Thursday, November 30, 2006

And What About Mrs. Clinton?

The Political Wire Reports:
On Fox News last night, the chairman of Iowa's Democratic party said that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is not laying the adequate groundwork for a presidenial campaign in the first caucus state and that many are starting to speculate she may not run if Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) enters the race.

Said Iowa Democratic Chair Rob Tully: "She's been quiet and, you know, there's a question that we all hear is that she may not get in this if Barack Obama gets in. I have never seen a reaction other than Bill Clinton in terms of the excitement that people have to meet Barack Obama. Some people just wanted to touch him."

One other possible reason: According to the Quad City Times, former Democratic state party chairman Dave Nagle said he is concerned candidates might eventually choose not to come to Iowa with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) in the race.

Very Interesting!

The Hot line Says Obama Is In.

I called it first!


This is the giveaway.

Webb V. Bush

By now, you have probably heard or read about the testy exchange between the Senator-Elect from Virginia and the POTUS. (I actually linked to George Will!)

First of all, shouldn't we be thinking about something less trivial?

But I do have to admit, the incident left me thinking. On one hand, Webb's sincerity and candor is refreshing. On the other hand, he is a Senator- elect and it was the President of the United States he was talking to. There are certain responsibilities one has as a Senator, Webb wasn't just representing himself, he was representing the people of Virginia. And of course Bush is the President of the United States, the Office itself does deserve a modicum of respect.

But does a President deserve respect no-matter-what? Hasn't Bush himself failed to respect the office?

An Interesting Read On the State of American Journalism.

Warning, the post contains some cursing.

How Many More People will Die?

Because the Supreme Court let Bush steal the election in 2000?

Court Orders FEMA to Do its Job

Too bad they can't do the same for the President.

Sadly, just one more example of how low our nation has fallen.

The Bush administration unconstitutionally denied aid to tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and must resume payments immediately, a federal judge ordered yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the Federal Emergency Management Agency created a "Kafkaesque" process that began cutting off rental aid in February to victims of the 2005 storms, did not provide clear reasons for the denials, and hindered applicants' due-process rights to fix errors or appeal government mistakes.

(From the Post).

Letters To the Editor

Dear Editors:

Hell sucks, they force us to read fineline.


R.M. Nixon.

Dear Editors:

If you think that's bad, I share a bunk with Idi Amin.


S. Thurmond

Dear Editors:

The worst part of hell: Barbra Streisand muzak 24/7. B.T.W. I hear my next bunkmate will be Jack Abramoff.


A. Hitler

Vilsack to Run for President.

I'm underwhelmed.

Fair Share Gets its Day in Federal Court

I support the Fair Share Bill. However, its a stopgap measure. The health care crisis needs a comprehensive solution: universal health care.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Uncle Dick (Durbin) Wants You

To urge Senator Obama to run for President.

And the Newest Member of the Mitt Romney Club is

From Americablog:

Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louis.), who is in a run-off against Democrat Karen Carter on December 9. Jefferson is a hypocritical pig who voted pro-gay and pro-choice, but now is claiming he's anti-gay and anti-choice and is attacking Carter for being pro-gay and pro-choice. The man is a pig. Please contribute to the campaign of his opponent, Karen Carter. More on Carter v. Jefferson here.

Who Knew?

Backpacks: the new tobacco.

From the Examiner's website. "A charter outlining the goals of a task force to study the weight of students’ backpacks recently was presented to the Howard County School Board."

Senator Kasemeyer Is Moving On Up

Ken has an interesting post at Howard County Blog on Sen. Kasemeyer's appointment to an important leadership position in the Maryland Senate. This is going to increase the HoCo delegation's clout in Annapolis.

An Idea for Our New County Executive and Council to Ponder

Hayduke has a post on two nearby jurisdictions' consideration of "Green Building Standards.

It's something I would like to see HoCo consider. Along with a tax cut for bloggers.

And the Economy?

Not-so-good. It seems growth is slowing and inflation is rearing its ugly-head.

This isn't so good either.

I have really got to stop being such a PollyAnna.

Not to be Outdone By Sir Gasbaq

Representative Tom Tancredo R-4th Reich explains whats really wrong with immigration. From the extreme right-wing point of view. Here's another guy who's considered a contender for the Republican Nomination for President.

Basically, he says Miami is part of the third world!

Meanwhile in Newt's World

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

But don't worry, Newt's got the solution to our problems in Iraq.

This link takes you to an article penned by Sir Gasbag in which he ponders: "What if There Had Been a Baker-Hamilton Commission Advising Gen. Washington?" You just can't make this stuff up! Perhaps Jon Stewart is his ghostwriter?

Bad News

Iraq continues to deteriorate. The U.S. Military has concluded that its unable to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there. The UN Secretary General believes that the situation has almost deteriorated into civil war. Iraq's Parlement has decided to extend its state of emergency. Meanwhile, Hezballah has got into the act.

I guess the situation is obvious to everyone but Bush.

He's vowing to stay the course.

Good News!!

Speaker Pelosi decides against naming either Hastings or Harmen as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Latest on Congressional Ethics Reform

This is a make or break issue for the Country and the Democrats.

Goodbye Hannibal Grove

Hannibal Grove is where my wife and I lived when we first came to Columbia. Its the first place my son ever lived. That was around 20 years ago. Its not going anywhere, they are just changing the name.

Face It, We have Lost Iraq

Now what?

Like Father, Like Daughters

It seems the Bush twins are wearing out their welcome in Argentina.

Not important, just funny.

Harold Ford

is the 2nd member of the Mitt Romney Club. It's not really fair to single out Mitt. He is hardly the most anti-gay politician out there.

There is an interesting discussion based on my Mitt Romney posts at Dave Keelan's Blog.

I'm Surprised

That some people just don't seem to respect the principals that this nation was founded upon. A couple of days ago, I posted my concerns about an incident in which 12 American clergymen of the Islamic faith were denied the right to fly because other passengers were afraid of them.

I'm troubled by some of the comments that appeared in response to that posting. Here is a representative sample of one of them:

Right, Steve, let's sacrifice ourselves on the altar of political correctness while radical Muslims blow us up. If 19 Swedish Lutherans had hijacked planes on 9/11, I'd all be for profiling Swedish Lutherans. Why should we pretend that the threat comes from everywhere when in fact the threat comes from the radical element of one religous group.

3:32 PM

Here is my response, (I have tidied up some typos):

Does the name Timothy McVeigh ring a bell? Ever heard of the IRA, the Weathermen, the Aryan Nation, the Order, the Anthrax Attackers, the Beltway Snipers?

