Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is Brigham Young University's Football Team Ethical?

--Richard E. Vatz

Here is the set-up: Brigham Young University's Cougars, the football team of America's biggest religious university, won a football game against Tulsa (as described by the Associated Press) by "[hurrying] to the line with a call to spike the ball and stop the clock. Instead, [quarterback Riley] Nelson faked the spike and then threw his third touchdown pass...with 11 seconds left to give the Cougars a 24-21 victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl..."

The coach, Bronco Mendenhall, was proud and "smiling," saying "that's the kind of magic of the guys that I get to coach."

Let's stipulate some points, and if you don't agree with these premises, you might not wish to read any further:

1. This cheap trickery is not analogous to a fake anything. Fake punts, fake passes, and feints and reverses are all part of sports combat wherein your ability to deal with multiple athletic strategies is open and above board.

2. Football combat is a measure of physical prowess and mental alertness on the field, not the ability to make the other team think that play is over.

3. This treacherous play was legal and the responsibility and blame for losing the game is Tulsa's, who must be aware of the universal sports admonition, "Be on guard at all times." Praise for winning the game, it says here, does not go to Brigham Young. Certainly not without any qualms.

I have been a tennis athlete all of my life. Somewhat analogous here is the quick serve.

I have never seen it called; maybe it is the same thing.

Wonder if Brigham Young could have won on a last-second play? We'll never know. They'll never know. What a great memory -- they won by tricking Tulsa into believing there was not a play being played.

I'd be interested in hearing whether readers would be proud of their university if they won a bowl game this way, or if they at least would wonder if this is consistent with the sportsmanship one expects, especially, I would have thought, from Brigham Young University.

Maybe one would expect this from a professional team, but colleges should play to a higher moral level.

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

More below the fold.

One Week Until the Red Maryland Tweetup

We're only one week away from the Red Maryland Network Meetup and Tweetup. Come out and meetup with the Red Maryland Network, our contributors, readers, fans, and other great Maryland Conservatives.

Join us at Two Rivers Steak and Fish House, 4105 Mountain Road in Pasadena next Saturday, January 7th at 2 PM for this great event.

The event is free, the only cost to you is whatever you eat and drink.

Confirmed attendees include:

  • Me
  • Greg Kline
  • Mark Newgent
  • Jimmy Braswell
  • Andrew Langer

Feel free to RSVP to the Facebook event page here.

For more information, feel free to shoot me an email (brian-at-briangriffiths-dot-com) or find me on Twitter @BrianGriffiths.

More below the fold.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mitt Romney Whole-Hearted Endorsement for President in 2012

--Richard E. Vatz

The Republican Favorite-of-the-Month Club (not to be confused with late heavyweight champion Joe Louis' "Bum-of-the-Month Club" at the end of the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s) persists with the current spotlight on former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. He was preceded by major paroxysms of support for Rick Perry (is this the season for "Ricks"? I am ready to serve), Newt Gingrich, and some even say, per the Iowa caucuses, Ron Paul. When the hyperactive but uninformed Republican electorate becomes informed that these rising stars have policy and/or electoral feet of clay, it goes on to the newest unvetted rising star.

But it's time to get serious. The Republican Whack-a-Mole game must end.

There are but two main issues respecting which candidate should be the Republican nominee for president to replace the rhetorically gifted but policy judgment-challenged President Barack Obama: who is most competent and who has the best chance to win. This perspective is simply an iteration and application of the late William F. Buckley's perspicacious, pithy criterion of the need to choose the best electable conservative.

Mitt Romney is that individual and earns this writer's endorsement for the Republican nomination for president. (This is not a Red Maryland endorsement, only one of their blogger's.)

Romney is the most substantively prepared Republican candidate. As evidenced by the series of candidate debates, he understands that the Democratic "Entitlement Presidency" is the road to devastating economic Europeanism. He knows that pitting Americans against one another is the blueprint for creating insoluble national problems. His business background gives a shot-in-the-arm of economic expertise now missing in the presidency.

