Happy Thanksgiving!

The real reason that the Pilgrims gave thanks to Almighty God …

Almost 400 years ago a group of dissenting Christians left their homes and bravely (and faithfully) crossed an ocean so that they might live and worship as they saw fit.  They braved sea, storm, wilderness, sickness, and poor harvest.  We all know the story.

Yesterday I was listening to Rush Limbaugh and was reminded of another detail is seldom, if ever, taught in our schools today.  The first Thanksgiving (it really wasn’t, but we’ll let that slide for now) was a result of hard work, individual initiative, faithfulness, and private property.

What?  I thought the settlers of the Plymouth Colony lived communally.  I thought that they shared their bounty.  And wasn’t it the Indians (Native Americans) who helped them feed themselves?

You’re right.  They did.  The Native Americans did help. They also nearly starved to death.  It was only after Gov. William Bradford gave each family their own plot of land and encouraged them to plant early and work for themselves did they begin to experience surplus.  With this surplus they could trade and branch out into other endeavors.

With no disrespect to my Catholic, Jewish, Muslim (and even atheist) brethren, this is what was called “the Protestant Work Ethic”.  It just so happened that they were protestant, but it was PRIVATE PROPERTY and INDVIDUAL LIBERTY which motivated the settlers to succeed.  Over 200 years before Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, the settlers of Plymouth Colony demonstrated its failure.

Our children aren’t taught these important lessons anymore.  Since our schools refuse, it’s up to parents to teach their children the complete meaning of Thanksgiving.

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Maciarello Wants Police Oversight Board

SALISBURY, MD – Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello proposed civilian oversight boards for both the Salisbury Police Department and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s office according to a report by Daily Times reporter Jeremy Cox.  Maciarello also proposed that both SPD officers and WCSO deputies wear body cameras.  Details of Maciarello’s proposal are not currently available.

As with all such proposals, the devil is in the details.  The Salisbury city council and mayor could easily pass legislation to institute a civilian oversight board and require officers to wear body cameras.  The wisdom of such proposals can be debated.  However, neither Maciarello nor the Wicomico County government have the authority to institute such proposals.  The county government funds the Sheriff’s office with local tax dollars.  It cannot dictate to Sheriff Mike Lewis how he chooses to operate his office.  Unless the state plans on passing such a law OR Wicomico County plans on creating a county police department, such proposals are nothing more than suggestions.

In the Daily Times’ account, the subheadline reads:

Maciarello’s push represents the most tangible action taken so far after a string of violent —sometimes fatal — interactions between police and citizens in Wicomico

This hardly represents “tangible” action as Maciarello lacks the authority to do anything but hold a press conference regarding this matter.

photo courtesy of the Daily Times

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What to Do About Wicomico’s Crumbling Schools

Last week I asked the question, “Should Wicomico County borrow more money?”.  This was primarily in reference to the swearing in of a new County Executive and County Council and council president Matt Holloway acted responsibly by pulling the item from the agenda. Yet, a greater underlying problem lurks beneath the surface for Wicomico taxpayers.  How does the county provide a decent education for the children of Wicomico County and still live within its means?

West Salisbury Elementary School has been slated for rebuilding.  There is also discussion by the Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE) to merge West Salisbury and Charles Chipman Elementary Schools.  Why do we need a new school?  Some may argue that we don’t, but the fact that West Salisbury has been denied any meaningful renovation since it opened in the early 1960’s means that a new school may have to be built.

West Salisbury is Bennett Middle all over again.  Don’t renovate.  Don’t maintain the physical plant more than absolutely necessary in hopes of building a new school.  Evidently, building (first) and renovating schools looks good on a superintendent’s resume.  In addition, the state pays for a hefty share of new school construction but doesn’t cover renovation costs.  As I have noted earlier, Wicomico County can expect a decline in state aid  (and possibly direct aid to the county’s schools).  Currently Wicomico County pays less than 25% of the cost of the county’s schools.  Compare this to 35% in Dorchester and over 75% in Worcester.  In addition, Wicomico will no longer have the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to look to.  So what should Wicomico County, and its new County Executive, do?

[Read more…]

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Racist Cops?

Salisbury’s Daily Times feels the need to stir the pot of racial animus on Delmarva.  African-Americans are arrested in proportionally higher numbers.  What is new about that?  This is a sad fact.  We should all wish that the crime rate were lower.  However, I don’t believe that victims of crimes are particularly concerned about the race of the criminals.

Is anyone accusing law enforcement officers of NOT arresting white criminals?  Is anyone accusing prosecutors of NOT trying white criminals?  If so, I missed that part of Vanessa Junkin’s and Rachel Pacella’s article.

Instead, such reporting merely serves as an excuse for certain “community leaders” to spout off about non-existent ills within our community.  Mary Ashanti, president of the Wicomico branch of the NAACP, compared the criminal justice system to an ante-bellum plantation:

“The statistics of the over-representation of blacks arrested in Wicomico County, Maryland, represent an ongoing contradiction since the end of chattel slavery," part of her emailed statement reads. "That contradiction being that slavery never ended, it was just legally maneuvered to justify its existence by way of punishment through the courts and as a viable economic entity.

"The gross disparity in the incarceration rates between blacks and caucasians will only widen until every able-bodied young black male has been herded into the concentration camps of the American prison-industrial complex.”

At Tuesday’s Wicomico County Council meeting Ashanti spoke eloquently against racial profiling.  She served herself, and the constituency she claims to represent, well.  But to compare the arresting of criminals to slavery serves no one other than the tiny minority who make their livings from fomenting racial hatred – both black and white.

It is obvious that Gannett’s motivation behind such race baiting was to sell papers.  They admit that this series of articles is an attempt to tie local news in with the unrest in Ferguson, MO.  They would probably like nothing better than a nice, bloody riot to help boost their bottom line.

As for me, I hope that every law enforcement officer in the country is like Accomack Sheriff Tod Godwin:

"We don’t see race, we don’t see gender.  We see probable cause for an arrest."

It’s odd no one mentioned that Sheriff Godwin is African-American.

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Where Is the Outrage in Kent County?

“Activists” are preparing to riot in Missouri, even though the grand jury hasn’t disclosed its findings regarding the Michael Brown shooting.  Gannett is ginning up racial hatred on the Lower Shore by pushing the subtext that African-Americans are UNJUSTLY arrested in disproportionate numbers.  Yet, there seems to be little outcry when an African-American candidate appears to have been robbed of an election in Kent County.

After election night AND the absentee canvass, GOP candidate for Kent County Recorder of Deeds La Mar Gunn was the winner by two votes.  However, the Board of Canvassers decided that incumbent Democrat Betty Lou McKenna was the winner after most of the public had gone home.  The Wilmington News-Journal reports the story as if there is no question of the results.  Even when covering Gunn’s contesting of the election results, the News-Journal seems to yawn.  The Delaware State News provides better coverage … just.

If Dave Anderson’s reporting at Delaware Politics is accurate, and he usually is, there a lot of questions begging for answers.  We all know that if Gunn were a Democrat and McKenna a Republican the mainstream media would be screaming racism from the top of their collective lungs.  Unfortunately for Gunn, he chose to run as a Republican.  Expect this to be swept under the rug.

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Should Wicomico Borrow More Money?

It’s approaching noon.  The agenda and briefing book for tomorrow’s Wicomico County Council meeting hasn’t been posted online.  The public won’t be able to prepare to intelligently comment at the meeting.  Yet, the outgoing council expects to vote on borrowing $16 million.  Should they?

A majority of the incoming council will be new.  The incoming County Executive is new.  Some of the funds for the expected bond offering will be for new projects (such as replacing the Westside Primary School West Salisbury Elementary School).  Wicomico County faces a potential budget disaster.  Should this council approve putting Wicomico County even deeper in debt?

