Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cause for Concern?

Our friend Richard Falknor has a great piece analyzing the failure of the Maryland GOP to recruit a candidate for Attorney General. I encourage you to read it and do not believe I could say it much better.

In a year when the state's GOP has so much going for it and is expected to have a strong top of the ticket one does have to wonder: Why the state party has had such difficulty recruiting statewide candidates?

Let me submit for discussion that the recent change in party leadership has not resulted in the turnaround may claimed would occur. Or, to put it anther way, maybe the problem with the MDGOP was not simply who was the chairman.

Consider this a discussion thread.

UPDATE: The Gazette is now reporting some CYA by the state party pointing the finger at an unidentified county chairman as the reason for their failure to name an AG candidate at the last minute.

It still begs the question: When chairman Scott told this blog earlier this year that her goal was to have a Republican candidate in every race, why did it come down to the last minute in the first place?

More below the fold.

Oh Well, Steny Hoyer

Gotta love how Steny Hoyer handles ethics scandals in the Democrats alleged “most ethical congress ever.”

“I didn’t use that term,” Hoyer said when asked if he thinks Democrats have “drained the swamp.” “What I believed and continue to believe is that we have made the ethics process work, and we have made it work in a meaningful way.”

I guess by “meaningful way” Hoyer means hiring lobbyist and MD Dem chair, Terry Lierman as his chief-of-staff. Lierman, a lobbyist and former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, gave Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) a $25,000 unsecured, open ended loan while his client Schering-Plough Corp. had a patent bill pending before Congress.

From Reason:

But by far the smelliest odor to emerge from this so-called public servant was captured by the Washington Post in a front-page story on October 31. Five days before signing on in June of 1999 to co-sponsor an ultimately unsuccessful bill to extend Schering-Plough Corp.'s patent on Claritin, he took an unsecured $25,000 loan from Terry Lierman, an outside lobbyist for the company. Lierman loaned his longtime friend the dough at 8 percent. The note set no repayment schedule, but it was callable anytime, effectively making Moran a puppet on Lierman's string.

"He'd be unlikely to get those terms at a bank," Keith Leggett, senior economist at the American Bankers Association told the Post. At the time, banks were making similar loans at 12.5 percent. No matter. $25,000 is chump change to Lierman, who's currently running for Congress in Maryland. In 1999, he pulled $1.2 million in salary from the lobbing firm he founded. And the patent extension on the more than $1-a-pop pill that makes life livable in allergy season, meant big bucks to Lierman's client- specifically, $7.3 billion, according to a University of Minnesota study.

Moran, who defends the loan even as he promises to pay it back with yet more money borrowed from family members, obviously wasn't proud of it at the time. At least he wasn't proud enough to it to clear it through the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, a house requirement for gifts of more than $250….

As for the influence, Moran says Lierman never lobbied him on the Claritin bill. Lierman told the Post, "[I] probably did lobby Jim," on the Claritin bill, but he denied there was any connection to the loan. At any rate, on July 23, Moran sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues seeking support for the bill.

Yep, Maryland Democrats they hate lobbyists.

More below the fold.

The Gratuitous, Vicious Murder of Stephen Pitcairn as a Reflection of Baltimore and Maryland’s Failed Criminal Justice System

--Richard E. Vatz

By now virtually everyone in Maryland knows that a wonderful young man, Stephen Pitcairn, was killed on July 25, as described in The Baltimore Sun, while walking on St. Paul Street after having left a Bolt Bus at Penn Station. He was talking to his mother on his cell phone, a loving parent who suggested that Mr. Pitcairn take a cab home. He was accosted by malevolent criminals, who murdered him despite his apparently complying with their demands that he give up his money and wallet.

John Alexander Wagner and Lavelva Merritt are charged with his murder, first-degree murder, and the evidence of their guilt leaves little room for doubt, except regarding relative responsibility between the two miscreants. The evil nature of the accused can be inferred from the facts of the crime and the additional datum that, as the Sun reported from “court records,” they bragged after the slaying that they had been “hunting to rob someone” and that “they had robbed and ‘hurt’ a ‘white boy...’ "

The question almost immediately came up: why were these homicidal criminals free to roam the streets? As The Washington Post wrote in their barebones coverage: “Thirty-four-year-old John Wagner has a long criminal record but has served little prison time.”

The Sun sums up as follows the difficulties of those in this case who sincerely want to aggressively pursue the incarceration of violent criminals as well as some of the outcomes perpetrated by irresponsible and apparently unaccountable principals:

•Wagner pleaded guilty to a vicious assault on his then-girlfriend in 2008 and received eight years in prison, but the entire sentence was suspended. He was charged with violating his probation on four occasions, but each time a city judge ordered that the terms of his supervision remain unchanged.

•In April, Wagner was caught on city surveillance cameras robbing a man at a downtown gas station and was arrested at the scene after the victim gave a detailed account and identified his attacker. But the victim later got skittish and refused to cooperate. Prosecutors dropped the case.

•And on July 22, a Baltimore County judge issued an arrest warrant for Wagner for violating his probation in a 2009 car theft conviction. But it was added to a backlog of tens of thousands of unserved warrants.

There are many ways to understand how the killer could have been free, and, as even casual observers of Baltimore City and Maryland know, this case is hardly unusual, except in the amount of information available.

There is among many judges, and there is no way to get empirically precise information on this, a prevailing perpetrator-sympathetic perspective. I used to take my classes twice a year to Circuit Court in Towson, because forensic persuasion is part of good rhetorical training.

Visit after visit, year after year, I would see the same drama: vicious and dangerous thugs with long histories of probation-before-judgment and/or “time-served” punishments would go before extremely knowledgeable judges who would ream them out. Then, incongruously, the judges would give them nominal punishments and/or probation, and the criminals would in their affectations of respectfulness, docility and hyper-contrition leave the courtroom soon to be free to maraud again.

Supporting this live-and-let live attitude toward violent criminals is the general ethic of emphasis on “rehabilitation” toward horrible criminals. The classic purposes of punishment include prominently incapacitation, retribution and deterrence as well. The subordinating of incapacitation in the hierarchy of purposes of punishment as well as the general feeling that “retribution” is unseemly and that deterrence is never affected by punishment, especially the death penalty, contribute to the criminal-friendly ethos of Baltimore and Maryland.

The public can vote for tough judges and oppose politicians who appoint weak ones. If people are serious about disincenting violent crime, they can begin by active persuasion toward that end.

As for investigative organs, newspapers such as The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post and others should investigate the criminal justice system in Maryland, including interviews of prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges (on or off the record), victims of violent crime and probation and parole officers and other relevant sources. Possibly in this way we can find out how we can make incarceration of violent criminals more likely and ascertain where (and in whom) the problems and challenges lie.

--Professor Vatz teaches rhetoric and communication at Towson University

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rob Fisher's Virgina Legal Troubles

Yesterday we revealed that Maryland first district congressional candidate Rob Fisher has stronger ties to Virginia than Maryland. Today we show that Fisher has a history of running afoul of the laws of the commonwealth.

Red Maryland has obtained documents that show:

In December 2000, Fisher was arrested for driving while intoxicated and refusing a breathalyzer test.

In May of 2003 Fisher received a uniform summons for failure to keep his vehicle under control.

In December of 2007, Fisher was arrested for public intoxication but found not guilty in 2008.

A Virginia court also revoked Fisher’s license for 12 months.

Fisher has been married three times. Earlier this month, Politico reported that Fisher denied physical abuse and drug use allegations made by his first wife in 1991. See the court documents here.

Fisher remarried in 1991. However, records show that he remarried before his divorce. Fisher’s 1991 marriage certificate states he remarried on April 19, 1991 eleven days prior to the date a Fairfax County court decreed his divorce final.

