Thursday, November 30, 2006

That Sums Up the Night

A muffed punt late in the game....yeah, that pretty much tells the story of tonight's game.

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The longer this game goes on, the worse the Gumbel/Collinsworth team gets. Gumbel can't even keep the score straight. Borat would be a better choice right now than what we're stuck with.


Slowly Getting There

Apparently the New Horizons probe has spotted the former planet Pluto, where its due to arrive in eight-and-a-half years. It's here in this image.

I think I'll have to take the scientists word on this one; to the layman it looks like a bunch of dots.


Just Saying..

...but I was annoyed with the Bryant Gumbel and Chris Collinsworth broadcasting team before Stover even kicked off tonight.

Gumbel is awful as a play-by-play man. Collinsworth is already doing what he does, which is step all over his partner.

Help me...

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The Right Choice

In case you have not heard, Louis Pope, National Committeeman for the Party, has withdrawn from the race to be State Republican Party Chairman (his full statement can be viewed at Greg Kline's site). He and Lt. Governor Steele have thrown their support to Dr. Jim Pelura .

I am extremely pleased by this decision. Dr. Jim has a great deal of experience working on campaigns and within the party from the local level as a former member of our county's Central Committee, up to the state level as Maryland Chairman of Bush-Cheney '04. As I stated a few days ago:
One thing the party needs for the next four years is a direction and a consistency of leadership. The party needs a chairman who understands the importance of building local parties in addition to raising funds and promoting the ideals of the party. But it also needs a fresh outlook, somebody who can bring new ideas and a new perspective on building a party.
There was one aspect of the story in the Capital that was unfortunate and it was the fact that, as Greg reported, serious consideration was given to Pope serving as a one-year caretaker Chairman:
Several Republicans said the hope was for Mr. Pope to serve as an interim chairman for one year, and then step aside for Dirk Haire, an Annapolis lawyer who ran a short-lived campaign for Anne Arundel County executive. He sprinted out of the box by raising $220,000 in a matter of months before dropping out.

"Louis has agreed to serve for a one-year transition period and then step aside to allow Dirk Haire to assume the chairmanship of the Maryland Republican Party," Mr. Steele wrote in the memo obtained by The Capital.
That is a disaster that I am glad that we avoided.

Jim Pelura meets the qualifications of the Chairman that we need, and I am extremely enthusiastic about his prospects as Chairman.

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Short Attention Span Theater

CNN has added a "Story Highlights" box to certain stories, such as this story about Tom Vilsack's Presidential announcement.

Does this make CNN the USA Today of mainstream media news websites?


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Five Thoughts on A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas was on last night, and I have five thoughts:
  • November 28th is entirely too early to be broadcasting a Christmas Special.
  • If the show took place in real life in modern times, Lucy would be arrested for practicing psychiatry without a license or, at the very least, hit with fines for practicing as an unlicensed street vendor.
  • Is there anything more anachronistic in any Christmas special than the concept of the aluminum tree?
  • Linus's explanation of the meaning of Christmas would never fly in modern times.
  • You never really notice the odd cuts and the oversized can in the show until you realize that the original version had to be scrubbed of sponsorship by Coca-Cola.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The McGwire Problem

Yes, Mark McGwire will likely not be a Hall of Famer this year because of the steroids controversy. But who said he should be in the hall at all?

Compare these statistics:

McGwire 0.263 1626 252 6 583 1414
Player A 0.236 1575 240 25 443 1210
Player B 0.289 2866 488 49 384 1628
Player C 0.298 2452 373 79 382 1451
Player D 0.265 2111 350 39 398 1266
Player E 0.288 2333 444 32 399 1425

Is McGwire truly a legit Hall of Fame Candidate compared to this numbers? Especially considering that the players are
Player A: Dave Kingman
Player B: Harold Baines
Player C: Jim Rice
Player D: Dale Murphy
Player C: Andres Galarraga
None of those players are realistically considered Hall of Fame candidates for one reason or another (though Rice and Baines should be). McGwire compares statistically, in one way or another, with each of these players (and in the case of Baines and Rice, much less favorably).

Add on top of that the fact that McGwire was a below average fielder at first base, I really wonder why we are even considering the concept that McGwire is a Hall of Famer, regardless of the circumstances.

Still Going

First Jamie Walker, and now Denys Baez, Chad Bradford and Scott Williamson?!? The Orioles have finally had an offseason where they have addressed at least one of their weaknesses and significantly imrpoved upon it. Bullpen help has been desperatedly needed for years, and adding four veterans relievers (even if Williamson is signing a minor-leage deal) helps bridge the gap to Chris Ray in a way not many fans could have envisioned two months ago.

Sure, the team still needs a reliable backup catcher and a right-handed hitting outfielder (though misssing out on the Carlos Lee sweepstakes was a tremendous break), but this is a step forward and, while not flashy, something management can be proud of.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Anything But

I am on the email list for WBAL Radio's breaking news alert. So I was a little surprised to receive this, uh, breaking news today:
Any player who meets the Hall of Fame's requirements, 10 years as a player and having been retired for five years, is automatically included on the ballot. So this is anything but breaking news. It would have been breaking news if for some reason Cal's name was not on the ballot.

There needs to be at least some discretion on the use of the term Breaking News, though network news hasn't really understood that for quite some time...

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hitting their Groove

The Ravens are really starting to hit their groove right now. It's not often that you get to dominate your arch rival like the Ravens did today with their 27-0 whitewashing over Pittsburgh. The team is really starting to hit their groove at the right time of the year.

I don't think it is unreasonable to say that this team is the best, most balanced team in franchise history. We'll have to wait and see what they do from here out and in the playoffs to see if they can regain the ultimate prize...

