Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Democrats and Iraq

The Democrats have Bush right where they should want him. Unless Congress allocates more funds, Bush won't have the funds to continue military operations in Iraq after July. But the Democrats act like Bush has the upper hand. OY!

Our presence in Iraq does nothing for the Iraqi people: they want us out, ASAP. Our presence in Iraq harms our national security. We would be much safer here at home if we left. The American people want us out too. The American people voted Republicans out of Congress, mainly because they wanted out of Iraq.

But it looks like the Democrats in Congress are going to knuckle under to Bush and let him keep fighting his foolhardy debacle in Iraq. Bush and the Republican frame the issue in terms of supporting the troops and many Democrats run from cover. How is letting the troops die (and keeping them from their jobs and families)in a lost cause supporting the troops? Was it the troops' idea to go to Iraq? Why won't the Democrats take on this illogical argument?

Why? Why are the Democrat's committing political suicide? They were sent to Congress the clean up corruption and get us out of Iraq. The only way they can get us out of Iraq is to cut off funding. Now Congress' approval ratings are falling, especially among Democrats and Independents.

Right now a minority of the Democrats in Congress are bringing their party and much more importantly, their country, down. Its a profile in cowardice.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gov. O'Malley Comes to HoCo

Last night I attended the Howard County Democratic Central Committee's Annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. As always the company was great. And for once the food was good. But in an evening of highlights, the highest and lightest highlight was the speech by Governor O'Malley.

I was especially heartened to hear the Guv's straight talk on Maryland's fiscal situation. The Governor correctly noted that his predecessor left him a mess and acknowledged that the Democrats will have to fix it. He noted that we need to cut waste, but also noted that our present fiscal circumstances, an expected 1.4 Billion shortfall, are largely the result of Governor Glendening's 10 percent income tax cut.

So let's do the right thing, roll back the Glendening tax cut for all but the poor and lower middle class and raise the INCOME taxes of the upper middle class and the wealthy.

Oh, and one other thing, Sen. Obama won the straw poll! Sen. Clinton took second, and Sen. Edwards took third.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Maryland's Budget Woes

Gov. O'Malley is seeking 200 million dollars worth of spending cuts. Why isn't he considering raising taxes, especially on the rich?

When will Americans learn? If you want good roads (or mass transit), schools, firefighters and first responders, police protection, environmental protection and to take care of the poor and disabled, you have to be willing pay for it. We are not spending enough on any of these needs.

This will be a test of the Governor, the Legislature and the voters of Maryland. For or kids' sake, lets hope we all pass this test.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Drunk Driving Victim

I hate this.

First people know better than to drink and drive and yet it still happens, often.

Second, why does it matter that the killer was an illegal immigrant? His lack of a visa did not kill that young man, his inability or unwillingness to use alcohol responsibly did.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Al Gore was at UMBC Tonite

Wow was he ever powerful. Wow is our planet in trouble.

Gore gave an updated and much funnier version of the presentation that appeared in an Inconvenient Truth. It was one of the best presentations I have ever seen. far superior to the movie, which I recommend. Al was in great form too. I suspect he will run for President. His presentation was very political and made for a great campaign speech. Very, very impressive. He would make an excellent President.

And just think, he's the guy the American People chose to be President, which goes to show that we are much smarter and wiser than 5 of the justices who heard that case.

Belated Congratulations! To Columbia's New Political Dynasty

To my friend Evan Coren who is now Kings Contrivance's representative to the Columbia Council. While I agree with Evan more often than not, I don't always agree with him, especially about some issues concerning Downtown Columbia. But I do know that Evan will work hard to understand all sides of the issues he will be deciding and he will do what he thinks is best for Columbia, rather than what he thinks is best for Evan.

Congratulations are also in order for Evan's Mother, Ann Coren, who won the Election for the Owen Brown Village Board.

Belated sympathies are extended to almost every other local blogger. Since it seems all of them ran for office (with less fortune than Evan).

I'm Fine and I'm back.

I've been very very busy.

I stopped posting but people kept visiting the site. Thanks! And for those of you who asked about my well being, thanks for your concern.

There is so much to blog about: we are living interesting and scary times.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Democratic Presidential Candidates Discuss Universal Healthcare

CNN's take.

The Post's take.

It disturbs me to see the discussion center about Universal Healthcare center around taxes.

Yes, we might have to raise taxes to enact Universal Healthcare. But every major industrialized nation but us has UHC. And they pay much, much less for healthcare than we do and have better results. In Europe and Asia, they pay about a fourth to a third of what we pay for healthcare and get better results. So while we might end up paying higher taxes, we won't have to pay health insurance premiums anymore.

Our Sad State of Affairs

Right now the United States Government is torturing people, spying on its citizens, and detaining people indefinitely without pressing charges or allowing representation by an attorney. Right now the President of the United States is contending that Congress has no oversite powers over the Executive branch. Recently, evidence has been revealed that indicating that the president's top aides, and maybe the president himself, plotted to press phony criminal charges against the opposition party.

Does this sound like an advanced, modern democracy to you?

Kudos to the House Democrats

The bill they passed forces Bush to either accept time limits for his debacle in Iraq or cut off funding.

Smart Move Democrats!

Watergate 2.0

The right-wing has successfully succeeded in diverting the media from the real issue raised by the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys. Much of the discussion has centered around Bush's right to fire these U.S. Attorneys or on the ensuing cover-up (which is newsworthy in and of itself). It is clear that Bush had the right to fire them. Its also clear and newsworthy that the Attorney General and other high ranking Justice Department officials have been caught lying to Congress about this matter.

But the real issue concerns the reasons these U.S. Attorney's were fired in the first place: because they either refused to file trumped up charges against Democratic Congressional or, in the case of Carole Lam, were about to investigate the relationship between Duke Cunningham's bribers and the Vice President of the United States.

We can't lose sight of these facts, they are the real key to this scandal.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Are We Going to Get a State-Wide Smoking Ban?

The issue goes to the full Senate.

Governor O'Malley Makes a Gutsy Call

A good one too.

Thats the kind of decisive and wise leadership Maryland needs.

The Dots are Connecting

Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

The whole article is here.

Read Up On the Subprime Scandal

Its very bad news for the economy and the average American.

Get ready for the right-wing noise machine to blame it on too much regulation, when just the opposite is true.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sen. Clinton Shows Some Leadership

The mortgage market is going to be the savings and loan crisis of the 2000s. Its time that our political leaders take note, and action.

I'm glad to see Sen. Clinton is on top of this issue.

Bush is at 31% Approval in Newsweek Poll

What's the deal with those 31%?

An Ominous Development

Terrorists using chlorine gas bombs in Iraq.

Of course the use of chlorine gas was outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. Too bad the Bush Administration has abandoned the Geneva Conventions.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Showdown

It has become clear that the Bush Administration pressured U.S. Attorneys to file bogus charges against Democratic Candidates in an attempt to influence last year's Congressional Elections. The Bush Administration then purged those U.S. Attorney's who would not go along with this illegal endeavor or who were pursuing investigations or prosecutions of leading Republicans. (58% of Americans believe that the firings were politically motivated). If that was not bad enough, its clear that our Attorney General lied to Congress about this matter. Its also quite clear that the Administration has been lying to Congress and the American People about this matter.

The Democrats are demanding answers. The answers will clearly embarrass Bush and maybe even implicate him in a crime.

Will the Whitehouse comply with the document requests? Will they disobey a subpoena?

If so what then?

As I have been saying for a while, we are in Watergate territory here.

We are going to start seeing more and more of this.

Anti-War Demonstrations.

If its a Good Idea

You can bet the Whitehouse will oppose it.