More below the fold.

The Redundant Gonzales Gubernatorial Poll of Late July, 2010: Piling on with Feathers

--Richard E. Vatz

Following The Washington Post poll of about two months ago and the Magellan Strategies and Rasmussen Reports polls earlier this month, Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies reports its stunning findings: “The race for governor as of late July is really close. Incumbent Governor O’Malley has a slight lead in our poll, but it’s clear that either candidate could win in November.”

This must be quite a shock to many political observers, as the Gonzales poll results are reported often without reference to its virtually identical findings with the polls that have preceded theirs. All find the race a toss-up within the mythical and unverifiable “margin of error.”

Since I have no vested interest in polls (full disclosure: I have had some public disputes on polling with Gonzales, but I genuinely do not dislike the personnel there) other than wanting them to provide more valid information, I submit the following questions (and provide some answers) regarding polling and media reactions:

1. How many nearly identical polls must come out before each new one is no longer treated as surprising news and recent such polls are not ignored?

2. What can mildly innovative pollsters do to ensure that their polls provide new information, even if the basic results appear to be merely corroborative of other political polls?

3. What can pollsters do to avoid having their results unnecessarily contaminated?

For question one, all it takes is for journalists -– reporters, editors, and op-ed writers -- to recognize that polling is continuous, and regardless of financial ties to one pollster or another, news writers should take the entire context of contemporaneous polls relating to specific races or issues into account in their reportage.

Regarding question number two, in several pieces in The Baltimore Sun last year I was critical of a Gonzales poll measuring the gubernatorial race. I mentioned the “overwhelming publicity advantage of the current governor – and the fact that Mr. Ehrlich is not currently a candidate.” The implicit prediction was that the race would significantly tighten and that the poll was also misleading due to its lack of measuring intensity of respondents’ responses. Several polls now measure intensity as well as specifying different measures for the likelihood of respondents' voting. Why not Gonzales?

On question number three, Gonzales and some other pollsters insist on including questions about the President (in the past, for example, George W. Bush; in the present, Barack Obama) in their polls on other major races. This may contaminate results by making respondents’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the Chief Executive more salient and bleed into their evaluation, for example, of the gubernatorial candidates. Why do they continue to do so?

Horserace polls will, like the poor, always be with us, but there is no reason that journalists cannot cover their significance with some more skepticism and sophistication. Also, if some media ignore some polls because those media are not in a financial relationship with a specific pollster, the reporting on the race eliminates important data for getting at its true picture.

Similarly, if pollsters refuse to make the effort to make polls more informative and valid, we get a false picture of the status of important contests, even though it is never provable that the picture is a chimera.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Candidates Should Speak Up on Lawsuit Abuse

Todd Lamb
Executive Director, Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

As campaign season moves into full-swing, candidates across Maryland are touting fiscal credentials and plans to bring new jobs to the state. But most are ignoring an important issue that costs everyone money: lawsuit abuse.

When greedy personal injury lawyers clog our courts with frivolous lawsuits, small business owners, large in-state employers, and taxpayers pay the price. One study estimates that our civil justice system imposes a “lawsuit tax” of $838 per person annually. There are a lot of Marylanders who could use that extra cash in these difficult economic times.

In order to raise voter awareness and to educate candidates about the crucial link between lawsuit abuse and our state’s economy, Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (MDCALA) has launched an initiative to get candidates on-the-record on the issue. MDCALA, a non-partisan grassroots citizens group, is calling on every candidate for state office in Maryland to sign the “Stop Lawsuit Abuse Campaign Pledge.” By signing the Pledge, candidates acknowledge the negative impact that frivolous lawsuits have on Maryland taxpayers, consumers and businesses. The Pledge is a common-sense and straightforward commitment: “I support more jobs for Marylanders and fewer junk lawsuits that threaten small businesses and hurt Maryland’s economy.”

If you support this pledge and think candidates should too, be sure to raise this issue at candidate meetings and forums in your district. You are also invited to attend a grassroots rally and candidate signing ceremony on Thursday, August 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Harry Browne’s Restaurant in Annapolis located at 66 State Circle. At the event, candidates will be asked to say a few words to MDCALA’s supporters and guests before signing the Pledge. Visit our website to learn more.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Facebook Imposter

A special alert to our friends and readers:

It appears Red Maryland has a Facebook imposter, complete with Maryland flag logo.

Someone has created a “Red Maryland” Facebook account and is taking positions—like supporting Brian Murphy—contrary to ours.

Please be advised that nothing this person posts is from the REAL Red Maryland. We have reported this doppelganger to Facebook administrators.

The official Red Maryland Facebook page is here.
--The Editors

More below the fold.

Documents Raise Questions for Rob Fisher

Red Maryland has obtained documents, which show cyber security executive, Rob Fisher, who is challenging GOP favorite Andy Harris in the Republican primary for Maryland’s first district congressional seat, has stronger ties to the Commonwealth of Virginia than Maryland.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections Fisher registered to vote in Maryland in 1996 but has not voted in a single election in Maryland since registering. However, Fisher has been registered to vote in Virginia since 2006.

Fisher’s Federal Election Commission candidate filing statement lists his address as 310 Park Lane Federalsburg, MD. The Maryland State Department of Taxation and Assessments shows that property is owned by his parents Robert Allan Fisher Sr. and Diane M. Fisher. Virginia records show Fisher and his current wife have paid property taxes on a home in Chantilly, VA since 2004.

These documents beg several questions:

Why is Fisher running for Congress in Maryland?

Is Fisher a Maryland resident? If yes, then why is a self-admitted millionaire—he told Politico
he’s worth $5 million—living with his parents?

Fisher claims “deep roots” in the first congressional district. Why hasn’t he voted in a single election in Maryland in the last 14 years?

More documents and questions to come…

More below the fold.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Being President Barack Obama in Times of Policy Crises

--Richard E. Vatz

There are innumerable conservative critics who accuse President Barack Obama of avoiding full-scale news conferences over the last year, opting instead for friendly spur-of-the-moment clinches in a variety of locations with compliant news sources. Some of these naysayers have accused the president of “hiding,” as preposterous as is that charge when made against President Cool and Clever Wordsmith. Why, incidentally, should the President have to defend policies which only appear to have failed because they are dwarfed by the consequences of all of those years of errors by President George W. Bush? But, as you’ll read below, it is simply not true that President Obama avoids tough questioning.

There is nothing that angers me more than those commentators who maintain that President Obama does not engage the serious issues at the serious venues: a nuclear-weaponized Iran, confiscatory tax policy during a recession, and government hyper-spending in dialectic environments which prove under duress of critical policy give-and-take the superiority of the president’s policy choices.

Some have even suggested that he has abandoned traditional press conferences because he cannot defend his positions. These are professional doubters who abjectly refuse to give credit to a president who has mastered the ability to defend his positions. President Obama is simply the American Tony Blair of political policy debate.

How infuriating it is to hear unsophisticated pundits like George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer carp regarding President Obama’s allegedly faulty premises, fatuous and short-sighted conclusions and untoward economic and foreign policy choices. Similarly, when Chip Reid asks his probing questions at news conferences, one wonders why it is necessary for the President to undergo such unpleasant grilling.

Well, skeptics, look at the following news flash and consider publicly apologizing to President Obama:
President Obama afraid to address tough critics?

Of course not.

Professor Vatz teaches rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vitale Plays Fast and Loose with the Facts

Cathy Vitale's first mailer has hit the street, which you can see here. Red Maryland, as you know, has already endorsed Delegate Tony McConkey and Vic Bernson for Delegate in this district, but that does not change the factual inaccuracies with Cathy Vitale's first mailer.

