Monday, November 30, 2009

A NY-23 Scenario Here in Maryland?

It appears that former Republican Delegate Rick Weldon may be resigning his seat in the General Assembly to take a job with the City of Frederick. If he does, a very interesting decision will have to be made by the Frederick County Republican Central Committee (H/T Mike Netherland). The choice of Weldon's replacement by these party elites has the potential to be a miniature version of the debacle in NY-23 (which seems appropriate as Maryland is "America in Miniature").

While the die is far from cast, sources close to the committee tell me that there are two primary candidates seeking the job if it becomes available.

The first is central committee member and long time conservative activist Mike Hough. Mike is the former leader of the Maryland Republican Assembly which seeks to elect conservative Republicans to office. Mike is also a declared candidate for the District 3B seat and has reported approximately $30,000 raised and sources close to his campaign say that he expects to have over $50,000 cash in hand in his January report, a handsome sum for a single member district nearly a year before the election.

Given his background and active campaigning in conservative Frederick County, District 3B comprises arguably the most conservative part of Senator Alex Mooney's conservative District 3, Mr. Hough would seem to be the natural selection for any opening.

Surprisingly, however, another member of the central committee, Katie Nash, has been quietly attempting to get the job for herself. Little is known about Ms. Nash as she lacks the experience or track record of even the 30ish Mr. Hough. What makes some cast Ms. Nash in the Dede Scozzafava role, however, is not her youth but her views on the issues. She is widely reported to be pro-choice and has on multiple occasions posted on her facebook wall comments which seem to show great sympathy for the gay marriage movement, even to the point of praising Equality Maryland for pushing Obama to do more. Without a record of achievement or public positions, these few public statements seem the only clues about what a Delegate Nash may do in the General Assembly.

Which begs the question, if the situation would arise, why would any central committee consider putting a political unknown into the House of Delegates? It would not be the first time that a central committee got it wrong on what is arguably their most important job (remember Senator Bobby Neall?).

For conservatives, Mike Hough is exactly the kind of candidate we say we want. He is talented and unwavering in his conservative beliefs. He has worked not just to get other Republicans but conservative Republicans elected. He has shown that he can withstand the crucible of Annapolis and remain true to his principles.

So why would any conservative Republican, let alone a member of a central committee, ever consider appointing someone else, especially someone with more red flags than a Chinese May Day parade?

It is important that Maryland conservatives, not just those in Frederick County, get informed on this issue and let these committee members know that we are watching. Any process to select Delegate Weldon's replacement should be as open and transparent as possible and every candidate needs to be publicly scrutinized.

Parochial committee politics and personal ambition cannot be allowed to create a NY-23 scenario here in Maryland.

More below the fold.

The Parkland Washington Murderous Executions: Mike Huckabee and Rehabilitation Experiments

--Richard E. Vatz

In a genuinely horrific execution-style murder, four Tacoma, Washington police officers -- Tina Griswold, Mark Renninger, Greg Richards and Ronald Owens --were cowardly murdered while completing paperwork on laptop computers in a coffee shop.

The suspected murderer was a man who had had his sentence “commuted,” which made him parole-eligible, 20 years ago by then-Arkansas-Gov. Mike Huckabee.

A conservative Democrat e-mailed me today wondering if conservatives and/or Republicans would shy away from condemning Huckabee for his commuting the sentence of the lead “person of interest” in the murders of four police officers. My correspondent claimed he had some evidence that Fox was avoiding the story, which, if true, would surely (in my view) not be the case for long. If it were, it would be unforgivable.

A revealing, but certainly not excusing, fact for Huckabee’s culpability in this matter, is the fact that as the Seattle Times reports, “...Clemmons had been in jail for the past several months on a child-rape charge that carries a possible life sentence. He was released from custody one week ago, even though he was staring at eight felony charges in all.” The sympathy and empathy for dastardly criminals never ceases, and it crosses party lines.

According to the Associated Press, Maurice Clemmons was convicted in 1989 of aggravated robbery and was paroled in 2000 by then-Gov. Huckabee from Clemmons’ 95-year prison sentence, largely because the perpetrator was so young. Subsequently, Clemmons has manifested consistent felonious, violent behavior (Huckabee would probably say Clemmons “had a problem with violence,” the type of phrase typically used to imply that violence controls people rather than people choose to be violent). Huckabee, the Associated Press account goes on, has a history of clemencies and commutations.

The Washington Post in a poll published today asked of those who are “leaned Republicans” (don’t ask; such polls are never precisely meaningful) found that Gov. Huckabee was 2nd to resigned Gov. Sarah Palin in answer to the question, “If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, for whom would you vote?” In a USA Today/Gallup Poll several weeks ago Huckabee was among the public the favorite (at least by a thin margin) Republican for president for a 2012 run.

Did I say sympathy and empathy for violent felons crosses party lines? You bet.

Much of the public’s memory regarding ex-Gov. Michael Dukakis’s furlough program in Massachusetts was that unfair racial attacks were made regarding a released convicted murderer to benefit then Vice-President George Herbert Walker Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign against Dukakis. I don’t know the motives of political advertisers – maybe they were partially racial; maybe they weren’t. More relevant is that Gov. Dukakis supported furloughs for first-degree murderers to effect – what else? – rehabilitation. It’s always important to appeal to the better side of vicious murderers and rapists. Scores of convicted convicts over time escaped after being furloughed.

Gov. Dukakis had superintended the Massachusetts furlough program (not begun under him) that provided a 1986 weekend pass for incarcerated (with no possibility of parole) violent murderer Willie Horton, providing him an opportunity to savagely rape and viciously assault respectively a woman and her fiancé.

Dukakis thought rehabilitation was a more important goal of incarceration than incapacitation and deterrence. What if catastrophe occurs? It’s the price of humanistic concerns – and it’s unlikely to affect his family.

This writer is not against rehabilitation; I just think that anyone who subordinates incapacitation and deterrence to rehabilitation – and this applies to those who oppose capital punishment to the point of ignoring such capital miscreants who would perpetrate violence in or from prison -- is, to put it too kindly, too empathetic with the most evil and threatening members of our society to hold high political office.

If conservative media don’t cover this connection sufficiently, it is inexcusable.

--Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

**Addendum, Dec 1, 2009, 7:50 a.m.: As reported in USA Today, "Clemmons was shot and killed early Tuesday in a Seattle neighborhood."

This increases the difficulty of effecting rehabilitation.

More below the fold.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Larry Hogan Speaks....

...and he sounds like someone who can mount a serious run for Governor of Maryland.

More below the fold.

Three Related General Lessons for Long-term Presidential Governing; Please Take Note, President Obama

--Richard E. Vatz

As a rhetorician who has been around for quite a while, I offer a few related observations on governing, some of which my more youthful compatriots, including President Barack Obama, are seemingly unaware. If some of the following points seem obvious to you, it is either because you are young and perspicacious or older and experienced.

