Friday, September 30, 2011

Shenanigans


Amazing....

Just when you thought that the map that was leaked to MarylandReporter.com was Linkthe worst that it could be, the Sun reports on these two maps that are being seriously Linkconsidered by the Democrats.

I had always assumed that the 2002 Congressional District boundaries, with their large swaths of criss-crossing lines that look like a Rorschach ink-blot experiment gone sorely awry, couldn't possibly topped. Even the Maryland Democratic Party could not come up with district designs that did a worse job of keeping communities of interest together....

Looks like I was wrong. And it looks like, as we suspected that the Maryland Democratic Party is more interested in giving two middle-fingers to the people of Maryland than they are about giving this state fair and equitable districts.

I'll let Todd Eberly of St. Mary's College says what needs to be said about this:

Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science at St. Mary's College of Maryland who is closely following the redistricting process, criticized both proposals and called the first map "almost disgusting to look at."

"One thing's clear: There is nothing about reflecting population change. There is no attempt to respect existing boundaries or neighborhoods. It's totally about maximizing Democratic votes, nothing else," he said.

Good job Democrats. Your petty arrogance shines for all to see once more...


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Troy Davis and Death Penalty Conundra

--Richard E. Vatz

The execution of Troy Davis has engendered yet another paroxysm of attacks on the existence of the death penalty in the American criminal justice system. This is an issue -- capital punishment -- on which this author has written before.

I am not going to go over the evidence in the Davis case because it is singular, unrepresentative and distracting to the serious issues surrounding arguments in favor of and in opposition to capital punishment. Moreover, the general innocence of Davis is far from established fact, but let's concede this was a questionable application of the ultimate penalty.

Two articles written pursuant to the execution illustrate why this hard case makes for irresponsible recommendations.

The first article in question is Ross Douthat's "Justice After Troy Davis" in The New York Times. This piece, a badly reasoned conservative piece (which may be why the Times printed it), argues among other things that one of the salutary consequences of the death penalty is that it focuses public attention on weaknesses in the criminal justice system. The article is skewered by Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic for its heartlessness and casuistry.

Granted.

Wherein there is racial discrimination in the use of the death penalty, it should be eliminated, perhaps by more liberal usage.

The arguments in favor of the death penalty that are probative include the following: 1. Some states don't have life sentences without parole; 2. Some crimes are so heinous that they should end in death for the perpetrator (e.g., Timothy McVeigh, the truck-bombing killer of Oklahoma City whose terrorism caused 168 deaths); and 3. There must be a penalty for lifers who order or perpetrate further murders.

Some arguments are completely contaminated by the inability to adjudicate them honestly and validly: despite the conviction of all anti-death penalty pundits who downplay or dismiss the "deterrent effect" of capital punishment, there is no serious controlled analysis of capital crime and capital punishment that can measure the behavioral effects on would-be killers of serious and widespread implementation of execution.

Almost forty years ago I told my students that there were public policy disputes that would never go away, including abortion and the death penalty. Neither lends itself to dispositive evidentiary analysis by fair-minded folks.

And the infernal, unstable public opinion polls that show the public as conflicted or zealously in favor of capital punishment when a particularly egregious capital crime is in the news can always be used to provide support for both sides of the death penalty debate.





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


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More Proof MD Dems are the Real Fat Cat Party

Haley Peterson of the Washington Examiner has a good piece on the gobs of campaign cash energy companies give to Governor O’Malley and Maryland Democrats.

Another major contributor to Maryland officials has been Energy Answers International, a New York company that is planning to build a controversial waste-burning power plant in Baltimore.

In June 2009, the company applied for a license to build the plant. Over the next two years, Energy Answers, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Mahoney and owner

Covanta Energy gave roughly $30,000 to the O'Malley administration and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

O'Malley in October 2010 praised the planned plant as a national model for green energy. Ten days later, the companies heaped $16,000 on him and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown through campaign donations.

Two other companies with interests in the planned plant -- Curtis Bay Energy and Old Fairfield LLC -- have contributed an additional $20,000 to O'Malley, Brown and Rawlings-Blake.

Peterson also mentions that Synergics Energy Development was one of the “top contributors.” Synergics is run by former Maryland Democratic Party chair Wayne Rogers. Rogers, you may remember, used his insider connections—looking at you Mike Miller—to obtain sweetheart legislation circumventing Public Service Commission regulation of his Western Maryland wind projects.

Of course this isn’t surprising given that we know—despite their class warfare rhetoric—Maryland Democrats are THE corporate fat cat party.

