Moving stuff over (it took hours to copy this over)

Since my tumblr account is going to close because Yahoo! bought tumblr, I thought I might as well move over the revelant stuff to this blog. This starts with articles from Sunshine Politics (was sunpol.tumblr.com). All links to Sunshine Politics blog will eventually be changed to this one. Open Maryland is next.

final screenie

followers

final delete

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A new blog, a new home

In light of the fact I don’t write on here anymore, I am closing shop at Sunshine Politics. I am now writing on Beyond the Barricade with the same zeal as I wrote on this blog. To end, here’s the major articles I’ve published:

Maryland “Patriot” groups

Liberate legislative data

The wild and wonderful St. Mary’s County voting guide

What! MD General Assembly strikes a blow at poor

Millions affected in Mid-Atlantic storm system

Comparing Maryland’s political parties: which should you choose?

The General Assembly has lost my trust

Mergers galore: Maryland’s govt. becomes plutocratic

Maryland General Assembly: working in the people’s benefit?

Math class is hell

Fells point out of control?

[4 MONTHS AGO]

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The wild and wonderful St. Mary’s County voting guide

Sorry I haven’t written for a while but here we go. I heard recently how people in my neighborhood liked my last voters guide (one even brought it to the voting booth!)

Lets start with the most important question of the ballot: who will you pick as the next President of the United States, the next “leader of the free world” as you will. There are four choices provided to you (the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians and the Greens). Flat out don’t vote for Obama or Romney (they are both warmongers who don’t care about you, you are picking “your poison”). If you like “free enterprise” and “free trade” then Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is your candidate. If you like a focus on the environment, then Jill Stein is your candidate.

The next two important questions are who you’ll pick as a U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. For those running for the Senate, I’d say avoid the Democrats, Republicans and the unaffiliated candidates (his immigration plan is bonkers). I’d say hold your nose and vote for the Libertarian Candidate, Dean Ahmad. Some of his major issues are having any more bailouts, restoring civil liberties and ending the deficit and bringing the troops home. As for U.S. Representative of Maryland’s fifth congressional district, I’d say to not note for Steny Hoyer because he gets money from Citigroup, AT&T, Comcast, Goldman Sachs and a corporatist. I’d say to vote for the Green Party Candidate Bob Auerbach because he would “Stop the wars! Bring all U.S. troops home now,” promoting a peaceful foreign policy,” he would “overhaul the tax code to achieve steeply graduated, progressive taxation,” he would use federal dollars to fund “basic human needs, such as good education, health care, decent housing, a living wage, and free sustainable public transportation,” while “fund[ing] sustainable energy” and “reform[ing] the election system.”

Now onto the court system. The judge for the circuit court judicial district 7 is up for vote and I thought Joseph Michael Standolinis was the right choice until I found he is very anti-drug (don’t like that) and is endorsed by:

  • Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich
  • St. Mary’s County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7
  • St. Mary’s County Republican Central Committee & St. Mary’s County Republican Club
  • St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney – Richard D. Fritz (also seems very against drugs, which isn’t good)

So, I’d say that you should not vote for Stanalonis admitted that he is under investigation by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Committee. While Densford is a good candidate, since he has extensive trial experience, I’d say that since he was appointed by a committee run by Fmr. Governor Ehrlich, since he would uphold the death penalty, and since he said that those that drink and drive should go directly to jail, I would highly write in “Neither Candidate.” This is because the Democratic and Republican candidates are inadequate.

For the Judge on the Court of Special Appeals at Large, I’d say vote against Stuart R. Berger’s continuation in office to give someone else a chance.

Now onto the Board of Education which dictates numerous policies for St. Mary’s schools which are paid by public dollars. Using The Bay Net, I decided that for the “Board of Education at Large,” James Tomasic would be the best choice instead of the incumbent Marilyn Crosby, because if elected he would be “the only current parent on the board” which was “one of the reasons that the Education Association of St. Mary’s County endorsed him over Crosby.” As for the the position for the Board of Education Commissioner in District 2 I would pick Cathy Allen over the incumbent Jim Davis, because Allen is “passionate about the school system and the issues.” Also because Davis supports vouchers under certain circumstances and is a “fiscal conservative.” For the position of Board of Education Commissioner District 4, while the incumbent, Mary Washington, doesn’t support vouchers, but her opponent, Joel Rose would have children in the school system if elected (she also opposes vouchers),and favors a “broad diversity discussion with students,” which is a postive step in the right direction.

Now onto the constitutional questions. For a start, I’d say to vote against the Questions 1 and 2 (“Against The Constitutional Amendment”) because it makes Judges have “to be admitted to practice law in the state an be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.” This in my mind creates an elite which would be chosen for judges, something which doean’t benefit Marylanders.

But what about Question 3 which is about the suspension and removal of elected officials. Now, unamended Constitution stands as:

  • Elected officials who is convicted or pleads no contest is suspended
  • Elected officials removed only with a final conviction

The amended version would be as follows:

  • Elected officials who are suspended when found guilty
  • Elected official is removed when finally convicted or when they plead no contest

So I’d say you should vote in the affirmative for this question (I deeply debated this one again and again). But, the next four Amendments are even more key.

For half of the remaining four amendments I’d say you should vote for and the other half against. I’d say one should vote for two separate “referred law[s].” The first is the one or Question 4 that establishes that undocumented immigrants should be able to pay state tuition at community colleges in Maryland. Latinos that have come to Maryland should pay tuition like everyone else, why not? The other “referred law” (Question 6), I’d say you should vote for is the Civil Marriage Protection Act. This law allows gay and lesbian couples to marry, but clergy can preform marriages depending on their religious beliefs and that religious organizations do not have to give “goods, services, or benefits” to lesbian and gay couples in Maryland. But there are two laws I’d say you should vote against. The first is the Congressional Redistricting Plan (Question 5). This plan as I’ve read and seen the map is clear gerrymandering that benefits Democrat and possibly even Representative Bartlett, a Republican congressman in Maryland. The last measure I’d say one should vote against is Question 7 which would increase lottery table games and additional lottery terminals in order to raise “revenue education” (not really). Since gambling is a sin against poor people and causes societal problems, I’d say don’t vote for these this. Additionally, voting for would support big gaming companies like Caesar Entertainment that just want to exploit the poor.

I hope this guide helps you and gives a good start.

By Burkely Hermann, Sunshine Politics Correspondent.

7 months ago

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Sarbanes form letter on oil, gas and coal production

Thank you for contacting me about subsidies for oil, gas and coal production.  I appreciate hearing from you on this issue and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

I strongly believe we should eliminate subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries, which President Obama proposed in his 2013 budget.  We need to develop a new energy framework – one that is good for the environment, reduces our dependency on fossil fuels and creates a whole host of new energy jobs.

By developing a long term and sustainable energy strategy, we can address economic, national security, and environmental policy priorities in one fell swoop.  We can diversify our energy portfolio and end our dependence on energy sources from volatile parts of the world.  By revolutionizing our energy industry and becoming an exporter of clean energy technologies, we will be able to maintain our competitive advantage as a nation and ensure a prosperous future for our children.  Just as growth in information technology served as the driving force behind the economic boom of the 1990’s, the development of clean energy technology and green jobs will spur tremendous growth and offer long-term relief to the American economy.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

9 months ago

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Millions affected in Mid-Atlantic storm system

I was personally affected by this storm, which some have called a derecho*, with power being out for hours, almost for half a day. Luckily power was restored for my neighborhood (how I can write this article) but many aren’t doing so well. The Delmarva area (DE, MD, VA), seven other states (West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New Jersey) and the District of Columbia were all affected by power outages.

On top of the economic issues Americans face right now, this was just another setback. Just around where I live, traffic lights are out, something that creates a safety hazard. As a result, roads are blocked by cones, caution tape and police cars. I imagine the same is the case elsewhere. Over four million have been reported to be out of power in DC and ten other states (mentioned earlier). Every single county in Maryland has had some outages. As a result, businesses have closed and some could even be out of power for up to five days as temperatures rise to be upbearably hot, feeling like they are in the 100s. There have also been fatalities, which are officially numbering thirteen across the Mid-Atlantic region but could easily be more than that which some say are from fallen trees. At the same time, a number of people were displaced. The storm caused “more than 20 elderly residents at an apartment home in Indianapolis [to be]…displaced when the facility lost power due to a downed tree” according to an online blog.

On a governmental level, the response has been varied. In Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland water restrictions were put in place by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission due to the loss of power in water filitration and other facilities. Democratic Governor Ray Tomblin of West Virigina declared a statewide emergency because of the storm. This may be supported by Article VII-5 and Article VII-12 of the West Virginia Constitution which says that governor has the power to faithfully execute the laws of the state and can call out “the military forces of the state…to execute the laws.” Subsequently, emergencies were declared in Ohio, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Amtrak also delayed and stopped service because of the storm.

Interestingly was the affect on the online cloud services (it entrusts “a user’s data, software and computation over a network”) by actual clouds, the storm itself. Amazon services were affected in an adverse way. Service for Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest was interrupted for almost half a day. All of those with data in Amazon’s digital cloud based in Northern Virginia could not access it. As Wikipedia’s page puts it, it makes complete sense:

“Users access cloud computing using networked client devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Some of these devices – cloud clients – rely on cloud computing for all or a majority of their applications so as to be essentially useless without it.”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing)

No backup generator for such a data storage cloud was available meaning that it was offline. This meant bad news for those using such cloud computing services.

On another note, I believe the overal damage of the storm on ten states and DC is probably in the millions of dollars (my estimate). At the same time, floods are going on in Florida from hurricanes in the region. In conclusion, I hope people use self-help to assist those in the aftermath of the storm and realize this storm is just further evidence of a changing climate.

By Burkely Hermann, Chief correspondent of Sunshine Politics

*”A fast-moving, aggressive thunderstorm system”- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/06/29/virginia-dc-derecho-storm_n_1639274.html

Sources:
http://m.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/06/thunder-storms-kill-4-and-leave-millions-without-power/54077/

http://eoeemployer.com/storms-leave-millions-without-power-in-mid-atlantic-region/

http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/WV_CON.cfm#articleVII

http://safezoned.com/violent-weather-news/warnings-after-7-die-amid-searing-heat-storms.html

http://gregorylnewton.blog.com/?p=541

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h93-TgJxrqhojmSRWVzcyT4KJR6Q?docId=0fabbcc5093b4830bc0bffd263c23df4

http://www.pcworld.com/article/258627/amazon_cloud_hit_by_real_clouds_downing_netflix_instagram_other_sites.html

10 months ago

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Cruel and usual: US solitary confinement [reblogged post]

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/03/201137125936219469.html

hermannview:

verbalresistance:

As incarceration rates explode in the US, thousands are placed in solitary confinement, often without cause.

The US does not keep data on the number of inmates in solitary confinement.

The spectre of Bradley Manning lying naked and alone in a tiny cell at the Quantico Marine Base, less than 50 miles from Washington, DC, conjures up images of an American Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, where isolation and deprivation have been raised to the level of torture.

In fact, the accused Wikileaker, now in his tenth month of solitary confinement, is far from alone in his plight. Every day in the US, tens of thousands of prisoners languish in “the hole”.

Read Whole: aljazeera.net

This is no surprise. People aren’t concerned with the imperialist, unconstitutional and wrongful war in Libya (hermannview.tumbl…) so why would they would they care about solitary confinement? Personally I think in some cases as with Bradley Manning, it is a violation of the 8th amendment that prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” Unconstitutional violations are everywhere and no one cares. It’s sad and someone needs to stop it, if it isn’t Congress it can start in the State legislatures.

So many months ago I blogged this and now it is relevant again. On Democracy Now I watched a wonderful show about this [interview with Anthony Graves] and how it is really torture (even though Obama says there is no torture, he is LIAR).

The two parts are below:

11 months ago

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Form letter of Mr. Sarbanes on NATO

Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you for contacting me about the B-61 Life Extension Program and non-proliferation. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization recognizes the most probable threats in the coming decade are unconventional and began work on a new Strategic Alliance which includes non-proliferation as one of its major goals. The Obama Administration strongly supported the life extension program for the B-61 bomb in the Nuclear Posture Review in 2012. However, the Administration has made plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its long-range missiles and bombers, consistent with terms of the New START Treaty and its long term non-proliferation policy. In the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2012, Congress reduced funding for the particular B-61 Life Extension Program and limited the available funding to modifications of the bombs’ non-nuclear components.

I agree with the President that nuclear non-proliferation, as well as securing loose nuclear material, should be a key U.S. policy objective. You will be pleased to know that I voted against passage of H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2013, which included funding for a nuclear weapons modernization facility in New Mexico as well as a missile defense battery on the East Coast. I also voted against three amendments that tried to limit the President’s ability to negotiate further reductions in nuclear arms either with Russia or our own nuclear arsenal. These amendments were introduced by Representative Trent Franks of Arizona, Representative Danny Rehberg of Montana, and Representative Tom Price of Georgia. I support U.S. efforts to take a leadership role in working with our partners around the world to accomplish the goal of non-proliferation and I will be sure to keep your views in mind as the budget process for 2013 moves forward.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. I hope this addresses your concerns and that you will not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

11 months ago

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the right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States.

Opinion from the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875). This decision relates to the occupy movement’s actions. (via hermannview)
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Here’s sone estimate tax rates for a millionaire…

tumblr_m3zskw7NMZ1ql7z1eo1_500

1 year ago

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Campaign finance transparency measures pass General Assembly [reposted from Maryland Reporter]

By Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com

Campaign finances would become a bit more transparent in the future because of several bipartisan bills enacted by the legislature this session.

Bills easily passed both chambers to collect information about donors who give at least $500 or who make donations through their jobs.and to allow campaign treasurers and chairmen to receive notifications about campaign finance reports through email. Another measure allows campaign finance committees to get rid of records after 10 years or two years after dissolving.

Most of the bills are the product of the 17-member Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law, which made several recommendations to the General Assembly. The Commission was formed by legislation in 2011 to look at the state’s current campaign finance law, the role of political action committees in state elections, disclosure rules, the purpose and function of slates, and enforcement of campaign finance law.

“The commission that evaluated these was bipartisan and bicameral, and the members worked together collegially and diligently,” said commission Chairman Bruce Marcus, an attorney who’s worked on several campaign finance-related cases. “I’m sure that all the members are gratified these reforms passed so easily.”

In addition to members of both the House of Delegates and Senate and people from both major political parties who were selected by the governor, commission members also include the executive director of the State Ethics Commission and the State Administrator of Elections.

Noncontroversial legislation

The commission started by looking at some of the less controversial issues with campaign finance, how records are kept, and what the public can access, Marcus said. Some of these items were suggested by the staff – partially from the State Board of Elections – as well as commission members who had recently run for office and organized campaigns. Marcus called these items “low-hanging fruit.”

“The recommendations simply improve the quality of reporting and accessibility,” Marcus said.

Del. Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, who chairs the election law subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that commission members just got together in November. They were directed by the legislation to prepare an interim report before the 2012 legislative session began, so they looked for measures that were easy to find, made sense, improved transparency of campaign finance, and did not cross any party or ideological boundaries.

“A lot of these are bookkeeping ideas,” he said.

To further the bipartisan agreement of commission members, Cardin said that chief sponsorship of bills was divided between the legislative members in both parties. The bills were all introduced in both the House and the Senate.

State Board of Elections Director of Candidacy and Campaign Finance Jared DeMarinis said that the legislation came from a variety of sources.

“We looked at what was available in new technology and what interested campaign chairmen, treasurers and members of the public,” DeMarinis said.

Workplace disclosure

One of the more controversial bills requires people who give more than a total of $500 to a campaign committee to report their addresses and employers to the State Board of Elections. A similar requirement exists for federal campaigns, and all but 14 states have laws on the books doing close to the same thing.

“If 25 people from Pfizer make $4,000 contributions to a campaign, it may show they have some partisan interests,” Cardin said. “Are the contributions from these people, or are they from Pfizer?”

This bill, which has not yet been signed into law, will more easily let people see if contributions might be coming from companies, rather than individuals. In the hearing on the bill, Cardin said the bill is “shedding some sunshine on how contributions are being made.”

Several delegates questioned at the hearing whether the legislation could have a chilling effect on their future donors. Cardin said it has not in other jurisdictions.

ACLU Maryland Legislative Associate Steven Waddy testified at the hearing on the bill and said that the public interest in campaign finance outweighs the concern potential donors may have that their information will become public.

“As long as there is money in politics, there needs to be a more informed electorate to be able to make the decision on where campaign finances are coming from and the individuals who are contributing,” he said.

Another workplace-related bill requires people who make contributions to campaigns through their workplace or an employee group – such as a union – to transmit their addresses to the campaign finance committee.

This bill, which has already been signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley, makes it easier for donors to receive receipts for their contributions, Cardin said. It also takes the burden off of campaign finance committees to have to track down these addresses.

Other provisions

Other bills passed by both chambers include:

Allowing campaign committee chairmen and treasurers to receive only email notifications of upcoming deadlines, requiring changes of addresses of committee chairmen to be filed with the state board, and providing more leeway in the amount of time to issue receipts.
Allowing campaign finance committees to get rid of old records and receipts. For continually existing committees, the records need to be kept for 10 years. For committees that have disbanded, records need to be kept for two years.
Two bills proposed by the commission will not become law. A bill that would allow the State Board of Elections to put information online about people who have contributed to petition campaigns passed the House, but did not make it out of Senate committees.

Additionally, a bill that would not let a candidate report more than a total of $25,000 as lump-sum contributions passed the House, gained approval on the last day of the session from the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, but never made it onto the Senate floor.

Next session

The Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law will continue to meet this year and will likely submit more complicated recommendations to the General Assembly in 2013.

Marcus said that the commission is likely to meet again starting next month and will deliberate many of the other issues related to campaign finance included in the 2011 law. They will look into donation limits as well as loopholes that some in Annapolis – including Cardin – have said are exploited to get around state law.

“These are relatively mundane this session,” Cardin said about the bills proposed in 2012. “Next year we’ll get into the larger issues … that are much more controversial.”

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/04/11/campaign-finance-transparency-measures-pass-general-assembly/

1 year ago

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“It looks rather bleak on the outside, but inside the Benton Building has gotten a face lift to accommodate more office space for the city Department of Transportation. And the cost for DOT’s improved digs has also headed upward. We have the details.”-http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/baltimorebrew/~3/wx5KwsgHRzc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

1 year ago
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nickcolemanphoto:

Fire Escape

Olympus Mju II

Baltimore

Free expression is widespread in this part of Baltimore.

tumblr_m2bn39dGD61qhdsxao1_500

1 year ago

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Why someone hates Baltimore (not me)

boptomybeat:

This is why I hate Baltimore.

And I bet it didn’t even make the news.

You know this kind of thing happens often enough in Baltimore because there are plenty of people who walk by, including someone who walks by as the man lays there naked on the ground, and nobody gives a shit or calls 911.

Aaron Parsons, you are a cowardly prick. I hope you do time and I hope they yank your pants down and give you what you deserve for what you did to this person.

An interesting perspective on Maryland. I do not endorse all the comments, but it does provide a people’s view.

(Source: youmustbenedstarksbastard)

1 year ago

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chrissiegle:

Specter’s mural for Open Walls Baltimore at Howard St and North Ave

At interesting mural that seems to critique corporatism… Open Walls should be everywhere in Baltimore to foster public expression.

tumblr_m2a311HRiP1qbsnato2_r1_500 tumblr_m2a311HRiP1qbsnato1_500

1 year ago

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:with love and squalor: this is long and i’m not putting it under a cut

http://fornoesis.tumblr.com/post/20931599914/this-is-long-and-im-not-putting-it-under-a-cut

fornoesis:

i have so much hopkins homework i should be doing right now it’s actually sort of simon’s rock reminiscent, but i just can’t focus and part of the reason is THIS VIDEO which has been circulating the bmore reddit and has apparently made its way out of the r/bmore and onto more trafficked pages….

An interesting post about anger directed toward racism in Baltimore.

1 year ago

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The General Assembly has lost my trust

Late one night, I read a Maryland Reporter article a few days back about the so-called doomsday budget. I had also read similar news reports by DelMarVa news and other sources. There were over $500 million in cuts, mainly to education. The two powerful men of the General Assembly, Mike Busch and Mike Miller, dominated the show. Fingers have been pointed around. Some Republicans blamed the Democratic Party of Maryland and Governor Martin O’Malley for causing problems. The Governor blamed “pet projects” indirectly attacking Mike Miller, who pushed what could be called a “pet project” for Prince George’s County. Others have blamed the ideological divide between the two parties. Whatever the reason, the General Assembly has not served the people. Both parties have failed Marylanders.