He abjures the passive acceptance of the Obama Administration toward Iran's nuclear weapon acquisition program. He knows that when you introduce troops into foreign territory for critical national interest and/or moral reasons that the announcing of a premature "exit strategy" is a guarantor of long-term failure.

Have I hesitations regarding supporting Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination? Yes, there are no perfect candidates. Romney's health care program in Massachusetts and changes of position cause some concern, but his changes appear to be either reasonable or concessions he found necessary to be elected as Massachusetts' governor. Even unquestionably conservative Ann Coulter supports Mitt Romney’s candidacy.

There will always be naïve single-issue voters or those allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good who will carp about any excellent candidate's imperfection. Tell me historically any consensually great president who had no significant weakness. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the right to writs of habeas corpus. FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court. The divorced Ronald Reagan brought problems for his first term candidacy, and his quitting Lebanon and poor presidential debate performance in 1984 brought head-shaking to that election cycle. There are no exceptions to the "Imperfect Presidential Candidate Rule."

Count this as one bottom-line, enthusiastic statement of support for Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate. As another imperfect Republican principal used to say, "Experience Counts," and, adding his substantive superiority, Mitt Romney, per the Buckley admonition, is clearly the best electable conservative for president in 2012.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of the new book The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012)

More below the fold.

O'Malley Repeats Budget Cuts Fiction

Speaking to reporters yesterday Governor O'Malley repeated the lie that he has cut the state budget.

O'Malley told the Annapolis press corps, "Ever since this recession hit we've been relying almost exclusively, with some exceptions, but almost exclusively on the cuts. That's why we've racked up $6.8 billion in cuts."

Except that under O'Malley the state budget has ballooned.

Here’s how much O’Malley spent in his five budgets since he took office in 2007.

2008: 29.4 billion

2009: 30.7 billion

2010: 32.2 billion

2011. 32.0 billion

2012: 34.2 billion

That’s a 16.3 percent increase between fiscal years 2008 and 2012. Furthermore, O’Malley increased general fund spending from $13.2 billion in 2011 to to $14.6 billion in 2012 an increase of 11 percent—one of the largest in the nation.

Did any reporter in the room bother to correct the governor on his patently untrue claim?

O'Malley talks about a "balanced approach" ostensibly meaning cuts and tax increases. However, his record has been heavy on the taxes (and fees) and no cuts.

It's time the state house reporters call him out.

More below the fold.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Red Maryland Radio Year in Review Special: 12-29-2011

Hope you caught this week's big Year in Review episode of Red Maryland Radio this week.

Greg and I checked in on some of the big topics from this year, including the death of William Donald Schaefer, redistricting, the DREAM Act, the troubles of the Maryland Republican Party, tax hikes, and the ever present stench of corruption in Maryland.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

All that and a whole lot 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.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Red Maryland Radio Year in Review airs Tomorrow

Just to prove the point that somebody is broadcasting live this week, don't forget that we have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio, our Year in Review, starting Thursday night at 8.

Greg and I will talk about the top stories for 2011, and what they mean to you. Of course, we will also be providing you with your favorite topic, the NFL picks segment

Be sure to listen this 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.

More below the fold.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Broadside is on tonight

The Broadside is on tonight with a per-recorded Festivus episode with Andrew Langer.

Don't forget to catch The Broadside every Monday at 7 only on the Red Maryland Network, and subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from Red Maryland

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas from all of us at Red Maryland to you and yours.

More below the fold.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Martin O'Malley must Resign

Enough is enough for the people of the state of Maryland.

The revelation that Richard Stewart, one of the appointees to the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Commission pleaded guilty last week to tax evasion was bad enough. The idea that Governor O'Malley and his staff were unaware of the fact that Stewart entered a guilty plea a week ago, and even more, in public statements, oblivious to the fact that Stewart was even under investigation is worse. Now, word on the street might be that Governor O'Malley and his staff may have known about the allegation and did nothing about it is really the straw that broke the camel's back, at least for me.