Those who are willing to give-up our civil liberties for a false perception of safety are not worthy of the bravery and the sacrifices made by those who created and protected our nation and (especially) its Constitution.

The Founding Fathers didn't respond to threats by destroying liberties, they created them. Have you ever heard the Revolutionary War cry: "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death?"

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said, and I am paraphrasing here, Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety end up with neither and deserve what they get.

My guess is that good ol Anonymous is a white (so-called) Christan. So maybe they should ask Santa for some courage, with a little empathy on the side, for Christmas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

While Some People Are Scared of Gay Marriage Or Stem Cell Research

The Oceans are dying.

Another Lame Republican Talking Point

The latest from the GOP spin doctors: "Medicare Part D is so popular that the Democrats can't do anything about it." As the Washington Post opines (shouldn' t the opinion part be limited to the editorial page anyway?):
It sounded simple enough on the campaign trail: Free the government to negotiate lower drug prices and use the savings to plug a big gap in Medicare's new prescription-drug benefit. But as Democrats prepare to take control of Congress, they are struggling to keep that promise without wrecking a program that has proven cheaper and more popular than anyone imagined.

House Democrats have vowed to act quickly after taking power in January to lift a ban on Medicare negotiations with drugmakers, which they hope will save as much as $190 billion over a decade. But House leaders have yet to settle on a strategy and acknowledge that negotiation is, in any case, unlikely to generate sufficient savings to fill the "doughnut hole," the much-criticized gap in coverage that forces millions of seniors to pay 100 percent of drug costs for a few weeks or months each year.

If Medicare Part D is so wildly popular, why did the Democrats campaign against it and why didn't the Republicans mention it when they ran? And just because lifting the ban on Medicare negotiations may not, by itself, close the donut hole, does that mean lifting the ban is still a bad and politically unpopular idea? I was surprised to read this B.S. in the Post, but I notice they are pushing it on Faux News as well.

So Much To Investigate

So little time. Will they still have time left to legislate?

Will Alcee Hastings Chair the House Intelligence Committee?

To refresh your memories, Alcee Hastings was once a Federal District Court Judge, until he was impeached and convicted by a Democratic Congress.


A no-win situation for the decision makers. A tough job, which we all should appreciate. Not that i don't sympathize for those who fell negitively affected.

A New Era Begins at the HoCo BOE

A renovated roardroom, two more members and four new faces. Thanks for a job well done Mary Kay Sigaty and Joshua Kaufman. Who will the fourth new face be?

The Latest On HoCo Politics

From the Sun.

You Don't Need to Read Eleanor Clift to Know That Mitt Romney Is A Very Vile Scumbag

He is one of many politicians who pander to people's hatreds instead of leading. He has a history of pandering to anti-gay hatred. Anyone who picks on an oppressed minority to further his own ambitions is unfit for public office, period! The same goes for Trent Lott and the RNC (Who could forgive the "Call me Harold" ad?).

Let's see, our economy is in danger from huge deficits, we are in a war that is costing American and Iraqi deaths on a daily basis, Osama Bin Laden is still at large, Our President does not feel that the Constitution or international law applies to him, Global Warming threatens humankind and the Nuclear genie is ecaping from the bottle. And Mitt Romney is worried about people having sex with people of the same gender? Oy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mitt Romney Is A Vile Scumbag

I hope Eleanor Clift is Right

An Ominous Sign

Iran and Syria re-arming Hizballah.

Ethics Reform Under the Democratic Congress

Without meaningful ethics reform in Congress, the Nation will be in deep trouble. Will the Democrats be any better than the Republicans? The Nation is counting on them. Will Congress serve the special interests or the American People?

Moderate Income Housing Coming To HoCo



Its obvious to everyone but the Bush Administration that our presence in Iraq isn't helping anyone. It hurting the United States, its hurting Iraq, and its threatening the security of the entire region and the world economy. The world community needs to get together and straiten this mess out. Any chance of that happening with George W. Bush as our President? How many more people will die for Bush's stupidity and vanity?

Cheney Visits his Buds

He should just stay there. I hope they realize he's not a good hunting partner.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oy, Oy, Oy


The Showdown

I'm noticing a number of Democratic Committee Chairs-to-be are promising to be extra-vigilant in carrying out their oversight responsibilities. Will this lead to a Constitutional showdown? Dick Cheney has already indicted that the Administration is not sure it has to comply with a Congressional Subpoena.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

So, what I am thankful for? Well first of all, I am thankful that my family and I had a opportunity to share a very nice meal together. I also quite thankful that turkey and pumpkin pie aren't toxic or habit forming.

I am also thankful that I was lucky enough to be born in the United States. While it is true that our country is full of faults (what nation isn't?) and has committed its share of atrocities (what nation hasn't?), its still has its good points too (what nation doesn't?). Is there any other place you would have rather been born or raised?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Very Disturbing

As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
On Monday, Omar Shahin and five other imams had gone to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to fly home to Phoenix after attending a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation. Shahin is president of the group.

But after passengers raised concerns about the imams — three of whom said their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the Phoenix-bound plane — the imams were removed from the flight and questioned by authorities.

This morning Shahin returned to the Twin Cities International Airport to buy six more tickets for the flight to Phoenix, but a US Airways ticket agent and supervisor refused to sell him the tickets.

In an exchange witnessed by a Star Tribune reporter, the unnamed supervisor said Shahin's tickets had been refunded and that he needed to get tickets on another airline.

Having grown up as a member of a religious (and ethnic) minority in Minneapolis/St. Paul, I'm not at all surprised.

While I have been Slacking Off

My fellow Howard County Bloggers have been busily crunching the local numbers for November 7. Take a look at HoCo Hayduke: Data digging, Part II... and Data Digging Part I. As well as David Keelan's Howard County Maryland Blog.

Unemployment in Maryland Remains Low

Maryland's unemployment rate remained steady at a low 4 percent last month, thats the good news. However, job creation continues to be slower than economists had expected.

Sorry About the Light Posting

Not Much is happening in politics and I'm busy preparing for the Holiday.

GOP Rep. Defects to Dems

Somehow this doesn't seem fair. Even when its in our favor.

GOP Congress Leaving its Mess to Democrats to Clean-Up

Surprised? How come its not getting more attention?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ever Notice

How differently the Press treats leadership elections for the Democrats and Republicans.

