Thursday, June 28, 2007
A Doomsday Showdown
"It forces everyone to come together (to find a solution)...We do need to have revenues if we are going to continue to fund the way we have historically done....It is going to be very difficult to get 24 votes (for a majority) in the Senate for any of these thing. It takes a lot of heavy lifting and a lot of support."So it becomes apparent that the Senate neither wants to raise taxes, nor do they want to reduce spending. That becomes somewhat problematic in a state that is Constitutionally obligated to pass a balanced budget.
The biggest problem with the Doomsday Budget as it has been presented so far is the fact that at no point does it seem like the budget architects are serious about reducing spending. Most of the spending cuts are just costs passed down to the counties, which will either force counties to raise taxes or cut their own budgets to cover the difference. These aren't budget cuts; it's just passing the blame along. It does not seem like Democratic leadership is interested, for example, in cutting recently added programs and to reduce unnecessary social spending.
I'm sure that there are alternative ways to make up the revenue without raising taxes or forcing deep cuts in education. The Administration just needs to find the political cojones to make the tough decisions.
And Stay Dead
Lawmakers killed the Senate immigration bill today, voting 46 to 53 to move to a final vote on the controversial measure, 14 short of the 60 required.Now can we all agree that Congress should stop trying to find ways to help illegal immigrants and get back to the important business of the country?
Before we leave this issue though, take a look at this from Sen. Dick Durbin:
"Even if you disagree with this bill, don't end this debate," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who urged his colleagues to reject "these voices of exclusion" opposing the measure and not "say we are surrendering to these negative voices across America."What can you say?
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Breaking: Is MDGOP Exec. Dir. on the outs?
The speculation is that the State Party Executive Committee will be meeting soon and will vote either to remove John as Executive Director or by drastically cutting his pay, essentially trying to force him out.
I'll post more if and when I hear any additional information.....
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Memo to Everybody
I repeat: I have not endorsed Harris. I have not endorsed Gilchrest. And I will not endorse either of them during the primary.
Hypocrisy, Leopold be thy name
There is a great deal of irony and chutzpah associated with John Leopold, because this was the same guy who wanted nothing to do with a referendum on the school board bill. A vote that would have been anything but symbolic.County Executive John R. Leopold called for a regional referendum on a new Chesapeake Bay crossing yesterday, but Queen Anne's County officials demurred, calling it a "waste of money."Leaders from both counties sat down together in Chester yesterday to hash out regional transportation concerns, and Mr. Leopold suggested that both jurisdictions hold the largely symbolic vote to show residents' antipathy for a third span on Route 50.
Mr. Leopold said he wanted to quantify public sentiment about the prospect of a new bridge as the process moves forward.
"Maybe they don't even want a discussion" of a new span, he said.
Is there any level of hypocrisy John Leopold won't stoop to?
(What's worse is the fact that the need for a new Bay Bridge is so painfully obvious to just about everybody I'm not even certain what the point of a vote is in the first place. Find a place to build a bridge, please...)
Labels: John Leopold
A Working Class Taxpayer is Something to Be
So basically, Smith believes that the only constructive contribution to the budget debate is to stick it to working and middle class taxpayers, as opposed to reducing the overgrown blob that is State Government. And that philosophy is anything but constructive.
Busch also used the appearance to build the case for raising the income and sales tax, noting that the levies in Maryland are lower than in most surrounding states.
"I don't think a tax increase is going to drive jobs outside of the state," Busch said.
Busch said it is important for lawmakers to meet the challenge ahead. "People don't expect us just to go to receptions and eat shrimp and drink cocktails," he said. "They expect us to make tough decisions."
As usual when Democrats start pounding the war drum for tax increases, the working and middle classes that the "Progressives" claim to be watching out for are the ones who are going to wind up paying the freight for an ever-enlarging State Government infrastructure the working and middle classes probably don't want in the first place...
Something to Cheer
Democrats may be winning elections. But they still can't win a baseball game.Nine Democratic errors...sounds like what Congress does each day before lunch.
Despite an influx of fresh talent from Pennsylvania -- and the coaching skills of Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills -- the new majority party on Capitol Hill last night extended its losing streak in the annual congressional baseball tournament to seven games.
The GOP soundly defeated the Democrats 5-2, at RFK Stadium, home of the Washington Nationals.
Nine Democratic errors didn't help.
And from the "the more things change, the more they stay the same" file...
But some of the new players were disappointments. Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a former Washington Redskins quarterback, went hitless.