This is one of the more disturbing stories that I have seen in quite some time; Martin O'Malley appointed a tax fraud to help draw our Congressional and Legislative District lines. The fact that a crook helped in this process is mind-boggling to me. Do the people of Maryland have any way of being certain that Richard Stewart was fair, above-board, and honest in his dealings with the Redistricting Advisory Committee? If somebody has defrauded the government of taxes, surely they are capable of making deals with special interests to be their champion on this committee yes? That's not to accuse Stewart or anybody else of doing that, but now it is certainly not out of the realm of suspicion given Stewart's guilty plea.

Complicating matters even more is the fact that the fact that Stewart is a member of the Maryland Stadium Authority. Think about the number of contracts that the MSA hands out on a yearly basis. Just this month, the Stadium Authority dealt with renovations at Camden YaLinkrds, building a new stadium for D.C. United in the D.C. suburbs, and selling $102 million worth of bonds. So not only does Stewart have a hand in drawing our reapportionment map, he's got a pipeline right to the trough of state spending, leading to the potential of even further corruption.

And that's to say nothing of the far reaching corruption that was uncovered at the State Highway Administration.

Let's face it: nobody is paying much attention in the O'Malley Administration.

Since his re-election to the Governor's Office last year, Martin O'Malley seems to be spending less and less time focusing on his day job as the Governor of Maryland. He is completely consumed, it would appear, with being the chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association. Sure, he airdrops in every once in a while for big stuff, such as the Plan Maryland debacle. He will call for tax increases, and he will run down opponents to his big government liberalism. But it has become plain as day that Martin O'Malley has mentally checked out of anything resembling the pertinent details of running this state. Martin O'Malley is too busy launching his 2016 Presidential Campaign to worry too much about the details of running a state.

And that's where the problem really comes in. Let's face it, finding out that Richard Stewart was a tax fraud took Steve Kolbe a mere Google search to discover. You would think that the Administration would've put at least that much effort into appointing somebody to help draw the legislative districts that would define our state for the next ten years, especially knowing that the Congressional and Legislative districts were almost certain to wind up in court.

If the O'Malley Administration is punting on the level of effort it takes to accomplish the simple things, what important things are being completely overlooked by this administration? It seems that O'Malley and company are too busy measuring the drapes at the White House and jetting off to the next campaign stop to notice that corruption is rampant in their administration.

And therein lies the rub. Maryland is currently struggling with a number of problems without having an absentee Governor. Stewart is a tax cheat. Ulysses Currie just skated by on corruption chargers. Tiffany Alston has been charged with stealing from her campaign. The culture of corruption in Annapolis is continuing to spiral out of control. Meanwhile, the people of Maryland are continuing to suffer from an economic climate that is not conducive to job creation, job creation, or economic prosperity for Maryland's middle and working class families. Simultaneously, it seems like only the politically connected are getting tax breaks and government subsidies, as we have seen with O'Malley's Offshore Wind Plan and other examples of rampant corporatism in Maryland. The kind of corporatism you generally find with political corruption.

Maryland has far too many problems to have questions right now about the propriety of its government leaders (hence the ethics program that we have previously discussed). The fact that Maryland has an absentee Governor who does not have his hand on the ship of state is particularly problematic in that type of situation. What Maryland needs right now is not a third-rate Irish rock singer who thinks that he wants to be President of the United States. We need somebody who is going to actually fulfill the Constitutional duties assigned to the office of the Governor. And Martin O'Malley doesn't seem to want to do that.

The time for leadership is now, and Martin O'Malley should show some leadership and let Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who actually seems like he wouldn't mind having the job, take over and try to see what one can do as Governor when it's your primary focus. At this point, given his record, given his ability to focus on details, and given the fact that his day job is keeping him away from his true dream of running for President of the United States, I call on Martin O'Malley to resign the office of Governor of Maryland immediately.