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Lets' Do it Right from the Start

My friend Greg Kline reports that he has a feeling that there may be some consensus statewide to elect Louis Pope state party chairman on a one year "transition" basis. And I could not think of a worse idea for the party.

One thing the party needs for the next four years is a direction and a consistency of leadership. The party needs a chairman who understands the importance of building local parties in addition to raising funds and promoting the ideals of the party. But it also needs a fresh outlook, somebody who can bring new ideas and a new perspective on building a party. A "transition" chairman, no matter who it is, will stick around just long enough to get started before being replaced by somebody else.

We need somebody for chairman who understands the role that they need to play for the next four years. We don't need to waste a year with somebody warming the A caretaker chairman accomplishes nothing, especially considering the rebuilding effort that needs to take place. I look forward to seeing a chairman elected who can work with our Anne Arundel Central Committee, as well as those in our county likely to have major leadership roles in the party, Vice-Chairman Erik Robey and hopefully our new regional chairman Chuck Gast, between now and 2010.

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Dems Back Regressive Tax

Surprising absolutely no one, a group of Democratic soon-to-be State Senators called for a cigarette-tax hike today:
Though proposed tobacco tax increases have stalled in the General Assembly in recent years, a coalition of nine newly-elected state senators is leading the push for a $1-a-pack hike -- a move they hope will win the support of the incoming Democratic administration.

"Where there's a will there's a way, and I'm here to tell you there are nine new senators, at least, who have that will," Sen.-elect Michael Lenett, a Montgomery County Democrat, said yesterday during the Baltimore kick-off of the Healthy Maryland Initiative.
Isn't this the same type of regressive taxation that hurts middle-class workers that Democrats always accuse Republicans of supporting? Of course it is.

Besides, if these Democrats were so damn concerned about eliminating the health risks from smoking, and if they were so damn concerned with protecting people from cigarette smoke, than they would ban cigarettes instead of using this as a source of extra revenue from the poor and the middle classes.

I can only imagine what other taxes these Democratic senators-elect will unleash upon the middle class the next four years...

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Somebody Take Care Of This Please

Let's save the millions on promoting dollar coins and take care of this:
Scientists calculate that if Apophis passes at a distance of exactly 18,893 miles, it will go through a "gravitational keyhole." This small region in space—only about a half mile wide, or twice the diameter of the asteroid itself—is where Earth's gravity would perturb Apophis in just the wrong way, causing it to enter an orbit seven-sixths as long as Earth's. In other words, the planet will be squarely in the crosshairs for a potentially catastrophic asteroid impact precisely seven years later, on April 13, 2036.
I plan on being around in 30 years and am not particularly enthusiastic about getting vaporized by an asteroid traveling at 30,000 MPH. Saving humanity is, actually, one of those few government programs I could get behind...

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If At First You Don't Succeed... the same thing over and over again:

Can George Washington and Thomas Jefferson succeed where Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea failed? The U.S. Mint is hoping America's presidents will win acceptance, finally, for the maligned dollar coin.

The public will get the chance to decide starting in February when the first of the new coins, bearing the image of the first president, is introduced.

Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are scheduled to grace the coin in 2007, with a different president appearing every three months.
The only way for this to work is to start phasing out the dollar bill, which nobody seems particularly interested in doing. This is one of the few European ideas that would actually work in this country. European currencies phased out one-unit pieces years ago. I remember even in Germany in 1995 coins went up to the five marks, with paper bills starting with 10.

The most irritating aspect of this dollar coin project I'm sure will be the hundreds of millions of dollars spent promoting the thing. Because that worked so well when they spent the money on the Sacajawea dollar.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Is it Drafty in Here?

Back in the 1960's, being anti-war and anti-draft went hand in hand. Not so much anymore:

An influential Democratic lawmaker on Sunday called for reinstatement of the draft as a way to boost U.S. troop levels and draw a broader section of the population into the military or public service.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record), the incoming chairman of the House of Representatives' tax-writing committee, said he would introduce legislation to reinstate the draft as soon as the new, Democratic-controlled Congress convenes in January.

Asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" if he was still serious about the proposal for a universal draft he raised a couple of years ago, he said, "You bet your life. Underscore serious."

"If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft," he said.

Rangel, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, also said he did not think the United States would have invaded Iraq if the children of members of Congress were sent to fight. He has said the U.S. fighting force is comprised disproportionately of people from low-income families and minorities.

"I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft. I think to do so is hypocritical," he said.

The Democrats once again are trying to score political points on the war in this goofy manner. What Rangel and these Democrats fail to realize is that the current all-volunteer military is the most highly trained fighting force on earth. Conscripted soldiers are, as a whole, not well trained and efficient as soldiers as a volunteer fighting force.

Incidentally, I know a lot of well-educated, middle class folks who decided to serve their country.

A draft will not do anything useful, except by possibly increasing the number of casualties because of improperly trained soldiers. It is embarrassing that Rangel would try to score points in that manner.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lawyer Up

Send in the lawyers...
Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. beat Del. Joan Cadden by 28 votes for the third seat in House District 31, the county Board of Elections reported after counting absentee ballots from overseas. And two-term county Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk lost to Annapolis jewelery storeowner Ronald A. George by 53 votes for the third spot in District 30....

...Though Dwyer and George declared victory yesterday, the Democratic candidates said they would not yet concede, leaving open the possibility of a recount. The Democrats also are questioning the rejection of more than 200 provisional ballots - some by people who claimed to have registered at the Motor Vehicle Administration. Cadden, a three-term legislator, said that a decision on how to proceed will be made next week, and that party attorneys are considering other issues as well, but she would not elaborate.
This is not entirely surprising given how close the races are and how large Cadden and Samorajczyk's margins were after Election Day itself. But I highly doubt that the results are going to change. More than likely, Dwyer will return and Ron George will take the oath of office in January.