This Says Everything...
Part of a vehicle barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was erected in the wrong country and soon will be removed and rebuilt on American soil, federal officials confirmed Monday.At least there is some place on the border that has a boundary. Even if we managed to, uh, annex a portion of Mexico for the past several years.
"We respect our international boundary, and we want to be good neighbors," U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel told The Associated Press. "...We want to move quickly to ensure that we place the vehicle barrier where it should be, which is north of the border."
Gotta love this though:
Yes, Mexico is lecturing the United States as to what is and what is not appropriate.
"Mexico had indicated that it is not appropriate for this type of United States structure to be located in Mexican territory, and we agree," said Sally Spener, a spokeswoman for the commission.
On Monday, Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said it has sent a diplomatic note to the United States protesting the barrier.
"Our country will continue insisting for the removal (of the fence) to be done as quickly as possible," the Foreign Relations Department said.
Labels: Border Security
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Problems on the Home Front
- At the luncheon that was originally supposed to be addressed by John Leopold (naturally, Leopold didn't keep his word. I'm stunned), a senior Leopold staffer speaking in his stead urged the YR's to get behind Congressman Wayne Gilchrest in his re-election campaign. Leopold has endorsed Gilchrest, which is fine. However, what the state party apparatus is not supposed to do is take sides in contested primary elections. The staffer knows this because he fought against the issue when the state party tried to change the rules and allow for that to happen. And we've dealt with this issue before...
- There was a program for the event. Apparently spellcheck was broken.
- I saw State Party Executive Director John Flynn and he was wearing a New York Yankees wristwatch. Tsk tsk tsk.
First off, from the Republican perspective, I'm certainly not sure any of our people wanted to be involved. The protesters were rallying in favor of government based solutions to fixing the problem: either re-regulating the electric industry in Maryland or by creating a municipally owned power company for Baltimore City. It was pretty much a love-in for the anti-Sheila Dixon crowd in Baltimore. The literature they distributed promoted alternative plans by either Councilman Kieffer Mitchell or Delegate Jill Carter. And there was a lot of Andrey Bundley paraphernalia around there, too.
Secondly, the protest organizers clearly had no idea what they were doing. They were protesting the Governor on a Saturday afternoon at Lawyer's Mall on a weekend when:
- No major events were occurring in Annapolis; and,
- When the Governor was out of town.
Apparently, that wasn't working. So about an hour-and-a-half later, I saw the protesters again. This time, they were walking around Church Circle, carrying their signs, and chanting "O'Malley, O'Malley You Can't Hide" followed by something unintelligible. I finally saw a group of the protesters up close (and that was a show, let me tell you) as they congregated around the exit of Gott's Garage on Calvert Street.
Ah, a Saturday afternoon in Annapolis....
Friday, June 22, 2007
Oh This is Happy
What can you even say when something like this is necessary?
Maybe this should have happened Yesterday...
A Plan to Start With
High-level school administrators who do an outstanding job could get as much as a 15 percent raise under a new plan adopted by the county Board of Education.The "pay-for-performance" plan approved Wednesday replaces longevity increases given to 55 employees.
Nonunion employees still would get annual cost-of-living increases, but raises would be tied to their performance evaluations.
Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell said the new system will promote greater accountability for senior staff.
"I want to thank the board for having the courage to move away from the traditional system of pay increases simply for longevity to a system of accountability where those who are making the greatest contributions to the success of our children are recognized for the efforts they make," he said in a statement.
And this is a good thing. We should be paying our school system administrators and teachers based on their performance, and not just standard blanket raises negotiated by TAAAC. Hopefully, this will actually encouraged better performances by administrators.
The new plan takes effect July 1. Employees who earn a "satisfactory" level of performance would get 1 to 5 percent raises. An "exceptional" performance would merit a 6 to 10 percent raise, while outstanding performers would get raises of 11 to 15 percent.
Under the new plan, Dr. Maxwell also can award performance bonuses for stellar work.
Many administrators earn $100,000 or more. A 15 percent raise for a $100,000 earner would give the employees a $15,000 pay bump.
Those amounts seem a little more than excessive for a one year pay hike. A more realistic goal would have been capping all potential raises to a maximum of 8 percent.
Regardless, this is a step in the right direction.
Out to raise some cash for the Democratic Party, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is inviting select baseball fans — those with big wallets — to join him and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean in the owner's box at Camden Yards on Wednesday night, when the slumping Birds take on the New York Yankees.Maybe if Angelos took some time off from being a Democratic Party hack and took some time to run his business, perhaps the business wouldn't be suffering so badly.
