Thursday, June 7, 2012

Extreme Measures (Thursday LINKS)

Although I have explicitly recommended against taking too much away from a recall election that about 70% of the voters did not want to participate in, I can't help but feel like it had great symbolic importance for elected officials across the Country: Do big things.

Regardless of your politics, you must admit that Governor Walker went big in his efforts to cut State debt and balance the budget.  He was in the national spotlight within months of taking office.  Democrats left the state to avoid voting on his collective bargaining measures.  He took huge risks with an electorate that was motivated enough to try to remove him from office with an out-of-term recall election.  When petitions first started circulating, his approval ratings were at approximately 47%.  We can discuss the $20+ million from outstide the State, but most analysts are saying that theses efforts did not affect the electorate's interest in ousting their Governor.  If it's the economy, stupid...well, stupid, the voters think things are going a-Ok.

In fact, I would suggest that this election touched on an ideal that we all have of our elected officials using the extent of their power, regarding of resistance or partisan/special interests, to make our lives better, using whatever means necessary.  Before Godwin's Law makes an ugly appearance, please note that I said "the extent of their power."  While the red team may have been smiling through most of this post, I would suggest that the blue team should use Walker as an example.  Stop beating around the Bush tax cuts (that one is for you, TJ).  Go hard on initiatives you think you can pass.  In a state like Maryland, where the political party has streamlined the separation of powers, Scott Walker's recall election is an indictment of sorts.  Annapolis has the power to do whatever it chooses, yet we took two years to pass marriage equality and the past six months have been spent on raising taxes and finding space for more casinos.  I don't think the Democratic party would define itself by those metrics, but contrasted with a Governor that took big unpopular actions to balance his budget, and in the process gaining the approval of the citizens of his State, it is hard to see things otherwise.

While we all expect this election to have long term adverse effects on unions, I think the real positive will be more proactive efforts by local, state, and federal officials to "fix this mess".  I can't believe I'm saying this, but compromise may actually have out-lived its purpose.  Maybe it is time to go big and let the consequences fall where they may.  And maybe we would all be much better for it.


Orioles take two of three from the Red Sox in Fenway.  I'm not ready to declare this team back on its path to the playoffs, but Brian Roberts will be back soon and if Zach Britton can get his game together in the minors, this team could be something special to watch.

Restaurants along the PowerPlant looking to expand the pier-bars/seating areas along the water have found the State fees to be prohibitively expensive, costing as much as $800,000.  Comptroller Peter Franchot is quoted in the article as saying these fees are "confiscatory" and are preventing private business from creating jobs.  At a time when Baltimore is desparate for growth, it really is unfortunate to see these type of common-sense hindrances in the way.

Maryland Live is open for business in Anne Arundel County.  If you thought the special interests were bad in Maryland before, wait until the gambling lobby really takes form.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Well & Wise has a guest post from Andrew Cameron, M.D., who has been one of the physicians spear-heading new efforts to promote organ donation.  He writes about how we are doing in terms of donation and how we can improve.  Please check this out and consider being a donor.  I am.

That's all for today.  I know the links are getting shorter as the intro posts are getting longer.  I would apprecate feedback on that.  The links are somewhat sterile, but I know a number of you use them as a "What's happening" to start the day.  My original deadline for finishing posts was 7:00 am, but that time limit keeps getting pushed back. 

Have a great Thursday doing what you love!