As with most things, the answer is complicated.  The county has little choice but to approve capital projects already started (such as the new Bennett Middle).  However, new projects should at least be put on hold until the new council and executive are sworn in.  They are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.

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Illiterate? Cry Racism!

This week former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was caught up in an uproar because his critics were too illiterate to understand comments Barbour made on a conference call.  Barbour’s offense?  He referred to President Obama’s policies as “tar babies”.

The liberal media is outraged.  Barbour is a racist.  His lobbying clients should be ashamed.  Really?

What is a “tar baby”.  The dictionary defines it as a “sticky situation”.  The term comes from the “Uncle Remus” stories published in the 19th century.  Br’er Rabbit punches a tar baby (a doll made of tar and turpentine) and becomes stuck.  The “Uncle Remus” stories have their roots in West African folklore transported to America by slaves.  Joel Chandler Harris (and others) published the stories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Like “Aesop’s Fables”, the stories are designed to impart wisdom, particularly to children.

Barbour’s critics are either illiterate, or simply attempting to score political points by playing the race card.  Neither should be acceptable in this day.

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What’s In Store for Wicomico County?

Judging by the results of the recent election, Wicomico County voters should be enthused about some changes coming down the pike.  However, those changes will required some thought and planning on the part of incoming County Executive Bob Culver, the incoming (and outgoing) County Council’s, and Wicomico’s legislative delegation.

Maryland Governor-elect Larry Hogan ran (and was elected) on three primary issues:

  1. Maryland is OVER-TAXED.
  2. Maryland is OVER-REGULATED.
  3. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was incompetent.

Well …

If Maryland is over-taxed (and most of seem to agree), there are only two things that Hogan can do:

  1. Cut Spending while keeping the current tax rates as is.
  2. Cut Spending MORE and ask the General Assembly to cut tax rates.

Obviously, Wicomico voters (as well as voters from around the Once Free State) are looking for tax cuts. There are just a few problems; to cut taxes Hogan will have to drastically cut spending.  He already faces a projected $593 million shortfall courtesy of outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley.  As governor, Hogan has a great deal of influence over the spending side of the budget.  He needs the Democrat-controlled General Assembly to cut taxes.

Hogan has already met with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the mayor has stated that they must reconsider Baltimore’s “reliance on state aid”.  All localities need to do the same.  However, if you are like Wicomico County the hit could be hard.

For local officials, this will probably mean severe cuts to their respective budgets.  Wicomico County could be one of the worst hit by Hogan’s expected spending cuts.  Wicomico County pays just over 24% for its schools.  Compare that to over 35% in Dorchester and almost 76% in Worcester.  The state requires Wicomico to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE) each year.

Incoming Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver needs to be prepared for a revenue shortfall.  How much is anyone’s guess.

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Mary Landrieu – From Bad to Worse

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) faces an uphill battle to retain her seat.  Her response?  Landrieu is attacking her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  Here is an ad Landrieu’s campaign released Saturday:

According to Democrats, and the mainstream media, it is Republicans (particularly conservative Republicans) who resort to such tactics.  Yet, Landrieu’s ad is void of a single issue.  When the Washington Post agrees that a Democrat ad has gone too far, that’s saying something!

Yet, what can the Louisiana (or national) voter expect?  Sure, Republicans go negative … even nasty.  It’s just that they aren’t so sanctimonious about it.

If you want to see Cassidy’s actual speech, in context – click here.  But as the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza states:

It’s not clear, though, how many people who see the Landrieu ad will, like me, find and then watch the whole nine-minute Cassidy speech. The Landrieu people are hoping not many.

Expect more nastiness from the same candidate (Landrieu) who not so subtly implied that Louisianans who voted for Cassidy were racists and sexists.

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Wicomico GOP Latest Source of Dem $$

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Wicomico councilwoman, and District 37-A House candidate, Sheree Sample-Hughes has stumbled upon a new source of campaign cash.  REPUBLICAN elected officials!

That’s right!  The most liberal member of the Wicomico County Council can count the likes of Wicomico council president Matt Holloway, appointed councilman John Hall, and Wicomico sheriff Mike Lewis among her most ardent supporters.  Even Lewis’ chief deputy has contributed to Sample-Hughes’ race.

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In a twisted sense of irony, voters should remember that Sample-Hughes has implied that Lewis and his department are a bunch of racists because of a drug raid and chase on Salisbury’s west side a few years ago.  Now Lewis and his number two are helping Sample-Hughes to climb the political ladder.

It will be interesting to see the response of the local Republican party.

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O’Malley Budget Without Tax Hikes

We’ve heard it all before.  Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is claiming that his last budget will forego tax hikes and reduce the overall size of state government.  Does anyone, including the sycophantic media carrying O’Malley’s water, really believe it?

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Maryland Board of Elections Cries Foul

What happens when the powers that be don’t want to bother with the niceties of an election but would rather proceed directly to a coronation?  You ignore the law and all appearances of propriety.  At least that is the case when Maryland elections chief, and O’Malley / Brown ally, Linda Lamone decides to issue a ruling allowing Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s campaign to raise money during the 2014 General Assembly session.

In theory, Lamone works for the State Board of Elections.  Unfortunately for the people of Maryland, Lamone seems to thing that the board’s only purpose is to rubber stamp her actions.  Such was the recent case where Lamone chose to bypass the Attorney General’s office in seeking an opinion as to whether Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman could raise money for the Brown / Ulman ticket while Brown is expressly prohibited from doing so.  Lamone then issued a ruling without bothering to consult the board – the people she supposedly reports to.  Glynis Kazanjian, at Maryland Reporter, details Lamone’s actions and the reaction of one courageous board member.

Why bother with elections when bureaucrats can rule our lives?

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Beggars of the Shore

With the Maryland General Assembly in session, rural Maryland is once again preparing itself to raped and pillaged.  Expect our taxes to be increased – yes, even in an election year – and yet more of our individual and corporate liberty to be taken away.  What can we do?  One option is to follow the advice of Salisbury’s Daily Times and become sycophants and beggars.

In today’s editorial we are encouraged to drop our collective pants and take it with a metaphorical smile:

… What’s needed is persistence, public relations strategy and a reasonable amount of patience. In addition, Shore delegates and senators need to step up their efforts to find common ground with their counterparts from more populous areas of the state.

One hindrance to progress is that Shore legislators sometimes find it easier to preach to their local choir about the wrongheadedness of Annapolis (and Washington) rather than roll up their sleeves and make incremental progress on very complex issues. As a result, local voters often re-elect officials who speak their language on key issues, but don’t necessarily get better results. …

Translation:  We need to suck up to the Annapolis ruling class so that they will only take away 90% of the money and property that they were otherwise planning to.  We need to become MORE, not less, dependent on Annapolis.  We need to beg to keep SOME of what is already ours by right.

Expect to hear more of this vein in the coming months as the Daily Times prepares the case to re-elect the likes of Del. Norm Conway (D-38B), Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38), Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt (D), Wicomico Councilman Matt Holloway (R), and Wicomico Councilman John Hall (R).

Imagine if we were living in 1776.  Following their logic we should not have stood up against the British crown.  We should have accepted whatever tyranny came from London and hope that we could retain a tiny bit more of our lives, liberty, and property by “building relationships” and “working with the King’s government” as they continued to take what is ours.

By the logic of Michael Killian and his minions at the Daily Tory, Patrick Henry was wrong and the members of the Continental Congress weren’t accomplishing anything because they stood up for what was right rather than what was expedient.

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The Great Democrat Hope

Attempting to keep the fiasco which is ObamaCare off of the nation’s front pages, Democrat politicos far and wide are focusing on “income inequality” and hiking the federal minimum wage.  There is just one problem … only 1.6 million Americans earn the minimum wage.  Of those, nearly 1/3 are teenagers.

How many millions lost their health insurance because of ObamaCare?

