Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Property Tax Cut for "Middle Income" Seniors: Part Three.

Hayduke makes a great point. The stated purpose of this bill is to keep seniors from moving out of our County, because they use less government services. This is a scary, scary precedent (Happy Halloween!!). For one thing, it suggests that some of our elected leaders consider those residents who use more services less desirable. That means the disabled, for just one example. I don't think our public leaders should be separating our law-abiding citizens into "desirable and undesirable" cohorts.

By the way, is there any data that actually shows that seniors use fewer county services. I'm sure that is not true of the fire department, for example. Or did someone just pull that assumption out of Rush's rear-end?

Maybe Your Reading the Wrong Blog: Part Two

Tales of Two Cities has an interesting post on the downtown growth issue. Read it.

Property Tax Cut for Seniors

This is an awful bill. Its unfair and fiscally irresponsible. Its a prime example of the pols using our money to further their carreers at our cost.
Note the real effects of this bill, it won't help seniors who are too poor to own property, or those seniors who have sold their property and moved into retirement comminities or in with family. Moreover, some who will get the tax cuts won't need it. Some of the individuals whose taxes are being lowered are millionares. Most people over seventy's income is passive. Many people who have more than a million dollars of assets have an income of less than $75,000 per year. It they have invested intelligently, they are making money that is not counted as income (For example stocks are real estate that have appreciated, but have not been sold). (Moreover 7.5 percent is not a bad rate of return on safe income producing assets in this low interest environment).
But why are we only helping seniors? Are their not other groups who are equally affected by the high cost of living? For example, the poor and the disabled? Why is it more important to keep seniors from moving out of the County than these people?
Finally, this loss of revenue is going to come from somewhere, right now it looks like it will be coming from public employee's retirement funds.

Howard County Council Passes Senior Tax Cut

I can't in good conscience support any of them. None of these incumbents will get Fineline's endorsement. (Not that any of them will lose a second of sleep over it.) Some of this tax relief will go to millionaires, while the poorest seniors (those who will really need the relief) will get nothing because they don't own homes. Meanwhile, that revenue loss will have to come from somewhere. County Executive Robey has already said its needed to preserve retirement benefits. I am counting on Jim Robey to be the man I think he is. Mr. Robey veto this bill.

I expected this of the the Republicans, but I am sorely disappointed by the Democrats who voted for this. Its just the type of cynical gimmick that has caused our nation so much harm and gives politics such a bad name.

Am I the only one who thinks that the timing of this stinks?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Maybe Your Reading the Wrong Blog

Hayduke has two good posts today. One, discussing his take on local races and a second musing on the growth issue.

Fineline Endorses Jim Robey for State Senate

State Senator Sandy Schrader has an admirable record for constituent service. Moreover, County Executive Jim Robey is not without his rough edges. For example, recent mailings on his behalf present Senator Schrader’s votes on reproductive rights issues in a less than fair-handed manner. In addition, I have personally witnessed an incident where the County Executive treated a constituent (until that day, a supporter of his) in a manner unbefitting an elected public servant. However, we are all human and when one looks at the big picture, the choice is clear: Jim Robey should be our next State Senator from the 13th district.

As County Executive, Mr. Robey has skillfully presided over a period of progress and prosperity for Howard County. Under his capable stewardship, the County has progressed to the point where Money Magazine has rated it the fourth best place to live in the United States. Perhaps Mr. Robey’s finest hour came when the County faced an unexpected downturn in revenue, rather than cutting much needed county services or borrowing money, Mr. Robey did the right thing and raised taxes. That act alone sold me on Jim Robey. That kind of courage and willingness to make difficult but wise choices is rare in today’s political atmosphere and is exactly the kind of leadership we need in Annapolis.

Senator Schrader’s tenure in the Maryland Senate is marred by a series of unwise votes. For example, bowing to the far-right (so-called) religious conservative wing of her party, she has repeatedly voted against allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception. Senator Schrader, in keeping with traditional Republican values, has repeatedly voted for the interests of big business and against the interests of working Marylanders. For example, Senator Schrader voted against raising the minimum wage and voted against the Fair Share Health bill (also known as the Walmart bill). Perhaps most troubling at all, she opposed efforts to roll back B, G and E’s planned 72 percent price increase.

The citizens of Howard County deserve representation that willing to stand up to big business and the special interests in Annapolis. Jim Robey is just the person for that job.

