Saturday, January 31, 2009

The state of Maryland

As he is bound to do, Governor O'Malley delivered the State of the State Address earlier this week. While the state has challenges, Martin was optimistic for our future because a new Sheriff was in town a few miles down the road in Washington, D.C.

But I think the state of the state is much more accurately assessed in the rebuttal, presented by Delegate Anthony O'Donnell - who happens to be my 2008 Legislator of the Year based on his monoblogue Accountability Project score. If you go to the Maryland Public Television site, you'll see and hear both speeches.

It's also worthwhile to see the response from the Maryland Republican Party:

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dr. Jim Pelura had the following comments in reaction to Governor O’Malley’s state of the state address:

“Governor O’Malley is basing the bulk of his budgeting decisions on getting federal bailout money and plans to continue spending more and more of our money while ignoring Maryland’s fiscal crisis. Governor O’Malley’s budget increases spending by $800 million in the face of a $2 billion budget deficit.

Martin O’Malley and his Democrat allies in the General Assembly have mismanaged our fiscal house and are now hoping to be bailed out with money from the federal government. That money is not ‘free’, it is coming out of our pockets and will be coming out of the pockets of our children and grandchildren. This emergency bailout money is a one-time fix. Unfortunately, the Democrats who control Annapolis believe that they can continue overspending because of this temporary, fiscal band-aid.

Now is the time for the Governor to stop raiding emergency funds and playing one-time fund transfer games. We need him to also be focused on the real problem of driver’s license security, something he neglected to mention in his speech.

Our Republican leaders in Annapolis have a clear vision to make Maryland a place where families and small businesses can flourish. Maryland Republicans want to remove the overbearing regulations and toxic tax conditions that cripple economic growth and cause job loss.

It is time for Marylanders to demand new leadership so that we can get our state’s economy back on the right track for working families.”

Indeed it is. However, let me further illustrate the problems as I see them and suggest solutions.

Our state has the natural advantage of being close to the nation's capital, thus we're shielded from recession as far as statewide statistics are concerned. Governor O'Malley points out that our unemployment rate is 5.8% here in Maryland, compared with a 7.2% national rate.

But Governor O'Malley also likes to stress a "One Maryland" agenda, whereas it's my belief that there are at least three Marylands: the I-95 corridor, Western Maryland, and the Eastern Shore. While Martin enjoys the fact that the state's unemployment as a whole is less than the national average, he's forgetting that 4 of the worst 5 jurisdictions in the state for unemployment are the four counties of the lower Eastern Shore, with November rates above the December national average of 7.2% in three of the four counties - it's a sure bet that all four are looking at 7% or more when December statistics are broken down.

In short, the lower Shore is an economic basket case right now, and what we're desperately crying out for are policies to create good, long-term, well-paying jobs - as in drawing businesses here!

The Governor cites two "victims" in his address, but these four counties have close to 200,000 unwitting victims of misguided state regulations and mandates that place dependence on federal subsidies above solid, job-creating tax policy.

And the $15 million to assist small businesses with securing health insurance does nothing but assure the small business becomes hooked on an ever more expensive state program. How many of these employers will drop their private coverage (or cut workforce) to glom onto the state program, making that $15 million suddenly need to be $30 million or $50 million?

Perhaps my largest objection is in philosophy, for Governor O'Malley wants to "strengthen and grow the ranks of Maryland’s upwardly mobile middle class."

Is that truly all the ambition he wants us to have, to be middle class?

Since he crows about "rais(ing) the personal exemption for all but the wealthiest Marylanders" while "we’ve increased Maryland’s Earned Income Tax Credit by 25%" where is the incentive to succeed? It seems to me that Martin continues on his merry path of wealth redistribution; unfortunately his agenda is driving those who create the wealth out of Maryland.

More than most, one would think that Maryland would be among the states who wouldn't have to worry about a budget deficit (given its low unemployment and high per capita income) but we instead have the problem of relatively high tax rates coupled with the desire to spend too much money.

It's time for the people in this state to realize that government does not have to be all things to all people.

I've lived on the Shore for four years and in that time I've found that we have a very independent, parochial attitude about ourselves and the rest of the state. There's many among us who wouldn't really mind sawing the Bay Bridge in half and telling the rest of the state to take a hike.

The problem, of course, is that we're less than 1/10 of the state's population and most of the rest is quite happy with state government that goes on its free-spending way. By and large, they're not paying for it and many of those who do pay work for the government anyhow, so less government isn't thought to be in their self-interest.

But it's time for government to start bearing some sacrifices as well. It's time to instill some common sense into Annapolis and think about how to benefit the whole of the state, not just those along I-95.

More below the fold.

Congratulations to Michael Steele on Becoming RNC Chair! Comeuppance is Sweet, but Successful Leadership and Politicking Are the Best Revenge

-- Richard E. Vatz

Weeks following the zenith of the outcry over the contemptible “Barack the Magic Negro” CD, first aired in 2007 on Rush Limbaugh’s show, which was sent by one of his opponents to the Republican National Committee and others, Michael Steele has won a toughly fought battle to be Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

This is not only good news for the Republican Party and conservatives throughout the United States, it is also good news for Maryland, the state of origin of the first African-American elected to statewide office in the "Free State."

Mr. Steele is a Johns Hopkins graduate, earned his J.D. at Georgetown and was a tremendous Lieutenant Governor. I shall not go through all of Chairperson Steele’s ample credentials, credentials ignored and degraded in 2002 and beyond by the BALTIMORE SUN editorial page and its ignominious ex-editor, Dianne Donovan. Recall in the SUN’s infamous editorial phrase that as Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee he “brings little to the ticket but the color of his skin.” To this day the SUN has not apologized for that calumny.

The racial attacks on Mr. Steele never fully abated, and many Maryland Democrats condoned them (Democratic Senate President Mike Miller on Mr. Steele in 2002: “the very personification of an Uncle Tom;” State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden on new racial attacks years later on Mr. Steele: “Politics trumps race;” Former Del. Salima Siler Marriott on those same attacks, according to the WASHINGTON TIMES: Mr. Steele “invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside…”).

Other major Maryland Democrats? Except for Kweisi Mfume, when elected and powerful Democrats' children ask them someday what they said when Michael Steele was viciously racially attacked, their answer will have to be one word: “Nothing.”

Michael Steele is a wonderful choice for RNC Chair. He has the values, intelligence, disposition and temperament to unite a party which desperately needs genuinely competent and unifying conservative leadership on a wide array of matters. The African-American support of Republicans is the least it has ever been (estimated, but probably accurately, at about 4% in the 2008 presidential election); Republicans are blamed (falsely) for the mortgage crisis and the economy in general; and the war in Iraq is perceived to have been lost (another falsehood) by President Bush, when it was his surge that will possibly have led to a stable Iraq, as opposed by then-Sen. Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership in general. Let’s see the Republicans make the case under Chairman Steele against the Democrats' 2009McGovern-type stimulus program of income redistribution and giveaways. The one indisputable issue, whose outcome will not be ambiguous, is the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, which President Obama has promised to stop. Let’s see how his rhetoric of accommodation works to stop that catastrophe.

Michael Steele is able to make salient and articulate Democratic depredations, the Republican case, and the Republican agenda, and he can effectively promote the cruciality of Republicans’ uniting.

