.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chalk One Up For the Good Guys

It appears that Tony Hopkins Jr of Pasadena works hard to sport a nice car. He owns a white Dodge Charger with custom doors. The car has four TVs , exterior speakers mounted on the rear and 24-inch rims. On Thursday night, three useless thugs pointed a gun at Hopkins and demanded his car. Hopkins responded by punching one of the suspects and taking the gun from him.

Gee, I wonder how long it took one of the perpetrators (Ashley Cully, Darryl Z. Moore, or Rico D. Thomas) of this crime to receive permission from Maryland State Police so they could have the opportunity to conceal their gun prior to committing this crime? After all, I am certain one of them had their concealed carry permit whereas they surely knew the consequences of packing otherwise.

Sarcasm aside, Tony Hopkins got lucky. Normally, a punch will not disarm a gun wielding subject. A similar caliber firearm, on the other hand, will allow a potential victim at least a shot at survival. Still, in cases such as this, thieves are not contend simply stealing a car. Nowadays, the true trill comes after shotting an innocent citizen. And sadly, these thugs know they will not have to pay with their own life should their victim perish.

Maryland legislators can pretend we are safer without law abiding citizens carrying firearms. Of course, they'll conveniently ignore the increasing number of armed robberies reported in the police press releases daily. Perhaps if these creatures suspected their victims were armed, they'd find a new hobby. Of course, as it stands now, they know the only ones bold enough to carry are gangsters such as themselves.


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Supreme Outrage

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court foolishly ruled that the death penalty cannot be used for child molesters. Hiding behind the goofy argument that such a fate is cruel and unusual, 5 Supreme Court Justices basically gave a wink and a nod to pedophiles.

I honestly cannot think of anyone more heinous and vile than creatures that prey on children. Not only do they deserve death, it should be in a public and humiliating manner. In other words, there should be no endless appeals using every desperate argument. In turn, it shouldn't be a quiet and peaceful death like lethal injection.

I would like anyone to argue that these animals don't deserve the ultimate punishment. Actually, Justices Anthony Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer did argue on their behalf. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Both Barack Obama and John McCain condemned this decision. More than likely, one of those guys will be appointing a successor to the bench. Hopefully, this issue will be a litmus test for any perspective nominee.


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Talk-Show Host Lashes Out At Those 'Prejudging Dixon'

Unfree State

On his Friday afternoon drive-time show, Ed Norris, the former Baltimore City Police commissioner and now popular talk-show host on FM Talk 105.7, lashed out at those he said are prejudging Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon.

The talk-show host also scolded the media for asking Dixon questions about gifts she allegedly received from a large Baltimore developer, which was revealed in court documents obtained by the Sun.

Norris appeared to be responding to the heavy criticism he received from listeners and others regarding his friendly treatment of Dixon on his show Wednesday.

Norris emotionally defended Dixon, who is under investigation by the state prosecutor, but has not yet been formally charged. At one point, a seemingly angry Norris characterized anyone he considered prejudging the the mayor as a "scumbag."

Norris went on to tell his listeners that those who allegedly leaked the court documents to the media have committed a felony, and that he had suffered the same kind of unfair treatment when he came under federal investigation as police commissioner. Norris has consistently contended that the corruption charges against him were fallacious, and that he only pleaded guilty to lesser charges in order to save his family from the pain of a long, drawn out trial.

However, Norris failed to point out that Dixon has always blamed the media for her problems, and that over the years she has done little to clear up reported conflicts of interest. She has also done little to improve the transparency of Baltimore's redevelopment.

For years, the Baltimore Development Corp., which is responsible for dibbling up millions of dollars in city loans and tax breaks to developers, has kept many of its meetings closed to the public. In fact, the organization had to be sued in order for it to comply to the state's minimal open meeting laws.

Crossposted on

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Friday, June 27, 2008

The Brian Griffiths Minute: 06-27-2008


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What Makes Pages To Campaign Contributions Disappear?

Unfree State

There's nothing quite as frustrating as carefully culling the campaign contributions of developers such as Doracon Contracting President Ronald H. Lipscomb online, linking them to articles so others can review them, only to have the pages disappear in a day or two.

This is not the first time I have had this happen to me since I began blogging, but now other bloggers I know are reporting the same problem.

So far, it's an unsolved mystery.

When I contacted the Maryland Board of Elections, and after I called three different numbers before I could get someone in IT, I was then promptly handed off to the University of Baltimore County, which maintains the campaign contribution portion of the site.