Here's Roll Call on the Republicans:

Boehner, Blunt Win GOP Leadership Posts

Friday, Nov. 17; 2:51 pm
Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Roy Blunt won leadership elections Friday for the posts of Minority Leader and Minority Whip, respectively.

Now, heres Roll Call on the Democrats:

Hoyer Defeats Murtha; Vote Could Reverberate
Thursday, Nov. 16; 4:39 pm
A contentious fight for House Majority Leader that exposed deep fissures within the Democratic Caucus, ended Thursday morning in a victory for current Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who decisively defeated Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), 149-86.

Notice anything interesting?

Bad News

Looks like our new Congress will have its hands full.

Too Good to Be True

I think he's a bad influence on W.

In Yet Another Poll, Bush Hits A New Low

He's the worst President in our History, bar none. Now everyone realizes it. At least two years too late.

Reid to Introduce Bill Banning Robocalls

Its about time.

Update. I guess it was Senator Obama D-Il. who introduced the bill today.

Tax Increases?

The people over at Howard County Maryland Blog are worried that the Democrats might raise taxes. One of many reasons I am not a Republican is that Party's overblown anti-tax dogma. Now no one enjoys paying taxes and we all want our taxes to be as low as possible. Americans have a right to expect that when they hand their money (not all money is earned or "hard earned by the way, just ask Paris Hilton or George W. Bush) over to the Government, it will be used in a wise and judicious manner. We all know that there is a huge gap between reality and this ideal, however. No one is against trimming "the fat" in Government, except those benefiting from the fat, of course.

Tax cuts are always popular and opportunistic politicians realize their visceral appeal. Especially the Republicans. It's easy to sell a tax cut, your just telling the people what they want to hear. But Governments have a lot of responsibilities: educating the population, providing for the national defense, providing police and fire protection, providing a transportation and communications infrastructure, taking care of the disabled, providing a justice system, maintaining parks and recreational facilities, libraries, museums and zoos, protecting the environment.

But these responsibilities require money. That money has to come from somewhere. So if you want good government, you will have to pay for it. When expected revenues are exceeded by expected spending, you have four options raise taxes, cut services, cut pork or borrow money. At the local level of government, here in Howard County, you won't find much pork. At the state level, you will find pork, but you will also find lots of unmet and underfunded needs, like education, taking care of the disabled and environmental protection, just to name a few.

What do you think?

Right Now

Your country is torturing people and ignoring the Geneva Conventions. What are the Democrats in Congress going to do about it?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Do You Think . . .

about the "draft John Edwards" movement?

The Fuss About Downtown

I think its a good thing that people in our community take such a passionate interest in its future. That's why I was happy to see the charette process come into being. The amount of time and energy that our fellow citizens have put into the project is truly impressive. However, I fear that the opportunities presented by both the charette process itself and the willingness of investors to invest in our downtown might be wasted.

We all have to realize that there are many conflicting goals that we want to achieve. People want affordable housing, yet they are opposed to density. People want a "green" downtown, but once again, higher density is more ecologically efficient. Many of the interested parties have conflicting interests as well. We all need to realize that their are many trade-offs at work here and no matter what, no one is going to be completely happy with the end result. But lets work together to build a better downtown. We want the process to bring this community together, not tear it apart. Lets be patient, with each other and with the difficult tasks ahead.

What do you think? How can we insure that the process is fair?

More On Brian Harlin's Comments

Hayduke hits the nail on the head:

So, he’s very confident that the Democrats will screw things up, but that’s a good thing, because that means Republicans will win in four years. And we all know the ultimate end is not a great county to live in, but electoral success.

Ken Ulman Interviewed by the Post

He did well.

Another Waste of Money

Courtesy of the Bush Administration and the our-going Republican Congress.

In the Past Two Days, 10 More Americans Died in Iraq.

O'Malley Left with Erhlich's Mess

Why is it that the Democrats are always left having to clean up after the GOP?

Hoyer Wins House Majority Leader

Now we are going to here a continual drumbeat of how the Democrats are in disarray. Please stop this nonsense, "liberal" media.

Bush Hits New Low in PEW Poll

From PEW's website:

Bush's own job approval ratings have hit a new low in the aftermath of the elections. Just 32% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance compared with 58% who disapprove. Bush's job rating stands at just 24% among political independents, who proved crucial to the Democrats' victory on Nov. 7. By 57%-39%, independent voters cast ballots for Democratic candidates, according to national exit polls. Two years ago, independent voters were more divided (50% Democrat/46% Republican). See "Centrists Deliver for Democrats," November 8, 2006).
But that's not all:

The Democrats' big win on Nov. 7 has gotten a highly favorable response from the public. In fact, initial reactions to the Democratic victory are as positive as they were to the GOP's electoral sweep of Congress a dozen years ago. Six-in-ten Americans say they are happy that the Democratic Party won control of Congress; in December 1994, roughly the same percentage (57%) expressed a positive opinion of the GOP's takeover.

Half of Americans approve of the Democrats' plans and policies for the future, which also is comparable to approval of the GOP's proposed agenda in 1994. However, there is one important area where the parallels to 1994 do not hold: By 51%-29%, more Americans want Democratic leaders ­ rather than President Bush ­ to take the lead in solving the nation's problems. Twelve years ago, the public was divided over whether GOP congressional leaders (43%), or President Clinton (39%), should take the lead in addressing national problems.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Brian Harlin Thinks We Are Stupid

From today's Sun:
"I'm very confident in the incompetence of the Democrats," said Brian Harlin, outgoing Republican Party chairman, who expects taxes and spending to rise during the next four years. "If Democrats in this county do what I think they're going to do, we'll be OK."
The Republicans are calling us incompetent?

"The thing that bothers me the most is a thing like Merdon's race," Harlin said. "I didn't realize Howard County residents were that stupid." Republican Christopher J. Merdon lost decisively to Democrat Ken Ulman in the county executive race.

This is the same guy who kept telling anyone who would listen that this was going to be the Republicans' year.

GOP Picks Racist for #2 Senate Leadership Role

Trent Lott to be specific.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who Will Replace Mary Kay Sigaty?

One of County Executive-Elect Ken Ulman's first important decisions will be to decide who will replace Mary Kay Sigaty on the Board of Education. My pick would be Janet Siddiqui. Who do you think Ken should appoint?

Sad but True

The latest census data show an appalling and growing gap between the races in the United States. As the Post reports:

Decades after the civil rights movement, racial disparities in income, education and home ownership persist and, by some measurements, are growing.