In the 90-day session this year, proposals that would have been beneficial were rejected. An income tax increase of .25% on those who make over $250,000 passed the House of Delegates, but not the Senate. All tax increases (including the controversial gas tax) were rejected in favor of millions of dollars in deep cuts, which will mainly hurt secondary and higher education. A vote on a bill that would have repealed the death penalty in Maryland did not even get voted on. Another that would have created a state-owned bank like the one currently in place in North Dakota to address problems in the economy was not voted on either.

In the session, some priorities of the Governor were also not fulfilled. One major priority was a bill that authorized the construction of wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City. Activists in numerous places, including St. Mary’s College, pushed the legislature to pass this proposal. The bill passed the House of Delegates but failed in the Senate. A bill dealing with sewage and another that dealt with a “flush tax” that pays for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay were weakened in the final hours of the session.

Even with these setbacks, the General Assembly did pass some good proposals. A bill, the first in the country, banned arsenic in chicken feed, which was a victory for the people. This was a surprise because of the power the chicken lobby has in Maryland. The gay marriage bill, which was very controversial, passed both houses of the legislature. This bill moves forward marriage equality in the state in a positive direction. Another bill that is also the first of its kind in the country bans employers from asking employees for their Facebook and Twitter login information, something that will benefit every worker.

Overall, I have still lost trust in the General Assembly. Both political parties, Democrats and Republicans, are to blame for the “doomsday budget” because of the bickering over numerous issues. Also, Mike Miller can be blamed for prioritizing a pet project instead of the bigger issues. Miller demanded the bill authorizing more gambling casinos in Prince George’s county be passed before taxes increases could be considered and in the end this bill didn’t even pass, making this effort an obstructionist one. Governor Martin O’Malley also seems to be playing politics for his own gain, which is not always in the interest of the people. If a special session is not called by him, then I believe he doesn’t care about education or any of the areas cut when the session ended. The General Assembly, both parties and the Governor will continue to lose my trust unless they step up and help the people in these “times that try men’s souls.”

1 year ago

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Liberate legislative data!

Note: This is a letter I sent to my legislators asking them to support the liberation of legislative data so it can be publicly available!

I am writing as your constituent in the 3rd Congressional district of Maryland. I am writing to ask you to pass legislation requiring all public legislative databases to be published online and in bulk. Congress is lagging far behind current standards on data transparency, and I believe this lack of transparency makes corruption easier, public participation more difficult, and generally limits accountability for the people we elect to make our laws.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) made government information available to the public. While it was not perfect, FOIA paved the way for other efforts. In this day and age, there needs to be another effort like FOIA for legislative data.  I ask you to ensure that language that mandating the Library of Congress to publish the legislative data on THOMAS in bulk is included in the 2013 Legislative Appropriations bill.

As Abraham Lincoln said, we must have a “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Support this effort so that the principle of a government of the people can be fulfilled.

Sincerely,
Burkely Hermann
Maryland Activist

1 year ago

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mdhsphotographs:

Circus Parade
Baltimore, Maryland (near Charles Street)
ca. 1900
Unidentified photographer
5 x 7 inch glass negative
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection
Maryland Historical Society
MC2176A

Circus Parade
Baltimore, Maryland (near Charles Street)
ca. 1900
Unidentified photographer
5 x 7 inch glass negative
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection
Maryland Historical Society
MC2176B

Read a quick history of the circus parade on Circus World, a Wisconsin Historic Site.

An interesting piece of Maryland history.

REFERENCE ONLY. Baltimore City Life Museum 5x7 inch Glass Negati REFERENCE ONLY. Baltimore City Life Museum 5x7 inch Glass Negati

1 year ago

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fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Baltimore, Maryland: Justice for Trayvon Martin march and rally, April 10, 2012.

Photos: Sharon Black

A rally in Baltimore that honored Trayvon. People are getting involved and protesting for what is right!

trayvon1 trayvon2 trayvon3 trayvon4

1 year ago

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ondalandusa:

Youth Influences Part 2

An interesting video I thought would be worth sharing. It talks about youth influences in Baltimore and the rest of Maryland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4100EGDPDA&feature=player_embedded

(Source: enigmaticesq)

one year ago

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adg91:

some shady areas i’ve been in… seems like a completely different world at night

The underground of Baltimore possibly.

shady1 shady2 shady3

One year ago

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thecomplexmedia:

Justin Nether’s Trayvon Street Art in Baltimore

Travyon Martin must be honored because he in a way almost represents all African Americans. Justin Nether’s street art, legal or not helps convey the message in an interesting way.

(Source: sinuousmag)

trayvonwalltrayvonwall5 trayvonwall6 trayvonwall3   trayvonwall4trayvonwall2

1 year ago

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General Assembly adjourns, passing ‘doomsday’ budget without tax hikes

Editor’s note [from me]: I am angry at both political parties for not getting their act together and resulting in massive cuts to education. The gay marriage bill, while I support it, it took up too much time of the Maryland General Assembly session. Other bills like the one to create a state bank were not even voted on. Tax increases for the wealthy were dropped at the last minute. The budget was balanced but not responsibly. If a special session is not called then I feel that the legislature doesn’t care about the people. My trust in the legislature is at a low point at this time. Please read the article below for details.

By Len Lazarick and Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com
Len@Marylandreporter.com

The members of the General Assembly passed a $35.6 billion balanced budget as they were required to do by midnight Monday. But without the income tax hike they failed to enact, it is the doomsday budget that contains $512 million in additional cuts, much of it to education.

A clearly angry Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters the General Assembly failed to protect the priorities that state voters expected them to do. But in a brief press conference, he did not announce he would call a special session, as the Senate and House leaders expect him to do.

“There was 90 days to work all this out,” O’Malley said as he walked away.

(Video by Dan Menefee)

O’Malley, Busch blame Miller and gaming

O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch both blamed Senate President Mike Miller’s insistence on a gaming measure for Prince George’s County for holding up action. But others, including delegates and senators on the conference committee, said the hard philosophical positions on both sides played a role.

“I feel terrible about [the session],” Busch told reporters.

The gaming bill, which passed the House Ways and Means Committee Monday afternoon, never came to the House floor.

The House never brought up the tax hike that the House and Senate negotiators agreed to around 8 p.m. An unhappy group of senators had given into adamant delegates over the form of income tax hikes.

The House version raised less money than the Senate, increasing rates by .25% on individuals making more than $100,000 and lowering their exemptions.
“We certainly have changed our position … for the sake of averting difficult cuts,” said Senate Budget and Taxation Chairman Ed Kasemeyer. “It is a somber moment for us. … We’re not real happy.”

The revenue package was on the Senate floor as the clock struck midnight. But there was none of the balloons and confetti that usually marks the end of session in both houses.

“We did the best we could,” Miller said. He admitted that there would be many constituents that would be happy about the drastic budget cuts.

Senate Republican Leader E.J. Pipkin said, “We’ve done what we needed to do. Let’s go home.”

The cuts include over $200 million to K-12 education and $63 million to colleges and universities. State employees would not get a 2% cost of living increase ($33 million) and agency operating expenses would be cut 8%.

House tries to extend session

Maneuvers to extend the session at the last minute – including a vote in the House of Delegates about 15 minutes before midnight to keep the session going for five more days – were not successful.

As the clock turned to 11:59 p.m., Speaker of the House Michael Busch realized that adjourning the session was inevitable and left the session on an unfinished note.

“If the governor does not call you to a special session, we stand where we are,” Busch said slowly from the podium.

The budget had been at a stalemate for more than a week, with slow and excruciating negotiations to try to come to an agreement on the right mix of tax increases and exemption cuts to increase revenues.

House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, explained that the extension would be necessary for the General Assembly to have a “sensibly balanced budget.”

The uncertain conclusion to the session seemed to be the logical finish following a week of finger pointing and blame for dragging out the process.

“It’s pretty evident that our counterparts in the Senate slow-played the revenues and the budget so they were not available to be voted on,” Busch said moments after adjournment.

Busch said that he would talk to Gov. Martin O’Malley about the possibility of calling the General Assembly back to a special session, though not necessarily right away.

By reverting to the “doomsday budget,” O’Malley said that the General Assembly ended up making some of the largest cuts to education funding in years. Instead of focusing on what the people of the state wanted, he said that they put those priorities aside.

“Our republic was not built on gambling gimmicks, bingo games or bake sales,” O’Malley said. “If we want a better state for our kids, we have to come together and protect our achievements.”

O’Donnell blames Democratic leaders
A weary House Speaker Michael Busch talks to reporters after session.

House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell blamed O’Malley and the Democratic leaders.

“We screwed around on same sex marriage forever, and we delayed, and we messed around, and then we got the governor floating a new tax idea every other day,” O’Donnell said. “O’Malley failed to provide leadership. It shows how the Democratic majority and the administration have mismanaged this state right into the ground.”

“This is really uncharted territory,” O’Donnell said. “We have a budget with contingent cuts that will go into effect, which means there will be a lot less spending right now than was originally proposed by the governor and the General Assembly.”

Although O’Donnell had repeatedly called to rein in spending during the session he said he was not happy that the “Doomsday Budget” was triggered by a failure to pass the administration’s budget.

“The House Speaker and the Senate President couldn’t get along and they didn’t run these bodies and these chambers to get the work done, it’s unfortunate and indicative of the fact that this place has been mismanaged for a long time, and tonight we saw the ultimate manifestation.”

Daniel Menefee contributed to this report

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/04/10/general-assembly-adjourns-passing-doomsday-budget-cuts-without-tax-hikes/

1 year ago

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Baltimore: Watch out! Domestic crack-downs coming in the U.S.

1 year ago
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Tensions ran high in the Senate Wednesday when Sen. Paul Pinsky, D- Prince George’s, questioned a decision by Senate President Mike Miller to delay final vote on a bill to ban arsenic in chicken feed until the end of the day’s session.

The chicken industry has a lot of power, so its no surprise.
1 year ago
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The O’Malley administration affirmed its support on Wednesday for a controversial public-private partnership bill that threatens pending litigation against the State Center development in downtown Baltimore.

Maryland Reporter has an interesting story.
1 year ag0

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Supporters of cigar tax increases say higher prices will be a disincentive for teenage tobacco use. But it’s not clear if the increase will dissuade kids.

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Gnarly-rooted, misshapen and perhaps dangerous, the huge maple on a North Baltimore street would have to come down, city foresters said. Its closest human neighbors agreed, but felt awful: “Were we acting as a death panel for a tree that yet contained years of life?”

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How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb? Let’s hire one to answer that question! Besides approving more consultants for the bureau of water, the Board of Estimates divvied up funds to study the Inner Harbor Promenade, oversee road improvements at Harbor East and seed a squishy landfill nicknamed “Mt. Baltimore.

  • 1 year ago

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While Baltimore vows to grow, Philadelphia’s already done it

1 year ago

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The stalemate on the $35 billion budget between the House of Delegates and Senate shifted somewhat on Thursday evening, as senators offered a compromise on taxes and the teacher pension shift to the counties. This compromise leaves rates alone for people making less than $100,000, and has steeper increases for people in higher income brackets.

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/04/05/senate-offers-compromise-on-taxes-pension-shift-to-lift-budget-stalemate-with-house/

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Comparing Maryland’s political parties: which should you choose?

This is a quick article, but I’ve been meaning to publish this for a while. I thought that it would be helpful for all Marylanders to compare the four registered parties in Maryland (Republican, Democratic, Green and Libertarian).

The Maryland Democratic Party has according to their website:  “have produced a progressive record by championing the principles of fairness, justice, opportunity and diversity. Women and minority participation within our Party has increased steadily and produced dynamic and powerful leaders at the local, county, state and federal levels. Our inclusiveness is not a campaign slogan: We strive for it everyday and it makes us stronger and more effective.” But remember that the Democrats are those mostly in power throughout the state and the party is an affiliate of the national Democratic Party. If you think the party is dominated by money (which it is) or there are problems in your county, then check to see if it Democrats in charge.

The main competitor, the Maryland Republican Party, an affiliate of the national Republican Party, has a whole different view on governing. According to its website, it believes: “The proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well, by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people… Good government is based upon the individual and that each person’s ability, dignity, freedom, and responsibility must be honored and recognized… The free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none…Sound money management should be our goal… In equal right, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin…We must retain those principles of the past worth retaining, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view…That Americans value and should preserve their feeling of national strength and pride, and at the same time share with people everywhere a desire for peace and freedom and the extension of human rights throughout the world…The Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.” Remember that the Republicans are mainly a minority party in much of the state due to Democratic dominance. Even so, Democrats are those mostly in power throughout the state and the party is an affiliate of the national Democratic Party. If you think the party is dominated by money (which it is) or there are problems in your county, then check to see if the Republicans are in charge.

An alternative party, the Maryland Green Party has been recognized by the Maryland State Board of Elections since August 16, 2000. The party, an affiliate of the Green Party of the United States has “run candidates for local, state, and federal office”, doesn’t accept “contributions from corporations, labor unions, or political action committee (PACs)” and works to promote the “ten key values” which include:

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY

2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM

4. NON-VIOLENCE

5. DECENTRALIZATION

6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE

7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY

8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY

10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY

There is a very long explanation of their values on the Green Party’s national website if you wish to get a even better look at the party.

Finally, the last party  that is registered in Maryland is the Libertarian Party of Maryland, an affiliate of the National Libertarian Party. The summarized program they propose in Maryland includes the encouragement of a variety in education through local control, open and Responsible Government, Job and Wealth Creation without Corporate Welfare and secured Property Rights. At the same time, the Party declares that subsidies to developers be removed, encourages efficient land use and the revising zoning laws to allow the development of self-sufficient communities. Also the party pledges to prevent pollution and increase environmental awareness by making polluters pay for their irresponsibility by facing strict civil liability through the promotion of free market environmentalism. Also the party wants to:

  • Free up our law enforcement resources by concentrating efforts on crimes against persons and property, rather than non-violent offenders.
  • Stop any use of “asset forfeiture” until the property owner has been properly convicted of a crime in the judicial system.
  • Promote medical treatment, rather than prison sentences, for those who abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Stop the national War on Drugs to reduce profit of the drug trade, which will result in a decrease in crime.
  • Permit the carrying of firearms with training and a background check (shall-issue).

The full program is available on their website if you wish to look.

So, now that you have the four parties programs outlined, I hope that you choose wisely before general election day comes in the state. I recommend you sign up for their the Libertarian or Green Party. But, if you can’t decide on one affiliation, you can also register as an independent (as I have done) so that you aren’t tied to a party. Best of luck in choosing a political party.

By the Chief of Sunshine Politics, Burkely Hermann

  • 1 year ago

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NAACP: A promise fulfilled

Note: This could apply to Maryland if the death penalty is repealed here.

Friend,
Six months ago, I made a promise to Troy Davis while he was on his deathbed. I told him that we would end the death penalty in the United States, once and for all.

Today, I want to let you know that, because of you, we are even closer to ending the death penalty in this country. In a 20-16 vote, the Connecticut Senate voted to repeal the death penalty in the state. The bill will now go to the Connecticut House of Representatives, where it is considered to have a high level of support, and then to Connecticut Governor Malloy, who has said he will sign it into law.

Our fight against the death penalty in Connecticut has been in full swing ever since the unjust execution of Troy Davis. In November 2011 — two months after Troy’s execution — his sister, Kim, joined me in Stamford, Connecticut to advocate for the repeal of the death penalty. Last week, I returned to the State Capitol to reinforce our message: The death penalty has no place in Connecticut, or the United States.

Today’s victory would not have been possible were it not for the voices of thousands of advocates like you who stood tall against capital punishment. Across the country, state legislators know how valuable your voice is, and they have heard our call to end this imperfect, inhumane practice loud and clear.

We are winning the fight against the death penalty.

In addition to Connecticut’s victory today, Illinois, New Jersey, and New Mexico have all abolished the death penalty in the past few years, bringing the total number of states opposing the practice to 17. If 26 states repeal the death penalty, we can make a case to the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw the practice nationally.

With your help, we will end the death penalty. Please continue to stay engaged — text TROY to 62227 to help us carry out Troy Davis’ last wish of ending the death penalty in America.

Thank you,

Ben

Benjamin Todd Jealous
President & CEO
NAACP

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ACLU blasts Baltimore police for handcuffing schoolchildren
  • 1 year ago

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6th District Republican primary example of really slimy campaign

Reposted from the Potomac Tea Party which seems an interesting perspective. Take a read.
http://potomacteapartyreport.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/6th-district-republican-primary-example-of-really-slimy-campaign/

This is the sort of campaigning one would expect to see when a Democrat faces off with a Republican, but some of those Republicans out to get ten-term Congressman Roscoe Bartlett have sunk pretty low.

I’m sure some of you in the 6th District got that robocall yesterday from that doyen of Republican campaign tricks, Audrey Scott (who is herself campaigning to be one of three top leaders of the MD GOP), fuming and fusing in her most outraged voice about disgusting campaign tactics (worse than anything she has seen in 50 years—-I know stop laughing!) aimed at Senator David Brinkley (he of the pure-as-the-driven-snow Republican operatives).

She accused Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of dragging Brinkley’s “family” into the campaign.

The problem is that Ms. Scott, who is working for Brinkley, got her facts from the Lefties over at Maryland Juice which over the weekend released tapes of 911 phone calls from when Brinkley and his former wife were having marital problems. The Juicer claimed that the tapes came from Bartlett’s campaign. They didn’t! As a matter of fact, whoever released them to Maryland Juice was trying to kill two campaigns—-Brinkley’s for allegedly having a long-time affair with a staffer (whose salary was paid by the taxpayer) and Bartlett’s for looking like a cad to go this low.

Now, I see that the Juice is reporting that Brinkley’s ex-wife is endorsing Roscoe Bartlett.

For more, see Red Maryland where blogger Streiff has more substantive things to say about Senator Brinkley.

Also, please see my post from nearly two weeks ago reporting on Brinkley’s clever (not!) accusations against fellow Republican candidate Kathy Afzali in which his spokesman said Afzali should be working for Burger King.

So, readers, if you wonder why good people don’t run for political office, this 6th District Republican race will give you some idea. Is it Tea Party time yet?

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Legislation that would suspend child support payments for those serving more than an 18 month prison sentence was threatened in the Senate Friday by an amendment that supporters say would gut the bill

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The House passed the administration’s offshore wind power bill Friday amid accusations Gov. Martin O’Malley secured votes on the House Economic Matters Committee by coercing lawmakers with the state’s disparity grant program.

I support the offshore wind idea, but coercion if true doesn’t seem right. (http://marylandreporter.com/2012/03/31/house-approves-offshore-wind-bill-88-47-administration-accused-of-coercion/)
  • 1 year ago

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“After weeks of a relatively subdued campaign, a group allegedly aligned with 10-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett sent a bombshell of an email on Saturday to registered Republicans in Montgomery County’s newly drawn 6th Congressional District attacking Sen. David Brinkley.”-
  • 1 year ago

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Don’t bring the debt relief amendment to MD

I sometimes get updates from the John Birch Society (even though I don’t fundamentally agree with them). Today was an update about a new amendment. It is called the National Debt Relief Amendnent (NDRA). Such an amendment reads as follows: “An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate States.” (http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/7598-ndra-the-new-push-for-a-con-con) Despite what limited govt. supporters say, this amendment is not a good idea. On the other hand, the strict constitutionalist John Birch Society, which is cited for the text of the NDRA, argued the proposal of such an amendment is unconstitutional. I do not take such a position, but I still oppose this idea.

States rights has always been an issue, since the United States Constitution was written down in 1787 and ratified in 1788. This new amendment extends that power. It requires even the most minute increase in national debt to be approved by a majority of the states. This could be problematic. A new layer of complication is developed, making a process that is already under the corporate thumb to get no better. Now, the people will have their power taken away. State legislators will decide an issue that the people, the common folk should decide. Why not give the power to raise the national debt to the people? The 10th amendment says that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…are reserved to the States…or…the people.” I believe the power to raise the national debt is included in that definition and can be given to the people. This is why the amendment is a failure. The people are not given a voice, only the state legislators which could be as corrupt as congress members are given a voice in the national debt. This insulates the people and could grow more anger against government.

