Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Self-Fulfulling Prophecies

Yesterday, I discussed some of my concerns regarding the Redistricting Process, particularly in the manner that it seemed the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee intentional slighted Anne Arundel County in an effort to minimize Republican participation in the process.

I still believe that however after reading the account of the hearing in Columbia last night, I realized that there are more problems with the level of public participation in this process.

The story regarding the hearing in Columbia notes that only ten people testified at the Howard County hearing. That is roughly the same number as participated in the Anne Arundel hearing in Annapolis last night. One of the things I noted with the Annapolis hearing was the pathetic job that was put into publicizing the time and location change for the hearing, when it struck me.

A ridiculously small amount of media coverage is being dedicated to the redistricting process. Link
Take a look at the media coverage, and you will note that basically nobody is covering the redistricting process. If you take a look at the media outlets, only two acknowleged there was even a hearing yesterday; MarylandReporter.com (which linked to my posts) the Capital, which mentioned pretty much every person who testified before the committee but me (and I communicated yesterday with reporter Earl Kelley, so it isn't like he didn't know).

It struck me comparing the media coverage and the number of participants in this important process. And then I realized that the media is paying absolutely no attention to these redistricting hearings. The general public seems to have no clue that these hearings are going on. They certainly are unaware as to what is being presented to the Committee, who is saying what, and how the Committee is little more than apparatchiks for the O'Malley Administration who are going to rubber stamp whatever gerrymandered plan he wants.

But of course, the Committee will be able to point to the limited public participation to minimize those people, myself included, who find the redistricting process disquieting, disingenuous, and a serious risk to the public discourse and public debate here in Maryland.

So basically: No reporting leads to limited public input, which leads to a lack of due consideration of public input, which is due to the small number of participants, which is due to the lack of reporting. One nice, tidy, self-fulfilling prophecy for the Maryland Democratic Party establishment.

The media owes it to the public to provide fair and adequate reporting on the redistricting process and the redistricting hearings. The public is not being well served at all, and at this point it is basically left to citizen-activists like us to fill interested parties in as to how to participate and what is actually occurring during this hearings. Because thanks to the near media blackout, the public doesn't know that the majority of those testifying think our districts are a joke, they don't know that the majority of Anne Arundel County attendees support single-member districts in the House of Delegates. The information just isn't getting out there.

Yes, the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee is a sham committee that has done a poor job scheduling and publicizing it's hearings. But the media certainly is not holding them accountable for that, nor is the media doing a remotely decent job of publicizing what happens in these hearings. The media owes the public better than this...


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience: 8-30-2011

Check out this week's episode of The Jimmy Braswell Experience: Tonight's show featured discussion on:Link

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


Be sure to listen every Tuesday at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for this and all of the Red Maryland Network's programming.


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Hearing Matters

As you noticed from my earlier post, I testified before the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee today at their Anne Arundel County hearing today. One of the concerns that I addressed during my testimony was the idea that the Committee scheduled their hearing at a time that was not conducive to public participation. Part of my concerns were that the Committee was deliberately trying to minimize Anne Arundel County participation due to our conservative bent and the intention to again slice and dice Anne Arundel County.

  • The hearing was originally scheduled to being at 4 PM and be held at Anne Arundel Community College. With Anne Arundel Community College closed due to Hurricane Irene, the Committee originally postponed the hearing via email at 6:10 am this morning, with more information to follow.

  • But....four hours and ten minutes later, an email was sent rescheduling the hearing for today. At a different time. At a different location. Now the hearing was at 4:30 PM in Annapolis at the Legislative Services Office Building. Even that email had an error, stating that the Bladen Street Garage was free to customers after 4 PM, when in fact it is 6 PM.

  • The sign-up to testify, on needed to sign-up before the hearing. You could also sign-up to testify at the hearing. However....the sign-ups closed at 4:20 PM, ten minutes prior to the scheduled hearing start time.
When you combine these three facts, is it any wonder that public participation was so limited? A number of individuals who sign-up to testify never arrived. Did they go to the original hearing location? Were they made aware that the time and location were moved? While I got an email both telling me that the hearing were postponed and then rescheduled, what about the people who don't have electricity (and there are a number of them up and down the Ritchie Highway corridor in heavily Republican territory) never got any emails of to begin with?