Becoming a game "chair" will cost you $28,500; a "host" pays $5,000; or come as yourself for a mere $1,000.
What's worse? What more cynical way to draw people to a fundraiser at Camden Yards than to make sure that the event is held when the Yankees are in town...
Then again, if he was that good at business, why would he be a Democrat?
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Maxwell to County: Drop Dead
So now we have an unaccountable Superintendent of Schools, supervised by an unaccountable Board of Education (who are still bitching about the budget), going completely off of the reservation to spend money in a way that was shady at best and illegal at worst.As school and county leaders tango through the budget season, Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell took a bold step yesterday to seize the lead.Dr. Maxwell bought a $4.6 million payroll software system two days after the County Council voted against granting money to pay for it....
...The council wanted to delay the purchase for 30 days to determine whether the pricey human resources system could be used for all county employees. Administrators on both sides were midway through discussions to bring that to reality when Dr. Maxwell issued a letter yesterday saying he signed the contract anyway.
"It undermines the whole spirit of what we were doing," county Budget Officer John Hammond. "We have one part of the government march off on their own direction and say you're either with us or we'll leave you in the dust."
County Auditor Teresa Sutherland questioned whether the expenditure violates state law, and referred the action to county attorneys.
Dr. Maxwell said county officials shouldn't be shocked, because the schools face a crisis.
So now I have to ask this question: if the school system can afford to buck the county by spending $4.6 million on something that is clearly not related to classroom instruction, why are the schools in such dire straits financially? That's not to say that the system doesn't need a payroll program. But why would Maxwell decide to strike off an do his own thing in the middle of negotiations with the rest of the County apparatus? And does Maxwell really think that he is going to get what he wants through petulance?
And need I remind people that neither Maxwell nor the Board who supervises him face the voters or the public in any meaningful way , shape, or form?
Grab the Blankets
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.Read the whole thing.
At this point, the most prudent way for individuals to deal with climate change is to look at the thermometer before going to work in the morning, and decide at that point if you need to take a jacket...
Labels: Global Warming
This Just In...
There is no "I" in Team...
Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada appeared just long enough to extend his streak of consecutive games played to 1,152, the fifth-longest in big league history. Tejada, who got hit on the left wrist by a pitch from reliever Doug Brocail on Wednesday night, bunted in his only at-bat in the first inning. Roberts was forced at second on the play, and Gomez then pinch-ran for Tejada.For a team and a town that saw Cal Ripken and his streak extended only in legitimate fashion, this is a sad, sad commentary on both Tejada and the state of this franchise...
Less than stunning development
If you were Joe Girardi, and a lot of high profile and better run organizations than the Orioles likely will have managerial vacancies this offseason (including the Yankees), would you try and come in and put this mess back together?
Next on the agenda: Dusty Baker (please no), Davey Johnson, and Rick Dempsey. I have a funny feeling that by the All-Star Break, either Rick Dempsey will be managing the team, or Dave Tremblay will still be the interim skipper...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Commander Carter and his Lost Planet Statesmen
I don't understand realistically how any rational human being can take the side of the terrorists, particularly in defense of a Democratic nation whose has been threatened with extermination on and off for the last sixty years. Then again, blaming the U.S. for two terrorist groups shooting at each other takes its own special type of insanity, too.
Former President Jimmy Carter is accusing the US, Israel and the European Union of seeking to divide the Palestinian people.
Carter says that's being accomplished by reopening aid to President Mahmoud Abbas' new government in the West Bank while denying the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. He made the comment at a human rights conference in Ireland.
Carter, a Nobel Prize winner, says the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal." Carter says that far from encouraging Hamas' move into parliamentary politics, Israel and much of the West sought to subvert the election by shunning Hamas.
Then again, the Democrats seem to have cornered the market on this stuff. Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria being one example.
Why, oh why, are there no strong Democrats who will actually stand up to the bad guys?
Seeing is Believing
- Andy MacPhail
Let's hope so. I cannot actually trust that to be the case until I see Peter Angelos letting MacPhail do his job the way he needs to do his job. Until then, he's just another face stuck in the revolving door of Orioles management types.