In conclusion, I implore Maryland to not consider such an amendment that would give power to the elites, not the common folk.
– Burkely Hermann, Sunshine Politics correspondent

1 year ago

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The Real News: Baltimore Protests Murder of Trayvon Martin Black youth who suffer racial profiling every day demand justice-
  • 1 year ago

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“Baltimore public school students are not getting slimed, we’ve discovered. Celeb-chef Jamie Oliver has been continuing his campaign to horrify America by pointing out the disgusting stuff its citizens consume. The latest – an ammonia-treated beef byproduct dubbed “pink slime” that is used as a filler in hamburgers.”-
  • 1 year ago

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Maryland wants to set a gold standard for safety to drill for natural gas in western Maryland’s Marcellus shale deposits, which could start as soon as as August 2014. The House moved two drilling-related bills closer to passage Monday night. One funds an impact study and the other provides legal recourse to Marylanders if health and property are adversely affected by drilling.

Maryland Reporter

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/03/20/marcellus-shale-protective-bills-advance-in-house/

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Robocalls continued

Most of an interesting post from the Potomac Tea Party:

Yesterday reporter Glynis Kazanjian at the Maryland Reporter told us more about the mystery phone call received in Maryland’s Sixth District which targeted Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (I reported it here a couple of weeks ago.)

And, now we learn there was also a MoveOn.org (Soros group) press release with a similar message, this time targeting the other Democrat in the Democrat primary race with Rob Garagiola (clearly the boy the Democrat establishment in Maryland is backing).

One week after the robocalls were made in Western Maryland, MoveOn.org – an organization that recently endorsed Sen. Rob Garagiola in the 6th District race – issued a press release with a similar message, urging opponent John Delaney to speak out against Georgetown University’s “restrictive policy on contraception.”

MoveOn claims they have no knowledge of who did the robocall in the 6th District——sure we believe that.

MoveOn.org and the Garagiola campaign denied they were behind the robocalls.

“We are 100 percent sure it’s not coming from MoveOn,” said MoveOn.org spokesman Michael Uehlein.

“I first read about these robocalls running in Ohio from the Drudge Report,” said Garagiola Campaign Manager Sean Rankin. “All we know about them is what’s in the press.”

The robocall efforts and the MoveOn.org press release indicate that women are being targeted in swing districts nationwide.

There is more, read the whole Maryland Reporter piece. Reporter Kazanjian has also gathered some interesting stats about how many women voters there are in parts of the new 6th District.
(http://potomacteapartyreport.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/robocall-plot-thickens-fluke-file-fattens/)

  • 1 year ago

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Mopeds and motor scooters may soon require titles filed with the Motor Vehicle Administration and their operators could be required to carry liability insurance

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/03/20/legislation-before-senate-to-require-titles-insurance-and-safety-gear-for-mopeds-and-scooters/

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The state pension system’s investment officers say that the $52 million it has paid a British company in currency management fees has resulted in some lower rates of return, but is likely to stay because it has achieved its goal of reducing volatile ups and downs in foreign stock values.

Maryland Reporter
  • 1 year ago

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Gov. Martin O’Malley’s controversial bill to control septic systems was brought to the Senate floor Tuesday, with opponents planning to offer a series of amendments. The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee approved the 33-page legislation Friday on a 7-4 vote, with Sen. Ed Reilly, R-Anne Arundel, calling it a move to “centralized planning.”

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/03/21/controversial-septic-system-controls-headed-for-heavy-senate-debate/

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In the midst of a session that has seen ethics and transparency pushed into the spotlight, two reports released this week gave the state poor rankings on both issues. A nationwide report conducted by the State Integrity Investigation ranked Maryland 40th out of 50 states for corruption prevention, awarding the state a D- on their report card.

http://marylandreporter.com/2012/03/21/maryland-government-gets-poor-grade-for-corruption-prevention/

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Fells Point: Out of Control?

A letter to the editor of Baltimore Guide argues that Fells Point was out of control on St. Patrick’s Day. The person writes: “St. Patrick’s Day was totally out of control this year. Fell’s Point was a mess–lack of police, over-serving of customers, trash, public urination, public intoxication, and drunk driving.” (http://baltimoreguide.activehosted.com/lt.php?c=98&m=108&nl=4&s=545b7fd8b00f2ea772576817349fe3f9&lid=752&l=-http—bit.ly/GEoOkr)

Now, was it out of control or was it an expression of freedom? It may seem absurd but Thaddeus Russell would probably argue that this situation was an example of renegades based what he wrote in his controversial book, the Renegade History of the United States. However, while I appreciate freedom, I would not agree with Russell’s position. I believe that drunk driving is a problem, the over-serving of customers and trash could be additional problems. The lack of police could also make restoring some sort of stability hard to achieve. Still, public urination and public intoxication don’t seem like major issues to me. I think people should be allowed to have fun, but not when it hurts other people or results in property destruction. That seems like a reasonable standard, right?

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It’s business as usual in Wicomico County. County Executive Rick Pollitt wants to raise taxes and the Daily Times can’t report the story accurately. It is true – if SB 848 passes, and it probably will, the county’s income tax rate will have to rise to the maximum rate of 3.2%.

http://www.delmarvaobserver.com/2012/03/21/higher-taxes-and-more-bad-reporting/

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Baltimore’s recreation centers, which got a reprieve this winter, will begin to feel the ax fall after July 1. In her proposed budget for 2013, Mayor Rawlings-Blake wants to convert about 12 rec centers to after-school programs and shut down as many as 8 facilities.

As Mayor SRB doesn’t want to sell historic sites, now its closing of recreation centers. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/baltimorebrew/~3/lfvaKnlWwt8/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
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Sarbanes on war in Iran

March 20, 2012

Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you for writing to me about avoiding conflict with Iran. I welcome your comments and appreciate the concerns you have raised.

I have consistently advocated for the use of all economic, political and diplomatic sanctions and other non-military options available to the United States to press Iran to curb its nuclear proliferation activities. It is my hope that this approach can and will lead to a reversal of Iran’s proliferation activities and substantially erode any threats posed by its current government. I will be sure to keep your views in mind should the full House of Representatives consider any relevant legislation in the future.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

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Take Action: Tell Maryland’s Governor and General Assembly to abolish the racist death penalty!

Dear supporter,

The Maryland Coalition for Justice & Progressive Change calls on Governor Martin O’Malley and members of the General Assembly to abolish the racist death penalty in 2012. We urge you to join us in our call by sending an email & fax to Governor O’Malley and members of the General Assembly immediately using our free online system. Continue reading to learn more about other ways you can take action.

The passage of Senate Bill 872 and House Bill 949 will effectively abolish the racist death penalty in Maryland. If these bills become law, Maryland will become the seventeenth state in the United States to abolish this practice.

Since the end of the Civil War in 1865, Maryland executed 191 people; 157 of whom were Black. That means that 82.2% of all people executed in Maryland since slavery were Back. Moreover, today, 80% of Maryland’s death row population and about 77% of Maryland’s prison and jail population is Black. In contrast, Black people make up merely 28% of the state’s population. On a national scale, Black people are three times more likely than whites to be sentenced to death on homicide charges if the victim is white.

The death penalty is used constantly and excessively by advocates of “law and order” who cite capital punishment as a crime deterrent in the United States. In essence, the death penalty is little more than legal lynching. The history of death penalty practices in Illinois highlights how many of the mostly Black death row inmates were thrown in prison unjustly, many on trumped up charges perpetrated by racist police tactics.

Send an email & fax to Governor O’Malley and members of the General Assembly now using our free online system to demand the abolition of Maryland’s racist death penalty.

Current law in Maryland allows for unfair prejudice in a capital case and does nothing to stop this practice.

Mass demonstrations at the State Capital in Annapolis
Abolish Maryland’s Death Penalty!
Free Political Prisoner Marshall Eddie Conway!

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So, City Council members wanted to know, are Baltimore agencies operating within their budgets? But the budget office didn’t have the breakdowns, except to say that costs are up in the police and fire departments. Budget director Kleine is asked to return with specifics.
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In this podcast, Senate President Mike Miller explains that progressive Democrats in his caucus demanded a higher tax on high earners. Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin says, “It will cost us jobs.” “It’s class warfare,” said Sen. Bobby Zirkin in a second podcast. “It’s the worst instincts of the Democratic Party.”
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The Senate approved the state’s entire $35 billion budget package and reforms to maintenance of effort on Thursday as the spending plan cleared its first major hurdle before heading to the House of Delegates for further tweaking.
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The Maryland State Senate unanimously passed SB135, a bill that on the one hand voids all ground lease extinguishments but on the other hand prohibits a ground lease owner from charging ground rent or obtaining a lien against the property…

http://baltimoreguide.activehosted.com/lt.php?c=93&m=89&nl=4&s=545b7fd8b00f2ea772576817349fe3f9&lid=719&l=-http–bit.ly/yFkmk1

It’s about time! This was and still is ridiculous. Ground rents are an old concept which must be taken away.

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Baltimore school officials are pledging this to parents and principals: if individual school budgets get any tighter next year, it won’t be because the central office has decided to control more dollars. But does that mean principals will have more spending power?

Baltimore Brew
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Maryland Reporter: Department of General Services docked $500,000 until release of secret study on Housing Dept. move

As part of its preliminary approval of the state budget, the Senate voted to withhold $500,000 in general funds from Department of General Services until it document the costs for moving the Housing Department’s headquarters from a state-owned property in Crownsville to a proposed development at New Carrollton Metro station

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Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to raise transportation funds with a 6% sales tax on gasoline was hailed both as a way to raise money for needed infrastructure projects as well as a way to kill local jobs in gas stations and trucking companies at hearings in House and Senate committees Wednesday.
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MD Senate passes state budget
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Maryland General Assembly: working in the people’s benefit?

I was reading Maryland Reporter and I saw two actions that pleased me. The General Assembly might be working in the people’s interest, I thought.

The first action was a 26-20 vote in the Maryland Senate “for a late amendment to a bill that would raise the state income tax by .25% for most Marylanders.” (http://bit.ly/w0e6XG) Now, I do not think this is necessary as everyone is not doing great in Maryland with a high unemployment rate and income disparity. However the amendment has a promise: it raises the “tax rate for anyone making over $500,000 from 5.5% to 5.75% for every dollar earned.” This .25% increase across the board would supposedly “raise an additional $30 million in new revenue for aging schools.” I am still not sure why they didn’t raise the tax rate much more on those making $500,000.

Now that was not the only action that caught my eye. It was the passage of a “controversial bill that would ban smoking in any vehicle with a passenger younger than 8” by a 27-19 margin in the Maryland State Senate on Wednesday. According to Maryland Reporter, the debate over the bill “centered largely over the role of government.” (http://bit.ly/z5hXhH) I am not so sure about this legislation. I support the motive (stopping secondhand smoke) but the method seems flawed. For one, if such legislation is includes “search[ing] for Fourth Amendment purposes…for information gathering purposes” by law enforcement, it is unconstitutional. Also, in “Arizona v. Gant…(2009), the Supreme Court ruled that a law enforcement officer needs a warrant before searching a motor vehicle after an arrest of an occupant of that vehicle.” (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States). If this is followed and people are guaranteed a right to privacy, it won’t bea problem.

That’s allI have to say for now.

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Maryland “Patriot” groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) put out a report that showed a rise in patriot groups. According to SPLC, “generally Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist.” (http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/active-patriot-groups-in-the-united-states)

List of Maryland’s twelve “patriot” groups:
America’s Survival, Inc.
Owings
Constitution Party — Marylanders for Constitutional Governance
Rockville
Get Out Of Our House (GOOOH)
Statewide
The Institute on the Constitution
Pasadena
John Birch Society
Elkton
Oath Keepers
Statewide
The Republic for the united States of America
Statewide
The Republic for the united States of America — Republic Congress
Statewide
Save A Patriot Fellowship
Westminster
We Are Change
Baltimore
Frederick
We the People
Reisterstown

Nothing in this says any of these groups are extremist. Please keep that in mind.

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ANNAPOLIS, MD – Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) and Wicomico County Council president Joe Holloway appeared before the House Ways & Means Committee Thursday afternoon in support of HB 966, which would allow Wicomico voters the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would prefer an elected school board.
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A story of a huge merger in China reminds me of the Exelon merger
[link doesn't work anymore]
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losangeleno:

Marijuana, A simple dried herb is illegal.

However, if a multinational drug company grinds up that herb, extracts the cannabis sativa and creates synthetic Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, combines it with gelatin, glycerin, iron oxide red, iron oxide yellow, titanium dioxide, markets it to doctors and hospitals under the name “Marinol (Dronabinol)” and in the process makes a bunch of wealthy Wall Street investors even richer, then it’s legal.

An interesting view on medical marijuana. What do you think, Maryland readers?

potmedical

(via losangeleno-deactivated20130509)

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Mergers galore: Maryland’s govt. becomes plutocratic

This was originally posted on interestingblogger.

I was reading the Baltimore Sun today and was outraged. Already on the independent blog, Sunshine Politics, I had written that the approval of the Constellation-Exelon merger. (http://sunpol.tumblr.com/post/18341122669/a-victory-for-the-monied-interests-marylanders-will) I wrote that the merger would be a “victory for the monied interests” because “$7.9 billion dollars went into the pocket of Exelon Corp. for their purchase of Constellation Energy Corp…[and] 120 of those megawatts [of new generation Exelon is required to developed within the state, which is 280-300 megawatts] will come from a natural gas-powered plants.” I continued on, noting that the merger “…causes the last Fortune 500 company to leave Baltimore and will not help lower the city’s 20%+ unemployment [while]…the site selected by Exelon…has been the subject of controversy among Baltimore real estate factions…[which could]…adversely affect electric utilities across the Baltimore region and across the state…Exelon paid for fines for possible past negligence…in 2005, the corporation paid $602,000 for exceeding the sulfur dioxide level in Pennsylvania.”

I also predicted the merger, saying it was “very likely considering the commission in 2005 approved a merger of Exelon and a New Jersey utility.” Also I warned that “if no action is taken, Marylander will have more problems as more of the state’s energy will be the hands of the monied interests, the corporations.” That seems to have happened.

Not only did the people not provide strong opposition to such a deal, but elected officials fell in line with the deal. Governor Martin O’Malley “appreciated the PSC’s decision, saying that it will add 6,000 new jobs in Maryland, more energy generation and increased renewable energy resources. Earlier the Governor had been opposed to the merger, but then he flipped his position. ” In formation OpenSecrets reveals even more. The websearch notes that Exelon has been the top contributor to 162 Congressmembers in the House and Senate from 2000 to the present, including Bob Ehlrich is 2000, Ben Cardin in 2012 and Steny H. Hoyer in 2012. (http://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/index.php?q=Exelon&searchButt_clean.x=0&searchButt_clean.y=0&searchButt_clean=Submit&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11) Also, Exelon has been a top contributor to seventeen candidates for federal office. In the elections this fall, OpenSecrets notes that of the contributions (over one million) from this PAC to federal candidates 35% went to Democrats and 65% to Republicans (http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00141218&cycle=2012). Even more money was used in lobbying. The total Lobbying Expenditures for Exelon was $6,123,154, the highest amount that has ever been contributed to lobbying in on year (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000000368&year=2011). Even though Constellation Energy contributed to Stephanie Rawling-Blake campaign, no records on financial payment can be found on OpenSecrets meaning that the energy company didn’t give money to federal candidates.

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the merger with conditions (described in my Sunshine Politics article) and by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which fined them $65,000 for letting employees “security guards at a nuclear facility in Pennsylvania sleep on the job.” Also, “Constellation Energy donated over $10,000 to re-elect Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (SRB),” a mayor that evicted Occupy Baltimore as one of her first acts after being reelected as Baltimore’s mayor. However, the occupiers before they were evicted hsd criticized the merger as a bad “deal for Baltimore (and the surrounding areas) because it does not protect jobs and has no guarantees for rate relief.” In addition, one before that statement, they had organized a march against the merger. On the other hand, on twitter I asked them on Twitter after the merger was approved by the Maryland PSC asking “@OccupyBaltimore What do you think of the Exelon-Constellation merger approved by the PSC?
Twitter for iPhone • 2/18/12 1:13 AM” They never responded to this comment but it is possible they may protest it soon.

You may be wondering what happened with the merger recently. Well, the Daily Record writes
(http://thedailyrecord.com/2012/03/09/constellation-exelon-gets-final-approval/) that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC forced Exelon to pay a $135 million penalty “related to Constellation’s energy trading transactions in New York wholesale energy markets from September 2007 to December 2008.” In addition, “the company will also pay $110 million in “disgorgement”…$6 million will go to six regional grid operators to improve their surveillance and analytic capabilities [and]…$104 million will…[go] to a fund administered by a FERC administrative judge, that will make payments to state agencies that make claims on behalf of consumers.” One must also note that “Constellation name will live on as the companies’ competitive power division” based in a new “$120 million building to be constructed at Harbor Point in Baltimore.” Even with all of these words, not criticism of the plan is offered. In the Baltimore Sun article that was mentioned at the beginning of this piece (“Merger gets final ok,” March 10th 2012) a number of startling facts and criticisms are noted. The Sun writes that this deal ends a yearlong effort to combine Exelon and Constellation which now will be “the largest non-utlity energy provider in the United States.” This is exactly what the merger approved in 2005 by the FERC with the New Jersey company would have done, except it was stopped after there was massive public action. The article continues telling readers some of the conditions of the conditions of the PSC’s merger in mid-February and mentions one group that is critical: “The Maryland Office of People’s Counsel, the state’s consumer advocate, and its Pennsylvania counterpart had raised concerns that the combined company would hold too much power in the PJM [xxx] Mid-Atlantic electricity grid, potentially pushing wholesale electricity prices higher.” The FERC responds, saying that the merger would not “harm competition in the relevant geographic markets,” something that seems ridiculous considering it is the biggest “non-utlity energy provider in the United States.” Most distutbing in the article is the fact that 930 workers could be affected. Three Maryland power plants in Baltimore and Anne Arundel that currently employ 300 workers would work in Exelon-owned plants as provided in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s merger conditions. At the end of the article, slipped in is these words: “The merger is expected to lead to the elimination of about 630 positions across both companies, with job reductions felt in most of Baltimore.” The likely reduction of jobs seems unfair for Baltimore, which already has high unemployment. On twitter when I looked up the merger @jproctor tweeted:
“There’s something wrong when #Baltimore loses its last Fortune 500 company: Baltimore Sun t.co/FYpYbbXF.” There are also tweets from @CNBC, @SNLEnergyNews, @EPCNews @plattspower and @SteveKopack of NBC news about the merger. One twitter user @MussAkram called the merger “exciting” but described no more. The one criticism of Exelon I haven’t read anywhere, but my mom told me, is the fact that Exelon has a horrible safety record. She is opposed to it for this reason and because jobs would be lost.

I repeat the words I wrote in my Sunshine Politics article: “The common folk must participate in militant non-violence opposing this merger and must push for re-regulation of the energy markets by the PSC for the betterment of all Marylanders.” Get out there and participate in militant non-violence!

By Burkely Hermann
March 11, 2012

http://interestingblogger.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/mergers-galore-marylands-govt-becomes-plutocratic/

  • 1 year ago

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Best type of Pest Control. It should occur in Maryland!

pests

  • 1 year ago

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Equality Maryland: A Day to Celebrate!

Today is a day to celebrate! Yesterday Governor Martin O’Malley signed House Bill 438, The Civil Marriage Protection Act into law! Equality Maryland’s Board, staff, members and supporters were honored to bear witness to this historic moment.

As I stood there at the statehouse stairs watching our Governor sign the bill, I thought of all the twists and turns that brought us to this day. The long days we spent year after year walking the halls of the legislature talking to legislators about fairness for our families. Sitting in the court room listening to the oral arguments in the Deane v. Conaway case, and trying to hold our heads high and committing to fight on after the heartbreaking day when the court issued its opinion. The snow storms, rain and other adverse weather we all survived to attend Lobby Day in Annapolis. I thought of the people that brought us to this day. The brave plaintiffs who put their lives on the line, the thousands of people that shared their lives and their family’s lives with legislators helping them understand why this issue is about fairness, the staff and board of Equality Maryland past and present who have poured their heart and energies into securing protections for the LGBT community. Many of you reading this have been engaged in securing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples for years and I hope that you are feeling the same sense of accomplishment and pride that all of us at EQMD are!

It truly is a day to celebrate. We live in a state where our elected officials – our legislators, our Attorney General, our Comptoller and our Governor – are committed to protecting our families. They came down on the side of fairness and fair representation for our families.

But today is also a day to prepare to protect this exciting win. We know that opponents of equality are out there right now collecting signatures to put HB 438 before voters on November. We know we have at least 50% of Maryland voters supporting marriage equality, but we need to increase that number. We ask for your continuing support for EQMD as we now shift to ensuring we preserve this historic win.