The job of Governor of Maryland, both in this culture of corruption and in the current economic climate, is far too important to be left in the hands of somebody so disinterested in executing it. Therefore, it is in both the best interest of the people of Maryland as well as the current Governor for him to step aside and allow somebody else to lead our state.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio: Christmas Edition, 12-22-11

Hope you caught this week's big Christmas episode of Red Maryland Radio this week.

In addition to Christmas, we also talked a bit about the recent revelation that Redistricting Committee member Richard Stewart is a tax fraud.


Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

All that and a whole lot 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.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio Christmas Special Tonight

Don't forget that we have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio, our Christmas show starting tonight at 8.

After talking about Governor O'Malley's Redistricting Committee Scandal, Greg and I will talk about Christmas songs, and movies and what not, as well as providing you with your favorite topic, the NFL picks segment

Be sure to listen this 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.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Jimmy Braswell Experience Christmas Special

Yup, this featured Jimmy Braswell's Scrooge. Very much worth a look...

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

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

More below the fold.

Tonight: The Jimmy Braswell Experience presents "Jimmy Braswell's Scrooge

Yup. You read that right. Tonight on The Jimmy Braswell Experience, it's Jimmy Braswell's Scrooge.

Join Jimmy, Ethan, Craig, and I tonight at 8 for You can listen live on RMN on watch the show live on UStream at 8 PM.

More below the fold.

The Broadside 12-19-11

Hope you caught another exciting episode of The Broadside.

Thanks to Andi Morony for pinch hitting in the co-host seat.

The Renegades Richard Cross and Joe Steffen gave us their insight and perspective on the conviction of Bob Ehrlich campaign chief Paul Schurick on fraud and conspiracy charges related to those election night robocalls.

Greg Kline talked about Governor O'Malley proposed legislative redistricting map.

Andi talked about the dangers of Plan Maryland

And we got a surprise analysis on the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il from Broadside Far East correspondent John Morony.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

Subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes

More below the fold.

Ron Smith: The Real Thing

--Richard E. Vatz

Ron Smith was the best at what he did. There was no luck in his success, except perhaps in marrying the exceptional June. He discussed political issues on “The Ron Smith Show” with the best and brightest, present company excepted, and he never met an argument he shied from confronting.

How was he off-the-air? The only difference in the off-air Ron Smith was that he displayed even more intensity, if possible, than he displayed on the air. He respected his tremendous WBAL colleagues off-air – always.

He was honesty personified: he never, to my knowledge, uttered an opinion he didn’t hold, and he never denied an opinion he did hold. What was his most salient information-gathering quality?

Ed Kiernan, WBAL’s general manager, said it precisely and perfectly in David Zurawik’s superb column today: Ron was “a voracious reader.” Everything he could get his hands on, he read. So why was he such an inveterate reader? Because he was insatiably curious, the necessary component for being an interesting discussant and being “Talk Show Man,” a title once used by a columnist on one of that writer’s churlish days to disparage Ron, but accepted as a compliment by the always unthreatened Ron Smith.

Ron was interested in all contentious issues. He sought out the best articulation of views that were the opposite of his own. He was a genuine scholar. I was not in Ron's inner circle, but I knew him as a politically compatible guest on his show for years and years and a friend who would dine with him on odd occasion at The Oregon Grille.

Ron Smith, simply put, was the best radio talk show host I have known, and there are and have been some good ones nationally and, indeed, locally. This is a professional judgment, informed by the research and teaching I have done on Media Criticism, unaffected by the warmth I feel toward him.

As I was quoted in Zurawik’s column today, I think of the same words frequently whenever I think of Ron: he hated insipid conversation. I also said what everyone notices, that Ron was well-informed, but that doesn’t say it all. He was conversant with an incredible wealth of categories and issues -- politics, economics, criminology and more – and this was truly daunting for those who would challenge him.

He had nary any intellectual insecurities; he would tackle the best arguments on issues consistently and compellingly. I am a genuine expert on a specific area, the Szaszian philosophy of mental illness. Ron and I have gone toe-to-toe on issues relating to that philosophy, and Ron, who is 90% with Thomas Szasz’s positions, gave me the toughest fight on that issue, hands-down.