Isn't it ironic. The Whitehouse claims to be protecting the Constitution.

Another Bush Administration Lie Exposed

Valarie Plame was a covert operative.

And the Bush Administration was willing to sacrifice a national security assert in order to retaliate against a whistleblower.

They risked our national security in an attempt to cover up their lies that got us into the debacle in Iraq.

What other President has screwed up as bad as this one?

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Return of Senator Macaca?

Good news for Democrats.

Please Feel Free to Send

Me any announcements that you would like to have posted on fineline. I won't post any announcements for fund raisers or for any organizations that I have a beef with (the NRA or GOP need not apply).

Just send your announcement to slfine@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Would Not Have Happened With A Republican Congress

An Open Government bill passes the House.

Watergate PArt Deux

Well it looks like the President is digging his heels in. He claims he stands behind Gonzalez.

Meanwhile the Dragnet tightens.

Exhibit 1. Former Republican Senator implicates Rove.

Turn to Josh Marshall for the latest. His blog broke this story wide open.

Maryland's Deficit

I know one way to help solve it.

In 2003 Bush Fired a Prosecutor Who Began an Investigation of Jack Abramoff


Another Failure of Right-Wing Economics

Leaving financial markets to self-regulate does not work.

Exhibit 20,000.

It Only Took Three Years

And a Democratic Congress to enact the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

Western Howard County Democratic Club

The West HoCo Dem. Club meeting is Tuesday, March 20th p.m. at the Howard County Conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Rd., Woodstock, Md. 21163.

The guest speaker is John Wills, two term Secretary of State in the Glendenning administration. He will talk about working for Democratic principals in an area that is predominately Republican.

For more information call Clyde or Romayne at 301.854.6507 or email at robici@comcast.net.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Columbia Democratic Club

As previously announced, the March Columbia Democratic Club membership meeting will be held this coming Wednesday, March 14, at Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, 6030 Tamar Drive in Columbia. A half-hour informal social gathering with refreshments will begin at 7:00 PM., followed by a brief membership business meeting, which will include reports on the CDC PAC and 2007 budget, the CDC legislative agenda, the May CDC elections, and other CDC activities. The social gathering is intended to provide an opportunity for members and guests to greet each other, and to provide announcements of interest.

Beginning at 8:00 p.m., the CDC March Program will include guest speakers Wylene Burch, Rhonda Jones, and Herman Charity. A little background on each speaker is provided below. Since the CDC February meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather, the important theme for the February program, which was in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County, carries over to this month. Please come and learn about the Howard County Civil Rights Movement. I am sure the presentations will be of interest and provide greater awareness of what many had to endure during those trying times, which in some respects regrettably continue.

Wylene Burch, founder and curator of the Howard County Center of African-American Culture. The Center, which is located on Vantage Point Road in Columbia, is an educational resource that promotes greater awareness of African American history in Howard County. The collection consists of artifacts, murals, recordings of spirituals-jazz-rap, a library of over 2,000 books on the Black experience, an African American stamp collection, and memorabilia depicting images of African Americans over the last 200 years.
Rhonda Jones is a representative of the Howard County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) For nearly 60 years, this branch has been in the forefront of civil rights activities.
Herman Charity was first black Howard County Police Officer retiring in 1998 after 30 years of service at the rank of Lieutenant. Was executive assistant to former Howard County Administrator Jim Robey.

Tell them fineline sent you.

Has Anyone Else Noticed?

That the two Republicans who are the front runners for the Presidential nomination are not far right wingers? All the wingers trail?

What does that tell us?

Maybe the electorate isn't as conservative as it once was?

Another Actor Who Wants to Play President?

Fred Thompson is considering running for President.

I remember the last time the American People made the mistake of hiring an Actor to play President. That didn't work out too well.

Is this a sequel or a remake?

Andrea Mitchell: Most Americans Are In Favor of Pardoning Scooter Libby

Reality: Only 18% of Americans favor pardoning Scooter Libby.

There goes the Mainsteam Media with their obvious liberal bias again.

Giuliani Widens Lead over McCain

According to one poll at least.

Are the Republicans going to nominate a candidate who had to abort his last campaign (For N.Y. Senate) under a cloud of scandal? Remember who ended up winning that race?

Just one of the skeletons in the Mayor's closet: Bernie Kerik.


This could get very interesting. Sen. Schumer wants Karl Rove to testify about his role in the firings.

It looks like Rove was involved. I think getting him under oath to testify is a good idea.

This might just be the scandal that brings Bush down.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sad News

There is a very sad story in the Sun.

As the article shows and as lots of people will tell you, Dr. Leffler was a very good man. Usually, these sad stories in the newspapers are about strangers. This one wasn't. Dr. Leffler was my son's Dr. Thats true of a lot of children in HoCo (and many adults in HoCo are his former patients).

We moved from pediatrician to pediatrician before we could find a Dr. who was truly able and willing to care for my severely autistic son. Dr. Leffler's practice was the one practice were we felt that our son was truly welcome. My son frequently presented Dr. Leffler, his partners and his staff with difficult challenges. Yet Dr. Leffler always went the extra mile for my son. The last time I spoke with Dr. Leffler, he made it clear that my son was welcome to stay on as his patient into adulthood for a long as we wished. That comment was very comforting to me. I (and my family) have always been very grateful for Dr. Leffler's patience and understanding.

I am sorry I never told him that.

Right Now

Most Polls have Senator Clinton winning the Democratic Nomination and Rudy G. winning the Republican nomination. Although I think Rudy would have the best chance of winning among the Republicans, I think he would have a rough time against the Senator. First, I think Rudy G's nomination would help the Republicans among independents, but his liberal social stances and his past personal life will hurt turnout among Christian Conservatives. Moreover, in New York, Senator Clinton is way more popular than Rudy G. this is import for a number of reasons. First, its shows that when voters get to really know both candidates, they will choose the Senator. Second, it means Rudy G. will lose one of his advantages, being a favorite sun in the second biggest state. and Third, New York is a very blue state.

But the bottom line is that its still pretty early and each front runner still faces major challenges ahead, just to get their respective nominations.

And did I mention that Sen. Chuck Hagel is going to throw his hat in the ring?


Or the HoCo police might taser you.

Bi-Partisan Outrage

Both Democrats and some Republicans are outraged by the effort to pressure Federal prosecutors to bring trumped up charges against Democratic Candidates.

You know a scandal has legs when both parties are outraged.

So far the outrage is directed at Attorney General Gonzalez. But there are some indications that the Whitehouse was involved.

They Must Have Been Reading Fineline

The House Dems have a plan to get us out of Iraq.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If Bush was Involved...

In the firings of U.S. Attorneys who refused to prosecute Democrats for purely political purposes on trumped up charges, then we are in Watergate Territory.

For those of you who are too young to remember, Nixon resigned because Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) were going to impeach him for a) obstructing an investigation into a burglary of the Democratic National HQ, and b) using federal law enforcement to harass his (perceived) personal and political enemies (like Joe Namath).

If he's involved, its clearly an impeachable matter. So check out this paragrpah from the Posts report:
In remarks after the hearings, McKay said that officials in the White House counsel's office, including then-counsel Harriet E. Miers, asked him to explain why he had "mishandled" the governor's race during an interview for a federal judgeship in September 2006. McKay was informed after his dismissal that he also was not a finalist for the federal bench
(emphasis supplied). If the "Bestest Whitehouse Counsel Ever" was involved, there is a good chance that the "Bestest President Ever" was too.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ann Coulter is a Sleezy, Nasty, Vile Scumbag! And Rush Limbaugh is Jealous !

There's a (disappointingly small) backlash against Eva Coulter, but relative silence on Rush's latest bigoted remark.