Today is a day to celebrate. Today is a day to recommit to keeping the marriage protections we have all worked so hard to secure. Please join us.

  • 1 year ago

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Inside City Hall: BOE quickly approves a lot of spending (Baltimore Brew)

Total spending: $16.5 million. Total time of meeting: 2 minutes.

The Baltimore Board of Estimates today approved 65 pages of spending items with a single voice vote.

The largest expenditure (over $3 million) went for new portable oxygen tanks for city firefighters, replacing the current crop of SCBAs, or self-contained breathing apparatus.

One of the more curious items was $85,000 for a one-year supply of paper lawn and leaf bags. Under prevailing prices, this would come to about 200,000 bags.

Routine Agenda Items

All of the expenditures were approved as “routine agenda items” to be acted upon collectively.

Most of the meeting was taken up by Deputy Comptroller B. Harriette Taylor reading off two withdrawn items and listing some abstentions by the panel’s three elected officials – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and City Comptroller Joan Pratt.

Here is a granular look at some of the main items approved:

• $3.25 million to German-based Dräger for SCBA equipment and supplies to replace existing Dräger equipment used by the Fire Department. Under a complicated formula, the company will accept trade-ins of existing SCBAs and provide technical support, including repairs, over a two-year period.

• $1.5 million to One Call Concept Locating Services for utility relocating and related work for the bureau of water and wastewater. This is an increase on an existing contract of $3.8 million, making the total award to the Hanover, Md., company $5.3 million through April 2013.

• $1,393,741 to AIDS Interfaith Residential Services (AIRS) to provide housing to 111 homeless clients for the next year, plus an additional $50,325 to give HIV/AIDS clients “useful and critical information about their illness, community resources and their personal needs in a friendly and familiar setting.”

Two weeks ago, the spending board approved $1,384,650 to AIRS to oversee permanent housing for 39 newly released prisoners with HIV/AIDS.

• $1,387,399 to the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training Inc. (MCVET) to operate a transitional home for 120 homeless veterans through this October.

• $776,895 to Santos Construction Co. for the reconstruction of alleys in various locations. A minority subcontractor, Machado Construction, will receive 21% of the contract, and a women-owned business, McCall Trucking, a 7% share.

• $750,000 to Hershey Meters Co. for fireline water meters for the bureau of water and wastewater. This is an increase to a 2008 contract, which will now total $1,799,470.

• $700,000 to Marcon Engineering Services for repairs and maintenance of city-owned boats. Last October, Marcon and General Ship Repair Corp. won a $3 million contract for the repair of the city’s fireboats.

• $400,000 to Johnson & Towers for parts and service for Allison transmissions. This is a second add-on to a 2009 contract for a total of $1.1 million through May 2013.

• $331,716 to Mosaic Community Services, an affiliate of Sheppard Pratt Health System, to provide mediation and parenting seminars for children and adults referred by the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

• $220,170 to Machado Construction for urgent safety improvements at the intersection of Franklintown Road and Winans Way.

• $239,500 plus $54,000 in annual service and licensing fees to Inet Inc. (Iparq) to provide software for the city’s Residential Permit Parking Program. Last year, the program issued 35,000 permits in 43 RPP areas.

• up to $200,000 for a licensing agreement between Verizon Maryland and the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to let the city attach its planned fiber-optic broadband network on “up to 40 poles and up to 3,234 feet of conduit” owned by Verizon.

• $150,000 to Brown’s Communications to maintain Motorola’s 800 MHz system at city fire stations. Timothy Brown, president of Brown’s, contributed $1,000 to City Council President Young’s reelection last year. Young did not abstain from voting on the contract.

• $85,000 to Duro Bag, of Florence, Kentucky, for paper lawn and leaf bags for “various” unspecified city agencies. This is an increase of a $120,530 contract for lawn and leaf bags awarded back in May 2008, and lasts through May 2013.

• $34,065 to The Baltimore Sun to publish the city’s 2012 tax sale list.

http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2012/03/07/inside-city-hall-boe-quickly-approves-a-lot-of-spending/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+baltimorebrew+%28Baltimore+Brew+-+Stirring+Up+Baltimore+News+and+Views%29

  • 1 year ago

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John Sarbanes on military funding

Note: This is a form letter

February 29, 2012

Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you for contacting me to express your views on reducing military funding. I appreciate hearing from individuals who carefully follow the proceedings of Congress and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Military spending must be scrutinized for savings and deficit reduction. Since 2000, the Department of Defense budget has doubled and we have spent billions of dollars fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During consideration of H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2012, I voted for several amendments that would cut defense spending and end wasteful programs. I will be sure to keep you views in mind should the full House of Representatives consider relevant legislation in the future.

We must make difficult budget choices in a thoughtful way, being careful not to compromise the core values that have always sustained American progress – ensuring opportunity, strengthening community and promoting private enterprise and innovation. That means judging in a common sense and responsible way which initiatives should be scaled back and which should be preserved or scaled up. Cutting the federal budget just for the sake of cutting is a reckless strategy that can do harm to the country.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me about other matters of importance to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

  • 1 year ago

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Forget Michigan. Worry about Steny Hoyer. While most political eyes are fixed on Romney’s primary results, the middle class faces a threat to its financial security right in the heart of the Capitol.The Democratic Party does, too. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who is the living embodiment of Washington’s corporatized politics, is once again pushing a “Grand Bargain” that would cut Social Security and Medicare – and result in more electoral losses like the ones he helped bring upon his party in 2010. Hoyer is the Lobbyists’ Legislator, the Revolving-Door Representative, the Minority Whip who really drives floor votes for the Corporate Party rather than the electorate. Hoyer’s pseudo-centrist deficit pitch will please the rich individuals and corporations that have given him one of the biggest campaign war chests in Congress. It will also help Republicans run a repeat of their 2010 play, when they took the House by running to the Democrats’ left on Medicare and Social Security.

Interesting quote on the Democratic Party in Maryland
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  • 1 year ago

Cumbersome EPA mandates are driving up costs as municipalities and providers struggle to maintain and upgrade Maryland’s water infrastructure, Baltimore’s mayor and the state’s chief water utility officer told the Senate Tuesday

  • 1 year ago

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Blue Water Baltimore: MD’s Phase II WIPs Open for Public Review

Drafts of Maryland’s state and county Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL are now available for public review and comment. The public comment period will be open through Friday, March 9, 2012. You don’t need to be an expert on water quality or planning to submit comments—let us know if you are willing to help! Further information on the public comment process is provided on the MDE web page. Additionally, a series of regional public informational meetings will take place during the comment period; Baltimore’s meetings are scheduled for March 1st and March 5th. It will be very important to have good representation at these meetings. Please contact us if you can attend!

At Blue Water Baltimore, we’re working diligently on our legislative priorities and on strengthening these Watershed Implementation Plans. The opportunities for public attendance and input will be very important, and we will share details shortly so please keep an eye on your email! If you’re interested in learning more, please email Mike Aaron or call 410-254-1577 x107.

  • 1 year ago

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A huge fight, involving between 200 and 300 persons, broke out early Sunday morning at the Gene Price Community Center in Harrington. Police officers from across Kent County were dispatched to aid the Harrington Police.

DelMarva news. I feel that people are getting fed up with government and their economic condition
  • 1 year ago

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Support this if you can in the best way possible!

secondchances

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Do you agree with this statement?

hmmm...

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Interesting conference. If you agree with this stuff then go…

answer
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Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson has been cleared by the Delaware Public Integrity Commission of two complaints regarding land-use applications that came before the council. In one complaint an anonymous source complained that Wilson had purchased hay at a below market price from the applicant, Russell Banks.

My question is, was his clearance right or was he cleared for political reasons?

The Baltimore Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Occupy4Jobs Network are calling for a protest of the poor condition of a city-owned building in west Baltimore where a historic 1955 civil rights sit-in was staged.

Baltimore Brew reports on a protest in Baltimore. Exciting stuff!

What! MD General Assembly strikes a blow at poor

This was originally and accidently posted on my blog, HermannView, so its being reposted here.

I just came back from weed cleaning around a greenhouse at my school and I read this story. At first I thought it wasn’t so bad, but reading it more carefully I became outraged.

From the Daily Record in an article titled “Changes to Maryland public defender law passed”:
The Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates have passed measures to repeal a Maryland law requiring that poor defendants have a public defender present when they appear before district court commissioners.

The Senate passed its version of the bill 45-1 on Thursday, and the House passed a measure on a 133-0 vote.

The bills were prompted by a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that defendants must have an attorney present at their appearances before court commissioners, who can decide whether defendants are detained. Compliance with the ruling could cost tens of millions of dollars if the law isn’t changed.

(http://cl.publicaster.com/ClickThru.aspx?pubids=6886%7c721523%7c11945%7c68592&digest=LPQxJMpdHF%2fmwLdxDj9rAQ&sysid=1)

In addition, the passage of this law strikes a blow at Gideon v. Wainwright in the 1960s in which the Supreme Court ruled that poor defendents were guaranteed an attorney when they even afford it. Wikipedia page on the subject. “In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys.”

In conclusion, the passage of this law makes me even more skeptical of the General Assembly of Maryland, as I now believe that they may not even represent Maryland’s interests at all.
– Burkely, Chief of Sunshine Politics

http://hermannview.tumblr.com/post/18571710349/what-md-general-assembly-strikes-a-blow-at-poor

Bob Ehrlich’s former campaign manager gets off lightly for robocall disgrace

An interesting story from the Potomac Tea Party. I actually agree with the Tea Party this time, when I am opposed to many of the views written on the blog.

More than a disgrace—-a crime, and one that will taint the Maryland GOP for years to come.

Before I give you all the news about Paul Schurick’s sentencing hearing this past week, please take a minute to look at this video clip of Julius Henson, the man Schurick apparently hired and paid to produce calls that were clearly meant to suppress black voter turnout on an election day that everyone knew was going to end with an Ehrlich loss before it even began.

Nothing Ehrlich’s team could do once the morning dawned was going to change the outcome that day!

Furthermore, anyone who would hire a Democrat political operative like Henson to have any role at all in a Republican campaign has no common sense and doesn’t deserve to win, or to even walk free. And, if you are wondering why the MD GOP doesn’t ever make progress and attract new people, it’s because there are still party insiders who see nothing wrong with employing dirty campaign tactics.

One County Central Committeeman told me upon hearing the judge’s decision on former Democrat Shurick:

I have never had much love for Ehrlich, but with the shenanigans his campaign pulled on election day, I have no more respect for the man, and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t know how he continues to show his face in political circles. Whether he knew about the robo calls or not, either way, if he was willing to hire people like that to run his campaign, it shows a pretty severe lack of discernment (or concern) into the character of the people advising you. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know about the calls in the first place… a campaign manager doesn’t do much without the approval of the candidate.

Indeed.

If you are a new reader and don’t know the background, please visit a previous post when Schurick was found guilty and follow links to earlier posts, here. And, learn about the “Schurick Doctrine,” a strategy to confuse African American voters, here.

I’m wondering did the MD GOP ever formally repudiate the Ehrlich team’s actions in all of this? It is not too late if they haven’t.

And, I’ve gotta tell you, I have no idea why the US Justice Department vote section didn’t get involved in this vote suppression robocall case. One possible reason is that they don’t go after voter suppression if the one doing the suppressing (Henson) is black (we learned that from Christian Adams). Or, because some big muckety-mucks like Thomas Perez (a friend of some in the Republican establishment in Maryland) is calling the shots in Justice now.

Here is the news from the Baltimore Sun on Shurick’s sentence. LOL! I’m not sure what the judge means when he says the sentence, which is extremely light, needs to send a message—-what message is this sending?

Saying the offenses strike at the “values of this nation,” a judge sentenced Paul E. Schurick, the campaign manager of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., to home detention and community service Thursday for approving automated Election Day telephone calls to keep black voters from the polls.

The sentencing went forward even as Schurick’s attorneys sought a new trial, alleging that the credibility of a key prosecution witness has been undermined. Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill spared Schurick prison time by suspending a one-year sentence and forgoing fines.

He sentenced Schurick to 30 days of home detention with electronic monitoring, four years of unsupervised probation and 500 hours of community service to be divided equally between areas targeted by the robocalls — Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

Fletcher-Hill said the sentence needed “to send a message that influence and deceit in elections will not be tolerated. … Even in the most wide-open political campaigns, there are borders that cannot be crossed.”

For a more accurate perspective on what Schurick did, and what Bob Ehrlich didn’t have the guts to do, be sure to read Joe Steffen’s “Irrelevant to all worlds,” at Global Rhetoric where Steffen says of Ehrlich’s written plea to the judge for leniency:

To be blunt, Ehrlich should be ashamed of himself for hinting with a written nod and a wink that it was just a “mistake.” It was a bit more than a mistake…it was a crime, four of them actually, that Paul Schurick was first nailed and now sentenced, on.

Speaking of “being ashamed,” those who showed up in court today fervently supporting Paul Schurick, the Democrat who got nailed while working for a GOP Governor-One-Term-Wannabe-Again, should also feel at least a smidgen of shame. And, unlike Ehrlich, they don’t even have a legacy to be on the lookout for.

As for Ehrlich, his legacy is both intact and in place: A one term Governor cum struggling author and columnist with a Prince of Darkness in his past and a Convict in his present. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

And, in case you were wondering, despite his blathering to get everyone to show Paul Schurick some love, Bobby Ehrlich never even bothered to show up for his guy in court today.

He sent his MD GOP establishment lackeys instead.

http://potomacteapartyreport.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/bob-ehrlichs-former-campaign-manager-gets-off-lightly-for-robocall-disgrace/

Sen. Ulysses Currie sat in silence Friday as the Senate chair of the Joint Ethics Committee, his seatmate Norman Stone, read the findings of an ethics investigation that called for a resolution to censure Currie and remove him from leadership positions on committees and subcommittees. All 47 senators, including Currie, voted for the censure after he made a tearful apology.

Currie vs. the Senate…

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Silkworth ruled…that a referendum to challenge a new law granting in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants can go forward on this November’s ballot.

That is good. Let the voters decide…

The House Judiciary Committee had a hearing a bill (HB350) that would lower the punishment for having small amounts of marijuana.

Yes! Medical marijuana has been debated, now marijuana decriminalization.
Republicans are again trying to curb public benefits for illegal immigrants, as they have repeatedly in past years, against the continued opposition of social service groups

Senate leaders are trying to find $500 million in tax hikes as alternatives to those proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to avoid a “doomsday” budget with $1 billion in spending cuts, Senate President Mike Miller told reporters Tuesday.

Interesting General Assembly news…

A victory for the monied interests: Marylanders will suffer

Recently the Constellation-Exelon merger was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). While it seems it would add jobs, the same can be said as an argument for more mergers and privatization. The opposite usually occurs. $7.9 billion dollars went into the pocket of Exelon Corp. for their purchase of Constellation Energy Corp.

Governor Martin O’Malley appreciated the PSC’s decision, saying that it will add 6,000 new jobs in Maryland, more energy generation and increased renewable energy resources. Earlier the Governor had been opposed to the merger, but then he flipped his position. According to the Daily Record, the PSC set out certain conditions in the merger. These included an one time “$100 rate credit to all Baltimore Gas & Electric customers…paid within 90 days,” a requirement of Exelon to invest “$113.5 million over three years into a fund to provide energy efficiency and low-income energy assistance to BGE customers” and a requirement of Exelon to “develop between 285 and 300 megawatts of new generation within the state.” However, 120 of those megawatts will come from a natural gas-powered plant. Natural gas usually comes from areas of fossil fuels, leading to increased greenhouse gases. At same time, the PSC is telling Exelon “to develop 125 megawatts using alternative renewable resources…[by] January 2022 and “30 additional megawatts of solar generation” by December 2015. Lastly the PSC required “keeping staffing levels the same at BGE and at two power plants the companies…for a two-year period” and required the “divestiture of BGE if Exelon files for bankruptcy or allows its credit rating to drop six levels below investment grade.” The credit rating aspect seems to not take into account the problems of the credit agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poors. These agencies are the same ones that rated junk bonds Triple A, partly causing the financial crisis we are in now.

What could be the negatives to such a deal? The conditions given by the PSC are small, considering that Exelon gained more than $18 billion in revenue in 2010 (latest numbers available from the Securities and Exchange Commission). In addition, the $100 rate credit is not enough for those suffering in Maryland at this current time as Occupy Baltimore surmised in November 2011. At that same time, the Occupy website wrote that “the merger is not a good deal for Baltimore (and the surrounding areas) because it does not protect jobs and has no guarantees for rate relief.” One month earlier they had organized a march against the merger. This deal also causes the last Fortune 500 company to leave Baltimore and will not help lower the city’s 20%+ unemployment. In an recent article, the Baltimore Brew took a different tact. They reported that “the site selected by Exelon, on the property of the ex-Allied Chemical works near Harbor East, has been the subject of controversy among Baltimore real estate factions.” This controversy could now adversely affect electric utilities across the Baltimore region and across the state.

The controversy isn’t the whole story about Exelon. The corporation has given to the Obama campaign and would profit from federal cap-and-trade legislation. Across twitter and retweeted by @occupybaltimore is a statement that Constellation Energy donated over $10,000 to re-elect Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (SRB). One of the first acts of Mayor SRB’s term was to under the destruction of the Occupy Baltimore encampment and the eviction of those protesting there. On top of that Exelon paid for fines for possible past negligence. In 2005, the corporation paid $602,000 for exceeding the sulfur dioxide level in Pennsylvania. In 2009, they were fined $65,000 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for letting security guards at a nuclear facility in Pennsylvania sleep on the job. That same commission approved the merger after the PSC this week.

What is the next step for people? According to the Daily Record “this approval leaves only a review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before the transaction can be consummated.” The merger’s approval seems very likely considering the commission in 2005 approved a merger of Exelon and a New Jersey utility. Exelon would have become the biggest energy producer nationwide. However, citizen action in New Jersey at the time pressured both companies to break the agreement. If the same mobilization occurs in Maryland, it is possible the agreement could be broken. If no action is taken, Marylander will have more problems as more of the state’s energy will be the hands of the monied interests, the corporations. The common folk must participate in militant non-violence opposing this merger and must push for re-regulation of the energy markets by the PSC for the betterment of all Marylanders.

Blue Water Baltimore: We Need You! Tell Your Elected Officials to Make MD Waters Healthy and Safe

Dear clean water supporter:

This is it—time to jump in and make your voice heard! We’re more than halfway to the goals we set 20 years ago for a restored Chesapeake Bay. Right now, Maryland’s legislature has the opportunity to make sure we finish the job of cleaning up the Bay and our local waterways that feed it, like the Gwynns Falls, Jones Falls, and Herring Run. The next few weeks provide an unprecedented opportunity for legislation that can make a real difference right here in the Baltimore region. Can you spare some time for a cleaner and healthier Inner Harbor? Cleaner and greener neighborhoods? Strike that—please take some time for the following two simple actions. Time-sensitive hearings and public comment periods are here, and we need your help!

1. Please contact your state Senator and Delegate(s) by February 27th and let them know you support the following bills:

Clean Water, Healthy Families Legislation
Stormwater Management: (SB 614 / HB 987)
Bay Restoration Fund: (SB 240 / HB 446)
Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012: (SB 236 / HB 445)
If passed, these three bills would ensure new policies and revenues to finally clean up local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay using proven, effective, and job-creating actions such as upgrading wastewater treatment plants already under commitment, ensuring local governments have resources to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, and curbing pollution from poorly planned development and septic systems.

Bag Bill Legislation
The Community Cleanup Act of 2012: (SB 511 / HB 1247) – Sets a 5-cent fee for bags from retailers to reduce bag pollution, distribute re-usable bags to those in need, and generate revenue for restoration and green jobs! Stop trash before it ends up in our trees, streams and storm drains! This has worked very successfully in Washington, DC.

Find contact information for your legislators by visiting http://mdelect.net/.

Important! If you live in Legislative District 43 (including the neighborhoods of Guilford, Lauraville, and Waverly, among others), the committees of Sen. Carter Conway and Del. McIntosh are especially important and they need to hear from their constituents. Sen. Ferguson of District 46 has also been working hard for our causes and could benefit from some thanks. All elected officials in Annapolis are hearing about these bills and can help influence the outcomes, so please get in touch today. You do not need to be an expert on these issues or the legislation – they just need to know you care about clean water.
Call your Senator by February 27th and tell them that you support the Clean Water, Healthy Families legislation (SB 236, 240 and 614) and the Bag bill (SB 511).
Call your Delegates by February 27th and tell them that you support the Clean Water, Healthy Families legislation (HB 445, 446 and 987) and the Bag bill (HB 1247).
It’s that easy—just call and say who you are and where you live, and that you support the bills. Feel free to add why clean water matters to you!
If you contact your representative, please drop us a line to let us know.
Tweet this campaign | Forward this email to a friend | Share on Facebook

Want to learn more about these bills? The Maryland League of Conservation Voters has “hotlists,” brief descriptions of most of this session’s bills affecting the environment.
Want the legislative details? Go to the Maryland Legislative Information Service.