Peter Schmuck is giddy:
For once, they didn't have to open the windows on the sixth floor of the B&O Warehouse to get some fresh air.And I hope he is right. I was four years old in 1983, when the Orioles knocked off the Phillies. I cling to (and still wear regularly) my "1997 Eastern Division Champions" t-shirt, because it's the only thing I have left that signifies playoff success. I hope that, by next year, I have a reason to switch out that portion of my wardrobe.
New Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail took the podium this morning and took charge of this floundering franchise and, cynics be damned, it sure felt like a new day in Birdland.
It started with the structure of the media conference, in which club counsel (and Peter Angelos surrogate) Russell Smouse made the introduction instead of executive vice president Mike Flanagan. It started with Smouse acknowledging that ownership finally has gotten the message from the club's disgusted and diminished fan base and announcing unequivocally that MacPhail would have "full and ultimate responsibility" for the operation of the team.
Smouse was speaking for Angelos, who should have been there himself, but let's not quibble at a time like this. The Orioles -- for the first time since they hired Pat Gillick -- have a baseball operations czar with the kind of juice to affect dynamic change inside the organization and repair the team's broken image in the community and around the major leagues.
Playing Polling Politics
Most residents support a new student fee for participation in extracurricular sports and clubs, but strongly oppose leaving 50 teaching positions empty to help balance an $871 million budget that the school board plans to approve today, according to an online survey conducted by Anne Arundel County public schools.Of course, they don't talk too much about the poll until the next paragraph:
The results of the unscientific, informal poll, which will be released at today's Board of Education meeting, also show that 55 percent of the roughly 2,000 responses support a property tax increase that would specifically fund schools, and 50 percent back an income tax rise that would do the same.Of course, when you place the poll on your own website, do very little to advertise the fact that there was a poll, and have no control mechanisms in place or scientific sampling procedures in place, you get a useless poll.
With barely 2,000 responses, the survey does not reflect a substantial cross-section of the more than 40,000 families who send their children to public schools, nor the district's roughly 25,000 employees, retirees and their dependents. Mosier said he could not say how many of the responses came from school district employees, but that 60 of the responses apparently came from students.No kidding.
What's sad is that the same people who are charged with (theoretically) teaching our children about unbiased scientific discovery and the scientific method are peddling unscientific junk polling as something meaningful.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Gee, wonder why he did that?
I of course call bull on this statement:
"Although my plans for the future haven't changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city," he said in a statement.I think it's painfully obvious that the guy is running for President.
So long as a liberal Republican is not the nominee, this will hurt Democrats much more than Republicans because Bloomberg is to the left of most of the Democratic candidates on social issues. I just can't see actual Republicans voting for him...
Labels: 2008 Presidential Election
Who Will Watch?
All Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance at the two ABC News live debates in August 2007. The 90-minute forums moderated by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos with additional questioning from David Yepsen of The Des Moines Register will be held at Drake University. The Republican debate is on Sunday, August 5, 2007 and the Democratic debate is on Sunday, August 19, 2007. The debates will begin at 8am CT and air across the country as a special edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos.So, there are going to be two live debates, at 9 AM Eastern Time? And who exactly are the target audiences for these debates? I can't imagine it is going to be your average Iowa caucus-goer.
So....why then? What's the point?
Labels: 2008 Presidential Election
Monday, June 18, 2007
That was the other shoe
Here is the real surprise of today's proceedings; Andy MacPhail:
Meanwhile, the same sources said Andy MacPhail has reached an agreement to be the Orioles' chief operating officer.
MacPhail and Girardi overlapped in Chicago during MacPhail's tenure as Cubs president and CEO of the Chicago Cubs, which began in 1994 and ended in 2006. Girardi, who managed the Florida Marlins in 2006, was the Cubs' catcher for two stints totaling six seasons, the last from 2000-02.
MacPhail won two World Series championships as general manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1987 and 1991.
And that probably makes Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette very nervous campers right about now. MacPhail has a pedigree for winning; they don't, and this year certainly does not help their cause.
The question is this: will MacPhail be given the ability to do his job properly? Remember that Pat Gillick only lasted three years as the O's GM before bailing out of town.
Maybe, just maybe, Peter Angelos has finally seen the writing of the wall and understands that, like George Steinbrenner, sometimes being hands off works out a little better than being so hands on. Maybe Angelos realizes the free agent bounty that awaits in the coming off season and that MacPhail, with the backing of the Angelos checkbook, can rebuild this team into an honest to god contender.
Now, let's hold our breath and see if Joe Girardi really wants to be here....