Steele Fails the Meet the Press Test

Enjoyable reading for Cardin Supporters.

What's This, the Press is Actually Doing Their Job?

From Americablog, Melman gets nailed again (its about time):

CBS's Bob Schieffer calls GOP head Ken Mehlman "lame"

by John in DC - 10/29/2006 10:53:00 AM

Unfortunately I can't give you the video because CBS is making YouTube take down video we post there, claiming copyright infringement, so we're no longer posting CBS's video. I can however quote CBS's Bob Schieffer from this morning's Face the Nation with Ken Mehlman.
CBS'S BOB SCHIEFFER: Why is the Republican National Committee spending its money on an ad down in Tennessee, the purpose of it seems to be to suggest that the Democratic candidate Harold Ford is an African-American?

RNC CHAIRMAN KEN MEHLMAN: The ad that you're talking about is an ad that is being run independently of the Republican National Committee.

SCHIEFFER: Just a minute, let's run the end of the ad, let's hear what it say.

[Woman's voice: "The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."]


MEHLMAN: The way that the law works, unfortunately it's a law that I think ought to be changed, and by the way it's a law on which people on both sides of the campaign reform think ought to be changed, is that if I talk like I do on a regular basis to candidates like Mr. [Republican Senate candidate Bob] Corker then the TV ads that are run beyond a very small limit are run independently of me. This ad is down, I'm please the ad is down, and I'm pleased that the focus of that campaign is now about questions like...

SCHIEFFER: But you paid for it.

MEHLMAN: I've talked to Senator McCain and to Senator McConnell, both of whom have been on different sides of the campaign reform issue. Both agree that a law which says the Republican National Committee pays for the ad, but it's also illegal for the Chairman of the RNC, for the political director of the RNC, or the communications director of the RNC...

SCHIEFFER: But, but Mr. Mehlman, the logic... if I think something is wrong but I take advantage of a law that allows me to take advantage of that, that's pretty lame, if I may say so.

MEHLMAN: My response to that ad is the same response Mr. Ford had from a race perspective. I would not have put the ad up. I did not think that it was necessarily a racist ad, at the same time...

SCHIEFFER: But you approved of it.

MEHLMAN: I did not approve of it.

SCHIEFFER: You said you thought it was "fair." You're on the record saying that.

MEHLMAN: Well I thought some of the issues raised in that ad, the issue of taxes, I think those are fair issues, on the other hand I personally would not have put that ad up.

SCHIEFFER: But what does that say, you talk about "values" and stuff, that you're taking advantage of an ad when you know what it says is wrong and you admit that it ought not to be that way but you're willing to take advantage of it.
Ok, so Wolf Blitzer actually demands answers from Lynne Cheney. Bob Schieffer doesn't let Ken Mehlman get away with his usual non-responsive BS. What's next, Spock with a goatee?

Desperation: Part Four

The latest on the Republican Push-Polling scandal from TPM:

More on those push-poll calls about medical experiments on the unborn. Several TPM readers in Maryland have reported robocalls from Michael Steele's Senate campaign with a "poll" question along the lines of "do you believe that medical research should be allowed on unborn babies?"

TPM Reader PR, in Maryland:

I got the same "polling" call. It starts out asking who you are going to vote for, then has a series of questions, including the medical experiment question. Also asked whether you supported marriage as being between a man and a woman, do you want your taxes raised and then asks at the end, based on what you now know do you support Michael Steele. . . .

A slightly different version of the script is reported by TPM Reader JA:

After asking you who you're going to vote for, it asks "do you want your own taxes raised or lowered?" Then it tells you that Cardin has voted to raise your taxes and will do so again. It follows with "do you believe the words 'under God' should be in the pledge of allegiance?" It tells you Cardin voted to remove them, which I assume is false. Then it goes straight to the gutter and asks "do you support medical research experiments on unborn babies?" Of course, it then tells you Cardin is for this. It finishes by asking again who you're going to vote for.

At least one Maryland reader says his call did not include any reference to medical experiments on the unborn. Some reports we've gotten say the call was the Steele campaign; others say it was a group called "Common Sense Maryland." Still others say the sponsor was "Common Sense Ohio."