2. Lobby Day: Monday, March 5th from 5pm-8pm

Can you do even more—and join us to talk with your elected leaders in person about important legislation to clean our waters, our air, and our streets? You don’t need to be an expert. Legislators want and need to hear from their constituents. All you need to do is be there. We will make an appointment with your representatives, brief you on the issues, and provide materials and talking points to use during your meeting. This is democracy in action, so please join us.
WHEN: Monday, March 5th, 5pm-8pm (or however long you can stay)
WHERE: Miller Senate Building, 2nd Floor East, Annapolis, MD
Bring a friend and help us spread the word by forwarding this to those friends, family, and organizations you think would be interested. RSVP here.

Please contact us with any questions. You can reach Mike Aaron via email at maaron@bluewaterbaltimore.org or by phone at 410-254-1577 x107.
Thank you for your time and effort. This is important to the livelihood, health and community of Baltimore!

The Easton Town Council had voted to mandate recycling for all residents. The vote was 4 – 0 and excludes commercial properties. Councilman Leonard Wendowski abstained from the vote, citing concerns about costs. The town estimates that the program would cost approximately $6 per household per month…

I like this idea, even it costs people $6.00 a month

Grand Prix won’t fully pay its way; Pratt joins Young in opposing race The city will foot about $500,000 for police, fire and other overtime pay for the upcoming Grand Prix. February 22, 2012

City Comptroller Joan Pratt questions a city official today about the Downforce Racing contract. Sitting next to her is Alfred Foxx, director of public works, and, standing, assistant Walter Horton.
Photo by: Mark Reutter

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What’s Percolating?
Steve Kraus, Baltimore’s chief of treasury management, told the Board of Estimates today that the 2012 Baltimore Grand Prix is expected to cost taxpayers $800,000, only a portion of which will be covered by a ticket surcharge meant to protect the city from direct losses from the event.

The admission, drawn out in questioning by City Comptroller Joan Pratt, confirmed an analysis by The Brew that the city would be paying more in overtime (for police, fire and sanitation personnel) than it would receive from the so-called “lockbox” surcharge on ticket sales.

If the race attracts last year’s 110,000 paying customers, the city would receive $330,000 from a $3-per-ticket surcharge – leaving taxpayers to foot a bill of about $470,000.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has made continuation of the Grand Prix a priority of her administration, saying it produces tens of millions of dollars of economic benefits as well as highly favorable publicity.

Last year’s organizer left the city with $1.7 million in unpaid taxes and other obligations, which led her office to announce a new race promoter last week.

Board Splits on Pact

Today the spending board approved a five-year contract with Downforce Racing LLC amid an unusual split by the panel’s three elected officials.

The three investors in Downforce Racing. From left: Dan Reck, Felix Dawson and Dale Dillon. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
Rawlings-Blake carried the day 3-2, thanks to the votes of her two appointees, Public Works Director Alfred H. Foxx and City Solicitor George Nilson.

Meanwhile, Pratt sided with City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who earlier called on the mayor to stop trying to “move heaven and earth” to continue the Grand Prix and concentrate on such matters as funding the city’s recreation centers.

Pratt and Young rarely vote against the administration. They approved the original Grand Prix contract.

New Information on Promoters

The vote came after new information was disclosed about the negotiations by the mayor’s office that resulted in the contract with Downforce Racing, a for-profit group that was incorporated just two weeks ago:

• Downforce never presented a plan to encourage minority and women’s participation in the event, even though the city requires 27% minority and 10% women-owned participation in city contracts.

• Downforce’s three equity partners (Felix Dawson, Dale Dillon and Dan Reck) told the board today that they “don’t need any additional investors,” including minority or women investors.

• Downforce and the IndyCar series that sanctions the race for a fee have not developed a youth outreach program in Baltimore nor considered donating tools and equipment to the automotive training program in city schools.

• the benefits fund for nine Baltimore neighborhoods affected by the race will likely drop to about $55,000 this year, based on a 50 cents-per-ticket surcharge. That’s half of the $100,000 distributed by Baltimore Racing Development last year.

• Downforce is not required to distribute any of the city’s 10% share of profits until the contract ends in November 2016.

Two Narratives

Two competing narratives marked today’s meeting – praise for the event by city and racing officials as a boon to the city and deep skepticism of the race’s benefits by Comptroller Pratt’s office and citizen activist Kim Trueheart.

M.J. “Jay” Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., presented the administration’s case, describing the three-day race over the Labor Day weekend as a “significant economic development project for the city.”

City Councilman William H. Cole IV, in whose district the race is held, hailed the contract with Downforce as protecting taxpayers’ interests and added, “We have created a sustainable event.”

Sarah Davis, senior director of business affairs for IndyCar, called Baltimore “a highlight of our 2011 season” and said the group, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, has “utmost confidence in Downforce Racing.”

Joan Pratt Channels Hyman Pressman

Comptroller Pratt had a decidedly different take.

She and her aide, Walter Horton, peppered the spending board with a series of questions about profit sharing, minority participation and potential hidden costs.

She complained several times that the mayor’s office did not supply her with a copy of the Downforce contract until last Friday. With Monday a holiday, Pratt said her office did not have enough time to review the material.

Pratt’s persistence – reminiscent of Hyman A. Pressman, who served as City Comptroller and “taxpayer watchdog” for seven terms – clearly annoyed Rawlings-Blake.

At one point, the mayor turned toward Pratt and said, “I’m sure there aren’t commitments [from Downforce] that you’re looking for on the spot.” Their exchange took place in the hearing room named after Pressman.

Have Not Made Any Decisions

Downforce’s Reck responded to Pratt’s questions by saying, “We have not made any decisions on any vendors.” He said that as Baltimore residents, he and fellow investor Dawson “are very eager to use local people as much as we can.”

Thomas B. Corey, chief of the Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO), said he plans to meet next week with Downforce to discuss minority hiring.

Corey pledged to hold the group accountable to the city’s participation goals, which led Pratt to snap back, “The city does not always meet its MBE/WBE standards.”

Kim Trueheart, who lodged a protest against the Downforce contract, called for more transparency and criticized the way the mayor’s office negotiated the deal.

She faulted the mayor for not conducting an assessment of what led to the financial failure of last year’s promoter. “I don’t know if you’ve improved anything in the process,” she concluded.

Two renowned Baltimore plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook Inc., claiming that the world’s most popular social networking website has violated federal and California laws designed to protecting the privacy of consumers. William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr. and Peter G. Angelos allege Facebook has surreptitiously used online tracking technology…

From the Daily Record. I hope that Facebook pays for its wrongdoing.

I hope the gay marriage bill passes!

gaymarriage

The Senate delayed debate on the same-sex marriage bill that cleared the Judicial Proceedings Committee yesterday until Thursday morning, but a final vote is still expected by Friday.

Come on! Let’s pass this legislation!

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s state redistricting map will become law on Friday without a single hearing, and Marylanders have been denied a say, the state Republican Party and Fannie Lou Hamer, an African-American political action group, charged on Wednesday.

I agree this time with the Republican party, just because the redistricting was definately gerrymandering…

Yes! Victory has been won, my friends!

gaymarriagepasses

The singer Willie Nelson has joined with 300,000 other activists in a lawsuit against the U.S. agricultural giant Monsanto, citing the company’s practice of suing small farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. The suit was filed as part of the “Occupy the Food System” campaign protesting the corporate takeover of small farms and the use of harmful pollutants like Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide.

Democracy Now! Willie Nelson Joins Suit Against Agro Giant Monsanto. Why doesn’t some action start in MD!
NY TIMES: New Jersey Assembly passes marriage equality bill, which now goes to Gov. Chris Christie, who has vowed to veto it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/nyregion/veto-awaits-new-jersey-bill-allowing-gays-to-wed.html

Congratulations New Jersey legislature for the move toward equality! Can this happen in Maryland now?

(Source: inothernews)

Occupy Baltimore Activists Protest Building of Youth Jail Baltimore Occupy and Algebra Project activists are arrested by police during protest of new juvenile facility for youth charged as adults

Reply from John Sarbanes (letter he sent me in response to my view on Citizens United)

January 13, 2012
Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you for contacting me about the deeply troubling ruling by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, which overturned nearly a century of campaign finance law and regulation. I appreciate hearing from you and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

It is essential to the health of our democracy that our electoral process remains accurate, transparent, and accessible. When considering legislation relating to campaign finance, Congress must weigh the fundamental right to free speech against the potential for well-funded special interests to exert improper influence. I believe it is important to establish a financing framework that strengthens representational government and limits the influence of special interest groups on the electoral and legislative process—this must include a robust public financing regime.

I strongly believe that a robust disclosure regime governing campaign financing and advertising is an essential piece of any legislative response to Citizens United. I have cosponsored and supported legislation that seeks to make campaigns more transparent by requiring corporate executives to “stand by their ad” and disclose who is paying for it.

You may also be interested to know that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1404, the Fair Elections Now Act. This legislation seeks to establish a public financing system for House and Senate elections. H.R. 1404 was referred to the House Committee on Administration, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Although I do not currently serve on any of these committees, I will be sure to keep your views in mind as the House of Representatives considers campaign finance issues.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

I stayed up to listen to all the candidates make their election night speeches. The speeches were unremarkable. But, what was remarkable was what I observed during each candidate’s speech-the lack of diversity on the stage with each of the candidates. During these 6 speeches (Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, Perry, and Bachman), there was not one Black or Latino on the stage with the candidates.

A commentator on bmorenews talks about the New Hampshire primary.

Bluewater Baltimore’s priorities for the 2012 Maryland legislative session

Maryland’s legislative session opened yesterday, and we’re ready to take it on! Here at BWB, we’re gearing up for the most significant policy push in years. Our priorities include 1) stormwater infrastructure funding in Baltimore City; 2) smart septic system management in Maryland; 3) upgraded wastewater treatment plants (such as the Back River WWTP, below); and 4) a bag bill to help curb the plastic bags that end up in our waterways, harbor, and bay.

In two more surprises in the race for the redrawn 6th Congressional District, state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney said Tuesday he won’t challenge Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, but freshman Del. Kathy Afzali of Frederick said she will, pitting her against the state senator from her own district, David Brinkley.

First District Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) has filed for re-election to a second term in the U.S. House. With the filing deadline for the two major party primaries looming, it appears that Harris will not face serious opposition in 2012.

DelMarVa news. That means the one who has accepted all sorts of corporate contributions will win.

Maryland’s lawmakers are back in Annapolis on Wednesday for the 430th legislative session. The General Assembly faces a host of major fiscal issues, including a $1.1 billion budget deficit…

The Daily Record
Gov. Martin O’Malley quietly released his legislative redistricting map Wednesday afternoon, the deadline for its introduction as a joint resolution in the Maryland General Assembly.

First we were told that raising the sales tax to 6 cents would fix the state’s fiscal woes. Now Maryland governor Martin O’Malley argues that we need to increase the sales tax to 7%: “If I had my druthers, I’d rather do the one penny on the sales tax,

DelMarVa news comments that O’Malley is planning on raising the sales tax

An Army officer recommended a general court-martial Thursday for a low-ranking intelligence analyst charged with causing the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Lt. Col. Paul Almanza’s recommendation to try Pfc. Bradley Manning on all 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, now goes up the chain of command.

The Daily Record. I wish the best for Bradley Manning and I hope he is not convicted of false charges.

Editorial: Welcome back; it’s time to act (The Daily Record)

The Maryland General Assembly is encamped in Annapolis once again for its annual 90-day session, primed to do the people’s business. At least we hope so.

Little was accomplished in the 2011 session. That was unfortunate, because there was much to be done, but it also was not unusual for the first year in a four-year term. There were many new faces, people in new roles and freshmen not yet ready to take on big issues.

There also was a strong preference in the executive and legislative branches to postpone tough financial decisions and hope instead that another round of fiscal gimmickry would buy enough time for the economy to start pumping big bucks into state coffers again.

That didn’t happen, so Gov. Martin O’Malley and the 188 state legislators are faced with many of the same problems that confronted them last year. And time is running out.

The crisis in transportation funding stands at the top of the list of pressing fiscal issues.

It has been nine months since Gus Bauman, chairman of The Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding, told the governor and legislative leaders that “… the state’s transportation system finds itself on the verge of financial collapse unless action is taken now to change course for a new, more secure heading.”

Mr. Bauman was right, but we are still waiting for actions.

Maryland needs a major infusion of money to finance projects that are vital to moving people and goods more effectively, improving our quality of life and our economy.

The Red and Purple mass transit lines hold great promise for the Baltimore area and the Washington suburbs. Planning is proceeding quickly and the projects will be eligible for up to 50 percent federal funding. But the state has nowhere near enough money to pay its share of the more than $4 billion to build these lines.

We also need money to repair and build bridges and roads and to keep improving facilities at the Port of Baltimore.

With a goal of increasing transportation revenues by $800 million a year, the commission is urging a 15-cents-per-gallon gas tax hike over three years as well as increases to vehicle registration fees, the titling tax on new and used cars, higher transit fares and a range of fee increases at the Motor Vehicle Administration.

These proposals come with their share of pain. We understand that, and we know it’s hard for politicians to raise taxes and fees in tough economic times.

But it is irresponsible for our elected leaders to continue to ignore a transportation system “on the verge of financial collapse.”

We are not locked into a total amount of money that should be raised, nor the means by which to raise it. But the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding presents a convincing case on both fronts, and we believe the burden is on the governor and legislature to either accept the commission’s recommendations or develop a plan of their own which provides substantial new resources for transportation.

Whatever they do on the revenue side, it is essential that our elected leaders also agree to stop raiding transportation funds for other purposes. This commitment needs to be made publicly and emphatically to a skeptical public.

From: http://thedailyrecord.com/2012/01/12/editorial-welcome-back-it’s-time-to-act/

James Brochin and the blackout

My best work on the State Senator, Brochin will probably be offline due to a protest by Wikipedia. So, I am republishing it here: James Brochin

James (Jim) Brochin
Member of the Maryland Senate
from the 42nd district
In office
2003 – Present
Personal details
Born February 22, 1964
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children One
Residence Towson, Maryland
Occupation Insurance Broker
James (Jim) Brochin is an American politician from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party who makes has a base salary of $43,500 a year and $142 a day.[1] He is currently serving in his 3rd term in the Maryland State Senate, representing Maryland’s District 42 in Baltimore County. In 2010 he was reelected as a Senator for another four years, the term of a Maryland Senator.[2] During the 2010 campaign, he raised $344,316, had $131,245 on hand and spent $225,413 on his campaign, which was more than what James Rosapepe and Andrew (Andy) Harris spent on their campaigns.[3]

On his website, he calls himself Maryland’s most independent Senator. In a letter on his homepage, signed with his name at the bottom he explains the reason he still serves on the General Assembly. He writes: “Over the last 9 years, I have always voted my conscience placing my constituents’ best interests above anything else. As I promised 9 years ago, my votes have reflected fiscal conservatism combined with a great concern for protecting open space and saving the Chesapeake Bay. I continue to remain an independent thinker, placing policy before party.”[4]

HideBackground

He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, February 22, 1964. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, B.A. (political science)in 1986 and gained an M.A at the University of Maryland, College Park, M.A. for government & politics in 1990. In 1989 he was a Legislative analyst for the Maryland Senate President. Also that year he was a political analyst for WCBM Radio. From 1990-1991 he was a lobbyist in Baltimore County. From 1993 to 1994 he was a Campaign manager for Joe Miedusiewski. From 1990-8 he was a political science instructor at the Catonsville Campus, Community College of Baltimore County. From 1994 to present he has taught at Towson University. From 2000 to present he has been an insurance broker. From 1994 to 2001 he was a senior political writer for Baltimore Magazine, 1994–2001, In 2003 he was dubbed the legislator of the Year by the Maryland State’s Attorneys Association, 2003. In 2004 he was dubbed the Legislator of the Year by the American Institute of Architects, 2004. He current has one child. Since 2005 he was been a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures.[5]

↑Jump back a section
HidePolitical career

Member of Senate since January 8, 2003. Member, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 2007-; Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, 2003-; Special Committee on Substance Abuse, 2007-. Member, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 2003–04; Joint Committee on Federal Relations, 2003–06; Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, 2004–06 (environment subcommittee, 2004–06; ethics & election law subcommittee, 2004–06). Member, Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Caucus, 2004-. Member, National Conference of State Legislatures (law & criminal justice committee, 2005-; legislative effectiveness & state government committee, 2005–07; legislative effectiveness committee, 2007-). Member, Environmental Restoration and Development Task Force, 2003.[6]

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HideLegislative career 2002-Present

Senator Brochin has served three terms as a state senator representing the 42nd legislative district.

Election of 2002

In 2002, he won the seat for state senator with 22709 votes, Martha Scanlan Klima, the Republican incumbent gained 21781 and write-in named “zz998” gained 45 votes.[7]

Election of 2006

In 2006, he won against Douglas B. Riley, a Republican, who garnered 19,084 votes or 43.7%. Mr. Brochin garnered 24,588 votes or 56.3% and write-ins included 30 voters or 0.1% of the electorate. [8]

Positions in 2007 legislative session

The last session where information is available tells even more about Mr. Brochin. Less bills were sponsored in this session by Mr. Brochin and are the most unique positions of the senator to date.[9]

Supported an initiative that would require that a child with a disability in a home school setting be given the same consideration as a child with a disability in a private school setting for the purpose of passing through federal funds for the provision of specified federally authorized special education services
Supported an initiative that would authorize a nonprofit association to institute, defend, intervene, or participate in specified governmental proceedings under specified circumstances or forms of alternative dispute resolution
Supported an initiative that would add the first-degeee assault and the attempt to commit specified offenses to the offenses for which it is lawful for an investigative or law enforcement officer to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication in order to provide evidence
Supported an initiative that would allow evidence of a defendant’s act of sexual misconduct with a minor in a prosecution for specified sexual offenses involving a minor(s)
Supported an initiative that would alter the standing requirements for an aggrieved person, a community association, and a homeowners association to appeal to the circuit court a decision of a local board of appeals, a zoning action of a local legislative body, or any matter arising under the planning and zoning laws of a local jurisdiction
Supported an initiative that would prohibit an organization that collects dues from its members from engaging in campaign finance activity except through an affiliated political action committee, subjecting a specified membership entity to specified campaign finance reporting requirements and repealing specified exceptions relating to a political club
Supported an initiative requiring that specified buildings be high performance buildings unless a unit of State government obtains a waiver from the Department of Budget and Management
Supported a price preference as an incentive for the construction of new school buildings as high performance buildings; requiring the Board of Public Works to adopt specified regulations, prohibiting the State or a county board of education from authorizing an appropriation for the preliminary planning for new school construction for a high performance building
Supported an initiative that would authorize the creation of State Debt of $500,000 as a grant to the Board of Trustees of Sheppard Pratt Health System, Inc. for the design of the Forbush School for autistic and emotionally disabled students, located in Towson and providing for disbursement of the loan proceeds
Supported an initiative that would prohibiting a person from using an automated dialing system with a prerecorded message to call a residential telephone number in the State under specified circumstances and prohibiting a person from using an automated dialing system with a prerecorded message for political campaigns or political messages
Supported an initiative that would prohibit the Motor Vehicle Administration from offering or authorizing the Driver Improvement Program/Point System Conferences Pilot Program provided over the Internet
Supported an initiative that specified that a statute of limitations does not apply during a specified period of time for a specified person and authorizing a specified person to obtain a specified certificate for specified civil actions relating to child sexual abuse filed by a specified victim
Positions in 2008 legislative session

In 2008, Mr. Brochin sponsored certain legislation that was different that what he has voted on before. In this session, there was some bills relating to special education, illegal aliens and others. [10]