Just Like the Old Days
What better way to strengthen foreign policy bonafides and get into the good graces of the conservative base. Also of interest:
Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator who is expected to announce next month he is running for president, flew to London on Monday to meet Margaret Thatcher and deliver a foreign policy speech, his advisers tell The Politico.
Thompson's advisers aim to use the London events to bolster his foreign policy credentials and elevate him above the increasingly contentious fray of the GOP race.
On Wednesday, he will pose for photos with Thatcher, which his advisers hope will enhance his support among devotees of former President Ronald Reagan.
Thompson will deliver the foreign policy speech, "Strengthening the Transatlantic Alliance," on Tuesday at the Policy Exchange, a conservative think tank based in London.
It will stress the importance of American alliances abroad, his advisers said.
Liz Cheney, the former State Department official and the vice president's elder daughter, is consulting on foreign policy. Longtime GOP guru Mary Matalin, a friend of Thompson, will help shape the campaign's message.Interesting indeed...
Our next President also used Harry Reid as a piñata, like any reasonable person would, for his cozying up to the extreme left of the extreme left.
Sen. Thompson is doing all of the right things as he builds towards his formal announcement, hopefully sometime next month.
Labels: Fred Thompson
O'Malley: No I Should be able to fire for political reasons
Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration plans to appeal a judge's ruling that the firing of a midlevel Maryland Department of Transportation employee was illegal, a spokesman for the department said today.I bolded the money quote. An admission by a cabinet-level O'Malley Administration official that a Republican was fired for political reasons; something that no Ehrlich Administration official ever publicly admitted to.
"We are taking the appropriate steps to have the ruling reviewed," said Jack Cahalan, the department spokesman, who declined to comment in detail about the procedure, because it is a personnel matter....
...The O'Malley administration has stood by the decision to fire Maddalone, but held off last week on saying whether an appeal would be made to circuit court, until legal counsel could review the judge's decision.
Maddalone, who does not have a college degree and worked as a professional ice dancer, had been employed with the state since 2003, when he had an entry-level position in former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s office....
....Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary John Porcari testified during the administrative law review that he fired Maddalone because he wanted to reorganize the OEPES, which is involved in homeland security. He said he was hoping to find people with experience in homeland security to fill the positions.
But the judge noted in her ruling that Porcari conceded that he never looked into Maddalone's personnel file, relying instead on what he had heard in news accounts that questioned whether Maddalone had played a role on controversial firings during the Ehrlich administration and his career as an ice dancer.
You know, all of this is really kinda goofy to get excited about. The fact of the matter is that all of the employees in question from both the Ehrlich and O'Malley Administrations were at-will employees and (theoretically) served at the pleasure of the Governor (notwithstanding the Kangaroo Court's definition of at-will). The only reason that we're still even talking about this is the fact that Democrats spent years whining about the plight of their brethren under a Republican Governor, a complaint that quietly went away upon O'Malley's victory.
At this point, what goes around comes around. But good grief, can't we scale back on the number of at-will employees if they don't actually serve "at-will?"
In a Word....No
Japanese are staying cool as a cucumber this summer with "Pepsi Ice Cucumber" _ a new soda based on the crisp green gourd.Yuck. Cucumbers should be consumed with dip, not with carbonation...
The soft drink, which hit stores here on Tuesday, doesn't actually have any cucumber in it _ but has been artificially flavored to resemble "the refreshing taste of a fresh cucumber," said Aya Takemoto, spokeswoman of Japan's Pepsi distributor, Suntory Ltd."We wanted a flavor that makes people think of keeping cool in the summer heat," Takemoto said. "We thought the cucumber was just perfect."
Crazy Even for the UN
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the slaughter in Darfur was triggered by global climate change and that more such conflicts may be on the horizon, in an article published Saturday.Yes, let's use the global warming bogeyman as an excuse for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in a mass genocide. Maybe Ban Ki-moon should spend a little more time finding solutions to this and all of the other problems the UN has failed to address in recent years, and a little less time assigning blame to the murder of thousands.
"The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change," Ban said in a Washington Post opinion column.
UN statistics showed that rainfall declined some 40 percent over the past two decades, he said, as a rise in Indian Ocean temperatures disrupted monsoons.
"This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming," the South Korean diplomat wrote.
