Je Suis Charlie?

Journalists and other leftists around the world are wrapping themselves in the blood soaked banner of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a lot of conservatives too.  Last week’s attack on the newspaper’s staff, along with the murder of a French policeman, was horrific.  We should all support their right to publish.  We should also recognize the innate hypocrisy we are being shoveled by many (most?) of Charlie Hebdo’s new found allies.

Charlie Hebdo loves to ridicule religion; not Islam, not Christianity – religion … period.  Fair enough, they should have that right.  What if they attacked homosexuals, or women, or blacks, or … ?  They would be have been labeled as a right-wing (always) homophobic (or sexist, or racist, or …ist) rag.  As David Brooks has pointed out:

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

When Ayann Hirsi Ali is invited to speak at a college campus she is usually protested, or disinvited.  This hypocrisy is not limited to the college campus either.  Writers such as Ann Coulter are routinely attacked.  Why?  They present a right-of-center point of view.  Sure, some leftists are attacked as well but the attack is usually against their arguments.

If we are serious about freedom of speech, we should strive to protect it.  This means engaging in civil discourse whenever possible and acknowledging that speech never justifies violence.  We should acknowledge that some speech, like much found in Charlie Hebdo, is just plain rude.  We should support their right to publish.  We should decry the Jihadist attack against them.  But are they heroes?

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Justice By The Numbers

I picked up my Sunday copy of the Daily Times and thought that I had fallen into a copy of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers .  The white liberal guilt oozed from the paper’s lead editorial.  If truth in advertising applied to the media, Look Closer at Arrest Patterns would be more fairly titled Arrest By the Numbers

Are African-American’s arrested in higher numbers on the Delmarva Peninsula?  I have no doubt.  I’m not accusing reporters Vanessa Junkin and Rachel Pacella of lying.

However, the published numbers demand that additional questions be asked.  Are African-Americans being falsely arrested?  If so, shouldn’t the prosecutors responsible for these cases demand better, more just, work by their respective police forces?

Yet, we see no evidence from the paper’s reporting that this is the case.  Sure, some folks are unjustly arrested.  Some may be black; some white, some brown.  I have no doubt that this happens and hope that the police will clean up their act when it does occur.  I even believe that some innocent people are unjustly convicted.  I also believe that this is the exception rather than the rule.

[Read more…]

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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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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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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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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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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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BBC Attacks Margaret Thatcher in Death… As in Life

LONDON – The British Broadcasting Corporation is facing heavy criticism for its coverage of the passing of former PM Margaret Thatcher.  The BBC was been criticized for giving undue prominence to Thatcher’s political opponents in their coverage of her death.  Now the broadcaster has been covering a campaign to encourage citizens to buy recordings of the song, “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”, including playing the song on air.

READ MORE …

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If Cuccinelli Gives Facts, It’s an ATTACK

The Daily Press’s Shad Plank blog calls this video released by GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli an “attack” ad.  No one questions the facts imparted in the video.  The outlets which have been covering Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe’s less than open departure from GreenTech certainly don’t share a reputation for conservative or Republican bias.  They include Politico, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press.

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Senate Office Bugged by Left

WASHINGTON, DC – For those that believe only Republicans would engage in things such as illegal wire-tapping, fear not.  It appears that the left doesn’t bother with legal niceties when it suits their purposes either.

Mother Jones has published an article based, in part, on illegal recordings made of Sen. Mitch McConnell discussing the possibility of a challenge from actress Ashley Judd.

While Judd has announced that she will not run in 2014, her response to the illegal act sounded and awful lot like a candidate:  “This is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington, D.C.”

The mainstream media’s response seems to be more concern about McConnell “digging up dirt” on Judd rather than the fact that an illegal act had taken place.  We can only assume that ABC News has never heard of opposition research.

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Media Monday – April 8, 2013

WGMD HOST NOT READY FOR PRIME (OR ANY OTHER) TIME

When I’m cruising through Delaware (or northern Worcester or Wicomico counties) I often bump my dial over one tick from WICO-FM to hear what’s going on at WGMD-FM.  While I like talk radio, I prefer some local content and WICO is now 99.9% syndicated. (two public radio stations are now the only source of real local content on the Lower Shore)

Two Sundays ago I happened to tune in and heard some guy named Bill Rogers spouting the most ridiculous nonsense this side of MSNBC.  The problem?  Rogers claims to be a conservative.  Personally, I think we should trade this guy to the left for a future third round draft pick.

What was Rogers’ crime?  The guy’s entire show (I only listened for about 90 minutes while I was driving to Seaford and back) was an attack on Libertarians.  Sure, everyone has a right to their opinion.  I don’t disagree with Rogers’ premise that voting Libertarian is often equivalent to voting Democrat, but Rogers’ reasoning was based on a false premise that I found quite offensive.

Rogers claimed that Libertarians were foolish because of their stance on gay marriage.  He specifically claimed that same-sex marriage laws would require churches to marry same-sex couples.  He didn’t say this once either.  Rogers must of repeated this at least a dozen times in the period I was listening.

It’s bad enough that my party (the GOP) is systematically driving libertarian-minded voters away, now we have a supposedly conservative, local talk host trying to do the same with what are basically lies.

I will concede that the day may come that some court, even the US Supreme Court, may make such an outrageous ruling.  However, that day has not arrived … YET.  It’s bad enough that nominally Christian denominations such as the Episcopal Church perform what are de facto gay weddings.  We have enough battles to fight in the present.  People like Rogers don’t need to make up problems.  If he is a conservative, as he claims, he also doesn’t need to deliberately offend a portion of the electorate we need to win.

PARKER, CLAYBAUGH SHOW TRUE COLORS … AGAIN

[Read more…]

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Daily Times Gears Up for Sunday Attack

 

 

DAILY TIMES PREPARES “OCTOBER SURPRISE”
What Happened to “Stick to the Issues”?

Salisbury’s Daily Times is planning its own version of the “October Surprise” for this Sunday’s edition. According to Daily Times city reporter Jeremy Cox, the paper plans to run a front page “expose” outlining the past legal difficulties of incumbent mayor Jim Ireton and his opponent, businessman Joe Albero.

“I’m really disgusted with the entire approach taken by our local newspaper”, stated Albero. “It’s small wonder that they’ve had to put their building up for lease. People just don’t want to read a paper that is one step above the National Enquirer. Who cares that Jake Day has a heavy foot, or that our three District 1 candidates have met with personal financial misfortune, or that both my opponent and I have had some minor brushes with the legal system? Why does the Daily Times think that these things take precedence over my plan to bring jobs to Salisbury, Jim Ireton’s repeated attempts to raise our taxes, or Jake Day’s plan to use our tax dollars to subsidize residential development in the city?”

Albero also noted that early in the campaign the Daily Times stated that they wanted to ONLY report on issues. “Throughout this campaign I have focused on how to make Salisbury a better place to work and to live. It’s unfortunate that they have gone back on their word and chosen to take this path. What have we seen from our local paper during this campaign? Most of the articles we’ve seen this election season have been thinly disguised attack pieces. Any discussion of real issues has been little more than fluff. I don’t believe that reporter Jeremy Cox is either lazy or a bad reporter. I can only conclude that publisher Tom Claybaugh and editor Michael Kilian believe that they can gin up advertising sales from certain business segments or somehow increase readership by attempting to use Gannett’s assets to impact a local election with salacious stories that have no real impact on Salisbury’s residents and businesses.”