In Tennessee, TPM Reader LK reports that a group called "Common Sense Tennessee," which appears to be an outgrowth of "Common Sense Ohio," is making robocalls on behalf of Republican Bob Corker in the Senate race:

It starts off asking are you for Corker for for Ford, then it runs thru a list of push poll questions; not verbatim but the substance below: -- do you favor giving the same rights to terrorists as to americans? -- are you pro life? -- do you support the NRA and how it lets us have all the guns we want to? -- do you think we have a problem with illegal aliens? Asks again are you for Corker or for Ford.

A TPM reader in Virginia says that the George Allen campaign is using a a similar question in its push-poll calls: "Do you favor carrying out medical experiments on a dead fetus?"

Then there's TPM Reader LH:

Yes, there are other campaigns doing push polls asking that question. I have received a poll asking if I agreed with medical experiments on unborn babies. The call was in support of Dick DeVos. I live in Michigan's 2nd Congressional District. I simply told the woman that as a person living with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since the age of eight, I fully support medical experiments on cells that were artificially created in a lab for the sole purpose of curing disease and saving millions of lives. I also told her I personally found the pro-lifer's stance offensive because I am alive, and why do they think an artificially created lump of cells more important that me? My parent's were married for years before they had me. I WAS a planned pregnancy, my parent's created me naturally, just the way God intended. Why shouldn't I be saved? Why do they feel MY life is unimportant? I finished the call by informing her that my parent's love me, they have already lost one child to murder, real murder, the kind that involved a criminal investigation and would take serious umbrage with anyone who would want me to die too. I asked her why didn't she believe my parent's have suffered enough, why she felt my parent's need to lose another child and hung up the phone.

A lot of money is being spent on robocalls in these last days of the campaign, so keep us posted on what you're hearing.

-- TPM Reader DK

Larry Carson On How Growth Issues are Affecting Local Election

Interestingly, he describes Harry Dunbar as "a prominent Democrat."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More Republican Hypocrisy?

This story, from the Post, exposes Republican Hipocrisy on so many levels,

RNC Chief Ken Mehlman accepted political contributions from gay porn king?

Last week, you'll remember, the RNC, headed by Ken Mehlman, was running that race-baiting 'bimbo' ad against Rep. Harold Ford (D) down in Tennessee. One of the barbs in that ad was the claim that Ford had taken political contributions from "porn movie producers."

But it seems there is plenty of porn movie producer money to go around.

It turns out that the Republican National Committee is a regular recipient of political contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, the owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors, one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the United States. This recent article on Marina Pacific's new marketing campaign form XBiz, a porn industry trade sheet, notes that, in addition to producing its own material, the "company acts as a distribution house to hundreds of lines, mostly gay, 40 of which can be purchased only through MPD."

What was Charlie Cook Smoking?

Two days ago, He moved the Cardin-Steele race to a toss-up, because of a Republican sponsored poll showing Steele was just 2 points behind.

Yesterday, the Post released it's poll showing Cardin and O'Malley both leading by ten points.

What a Class Act

From Josh Marshall:

TPM Reader RC, in Maryland:

Just got off the phone from a push poll for Michael Steele. My favorite question was (paraphrasing) "Do you favor carrying out medical experiments on unborn babies?" A close second was "Do you want to have your taxes raised?"

Anyone else hearing the "medical experiments on unborn babies" charge?

-- TPM Reader DK

Great Profile of Ben Cardin

From the Sun.

Much better than that of the Post.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Open Thread

Hear anything interesting?

Friday, October 27, 2006

More Company for Abramoff

As Artrios would say, most corrupt administration, ever.

Our Next Attorney General Will Be . . .

Doug Gansler.

And I've Never Liked This Guy

Senator Macca.

Like I Said, I've Always Liked This Guy

Michael J. Fox responds to Rush. Rush, of course, oozes even lower into the gutter.

The Columbia Democratic Club

Will have its monthly membership meeting at 7:00 P.M. on November 8, 2006. The meeting will be held at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, right next to Jeffers Hill Elementary School on Tamar. If your need directions, drop me a message in the comments window.

We have a distinguished panel of guests disecting the results of the elections.

I'll be moderating the discussion. Details to follow. Or as Drudge says "Developing."

Ben Cardin for U.S. Senate

Now that all the lesser media, you know, the Post, the Sun, the Examiner, the HoCo Times, and the Flyer, have weighed in, its time for the most coveted of all endorsements: those given out by the fineline editorial board.