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Lewis Wins Senate Seat … Barely

NORFOLK, VA – If an anticipated recount doesn’t change the outcome, Del. Lynwood W. Lewis (D-100) will move to the Virginia Senate this session.  In yesterday’s special election to replace Lt. Governor-elect Ralph Northam, Lewis defeated small businessman and first time candidate Wayne Coleman by 22 votes (0.1%).

Over 20,000 voters from Accomac, Northampton, and Mathews counties, along with a small section of Norfolk, braved the bitter cold to cast their ballots.  In unofficial results Lewis received 10,197 votes and Coleman received 10,175.

Read more at the Daily Press and the Virginian-Pilot.

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Wicomico Democrats Seek Allies

How are Wicomico County Democrats progressing towards next fall’s elections?  Better than you might think.  Since a Democrat majority is highly unlikely, local Democrat leaders want the next best thing – a liberal council that will rubber-stamp increased spending and higher taxes if Rick Pollitt is re-elected to the County Executive’s post.

Sources within the Wicomico Democrat Central Committee indicate that they are preparing to give appointee John Hall (R-4) and first term incumbent Matt Holloway (R-At Large) a free pass.  Why?  One need simply look at their voting records and Matt Holloway’s role of carrying water for County Executive Rick Pollitt (D) on council.

Hall was appointed to succeed the late Bob Caldwell.  Caldwell won his seat in 2010 by a landslide 2 votes.  District 4, at best marginally Republican after re-districting, is the Democrat’s best bet to pick up a seat.  Yet, the local Democrat machine appears to be punting.  In his short tenure on council, Hall has voted more like liberal Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-1) than the far more conservative majority of county voters.  If Pollitt can’t have a Democrat majority on council, he wants allies like Hall.  Hall’s votes regarding the Board of Education indicate that he will be ready to help Pollitt to bust the revenue cap if (when) Pollitt is prepared to do so.  Remember, thanks to Del. Norm Conway (D-38B) and Del. Rudy Cane (D-37A) the revenue cap is no longer relevant as long as increased spending goes the Board of Education.

While Matt Holloway claims to be the council’s “voice of agriculture”, he has already stated that he will vote for a tier map which strips county farmers of their property rights.  He has also shown willingness to rubber stamp Pollitt’s spending and tax proposals.  More telling is his attempt to discredit councilman Bob Culver (R-At Large) with an attempted censure – at Pollitt’s behest.  Why?  Culver is challenging Pollitt for the Executive’s job.  It’s little wonder that Matt needed the council’s sole Democrat to support his re-election as council president so that Pollitt’s control of the county’s legislative branch can continue.

While Democrats are actively recruiting a challenger for councilman Joe Holloway (R-5), it is unlikely that they could come close to beating him.  There is no question that Hall is vulnerable, both to primary and general election challenge.  Why would they seek to challenge Joe Holloway but not Hall?  Hmmm….

If Matt Holloway receives a free pass, the reason is far more obvious.  As long as he can garner enough votes to wield the gavel, Pollitt knows that he will have a compliant council.

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Coleman for Virginia Senate

Tomorrow is another election day … at least on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Voters in Virginia’s 6th senatorial district, which includes the ESVA along with sections of Norfolk and Mathews County, will have the opportunity to elect a replacement for Lt. Governor-elect Ralph Northam.  They will choose between Del. Lynwood Lewis (D-100) and Norfolk businessman Wayne Coleman.  The choice is simple.  Coleman exemplifies the values on which the people of Accomac and Northampton counties take pride in – hard work, individualism, devotion to family and community, and fiscal responsibility.

Coleman personifies Eastern Shore values.  Virginia needs more small businessmen (and women) like Coleman in the General Assembly, not more lawyers like Lewis.  Lewis, while living on the Shore, has shown himself to be a poster child for “Richmond values”, voting for tax hikes, more spending, and growth in state government.

Lewis obviously hopes that the historical parochialism of Virginia’s Eastern Shore will be enough to get him to the Senate.  The ESVA has always been the “red headed step-child” of Virginia.  The state government routinely neglects to even include the Shore on official images of the Commonwealth.  Shore residents can hardly be blamed for their inherent parochialism.  However, when Shore voters have chosen folks from across the Bay to represent them in Richmond they have been well-served.  While I may have my own problems with Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3), does anyone (other than Bill Fears) honestly argue that he did not serve the Shore well?  Northam played on the ESVA’s inherent parochialism to defeat Nick Reras and voted more like a senator from Arlington County than the Eastern Shore.

Sending Lewis to the Virginia Senate is akin to “cutting your nose off to spite your face”.  Akin to Shore Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly, Lewis tosses his “Shore values” in a bin* when he crosses the Bay on his way to Richmond.  In Richmond he has represented the Democrat Party, NOT the 100th District or the Eastern Shore.  Coleman will represent, and fight to protect, those Shore values irrespective of where he resides.  Why?  Because they are not just “Eastern Shore values”.  They are Virginia values.  They are American values.

* – Thanks to Maryland Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) for his now famous analogy from the 2010 election.

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Media Monday – A Taste of 2014

Recent coverage of county and state politics in Salisbury’s Daily Times provides us a glimpse of what to expect in 2014 … Democrats and their allies can do little wrong while conservative candidates will receive short shrift at best, vilification at worst.

Can we expect better?  We can … but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.  Jennifer Shutt’s recent chronicling of the announcements of John Hall, Matt Holloway, and Norm Conway show just how low a decent reporter (or her editors) are willing to go to protect the Democrat / left-of-center power structure.

Del. Norm Conway’s (D-38B) recent announcement that he will seek another term was laughable in its bias.  Check out Shutt’s lead:

Hoping to put Maryland taxes on par with surrounding states and secure funding for Lower Shore transportation projects, Chairman of House Appropriation Committee Norman Conway has filed for re-election.

Really?  Can someone name one tax hike that Conway hasn’t voted for?  Maybe New York is considered a surrounding state.

Wicomico councilman John Hall (R-4) has voted more like a Democrat since being appointed to replace the late Bob Caldwell.  Does that make him a liberal?  Not according to Shutt.  In her eyes, carrying water for County Executive Rick Pollitt’s tax and spend policies qualifies Hall as a “moderate”.  We can only surmise that a membership card in the CPUSA is required to be categorized as left-of-center.

As for council president Matt Holloway’s (R) re-election announcement, Shutt portrayed the at-large councilman as “the voice of agriculture”.  Holloway has publicly admitted that he wants the county to adopt a “tier map which the governor will approve”.  If Holloway votes for such a map, he will have totally reversed his 2010 pledge not to allow downzoning of the county’s agricultural land without FULL and FAIR compensation to affected landowners.  Holloway also admitted that he has filed an application to put some of his own family’s land into the state’s MALPF program.  Currently Wicomico County is excluded from the program because it has refused to kowtow to Annapolis’ wholesale theft of property rights.  I guess it’s OK to steal from your neighbors as long as you get paid … and Ms. Shutt fails to report it.

We sincerely hope that the recent failings in Shutt’s reporting are due to the bias of Publisher Tom Claybaugh and Executive Editor Michael Killian.  Shutt has proven herself a fair and capable reporter in the past.  Claybaugh and Killian have not shown much interest in running a newspaper but instead prefer a tabloid catering to the whimsy of the area’s local power structure.  Perhaps they might sell more papers if they allow the likes of Shutt and Jeremy Cox to report more news.

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Salisbury Area Chamber of Cronyism

Crony Capitalismnoun; a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of dirigisme.

It’s a perfect storm.  After years of attacking elected officials who had the temerity to stand up for taxpayers, the Daily Times got its wish and Salisbury city government has returned to the days of the “Dream Team”.  Real estate developers bought themselves a city council seat.  Salisbury taxpayers now subsidize residential development by giving away EDU’s that were meant for commercial development.  The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce is now the number one shill for taxpayer-subsidized development … under the guise of “working together”, the Chamber is now the lead cheerleader for taking from the city’s residents and doling out rewards to a few select developers.