Of course, I was unsuccessful at reaching anyone there. So I sent an email to the Webmaster asking why the pages of campaign contributions I linked to were disappearing, or wrong? If and when I get an answer, I'll let you know. But for now, the disappearing pages are a mystery. And if I had a conspiratorial inclination, I might even think that somebody in high places didn't want citizens to scrutinize the contributions.

After all, Maryland is one of the few states that requires anyone reviewing these public records in person to provide an ID and telephone number. And did you know that in Maryland that the clerk can then contact the elected official and report to them who is searching their records? It's the law, passed by state legislators.

That's one more reason why reviewing records online makes a lot of sense, especially considering the price of gas. But if the pages and addresses to these records melt into thin air every couple of days, it means citizens like me have to start all over with our research. Maybe we might even grow tired and give up!

So much for transparency in government.

Crossposted on

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The Fun Side of Gun Control

I've been thinking about all the conservative and liberal rhetoric and gun control philosophies I could talk about in my blog after the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Washington D.C.'s gun ban is unconstitutional. But then I thought there's probably plenty of that on the web already. So I decided to write about some of the more humorous things I have seen or heard over my many years. Now, in fact, I don't even own a gun, nor would I. Guns scare me. I'm too irresponsible to own a gun. BUT, I think every law-abiding person should be able to own a gun, especially if you live in Baltimore City. "Shoot back" should be every Baltimorean's philosophy.

I support gun control. Use both hands when firing.

The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Well, liberal cities across America, e.g. Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco, banned guns in their cities. These laws were passed to help decrease crime. We all know how that's going.

Gun control only disarms the law-abiding citizenry. Criminals will continue to break the law and get guns.

There were many people outside of the Supreme Court yesterday holding their signs in support of the 2nd Amendment. Some read: "Legalize the Constitution" and "If guns kill people, pens misspell words". If I was going to be at the rally my sign would have read, "Guns don't kill people - ignorant drug addicted thugs who were raised in violent broken homes in liberal cities where they take away the rights of the people and who didn't go to school or have any respect for human decency kill people." However, I would have been carrying around a billboard with small lettering.

More people die from car accidents than guns. Should cars be illegal, too?

I remember when I first started working here at the accounting office of Three Phat Boyz'a Bail Bonds, there was a radical hard left wing liberal who was all about gun control. The more gun control the better. The best, of course, would have been an outright ban on guns just like in DC. That was the only way to rid her city of crime, she said. I loved getting her all fired up, so I'd say things like, "The only way to get rid of crime in the city is to kill all the criminals with my guns" and "sometimes for fun, I play billiards with my fully loaded AR-15 with the safety lock off instead of using a cue stick."

Gun control is being able to hit your target and not spill your beer.

Then she'd say something stupid like, "Well, if guns were freely available, criminals would go buy guns and everybody would be shooting everyone." "You mean like in Arlington, Virginia where guns are legal and you can carry? Oh, wait, they don't do that in Arlington."

I never saw an American flag set on fire at a gun show.

Only to be followed up with another stupid comment like, "Well, there's no reason that machine guns should be legal in the city." She's right, because I see thugs walking the streets in Baltimore City with their AK-47's slung over their shoulders ALL the time.

Criminals love gun control. It makes it easier to rob you.

Finally, the conversation that pretty much ended up in her not ever talking to me anymore, which was not a bad thing, went something like this: "I don't understand why you don't get it. Guns are a problem. They need to be illegal. They cause crime and killing and suffering. They are tearing families apart and we are all suffering the consequences." I replied, "You know, I think crack and heroin also cause a lot of crime, suffering, killing, and are tearing our families apart. Why don't we make those drugs illegal, too?" Then in a sarcastic, 'you're so stupid' condescending voice she said, "Those drugs ARE illegal!!!" A couple seconds pass. Then as her own words sank past that invisible liberal deflector shield around her ears that prevent her from hearing logical arguments, she got really pissed at me and walked away. Ha!!! Even one of my liberal nut friends started laughing hysterically because he knew I got her.

Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my gun.

Finally, on the CBS Evening News last night, they reported on the Supreme Court ruling, then had D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty on as a special guest. He gave her the usual rhetoric that this ruling doesn't help him and his police force do their job to protect the people, blah-blah-blah. Then normally left-leaning Katie punched him with "I was surprised to hear from Wyatt Andrews that this ban has been in effect for 32 years. ... If that's the case, why has the District remained one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden cities in the country with this ban in effect?" Wow!!! BANG!!! Go Katie!!!!

More below the fold.

Where Are Dixon's Promised Tax Returns?

Unfree State

Earlier this week when Baltimore Mayor Dixon lashed out at members of the media for being unfair, she promised to release her tax returns after reporters peppered her with questions about how she could afford the lavish shopping trips reported in court documents on her salary as mayor.