White households had incomes that were two-thirds higher than those of African Americans and 40 percent higher than those of Hispanics last year, according to data released yesterday by the Census Bureau. White adults were also more likely than black and Hispanic adults to have college degrees and to own their own homes. They were less likely to live in poverty.

Thats not all:

Thirty percent of white adults had at least a bachelor's degree in 2005, while 17 percent of black adults and 12 percent of Hispanic adults had degrees. Forty-nine percent of Asian Americans had at least a bachelor's degree in 2005.

The median income for white households was $50,622 last year. It was $30,939 for black households, $36,278 for Hispanic households and $60,367 for Asian households. Hispanic households made about 76 percent as much as white households in 1980. In 2005, it was 72 percent.

Who would have ever thought

that the U.S. would fall behind South Africa in the realm of civil rights?

Iraq Continues to Spin Further Out of Control

You didn't expect good news on this front, did you?

Mehlman Out at RNC

Bush nominates Mel Martinez to replace him. So much for all those Michael Steele rumors. Fineline is disappointed.

Joe Leiberman Worries Me

I never trusted the guy. Niether should you.

It's Official

Harry Reid will be the new Senate Majority Leader. He will be a good one.

Murtha v. Hoyer

My money's on Murtha. He won't go down without a good fight.

Monday, November 13, 2006

An Interesting Read

What effect did the midterm elections have on gay-lesbian issues, both locally and nationally? Steve Charen's OutLoud blog has an excellent rundown.

Dem's Taking Strong Stance On Iraq

I'm of the opinion that the sooner we leave the better. I'm encouraged by the first steps taken by the new Congressional leadership! From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 — Democratic leaders in the Senate vowed on Sunday to use their new Congressional majority to press for troop reductions in Iraq within a matter of months, stepping up pressure on the administration just as President Bush is to be interviewed by a bipartisan panel examining future strategy for the war.

The Democrats — the incoming majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada; the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan; and the incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware — said a phased redeployment of troops would be their top priority when the new Congress convenes in January, even before an investigation of the conduct of the war.

Their not wasting time and letting themselves be defined by the Republican Noise Machine. Very encouraging.

A Good Idea

From USA Today:
Democrats aim to open the next Congress in January with a new rule that identifies lawmakers who use legislative "earmarks" to help special interests — a change Republicans promised but didn't implement.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said her first agenda item after being elected House speaker will be a vote to require sponsors of earmarks to be identified. Currently, lawmakers can remain anonymous in sponsoring an earmark, which is language in a bill that directs funds or tax benefits to a business, project or institution.

I find this very encouraging. How long will it last?

Another Poll Showing Bush's Support is Falling

From USA Today:

President Bush's job approval ratings have slumped in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup poll, with the president's rating hovering near the lowest of his tenure.

In the poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, 33% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance and 62% disapprove. That compares to 38% approval and 56% disapproval in a USA TODAY/Gallup poll taken Nov. 2-5, just before the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

Pelosi Backs Murtha

From Roll Call:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in line to become Speaker in January, is throwing her support to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in the race for Majority Leader, a move that will be an early test of her influence and will weigh heavily on Murtha's contest with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the post.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Newsweek Has Bush at 31%

A new low?

Open Thread

What do you think of this blog?

I'm Happy to Report

That the Sun is reporting that County Executive-Elect Ulman wants to take another look at the senior property tax that fineline readers know I despise.

Time to Clean Our Own House

As TPM Muckraker reports, the Democrats have their own potential scandals. Let's do something about it! We shouldn't accept corruption on either side of the aisle!

MuckWatch: We Pick Our Favorite Dems

The Democrats swept into the majority in Congress vowing to fight the culture of corruption. Bad news for the muckraking biz, right? Thankfully, less-than-squeaky pasts don't appear to be a factor in the Dems' reasoning as they divvy up leadership posts and committee chairs. Here are our favorite Democrats poised to take key positions:

Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV): He's set to take the chair of the very appropriations panel in whose purse strings he has already entangled himself. (He has helped steer nearly $500 million in taxpayer money to his rural district, half of which has gone to five organizations Mollohan created with friends.) As a result, he's under FBI investigation. Enough said.

Rep. John Murtha (PA): Likely to chair the Defense Appropriations subcommittee. Murtha's been tagged as a shameless earmarker, spending tens of millions on projects nobody wants to benefit his friends and his district. He's already been caught on tape by the FBI explaining how he works scams, so at least if the Feds pick up his trail again, they'll know what to look for. With massive classified budgets and a long history of wasteful spending, this post is ripe for abuse. The FBI probe into its former chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), attests to that. Murtha's also making a play for Majority Leader.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL): Tapped to chair the House Permanent Standing Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). Without a serious intel/national security background, Hastings is said to have gotten up to speed on the material since joining the committee. Still, there's a congressional impeachment in his background, and charges of a $150,000 bribe from his days as a judge. In the wake of major corruption scandals in the intel world, is it so hard to find a little less complicated candidate to oversee them?

Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD): Hoyer, an appropriator, hopes to be House Majority Leader. Unfortunately, he has an addiction to special interest money, and eagerly courts K Street donors. Does that matter? He broke ranks with his party last year to vote in favor of a draconian bankruptcy bill that would bar many Americans from getting out from under debt, regardless of the circumstances which landed them there. Hoyer has taken around $120,000 from lending institutions this cycle. It's okay to slow-dance with 'em, Steny; but don't let them take you home.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Bad Sign

Bush's press conference and Rumsfeld's exit gave me some hope that the message had finally sunk in. But then, he re-nominated Bolton.

Bush Doesn't Deserve All the Credit.

Everyone is, correctly, attributing the election results to anger at the national Republican party. But there is more to it than that. The Democrats have begun to build an infrastructure. There is still a long way to go. But this year's fundraising, organization and GOTV operations were head and shoulders above past years efforts.

Hey, Diebold Didn't Steal the Election!

We still need a paper trail.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hoyer or Murtha?

Who do you want to win?

Do the Dems Have Their Groove Back?

Or is the electorate mad at Bush? What do you think?

Here's the Post's take:

Although some chalked up the defeat to the national Democratic tide, the state's ample supply of political analysts said yesterday that other factors contributed.

An array of developments hurt Republicans, including aggressive union activism, an effective Democratic turnout operation, Maryland's shifting demographics and frustration with gridlock in the State House. Steele's pursuit of African American voters fell flat, and Ehrlich's attempts to paint Baltimore as an urban wasteland might have backfired, they said.

Ken Mehlman Stepping Down from RNC Chair

There's another Ken Mehlmen story.