To put it bluntly, the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee's handling of the Anne Arundel County hearing was troubled from the start, but was an absolutely boondoggle today. The idea of postponing, then rescheduling a hearing at a different time and location are completely unhelpful to inviting public participation and collaboration in the process. What good is a public hearing if it is moved to a new location and rescheduled at the last possible minute? How does that engage the public?

It doesn't. Which, given the Republican makeup of our county, is exactly what I think the point was.....


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Testimony to the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee

Today I'm testifying before the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee about congressional and legislative redistricting, particularly as it relates to Anne Arundel County. My testimony to the Commission is below...

* * * * * * * * * *
My name is Brian Griffiths. I am Chairman of the Maryland Young Republicans, Northeast Regional Vice-Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation, and a Contributing Editor at Red Maryland. My remarks today do not represent the position of any of those organizations, and reflect my personal capacity as a resident of Pasadena here in Anne Arundel County.

Before I begin, let me point out how disappointing it is that this hearing was scheduled at this time. This hearing in Anne Arundel County is the only hearing that begins at 4 PM on a weekday. This is an insult to the voters of Anne Arundel County and could be a potential inhibitor to citizen input and participation in this important matter. It is even more disappointing considering that two members of this Commission are residents of this county.

Unfortunately, the presence of the general public at this hearing today is nothing more than a formality. There is no reason for the average citizen to believe that comments made here today will have any relevant impact to the machinations and decision-making of this Commission. The Governor has appointed to this Commission members who will uphold nothing more than the status quo, providing us with results similar to the shameful 2001 Redistricting Process. It is the Governor’s right, but that does not mean it is good policy or in the best interests of the people of this state.

The redistricting plans introduced by Governor Glendening in 2001 were nothing short of disgraceful and embarrassing to the people of Maryland. Districts were drawn with absolutely no regard to communities, district lines, or commonality of interests among the constituents of that district. We are left with the residual effects of those poorly made decisions to this day, with Maryland recognized as having three of the fifteen most Gerrymandered districts in the country. Even now, my parents live in the 3rd Congressional District. Their polling place, only a mile away, is in the 1st Congressional District. They have to drive through the 2nd Congressional District to get there.

What was done to Anne Arundel County in Governor Glendening’s Congressional and Legislative Redistricting plans was nothing short of ridiculous. Anne Arundel County was, again, portioned among four separate Congressional districts. At present, Anne Arundel County is represented by a Congressman from Prince George’s County, and three Congressmen from Baltimore County. Anne Arundel County has not had a resident Congressman in over 20 years! Who is standing up for the interests of Anne Arundel County at the federal level? Despite being a county whose population could support its own Congressional District, Anne Arundel County has not been represented in Congress for two decades. As one of the largest counties in Maryland, this is not acceptable.

The Glendening Legislative Redistricting Plan was worse. Anne Arundel County was carved into different sections and forced to share legislative districts with surrounding counties. Particularly most shameful were the six precincts from Baltimore County, which were attached to the 31st District specifically to target Senator Norman Stone. The flagrant violations of both the State Constitution and common sense were incredible, and I for one was relieved when the Court of Appeals appropriately threw out the plan.

There is but one way that this Commission and Governor O’Malley can do what is in the best interests of the people of the state of Maryland. That is to ensure that the Congressional and legislative district lines introduced and passed into this state are fair. By fair, I mean geographically compact districts, which are composed of communities and constituencies, which share a common interest. Additionally, for the House of Delegates, these districts would provide for 141 single-member districts to ensure that each citizen is represented fairly and equally in the House of Delegates. Districts composed in this manner will ensure representation that is truly representative of Maryland. Unfortunately, neither I nor a majority of the people of Maryland have any confidence in this Commission or this Governor to do the right thing.

As you continue your hearings and make your recommendations to the Governor, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you really have only two options to choose from: do as the voters would hope you would do, and act in their best interests to recommend districts that are fair and equitable; or do as the voters expect you will do, which is to act in whatever you think is the best interests of the Maryland Democratic Party.

The people will be watching. Thank you.