It’s a great day for Michael Steele, Republicans, conservatives and supporters of a two-party system. Unfortunately for Maryland Democrats, it’s an I-told-you-so day – maybe the SUN will write their apology soon.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University

More below the fold.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Look Now....

.....but the local whack jobs are already doing their part to try to bring down Michael Steele.

Well, I suppose you can never expect the fringe left to actually want to debate on the merits of issues, now can you? Especially with the criminal class of leadership they seem to want to foist upon the state and the country these days...


More below the fold.

Its Steele!

Michael Steele is the new RNC chair, more on this to come.

More below the fold.

RNC Update

Steele in the lead, Duncan out. Now it gets interesting. Where do Duncan's votes go?

More below the fold.

Follow the RNC Chair Vote

The Campaign Spot blog at National Review is live blogging the RNC Chair vote.

After the second ballot our own Michael Steele is tied for the lead with incumbent Mike Duncan.

Second ballot vote, 85 needed to win

Duncan 48
Steele 48
Dawson 29
Anuzis 24
Blackwell 19

More below the fold.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baltimore Examiner going out of business

If you told me a Baltimore newspaper would close its doors this week the Baltimore Examiner would not have been my first answer. Yet that is just what happened.

The Baltimore Examiner will close next month. Denver-based Clarity Media Group confirms to WBAL News it's closing the paper after its February 15th editions.
Clarity CEO Ryan McKibben says the company tried for several months to find a buyer but was unsuccessful. He says employees of the paper were told Thursday morning. McKibben says "strong revenue synergies" did not materialize as expected from the Baltimore newspaper's proximity to Clarity's Washington Examiner.

I’m going to miss the great reporting of Len Lazarick, Stephen Janis, and Luke Broadwater, along with the opinion writing of the incomparable Greg Kane. Unfortunately we won’t have Michael Olesker to kick around anymore.

The Examiner was a great foil to the Baltimore Sun. When it comes to state government, the Examiner cut through the spin of press releases from the governor’s office and offered incisive editorials. Whereas the Sun editorial page appeared to regurgitate the governor’s talking points almost verbatim.

I am also indebted to the Examiner’s editorial page editor Marta Hummel Mossburg, who offered me space on the oped page on many occasions.

So long Baltimore Examiner, and good luck to all its employees.

I highly recommend the Washington Examiner. Mark Tapscott, the paper's editorial page editor is a solid conservative with a keen eye for what the movement needs to do to compete in the the digital age.

PS For those of you who have been asking, where my history page and Redskins page is alive and well. The Examiner websites and newspapers are separate entities.

More below the fold.

The Most Dangerous Man in America

As the saying goes, there is nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing left to lose. So you have to wonder, now that he has been convicted and removed from office, what does former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich have to lose?

Blagojevich has no political career left to save. He has no legal career to resurrect. He has no job, no state office to preserve, no reputation left to save.

Can you think of anything more dangerous with than a politician in this kind of position?

There is only one thing that Rod Blagojevich needs to worry about anymore, and that is trying to avoid prison time as much as he possibly can. If that is the direction in which he goes, than pretty much anybody who has ever been connected to the Governor may want to consider lawyering up. Because Blagojevich could very well decide to sign like a canary. That means that there are lot of powerful people, all the way up to President Obama, who could get more involved in this mess. But because of how this thing has played out so far doesn't mean that anybody else is going to be indicted just because Blagojevich starts to sign. If this entire endeavor has taught us anything, it's the fact that Rod Blagojevich is delusion and insane. The man seems to be completely bonkers with the "defense" that he launched of these charges. And it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Blago just started making stuff up on the fly.....but that doesn't mean there aren't real skeletons out there waiting to be exposed.

Illinois is a seedy place to practice politics, and Rod Blagojevich is (so far) the seediest of the seedy. With self-preservation as his only resort, we must see a bit more light shined on Chicago-style politics, which truly makes him a danger to the Obama Administration and, perhaps, the most dangerous man in America....


More below the fold.

And now, a message from the adults in Annapolis

The State of the State Response, given by our friend House Minority Leader Tony O'Donnell....

Part I:

Part II:


More below the fold.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Roscoe Bartlett to Obama: The New Deal didn't work

Wisdom of the ancients:

Said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.: "Mr. President, I probably come at this from a slightly different perspective. I remember when FDR beat Hoover in 1932. So I remember the Great Depression very well. I don't remember any of the many government programs affecting the course of the Depression. Government programs didn't work then, I don't know why we think they would work now. Mr. President, I think our obsessive borrowing has fully mortgaged my kids and my grandkids. Now we're working on mortgaging my two great-grandkids. Mr. President, I think it's more than a little bit selfish to try to solve our economic problems which we created by burdening future generations yet to be born."This prompted applause.

H/T The Other McCain--a fellow Marylander BTW

More below the fold.

Ben Cardin Owned

Okay, so I couldn't let my kudos to one Democratic politician go by without ridiculing another one--kind of like that "revenue neutral" carbon tax.

From Chris Horner at Planet Gore

The creepiest moment of the day at Gore's hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came when Sen. Ben Cardin (D., MD) called, in the context of any new international global warming treaty, for international "support for uniform scientific information so that we all are operating with the same set of facts."

Gulp. Boy, that actual scientific method is really proving inconvenient.

I suppose it goes without saying that Mr. Gore associated himself with Sen. Cardin's remarks. If only they had thought of it sooner, we might have avoided allowing
a court concluding after three days of evidence that Gore's An Inconvenient Truth hysteria "arise[s] in the context of alarmism and exaggeration in support of his political thesis," and that "there is a view to the contrary, i.e. (at least) the mainstream view" (ouch!). Think of the time (and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the stimulus bill alone) that we'd save!

Bravo Senator Cardin, Bravo!

More below the fold.

For the record

Frank Kratovil and ten other Democrats joined the House Republicans in voting against the stimu…debt and deficit bill.

I’ve already expressed my dim view of his initial votes however, to be fair he did right thing voting against this monstrosity.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Help wanted

The National Association of Counties is looking for a young propagandist to develop "a national strategy for combating anti-government/anti-tax efforts."

Seriously, that is the exact wording from craigslist.

H/T The Other McCain

More below the fold.

Decoupling in the Stimulus Bill

Streiff and I have written about energy decoupling in the past. Now Henry Waxman has inserted a decoupling provision into the House version of Obama's stimulus bill.

During the Committee markup, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) inserted a provision that would “decouple” utility rates from the amount of electricity or natural gas that the utilities sell. According to the “decoupling” provision, states that accept federal energy efficiency grants from the economic stimulus package will have to ensure that utilities recover the revenue lost when consumers use less energy.

In other words, in states that accept the energy efficiency grants, utilities that use the grants to help consumers lower the energy consumption will be able to raise their rates to compensation for the loss in revenue. Consumers who participate in the programs may see their energy use go down, but may not see any change in the size of their utility bills. This is the legislative equivalent of a giant wet kiss to utility and environmental lobbyists but a giant kiss off to consumers.

Actually rates will increase as they have in California--by 25%--when it implemented decoupling. How does raising energy costs stimulate the economy?

You get the change you vote for, good and hard.

H/T Iain Murray at The Corner

More below the fold.