Are we going to see an intra-GOP witchhunt/scapegoating of gays?

More Dirt on Steele

From TPM Muckraker:

TNR: For MD GOPer, Homeless Brigade Not New
By Justin Rood - November 9, 2006, 4:57 PM

Observers have been shocked and outraged by two Maryland Republicans' use of homeless and poor Philadelphians to pass out misleading campaign material at the polls on Election Day. Now it turns out the duo had tried this sort of thing before.

This past Tuesday, for $100 and the promise of three meals, the GOP candidates for governor and senator recruited dozens of the least fortunate from Philadelphia's shelters -- all or most of whom were black -- to come to Maryland for the day and pass out fliers portraying the two hopefuls as "our choice" for African-American voters. (Steele is black; Ehrlich most definitely is not.)

The tactic was brazenly amoral, but also logistically curious. Why did the candidates go all the way to Philadelphia for homeless people, when there are thousands in Baltimore and nearby Washington, D.C.? If they wanted deniability, why did Ehrlich's wife -- Maryland's current first lady -- meet the buses and pass out hats?

It turns out the duo pulled a very similar stunt at least once before, in 2002, according to the New Republic. Then, they pulled homeless people from D.C. shelters, and black students from nearby Bowie State, and the candidates kept their distance from the operation. Instead of telling them to distribute literature, the campaign instructed the recruits to go door-to-door in predominantly black neighborhoods, telling residents that they were "volunteers" trying to get Maryland to elect its first black lieutenant governor.

It was a debacle:
About 250 recruits, drawn by the promise of free meals and a day's pay, participated in what one recruit later called a "scam from the start." The students didn't get their meals, and they didn't get paid. The homeless recruits also weren't paid, and, that night, the van that had taken them at dawn to Prince George's County and was supposed to transport them back to Washington, D.C. never showed up.

Some of the homeless workers reportedly staged a protest that night in front of the Democrats for Ehrlich headquarters in New Carrollton, Maryland. The next day, they enlisted legal help from the homeless center to get the money they had been promised. But the protest had alerted the state prosecutor, and when one of Ehrlich's campaign workers finally showed up with the money, investigators were on hand to witness the homeless recruits being paid.
Permalink | TOPICS: Michael Steele

Michael Steele for RNC Chairman?

I'm pulling for him!

Please let him win!

GOP Dirty Tricks in P.G. County

Fortunately, they didn't have much of an effect on the election.

Here We Go Again

Iowa Gov. Vilsack officially announces he's running for President.

Personally, I'm underwhelmed.

Burns & Allen

Have conceded. Now the Democrats control the Senate too! Is our long national nightmare over?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hastert Steps Down

Won't return as House Minority Leader.

The Latest From Virgina

From the Post:

RICHMOND, Nov. 8 -- Virginia Democratic Senate candidate James Webb claimed the title of "Senator-elect" today even as Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen declined to concede a race he was losing by 7,146 votes.

Webb advisers said he will announce members of his transition team later this afternoon. Webb leads Allen by less than three tenths of a percent out of 2.3 million votes that were cast Tuesday.

Click on a city or county for area results.

"There's never been a Senate election where a candidate with the margin of this size, or for that matter even smaller . . . has not emerged as the next Senator," said former Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), who is advising Webb.

At a Richmond news conference, Allen adviser Ed Gillespie said the senator will wait for the results of a statewide process called a canvass, in which the preliminary tallies from Tuesday night are confirmed during the next several days. Gillespie said the GOP believes that process could change the vote tally in Allen's favor.

Bush Names Iran-Contra Figure as Rumsfeld's Replacement

The confirmation hearings should be interesting.

CNN Calls Montana For Tester!

AP and MSNBC as well!

We are Down to Just Virginia!

Rumsfeld To Resign

CNN is reporting.

Problem in Precinct 6-17

Evan Coren reports on a problem I personally witnessed. While working at nearby 6-13, people kept asking us where they were supposed to vote. The old precinct 6-17 was located at the Owen Brown Place, which many of the locals just call the Senior Center. The new polling place for 6-17 is located at the new senior center in the East Columbia Library. The information sent by the Board of Elections didn't explain that the polling site had changed and just stated that the poll was located at the "Over 50 Senior Center."

The Dems Position on Virginia and Montana

Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester's margin.

Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within ¼ of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.

Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb's margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)

Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.

Don't Forget

The Columbia Democratic Club meets tonight at 7:00 at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center.

We will be celebrating and discussing our massive victory!

Want the Latest Numbers on Howard County?

Howard County Board of Elections

Fineline Recommends

That you read this post by Chris Bowers at MyDD.

Cardin Defeats Steele

Now Steele is just another American who lost his job because of Bush!

Cardin did it the old fashioned way, he won on the issues. From the Sun:

Cardin also had the edge on issues of interest to Marylanders. Nearly two-thirds of voters yesterday said they disapproved of the war in Iraq, and nearly half said they disapproved strongly, according to exit polls conducted for news organizations by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International. About one-third said the war was extremely important in deciding their vote in the Senate race.

Cardin voted against the 2002 Iraq war resolution, and has described plans to begin withdrawing U.S. troops.

The congressman's views on several social issues - including his support for embryonic stem cell research, featured prominently in a television ad starring the actor Michael J. Fox - also appeared to help him. Steele, a former Catholic seminarian, opposes both abortion and embryonic stem cell research that destroys the embryo.
When Democrats can keep the campaigns focused on real issues, instead of personalities and fear-mongering, they win.

The Full Story.

O'Malley Defeats Ehrlich!

Joins the millions unemployed by Bush. This was actually quite a remarkable victory. Ehrlich was an incumbent with a 56% approval rating.

Why Did We Win? Local Edition

Ken Ulman won (big) because:

It was a bad year to be a Republican.

The Ulman /O'Malley campaign did a fantastic job, except in the local free media.

The GOTV effort was superbly conceived and executed.

Ken was a much more substantive and sincere candidate.

Merdon's message was flawed: he had a number of pro-growth votes in his own record, while Ken lead the effort to save Meriweather and to create the Charette process.

The Growth issue didn't sway a lot of votes.

Ken had the all important Fineline endorsement!

Fox, Sigaty and Ball all were safe seats for their parties. Terrasa and Watson each ran superb campaigns!

Jim Robey rode both the blue wave and his excellent performance as County Executive and Police Chief to the Maryland Senate. Of primary importance, he had the ever-important Fineline endorsement.

How Sweet It Is!!!