With such rampant cronyism among our one-party rulers it’s no wonder we’ve seen the sad litany of Democratic corruption over the last few years from Sheila Dixon, Jack and Leslie Johnson, and Ulysses Currie, and now Tiffany Alston.


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 9-29-2011

Hope you caught another great episode of Red Maryland Radio tonight. On this week's show:

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

  • Delegate Mike Smigiel joins us to discuss the upcoming Tea Party rally being held in Annapolis Linkon October 18th;

  • Greg had a conversation this week with Eric Wargotz; what was that about, and will he be making another run for the US Senate?

  • Andrew Langer joins us to talk about our newest network show, "The Broadside" which will launch Monday at 7 PM.

  • In our "This Week in Democratic Corruption" segment, Jimmy Braswell joins us as we talk about the first few days of State Senator Ulysses Currie's corruption trial;

  • And our NFL picks for the week.
All that and a whole lot 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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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Red Maryland Radio This Week

We have a gigantic episode of Red Maryland Radio this week, starting tomorrow night at 8. On this week's show:

  • Delegate Mike Smigiel joins us to discuss the upcoming Tea Party rally being held in Annapolis Linkon October 18th;

  • Greg had a conversation this week with Eric Wargotz; what was that about, and will he be making another run for the US Senate?

  • Andrew Langer will join us to talk about our newest network show, "The Broadside" which will launch Monday at 7 PM.

  • A map is floating around the purports to be the proposed Congressional redistricting map; I called it "two middle fingers to the people of Maryland". We'll talk more about it;

  • In our "This Week in Democratic Corruption" segment, we'll take about the first few days of State Senator Ulysses Currie's corruption trial;

  • And our NFL picks for the week.
All that and a whole lot more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday night at 8, on the Red LinkMaryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience returns tonight

The Jimmy Braswell Experience is back on the tonight and every Tuesday at 8 PM.

Be sure to follow the show on Twitter at @jbexp or like the fan page on Facebook.

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


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Perry and Romney: Republican Presidential Candidate Inconsistency

--Richard E. Vatz

The was not much new to be gleaned regarding Republican presidential frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in the recent Fox-Google Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Florida, but there was something that was reinforced: both candidates have serious incredulity-creating inconsistencies.

Pointing out opponents' deviation from a rigid consistency is an old game within and without politics. One of my favorite expressions is Ralph Waldo Emerson's "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

No one is perfectly consistent. There are situational differences that may make a liberal support a more aggressive foreign policy or a conservative support more government intervention. No one can or should be ideologically pure, even though the prurient searching for political rivals' inconsequential inconsistencies seems to obsess political aspirants.

As a conservative searching for a Howard Baker-type candidate for the Republicans in the 2012 presidential contest, I cannot get excited about the two major candidates, Perry and Romney.

Why?

Because they are dispositively inconsistent.

Would-be tough conservative Gov. Rick Perry is not unacceptably politically inconsistent because he governmentally mandated vaccinations with an executive order; he is unacceptably politically inconsistent because he not only supports subsidizing illegal immigrants' education in Texas with taxpayer money but also chastises Gov. Romney for not wanting to educate them, since it's not the illegals' fault: "I don't think you have a heart."

Is this the "Wizard of Oz" Perry?

And when Gov. Romney says his healthcare plan reflects conservative values because he would not require it nationwide, he overlooks the incredible wasteful overspending in that plan, exemplified by the psychiatric coverage that is exemplary of liberals' "therapeutic state." Virtually every problem, conflict and unhappiness is covered without limit. Also put some effort in eliminating inappropriate medical procedures, including those dictated by defensive medicine, and add tort reform.

Lord, are there no reasonably consistent conservatives who have a chance to be elected president?

I'll have to go to the polls and vote for one of these severely compromised Republican candidates.

Theirs are foolish inconsistencies.



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


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 9-22-2011

Hope you caught another great episode of Red Maryland Radio tonight. On this week's show:

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


All that and a whole lot 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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Searching for Corporatism WaPo Should Look Closer to Home

With the Solyndra scandal dogging the Obama administration the Washington Post editorialized on the “venture socialism” of Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. The Post takes Perry to task for his Emerging Technologies Fund a state run program that doled out $200 million in taxpayer money to over 100 companies. One company in particular, which received ETF money recently went bankrupt. Mitt Romney did the same in Massachusetts shoveling good money after bad at alternative energy companies. Fool me once Mitt…

The Post writes

Before Mr. DeMint came up with “venture socialism,” this inefficient and politicized form of resource allocation traveled under other names: “picking winners,” “industrial policy,” “corporate welfare” and “crony capitalism.” Whatever the moniker, selective subsidies do not “create” jobs; at best, they shift them from one place to another. That’s a lesson both parties need to learn.