Of course, this also shows the problems that exist with the Motor Voter law rammed down our throats during the Clinton years, but that law isn't going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately.

Speaking of Dwyer, I got a message from a fellow District 31 resident who wanted me to pass this along as it relates to this post:

The phrase Katy bar the door! (also as Katy bar the gate!; sometimes written as Katie) is a very American exclamation, more common in the South than elsewhere, meaning that disaster impends—“watch out”, “get ready for trouble” or “a desperate situation is at hand”.

Dwyer is telling the world that either he is going to cause more trouble, or probably more accurately, that he is a desperate and disastrous legislator.

The reader said it, not me.

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Living in a Kraftwerk Album

Apparently life is starting to imitate a Kraftwerk album with new inventions such as this from Hitachi:
Hitachi's new neuroimaging technique allows its operator to switch a train set on and off by thought alone, and the Japanese company aims to commercialize it within five years.
It just gives me pause and a slight shudder to consider how such technology can be misused in the wrong hands. I'm not trying to say that I am a luddite, but things like this and somewhat sentient computers always sound like they come straight from a science-fiction novel.

And I always like to reference the Grey Goo.

How in the World?

I am watching the Maryland-Boston College game, and Terps RB Lance Ball has twice fumbled trying to catch the ball on the option. The fumble has twice been picked up by the same BC defensive lineman, and twice run by him for a touchdown.

Well...that's a new one on me.


Friday, November 17, 2006

The Devil is in the Details

It's really important in politics that you pay attention to detail, or else you let things like this slip (H/T California Yankee at RedState):
The political party formed by U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman after he lost the Democratic primary in August has a new chairman - and it's not Lieberman.

However, according to the bylaws adopted by its new chairman, Lieberman critic and Fairfield University professor John Orman, the senator is an eligible party candidate.

According to bylaws established by Orman, anyone whose last name is Lieberman may seek the party's nomination - or any critic of the senator.

Orman seized control of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party this week after registering as its sole member and electing himself as chairman.
Read the whole story, it's fascinating.

Stories like this show how important it is that political figures and elected officials pay attention to the details. It is easy to speak in broad generalities and to talk in haughty tones, but if you don't pay attention to the little things, that's when you get in trouble...


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Good Start

O's sign LHP Jamie Walker to three-year deal. A fantastic move to help a weak spot on this time.

Sun columnist/blogger Roch Kubatko (or perhaps more accurately one of his commenters) made an interesting point with regards to the switch of AAA affiliates from Ottawa to Norfolk:
...the Orioles clearly are finding it easier to sign decent six-year minor league free agents now that their Triple-A affiliate is located in Norfolk, Va. They knew it would be a major perk.
So be it.

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Here's an odd statement from a Sun editorial this morning:
The irony of choosing an absentee ballot over showing up in person at the polling place was revealed in the two most notable contests - governor and U.S. Senate - where the ballots weren't even tabulated before the winners were declared. Facing mathematical certainties that they could not win even after the paper ballot count, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who chose not to use voting machines, conceded their races and essentially disenfranchised themselves.
I cannot figure out what the heck they mean. How is voting absentee disenfranchising themselves? Their absentee votes count just the same as a ballot counted on a touchscreen machine. Absentee ballots are just counted after the polling places have closed; that's the only difference. The editorial board perpetuating the myth that absentee ballots are only counted in close races certainly does not help anything...

Once again, a Sun editorial shows a basic lack of understanding of the concepts and principles of the subject matter they are discussing...

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Monday, November 13, 2006

A Bad Move

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez will be named general chairman of the Republican National Committee, and I can't say that I am not disappointed with the choice.

I am not certain what message we are sending by appointing a U.S. Senator to chair the committee. While the appointment of Martinez will ostensibly help with wooing Hispanic voters, Hispanic outreach has occurred consistently over the last few years. Additionally, what experience does Martinez have with party building and grassroots organization? And how will he be able to balance his duties as general chairman of a national party with his responsibility as Florida's junior Senator?

It is safe to assume that I would much rather have seen Michael Steele assume the post. The Lt. Governor has the experience as a party builder at the local and state levels, and would be well suited to bring this experience to the national level. And it certainly would not have hurt to bring Steele's higher profile and positive reaction to his Senate campaign to a national stage.

This is just a disappointing choice, and needless to say it isn't exactly getting people excited (at least for the right reasons) at places like RedState; read the comments, you'll get a chuckle.

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Third in the Pool

Rudy Giuliani is the third major candidate to jump into the Presidential pool.

There are a host of reasons why Giuliani, despite his obvious leadership skills, will not be the Republican nominee in 2008. He is too far out of step with the party's base to be considered a likely candidate for the nomination,

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Too Early For This...

WLIF has started its continuous Christmas music, from now until midnight of the big day.

Is there any good reason why this (and for that matter, all of the Christmas and holiday decorations, TV commercials, etc) wait ten days until Thanksgiving? Seriously, it's way too early to be thinking about Christmas and Christmas music when we haven't even cut the turkey yet...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Ethically Challenged at the Helm

Jack Murtha for Majority Leader?

Alcee Hastings as House Intelligence Chair?

Is even considering putting these ethicallyt challenged pol's in charge of key posts in the House of Representatives really the message House Democrats want to send? For god's sake, Hastings probably could not even get a clearance to work in the agencies that he would oversee as Chairman after being convicted in 1988.

Can we put the adults back in charge?

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Where We Go From Here

I think a lot of Republicans aren't sure where we go from here after the results of Tuesday's election. And rightly so. This was a weird election for reasons that you may not exactly notice from the outset.