Supported an initiative that would require that a child with a disability in a home school setting be given the same consideration as a child with a disability in a private school setting for the purpose of passing through federal funds for the provision of specified federally authorized special education services
Supported an initiative that would require the Maryland Health Care Commission to include specified coverage of child dependents in the Comprehensive Standard Health Benefit Plan
Supported an initiative that would alter the penalties for crimes relating to the possession of controlled dangerous substances, establishing minimum and maximum fines for possession crimes, require District Court clerks, circuit courts to remit specified fines to the counties to be distributed into specified funds established in each county and require establishment of a county residential drug abuse treatment services fund in each county that may be used only to fund residential drug treatment services in the county
Supporting the prohibition of the Motor Vehicle Administration from issuing a new driver’s license to an individual who cannot provide specified documentation certifying that the individual is lawfully present in the United States in accordance with federal law
Supporting an initiative that would alter the venue for a postconviction proceeding
Supporting an initiative that would add the first-degeee assault and the attempt to commit specified offenses to the offenses for which it is lawful for an investigative or law enforcement officer to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication in order to provide evidence
Supporting an initiative that would increase specified fees for service of process of specified papers by a sheriff, require that $10 of the fees be distributed to a fund established under the Rental Allowance Program, establish the Rental Allowance Program Fund, providing for the purpose of the Fund
Supporting an initiative that would require each new school building created by Baltimore County shall be a high performance building, prohibiting the State or the Baltimore County Board of Education from authorizing an appropriation for the preliminary planning of a new school building
Supporting an initiative that would alter the portion of a sentence that must be served before individuals convicted of specified violent crimes can be paroled
Supporting the establishment of exceptions to an exclusion of conduct involving the use of a motor vehicle from the crime of reckless endangerment
Supporting the prohibition of a court from dismissing a criminal proceeding based on a violation of the right to a speedy trial unless the court holds a hearing and requiring the court to make detailed written findings before dismissing the case when the court is unable to provide a qualified interpreter for a defendant who cannot readily understand or communicate the English language
Supporting an initiative that would authorize a nonprofit association to institute, defend, intervene, or participate in specified governmental proceedings under specified circumstances or forms of alternative dispute resolution
Supporting an initiative that would grant a nonprofit association or homeowners association standing in court under specified circumstances and requiring a nonprofit or homeowners association to allege and prove specified conditions before being granted standing
Supporting an initiative that would prohibit the forced sale or foreclosure of a property due to unpaid water, sewer, or other sanitary system bills
Supporting the prohibition of an electric company from removing or clearing one or more trees on a public utility right-of-way or land except in accordance with specified procedures, requiring an electric company to send a notice to specified property owners and requiring that a copy of the notice be sent to the Public Service Commission and the Consumer Protection Division; also allowing an owner to submit a written request and allowing the Division to issue a cease and desist order under specified circumstances
Supporting an initiative that would authorize the creation of a State Debt of $450,000 dollars as a grant to the Board of Directors of St. Joseph Medical Center, Inc. for the planning, design, renovation, expansion, repair, construction, and capital equipping of an existing Cardiac Catheterization Prep and Recovery area
Positions in 2009 legislative session

Unlike the 2010 and 2011 sessions, Mr. Brochin’s website linked us to a page hosted on the General Assembly site, an archive page. During this session, Mr. Brochin had some interesting positions as well, different from previous sessions.[11]

Supported decreasing the time limit by which the Office of Administrative Hearings is required to complete specified procedures in contested cases delegated to the Office by a State agency from 90 to 45 days
Supported the prohibition of dredging by the Department of Natural Resources of buried oyster shells on Man-O-War Shoals as part of carrying out specified duties to increase the productivity or utility of the natural oyster bars of the State
Supported a law that required a notary public applicant to receive approval from a specified State Senator; repealing a provision of law requiring an individual appointed as a notary public to be a resident of the senatorial district from which the individual is appointed; requiring a notary public applicant to receive approval from the Secretary of State
Supported prohibition of certain criminals from getting part of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and the disclosure of the identity or contact information of a specified victim or claimant by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
Supported a law that required an inmate who is convicted of committing a specified crime of violence during a period in which the inmate was paroled for a previous conviction for a specified crime of violence to serve the full sentences for both crimes consecutively and is not entitled to a diminution of the inmate’s terms of confinement for either crime and is not eligible for parole at any time for either crime during those sentences
Supporting a law declaring that the interest rate for each month or fraction of a month owed for deficiencies in estimated income tax payments is the applicable federal underpayment rate in effect for the month
Supported an initiative to require apartments with ten or more units to provide recycling bins and a civil penalty for not following the law
Supported an initiative requiring the Health Services Cost Review Commission to prohibit a facility from charging a patient interest or late payment fees at a rate that exceeds a specified percentage
Supported the increasing of the number of specified alcoholic beverages licenses to 10, altering to 65% the specified minimum percentage of the average daily receipts of a restaurant that must come from the sale of food and requiring that the Board of Liquor License Commissioners deny an application for the transfer and conversion of a license under specified circumstances (this became law)
Supported an initiative that clarified that a person convicted of a specified prohibition against unlawfully obtaining property from a vulnerable adult shall be disqualified from inheriting, taking, enjoying, receiving, or otherwise benefiting from the estate, insurance proceeds, or property of the vulnerable adult under specified circumstances
Supported an initiative that would authorize the governing body of Baltimore County to grant, by law, a property tax credit against the county tax imposed on personal and real property that is owned by the Northeast Youth Association, Inc.
Supported the prohibition of a police officer from conducting or supervising a strip search or body cavity search of a person arrested for a misdemeanor or traffic offense or for a specified traffic offense with certain exceptions and only authorizing strip searches and body cavity searches only if specified conditions are met
Positions in 2010 legislative session

Like the 2011 legislative session, Mr. Brochin’s website laid out the bills he supported it.[12] He was the lead sponsor of the below legislation. He was the lead sponsor of each piece of legislation in the list below.

Supported an initiative that establishes that the Baltimore County Board of Liquor License Commissioners may require that for three restaurants in the Towson area, applicants for license transfer and issuance must demonstrate a minimum capital investment of $50,000
Supported an initiative to give certain victims of domestic violence could get temporary housing up to 14 days
Supported the placement of speed control cameras placed in work zones when there are workers present
Supported an initiative that would regulate the circumstances and criteria needed for law enforcement and correctional officers to conduct a strip search and/or body cavity search
Supported an initiative to require apartments with ten or more units to provide recycling bins
Supported an initiative to require that a special election be held in the event of a U.S. Senate vacancy in Maryland
Supported a state-wide ban on foreclosures as a solution for unpaid water, sewer, or other sanitary bills
Supported an increase in the age limit for a person to be considered a child dependent from 25 to 30 for purposes of being included on their parents’ health insurance policy
Supported prohibition of certain criminals from getting part of the criminal injuries compensation fund
Supported a restructuring of the registration process of child sex offenders and said that the public has a clear right to know when sex offenders are living next door or down the street
Supported an increase in the term of imprisonment for a person who is involved in a vehicular accident that results in the death of another person
Supported a prohibition of convicted child rapists and sex offenders from earning diminution credits while incarcerated
Supported an initiative to re-couple the Maryland Estate Tax to the Federal Estate Tax using the applicable unified credit which corresponds to the exclusion amount
Supported an initiative to alter the venue for a postconviction proceeding
Supported an initiative that would allow evidence of a defendant’s act of sexual misconduct with a minor in a prosecution for specified sexual offenses involving a minor(s)
Election of 2010

In 2010, Jim Brochin with less of votes than the less election, with 24,346 people voting in his favor(58.39%), but his Republican opponent, Kevin Carney was almost 7,000 votes behind with 17,320 voting for him (41.54%). Other Write-Ins registered 27 people in the Baltimore County or 0.06% of the vote. [13]

Support of medical marijuana

In 2010 during the debate over medical marijuana in the Maryland General Assembly, Senator Brochin professed his support for medical marijuana. In a mailed form letter on 6.9.10, Mr Brochin wrote: “I supported the medical marijuana bill which could relieve the suffering of our most vulnerable citizens. [The bill] allows someone who has pain through a chronic or terminal illness to be prescribed medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has been shown to stimulate appetite for those that must undergo chemotherapy.”[14]

Support for same-sex marriage

Senator Brochin in 2011 made a controversial move. In an interesting about-face, Washington Post reported that Mr. Brochin stated he would support same sex-marriage in the state of Maryland: “Brochin said at a news conference that while he has been willing to support civil unions between gay couples previously, the word “marriage” was a “stumbling block.”…Brochin called testimony from same-sex marriage opponents “appalling and disgusting. … I just heard hate and venom coming out of that hearing.”“[15] The Advocate found similar statements from the senator. In the article he is quoted as saying: “What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling,” he said. “Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles. I believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, but rather people are born one way or another. The proponents of the bill were straightforward in wanting to be simply treated as everyone else, and wanted to stop being treated as second-class citizens. For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end.”[16]

Positions in 2011 General Assembly Session

Mr. Brochin’s website lays out every bill the Senator has supported. Some positions he held were controversial, as others were not.[17] He was the lead sponsor of the below legislation.

Supported prohibition of texting while driving (law passed)
Supported alteration of the definition of “work zone” as it relates to work zone speed control systems
Supported initiative to give certain victims of domestic violence could get temporary housing up to 14 days
Supported prohibition of certain criminals from getting part of the criminal injuries compensation fund
Supported an initiative to require a circuit court to issue an order requiring the parties to participate in mediation
Supported an initiative that would allow evidence of a defendant’s act of sexual misconduct with a minor in a prosecution for specified sexual offenses involving a minor(s)
Supported an initiative to require apartments with ten or more units to provide recycling bins
Supported an initiative to create a term of office for the elected members and altering provisions relating to appointed members
Supported an initiative to alter the Senatorial and Delegate Scholarship Programs
Meeting with BGE officials at Towson High School

As an effort to mitigate the anger of the populace against Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) owned by Constellation energy, Mr. Brochin held a meeting in Towson High School. The Baltimore Sun reported “The meeting, held at Towson High School, was attended by dozens of residents who spent the first week of September in the dark — and won’t let BGE forget about it…But after the presentation [by BGE officials] some level of vitriol was common from the speakers…For his part, Brochin said one of the reasons to bring up Irene three months later is to evaluate priorities for restoration after such outages.” [18] Towson Patch also had an article on the subject. They noted that “State Sen. James Brochin moderated a Monday evening town hall with representatives of BGE at Towson High School, where officials listened to complaints and concerns of more than 30 residents and promised to do better…During the question-and-answer session, which lasted for more than an hour, residents grilled [BGE officials] Carostens and McDaniel on what happened during the August storm and the lessons learned.” [19] One individual user on YouTube[20] posted audio of the whole meeting in a number of different videos.

↑Jump back a section
HideReferences

^ “James Brochin- Ballotopedia”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Terms of Delegates and Senators in Article III, Section 7”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Top Fundraising Candidates through August 10, 2010”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Jim Brochin letter to constituents”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “James Brochin – Biography – Project Vote Smart”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Jim Brochin page on Maryland State Archives website”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Official 2002 election results”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Official 2006 Gubernatorial General Election results for State Senator”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “BILLS SPONSORED BY BROCHIN – 2007 REGULAR SESSION”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “BILLS SPONSORED BY BROCHIN – 2008 REGULAR SESSION”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “BILLS SPONSORED BY BROCHIN – 2009 REGULAR SESSION”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Positions in 2010 legislative session”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Official 2008 Election results for District 42”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Viewpoints on the drug war”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Brochin confirms plan to vote for Md. same-sex marriage bill”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Antigay Testimony Swayed Md. Senator’s Marriage Vote”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Positions in 2011 legislative session”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “Hurricane Irene still brews a few dark clouds in Towson”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “BGE Officials Hear Concerns at Irene Town Hall”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ “HermannView YouTube Channel”. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
ORIGINAL WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE LINK: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brochin

ABOUT OCCUPY BALTIMORE

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE, 10/22/2011:
Through the transformation of this public space Occupy Baltimore is expressing solidarity with other Occupy Movements throughout the nation and the world who are forcing attention to the issues of political and economic injustice.

Our purpose is to open for all people a lasting, transparent, and honest Democracy organized in a consensus model. Our goals will be defined by that consensus of our General Assembly. We offer to the people what corporate privilege and political complacency in out nation has taken from them.

A DRAFT STATEMENT FROM OCCUPY BALTIMORE, 10/4/2011:
The Occupy movement began on September 17th as people from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and political views gathered on Wall Street. Their central message focuses on the political influence of Wall Street and Corporate America in our political system and the disparity between the top 1% of wealthiest American and the remaining 99%. The Occupy Wall Street movement is committed to nonviolence and has organized themselves to be a leaderless group, committed to participatory democracy and collective decision-making.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired similar actions to begin in cities all across America. In Baltimore, the call to action was heard and the initial meeting was held on October 2nd. Together, as a group, the 200 plus folks who showed up for the first meeting made decisions on where and when the protest would begin. In following with models set up in New York and other cities, Baltimore formed several committees to disseminate responsibility and ensure all the needs of the group are met during the occupation.

Occupy Baltimore was started as a show of solidarity for those
protesting on Wall Street. Individuals protesting bring their own
specific goals and concerns and the group plans to highlight the
diversity of issues inspiring those who are occupying. A plan to
create a clear articulation of goals and demands are underway. In the meantime the group continues to find unity as the 99%.

Regular General Assemblies of Occupy Baltimore are being held daily at 8pm at McKeldin Fountain located on the corner of Pratt Street and Light Street in Downtown Baltimore.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

POLICIES:
#occupybaltimore Sexual Offense PolicySince its inception, #occupybaltimore has maintained a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. We maintain that creating a safe space for all people is paramount to our goal of building community. We actively oppose sexual violence in all its personal, cultural, and systemic forms.Procedure

Victims can alert the Security Team using the all-purpose call, “Round-up!” to ensure immediate physical protection and subsequent enforcement of our policy.

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted commentary or physical contact. It is the victim’s prerogative to classify any action as sexual harassment, and to decide whether or not the harasser be ejected from #occupybaltimore. If the victim chooses to enforce the ejection policy, the harasser will be ordered not to return until the Safer Spaces Committee in conjunction with the Mediator’s Committee has reviewed the incident on the following day.

Instances of sexual abuse and assault will be handled according to the expressed desires of the victim. The Security and Medical teams are equipped with a list of resources, including contact information for the police, hospitals, sexual assault hotlines, and women’s shelters. In these instances, #occupybaltimore welcomes the involvement of the Baltimore City Police and encourages victims to report crimes. We also recognize that the U.S. Justice System is flawed, especially when it comes to cases of sexual assault. If for any reason the victim feels uncomfortable with police involvement, their wishes will be respected.

Anyone reporting sexual assault, with or without police involvement, will have the support of the #occupybaltimore community. This includes but is not limited to medical assistance, transportation, protection, investigation, mediation and conflict resolution, and emotional support and counseling.

Resources
Baltimore City Police
– Emergency: 911
– Central District Precinct: 410-396-2411

TurnAround, Inc.
– Sexual Assault Response Hotline, 9am-7pm: 443-279-0379
– Local Office: 410-837-7000

Baltimore City Health Dept.
– Emergency Medical Care Team: 410-545-3229

Mercy Medical Center (Sexual Assault Center and Emergency Services)
– 410-332-9477

Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
– Main: 410-550-0100
– Emergency : 410-550-0350

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore (24-hour crisis intervention)
– Main: 410-578-5678
– Emergency: 410-578-5000

University of Maryland Medical Center
– Emergency Room: 410-328-6722
– Pediatric Emergency: 410-328-6335, 410-328-6677
– Child Sexual Abuse: 410-328-5289
– Adolescent Clinic (Rape Team): 410-328-8336

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
– National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
(1-800-656-4673)
– Online Hotline: www.online.rainn.org

House of Ruth (Emergency Shelter for Battered Women and Children)
– 24-hour Hotline: 410-889-7884
– Legal Services: 410-554-8463, 410-889-7790, 410-889-7791
www.hruth.org

Child Protective Services
– Adults: 410-361-5000
– Children: 410-361-2235

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Maryland has become increasingly polarized politically over the past two decades, but it will likely stay dominated by Democrats as it has been since the 19th century, although today’s Democrats bear little resemblance to those a century ago. That’s among the broad conclusions of a new book on the state’s political past, present and future by two local professors, who have also played an active hand in many election campaigns – mostly on the Democratic side.

MarylandReporter paints a picture which more of the same in Maryland: party dominance

Questioning $900 million plan for “limping” Convention Center (Baltimore Brew)

13
Categories
Center
City Planning
Politics
The Drip-o-lator
Topics
Baltimore comes in right behind Boston in a City Journal article taking cities to task for pouring millions of public dollars into convention centers despite “a nationwide surplus of empty meeting facilities, struggling convention centers, and vacant hotel rooms.”

The author, Steven Malanga, holds Charm City up as a prime example:

“Hoping to help its limping convention center, Baltimore paid $300 million to build a city-owned convention hotel, which opened in 2008. The hotel lost $11 million last year and has barely been able to pay its employees or its debt service,” writes Malanga, author of the 2010 book “Shakedown.”

“Yet Baltimore is now considering a massive $900 million public-private expansion that would add a downtown arena, another convention hotel, and 400,000 feet of new convention space,” Malanga writes, noting that the projected cost in public money is $400 million.

(The mismatch between those two numbers comes because developer Willard Hackerman has said he would lead a private investor group to foot the $500 million bill for the arena part of the plan.)

The Brew raised some of these same questions in a 5/27/11 analysis piece – “Super-sized convention center: a meal Baltimore could skip?”

While $900 million may sound impressive (and could help many ailing neighborhood facilities in Baltimore, such as public pools, recreation centers and dilapidated city school), the amount pales in comparison to what Malanga says Boston tourism officials want to spend to double the size of their struggling convention center:

$2 billion.

  • 1 year ago

Ruck.us is a new for-profit website that lets people meet on a common ground based on their political beliefs, whatever they may be. It allows people who are interested in different issues – but not so much in hewing to strict party ideology – to find people who feel the same way they do, to learn about actions they can take to advance their cause, and maybe even to find candidates who more closely match their ideals.

Interesting political site described by MarylandReporter.com
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Unemployment deception.

DeMarva observer comments: “The U.S. unemployment rate dropped in December to 8.5%, from November’s 8.7%. With the creation of 200,000 non-farm jobs, this could be a signal that the economy is moving forward at a slightly better pace. While the unemployment rate did decline, a large portion of that decrease.” Well, if nation unemployment is actually at 25% (by estimates of many economists), then this isn’t much of a deal. While it is good 200,000 jobs were created, one must remember that the stimulus only created 1-2 million jobs (which is contested).

Message about corporate personhood.

corporatepersonhood

O’Malley joins the budget cutters

In 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland proposed a budget to the General Assembly. Many ideas I found disconcerting. (Note: this was a proposed plan, some of which was rejected: http://thedailyrecord.com/2011/03/16/house-subcommittees-to-work-on-maryland-budget/)

The Sunshine review looked at the budget in detail: “Facing a $1.35 billion budget gap, Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed a budget for fiscal year 2012 that includes drastic cuts to local governments and major spending cuts. O’Malley’s proposed budget includes $949 million in proposed spending cuts, $225 million in transfers from other state funds and using $143 million of previously unbudgeted funds. His proposal draws $264 million from the Medicaid budget, $104 million from reform of the state employee retirement system, $55 million from higher education and $52 million from local governments. O’Malley’s budget includes $7 billion to bring health care coverage to more than 900,000 low-income, disabled, ill children and adults. It also provides $18 million for prescription drug assistance to Maryland seniors. Other health care provisions include $3 million for Maryland Access Point, which improves access to long term support and services for seniors and people with disabilities. O’Malley’s budget also provides aide to local governments and municipalities. His budget plan includes $45.4 million for police assistance and $20.3 million in local law enforcement grants that target domestic violence, substance abuse, and gun trafficking. The budget also increases spending for evidence based services for juvenile offenders by 18 percent to $5.6 million. Several fee increases under the O’Malley budget include doubling the title of a car purchase from $50 to $100, doubling the cost of a personalized license plate from $25 to $50 and doubling the charge for tax filing from $20 to $40.”

Removing $475 million of funds toward Medicaid, the retirement system for Maryland State employees, higher education and local governments does not help the common man. As the Associated Press has stated, 150 million people are at or below poverty in the United States. That’s about half the country. So, these measures do not help those in dire straits, it hurts them. On the other hand $7 billion is being devoted to “bring health care coverage to more than 900,000 low-income, disabled, ill children and adults.” Even with this amount of money, it is not enough as many are impovereished. The same goes for “prescription drug assistance to Maryland seniors” and “other health care provisions” seem underfunded by a wide margin. The money for police assistance is paltry in number, not enough to help those in need. The most enraging part of the budget is the “$20.3 million in local law enforcement grants that target domestic violence, substance abuse, and gun trafficking.” The war on drugs is a war on drug users, in every state in the United States. As a result, these funds are not needed and neither is a heavy-handed approach to crime.