"It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought," Ban said in the Washington daily.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
No matter who wins, we lose
One thing has been consistent over the last several Mayors of Baltimore; a record of not being able to get things done for the city. Crime continues to go up. The population continues to go down. Schools continue to fail. Infrastructure continues to crumble. The size of government continues to expand, event into building unneeded hotels. Politicians fiddle while the city's problems continue to grow. You have to go back to the Schaefer years to find a Mayor who has been able to get anything done. Du Burns was a fill-in Mayor for 11 months. Kurt Schmoke meant well, but got bogged down in his drug criminalization kick. Martin O'Malley was incompetent, but good looking so he got a promotion. And Sheila Dixon is, clearly, in way over her head.
The problem comes down to the effect that it has on the suburbs. The surrounding counties must deal with the problems that hub city, in this case Baltimore, casts off into them.The suburbs will continue to grow and expand. More traffic. More homes. A higher population density. As the population shifts, urban problems continue to shift. More violent crime. More drug dealing and drug use.
And that, ultimately, is the biggest travesty about this year's Baltimore Mayoral election. The fact of the matter is that the next Mayor will be determined on September 11th, during the Democratic Primary. The party that is responsible for decade upon decade of failing the people of Baltimore will remain in power. There are only subtle differences in the platforms of the major candidates for Mayor. All of them believe in higher taxes, more government services, and more "solutions" for education that are anything but. Businesses will continue to avoid the city (in conjunction with the General Assembly's anti-business attitudes). The cycle of failure is going to continue with no interruption whatsoever.
No matter who wins Baltimore's Mayoralty, we all lose.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
More on the O'Malley Firing Scandal
The Sun has made repeated requests over six weeks to the O'Malley administration to release figures detailing the number of employees that have been fired since the governor took office in January. It has refused to provide them.So..how much says that the number of firings exceeds the number of firings by Governor Ehrlich?
Of course, the Ehrlich Administration got exonerated both in court and through the legislative Kangaroo Court. O'Malley got blatantly caught doing it.
Today, Smith writes:
And (more importantly) how could the O'Malley administration not have known that it's really, really bad for your credibility as a leader to get caught up in the same sort of thing you (rightly) excoriated the last Governor for doing?Of course, right before that he advocated that Greg Maddalone should have been fired for political reasons...it also assume O'Malley has credibility, which I don't think anybody paying attention thinks he should have.
Question: Will Hardcore O'Malley partisans finally realize that their fearless leader is Maryland's leading hypocrite?
Free Speech Carries the Day
The U.S . Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Washington state law restricting use of union dues for political purposes in a pair of cases that melded free speech, election advocacy and workplace rights.And good. I have talked before about the unfairness of the collection of union dues that are going to be spent for political purposes that may run contrary to the interests of the union members, particularly as it relates to Anne Arundel County's unfair "Fair Share" law for teacher's union members.
At issue was whether states could force labor unions to obtain direct permission from workers before spending their mandatory "shop fees" on partisan politics, including candidates and issues that many workers may not support.
"No suppression of ideas is afoot," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, "since the union remains free as any other entity to participate in the electoral process with all available funds other than the state-coerced agency fees lacking affirmative permission."
State officials were among those who brought the high court appeal on behalf of a few thousand public school teachers who refused to join their union. Under a voter-approved ballot initiative, those nonunion workers can still be charged an annual service fee -- equal in amount to union dues -- but only to help pay for traditional labor negotiations.
Those fees cannot be spent on most types of political activities, under the 1992 law, "unless affirmatively authorized by the individual."
Unfortunately, this ruling is limited because Washington is the only state with such a law. Perhaps it is time Congress consider passing such a law nationally in order to ensure that union members are not forced to fork over their union dues to fund candidates and positions that are abhorrent to their belief systems.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
About the District 31 Vacancy
I am not currently planning on applying to fill the vacancy...
Told You So
Luckily, no Maryland schools have signed up for this as of yet. But I have a feeling that some private or public school in our state is going to sign up for this, taking millions of taxpayer dollars with it.Well, here come the screws:
More than 280 college presidents - including the head of Maryland's flagship public university - pledged yesterday to fight global warming by making their campuses "climate neutral."As a taxpayer, I am of course appalled that two public schools are signing on to this; especially considering all of the whining and moaning that went on the last several years regarding the state of funding for higher education in Maryland. The last thing I want are public schools reallocating resources from their primary mission of educating students in an effort to pass Pollyanna-ish environmental reforms because certain politically motivated scientists tell them the sky is falling.
Signers of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which was inspired by similar collective efforts among cities and businesses, are pledging to work toward neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and to increase global warming research and education efforts.