Rush is an evil and pitiful excuse for a human being. Media matters has Exhibit No. 200,000:
On the March 2 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh stated that "since [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] has -- on his mother's side -- forebears of his mother had slaves, could we not say that if Obama wins the Democratic nomination and then wins the presidency, he will own [Rev.] Al Sharpton?
Where is the outrage?

The HRC has declared war on septic Annie.

Let the Betting Begin

How many days until the Pardon?

And why is Scooter the only one who got prosecuted?

Is this the end of the story?

Here's what the Democratic Front runners had to say.

Another Major Republican Scandal

It seems those (Republican) U.S. Attorneys who got fired, got fired because they wouldn't prosecute Democrats on trumped up charges.

This is worse than Watergate. Only then we had a real press core.

Josh Marshall has been all over this story and doing a great job.

And the House Democrats deserve credit too, for holding these hearings. Then again, they are only doing their job under the Constitution. Its been a while since Congress actually conducted some oversight

I'm Losing Confidence in the House Democratic Leadership

What have they done, since the first 100 hours? They are just playing into the Republican narrative of them: cowardly and without ideas. They have to confront Bush on Iraq: both for the Nation's sake and for the future of the Democratic Party.

Its clear the American people want out of Iraq. Is the Democratic Leadership listening?

How come only the "crazy" liberals get it?

Don't Miss The CDC's Program on the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County

The February Columbia Democratic Club meeting program on the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County, which was not held due to inclement weather, will be carried over to the CDC Wednesday, March 14 meeting. The March 14 meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m., and will commence with a member/guest social and short business meeting, followed by the program, which will end by 9:00 p.m. More details to be announced soon. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us at Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, for this interesting and insightful program to learn more about the civil rights movement in Howard County.

It might be even more romantic than it would have been on Valentines Day.

Its guaranteed to be warmer.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ehrlich Administration Corruption Revealed

I was going to write about this. But then Hayduke beat me to it. Arrrh!

Unlike Hayduke, I am of the opinion that this is a smoking gun. This is the way its usually done. The Democrats do it too sometimes. In recent times, the Republicans haven't even tried to hide it. And the Republicans have been smart enough to make sure a lot of the loot ends up in their party's coffers.

So What?

Why is this important enough to get on the front page of the Sun? Why does it matter?

Why not an in depth article on Sen. Obama's plans for Iraq, or healthcare, or global warming, or campaign finance reform or whether he might be the real father of Anna Nicole Smith's little girl?

What does the fact that one of his ancestors owned slaves tell us about Sen. Obama? The same thing is true for countless Americans, both black and white.

The Time Is Now for Universal Healthcare

Americans want Universal healthcare and Americans are willing to pay higher taxes for it.

Americans spend three to four times per citizen as much as Europeans do for health care and yet are far less healthy. Our medical procedures have worse outcomes and Many Americans go without healthcare. Meanwhile, American businesses (and American taxpayers) are left with huge healthcare bills. That hurts their global competitiveness. The huge number of Americans without regular healthcare poses a public safety threat: think about how it might play out in a fast moving epidemic. Doctors make less money because of the present situation.

No one really gains from this sorry state of affairs but the insurance and pharmaceutical industrys.

Even though Universal Healthcare has broad public support among the American people and is hurting us economically and shortening our lives, it does not seem to be a priority in Washington. There is little or no chance that we will get Universal Healthcare soon.

We are all prisoners of these narrow special interests.

Its like Iraq. The American people want out of Iraq too. But the powers that be in Washington are not listening to the American People.

Whose county is it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Regulation Isn't Always a Bad Thing

The Republicans keep cutting funding for food safety. Guess what's happening?


A new presidential poll from Zogby.

Rudy seems to be the Republican frontrunner. He would be the hardest to beat for the Dems.

Clinton is the Dem. frontrunner. But Clinton loses to Rudy. Obama is the only Dem. Who beats Rudy.

Meanwhile, Obama outdraws the big dog in Ohio.

The American People Want Out Of Iraq

Is anybody in Washington listening?

Why are so many Congressional Democrats so hesitant to move on this issue?

Does any one out there in finelineland have any insight into this matter?

Its About Time

It seems too good to be true, the U.S. is going to give diplomacy a chance.

Lets pray for success.

Maryland Round Up

It looks like the Clean Car Bill will become law as it has passed the Senate and the House and has Gov. O'Malley's support. This is a major environmental victory!

And that is not all of the good news: it looks like the Ehrlich Administration scheme to sell the WTC to a big contributor for a below market price is dead.

It looks like we might have to act like grown-ups and raise taxes. Its good to see that our legislators are facing up to reality, instead of cutting important programs and services.

Global Economic Jitters

Hit home.

Is a recession in the cards? It depends on who you talk too.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

U.S. Poverty Hits Record Highs

In the wealthiest nation in our planet's history, this happens.

Does anybody in Washington, Annapolis or Ellicott City care?

Where are all those so called liberals?

While Bush Wastes Lives and Money in Iraq

Al Queda is making a comeback.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration doesn't seem too interested in stopping Al Queda or finding Bil Laden.

And Hilary Clinton claims liberal Democrats are soft on terrorism.

Shame on You House Democrats

They vote to cut funding for children's healthcare, while leaving tax cuts for super rich in place.

Simply despicable.

Al Gore


How long before he stops wearing underwear, shaves his head bald, and checks into rehab?

Actually, wouldn't it be great if our idea of a celebrity was someone like Al Gore instead of the usual: Michael Jackson, O.J., Britney, Paris and anyone from American Idol?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Senator Clinton, Please Come to your Senses

Poll after poll indicate that the American People want out of Iraq by an overwhelming margin. Clearly, that was the message sent by the American people in November's elections. Moreover, it's clear that our presence in Iraq furthers neither our interests nor those of the Iraqi people. Iraq is the issue that kills the Republican Party.

So why is Sen. Clinton attacking those Democrats who favor withdrawal from Iraq with Republican talking points?

Right now, and things most likely will change, there are three major contenders for the Democratic nomination: Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

One had the wisdom and foresight to oppose the war from day one, one has the sense and courage to admit his initial support of the war was a mistake and one not only hasn't admitted she made a mistake, but is questioning the judgment of the other two candidates on this issue.

To make things worse, she is using the Rovian tactic of suggesting that those who were against the war or who favor rapid disengagement or even just oppose escalation are soft on terrorism. Even though its clear that attacking Iraq and staying in Iraq weakens our ability to fight terrorism and has in fact been a bonanza for Al Queda.

Is that the kind of leadership our country needs?

Does the fact that Senator Clinton supported one of our nation's worst blunders and has apparently not yet learned from her mistake, reflect positively on her ability to make wise decisions if she were elected to the Presidency of the United States?

Does the Democratic Party want to abandon the issue that won it the last election?

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Prefer

The Senators' approach.

Although both plans are better than the Bush Administration's.

It was Exiciting to See

that Country Executive Ulman has created an Environmental Commission for the County. I'm hoping that the Environmental Commission will take a good look at the environmental effects of excessive limits on density in downtown Columbia. Basically, well planned high density development can leave a much smaller environmental footprint than sprawl.

I also hope they will look into the environmental harm caused by the neglect of Baltimore City's school system. Basically, if we could fix the schools there, it would draw more development back into the city and away from sprawl. It would also ease some of the housing shortage that might well result from BRAC.

Howard County Happenings

There's a lot of ground to cover here today. First, County Executive Ulman has given his first State of The County address. Of course, its starts out correctly stating that the state of the County is strong. But they alway say that. Wouldn't it have been refreshing if Bush had been honest and said the state of the Country is [blanked]? Here's the link to the Sun's coverage. For those of you who prefer their news unfiltered here is the video of the speech as it appears on Hayduke's site. We have a new County Solicitor nominee. Will she end up handling litigation arising from the use of tasers? Seems to me that, if used wisely, tasers would present a useful alternative to the use of deadly force. Of course, if they are over used . . . but isn't that true of guns too?