1. Immediate Popularity and Public Support is Easy to Achieve; Wise, Long-term Policies May Earn You Neither. When in 1974 President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon in Proclamation 4311, he announced that he did so because a trial of “…a former President of the United States…[would cause] prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States” and could cause a loss of the “tranquility” that had been restored by President Nixon’s resignation. Through that understatement President Ford saved the United States from self-destructive, retributive political justice, the same kind of reflexive bitterness that characterizes second-rate, non-democratic polities. President Ford’s action likely cost him re-election. Sometimes, it is better to be right than be president, especially if you are right as President. After President Clinton and President Bush’s presidencies, there seemed to be a recognition by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama of the long-term foolhardiness of such legal action against temporarily unpopular presidents. Therefore…

2. Public Opinion is Focused on Short Term Satisfaction, Not Wise, Long-term, Policy Formulation. We live in a representative democracy, not a democracy-by-plebiscite. People are elected to office to make hard, but forward-seeking decisions, not to poll the public on every policy issue. The country’s obsession with public opinion militates against good, long-term policy choices. The Iraqi war was supported by public opinion during its early stages and opposed when President Bush approved the arguably successful surge. The Persian Gulf War was opposed early, but there was support for expanding that war, support which President George Herbert Walker Bush wisely ignored. All public opinion usually represents is respectively support of and opposition to policies that appear to be working or not working at the time of opinion measurement. This is why public opinion regarding military action and long-term political policy is particularly invalid, and over-attention to such opinion polls often leads to immediate illusory public satisfaction and then long-term policy failure and public dissatisfaction.

3. Immediately Popular Decisions May Win Political Office but Hurt the Country. President Nixon was derided incessantly for this rhetorical formulation, “X may not be politically popular, but it is the right thing to do” and its converse, “X may be popular, but it is the wrong thing to do.” Too bad, and maybe he made incorrect applications, but the points were valid. Huey Long won local public support for a long time with his “Share the Wealth” and isolationist stands, prototypes for short-term popularity and long-term destructive policy. President Obama gives an unwarranted financial boost to seniors when the economy doesn't warrant such -- popular, but injurious long-term. Presidents who articulate an “exit strategy” going into war may please conflicted constituents and be electorally successful, but they also communicate a lack of resolve which emboldens our enemies and compromises the war effort.

President Barack Obama won office by formulating a consistent-sounding, anti-Bush foreign policy and domestic policy. His unambiguous support of the war in Afghanistan as opposed to his castigating of President Bush’s war in Iraq and his (Obama's) anti-business and anti-wealth policies all had immediate appeal to an angry Democratic electorate -- hungry for foreign policy success and punishment for the well-to-do -- and an angry Independent electorate, some of whom were hungry for consistent conservative fiscal policies.

President Obama’s far-left terrorist trial policies, designed to undermine the intelligence community by trying mass murderers of 9/11 in New York, and the president’s foreign policy of “never fear to negotiate, even if your enemy uses negotiation only for political gain,” added to his own “share the wealth” populism (attenuated only by his temporary Wall Street concessions), are the perfect storm of short-term policy formulation at the risk of long-term political failure.

--Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Memo for Democrats

As we celebrate what we are most thankful for, here's a reminder about the Pilgrims and why they didn't eventually wind up starving to death (H/T Instapundit):

In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.

This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.

Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.

(Emphasis mine)

So, National Democrats, Maryland Democrats; are you guys boneheaded enough to realize that the stimulus package, the GM bailout, and the nationalization of health care are going to work out any differently for us than communal farming did for the pilgrims?

Happy Thanksgiving everybody...


More below the fold.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Global Warming Fraud and Conspiracy? It Just May Be So

If the hacked emails and data from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit in the UK turn out to be genuine—and the director, Phil Jones says they appear to be—then the global warming alarmist movement has some serious explaining to do.

The emails appear to reveal a pattern by prominent alarmist scientists of concealing evidence contradictory to the theory of anthropogenic global warming, manipulating scientific data, preventing conflicting reports from being published in the IPCC assessment report, and possibly deleting government data subject to public information laws.

Aside: Note that these folks are the giants upon whose shoulders Isaac Smith stands when making his case for global warming alarmism.

Here are some of the emails:

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,mann@XXXX, mhughes@XXXX
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement Date:
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,

Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow.I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.

Thanks for the comments, Ray.

Cheers Phil

Prof. Phil Jones Climatic Research Unit
Telephone XXXX
School of Environmental Sciences Fax XXXX University of East Anglia Norwich

“Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the now discredited Hockey Stick fraud.

From: Tom Wigley [...]
To: Phil Jones [...]
Subject: 1940s
Date:Sun, 27 Sep 2009 23:25:38 -0600
Cc: Ben Santer [...]

Phil,Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that theland also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by,say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean – but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips—higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this.

It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. Let me go further. If you look at NH vs SH and the aerosol effect (qualitatively or with MAGICC) then with a reduced ocean blip we get continuous warming in the SH, and a cooling in the NH—just as one would expect with mainly NH aerosols. The other interesting thing is (as Foukal et al. note – from MAGICC) that the 1910-40 warming cannot be solar. The Sun can get at most 10% of this with Wang et al solar, less with Foukal solar. So this may well be NADW, as Sarah and I noted in 1987 (and also Schlesinger later). A reduced SST blip in the 1940s makes the 1910-40 warming larger than the SH (which it currently is not)—but not really enough.So ... why was the SH so cold around 1910? Another SST problem? (SH/NHdata also attached.)This stuff is in a report I am writing for EPRI, so I’d appreciate any comments you (and Ben) might have.


Gary Funkhouser
To: Keith Briffa
Subject: kyrgyzstan and siberian data
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 15:37:09 -0700


Thanks for your
consideration. Once I get a draft of the central and southern siberian data and talk to Stepan and Eugene I'll send it to you. I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that. It was pretty funny though - I told Malcolm what you said about my possibly being too Graybill-like in evaluating the response functions - he laughed and said that's what he thought at first also. The data's tempting but there's too much variation even within stands.

I don't think it'd be productive to try and juggle the chronology statistics any more than I already have - they just are what they are (that does sound Graybillian). I think I'll have to look for an option where I can let this little story go as it is. Not having seen the sites I can only speculate, but I'd be optimistic if someone could get back there and spend more time collecting samples, particularly at the upper elevations.Yeah, I doubt I'll be over your way anytime soon. Too bad, I'd like to get together with you and Ed for a beer or two. Probably someday though.

Cheers, Gary

Gary Funkhouser
Lab. of Tree-Ring Research
The University of ArizonaTucson,
Arizona 85721 USA

From: P
To: M
Date: Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004


Only have it in the pdf form. FYI ONLY – don’t pass on. Relevant paras are the last 2 in section 4 on p13. be careful how you use it – if at all. Keep quiet also that you have the pdf. The attachment is a very good paper – I’ve been pushing A over the last weeks to get it submitted to JGR or J. Climate. The main results are great for CRU and also for ERA-40. The basic message is clear – you have to put enough surface and sonde obs into a model to produce Reanalyses. The jumps when the data input change stand out so clearly. NCEP does many odd things also around sea ice and over snow and ice.

The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see it. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. K and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !


I pulled this email from The Air Vent, which redacted the names of the email’s authors and recipients. However, I can surmise that P is Hadley CRU director Phil Jones, M is Michael Mann, and K is Keith Briffa—all prominent alarmist scientist.

From: Phil Jones
To: “Michael E. Mann”
Subject: IPCC & FOI
Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008


Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
Keith will do likewise.
He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!


