Saturday, October 31, 2009
Roderick Young is a 32 year old black man from Columbia. Commenting on the fact that the GOP leadership (not Ehrlich) was dressed up in Revolutionary garb, he said, "The Revolutionary theme is great if you love history...but the 1700's weren't too good for us. I love the substance, but who's helping you with your packaging?"
My father is a civil war re-enactor. I have nothing against dressing up. What I do have a problem with is losing touch with professionalism and the basic tenants of public relations. Maybe I'm looking to much into it, but pairing the Tea Parties with Paul Revere costumes gives off a very separatist/militia feel. Voters don't want it. Politicians don't want it. Maybe it makes you feel hard-core or being passionate about your cause, but to everyone else you are an extremist. This is being paired with some frankly downright scary propaganda, which pairs Obama with Adolph Hitler, a man who killed millions of his own people. These same people, who use their number to confirm such dangerous beliefs, are running the show and hosting someone who is considering a run for office. I can't blame him for being on the fence.
What offended me most about the article was when another person in the crowd asked Ehrlich if he would run if Mr. Young would be his lieutenant governor. This is the same insulting logic that made Sarah Palin a VP candidate. "Look, if he's our LG there is no way we won't get the black vote." I won't go so far as to call this thinking racism, but I will say that it is the next door neighbor to racism. Such a suggestion belittles Mr. Young's contribution to the discussion and turns him into a demographic. It disgusts me. Michael Steele was an experienced candidate a tremendous amount to offer the state, but I wonder if those that think Mr. Young should be LG saw that. I wonder if they care. I wonder if they voted for Michael Steele.
I've realized that when someone whispers something to you in a political setting, it is always bad. I've heard whispers that scare me. They weren't racist statements, but I will say that racism probably asks those statements to pick up its newspaper when it goes out of town.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
David Proudfoot, 31, of Ellicott City will be running for a Howard County Board of Education seat. From my own research, it appears he has been revving up a campaign for quite some time.
I think the Board elections are going to be quite politicized this year. There are rumblings in the GOP Club ranks that the curriculum is "brain-washing" our children, and they have been recruiting candidates. I really hope those concerns stay rumblings and don't develop into a misguided candidate running on a political platform for an independent position. It would be a black eye for the other candidates and probably cause some unwanted attention without bringing any change in result.
I'll tell ya this much, David has already put together the most developed campaign Facebook page out of all the candidates for County races. It looks SHARP.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I get the feeling that Ehrlich is acting almost like a scorned wife after his state cheated on him with another Governor. He's not ready to say the marriage is dead, but he also isn't ready to enter the Wife Carrying World Championship. When he sees out-pourings of support like that at the VFW, he feels like things may work, but is also very cautious in saying what he plans to do. I can't blame him. He really never did anything to earn his ouster other than carry a Republican title in an unpopular year. Oh, and he didn't have a band.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here's the video (can't embed it).
Barney reminds me a lot of what I presume the incompetent kings of the dark ages were. They are given power, they assume they can do no wrong, and are actually too dumb to recall the mistakes they made in the past. I don't think Barney's a liar, I think he is plain stupid. I don't think he remembers saying that we must "roll the dice" on Frannie and Freddie, I just think he still believes he was right on that point and doesn't know what role those institutions played in the financial collapse.
This returns me to my central point: If you don't like politicians, how could you like a pro-active government? I'm not saying vote for Republicans. I'm saying vote for the guys (or gals) that seem the least likely to put people like King Barney in charge of ANYTHING. I wouldn't let that man park my car! Yet he is in a position of tremendous power and importance, whether we like it or not.
And yes, I know making fun of his speech impediment is an ad hominem, juvenile attack, but can I really be expected to leave it on the table? That's just no fun.
First, the Baltimore Sun has already decided that Ken Ulman is their huckleberry. They love him. They have posted more articles about his programs than any other county exec (not a scientific study, but I dare you to prove me wrong) and he is rarely portrayed in a negative light (even when he pays $100,000 for a "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors" campaign [of which I saw my first patronizing sign on Sunday while running around Centennial Lake]).
Second, it is well recognized that as Howard County goes, so goes the state. That is why former Governor Ehrlich will be speaking tonight at the Howard County Republican Club meeting (I'll be there and report back). Extending back to 1986, 1994 was the only time a Candidate for governor won Howard County, but lost the Gubernatorial.