And the Columbia Skyscraper continues to make news. County Executive Ulman's looking for a consensus solution. I wish him well, but I'm not gonna bet on a consensus solution.

The Answer to John Edward's Prayers

And maybe the Republicans as well.

The British are Going, The British are Going ...

The damage that this President has done to this county by invading Iraq is enormous. Andrew Sullivan, of all people, discusses just one aspect of the harm that Bush has done.

If this is True. . .

Where do I even begin.

With the Bush Administration, it is conceivably true. And that says everything.

We Need to Get Out Iraq

The Democrats are going to try to force the issue.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Senator Clinton Further Alienates Me

I want to like and support her, really I do. But she's making it difficult with statements like this:

"To underscore a point, some people may be running who tell you we don't face a real threat from terrorism. I'm not one of them."

-- Sen. Hillary Clinton, quoted by ABC News, suggesting one of her rivals is soft on terrorism.

(From the Political Wire).

Meanwhile, Sen. Obama charms Hollywood. And he gets Tom Daschle's endorsement.

County Executive Ulman Hits Another Home Run

Appoints Joshua Feldmark as chair of Environmental Commission!

Governor Martin O'Malley Gained A lot of My Respect Today

He threw all of his political capital in the ring against capital punishment. He didn't just make a speech indicating he is against capital punishment, he actually went to the State legislature and testified against the death penalty!

Bold moves.

The Governor's oped opposing capital punishment appears in the Post.

Thats the way to do it Governor!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

This Really Burns Me Up

People serving in our military put life and limb at risk for us, not to mention the time spent away from their family and friends. And this is how we treat them?

Whats wrong with us?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Republican Money Man

Arrested for funding terrorists.

Why Do Tax Cuts Anger Me So?

Because this is how we usually pay for them (or should I say this is who really pays for them):
Services for Maryland's disabled people are at risk as the state faces a budget squeeze.

Gov. Martin O'Malley is not sure whether there will be a supplemental state budget this year, a spokesman said, and the governor's spending plan under General Assembly consideration has troubling gaps in it for the Developmental Disabilities Administration.

Howard County legislators are hoping to tweak the budget to at least restore $100,000 for a self-advocacy network program that is staffed by people with disabilities and helps others make better lives for themselves.

Stanley Daniello, a member of the government affairs committee of the Arc of Howard County, made several points in testifying before county legislators Feb. 8 in Ellicott City about a lack of funding for several programs. They included:

• $10 million more needed to reduce the 16,000-person waiting list for services. Included are 700 disabled people in Howard County. Daniello said 41 percent of services requested are in the crisis/emergency categories.

• Another $10 million needed to fully fund a cost-of-living increase that the General Assembly included in legislation last year. That funding bill called for a 3.87 percent increase to compensate for higher costs, while the governor's budget for fiscal 2008 includes a 2 percent increase.

• No state money to match first-year federal funding under a grant that pays to move people from state hospitals to community-based group homes. During the first year of the grant, the federal program will pay 75 percent of the costs if the state pays the rest.

Carol A. Beatty, executive director of the Arc for Howard County, said the state, under former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., last year included $10 million in the budget for the waiting list. That money helped 1,000 people and their families. But this year, she said, that funding is not in the O'Malley administration's first budget.

Beatty said that all these services are very important. There are disabled people who have lived at home for years but need to move to a group home as their parents get older and are less able to care for them. Other families need physical help lifting profoundly disabled children, or help caring for a child while the parents work.

"Sometimes, it's overwhelming to families," Beatty said.

Scott M. Uhl, acting director of the Developmental Disabilities Administration, said Daniello's figures are accurate, but "the state has a revenue picture that's not very rosy."

The federal/state matching funds grant was approved after the state budget was compiled, he said.

"The question becomes, 'Does the state have the money for additional requests?' We all want the services," Uhl said.

State Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Democrat and Senate majority leader who also chairs the subcommittee on the DDA budget, said he feels money can be shifted from whatever the General Assembly cuts from the Health Department budget to pay for the self-advocacy network.

This story appears in the Sun, at this link. You need to read through to the second header though.

Howard County Round-Up

Well County Executive Ulman hasn't had a chance to do, well anything, yet and already he's under the microscope. Some feel his appointments haven't been diverse enough.

The Sun has an article about a subject I have discussed a bit on fineline: the conflict between the need for affordable housing and the NIMBY syndrome.

I've spent the past 17 and a half years caring for one young man with autism, this Howard County family has three boys with autism! These people need help waaaay, waaay more than many seniors who have made "too much money" in the real estate market.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gov. O'Malley Hits a Home Run!

Just when I was feeling a bit disappointed in the Gov. (because of his proposed cut in funding the DDA waiting list initiative) he turns around and makes a great pro-consumer choice for the Public Services Commission.

Larsen's nomination sends a message that the O'Malley administration is going to look out for consumers , instead of just giving Constellation everything it wants and a recognition that there is no freemarket in electricity.

Would this ever have happened if Bob Erlich was Gov.? No way.

This is a victory for all Maryland households and most Maryland Businesses!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Racism From Rush Limbaugh

Aimed at Senator Obama.

Vile, disgusting and why doesn't he suffer the Greaseman's fate?


Not to be out done in the Republican race to be the most bigoted is Virgil Goode.

He may have been Ethically Challanged . . .

But Jack Murtha is standing tall in my book. He's vowing to fight Bush's foolhardy escalation plans in Iraq. Here is how Murtha thinks it should be done.
He's fighting Bush's plan to attack Iran.

Delagate Malone Proposes Anti Driver Distraction Legislation.

But it doesn't outlaw driving with a Machete.

Theres a Big Story Here

Thats going to break. Its good to see that the Democrats in Congress are not going to let Bush get away with purging those U.S. Attorneys willing to prosecute corruption.

One of the U.S. Attorneys Bush attempted to purge lead the prosecution of Duke Cunningham. There has just been an indictment against one of the people who (allegedly) bribed Cunningham, and since the indictment has a using government funds to purchase sex angle, it could get a lot of press.

The Hotline on John Edwards

Has it right when it says:
[T]he blogger controversy is a full-fledged debacle for EdwardsWorld. It stepped on his health care rollout and has been the dominant theme of his campaign for a week.

Edwards caved to the right wing, and it might just prove fatal to his chances. There's a lesson there for the Democrats.

Harry Reid

Is a very capable and shrewd Senate Majority Leader.

He's forcing an up and down vote on the anti-escalation bill thats going to come out of the House.

I Have Mixed Feelings About

Al Franken Running for Senate in Minnesota.

But his campaign video encourages me.

PFLAG Goes to Annapolis

As reported in the HoCo Times.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bush Says Iran is Supplying those Who are Attacking Our Troops

1) Isn't this the same guy who said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, even though he knew that wasn't true when he said it?

2) I thought our troops are mainly being bombed by Bathists and Al Queda, who are both vehemently Sunni, while Iran is backing the Shite Militias.

Fool us once, shame on Bush. Fool us twice, shame on us.

Maryland Round-Up

A good idea.

A bad idea.

Iraq and the Democrats

Regular readers of fineline (i.e. my wife and my mother) know that I am disappointed and frustrated that the Democrats have not taken a harder line on Iraq. Here's an article that attempts to explain why. The article does indicte that the Democrats do plan to act and the slow pace is urged by leading anti-war groups A key paragraph:
As described by participants, the goal is crafted to circumvent the biggest political vulnerability of the anti-war movement -- the accusation that it is willing to abandon troops in the field. That fear is why many Democrats have remained timid in challenging Bush, even as public support for the president and his Iraq policies have plunged.