We always seemed to disagree. In his last days on the air, we disagreed – we agreed on so much, but on the air it seems we never agreed – on the need for hyper-security at airports, and we had our usual great fight. “Nothing personal,” as Ron said on the show, but we loved the fight: fair, unyielding and substantive, always substantive.

We disagreed humorously, but sincerely. The fight for which we are best known together was on whether Christiane Amanpour was fetching. Were we kidding? I still don’t know, but Ron thought she was not as I saw her. It became a facetious running feud, but I can tell you that Ron never gave an opinion he didn’t actually hold.

The intensity was sometimes more on the air, but there was no fakery to Ron. He respected his callers tremendously, but not all of his callers. He might from time to time cut a caller short, but it was never due to his being threatened by a good opposing argument; it was due to the caller's obtuseness or the caller who persistently -- and it was only when that persistence never stopped --interrupted him and talked over him, uninterested in a dialogue.

If you weren’t interested in dialogue, Ron wasn’t interested in you. Regarding such callers, incidentally, I shall never understand Ron's patience to the extent it was there.

Finally, I want to say that in another David Zurawik column Ron compliments personally some political adversaries, and I have had identical experiences with those he names: Gov. Martin O’Malley, Barbara Mikulski, Doug Gansler, and Peter Franchot. That tells you a lot about the quality of political disagreement in which Ron Smith engaged: it was all about the issues and was never personal with quality people, which these politicians are, and at the top of that list is Ron Smith.

Richard E. Vatz, a Towson University professor, was a frequent guest on Ron Smith's show.

More below the fold.

Ron Smith RIP

(photo by Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun)

Our friend Ron Smith died last night from pancreatic cancer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife June the, Smith family, and our friends at WBAL where Ron was the Voice of Reason for for 27 years.

Ron was a local treasure. He dispensed hard truths inconvenient facts at time our leaders willfully ignore such things.

He will be missed.

I can think of two ways to honor Ron.

1. Donate to Team Reason, proceeds go to The Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Research Center.
2. Pick up a copy of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. So much of what Ron taught his listeners is in this "indispensable" book as he called it.

Requiescat in pace

More below the fold.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

ABC News: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

--Richard E. Vatz

Want to know which is the most conflicted network of December, 2011?

It is ABC, the network which just recently sported the childish “gotcha” analysis of a Republican Presidential debate and which just booted Christiane Amanpour, arguably the best Sunday talk show host, off the Sunday air.

At the Republican December 10, 2011 debate, Mitt Romney, you will recall, offered a $10,000 bet to Rick Perry regarding whether Romney had changed something in his book to avoid looking like he was supporting individual mandates in government health insurance – he hadn’t. But his choice of the amount to pseudo-bet, $10,000, caused a unanimous gaggle of ABC reporters to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of public revulsion at the temerity of such a bet. The amount, they breathlessly cried in unison, would offend everyone under pressure in the current economy.

This was much ado about nothing, except that when a network hosting a debate makes much ado, it becomes something.

Check Kathleen Parker’s argument as to why it was a rhetorically well-chosen amount; no matter, ABC’s pseudo-debate analysts ensured public outcry.

On the other hand: the same ABC’s “This Week” had a spectacularly informative debate this morning, dwarfing competing talk shows: a debate hosted by Christiane Amanpour, whom even my bud Ron Smith likes, but does not find as fetching as I.

The hour-long debate on economic policy and political philosophy was between George F. Will and Paul Ryan on the conservative side and Barney Frank and Robert Reich on the other.

What a substantive clash. I may do a substantive analysis of it at a later date, but suffice it to say it was the most illuminating and educating show I have seen on a network news program, perhaps ever. Rep. Frank may have spoken a little long and interrupted a little much, but it was fascinating to see the best articulation of policy and philosophical differences facing the country, perhaps, again, in my memory.