Among Maryland college presidents who have signed the pledge are C.D. "Dan" Mote Jr. of the University of Maryland, College Park; Jonathan C. Gibralter of Frostburg University; Joan Develin Coley of McDaniel College; and Baird Tipson of Washington College.
And as an alumnus of a signatory school (under its real name, I must remind you), I have a major problem with this bullet:
Use their endowment investments to advocate for environmentally friendly business policies.Once again, I don't want to see a private institution (even one that gets millions from the state of Maryland under the Sellinger Fund [learn more about that boondoggle]) waste money that could be reinvested on (bad) infrastructure and educational improvements blowing money on environmental insanity. What's even more disturbing, to me, is the fact that a private institution of higher learning thinks it is appropriate to use monies from its endowment as a hammer in an effort to lobby businesses and presumably governments on the need for environmentally friendly business practices. You have to ask yourself if colleges these days are places of higher learning or liberal reeducation camps, but sadly I think I know the answer.
(Ironically, going to Western Maryland College made me more conservative...and I'm not the only one who became that way...)
Labels: Global Warming
No Laughing Matter
During a routine meeting of the Legislative Policy Committee yesterday, lawmakers questioned the deluge of reports that gushes out each April.
The 2007 session created 34 new commissions, task forces, boards and advisory councils; 153 new reports to the General Assembly and its committees; and 170 reports to budget committees.
Frequently, the legislature is told that these studies can be done with existing resources. The sheer number, however, has made House Republican Leader Anthony O'Donnell, R-Calvert, a skeptic.
"As we go into tough budget times, we have to start looking at the cost," he said. "If you've got 400 or 500 (reports), I guarantee you're not doing it within existing resources."
With the state facing a $1.5 billion deficit next year, there was little disagreement on the other side of the aisle.
"I think it's a point well taken," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., D-Calvert. "It's taxing our resources, for sure."
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will have to develop 76 reports as a result of mandates from the 2007 legislature.
It will surprise nobody to figure out that the reason bureaucracy is continually expanding is the continuing need to find reasons to justify expanding the bureaucracy. The sheer amount of reports produced annually by a state such as Maryland is staggering...yet it is nothing compared to what the Federal Government outputs every year in reports, studies, and commissions.
The irony, as Minority Whip (and fellow GSPM alum) Chris Shank notes:
"The 'Committee on Committees...I knew it would happen."But it really is no laughing matter. Something has to be done in order to curb the waste of time, money, and resources poured into committees, commissions, and the like every year. Unfortunately, that something is going to have to come from the General Assembly. Since most of these commissions and reports, as noted in the story, are legislatively mandated, it is going to take legislative action to remove these reporting requirements and to disassemble these commissions. And since a lot of these commissions and reports address niche issues and placate certain political pressure groups, the likelihood of meaningful reform in this area is slim despite the clear and present budget danger on our horizon...
Giving the Devil his Due
I think it's unfortunate that primary challenges are typically greeted with such disdain -- remember how shocked many pundits were at Ned Lamont daring to challenge Joe Lieberman in Connecticut? But there's no reason an incumbent has a right to his party's nomination, any more than he has a right to his officeAnd that's a fair point, and one that I happen to agree with. But not the point that I was trying to make.
My insinuation was that the far left looks for reasons to take on incumbents for reasons that aren't at all apparent to me. That crowd usually goes out of their way to find primary challenges. And usually those challengers either a) lose the primary or b) get clocked in the General Election. CD-4 is obviously not going to flip to R even if Gandhi were running...
Usually in Republican circles primary challengers only emerge when it is apparent that the incumbent is so far out of lockstep with the base, is incompetent, or both. I mean...what did Joe Lieberman ever do to Connecticut Democrats, Kos, and the rest of that crew?
And remember: I am the same guy who eagerly looks forward to supporting a primary challenger to John Leopold in 2010.
To address Andrew Kujan's point in the comments section:
Of course, when Republicans do come c lose to mounting a successful primary challenge, they end up losing to the Democrat.Linc Chafee was propped up in that primary by the National Republican Senatorial Committee for reasons that I cannot even begin to fathom. Without NRSC support, I believe that Laffey would have won the primary. What made the NRSC's move unbelievably stupid was the likelihood from the get-go that Whitehouse was going to win the race, which meant resources got dumped into Rhode Island that clearly could've been more useful elsewhere....
A Great Retort
"He's a liar. His feet stink. And he doesn't love his Jesus. And you can print that."
-Baltimore City Clerk of the Court Frank Conaway
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Eating their Own
I'll never understand the extreme left's ability and desire to try and eat their incumbents.
