Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Exposed (Tuesday LINKS)

I don't talk about my blog at work.  I love my job.  I love my hobby.  But I don't want them to mix.  I also am, and always will be, self-conscious of the title "blogger".  I've tried coming to terms with it, but some egotistic flare pops up whenever the term comes into use, making me say "website" instead of "blog" or "hobby" instead of "blogging".

I just don't like that word.  Blog.

And for the last three years, very few folks at work knew about this blog.  There was a slow trickle working its way down the crevasse.  About two years ago, Jane mentioned the blog at a happy hour to two of the younger associates.  I gritted my teeth, told my co-workers it was "a small hobby" and went on my way.  A year after that, at another happy hour, one those associates mentioned the blog to a partner.  I smiled and tried to change the subject as soon as I could.  About a month ago, another partner mentioned that his wife thought she had seen something I had written about bullying.  I nodded and said "Yep, that's me."

But the floodgates broke last Thursday.  Our office has occasionally had elected officials in to speak about the business climate in Maryland and how their individual offices may be of assistance to the firm.  I had invited Comptroller Peter Franchot in to speak about the Special Session.  About 15 attorneys, partners and associates, attended.  The Comptroller began his talk by complimenting me about this blog and recommending it to all in attendance.


The inevitability of it all washed over me.  This moment was always going to come.  I'm just glad it happened via the Comptroller of the State of Maryland.

The reactions have been very positive.  I've taken a good amount of teasing ("I hear you're a far left Dem-o-crat hippie"), paired with general curiosity: What is it called?  What do you write about?  How long have you being doing this? Overall, there has been a "to-each-their-own" shoulder shrug.  Some think it is weird.  Others wonder how I have time (me too!).  But most just nod as if saying "Now I know one more thing about you", which makes me feel bad about ever keeping this compartmentalized in the first place.

I don't expect to gain any readers out of the "Great Reveal."  Frankly, that would be weird.  But I feel a little more whole this week than I have for the past few years.  There is more symmetry.


Speaking of the Comptroller, Peter Franchot has issued a statement arguing against tax increases during this week's Special Session.  While I certainly agree with the Comptroller, what I would really like to see from someone, anyone, close to the ground on this is a comprehensive plan to cut spending without taking pounds of flesh from our State education system, law enforcement, and foster care, or pulling strings from the safety net.  That seems pie in the sky, and there is only danger for any politico who attempts it, but I also think it is what we need in order to move the conversation against higher taxes.  Otherwise, these opinions are easily, and rightfully, dismissed.

Democrats are having a hard time counting votes on the new tax plan, as Montgomery County Dems consider whether a sales tax may be better than an income tax on "their wealthy constituents."  Thankfully for the Democratic leadership, Howard County Dems do not give one flying patoot about their wealthy constituents.

Council-member, Professor, Fireman, and now...Columnist?  Dr. Calvin Ball has a column in this week's Flier offering his reflections on the death of Grace McComas and providing additional avenues to addressing the bullying problem in our State.  I'm happy to see this conversation moved forward and think Dr. Ball is the person to do it.

The hearing to remove Allen Dyer from the Howard County Board of Education will extend into June.  Typing this on May 15, I can't help but be disappointed at how far this has gone out of hand.  No matter the frustrations of the Board, this impeachment has become a farce, demeaning all involved.  The real winner is Allen Dyer, who's only apparent goal is to see his name in lights.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Sarah wonders why we don't pay as much attention to traffic fatalities as we do the exceedingly rare homicide in Howard County.  One thing I couldn't help but think about when looking at Sarah's graph of traffic fatalities between 2006 and 2010 is all the safety and "enforcement" measures we've put in place over the years and whether we get any bang for our fine bucks.  Red light cameras.  Work zone speed cameras.  School speed cameras.  Are we preventing deaths or just funding the clean-up crew?

That's all for today.  Have a great Tuesday doing what you love.  I look forward to seeing a number of you at the Columbia Foundation's Spring Party.  Remember -- the location has changed.  If you show up at the Rouse building, you will be forced to spend your evening with a small group of similarly confused, presumptuous, Columbians.