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The Jimmy Braswell Experience returns tonight

This week's regularly scheduled episode of The Jimmy Braswell Experience will is back on the air tonight and every Tuesday at 8 PM.

Be sure to listen tonight at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for this and all of the Red Maryland Network's programming.


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience: Special Hurricane Irene Edition

A special Hurricane Irene edition of The Jimmy Braswell Experience will air at 10:30 PM tonight.

Listen live!Link


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Mike Flanagan's Suicide: a Significant Asterisk to an Otherwise Fine Man's Life

--Richard E. Vatz

Please do not read this article if you are searching for undiluted praise of Mike Flanagan, the great former Baltimore Orioles pitcher who committed suicide. This short essay will avoid cuteness and rhetorical flourishes and make but one clear argument:

A healthy, relatively young person who kills himself or herself has committed an unethical act, truly unforgivable.

This writer has experienced a suicide in his extended family perpetrated by a bright young person. His parents, brother and other loved ones never stopped blaming themselves and never stopped suffering from the act. From that moment on, that was their definition: the family whose child killed himself.

Everyone wants to honor Mr. Flanagan, whose greatness as a ballplayer and whose personality brought great joy and warmth to everyone near him as well as to those who knew him only as a great celebrity. This writer himself gained much through those identifications and memories.

No more.

Life is extremely difficult for just about everyone and particularly at times when things seem to all go negative. Those days and even years are also terribly tough for those who care about us.

To end that life ends the problems for one who commits suicide but exacerbates them substantially for those who survive the decedent. This horror for the survivors is not significantly mitigated by an explanation left for the world to read or hear, but in this case even that gesture was apparently rejected.

Mike Flanagan: incredible competitor who pitched through pain and won 141 games and was a Cy Young Award winner.

Mike Flanagan: not much of a competitor when dealing with humbling problems that he could make worse for the people who loved him.

Suicide is all about human agency -- the conscious choice to end one's life.

The real victims of suicide are the families, loved ones and friends of the one who takes his or her own life. With public figures, the victimage numbers increase exponentially.


Prof. Vatz teaches at Towson University and is author of the just released The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012)


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 8-25-2011

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio from tonight. On this week's show:

  • U.S. Senate Candidate Dan Bongino discusses his recent trip to Israel, as well as US foreign policy in the Middle East;

  • Greg and Brian discuss the latest on Governor O'Malley's proposed tax increases, and the overall $1.8 billion structural deficit that Maryland faces;

  • And in the Hodgepodge segment, Greg and Brian tackle a variety of subjects, including the Ravens/Redskins rivalry, this week's episode of The Jimmy Braswell Experience, Tuesday's Earthquake, and Hurricane Irene.
Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Nights at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

We have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio tonight t at 8.

A whole lotta shakin going on tonight as we have US Senate Candidate Daniel Bongino talking about his recent trip to Israel and the campaign.

We'll be talking about O'Malley and the Democrats talking about taxes to plug the structural deficit they told us the 2007 special session tax hikes (largest in state history) were supposed to solve.

In the hodgepodge segment Mark and Brian will talk Redskins vs.Ravens, the Baltimore Inferiority Complex, Tuesday's earthquake and Hurricane Irene.

Be sure to listen tonight and every Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience: 8-23-2011

Check out this week's episode of The Jimmy Braswell Experience: Tonight's show featured discussion on:Link

  • Fantasy Football;
  • Summer Television;
  • The Beer of the Week;
  • The Earthquake;
  • And Hurricane Irene
Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


Be sure to listen every Tuesday at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for this and all of the Red Maryland Network's programming.


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The Jimmy Braswell Experience returns tonight

As if today didn't make the earth move for you enough, The Jimmy Braswell Experience will be back on the air tonight and every Tuesday at 8 PM.

Tonight's show will feature discussion on:Link

  • Fantasy Football;
  • Summer Television;
  • The Beer of the Week;
  • The Earthquake;
  • And Hurricane Irene
Be sure to listen tonight at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for this and all of the Red Maryland Network's programming.Link


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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Brian Griffiths Minute: 8-22-2011

It's been almost a year. But it's baaaaaaackkk:



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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Undelivered President Barack Obama Pre-Vacation Speech

--Richard E. Vatz



President Barack Obama has announced that he will give a major address after his vacation at Martha's Vineyard. The planned major speech on jobs will, say his aides, provide "new ideas."