Moral Midgetry

“All the pieces matter”...Lester Freamon

Following up on Brian’s post below I offer the next exhibit in the case of our clueless governor. Here is what else O’Malley had to say about The Wire:

"My knock on 'The Wire' is that it's just so darn cynical about human nature," O'Malley told the midshipmen, who applauded his answer. "People are not
that hopeless. People are not that callous. People are not that selfish -- not
the Baltimore that I served for eight years."

Umm… no.

Here is what David Simon told Reason:

It's cynical about institutions, and about their capacity for serving the needs of the individual. But in its treatment of the actual characters, be they longshoremen or mid-level drug dealers or police detectives, I don't think it's cynical at all. I think there's a great deal of humanist affection.

The Wire is cynical about institutions like the Baltimore machine, which Carcetti , I mean O’Malley ran for eight years. Institutions, contrary to his spin, that have indeed failed the citizens of Baltimore, and now the rest of the state.

Just a hint Governor, you probably shouldn’t critique a show about which you have no clue.

More below the fold.

Divorced from Reality

Almost as if in rebuttal to my comments about The Wire, Governor O'Malley mouthed off about it:

O'Malley also answered a question about the HBO television show "The Wire," a gritty crime show that was based on and filmed in Baltimore, mostly while he was mayor. The student asked whether O'Malley believed the show had anything to offer about problems facing big cities.

"I tell you what: I can't stand 'The Wire,'" O'Malley said. "I can't stand 'The Wire.' I can't say that I've ever seen an entire episode of it. I watched enough of it to know that it did not portray the full picture of what Baltimore is all about as a city."

The governor then added that he supposed the show has value as an art form "to the extent that it can make us more sensitive to the sort of carnage and suffering that goes on in so many big American cities, especially around the issue of drugs and drug dealing.
As I noted to the clerk in Seattle, the Governor is right in that The Wire "did not portray the full picture of what Baltimore is." The city is much more violent and much more corrupt than it ever could have been portrayed on television and still be believable to the casual viewer.

(I'm sure that it didn't help his opinion of the show that the character on the show based after O'Malley was elected Mayor and portrayed as a womanizer. Maybe it hit too close to home, I don't know...)

Be that as it may, what really disturbed me is how divorced from reality Martin O'Malley is about life and the human condition in Baltimore City. Yes, it really is that bad and worse. And yet during his time as Mayor and during his time as Governor, O'Malley has done bumpkis to fix it. O'Malley didn't root out corruption. O'Malley didn't address the crime problem. O'Malley didn't work to fix city schools. He merely played the blame game and looked forward to his next promotion, i.e. the Governorship. You could probably argue in reality that Martin O'Malley was, to an extent, an enabler that allowed the conditions portrayed on The Wire to persist.

O'Malley can like the show or not, but The Wire accurately portrayed life in Baltimore. If O'Malley wants to put his head in the sand and complain about the show now that's fine, but in reality he should look in the mirror and ask himself if he has done everything he can do to try and improve the city.......he won't, but that's what he should do.


More below the fold.

On the Ron Smith Show Today

I'll be on with Ron Smith WBAL AM 1090, today at 4:15 in the pm. We will be discussing the new global warming bill that O'Malley is backing and why it will raise your taxes and energy costs and do nothing for the environment.

Listen online at

More below the fold.

Sheila Dixon and the Machine

My column in today's Baltimore Examiner:

No matter the outcome of the allegations of theft and perjury involving developer Ronald Lipscomb, Mayor Sheila Dixon's legal problems are merely a symptom of the larger problem in Baltimore: machine politics. Democrats have controlled Baltimore for nearly 50 years with unchecked power. As Lord Acton's dictum states "power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The allegations involving Dixon and Lipscomb highlight the symbiotic relationship between city developers and machine politicians. In a nutshell, developers, through campaign finance loopholes, funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to city politicians. The politicians in turn put that money into their machines to turn out the vote. In return for their donations, developers expect huge tax breaks and public largesse for their projects. While this dance may not be illegal, it definitely appears unseemly.

Baltimore-based researchers Stephen Walters and Louis Miserendino, in their 2008 report, "Flawed Renaissance: The Failure of Plan-Control-Subsidize Redevelopment," exposed the choreography of this shady dance. For the last half century, city politicians have secured land and tax breaks for developers like Lipscomb in return for redeveloping the land. The research clearly shows that this has created what John Edwards would call two Baltimores: The bustling and vibrant Inner Harbor known to tourists and the blighted neighborhoods reflected in "The Wire." Developers get tax breaks while an ever-shrinking middle class is squeezed to foot the city's bills. Meanwhile, Baltimore's political elites arrogate more power for themselves. The political machine and the developers feed off of one another, all the while perpetuating and increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Power is concentrated in the secretive Baltimore Development Corporation, and the powerful Board of Estimates, the latter on which Dixon sits. Both entities determine which projects get city tax breaks and therefore, move forward. The authority to decide on those projects, along with the strong executive powers of the office, make Dixon a powerful woman. That kind of concentrated power in the hands of any one person makes for a heady and dangerous cocktail. In Dixon's case, as others have written, that power has inflamed her sense of entitlement; a sense of entitlement that previously allowed Dixon to abuse her position as City Council president to do unethical favors for her sister and campaign manager.

Despite those indiscretions, Dixon has received high praise for her initial accomplishments as mayor, (reducing murders, green initiatives, etc.) while cultivating the image of a vigorous can-do executive. However, she has only nibbled around the margins of real reform. Real reform would mean ending city-subsidized development to allow natural economic growth, where Baltimore's ever shrinking middle class and small businesses no longer bear the overwhelming tax burden to finance city programs -- which come Election Day, create reliable voters. Ending the development-political complex would mean giving up power, and politicians never give up power on their own volition, especially a machine politician like Dixon. Unfortunately, even if she is convicted and removed from office, the dance will continue, just with different partners.

Dixon's cardio-boxing accident the day after her indictment makes for an apt irony. One can dance around the ring on the carefully crafted edifice of an energetic, fighting politician. However, if the core structure on which that edifice rests is rotted, both will collapse.

More below the fold.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Course He Is

I was wondering what happened to my old bĂȘte noire, former Baltimore Sun environmental “reporter” Tom Pelton. Turns out he is now the senior writer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, natch!

I’m glad he found a new gig after taking the buyout. However, I would argue he was already working in that position when he was at the Sun. At least now he no longer has to feign the pose of an objective reporter.

After all, as 60 Minutes' Scott-skeptics-are-Holocaust-deniers-Pelley says balance is bias.

More below the fold.

How Many State Delegates Does It Take to Steal Your Gift Cards

The answer…63.

This is the fourth session in a row (including the 2007 special session) in which these numbskulls have introduced this legislation. Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, has been the lead spons…I mean numbskull every time.

No word yet if they will name it the Sheila Dixon Gift Card Act.

More below the fold.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

O'Malley and His Green Allies Openly Champion Higher Energy Costs

The essence of Henry Hazlitt’s great book Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics is:

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups… the bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.

Looking at the revamped Global Warming Solutions Act, now repackaged as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act complete with Governor O’Malley’s imprimatur, we see that he and those who support this bill are the bad economists Hazlitt had in mind. In the short run, passing this legislation will salve their misplaced conscience about doing something to “save” the planet, and line the pockets of a small group of rent seekers, like former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Wayne Rogers. In the long term, what this legislation would do is create a regulatory tax on all sorts of goods and services and raise the cost of living for Marylanders.