Albero’s publication, SBYNews will print a response (written by a named contributor) after the Daily Times runs its piece.

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Media Monday–March 25, 2013

SHOWING BIAS IN A BETTER WAY?

The Daily Times seems hell bent on queering this year’s Salisbury mayoral / council elections just like they’ve tried every other time in recent memory.  Will they be successful?  We’ll know next week.

After a series of scandals destroyed what little credibility remained at Salisbury’s Daily Times, new publisher Tom Claybaugh and managing editor Michael Kilian faced a tough choice:

  1. Report the news as fairly as possible (I don’t believe that anyone is 100% objective) and be honest on the op-ed pages (if you are going to claim to be the “voice of the community”, then print op-ed which reflect this).
  2. Continue the paper’s old bias, just try to be more like their big city rivals and commit more “sins of omission” rather than print easily verifiable lies; and certainly don’t encourage reporters to actively participate in their own stories.

All the News That We WANT to Print

    To most of us, choice number 1 is obviously the best path.  In an industry that appears to be dying, regaining credibility amongst readers is a good place to start if you want to rebuild.  The

Daily Times

    can claim some good young reporters.  They’ve shown that, when allowed, they can provide good, accurate coverage of local news.  Alas, Claybaugh and Kilian have decided on a darker path.  Rather than report all of the news, the DT seems determined to only run stories which aid their preferred candidates.
    How can I make such a claim?  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jim Ireton?  One!  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jake Day?  Less than one.  Who really cares that the Jakester has a heavy foot?
    I’m not claiming that the DT has savaged Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell.  They haven’t.  That’s the

Daily Times

    of old.  Besides, like Katherine Crowell four years ago, I don’t believe that Jeremy Cox would allow his name to be put on pieces that are riddled with lies and innuendo.  No, the DT is playing the stealth game.

Where is the story on Joe Albero’s economic development plan?  Where is a thoughtful analysis of Jake Day’s slick manifesto (which you can’t even download from his site anymore)?  Where is an analysis of Jim Ireton’s attempt to raise taxes (more than once) while he claims that he never raised your taxes (worth at least four Pinnochio’s over at the WaPo)?  Where is the story about Ireton and Day’s lack of basic math skills (how do to add 500 residential units downtown, plus commercial space when you have less than 100 available parking spots (after you have sold off all of the riverfront lots – which has merit – plus Lot 1 between the library and the plaza?).  WHERE is the story about national real estate interests doing a mailing  two mailings for Jake Day?

They’re no where to be found.  Why?  Mr. Kilian doesn’t want the public to learn too much about the candidates running for office.  If they did, the DT’s favored candidates wouldn’t stand much of a chance.  Unfortunately, things are worse on the op-ed side of the shop thanks to Mr. Claybaugh and op-ed editor Susan Parker.

WE Decide the News, WE Decide YOUR Opinion

Have you bothered to ask yourself why there haven’t been many letters to the editor in support of Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell?  The answer is simple … the Daily Times won’t print them.

[Read more…]

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Media Monday–March 4, 2013

WANTED:  Pabulum, Pandering, and NO QUESTIONS

Sunday’s Daily Times provided one of the most disturbing editorials I have read in a long time.  Tom Claybaugh, Susan Parker, et al, have the chutzpah to rip their shirts and lament low voter turnout in city elections and then turn right around and call on candidates to shovel sh## rather than talk about real issues:

We do not want to hear anything from any candidate about what someone else has done or failed to do, might do, has said, really meant instead of did say or, worst of all, is thinking or intending to do.

It’s little wonder voters are so disengaged.

Voters don’t vote because they feel that little or nothing will change.  Yes, there is a certain amount of civic disengagement; but ultimately people will turn out IF they feel that their vote means something.

Jim Ireton has had almost four years to accomplish something, yet the Daily Times won’t examine his record and doesn’t want candidates OR citizens questioning it.  When Ireton announced his run for re-election he claimed that he had kept his promises.  At the top of his list – not increasing taxes.  Where is the front page expose on the FACT that Ireton not only proposed a tax hike, he tried to veto the FY 2013 budget BECAUSE it didn’t include his tax hike?  and … The list goes on.

DT readers, and all other Salisbury citizens, deserve a newspaper that asks ALL CANDIDATES tough question.  Candidates need to ask tough questions about their respective opponents’ records and proposals.  Citizens should do the same.  Unfortunately, Claybaugh & Co. simply want to feed voters pabulum about their chosen candidates, pander to the lowest common denominator, and most importantly – avoid asking their favored few any TOUGH QUESTIONS.

Let’s hope the reporting side of the shop didn’t get the memo.

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Media Monday – February 25, 2013

Daily Times Attempts to Control Election
While I have been pleased to recently discuss an immense improvement on the NEWS pags of the Daily Times, Susan Parker’s op-ed pages have taken a serious turn for the worse.  From op-eds calling on elected officials to violate the law to refusing to publish letters to the editor that they don’t agree with, the DT seems to be attempting an undue influence on the current Salisbury city elections.

Wait a second G.A., you’ve always maintained that a paper should print ANYTHING it chooses on the op-ed page.

You’re right!  I have no problem with the DT, or any other outlet, saying anything it wants PROVIDED that it’s labeled “opinion”.  However, I do have a problem with the DT claiming that its op-ed page serves as an outlet for community opinion.  They would be more honest if they simply admitted that their op-ed pages serve as an outlet for community opinion that THEY AGREE WITH.
A great example is a letter submitted last week by Kay Gibson of Salisbury.  While you can read it on SBYNews, you won’t see it on the pages of the Daily Times.  Why?  Parker and her boss, General Manager Tom Claybaugh, don’t want any criticism of Jake Day to appear prior to Tuesday’s primary.  They don’t want to risk voters learning the truth and possibly showing up and casting their ballots for the evil incumbent, Debbie Campbell.
Why was Gibson’s letter so offensive that the Daily Times doesn’t want you read it?  Gibson has the temerity to expose the poor behavior and rank stupidity of councilwomen  Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields while also noting that Day is taking, at least, some of his talking points from Mitchell.
Unlike most letters to the editor, Gibson’s piece calls on readers to do something that Claybaugh, Parker and crew evidently fear most – examine the facts and draw your own conclusion!  Gibson cites the URL where readers can listen to the council meeting she refers to.  Because she’s limited to 250 words, Gibson is limited to presenting more facts:
[Read more…]
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Media Monday – February 18, 2013

The Daily Times Host Its First Community Forum
We’ve always been vociferous critics of Salisbury’s Daily Times, specifically its city reporting.  While the Daily Times appears to be in continual decline, like most (all) of its print siblings, the journalistic side of the paper is putting out some of its best work in years.  Do we agree with everything written by reporters like Jeremy Cox, Jennifer Shutt or Vanessa Junkin?  Of course not; I’m quite sure they wouldn’t agree with us.
Last night the Daily Times hosted its first community forum in relation to the 2013 Salisbury elections at First Baptist Church.  The focus of the meeting was council District 1 and the mayoral race.  The DT will host another forum on Thursday at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for District 2.  While the meeting was sparsely attended, about 15 people, the DT’s Jeremy Cox, with the assistance of Jennifer Shutt and Earl Holland, ran a thoughtful meeting.  Citizens had the opportunity to express their opinions on a variety of issues and where able to prioritize those issues.
The meeting started off with a couple of folks, one definitely appearing to be a shill for Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton, attacking mayoral candidate Joe Albero and questioning his residency.  Cox quickly shut down the dual attacks by noting that the purpose of the meeting was to get people’s opinions on specific issues and to guide the DT as to what issues they should look into.  Cox noted that the question of Albero’s residency had already been looked into.