As for the article, I was admittedly disappointed that the reporter didn't mention Anthony's candidacy in light of the fact that they reviewed the other county seats, but I also understand that their concentration was former Ehrlich aides. I was very surprised that Trent is considering a run at County Executive. She is a wonderful woman that is as connected as they come. If someone matters in Howard County politics, Trent knows them or can get in touch with them easily. I really can't say what she will bring as far as policies, but then again, a non-candidate is not forced to present issues of contention just yet.
The article seemed fair. The reporter almost had to catch himself before falling head over heels for Ulman at the end. I can almost see him waving his face and saying "I think I'm gettin' the vapors."
These local races also matter state-wide, but you're going to have to work with me on why. First and foremost, Healthy Howard was on NPR. "Um...so?" The reason is because Howard County is acting like a laboratory for democracy, which is good, but it is coming at our expense, which is bad. Not to be overly dramatic, but if paternalistic interventionist government has a battleground, it is here. The ever expanding universe of "what government can do" is being tested every day a new light-bulb appears over Executive Ulman's head. The only way these ideas can truly be tested is through the metal-working task of opposition and negotiation. Otherwise, we are all just an ever-winning set of scratch-off tickets.
Monday, October 26, 2009
So here's what I'm looking into. First, I would like to do a weekly podcast. I think all I'll need is a microphone to hook to my computer. Second, I'm going to go try and get word out about the blog by posting on some other blogs to see if I can attract some attention.
So wish me luck. I don't know when the podcast will start, but I'm hoping in the next two weeks. Otherwise, there are these buttons at the bottom of every post that were incredibly difficult to code into blogger. One of them allows you to post blog posts onto Facebook. If you see something you like, post it.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
It helps me to see that other people are as frustrated as I am. I'm not even saying we need Republicans to win, but I don't know if we want to further the expansive-minded government policies that seem to be the practice of the Dems. Yes, Republicans have this in them as well, but at least with the GOP they are hypocrites and not fulfilling planks of their party.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Jeff Robinson, Delegate District 13. This is another hard working campaign with a lot of good people volunteering on staff. He has had multiple events and seems to be snowballing supporters. He's going up against some fairly established names in the county (Guzzone, Pendergrass), but he is a legitimate challenger. If you go to his site, be sure to check out the "About Jeff" page. He's certainly had an interesting life.
Kyle Lorton, State Senate District 13. This is a candidate that is getting a reputation for introducing himself as "Do you live in my district?" He is running against former County Exec James Robey, which should be quite a challenge. I can't say much either way on Kyle other than the fact that he makes it out to most of the Howard County GOP events. It will be interesting to see how he communicates himself to voters going forward. A preliminary tip would be to turn on the lights next time he films a campaign video clip.
I promise to take a much more critical eye as these campaigns move forward, but it is unfair to criticize/promote before these candidates have the opportunity to establish themselves.
Update: I can't make heads or tails of Kyle's blog either. I think he may be the definition of a "dark horse" in every meaning of the term.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Fiscally conservative. That basically means the government doesn't spend liberally. Couldn't that also mean that they tax the dickens out of everyone? They wouldn't spend money they don't have. I think what it really means at the end of the day is small government, but people don't like saying that because then they feel like they're Ron Paul...and whatever the merit of that man's ideas, he sounds like the farmer who just had a UFO land in his back yard. Fiscally conservative means, don't spend more money than you have to, which means don't tax more than you have to, which means stay as large as you have to, which means...well there's your black hole and why "fiscally conservative" doesn't mean a darn thing. Are you in Sean Hannity's camp, thinking that the federal government should provide for Defense and little else? Well I hope you don't take I-95 to work. Are you with Rachel Maddow and you think that the government should provide a baseline of living expenses for all citizens (or even non-citizens)?
I'm going to guess you're in the middle, which at the end of the day means "cut the fat." Run an efficient government, cutting wherever necessary, but providing the services that are currently expected. Don't expand and quit it with the pork.
Now socially liberal, that's easy. That means "let people do what they want to do." Gay marriage - as long as I'm invited. Abortion - (not touching it). Drugs - smoke 'em if you got 'em. Financial Scams - if you can trick us, you keep it.
You're like "wait a second, I didn't say that Nigerian Prince can get my bank account number and get away with it." Or "if we liberalize drugs, then I'm not paying for the druggies." So again, there is a line that needs to be drawn, but where? Frankly I find scam artists more forgivable than drug dealers, all the scam artists take is money. And if we "liberalize," who gets to decide which ills we allow? Aren't we always going to be gate-keepers? Murder is a social construct that we have disallowed. Are social liberals open in to loosening up those rules?