Prof. Phil Jones Climatic Research Unit

Interesting that on the heels of more evidence that global warming has stopped these same alarmist scientists are now left scrambling to find evidence of it. As Ed Morrissey noted, below is a case of scientists using theories to test data, not using data to test theories, i.e. they cannot abide this blasphemy to their green religious faith.

From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael MannSubject:
Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles
Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas
R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

Hi all

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low…

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.***

Given that in the past these folks have created convenient data from thin air, then we shouldn’t be surprised when they present us with more concocted evidence.

These emails date back over a decade to 1996, which suggest a clear pattern of manipulation and concealment. These revelations are just big for the mainstream media to ignore. But don’t worry “journalists” like the Baltimore Sun’s Tim Wheeler are sure to investigate this…right?

More below the fold.

OBAMACARE: Senate Cloture Vote Saturday Evening at 8 PM

by Robert Farrow at the Baltimore Reporter

Sen. Reid just filed cloture on the motion to proceed to HR 3590, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act. Remember he is using HR 3590 as a ’shell’ to offer his 2,074 page health bill as a substitute amendment. The cloture vote on the motion to proceed will be Saturday evening at 8:00 pm. Remember Democrats need 60 votes to achieve cloture.

On Friday, the Senate will convene at 10:00 am and debate the merits of Sen. Reid’s 2,074 page bill until 11:00 pm on Friday evening.

On Saturday, the Senate will convene at 10:00 am continuing the debate leading up to the vote at 8:00 pm on cloture on the motion to proceed. Under the agreement, if cloture is invoked (they get 60 votes) all post-cloture time will be yielded back, the motion to proceed to the bill will be agreed to and the bill will be reported. Once the bill is reported Sen. Reid will be recognized to offer up his substitute amendment.”

Angry? Let Your Representation in MD know it!:


Cardin, Benjamin L. - (D - MD) Class I
(202) 224-4524
Web Form:

Mikulski, Barbara A. - (D - MD) Class III
(202) 224-4654
Web Form:

More below the fold.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lines in the Sand

My RedMaryland colleague Michael Swartz has done some excellent analysis about the likely prospects of Congressional and Legislative reapportionment here in Maryland following the 2010 election. And some of it is not pretty. Based on some of the potential redistricting plans Michael found floated by "silver spring" on the Swing State Project website, we could be in for a huge problem here in Maryland.

Take a look at this Congressional District map:What do the inner DC suburbs have to do with Carroll County? What does Gibson Island have in common with District Heights? Nothing, but that's one of the many permutations that Democrats could concoct after the next year's census.

The legislative plans? Potentially worse:
Heavily gerrymandered districts designed to do Mike Miller's goal of "burying Republicans for forty years?" You betcha.

Anybody who has been around Maryland politics during this decade knows what can happy when it comes to the reapportionment process. And that is what makes the 2010 Gubernatorial election so vitally important to the state of Maryland. In Maryland the process is, more or less, completely controlled by the Governor. Once the Governor introduces his plan to the General Assembly, the General Assembly has forty-five days to pass their own redistricting plan or else the one that is proposed by the Governor is put into place. Of course, the likelihood of a majority of the General Assembly agreeing to the creation of district lines, particularly those for their own seats, when members of the Assembly are bound to find themselves in an uncomfortable position is relatively unlikely. So the likelihood of the plan proposed by whomever is Governor is 2011 being adopted is a relative certainty.

Now, rewind back to 2002 and the legislative and congressional plans introduced by Parris Glendening. The plans were introduced by the Governor and became law 45 days after their proposal due to the inability of the General Assembly to adopt its own plan. Glendening's plans presented us with laughably gerrymandered districts; you can see his Congressional Districting plan, which remains in effect today. However, his legislative districting plan was so onerous and ridiculous that it clearly did not meet the Constitutional requirements for legislative districting; some districts were not geographically congruous and many districts were clearly designed to screw Glendening's political opponents. For example, six precincts from Baltimore County were mysteriously redistricted to District 31, across the Patapsco River in Anne Arundel County. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that State Senator Norm Stone lived in one of those six precincts. Because of such shenanigans, Glendening's plan was tossed out of court and replaced with today's court-imposed plan in late June 2002.

Now this brings us back to the importance of the 2010 Gubernatorial Election. The Governor has the power to create these legislative district lines. Which means the voters of Maryland have an opportunity, moreso than in most elections, to have major longstanding change on the makeup of the Maryland General Assembly. And there are two distinctive scenarios.

Scenario one sees Martin O'Malley reelected. And can you imagine the districts that this petulant Governor would come up with? Given O'Malley's ability to hold grudges and inability to lead, no legislator who has ever crossed O'Malley would be safe. Anne Arundel County, for example, would likely be shredded to pieces, with shared districts across county lines to force a Republican leaning county into districts with more sympathetically Democratic areas in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard, and Prince George's County. An O'Malley redistricting plan would strike a chilling blow against competitive government and the marketplace of ideas in Maryland.

Scenario two sees the election of a Republican governor next year. And it would be a tremendous opportunity for Maryland's middle and working class families to see positive change in Maryland. We would have the opportunity to see redistricting done in a manner that is more fair, more equitable, and more in line with the ideological leanings of Maryland voters. Furthermore, we may finally see redistricting done in the most fair manner of all, with the introduction of single member districts for the election of all 141 members of the House of Delegates. Not only would this see the elimination of the constitutionally questionable one, two, or three member districts depending on your location and subdistricting, but would also allow for a greater diversity of members being elected to the General Assembly. Not only would single member districts allow for a more ideologically-balanced House of Delegates, it would also create more majority-minority districts that would allow for a more accurate minority representation in Annapolis. All in all, legislative districts drawn by a Republican governor will be more fair and more accurately representative of Maryland's economic, ideologically, and cultural diversity than anything that will be drawn by a Maryland Democrat.

These districts are not just lines in the sand; they are the basic building blocks for the elected legislators who make decisions in Annapolis. We must seriously consider the consequences of redistricting as it relates to the 2010 election, and we must make sure that the voters understand what is at stake as we get closer to next November...


More below the fold.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Conservative’s Take on Sarah Palin: Her Political Significance and the Insincerity of her Supporters and Detractors

--Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.

Governor Sarah Palin, as you non-cave-dwellers know, is publicizing her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life. The title is reminiscent of -- and consistent with -- the self-obsessed “maverick” self-anointing of which Sen. John McCain and she were so embarrassingly proud. Could you imagine President Ronald Reagan, widely touted as an unusually sincere politician, having labeled himself as “Mr. Sincerity?” You let others bestow flattering images on you; you don’t do it yourself.

Gov. Palin has been all over the media, with the expected debates over how she is treated (including Newsweek’s use on its cover of Palin’s Runner’s World fetching photo) and treated relative to her sex and ideological and party opposition.

The seemingly permanent Palin drama is rife with insincerity, insincerity from strong supporters, strong detractors and media of all stripes. I detest insincerity, largely because when it is not recognized, it appears to be stupidity or ignorance or both. Insincerity is political strategy, bad political strategy..

