Archive for the ‘Maryland politics’ Category

The Curious Case of Benjamin Cardin’s Delusion

3 April 2009

In today’s Post, our fearless senator offers what he deems to be a plausible, sound solution to the agonizing decline of the daily print newspaper. As the editor of a print-only newspaper and a curmudgeonly ol’ crank of a conservative with serious delusions of romanticism, I am more than sympathetic, and seriously hope that we see a resurgence in print newspaper output, readership, and quality, whether it relies on or spurns the Internet. Thus, it was with open-minded interest I read Sen. Cardin’s opinion today, in which he defends his Newspaper Revitalization Act, under the auspices of which newspapers could “operate under 501(c)(3) status for educational purposes, similar to public broadcasters.”

How silly I was to give a Maryland Democrat serving in the great morass of amorality and state-philia! An excerpt:

Under this arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements but would be permitted to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns. They would be able to editorialize and take positions on issues affecting their communities. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt, and contributions to support coverage or operations could be tax-deductible.

First, we have in our Senate someone so naïve as to think that curbing political endorsements would suffice to prevent de facto endorsements — of specific candidates, parties, or platform planks (“take positions on issues affect their communities” sounds awfully close, at least in some instances, to implicitly endorsing someone). Second, “tax-exempt” is just a libertarian-and-“public do-gooder”-friendly way of saying “bailout,” isn’t it? The journalists’ bailout has arrived!

The measure is targeted at local newspapers serving communities, not large newspaper conglomerates. There is little chance these conglomerates would find such an arrangement appealing because they depend on a revenue stream to remain operational. I want to make clear that this proposal would involve no infusion of federal taxpayer money. In fact, because newspaper profits have fallen in recent years, no substantial loss of federal revenue is expected.

As much as I possibly could get behind this bill, the anti-bigness populist streak in me certainly support this; however, the idea of letting government extend its hand deeper into the pants of the Fourth Estate terrifies me. The media consensus, far from being part of some vast, conspiratorial “liberal media,” is that of the status quo, of the Establishment. Ragtag local papers may, I willingly grant, be less inclined to accept the status quo, particularly at the federal level, given the physical distance separating Capitol Hill from Starke County, IN, but allowing local media to slip under the covers with Uncle Sam is just plain dirty.

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Gov. O’Malley, Constitutionally illiterate

9 March 2009

by Nathan P. Origer, executive editor

From today’s Washington Post:

For many months, because of federal inaction, the states acted alone to combat the rising tide of foreclosures across our nation. The plan recently announced by President Obama is a welcome effort that will help keep families in their homes. As critical details are worked out, it would be useful for federal leaders to look to the experience of states in crafting solutions.

Put the original Articles of the Constitution under your microscope: You’ll find no mention of a Federal right, let alone responsibility, to take action to “keep families in their homes.” Read, then, the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

[My emphases. – NPO]

Federal leaders should not “look to the experience of states in crafting solutions;” if truly they are leaders, they will leave the task of crafting solutions to the states, where lie both right and responsibility, per the Constitution, and ability, rooted in the states’ — and municipalities’ — governments’ proximity to the specific problems homeowners in their jurisdictions face. A governor possessed of more sense than this halfwit, who believes that spending fifty-seven million dollars on land preservation (itself not a bad idea; at the roots of “conservation” and “conservative” both is the same word, “conserve”) while his state’s budget is in such disarray that he has pushed successfully for state-employee furloughs, would abjure Federal intervention because of the obvious ineptitude of Washington, as well as the Constitutional issues at hand. If only!

Yes, ma’am — er, sir. Or whichever it is.

10 September 2008

From the Washington Post:

A Montgomery County law banning discrimination against transgender people took effect yesterday, county attorneys said, after the state’s highest court rejected a petition effort that would have forced the issue to a referendum.

Had, here in tolerant Maryland, this been a cause célèbre opposed by left-wingers, I wonder if a referendum would have been issued.

A desperate (mis-)man(aged state): Maryland and Slots

10 September 2008

From the Tuesday, 9 September Washington Post:

First, Comptroller Peter Franchot, an ardent slots opponent, told the Committee for Montgomery yesterday that revenue projections his office will release today for the upcoming two fiscal years “will offer a sobering window into the condition of the Maryland economy.” He criticized the administration of fellow Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley for pushing a “record tax hike” last year and said slots will only worsen the state’s budget problems with increased crime, “traffic, corruption, addictions and bankruptcies.”