As I delved more into the budget, I more infuriated. There was “$446 million cut from state agencies, $94 million cut from education aid funds, $132 million cut from state retirement and health benefits and a 3.4 percent cut in funding for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Division of Financial Regulation.” First off, the cuts in state agencies translates to a loss of jobs. According to many estimates the unemployment rate is 25%. The state is just adding more people to the lines of unemployed in this action. A cut in education funds will not benefit the incoming children. It will also damage education systems like Baltimore County Public Schools, rated one of the best in the county. Those teaching in the schools and other state jobs suffer another setback as their retirement and health benefits are cut. With the horrible economic situation, this cannot be good for those in a precarious situation. The governor disses them again. The cut in the financial regulation division is on of the worst. At a time when corporations need to be held accountable, this division is being cut to balance a budget? That’s poposterous.

In the Governor’s budget there is a number of insulting sections. The 25% increase “for the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund to help stimulate business growth and economic development,” the “$10 million in sustainable communities tax credits to promote urban redevelopment and create job[s],” “$8.2 million for major tourist and cultural attractions,” “$250 million for public school construction” and 25.3% in money supporting unemployment insurance.
Economic development and business growth probably won’t benefit the people. With cuts in the financial regulation division and elsewhere, its like O’Malley is just slapping them in the face. The money to promote urban redevelopment doesn’t help as those without a home will have less places to stay in and their surroundings are changed. With this new development, the developers will benefit, the jobs will not be high-paying (what do you think a construction worker will get?). The money for attractions is enraging because as the people are hurting, money is being spent on something that doesn’t really improve the people’s well-being. The money for school construction is the same. If education aid and money for higher education is removed, why would one think that construction will make it better? It won’t. Finally, the money for unemployment insurance seems generous, but I believe its only there because the number losing their jobs will increase in Maryland as a result of the cuts.

Onto some positives, in a sense. $12.4 million is dedicated towadd for stem cell research, $8 million for biotechnology tax credits, $3.8 million for the Maryland Biotechnology Center and $5.8 million for the the One Maryland Broadband Network, which connects three existing broadband networks across Maryland. However, the stem cell research funding must be increased and the biotechnology credit seems to be worthless except for those that can afford the technology. The broadband network seems underfunded as there was $1 billion in cuts already and infrastructure is failing in the United States, including Maryland. On a final note, I believe the Governor is on the side of the privledged, not the common man.

- Burkely Hermann

Gov. Martin O’Malley will press for greater infrastructure spending in this year to continue job growth that he said stacks up well against Maryland’s neighbors’. The state lost some 140,000 jobs during the Great Recession, a contraction of 5.3 percent.

The Daily Record

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has outlined his agenda for 2012. While he would characterize it as “seeking revenue enhancements” and “investment”, opponents will call it what it is … TAX and SPEND. O’Malley proposes a 15 cent increase in the gas tax.

DelMarVa Observer on Martin O’Malley

OCCUPY BALTIMORE GETS EVICTED

Published December 14, 2011
by Robert M. O’Brien (on Baltimore Fishbowl)

Early yesterday morning, Baltimore police in riot gear evicted Occupy Baltimore protesters who had been camping out at McKeldin Square for the last ten weeks.

Protester Mike Gibb said that with the eviction the movement enters into “Phase Two,” in which demonstrators begin squatting in empty buildings. It is not clear whether Gibb speaks for the larger Occupy Baltimore community.

Certainly Occupy’s tent cities and general assemblies are interesting (even inspiring), as are the issues it’s raised about the right of citizens to peaceably assemble in public spaces and on college campuses, but it wasn’t conceived as a movement about squatters’ rights or as a prototype for an alternative society, and I for one think it would be unfortunate if that’s what it becomes.

Over the past few months Occupy Wall Street has gained the support of many and caught the attention of almost everybody. Ending Wall Street’s inordinate influence on politics is becoming a goal with mainstream appeal. Let’s not be so fascinated with the trappings of agitation; let’s stay on message.

Whatever the movement decides to do from here, they’ve wasted no time regrouping. Last night’s general assembly was simply moved to War Memorial Plaza.

My letter to Pres. Obama (on RootsAction)

Dear Mr. President,

I urge you to veto the National Defense Authorization Act. While you seem to believe it limits your powers, my concern is that it gives unconstitutional powers to presidents, including the power to imprison people without charge or trial.

This bill reminds me of Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001 calling for indefinite detention of noncitizens. This law extends that power to U.S. citizens. Also it reminds me of the Alien Act (1798) where one could be deported if the President didn’t like them. You should use your Constitutional power to veto this dangerous bill.

Sincerely,
Burkely Hermann

Authorities in full riot gear removed Occupy Baltimore protesters early Tuesday from a downtown plaza where they had been camped out for months.
Baltimore City police moved into McKeldin Square around 3:30 a.m. and closed off surrounding streets. City police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told WBAL-AM the scene was “extremely peaceful, very, very civil,” and that the protesters were being moved to homeless shelters.

Occupy Baltimore is gone, but we shouldn’t forget

December 14th, 2011 by The Baltimore Guide

The 99 percent have been removed from McKeldin Square. Closing down the Occupy Baltimore encampment went smoothly, with no arrests and no blood shed, and everyone was offered a place to stay for the night. Both sides—city and police, and the Occupy folks—deserve praise for that. It went as well as it could, and it provides a welcome contrast to the closing of encampments in Oakland, New York and Los Angeles.

I am one of those people who believes that the Occupy movement had some good points to make, though it did not make them well. There is indeed too much wealth concentrated among too few people in the United States. The inequity is not good for the economy or the nation.

My rationale for that opinion? The “job creators”—the one percent—are not creating jobs. Unemployment is holding steady at about 9 percent, and that is too many good people who are willing to work going without work. That is too much misery and too much wasted potential.

Problem is, the Occupy movement didn’t have any solutions to offer for the inequity. It doesn’t look like Congress has anything useful to say on the subject either.

Here’s what I think, and I am not an economist, though I have been reading the economic news with interest ever since my mutual funds tanked. (That got my attention, you betcha!)

I think that Congress should offer businesses a tax credit for every job created. I think the credit should be greater for small businesses than large multinationals, because small business creates the most jobs—and doesn’t move the jobs to Bangalore when profits decline by a micropoint.

So far, so good. I also think Congress should offer business a tax surcharge for moving jobs overseas, and it should be a much greater number than the tax credit for creating jobs here. If Citigroup, or GM, or Verizon or any of the rest of them want to move jobs out of the country it should hurt them. Badly.

Presently Congress is playing ping-pong with the middle-class payroll tax cut and flirting with a government shutdown, so I doubt they would consider anything useful like a true job creation bill. But they should.

And maybe it’s time for us voters to consider bringing our Congress members, most of whom live among the one percent, back home to live among us 99 percent. It would be nice if the incumbents—all of them, Democrats and Republicans alike—felt threatened enough to actually do something about the lousy situation in this country.

by Jacqueline Watts

Casa de Maryland, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to halt a state referendum on illegal immigrants receiving in-state college tuition, will no longer challenge the validity or number of petition signatures approved by the State Board of Elections.

I think its good that the MD Dream Act is not challenged in court. What do you think?

38% of those polled say “Stop[ping] the political bickering on Capitol Hill” promotes job creation, 21% say “Loosen regulatory restrictions on employers,” 12% say “Offer more tax credits and incentives to employers,” 6% say “Do nothing. Employers will grow at their own pace” and 5% say another solution is needed.

poll

So…one of her first acts is to break up the Occupy Baltimore encampment. Is that really urgent? How does it “tranform” our city?

SRB

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Local occupy sites

occupylocal

One user’s comment about Occupy Baltimore’s site. Do you believe its true?

hope

  • 1 year ago

Response to a letter that opposed H.R. 1081 because it would weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

This letter was a reply from the office of Rep. John Sarbanes [D, MD-3] on December 08, 2011.
Reply from Congressman John Sarbanes

December 8, 2011

Dear Mr. Hermann:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.R. 2081, legislation to replace the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection with the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. I appreciate hearing from you.As the Administration continues to implement the sweeping overhaul of our financial regulatory framework, I remain committed to working with the Administration to ensure that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection law is implemented with an eye towards robust protections for consumers, investors and taxpayers. I will continue fighting for policies that give working Americans an opportunity to get ahead. It’s past time to make our economy work for regular Americans again and force the Wall Street crowd to live by the same rules as everyone else.

The particular bill you mentioned, H.R. 2081, has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. Although I do not serve on this committee, I will be sure to keep your views in mind should the full House of Representatives have the opportunity to consider H.R. 2081 or other relevant legislation.Again, I appreciate hearing from you. If I can be of further
assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Reply to a letter sent in opposition of S.J.Res.27: A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the mitigation by States of cross-border air pollution under the Clean Air Act.

This letter was a reply from the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD] on November 29, 2011.
Re: www_email

Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you very much for contacting me about our environment. It’s nice to hear from you.

I understand and share your concerns about efforts to weaken important environmental protection programs. The Resolution of Disapproval by Senator Paul (S.J. Res. 27) would eliminate Clean Air Act protections that safeguard against interstate transport of soot and smog-forming pollution from power plants. I’m happy to report that the Senate has rejected S.J. Res. 27, and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) remains in full force.

In rejecting S.J. Res. 27, the Senate ensures that the people of Maryland and the people of the nation get the clean air they deserve. We shouldn’t be running a system where the ‘have’ states ship pollution from their power plants to the ‘have not’ states that end up having to pay more for pollution controls and experience more health problems caused by dirty air. Each state must be responsible for its own power plant pollution. You make it, you keep it. Clean air saves lives and it saves money. Everyone deserves an equal shot at clean air.

CSAPR will help make sure that Marylanders aren’t suffering from harmful air pollution generated far from home. It reduces power plant pollution and improves air quality by slashing millions of tons of harmful smokestack pollution that could have a negative impact on 240 million Americans. Facilities have until March 1, 2013 to comply with rule. CSAPR could prevent between 400 and 1,000 deaths and save $3.4 and $8.4
billion in health benefits in Maryland. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am fighting hard to ensure that our environmental protections remain strong and that they are adequately funded, to protect our environment for future generations.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please contact me again if I may be
of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Mikulski

As Occupy Baltimore got raided, its only 7 days since she was in office: “Discuss. RT @baltimoresun VIDEO: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake takes oath of office for Baltimore mayor bsun.md/uPUHZW” You won’t win next election, SRB, and you don’t care about the people (the 99%), you care about the 1%.

eviction

John Sarbanes’s response to a letter in support of a balanced budget amendment (H.J.Res.81)

This letter was a reply from the office of Rep. John Sarbanes [D, MD-3] on November 17, 2011.
Reply from Congressman John Sarbanes

November 17, 2011

Dear Mr. Hermann:
Thank you for contacting me about a H.J. Res. 2, a resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I appreciate having the benefit of your views.

At the beginning of this year, I sent out a survey asking for input on how to address the deficit. Nearly 3,500 people provided feedback on this critical issue. Some believe that we should rein in entitlements as the principal method of reducing the deficit. Many prefer focusing on defense and discretionary spending as the place to find savings. Still others endorse eliminating tax breaks for the very wealthy – a move that would help reduce the deficit by boosting treasury receipts.

What struck me most in the many written comments we received was the sober recognition that we are in a time of austerity and will have to make tough choices between competing priorities. However, we must make these choices in a thoughtful way, being careful not to compromise the core values that have always sustained American progress – ensuring opportunity, strengthening community and promoting private enterprise and innovation. That means judging in a common sense and responsible way which initiatives should be scaled back and which should be preserved or scaled up. Cutting the federal budget just for the sake of cutting is a reckless strategy that can do harm to the country.

Make no mistake, enacting measures that will truly improve our fiscal condition will require shared sacrifice and real tradeoffs between government services and tax policy. I look forward to your continue input on this issue and I will keep your views in mind when the Congress considers relevant measures.

H.J. Res. 2 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Although I do not serve on this Committee, I will be sure to keep your views in mind should the full House of Representatives consider this or other relevant legislation.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

Mikulski’s response to a letter opposing S.J.Res.27 A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the mitigation by States of cross-border air pollution under the Clean Air Act.

This letter was a reply from the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD] on November 29, 2011.
Re: www_email

Dear Mr. Hermann:
Thank you very much for contacting me about our environment. It’s nice
to hear from you.

I understand and share your concerns about efforts to weaken important environmental protection programs. The Resolution of Disapproval by Senator Paul (S.J. Res. 27) would eliminate Clean Air Act protections that safeguard against interstate transport of soot and smog-forming pollution from power plants. I’m happy to report that the Senate has rejected S.J. Res. 27, and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) remains in full force.

In rejecting S.J. Res. 27, the Senate ensures that the people of Maryland and the people of the nation get the clean air they deserve. We shouldn’t be running a system where the ‘have’ states ship pollution from their power plants to the ‘have not’ states that end up having to pay more for pollution controls and experience more health problems caused by dirty air. Each state must be responsible for its own power plant pollution. You make it, you keep it. Clean air saves lives and it saves money. Everyone deserves an equal shot at clean air.

CSAPR will help make sure that Marylanders aren’t suffering from harmful air pollution generated far from home. It reduces power plant pollution and improves air quality by slashing millions of tons of harmful smokestack pollution that could have a negative impact on 240 million Americans. Facilities have until March 1, 2013 to comply with rule. CSAPR could prevent between 400 and 1,000 deaths and save $3.4 and $8.4 billion in health benefits in Maryland. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am fighting hard to ensure that our environmental protections remain strong and that they are adequately funded, to protect our environment for future generations.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please contact me again if I may be
of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

Letter from Sarbanes in response to a letter in opposition to S.J.Res.27 A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the mitigation by States of cross-border air pollution under the Clean Air Act.

This letter was a reply from the office of Rep. John Sarbanes [D, MD-3] on December 09, 2011.
Reply from Congressman John Sarbanes

December 9, 2011

Dear Mr. Hermann:
Thank you for contacting me about the Clean Air Act and our nation’s
energy policy. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue and I
welcome the opportunity to respond.

I strongly support the Clean Air Act because that law has been overwhelmingly successful in protecting public health and the environment. I joined several of my colleagues in writing to the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader in support of the Clean Air Act, specifically its protection of public health and the
environment. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the 112th
Congress has sought to undermine the Clean Air Act on several occasions. I voted against the Republican budget proposal (H.R. 1) and several other bills, which sought to weaken Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority under the Clean Air Act. I also voted against legislation that would prohibit the EPA from promulgating any regulation regarding the emission of greenhouse gases to address climate change.

If we rise up to develop a new energy framework, we can solve so many
complicated problems that our country is facing. By developing a long
term and sustainable energy strategy, we can address economic, national
security, and environmental policy priorities in one fell swoop. We
can diversify our energy portfolio and end our dependence on energy sources from volatile parts of the world. By revolutionizing our energy industry and becoming an exporter of clean energy technologies, we will be able to maintain our competitive advantage as a nation and ensure a prosperous future for our children. Just as growth in
information technology served as the driving force behind the economic
boom of the 1990’s, the development of clean energy technology and green jobs will spur tremendous growth and offer long-term relief to the American economy.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to
contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.

Sincerely,

John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

Jim Brochin wikipedia

I recently found that the page on Wikipedia of James Brochin was updates with a lot of information added. Can you tell your readers about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brochin

GOP declared guilty of voter supression and fraud

The earthquakes in the area before the big one earlier this year…

earthquake

Remember the earthquake in Baltimore? Well, this is a little more info. about it…

earthquake2

My comment under a Occupy Wall Street article


commentows


“We cannot support another subsidy,” BUILD protesters chant at Harbor East Hundreds march against tax breaks for wealthy developers amid dilapidated schools and threatened cutbacks to rec centers.

Silver-haired ministers, old women with canes, mothers carrying infants, husky-voiced teenage boys, girls punching the sky with clenched fists, men snapping photos with their cell phones – more than 500 people marched last night through upscale Harbor East, the city’s swankiest waterfront district, to ask the developer who built it to share a little of his wealth with Baltimore’s run-down city schools.

As they walked, chanting, past city-subsidized office towers and luxury hotels, glittering boutiques, restaurants and galleries that sparkled in the twilight, the marchers encountered some ugliness:

Someone dumped water on them from the balcony of a luxury condominium, The Vue. “Move away!” parents yelled to their children, as it splattered on marchers’ heads. Further down Aliceanna Street, anti-abortion picketers waved bloody fetus photos.

And as the pumped-up, chanting group marched along, sturdy, plain-clothed security guards patrolled, rebuking those who strayed from the sidewalk with the warning to “stay off the street.”

“Oh, they know we’re coming,” Douglas Miles, co-chair of Baltimoreans United for Leadership Development (BUILD) told the crowd earlier in the day at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, staging area for the BUILD-organized demonstration.

The protesters gathered at Dunbar to get their marching orders from BUILD leaders and to share stories about the condition of their schools and concern about the recreation centers the city is threatening to privatize and close, another BUILD priority.

This woman wore a sticker that said UPTOWN AMBASSADOR for her trip to Harbor East. (Photo by Fern Shen)
“For three or four years, we’ve had a roof that leaks and after a really rainy weekend, we came back and mold had grown,” said Sharon Wheaden-West, a teacher at Westside Elementary Schools. “Teachers, we’ve been painting our own classrooms.”

The possible closure of city rec centers was what brought Rev. Glenna Reed Huber, pastor of the Church of the Holy Nativity, in West Baltimore, to the rally. “See her?” she said pointing to a woman from her congregation. “She really needs the rec center to be open. She works two jobs, her daughter spends all her after-school time at the center. She depends on that rec center.”

“The Money Trail”

BUILD, a coalition of faith and community groups, has found a potent response to arguments that Baltimore can’t afford to fix the city’s aging schools or save its recs. They point to the millions the city grants to Baltimore developers, particularly Harbor East developer John Paterakis Sr., in the form of tax breaks.

Last year, 12 downtown and Harbor East buildings got $14.5 million in tax breaks – and, of that, Paterakis got $9.4 million.

BUILD co-chair Andrew Foster Connors roused the Dunbar crowd with the story behind each of the Harbor East buildings the group planned to “tour” on what they called “the money trail”:

• The Legg Mason tower had $3.99 million in taxes excused last year, thanks to a city tax break in effect until 2024.

• The Marriott Waterfront Hotel had $3.37 million excused last year, under a city tax break in effect until 2022.

• The Laureate office building got a break of more than $954,000 last year, via a deal from the city that stays in effect until 2016.

• Spinnaker Bay Apartments and garage got more than $1 million, thanks to financing in effect until 2024.

“We got angry,” Foster Connors said, “asking, why is it that we are giving these kinds of tax breaks to subsidize beautiful buildings such as these, when (school librarian) Terra Hiltner has to watch out for falling roof tiles at Holabird Academy?”

BUILD’s Meeting with Paterakis

On Saturday, he said, BUILD met with Paterakis and made all those points face-to-face. The developer told the group that “’but for’ these subsidies, these kinds of developments would not happen,” Foster Connors said. “Jobs would not be created, Harbor East would still be a wasteland.”

He said Paterakis told them he is giving $2 million of his next subsidy to build Crossroads Charter School, and that $140,000 of his own money is going to “a jobs strategy to hire more Baltimore residents to work in Harbor East.” But BUILD wants more.

At the group’s behest, Foster Connors said, Paterakis called Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to ask her to find the money to keep rec centers open and to rebuild and repair schools. It’s unclear whether he will agree to the group’s other requests – that he gather the corporate community to raise $10 million per year for the schools and contribute $2 million of his own money each year as part of that effort.

“He told us, through Michael Beatty from [Paterakis’s] H&S Properties, that there is a willingness to help,” but “no commitment.”

Foster-Connors said that teachers, parents, faith leaders and even now the mayor has “stepped up,” through the bottle tax she is proposing today, to raise money for schools: “What about the corporate community?”

BUILD Drops in to Harbor East

The buses pulled in next to Harbor Point, the 27-acre project for which Paterakis is seeking a $155 million tax increment financing bond (TIF) from the city. On the east side of the Thames St. Wharf building there, a black stretch limousine idled. On the west side in the parking lots, a spectacular sunset greeted the marchers.