After folks had a chance to vote, three issues were prevelant (in order of votes cast):
  1. Attracting businesses / jobs to Salisbury.
  2. Bringing high quality (and / or “living wage”) jobs to Salisbury.
  3. Affordable housing.
Miguel Mitchell offered several good ideas regarding economic development, specifically in regard to Salisbury possibly taking part in a start-up business incubator.  G. A. Harrison pointed out that too much was expected from council in this area, because the mayor’s office executes policy.  One problem that Salisbury faces in economic development is that the last two administrations have failed miserably when it comes to issuing permits in a timely fashion and getting Public Works to respond to business needs.
Overall, this was a great first step in attempting to gather ideas and “take the pulse” of the city for the upcoming elections.
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Is Joe Albero a Racist?

In part one of a multi-part series on SBYNews I examined today’s Daily Times article about Joe Albero and race.  Rather than re-print the piece here, I am linking to it:

There are a few things I would like you to keep in mind –
  • Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton has a history of playing the “race card” whenever he feels politically threatened or believes that he may use it to his political advantage.  Before calling Albero a racist he literally stood on a street corner and called a majority of the city council racists because they would not rubber stamp one of his proposals.
  • Ireton has played fast and loose with the truth from the day he was sworn in as mayor (I can’t authoritatively comment on before he was mayor).  Since announcing for re-election he has really turned the “Truth-O-Meter” upside down.  Whether discussing race, his attempt to raise property tax rates, or falsely taking credit for the city’s relatively sound fical condition and lower crime rate, Ireton views ignored truth as something to be ignored or twisted if it serves his political purposes.
  • While Ireton attempted to spoon-feed DT reporter Jeremy Cox with a lot of out-of-context, or misrepresented garbage, Cox worked hard researching what Ireton submitted to him and performed numerous interviews with Albero, and other cocerned citizens, in order to present a much more accurate story than we would have read had it been written by either of his two predecessors (and quite a few other former city reporters).
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From Bias to Irresponsibility

Historically, a newspaper has been important to the lives of a community’s citizens.  It has been a place to not only learn about events locally, but also what is occurring around a region, nation, and the world.  The op-ed section permits citizens to opportunity to express their opinions as well as learn the opinions of their neighbors.  A level of trust inherently goes along with publishing a newspaper as its readers want to be able to believe what is printed within its pages.  What happens when a newspaper breaks that trust with its readers.
Growing up I not only enjoyed the daily newspaper of wherever I was living, I respected its place in my community.  Even from an early age I recognized the bias inherent in  coverage; the publishers rarely shared my world view.  I had to seek coverage from multiple sources and I learned to critically evaluate what I read.  Growing up in Virginia I new that the Daily Press and the Virginian-Pilot weren’t going to provide full coverage of the things that mattered to me, so I also read the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Sadly, if you live in Salisbury, MD and its environs (as I do now) you are saddled with a daily newspaper that not only doesn’t share your world view, it attempts to mold the views of its readers by deliberately using its news and editorial pages as little more than propoganda in support of its chosen candidates and policies.
This past week I witnessed the nadir of a daily newspaper.  The Daily Times has called on the Salisbury city council to violate the very laws they are sworn to uphold.  In their effort to prop up a mayor who is spinning out of control, they actually want elected officials to commit an illegal act!  I almost understand their dilemma.  To date they have refused to acknowledge that Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton has taken the attitude that he is above the law when it comes to the tenure of his acting fire chief.  They were faced with two choices – ignore the incident or go “all in” support the illegal behavior.  Regrettably, they chose the latter.
Attempting to turn the tables on a council majority that is prohibited by law from providing the reasons for their refusal to confirm Ireton’s choice as fire chief, the Daily Times news and editorial staffs think themselves clever by calling on the council to violate their oaths of office:
Instead of hiding behind “personnel matters,” tell us why this man who has capably managed the department for the better part of the past four years on an interim basis cannot be the department’s official 22nd chief.

As this same group of “journalists” prepares to go to press attacking Ireton’s opponent in the upcoming election with charges of racism, they should be careful what they wish for.  While the council is tip-lipped about its reasons for denying confirmation to Ireton’s pick for fire chief, one reason appears to center on charges of racism within the Salisbury Fire Department, particularly among its top officers.  I wonder how they will defend this.
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Daily Times Calls for Council to Ignore Law

For years we, along with many others, have been a severe critic of Salisbury’s Daily Times.  While the paper appears to provide somewhat balanced coverage of other local news, their coverage of Salisbury politics, city government, and the Wicomico Board of Education  (BOE) has been biased almost beyound measure.  To add insult to injury, the DT has refused to disclose multiple relationships with public officials (i.e. the fact that their former Executive Editor is married to the communications director of our former Congressman or that their former Managing Editor is married to the public information officer of the Wicomico BOE).

We have also had many disagreements with their editorial views.  However, op-ed is just that – opinion.  Susan Parker and company have a right to their views just as we have a right to ours.  That changed yesterday.  In an editorial in Wednesday’s paper, Susan Parker called for the Salisbury City Council to violate the laws of the state of Maryland and the city of Salisbury.

One of two things should take place now: Ireton should provide additional candidates for the council to consider or the City Council should reconsider and approve Hoppes for the permanent position.

Either way, city residents are owed an explanation. Ireton has explained his position; he has the chief he wants.

Instead of hiding behind “personnel matters,” tell us why this man who has capably managed the department for the better part of the past four years on an interim basis cannot be the department’s official 22nd chief.

But first, show some leadership and make a decision.

Throwing salt on the wound, the DT’s news coverage of the current battle between Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton and the council over acting fire chief Rick Hoppes refuses to acknowledge that Ireton is willfully ignoring the laws he swore to uphold.

