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