So far, Dixon has not kept her promise. Now, Dixon's spokesman is saying the release of those promised returns is complicated by the fact that Dixon has filed joint returns in the past, according to the Sun.

But there could be another reason.

The shoes, fur coats and trips outlined in court documents that Dixon received as gifts during her personal relationship with a major developer Ronald H. Lipscomb have sparked speculation that the state prosecutor could be focusing on her state taxes.

That's because state prosecutors have subpoenaed Comptroller Peter Franchot's office for certain tax records, according to the Sun. The same prosecutors recently nailed two of Dixon's former associates for failing to report income and pay taxes.

So while Dixon blasted members of the media and accused them of unfair treatment, she appears to be charging them unfairly, and making it very difficult for them to do their jobs.

Crossposted on

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Meet Sam Georgiou

Meet Sam Georgiou.

Pharmacy Manager. Long-time resident of Anne Arundel County. Involved in more Civic and Community Groups that you can shake a stick at. And long-time interest in Public Education: member of the School Board Nominating Convention, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Council, member of the Meade Area Redistricting Task Force, Member of the Maryland Department of Education Parent Advisory Council, etc. Sam Georgiou is just the kind of person you'd want to cast a vote for in an election for in an election to be a member of a School Board.

Except he lives in District 32. Instead of appointed someone with a long and varied background in community and school system issues, Governor O'Malley appointed insider Democratic lobbyist Teresa Milio Birge to the seat. Instead of appointing somebody with Georgiou's experience and credentials in public school policy, O'Malley appointed a Democratic crony instead.

Is there really any better argument for an elected School Board for Anne Arundel County than this?


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Heller Decision - Like Getting Hit in the Face With a Bat

Imagine waking up this morning and finding out that you no longer had the right of free speech, or the right to assemble. A few minutes later the police kick in your door - WITHOUT a warrant.


Yet, today many of us are celebrating that the Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed that we have an individual right to keep and bear arms - sort of. Keep thinking about that for a moment and you might become as distressed as I am.

Yesterday's Heller decision was a 5-4 vote. THINK ABOUT IT! 5-4.

With the swing of a single vote, you could have lost one of your fundamental rights. It doesn't matter whether you own a gun or not. Personally, I wouldn't get in a twist about having to quarter troops, but I'm still glad that I have the right to refuse (Amendment III).

This is what we face. As Jim Geraghty at National Review Online, David Schenck over at SCOTUS Blog, and others are noting - this year's presidential election became a lot more important.

God forbid, what if Justice Scalia retires or passes? Do you honestly want Barack Obama picking his replacement. It's more likely that the next retirements will be Justices Stevens and Ginsberg. Would you still prefer Obama to pick THEIR replacements? Or John McCain?

Four Justices of the Supreme Court just said that the 2nd Amendment DOES NOT mean what it says. We've been forced, for many years, to put up with Justices who add imaginary "rights" literally out of the seats of their pants. That's bad enough. What happens when they start deciding that it's OK to simply void rights that are WRITTEN in the constitution? That is what four sitting justices have basically said.

That's when you wake up and find that you can no longer say what you want, or gather with some of your friends, or attend the church of your choice (or perhaps have to go).

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Post-Heller, the work starts now

Obviously, everybody has heard by now the fantastic news about the Supreme Court upholding the lower court decision in D.C. v. Heller. Here is the best part of the Opinion of the Court, on Page 67 of the decision:

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.
Once and for all, the Supreme Court has affirmed while most people knew all along: that the United States Constitution unquestionable affirms the right of individuals the opportunity to bear arms. Of course, this decision should not have been a surprise seeing that the founders considered the right to bear arms a pre-existing right dating back to English Common Law and the Assize of Arms of 1189. Something that Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog points out the Court included in their decision:

The individual right interpretation, the Court said, “is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment,” going back to 17th Century England, as well as by gun rights laws in the states before and immediately after the Amendment was put into the U.S. Constitution.

What Congress did in drafting the Amendment, the Court said, was “to codify a pre-existing right, rather than to fashion a new one.”

Nor is it a surprise when one considers that all of the other Amendments within the Bill of Rights are affirming individual rights, but hey....

But supporters of the Constitution should not sit back and rest on our laurels. Yes, the Heller decision does affirm the the individual right of the citizen. However, Dave Kopel notes that there are many areas of law that are not addressed by Heller:

As for the constitutionality of other gun controls: “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The word “commercial” in the last sentence could suggest that there might be constitutional problems on some laws which applied to non-commercial arms transfers. (However, there are few federal laws on non-commercial transfers, other than criminal penalties for transferring guns to prohibited persons.)