There are two key points that need to be refuted here:

1. Slots:
Vitale claims to have fought to "Give citizens the right to vote on slot machines at Arundel Mills."

Well, that statement clearly does not past the smell test for two reasons:

- The Statement is just factually wrong; there was never a provision in the slots ordinance that would have allowed the ordinance to go to a vote. The only reason that there will be a referendum on slots is because of the work of people like the Stop Slots Arundel Mills whose volunteers signed petitions and then fought the case all the way to the Court of Appeals in order to give citizens the right to vote.

- Vitale voted no on the ordinance that changed the zoning for the Arundel Mills slots project. But she only voted not after delaying the voter for weeks. This delay actually created the environment that allowed a coalition of four votes to be cobbled together in order to actually pass the slots resolution over Vitale's alleged objections. The fact of the matter is that they delay is what ultimately led to the passage of the zoning ordinance.

I don't think that the folks who actually are fighting the war on slots at Arundel Mills are going to appreciate Cathy Vitale taking credit for their work. I asked the folks at Stop Slots at Arundel Mills for their thoughts, and the note I received indicated that "Cathy did in fact help us, and has been helping us all along." But of course that does not the change the fact that the referendum effort could have been avoided had it not been for Vitale's delaying tactics.

2. Help for Families:
Vitale also claims that as a Delegate she would "Help Working Families" and "Reduce Taxes."

Well, let us take you back to 2007 when Cathy Vitale (along with her compadre, now State Senator Ed Reilly)fought tooth and nail to require that new single-family homes constructed in Anne Arundel County be outfitted with sprinkler systems. This is a requirement that increased the cost of home construction in Anne Arundel County by $1 per square foot. Cathy Vitale's actions directly increased the cost of new homes for working families in Anne Arundel County, and are typical of the nannystate liberalism that we would expect from Montgomery County, not the most conservative legislative district in Maryland.

As Greg said, there is a reason that we endorse the folks we endorse. We endorse good conservative candidates who will fight for lower taxes and smaller government. Cathy Vitale is a big government "conservative"and she is not giving voters the facts in her campaign pieces.

More below the fold.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back on BAL

I'll be a guest tomorrow morning on The Kendel Ehrlich Show starting at 9:30 am.

Listen live at or at 1090 on your AM dial...

More below the fold.

We Call it Synergy

Here is one RedMaryland endorsed candidate Bob Ehrlich showing his support for another Mike Hough.

Please help Mike by donating here.

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

O'Donnell Press O'Malley for Answers on DJS Murder

Full text of Minority Leader Tony O'Donnell's letter to Governor O'Malley seeking formal information on the death of state worker Hannah Wheeling outside her workplace.

July 20 MOM Wheeling Letter

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ehrlich at Tawes

Bob Ehrlich talks about the campaign and why Maryland pols come to sweat in Crisfield heat.

More below the fold.

Pseudo-journalism and The Daily Caller’s Exposé of the Partisan Rhetoric of Journolist’s Journalists

--Richard E. Vatz

Sociologist and insightful-but-naive observer Herbert Gans wrote in his 2004 update of Deciding What’s News that “...journalists get more of the blame for the state of the news than they used to, but they continue to be primarily messengers who mainly simplify and dramatize what their sources say and do.”

The fact is that the press is more and more involved in what I call the “rhetoric of news,” which is the determining of what news qualifies for the national agenda and what it means, both according to journalists’ predilections. The relatively new conservative journal The Daily Caller yesterday published a bombshell that should not have been so surprising: the lack of journalistic attention to the threat to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential aspirations, his long association and ideational kinship to the wild and crazy, America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright (“God Damn America”), was due to news management (some of which, as described by my colleague, Mark Newgent, involved employees of The Baltimore Sun).

As with all rhetorical endeavors, the Fourth Estate to a large extent determines what matters get coverage, how they are covered, and how long they are covered. When the possible world-threatening events in Iran are ignored for weeks or months at a time, it is a choice by journalists (and some political persuaders) to ignore it. When relevant or irrelevant gubernatorial matters become the focus of news coverage in a state, it is the choice of the news media to mention or not mention and investigate or not investigate them. Many in Maryland recall the 2002 Baltimore Sun election coverage which ignored racist remarks made by the Democrats, remarks which were not even mentioned until a major political player would reference them weeks after their being made.

The Daily Caller reveals that in 2008, members of Journolist, a listserv composed of media writers and other liberal activists, were upset that at an ABC News debate George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson were asking questions about the Obama-Wright relationship. As a result, The Daily Caller reports that “employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.” Some Journolists put together a letter decrying the salience accorded to the Senator’s Wright connection, calling it a “revolting descent into tabloid journalism” and one which distracted from “the great issues of our time...”

One suggestion by Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent to change to a more relevant topic was to label, say, that well-known racist executive editor of The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes, as such. Are these Journolists in any sense of the word what used to be called “journalists?” Fred Barnes a "racist?" Appalling.

Fortunately, there was dissent to such journalistic-rhetorical misdirection and slander, but Ackerman certainly redeemed his compromised soul with this rejoinder (as quoted by The Daily Caller) to those who disagreed: “I’m not saying OBAMA should do this. I’m saying WE should do this.”

The lasting lesson from this little drama should be that what the press covers and the interpretations therein are not “Deciding What’s News” (in Gans’ phrase), but the results of the values that news purveyors bring to bear on the inexhaustible number of matters and issues coverable.

The major ideological influence in mainstream news is liberal, with a minority of journalistic influence being conservative, and that will continue to create the fodder for legitimate criticism.

The Journolistic management of the Obama-Wright connection, abetted by the inexplicable lack of effort by the McCain campaign to oppose it, will remain another stain on the claims of journalistic disinterest by the mainstream media.

Professor Vatz teaches Media Criticism at Towson University

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Re-Elect Delegate Mike Smigiel, District 36

The voters of District 36 did themselves and the citizens of Maryland a great service when they elected Michael Smigiel to the House of Delegates in 2002 and again in 2006. We need him back in 2010.

Mike is a Republican who not only talks conservative but walks the walk. He vociferously and courageously argues the conservative case in committee and on the floor. More importantly he backs it up with his votes.

Mike has proposed legislation and voted to reduce hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending;

When Democratic leadership violated the state constitution in order to pass Martin O’Malley’s tax increases and slots referendum during the 2007 special session, Mike led the charge in the GOP lawsuit to overturn them;

He also went to bat—at no cost to the taxpayer—in state court to stop O’Malley from overstepping his authority in mandating family child-care providers to unionize through executive order;

Mike understands the needs of Maryland businesses large and small and what it takes to grow the state’s economy that’s why Maryland Business for Responsive Government bestowed him with the prestigious John Shaw award;

Mike has been a consistent voice for second amendment rights in the legislature;

Mike took on the trial lawyers—and won—to get tougher penalties for child sex offenders;

Mike believes in transparency. In 2010 he proposed legislation broadening the definition of open meetings to include quasi executive-legislative organizations and cosponsored legislation requiring the Department of Management and Budget to include state loans over $25,000 on the Maryland Funding and Accountability website.

Visit Mike’s website to see how you can support him.

More below the fold.

The Baltimore Sun, Tom Schaller and the Journolist

The Daily Caller has an explosive piece this morning about how members of the “Journolist” collaborated in April 2008 to kill stories about then Senator Barack Obama’s relationship with the infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Questions to Obama, from ABC debate moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos sent the Journolister into spittle flecked rage. Gibson and Stephanopoulos inquired why it took Obama so long to repudiate Wright, and if he thought Wright “loved America as much as you do.” Fair and relevant questions given how Obama’s own statements on his close ties to Wright and his family’s long tenure a members of Wright’s church.