According to Baltimore Sun reporter Timothy Wheeler (past president of The Society of Environmental Journalists) the bill commits the state to reducing “climate warming pollution”—I guess its global warming again not climate change anymore—25% by the year 2020. Last year’s bill failed due to union and industry opposition. This year the watermelons co-opted their opponents and now they are on board.

The bill O'Malley is pushing is a carefully crafted compromise worked out in recent weeks among proponents and opponents of last year's legislation. It would commit the state to achieving a 25 percent reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - by 2020. The state would have until 2012 to develop a plan for reaching the goal.

But in deference to manufacturers and labor leaders, the bill says the state's plan must ensure that no manufacturing jobs would be lost, and it essentially exempts industry from state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions until 2016.
But here is the key:

Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson said proponents did not see that as a major concession because manufacturing accounts for only about 4 percent of all
the greenhouse gases released in the state. Electricity generation and transportation are far bigger sources of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels.

Wheeler says the bill is likely to pass the General Assembly. Its nice to know that a small cadre of special interest groups can commiserate to raise taxes and energy costs for a state of nearly six million people. There’s your “One Maryland” in Action.

The state will levy new regulatory taxes on energy and transportation. One would think that O’Malley, who failed to deliver on his promise of “stop the BGE rate increase,” would not openly support legislation that directly increases the energy and transportation costs of Maryland’s working families—you know the folks who he supposedly champions.

Of course, these green house gas reduction schemes do not work. Even if Maryland ceased all GHG emissions it would produce a climatically meaningless two thousandths of a degree reduction in global temperature. The new bill calls for reduction not cessation, so we are left with all cost and no benefit. The Beacon Hill Institute analyzed Maryland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) of which the GWSA is part, and the underlying economic methodology. They found:

The Beacon Hill Institute has previously reviewed the cost-benefit methodology employed by CCS in four other states: Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina. The Institute found three serious problems with the CCS cost-benefit analyses:
1. CCS failed to quantify benefits in a way that they can be meaningfully compared to costs;
2. When estimating economic impacts, CCS often misinterpreted costs to be benefits; and
3. The estimates of costs left out important factors, causing CCS to understate the true costs of its recommendations…

The CAP report provides zero guidance to policy makers regarding the desirability of policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions. It fails to perform the most basic task of any cost-benefit analysis–quantifying both the costs and benefits in monetary terms so that they can be directly compared. The analysis mistakes costs for benefits. Astonishingly, the report posits net economic savings from policies intended to reduce GHG emissions without counting the value of those reduced emissions. Unfortunately for Maryland policy makers, these same three problems plague the CAP report,rendering it unsuitable for making any informed policy decisions.

Predictably, O’Malley referred to the CAP in his press release supporting the GWSA. Specifically he warned of Maryland’s vulnerability to rising sea levels in his press release supporting the bill. Only we are not as vulnerable as he and the other doomsayers would have you believe. As I said in the Examiner last summer:

The IPCC estimates potential global sea level rise between 7 and 23 inches. Given a lower rate of warming, the increase actually tracks more toward 7inches. Taking this into account, the Science and Public Policy Institute observed that the “reasonably expected rate of sea level rise in the coming decades is not much different to the rate of sea level rise that Maryland coastlines have been experiencing for more than a century.”

Furthermore,Richard Alley, the author of the IPCC chapter on sea level rise, told Congress that on this issue, “we don’t have a good assessed scientific foundation right now.”

Even if all developed countries met Kyoto targets by 2010 and sustained them through the rest of the century, the effect on global temperatures would be a barely detectable 0.07 degrees.In terms of mitigated sea level rise, that translates to 1 inch.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is bad economics, bad public policy, which cannot possibly achieve its stated goals. Enactment of this bill will serve the narrow interests of a small set of special interests and deleteriously affect the rest of us. Given that 44% of Americans believe that man is not the cause of global warming and they are losing on all fronts in the court of public opinion its easy to understand why the alarmists are pulling out all the stops,

More below the fold.

State Layoffs Target Wrong Areas

As Maryland continues to feel the effects of a revenue shortfall, some people will now lose their state jobs. Likewise, many vacant position will be eliminated altogether. Taking a look at the raw numbers, it appears the O'Malley administration really didn't put much thought into this venture.

First, Public Safety And Correctional Services loses 373 positions. Similarly, Maryland State Police will see a net loss of 21. Also, the Military Department can say goodbye to 14 people. Clearly, O'Malley envisions crime and unrest won't be an issue in the near future. Still, if that's the case, I am curious why he plans to increase the judiciary by 44? Keep in mind, judges in most jurisdictions don't hit the bench until after 9am and are done for the day around 4pm. And, let's not forget about their hour and half lunches.

Somehow, the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission will keep all 155 of their jobs. Can someone please remind me why taxpayers continue to fund a television station in 2009? Also, the Public Service Commission keeps their 142 person department. I honestly didn't know it required that many people to man that useless entity. Perhaps, they should layoff all of them and pass along the savings directly to us. We could then use the money to pay the higher BGE bills routinely approved by these guys.

There's many more agencies that probably could've sacrificed a few positions. That said, I really didn't expect O'Malley to put much thought into this process. By the way, I notice that he also plans to increase his Executive Department from 86 to 89. Maybe one of these three new appointees can be responsible for doing a feasibility and productivity analysis for each state agency. If done properly, I am sure additional layoffs could easily be justified.


More below the fold.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking ahead to the 2010 elections in Prince George's County

During the 2006 election season I used my PG-Politics blog and the PG-Politics and PrinceGeorges_Discussion mailing lists to get out information about candidates for many of the elective offices in Prince George's County.  I tried to cover all the candidates for the Prince George's Board of Education and a subset of the candidates for council and legislative seats.

Generally speaking, I focused on non-Democrats and on Democratic challengers to incumbents (especially in the majority of races that had no Republican candidates). I contacted all those candidates for whom I could find addresses and offered to post links to campaign pages, press releases, and notices of campaign events.  I did not attempt to gather information from incumbents, but posted anything they sent me that was timely.

Looking ahead to 2010, I'll probably try to do something similar (at least on my blog and the PG-Politics list), but not in exactly the same way.  I expect to actively seek out Republican, Libertarian, and other non-Democratic candidates, as well as Democrats planning to mount primary challenges to incumbents or running in contests without an incumbent.  My reach may be somewhat less than it was in 2006 since I can no longer post directly to the PrinceGeorges_Discussion list.  On the other hand, I expect to be home in 2010 and able to attend at least some campaign events, unlike 2006 when a family emergency kept me away from home from mid-June on.

I know it may seem a bit early for this, but I am interested in receiving any information from or about the plans of potential Prince George's County candidates, especially Republicans or third-party candidates, and encourage readers to pass this information or my e-mail address on to those potential candidates.  