I am sorry I didn't get to post a lot yesterday, but I was busy all day. But It was well worth it. Thanks to all of you that worked on the campaigns, or for the party. It was a truly great effort. The Get Out The Vote strategy was a huge success! It was great to see so many dedicated people out there standing in the cold and rain trying to make a difference in their communities and country. It helps renew the faith that's been lagging a bit these last six years!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Latest Maryland Polls: Good News

From Survey USA

Governor: O'Malley (D) 50 - Ehrlich (R) 47
Senator: Cardin (D) 49 - Steele (R) 46

Republican Dirty Tricks

From Talking Points Memo:

Most of the call's script is a fairly standard attack robocall, a series of Republican talking points aimed at the Democratic congressional in a particular district. Nothing particularly noteworthy. The key is the introduction. The lead into the call starts with the speaker saying 'I'm calling with information about' Dem candidate X. Then there's a short pause.

At this point, you know it's an annoying robocall, so a lot of people just hang up. If you hang up then, you think it's a call from the Democratic candidate.

Second, the repetition. And this part is the key. If you don't listen through the whole message, the machine keeps calling you back, often well in excess of half a dozen times with the same call. It only stops if you listen all the way through.

As you can imagine, that's driving a lot of people through the roof.

In other words, the Republicans behind the calls win either way. If you keep hanging up, you think you're being harassed by the campaign of the local Democratic House candidate. If you give up and listen all the way through, you hear the political attack. The true source of the call, the NRCC, the GOP House campaign committee, is only revealed at the end of the call.

(Federal regulations dictate calls be identified at the top of the call.)

Third, and for this there is as yet only anecdotal evidence, many of the calls seem to be going out overnight or during, say, a major sporting event in the given district.

These sorts of operations are supposed to glide under the radar, having maximum impact with minimal press attention.

And that's pretty much how it worked.

People only started catching on mid-late last week as Democratic campaign after campaign started fielding complaints from voters about robocalls their campaigns weren't even making. Even then, individual campaigns dealt with it mainly on their own. Only over the weekend did different people start putting the puzzle together.

It's impossible to say how many voters out there are pissed off because they think they're being phone-stalked by the local Democratic candidate. And there's no way to tell just what the effect will be at the ballot box. But the intention is clear: suppress the Democratic vote by harassing voters with repetitive phone calls and deceiving them about who it is that's calling them.

Remember, this is the same crew that pulled a not dissimilar phone scheme in 2002 which resulted in multiple felony convictions. This time they've just taken it nationwide. This is their strategy.

-- Josh Marshall

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Think Before You Vote (Updated)

Some of you Democrats out there might actually be thinking of doing the unthinkable: voting for a Republican, who seems like a good candidate. But before you make such a mistake, please stop and think and consider the big picture.

While that Republican might well be likable and even a good person, and might agree with you on a particular issue that you strongly believe in, a vote for a Republican in this particular election is a vote against everything that made you a Democrat in the first place.

Make no mistake, this is an election of historic importance. The Republican Party has assumed one party rule over our nation. They have taken over the Executive Branch, both houses of Congress, the Federal Court System, the majority of Governorships and control a majority of state legislatures. Perhaps, if they had chosen to govern wisely, honestly and justly, this would be an acceptable state of affairs. However, they have done the opposite.

Before you vote remember Republican, remember the following and don't forget that your vote will be seen as support for these policies:


Invading Iraq
Tax cuts for the rich, while cutting social programs for the poor and middle class
Privatizing Social Security
Prescription Drug Plans for Big Pharma instead of working Americans
Legalized Torture and withdrawal from the Geneva Conventions
The Patriot Act
No increase in the Minimum Wage
No Federal Support for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Rolling Back Gay Rights


A 72 percent rise in electric rates
A Governor who is against multiculturalism
skyrocketing college tuition costs
well-publicized cleansings of state agencies (where party affiliation was considered - politics to the detriment of public services and peoples' careers)


A return to the era of tax cuts funded by cuts in education, police and fire protection and the failure to maintain our infrastructure.

Anyone want to add to this list? Please do in the comments section.

Charlie Cook Predicts

Via Talking Points Memo, here is his take on Tuesday. Remember, after the elections I will go back and judge the prognosticators' performance in this election.

The latest from Charlie Cook, who thinks the House goes to the Democrats, the only question being by how many seats:

The Senate is a very different situation and there are some very strange things going on.

In Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum is gone. While the margin in Ohio is not nearly as wide, it's very hard to see how Mike DeWine makes it back either.

The strange ones are Conrad Burns and Lincoln Chafee in Montana and Rhode Island, respectively. Both races are basically even, pretty remarkable considering how dismal their prospects looked just a couple weeks ago. While even is a bad place for a Republican to be going into Election Day in this kind of environment, both have some momentum at this point.

Conversely, George Allen and Jim Talent, are dead even as well, but with no momentum, and that is very, very dangerous under these circumstances. Talent/Republicans have a fabulous field organization in Missouri, if Talent pulls it out, it might be the ground game that does it, but this is very tough for both.

In Tennessee, while Democrats are boasting of a very strong African-American early voting program, this race really does appear to have slipped away from Democrats. Ijd be surprised to see Corker lose to Ford now.

-- TPM Reader DK

MSNBC Predicts Republicans Hold Senate

Here's the state by state rundown:

In Pennsylvania, incumbent Republican Sen. Rick Santorum is still well behind his Democratic challenger Bob Casey, with Casey currently ahead by 13 percentage points, 52 percent to 39 percent, with 7 percent undecided. In an MSNBC/McClatchy poll conducted two weeks ago, Casey was up by 12 percentage points.

In Rhode Island, incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee has closed the gap with Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. Chafee is now supported by 46 percent of likely voters compared to Whitehouse’s 45 percent. There are 9 percent undecided. Two weeks ago, Whitehouse was leading by 5 percentage points.

In Missouri, Democrat Claire McCaskill and incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent remain virtually tied with McCaskill supported by 46 percent of likely voters and Talent supported by 45 percent with 7 percent undecided. Late last month, McCaskill had 46 percent to Talent’s 43 percent.

In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has widened his advantage over Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr., holding 48 percent of likely voters compared with 41 percent supporting Kean. There are still 8 percent undecided. In late October, the candidates were in a virtual tie (45 percent for Menendez to 42 percent for Kean). In a race in which both candidates have been criticized for using negative attack ads, 54 percent of voters think both have attacked each other unfairly.