No intelligent person believes that Gov. Palin should or could become president of the United States. Lots of intelligent people believe that Gov. Palin has generally good ostensible values, even if her behavior does not always comport with those values. To leave the governorship of Alaska 18 months before her first term was over violated the conservative values of responsibility and dependability and crippled permanently whatever chance she had to be a Republican nominee, much less winner, for president or vice-president of the United States.

Many Democrats are trying to keep hope alive for her future candidacy because they think that such rhetorical efforts make such a candidacy possible, but that Gov. Palin would not win. This is not only insincere strategy, it is irresponsible citizenship.

Palin kerfuffles are mostly little casino. There is the fight over what McCain’s handlers let her do, said to her, and how they dealt with her generally. There are the fights about whether Katie Couric ambushed her in the famous “gotcha” interview. There is the irritatingly self-concerned father of Gov. Palin’s daughter’s child. Gov. Palin is the Entertainment Tonight Personality of the Year.

But most troubling is her lack of gravitas -- clichéd, but true. Some Republicans try to argue that Gov. Palin’s ineptitude in answering substantive political questions appears as such only because the media go after her more than they do, say, Joe “I’m Proud of My Gaffes” Biden.

It is indisputable that the media do not meticulously examine Joe Biden’s error-prone rhetoric, or even President Barack Obama’s. This does not gainsay the fact that Gov. Palin’s substantiveness is simply insufficient in serious political debate. More disqualifying: she has the guts, but lacks the judgment.

John McCain whisked Gov. Palin from obscurity and made her a salient figure. What a predictable act by a man who takes such inexplicable pride in sticking it to his Republican supporters and opposition. He could have won – yes, he could have — if he had picked Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Governor Mitt Romney or any number of other vice presidential possibilities. Add Gov. Palin’s beauty, mystery and unpredictability – not a good quality in a chief executive, but a perfect match to Sen. McCain – and you have a national star, a continuing star, the rhetorical well that keeps on giving.

Yet, despite all of this, Gov. Sarah Palin is a genuinely conservative politician with consistently good values, even, again, if they are not always followed punctiliously. She is not a bad person, but an individual who tries to be honorably conservative in her family choices.

She will not be a presidential or vice presidential candidate for the Republican party. Let go of that idea, insincere Democrats and insincere Republicans. Sometimes bad candidates are also treated poorly and unfairly by their opponents and mainstream media. That is also indisputably true in the case of Gov. Sarah Palin.

11/19/09 addendum

I request of critics of this post, and you are more legion than I anticipated, not to infer that I prefer Barack Obama as president. Anyone who has read my posts or seen or heard me on radio or television knows that I believe President Obama to be an utterly dangerous failure as president in both domestic and foreign policy, as well as being consistently dishonest in his representation of issues to the American people.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Progressive Situational Ethics

Adam Pagnucco is taking Len Lazarick to task over issues of disclosure about Len’s new media venture, a daily news website covering state government. Pagnucco is caterwauling over the fact that Lazarick, formerly of the Baltimore Examiner, received seed money for the project from the right leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and that GASP! Dan Gainor, is listed on’s board of directors.


Perhaps Pagnucco is just pissed that a Franklin Center project just nailed the Obama administration for $6.4 billion stimulus money that went to “create or save” jobs in phantom congressional districts. Or maybe Annapolis Democrats already redistricted and didn’t tell us. Apparently Maryland now has 75 congressional districts. Who represents District 00, which got 3.9 million for two jobs?

But I digress.

Pagnucco’s concern for “disclosure” is oh so situational. Where was his scathing expose of the now defunct, Maryland Commons, the “lefty online Maryland news outlet,” when it appeared on the scene?

Maryland Commons was published by one Neil Didriksen. Didriksen, according to state and federal databases is a generous campaign contributor to President Obama, Delegate Tom Hucker, former director of Progressive Maryland, and Speaker of the House, Michael Busch. Didriksen is also a supporter and member of Progressive Maryland. He is listed on the host committee (right next to Vinny DeMarco) for a Progressive Maryland fundraiser featuring Maryland Democratic politicians Ben Cardin, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards, and Maggie McIntosh. He was on the 2007-2010 preliminary ballot for Progressive Maryland’s board of directors. Didriksen was even a registered lobbyist.

A Google search tells us that the site stopped operations as of August 10, 2009. Didriksen told me in a phone conversation that he stopped publishing Maryland Commons due to the fact that his recuperation from a car accident prevents him from operating the site.

Maryland Commons was also a “featured project” of the Center for Community Technology Services. CCTS assists “Baltimore area nonprofits increase their ability to use technology, strengthen their organizations and improve their service delivery.” Initially, CCTS was project of the University of Baltimore, meaning it gets taxpayer money. Did any taxpayer funds go to Maryland Commons and it’s leftwing agenda?

Didriksen is quoted on the CCTS site as saying:

In the Web 2.0 environment, online media organizations require a robust publishing and content management solution. As site readers, members, journalists, and editors interact with each other, new requirements and new opportunities to engage have emerged. CCTS helps us evaluate the potential return on our investment in those new requirements and supports the continuing development of our website.”

CCTS also receives funding from outside organizations. One of those organizations is the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. According to it’s latest IRS 990 form the foundation lists Jane Brown as it’s executive director. Brown is Didriksen’s husband and a co-founder of Maryland Commons.
So we are left with not only the question of taxpayer dollars funding left wing policy advocacy, but was nepotism and self-dealing also involved?

Aside: What is it with progressives and their self dealing?

None of this stopped Pagnucco from linking to Maryland Commons as a source.

I would also ask Pagnucco where his keen detective skills were when the cached version of Maryland Commons disappeared? I ask that question because the cached version went down the memory hole after Barbara Hollingsworth’s October 6, 2009 Washington Examiner column mentioning Maryland Commons’ interview with Environment Maryland’s, Brad Heavner and United Steelworkers, Jim Strong. Heavner bragged about being the “lead policy/lobbying group", that wrote the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (cap and trade for Maryland). Curious that the cached version was available before Hollingsworth’s column, then afterwards—POOF—it’s gone.

Given Pagnucco touted the agreement between Heavner and Strong’s groups I won’t hold my breath for an answer.

I might take Pagnucco’s yowling seriously if he weren’t so tone deaf to the same thing on his side.

More below the fold.

Health care Town Hall in Rockville

Nick Loffer of AFP-Maryland asked me to pass this along:

Health Care Town Hall in Rockville Tomorrow

Need to vent over the House vote on health care reform or don't know exactly what got passed by 220 Congressmen?

Join Dr. Michael Gloth of Johns Hopkins and the Glenn Beck featured Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity as they speak on the current status of the health care reform process.

When: 7pm November 18th

Where: Julius West Middle School Rockville, Exit 5 off of 270 Heading towards Rockville

Americans for Prosperity Montgomery County is sponsoring the event. They will also be recapping their Nov. 6th DC Office meeting with Rep. Chris Van Hollen. Dr. Gloth and Phil Kerpen will take and answer your questions.

Please spread the word and make a stand. If we don't, big government style health care will surely pass...

Contact: or 410-603-1836 for more information.


I liveblogged a similar event back in July and it was pretty interesting. And just because the bill passed in the House is no reason not to keep pressing.

I'm just glad AFP has a chapter in Montgomery County. Hopefully it won't be those members' extent of their political involvement!