The majority opinion also affirmed the validity of bans on gun carrying in “sensitive” locations such as schools and government buildings. The language may imply that a total ban on gun carrying in ordinary public places is unconstitutional. But Heller does not attempt to answer the question of whether the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment enforceable against state and local governments, and most carrying restrictions in public places are created by state and local governments. For now, Heller limits only the federal government — and entities such as the D.C. City Council, whose powers are granted by the federal government.

Which means that while the individual right has been affirmed, Heller does not universally cast aside any and all gun controls laws. Nor does the decision cast aside provisions that prohibit the purchase of firearms by criminals or those with mental issues. The rights of gun ownership and possession in Maryland have been left, realistically, unchanged by the facts of the decision. Since the Heller decision only the D.C. law, that means many issues are still living in a Constitutional shade of gray.

How would this Court rule on issues such as Concealed Carry permits? What about Waiting Periods? What about trigger lock laws? The fact of the matter is that now the right to own a firearm has be universally affirmed once and for all by the Court, we now must move on to address these other issues as a nation.

Nowhere is that more true than here in Maryland. We must fight the nonsensical gun laws that remain on the books. We must combat nonsensical politicians like Delegate Curt Anderson who wish to use the Court's affirmation of this civil right as a reason to pass even more restrictive gun laws in Maryland. We need to bring Maryland into the 21st Century, and pass appropriate concealed carry laws. These laws have reduced the rates of violent crime in the 40 states that have now passed them. The stats are there, and no type of cockamamie arguments from politicians like Anderson can change the fact that these common sense carry laws save lives. Liberals can be entitled to their opinions on the issue, but not their own facts.

The Heller decision is a great victory for the Constitution, and a great day for liberty in America. However, we in Maryland have a long way to go to fully enjoy the fruits of this victory. The work starts now.


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Now this is interesting

Isaac Smith is floating a trial balloon about the concept of far-left Democrats finding a primary challenger for Steny Hoyer in 2010:

After Steny Hoyer's shameful performance in pushing the FISA bill through the House [which just sailed through the cloture vote in the Senate --IS], there's been talk about putting up a primary challenge to him in 2010. Even if it's only a protest candidacy, it might at least register the outrage many Democrats feel about their party's leadership giving in to Republicans' demands to let telecom companies break the law, and then turning around and portraying it as a victory for Democrats. It was infuriating enough when Democrats were in the minority, but to see Hoyer, et al, do the same thing as the majority party is almost inexplicable.

But is a primary challenge the best way to hold Hoyer accountable?
Interesting to see the Democrats also considering more "eating their own" tactics, much the same way that Maryland has been saddled with one Congressional extremist, Donna Edwards, this month already. I can't see a scenario where any serious Democrat will challenge the House Majority Leader while it still looks like Democrats will retain both Houses of Congress, but it'll be interesting to see how much play the idea gets.


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Andy Harris Praises Supreme Court Decision

Maryland Sen. Andy Harris (R-7) praised today's landmark ruling reaffirming our 2nd Amendment rights. For the first time United States history, the Supreme Court ruled that individual Americans have the right to own firearms for personal use. The ruling struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns.
"Today's ruling is a victory for individual rights and personal liberty." said Senator Harris, a lifetime NRA member. "Gun-grabbing liberals should take note that the Constitution clearly states Americans have the right to own firearms and the Supreme Court reaffirmed that today"
Harris, the GOP candidate for the Maryland's 1st Congressional District seat announced his "Prespcription for Protecting Our 2nd Amendment Rights":
  1. The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that cannot be taken away from a law-abiding citizen. Therefore, the federal government does not have the authority to keep records of who does and who does not possess firearms.
  2. National right-to-carry laws with reciprocity should be enacted.
  3. The right to self-defense means that every American should be permitted to take any means necessary to protect their home, their possessions, and their loved ones from loss or harm - without fear of government or personal legal action when self-defense is used. Laws confirming that right of self-defense should be enacted.
  4. Public lands should be made available to citizens for legal hunting.
cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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Court Ruling Won't Let DC Residents Buy Guns In MD

Unfree State

While Second Amendment supporters are celebrating today's Supreme Court's decision finding DC's handgun control laws unconstitutional, it will still not allow law abiding citizens living in the nation's capital to buy a handgun in Maryland.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, despite the decision, transporting firearms across state lines still breaks federal law. So to obtain a firearm legally, a DC resident must first drive to Maryland, go through the required background check and waiting period -- then could only legally take possession of the firearm when it was shipped back to a federally licensed store in DC, which do not currently exist!