In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has maintained her sizeable lead over Republican challenger Mike McGavick. She now leads by 16 percentage points, 54 percent to 38 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Last month she led by 15 percentage points (52 percent to 37 percent).

In Michigan, Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow is comfortably ahead of her Republican opponent, Michael Bouchard (53 percent-37 percent). There are 7 percent undecided.

In Arizona, Republican incumbent Jon Kyl is ahead of his Democratic opponent Jim Pederson (49 percent-41 percent). There are 7 percent still undecided.

In Maryland, Democrat Ben Cardin and his Republican opponent, Michael Steele are virtually tied (47 percent-44 percent). There are 9 percent undecided.

In other Mason-Dixon polls:

In Ohio, a Cleveland Plain Dealer poll shows Democratic challenger Rep. Sherrod Brown still leading incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, 50 percent to 44 percent. There are 5 percent undecided in this race. Last month, Brown was up by 8 percentage points (48 percent-40 percent).

In Montana, a Lee Newspapers poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns is tied with Democratic challenger Jon Tester, with each holding 47 percent. Five percent are undecided. Last month, Tester had 46 percent and Burns 43 percent.

In Tennessee, a Chattanooga Times Free Press & Memphis Commercial Appeal poll shows Republican Bob Corker holding a 12-percentage point lead over Democrat Rep. Harold Ford Jr., 50 percent-38 percent. Nine percent still undecided. In late October our poll showed Ford with 45 percent and Corker with 43 percent.

In Virginia, a Mason-Dixon Virginia Poll shows Democratic challenger Jim Webb has moved into a virtual tie (46 percent-45 percent) with Republican Sen. George Allen. Seven percent are undecided. The previous poll showed Allen with 47 percent and Webb with 43 percent.

Latest Senate Polls: Cardin-Steele

From the latest MSNBC/McClachy Poll:
In Maryland, Democrat Ben Cardin and his Republican opponent, Michael Steele are virtually tied (47 percent-44 percent). There are 9 percent undecided.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Republicans Planning to Aggressively Challenge Democrats' Voting Credentials at Polls in Maryland

Be ready.

Two Bad Polls

MD-GOVSurveyUSANov 3O'Malley (D) 48%, Ehrlich (R) 47%
MD-SENSurveyUSANov 3Cardin (D) 47%, Steele (R) 47%

I suspect these are outliers. But lets work harder!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Don't Miss

Howard County Democrats

Come out and join Congressman Cummings, Martin O'Malley/Anthony Brown, Ben Cardin and the rest of the Democratic Team

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Oakland Mills Meeting House/Interfaith Center
5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD 21045

1 pm to 2:30 pm

Information 410-290-9791 or


More Expert Predictions

After the Election, I will go back and see who was right, who was wrong, and who had real insight. This one comes courtesy of Tagean Goddard's Political Wire:

The latest Rothenberg Political Report ratings are out. Here are exclusive excerpts provided to Political Wire:

The Senate: "While Senate control is in doubt, with Democrats most likely to win from 5 to 7 seats, we do not think the two sides have an equal chance of winning a majority in the Senate. Instead, we believe that state and national dynamics favor Democrats netting six seats and winning control of the United States Senate."

The House: "Going into the final days before the 2006 midterm elections, we believe the most likely outcome in the House of Representatives is a Democratic gain of 34 to 40 seats, with slightly larger gains not impossible. This would put Democrats at between 237 and 243 seats, if not a handful more, giving them a majority in the next House that is slightly larger than the one the Republicans currently hold. If these numbers are generally correct, we would expect a period of GOP finger-pointing and self-flagellation after the elections, followed by a considerable number of Republican House retirements over the next two years."

Governors: "With Republican seats like Idaho, Alaska, and Nevada in play for state-specific reasons, and Minnesota vulnerable to a Democratic wave, the ceiling for possible Democratic gains is high. We have narrowed our earlier projection from Democratic gains of 6-10 to 7-9."

While Rome Burned

The Republicans did their best to protect us from stem-cells, non-existent WMD, John Kerry's botched joke, Democrats and Gays. Meanwhile.

Ken Ulman Holds a Press Conference

Larry Carson Reports

Exactly Right

From Talking Points Memo (My Favorite Blog)

I hope that when the political history of the last half century is written it will show, as it should, that the Republicans engaged in a brand of divisive electoral politics that pitted Americans against each other: white against black, men against women, rich against poor, native born against immigrant, straight against gay. Republicans deserve to be tarred by history for exploiting our weaknesses, our prejudices, and our lesser selves for their own political gain. But those are still our weaknesses and our prejudices. We own them. And it is our lesser selves that have succumbed to the Republican political pitch and been willing to be exploited. Removing the Republicans from power will only be a temporary fix unless we fundamentally fix ourselves so that no one, no party, no movement can exploit those same weaknesses again.

-- TPM Reader DK

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Larry Sabato

Thinks the Dems are in very good shape. So good, that the Dems might not lose a single House seat! Here' the latest from the Crystal Ball:

Just how Democratic a year is 2006?

Five days out, let's rephrase the question this way: when's the last time a major political party has failed to capture a single House seat, Senate seat, or governorship of the opposing party in a federal election year?

We bet it's never happened before, and it certainly hasn't happened in the post-World War II era. After all, even when a party suffers miserable net losses, it usually picks up at least several consolation prizes in the form of open seat pickups or an against-the-tide incumbent defeat.

Yet look at our 2006 predictions: at this moment, the Crystal Ball cannot identify a single election for Senate, House or Governor in which a Republican is likely to succeed a Democrat in office. Just imagine how devastating an absolute shutout would be in the eyes of history if this proves to be true!

Sure, we could easily be fooled by more than a few outcomes in this regard on Election Night, and we would probably place the odds of this historical unlikelihood's occurrence at no better than 50/50. But the very notion such a scenario is within the realm of possibilities is a testament to the lopsidedness of this year's theaters of battle.

If little changes between now and Tuesday, there remains little question that the GOP is headed towards devastating losses. And though candidates continue to stress various issues, only one has truly come to define our politics this year: war. Future historians may well look back on this wave election as "The Iraq Midterm," much we look back on the 1966 and 1974 elections as "The Vietnam Midterm" and "The Watergate Midterm" respectively.

Just as in 1975, it is likely that a substantially Democratic freshman class will be sworn into Congress in 2007 (though 2007's won't be nearly as big). Some entering members may prove "one term wonders" and others may show staying power. Most we will have seen coming. But if history is any guide, a handful will have scored fluke victories with under-the-radar, last-minute momentum. Wave elections are volatile, and in our years of publishing, we have never gazed into a stormier Crystal Ball.