Small wonder, one of those developers is now president of the Chamber.

After a few TEMPORARY construction jobs are created, it will be interesting to see how many permanent jobs come to Salisbury.  It will be even more interesting to see what the next round of subsidies entail.  Joe Citizen can continue to pay while others cash in.

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MSNBC – Don’t Let the Facts Get In the Way of the Narrative

Even the left acknowledges that MSNBC has a “progressive” slant.  To add to the irony, NBC now views MSNBC as an adjunct to its news department.  MSNBC talking heads such as Rachel Maddow make FOX News regulars such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity look positively moderate in comparison.

While I am a fan of neither O’Reilly nor Hannity, they at least attempt to use facts to support their arguments rather than simply make them up as they go along.  Not so with the MSNBC cabal.

A recent case on point, with a Delmarva slant, is MSNBC’s Chris Hayes:

The man standing before the microphone in his white lab coat is Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).  Hayes identifies Harris as Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).  He claims that Harris / Price hasn’t practiced medicine since 1996.  Well, that’s not true of the man in the video.  Harris practiced medicine right up until his election to Congress in 2010.  While I can’t speak for Andy, I’m willing to bet that he would still be practicing medicine today if not for a federal law which prohibits members to hold outside jobs.  This is the reason than many physicians serving in Congress no longer practice.

Of course, none of this matters.  Facts don’t matter.  It’s the NARRATIVE that matters.

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First Amendment Dead in Maryland

TOWSON, MD – The left seems to believe that there should be no consequences to saying anything … provided you adhere to the liberal orthodoxy.  However, if you don’t then they also seem to find no problem throwing the First Amendment right out the window.

We see one such example in the recent arrest of a Howard County parent attempting to ask questions at one of the recent meetings on “Common Core” being held by the state Board of Education.  The parent was arrested and charged with assault.

Readers should understand that the rules set by the Maryland board were designed to limit discussion and deflect serious debate away from this issues.  All questions were supposed to be submitted ahead of time, in writing.  The government officials were able to cherry pick questions and re-word them to allow softball answers to softball questions.

While the charges against Robert Small have been dropped, the message sent was loud and clear – DO NOT CHALLENGE THE STATIST ORTHODOXY.

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Obama’s Lack of Understanding

WASHINGTON, DC – While people were literally dying in southeast DC yesterday, President Barack Obama launched a partisan attack against Congressional Republicans.  Even media outlets such as MSNBC – the OFFICIAL Obama network – is outraged.

From FOXNews:

More than three hours after news broke of the Navy Yard shootings, President Obama opted to proceed with a partisan attack on Republicans over a looming budget impasse. Obama asked if the GOP was really “willing to hurt people” while police were still searching for suspects in the killings. Obama also touted his own re-election win, slamming Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s ineffective opposition to Obama’s 2010 health law. All the networks, including MSNBC, eventually abandoned coverage of the president’s remarks and returned to breaking news from the scene.

Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney why the president went ahead with “what became a series of attacks on Republicans.” Carney responded saying the president’s comments were “entirely appropriate.”

Is the President and his staff so tone deaf that they can’t understand there are certain lines you don’t cross?  Can you imagine the reaction if a Republican occupied the White House and did the same thing?

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Who’ll Stop the Rain Tax?

A press release from the Craig – Haddaway-Riccio campaign:

Harford County Executive and Maryland candidate for Governor David R. Craig released today an economic impact analysis of the so-called rain tax which soaks a typical business that depends on parking lots, roofs and other impervious surfaces with thousands of dollars in fees.  Illustrating the haphazard approach under the new Maryland law, a family-owned General Motors dealership used as a case study in the analysis would be required to pay anywhere from one penny in an outer suburban county to $12,000 per year in Baltimore City.

“If you wanted to open a business with a parking lot, would you want to come to Maryland and figure out this new tax?" asked Craig. “It is easier in our small state for many businesses to simply locate in Delaware, Pennsylvania or Virginia.”

The law, formally known as the “Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program,” stems from the Obama Administration’s EPA mandate to reduce run off into the Chesapeake Bay.  The O’Malley-Brown Administration signed the measure into law in 2012 with an estimated fiscal impact projected to be a staggering $14.8 billion.  It is the costliest documented stormwater fee regime in the nation that the campaign could determine.   The first stormwater fees were implemented in some jurisdictions across the country beginning in the mid 1970’s to help meet federal Clean Water Act requirements.

Baltimore City alone estimates it will collect $24 million from the rain tax per year. Baltimore, which already has the state’s highest property and individual income taxes, leads the state in taxpayer exodus according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data.
“Baltimore City is sealing its own fate like Detroit – a downward spiral caused by raising taxes and fees on a shrinking base,” said Craig. “Baltimore especially can ill-afford to saddle residents and businesses with the highest rain tax in the state; it will only circle the financial drain that much faster.”

Craig will hold a press conference on the rain tax on Tuesday, September 17 at Boyle Buick and GMC Truck in Abingdon.   The announcement coincides with a scheduled visit to Maryland from Texas Gov. Rick Perry who is waging a media attack on the state’s business climate under the O’Malley-Brown Administration and a nascent grassroots secessionist movement in western Maryland that is likewise gaining media attention.

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has increased taxes, fees and tolls 40 times that remove an additional $3.1 billion out of the economy per year. 

“There is a pattern here,” said Craig. “There is a growing class of ‘forgotten Marylanders’ – people who are left behind from all walks of life and from every part of our state who are required to pay record amounts of taxes, fees and tolls to support radical political rulers who no longer represent them.”

Only in the Once Free State does the government tax the rain.  What’s next?

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Ireton Threatens City Board Members

SALISBURY, MD – Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton has resorted to threats in attempting to get his way from the city’s Housing Board of Adjustments and Appeals (HBAA).  According to the Daily Times’ Jeremy Cox, Ireton threatened the board members after his administration did not get their way regarding the rubble pile on the site of the old Salisbury Mall:

“I just wanted to let the three of you know your terms are up, and we would like to know whether you would like to be reappointed,” he said.

The HBAA, mockingly called the “Slumlords’ Board” by some, is charged with hearing appeals of city enforcement decisions against city property owners.  The members of the quasi-judicial board are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.   However, the board (like other quasi-judicial boards such as the Board of Zoning Appeals) is supposed to be independent.

Ireton’s actions threaten the independence of the board and make any rulings in favor of his administration suspect.  Why would Ireton do such a thing?  Simply, his arrogance knows no bounds.  Like his hero Barack Obama, the rule of law means nothing.  Results are what matter, and that means Ireton’s way or the highway.

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The EPA Brigade

CHICKEN, AK – I remember watching a 1997 Steven Seagal movie, Fire Down Below, and thinking what a stupid premise the movie was based on.  Sure it was decent low brow entertainment and I loved some of the actors – Marg Helgenberger, Kris Kristofferson, Levon Helm – and the country singers that also appeared – Marty Stuart, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt – but c’mon … an EPA agent wages war against an evil corporation and the town it controls.  Boy, was I wrong!

Last week armed EPA agents raided the thriving metropolis of Chicken, Alaska.  The EPA Brigade showed up in full body armor looking for violations of the Clean Water Act.

The next time I need to call 911 for the police I’ll tell them that someone is polluting rather than robbing my house.  Maybe the eco-army will respond faster.

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Today’s Geography Lesson

This video illustrates the changes to Europe’s political map over the last 1,000 years.  It’s not news, but it is interesting.

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The Bill for Secession

No one dislikes the Maryland state government more than I do; and the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Rodrick’s is Maryland’s poster child for the smug, sanctimonious liberal journalist.  That said, Rodrick’s response to the current discussion of secession by five western Maryland counties is well worth reading.  Rodrick lays out just some of the potential costs to Western Marylanders if they actually secede from the Once Free State.