Some have wondered why the president is withholding these ideas with so many Americans unemployed and suffering. Mr. Obama has said that he understands that some might want to hear a speech -- any speech -- before he goes away since his rhetoric has been so reassuring to troubled Americans in the recent past.



I have obtained the pre-vacation and now "on-vacation"speech that the president is considering giving, his aides tell me, to "tide the American unemployed over" until after Labor Day. He has not decided whether to give it, but here it is in its entirety:

---------------------------------



My Fellow Americans,



Good Evening. America is in trouble. Unemployment is over 9%; government spending and entitlements are out of hand; and the debt is alarmingly spiraling out of control. This is all, of course, due to actions and policies of the George W. Bush Administration, actions and policies on which I shall not dwell.



Fortunately, I have a plan which will solve all of those problems.



It is a plan which may miraculously solve each and very one of these problems, as well as ancillary concerns, and also deal with unanticipated consequences, consequences which I have, incidentally, taken to anticipate.



I do not claim that my comprehensive solution to the foregoing problems will solve all of the problems in the next 100 days. Nor the next 1000 days. But let us begin.



I am not going to announce my plan yet, a plan, again, which will serve as a beacon for the future for so many worried Americans who are literally panicked at this time regarding their own jobs, futures and the future of America. Some are concerned about losing their houses and having their families devastated by the current unemployment crisis.



I would announce this nirvana-creating solution now, except that I am going on vacation.



Incidentally, I do have time, fortunately, to announce my Vacation Reading List for my vacation. I shall read the following books: Machiavelli's The Prince and Richard M. Nixon's 1968 Plan to End the Vietnam War, a plan which, incidentally, he did not have time to announce either.



In any case, my life-transforming plan is coming, and the problems you all fear will ultimately be solved.



In the meantime, don't worry; be happy. Michelle and I find that worrying about problems just makes them worse.



On to vacation.



Hasta la Vista.



Oh, and God Bless America.

----------



Professor Vatz thanks the Obama aide who provided him with the transcript of President Obama's speech.



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Friday, August 19, 2011

President Barack Obama: Please Respond to Columnist Charles Krauthammer's Questions

--Richard E. Vatz

For decades I have taught Persuasion and Media Criticism on the university level, and if there is one particular thing that frustrates me about good newspaper columns critical of the president, it is that they are never addressed by whoever is the president at that time.

Week after week, The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer substantively questions the president's actions and motives in domestic and foreign policy. I never hear such good questions from the White House Press Corps, nor do I hear the president address them.

While letters-to-the-editor and other forums provide some addressing of the agenda of domestic and foreign policy criticisms, presidents and particularly this one just ignore them as if they do not exist.

What follows below this paragraph is the best from today's excellent Krauthammer column, "Bad Luck? Bad Faith?" Krauthammer makes the argument that President Obama consistently argues that the fault for America's economic problems lies in bad luck and bad faith by Republicans, the latter representing a most serious charge that the columnist depicts as tantamount to accusing Republicans of unpatriotic motives: they are ignoring their country's needs for craven, self-serving reasons.

"Charging one's opponents with bad faith is the ultimate political ad hominem. It obviates argument, fact, logic, history. Conservatives resist Obama's social-democratic, avowedly transformational agenda not just on principle, but on empirical grounds as well -- the economic and moral unraveling of Europe's social-democratic experiment, on display today from Athens to the streets of London [emphasis added].

"Obama's answer? He doesn't even engage. That's the point of these ugly accusations of bad faith..."

These points deserve a presidential addressing. Mr. President, many citizens want to believe that columnist Krauthammer is incorrect, that it is Republicans and not you who are solely concerned with political gain and that there is an answer as to why this empirical evidence is not dispositive in the current economic debate.

If I may say this as just one blogger: if President Obama does not confront this criticism on the pre-eminent question of this time regarding federal spending, entitlements and the deficit and the debt which threaten our children's future, it is he who is the politically craven politician, not the Republicans.




Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 8-18-2011

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio from tonight. On this week's show:

I also address briefly an issue regarding a minor member of the House of Delegates....

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Nights at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes
Link


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red Maryland Radio this week

We have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this tomorrow Night at 8. On this week's show:

All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience: 8-16-2011

First show of The Jimmy Braswell Experience is in the books. Listen to Jimmy and his guest, me, discuss:

  • The Ames Straw Poll
  • Stephen Hawking's "Curioisity" and the Existence of God
  • WWE SummerSlam 2011
  • The Baltimore Stallions
  • The Beer of the Week.
Different? Perhaps. But take a listen to our newest offering, and subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for all of our great programming.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


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The Experience begins Tonight

In case you missed it, the Red Maryland Network will launch its newest shore tonight. The Jimmy Braswell Experience will be on the air tonight and every Tuesday at 8 PM.

Tonight's show will feature me as a special guest.

Be sure to listen tonight at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for this and all of the Red Maryland Network's programming.Link


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Loss of Tim Pawlenty: Stop Giving Iowans a Try Just Because They Are Contrary

-- Richard E. Vatz

Embarrassing disclosure: early on in former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's presidential candidacy, I briefly spelled his name incorrectly, omitting "W," which is, metaphorically and parenthetically, what Republicans wish to do in this election go-round.

None of which is relevant to the point that, of the active candidates, Tim Pawlenty was my favorite to be elected president of the United States in 2012.

Gov. Pawlenty's loss and consequent withdrawal were, I suppose, condign punishment for me because I detest the Iowa straw poll as simply an invalid and improper way to determine the viability of a presidential candidate. The fact that that state also has the disproportionately influential Iowa Caucuses seals the case of unfairness in presidential primaries.

The total number of votes cast in the Ames straw poll was about 17,000, or .00024% of Barack Obama's winning popular vote in the 2008 election. The vote is completely unrepresentative even of Iowa Republicans. It is as well not predictive even of who will win the Iowa caucuses, as Mitt Romney won in 2007, and Mike Huckabee won the caucuses. But reality states: if donors will not give even as a result of a bogus, contaminated plebiscite, you cannot win a race for president.

The vote, not exclusively open to Republicans, was held pursuant to a dinner, an ad hoc bit of campaigning, little casino bribery, etc. The only thing missing was the dancing girls, if indeed they were missing.

The first place and second place winners were Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, neither of whom will or should win the Republican nomination.

The third place finisher, who has now dropped out of the race, is Tim Pawlenty, again this writer's favorite.

I am a Howard Baker Republican, favoring a solid conservative candidate who is reliable, lacks unpredictability, supports cutting out-of-control entitlement spending, supports responsible internationalism in foreign policy, and someone who will not surprise me with crazy opinions, such as opposing the taking out of Osama bin Laden (like Ron Paul, whom I like in a lot of non-presidential ways, and with whom I share a Thomas Szasz Civil Liberties Award).

I did like Mitt Romney, although his health care plan for Massachusetts is almost as liberal and irresponsible as the president's (take a look at its psychiatric coverage -- Lord), although he says it would not be nationally required. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have the "unpredictable" problem; Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman are not going to win -- period. Readers of my opinions on the Red Maryland blog and elsewhere know I like Sarah Palin but do not support her as presidential material. I am reserving opinion on Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

But I really liked Gov. Pawlenty -- he was a successful governor with executive, administrative experience, reasonable on healthcare reform, good on immigration, right on Iraq from the beginning, and reasonable on foreign policy in general. On virtually every issue Gov. Pawlenty seems to have the rhetoric of reason and the style of forceful but not close-minded advocacy.

His was the candidacy of substance-over-style, contemplative when necessary, powerful on rare occasion. Such rhetorical balance often doesn't go well in primaries dominated by the rare conservative quasi-mob mentality (what do you say to this, Ann Coulter?), thankfully missing in most Republican venues, but not the Iowa straw vote.


Professor Vatz teaches political persuasion at Towson University


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Friday, August 12, 2011

Red Maryland Radio 8-11-11

If you did not catch it live you missed another another jam packed installment of Red Maryland Radio.