Successful Democratic challengers like Jim Webb were to the right of the mainstream national Democratic Party. Two gubernatorial pickups, here in Maryland and in Massachusetts, were traditionally Democratic states that had elected Republican governors. A Republican governor retained the governorship in California.

But Democrats only picked up 29 seats in the House and six in the Senate, a smaller number than usually seen in the "six year itch" of Presidencies.

Here in Maryland, we need to have a reality check. It was great having a Republican governor for the last four years, but did the party capitalize on the opportunity that we had? Did we do everything we needed to do to grow registration, win seats in the legislature, and pass a meaningful Republican agenda? We have a net loss of five seats in the House of Delegates and a net loss of one seat in the State Senate, a far cry from the "14/5 plan" that was pushed the last four years.

Now, as we get ready to re-enter the desert, it is time to take a step back and get ready. The time has passed for spending any more time bemoaning the results. We have a long, hard four years ahead of us to do what we need to do to gain seats in the General Assembly, increase voter registration totals, and return a Republican the the Governor's Mansion. We need those people who will do the work who are committed to the Republican agenda and committed to the conservative cause.

There is opportunity in adversity. Let's go to work.

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Lesser Than Zero?

I thought this was bad enough, but this is amazing...

Mr. Dwyer said he had faith that God was in control in the election, but that if re-elected he would continue to be an outspoken conservative.

"If you think I was ineffective before, Katie bar the door," he said.

I didn't know that you could be less effective than accomplishing nothing. That's like a student failing out of school and trying to say they aim to do worse next time.

Other very conservative legislators manage to put ideology aside and get meaningful legislation passed in a bipartisan fashion. District 31 does not need Don Dwyer wasting a seat in the General Assembly for the next four years not even trying to pass meaningful legislation. At that point, it's almost like giving him a $43,000 a year government handout; a one-man Don Dwyer welfare program.

I'm not asking Don Dwyer to capitulate and do the Democrats bidding; all I ask is that he try to do something that benefits his constituents if he does manage to get re-elected.

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Tackle Somebody

Yes, the Ravens won today 27-26. Yes, Steve McNair brought the team back from a 19-point deficit. But for goodness sake, somebody needs to give a lesson in tackling to the defense, particularly the front-seven. A lot of the Titans mid-range to longish plays were the result of poor tackling. Once again, poor tackling almost cost the team a game they should have won, similar to the Browns game back in September...

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That Didn't Take Long

Sure glad we elected a "Republican" County Executive if this is any indication:
[Dennis Callahan] will work with incoming Republican County Executive John Leopold in a prominent role. Mr. Callahan and school board attorney P. Tyson Bennett, a Republican, will co-chair Mr. Leopold's transition team.
Unfortunately, I expected this kind of thing...

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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back

Ron George pulls ahead in 30...

John Leopold wins...

Bryan Simonaire pulls ahead in 31...

Nic Kipke moves to second...

Don Dwyer might make me eat my words...

We 'aint dead yet.

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Next In

That's two:
Sen. John McCain, considered the front-runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, intends to launch an exploratory committee next week, GOP officials said today.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting a public statement from the four-term Arizona senator.
No thanks. I made that mistake six years ago...

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Wonder where they got that idea?

Just days after Michael Steele was floated as a potential candidate for Republican National Committee Chairman, The New Republic floats the idea of Harold Ford replacing Howard Dean as Chairman.

National Democrats are always behind the times...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rutgers Comes Back, clouds title picture

Yes, Rutgers actually did come back from a 25-7 deficit to beat # 3 Louisville 28-25 tonight. An amazing comeback at a school that does not have this kind of football tradition.

Unfortunately for Rutgers, they likely will not be getting a shot at the national championship game in January. The Scarlet Knights may finish 12-0, and would have to beat West Virginia to do it But their profile would not be better than a 1-loss Texas, Florida, or even the loser of the impending Ohio State-Michigan showdown. Rutgers could wind up an undeafeated team without a national title to show for it, just like the 1993 and 2004 Auburn teams, and the 1994 Penn State team.


Get Started

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President today, (complete with website) the first major candidate to do so (No, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel does not count as a major candidate).

Anybody want to take a guess, once the Bidens, Clintons, Gores, Obamas and Richardsons of the world make their announcements, how many major Democrats will seek the White House?

2008 is here...


Red Light Red Light

Long-time readers know one of my pet peeves are red-light cameras. However, some Belgians take things a step farther:

Most traffic lights should be torn up as they make roads less safe, one of Europe's leading road engineers said yesterday.

Hans Monderman, a traffic planner involved in a Brussels-backed project known as Shared Space, said that taking lights away helped motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to co-exist more happily and safely.

Residents of the northern Dutch town of Drachten have already been used as guinea-pigs in an experiment which has seen nearly all the traffic lights stripped from their streets.

Only three of the 15 sets in the town of 50,000 remain and they will be gone within a couple of years.

The project is the brainchild of Mr Monderman, and the town has seen some remarkable results. There used to be a road death every three years but there have been none since the traffic light removal started seven years ago.

There have been a few small collisions, but these are almost to be encouraged, Mr Monderman explained. "We want small accidents, in order to prevent serious ones in which people get hurt," he said yesterday.

"It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.

"We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven't found anywhere where they are useful yet."

The Belgian example seems to work because Drachten has about 50,000 residents and, like a lot of European locales, a lot of people ride their bikes. But I think this lends credence to the point a lof of Americans have made; red-light cameras do not make the roads safer. They certainly cannot make roads safer if the red-lights themselves.

I'm not certain if we can advoacte the removal of red-lights in the United States. Certainly, traffic in these parts already has its share of dangerous drivers who do not understand the rules of the road. Plus, if you remove lights, what do you replace them with? Stop signs? Roundabouts, which seem to already be popping up like kudzu across the state?