I am not so sure that they are so vulnerable. I don't think most Americans equte being against the surge or being for a quick withdrawal as not supporting the troops. But what do I know?

Lets Hope this Happens

Otherwise things could get ugly.

Is he good enough, is he smart enough?

Al Franken is running for Senator.

Councilperson Watson Responds to My Criticism

In an earlier post concerning the senior tax cut issue, I was (somewhat unfairly) critical of County Councilmember Courtney Watson. Councilmember Watson was kind (and brave enough) to provide her side of the story in the comments section of that post. I appreciate Councilmember Watson's taking the time to read and respond to my concerns. In the interest of fairness, I want her point of view to be as visible on this blog as my criticism of her. So here is Councilmember Watson's post:
Courtney Watson said...

While knocking on doors in Elkridge during the campaign, I met many long time Howard County residents who live on land they bought 50 or more years ago.

One day, I came across a senior widow in a old house that was sitting on 6 acres of land in an area zoned for 1/2 acre homes. Her income was very low, less than any of the thresholds now being discussed. She has lived in the home for 60 years. She is having trouble paying the taxes on the land. The tax relief plan would only give her a break on the curtilage (the portion of the land that sits below the house). She was therefore, contemplating selling 5 acres to a developer because she was afraid she could not keep up with the taxes on it.

Should the tax relief plan provide her relief on the entire 6 acres or only on the curtilage? Without the tax relief will she be forced to sell the remaining land to a developer who will build 8-10 houses on it and does this serve the community well?

These are the questions I was raising in the meeting in a collaborative discussion and dialog with the other Council members and the senior tax committee.

I believe we must consider the dilemma of many of our long time elderly citizens who would recoil at you calling them a "rich person", yet the appreciation in their homes and land surrounding their homes has escalated to a point where they must sell the land because they cannot keep up with the taxes.

Feel free to contact me directly if you are unsure of the meaning of my comments.

I feel bad that I might have misconstrued some of the questions Councilmember Watson asked, when she apparently was just trying to learn about all sides of the issue, which is her duty as an elected official. So I'm sorry about that.


Can anyone tell me what our county government plans to do to help poor seniors (those who can't afford to own their own home) age in place?

Don't these people need help more than those who own mansions?

The Senior Tax Cut/My Favourite Subject

County Council Chairperson Calvin Ball has introduced a bill that would enact the Senior Tax Cut task force's recommendations.

I was real happy about the task force's recommendations, until I read the asset test recommended by the task force would only:
Add an asset test to match the state property tax relief program for limited-income homeowners of any age. That would mean applicants could not have assets exceeding $200,000, not counting the person's home and up to an acre, or retirement accounts.

(emphasis supplied) In other words, you could still be quite rich and get your mansion subsidized by Howard County's taxpayers. Sweet deal, the rich get richer and its the so-called Democrats playing reverse Robinhood!

Why is it that we have enough money to subsidize million dollar homes, but not enough to take care of disabled citizens, or to pay our teachers, police officers or firefighters what they deserve?

Why its it so important that we ensure that rich seniors "can afford to" live in Howard County, but not our teachers, police officers and firefighters?

Another thing, Councilperson Watson was very worried that our rich people might be forced to sell some of their land (not their homes mind you) to qualify for this boondoggle. Why is this a problem? I hope Councilperson Watson will show as much concern for our county's poor and disabled as she does for our rich. Or at least explain her concerns better.

Tonight's CDC Meeting Is Cancelled

Be sure to attend next month's Columbia Democratic Club Meeting on March 14, 2007.

Hopefully we will be able to put on the program we had scheduled for tonight.

Enjoy your snowday!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How the Civil Rights Movement Changed Howard County

The Columbia Democratic Club will be presenting a program on this topic tomorrow evening, February 14, 2007 at 7:00 P.M. at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center. Our Speakers will include Sherman Howell, Wylene Burch and Rhonda Jones.

We be finished by *:15, so there will be plenty of time to celebrate Valentines Day.

Any questions or requests for directions should be directed to slfine@gmail.com.

See you there!

Its this Kind of Thing That Leads to Disasters

Like letting Republican's get elected to important offices. Obama and Clinton clash over Iraq.

I did like the way Obama handled Australian Howard's silliness yesterday.

Well, Well

Another GOP scandal is coming to light. And it has HOOKERS!

Why is it?

That it seems like we have Bart Simpson in the Whitehouse and Nelson living in the Naval Observatory?

At least we have Lisa as Speaker of the House.

Update: On second thought, Lisa is running to replace Bart.

Why are the Democrats in Congress So Cautious on Iraq?

It is not because the American people won't support them if they try to get us out.

This is Disconcerting

Ge. Pace contradicts Bush Administration.

Why Do I Smell a Pardon?

Libby decides not to call Cheney. Hmmm, it doesn't smell right.

While Some People Think Tax Cuts for the Rich are Fair

Maryland continues to neglect its developmentally disabled citizens. Simply shameful. Many have said that a society should be judged on the way it treats its most helpless members. This is the way Maryland and Governor O'Malley proposes to treat them.

Let your State Legislators know that you think Maryland should fully fund the DDA waiting list initiative and restore the cuts proposed by Martin O'Malley.


Right now many of America's soldiers, sailors, airpeople and marines are in Iraq trying to serve their country and make a positive difference in the world. Right now their sacrifice and bravery is being wasted by cynical, and/or delusional leadership at the highest civilian levels of our government. Right now, these brave Americans are away from their families and friends, and in many cases, their careers. They face constant danger: well over three thousand of them have given us the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. Tens of thousands of them have suffered severe lifelong injuries such as lost limbs or Traumatic Brain Injury. Most of them will suffer severe life long emotional trauma.

So we Americans owe our people serving in Iraq. When our country called, they answered. Keep them and their families in you thoughts and prayers everyday.

Don't you think that the least we could do is too give them the proper equipment? Like fully armored HUMVEES and the latest in body armor? We don't.

You would also think that we would take good care of them when they got home. Guess again, at least if Bush gets his way.

Its About Time

That someone stood up for the Constitution and the America I love! You know, the one with habeas corpus and without torture.

Chris Dodd just became a contender for my support.

Thanks Senators Dodd and Menendez.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Presidential Race is Getting Very Interesting

On the Republican side, it looks like a three way. Rudy v. McCain and maybe Mutt Romney. I would give the inside track to McCain, he has positioned himself to the right of Rudy and word has it that a couple of divisions of skeletons are going to charge out of Rudy's closet. Republicans might have been able to look past his socially liberal stances if he looked like the most electable candidate, but those skeletons are going to tarnish that part of his rep. As for Romney, he's a mutt trying to run with some big dogs.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Clinton is using her early lead in organization, fund raising and name recognition to sew things up before Obama and Edwards can get any real momentum going. But there is something about Obama.

Even Newsweek agrees.

Maryland Round-Up

The Governor assures our prison guards that planned social service programs won't put them at risk.
More importantly, the Governor is also planning to bring statistics based Government to Maryland. This should be interesting, and I say that without any snark or sarcasm.


The House Democrats are preparing to give Bush a firm slap on the hand for this nations greatest foreign policy blunder ever.

The sad part is that we really need for Congress to stand up to the President. The belief that Bush intends to attack Iran has gone from the far left blogosphere to the liberal blogosphere to the mainstream press to the conventional wisdom in Washington and foreign policy circles. If Bush attacks Iran, it will likely end in disaster. Iran is not Iraq, it has a formidable military. If we attack, we can expect that Iran will close down the Gulf of Hormuz, which will stop the export of crude oil from the middle east. Perhaps Iran might even lob some missiles at the Saudi Oil Fields.