I’ll start with the most important race, the U.S. Senate. The fineline endorses Ben Cardin. While it is long past the time that Maryland should have sent its first African-American Senator to represent it in the United States Senate, Michael Steele simply does not belong in the U.S. Senate. While Mr. Steele has a winning manner and a likable style, to vote for him would be to choose style over substance. He insulted the intelligence of Marylanders by refusing to clearly delineate his stands on many issues. Those stands he did take suggest he lacks the judgment and wisdom needed in the U.S. Senate in these trying times. For example: Steele steadfastly supported the invasion of Iraq, the privatization of Social Security and massive tax cuts for the rich, at a time when both the federal deficit and inequality in the distribution of wealth and income are at all time highs. Most importantly, a vote for Mr. Steele, would also be a vote for continued Republican control of the U.S. Senate. Seldom in the history of this great nation has a political party been less deserving of its control of Congress than the present Republican Party.

On the other hand, I am truly excited to have the opportunity to vote for Ben Cardin. (“Excitement” and “Ben Cardin” are two phrases infrequently used in the same sentence). Ben is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people in politics (just like the Senator he is going to replace). His intellect is balanced by his highly moral, ethical and compassionate nature. Mr. Cardin doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve; instead he quietly conducts himself in the most honorable fashion. Mr. Cardin has, with little attention or fanfare, shown himself to be one of Congress’ most effective members. The nation needs him in the Senate. Moreover, a vote for Cardin sends a message to the Bush Administration that the people of Maryland want: universal healthcare, honesty in government, fiscal responsibility, competency and rationality in foreign policy, respect for the Constitution and the protection of social security: A message that the President and his cronies sorely need to hear and heed.

While Michael Steele might make a great replacement for Dr. Phil, Ben Cardin will provide the steady, thoughtful, experienced, intelligent and just leadership so sorely needed in the U.S. Senate. We are fortunate to have a candidate of his caliber on the ballot.

The Next Speaker of the House

She will be a vast improvement!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Michael J. Fox Effect

I always liked the guy, even when he was Alex Keeton.

According to Political Wire:

A new national study revealed that voters' support for stem cell research
"increased after they viewed an ad featuring Michael J. Fox in which he
expresses his support for candidates who are in favor of stem cell research."Key finding: "Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%."Real-time responses of those who participated in the survey are also available.

Lastest Cardin-Steele Polls

From the Daily Kos:

MD-Sen: Dueling partisan polls
by kos
Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 04:01:33 PM
It's rare that we get both sides release internal polls of a race at the
same time. Usually, both sides get similar numbers and the side with the better
numbers releases. Not the case here:
Voter/Consumer Researc (R) for the NRSC.
10/22-23. Likely voters. MoE 3.9% (No trend lines)
Cardin (D) 41Steele (R)
39Zeese (G) 4Undecided 16
Garin-Hart-Yang (D) for the DSCC. 10/23-24. Likely
voters. MoE 4% (10/16-17 results)
Cardin (D) 52 (49)Steele (R) 40
(40)Undecided/other 8 (10)
Both polls have Steele at essentially the same
level -- 39, 40. The discrepancy is in the Cardin numbers. So what accounts for
that? Look at the undecideds.
The NRSC didn't push leaners while the DSCC's
poll did. So if anything, these polls tell us that Cardin's winning margin of
support is still soft. But, despite the NRSC's attempted sleigh of hand, even
then Cardin is in the lead.
There's one other difference in poll
methodologies -- it looks like the NRSC polled the Green candidate by name while
the DSCC didn't (I'm double checking on that). If so, that could also account
for some of the discrepancy in numbers.

Mass Transit

Can help solve many of our problems. I'm glad to see some of our public officials recognize this.

George Allen's Racism

Anyone detect a pattern?

It Gets Worse

Just when you think he can't possibly stoop any lower. Rush does.

And CBS News recently brought him in to deliver commentary on its evening news.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fiscal Responsibility: Democratic Style

Howard County has a Record surplus!

It won't stay that way if the Republicans take over. They want to cut taxes for the rich seniors as well as those in the Middle Class and waste money on a silly laptop give-a-way/boondoggle.

Schrader-Robey Race Takes A Nasty Turn

The State Dems sent out a mailing which unfairly characterizes Schrader's reproductive rights record.

Schrader sent out a mailing which distorted the effect of local tax increases.

Come on everyone, this is Howard County, not Tennesee.

Even though Sandy Schrader has a decent record on reproductive rights, a vote for her is a vote for a Republican Majority in the Maryland Senate, we all know that would be very bad for reproductive rights (and for a lot of other issues). The Republicans don't even need a majority in the Maryland Senate to do real harm to the state. If The Republicans gain some seats in the Senate, the Democrats will lose their ability to override vetos.