There is nothing like an honorable debate among the best policy representatives the country has to offer. They are not the only such representatives, but tell me since William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” went off the air when a better clash has transpired.

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

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Network Programming Notes for This Week

Twas the week before Christmas, and as a gift you'll get at least four straight days of Red Maryland Network programming this week:

Be sure to stay attuned to all of our programming this week!

More below the fold.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Judge Tosses O'Malley Admin State Center Countersuit

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Althea Handy tossed out the O'Malley administration's countersuit against downtown business owners opposed to the State Center boondoggle project.

This clears the way for State Center opponents to proceed with their lawsuit claiming the O'Malley administration violated procurement laws in selecting the well connected developers for the project.

Attorney for State Center opponents Alan Rifkin called Judge Handy's decision "entirely consistent with the First Amendment right to petition government with out fear or threat of retribution."

Judge Handy's full opinion below

12-16-11 ORDER - Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim

More below the fold.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Final 2011 Republican Presidential Debate and Overall Debate Outcomes

--Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.

The Fox debate tonight from Sioux City, Iowa, a substance-filled debate, was excellently moderated, particularly by Chris Wallace and Bret Baier. Megyn Kelly and Neil Cavuto were fine. There was perhaps a larger array of issues than I have seen in a presidential debate.

There is too much to summarize, so let me just give some of the conclusions gleaned from all the debates, as seen by a moderate conservative who likes all of the candidates, believes that all of them, save Ron Paul, would be a better president than Barack Obama, and is charged up by some of the toughness which admittedly can lose general elections.

--Newt Gingrich, who has got my juices going with his outraged incredulity at the Administration's liberal domestic policy and particularly the plundering of the economy in worship of the environmental idol. Newt’s previous refusal to bow to journalists’ superciliousness also wins me over, but his periodic over-the-top rhetoric along with his general antagonistic political baggage will not win in 2012’s general election.

--Mitt Romney’s preparation is non pareil, and his ability to articulate wherein he has yielded to liberal Massachusetts’ political correctness seems not unreasonable as he governed the second most leftwing state in the union. His healthcare package cannot be reconciled with conservative values, although it is not as bad as a national package, so he retains a foot in Reaganland -- but his psychiatric coverage? Yikes. I support him, per the Reagan Admonition, as the most viable conservative candidate. His and others’ attacks on President Obama’s naiveté and tendencies toward foreign policy appeasement were chilling.

--Ron Paul is brilliant, but his isolationist foreign policy would, I believe, lead either to a nuclear exchange or major military miscalculations by our enemies – all of them.

--Anyone who thinks that Michele Bachmann is a dilettante or limited on public policy understanding like Sarah Palin is simply, without qualification, wrong. She does her homework and is often quite precise in detail, and has limited her over-the-topness for weeks, if not months. She defeated Gingrich straight up regarding his involvement in Government Supported Enterprises.

--Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry continue to be not uninteresting, but no-chance aspirants for the Republican nomination. Rick Perry has come back from his gaffes to be a good participant, but he is out of the race. Since Santorum is the only one who ever brings up the issue of America’s destructive destigmatizing of broken families, I cannot wish he had been absent from these debates, however.

--Even in tonight’s generally excellent exchanges, please never have 30-second limitations for answers, and please, all moderators, reject the impulse to ask why a candidate is not doing better. It is just wasting valuable air time. Thank God there appears to be an end to “Raise your hand if you believe X.”

--Since the last two debates have been so well moderated, let me repeat this refrain: moderators, the debate is not about how clever you are, nor should you be a focus of the debates. If your ego won’t allow you to ask good questions and steer inquiries to the right candidate, don’t moderate the debate. I know: fat chance.

Overall: very valuable debates, and reasonable conservatives – who must vote in primaries, not leaving the field to the radicals – should have a good idea of the most conservative candidate who can win the presidential election in 2012.

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

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio: 12-15-2011

Hope you caught another big episode of Red Maryland Radio this week.