More below the fold.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guest Hosting on WBAL Tomorrow

I'll be on the Kendel and Bob Show on WBAL AM 1090, subbing for Governor Ehrlich, who will be addressing the MDGOP Convention. The Governor will join the show around 10AM.

We'll be talking Ft. Hood and Obamacare. Listen live or online at

More below the fold.

Evil Exists and Must Be Presumed in Time of War: The Case of Terrorist Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan

The case of terrorist Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who on November 5 murdered 13 people and wounded 33 more as he fired upon mostly weaponless victims at Fort Hood, is reflective of the perfect storm of the undeserved and unpatriotic sympathy dictated by the precepts of political correctness.

Sometimes examples are uncomplicated. Hasan lectured on, complained about, and attacked openly American policy regarding its erstwhile “war on terrorism.” What about his prolific communications with Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric in Yemen (but previously located in Washington)? Suffice it to say, as USA Today quotes one relevant observer: “Tom Kean, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission…said Thursday that Hasan’s contact with [Anwar al-] Awlaki, the radical cleric, ‘should have risen to the very top’ of every agency involved…’This is a real bad guy,’ Kean said."

Not according to initial interpretations. As I wrote earlier, see just two prototypical examples of early-on, excusing psychological interpretations: The Washington Post’s November 7 articles, “Ideology, Stress or Another Motive?” and “Psychiatric Stress Stretches Soldiers, System.”

American political correctness, even in its non-radicalized form, is all about presumption: a person who commits a violent act is presumed to be acting under the influence of factors beyond his or her control, including mental problems which allegedly impel the untoward acts. The agent is presumed to lack responsibility for his/her actions, and it is seen as unethical to argue otherwise unless and until the evidence for the opposite view is overwhelming.

As such, terrible miscreants are sometimes seen as presumptively “mentally ill,” acting because they “snapped.” The denial of the agency of intentional, pre-meditated action is the state that is assumed.

Unless cowardice is a new psychiatric diagnostic category, however, the irrelevance of psychiatric exculpation should be understood by every knee-jerk apologist for loathsome, premeditated political terrorism committed by haters of America.

(A parenthetical point, if I may: please spare me the worthless “angels on a pin” motivational distinctions of whether “terrorism” constitutes having acted to kill or to create fear, as if these can be parsed out in some meaningful way. These are distinctions without differences. Hasan doesn’t manifest clearly calibrated motivation: he wanted to cause as much misery and death as he could as an act of war because he hates the United States.)

Some advice for army investigators: do not be mystified by the fact that you are assessing a "doctor," especially a psychiatrist whose label as a “medical officer” is misleading at best. Mass murderers come from all occupations and walks of life: civil engineers (Yassir Arafat), doctors (Ernesto (Che) Guevara) and, yes, psychiatrists like our "stressed-out" Mr. Hasan.

I was one of the early pundits to write on the intentionality of Hasan’s killings, not because I am more perspicacious than others, but because my presumptions – not to be confused with necessary trial presumptions – were different from those dictated by the liberal ethic now dominating our country.

Killers kill for goal-directed reasons. Evil – evidenced by the quality of deliberate, premeditated, destructive behavior against innocent people – exists throughout humankind and should be assumed to be the motivation behind such reprehensible acts.

Those whose sympathies reflexively go to perpetrators perpetuate the social context that makes prevention and punishment difficult and often impossible. The large number of felons whose punishments are mitigated by mental health “experts” gives testimony to the wrongheaded, anti-responsibility premises that suffuse our criminal justice system.

When the United States realizes that in time of war preemptively stopping terrorist and criminal acts when we have the intelligence to do so is more important than ensuring that no one is made unnecessarily uncomfortable by our suspicions, we will have fewer successful murderous acts such as those of pseudopsychiatrist Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

--Professor Vatz teaches political persuasion at Towson University

More below the fold.

O'Malley Touting Failure as Success

Governor O’Malley is fudging the truth on his campaign site and fund-raising appeals claiming Governing Magazine named him “Governor of the Year.” The magazine didn’t name him governor of the year. It named him one of eight “Public Officials of the Year” for 2009. But then again we already know O’Malley likes to fudge things, then—naturally—blame others for his problems.

O’Malley’s flexible standards of truth aside, the laughable part of Governing Magazine’s selection of O’Malley for State Stat and “specifically for his work on measuring government performance.” Of course, as we’ve noted, in reality State Stat falls far short of O’Malley’s used-car salesman promise to provide Marylanders with “open, transparent, and timely information and data on state government agencies.” In fact, O’Malley’s administration is refusing to implement the state’s transparency law.

Call me crazy, but touting a failure on your own website isn’t the best campaign strategy.

I'm not sure what kind of Douchewellian™ alchemy goes into that formulation, but it’s kind of like promising to lower electricity rates, then doing everything in your power to raise them.

More below the fold.

“Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing

by Robert Farrow at the Baltimore Reporter

Substitute “US Government” for Obama and the Democrats, and you get the truth as Bloomberg reports that Emerson Electric, the massive $21 billion manufacturing conglomerate, is raising the white flag and moving offshore.

Emerson Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer David Farr said the U.S. government is hurting manufacturers with regulation and taxes and his company will continue to focus on growth overseas.

“Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” Farr said today in Chicago at a Baird Industrial Outlook conference. “Cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules.”

Emerson, the maker of electrical equipment and InSinkErator garbage disposals with $20.9 billion in sales for the year ended September, will keep expanding in emerging markets, which represented 32 percent of revenue in 2009. About 36 percent of manufacturing is now in “best-cost countries” up from 21 percent in 2003, according to slides accompanying his speech.

Companies will create jobs in India and China, “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something,” Farr said… “We as a company today are putting our best people, our best technology and our best investment in these marketplaces to grow,” he said. “My job is to grow that top line, grow my earnings, grow my cash flow and grow my returns to the shareholders. My job is not to shrink and roll over for the U.S. government.”

The link is here.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Brown Wants to Screw You

Perhaps the best explication of how rent-seeking corporations use government regulation to stifle competition.

More below the fold.

Poll: Anyone But O'Malley in 2010

Clarus has very interesting polling results on Governor O’Malley’s job performance.
The most telling was finding was this:

“39 percent of voters polled say they want to see Gov. O'Malley re-elected, but 48 percent say they would like for someone new to win.”

True the poll also indicated that O’Malley would best Bob Ehrlich by seven percentage points (47-40) in a rematch. However O’Malley won in 2006 with 53% of the vote, and is running 6% below that level. Also telling is that O’Malley trails Ehrlich among independents 48-34.

According to Clarus, "Governor O'Malley is now below 50 percent across-the-board in the triple crown of re-election poll metrics: trial heat, generic re-elect, and job approval." Furthermore, O’Malley tested below 40% on seven of the eleven issues tested holding down state taxes, bringing new jobs to Maryland, managing the state budget, bringing people together to solve problems, putting Maryland's interest above partisan politics, keeping in touch with average citizens, and protecting consumers against high electric utility rates.

This just makes Governing magazine look even more silly and out of touch for naming O’Malley as one of it’s 2009 Public Officials of the Year.