At Monday’s meeting the council voted to extend Hoppes’ role as acting chief.  The council has refused to confirm Hoppes as the department’s chief but are prohibited from providing the public their reasons because the matter is personnel issue.  We find this as frustrating as the Daily Times seems to.
On Monday council president Terry Cohen stated that there were substantive reasons for their refusal to confirm Hoppes.  Noting that the law prohibits them from discussing the matter publicly, Cohen called for Hoppes to waive his confidentiality privilege and then the council would hold a public meeting to discuss their reasons for refusing to confirm Hoppes as chief.
To date, Hoppes has not taken the council up on their offer.  Ireton certainly doesn’t want Hoppes to take the council up on their offer; he has made too much of a political issue out of claiming that their vote was over personal vendettas and personality clashes.  While the council majority may be mind numbing in there attention to minutae, there is no indication that they refused to confirm Hoppes for frivilous reasons.  Therefore, we doubt Hoppes will agree to have his dirty laundry aired in public.
While we may disagree with the Daily Times, we have never accused their staff, particularly Parker, of being stupid.  Why then would Parker call for the council to violate the law?  We smell a political motivated bait and switch.  Ireton feels that he is above the law.  It’s tough to ignore and even tougher to rationalize.  Drawing attention away Ireton’s actions and placing the attention on the council majority might salve her guilty conscience.
Wouldn’t it have been more constructive to:
  1. Call on Ireton to obey the law.
  2. Call on Hoppes to waive his privilge because, as Parker writes, “city residents are owed an explanation”.
  3. Call on the council to amend the charter to strip away the confidentiality privilege from all positions that must be confirmed.
Of course, that doesn’t fit the DT’s Salisbury paradigm – everything that council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies do is evil and / or misguided and the streets would be paved with gold if only the voters would wise up, get rid of them, and agree to higher taxes and more wasteful spending.
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Obama Documentary Scores Impressive Box Office Weekend

LOS ANGELES – Despite attacks from the mainstream media and flooding in large portions of the East Coast, the documentary 2016:  Obama’s America came out of nowhere to finish the weekend as the seventh best grossing movie.  Ironically, the movie beat out the Meryl Streep’s latest movie, with the Obamaesque title of Hope Springs.

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Daily Times Refuses to Provide “The Rest of the Story”

IRETON CONTINUES TO CHOOSE CHEAP POLITICS OVER LEADERSHIP

SALISBURY, MD – Salisbury’s Daily Times continues its practice of misinforming its readers when it comes to Salisbury’s city government.  In fact, things have gotten so bad that they aren’t even capable of telling the whole story even when they are right.

Monday evening, a motion to include acceptance of a $1.4 million federal grant for the Salisbury Fire Dept. on the meeting’s agenda failed.  According to the administration of Mayor Jim Ireton this effectively killed the grant.  As far as this goes, that is true.  What about “the rest of the story”, including another Ireton hissy fit where he ordered all city employees to leave the council meeting?

On August 1st, council president Terry Cohen asked Ireton to provide any deadlines.  Ireton refused to do so until Monday afternoon when he attempted to bully Cohen into putting the item on Monday’s agenda as an “emergency” item.

Why wasn’t the grant on Monday’s agenda to begin with?  Great question … and fair.  At the previous work session, several questions were asked by council members.  They included little things like how much would the city have to spend over the next couple of years to accept the grant and what happens when the grant expires.  Will the city simply fire the firefighters or will the city raise taxes to pay for those positions into the future?  To his credit, acting chief Rick Hoppes did attempt to respond to the questions posed to him.  Unfortunately they were not complete.  As usual, Ireton’s office obfuscated.

[Read more…]

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How Could You Possibly Question Climate Change?

That seems to be the question being asked with dismay by our friends at the Chestertown Spy.  Why are only 20% of Americans between the ages of 32 and 52 concerned about climate change?  Perhaps it’s because people over the age of 30 have acquired enough wisdom to understand that global climate has historically run in cycles and that every time we have a hot summer or a cold winter it isn’t because of a right-wing capitalist plot to destroy our environment?  Perhaps it’s because climate change advocates keep getting caught promoting “science” that defies common sense or that those same “scientists” seem more concerned with promoting an agenda than finding the truth?

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Saudi Arabia Ignores Accomplishments of Its Own Female Olympians

LONDON – On Wednesday, Sarah Attar became the first Saudi woman to compete in an Olympic track event.  While the 19 year old finished last in her heat, the crowd in gave Attar enthusiastic applause as she crossed the finish line.  You would think Attar’s achievement would garner wide media coverage in her home country.  You would be wrong.

READ MORE …

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Media Monday – July 30, 2011

Why Is Freedom of the Press the Only Inviolate Freedom?

You often hear (or read) in the media that the First Amendment is inviolate.  Yet, media coverage of our most basic freedoms begs a question or two:

  • Why are the other enumerated freedoms listed in our Bill of Rights no less important than those in the First Amendment?
  • Are those “sacred” freedoms found in the First Amendment really inviolate, or does this only apply to “freedom of the press”?

In Sunday’s Daily Times we are told that we need to have a discussion about gun control.  Our liberal friends shouldn’t expect the Lower Shore’s paper of record to go much farther on this issue.  They would lose too many readers and advertiser if they actually endorsed gun control or overtly supported Attorney General Doug Gansler and his attack on law abiding citizens who wish to carry a handgun.  Leave more strident opposition to the Second Amendment to outlets such as the Baltimore Sun or the Washington Post.

While the Bill of Rights guarantees “freedom of the press”, it also guarantees a “right to keep and bear arms”.  The Daily Times asks why a requirement to register a gun is wrong when we have to register cars.  I wonder what their response would be if they had to have a permit for their printing press?  Should we be having a “discussion” about placing restrictions on a free press?

Of course, we won’t even bother discussing little annoyances like the Tenth Amendment.  I doubt the editorial boards of any of the above mentioned papers even know that one exists.

Even the First Amendment isn’t sacrosanct to most of today’s mainstream media.  They seem to forget that there are other parts to the amendment than freedom of the press.  As activist courts have changed “freedom OF religion” to “freedom FROM religion” we have heard little from the mainstream media other than applause.  Ironically, thanks in part to the media, secular humanism has become the established religion of our media AND our government.  I wonder if we should be having a “discussion” about that.

Where is Local News on the Radio?

[Read more…]

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Microsoft Dissolves MSNBC.com Joint Venture with NBC

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Microsoft is unwinding the final portion of its partnership with NBC News.  NBC has purchased Microsoft’s 50% stake in MSNBC.com from the software manufacturer.  Viewers are now automatically redirected to NBCNews.com.

READ MORE …

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WMDT Is Latest Media Outlet to Join Ireton Political Hack Fest

It’s usually the Daily Times that earns our wrath when we analyze hack reporting and a lack of journalistic ethics among DelMarVa’s media outlets.  Let’s face it, a decent newspaper in almost all but its reporting of Salisbury city politics just can’t help itself when it comes to attacking certain elected officials.  Since the election of Jim Ireton as Salisbury’s mayor, they have even subscribed to the old adage: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  Their intense hatred of council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies has motivated them to form an obvious political alliance with Ireton (whom they despised until his falling out with Campbell, et al) and council member Laura Mitchell.  Unfortunately, another local media organization is attempting to surpass the efforts of the Daily Times when it comes to poor reporting and a lack of ethics.  That organization is WMDT.  There’s also a new bully in town – WMDT General Manager Kathleen McLain.

In response to the council’s refusal to bow down and adopt his latest plan for downtown revitalization, Ireton did what he always does – call a press conference.  Attacking Campbell, Cohen and Spies, Ireton called on the broadcast outlets present to knock go knock on these council members’ doors and “stick a microphone in their faces”.  “Demand answers!” as to why they wouldn’t support his plan.  Only one outlet took up Ireton’s call to ambush elected officials at their homes – McLain’s WMDT.

