Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And Then a Step to the Right (Wednesday LINKS)

Yesterday was an unfortunate day for U.S. politics.

A moderate well-respected Senator from Indiana, Dick Luger, lost his primary to Richard Mourdock, a candidate "backed by conservatives ranging from the National Rifle Association to local Tea Party activists to the Washington-based fiscal conservative group the Club for Growth."  In short, the Congress that can't pass a Budget and nearly drove the big yellow bus that is the U.S. Economy off a cliff just lost one of the people that was trying to steady the wheel. 

As part of his concession speech, Senator Lugar wished his opponent luck, while also noting that unless Mourdock"modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator."  The shock of his loss must have distracted Sen. Lugar from the fact that this new brand of Republican views gridlock as an achievement.  Look at the terms they use: "Stop", "Repeal", "Overturn".  Without getting to the merit of the underlying proposals, what exactly have they done?

A little closer to home, North Carolina passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  As with many pieces of legislation written in anger or fear, this one will have consequences for straight couples (not them!  They're the good guys!) not contemplated by the drafters, such as an evisceration of joint custody arrangements and some previously legal joint property rights between non-married couples.

I guess for some folks yesterday was a good day for democracy.  I could go on and on about "when good people do nothing" and all of that, but you've heard it before.  People disengage from politics and community leadership because they say it is too extreme or nasty.  They rarely consider that it may be different if they were in charge.


The "King of the High Wire" will quite literally follow in his great-grandfather's footsteps as he treks across the Inner Harbor today.  The biggest difference may be that his ancestor performed his feat at the 1973 Baltimore City Fair while he will be doing it on a Wednesday afternoon.

Citizens of Carrol County are accusing their Board of Commissioners (i.e., County Council) of skirting Open Meetings laws via "golden rod."  The article is somewhat confusing, but my understanding is that the Board has a gold piece of paper that they will pass amongst themselves at meetings for pending approval of staff action.  If three of the five members approve, the staff action is authorized.  The concern is that these are decisions not made available to the public.  It has been submitted to the State's Attorney for action.

Should the General Assembly fail to pass a new Budget next week, Baltimore City schools will be rolling out a four-day furlough plan for school employees.

Lindsey McPherson has another Political Notebook looking at views about the Special Session from either side of the aisle.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Sarah looks at the Whole Foods effect that we will not be experiencing in Downtown Columbia.  I truly wish there were someone, somewhere, considering the synergistic implications of new vendors and planning the new Columbia accordingly.  I just don't think that person exists.

That's all for today.  Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!