One Journolister argued that they should isolate one of Obama’s conservative critics and “and call them racists.” Sound familiar?

Michael Tomasky, with whom I’ve had personal experience, said:

Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.” “We need to throw chairs now, try as hard as we can to get the call next time.

The Daily Caller also calls attention to Baltimore Sun columnist/Martin O’Malley shill and Journolist member Tom Schaller.

Thomas Schaller, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun as well as a political science professor, upped the ante from there. In a post with the subject header, “why don’t we use the power of this list to do something about the debate?” Schaller proposed coordinating a “smart statement expressing disgust” at the questions Gibson and Stephanopoulos had posed to Obama.

“It would create quite a stir, I bet, and be a warning against future behavior of the sort,” Schaller wrote.

I’d love to hear what the Baltimore Sun has to say about one of it’s columnists commiserating to intimidate other journalists from asking legitimate questions of a presidential candidate.

More below the fold.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Financial Reform Only a Maryland Democrat Could Love

After reading this, the only conclusion one can come to is that Susan Turnbull, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, is absolutely ecstatic that the Dodd-Frank financial reform law:

Retains business as usual on Wall Street, will not prevent the next crisis, merely transfers the same failed regulators to a new agency, creates canyon sized carve outs for Democratic constituencies, especially trial lawyers and lobbyists, represents a big win for Goldman Sachs, and leaves government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac free to wreak the same havoc as before.

Turnbull should be ebullient, after all, the new “reform” is a boon to the lobbyists, corporations, and special interests, which fund the Maryland Democratic Party and it’s elected officials

From the video vault

More below the fold.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From the Fink Files

We find ourselves talking about Derek Fink once more, who you may remember got himself tied up in a business imbroglio with one of his diehard supporters back in January. Well, it sounds like Fink has never recovered from this snafu as his campaign is now asking surrogates to try to clear the field from him.

Fink had Delegate Steve Schuh, one of Fink's longtime supporters and the man who allowed Fink to manage his 2006 Delegate campaign, approach County Council candidate Carl "Dutch" Holland about withdrawing from the Republican Primary here in District 3. Schuh allegedly told Holland that he "had no chance at winning" and that Holland should withdraw because of it.

While it it true Holland did not file until late in the filing period, this is not Dutch Holland's first rodeo; he has long been involved in county politics. Holland served on the County Council from 1990-1994. Holland was the first Republican to win in the 3rd District, ending the stranglehold of four-term Democrat Bud Ahern. Holland would win the Republican nomination in three straight elections, losing the general election to then Democrat Tom Redmond in 1994, and then defeating the newly minted Republican Redmond in 1998. Holland also finished second in a hotly contested Republican Senate Primary in 2006 despite little campaigning, achieving nearly a quarter of the vote on name recognition alone.

That means that Holland has to be considered one of the three frontrunners in this Republican Primary right there along with Fink and the aforementioned Redmond.

What is interesting about this development is the fact that it makes crystal clear that Fink has never recovered from the severe damage he inflicted on his ties with the Pasadena area business community over the Cookie Kiser fiasco. The fact that Fink feels it necessary to approach a candidate who just entered the race last week shows that the Fink campaign is in a panic over their chances of winning on September 14th.

This is a sign of tremendous weakness on the part of a candidate whose operation thinks he is an unstoppable juggernaut.


More below the fold.

You Know the Wheels are Falling Off When...

...Barbara Mikulski believes there will be confirmation hearings for President Obama's recess appointment of socialized medicine loving, wealth redistributing technocrat, Donald Berwick, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee still believes South Vietnam exists a political entity.

More below the fold.

Taking on the Food Police

Friend of Red Maryland, and President of the Institute for Liberty, Andrew Langer, will be debating HHS "Fat Stamp" regulations with infamous nanny stater/food cop Meme Roth this morning on Fox News at 8:45 AM.

Roth should be a quick snack (preferably low fat) for Andrew.

Watch Nicke Gillespie of Reason destroy Roth on John Stossel's show.

More below the fold.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time to Put Our Money Where Our Mouths Are

As part of our RedMaryland endorsements, we have been not only commending a series of excellent conservative candidates for your consideration, we have encouraged our readers to support them.

One of our endorsed candidates is Justin Ready. In our endorsement, Brian pointed out why Justin is exactly what we need in the Maryland House of Delegates. Many of Justin's prospective colleagues in the General Assembly seem to agree, which is why they have endorsed Justin in a very competitive primary race.

Tomorrow, one of those members, State Senator EJ Pipkin is traveling from the Eastern Shore to support Justin's campaign. If you can, join them tomorrow in Westminster. Here are all the details.

If you cannot make it to this special event, take time to contribute to Justin's campaign. A contribution of $50 or even $5 or $10 will help Justin get his message out the voters of District 5A. I have contributed as have other RedMaryland contributors and now we urge each of you to do the same.

Together, we can move this state in a better direction but we need to put our money where our mouths are.

More below the fold.

Baltimore Sun should tread carefully on issue of race and the tea parties

So The Baltimore Sun today had a very perplexing editorial this morning supporting the NAACP for it's declaration that the Tea Party movement is a racist movement. Not perplexing because they should support racist activity; obviously every well-thinking person should find racial discrimination appalling and disgusting.

But the editorial comes out supporting an NAACP position that the NAACP is already backtracking from given the hullabaloo over the disparaging nature of their statement. And of course its lack of facts. As I noted on The Marc Steinter Show yesterday the tea party movement, particularly here in Maryland, is representative of the entire Maryland population, made up of a cross-section of parties, races, and creeds. The keynote speaker at these Annapolis rallies multiple times has been Republican Congressional Candidate Charles Lollar, an African-American from Charles County.

Timothy Dalrymple has a well-written piece regarding racism in the tea party and why the entire movement cannot be painted with a racist brush, and why the liberal intelligentsia is quick to pain it in that light. Here's a sample:

The charge that the Tea Party is racist is a perfect object lesson in liberal misinterpretation of conservatives. It is, of all the charges leveled against the Tea Party movement, the most inflammatory and the most politically damaging. Yet the accusation says more about the accusers than the accused.

Critics of the Tea Party point to a smattering of racist signs at rallies around the country, to the low percentage of minorities involved in the movement, and to a study that purports to show high levels of "racial resentment" among tea party supporters. These arguments are, however, mere justifications for a position already taken. Liberals were inclined to believe Tea Partiers racist even before such "evidence" was available. That is, the belief that Tea Partiers are racist is not an evidence-based belief. It is a belief in search of evidence.

What I propose, then, is the Theory of the Missing Motive. Since the education establishment has failed to convey a thorough and unprejudiced perspective on differing political points of view, even highly educated liberals possess a cartoonish, easily-dismissed image of American conservative thought. Liberals cannot believe that Tea Partiers are actually motivated by the passions and the reasons that Tea Partiers claim motivate them, because liberals in general are alienated from those passions and insufficiently educated in those reasons.

It is essentially a failure of imagination. Liberals cannot imagine themselves into a way of thinking in which conservatives do what they do and believe what they believe for good reasons. And since they cannot believe that conservatives are motivated by rational beliefs and admirable motives, they must appeal to darker, more primitive impulses to explain their behavior. The racist motive presents itself as a natural and convenient explanation.

Liberals, in other words, were always going to believe that a movement dominated by white conservatives is racist.

Of course, there are other more complicated issues at work here too, also with a Maryland Connection. One of the cites that we have seen from several sources is that the leftist organization Think Progress has been knowingly using signs brought to Tea Party rallies by liberal plants as evidence to show that the Tea Party movement is racist. Not that this is a surprise since Think Progress is well known for its deceitful nature. As for the Maryland connection, remember that District 30 Delegate candidate Judd Legum is the founder of Think Progress, and I cannot imagine that the residents of District 30 want to be represented by somebody like Legum is associated with such bigotry and such lies.