In recent years, the Prince George's County Republican Party has done poorly in both fielding and supporting candidates.  The county GOP web site has not identified all local candidates in the past.  It currently does not even identify the members (other than the chair) of the county Republican Central Committee.  We cannot do anything to change the current 100% one-party Democratic rule in Prince George's County, with its high crime rates and lousy schools, if we sit by and watch the Prince George's County and Maryland State Republican parties wait silently, making little or no effort to field candidates, and then effectively concede ALL races to the Democrats.  That will just continue the current complete lack of Republican or conservative voices in Upper Marlboro or representing Prince Georgians in Annapolis,


More below the fold.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Well, that didn't take too long...

Mr. Obama wasted little time in throwing babies under the bus.

After a 24 hour stay on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade ("Roe" is now pro-life, ironically), he has now done away with Reagan's Mexico City Policy. This policy kept American taxpayers from funding foreign organizations that provide abortions. I guess now Planned Parenthood-like groups across the globe can feel free to raid our wallets to pay for their ghastly deeds.

One wonders why, in such tough economic times as now, we have any business giving any of our hard-earned money to any foreign group at all. It is especially heinous to fund these killers.

The restriction on funding these groups only seems to be active when there is a Republican in the White House.

Why are we supposed to obey the law and pay taxes again? When Ceaser wants you to render to him what is not his, but God's, one wonders.

Crossposted by Chester Peake on Maryland Chesapeake Blog

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Sunshine Behind Every Cloud

From PuffHo:

The American Civil Liberties Union, impacted by the unfolding economic crisis, laid off ten percent of its national workforce this week. Thirty-six staffers lost their jobs, including five in the Washington, D.C. legislative office, a source familiar with the firings told the Huffington Post.

And why is that?
"Like many organizations today, the ACLU is feeling the impact of the tough economic climate which has resulted in a decline of our assets and reduced the donations and grants that we rely upon to fund our activities, including those from two foundations that were wiped out by the Bernard Madoff scandal."


More below the fold.

Cannibalism As Spectator Sport

One couldn't help but be amused by this:

Accusing the state of failing to control industrial air pollution, environmental groups went to court yesterday to force the Maryland Department of the Environment to set new emission limits for a Baltimore trash incinerator.

The groups also threatened to sue Atlanta-based Mirant for allegedly spewing pollutants from one of its power plants in suburban Washington. The plant has been operating for years without a permit.

Activists said the actions were prompted by their frustration with the O'Malley administration for foot-dragging in dealing with pollution violations at some of the state's largest factories and power plants.

"We've just had it," said Eric Schaeffer, a former federal environmental regulator who now leads a Washington-based group, the Environmental Integrity Project. He said the two cases are part of a pattern in Maryland in which power plants and factories have been allowed to operate without pollution permits and up-to-date emission limits.
Guys like Shaeffer operate in some sort of parallel universe where rules of economics don't apply. So do guys like Governor O'Malley. The fun part comes in when politicians like O'Malley suddenly enter our universe where regulations, no matter how well intentioned, have costs and costs have economic impacts while their erstwhile buddies remain in their own special cloud cuckooland.

Can you put a little more butter on that popcorn.

More below the fold.

Easily Predictable

Remember when Governor O'Malley insisted on raising discretionary spending by $500 million back during the 2007 Special Session? Yeah, about that....

The state is putting a halt to a portion of a health care expansion that won praise from advocates when it passed during the 2007 special legislative session but is too expensive to pay for in the current economic climate.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's $14.4 billion general fund budget leaves intact the expansion of Medicaid to eligible parents with incomes at 116 percent of the federal poverty guidelines — or about $20,000 for a family of three.

That effort to expand coverage to the uninsured, which began July 1, had enrolled 28,000 people as of Wednesday.

But there is no money for expanding coverage to childless adults, John Folkemer, deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told House and Senate committees this week.

There was no money to cover this cockamamie expansion project back when it passed in November 2007, so it didn't take much to figure that the money was going to run dry and that the project would need to be scaled back in the future. Of course, when the state was already looking at a $1.5 billion deficit at the time of its passage, the Governor and legislative Democrats should have been easily able to figure that out that instead of crossing their fingers and hoping the money would materialize in this economy.

I look forward to the day when competent adults are back in charge of the budget...


More below the fold.

The Governor Hates Children

At least that's what the headline in the Sun would have been if it were Governor Ehrlich, not Governor O'Malley, slashing $69 million from the education budget...

More below the fold.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thought of the Day...

Nancy Pelosi says Bush's tax cuts for high earners "have been the biggest contributor to the budget deficit."

According to's false.

Thought of the day...

More below the fold.

BurnsNotes: Death Penalty Should Be Modified

Today at Maryland Politics Today, I launch the next progression in my "media empire," BurnsNotes. Not only will it be written commentary, but audio commentary as well.

In this first edition, I say that Governor Martin O'Malley (D) should respect the will of the voters and keep the death penalty, only modified.

More below the fold.

Hate to Say I Told You So

Well I am so glad that the rush job of the General Assembly on Friday afternoon was so incredibly productive for all parties:

More than 500 bars in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County were eligible to say open an extra hour on Inauguration Day, but only one did.

The legislation postponing last call for an hour was rushed through the General Assembly last week and was signed into law by the governor Monday.

The owner of ACME Bar and Grill in Annapolis, Kevin Epley, said taking advantage of the change was a "no-brainer." He paid the required $200 fee to the county liquor board so he could stay open until 3 a.m.

Many bar owners, however, said the extra hour wasn't worth the $200 fee. Rams Head Tavern general manager Mark Colberg said he didn't expect man people would be drinking after 2 a.m.
So glad that we hustled this legislation through the process, with all of the extreme benefits the people of Maryland the residents of Anne Arundel County received. Though I think, in reality, the only "no-brainer" in this process was the one where somebody thought such cockamamie legislation was actually a good idea....


More below the fold.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Be sure to check out the latest Conservative Refuge Podcast if you haven't done so already.

Plus, if you didn't get a chance to check out my interview on WFSI, be sure to check out the entire program here, in which I enter the program about five minutes in.

Take a listen!


More below the fold.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Refuge Podcast # 67 - Third Annual General Assembly Preview

For the third year in a row the Conservative Refuge Podcast brings leading Maryland conservative commentators together to preview the General Assembly Session. You can listen by visiting here:

In our opening segment, I discuss the local reporting on the Anne Arundel school budget. During recessionary times with local tax revenue dropping, the local unelected school board considers a massive increase in spending and the local media hails it as reasonable. You need to hear the latest from the county's crony-filled school board.

Our blogger roundtable, with RedMaryland contributors Brian Griffiths and Mark Newgent, convenes for our 2009 General Assembly Preview. Will 2009 be another year for tax increases in Maryland as the State faces a $2 Billion deficit? What are the other issues which will come to the fore over the next 90 days? Our blogger contributors share their insight and opinions.

In our closing segment, another installment of the "Nut Ball Box." With the peaceful transition of power in Washington, innumerable conspiracy theorists predicting a police state or Bush coup d'etat have been exposed for the nuts they are.

Share your thoughts and feedback!

Spread the word!

Greg Kline
Host, Conservative Refuge Podcast

More below the fold.

Dissent Is No Longer The Highest Form of Patriotism

There was much to like about President Obama's inaugural address, and for the sore winner neer-do-wells I do happen to think the election of an African American to the highest office in the land is a good thing.

However, I found this part of the president's speech troubling.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

Sorry, no sale.