The red-lights will stay; its the red-light cameras that have to go...

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Have Had ENOUGH of This

I have had it with Jimmy Braswell.

Braswell, who lost in the House of Delegates primary as a Republican, posted these "insightful" comments on his blog the last few days.

There is the issue of hypocrisy. There are certain local candidates who hide the fact that they are without a formal education, yet they continue to preach that education is the pathway to success.
Steve Schuh was one of the best qualified of all of the candidates. He was the only Republican with a college education and substantial experience. I am sure he will do a good job as delegate.
These are not so veiled shots at Delegate-elect Nic Kipke, who Braswell has had a problem with from the get-go. And I won't stand for it.

Braswell is of the attitude that if you have not gone to college, you aren't smart. Let me tell you that some of the brightest, most insightful people I know did not go to college. Some of the dumbest I know have advanced degrees.

Here is some of the back story with Braswell. Once upon a time, my wife and I were big supporters of Braswell's campaign. He asked my wife to serve as his campaign manager. Several times, he was going to quit the race because he didn't want to put in the effort and didn't think he could win. And several times, we convinced him to stay in the race.

Right before the Lincoln Day dinner, he decided to make a change at Campaign Manager. He still wanted us to do all of the work and heavy lifting, but wanted to give credit to his new campaign manager, "the guy I met at Taco Bell", he said. That was a revelation in character to say the least. Needless to say, that was the end of that for us.

Braswell continued his campaign, and managed to burn bridges with just about the entire Republican Party. He was one of the few people to get me and Don Dwyer to agree on something (which is miraculous) about how we weren't real keen on Braswell anymore. Braswell angered just about everybody, and pretty much showed me that despite all of his fancy schmancy education, he was not qualified to be a public official.

Braswell's attitude that only college educated people should serve in public office is off-putting and insulting. That's especially true when you consider how many of the people in our district did not get the same educational opportunities that a lot of us were fortunate to have. And a lot of them made the most of the opportunities they did get, while some got an education but cannot put it to good use. And unfortunately, this attitude already reared its ugly head once this year in a Republican primary election.

Incidentally Braswell, who has already decided he is running again, had both Fleckenstein and Reynolds yard signs right before the election. While I have no problems with either man, the fact that a "Republican" candidate who wants to run again in four years publicly supported these candidates is slightly problematic for his future as a Republican candidate and insulting to all three men who represented our party in the General Election.

But I will not stand for his attitude that people who did not get the chance to go to college are dumb. I can't imagine how he could have served his constituents with such contempt for the people of his district.

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What to make of State and Local Results

What do we make of the state and local election results?

The Gubernatorial and Senatorial results were completely linked. I think both Governor Ehrlich and Lt. Governor Steele got caught up in the national morass, Steele much more so than Ehrlich. But I'll be honest, I can't make much sense of a lot of it. All of the trendline polling data indicated dead heats; not six and ten percent victories respectively. But to be fair, given the climate I'm not sure what more the Ehrlich and Steele campaigns could have done.

The Lt. Governor's campaign, particularly, was extremely well run. That is why Steele may be the next Republican National Chairman, one wonderful choice.

I think the Governor's campaign got undone by circumstances that could have been easily avoided. Some of the Republican base was turned off by the moderate policies of this administration, something that could not have been avoided. One of the other problems, believe it or not, dealt with the kangaroo court. With over 7,000 appointees serving at the pleasure of the Governor, a lot of people could not explain how only 300 or so at-will employees were replaced by this administration. That's not solely the reason, but it did not help. I'm not sure where the Governor goes from here; some people think a re-match or a Senate campaign in 2010 is imminent, but we'll have to see.

But the carnage went all the way down the line; even Howard and Wicomico Counties elected Democratic County Executives. I thought Howard County Councilman Chris Merdon would be a contender for the gubernatorial nomination in 2010, but he lost by a surprisingly large margin.

The legislative results was as much of a disaster as the state level. A lot of people heard about the 14/5 plan; the plan to win 14 seats in the House of Delegates, and 5 in the State Senate. We needed those numbers in order to sustain gubernatorial vetoes and, in the Senate, preserve the filibuster. I don't remember that being the negative 6/negative 2 plan. The state party was to ensure that the candidates and the resources were there to win, and it did not happen. A purge of party leadership is probably in order to provide a fresh outlook for the next four years.

Locally, I am pleased as punch that Nic Kipke has been elected. He and Steve Schuh will be good additions to our District 31 legislative team. We still will not know for a while how the State Senate race will play out with, as of this second, Shandrowsky holding a 198-vote lead.

As far as Don Dwyer goes, this was not unexpected. Dwyer's personality issues are well known. But I don't think Dwyer put in the effort to win. An insurgent challenger can win on sign-waving, as Dwyer did four years ago. But people expect more from their incumbent Delegates. People expect them to go door-to-door to discuss issues. People expect them to talk to them during parades and community events; they certainly do not expect incumbent delegates to waive from a pedestal in a pick-up truck in the Pasadena Thanksgiving Parade, as he did this past Sunday, like he was more important and more righteous than the constituents he represented. The fact of the matter is that Dwyer does not have a skill for interpersonal relations; he could not interact with the people. It explains the sheer number of bridges he has burned, even with people who were his most loyal supporters. And don't get me started on the number of people he tried to use and dispose of along the way. Dwyer made the choice not to put in the effort to win; that's his cross to bear.

At the County Executive level, I am completely unsurprised by what happened. Little differentiates Johnson and Leopold, both left-of-center candidates. The only difference between them was on personality, between the friendly Johnson and the loner Leopold. The voters did not have much of a choice on the issues, and the vote totals bear that out. Countywide, the only Republican to win a competitive race was our new Register of Wills Lauren Parker. It was surprising that the Sheriff's and State's Attorney races were so decisive

We have a lot of hard work to do in the next four years.