So, it will be sometime before the effects of the Supreme Court decision will enable DC citizens to lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect their life, liberty and property with a firearm.

This is outrageous and certainly a blow to self defense for DC residents. What do you think?

Crossposted on

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ACLU: 5 Counties Sign Ordinances Violate First Amendment

Unfree State

Here's another time I wholeheartedly agree with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Maryland's branch of the ACLU has put five counties on notice that their campaign sign ordinances violate the First Amendment, according to County Times.

The organization has notified officials from St. Mary's, Harford, Washington, Charles and Talbot counties that their ordinances putting restrictions on when citizens and for how long citizens can display political signs must be changed, or they will be challenged in court.

The ordinances are similar to those recently overturned in Baltimore County where Judge Catherine Blake ruled the regulation of such signs is an infringement of First Amendment rights.

Do you agree with the ACLU, or not?

Crossposted on

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Smith = Wright

I think I wrote my E-List entry too soon, but at this rate, I might have to add another person. First, a big welcome back to Isaac Smith, the person I refer to as "The Certain Liberal Blogger."

For someone who belts out the Democratic talking points on a regular basis, I was shocked when I read his post from Tuesday. If I was expecting anyone to say "let's see how the investigation plays out," it was him. First, Smith compared Dixon to embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He then actually dared asked, "Is it time, perhaps, for Dixon to resign?" In the matter of a few paragraphs, Smith pulled a Jeremiah Wright on Dixon, by throwing her under a bus.

This thing is still under investigation and Smith has basically prosecuted her and said she used her office for personal gain. I would expect for the Republicans to raise the ire of resignation, but not someone from within the ranks. I also have to ask, where is the loyalty in the Democratic party. It should also be noted that the Democrats have been virtually silent since the search came out last week. Normally, the party would be in full force to protect their own, but the criticism of the prosecutor who is an Ehrlich appointee barely registered a whisper.

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The Right to Bear Arms - A Fundemental, Individual Right

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has overturned the now infamous DC gun ban and ruled that the right to gun ownership in an individual right. GOP Presidential candidate John McCain applauded the court's decision affirming a "fundamental right".

As usual, there are loopholes in the decision. The court left room for "reasonable regulation" of firearms. Future legislation and court decisions will have to flesh out the affects of this decision. Hopefully, there will be a quick challenge to New York City's draconian gun laws. In a city where every criminal has a gun and very few law-abiding citizens are afforded the right, a quick challenge could decrease crime there as it has in "right-to-carry" states such as Virginia, Florida and Texas.

In a discussion on FOXNews, George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley claimed that this was a once in a lifetime event. Today we "witnessed the creation of an individual right". Prof. Turley is mistaken. That right has existed since the adoption of the Bill of Rights (I would argue before) and what we witnessed today was a bare majority of the highest court in the land affirming one of our most precious freedoms.

I don't know how old Turley is, but he must be pretty young. I've witnessed the invention of quite a few "individual rights" by the Warren and Burger courts and I'm only 47 years old.

For continuing, up to date coverage check out SCOTUS Blog and Reason Magazines's blog.

cross posted at Delmarva Dealings

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More Context

Not that he needs my help defending himself, but Red Maryland contributor Rick Vatz, who was a target of Daivd Paulson's pusillanimous smear, rightly puts Paulson's attack in proper context.

Laura Vozzella's column "Can't we just get along?" (June 22) describes Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson's false suggestion of racial insensitivity in the hosts' reactions to a call from an African-American listener on the Ehrlichs' weekly radio show on WBAL.

Such a claim by a member of the state Democratic hierarchy, which has exhibited overt, ugly and destructive racism over the last six years, is hypocrisy at its worst.

In addition to the examples of Democratic insensitivity cited in Ms. Vozzella's column by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s spokesman, Henry Fawell - of Rep. Steny
H. Hoyer and state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's use of racial epithets against former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele - there was the silence among most Democratic office-holders when Mr. Steele was called "Simple Sambo" on a liberal blog, there was state Sen. Lisa A. Gladden's justifying the use of ugly racial slurs against Mr. Steele by arguing that "party trumps race," and there was Democratic Del. Salima S. Marriott's suggestion that comparisons of Mr. Steele to a slave or an Oreo cookie were deserved because he's a conservative.

The silence about or condoning of such racial attacks by many Democrats conveys the message that vile racial rhetorical assaults are acceptable to Democrats in Maryland if they are made about an African-American conservative.

Richard E. Vatz Towson The writer is a professor of rhetoric at Towson University who was a panelist on the radio show discussed in Ms. Vozzella's column.