Do those who worked and voted for Obama, and savaged George W. Bush for eight years think their disagreements with him childish, are they to now toss out their dogmas?

This is the one central conceit of Obama's allure, which has bothered me from the beginning. By labeling disagreement the way he does he delegitimizes it. Indeed at the outset of his campaign he said divisiveness was his chief opponent, and his campaign outfit fought it with a cunning ruthlessness.

I wrote about this very theme while flaying an inane (is there any other kind) Baltimore Sun editorial.

...Please tell me how speaking in vapid platitudes about change and unity will lead to a “new political era” of bipartisanship? Will electing “The One” magically make all our political differences disappear overnight? Of course not. What the Sun, and others who preach this tripe, are really saying is that we knuckle dragging troglodyte conservatives must give up our beliefs and accede to their wishes, or—gasp—we are divisive; enemies of unity, change, hope, and all good things..

...democracy is fundamentally about disagreement i.e., partisanship. You could eliminate all political parties, but our basic philosophical differences would remain. The founders created a system of government (checks and balances and protection of minority rights) specifically designed to diffuse the very type of unity, which Obama claims as his highest value...

Obama’s demonization, of those who dare to criticize him, as “divisive” is in reality, nothing more than Obama practicing, in disguise, the very type of politics he claims to abhor.

Disagreement and partisanship are a part of human nature, they shape our politics and make for a healthy civic life. Labeling them out of bounds to stifle dissent won't make them go away.

Will all those, who caterwauled about the muzzling of dissent--usually on MSNBC or the pages of the New York Times--during the previous administration, still consider dissent the highest form of patriotism?

More below the fold.

President Barack Obama's Inaugural: a Few Not Overly Critical Thoughts

--Richard E. Vatz

It was, I believe, Sen. J. William Fulbright who said that a presidential honeymoon period -- during which a newly elected president is given significant latitude before negative political judgment is made – should be about nine months. If that period of time is enough for a woman to deliver a baby, Sen. Fulbright reasoned, it should be sufficient time for a president to gain his footing.

The opinion here is that President Barack Obama will have at least two years of a honeymoon period, given the starry-eyed support he can depend on from the public, the media and his ruling Democrats.

That said, it pains me to say I was not unimpressed by his Inaugural.

There were hints of Washington in the president’s humility; hints of FDR in his abjuring of fear; and hints of JFK in some of his phraseology and locutions: “To the Muslim world…;" "To those leaders around the globe…;" "to those who cling to power…”

There was not a lot of his hero, Abraham Lincoln, at least in the speech itself (but in the Lincolnian Bible), because for one thing it is hard to reconcile the Lincoln-Obama fantasizers to the fact that Lincoln said in his first Inaugural: “I do but quote from one of [my published] speeches when I declare that ‘I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.’ ”

The Obama inaugural speech was perfect in elocution, as one might expect from one of the finest speakers among presidents of the last 50 years (the best in order are presidents Reagan, Kennedy, Obama and Clinton).

President Obama came across as more conservative than in his campaign, emphasizing “responsibility,” praising the military and tamping down speculation of gigantic spending programs through a lack of emphasis and specificity in the speech regarding global warming, health care and new programs in general. (It would be difficult to wax eloquently about global warming during the current bitter cold wave.)

He avoided the pre-eminently pressing foreign policy problem, Iran’s possible soon acquisition of nuclear weapons, which acquisition has the potential to roil the global political status quo, especially in the Middle East. Perhaps this was to make negotiations possible, but this is one issue for which the outcome in the very near future will be unambiguous.

Of course, there is the pride in a nation for electing a man who 50+ years ago might not have been allowed to drink water from some public fountains in the United States. Of course his temperament is ideal, even to some of us conservatives. This Inaugural was not a bad beginning for President Obama, save the Iran omission, but his popularity will not be sustained at the current level; if, on the other hand, he (not He) tempers his idealism and becomes more realistic about rejecting the tempting false panacea of big spending programs and redistribution of wealth, he could have quite a successful and popular presidency.

Richard E. Vatz is professor of political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Students learn to Make Benefit Glorious Leader

What better time to bring partisan politics into the classroom:

As today's presidential inauguration approached, Donna Schmitz's art students bubbled over with excitement - and paint.

Gripping paint brushes in their tiny, blue-stained fingers, every student at Lothian Elementary School contributed a brush stroke and a signature to their inaugural group project: a larger-than-life image of President Barack Obama painted on a huge cardboard box once used to ship a SMART board to the school.

"It's bringing history into the art classroom," Ms. Schmitz said last week.

I am completely disgusted that my taxpayer dollars were used to fund such an overtly partisan, Orwellian task. This isn't "brining art into the classroom." This is forcing students to show their support for Obama in a frankly Soviet fashion.

It's one thing to discuss the inauguration, watch the inauguration, and discuss its meaning. But to bring this kind of partisanship into the classroom is a bridge way too far...


More below the fold.

So this is how liberty dies, to the sound of thunderous applause . . .

Such was the observation of Padme when she witnessed history in the making, and the anointing of a New Ruler by a willing people, oblivious to the freedoms they were giving up. This was in the Star Wars saga, but I hope when referring to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, future generations won't have to premise it with "A Long Time Ago... Far, Far Away".

The citizens of that Galaxy would be getting a New Constitution, and our own Leader-in-chief has a problem with our founding documents as well. Will he be making history, or re-writing it? Will the Republic (or the Republi"yes-we"cans) Strike Back? Or will we be doomed to this false so-called New Hope?

Switching out of Star Wars mode... switching metaphors...

We can't expose ourselves to the Zombies trying to eat our brains, we must keep our families safe in the fallout shelter. However, we must venture out of our bunkers a little, enough to forage for food and to attack the strongholds of the enemy. We have to watch them carefully, their power is increasing, but liberty and freedom cannot be allowed to die, it must rise again. For now, the Flag is showing Distress, but it will again wave proudly, right-side-up, if we work to make it possible.

Until we meet again, proud country, the United States... until we are united in true hope and change, for freedom, liberty, and our founding principles... 'til then...

More below the fold.

The Cost of the Inaugural?

Brian Griffiths recently talked about the cost of the coronation inauguration of Barack Obama, and he is not alone among commentators wondering if today's economic times would indicate a less "spectacular" celebration.

But let's get a few things clear about the "cost" of this inaugural.

1. There is a Barack Obama Inaugural committee that is privately funded which is picking up a big chunk of the tab for the side events.

2. Most inaugural balls are privately funded affairs and not on the public dime.

3. Security might be overkill, but really, is it that much to ask? Security costs money.

While I don't think the world is a dark as Obama and the media have portrayed, we can all agree that not all is good in this world.

As much as I don't like Obama's policies and some of his past associations are questionable to say the least, I don't think this is really something we need to scrimp on. The Inauguration is not about Obama, it wasnt't about Bush or Clinton or any president themselves. Inaugural festivities are about the greatest thing about our nation--the smooth and orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next. Remember, the U.S. was really the first nation to have a transfer of power from one political faction to another without resorting to guns and death, or the "divine" succession of monarchs. If nothing else, perhaps we conservatives can take solace in that notion--the peaceful transfer of power.

Is the media fawning and leftist rapture over the top? Yes, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate the smooth transition of power.