Here on Delmarva we’ve entertained similar discussions in the past, although not as seriously as the folks west of the Baltimore-DC corridor seem to be.  We want our gas tax money back (as do the folks in Allegheny, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties).  We want the jackboot of Annapolis off of our collective necks (ditto for the Western Maryland 5).  In my home of Wicomico County we resent the state telling us what our local property tax rate will be and their effective assassination of our sacred revenue cap.  Personally, I would love to see the Eastern Shore become its own state or possibly merge with Delaware and Virginia’s two Eastern Shore counties (Accomack and Northampton).

There’s just one little problem … how many Eastern Shore residents (or Western Maryland taxpayers) are willing to pay the bill that would be due.  Do you think the voters of Worcester County would be willing to reimburse Annapolis for the cost of beach replenishment or the expansion of US 113?  What do you think the response would be if Wicomico residents were told that they had to reimburse Maryland for the cost of the by-pass around Salisbury and Salisbury University?  God forbid that we actually paid the full freight for the costs of our schools.  What would be the response from folks in Somerset if they had to pay Maryland back for UMES or ECI?  What about the Shore’s community colleges and state parks?

Does anyone actually believe that the good folks of Queen Anne’s or Kent would voluntarily pony up to help us pay those costs?  It reminds me of the many problems faced by the Confederacy when it was formed.

Things like secession sound great in the abstract.  Personally, I think that secession by both Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore would probably be a good thing.  It’s just important that people have a serious discussion with their eyes wide open.

Note:  I know the graphic doesn’t show Carroll as shaded, but it was the best we could do.

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Boda to Announce for Wicomico Council

SALISBURY, MD – Former Salisbury City Council Candidate Muir Boda will be announcing his candidacy for Wicomico County Council at the end of the week.  Boda will seek the Republican nomination for one of two At Large seats.

You can follow Boda’s campaign HERE.

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ObamaCare Hits Trader Joe’s

MONROVIA, CA – Everyone seems to love Trader Joe’s.  Since we don’t have one on Delmarva, my wife fills the car up every two weeks when she’s down in Virginia visiting her parents.  The grocery chain appears to be one of America’s many success stories … at least until ObamaCare reared its ugly head.  Last week the chain informed employees that Trader Joe’s would no longer be offering health care benefits to its part time employees.

What was supposed to be the answer to a supposed health care crisis, ObamaCare seems to be the opposite.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, over 7 million workers will lose their employer-based health coverage as a result of the law.  These individuals (and their covered family members) will be forced into government-run exchanges.

H/T – Ken Cuccinelli

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Kilmer Files for County Council Seat

SALISBURY, MD – It didn’t take long for someone to file to replace Wicomico councilwoman Stevie Prettyman.  Scholar and local conservative activist Marc Kilmer has filed to seek the Republican nomination for the District 2 council seat currently held by the four term incumbent.

Kilmer, a Senior Fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, is a former U.S. Senate staffer, former president of the Wicomico County Republican Club and served as a member of the county’s charter review commission.  A graduate of Hillsdale College, Kilmer lives on Nanticoke Road with his wife Melissa and two young children.

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Pope Francis Overturns 2000 Years of Christian Doctrine

ROME – For two thousand years Christians have believed that Jesus Christ died for their sins and that the only path to heaven lay in acceptance of Christ as the Son of God and Savior.  London’s Daily Telegraph has reported that Pope Francis, in an op-ed written for the Italian daily La Republicca, has announced that:

"The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience.

"To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil."

This follows a homily earlier this year where the Pope stated that even atheists could be welcomed into heaven.  It appears that His Holiness may be looking to take the Roman Catholic Church down the same path as the Episcopal Church.  He should carefully examine how that has worked out.

Acceptance of Christ is no long required for salvation?  We need only follow our own conscience?  Like dogs, do all sociopaths go to heaven?

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The Downzoning of Wicomico County

SALISBURY, MD – Five years ago Wicomico citizens fought a pitched battle to preserve their property rights.  On one side were farmers, large landowners, real estate developers, and a large group of ordinary citizens who actually believed in personal liberty and property rights.  On the other side was Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, several members of the Wicomico County Council, the state of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and every enviro-leftist in Wicomico County.  Dubbed the “Big Land Grab”, Pollitt and his political allies attempted to strip farmers and large land owners of their right to develop all or part of their property under current law.  It was by one vote that the attempt was thwarted.

Move forward to today.  What Pollitt and his enviro-left allies couldn’t achieve openly has come to pass under the cloak of inaction.  By refusing to adopt a tier map Pollitt and the Wicomico County Council have effectively downzoned all agricultural land in Wicomico.

Didn’t Wicomico voters elect a strong majority of pro-property rights council members in the last election?  So they said.  The problem is that the de facto Pollitt majority on council seems to believe that by NOT acting, they can provide themselves cover.

The county council could have taken action on their own.  They could have adopted a tier map that minimized the damage done to property rights by Pollitt’s pals in Annapolis.  Instead, the de facto Pollitt majority (ironically lead by a “Republican” farmer, Matt Holloway) has allowed the County Executive to lead them by the nose.  Pollitt wants an invitation-only meeting of “stakeholders” to “discuss” the issue.  Pollitt took his own sweet time in scheduling this sit-down and then postponed so it wouldn’t interfere with his recent junket to Asia.

Who are these “stakeholders”?  County administrator Wayne Strausburg has been slow in releasing the list as requested by stalwart conservative councilman Joe Holloway.  Our understanding is that Pollitt’s enviro-left pals dominate the panel.

In the meantime, Rick Pollitt has achieved by inaction what he couldn’t achieve through legislative action.

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In Delaware It’s Only Tax Money!

WILMINGTON, DE – What happens when a local non-profit wants to invest $100,000 renovating a local museum?  The county government rejects the help of course!

That is what has occurred recently in New Castle County when a local group offered to spend $100,000 on the historic Rockwood Mansion.  Why?  The PRIVATE group was not going pay a “prevailing wage” on the work.  Delaware Rep. Danny Short and Delaware Rep. Deborah Hudson have penned an op-ed in response to Delaware’s system of kow-towing to unions at the taxpayers’ expense.

Yet one more method of the government queering the free market, prevailing wage laws are designed to encourage the hiring of union contractors.  If non-union contractors are forced to pay union-scale wages (the “prevailing wage”), governments are encouraged to hire union contractors.  There is no cost advantage to hiring a non-union contractor and non-union contractors don’t (as a rule) picket your job site.

In the case of the Rockwood Mansion, the project would be undertaken by a private group.  However, the government owns the property.  The New Castle County council and executive have decided that the prevailing wage must be paid even though Friends of Rockwood Mansion are a private, not-for-profit organization.  (The state law only requires “prevailing wage” on GOVERNMENT capital projects).

So, what’s the result?  An historic treasure won’t receive the renovation it desperately needs.  When it does, the cost will be far higher than it would be without the burden of the prevailing wage law.  And … Delaware taxpayers will have to pick up the tab rather than a group of private citizens who ponied up for the renovation to begin with.

God Bless the AFL-CIO and their lackeys in the Delaware Legislature.

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The Dunn / Day Era in Salisbury?

SALISBURY, MD – Is Salisbury returning to the fiscal disaster experienced under the now infamous “Dream Team”?  Only time will tell, but it appears that the huge sums thrown at the Jacob Day campaign by national real estate interests may be starting to pay off certain special interests.

A letter to the editor in this morning’s Daily Times by Chamber of Commerce president (and real estate developer) Brad Gillis outline the benefits already starting to flow to real estate developers … and promises more to come:

Together, the Chamber and the city successfully collaborated and amended the city’s paving policy. This legislation, Resolution 1312, gave greater discretion to the Department of Public Works and its professional engineers, thus creating a quality process and end product for both the developers and the citizens of Salisbury.