Guess who was in the audience adding her support?  Ms. McLain.  Guess who was part of the “Revitalization Committee” that added their collective names to Ireton’s plan?  Ms. McLain.  Guess which TV station dispatched a reporter to the home of council president Terry Cohen (frightening her children to the point that her daughter was brought to tears)?  WMDT (of which McLain is the GM).  Guess whose reporter sheepishly admitted that she was ordered to attempt an ambush of Cohen at her home?  McLain (WMDT reporter Jemie Lee).  Guess which outlet presented a one sided view of Ireton’s dog and pony show without even disclosing that McLain was part of the group promoting Ireton’s plan?  WMDT.

Here is the video of Lee’s one sided piece attacking the council majority’s decision:

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Daily Times Admits Reporters Involvement in Political “Phone Prank”

The Daily Times has acknowledged that one of its reporters was indirectly involved in a “phone prank” perpetrated on local blogger and possible mayoral candidate Joe Albero.  Greg Bassett, Executive Editor of the Daily Times, writes in an editorial in today’s edition that the paper has accepted the reporter’s resignation.

On Saturday, June 2nd, Albero received a phone call showing Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton’s phone on the Caller ID.  The caller identified himself as Ireton.  Witnesses who heard the phone call state that the caller sounded like Ireton and that he appeared to be intoxicated.  The caller asked Albero to meet him on Sunday.  Ireton denies making the call and asked Salisbury police chief Barbara Duncan to investigate.

According to Bassett’s editorial (the editorial has since been stripped from the paper’s online edition), the unnamed reporter was present when the call was made by an unnamed “associate of the reporter”.  The reporter then failed to disclose his or her involvement in the “prank”.

The Daily Times has a history of using its news and editorial pages to promote, or attack, the actions of local elected officials.  This includes allowing its reporters to participate in political strategy sessions with the paper’s political allies.

Here is the text of Bassett’s editorial:

[Read more…]

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The Impact of Wisconsin’s Recall

MADISON, WI – As more polls indicate that Democrats will fail in their attempt to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, it seems that Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are reinterpreting the tea leaves.  Two months ago we were told that Walker’s recall was a harbinger of more Democrat victories to come.  Now the matter is of “local significance” with no value, even in predicting where Wisconsin’s electoral votes will go in November.

It never ceases to amaze me.  Republicans flip.  Democrats “evolve”.

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Daily Times Endorses Tax Hikes … Again

I’ve lost count.  Literally.  I’ve lost count how many times Salisbury’s daily newspaper has applauded Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and a majority of the General Assembly for hiking taxes on Marylanders.  It’s little wonder that its readers become “former readers”.  Between biased reporting and an editorial slant that is polls apart from a majority of area citizens, one shouldn’t be surprised.

Personally, I enjoy a vigorous debate.  However, I also demand that debate to be based on reason.  Again, the Daily Times fails miserably.

The DT’s editors applaud tax hikes on the very people that are most able to migrate to lower cost states.  Did they learn nothing from the revenue LOSS which occurred from an earlier tax on high earners?  As an additional excuse for supporting higher taxes they use a phantom “liability” on Wicomico County:

The more important issues were contained in a different, but related bill that shifts a portion of the funding for public school teachers’ pensions from the state to the counties where they are employed, and more importantly for Wicomico residents, it relieves the county of an additional $14 million maintenance of effort funding liability for its fiscal year 2013 budget.

That additional $14 million was NEVER going to happen.  Even Wicomico County Administrator Wayne Strausburg admitted that the county would simply allow the state to take its income tax revenue.  The Wicomico County Board of Ed would have received roughly the same amount of money that they will receive under County Executive Rick Pollitt’s proposed budget.

To add insult to injury, the editors attack legislative opponents of the tax hike:

Less hot air and more attention to business could have accomplished the same result within the constraints of the regular 90-day session.

We beg to differ.  It is the liberals in Annapolis, and their lap dogs in the mainstream media (like the Daily Times), who are full of hot air.  It is these people who dismiss $700 million in additional spending and speak of “cuts”.

The reality is that it is the left that uses the politics of fear with impunity.  Why shouldn’t they?  The media applauds them for it.

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Playboy Model “Star” of Mexican Presidential Debate

MEXICO CITY – Mexican electoral authorities apologized after an appearance by a former Playboy model stirred up a social media frenzy at Sunday night’s presidential debate.  A short appearance of Julia Orayen, a former Playboy model working as an assistant at the debate, began trending on Twitter with thousands of mentions.  Mexican newspaper Excelsior declared her the online winner of the debate.

photo courtesy of Reuters

READ MORE …

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News Corp to Cameron … Be Careful Who You Go After

LONDON – The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron is getting a lesson in the politics of media relations.  While Cameron’s government is attempting to use News Corporation as a whipping boy, the owner of the Times of London and FOXNews is showing the coalition government that it will only take so much without fighting back.

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt may be forced to resign over evidence being released in hearings by James Murdoch, scion of News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch.  The PM has been caught in at least one lie and his government faces the biggest crisis of its relatively short tenure.

READ MORE …

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The Value of Human Life

We’ve all heard the story of Tim Tebow.  However there is a similar story, closer to home.  DelawarePolitics.net has an excellent post about Lizzie Delle Donne, the sister of University of Delaware basketball sensation Elena Delle Donne.

We are all precious in God’s eyes.

READ MORE …

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Huffington Post Called on Anti-Catholic Screed

NEW YORK – Former conservative turned arch-lefty Arianna Huffington is being called on an article published on her Huffington Post which has Roman Catholics and other Christians outraged.  Last Friday Huffington published a post by Larry Doyle which attacked GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum by attacking and ridiculing Santorum’s faith.  Doyle described the Eucharist as a “barbaric ritual” and claimed the Roman Catholic church was run by a former Nazi and that the denomination was tied to the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), a group which defends pedophilia.

Yesterday a group of leading conservative activists including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center and Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List delivered a letter to Huffington demanding that the post be retracted and an apology issued.  Instead, Huffington published another post by Doyle where he issued a non-apology apology by claiming that the original piece was satire.

To be fair, Doyle’s piece was obviously satire.  The piece was also disgusting in its anti-Catholic bias.  The same people who (correctly) decry the burning of the Koran seem to have no problem attacking the most fundamental tenets of Catholicism.  Roman Catholic worship centers around the Eucharist.  To call Mass a “barbaric ritual” and “cannibalistic” moves beyond satire towards hatred.

READ MORE …

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Daily Times Officially Drops to Tabloid Status … Tries to Emulate TMZ

SALISBURY, MD – Having a local NEWSpaper used to be important to a community.  If you live in Salisbury, I would recommend that you go online or find a copy of the weekly Dispatch.  The Daily Times has officially become a scandal rag, no better than the Star or the National Enquirer.

Sure, I have a long history of disagreeing with our local “newspaper”, but why would I compare it to the worst of the worst?  Over recent months the DT has been showing its gross bias.  Its city reporter, Sarah Lake, has continued to print misleading or outright false information about a majority of the Salisbury City Council in an attempt to prop up the paper’s own political allies.  They have even gone so far as to allow Lake to participate in a political “strategy” session with the paper’s allies.  The paper spent the better part of a week, including a large percentage of a Sunday edition, attacking certain members of the Wicomico County Council because of its vote on the Bennett Middle project.  Now they have decided to stoop to “tabloid journalism” with their coverage of a fender bender involving SbyNEWS publisher Joe Albero.