Indeed it is. However, if the Post’s editorialists are so concerned about exposing this kind of corporatism they should look closer to home at Governor O’Malley’s “venture socialism.” InvestMaryland is a warmed over version of Perry and Romney’s programs, where O’Malley will be gambling $70 million of taxpayer money on start up companies.

Isn’t that something the editorial board of the most prominent paper in the region should be concerned about?


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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

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

All that and a whole lot more this week. Be sure to listen tonight at 8, on the Red LinkMaryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Now O'Malley Discovers Jobs

So it looks like Martin O'Malley finally realized that Maryland has a jobs problem. And he is considering introducing a "jobs bill" during next month's Special Session to do something about it. Of course, according to the Sun, it isn't like O'Malley is proposing anything that would actually create jobs:

A top administration official said the package could include an expansion of business tax credits for research and development and biotech investments, both of which have been popular.

The governor could add a third, yet-to-be disclosed, tax credit, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the plan.

This has to mean one of two things. One is that this, along with redistricting, is part of a very well crafted joke that the O'Malley Administration and the Democratic Leadership is foisting upon the people of Maryland, and that their real solutions will come along later.

Or it means that Martin O'Malley and the Democrats have decided to come up with another cockamamie "plan" to create jobs that will ultimately create no jobs for the average middle and working class Marylander that actually needs a job. We already saw earlier this year, with O'Malley's widely ballyhooed small business tax credit, that O'Malley's targeted tax credits are not an effective way to actually put people to work. The small business tax credit was only beneficial to those businesses that were already in an economically advantageous situation to hire in the first place, with or without the tax credit. The tax credit didn't create any job, it merely rewarded a few businesses that were already going to be expanding in the first place.

No, this revelation has nothing to do with jobs, and everything to do with Martin O'Malley's position as Chairman of the DGA, and his aspirational goal to be elected President in 2016. O'Malley is giving cover to the President for his cockamamie federal jobs program by presenting a cockamamie state jobs plan all his own.

Now that O'Malley has discovered that there is, in fact, a jobs problem in Maryland, he could take some proactive steps to actually facilitate job creation.
  • A repeal of the sales tax increase, lowering the rate back to 5%;
  • A reduction in business regulations to make Maryland more friendly to businesses;
  • A cut in the income tax rate, across the board;
  • At minimum, an across the board 2% reduction in state spending;
  • Dropping the proposed PlanMaryland zoning regulations.
All of these ideas would create a climate that would be better suited to entrepreneurship, small business growth, and job creation more so than any of O'Malley's tax credits could. This is the program that O'Malley and the Democrats should support.

Until then, O'Malley needs to go back to the drawing board and think of ways to protect and save jobs other than his own....


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience: 9-20-2011

Well, that was another different episode of The Jimmy Braswell Experience from this evening.

Jimmy and Ethan talked about all sorts of things:

  • Whiskey;
  • Government Contracts; and,
  • A bastaradized version of the Match Game.
So yeah. Interesting show.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


Be sure to listen each 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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Squeeze Maryland Juice get Fallacy








Last month David Moon at Maryland Juice cut and pasted an argument stating that red states are “the biggest welfare queens ever.” This is of course total hogwash as Marc Kilmer pointed out on MPPI’s policy blog.

One main problem with this analysis is that it equates “voters” with “states.” …

A more revealing statistic would be to see how those individuals who receive large amounts of government payments vote. Do people who receive TANF vote Democratic or Republican? How do government contractors vote? What about federal employees?...

The statistics cited by the Maryland Juice blogger don’t prove this, though. They are a crude measurement that simply measures states; they don’t capture the actions of individuals.

There are also other dynamics at work in the data—if you bothered to look beyond typing an argument from another blog in order to promote a fallacy.

Veronique de Rugy at Reason notes there are several reasons for this Red State/Blue State paradox.

One reason is that red states due to their lower population have on average more representation per capita in Congress and have an edge in wrangling federal dollars. Another is that most red states are lower income states and therefore due to the progressive income tax pay less in federal taxes. The flip side is of course that a lot of blue states are higher income and higher population states and have more people, and higher earners paying in.