Governing touts O’Malley as a “data driven” “numbers guy” and lauds the State Stat program. However, if you look beyond the veil of the Abbruzzese spin shop, you’ll find that State Stat is anything but transparent. Nor has O’Malley even bothered to fulfill his duty to uphold the transparency law passed by the General Assembly. One would figure the vaunted State Stat program would help O’Malley’s administration figure out why it’s losing tens of millions of dollars in subsidized loans to businesses no longer operating, and won’t release names of recipients.

More below the fold.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Brian Griffiths Minute: 11-09-2009


More below the fold.

Hope, Change, Cynicism, Pants Afire

While in no way is the fight to stop Obamacare over, Saturday’s quote historic unquote passage of the House healthcare bill did settle one thing—if only for those who weren’t wise to it already—Obama is a liar and a cynic:

“And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

-Barack Obama September 9, 2009 joint session of Congress

Yep, uh huh. If that were so why was the Stupak amendment needed to ensure that possibility wouldn’t actually occur?

Furthermore, Obama loves to paint those who deign to disagree with him as cynics. However, Obama is not above cynicism himself. According to Oregon representative Earl Blumenauer, Obama told Democrats on Capitol Hill “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit.”

Stay Classy Mr. President. It’s good to know that you aren’t above the gay slurs and petty condescension of your sycophants at MSNBC, Think Progress, and the rest of the “enlightened” progressive salons. Furthermore, given that your own body man literally is a teabagger, you don’t have much room to talk.

On a side note, today is the 2oth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s a sad irony that we mark a truly historic event—the fall of an oppressive statist regime—on the heels of a giant step toward creeping statism at home. It’s also sad that Ronald Reagan, a man who did so much to tear down the wall, was barely an afterthought at the official events.

Of course, orchestrating the downfall of the Soviet Union and the liberation Eastern Europe was what Obama called in Dreams of My Father, “Reagan and his minions carrying on their dirty deeds.”

More below the fold.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


"You're in good hands,
(or under our thumb...
or subject to our strong fist)
with All-State-ist!

Resistance is futile...

Can't afford to get sick.
Can't afford to stay well.

I think I'm going to throw-up now!

More below the fold.

Fort Hood Shootings: Fraudulent Psychiatric Analysis and Political Correctness in Dealing with an Evil, Cowardly Killer

--Richard E. Vatz

Is Fort Hood mass murderer Maj. Nidal M. Hasan a sociopath, a person who has a personality disorder marked by anti-social thoughts and behavior, a man who may have acted out of "madness," as The Washington Post wonders? Was he motivated by “stress,” as two Washington Post headlines imply (headlines on WP front page pressing this theme on November 7, 2009 : “Psychiatric Stress Stretches Soldiers, System” and “Ideology, Stress or Another Motive?”)?

The answers are as follows: 1. The question is meaningless; and 2. The question is unimportant.

When will people stop being so mystified by motivation in terms of psychiatric etiology of killing, so that they realize that almost no murder occurs without the existence of culpable intention to end the life of the victim or victims?

The cowardly killings by Maj. Hasan at Fort Hood were typical of such goal-driven killings: motivated by hatred of America and facing a detested personal change in venue as a deployment to Afghanistan loomed, he decided to vent his murderous rage on as many unarmed objects of hatred as he could. So he ended up killing over a dozen and wounding over two dozen people in what has been called “the deadliest mass shooting on a U.S. military installation."

The post-traumatic stress disorder theories, which reflect genuine tension and difficulty among soldiers in combat, but which also have a high degree of self-fulfilling prophecy, are irrelevant to a calculated, pre-meditated act of murder or mass murder.

This killer’s motivations and actions do not need complicated analysis. The prurient search for complexities in the personalities of mass murderers may not be without interest, but they should have absolutely no place as arguments for exculpation.

Were there unambiguous signs of the urgent need to remove this gutless personage from Fort Hood?

You bet. On the Internet he compared suicide bombers favorably to those who throw themselves on grenades in a selfless act of protecting their fellow soldiers. His fanaticism and hatred manifested itself consistently in his “counseling” of soldiers and his open opining against America.

The best Occam’s Razor analysis I have read accounting for this massacre comes, surprisingly enough, from The Washington Post:


Military author, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Reagan administration

Maj. Nidal Hasan did not commit murder because he was ordered to serve in Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda plotted the murders of Sept. 11, 2001. Nor was he "disturbed," an escapist word that means he was not fully responsible for his actions. The fact is Hasan had weeks to reflect before he betrayed his two sacred oaths: those he took as a soldier and as a doctor.

His fellow Muslims should be outraged that the media have portrayed him as a "devout Muslim." Murder is a perverse definition of "devout." Time and again, terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan shout "Allahu akbar" -- "God is great!" -- when they attack. Many Islamic leaders have lacked the moral courage to condemn these suicide murderers. Until Islam's most revered clerics preach that murderers go to hell rather than to heaven as martyrs, the Muslim faith will continue to be hijacked by a tiny, evil minority.

The media -- both in the West and in the Muslim world -- unwittingly spread the terrorists' chosen narrative by writing about how "devout" their leaders are. The press should substitute an appropriate adjective such as "satanic," "depraved" or "twisted" to convey the correct message. Hasan bought and loaded guns, drove to a crowded room and opened fire on those who trusted him. He was a rational, evil murderer.

Let us be grateful for courageous Americans like civilian police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley and Senior Sgt. Mark Todd who shot Hasan, and who at great risk to their own lives --and indeed Sgt. Munley was shot herself -- saw the killer and began firing at Hasan to disable him.

God bless the victims at Fort Hood and God bless the men and women who protect this country. They deserve to have their lives protected from openly vicious, America-hating would-be killers.

The new American ethos of political correctness uber alles and unwillingness to hold people responsible for their threatening behavior may be the death of America. I humbly offer this epitaph:

America Died, Having Stopped Offending Anyone

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Worst Thing From The Annapolis Election

More below the fold.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The irony of using the name Scott and "party unity" in the same sentence.

As our erstwhile colleague and member of the MDGOP Central Committee Mike Schwartz has reported, the effort to replace outging MDGOP Chair Dr. Jim Pelura is focusing on one candidate, Audrey Scott. With Chris Cavey nobly dropping out to avoid a contested fight for the chairman job, it begins to appears that Sec. Scott's ascension is a fait accompli.

Now, don't get me wrong. Audrey Scott is a longtime Republican leader in this state and has served honorably in a variety of elected and appointed posts. I do not question her qualification or ability for the job as chairman.

Nor do I disagree with the need for party unity. The non-stop backbiting of Jim Pelura since he began as chairman has served no useful purpose and I will be happy to see it end.

But there is a great irony in the conventional wisdom that making Audrey Scott the MDGOP chair will promote comity and unity within the Republican party.


Because as we have documented here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, her son Lawrence Scott is recognized as one of the most divisive forces within Maryland Republican politics.Mr. Scott is well know for his questionable tactics in his work for various Republican primary campaigns. Among these are assertions of false endorsements via robocall and misleading signs at polling places, allegations that he supported multiple candidates in the same primary and his misleading use of a fundraising entity (that ended up spending over eighty cents on every dollar for expenses and self promotion without giving a dime to GOP candidates, its expressed purpose). One senior MDGOP official told me he was a "purveyor of slash and burn politics". Republican primary slash and burn politics by the way. Ask Delegate Tony McConkey or Gary Applebaum about being in a primary fight with a Scott managed candidate on the other side.