Sheryl Crow Called Me!

Well actually, it was just a robocall, for Ken Ulman. Did anyone else get this call?

A Week From Tonight

A week from tonight... on November 8, the Columbia Democratic Club will hold its November membership meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, 6030 Tamar Drive, in Columbia.
A week from tonight... we will know the results of next Tuesday's election and have our first indication of what's in store for our national, state, and local government for years to come.
A week from tonight... please come and join your Democratic colleagues and friends, as local-favorite and Congressional candidate Andy Barth, and University of Maryland Baltimore Campus Director of Public Policy, Professor Don Norris, lead an interactive discussion on the possible implications of Tuesday's election.
Come to celebrate! Come to wonder what's next! Come to talk about what should be done! It will all be happening at CDC next Wednesday night. Join us!

New Polls: U.S. Senate

MD-SENBalt. SunNov 2Cardin (D) 49%, Steele (R) 43%
MD-SENZogby/ReutersNov 2Cardin (D) 49%, Steele (R) 44%
VA-SENZogby/ReutersNov 2Webb (D) 45%, Allen (R) 44%
TN-SENZogby/ReutersNov 2Corker (R) 53%, Ford (D) 43%
TN-SENRasmussenNov 2Corker (R) 48%, Ford (D) 47%
MO-SENZogby/ReutersNov 2McCaskill (D) 46%, Talent (R) 43%
MO-SENRasmussenNov 2McCaskill (D) 47%, Talent (R) 46%

Predictions: County Council and Executive

District One: Courtney Watson wins. She has the best run local campaign.

District Two: Calvin Ball wins. This is a heavily Democratic district.

District Three: Jen Terassa wins. The last Republican to win this district was Denny Schrader. Its had a few strong Democratic precincts added to it recently.

District Four: Mary Kay Sigaty wins. Great name recognition and a Democratic registration advantage.

District Five: Greg Fox wins. This is a heavily Republican district. Donald Dunn has done better than expected here. If you ever met him personally, you would know why.

I think Ken Ulman will squeak this one out. Why? While the Merdon campaign has done an excellent job all-around, they have really won the battle in the "free' media." That being said, this is a Democratic year and the Democrats have a registration advantage in the county. And while the Merdon campaign won the free media battle, Ken's campaign does have a strong GOTV operation. Finally, I think Wallis will be the deciding factor, he will hurt Merdon more than Ken.

HayDuke Endorses Ulman, So Do I.

Hayduke's post is great, a must read!

I agree with Hayduke's post. Ken Ulman showed courage and leadership on the Future of Downtown. He has shown himself to be the thoughtful, substantive candidate. Sometimes, in the past, Ken's let his passion boil over. But I will take a guy who cares about the issues more than getting re-elected. What does Chris Merdon really care about?

Merdon on the other hand, has been very adept at telling everyone what they want to hear, but not really saying, or doing anything with real substance. Merdon's been able to capitalize on the anger of a few groups of citizens who are energized by local concerns rather than the greater good of the community or the County. For example, Merdon's getting some Democratic support from people who have yet to receive what they want out of the charette process (remember, its still an ongoing process), some people who are mad at a church being expanded in their neighborhood, and etc., etc, etc. Merdon's been making promises left and right, a tax cut there (for a key swing demographic), a middle school athletic program there, laptop computers here, but never explains how he will pay for it. In short, Merdon's playing to the what's-in-it-for-me-crowd, while Ken is trying to build the community and foster the common good.

Sun Poll Puts Cardin Ahead by 5%

This will be close, but Ben's gonna win.

Predictions: State

There are four statewide races in Maryland: United States Senate, Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller.

The Democrats will win all four. Doug Gansler and Peter Franchot will run way with the Attorney General and Comptroller races.

The U.S. Senate will be close, but Ben Cardin will win. This is a blue state. This is a blue year. President Bush is particularly unpopular in Maryland and everyone knows that Michael Steele is Bush's man. Steele was banking on making significant inroads into the Democrat's African-American base. But two factors have prevented this from happening. First, the Cardin campaign did an excellent job of reminding voters of Steele's link to Bush and several of his most odious policies. Second, the Maccaca incident and the RNC's willingness to run racist adds against Ford in Tennessee reminded African-Americans of why the Republican party does not deserve their vote. Finally, four words: Iraq, stem-cells, Katrina and Foley.

The O'Malley-Ehrlich race for Governor will be close and could go either way. But I am confident that O'Malley will win. First, this is a blue state in a blue year. This should help Democratic turnout and hurt (slightly) GOP turnout. Secondly, O'Malley has the lead, by how much is debatable, and incumbents have a hard time catching up in the last days of a campaign.

But Ehrlich has money, orgainization and a positive approval rating as governor. We aren't going to know the outcome of this one until November 8th. But one thing I am certian of: if Ehrlich and Steele lose, they have George W. Bush and the Republican Congress to blame.

Predictions: National

Here we go, Fineline's fearless predictions. On the National front, its pretty clear that the Democrats will take back the House of Representatives. The Senate will be close, everyone agrees on that point too. It will come down to three states: Virginia, Missouri and Tennessee.

Virginia looks good for the Democrats. George Felix "Maccaca" Allen's dark side (racism; anti-semitism; false populism and a tendency to bully) has been exposed and Jim Webb has run an excellent campaign. Allen's racism, along with the RNC's appeals to racism in Tennessee) has hurt Michael Steele in Maryland too, by reminding African-American voters of the GOP's willingness to deploy "the southern strategy" (there's a nice euphemism for you) and the racist tendencies of many of its prominent leaders.

I'm not feeling so good about Tenneessee. Ford faced a daunting challenge, to win as an African-American Democrat in a Red Southern state. He just might pull it off: the polls indicate its neck and neck. But to be frank, I'm worried that these polls are overstating Ford's strength. Sadly, its a well-documented fact that minority candidates do better in opinion polls, than in the actual election.

Which brings us to Missouri, the "Show-Me State." I think Missouri will show us who will control the Senate. Right now Cantwell, the Democrat, is leading by a hair, according to one poll at least. That's bad news for the incumbent, Talent, because late deciders often break against the incumbent. Moreover, this is a particularly bad year to be an incumbent.

However, the GOP is going to be able to sink more money into the state and has a great GOTV infrustructure in place. So I am guessing Talent will win.

There you have it, I'm picking the Republicans to hold the Senate.

What are your predictions? What do you think of my predictions?