Great News!!!!

Important Gay Rights Ruling from New Jersey!

Cardin- Steele-Zeese Debate to Aired Last Night

What did you think?

Consider this an open thread!

Florida Power-BGE Merger Off?

I'm not sure if this is good, bad or indifferent.

I am sure that the Electric and Natural Gas Markets need to be re-regulated. The free-market only works well when there is true competition. More on this later as energy issues are among my favorite topics.

Desperation: Part Three

Republican National Committee plays the racism card.

Desperation: Part Two


Desperation: Part One


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rush Limbaugh Claims Michael J. Fox is Faking His Illness

Al Franken was right about him. Although, idiot is much too kind a word for Rush, as well as an unfair slur against President Bush.

This is the same guy who claimed Donovan McNabb wasn't a good quarterback, the press just loved him because he is black. This is the guy who held up a picture of Chelsea Clinton and called her a dog, when she was still a young teen.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Yet More Good Polling News

Maybe our long national nightmare is finally going to be over?

Another Poll: More Good News!


GOP could lose control of Congress

According to the latest from CNN/Gallup. Dems up by 13%.

Bush is Touting his Economic Performence?

I bet he's not talking about this website. It does a great job of graphically illustrating his economic failures.

Steele Worked for Communist China

From the Baltimore Sun:
In April 1984, while working as a paralegal for the Washington law firm of Surrey & Morse, Steele registered with the federal government as a foreign agent to provide legal services to the Chinese Embassy.
So Mike Steele was a agent of the Red Chinese? ;-)

Did Michael Steele Pad his Resume?

According the the Baltimore Sun:

As far back as high school, Steele had considered the priesthood. In the fall of 1981, he entered what is called a "pre-novitiate" program of the Order of St. Augustine at Villanova University, an academic year of study in philosophy and other subjects.

On completing his year, Steele was accepted as a novice at the Augustinian novitiate house in Lawrence, Mass., according to the Rev. John R. Flynn, secretary of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova.

Augustinian novices spend a year living in community, learning the history of the order and discerning whether they are called to the vowed life.

"Michael was a very bright, articulate man who I would say gave himself very sincerely to the whole process of discernment," says the Rev. Francis J. Doyle, then the novitiate director at Lawrence and Steele's spiritual director.

Steele left Lawrence after six months, Flynn said. Steele told The Sun in 2002 that he had entered the program to prove to himself that he shouldn't become a priest. Ultimately, he said, the choice was simple.

"It came down to, 'Am I called to serve the people of God as a priest or in a business suit?'" he said.

Biographies on the official Web site of the lieutenant governor and Steele's campaign Web site say that he spent three years as a seminarian.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Republicans try to smear Ken Ulman: Caught by Baltimore Sun

Questions about Ulman's former job title arose in a local computer blog run by David Keelan, a Republican activist. Keelan said he could not find any published reference in state records to Ulman's grand-sounding title, though there is a reference to Ulman as a "staff liaison" to the powerful board, made up of Maryland's governor, state comptroller and treasurer.

The same Republican Blogger who falsely claimed Ken Ulman smeared Chris Merdon is falsly claiming that Ken Ulman paddede his resume. (These guys just don't appreciate irony).

As the Sun Reports:

Questions about Ulman's former job title arose in a local computer blog run by David Keelan, a Republican activist. Keelan said he could not find any published reference in state records to Ulman's grand-sounding title, though there is a reference to Ulman as a "staff liaison" to the powerful board, made up of Maryland's governor, state comptroller and treasurer.

"I think he's inflating his title" to make the job seem more important, Keelan said.

Get that? Since the Republican Blogger couldn't find proof that Ken Ulman was "Director of the Board of Public Works and Special Projects, as stated in Ken's resume, that meant, in this guy's mind, that Ken was lying. Now I can't find any proof that this Republican Blogger is not actually Osama Bin Laden in disguise, but I am not jumping to the conclusion that he is indeed the head of Al Queda either.

More importantly as the Sun reports:

Ulman and Glendening say the title is accurate. Ulman produced his former business card, which says "Kenneth S. Ulman, Director Board of Public Works and Special Projects."

Glendening said Ulman's title was used internally for whoever had the job of reviewing the board's agenda of state contracts before votes on them and for flagging items the governor might want to examine. Ulman, then a young lawyer, also was secretary to the governor's Cabinet.