  • Your hosts Mark Newgent and Greg Kline discussed the breaking news of the potential leadership challenge in the House of Delegates GOP caucus
  • We also discussed the WI recall elections and what impact it may have on Maryland and the Nation.
  • Brian Griffiths joined us live from the MDYR Debate Watching Party to discuss the 2012 Presidential campaigns in Maryland
  • We also talked the best of summer TV, the return of live NFL football.
Check out all the fun and if you have not done it yet, subscribe the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for all of our great programming.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kipke-Smigiel may challenge O'Donnell-Haddaway-Riccio for House GOP leadership

Delegates Nic Kipke (Anne Arundel) and Mike Smigiel (Cecil) may challenge Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell (Calvert) and Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio for the leadership positions of the Republican caucus in the House of Delegates.

“I’ve been encouraged to run by a contingent of delegates from the Anne Arundel County, the Eastern Shore, and Western Maryland,” Kipke said. “It’s a gut check,” said Kipke of his contemplation of challenging O’Donnell for the top spot in House GOP caucus, “do we have the right strategy to grow our caucus.”

If he runs, Kipke will seek greater involvement of conservative activists around the state, and give every caucus member “full and defined responsibilities.” Kipke wants to let caucus members use their own unique talents to serve the party.

Kipke cited the example of Delegates Neil Parrott (Washington County) and Pat McDonough (Baltimore County) and their successful management of the petition drive to put the Maryland DREAM Act, giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens, on the November 2012 ballot.

Kipke noted that caucus leadership initially suppressed the petition effort.

Smigiel, who seeks the Minority Whip role, echoed similar dissatisfaction with caucus leadership, particularly Haddaway-Riccio. His concern is people “talking the talk and not walking the walk” when it comes to fiscal conservatism. He thought tapping Haddaway Riccio to give the Republican response to Governor O’Malley’s state of the state address was a mistake given her bond bill hypocrisy. “Other with more credibility could have spoken,” Smigiel said.

Smigiel, chair of the Tea Party caucus, wants a fiscally conservative leadership team “willing to fight for the conservative principles they expound.”

For his party Smigiel appears to be ready to take his shot, whereas Kipke, when asked when he would announce a challenge said he’s “not able to share that yet.”

As Omar Little said, “If you come at the king, you best not miss.”

A voicemail was left at O’Donnell’s office was not returned. Kipke said he did speak with the Minority Leader and that both of them would work together no matter what happens.

Whether there is any unity in the caucus after a leadership fight will remain to be seen. However, with O’Malley indicating a potential for tax increases and playing Gangs of New York with redistricting, Republicans are going to have to find a way to stand tall, no matter who leads them.


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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Red Maryland Radio All New 8-11-11 at 8pm

Join us for another jam packed installment of Red Maryland Radio Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 8pm on the Red Maryland Network. You can listen by clicking here. You can join the fun by calling 760-259-2711.


  • Your hosts Mark Newgent and Greg Kline discuss the WI recall elections and what impact it may have on Maryland and the Nation.
  • Brian Griffiths joins us live from the MDYR Debate Watching Party to discuss the 2012 Presidential campaigns in Maryland
  • We also talk the best of summer TV, the return of live NFL football and whatever else strikes our fancy or yours.
Check out all the fun and if you have not done it yet, subscribe the Red Maryland Network on iTunes for all of our great programming!


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Brian on the Radio

I will make the first of my monthly appearances on Right Hook Radio at 9:35 PM discussing all things about the YRNF Northeast Region (which, incidentally, you can follow on Facebook and Twitter).

Be sure to listen!


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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Congressional Redistricting the O'Malley Way




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Friday, August 5, 2011

Video ATI Lawsuit Against Colorado RES Mandate Part 1

The American Tradition Institute released the first in a three part video series explaining its lawsuit the state of Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard.



ATI believes the RES violates the commerce clause because the mandate legal, safer, less costly, less polluting and more reliable in-state and out-of-state generators of electricity.