Now if I were, oh I don't know let me think of a name, State Senator Ed Reilly who will be involved in a bitter, divisive and no doubt negative primary fight with one of Mr. Scott's top clients, I don't think I would take much comfort that the party would regulate any impropriety in that race with Mr. Scott's mom running the show. No doubt Senator Reilly is not going to be the only candidate in a GOP primary next year on the wrong side of Scott Strategies, Inc.'s cavalcade of stars. After all, what a great marketing ploy for your campaign consulting business than to say my mom runs the party.

Now it may be unfair to visit the sins of the son on the mother. No doubt some will dismiss this criticism or me for that matter. But every member of the MDGOP central committee should consider these issues and Ms. Scott should address them now before we set our party up for dissension and division (with the potential of a compromised chair due to at least the appearance of a conflict of interest) next summer when these primary fights are the hottest.

See, that would be ironic given she is being chosen in the name of party unity.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pappas drops out of Governor race, endorses Hogan

Late this afternoon Mike Pappas dropped his nearly yearlong bid to become Maryland's next Governor and threw his support behind fellow Republican Larry Hogan.

In his announcement, Pappas noted, "(a)fter considering all the challenges ahead and my personal requirements at home and in my law practice, I have determined that the best interest of my family and business requires that I stop my run for Governor effective immediately." He cited both family reasons and the need to attend to clients of his legal practice as the two key reasons for withdrawing.

Pappas concluded that:

Some may question the timing of this decision given the tremendous victories Republicans won in elections this week. However, those victories exemplify the kind of results we can achieve as Republicans with good candidates. Although I believe that I personally make an excellent candidate, the realities of a State-wide race require more time than I can provide at this time, and I will not run such a race at anything less than 100%.

Moreover, I have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know Larry Hogan since he entered the Governor’s race this Summer. Larry and I share many of the same beliefs and ideas on how to rescue Maryland from the devastation caused by the failed policies of the Democrats in Annapolis. Larry brings a great perspective to the race and has the qualities and resources necessary to mount a successful run for Governor. With my withdrawal, Larry can focus his efforts on winning the general election and build on the momentum that started this week.

Therefore, I am proud to also announce that I am endorsing Larry Hogan for Governor in 2010 and am asking all of my supporters and members of Team Pappas to also support Larry in every way that they can. I will be working hard for Larry, and I hope you all will do the same.

I am deeply grateful to every person that joined our team, attended our events, contributed to the campaign, offered a word of encouragement, and challenged me to hold myself to a higher standard as a candidate and a citizen.

As for Hogan, he was pleased to gain the backing of Pappas.
I am honored to have the support of Mike Pappas. As the only candidate for Governor over the last ten months, Mike and his team have worked tirelessly building support across the state. Mike has been a consistent voice and leader for Maryland Republicans. He’s got a great future in politics,” said Hogan. “Mike and I both want to see common sense and fiscal responsibility return to Annapolis. I’m excited to have the Pappas team join my campaign.”

“Governor O'Malley's failed record of lost jobs, higher spending, record tax increases, and broken promises is unacceptable. Maryland families deserve better. I look forward to working with Mike and his outstanding team to give the people of Maryland a real choice for change in November 2010.

So the GOP field is cleared as Pappas is the second wouldbe Republican candidate for Governor to drop out. Charles Lollar of Calvert County had been rumored to throw his hat into the ring, but residency issues interfered with his plans. Instead Lollar is in the race against Steny Hoyer in the Fifth Congressional District.

Lollar and Pappas may not be the only GOP dropouts, though. Hogan has indicated his desire to step aside should former governor Bob Ehrlich decide to make another run at the state's top spot, but Ehrlich has been coy about announcing his intentions. It could be next year before Ehrlich reveals his hand, a wait which distresses some state Republicans (including myself.)

But at least until Ehrlich makes his decision, Hogan can now train his guns on incumbent governor Martin O'Malley and O'Malley has given him plenty to criticize as the state's budgetary woes continue despite plenty of stimulus assistance from Democratic partymate President Barack Obama. With Chris Christie defeating a governor who couldn't keep his promises just up the coast in New Jersey, Maryland Republicans can hope that lightning strikes again in what's presumably the bluest of states outside Massachusetts.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

More below the fold.

Obama Take Notice

As I flipped between Fox and CNN last night, I found myself surprised that both networks conceded the obvious: Election night 2009 sent a loud and clear message to Presdent Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress. Make no mistake, the victories for Republicans yesterday were quality wins in somewhat unlikely states.

In fairness, Bob McDonnell's victory has been predicted for weeks. Still, coming into this year, 5 of the last 7 Virginia have been Democrats. Likewise, both their US Senators have a "D" next to their name. Additionally, back in 2008, President Obama won 52% of the Virginia vote to capture 13 electoral votes. Therefore, to have Bob McDonnell crush Creigh Deeds with almost 60% of the vote shows Virginians wanted a different direction.

New Jersey, on the other hand, has never been friendly confines for Republicans. Although not as bad as Maryland, New Jersey has become one of the more reliably blue states in the country. Even though Jon Corzine has ruined that state with his radically left agenda, he still had a chance to hold off Chris Christie. As I watched the returns come in last night, I realized sensibility would prevail in the Garden State.

No doubt, the White House will try to deflect blame from themselves. Still, it's a serious blow in their efforts to advance a left-winged agenda. Until last night, they had almost a year where they could muster enough votes to pass any legislation. Now, moderate Democrats in vulnerable districts (like Maryland District 1) will have to distance themselves from the President. Hopefully, this means items such as the public option are off the table.


More below the fold.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Official... According to ABC...

... Universal Health Care is indeed an evil plot!

A plot hatched by alien lizard-people from another planet bent on world domination and destruction!

The premiere of "V" said so! Not so far from the truth?

More below the fold.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mikulski wants to eliminate your Choice in Heath Care: How will Cardin vote?

by Robert Farrow at the Baltimore Reporter


I got this from a pro-single payer organization. Remember: What does single payer mean? One Choice and one choice only. And remember my article from yesterday…

* Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data show that the U.K.’s 2005 heart-attack fatality rate was 19.5 percent higher than America’s. This may correspond to angioplasties, which were only 21.3 percent as common there as here.

* The U.K.’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) just announced plans to cut its 60,000 annual steroid injections for severe back-pain sufferers to just 3,000. This should save the government 33 million pounds (about $55 million). “The consequences of the NICE decision will be devastating for thousands of patients,” Dr. Jonathan Richardson of Bradford Hospitals Trust told London’s Daily Telegraph. “It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive, and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky, and has a 50 per cent failure rate.”

* “Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets,” Daniel Martin wrote last year in London’s Daily Mail. “Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour [party] pledge. The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 911 calls. Doctors warned last night that the practice of ‘patient-stacking’ was putting patients’ health at risk.”

Things don’t look much better up north, under Canadian socialized medicine.

* Canada has one-third fewer doctors per capita than the OECD average. “The doctor shortage is a direct result of government rationing, since provinces intervened to restrict class sizes in major Canadian medical schools in the 1990s,” Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician and Manhattan Institute scholar, told the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee on June 24. Some towns address the doctor dearth with lotteries in which citizens compete for rare medical appointments.