"I can tell you he was there and did his job," Glendening said.

Ulman said he regards the questioning of his old job title as a Republican attack and labeled it "grasping at straws" and "politics at its worst.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Republican Hypocrisy?

One Local Republican blogger seems inordinately concerned with the fact the Maryland Democratic Party has put up an anti-Chris Merdon website. What seems to really get his goat, is that the website doesn't identify itself as a production of the Ken Ulman Campaign, even though it's hosted at the same ISP as Ken Ulman's site. (Oh my G-d, what a scandle, the Democratic Party and the Ken Ulman campaign both use the same internet provider, Ken Ulman must be a very evil man indeed!!)

The same Republican Blogger opines that Ken Ulman's character is questionable because he is letting his party put up the anti-Merdon website instead of putting up this material on his own website. Interestingly, I don't see the same Republican blogger complaining that Sandy Schrader's character is questionable because the Howard County Republican Central Committe Chairperson called her Democratic Opponent (who served as a police officer for over 30 years!) a coward.

Local Dems Aim to Revive Walmart Healhcare Bill

We need to de-couple healthcare and employment and go to Universal Health Care. Every other major industrilized nation has. They are healthier than we are, and they spend far less on healthcare than we do. Saddling our businesses with much higher healthcare costs makes them less competive globally. Having a large portion of our population uninsured is immoral and vry dangerous from a public healh standpoint.

The Democrats need to address this issue when they win Congress back.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Republicans to Run Reprehensible Scare Ad

Do they really want to remind Americans that they failed to find Osama Bin Laden?

Do they really want to remind Americans that they diverted troops from Tora Bora to attack Iraq?

Did attacking Iraq hurt Al Quada?

Did attacking Iraq hurt the U.S.?

How come the Taliban is reconquering Afganistan?

Are our failures in Iraq and Afganistan the Democrats fault?

Great Essay

By Pat Tillman's Brother.

He does a good job of articulating the issues that make me so mad at the Modern Republican Party.

Republicans: The Party of Limited Government

Good-bye Habeus Corpus, we will miss you.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lou Dobbs is Hating on Immigrants Again

It makes me boil. Hasn't he ever seen the Statue of Liberty? You know, the one in the New York Harbor. The one the says "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses."

The Furture of Downtown Columbia: Part Two

Many people us are concerned by the possibility of a more-densely populated Downtown Columbia. I too am concerned that more density, without carefully and skillful planning and adequately funded public services and infrastructure, would result in disaster for our county. However, a much greater population density, along with carefully planned and well funded infrastructure, would provide the best opportunity to meet many of our common goals, such as energy efficiency, pedestrian friendliness, and the availability of affordable housing .

One Local Candidate for County Executive, Chris Merdon has contended that we ought to first study the amount of traffic the downtown area can handle and then decide on the density level downtown. But this approach is based upon a highly flawed assumption. There is no one optimal level of traffic that a particular area can accommodate. The amount of population density/land use intensity that a particular area can accommodate is dependent on many variables: For example, a well functioning mass transit system would allow for greater density without increasing traffic (interestingly, the greater the density, the more economically feasible mass transit becomes). Moreover, designing our new downtown to be pedestrian friendly would decrease automobile traffic. A well designed mixed-use approach to zoning can shorten commutes and therefore allow for greater density with less traffic. Of course, a well designed road system will allow for greater density with less traffic as well. So density isn’t really the issue. Stay tuned for Part Three, where I will discuss the real issues.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal: Republicans at All Time Low!


President Bill Clinton Sez..

"I long for the day when Republicans and Democrats will sit around and have these raucous, exciting arguments and actually love learning from one another and we create the common good out of the dynamic center."

Me Too.

Chris Merdon Flip Flops

Turns out he was for Comp-Lite, before he was against it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fiscal Responsibility: Republican Style

On her Website, Donna Thewes, the Republican Candidate for the Third District County Council Seat states the following:

· We have some of the best schools in the nation but some need more help

· Our children want and need after school activities

· We are concerned about crime and we need more officers on the street

· Opening more Police Community Offices is a good idea

· We need parks and open space

· Route 1 needs to be cleaned up and “resident-friendly” businesses need to move in

Sounds good to me. Who can argue with those points?

But if one reads further she also states on her website:

“5 tax increases in the past 7 years were too many.”