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Talk-Show Host Offers Dixon Friendly Forum

Unfree State

Just hours after Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon blasted local media for revealing information about the state prosecutor's ongoing investigation of buying practices while she was president of the City Council, a local talk-show host gave Dixon a friendly forum.

Ed Norris, the former Baltimore City Police commissioner and now popular talk-show host on FM Talk 105.7, said Dixon had been scheduled earlier and declined to ask Dixon questions about the ongoing investigation. In fact, it appeared that only friendly callers who supported Dixon and characterized the investigation as a "witch hunt" where aired.

At one point in the show, Norris read an email from a listener complaining that questions about the investigation were not being asked. Norris again stated Dixon's appearance had been scheduled in the past, and that they would be focusing on other city issues.

For Dixon, the drive-time hour turned into an oasis from the hard questions being asked by prosecutors, citizens and the media, but in the process Norris lost any semblance of a objectivity.

Norris, who himself was the target of a federal corruption investigation and eventually convicted of misusing money from a supplemental city police fund and lying on tax returns, told Dixon he understood what she was going through when she complained that she couldn't answer the allegations being made against her by the media because of "leaked' information that she said came from the prosecutor, or someone else.

In the past, Norris has contended many times that the federal charges which he eventually plead guilty to were the product of an over zealous federal prosecutor and that he plead guilty only in order to save himself and his family the pain of a long, drawn out trial. Norris has also said that Dixon was supportive of him during this personal crisis, so this could possibility explain the softball treatment.

Crossposted on

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Job Losses Highlight lack of Options

It's official: 80 jobs have been slashed from the Anne Arundel County Public School System:

Schools are starting to feel the pinch from this year's budget battle.

Eighty jobs - none of them teaching positions - were eliminated last week while the schools brace for another year without new science labs, kindergarten classrooms, playground equipment and other things officials said they badly need.

"It is severely going to impact how we help the media specialists and the children," said Linda Williams, head of the library department, which is losing 11 of 21 employees. "I'm still overwhelmed by all of this."

Now it's true that the positions eliminated are not the 150 teaching positions that Kevin Maxwell proposed be axed from the budget. But is there a clearer sign of financial mismanagement in the school system than this? In a nearly $1 billion budget, Kevin Maxwell and the majority of the Board of Education could not save 80 positions that have a positive impact on the education of our students. Is Maxwell and the Board saying that the high dollar bureaucratic jobs on Riva Road have a greater importance than jobs that directly impact the lives of students?

The problem with this, naturally, is the fact that parents, teachers, and taxpayers all still have no voice in this process. They do not get to cast a vote that will decide who will get the opportunity to vote on the School System Budget, voice their opinions on staffing, or hire the next superintendent. Instead of getting that choice in a competitive election, the voters will only decide if retread appointee Tricia Johnson and unregistered Democratic lobbyist Teresa Milio Birge stay on the job or not.

Sadly, we already know, through their appointment and selection by Governor O'Malley and his cronies on the School Board Nominating Commission, Johnson and Birge are going to do little more than uphold Maxwell's status quo and fail to make the tough decisions that are required in order to provide students with a high quality education. And that is of no benefit to our students, our school employees, or taxpayers.


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The E-List: David Paulson

Another addition to the E-List, Maryland Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson.

Paulson, in spectacular partisan form, has started to openly practice selective hearing through his weekly column beginning last Monday. Paulson, who claims that he recorded the Bob and Kendel Ehrlich Show heard weekly on WBAL (1090AM) from June 14 if anyone wanted to challenge him.

As much as I want to paraphrase, it would not do justice so here is the transcript from Paulson's column when the topic was why Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) should not be elected:

Dee (Female Caller): “I think that if he (Barack Obama) is elected President that you will have all these people coming out of the woodwork - the militants, the Muslims, the Black Panthers - and then on the white side you will have the Ku Klux Klan with the skinheads. I mean they will be empowered because they will be, all these people will be emboldened with all this hate. And I don’t see how that’s going to heal this county because, huh, this is what we’ll have to deal with. “

Mr. Ehrlich: “Dee, I wish I could clone you. I wish I could clone you (laughter). I know it’s illegal.”

Mrs. Ehrlich: “You are an informed voter, which is what we were talking about, you have gotten into specifics.”

Prof. Vatz: “Exactly…”

The Corrections: Well, excuse me if I don’t check with the KKK or the skinheads before voting.