ATI research has shown that Colorado's RES will result in the state’s electricity consumers paying $1.371 billion in 2015 – within a range of $841 million and $2.122 billion – due to the RPS. Over the period of 2011 to 2020, the state RPS will cost $11.778 billion, within a range of $6.412 billion and $18.520 billion. Colorado’s electricity prices will increase in 2015 by an average of 3.75 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or by 40 percent, within a range of 1.23 cents per kWh, or by 13 percent, and 5.97 cents per kWh, or by 64 percent.

Despite having a similar mandate renewable energy generation in Maryland has decreased over the last decade.

Full Disclosure: I am an ATI Research Fellow


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 8-4-2011

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio from tonight. On this week's show:

  • Former U.S. Senate Candidate and former Queen Anne's County Commissioner Dr. Eric Wargotz will join us;

  • Jim Braswell joins us to discuss the next venture from the Red Maryland Network;
  • The gang will have go over some of the issues of the day, including but not limited to the debt ceiling, the CASA de Maryland lawsuit, NFL free agency, and anything else that strikes their fancy.
Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes


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Join Us Tonight!

Don't forget to join us tonight at 8 PM for Red Maryland Radio live on the Red Maryland Network!

On tonight's show....

  • Former U.S. Senate Candidate and former Queen Anne's County Commissioner Dr. Eric Wargotz will join us;

  • Jim Braswell joins us to discuss the next venture from the Red Maryland Network;
  • The gang will have go over some of the issues of the day, including but not limited to the debt ceiling, the CASA de Maryland lawsuit, NFL free agency, and anything else that strikes their fancy.


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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Eric Hartley's New Job - Press Agent for James King

If you are a loyal reader of this blog (one of the top political blogs in Maryland) you have read Mark Newgent's insightful reporting of the inclusion of former Delegate James King on the Governor's Redistricting Commission.



If you fit into either of these categories you are most definitely not Annapolis Capital columnist, Eric Hartley. Which is good for you because, Mr. Hartley is far less informed than you.

His recent column was a puff piece about Mr King which could have been written by King himself, if he had the ability to string cogent sentences together. Hartley reports, without question, Mr. King's reluctance to serve on this commission. He dutifully relates Mr. King's Cincinnatan willingness to serve on this commission but not run for office during the time period that the newly drawn districts would be in place.


I guess the facts that Mr. King has a hopeless conflict of interest by being on the O'Malley payroll, has closer ties to the administration than any current GOP leader and has an unabashed personal relationship with Governor O'Malley didn't fit with the reluctant hero theme King wanted.


Inconvenient truth indeed.

I guess that is why this blog has more journalistic integrity than outlets like the Annapolis Capital.


More below the fold.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hypocrites

By this point, you'd have to been under a rock to not realize that CASA de Maryland is going to court to try to overturn the will of the people who have signed petitions to put the issue of instate tuition for illegal aliens.

Now the issue of whether or not the question is eligible for ballot questions status due to its status as a budget issue is a legitimate question and a legitimate concern. I personally don't think it qualifies for that status, but it is an legit question.

However, this is the second prong of their lawsuit. And it is absolutely infuriating. From the Post story:

If the measure was eligible for the ballot, the lawsuit asserts another flaw. It says opponents do not have enough valid signatures, primarily because those that were collected using new Internet software should be thrown out.

The online tool was developed this year by a Maryland Republican lawmaker in anticipation of a future ballot-box fight over same-sex marriage. It helped nearly 44,000 voters print and file petitions with their names, addresses and other information listed exactly as recorded in state voter rolls.Such precision is essential because any discrepancy can invalidate a petitioner’s signature.

The tool helped a small group of conservative organizers shatter previous records for statewide signature gathering and has emboldened Maryland’s Republican minority, with some lawmakers already threatening to use the ballot box routinely as a check on the state’s Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

The prospect of such efforts makes the integrity of the new system all the more important, said one of the lawyers challenging the petition.

“There’s no safeguard. If someone knows your name, Zip code and date of birth, which might be on your Facebook page, the computer will print out that information exactly,” said Joseph E. Sandler, a top election-law lawyer and former general counsel for the Democratic National Committee, whose firm is litigating the case pro bono for the plaintiffs. “There is no way to make sure the voter whose name appears on the petition is the one who printed it out and signed it.