What Ms. Thewes doesn’t tell us is how she proposes to pay for the improvements discussed above without another tax increase or cutting the budget somewhere else. Or maybe she thinks the County should borrow the money to pay for these programs?

Ironically, her website also states:

“Donna is committed to managing our money wisely and prioritizing projects for the county that will bring the most value for our tax dollars.”

The Future of Downtown Columbia: Part One

A once in a generation opportunity has presented itself to Howard County. We are fortunate to have a thriving affluent, well-functioning and healthy community with a unique opportunity to shape our own future. Of course, the decisions made in the coming years will have a dramatic effect on the future of Howard County. To make the right choices, we must first determine what we, the people of Howard County want from our future Downtown Columbia. Our goals should include the following:

Our New Downtown must be economically viable. It must be a place that people want to live and visit, a place that businesses want to locate and a place whose property values will support the highest quality school system, transportation infrastructure, public safety services and social services.

Our New Downtown must be safe. It must generate sufficient tax revenues to pay for a expansion of the Police and Fire Departments that will be needed to ensure public safety. Our New Downtown must be well lit and encourage round-the-clock pedestrian traffic.

Our New Downtown must be Energy Efficient. A pedestrian-friendly philosophy should be adopted. Greater population density should be allowed. Greater population density would make mass transit economically feasible. A large pedestrian population would encourage non-car dependent businesses. Future downtown residents should be able to adopt an automobile-free lifestyle: made possible by our downtown's pedestrian friendliness and excellent mass transit.

Our new Downtown must be clean, healthy and beautiful. We need to dedicate a significant portion of downtown to well designed and maintained parks and public places. We need to ensure a sufficiently economically viable downtown to enable us to maintain our parks and public places.

Our new downtown must be fun, interesting and culturally enriching. In addition to providing for parks and public spaces, we need to ensure the availability of cultural and entertainment facilities including Merriweather-Post, museums, nightclubs and an expanded and improved Howard County Community College.

Our new downtown must offer a diverse range of housing options. Everything from rental units to privately owned units, from expensive units to affordable units.

What do you want Columbia’s Downtown to look like in 10 years?

Bush Intends to Extend Arms Race to Space

Scary, irresponsible, and irrational.

Bloody Day In Iraq

10 American Service People Die!


Karl Rove Predicts GOP Victory in House and Senate

Denial, Arrogance, B.S? Or does he know something we don't?

Very Funny Website


Click on the radio jingle on the left side!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Good News For the Good Guys


O'Malley (D) 50%, Ehrlich (R) 44%

According to Rasmussen.

It Takes Real Chutzpah. . . .

For Chris Merdon to try and pawn himself off as the slow-growrth candidiate!

Steele Campaigns with Convicted Murderer!!!


Imagine. Michael Steele wants to replace Paul Sarbanes, the Senator who co-sponsored the Sarbanes-Oxley business ethics bill. Yet, he campaigns with Don King, whose reputation, (deserved or not) for business ethics could be improved upon. Moreover, and more importantly, according to the Baltimore Sun:

But King is no saint, civil rights leader or voice for the chronically downtrodden. In fact, he's a convicted killer. And some candidates might opt not to embrace his endorsement.King, 75, served about four years in prison for manslaughter for stomping a man to death in 1966, according to news reports. In 1954, he shot another man - King said the victim was a burglar - and was acquitted.

Now why would anyone in a leadership position, let alone somesone who sees himself as as a U. S. Senator, want to publically associate himself with such a person? What sort of message does this send to our kids?

I think this incident speaks loudly about Mr. Steele's lack of judgment and character.

O'Malley Wins Debates!

Watch the Rebroadcasts, I guess Erhlich lost his composure.

Bush Signs Torture Bill

A very sad day for America. I'm ashamed for our country!

Support for Bush's Invasion of Iraq at All Time Low!

According to CNN.

Will they have to Build a New Jail for Republican Pols?

Lets see, there's Duke Cunninghham, Ney, Tom Delay, Pombo, Weldon, Doolittle, Foley, Kolbe, Scooter Libby, Jack Abraminoff. Anyone I'm forgetting? And How do you spell Jack's last name?

Who is the only convicted criminal to serve as the president of the United States?

Seems like a good time to push for prison reform!

UPDATE: You can add one more name to the list.

Cardin Leads Steal 50 Percent to 43 Percent

According to the latest Rasmussen Poll released 10/16/2006.