Iran could also mount a ground attack against our exhausted and ill-equipped troops in Iraq, who would find themselves greatly outnumbered and at the end of a long and tenuous supply line.

If we are seen as the aggressors, we find find Iran with some very power allies against us.

Congress has to stop Bush, he is mad, unfit for duty, crazier than an [out]house rat, certainly not emotionally stable enough to carry the nuclear football. Its a very dangerous situation.

The Libby Trial

Continues to expose the Bush Administration.

Things are getting quite interesting as the Vice President is expected to take the stand.

Neighbor From Hell Jailed.

Its about time.

Some Good News

See what Diplomacy can accomplish?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Required Reading

General Odom's OpEd in today's Post.

Valentines Evening with the Democrats

Here's an idea for all of you romantically inclined types. Why not take your sweetheart to the regularly scheduled membership meeting of the Columbia Democratic Club? (The CDC Meets on the second Wednesday of each month). This month we are having a program on the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County. It should be a very interesting program, we have four interesting speakers. The program starts at 7:00 P.M. and should wrap-up by 8:15, so you will still have plenty of time for those less romantic activities.

The Meeting will take place at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center. If you need directions or more information send me an email at slfine@gmail.com. I hope to see you there.

Our speakers will be Sherman Howell, Herman Charity, Wylene Burch and a representative from the Howard County Chapter of the NAACP.

Don't have a sweetheart? What better way to meet someone who is intelligent and compassionate than at a meeting of Democrats?

Question of the Day

What is the most important local issue facing Howard County?

Sen. Obama

Makes it official.

Deja Vu

All over again?

Sadly, when the Bush Administration makes an assertion of this importance, it simply cannot be trusted.

Maryland Round-up

Not much today, but here's an article about how money for the Thorton Commission reforms is not making it to the state's poorest students. Of course that is where its needed the most.


The Supervisor of Howard County's Board of Elections testified against Sen. Kasemeyer's verified voting bill.

What could be more fundamental to a democracy than ensuring each vote is counted, correctly?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Question of the Day

What would you like to see in Columbia that we don't already have?

The Libby Trial

The Prosecution Rests.

But dinner parties in Washington are now a bit awkward.

Here is A Poll with Bad News

It indicates that the Democratic Leaders in Congress are not too popular. Although, it also indicates that they are more popular than the Republicans in Congress and President Bush.

This poll contradicts other polls I have seen lately. And the poller that conducted it, Harris Interactive is not held in the highest of esteem by some Democratic Poll analyzer types.

The Latest on The Senior Tax Cut

From the Sun.

In Maryland

A bill providing for an Amendment allowing early voting was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee.

And the Sun notes that the O'Malley Administration includes many who served in the Glendening Administration. Experience is the best teacher they say.


The Post writes about his service in the Illinois State Legislature.

Meanwhile, the nasty hit pieces are coming out. Is his name Arabic or Swahili? The right wing sleaze machine wants Enquiring minds to fixate on such irrelevancies, instead of the important questions: like would Obama be a good President? Where3 does he stand on the important issues of the day? And does he believe the U.S. Government should torture people?

Proud to be American?

How can you be when your country is doing this?

I don't hate America, but I am sure disappointed in it. Its bad enough that the Bush Administration even gave serious consideration to the idea of torturing people. But then they went ahead and did it. And where were the Democrats? The Courts? The Pundits?

Now that the Democrats control both houses of Congress, are they doing anything about it?

And where are the American People? They don't seem too concerned either.

Even the so-called liberals and progressives.

Oy, what have we come to?

Politics is Too Important to be Left to Scumbags and Idiots

E.J. Dionne, Jr., one of my favorite columnists, has an excellent column in today's Post.

E.J. writes about one of the human costs of Bush's budget chicanery. During my years of advocacy on behalf of people with autism and their families(click here for some interesting off-topic autism news)and working in Government for over two decades, I have often seen the human impact of politics, not that it isn't also obvious from watching the news or reading newspapers. Thats why the attitude of so many in Washington, Annapolis and sometimes even Ellicott City disturbs me so. Fineline exists, in part, as a (hopefully constructive) outlet for these strongly held feelings and beliefs.

I hate to see the needs of the already wealthy and powerful continually take precedence over the needs of the most of the population, but it especially angers me to see the poor and the disabled consistently neglected and abused, especially when they are children.

End of lament.


Seems to me there is something somewhere in the Bible that prohibits bearing false witness against people. Something to do with some guy named Moses and the number ten. I'm a bit fuzzy on this and so apparently is the (so called) "Christian" Coalition.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A friend sent me this list of Bush T-shirt Sightings.

Hat tip to Al.

Subject: Bush T-Shirt Sightings

1) (On an infant's shirt): Already smarter than Bush.

2) 1/20/09: End of an Error

3) That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

4) Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First

5) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

6) You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time

7) If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

8) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

9) George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

10) Impeachment: It's Not Just for sex acts Anymore

11) America : One Nation, Under Surveillance

12) They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

13) Which God Do You Kill For?

14) Jail to the Chief

15) Who Would Jesus Torture?

16) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade?

17) Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

18) Bad president! No Banana.

19) We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

20) We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

21) Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Blood

22) Is It Vietnam Yet?

23) Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

24) Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

25) You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

26) Impeach Cheney First

27) Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too

28) When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46

29) The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

30) 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified

31) Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

Edwards to Keep Bloggers Targeted by Right-Wing Noise Machine

Thats good news and smart politics on his part.

Glad to see a Dem standing up to the right wing attack dogs.

Speaker Pelosi is doing the same!

Add Sen. Clinton to our list of fightin' Democrats!

Encouraging News About Downtown Columbia's Re-development

Fellow local blogger Bill Santos attended a meeting of the Wilde Lake Village Board were heard Mr. Doug Godine of General Growth Properties speak. Bill reports that Mr. Godine's remarks were quite encouraging. Even Evan was encouraged by Mr. Godine's comments.

I basically agree with Bill and Evan.

Getting Metro Access for Columbia would be a dream come true and great news for the county and the environment.

Valentines Day Evening with the Democrats

Here's an idea for all of you romantically inclined types. Why not take your sweetheart to the regularly scheduled membership meeting of the Columbia Democratic Club? (The CDC Meets on the second Wednesday of each month). This month we are having a program on the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County. It should be a very interesting program, we have four interesting speakers. The program starts at 7:00 P.M. and should wrap-up by 8:15, so you will still have plenty of time for those less romantic activities.

The Meeting will take place at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center. If you need directions or more information send me an email at slfine@gmail.com. I hope to see you there.

As soon as I am sure of the spellings of the names of our speakers, they will be identified!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Howard County Happenings

A lot is happening here in HoCo. First, the Senior Tax Cut Task Force has delivered their (or is that its?) recommendations to the County Council. Their recommendations were summarized by the Sun.
The task force recommended that homeowners meet a new income ceiling for eligibility of four times the federal poverty level, which this year would equal $54,760. In addition, the group voted to add an eligibility asset test matching what the state requires for its circuit-breaker property tax relief program. Unlike the current law, the committee's proposal would not freeze anyone's tax bill but would cut each year's property tax by 25 percent.

The task force's recommendations, if implemented, would resolve many of my concerns about the Regressive Senior Tax Cut. I'm hoping the County Council will adopt them.
More good news, County Executive Ulman has signaled that his appointment of Dr. Beilenson is just the first step towards upgrading our Health Department to world class standards.