On this week's show:

  • Greg starts with "Network Notes";

  • Brian and Greg discuss Congressional races in Maryland, as well as the 2012 Presidential Election;

  • And Mark Newgent returns with our NFL picks segment.

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

All that and a whole lot 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.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio is on the air

Don't forget that we have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio TONIGHT at 8.

Be sure to listen this 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.

More below the fold.

You Can't Have A "Balanced Approach" If You've Never Cut Spending

Maryland Reporter editor Len Lazarick’s analysis piece on Maryland’s dire budget outlook provides an excellent picture of the willful blindness that is the progressives “balanced approach” meme.

Public employee unions, nonprofit groups and education advocates have been huddling in recent weeks to organize support for what they call “a balanced approach” to the continuing fiscal mess facing Maryland.

“Balanced approach” means balancing next year’s budget with its continuing billion-dollar shortfall not just with spending cuts but with more revenues: tax hikes. These include tax increases on millionaires, corporations, internet sales and a long list of consumer services, not to mention cigars and gasoline – a pretty inflammatory mix in all.

“States are facing the worst financial crisis since the Depression,” said Jon Shure of the Center for Budget & Tax Policy in Washington and a Bethesda resident. The states are experience “the biggest drop in revenues that they ever seen,” he said.

“There are some people who want to take advantage of this crisis to shrink government,” Shure said. But like someone who has lost his job and can’t pay his mortgage, “you don’t have a spending problem, you have an income problem.” (This flips the mantra of Republican legislators, who like to say, “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.)

Shure argues that “cutting makes it harder to build a strong economy,” and state governments can quickly put revenues back into the economy.

Neil Bergsman of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute – an affiliate of the Maryland Nonprofits Association — said “we need government to step up and provide some demand.” The state has already “cut services” – scaled back increased spending – and reduced government jobs.

Balanced approach? Cuts? Where exactly are the cuts? We know Governor O’Malley likes to claim he’s “…cut the state budget by more than any governor in Maryland history.” Yet that claim ranks right up there on the BS scale with “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

Maryland’s total budget has increased over 16 percent since O’Malley first took office in 2007. O’Malley increased general fund spending by 11 percent this fiscal year—one of the largest increases in the nation.

Progressives can try to reverse the conservative spending versus revenue argument, but the data lays bare their fallacy. Since 1997, Maryland general fund spending has increased 97 percent while revenues increased by only 78 percent. Those revenues include O’Malley’s $1.4 billion worth 2007 special session tax increases. Of course, during that special session he increased spending by the same amount.

Sorry Mr. Shure, but spending nearly 20 percent more than you take in isn’t an “income problem.”

More below the fold.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Red Maryland Radio this week

Don't forget that we have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this week, starting Thursday night at 8.

Be sure to listen this 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.

More below the fold.

Offshore Wind Is Not Worth Our Money

According to the Washington Post, Delaware’s offshore wind project is now on hold.

Why? Because the government subsidies other corporatist goodies, which make these kinds of boondoggles possible are no longer available.

New Jersey-based NRG Energy, however, said in a statement Monday that the outlook for offshore wind has changed dramatically over the last two years. The company cited two decisions by Congress that could significantly affect financing for any offshore wind project. Not one has yet been built in the United States.

Congress this summer eliminated funding for the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program applicable to offshore wind, and has failed to agree on how to extend a Federal Investment and Production Tax Credit for offshore wind that will expire in 2012.

Like the Delaware project, Governor O’Malley’s own offshore wind boondoggle can only exist if other people’s money pays for it.

O’Malley’s offshore wind project, like RGGI and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, is a cheap political goal masquerading as sound public policy, very bad policy.

It is intended to burnish his progressive resume as he seeks higher office. If O'Malley's offshore wind project is approves. We'll be paying the price for it long after he's gone.

More below the fold.

REAL Ethics and Transparency Reform

Center Maryland political columnist, Josh Kurtz, penned a navel gazing piece about the recent flurry of corruption we’ve seen in Maryland politics.

But no one in any position of authority is saying we’ve got a problem here, let alone offering solutions.