We were also successful in amending the city’s policy that required the warranty and maintenance of new infrastructure to be bonded for five years; no other cities researched required a five-year bond.

Without further delay, it’s time to act on another community win: an equivalent dwelling unit incentive zone.

We support the city moving forward with this Incentive Zone, which would create a bank of credits to be used for the development of the downtown area and enterprise zones.

Having this tool will enhance the pro-business climate in our great city without costing the citizens a single dollar. Salisbury’s comprehensive plan calls for high-density growth in our downtown area; this is the time and the place to create such banks.

Approving this incentive zone will send a message to local, regional and national builders and developers: “Downtown Salisbury is primed for both commercial and mixed use developments.”

The “Incentive Zone” of which Gillis speaks is designed to subsidize residential developers, not attract employers.  While Gillis applauds these subsidies (not surprising since he directly benefits), there is no mention of the across the board pay hikes proposed by his ally Mr. Day.  These, and other spending hikes, will ultimately result in tax increases on the citizens and businesses of Salisbury.

Does Mr. Gillis believe that tax hikes will attract business?  Of course not.  These “incentives” are not pro-business; they are simply a little league version of crony capitalism.  As Salisbury goes back to “giving away the store”, who benefits?  The very people who spent tens of thousands of dollars to elect their champion – Jacob Day.

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You Can’t Manage An Economy

WASHINGTON, DC – Big Labor, a leading backer of the Barack Obama administration and the Democrat party, is finally starting to learn that the government cannon manage an economy.  Their lesson?  ObamaCare’s 40% tax on “cadillac” health insurance plans.

Last week, just prior to the Labor Day holiday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they would be ending their affiliation with the AFL-CIO over the union umbrella’s support of ObamaCare and the tax on “cadillac plans”.  Other labor unions are denouncing the law as they learn that their members will be adversely affected by ObamaCare.  The Democrat promise that all Americans could keep their existing plans if they wanted has rung hollow.

While more  employers across the country are cutting worker hours below the 30 hour “full time” threshold for ObamaCare, others are abandoning their traditional health plans in favor of high deductible Health Savings Account plans (HSA’s).  Ironically, it was the left that attacked these plans during the first decade of the 21st century.

HSA’s are cheaper, in part, because employees have greater control over their health care spending:

John Goodman, a longtime proponent, is sometimes called the father of health savings accounts. He explains that with such accounts "the employee controls a lot of the money, makes a lot of his own decisions."

He says that saves money because, as he puts it, "we’re always more careful when we’re spending our own money than when we’re spending someone else’s money."

Increased regulation and higher taxes distort the market for health care, which encompasses 17% of our nation’s economy.  Big Labor, and other traditional Democrat allies may finally be learning that Washington’s “Brain Trust” simply cannot manage such a large portion of the world’s largest economy.  Despite continual attack from government, the “invisible hand” of the free market always comes out on top.  Unfortunately, the distorting effects of government, labor unions, and corporatist business interests do impact the free market; yielding results that few proponents can anticipate.

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Tragedy at SU

SALISBURY, MD – A murder / suicide at the 100 block of Onley Road has left two men dead and a young woman severely wounded.  The Daily Times reports that the crime was related to a domestic violence incident:

Police said they are still trying to piece together the details of what they believe to be an incident of domestic violence. At least one other person who was in the home was being questioned about what had occurred, police said.

Late Tuesday, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis confirmed the man killed by the shooter was former Salisbury University student Charles Abbott of Hebron. Next of kin has been notified of the tragedy, he said.

The wounded woman, whose name has not been made public, was receiving medical treatment in the Shock Trauma unit of a Baltimore hospital, Lewis said earlier during an 8:30 p.m. news conference outside the crime scene.

The shootings occurred at about 6 p.m., authorities said.

One victim was a student at Salisbury University.  One victim was a former student. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims.

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Obama Fiddles …

Declare war.  … Play golf.  That was the sequence of events yesterday as President Barack Obama announced that he would be taking military action against Syria.

According to Obama:

This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

While Obama also claims that Syria’s actions are a threat to our national security, he also claims that action isn’t time sensitive.  A tad counterintuitive, but he was elected president.

The most disturbing part of this little political drama is Obama’s cavalier attitude towards Congress.  He believes that he doesn’t need Congressional approval to take military action against Syria.  He and his administration have said so.  He may be right – if you believe that the War Powers Act is constitutional.  However, can Obama now claim unilateral authority AFTER he admits that taking action is not time sensitive?  It seems pretty clear that he now will seek Congressional approval to cover his political backside.

Obama, like almost all politicians, is at least as concerned about appearances as he is about substance (yes, I am feeling particularly charitable today).  Therefore, isn’t it better (for appearance’s sake if nothing else) to cancel a round of golf when you are telling the nation that you are putting our nation and our allies at risk?

Obama prefers to putt while the world burns.

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3/4 of Americans Are Racists?

WASHINGTON, DC – Are 3/4 of Americans really racists?  That’s a tough a pretty tough feat given that non-Hispanic whites make up just over 60% of the US population; yet the left does seem to believe this.  Why?  A recent Washington Post poll shows that 74% of Americans support photo ID to vote.  According to such conservative stalwarts as Barack Obama and Eric Holder, requiring a photo ID is a blatant attempt to suppress minority voter turnout … de facto racism.

I guess Congress will have to appropriate money for mandatory “sensitivity training”.

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Read My Lips … Repeal ObamaCare

Red State’s Erick Erickson is one of the few conservative commentators to actually understand what is happening in the Republican Party vis a vis Repealing / Defunding / ??? ObamaCare.  The party’s leadership has never cared about ObamaCare.  They wouldn’t support it, not because it is bad public policy, but because they knew it would cost them votes.  Remember, these same people had no problem supporting another massive entitlement – Medicare Part D.

A moderate, by definition, is one who believes in nothing.  Unfortunately the Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, et al are moderates.  The believe in nothing other than increasing their own political power.  We have symbolic votes to repeal ObamaCare because these people know that nothing will come of it.  They threaten to not increase the debt ceiling because they know it will have to be raised.  When they back down they tell us that the real fight will come at budget time.  Budget time has come.  There will be no budget and they now tell us that they have to pass a continuing resolution … without a defunding of ObamaCare.  The upcoming debt ceiling increase is where we need to tackle ObamaCare.  The GOP leadership not only doesn’t mind lying to us, they also believe that we are too stupid to remember what they told us less than a year before.

Erickson has hit the nail on the head.  The current intra-party fight over defunding ObamaCare is the “Read My Lips” moment for GOP moderates.  Perhaps the Boehner / Cantor / McConnell posse should make a pilgrimage to Houston and ask George H. W. Bush how it all worked out for him.  It made Bill Clinton president.

All of this doesn’t mean that conservatives should think that the battle is over and that we will regain control of the GOP.  It doesn’t.  Staying home will only give the Democrats a win.  We must work to ELECT conservatives.  Sadly, too many of us have become such ideologues that we will not support candidates unless we are in 100% agreement.  While moderates and conservatives all try to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, they refuse to follow the wisdom which he left us.

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Obama’s War on Innovative Education

Last week, President Barack Obama was telling students that he wanted to change federal student aid to reward schools that were providing a “cost effective” education.  Sounds great, right?

At the same time the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting body for over 1,000 colleges in 19 states, was pulling the plug on Ivy Bridge College, a partnership between Tiffin University and the for-profit Altius Education.  Ivy Bridge College’s mission was to provide a cost-effective two year program that successfully funneled students into completing their four year degrees.