For purposes of disclosure, Albero is a personal friend and my former employer.  I neither agree with every story he runs, nor believe (as many of his opponents seem to) that everything printed on SbyNEWS is a pack of lies.  Objectively, SbyNEWS’s recent history fairs better on the credibility issue that does the Daily Times.  Perhaps this is why the DT has chosen to sink so low.  They simply can’t accept the fact the fact that a local blog can out-report a publicly held media corporation when it comes to local news.

What does that have to do with a traffic accident?  Simple.  When did the Daily Times start reporting on local fender benders?  They don’t, unless you happen to be Joe Albero.  Since when does a newspaper run a story about a minor traffic offense (yes, Albero was ticketed) with the offender’s mug shot?  (yes, Albero has a mug shot but no conviction on an old tax charge)  If you are a credible journalist, you don’t.  If you are the Daily Times, you do.  Why would you spend the scarce resource of a reporter on running down a minor traffic offense?  You wouldn’t unless you had an ax to grind with the subject.

The only semi-credible reason for doing such a thing is that Albero, deservedly or not, is a local celebrity.  People love him; people hate him; but everyone on the Lower Shore seems to have an opinion about him.  My personal favorites are the many people I know – “pillars of the community” all – that claim to despise Albero and can’t understand why anyone would read SbyNEWS, yet seem to know a lot more about what is said on its pages than I do.  As this goes to post, two articles on Albero are among the five most popular articles on the DT’s online edition.

If this is what motivated the DT’s coverage of this “non-story”, they have sunk to the level of a tabloid.  If it’s because they have an ax to grind, we should all worry.  One of us could be next!  Either way, its embarrassing.  A few months ago I wrote a satirical piece where Greg Bassett, Executive Editor of the DT, announced that they had hired local character assassin Jonathan Taylor as their new Managing Editor.  It seems that I was prescient:

[Read more…]

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Harris Gives Filmmaker the Boot

WASHINGTON – Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) enforced the House rules and had award winning filmmaker Josh Fox removed from a subcommittee hearing because he wasn’t credentialed.

A spokesman for Harris, Ryan Nawrocki, said the congressman did not request that the Capitol Police arrest Fox; however, he could not say whether the Maryland Republican asked police to intervene in the first place. A spokesman for the committee, Zachary Kurz, declined to answer the question.

It is not unusual for Capitol Police to remove members of the public from committee rooms, but it is almost always because they are disrupting a hearing. Video posted on the internet of the incident showed Fox calmly conversing with police before the hearing began.

“This is a public hearing,” Fox then said as he was handcuffed and led out of the room. “I’m within my first amendment rights.”

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What Funding Cuts?

SALISBURY, MD – We all acknowledge that editorial pages are for opinion.  I guess that I made the mistake of hoping that the Daily Times editorial page would provide INFORMED opinion.  Case on point – today’s op-ed that the Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE) faces DAUNTING cuts in funding.

What funding cuts?

According to Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, the budget he will submit to the county council in April will meet maintenance of effort.  It must be true, I read it in the Daily Times.

In today’s editorial, Susan Parker tells us that aid from the state is expected to go UP:

Yet Maryland is more than generous, increasing Wicomico’s total state aid to local government by 4.8 percent in fiscal year 2013 — the highest increase in the state –and direct aid by 7.4 percent, the third-highest increase.

So again I ask, WHAT FUNDING CUTS?

Parker tells us that expenses like travel are on the chopping block.  It’s amazing that John Fredericksen tells us the same thing every year.  If travel was cut to zero, as Fredericksen claimed two years ago, or was cut to “only what is absolutely necessary”, as he has also claimed, then there wouldn’t be any travel expenses to cut.

Sadly, this just strikes us as more collusion between the DT and their pals at the WCBOE.  As in the case for a new Bennett Middle School (more on that issue at 7 AM), how can taxpayers get behind more debt when they can’t trust the WCBOE?  The Daily Times proves, yet again, that honesty is always the best policy.  When you begin to tell lies (pick up almost any day’s edition), you simply can’t keep them all straight after a while.

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Ireton Administration Colludes With Daily Times to Smear Councilman

SALISBURY, MD – In the past we’ve accused the Daily Times of being a mouth piece for Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton’s administration.  In reality, they have been supporting Ireton because of his opposition to the current council majority of Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies.  While there has been ample anecdotal evidence to reach that logical conclusion, no smoking gun has emerged – until yesterday.

At yesterday’s council work session Spies was asked to provide a timeline for a recent citation he received from the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services and Code Compliance (NSCC).  He outlined that an inspection was made (without his knowledge) by NSCC.  That evening he was contacted by reporter Sarah Lake of the Daily Times and asked about a citation.  Since he was unaware of the inspection or the citation he couldn’t comment.  The next day, Lake’s article appeared in the paper.  The following day (the THIRD DAY in this chain of events) the citation was actually issued by NSCC.  On the FOURTH DAY Spies finally received the citation by certified mail.  On a related note, the problem for which Spies had been cited had actually been addressed prior to the citation having actually been written.

When asked about this chain of events by Campbell, city administrator John Pick responded, “I’ve given Mr. Spies all of the information that I’m authorized to give”.

So … What has happened here?  The Ireton administration, specifically someone in NSCC (perhaps Director Tom Stevenson?) provides the Daily Times with information about a citation (that hadn’t even been written yet) against a political enemy of Mayor Ireton.  The ever dutiful Ms. Lake prints the charge.  The citation is later voided, but a council member is smeared in the press.

In the past, Ireton has done his own dirty work.  He has, to his shame, stood up and mad factually suspect claims and leveled outrageous charges against Campbell, Cohen, and Spies.  Now he is using staff (in this case NSCC) to do his dirty work.  As usual, Ms. Lake and her paper are happy to serve has Ireton’s bullhorn.

This is unfortunate on many levels.  Perhaps we have all become hardened to Ireton’s outrageous rhetoric and specious charges.  Perhaps.  Now the bureaucracy is being used for political purposes.  Ireton is now using the wheels of city government in a manner even more vicious than his predecessor, Barrie Parsons Tilghman.  Tilghman governed by fear.  She never had to actually stoop to Ireton’s level because many business owners and citizens were AFRAID of what she might do.  Ireton is actually doing them … while Lake and the Daily Times cheers him on.

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DA Balking on Rape Charges Against Son of NYPD Chief

NEW YORK – The District Attorney of New York County (Manhattan) is declining to file charges against the TV anchor son of New York’s police commissioner according to reports published in the New York Post.

Investigators “don’t buy her story,” a source said yesterday of the woman, a law-firm paralegal who told probers that Greg Kelly got her pregnant during the alleged attack and that she had an abortion.

“It sounds like a bunch of BS.”

The DA’s office is suspicious of the alleged victims claims for several reasons, including the fact that she did not report the alleged attack until three months after it supposedly occurred.

READ MORE …

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A New Definition of Leadership

SALISBURY, MD – “Leadership” is one of those words like “pornography”.  It may be tough to define, but like the late Justice Potter Stewart, we know it when we see it.  Look the word up in Webster’s dictionary:

noun, the capacity to lead; the act or an instance of leading

????