This simple four word phrase is keeping us all from real discussion. "Oh well that guy Ryan over there, he's fiscally conservative and socially liberal just like me. We are on the same page when it comes to politics." Uh, probably not. You both have probably never had your views challenged. Sooooooo, next time someone serves you that load of ___, smile knowingly and say "yeah, murder should totally be legal and we should restrict our spending to aircraft carriers."
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Nonetheless, now that this story has reached an international level of coverage, it should be noted here. If I can separate the wheat from the chaff here, it appears that an elementary school teacher had her kids learn a pro-(pro)Obama song. I mean if you read the lyrics, they are almost disturbing. I don't have any kids, but I would never want them to sing that a man is "so so good!" Not even about Santa.
However, I also remember writing President Ronald Reagan letters thanking him for making my elementary school a Blue Ribbon school. There were pictures of the President in every classroom. He was on the television every day. There is something patriotic about having young children respect their President. In fact, once upon a time, it was customary to "adore" one's President (i.e., JFK).
These kids have so much "junk" piled on them that it is really hard for me to say I am offended by this song. If it was my kid, my interest would be piqued and I may be so interested as to give a call into the teacher, but I doubt I would get my representative involved. Maybe I'm missing something. There is no apparent grade connected with this song. Children will not be sent to the gulag for failing to memorize their anthem. It was a misguided attempt by a teacher (who probably thinks everyone is pro-Obama) to add some civic lessons into a fourth grader's head. Those that believe in indoctrination will have to explain to me how they got to think the way they do, and I think the way I do, despite going through public education (all but high school; GO HALL!).
And again, mind your distractions. If you want to make a strong opposition, make it with ideas, not whines.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Anthony Jordan, County Council District 2. I've been up front with my involvement with Anthony's campaign. We actually just had a meeting yesterday attended by some great folks that are excited about what may be possible in this campaign. Anthony is from Michigan, so he may not have the financial links available to most other candidates, but what he lacks in funds he makes up for in energy. Also, I wouldn't feel comfortable working with a candidate that is being bankrolled by a legion of puppeteers. People always say they want money out of politics, and I think Anthony gives them the opportunity to make that happen (but they'll have to put up some money of their own to help him along).
Robert Flanagan, County Council District 1. Evidently there are whispers on both sides of the "aisle" that Courtney Watson is a vulnerable candidate for a number of reasons that I won't go into here. District 1 was also a GOP stronghold prior to Courtney's election. Expect Bob to raise a lot of money, knock on a lot of doors (he's already started), and bring one hell of a campaign to the county. This is a Harvard Grad, former Secretary of Transportation, with plenty of political know-how.
John Bailey, State Delegate, District 12B. John has been heavily involved in HoCo GOP politics for the past 8 years. He was the campaign manager for Donna Thewes who ran for county council in 2006. It will be interesting to see whether this helps him or hurts him.
Ed Priola, State Delegate, District 13. Here's a candidate that is making "TEA" into a campaign slogan. This is another candidate that will be in all the right places with all the right "schtuff." The question is whether his TEA will stand in the way of independent and democratic voters (and I am afraid it will). I have no doubt that this will be one of the hardest working campaigns in the county. You will see Ed Priola sometime over the next 12 months, I promise.
Check out the website and let me know what you think about these candidates.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
In Columbia, we already have a budding crime problem that is getting worse by the day. A county that less than 5 years ago had 5-10 homicides a year is edging closer to the 50 mark. Why does the council see fit to bulldoze themselves into new problems while the existing one's fester? I think the reason is that they are mostly oblivious. You will not see a council-person making statements about how the "details are where a lot of the discussion will go in the future" about the drug rings using our county as home base or the prostitution along Route 1 ("I have seen some improvement"...really?). If Towson is the model, please just look up the Beltway and tell me things are going well for them.