From time to time, incumbents in both parties deserve to have their feet held to the fire on ideological grounds. I can think of one guy who deserves someone to challenge his credentials in the next primary. But nobody, and I mean nobody, gets as excited for an intraparty rumble like the extreme left netroots crowd. They thrive on it, consequences be damned. And why not? It worked so well in Connecticut...
Found and Lost
Now, if we can only encourage the President to find a clue on the immigration issue and stop pressuring members of Congress to vote for his amnesty plan...
The President's plan is bad policy and bad politics. It makes the party look weak on border security and more beholden to the interests of those business interests who profit from illegal immigration. It weakens the economy through the continued influx of illegal migrant workers. And, most importantly, it further weakens the idea of a secure national border in a country that can't get the easy stuff done when it comes to keeping the right people out.
Hopefully, this issue will stay dead and buried, where it belongs...
Why can't we get a guy like that
Daniel Cabrera gave up seven runs tonight against the Nationals....
Thought for the Day
You are cordially invited
WELCOME CDI MEDICAL-WEST COUNTY
HONORABLE JOHN R. LEOPOLD
EXECUTIVE ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007
CDI MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC.
7501 GENERAL AVIATION DR , HANGAR 85 TIPTON AIRPORT FT. MEADE, MD 20755
$250 Per Plate
$1000 VIP EVENT SPONSORSHIP
HOSTED BY: CDI MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC.
CDI Medical Systems, incidentally, sells "turn-key infrastructure and/or medical surge capacity packages."
So...why does Rich Uncle Pennybags need to raise money from a business presumably trying to sell goods to the county while trying to be "above politics" due to his personal wealth.
I don't care that politicians need to fundraise. I attend fundraisers often for my friends and candidates I support. But I don't know why John Leopold (again) has to be so damn hypocritical in the way he conducts himself...
Labels: John Leopold
Monday, June 11, 2007
Incumbent backs Incumbent: Film at 11
Sure, an incumbent backing an incumbent against a primary challenger is not exactly breaking news. And there's a lot of material there to deal with (why anybody would want to expand the powers of the Comptrollers office; why would anybody think Franchot had his head on straight). But I think Andrew misses the four little numbers that have everything to do with this decision.
To say the two men have divergent interests is an understatment.
When Franchot was elected as comptroller, some criticized the expansion of his office's powers. Franchot dismissed these claims....I once supported the Comptroller's expanded actions, because I figured the man's head was on straight. Now I am not so sure.
Franchot has decided to endorse a congressman who will be actively working against his goals as a progressive. Whether he was fooled or went willinging, I do not know, but I do know I am disappointed.
It is no secret that Peter Franchot desperately wants to run for Governor. It is also no secret that O'Malley's a little too moderate for Franchot's tastes. Nor is it a secret that the African-American community is not particularly gung ho for O'Malley or the slate of candidates that came out of the Democratic ticket in 2006.
So ask yourself this; if you were planning on running an insurgent primary to an incumbent Governor's left in three years, wouldn't you want to do whatever you could to help shore up support and build political capital wherever you could get it?
Just a thought....
You won't hear this everyday...
Read the whole thing. Mr. Sikwati clearly understands basic economic principles better than many of his western colleagues. But I think only someone in his situation, living in a country that has been the "beneficiary" of so much foreign aid, can truly understand the complexities of the situation and the damage that large multinational bureaucracies can have on a people and a country.
The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...
Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.
SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.
Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.
SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?
Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
Foreign aid is oft described as a transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. And that description is accurate....
Labels: United Nations
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Would It Kill Somebody to score runs for Jeremy Guthrie?
5/13 @ BOS: 8.1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 KGuthrie's record over this span: 1-0
5/19 @ WAS: 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 10 K
5/24 vs TOR: 7 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K
5/29 @ KC: 7 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K
6/3 @ LAA: 8 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K
6/9 vs COL: 8 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K
That's ridiculous. 7+ innings in six straight starts, no more than two walks in any start (and no walks in two starts). And the team can't score any runs for him, and the bullpen can't hold any leads for him because the O's are 2-4 in those six starts.
Jeremy Guthrie has a 3-1 record, and the poor guy should be at least 7-1 or 8-1 thanks to the O's ineptitude to hold a lead for him. The guy should be a leading contender for Rookie of the Year and, dare I say, the Cy Young Award. Instead he just, is a fourth starter on a mediocre team.....