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Now In Blogger Beta

We are now publishing in the new version of blogger. Not sure what changes you, the reader will see, but we'll all find out.

Election in a Nutshell

From the Corner (Hat tip: David Wissing):
The Democrats said: “Had enough?”

The Republicans said: “It could be worse!”

The voters said: “Let’s find out.”

Another Sign of Life

Sen. Tom Coburn(R-OK):
“A recent CNN poll found that 54 percent of Americans believe government is doing too much while only 37 percent want government to do more. The results of this election reflect that attitude. Among the Republicans who lost their re-election bids a surprising number were political moderates who advocated a more activist government. Several Republican members of the appropriations committees, which have been on a spending binge, also were not re-elected. On the other hand, the two Republican senators who pulled off the most impressive victories were unapologetic conservatives, Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and John Ensign (R-NV). It is also notable that the Democrats who won or who ran competitive races sounded more like Ronald Reagan than Lyndon Johnson.

“This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism.

“The Republican Party now has an opportunity to rediscover its identity as a party for limited government, free enterprise and individual responsibility. Most Americans still believe in these ideals, which reflect not merely the spirit of 1994 or the Reagan Revolution, but the vision of our founders. If Republicans present real ideas and solutions based on these principles we will do well in the future."

That Was Quick

It didn't take too long for Baltimore's 2007 Mayoral election to get started:
Hours after Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley won his gubernatorial bid, two leading city officials said they plan to jump into the race to succeed him.

City Council President Sheila Dixon and City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt both said they will run for mayor in 2007. Both Democrats will be strong candidates in what could become a crowded field of council members, state lawmakers and non-elected contenders seeking the city's top job.
Looks like things in Baltimore won't be getting better anytime soon...

National Thoughts

Nationally, the election was a train wreck for Republicans, but not as bad as a lot of people had anticipated. Of course, if President Bush fired Secretary Rumsfeld a week ago, Republican losses could have been even more minimized.

- In Virginia, George Allen lost not because of national politics, but because of self-inflicted wounds.

- Soon-to-be former Speaker Hastert is stepping down from leadership, and not a moment too soon

- RedState's directors are right; the Republican Party nationally needs to return to its principles, and a ticket of Mike Pence for Minority Leader and John Shadegg for Minority Whip is a good start. I originally supported Pence to replace Tom DeLay as Majority Leader, and Shadegg when Pence passed.

- Pence and Shadegg have both, thankfully, formally declared their intentions. From Congressman Pence's statement:

I am running for Republican leader, because I believe that we did not just lose our Majority—we lost our way. We are in the wilderness because we walked away from the limited government principles that minted the Republican Congress.

- If I am the Senate Democrats, I am really hoping to make nice with Joe Lieberman, because Lieberman could decided to tell the Dems to pack sand and throw control of the Senate to the GOP. Right now (as expected) Lieberman has more influence than Lamont ever could have.

- Incidentally, the Kossites are blaming Lamont's loss (and Harold Ford's, too) on the DSCC

So what do we make of this mess? Frankly, it's a minor bump in the road. It may sound Pollyanna-ish at the moment to try to look at it this way, but the fact of the matter is that the country continues to trend more Conservative. Even some of the Democrats who did win in the Senate, for example are guys like Bob Casey, Jim Webb, and Jon Tester; more conservative than a lot of Senate Democrats. Plus, a lot of these races were particularly close, even in states that Republicans loss.

The bottom line is that Republican losses stemmed from dissatisfaction with the White House and Iraq, but also with corruption. Once again, as I noted last night, some more conservative districts turned out corrupt Republicans, quite possibly providing an opportunity to elect new Republicans in two years.

Where we go from here, who knows. But the battle for Minority Leader, like the battle for the Republican nomination for President in 2008, will wind up a battle for the soul of the Republican Party

Figure This Out

The seats of corrupt Republicans (Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Curt Weldon, Don Sherwood, Mark Foley) were won by Democratic challengers. Corrupt Democrats, however (John Murtha, Willie Jefferson), were returned to Congress.

Figure that out.

The Joe Negron(Foley's seat) and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (DeLay's seat) loses were strange on circumstances, due to replacement candidates not being the ballot (Sekula-Gibbs having to run as a write-in, Negron getting saddled with Foley's name). Those are two seats that should revert to the GOP in two years. However, it is just bizarre that voters in these long-time Republican district disposed of these Republicans, while Democratic districts have maintained these Congressmen with their flaws...

Kipke Wins

A lot of tonight has become a train wreck in so many ways, but I am proud to say that Nic Kipke is our new delegate from District 31. Nic is going to be one hell of a public servant and I look forward to having him represent us in Annapolis for the next four years.


How come we have gone 65 minutes without an update from the County Board of Elections?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do NOT Trust Maryland Exit Polling

Do NOT trust any exit polling you see from Maryland. With probably 10% of the votes coming from absente ballots, exit polling is going to be absolutely useless, moreso than usual.

Of course, Democrats will use the exit polling to "prove" election fraud, as they are wont to do...

400+ signs, 6+ hours

39 precincts...400+ Kipke signs...6 hours, 33 minutes (from 11:00 pm-5:33 am) cool setup at Chesapeake High School, complete with tractor.

Good times.

Incessant Whining

For all of the incessant election whining (already lining up excuses for Democratic failures) feel free to peruse here, here, and here.

Incidentally, can we all agree tha waiting in line to vote is not an infringement of your rights. The Iraqi people didn't get to make a meaningful vote for years, and they waited hours upon hours to vote without complaint, something some Democrats around these parts could learn something from.