The Obama administration argues that the federal government must focus on rewarding schools which are cost effective.  In theory, this is a sound idea.  Unfortunately, neither Obama nor people of his ideological persuasion are able to grasp a few basic truths:

  1. The liberal policy of throwing money (in the form of grants and federally subsidized loans) is a primary culprit in price inflation of a college education far outpacing the price inflation of the economy in general.
  2. “For-Profit” is not synonymous with “bad”, “evil”, or “poor quality”.
  3. A government cannot centrally plan an economy, or a large portion of it, with same efficiency and quality as a free market.
    Like the mortgage crisis, the “crisis” of inflation in higher education is a product of government action.  Monetary inflation is the effect of too much money chasing a limited supply of goods.  Easy money (in the form of poor quality, government subsidized mortgages) chasing a limited amount of real estate precipitated the real estate “bubble”.  Inflation in higher education is the effect of too much money (in the form of grants and subsidized loans) chasing a limited number of seats in our colleges and universities.

Obama and his ideological acolytes first tried to tell us that it was “for profit” education that was the culprit (just has the evil banks were the culprits in the mortgage crisis).  Then we were told that private sector participation in providing student loans was costing taxpayers and students.  While the Obama administration has nearly destroyed for-profit higher education and has ended private sector student lending, the costs of a four year college education continue to rise far faster than the cost of living.

Has all of this extra funding gone to providing a higher quality of education?  No.  Today’s colleges and universities are investing in such educational necessities as rock climbing walls, fancy dining facilities and a Starbucks in almost every building.  This flood of money yields an increased competition for customers students.  A better library, smaller classes, or a better teaching just can’t compete against saunas and caffeine.

Innovation in higher education, just like the innovation brought by school choice in primary and secondary education can’t be permitted.  Free market solutions simply cannot be allowed.  We can continue to expect declining public schools and college graduates drowning in debt … and liberal politicians continuing to claim that the solution is throwing your tax dollars at the problem.

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Maryland Phosphorous Regulations on Temporary Hold

Pollitt and Allies Dodge Another Political Bullet

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today’s scheduled hearing on “emergency” implementation of new phosphorous regulations has been canceled.  Maryland farmers will receive a temporary reprieve from rules which would have prohibited use of chicken manure on many fields.  In addition, many Maryland elected officials are breathing a sigh of relief while some will be taking credit for coming to the aid of Maryland farmers.

With agriculture such a big component of the Eastern Shore economy, you would think that elected officials would race to come to the aid of farmers and poultry processors.  Yet when Wicomico County councilman Joe Holloway (R-5) proposed that the council and County Executive Rick Pollitt take a stand and petition the state on this matter, only councilwoman Gail Bartkovich (R-3) and councilman Bob Culver (R-AtLarge) stepped up to the plate.  When Holloway (not to be confused with council president Matt Holloway (R-AtLarge)) publicized the fact that council and Pollitt did not support standing up for agriculture, a rush to the microphones started in earnest.  Matt Holloway announced that he would be testifying on behalf of farmers.  A few days later the Rick Pollitt / Matt Holloway alliance changed its stance to petition the state.  Plans were made to send County Administrator Wayne Strausburg to Annapolis with Council Administrator Matt Creamer in tow.

Now there has been a temporary reprieve.  Wicomico farmers and those whose livelihood depends on agriculture should continue to pay close attention.  They can’t continue to depend on officials like Joe Holloway, Bartkovich, and Culver being able to embarrass Pollitt and his council majority into standing up for what is right.

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Virginia Taxpayers Subsidizing Anti-Americanism at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, VA – With taxes on the rise and government clamoring for more spending, why are Virginia taxpayers subsidizing the activities of a Virginia Tech professor who attacks the United States and our troops?  On Sunday Salon.com published a piece by Tech English professor Steve Salaita where the professor equates “supporting our troops” with jingoism and American imperialism.

Salaita goes so far as to belittle our troops in the field and calls them beggars:

In addition to donating change to the troops, we are repeatedly impelled to “support our troops” or to “thank our troops.” God constantly blesses them. Politicians exalt them. We are warned, “If you can’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.” One wonders if our troops are the ass-kicking force of P.R. lore or an agglomeration of oversensitive duds and beggars.

Such troop worship is trite and tiresome, but that’s not its primary danger. A nation that continuously publicizes appeals to “support our troops” is explicitly asking its citizens not to think. It is the ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy, presented to us in the guise of democratic preservation.

Salaita certainly has a right to his opinion.  Taxpayers have a right to ask if they should be forced to subsidize it.  Salaita argues that “troop worship” is encouraging citizens not to think.  On the contrary, non-governmental efforts to support our troops does just the opposite.  As someone who opposed President Bush’s attack on Iraq and who now opposes President Obama’s sabre rattling in Syria, I appreciate the opportunity to show support for our men and women in uniform.  For those of us who do oppose war, we are afforded the opportunity to do so AND support the men and women who volunteer to lay their lives on the line for their country.  Soldiers don’t start wars.

I know, Salaita has First Amendment rights and must be afforded “academic freedom”.  He certainly has a right to free speech.  That does not mean taxpayers (or tuition paying parents) should be forced to subsidize it.  As for academic freedom, this doesn’t apply.  Salaita is paid to teach English.  He is a tenured professor at a large, state-supported university.  As such he is a representative of that school.

In a state with the proud military tradition of Virginia (a state which is one of two with state-supported military colleges) and which serves as the home base for tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines should the state taxpayer be subsidizing such an individual.  If Salaita worked in the private sector, he would be on his way out if he hadn’t been escorted out on Monday.

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Why You Can’t Trust the GOP Leadership

Red State’s Erick Erickson has a great synopsis of the ridiculous contortions the GOP’s congressional leadership has gone through over ObamaCare.  Before you call your Representative or Senator in response to some #dontfundobamacare tweet, you need to read it.

In our view the bottom line is pretty simple.  Using the debt ceiling as a political tool is irresponsible.  It was irresponsible last year and will always be so.  HOWEVER, using the appropriations process and / or continuing resolutions to block funding for ObamaCare (and a myriad of other wasteful spending programs) is responsible … and NECESSARY.

Any Republican who refuses to support a continuing resolution that excludes funding for ObamaCare isn’t deserving of your vote next year.  If GOP members of Congress can’t take a stand on this, then when will they take a stand on anything substantive?

If the government has to shut down, so be it.  The media tells us that Republicans lost big in 1996 over a shut down.  Of course, the facts say otherwise.  The GOP lost a handful of House seats, but picked up two Senate seats.  As for the presidency, the GOP lost by running a moderate against a perceived moderate Democrat that was universally loved by the media.  Sound familiar?

We can make a difference.  Demand that your members of Congress be responsible.  Demand that they use their constitutionally given appropriations power to stop ObamaCare.  Demand that they TAKE A STAND!  Don’t allow them to wiggle out of doing their duty.  Ignore the John Boehners, Eric Cantors, and Mitch McConnells of this world.  Follow the advice of Nancy Reagan and JUST SAY NO!

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Maryland Begins Common Core

Public schools begin classes in Maryland today.  The controversial “common core” federal education standards begin impacting student education with the beginning of this year.  Should parents be concerned?

In Maryland the answer is a surprising no.  Given that the Once Free State:

  • is already a poster child for nanny-statism
  • has an educational system run by the teachers’ union
  • has no viable school choice
  • believes that funding equates to quality in education
    the impacts of common core will be negligible (and possibly slightly positive) compared to what would have occurred otherwise.
    Repackaging Old Ideas

[Read more…]

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Should Salisbury Taxpayers Pay More for City Services?

SALISBURY, MD – It appears that Salisbury City Council president Jake Day and councilwoman Shanie Shields want taxpayers to pay more for city services.  According to the Daily Times’ Jeremy Cox, Day and Shields are pushing the Ireton administration to move forward with a plan to increase the city’s payroll by approximately $750,000 per year.  This 8.5% increase is based on a study performed by Evergreen Solutions, LLC.

