Friday, July 20, 2012

Whacha Say? (Friday LINKS)

Because most of my family knows that I am a news/politics junkie (in the most affectionate use of the word), they will often ask me what I think about prominent news events or controversial subjects.  This is all the more fun when I know what the "correct answer" to their question may be, but for the most part I enjoy discussing these issues with those who are trying to get me to talk about something I'm interested in.

But there are two exceptions:
1) Nationwide coverage of criminal trials;
2) Political pie throwing.

The first is pretty clear and I think I've discussed it here before.  The worst time to be a lawyer is when there is a big trial on TV, that is unless you are one of the goofballs that gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to say "I don't think the jury liked that" or some other completely speculative statement that has no foundation in anyone's conceivable experience (juries are mostly unpredictable).  It is also hard because the person asking you about the trial has probably spent more time paying attention than you have, which means it is inevitable that if you try to answer their question, you will be wrong.

"I think that bloody paper bag will come into evidence."
"Really?  Because the judge said there was no way he was going to allow that bloody bag into evidence."

The second are malapropisms, speech faux paus, and internet static.

"How about Mitt Romney putting that dog on the roof?  Geez!"
"Did you see that Obama doesn't cover his heart when he says the pledge of allegiance?  Weird!"
 "Mitt Romney likes to fire people?  No one likes to fire people!"
"Obama said small business owners didn't build their own businesses?  I sure would like to know who did!"

I actually get a little angry and fall over into preach mode.  "You do understand that this is the kind of irrelevant clap trap that voters are fed to keep them from paying attention to the real issues, right?"  (I really am a bore when it comes to politics).  Rather than spend any significant time on the fact that the frequency of severe storms is increasing, there is a drought over half of the United States, and the persistence of a workforce with antiquated skills paired low demand will most likely keep unemployment over 7% for the next decade without drastic investment by either the public or private sector, we hear the same 3 second sound bite over and over and over with commentary from anyone who has a pulse and a red or blue silk tie.

And even more worrisome is that these quotes will almost assuredly dictate the votes of 20% of the populace without any follow-up on their part.  Never mind the fact Mitt Romney may have hired more people than he fired (alleged by not confirmed).  Don't worry about researching President Obama's track record on supporting small businesses and increasing start-up loans.  Please, do absolutely no research of your own, but feel free to complain that the media is biased or you aren't getting the information you need to make a decision.  Ignore the existence of the Internet.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Meanwhile, I do have a problem with what one elected official "said" over the past month, which has received very little attention by those who create internet memes.  Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann sent a letter to the State Department accusing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood due to the employment of Huma Abedin, whose family was connected to the group.  Notably, as a staff member, Ms. Abedin would be required to go through the strictest level of security clearance evaluation before her first day on the job.  Her family relations would have been scrutinized.  Her travel would be scrutinized.  More importantly, she would have been asked to account for these connections.  A professional security clearance evaluator would review this file and determine whether it was "clearly consistent with the government interest" to allow Ms. Abedin to have this job.  This is a personally embarrassing and uncomfortable process that will only be endured by the most committed applicants.  Despite all of this, Ms. Abedin's security clearance was approved.

When one of our citizens is accused of being a traitor, that is much bigger than some gaffe at a podium.  If you want to be outraged, make it worthwhile.


The Planning Board has approved Phase 1 of CA's final development plan for Symphony Woods with the added recommendation that it use "meandering pathways" to "save as many trees as possible".  I guess that on the whole this is a good thing...unless you sit on the CA Board.  We will be compelled to litigate, yet again, the subject of trees, despite at least three votes declining an "alternative plan" drafted by one of the Board members.

Meanwhile, CA President Phil Nelson has submitted a letter to the editor offering to replant new trees with plaques dedicating them to the 100 "Columbia Pioneer" families that helped start Columbia.  I love the idea.

Janene Holzburg has a great article about the sale of the Wayside Inn, which has operated as a bed and breakfast for the past three years.  This is an odd property.  It is a gorgeous historic house that Jane and I would give an arm to own...but it faces a sound wall...that doesn't quite block out all the sound from Route 29. 

Looks like that storm was as bad as it sounded.  Baltimore City had some flooding and BWI flights have been delayed.  In other news, pheromone collars do wonders for dogs who get the shakes when thunder roars. 

An outbreak of whooping cough in the United States is projected to be the worst in a half century and may be related to under-vaccination. 

Comptroller Peter Franchot has an op/ed in the paper repeating his argument against increased gambling in Maryland paired with tax breaks for casino owners.  He presents a rather dire fiscal picture of our State that is normally reserved for Republican war drummers:

Despite the steady diet of higher taxes, and despite legalizing slots four years ago, we are still carrying a structural budget deficit of $548 million. We are responsible for about $35 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations, and we are on track to near, if not exceed, the state's debt ceiling in 2017.

Wait, so we have a State debt ceiling debate to look forward to in 2017?

Featured Blog Post of the Day: I didn't link to this yesterday due to the surplus of great posts, but I do love WB's "Around Town" posts and this one was no exception.  These types of posts enrich our enjoyment of what's all around us.  Someone will read this and have a great Tuesday down the line because they found out that Pure Wine has $10 soft tacos and is a great place to meet people.  That's neat stuff.

So yesterday was kind of a big day for the fund-raising project.  Many of you took my invitation to join the ranks of donors at the $10 level and for that I am very appreciative.  We also received a large donation that put us a mere $190 away from the 200% goal.  That's exciting.

Thank You's:
Steve Bikel
Terri Westerlund (Terri and her team helped Jane and I find our home here in Dorsey)
Richard McCready
Frank Hecker

I actually was so excited when I went to bed last night that I had a hard time falling asleep.

Have a great Friday doing what you love!  It is impossible not to.