And

A state panel yesterday recommended that Maryland’s debt capacity edge up to allow more borrowing for roads, schools and other construction projects as tax collections are projected to drop this year.

[My emphasis. – NPO]

From our friends, on campus, at the Diamondback:

The university could face mid-year budget cuts because of the weakening economy, university President Dan Mote said.

The state Board of Revenue Estimates lowered its revenue projections for the current fiscal year by $432 million yesterday, creating a $195 million dollar gap between projected spending and revenue figures and prompting Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley to say in a news release the state would have to cut the budget by “hundreds of millions.”

The sharp drop in projected revenue is primarily because of a softening economy, which is causing the state to collect less from sales and income taxes.

What else do we learn from the Post?

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has seen a rebound in his job approval numbers while support for a key initiative of his, the legalization of slot-machine gambling, has slipped some, according to a new poll.

Forty-five percent of likely voters approve of the job O’Malley is doing, while 35 percent disapprove and 20 percent have no opinion in a poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing.

Those are much better numbers than March, when O’Malley seemed to still be suffering from a special session of the legislature last year in which taxes were raised by nearly $1.4 billion. O’Malley’s job approval rating has climbed by 8 percentage points since March, while the percentage who disapprove has fallen by 13 points. He has benefited from better ratings from fellow Democrats and from independents.

I can’t quite decide where to start muddling through all of this. The state is already under financial duress, with its flagship University expecting a substantial shortfall, and, yet, the following are so.

Read more.

Pages: 1 2

Gerrymander much?

18 August 2008

Having only lived in Maryland for about a year now, and retaining my residency, voter registration, and political interest in the Hoosier State, I remain, for the most part, blissfully unaware of Maryland politics. Sad enough, though, I am quite cognizant of what a disaster this place, the “If it exists, we tax it” state, is. Curious — having forgotten about the Al Wynn-Donna Edwards battle and Edwards’ taking the seat, for which she’ll run in November, after Wynn stepped down — about who represents the U.S. Congressional district wherein I reside (the Fourth District), I engaged in some quick research online and discovered that, along with, it seems, numerous districts in this state, it is quite the oddly shaped product of gerrymandering.

Now, I’d have to be possessed of a fraction of the intelligence wherewith the good Lord blessed me to think that here, in non-rural Maryland, a Republican has much of a chance of victory. However, the deck seems, to me, to be unfairly stacked against anyone brave enough to try — in this case, Republican Peter James, whom, based on my late-night perusal of his website, I heartily endorse, even if I have no say in the matter, and even if he has not a snowball’s chance in hell of winning (I’ll leave any official endorsement decision to the collective mind of the paper’s staff as the first week of November approaches with greater rapidity.), as well as Brian Crider of the Green Party and Libertarian Thibeaux Lincecum (who deserves consideration just because of his awesome name). The Fourth District has the largest middle-class Black population of any district in the country; sixty-two per cent of the population of Prince George’s County, less rural parts of which constitute portions of the district, is Black. As if that were not problematic enough for a white Republican, the district has never offered more than twenty-five per cent of its votes to a member of the GOP.

As disastrous as Bush-style Republicanism has been for just about everyone, the country — and county — could use more liberty-loving candidates, such as Peter James, who recognize the difference between rights and privileges (Unheard of in Egalitaria, where every third lawn and car bears a sign or sticker proclaiming “Civil Marriage is a Civil Right”! No marriage is a right, politically; it’s a privilege, granted by the government, for better or for worse.), recognizes that something ain’t right with our monetary system, and who says the following

Nowhere does the Constitution grant a power to the Courts to rewrite the Constitution by ignoring plain English by telling us this clear language doesn’t mean what we the people think it means. By allowing this process to continue we have no representative Republic but rule by the oligarchy of appointed judges.

Congress and the Maryland legislature continue to pass laws each year. They repeal far fewer. The net effect result is that our society is burdened by a mountain of laws slowly reducing our liberty. It is said that every American breaks at least one law every day.

Ms Edwards lists the following amongst her “Champions of Change”:

*AFL-CIO (which stands for the leadership of the AFL-CIO, and not for its hard-working American members)
*Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List (which support state-sanctioned infanticide)
*National Organization for Women
*People for the American Way

Paging Thomas Frank: Please write What’s the Matter With Suburban Maryland?. Right. . . .