Apparently, someone did challenge him on his "corrections." None other than the hosts of the Bob and Kendel Show! I was not able to hear the show because I am producing a show that airs at the same time (and then tape delayed in Baltimore.) However, WBAL in their wisdom posted the call from Dee in Jarrettsville, Harford County. If you rewind the tape a little bit Dee says before the part that Paulson dissected:

"I don't see how Obama can bring the races together or have a healing effect on the country because of the friends that he hang around are very radical and I think that if he is elected President that you will have all these people coming out of the woodwork - the militants, the Muslims, the Black Panthers - and then on the white side you will have the Ku Klux Klan with the skinheads. I mean they will be empowered because they will be, all these people will be emboldened with all this hate. And I don’t see how that’s going to heal this county because, huh, this is what we’ll have to deal with."

But does Paulson acknowledge that he might have gone a little too far...that's a big heck no good buddy!

Paulson this week writes that "The point was in the column. Many other people were able to understand it. Maybe Mr. Ehrlich will read it. I depicted his words accurately as they were spoken within a forty second portion of his program. The caller said what she said. Mr. Ehrlich followed it immediately with what he said and so on. Audio of the entire 5:45 conversation between the Ehrlichs, a guest and the caller named Dee was sent to a reporter who requested it."

WELL DONE SIR!!! Not only did you not depict Ehrlich's words accurately, but you did not include all of the words Dee said, making her sound like an uninformed voter. Dee has a very arguable point in that it's not the fact that Obama doesn't know any radicals, but he has a known association with radicals. At that point it's going to be hard for anyone to take him seriously about working with the other side.

Oh and this Black thing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Dee was a black woman. The tone of the voice along with the signs that followed like talking about being a registered independent and looking at sources outside of the mainstream, encouraging Ehrlich to go after young black voters and talking about being brainwashed by the democratic party. It's not just Dee and it's not just me, I suggest you pick up the book "Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence," written by political analyst Keli Goff, which is a dead on read so far (I'm halfway through the book.)

If you thought the words were so important, you should have included all of them. By the way, if you had a bad recording, couldn't you use a family connection to get a clean copy of the tape. They do work for Hearst last time I checked.


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What Sheila Dixon Isn't Saying Often

One thing Sheila Dixon isn't saying much is "I didn't do it":

Dixon waxes poetic about how she "can't say anything" about the allegations, but at no time in her Press Conference did she actually deny wrongdoing. Even when it is shown later that a politician did, in fact, break the law, they almost always deny the allegations in front of the campaign unless it actually happened.

Now, on 98Rock (of all places) this morning, Dixon did unload a relatively weak denial of the charges, but only when Josh Spiegel came out and asked Dixon directly about the truthfulness of the charges. But even then, she said only that the charges were "unfounded."

So why is Sheila Dixon barely defending herself when accused of pretty serious charges of corruption? Because I know if it were me and I were innocent, I would be screaming my innocence at the top of my lungs and anybody who would listen...


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Dixon & Currie Probes Being Boiled Down To Race

Unfree State

Sadly, as I predicted and knew would happen, a state investigation against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and a federal investigation against Prince George's County state Sen. Ulysses Currie are being reduced to the common denominator of race.

Just listen to any talk show in town, read any newspaper, talk to politicians or people in the street, and you'll see that already they are divided along racial lines. Most white people say that the Dixon and Currie investigations are fair and long overdue, while most black people say they are witch hunts designed by the white power structure to bring down black politicians, who are only following in the footsteps of their corrupt, white predecessors. Why begrudge them when it's their turn to taste the spoils of political power?

It is at moments like these when such arguments swirl in the air that I believe any unity or good government on a local, state or even national level is impossible. Because professional politicians have learned well over the years, and are skilled at using our differences against us. As a result, they can bilk us all and make many of us thank them for it!

As long as we think of ourselves as members of different ethnic tribes fighting against each other, those sly and ambitious people who often get elected, will continue to grow more corrupt and tyrannical. Unless we stop the race baiting and cut corruption out of our government where and when we see, then I'm afraid we will continue to be stuck in the murk of being governed by the very worst among us.

Crossposted on

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I made an serious error and misread the FEC database sum for the total number of Lipscomb contributions to Democratic political committees, which is actually $160,800. not the 1.6 million I initially posted.

I sincerely regret the error.

Also, I did not include Lipscomb's joint fundraising which is another $16,000 to the DNC Services Corporation.

The link below for some reason does not work, checking the link again is how I discovered my error. URL links to campaign finance databases, seems to be a problem, as I have come across this linking to the Maryland SBE database as well.

To see the these contributions go to the FEC Transaction Query By Individual Contributor page and put in Ronald Lipscomb and you will see the contributions.