“Maryland law makes this deliberately difficult,” Sandler added. “We live in a representative democracy. We don’t live by mob rule; not every law is supposed to go to the voters.”

Now read that once again. Now apply the standard that CASA de Maryland wants to apply to these petition signatures to say....voter registration.

CASA de Maryland and their allies have been very vocal about opposing strict standards of identification for voting. If you take a look at CASA's complaint regarding signature collection, the standard that they support is much stricter than the standard that they support for voters going to the polls on election day.

Never mind the fact that CASA's complaints are invalid, because the signature on the petition still needs to match the signature that is on file with the Board of Elections, but that isn't the story here. The story is this: why exactly does CASA de Maryland believe that there should be a higher standard for voters who are signing a petition than there should be for individuals (you can't event say registered voters) who show up to vote at the polls on election day?

I have a funny feeling that CASA's strict ID standard here is nothing more than situational ethics as it relates to the fact that the people of Maryland have stood strong against a bill that promotes illegal activity. Their stance on this issue is completely hypocritical. Thought I would enjoy CASA de Maryland's support in coming forth with a strict voter identification law during the 2012 General Assembly session that mimics the strict petition signature standards that they are purportedly supporting through their frivolous lawsuit...


More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio this week

We have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this Thursday Night at 8. On this week's show:

  • Former U.S. Senate Candidate and former Queen Anne's County Commissioner Dr. Eric Wargotz will join us;

  • Jim Braswell joins us to discuss the next venture from the Red Maryland Network;
  • The gang will have go over some of the issues of the day, including but not limited to the debt ceiling, the CASA de Maryland lawsuit, NFL free agency, and anything else that strikes their fancy.
All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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The Difference in Principles in Arguments over the Debt Ceiling

--Richard E. Vatz



Blessed reader, you may be wondering why no one is commenting on the debt limit increase.



Joke.



I don't think I can add any empirical analysis that will elucidate the talking past one another that characterizes the plethora of commentary on this and related issues.



I do think I can tell you the values that are operating which cause utter incredulity in those who support and those who oppose the increase in the debt ceiling and government spending levels and revenue increases.

In this labyrinthine dispute, the liberals and conservatives disagree on some value premises that are unbridgeable and irreconcilable:



1. Liberals believe that continued increases in government spending, government pensions, etc. are sustainable, and conservatives do not.



2. Conservatives have little problem with some “survival of the fittest” economy measures that will leave some people in relatively terrible straits, and liberals believe that the government should help everybody to have rising minimal standards. Exemplary of this disagreement is the fact that throughout Maryland we have “Move to Opportunity” programs (known also as "Section 8") by which the public subsidizes middle class neighborhood habitation for those who cannot afford it.



3. The class hatred engendered by the convincing of those on the left that we must take more in taxes from those who make over $250,000 is accomplished by rhetoric which conflates "millionaires" and "billionaires," a rhetoric which ignores both the crippling effect even current taxes have on small business and the reality that about 47% of the public pays no income taxes. Parenthetically, also conflated in public discussion of taxes is "income tax increases" and "income tax reform," the latter of which is critical and the former of which is anathema to many serious conservatives.



Some underlying beliefs:



1. Liberals and progressives have believed that single-parent homes are just a lifestyle choice, wherein conservatives believe that they are the root of all major social pathologies and constitute the path to economic Armageddon. This sea change in the country's value hierarchy began around the time of 1964's social engineering and is represented by the "Do Your Own Thing" (and social responsibility be damned) philosophy.



2. Self-ennobling misperceptions abound: Social Security, wherein people get much, much more than they put in-plus-interest is just one such example.



3. Unlimited health insurance, the synecdoche for which is the new, unlimited psychiatric coverage for which you can get nonmedical counseling for life, will further break the already broken bank of the national budget. See Robert Samuelson's recent piece in the Washington Post, even though he doesn’t even get to all-covered psychiatry.


Democrats are appalled and infuriated that the welfare state may be attenuated and that some people will suffer. Republicans cannot believe that Democrats would rob our children and children's children for the advantage of entitlement-hungry and government-aid-hungry current citizens.



They are both correct empirically, but the conservative position is the one which is socially and economically responsible in the long run.






Professor Vatz teaches at Towson University









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