Both sides of the aisle should condemn racial bigotry when it is present and when it is seen. However, little evidence has been presented that the Tea Party movement is in an of itself racist. It looks like, however, the left is creating racial fronts in an effort to discredit the Tea Party movement. I eagerly await the condemnation of these groups from the Sun and the NAACP.


More below the fold.

O'Malley's Hypocrisy on Arizona Immigration Law

"I think the Arizona law creates a very dangerous kicks the door open to racial profiling and detentions without real probable cause." --Martin O'Malley on NBC 4

Of course, Martin O'Malley should be familiar with such a precedent He set it himself as Mayor of Baltimore with his "zero tolerance policy," which led to mass arrests without probable cause.

In late June the Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore City approved an $870,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the ACLU on behalf of 14 plaintiffs. The suit alleged that thousands of people were arrested without probable cause by Baltimore City Police during O’Malley’s tenure as mayor. As part of the settlement agreement Baltimore has officially rejected O’Malley’s zero tolerance policy.

O'Malley vigorously defended the policy.

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Exactly What We Don't Need in Annapolis

From the "About" section of Democratic House of Delegates candidate Ariana Kelly's website describing her grandmother:

Doris is one of the thousands of entrepreneurial women who came to DC to work for the government during the war.

Nothing against Kelly's grandmother or her government service during World War II, but working for the government is not an entrepreneurial act.

This says a lot about the progressive mindset that would write such a fallacy.

Another politician who equates a government job with entrepreneurship is the last person small businesses and those who wish to grow Maryland's economy need in Annapolis.

More below the fold.

Downright Deedsian

One would figure with all that corporate cash rolling in, Maryland Democrats—you know those defenders of the little guy—wouldn’t need to resort to free Google software to make another dingbat video. Do they seek even more criticism for misleading ads?

Then again, we’re talking about the juveniles running the state's dominant political party.

Just a note to the bloggers over at the Online State, citing Oliver Willis is a sure fire way to blow more holes in your already tattered credibility.

Since we here at Red Maryland, unlike the MDDems, lack the lavish resources funded by the likes of top Annapolis lobbying firms and major corporate donors, we use all the free resources we can get.

More below the fold.

I'm on with Steiner Today

I will be on The Marc Steiner Show tonight from 5-6 PM on WEAA 88.9 FM.

We'll be talking about the economy, and the role of government and corporations, so it should be a wild ride.

More below the fold.

Media Watch V on the Race for Maryland’s Governorship: Television Political Coverage Continues the Renaissance

Media Watch V on the Race for Maryland’s Governorship: Television Political Coverage Continues the Renaissance

--Richard E. Vatz

This column has been writing for weeks about the sea change in fairness of this year’s major media coverage of Maryland’s gubernatorial contest as contrasted with that of 2002 and 2006. The focus thus far has been on the differences in The Baltimore Sun, whose even-handedness has improved immeasurably, and secondarily in The Washington Post with mixed conclusions.

Some of the 2002 and 2006 television reportage was nearly as unprofessional as that of the print media – although the Sun’s journalistically shameful cheerleading on the news pages for then-Mayor Martin O’ Malley and the censoring of any pro-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich support on the op-ed page and most of the letters-to-the-editor page for the entire election year of 2006 along with the paper’s day-to-day coverage and blacklisting of some conservative sources constitute the worst long-term media bias I have ever seen in mainstream media.

Just generally, but not systematically, watching local television news on the race for governor, it has seemed as if there is a general major improvement regarding impartiality in coverage. Still, I had seen no hard-hitting analysis which would be the crucial test: if one of the political reporters at one of the main stations saw unfair campaign advertising in the governor’s race, could and would they report that?

There is not sufficient evidence to answer that question accurately yet, but it must be pointed out that several days ago WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins did an ad watch (called an “Ad Fact Check”) on an advertisement for Gov. O’Malley that Collins called “vague,” an ad which, he said, was intended to depict the Governor as “a sound fiscal steward working for the middle class.”

Collins subsequently made the following significant ad criticisms: the O’Malley ad claims to cut waste, but “doesn’t define waste;” the governor was said to have “eliminated” many positions which “were vacant anyway;” some of the cost reductions were due to furloughed state employees, and he “balanced the budget through one-time transfers;” and Collins refers to several other ad claims which had very limited effect (“tax credits for small business to create jobs”) or ignore components which contradict the assertions of undiluted benefit for the state.

It is fair to say that in 2002 and 2006 there were either no journalistic fact checks by most of the Baltimore television stations (I have a bias saying this, but Fox’s WBFF always seemed to provide the only televised ad reckoning in past years) or that there were some implicit ones that criticized primarily Gov. Ehrlich. There certainly may have been some critiques of Democratic campaigning this writer did not recall: Mr. Collins reminded me that "[in 2006 WBAL-TV] fact checked every single political ad the TV station aired. Those fact check stories and a solid enterprise story by Jayne Miller about a campaign finance loop hole, helped WBAL TV win a national Walter Cronkite Award for political coverage."

This year there appears to be some serious television journalism transpiring, and it must be said that there is no contradiction in Collins’ or other media analysts’ subjecting Gov. Ehrlich’s future ads to the same sort of rigorous scrutiny.

The point here, however, is that there is increasing evidence that the 2010 governor’s race may – may – be played – and covered -- on a level television field.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

More below the fold.


Nice catch by the Ehrlich campaign.

Sorry Governor O'Malley but this is just another example of your truthiness problem this summer. Marta Mossburg noted how you've actually been using the AAA bond rating: borrow hundreds of millions to pay for capital projects that should have been paid for in cash. This means that today's streets are paved with tomorrow's taxes. It also means revenue collected to upgrade wastewater plants, for example, is used for other purposes in the general fund, with bonds issued to replace the cash.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Saga of the Tom Perez Nomination

Richard Faulknor at Blue Ridge Forum and Ann Corcoran at the Potomac Tea Party Report have raised issues about the fitness of Tom Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division given his dubious association with CASA de Maryland. Mr. Perez's involvement in the decision by the Civil Rights Division to not press for civil or criminal sanctions against the antics of King Samir Shabazz, of "kill some cracker babies" fame, and the New Black Panther Party is inexplicable and now the subject of an investigation by the US Civil Rights Commission, and hopefully by Darrell Issa when he assumes chairmanship of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

They also raise the issue about the role of two prominent Marylanders in Mr. Perez's confirmation: Mr. John Kane, former Maryland GOP Chair and husband of Bob Ehrlich's running mate Mary Kane, and House Minority Leader Tony O'Donnell. To me these are separate cases.

John Kane, when he wrote his letter of support, was a private citizen. He had no official capacity and his letter should not be used as a reason to impute his views to his wife and it certainly did not have the endorsement of the Maryland GOP. I understand that Mr. Kane and Mr. Perez are personal friends and from that view point I understand his support.

The case of Minority Leader O'Donnell is much more troubling. His letter is hardly a rousing endorsement and may be considered a professional courtesy to a former colleague who had, by all accounts, a reputation for collegiality. Regardless of his professional or personal relationship with Mr. Perez, Mr. O'Donnell had a duty to evaluate what he knew of Mr. Perez's history with CASA de Maryland -- or, alternatively, discover that history if he wasn't familiar with it -- before giving his endorsement. CASA de Maryland's history of flouting US immigration laws should, in my view, have been a more than adequate reason for Mr. O'Donnell to refuse his endorsement as those actions speak volumes for the policies Mr. Perez would... and has... pursued at the Department of Justice.