Of course, Johnson’s 87-month sentence and Schurick’s conviction are just scenes in a long-running play one might be tempted to call “That Corrupt Season.”

Sandwiched between those seminal events were state Sen. Uly Currie’s corruption trial last month — he was acquitted but still faces a probe by a legislative ethics committee that could lead to his ouster from the General Assembly — the 366-day prison sentence imposed on Leslie Johnson, Jack Johnson’s wife, for her role in the Prince George’s scandal; the trial of state Del. Tiffany Alston, who is accused of using campaign funds for her wedding and other personal activities, scheduled to begin the same week the 2012 legislative session does; and the February trial of Schurick’s alleged co-conspirator, political operative Julius Henson.

And taking an even longer view, you can draw a straight — ok, a crooked — line, all the way from Spiro Agnew to Marvin Mandel, from the Mitchell brothers to Larry Young, from Gerry Curran to Gerry Evans, from Tommie Broadwater to Tommy Bromwell, until the line finds its way to Tiffany Alston and all who will come after her…

How do you legislate against this kind of behavior? And again, where is the outrage? Where is Gov. Martin O’Malley? Or Senate President Mike Miller, now a quarter century into the job? Or House Speaker Mike Busch, entering his 10th year in that post? Why does no one squawk when Congressman Steny Hoyer publicly hails Uly Currie like a long lost brother just days after his acquittal and declares “the system works”?

I doubt the liberal Kurtz would go for getting government out of so much of the private sphere—which is the petri dish that grows the very culture of corruption he decries.

Sorry Josh, but you can’t be a cheerleader for “bold progressive Democratic governance,” (and the concomitant government encroachment of the private sphere that progressive policy and politics demands. ) then turn around and decry the corruption, corporatism, and crony capitalism it breeds.

Don’t look to O’Malley, Miller, or Busch for outrage either. Taking on corruption would mean bucking the special interests that put them in power.

Kurtz asked the question “How do you legislate against this kind of behavior?” I don’t think you can legislate against human nature. As Jonah Goldberg says we’re all cut from the crooked timber of humanity, and bad actors are going to do what they want no matter what the law says—state ethics laws didn’t stop Ulysses Currie.

However, we can make it easier for the public to discover and shed the disinfectant of sunlight on public corruption and cronyism.

The Maryland Young Republicans (Full disclosure: Brian Griffiths is MDYR President, and I am VP of Communications) put together a seven-point package of ethics and transparency reform proposals.

1. Real-time disclosures: Require legislators, appointees, and all relevant officials to file financial disclosures for the current legislative period. Currently the forms are not due until a year after the previous legislative session.

2. Electronic Databases: Electronic access to financial disclosure forms for the public. Create an online database with downloadable PDFs of financial disclosure forms.

3. Notifications: Eliminate notification of filer when someone looks up their disclosure form.

4. Conflicts of Interest: Alter campaign finance laws to prohibit committees from using vendor companies that are owned wholly or in part by other legislators. Or if another legislator is employed by that vendor.

5. Lobbying Disclosures: Enhance lobbying disclosure requirements, require:

a. Bills/regulations they are lobbying for or against

b. Clients for which they are lobbying and their position on bills/regulations;

c. Legislators they lobbied;

d. How much spent per client;

e. Submit log of dates and times of contacts with legislators, state officials;

6. Sunset Period: Prohibit legislators, legislative staff, and executive branch staff from lobbying on state issues for a period of five years after their employment with the state ends.

7. Budget Databases: Require the Department of Budget and Management to:

a. Create searchable database of any entity receiving state loans in excess of $10,000. (SB 389/HB 638 from 2011 session).

b. Create a searchable database (dating back to FY 2008) any state payments exceeding $1,000 to entities designated 501c3 or 501c4 by the Internal Revenue Service.

I call Point 4 the McIntosh Rule.

We encourage any state legislator to drop any and or all of our proposals as legislation in the upcoming legislative session.

More below the fold.