Day wants to quickly move forward in raising the city’s payroll:

“Anything we consider implementing we should implement it quickly for sure,” Day said during a council work session. “We value our people like any organization, and want to compensate them fairly and bring the best here and keep the best here.”

Given that Day has repeatedly claimed that he is opposed to raising taxes beyond constant yield, voters should ask how he plans to pay for this raise.

Councilwoman Terry Cohen asked about the possibility of merit based raises.  According to Evergreen, city workers are opposed to pay raises based on merit.  This is not surprising given that government employees are not used to being paid based on performance.

Taxpayers may be interested to know that Wicomico County continues to suffer one of the highest unemployment rates in Maryland.  Given that there are numerous persons standing in line to fill any position left by a disaffected city employee, why should raises be given at this point in time?

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Was Slavery Wrong?

Not According to Obama Education Policy

Imagine a social studies  or history class in public school.  The discussion for today is slavery -

Johnny:  I think it was wrong to free the slaves.  Every white person should own at least one.

Teacher:  OK Johnny.  Can you please explain how you came to that conclusion?

Johnny:  Sure.  Look back at how things were when we had slavery.  Life was easier for people like me (we can assume Johnny is white).  We didn’t have the crime problems that we have now.  My dad is always complaining about high taxes.  If we still had slavery, we wouldn’t have to pay taxes for things like food stamps and welfare.

Teacher:  Very well reasoned Johnny.  I believe that you’re wrong, but I can certainly understand how you came to that answer.

Sound ridiculous?  Of course it is.  There’s just one problem.  With the Obama administration’s “Common Core” education initiative you can expect your children (if they are in public schools) to be taught this way.  Watch the video below:

4 x 3 = 11 in the world of “Common Core”

Mathematics is a priori knowledge.  It can be proven rationally, with no need for empirical evidence.  If little Johnny can get away with 3 x 4 = 11, then there is no possible argument that little Johnny can’t also hold a supposedly informed opinion that slavery was good, that the Holocaust  never occurred, women should not have the right to vote, or that Jim Crow had a net positive social impact.

We should be careful what we wish for … unless that wish is for Idiocracy.

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Who Will Replace E. J. Pipkin?

CENTREVILLE, MD – Maryland Senator E. J. Pipkin (R-36) has resigned to enjoy graduate school and no state income tax at Southern Methodist University.  The feeding frenzy to replace the center / right Republican has begun with thirteen men and one woman applying for his seat:

Steven J. Arentz    Queen Anne’s County
R. Scott Bramble    Cecil County
Frank W. Frohn    Queen Anne’s County
John L. Graham    Queen Anne’s County
Stephen S. Hershey, Jr.    Queen Anne’s County
Andrew Langer    Queen Anne’s County
Timothy McCluskey    Queen Anne’s County
Audrey E. Scott    Queen Anne’s County
Michael D. Smigiel, Sr.    Cecil County
Richard A. Sossi    Queen Anne’s County
Robert A. Thornton, Jr.    Caroline County
John L. Walter    Queen Anne’s County
John J. Walton, Jr.    Caroline County
Eric S. Wargotz    Queen Anne’s County

Two incumbent delegates (Smigiel and Hershey) and one former delegate (Sossi) have thrown their names in the pot along with former MDGOP chairwoman Audrey Scott and the Eastern Shore version of Harold Stassen – Dr. Eric Wargotz.  Probably the most interesting name on the list is Andrew Langer.

Langer is a strong, libertarian leaning, conservative.  Langer is principled but not an ideologue.  This would allow the 36th district to have a strong conservative senator who could also get thing done. (While I agree with much of his analysis, Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz characterizes Langer as a “bomb thrower”.  I have to respectfully disagree.)

While Scott was an excellent party chairman, another moderate senator is NOT what Maryland (or the MDGOP) needs.

What about Smigiel and Hershey?  Maryland is one of the few states where delegates serve the same term lengths as senators.  Why give up seniority in the House?

The coming weeks will be interesting.  Each county central committee (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s) gets one vote.  However, most of the district’s population is in Queen Anne’s.  Given the breadth of candidates, Pipkin’s successor should come from QAC.  The question is who.

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Gail Bartkovich to Retire

SALISBURY, MD – While Wicomico County councilwoman Gail Bartovich (R-3) has 15 1/2 months remaining in her current term, she has confirmed the worst kept secret in Wicomico County – she will not seek re-election.  Bartkovich is serving her third term on the council.

While many conservatives have had their disagreements with Bartkovich over the years, Bartkovich has been a reliably right-of-center voice for the county and her constituents in District 3.  More importantly, Bartkovich has consistently been the most well prepared council member during her tenure.  Voters may agree with her position, or disagree, but they can always be assured that she has taken a stand based on all of the relevant facts.

Since the beginning of this term it has been expected that Bartkovich would retire in 2014.  Bartkovich’s husband, surgeon John Bartkovich, is nearing retirement.  Bartkovich enjoys travel and spending time with her family, particularly her grandchildren.

Few voters truly understand the long hours a good council member spends on a job that pays little and is underappreciated.  Bartkovich has been a good council member.  If it takes Bartkovich longer than 24 hours to get back to a constituent, you can assume that she is ill or has a family emergency (our experience is that she usually returns your call in less than an hour).

District 1 councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes is retiring to unseat former ally Del. Rudy Cane (D-37A).  While she has not officially announced, it is also expected that councilwoman Stevie Prettyman (R-2) – the council’s longest serving member – will also retire in 2014.

At least one District 3 Republican plans on seeking Bartkovich’s seat.  They will have big shoes to fill if elected.

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Why Is IRS Going After Job Creators?

WASHINGTON, DC – While President Barack Obama and members of Congress from both parties claim that job creation is a national priority, the federal government is making life more difficult for the nation’s job creation engine – small business.  According to CNN, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is targeting small businesses that generate a disproportionate amount of revenue paid for by credit cards.

The IRS claims to be using “industry data” to determine who to target.  There are just a few problems with this notion.  Such data is always historical and doesn’t reflect the rapid technological and demographic changes our economy is going through.  The hot dog stand operator of ten years ago never even thought about accepting credit cards.  How could he (or she)?  Today that same business owner simply pops a small (and amazingly affordable) device like the Square or Intuit’s GoPayment into their smart phone and VOILA – customers can now pay with a credit or debit card!

Twenty years ago, selling your wares via the internet were the province of larger businesses who could afford to invest in the programming and infrastructure to put together an online store.  Today, millions of small businesses sell products and services online.  They receive their payments via services like PayPal or … credit card.

Let’s not forget the demographic changes we have experienced at an accelerated pace.  Today, fewer and fewer consumers carry cash.  It is assumed that they can pay for every product and service they will ever need via credit card, debit card, or online debit from their bank accounts.  Talk to a college student or a recent graduate – most have never written a check!  Cash?  Forget it!  In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t even need cash to buy a Coke from a vending machine anymore.

Why worry if you’re not cheating on your taxes?  If you have to ask, you obviously have never owned a business.  Time spent responding to the IRS is time that could be spent building your business.  Money spent on CPA’s is money that be spent building your business.  That means CREATING JOBS!

Most of us will acknowledge that the IRS has a job to do.  However, we should hope that our Federal government would be more judicious in using its power; particularly as it impacts the growth of our fragile national, state, and local economies.

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When Subsidies Go Bad

PORTLAND, OR – What happens when the taxpayers loan a company $10 million and provide another $20 million in other incentives in return for a PROMISED 450 jobs?  If you are an Oregon taxpayer and the company is SoloPower, the answer appears … NOT MUCH.

Like the better known case of Solyndra, Oregon taxpayers are waiting to find out if they will ever recover any of their hard earned money after the San Jose, CA based firm has announced that it is closing shop.

READ MORE …

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