Here is a generally accepted definition:

To guide on a way (or path), usually by going first.

After a week of attacking and brow beating the Wicomico County Council, the Daily Times and the political arm of the Wicomico County Board of Education were able to get one council member to jump ship and change their vote.  Now, the same Daily Times is hailing the council for its “LEADERSHIP”.  It seems that the good folks at the DT have a NEW definition for the term:

Leadership, noun
Doing what we say, no matter how foolish or how much it costs.

Everyone has a right to change their mind.  Councilwoman Stevie Prettyman did just that.  Council members John Hall, Matt Holloway, and Sheree Sample-Hughes have a right to vote how they wish.  If voters don’t like their decisions they will have at least one opportunity to vote them out (possibly two opportunities if there is a primary) in 2014.  That’s fine, but to call what they did “leadership” would be a laugh riot if the consequences were no so serious.

[Read more…]

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Rents, Lies, and Videotape

Well, it appears that reporter Sarah Lake and the editors of her paper – the Daily Times – have AGAIN been caught crawling into bed with Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton in an attempt to smear the reputation of an elected official who does not kowtow to either Ireton or the paper.  In its coverage of Salisbury city government, the Daily Times remains more PR machine than news gatherer.  I’m sure Gannett must be proud.

Lake’s recent piece on Salisbury councilman Tim Spies manages to ignore HALF of an advisory opinion issued by the city’s Ethics Commission.  While Lake harps on a RECOMMENDATION that Spies recuse himself from votes regarding the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services and Code Compliance (NSCC) until his own court hearing regarding a NSCC citation is completed, she neglects to also mention the more salient portion of the opinion:

The deliberation and/or vote of Councilmember Spies on pending NSCC legislation relating to inspections of rental dwelling units does not have a direct financial impact on Mr. Spies .(Section 2′.04.030(A)), nor does it seem that his consideration or vote on such legislation amount to a use of his City Councilmember position for his own benefit … (emphasis mine)

Translation – there is NO conflict of interest.  The Commission only recommends that Spies recuse himself to avoid an APPEARANCE of impropriety.  They had already noted that there was no impropriety.

[Read more…]

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Daily Times Goes on Rampage

DESPITE MR. BASSETT’S CLAIM, WICOMICO COUNCIL MAJORITY DID SHOW AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP

I know my friend Greg Bassett, Executive Editor of the Daily Times, doesn’t get to write as many editorials as he used to since he became Publisher (actually, the new title is General Manager) of the paper along with his other duties.  I guess that’s why he chose to tackle multiple issues at once in this morning’s rant against the Wicomico County Council, the Salisbury City Council, and the Worcester County Liquor Control Board.  Perhaps he did so in order not to appear obvious in his attacks on the Daily Times’ favorite targets:  the conservative majority on the Wicomico County Council and the fiscally responsible majority on the Salisbury City Council.  Add in Geoff Smoot’s usual radical screed against the Wicomico Council and Susan Parker’s defense of partisan politics in re-districting and you have an excellent snapshot of the REAL Daily Times – a left of center publication which does not reflect the values of the community which it claims to serve.

Bassett and Smoot decry the Wicomico Council’s decision not to move forward with a new Bennett Middle School.  Bassett accuses the majority who opposed moving forward – Gail Bartkovich, Bob Culver, Joe Holloway, and Stevie Prettyman, with a lack of leadership.  In reality, the opposite is true.  Leadership IS NOT rationalizing irresponsible actions.  It’s easy to say, “It’s for the children!”  It’s easy to play politics with a serious matter, as County Executive Rick Pollitt (with his 11th hour push for the school), Councilman Matt Holloway (with his cheap comment trying to tie together Bennett Middle and the tragic shooting at his alma mater, Virginia Tech), Superintendent John Fredericksen (with new political group), members of the Board of Education, their political arm – “Parents in Action”, and the Greater Salisbury Committee have all done.  Instead, four members held firm against INTENSE political pressure and tactics that bordered on bullying to do the ONLY responsible thing – refuse to lock the county in to a tax rate increase without knowing what the FY 2013 budget to be proposed by Pollitt will look like.

Councilwoman Bartkovich, someone I disagree with on a regular basis, said it best:

"The big piece that’s missing is our operating budget, and that’s a very important part of this process, because we can be told something but when we see it on paper the facts could be entirely different," said Bartkovich. "To do this now would be like putting my name on a contract without all the blanks filled in."

[Read more…]

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Jim Ireton’s , and the Daily Times’, Reality Disconnect

SALISBURY, MD – Joe Albero and SbyNEWS are forever being accused of bad reporting.  Yet, in the current saga over Salisbury City Attorney Paul Wilber and the Salisbury City Council (and a few other things), SbyNEWS is the only media source (so far) providing anything close to accurate coverage.  Sarah Lake of the Daily Times can do little more that print Mayor Jim Ireton’s press release, which is RIDDLED with false and misleading statements.

About the only accurate statement which Ireton put in his press release, and which made it into the DT, is that he ACCUSED the council of wanting to fire Wilber when the council discussed the charter change which ended up giving council authority over the city attorney’s office.  He did accuse them.  HOWEVER, the council has yet to fire Wilber.  Contrary to Ireton’s assertion, they are merely doing what is required of them, REVIEWING his contract.  Ireton claims that the council voted 3-1 to fire Wilber.  It was a work session.  There was no vote to fire Wilber.  Ireton knows better.  Yet, Ireton chose to deliberately make a false statement.  Even more disturbing, Lake and the Daily Times chose to publish it.

As for considering other law firms, it should be noted that the council is reviewing two firms which were submitted because of a Request for Proposal (RFP) put out by Ireton!

It’s ironic that the very people who are Albero’s biggest critics, add to SbyNEWS’s cache as a “go to” source for local news by choosing to print highly suspect press releases as if they were news rather than political gamesmanship.  Some local blogs can be excused.  If any reader actually believes what is printed, shame on them for not being critical readers demanding evidence.  But the Daily Times?  General Manager Greg Bassett and Gannett should be ashamed.

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Daily Times’ Schizophrenic Stance on Tax Increases

The Daily Times just can’t seem to make up its mind when it comes to a tax hike.  True, they are ALMOST always in favor of them; but I guess they just didn’t have the stomach to endorse two tax hikes in one week.

Last Sunday the editors of the DT demanded that the real property tax rate in Wicomico County be increase by 7 cents.  Admittedly, they didn’t have much choice in the matter given their PREVIOUS demand that a new Bennett Middle School be constructed. (the 7 cents tax hike would be required to service the debt)

Now Governor Martin O’Malley wants to increase the sales tax by an additional 1% – giving Maryland the second highest sales tax rate in the country.  Given that the DT hasn’t opposed any of O’Malley’s profligate spending, you would think that supporting such a tax increase would be a slam dunk.  No.  According to the paper’s editors, its too soon raise the SALES TAX again.

We readily accept that one hike is for the county and another for the state.  However given the current state of the economy, is ANY increase in taxes at ANY level of government a prudent action?  Also, given that O’Malley’s much heralded “spending cuts” over the last five years have been mostly smoke and mirrors, at some point the chickens will come home to roost.  Either LARGE and REAL spending cuts will be required or a sizable tax hike.