Original Post
That is how much Lipscomb has given to Democrats according the FEC database . That number is minus the paltry $2,400 he split between Michael Steele and the National Republican Congressional Committee

$30,000 of that went to the Democratic State Central Committee of Maryland
Add another $20,000 to that account from Zaiafanice Lipscomb (Dorcaon's Office Manager) to make $50,000 from Lipsocomb/Doracon to the Maryland Democratic Party's federal account. So that's $241,000 total from Doracon/Lipscomb to the Maryland Democratic Party.

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Only MD Refuses To Recognize W.Va Weapon Permits

Unfree State

While 20 states now allow the 60,000 West Virginians who have been issued concealed weapon permits to legally carry hidden guns within their borders, only its neighboring state of Maryland still refuses.

According to the Charleston Gazette, the Mountain State's legislature was directed by the Attorney General's office last year to work out agreements with other states. Maryland's neighboring Virginia had no problem with the request and, in fact, joined 14 other states in entering a reciprocity agreement with West Virginia.

However, Maryland would have none of it.

Maryland's one-party rule, anti-gun legislators are to blame. Although they often introduce bills designed to make it difficult for law bidding citizens to arm themselves as guaranteed under the Second Amendment, any legislation introduced making it easier for Marylanders to obtain conceal and carry permits is killed before it can even reach the floor.

Crossposted On

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Paulson Lies...Congratulates Himself For It

David Paulson and the Democrats are in quite the pickle. Governor O'Malley's approval ratings are in the toilet, Sheila Dixon and her well heeled ex-beau are under investigation by the state prosecutor, the FBI is probing Ulysses "lobbyists have almost no influence on the vote" Currie, and Nat Exum got caught influence peddling with the O'Malley administration, on top of writing amendments to exempt his employer from state regulations.

What's a Democratic apparatchik to do? Oh yes, whip out the old blame/bash Ehrlich trope.

Paulson's criticisms of Ehrlich on policy matters--addle brained as they are--are fair. However, his June 17 "The Monday After" stepped way over the line of legitimate criticism into Lillian Hellman territory. To paraphrase the Mary McCarthy's line about the Stalinist Hellman: every word he writes is a lie, including and and the.

Paulson deliberately omitted key portions of Dee's call to the Ehrlich's radio program, in order to paint a false picture. Listen to the call for yourself.

Instead of admitting what he did, this week Paulson patted himself on the back for his ingenuity.
Paulson points to Laura Vozella's June 22 Baltimore Sun column and the moonbats at Daily Kos as corroboration for his malfeasance. Excuse me if honest observers put no faith in the moonbats at Daily Kos. However, I eagerly await Paulson's spin on Vozella's latest column.

I take it back: Bob and Kendel Ehrlich weren't cheering on a caller to their radio show who predicted racial warfare if Barack Obama is elected president...

The Ehrlichs did let that hot potato just sit there until it burned right through their political oven mitts. But I think they really were applauding the caller as an independent voter, not as a race-war seer. For anyone who missed it the first time: Someone named Dee called the show June 14, predicting that an Obama presidency would get Muslims, Black Panthers, the Klan and skinheads all jazzed up into a hatefest...

That's precisely how the exchange went. And I thought, "Gotcha!" So did the state Democratic Party and the Daily Kos blog. Party spokesman David Paulson wrote about the exchange before I did and also cut it off at Vatz's "Exactly."

But there was a bit before and after the race-war stuff that changes how it comes across. At least that's my take now that I've gone back and listened again.

Before she launched into the Obama bit, Dee encouraged Ehrlich to run for governor again and to go after young black voters, who she said were less wedded to the Democratic Party than their elders are. Afterward, if you listen past "Exactly," it's clear Vatz and the former governor are excited about swing voters, not race warriors.

Vatz: "Exactly. And she's also talking about a lot of people who are low-intensity, who, when they look at the specifics and look at the evidence, can change around. The question is how many such people are there."Bob Ehrlich goes on to praise Dee's point about "generational voting patterns."

Woulda been nice to hear somebody take issue with the race-war stuff, but I'd say Ehrlichs were only guilty of ducking.

Its a fair point about the Ehrlichs ducking Dee's inflammatory remarks, but only someone with a vested interest in smearing Ehrlich would do twist the conversation out of context to make into more than what it was. That Paulson did this is undeniable.

It is quite clear to any honest observer, who is not a friend of Paulson or blinkered Democrat partisan, that he omitted pertinent portions of the conversation in order to launch a spurious attack against the Ehrlichs and Rick Vatz.

Paulson's defense is nothing more than pathetic sophistry and spin. Then again, we get what Doracon pays for.

More below the fold.