Instead of worrying about the cost of this inaugural, wouldn't conservative and GOP time effort be better spent on making sure that we have another transfer of power to a Republican president in four years?

More below the fold.


Looks like only 80 members of the House of Delegates showed up for work today.

What are surprise that 61 Delegates are completely ignoring the people's business....


More below the fold.

Turning Up the Heat on Peddlers of AGW

Looks like the global warming cult is seeing the tide of public opinion turn against them (H/T Josh Painter):

Al Gore’s side may be coming to power in Washington, but they appear to be losing the battle on the idea that humans are to blame for global warming.

Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity.

Seven percent (7%) attribute global warming to some other reason, and nine percent (9%) are unsure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.

That's not all:

With Barack Obama and the new Congress focused heavily on economic recovery, it’s interesting to note that 46% of voters believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-two percent (32%) see no such conflict, however, and 22% are not sure.
Finally, it looks like all of the preaching and the pushing and the peddling of this nonsense without scientific data is finally starting to be realized, at least by a plurality of the public.

However, that is one thing that is so damnably frustrating about this poll. The same public who sees the folly of the AGW argument elected for Barack Obama, the most notoriously ecofriendly Presidential Candidate this side of Al Gore. Obama is going to pursue programs that address this problem. Obama is going to pursue policies that harm our economy in the name of environmental justice. In essence, a decent percentage of these people voted for Obama and by doing so contradicted their own beliefs and their self-interest in being opposed to these global warming arguments (perhaps speaking, again, to the relative weakness of the Republican brand in the 2008 election).

Opposition to self-interest aside, it's good to see that critical consideration of global warming arguments is continuing....


More below the fold.

Slow Down People!

Interstate 70 is the road my wife travels to get to work every day. Although she was off yesterday for Martin Luther King Day, this is the kind of accident that could happen this time of the year.

Too many people go way too fast on the stretch of highway between Frederick and Hagerstown, and with just a little bit of snow yesterday, this is what happens:

A sudden 1 1/2-inch snowfall turned I-70 westbound deadly Monday, killing two Frederick County people and injuring more than a dozen.

Forty cars, seven tractor-trailers and three box trucks collided on I-70 just east of the 36-mile marker west of Myersville, said Lt. Sandy Trumpower of the Mount Aetna fire department.

The pileup was reported at 12:20 p.m., police said. Vehicles began being removed about 5 p.m., after the Maryland State Police Aviation Division documented the crash scene.

Cpl. James Grinnan of the Maryland State Police said the two people who died were from Frederick County. He could not release their names as their relatives had not been contacted.

By 9:30 p.m., traffic backups continued to extend about 10 miles in both directions of I-70, according to a state press release.--

The crash likely was a result of the sudden snowfall, which may have caused a chain reaction, Trumpower said.
First, the snowfall wasn't sudden, it had been forcast for days. Second, it was not white out conditions making visibility impossible.

Did snow contribute to the accident--of that I have no doubt. But it was snow combined with speed. Drivers on that stretch of highway routinely drive 75, 80, 85 or even 90 miles per hour. It is not safe, it is not smart and two people paid the ultimate price yesterday.

Please people--slow down. Better to arrive late than never.

More below the fold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Losing the Battle and Losing the War?

By Robert Farrow

Once again the GOP is licking it’s wounds from another election loss. Recovering from this loss has been the focus of conservative politicians and pundits. But what many pundits do not realize is that there is another battle raging in the country that the GOP has been losing for decades. The battle has been over the culture of America. And if you think the two battles are not linked, think again.

Conservativism and the Religious Right has been effectively demonized in the popular culture while liberalism has effectively been mainstreamed into our TV sets and newspapers. And politics is nothing but perception. The real battle is not in the polls but in the courts, schools, media, and popular culture. And the Republican party has surrendered too many of these battlefields to the enemy. This does nothing but help us to lose elections.

The Problem: Politics vs. Perception

To the surprise of many conservative Catholics, twice of many Catholics voted for Obama then McCain, despite Obama’s very pro-abortion record. This trend, if it continues, could spell death for the Conservative movement. And why is this the case? Well, the image of conservatives have defectively suffered. It’s leadership has lacked the ability to define itself, and thus allowed the liberals to do it for them in a negative light and thus claim the moral high ground, This is relatively the same as having Saddam Hussein sit in the Human Rights commission. (which is not too far off from others that have been in that seat) So what is a good conservative to do?

First, we must recognize that your neighborhood Pravda media outlet is just as important as the electoral college and just as much as an opponent as the Democrats. Again, the image of the party has suffered at t it’s own hands, thanks to people like Foley and the abandonment of it’s Conservative principles. But does dealing with an organization whose primary goal is your failure really in your best interest?

And since we can’t force all the libs to Canada and give them weekly rations of granola and John Stewart we must get back to the grassroots and take back our schools. media, and even TV. How is easy. Ask Ron Paul, or Dean, or even Obama. The libs have shown how to do this for decades. Conservatives need to not be afraid to speak out, and need to get involved in their neighborhood schools and communities. And they need to start mentoring conservatives in the judicial and journalistic communities. Only thorough the grassroots will we rebuild our party. And then, and only then, can we make them defend their values and messed up logic.

Read the rest here.

More below the fold.

Tired of Obamamania? Turn off the TV and curl up with a good book!

Are you as sick of the Barak-worship as I am? Do the kool-aide drinkers buying into the hype make you want to puke? Are you hoping Barry isn't as bad as you fear, but feel he might be even worse? It might be a good idea to try to somehow ignore the mainstream media and immerse yourself in the low-tech of the printed word on paper (No, I don't mean the Baltimore Sun).

Here's some titles that might suffice:

Guilty- Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America, by Anna Coulter
What can I say about Ann? She may be a bit out-there, but after what we've had to endure the last 8 years from the left, it's about time they get a taste of their own medicine. In this tome the sweet and demure Ms. Coulter talks about the big lie of liberals as victims, when in reality they are often the bullies.

Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us ... and What to Do About It
If the book is half as interesting (or long) as its title, author Dick Morris & Co. might get your blood pressure up like he did in the earlier work, "Outrage". That one I had to take in small, bite-sized morsels.

Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America by Mark R. Levin
It's not just elected officials who can heal, or hurt, this country. "The Great One", Mark Levin (not "The One"/Obama) shows us how the men in the robes can do damage as well. We can only hope for a long, healthy life for the remaining conservatives on the Supreme Court.

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37) by Bernard Goldberg
I guess if Coleman's legal challenges fail, Al could screw up even more and move his ranking up the ladder. That would not be a good thing.

The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values by Alan Sears & Craig Osten
Alan Sears is the president of the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that defends issues such as religois freedom, traditional marriage, and the pro-life movement.

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg
History is important. As they say, if you don't learn from it you are doomed to repeat it. Since it looks like these wolves will be guarding the henhouse, it would do us good to learn what they are up to.

Never one to be accused of being Politically Correct, there are two more anti-PC books that look interesting. Both are further examinations of history. I am talking about The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), by Robert Spencer, and then The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, by Thomas E. Woods Jr. It is important to learn about this falsely-named "religion of peace" that we may be forced to submit to (Never!!). Also, it is good to learn the American History we were not taught in school, since those who are re-writing it will certainly leave a lot out. If there is ever to be a re-building of the Country we once knew and loved, we have to know what to build back.