This kind of go-along-get-along, log-rolling, mutual back scratching is what has relegated the Maryland GOP to a virtual joke. Our leaders suffer from some variety of the Stockholm Syndrome where they sympathize with and curry the favor of people who will neither like nor respect them. Ever. In the process they demoralize activists, discourage the base, and continue to rule in their own tiny ghetto.

This behavior has to stop.

More below the fold.

I Get Letters....

Lynn Beiber from Crofton chimes in about the Governor's race:

more republican backroom dealing

Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM


I've been studying my central committee history. Oh MY GOD!

It looks like we have an elite establishment party that is hell bent on power at all costs and that includes abandoning conservative principles and the voters.

I am outraged by the rule 11 waiver and the way it was done. Rule 11 was controversial from the beginning.

I'm trying to get the media to pay attention to this issue.

It looks like Bob Ehrlich has been anointed by the party elite so why do we bother having a primary election?

I will never again hold my nose and vote for a RINO like Ehrlich and I hope the majority of Maryland conservatives feel the same way.

We have to stop this merry go round. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I'm supporting Brian Murphy. Have you checked him out?

I don't care if Republicans lose in the general.We have got to send a message.


All I can do we I see stuff like this is shake my head. Not because people support Brian Murphy, it's that people support Brian Murphy do so in a way which in no way celebrates the virtues of Brian Murphy, but instead serves merely to take down the presumptive Republican nominee Bob Ehrlich....a nominee which, I point out again. Red Maryland has already enthusiastically endorsed.

Look, I am on record as saying that the Republican Party should stay out of primary elections. I do not believe that the Rule 11 implementation was handled very well. And I'm also on record personally liking Brian Murphy....

But the incessant complaining about Rule 11 from the Murphy camp is self-defeating because:
  1. Rule 11 is, for lack of a better term, within the party rules; and,
  2. It isn't like Rule 11 is what is swinging the primary to Bob Ehrlich.

Right now 97% of the Republcian Party leaders, candidates, and activists are working to defeat Martin O'Malley. We're not going to let the 3% that are navel gazing distract us from that.

More below the fold.

Charles Jenkins Has It Both Ways

A couple of months ago RedMaryland endorsed Michael Hough for delegate in District 33B over O'Malley appointee Charles (not to be confused with Frederick County Sheriff Chuck) Jenkins.

Recent events have proven that our instincts were correct.

In our endorsement of Mr. Hough we noted that Delegate Jenkins had a rather uncomfortable track record of never really finding a tax that he couldn't vote for. In June he gave an interview with the internet SeniorTalkRadio (I'll spare you the boredom, go to Part II minute 5:43 and 17:17 for the key takeaways) in which he clearly endorsed the Streamlined Sales Tax Project and would introduce the legislation to bring Maryland into the organization.

From Wikipedia:

Organized in March 2000, the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) objective is to simplify and modernize sales and use tax collection and administration in the United States. It arose in response to efforts by Congress to permanently prohibit states from collecting sales taxes on online commerce. Because such a ban would have serious financial consequences for states, the SSTP began as an effort to try to minimize the many differences between the sales tax policies and practices of states.

In prior decisions regarding mail-order sales, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1992 (in the case of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298) that mail-order retailers were not compelled to collect use tax and remit the tax to states, in part because of the complexities of doing so. With computers, however, the difficulties of doing so are much smaller today, so one remaining stumbling block lies in the variations among state sales taxes. Organizers of the SSTP hope that by ironing out differences among state taxation levels, they will remove a major roadblock to the collection of taxes on online sales and convince Congress and the courts to allow them to collect these taxes regularly.

Just what we need in Maryland. An additional tax burden. Not only is an interest group, Americans for Tax Reform, against the idea but our Deputy Minority Leader, Chris Shank, has rightfully described it as a system whereby "we would really lose control to unelected bureaucrats in states that are far from our borders, who would then control the tax policy for the State of Maryland."

This is troubling on two levels. The last thing the country, or Maryland, needs during a recession that threatens to tip into depression is an additional tax. The last the thing the Maryland GOP needs is another member in the House of Delegates who doesn't realize he's not supposed to act like a Democrat.

Eventually, the word got out and the subject of Jenkins' support for Streamline Sales Tax became the subject of a thread on the Frederick News Post website. Jenkins weighed in:

The truth is not in Michael Hough.

I am looking into (through legislative bill drafting) repealing something called the sales & use tax / streamline tax that penalizes Maryland businesses doing business with other Maryland companies. If anyone is interested I can provide a copy of the e-mail sent to bill drafting - I want more information on this in the event I am returned to Annapolis. To take my use of the word streamline sales tax and give it a different definition in order to fabricate a press release is so unbelieveably creepy it defies further edification.

I learned about this business tax while campaigning. So yes, I am campaigning as well, I just don't generate news stories about every door I knock on or Tweet that I stood out in traffic and waved at a passing motorist.
Gee, Charles, condescend much?

In the radio interview Jenkins is clearly referring to the Streamline Sales Tax Project. There is no other program that does what Jenkins describes. And he says clearly and unambiguously that he's in favor of it. Then, suddenly, when he's called on the issue he takes the easy way out and basically calls Hough a liar. This denial, except for the relative smallness of the man involved, is nearly Clintonian in scope. We've heard him say it and now he denies saying it and the man who brought it to our attention is a liar.

Since the inception of this blog we've had a minimal but consistent standard in criticizing Republicans. All we ask is that they show some level of restraint in voting to increase the power of the state at the expense of free markets and free people. The people that don't should be called "Democrats."

This episode just goes to show that both RedMaryland and Governor O'Malley were right when they followed their gut instinct. We supported a conservative and Governor O'Malley got another Democrat vote in Annapolis.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland vs. Blue Maryland on State Circle

Here is the video of my segment on State Circle about campaigns, the Internet, and social media.

Watch the full episode. See more State Circle.

That cold draft you feel is hell freezing over as Steve Lebowitz and I find many points of agreement.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Embarrassing Psychobabble Exculpation of Mel Gibson by NBC‘s Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Do you find much that is complicated regarding the audio recordings of Mel Gibson’s threatening former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and implicitly admitting assault and battery against her?

Neither should any non-corkscrew thinker, but NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman does.

Interviewed this day on NBC’s “Today” show by Meredith Vieira along with former judge and prosecutor Jeanine Pirro, (who has apparently herself been the victim of domestic abuse), Dr. Snyderman unleashed a barrage of excusing psychological possibilities, perhaps heretofore unknown by experts outside the forgiving walls of forensic psychiatry.

The recordings of Gibson’s clear, non-slurring and chilling, threatening demeanor (“I’ll put you in a f...... rose garden”) replete with imminent ultimatums (“You hang up, I’m coming over there”) brought these responses from the understanding Dr. Snyderman: “This is mental illness;” “Any psychiatrist would look at [possible] inflammation, infection, tumor drug use;” and then she wonders if this could be an “alcohol-fueled rant.”

Not only was there a 20-year or so history of violent rhetoric on the part of Mr. Gibson, but there was no evidence even of his slurring his words this time as there was on previous audios of, for example, his anti-Semitic tirade of years past.

Judge Pirro tried to point this out, but psychiatrically excusing rhetoric does not require valid evidence, as observers of the shameful use of the insanity plea in our courts well know.

Dr. Snyderman relentlessly pursued her psychiatrically mitigating interpretation: she argued that it’s important to note that “paranoia” can be a “root” or a “byproduct of a brain that’s gone haywire.” The medically terminological precision and sophistication in that statement is evident of the social irresponsibility of Dr. Snyderman.

Asked what should follow from this point? The psychobabbling Dr. Snyderman does not disappoint, articulating her fatuity twice for emphasis: “Immediate psychiatric help; immediate psychiatric help.”