This county will develop and has developed over the past 20 years, but it has developed to meet a steadily rising demand. The county is looking to create a glut of housing (because that worked out before) and then prop up new businesses to meet the expected market. Funny thing is that I don't see any economists weighing in on this little plan. Just developers...and council-members.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"I went to see Capitalism: A Love Story yesterday. It did keep my
attention, though little new information was provided. The entertainment value
was most clear when Michael Moore visited the bailed out banks & AGI in an
attempt to make a citizen’s arrest and lock up their CEOs for thievery. Loved
Good: Glad to see the balance, however delayed, between
Democrats and Republicans. We’re all spiraling south until we vote out those
Bad: Moore missed a fantastic oppty to market this film by
focusing on the bailouts – people are mad, really mad about this. I saw a poll
today that said Maryland voters want big changes in campaign finance reform. But
also, the subject could have been better delivered by showing the early benes of
Capitalism and then hit more squarely and thematically on the undermining of
Democracy that morphed Capitalism into the beast we have today. It’s not that
Cap is evil, but the people exploiting Cap have changed it. You can’t even call
what we have today Capitalism, it’s simply control of our gov’t by those with
massive amounts of money. That is not Capitalism.
Learned: Wow. The part
about one-income families paying off mortgages in 5-6 years during the 1950-60’s
really brought home how far we’ve fallen. Now it takes 2 income families 30-40
years to pay off the roof over their heads. My father paid off our family home
in 6 years but the contrast didn’t occur to me until I heard it stated this way.
Over-the-top: Realizing this is Michael Moore’s style, making fun of
Bush was a bit much considering the gravity of the subject. But maybe that’s
what it took to keep my 17 yo son interested. And he was."
I have not seen the movie, but I did listen to an interesting interview on the radio over the weekend. The guest was suggesting that part of the reason we have such horrifying stories of people being churned in the grinder of a harsh market is the end result of continuously telling the consumer that "everything will be ok" and that their government will take care of them. My father grew up in an age where you never trusted someone that offered you something for nothing and if it looked too good to be true, it was. You saved more than you spent and you went out to eat only on special occassions. Now everyone believes that they are entitled to what their neighbor has. When I worked in the government, we revoked security clearances for people with bad credit who were spending beyond their means. The one constant was that they never thought they were spending extravagantly. One man I remember vividly took his entire family on a cruise because "we had worked hard and deserved it" despite being over $100,000 in debt with credit cards.
But here's the thing about both markets (such as the market Michael Moore is playing to) and democracies: The Ayes Have It. We are a decision maker by plurality, not correctness. Therefore blaming the masses serves no purpose. Obama realized this. McCain didn't. Hell, Barney Frank has made a career out of always changing his position so as to always be on the side of the plurality.
Thank you Anonymous. I know this is an issue that you and I don't see eye to eye on, but your review was fair and, dare I say, balanced? Ha ha.
Friday, October 9, 2009
I've heard plenty of people say "what did he do" and my answer is "he won the Nobel peace prize." This award is meant more to give the President additional authority than it is to reward him for a job well done. As far as I am aware, the President's only international agreement has been a "Prom Promise" type document saying that we promise not to screw up the economy again. Most could look at it as a general censure on America for being such a dominant force in the economy.
But at the end of the day, the award says something more. When Obama's approval rating has gone way into the red domestically, he is being encouraged by his overseas electorate...you know...those people he visited DURING the Presidential campaign. In an age when our ears are being filled with "the world is flat" dogma, a President will seek out international favor even when it is pissing off the people at home. Nonetheless, the Olympics are in Rio, Iran is building a bomb, and Russia is about to have a gulag party in the Ukraine. Nice job.
So for now, congrats Mr. President. I'm sure your acceptance speech will be pretty. But unfortunately you ran for office here. Get back to work.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Here is an example. We've got politicos on the right and left insisting that the Afghanistan war is either the Vietnam war or the Iraqi war, and that the lessons learned from those engagements can be boxed up, shipped through time, reopened, and used to address the current problem. Meanwhile, we have Generals on the ground with real ideas about how to obtain some level of stability and progress. "But, can you at least make it sound like there is some historical parallel? The further back in history the better. It was much more fun to use the Alexander the Great Afghanistan comparison than the Russian invasion."
History has a place, its just not the only level of analysis we should be considering.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This is a damn shame.
1) China is one of the supposed countries. China has the largest reserve of US dollars outside of the United States. The US is also their biggest trading partner. Their financial position is prefaced on the strength of the dollar. Dumping the dollar would hurt the US the most, but hurt China the second most.
2) China manipulates the Arab countries on a daily basis. I don't believe much when I hear that there is a rumor of an agreement between China and Arab countries. China will string them along and then turn around saying "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Monday, October 5, 2009
I love Health Spending Account, high deductible insurance. It makes sense. Nothing else I've heard does.