Who Would Jesus Torture?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bush in a Snit

Another great Froomkin!


The Hotline on the O'Malley v. Ehlrich v. Ehlrich debate


MD GOV -- It's All About Baltimore
BALTIMORE – One down, one to go.
MD Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D) hit on familiar themes in the first part of an unusual day-night debate doubleheader today. Though state issues were discussed, the commentary often found its way to a proxy battle between an unpopular Pres. Bush the city of Baltimore.
The conversational debate, held at WJZ-TV studios in Baltimore, was a contrast in styles. O’Malley was generally more polished, repeatedly invoking the idea of the “two Bob Ehrlichs” – the one of the first three years in office and the one running for re-election. The governor, meanwhile, was animated and spoke bluntly, especially about problems in Baltimore. “Without us, you are done,” Ehrlich, referring to state funds in the city budget. And twice he followed O’Malley’s lofty, “poetic” statements by saying: “I don’t know what any of that means.”
O’Malley surrogates accused Ehrlich of “revisionist history,” taking credit for the work of the majority-Democratic legislature. And Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) supported O’Malley’s effort to link Ehrlich to Bush. “People in Maryland are very firmly convinced we’re on the wrong track under George Bush’s leadership. And anyone who believes that George Bush is providing that leadership, as Governor Ehrlich is, [it] shows he’s on the wrong track.”
Ehrlich didn’t run from Congress, alluding to his service in the House on several occasions. “That record got me elected governor of Maryland,” Ehrlich said in an interview after the debate. And responding to O’Malley’s frequent references to Bush, Ehrlich said: “I think he’s either running for president or channeling John Kennedy too much.”
The unusual timing of the debates, twice in the same day, resulted from a last minute compromise after weeks of back-and-forth accusations that each camp was ducking a confrontation. Tonight's debate will actually be seen first, live on WBAL-TV. The afternoon event was taped for broadcast on WJZ-TV this Monday night [MIKE MEMOLI]

Anything to this?

Hayduke says Chris Merdon's contention that he is a Vice-President of a software firm is not supportted by that firm's website. Anyone know more about this? Maybe the firm has omitted reference to Mr. Merdon because of his status as a candidate?


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Candidates forum scheduled for Tuesday

The North Laurel Civic Association will hold a forum for candidates in state legislative District 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the media center at Murray Hill Middle School, 9989 Winter Sun Road, North Laurel.

Candidates will introduce themselves and respond to questions.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served. The program begins at 7 p.m.
Information: Pam Peseux, 301-776-6509.

Steele to Campaign with Convicted Murderer

Don King to be specific.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

O'Malley- Ehrlich Debate

It will be broadcast live on MPT and WBAL-TV at 7:00 P.M. Let me Know who you thought won.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is Our Long National Nightmare About to be Over?

The latest polling data is almost too good to be true. It appears that if the election were to be held today, the Democrats would take both Houses of the U.S. Congress. Now four weeks is an eternity in politics, and there is no limit to the Republican's capacity for ruthlessness, and they still have more money than we do, but I think we are going to win this one. Then, the hard part will start, we Democrats will have to Govern. What should the Democrats legislative agenda look like in the next Congress?

Whats Up with Josh?

A while back, School Board Candidate Josh Kaufman came before the Columbia Democratic Club and told its membership that he was proud to be a Democrat. Josh received the Columbia Democratic Club's endorsement for school board. A couple of days ago, he appears at a campaign event with the Republican candidate for County Executive and tells the crowd he's an "Independent."

Whats up?

A Bad Idea!

County Executive Candidate Councilperson Chris Merdon and incumbent School Board Candidate Josh Kaufman have proposed giving incoming freshman at our local highschools free laptops. (Some of us oldtimers can remember when the Newt was pushing the same snake oil). They must not have thought this one through. First of all, laptops and the software that makes them useful are expensive, and freshman are numerous. Whose taxes are you going to raise or which programs are you going to cut to fund this inititiative?

Moreover, laptops, unlike textbooks, are prime targets for theft. At least one study indicates that almost half of all laptops are either stolen or accidentially rendered inoperable. (One group that would benefit most from this proposal would be the school bullies: Laptops would be a lot more profitable than lunch money).

Chris and Josh, if you want good new ideas, try looking someplace other than Newt Gingrich.


To my blog. I'll be blogging on National and Local (Howard County, Maryland) Politics as well as the burning issues of the day!