Finally, the Centennial Gardens affordable housing project is officially dead. Its hard to address our County's affordable housing issues when no one wants affordable housing near them.

State Round-Up

Today's theme is pollution. Anne Arundel County Executive Leopold is rightfully worried about Fort Meade's plans to install a huge waste incinerator. While Governor O'Malley is opposing a plan to Build a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at Sparrows Point. Good for him!

Meanwhile, State Legislators have proposed an ambitious comprehensive health plan. Unfortunately, Senate President Miller says its Dead on Arrival. And nothing happens in the Maryland Legislature that the Senate President opposes. File this one under too good to be true.

Senator Clinton's No-So-Secret Weapon

This is one reason she is such a formidable candidate.

The Libby Trial

Has another interesting wrinkle as Mr. Russert contradicts Mr. Scooter under oath.

Obama Passes on Federal Funding

Its going to be an expensive campaign, so big money can speak softer and carry and even bigger stick in Washington. Just what we need.

Campaign Finance Reform is way overdue.

John Edwards

Sure is getting slimed a lot today. First, the Sun runs this article/hit piece suggesting that Senator Edwards concern about poverty must be phony because he is very, very wealthy himself. What a load! Did you ever see similar hit pieces on W. Bush when he was talking about compassionate conservatism?

Then a prominent conservative anti-Semite claims that two liberal Bloggers working for Edwards are "anti-catholic." Josh Marshall has this one figured out. Sadly there is a report that these bloggers got fired by the Edwards campaign.

I hate to see anti-Semites get taken seriously, (or conservatives).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Here is one interesting and thought provoking idea for the United State's next step in Iraq. Its well worth the read.

Bushs Approval Rating Continues to Fall

According to Gallup.

In My View

Henry Waxman is one of the good guys.

Its this kind of thing . . .

That keeps souring me on Hillary Clinton.

Complain to The Washington Times and CNN

They have been peddling absolute lies about Speaker Pelosi and her travel arrangements.

Whatever happened to journalism?

And is Speaker Pelosi so perfect that one has to make up lies in order to criticize her?

A Major Coup for Howard County!

As well as County Executive Ulman!

Specifically, as reported in the Sun:

Former Baltimore health commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson is to be named Howard County's new health officer, according to a resolution introduced before the Howard County Council last night.

Very good news for Howard County!

Monday, February 05, 2007


Right now as you are reading this, the United States of America is torturing people, or having other nations torture people on our behalf. Right now, our President claims to have the authority to hold whoever he wants in prison, indefinably, for as long as he wants and with no access to legal counsel or meaningful judicial review.

And what is the Democratic Congress doing about it? Sure, I realize that they are just getting settled in and that, heck, they haven't even assigned parking spaces yet.

But these issues seem a wee bit urgent to me.

Iraq in the Senate

The Senate Democrats' courageous effort to enact a non-binding resolution opposing Bush's plans to escalate his Iraq blunder apparently failed.

Lets see, the American public, by all accounts, swept the Republicans out of power because of their disgust with the Republican's war. So Bush, taking his cue from Sen. McCain, actually sends more troops to die for no good reason. And the Democrats can't even muster up the gumption to do everything in their power to get us out of this mess. Even though it would be smart politics and clearly in the best interests of our nation.

Rudy's in

No surprise here.

Bad news for Democrats.

Bush's Budget Proposal

Its even worse than you would think. Of course, he wants to make the huge tax cuts for the rich permanent. And of course he wants to raise military spending. But don't worry, he's going to be fiscally responsible: he is proposing cutting Federal spending on healthcare and domestic programs. Of course the bottom line is that if this budget was enacted without any changes it would result in a massive increase in the Federal budget deficit.

One paragraph from the Post's article sums it up pretty well:
The proposal seeks to make permanent the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, costing the Treasury an additional $374 billion over five years. And it would slice nearly $96 billion over five years from Medicare and Medicaid, the government's health care programs for the poor and the elderly. The proposal would also cut spending at eight federal agencies -- including the education, environment and interior departments -- to below fiscal 2006 levels.

One word sums up my reaction pretty well: Oy!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Finance 101

When your property appreciates in value, its a good thing. You are better off than before. Sure, you will have to pay taxes on your gain, but you end up better off than before.

On the other hand, when property values go up, those people who don't own property are left behind, they didn't make any money off of the price increase and will have to pay more to buy property or for rent.

Why is it that so many many people in HoCo think the winners need help the most, rather than those who were less fortunate?


In the Bush Administration, the Rich get tax cuts, trillions get spent on a foolish war and Medicare premiums get raised. Thanks, all of you who voted for him!

One of the Worst Things that Happens in Washington

Is when the Government outsources its responsibilities. It rarely works out well for the nation. Here's an article about that issue.

Of course the problem is especially bad in the Bush Administration. Who would have guessed?

Here are some highlights:
Competition, intended to produce savings, appears to have sharply eroded. An analysis by The New York Times shows that fewer than half of all “contract actions” — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition. Just 48 percent were competitive in 2005, down from 79 percent in 2001.

The most successful contractors are not necessarily those doing the best work, but those who have mastered the special skill of selling to Uncle Sam. The top 20 service contractors have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated $23 million to political campaigns.

Contracting almost always leads to less public scrutiny, as government programs are hidden behind closed corporate doors. Companies, unlike agencies, are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

“There’s something civil servants have that the private sector doesn’t,” Mr. Walker said in an interview. “And that is the duty of loyalty to the greater good — the duty of loyalty to the collective best interest of all rather than the interest of a few. Companies have duties of loyalty to their shareholders, not to the country.”

There is no target richer than the Homeland Security Department, whose Web site, in a section called “Open for Business,” displays hundreds of open contracts, including “working with selected cities to develop and exercise their catastrophic plans” ($500,000 to $1 million) and “Conduct studies and analyses, systems engineering, or provide laboratory services to various organizations to support the DHS mission” ($20 to $50 million).

The Latest on the Libby Trial

The Vice is further exposed.

On the State Beat

The nature of the O'Malley Administration is becoming clear. Slow, careful and steady. Not necessarily a bad thing.

HoCo Happenings

The Ulman administration is beginning to take shape. The transition teams, headed by Del. Guy Guzzone, have prepared a comprehensive analysis of the state of the County. They have given our new County Executive and Council a lot to think about and to work on. Its an impressive effort. Meanwhile, another plan to provide affordable housing bites the dust, score another one for NIMBY. Everyone claims to be for affordable housing, but when push comes to shove, this happens.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Will the Democrats have the Guts to Stop Bush from Starting a War with Iran?

It doesn't look like it.

Heck, they won't even take a strong stance on Iraq, even when the vast majority of Americans would back them.

Whats the problem?

Maybe, they don't want to lose the political advantage that this kind of thing gives them?

Are they that cynical?

Will Al Gore Run?

Donna Brazile seems to think so.

Remember, a while back James Carville said a Gore run was a done deal.

Its About Time

Democrats to back D.C. Getting vote in the House of Representitives.

Now what about D.C. statehood?

Will Rudy Run?

If so, will it be as a Republican?

He would make a tough candidate.

The latest on My Favorite Subject

There are diverging views on the regressive senior tax cut. I agree with the doubting Thomas'.

As the Sun Reports
On the other are those including former state Del. Virginia Thomas and her husband, Charles, who see the election-year law that cuts county property taxes 25 percent and then freezes the bill for people earning less than $75,000 as a failed political gimmick that threatens future local revenue needed for government services to the truly needy in tight budget years to come.


Realizing of course, that it is somewhat crass to think of material considerations when people are losing life and limb, but the money wated by this war could have done so much good. Instead.


For the lack of posts. I just "upgraded" my computer to Windows Vista. Basically, it trashed my hardrive and It took all day yesterday and some of today to get back on the internet. Oy!