* “In 2008, the average Canadian waited 17.3 weeks from the time his general practitioner referred him to a specialist until he actually received treatment,” Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes, a Canadian native, wrote in the July 2 Investor’s Business Daily. “That’s 86 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the [Fraser] Institute first started quantifying the problem.”

* Such sloth includes a median 9.7-week wait for an MRI exam, 31.7 weeks to see a neurosurgeon, and 36.7 weeks - nearly nine months - to visit an orthopedic surgeon.

* Thus, Canadian supreme court justice Marie Deschamps wrote in her 2005 majority opinion in Chaoulli v. Quebec, “This case shows that delays in the public health care system are widespread, and that, in some cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”

Obamacare proponents might argue that their health reforms are neither British nor Canadian, but just modest adjustments to America’s system. This is false. The public option - for which Democrats lust - would fuel an elephantine $1.5 trillion overhaul of this life-and-death industry. Having Uncle Sam in the room while negotiating drug prices and hospital reimbursement rates will be like sitting beside Warren Buffett at an art auction. Guess who goes home with the goodies?

Want to make a difference? Join the march on Washington to stop this!

the link is here to get more information on the march.

More below the fold.

And Jim Zorn is the NFL Coach of the Year....

Four-and-a-half years ago, Time magazine named then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley as one of America's five best big city mayors. I noted at the time that Time must be setting low standards to credit O'Malley as being good at his job.

Fast forward back to today, and you would be shocked and appalled to discover that Governing magazine has named Martin O'Malley one of their 2009 Public Officials of the Year.


Everyone knows Martin O'Malley is a numbers guy. The data-driven approach to policy and administration that he created as mayor of Baltimore, known as "CitiStat," has been copied by cities across the country. Now, as governor of Maryland, O'Malley is showing that states, too, can improve performance by measuring what they do and relentlessly monitoring their progress.
Emphasis mine. Because I'm not exactly sure what progress we are improving upon here in Maryland thanks to O'Malley and any of his metrics.

Frankly, somebody needs to get the guy a calculator and a clue so he might realize that spending more than you make is an irresponsible, reckless, and immature way to run a government.

The Governing article gets even deeper with O'Malley in an extended interview that has some, well, enlightening comments.

So as you're tackling these big jobs, how do you keep everyone focused and keep morale up when the budget situation is so tough?

I think there's two things that allow us to stay focused as we're jumping these budgetary bowling balls that keep coming down the gutter at us: It's clarity about the big goals — sustainability, security and skills — and it's the relentless stat meetings.

I ask you this; is a Governor who is so focused on his band really able to keep his entire administration focused on public service?

Next, we get to Martin O'Malley's thoughts on power and "being mean":

But how do you know when to back off a little and when to lean in?

When you actually hold the power, I don't think you ever have to be cruddy or mean. I appoint judges, and that's one of the things that I share with them. If you're wearing the black robe you don't have to be cruddy or mean, you've got the power.

Hasn't Martin O'Malley made a career of being cruddy, mean, petty, immature, irresponsible, and a bunch of other adjectives that you could insert here? O'Malley has some of the thinnest skin in the history of Maryland politics, and loathes it when he doesn't get his way. Just look at his shakedown of Constellation Energy and you will see a Governor who is more petulant than poised, and more concerned in political posturing that doing real work for real people.

And furthermore, you will note in the original that O'Malley himself put an emphasis on the phrase "you've got the power." You can draw your own conclusions of O'Malley's views on government intrusion and the scope and size of government from that little emphasis on that little word.

Then, the subject turns to the budget and the economy, and O'Malley continues to show that he has been living in some fiscal wonderland that the rest of us are not privy to:

We did a lot of things prior to getting hit with this recession. When we came in, we had what was primarily a structural deficit, not a cyclical deficit. That was the result of Democrats and Republicans alike, who had voted for huge increases in education investments, the cost of which they knew wouldn't come ashore for another five or six years, while simultaneously voting for 10 percent cuts to revenues. And so we had to address that utterly irresponsible fiscal math, and we chose to do that in a special session eight months into my first year.

Yes, he somehow managed to squander a $1.2 billion surplus eight months into his term. It was amazing and stupefying, yet he was able to pull it off. That leads us to....

Most of us remember it as a really miserable session — there was nothing terribly special about it. But we looked at virtually every revenue source available, the primary one being the sales tax. So we raised that by a penny. We also put in place a progressive income tax for the first time in Maryland's history, where we asked higher-earning folks in our state to pay a little more than a single parent who might make only $30,000 a year. And we also increased our corporate income tax by 1 percent. Those were some of the things that we did. And as difficult as it was, the fact that we did them before the recessionary tsunami hit has stood us well.

Yeah, it was a miserable session alright; mainly for Maryland's middle and working class families who have been suffering at the hands of Governor O'Malley's recklessness and incompetence. Higher and higher taxes continue to slow our economy, drive jobs out of state, and force middle class Marylanders into continued economic uncertainty, but Martin O'Malley thinks that this is a good thing. And what's even more delusional is the fact that Martin O'Malley thinks that Maryland's fiscal situation is good right now. He raises billions in new taxes, adds billions in new spending, wonders why the math doesn't work out, and then in an Orwellian fashion declares the crisis managed and that victory has been won. It's surreal.

Finally, as is Governor O'Malley hadn't already shown how divorced he was from reality, comes this:

In talking to some of the Republicans in the legislature, while they complain about Democratic dominance they do say that your administration is at least approachable. What's your basic strategy when it comes to working with the legislature?

I was elected following a term of tremendous polarization. It was almost the Newt Gingrich sort of thing, that you'd better not be seen having lunch with people that are not of your party. So I've tried to bring us together, and to underscore that we're one Maryland and we're all in this together. I do understand that each legislator is individually elected and each has a vision that they bring into government.

A Maryland Democrat talking about polarization is so incredibly comical, given the fact that it was Democratic leadership in Annapolis that refused to work with Governor Ehrlich when he came to them with a collaborative approach. In the time since O'Malley has taken office, he has taken a my way or the highway approach, particularly with Republican leadership in Annapolis; how many times over the years has Republican leadership been completely left out of the conversation, particularly when it comes to important issues such as taxation, the budget, and health care.

Sure, there are some Republicans who for whatever reason will give O'Malley cover and vote for his plans. But I think it is safe to say that Martin O'Malley has presided over the greatest partisan divide in Annapolis in my lifetime.

The fact of the matter is that this article in Governing has shown that the O'Malley camp is doing a nice job of pulling the wool over the eyes of people who don't see how he operates on a day-to-day basis, nor people who are living here in the state of Maryland. We see the kind of petulance, incompetence, and indifference that comes out of the O'Malley Administration on a Daily Basis. We see the middle and working class families who are struggling to make ends meet as they suffering from higher taxation and fewer job opportunities. We see state employees suffering furloughs because of lower than expected tax revenues due to businesses, people, and jobs leaving the state in droves.

It makes you wonder how any objective observer could recognize O'Malley's "Accomplishments". I suppose there is hope for Jim Zorn yet...


More below the fold.