Ranking the states according to the Tax Foundation’s data on federal taxes paid bears this out. Ranking the states according to federal money received shows the same blue states ranking near the top in that category as well.

The data doesn’t reveal much about ideology of the states or the voters so much as it does the peculiarities of each state or region. Take Maryland for instance, a deep blue state, which takes in more in federal tax revenue than it pays in. However, that isn’t “welfare” as Moon likes to call it. The disparity in what Maryland pays and what it takes is in part due to the state’s large federal workforce and more importantly federal contracting dollars. Maryland’s economy is intrinsically tied to federal spending, and that’s not a good thing.

The federal government owns a lot of land in western states and tax revenue is funneled back to those states through the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Indeed, five of the top-ten “welfare queens” are western states.

A 2007 paper by Andrew Gelman Boris Shor “Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State” gets more at Kilmer’s question about individual voters. They find that that income is a factor in red states—the rich tend to vote Republican—and less so in blue states. Factors other than income matters to rich voters in blue states.

This goes along way to explain what’s the matter with Montgomery County? Montgomery has over 40 percent of the state’s families making over $250,000, and generates over 80 percent of the state’s revenue. They are the ATM for Annapolis spending. Yet they still vote against their economic interests and for politicians who continue to raid their wallets. As Blair Lee wrote on the eve of the 2007 special session, “Montgomery’s state lawmakers support the governor’s income tax plan because it’s ‘‘progressive,” it taxes the wealthy who mostly live in Montgomery. So, as usual, our representatives place principle over politics. Taxing ourselves more is the right thing to do, they say.”

If, as Thomas Frank argued, the GOP duped Kansans into ignoring their own economic interests and vote Republican based on cultural issues, then how does he explain rich Marylanders voting against their economic interests?

All this complicates young master Moon’s rather pedestrian argument. Of course, he wasn’t interested in making an argument rather than regurgitating Democratic talking points.

Moon did respond to MPPI’s criticism, the short version of it is: “OMG THEY ARE FUNDED BY THE KOCH BROTHERS,” without actually providing any evidence MPPI is funded by the Koch brothers.



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The Jimmy Braswell Experience returns tonight

The Jimmy Braswell Experience is back on the tonight and every Tuesday at 8 PM.

Be sure to follow the show on Twitter at @jbexp or like the fan page on Facebook.

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


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The Misinterpreting of Crowds: the "Sadistic" Tea Party

--Richard E. Vatz

"By cheering in favor of letting a young man die if he's sick and uninsured, Republicans unwittingly dumped on its head the proposition that they are the 'party of life.' " -- Lewis W. Simons, member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, USA Today, Why Americans Don't Just "Let Them Die," September 20, 2011


I could have easily produced a score of significant observers who parroted the line that in the recent Republican presidential debate Tea Partiers cheered broadly a man's dying because he took a chance by not acquiring health insurance and could not afford necessary intensive care.

The analysis that follows is applicable as well to the alleged cheering of the relatively large number of executed criminals in Texas.

I will never forget as a teenager seeing my Pittsburgh Pirate hero, Roberto Clemente, booed at a game when he was in a rare slump. How confusing -- I heard the jeering which seemed to envelop the stadium, and yet I saw literally no one booing.

How could that be, and how does that apply to the analysis of the Tea Party-sanctioned recent Republican presidential debate?

Let me sum up with reluctant testimony (the New York Times' Paul Krugman) what happened at the debate: "CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, 'That's what freedom is all about -- taking your own risks." Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether 'society should just let him die.' and the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of 'Yeah!' "

Well, the crowd didn't erupt; very, very few people "erupted," but it sounded loud. Look at the videotape.

There is a universal misperception: the booing and cheering of crowds almost always leads many observers to infer -- erroneously -- that a large proportion of the crowd is participating.

A number of observations need to be made without ambiguity:

1. It takes but a tiny percentage of booing crowd participants to sound as if the entire crowd is booing.

2. It takes a larger, but still a relatively small, percentage of cheering crowd participants to sound as if the entire crowd is cheering.

3. Crowd opinion has low stability and is prone to buyer remorse; people may, moved by crowd contagion, boo or cheer a person or point and regret it soon.

I am not a Tea Partier, but I know many. Almost all are well-motivated conservatives, and only a few are irresponsible. The latter is simply unrepresentative of the group as a whole, but when they boo or cheer, they sound like 10-100 times their numbers.

Journalists should remember that -- always.

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

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


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