I'm sure there are lots more that could take our minds away from the Coronatio... uh... Inauguration going on in DC.

What will you be doing around Noon on the 20th? Watching history (as the most socialistic, un-vetted, warm body to ever take up residence at 1600 Pa.Ave. is ordained), or reading history (that we may hope for a change back to our conservative roots)?

Crossposted by Chester Peake on Maryland Chesapeake Blog

More below the fold.

Tough words from the inside

Unfortunately, since I live in District 38B, I'm probably not going to have a Delegate who speaks in this vein for at least another two years. (Once in awhile, Delegate Jim Mathias is taxpayer-friendly but I don't really see him as a budget cutter.)

This is part of a Legislative Update that Delegate Rick Impallaria of District 7 put out:

The General Assembly seems to have a strange calm over it that I have not seen in past years -- it is like being in the eye of a hurricane. From talking to many of my colleagues, no one seems to have the courage to say what needs to be said.

I hear that "we all have to work together to meet a common goal" and "these are tough times" and "the citizens of Maryland must be prepared to tighten their belts". From my perspective this is pure B*S*. In straight-talk English this means "We, the government, the controlling party, are going to do exactly as we please. We will continue to spend your money recklessly. We are going to continue to impose more government regulations to take away your freedoms because we the government know what's best for you."

"Tighten up your belts" means "Open up your wallets because we the government know how best to spend the dollars you earn and how best to provide for your family's health and welfare."

During these tough budget times the State of Maryland has found more than $70 million to buy undevelopable swampland along the shores of the Bay. They are remapping Anne Arundel and Talbot Counties to confiscate more private property by calling it "wetlands delineation". They are pushing for more global warming regulations which they claim "could produce" between 100,000 and 300,000 jobs. I guess these salaries will be paid by the companies that will be put out of business by the overregulation.

If you thought it was tough to make a buck in the building trades, they now want to implement violations and fines on building permit holders who have projects under construction. The violations will be based on changes in the law made after construction has begun -- retroactive penalties. All this is to be carried out by departments who already say they don't have the manpower to enforce the laws already on the books.

If this sounds like insanity, it is. Welcome to the opening of the 2009 Maryland General Assembly.

I've lived in this state a little over four years now, and I've never been able to figure out why they don't try to compete better with their neighbor to the east, Delaware.

And there is more below the fold.

Let's put it this way - their state has no sales tax and apparently the property taxes are lower as well. So how do they manage to get by without those sources of revenue? Perhaps someone expert in Delaware's finances can tell me.

Apparently Maryland does as well as it does only because they happen to have the escapees from the crime-ridden, poorly-educated District of Columbia who work for one of the myriad agencies, bureaus, or departments of Fedzilla - or work for one of the lobbyists or special interests who cozy up to the legislators and regulators. That higher income equals higher income tax revenue, and the more people who work in government-related jobs the better Maryland tends to do. We didn't exactly see a large shrinkage in government over the last 16 to 20 years.

Still, I've not been able to figure out just why Maryland's budget is larger than Pennsylvania's and just barely short of Virginia's when the state is smaller population-wise than either and geographically much smaller. Where is our bang for the buck?

Delegate Impallaria asks a question we all should ask:

The question you should be asking each of your representatives is, "Will you be supporting a budget which has increases over last year's budget? Are you supporting a flatline budget? Or are you supporting a budget less than last year's?"

I for one will only be voting for a budget with less spending than last year's. And by the way, I do not support the government plans for creating jobs -- that is the task of the private sector.

Of course, there will be those who argue that Delegate Impallaria can go ahead and say these things because he's in a small minority who only can serve as the loyal opposition and has no real power. This is true, but I'd like to have some justification for each of the charges Rick makes.

What was the compelling interest in the state spending $70 million on land acquisition when they're in deficit? Would they get top dollar for land if they were to sell their "surplus" acreage?

And how about those wetlands, so-called? Is this something the federal government is making them do (and overstepping their bounds), or are the CBF do-gooders behind this attempt? What about the rights of those whose property suddenly is deemed a "wetland" - will they be compensated for their loss or are they just SOL? Can they appeal?

Then the next question about 300,000 jobs. Is that a net gain, or just a shift from the jobs which leave the state to move to less regulated areas? Seems to me the steelworkers union had some objections when the subject came up last spring.

And don't even get me started about the building industry. If anything, those regulations need to be loosened.

In all, the result of all the regulations we already have seems to me akin to the results of nailing Jello to a wall. Because we can't seem to figure out that the Bay isn't going to miraculously be clean tomorrow - even if development ceased altogether (it's damn close now) - the environmental lobby seeks more and more restrictions without considering the results of what's already on the books.

Now, if they left the laws alone for a period of time in order to study the effects, that would make more sense. But then the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other lobbyists wouldn't have a job or reason to solicit donations, so the status quo will likely remain, to our detriment.

You know, if Maryland really wanted to be a national leader in something besides liberalism, maybe they should consider a law that places a sunset period on state laws (those dealing with public safety could be excepted). In other words, laws would automatically expire in say, 10 years, unless reauthorized by the General Assembly. If it was good enough for the Bush tax cuts on a federal level, perhaps that's something we should look into.

Besides, if the General Assembly is busy reauthorizing laws they don't have as much time to dream up new ones. Wonder what Delegate Impallaria thinks about that idea?

Crossposted on monoblogue.

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Obama's Rent Seeking Transition Advisor

If you think President Obama wants to delay the switch to digital broadcasting to give the folks who haven’t procured the converter boxes extra time, think again.

As Tim Carney writes in the Examiner:

A telecommunications company has confirmed for this columnist that its vice president for policy—who is also an Obama donor and a former lobbyist—is advising Barack Obama’s transition team on telecom policy. Obama’s transition
team, which has failed to disclose this executive’s involvement, happens to have proposed a significant change in telecom policy that will profit that very company, called Clearwire.
By pushing to delay the long-scheduled transition of television broadcasting from analog signals to digital signals, president-elect Obama is directly aiding Sprint and its partner Clearwire while hurting Verizon.

Clearwire’s executive vice president for “Strategy, Policy and External Affairs” is R. Gerard Salemme. Writer
Julian Sanchez reported Wednesday on the website Ars Technica that Salemme is serving on the Obama transition team as a telecom advisor. Clearwire told this columnist that Salemme is on leave to help craft Obama’s telecom policy…

Salemme, a former telecom lobbyist who has given thousands to Obama,including $5,000 to Obama’s transition team, has helped Obama craft a policy that will benefit Salemme’s company.

Sanchez’ article and follow-up are well worth the read:

Salemme has also been a generous Obama supporter. Early in the primary season,
gave the maximum $2,300 to Obama for America, and then in August threw in another $10,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that accepts large contributions and carves them up between the party and candidate. (An apparent typo in the OVF's FEC filing credits this donation to "R. Gerard Salemine." OpenSecrets shows the cash as split into $5,400 for the Democratic National Committee's Services Corporation and two contributions of $2,300 to Barack Obama, which on face would seem to exceed Salemme's cap for the primary and general combined.) Once the race to the White House was won, Salemme scrounged another $5,000 for the transition effort. As of this writing, Salemme is not mentioned anywhere on the site

Ah yes, hope and change.

More below the fold.