Monday, November 06, 2006

How Democrats Describe Republicans

Quite frankly I'm not interested in your "values" and "morals" because you are a very sinister bunch of people.
Comments like this amaze me; and Democrats wonder why they can't win over voters...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Go Vote Tuesday!

Likley this will be my last post prior to the election on Tuesday, and I cannot emphasize how important it is to get out and vote on Tuesday. The stakes are high, particularly in our state.

For Governor, we have a choice between somebody who knows how to govern, and somebody who knows how to blame others.

For U.S. Senate, we have a choice betwen somebody who is part of the problem in Washington, and somebody who will be part of the solution.

For Comptroller, we have a choice between a candidate who understands the role of Comptroller and fiscal discipline, and somebody who doesn't.

For Attorney General, we have a choice between somebody who will fight crime, or will fight the urge to mug at the camera.

As Ronald Reagan once said, this is a time for choosing. Please choose wisely. Governor Ehrlich, Lt. Governor Steele, Anne McCarthy, Scott Rolle, Nic Kipke and others all need your support and your vote on Tuesday. Please go vote for these candidates, and get your friends and family to do the same...

A Good Idea

I spoke with Pat Corcoran after the Pasadena Thanksgiving Parade today. He told me that he had done some research on the State Democratic Party bylaws and that their bylaws indicate that members of the Central Committee are not allowed to publicly support candidates from another party.

In light of this, perhaps it is time that our side have a similar bylaw provision. Again, whatever people do privately is their own business. But this is not helpful for our candidates to take fire from our own Central Committee members...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

And this is Bubba...

It may be a different race, but the O'Malley campaign is taking on the same panicked tone as the Cardin campaign, and here's why:
Starting tomorrow Mayor Martin O'Malley's campaign will begin airing a television commercial featuring former President Bill Clinton's support.

In the 30-second ad obtained last night by The Sun, Clinton says, "This year's election is especially important in Maryland. Because you have a chance to elect my good friend Martin O'Malley as your next governor."

A photo of O'Malley and Clinton fills the screen. "There is a reason Time magazine named Martin one of America's best mayors - his dedication to safer streets, quality schools and making government work better."

"I've seen him at work fighting for the right kind of change, always pursuing middle class interests before the special interests," Clinton says. "There is a difference in this election and you can make it."

This smacks of desperation and risk; who says that an appearance by Clinton doesn't backfire and turn off soft conservative Democrats?

Friday, November 03, 2006

They Said It

Washington Times:
But the rally turned sour later. State Sen. Nathaniel Exum, Prince George's Democrat, berated Mr. Cardin for excluding him and other local delegates from speaking or being mentioned.

"You do the same [stuff] over and over again, just ignore us," Mr. Exum yelled at Mr. Cardin after the rally, which was held in Mr. Exum's district.

Mr. Cardin shrugged off the incident.

"I think he's upset that we didn't go over the names, but I'm not too concerned about it," Mr. Cardin said. "He's supporting us."
No wonder Cardin has to truck Michael J. Fox and Barack Obama at the last minute: he is hemorrhaging support all over...

How About That!

The Examiner endorsed Anne McCarthy for Comptroller:
We have no reasonable choice but Republican Anne McCarthy. Happily, she is abundantly qualified for the post. But importantly, she is the only candidate running for Maryland comptroller who understands the job and communicates that understanding in what she speaks and writes.

McCarthy views the position as being chief financial officer for the state and that the office must be above politics. We agree, since the prime responsibilities of the comptroller are to ensure the smooth collection of taxes, vote on state contracts as a member of the Board of Public Works and oversee the $34 billion state pension fund.

Her opponent, Democratic state delegate Peter Franchot has campaigned as if he’s running for re-election to the General Assembly. He’s promised to work to raise teacher salaries, build more schools, protect the environment and support universal health care — all things not in the purview of his job. When will he find time to spend on his main duties, if as he has said, “As comptroller, I will make education my top priority. ...”?

Doesn't make up for endorsing Gansler, but at least one newspaper understands that the job of the Comptroller is of a financial officer, not as the chief liberal at-large. This has been a problem for Franchot for over a year and I don't think it will change if he were to be elected on Tuesday..

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Panic Mode

Michael J. Fox in Chevy Chase? A second appearance by Barack Obama? A new TV ad that changes messages at the last minute by trying to level charges of flip-flopping?

Ben Cardin's team is in panic mode. Their campaign is in a tail spin. Nothing, and I mean nothing else can explain this...

A Mountain out of a Molehill

If we all can get past the drivel, can we just all agree for a second that people who are voting illegally should go to jail and not be allowed to vote. Is that a hard concept to wrap our minds around? Can we all agree that somebody not being allowed to vote illegally is not voter suppression? That parties are allowed to have challengers on hand? All of this could be solved if voters were required to show ID before casting a vote, but these Democrats somehow think that is voter suppression too.

With the Democrats lawyering up, I'm sure the O'Malley/Cardin supporters will be prepared to file all sorts of inane voter challenges when things start going south Tuesday night. It is a shame that after launching the lawyer war during the 2000 recount, the Democrats are always ready to send in the lawyers when the polls don't go their way. Sad, just sad.

Is Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Biased?

University of Virginia Poli Sci Prof. Larry Sabato is famous for his Crystal Ball predictions. But clearly, he has not been paying attention in Maryland. Today, Sabato's "Crystal Ball" says that both O'Malley and Cardin will win Tuesday (emphatically, in bold text).

But how much has he been paying attention On his prediction of the Governor's race, this is the "big news":
The big news in the race for the governor's mansion in Maryland has been the resignation of Gene Raynor from his post on the Baltimore Board of Elections.
But that story is over seven weeks old. Nothing about the debates, or the recent ads, or O'Malley's DUI, or the trendline favoring Governor Ehrlich.