Nor does the excellent Judge Pirro disappoint: she thinks the most pressing matter at this point is to arrest and prosecute Mr. Gibson. She sees Gibson’s crimes for what they are; that is, actions by an “angry hateful batterer.” She does not search for ways to deny agency. She also anticipates that “any jury would be outraged” at these tapes.

Yes, unless their anger is assuaged by psychiatrically mystifying doctors who have no hesitation in making nonscientific speculations to benefit criminal offenders.

Professor Vatz has been writing on psychiatry and rhetoric for over 35 years


More below the fold.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In case you mised it...

....Anne Arundel County's Mark Hyman reiterated a number of my arguments about Judd Legum and his connection to the far-left Clintonista machine, including a special emphasis on Legum being bought and paid for by out of state interests.

There are three Republicans in this district, and I'm willing to be that Delegate Ron George, former Delegate Herb McMillan, and local businessman Seth Howard would love for you to drop them a line about how you can help them keep this radical element out of elected office.

More below the fold.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Red Maryland on State Circle Tonight

Tune in to State Circle on Maryland Public Television tonight at 7:30 PM.

My favorite interlocutor Steve Lebowitz aka Justdafacts, and I take our schtick from the Internets to TV.

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Red Maryland UNendorsement

Many of you may remember back to the shenanigans of last summer, when former Republican Women of Anne Arundel County President Joyce Thomann shot her mouth off before her brain was loaded and compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. It was an ugly stain on the Maryland Republican Party and something that we hoped that we would never have to speak of again....

....until, that is, Joyce Thomann decided to file as a candidate for the Anne Arundel Republican Central Committee in District 30.

The editors here at Red Maryland, as you know, only make endorsements in instances in which the editors unanimously agree. Well, for our first group unendorsement, we met the same criteria.

The fact of the matter is that last summer Maryland Republicans, ourselves included, were unnecessarily distracted by remarks that were so far off of the reservation that they deserved action beyond mere censure and condemnation, but outright repudiation; a repudiation, incidentally, that came from a large majority of state and local Republicans. As I said last year, " These comments did one hell of a lot of damage to the cause of conservatism and the cause of the Republican Party." And I personally stand by those remarks.

The issue of course, then comes back to Thomann seeking elected office to be an officer of the Anne Arundel Republican Party and by extension the Maryland Republican Party. The fact of the matter is that Thomann, if elected to the Central Committee, would be a representative of the party and, by default, her views would reflect poorly on both the county party, the state party, and the residents of the 30th District.

The 2010 election and the 2012 election beyond that needs to be considerate of the political environment in which we currently find ourselves. Our Central Committees are tasked with the goal of building the party, raising funds, and preparing the battlefield for our future endeavors. We must, in an panglossian setting, elect dynamic Central Committee members who are gung ho in meeting these objectives. But at the very least, we need to make sure that our central committee members do no harm in their election.

In that regard, Red Maryland wholeheartedly unendorses Joyce Thomann for the Republican Central Committee in District 30. We urge Republicans in the 30th District to elect Republican Central Committee leadership who will work hard for their district, work hard for the Republican Party, and work hard to bring conservative principles to the state of Maryland without being an unneeded distraction to our work and to our mission.

More below the fold.

Insufficiently Frequent Verdict: First Degree Murder in the Insanity Plea Case of Mary Koontz

--Richard E. Vatz

WBAL Radio’s Rob Lang reported the satisfying news: “A Baltimore County jury has found a former Glen Arm resident [Mary C. Koontz] guilty of first degree murder in the killing of her estranged husband, and guilty of first degree attempted murder in the attempted killing of her daughter.”

It should not have been a close call, but the mysteriously irrelevant questions the jury was passing to Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger, Sr. during deliberations at the Koontz murder trial caused informed observers pause. Questions included, according to Towson Times writer Bryan Sears’ report (who, along with The Baltimore Sun’s Nick Madigan, has provided riveting, understandable detail of this trial), “who would pay for her psychiatric care if she were sent to an institution...”

This was a classic case wherein the defense tried to mystify a jury, despite the clear evidence that the murder and attempted murder had been premeditated. As Judge Bollinger (who has a checkered past with his indulgence of insanity pleas) instructed the jury, the defendant could be found not criminally responsible for her actions if at the time she was unable to "to appreciate the criminality of the conduct or to conform that conduct to the requirements of law." He added that even if she were suffering from a “mental disorder,” that would be relevant only if it were established that said disorder affected her ability to tell right from wrong.

A defense attorney is required to help his client raise reasonable doubt and provide all appropriate legitimate defenses. Defense attorney Richard M. Karceski did that, but went too far – with relish. According to reports on the case by reporter Madigan, Karceski actually perversely said of the killing and attempted killing that, like the Hinckley case, “This was a love story.”

Neither the Hinckley shootings and attempted assassination nor the Koontz abomination was anything but a terror-filled, intentional and purposeful abomination.

On one point he was right, however: to be found guilty, Mary should have shown premeditation, and she did.

As Madigan recounted, she bought a handgun, took weapons training, registered at a Towson hotel under an assumed name, parked her car a mile from her former home, and likely walked through dense woods to reach the house. She removed her shoes to preserve quietude in her stalking. She shot her husband four times and shot at, but missed, her daughter, who remains traumatized by the events.

In her own transparently mendacious defense, Koontz claims that husband Ronald was having an incestuous relationship with their daughter, a charge for which there is absolutely no evidence, irrelevant as it is. She claims she had an “out of body” experience, leaving her not remembering performing the acts of murder and attempted murder: “I was in a fog.” Karceski claimed she was “screwed up” and “didn’t know what she was doing.”

Mary Koontz’s psychiatric enablers diagnosed her with the all-purpose, unverifiable “borderline personality disorder” and found her heavy drinking and drug usage to be further evidence exculpating and/or mitigating, rather than aggravating, her responsibility for her crimes.

As Madigan quotes the prosecutor, Deputy State’s Attorney Robin S. Coffin, “The defendant had a ‘specific intent to kill...she knows she's going to commit a crime.’ Koontz's premeditation was obvious not only in her preparations but in the multiple ‘pullings of the trigger,’ the prosecutor said, suggesting that the defendant could have reconsidered each time whether to continue shooting.”

There was more premeditation and purposeful action. Mary Koontz made profane, terrorizing phone calls, played for the court, in which she told Ronald “I will survive you” and “I won’t make any threats that I won’t carry out.” Her calls, some of which were played on local television were rational and frightening, exactly what one would expect from a dangerously violent killer.

Defense attorney Karceski told the jury, "[Mary Koontz’s] acts were a product of her illness; she was not normal."

He was wrong on the first count and right on the second, and now she will be sentenced for her crimes.

This was a vicious, premeditated, cowardly murder, and the jury is to be congratulated on not being fooled by psychiatric mystification.

Professor Vatz of Towson University has been writing on psychiatric rhetoric for over 35 years

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking Action

Since Martin O'Malley seems to be hellbent on brushing aside the continued MARC train issues to the point that one of these days #MARCfail is going to actually become a trending topic on Twitter, Governor Ehrlich is actually trying to do something constructive; listen to MARC's customers through the creation of a "Commuters for Ehrlich" caucus of transit riders who are fed up with the continued failure of Martin O'Malley's MTA.

The group will be led by Craig Borne, who is featured in this video:

I have long been critical of the failures of Martin O'Malley's transit administration; and it is heartening that Governor Ehrlich is taking positive action to solve problems for Maryland.


More below the fold.