So, what is the Daily Times’ proposal?  I don’t here them calling for cuts in spending.  We can only surmise that they support a 10 – 15 cent hike in the gas tax.

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Local Blogger Threatens Wicomico County Council

Local blogger Jonathan Taylor has sent an email to the members of the Wicomico County Council threatening them for providing information to SbyNEWS publisher Joe Albero.  Taylor states:

I wanted to send this message clearly to the members of the County Council. I am enjoying the holidays but when the first of the year arrives I am going expose whichever one of you has decided to run to sbynews for your propaganda on the new Bennett middle. If you have no problem being linked with Joe then why don’t one of you man or woman up right now and just say I gave it to him? Because you know if you did any chance of re-election or respect from the community would be gone. It will only take a little investigative reporting to uncover the bread crumbs but rest assured I am dedicating myself to it so this nonsense stops. If you don’t want to support the project you have County Council meetings and forums you can voice your concerns, but running to either one of us for this crappy propaganda game is exactly why this area Is a laughing stock. (emphasis mine)

Taylor has posted on his blog that this was a “test” to see if one or more of the council members would leak the email to Albero.  Given that this was a threat to the seven council members, and that Albero was specifically mentioned, there really isn’t a problem giving Albero a copy.  IF a council member leaked an email from a constituent that was part of regular constituent service I would be critical of the council member as well.  However, that is not the case with Taylor’s email.

There are a couple of things that I find interesting about Taylor’s little tirade.  First, I’m not aware of Taylor threatening to “out” some his sources in local government.  Where are the attacks against people like Salisbury councilwoman Laura Mitchell.  Personally, I could care less if Mitchell, or anyone else in local government, is sending info to Taylor.  Second, I am curious as to what Taylor refers to as “propaganda” regarding the proposed Bennett Middle School.

[Read more…]

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Argentine Government Takes Control of Newsprint

BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine government has taken control of newsprint production and distribution in the country.  Argentina’s Senate voted 41 – 26 to control the manufacture, sale, and distribution of the paper used to print newspapers.

Vice President Amadou Boudou said the law "will improve the quality of information and the plurality of opinions in Argentina."

71% of the nation’s newsprint are allocated to just two newspapers – Clarin and La Nacion.  The remaining 29% are allocated to 168 other newspapers in the country.

READ MORE …

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Jon Bon Jovi Alive Despite Reports

RED BANK, NJ – Rumors of the death of rock star Jon Bon Jovi are false.  A fake news release surfaced on social media sites Monday.  Bon Jovi’s publicist issued a statement that the singer was alive and well.  Bon Jovi performed a charity concert at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theater last night.

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Inaccuracies in the Daily Times

I’m sure that’s it no surprise to those who bother to read the Daily Times that there are inaccuracies.  I wouldn’t be too bothered by them either, except for the way the DT now goes about “correcting” them.  They don’t.  Instead, they either do nothing or they change the online version of the article without notifying the reader that there was a correction.  Today’s edition has two articles, both involving the Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE), that are inaccurate and misleading.

Nurse Practitioners?

In School Nurse Situation Attracts Scrutiny, reporter Calum McKinney writes:

In its December issue, AJN News Director and RN Gail Pfeifer referred to an Aug. 30 article in The Daily Times which detailed Wicomico County Schools’ decision to replace three RNs with certified nursing assistants, who have far less training than an RN or licensed nurse practitioner, according to William Campbell, an associate professor of nursing at Salisbury University. (my emphasis)

McKinney should do a little checking.  To the best of my knowledge Wicomico schools have never employed Nurse Practitioners.  Hopefully McKinney meant “Licensed Practical Nurse” (LPN).  Nurse Practitioners are akin to Physician Assistants and are permitted practice medicine independently (but under the supervision of a licensed physician).  They are also permitted to prescribe drugs.  Their training, both academic and practical, far exceeds that of a registered nurse or LPN.

With most newspapers the assumption would be that this was an honest mistake.  Unfortunately, the Daily Times coverage of certain people or organizations (most notably the Salisbury City Council and the WCBOE) are so riddled with inaccuracy and so blatantly biased that we have no choice but to consider an agenda here.

96% of What?

Today there was a letter to the editor by WCBOE president Ron Willey.  Yes, its an op-ed.  However, the op-ed is a follow-up to an article published Saturday by Jennifer Shutt.  Both the op-ed, and Ms. Shutt’s article, are accurate but very misleading.

 

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Worcester Soil Conservation District Chairman Rebuts “Riverkeeper”

EASTON, MD – In response to an op-ed published by the Star-Democrat, the chairman of the Worcester County Soil Conservation District (WSCD) argues that the head of the Mid-Shore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Tim Junkin, knowingly wrote false information.

"To read (Junkin’s) letter one would assume that the Worcester Soil Conservation District and the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) have been permitting the abuse of tax dollars. Not so," wrote David Hudson.

Junkin claimed that the Hudson family (not related to David Hudson) received state funds to install concrete pads but did not do so.  Hudson offered that this was totally false.  Junkin also argues that because the Hudson family did not have a nutrient management plan in place they are somehow guilty of polluting the Pocomoke River and the Chesapeake Bay.  This is despite the findings of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"While every farmer is required to have a current nutrient management plan, not having one does not always indicate there is a pollution issue or a misuse of nutrients, just a lack of compliance that indeed must be corrected," David Hudson wrote.

Junkin also claimed:

… the poultry industry produces 44 percent of Maryland’s nitrogen and phosphorus and 65 percent of sediment all contributing to Chesapeake Bay pollution.

These claims are false and even exceed the estimates of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"For farmers that pollute, there are laws on the books and enforcement actions through the Maryland Department of the Environment to stop pollution. Lawsuits to put farmers out of business are unproductive and will only discourage farmers from seeking assistance," David Hudson wrote.

READ MORE …

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Bankruptcy Filing for Newspaper Publisher

DAVENPORT, IA – Lee Enterprises, publishers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and over 40 other newspapers, is close to completing a a debt refinancing plan which includes a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.  The refinancing plan will cover over $1 billion in debt.  Most of Lee’s debt is a result of its 2005 acquisition of Pulitzer, Inc. for $1.46 billion.

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Salisbury to Standardize Uniformed Security Policy

DAILY TIMES, SARAH LAKE AGAIN SHOWS ANTI-COUNCIL BIAS

SALISBURY, MD – This morning the Daily TimesSarah Lake reports that the city will adopt a standardized policy to permit uniformed Salisbury police officers to perform security duties at local businesses.  Reading the article one comes away believing that the administration of Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton and his police chief Barbara Duncan came up with this policy and are waiting for the city council to approve it.

This is why you should question everything printed in the DT, particularly if written by Ms. Lake.

The concept of a policy, which will be drafted by the Salisbury Police Department and presented to the City Council for approval, is derived from negotiations with Wal-Mart for Black Friday security. Near identical memorandums of understanding drafted for Wal-Mart and for a 2009 agreement with The Centre at Salisbury will be used as templates.

"The main thrust of the policy is if we’re going to have more requests like this in the future, we won’t have to go to the council every time, particularly if we’re going to use the original agreement we reached with The Centre at Salisbury as a model," said City Administrator John Pick.

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