Be careful if you try this upgrade, and do a "clean" install.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Al Gore Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Could you even begin to imagine Bush being nominated?

The Supreme Court really screwed us back in 2000.

Here's Something

I recommend you read.

Then read this.


There's a lot of talk in the liberal blogisphere about an imminent U.S. Invasion of Iran. At first this talk was limited to some far-left websites. But today Josh Marshall expressed his concerns that an invasion is imminent.

And now the story has crossed over into the mainstream media.

This is quite unnerving. If Bush is seriously considering attacking Iran, he is unfit for duty.

This Isn't Good.

Verified Voting Bill in trouble.

Molly Ivins Passed Away

Molly Ivins was one of my very favorite columnists. She had Bush's number way back when. If only more people would have listened to her. This is a great loss.

Minimum Wage Bill Passes in Senate

It has some bad amendments, but maybe those will be ironed out in the conference committee.

PFLAG Celebrates Black History Month

...with the Reverend Anthony McCarthy and the National Black Justice Coalition

PFLAG Columbia-Howard County Announces
The February 13, 2007 meeting at 7:30PM in the Owen Brown Interfaith Center

Columbia, Maryland - January 30, 2007

Reverend Anthony McCarthy, a political activist, radio talk show host, publisher and currently a spokesman in Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration discusses his journey of being both being black and gay.

Then PFLAG mom, Patricia English will relate her experiences on being the mother of an African- American gay son in today's society.

This event is co-sponsored by the National Black Justice Coalition. The National Black Justice Coalition is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.
About PFLAG Columbia-Howard County

The mission of PFLAG Columbia/Howard County is to support parents of gay children. We also welcome all people, gay, straight, bisexual or transgendered, as well as their families and friends. Together, we support each other, educate the broader community, and advocate for equality.

All meetings are confidential, free and open to everyone.
Website and directions: http://www.pflagmd.org

PFLAG Columbia-Howard County
Colette Roberts
email: robertscp@aol.com
phone: 410-290-8292
PFLAG Columbia-Howard County
Steve Charing
Media Relations
phone: 410-531-9459

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Latest on the Libby Trial

From the Post.

Tomorrow, Tim Russet is expected to take the stand.

Here is the Post's complete coverage of the trial.

Meanwhile, Firedoglake is "live-blogging" the trial.

Iraq Again

The GOP is divided over Bush's escalation plan.

Joe Biden Joins/Insults Race

Jumps in with both feet in his mouth.


HoCo Happenings

Apparently, big changes are in store for two County Agencies. The transition team issued a report critical of the two agencies. The Ulman Administration is determined to energetically address these problems. Interestingly, both agencies are key players in the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia.

And here is an article on the County's preparations for the Expansion of Fort Meade, often referred to as "BRAC."

The Federal, State, and County Governments are going to have to work together to make Ft. Meade's expansion a positive for HoCo (and other jurisdictions as well).

On the State Beat

There's a lot happening. First, Governor O'Malley gave an important address: the State of the State. Here is the Post's Report. Here's the Sun's Report. Here is the Transcript, so you can judge for yourself. The short version, as reported by the Post,
O'Malley called upon lawmakers to embrace a "shared agenda" on education, health care, public safety and the environment during this legislative session while putting off more "polarizing" debates until later in his four-year term.

And what is the State of O'Malley's Popularity?

Meanwhile Democratic leaders are working on expanding medical coverage for Marylanders. And it looks like the Ground Rents issue will be addressed this session.

So are those electric rate increased need to pay for BGE's increased costs? Its a complicated issue, but its parent is doing well, even though BGE's revenues are supposedly down.

Meanwhile,the sponsor of the Bill to require vaccination for the HPV, says she is going to withdraw the bill. Sorry, no link to this story.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Once again, Senator Obama gives me another reason to like him.

This is smart politics and smart policy.

Bold leadership, too, (for some reason that doesn't sound as good as it once did.)



Sen. Clinton, Dems, Strong in Ohio

According to this poll.

Judy Miller Testifies.

The Republicans' nightmares continue.

Does Scooter look good in stripes?

Yet Another Bush Power Grab

Bush increases his control of the regulatory process. Now everything can be politized. Just what we needed.

What have we come to?

I was just watching CNN's morning "news" program: nothing on Iraq, nothing on global warning, nothing on the healthcare crisis, nothing on Bush's subversion of the Constitution and international law. There was however a lot of coverage devoted to Tyra Banks' thighs and rear end: it seems theres a bit of contraversy concerning their size.

Glad to see we have our priorities strait. Oy!

Another Family Victimized by Our Healthcare System

From Newsweek.

Lots of American Families are having simular experiences.

America needs universal healthcare.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Al Franken is Leaving Air America

To "explore" running for Senate.

I'll miss his show. What will become of Airr America? My bet is that Franken's departure is it's death blow.

Our Healthcare Crisis

One of the many ill effects of the Republican's invasion of Iraq is that it diverts attention and energy from other pressing needs. One of those pressing needs is for meaningful healthcare reform. Here's an article discussing just one flawed aspect (out of many flaws) of our current system.

Our current healthcare system is unfair, inhumane and economically inefficient.

Here's one organization trying to do something about it.

Iraq Again

I'm currently reading "The End of Iraq" a book by Peter W. Galbaith. Its a shocking indictment of the botched occupation of Iraq. Its a well written, researched and well thought out book. It is not, however, going to cheer anyone up. After reading this book, I have to say Bush and Cheney deserve to be impeached. What happened there is simply criminal and all Americans will be paying for it, for the rest of our lives, both economically and in other ways.

We lost Irag a long time ago, probably the day we invaded Baghdad and forgot to guard the water supply and power grid (but not the oil industry). You know it, I know it, but does Bush?

It looks like Iraq will be the most important issue of the 2008 campaign. Sen. Clinton has positioned herself poorly on this issue, and its going to hurt most of the Republican hopefuls.

And all signs point to a deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Shameless Self-Promotion Department

Thank-you for being a fineline reader. If you read a lot of blogs you notice that many blogs ask their readers to kick in a bit of money now and then. Don't worry, I'm not asking you, fair reader,for money. I am asking a small favor, tell a friend about fineline, or if you think this blog s--ks, tell an enemy. Or post a comment or two.

The Real McCain

Actually there's nothing real about McCain, as this website shows.

For all of you who think that McCain is a different kind of Republican: a maverick, a strait-talker, etc., here's your coffee.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Scooter's Trial

Looks like a nightmare for the GOP.

Now Rove has been subpoenaed.

Iraq: A major Disaster for the U.S. and the Iraqi People

Iraq continues to spin out of control. Many experts indicate that things are about to get much worse. The American People realize it. So does Congress. Hopefully they will do more than just pass resolutions. Bush doesn't get it.

Things are going to get very interesting both here and in Iraq. Interesting isn't always a good thing.


Bush Hits All-Time Low

In the latest Newsweek poll.

If I were a Republican in Congress, I would be on the impeachment bandwagon, seriously.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bad Economic News

Ford is in deep trouble, one of its problems is healthcare costs. Wall Street is scared of inflation and interest rate hikes. Existing home sales are plummeting. Meanwhile weekly unemployment claims jumped by 36,000 last week.

Thats a lot of bad economic news for one day.

P.S. Union Membership is at a record low.

Is Al Gore Running?

According to James Carville he is.

Hat tip to Political wire.

OBAMA: Time for Universal Healthcare.

Lets see, he's been against the war from the beginning and now he's in favor of Universal health care. I have to say, Senator Obama is impressing me.

Now for the details Senator, please tell us you are in favor of a single payer system.