Curious Affiliation Switch by QAC GOP Central Committee Member

Tuesday afternoon I received an email from the Chair of the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee notifying QAC Republicans that central committee member Bob Foley, petitioned to be placed on the 2010 ballot to run as unaffiliated for Queen Anne’s County Commissioner, thereby disqualifying himself from serving on the QAC Republican Central Committee.

The Maryland State Board of Elections website shows Foley petitioned to get on the ballot as unaffiliated on July 2, 2010, then withdrew that petition and registered to run as a Republican on July 6.

The plot thickened after I obtained an email (names of carbon copied persons redacted) dated July 5 from Foley to Jack Broderick, a board member of the Democratic Club of Queen Anne’s County and candidate for county commissioner.

In the email, Foley writes:

jack!! i will attend.. confirming our tel con today!! i have registered as an[Unaffiliated] candidate for QAC commissioner @ large!!. need an additional 120 signatures to comply with Bd of elections regulations...the form is atth'd to this e/m.. please secure some signatures for me..

thank you..bob Foley

ps.. anyone on my cc list that can help would be greatly appresiated...

Foley is confirming he will attend a late July fundraiser for Broderick in Kent Island, some sort of teleconference between them, and that he is 120 signatures short of the 315 required to get on the November general election ballot as unaffiliated.

It’s one thing to run unaffiliated. However, it is something else entirely to commiserate with Democrats and ask for their assistance. Furthermore, I can also confirm that some of the recipients on that “cc list” were official Queen Anne’s County government addresses and a state agency. Last time I checked candidates soliciting state or county government workers is a big no no.

To be sure, politics in Queen Anne’s County doesn’t always divide along strict party lines. The real divide, as I’ve come to learn, is between pro-growth advocates and no-growth conservationists. Generally speaking, Republicans fall into the pro-growth camp and Democrats compose the no-growth crowd. However, there are anti-growth Republicans and some Democrats who understand the need to spur economic growth in the county.

In the upcoming county commissioner’s election, Queen Anne’s residents will choose between economic growth, or continuing down the same course of economic contraction no-growthers have charted last eight years. If voters choose the latter, then expect larger budget deficits than the recent $17 million gap and substantial tax increases.

As I looked at Foley’s cc list I saw a who’s who of no-growthers, big spending Democrats and county officials who have set Queen Anne’s fiscal house in disorder. It appears Foley has cast his lot with those who would continue to shrink the county’s commercial tax base and hinder prospects for economic expansion and prosperity.

More below the fold.

Ed Priola, Candidate MD House of Delegates District 13

Name: Ed Priola
Office Sought: Maryland House of Delegates, District 13
Hometown: Columbia MD

1. Give our readers a little insight to your background, especially your work with the Victims of Communism Memorial?

I’m the proud son of a 27-year veteran. My father was an NCO drill instructor in the United States Air Force. My mother was a registered nurse. From them, I learned that freedom is worth fighting for and that caring for the least able among us is the noblest mission you could have in life.

For quite a few years, I worked as a volunteer and paid advocate promoting taxpayer rights and limiting the scope and size of government. I served as national field director for both the National Taxpayers Union and US Term Limits. During 2001-2006, I lived and worked in Romania, Albania and Afghanistan, and visited two dozen other countries educating people on how to become advocates for democracy and free-enterprise.

After returning to the United States, I became involved with the non-partisan Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. As the Foundation’s Public Affairs Director, I managed day to day operations, as well as the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial located in Washington DC in June 2007.

The Foundation works with peoples and groups from around the world to remember the 100 million victims of communism. We actively worked with people who are still enslaved in the five remaining communist nations. During the past several years, I managed the development of an online museum that documents the brutal legacy, history and philosophy of communism. The museum now serves as the cornerstone of a program to educate American youth about the misery communism has brought the world.

2. Who is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?

Ronald Wilson Reagan. I worked on his campaign for almost two years in 1979 -80, first as a field representative in Iowa and then as an advance man throughout New England. I can tell you from close up experience that he was every bit of the person we all saw in public. He was a well-grounded, practical politician who never forgot his working class roots or the reason he was elected to office. He showed us all that He made patriotism and conservatism cool conservative principles can inform politics without being dogmatic..

3. What prompted you to run for office?

I got in the race last year, when the prospects were not looking good for conservative Republicans. But, I realized that this is a pivotal period in our history and some of us had better step forward to change our Jurassic government in Annapolis. Now, with some help from conservatives everywhere, it looks like we will take back our country and state. Either way, I got in it because it had to be done.

4. Pension/retiree health care and Medicaid fuel Maryland’s chronic budget deficits; what measures would you propose to address them?

I will always remember that my hardworking parents served our government. We should be fair to our public service workers and their families. We should never again put them in the position of balancing the budget on their backs with furloughs and layoffs.

That being said, the answers to these problems can be found in sound management principles. The governor of New Jersey has the right approach. I would follow his lead. It is clear that we can no longer promise state benefits that outpace our ability to pay for them. Like New Jersey, we need to determine a reasonable scale for the state contribution toward benefits for all new employees (and not promise a pre-determined benefit amount as has been the practice).

For the record, I have been in the battle against government-run health care for some time. In the early 1990s, I travelled across the country rallying public opposition to Hillary Clinton’s dreadful government healthcare plan.

5. Many Republicans are concerned about the bloated size of Maryland government; what government programs or agencies (if any) would you cut, reduce, or eliminate?

We must reform Maryland’s government from the ground up. It is a dysfunctional disaster. The State Constitution was designed for an agrarian society that disappeared a century ago. We need zero based budgeting that requires every state agency to justify its existence and every line item in its budget every year.

I believe that term limits is an idea whose time has come. It seems reasonable to me that career politicians should be required to sit out one term after they serve two. Then, they can then spend some time living under the laws they pass for everyone else.

6. Many counties budgets are being crippled by Maintenance of Effort requirements; would you support eliminating or reducing those requirements?

Spending mandates are a primary cause of our state budget crisis. Going forward, we must have the flexibility to adjust our spending to fit economic realities.

Straight forward, we need to introduce a mechanism that eliminates or dramatically reduces maintenance of effort spending requirements.

7. What proposals would you champion to help Maryland businesses and entrepreneurs?

Cut the taxes, fees and administrative burdens on businesses, especially small businesses. I would introduce a flat tax for micro-businesses (fewer than twenty employees) that would enable them to eliminate or decrease the oppressive bookkeeping and compliance reporting government agencies currently demand.

8. Two of the most important issues facing Maryland are concerns with transportation and the environment; on which issue do you place a greater priority, and how would you address it?

It is time for out-of-the-box thinking that will address both. For example, many Nebraskan civil servants have had a four-day work week for more than a year. They work four ten-hour days and have a three-day weekend. This management plan generates less traffic congestion and road fatigue. It requires less gasoline for commuters and less heating fuel for buildings. It also gives public service employees more quality time with their families. Eighty percent of the workers like it, according to a survey. Too boot, Nebraskan taxpayers can now access the DMV on a weekday! Why shouldn’t Maryland consider a similar approach?

9. Following on that last question, Maryland passed cap and trade legislation in 2009 and the Maryland Department of the Environment is working with environmental special interests to write the regulations. If elected what would you do to mitigate or nullify what are sure to be economically ruinous dictates?

I would introduce legislation to rescind it. I would then introduce legislation to maintain our access to the oil our economy requires while we transition to other fuel sources under American control. There are a variety of these untapped energy sources, like natural gas and nuclear power, which would reduce pollution and enhance our national security position. These energy sources would also keep jobs in America.

10. If you had a choice of any Republican to be the nominee of our party for President in 2012, who would they be?

It is too early in the process to answer. I want to see a real conservative this time. I am not looking for another Ronald Reagan. I am looking for a man or woman who believes in the same principles that Ronald Reagan had and has the spine to fight for them.

More below the fold.