How about the Senate race?
Race has played a large part in the senate race in Maryland recently. After a staff member for Democratic nominee Ben Cardin was found to have an online diary containing insensitive racial comments, the National Black Republican Association aired a radio ad that has caused quite a bit of controversy. The ad identifies Martin Luther King Jr. as a Republican and pins the KKK, Jim Crow and other issues on Democrats. After an initial luke-warm response by Republican nominee Michael Steele, his campaign has officially condemned the advertisement. Speculation among political scientists indicates that the ad may not help Steele and may end up hurting his chances because it was so offensive to many in the African-American community. The effects of the online diary and the advertisement have yet to be seen, and in this toss-up contest it could end up going either way
That's the big news? Not Cardin's abysmal debate performances, or the shameless Michael J. Fox ads, or the Lt. Governor's effective ad campaign, or the recent endorsements in Prince George's County?

One of two things are at play here: Sabato is just spouting off, making predictions based on national trendlines and historical voting trends, or his national inclination is against Republican candidates.

Then again, maybe we know the answer:

He's a professor. He's a pundit. Now some critics are accusing him of being a provocateur.

Larry Sabato, the Norfolk-bred political scientist who is among the most widely quoted academics in America, dropped a very large pebble into the already roiled pond of Virginia politics this week when he joined the debate over U.S. Sen. George Allen's racial attitudes.

The resulting ripples have been spreading far and wide all week.

Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, made national news Monday when he alleged on the MSNBC television show "Hardball" that Allen, a Republican, used a racial slur to refer to blacks when he was a U.Va. student. Sabato and Allen were both members of the class of 1974.

Regardless, it really makes me question his methodology in making these decisions. Because any unbiased observer (and I'm not saying that I am) can definiatively say these two races are going one way or the other. The trendlines favor the Governor's re-election and the Lt. Governor's ascension to the Senate, but to say it will or will not happen at this point is purely speculative.

Live from 200 St. Paul Street

Looks like Doug Gansler is planning on being a Spitzer-esque Attorney General (and that is not a compliment):

He plans to make the Attorney General’s Office more activist on issues such as the environment, child pornography and the state’s growing gang problem. For models, he looks to New York’s Eliot Spitzer and Michael Moore, the former Mississippi attorney general who sued tobacco companies. He consulted with both during his campaign.

He proposes a comprehensive “audit” of the Chesapeake Bay, followed by the prosecution of polluters using the federal Clean Water Act. He wants a centralized resource to track and combat gangs, and plans to push a state racketeering law to ease prosecution of gang members.

This basically means Gansler's four-year term is nothing more than a reality show, a series of publicity stunts to build his profile for an eventual run for higher office. Gansler is one of the bigger self-promoters in state politics, having spent basically the last seven-years running for Attorney General.

The last thing we really need taking over from a subdue, yet incredibly left-wing
activist Attorney General is a boisterous, self-promoting left-wing activst. All the more reason it is so important to vote for Scott Rolle, a candidate who actually wants to do the job, on Tuesday.

This is Cool

Thanks to Frank Roylance and NOAA, a map of every tropical cyclone ever...

Promoting Free Speech in Red China...

...or not:
The Internet Society of China has recommended to the government that bloggers be required to use their real names when they register blogs, state media said on Monday, in the latest attempt to regulate free-wheeling Web content.

The society, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Information Industry, said no decision had been made but that a 'real name system' was inevitable....

...Bloggers anonymously disseminating untrue information on the Internet brought about a negative influence on society, the Xinhua report said.

Under the proposed rule, users would be required to register under their real name to open a blog but would still be allowed to write under a pseudonym.

I'm sure that in a totalitarian state nothing bad would come of this, no siree.

Are These Three Stories Related?

Google, without any prior explanation or notice, has been terminating its News relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals.
- NewsBusters, 5/22/06

Air America Radio is talking to several parties about a possible sale and is hopeful of reaching a deal before Thanksgiving, according to an Associated Press report.
- MediaWeek, 11/1/06

Multiple experts are suggesting Google could be a good fit as a potential buyer for at least a minority stake in Clear Channel, which has been surrounded by talks of a potential buyout.
- FMQB, 11/2/06 (H/T

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

British Come Around on Speed Cameras

Even the British are resenting speed cameras on their nations motorways:

Even if they agree that speed limits are necessary, many motorists resent having to obey them all the time. They say they hate being constantly on the lookout for cameras and accuse the government of treating them like cash machines.

“It’s just a road tax,” said Ian Murray, a sales clerk at an army-navy surplus store in Kelvedon Hatch. He understands the need for cameras in residential areas, he said, but feels aggrieved when he sees them on the highway, where the national speed limit is 70 m.p.h. but where the fast lane generally clips along at 80 m.p.h. or higher.

“What happens is you see the speed camera, and you put on your anchor and drop your speed, and then when you get past it you speed up again,” Mr. Murray said. Also, he said, the cameras cause people to brake suddenly, endangering themselves and the people behind them.

Paul Smith, head of an anti-camera group called the Safe Speed Road Safety Campaign, said that drivers spent so much time scouring the roadside for cameras that they forget to pay attention to the road.

“We’ve got a nation of people who have one eye looking out for the next speed camera, another looking for a speed limit sign and another looking at the speedometer — which is a bit of a shame, when you only have two eyes,” he said.

As I have noted before:
Traffic laws are already in place. We have police officers to enforce them. We do not need cameras watching over this aspect of our lives for the sole purpose of revenue enhancement, especially in the wake of the danger situations that these cameras create.
This sentiment in Britain is actually a good thing. The UK abounds with surveillance cameras. Perhaps this is the start of a movement against the nanny state in Britain being able to watch the movements of their citizenry in the largest of British cities.

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