As the march proceeded along Aliceanna Street, the predominantly white patrons of bars and restaurants looked up from meals and the Ravens game to stare out the windows at the stream of predominantly African-American people snaking down the street in a line chanting “Raise our youth! Raise our city

A woman in a sequined dress, smoking a cigarette outside the Marriott, watched the commotion. A car with diplomatic plates was parked nearby.

Carla Hobson, of Mount Washington, said she has a daughter at Barclay Elementary Middle School in Charles Village and a son at Baltimore Polytechnic and joined the march because of the conditions in city school buildings.

“It’s not the teachers or the curriculum I’m talking about, I think they are doing a great job, I’m happy with them,” she said, “but it’s the buildings, the conditions, the lack of janitors.”

“My son is always cold,” she said. The girls’ bathroom at her daughter’s school “is like a sauna in winter, it’s like 106 degrees – they have to prop the door open. The heat collects there. Then the rest of the building is cold. The stall doors don’t close.”

Even youngsters in the crowd, like fourth-grader Toney Jackson could easily explain the logic that brought public school families like his on this brisk November night, to this district of doormen, valet parkers and shops selling items like a 111-year-old decorative olive oil urn for $1,250.

“Baltimore is giving too much money to other businesses and companies – they’re cutting taxes for their buildings, instead of giving it to the schools,” 9-year-old Jackson said.

“The investment should be in our children,” said his mother, Shanti Dixon-Gramby. “I feel like the city has lost sight of that.”

From Baltimore Brew (http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2011/11/14/we-cannot-support-another-subsidy-build-protesters-chant-at-harbor-east/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+baltimorebrew+%28Baltimore+Brew+-+Stirring+Up+Baltimore+News+and+Views%29)

On Thursday, we all have the chance to prove that, by turning out in huge numbers for the “We Are The 99%” day of action on Wall Street and in over 300 cities nationwide. Our movement to take on rampant inequality is just getting started—and we won’t be silenced. Can you stand with tens of thousands nationwide by attending a “We Are The 99%” event in Baltimore on Thursday?

A MoveOn email. My question is why doesn’t MoveOn help the OccupyBaltimore encampment

There are certain times that are defining moments … in a person’s life, a community’s life, a nation’s life. This week’s political developments in Annapolis will define the political landscape for the next 10 years. By many accounts, African Americans are getting the smallest slice of the pie.Because the black community statewide lacks organization, individual fiefdoms crop up. Unless they are inter-connected, their might is limited.

Dani Morie Glover of Bmore news talking about MD Congressional redistricting
Bidding rules ignored for Grand Prix contractor!


Alter Communications Inc. CEO Andrew Alter Buerger’s head whipped around to face William L. Hallam as Hallam accused Buerger of playing the “Jewish persecution” card in federal court. Hallam, the attorney for Alter’s former printing company, H.G. Roebuck & Son Inc., said Buerger was unfairly making an issue of religion to scuttle the Roebucks’ plan…

Snippet from the Daily Record about the battle over the Jewish Times

Copyright law

Below is a form letter I received from Senator Barbara Mikulski:

Dear Mr. Hermann:

Thank you for writing to me about copyright law. It’s good to hear from you.

The PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) would give the Department of Justice (DoJ) authority to identify and take legal action against websites that market counterfeit or pirated goods.

I understand your concerns about this bill. Copyright laws are supposed to protect the creative property of artists, and it is important that these laws be followed. However, I agree that any efforts to strengthen the protection of copyrighted materials must be well planned, avoid unintended consequences, and must not stifle free speech or innovation.

S. 968 has been passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate. Knowing of your views is helpful to me, and I will keep them in mind as Congress continues to debate this issue.

Thanks once again for writing. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., has been honored with the 2011 Baltimore County New Directions Award.

Is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math given too much priority?

Moveon is a bit lame

I waa reading an email from MoveOZn about Occupy Wall Street.

The email said “That’s why, next week in Baltimore, there’s a meeting for folks to come together to plan ways to Make Wall Street Pay in our own communities. We’ll focus on specific targeted campaigns that hold the big banks accountable…But only people in Baltimore know what will work best in your community. That’s why it’s so important to attend a Make Wall Street Pay planning meeting in your area. Your nearest Make Wall Street Pay meeting is in Baltimore on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, at 7:00 PM. Can you attend?” Why can’t these people protest in solidarity with Occupy Baltimore? This reminds me of the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where an urgent message comes forward. Brian is being crucified! The committee just sits there and creates a resolution to condemn the act but has no real action. They get there and read him the resolution and thank him for his service. Then they leave. Its a funny movie and recommend it.

So, MoveOn, lets move on to #occupybaltimore!

City cancels meeting with cycling advocates over Monroe Street bike lane
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 10:38 AM PDT
The city says there was no need to meet with cyclists today because “the community” is satisfied with plans to remove a bike lane in west Baltimore. Did the transportation director cave to the demands of Councilwoman Belinda Conaway?

Excerpt from Baltimore Brew. Not the Conways again. They are the Kennedesque family of Baltimore

#Occupy Baltimore: A movement in action

A man at the media table spoke, saying that suggestions would be posted for that day’s “General Assembly.” Every day at about 8:00 P.M. this new method of meeting occurred. Those people in the middle would pass the message to the outside without microphones, only with the human voice. It’s like a game of telephone, except more political in nature and more inclusive. As another supporter called the assembly, “[this is] a microcosm of democracy.” All ideas were welcome including those that oppose the movement. I took pictures, video and audio of the site and an exchange between two people, on opposing sides politically. The exchange shows the whole idea of the movement, animated with graphs and charts, in less than four minutes.

Combining pictures and different media I captured, I combined all of what I took in a short YouTube video.

These people are here for the long haul. Tents are set up in the where Light Street and Pratt Street intersect, near the McKeldin Fountains and not far from the USS Constellation. The official site says: “ We are performing a 24-hour 7-days-a-week occupation of McKeldin Square as part of the global #Occupy movement [more specifically] McKeldin Park & Fountain [,] Pratt & Light St for an Indefinitely Long Peaceful Demonstration.” Outside the occupied area, there are messages on the ground about different issues that people want to express. Most of them were duct tape on the ground, a unique way to express one’s self. I’ve never seen that before and along with the chalk it is another way to express ones views, bringing back the instincts when young kids are growing up and drawing on driveways. Another area has a famous protest toilet. If you don’t already know, the toilet was thought to be a bomb placed in front of the Towson Courthouse. The bomb squad came out and found that was not the case, it was not explosive in any way except for ideas. A metal fence was on the side facing the Constellation and I’m not sure who put it there. It could be the police who put the fence in that location to contain the occupation but it more likely the occupiers put it there. On the fence, there was a modified American flag that replaces American stars with corporate logos to show the corporate influence in politics. On the other hand, the flag and movement itself have been roundly criticized by Conservative Byte and The Patriot Depot owned by Liberty Alliance, LLC and Vision for America owned by Christian Worldview Communications, LLC (CWC). Putting criticism aside, the movement is a great learning experience. If one wants to learn what pure democracy is and educate one’s self on the Occupy Wall Street Movement, this encampment is the perfect place to go.

- Burkely Hermann, Editor of Sunshine Politics

How does the Defense industry influence Maryland’s Congressmembers

I recently did an investigation of how the defense industry affected certain politicians in Maryland using information from OpenSecrets. I defined the defense industry or military-industrial-complex as any industry that had the words ‘defense’ in it. I was a little surprised with the facts, but overall it wasn’t that surprising.

Just to remind you, the Congressmembers from Maryland* are:

-          Senator Ben Cardin

-          Representative Roscoe Bartlett

-          Representative Steny H. Hoyer

-          Senator Barbara Mikulski

-          Representative Donna Edwards

-          Representative Elijah Cummings

-          Representative John Sarbanes

-          Representative Chris Van Hollen

-          Representative Andy Harris

-          Representative Dutch Ruppersberger

* I did not include political parties, because these labels are manipulated and unimportant. It doesn’t matter what political party they are from, but who supports them which will affect how they vote.

industrycontrib

What shocked me the most was Barbara Mikulski. I thought that she was really on the side of the people, but if almost $300,000 of her campaign funds come from the defense-related industries, is disturbing. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger’s campaign funds are not that surprising as he has been in Congress a long time and said the pictures of Osama Bin Laden should not be released. Also Mr. Ruppersberger according to OpenSecrets page on the defense industry (which is not defined as broadly as I defined it) pegs him as one of the top recipients of money from the military-industrial-complex. On the chart, it’s hard to see but only Ben Cardin and Andy Harris didn’t receive funding from the defense industry. That’s pretty appalling that 80% of Maryland’s delegation received money from the defense industry, which makes me question their policies. Even two of Maryland’s congressmembers were 5th and 20th respectfully in the amount of money they received from that industry. Some such as Mr. Van Hollens even received almost all of the money from one company, which was Lockheed Martin (he received $10,000), making it one of his top contributors.  I went into the voting records of each Maryland congressmember to see if they weren’t contradicting themselves.

Even though Senator Ben Cardin did not receive any money from the defense industry, his voting record for defense-related measures is usually a yes. In July he voted for a bill authorizing more military appropriations, in May he voted for a bill congratulating the armed forces and in April he voted for a bill that would give more money to the Pentagon. Andy Harris didn’t receive any funds from the defense industry either, but he may have voted similarly to Mr. Cardin.

Andy Harris hasn’t truly voted on a Defense related bill since July 2011. On the 8th of that month, Mr. Harris voted for a Defense appropriations bill. However, on June 28th, he voted two times to limit the use of Armed Forces in Libya. Only a few days before, he had voted for another defense appropriations bill. His record I believe is more ideological than driven by money he received during his campaign. I decided to look into the biggest receiver of money from the defense industry according to my calculations.

Barbara Mikulski voted for the same bill that Mr. Cardin voted for, a Defense appropriations bill. There isn’t any more information on here voting on defense-related bills. However, she supported a bill that is defense-related. But, the only reason she may have not voted on any other legislation in this recent session is that it hasn’t been brought up in the Senate as an issue. But, Dutch Ruppersburger may have voted for defense-related laws more than Ms. Mikulski.

Representative Dutch Ruppersberger has supported two bills that have elements of defense in them. First, a bill about was trying to reduce the threat from Iran. Secondly, he supported a bill that congratulated intelligence and defense personnel on killing Osama Bin Laden. Thirdly, he supported a bill that was trying to make it easier for military personnel to spend money. I found that in 2007, he had some interesting votes.  He voted for a law that would require the Secretary of Defense to limit the number of troops in Iraq. Later that year he contradicted that, by voting for a law that funded the Iraq War but had no withdrawal timeline. In 2010 there was a defense appropriations bill he voted for which goes along with his convoluted logic. Also that year, he voted for another defense authorization law, called H.R.2647. This year he carried that through by voting for the war in Afghanistan and voting for another defense appropriations bill. Predictably he voted for the bill that authorized ‘worldwide war’ among other provisions. I wrote about this subject at one point on HermannView. Representative Roscoe Bartlett may be less supportive of defense-related measures but is still very pro-defense.

According to a head-to-head vote comparison with Mr. Ruppersberger, Mr. Bartlett usually votes for the defense industry. Sometimes he doesn’t. For example, he voted against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and H.R.5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. However, there are many instances he voted with Mr. Ruppersberger:

-          H.R.1538 Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007  

-          H.R.1585 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

-          H.R.3222 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2008

-          H.R.5658 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009

-          H.R.2647 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010

-          H.R.1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

-          H.R.2055 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

This proves once again the influence of the military elite in Congressional policy. For the others of the Maryland delegation I used charts of comparison to show the differences or similarities in voting.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer and Representative Donna Edwards mostly always vote together. I compiled the voting records from OpenCongress so everyone can read them. At the beginning Donna Edwards wasn’t voting since she wasn’t in office until 2009 but then it evens out:

-          H.R.2956 Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Not Voting]

-          H.R.2206 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Iraq war funding bill with no withdrawal timeline) [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Not Voting]

-          S.1927 Protect America Act of 2007 [Hoyer Nay, Edwards Not Voting]

-          H.R.2965 Dont Ask, Dont Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (On repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Aye]

-          H.Con.Res.28 Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan. (Accelerating Afghanistan withdrawal) [Hoyer Nay, Edwards Aye]

-          H.R.1538 Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007 [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Not Voting]

-           H.R.1585 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Not Voting]

-          H.R.5658 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Not Voting]

-          H.R.2647 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Aye]

-          H.R.5136 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 [Hoyer Aye Edwards Aye]

-          H.R.1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Nay]

-          H.J.Res.68 Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya. [Hoyer Aye, Edwards Aye]

-          H.R.2278 To limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law. [Hoyer Nay, Edwards Nay]

It seems from these votes that Steny Hoyer is in the pocket of the military elite, while Donna Edwards has some more conscience. So, I went to Elijah Cummings and John Sarbannes who also got money from the defense industry.

Representative Elijah Cummings and Representative John Sarbanes vote together 95% of the time, according to a vote comparison. I compiled a voting list of votes since 2007 and to the present:

-          H.R.2206 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Iraq war funding bill with no withdrawal timeline) [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.2965 Dont Ask, Dont Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (On repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.5136 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (Repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”) [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.Con.Res.28 Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan. (Accelerating Afghanistan withdrawal) [Cummings Nay, Sarbanes Nay]

-          H.R.1538 Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.3222 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2008 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.2638 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.2647 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Abstain]

-          H.R.5136 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.5822 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Nay]

-          H.R.2055 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.J.Res.68 Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya. [Cummings Aye, Sarbanes Aye]

-          H.R.2278 To limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law. [Cummings Nay, Sarbanes Nay]

This shows that even though neither representative gets much money from the defense industry, still they both vote very much for defense-related bills. I thought this is a disturbing site, as they are almost one and the same when it comes to issues. Chris Van Hollen may be very similar.

OpenCongress says the voting similarity between Mr. Cummings and Representative Chris Van Hollen is 97%. I looked into the records to see if that was true:

-          H.R.2206 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Iraq war funding bill with no withdrawal timeline) [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.2956 Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.2965 Dont Ask, Dont Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (On repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.556 National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act of 2007 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.3159 Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act of 2007 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.6599 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2009 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.2647 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.2892 Homeland Security and and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.5136 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.5822 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Aye]

-          H.R.1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 [Cummings Aye, Van Hollen Nay]

I have concluded that like Mr. Cummings comparison with Mr. Sarbanes, Mr. Van Hollen and Mr. Cummings do vote very closely, almost exactly alike. I think this is problem because if you vote against Cummings but for Hollen, then the same ideology will stay in the House chamber.

From this mini-investigation I have discovered that the defense industry has its tentacles in Maryland, which shouldn’t be much of surprise. However, people of differing ideologies vote the same way, even though the media considers them to be in “different parties.” In the end, this is just another way to show that parties don’t matter, opinions matter in Congress, some that can be bought by one industry contributing almost $300,000 to a political campaign.

——————————————————————————————

Student’s civil rights dumped in favor of “safety”

In 2011, I had an Op-ed submitted to the Baltimore Sun about my High School titled: Student’s civil rights dumped in favor of “safety”

Almost every politician in the halls of the Maryland General Assembly and United States Congress talks about education. They say we can’t forget our children and grandchildren. Why? Because everyone has the right to an education. FDR included it in his 1944 state of the union Address. He stated Americans have “The right to a good education.” What if funding educational institutions isn’t the problem? What if deterioration of civil liberties has been brewing for years? As a high school student, I see that first-hand as the handbook barely changes every year. One teacher told me students shed their rights as they enter the schoolhouse. From a review of this year’s Baltimore County student handbook, this seems to ring true as rights that are supposed to be protected are restricted. You could have more free speech on the street corner outside the school property than on the school campuses. That is a disservice to our country and to the values enshrined in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Any words that disrupt school activities are prohibited. But what if those words open people up to new ideas and increase their knowledge? Written communication, distribution of literature, use of the internet and cell phones are strictly regulated by school administrations. Is a heavy-handed approach needed for students, who you say are the next generation of America’s leaders? I think not because freedom will sprout new ideas. The freedom of speech seems to be trumped for so-called safety, which is really a tangled web of rules that boxes the student in cage. I have a friend who wears bandanas and plays hacky sack. Under school rules, he can’t do either because it is a “disruption to school activities.” What’s wrong with a hacky sack and a bandana? I can’t see either item disrupting a school’s functions or its students. If someone is embarrassed and wants to cover up their greasy hair, they should be allowed to wear a hat. If a person has a shiny bald hat, they should be allowed to wear a hat. These are just some examples of people wearing hats and there are many other instances which hats should be allowed. Schools should take Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) one step further and remove these articles of clothing from the dress code. After this reform is enacted, students must gain more rights to assemble. As the handbook reads now, students can peacefully assemble when and where the principal wants them to. In other wards they must get the principal’s approval. I feel that a school principal could stifle dissent by denying a group from protesting. Students denied from peaceful protest could include those opposing the school administration. That is not right. To remedy this certain assembly spots should recommended by administrators and have actions forced upon the principal. A school’s top administrator would be forced to approve all peaceful nonviolent assembly. All of these incremental changes would increase student rights. In American government class in 9th grade, I learned that the U.S. government must balance personal rights and public safety. Well, school administrations should do exactly that by enacting the reforms I mentioned. Additional actions would include increasing power to the student government, providing an avenue of personal dissent and giving more power to the average student. In the end, this will improve the learning environment and make schools more democratic.

By Burkely Hermann, 12th Grade Student at Towson High School

Edline doesn’t make sense

In Baltimore County schools there is a push for a program that allows for grades to be viewed online. This program is called Edline. As people always say, some things just need to stay private.

Grades are an aspect that students should be involved in, not parents. Young students are the ones in school, not helicopter parents, and they (the students) should determine how their grades are distributed. Civil Rights are already shed in the schoolhouse, boxing people in. This new scheme conducted by the school administration is even scarier to the student. Parents don’t need more oversight in the process because it will destroy the creative mind. It will also lead to an emphasis on something that doesn’t determine your intelligence: grades.

No one can get As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es because of expanded brain power or intellect. From personal experience, I’ve gotten Cs in classes where I’ve tried really hard. I did all the work I was assigned and it still didn’t change my grade at all. This leads me to my next conclusion: grades are something one shouldn’t obsess over. Why? Students should realize that work will not set you free, as the sign over Auschwitz said. It will just make you almost enslaved to the seemingly never ending educational system, the educational-industrial-complex. In closing, one must protest this injustice or do what they can to oppose it.

DO NOT SIGN UP FOR EDLINE!

Tell your parents to not sign up!

The menace must be stopped.

By Burkely Hermann, 12th Grade student and Chief Writer of Sunshine Politics

Supporters of a group called Occupy Baltimore are protesting U.S. economic conditions. They gathered peacefully Tuesday at the Inner Harbor, holding signs reading “People Before Profits” and “We’re Here for the Needy, not the Greedy.” Demonstrators stood quietly amid lunchtime as police watched from a distance.

Part of an Article by Daily Record about the occupy baltimore protest, which I support: http://cl.publicaster.com/ClickThru.aspx?pubids=6886%7c785927%7c10280%7c67353&digest=SgpETRy6sGqqbA8W2p7Lxw&sysid=1

Occupy your rights!

The Aclu in the below message tries to educate potential protesters on their rights.

The nation has watched as protesters — inspired by the Arab Spring — have occupied a park near Wall Street in New York City for weeks, seeking attention for what they call a greedy and unjust financial system. We’ve also watched the NYPD conduct mass arrests and use pepper spray and controversial crowd control tactics.

Now, the NYC protests are themselves inspiring demonstrations in other cities across the country, including in Maryland. And the ACLU is on the scene.

This week, the ACLU of Maryland talked to protesters who wanted to “Occupy Baltimore.” We educated them about their right to protest and passed out copies of ACLU’s Know Your Rights pocket card for encounters with police. We also reached out to lawyers for the Baltimore Police Department to prevent the kinds of abuses we’ve seen in New York — with great success. In contrast with the NYPD, the Baltimore police and city officials have thus far accommodated the protests without significant problems.

Our goal is to foster First Amendment-positive situations wherever demonstrations happen in our state.

Do YOU know your rights when protesting?

You have a right to stand or march on sidewalks without a permit, as long as you are obeying traffic signals, and not blocking the sidewalk if you are standing in one place.
You may photograph or videotape police officers performing their job in public, but do not interfere with police action.
If you witness or experience police misconduct, remember officers’ badge numbers, names and physical descriptions.
File complaints about misconduct by writing or calling your Police Department’s Internal Affairs office (and call the ACLU of Maryland, too).
If you march in the street without a permit, you risk arrest.
If ordered to disperse, do so unless you want to be arrested.
Remember, when it comes to the First Amendment and your right to protest, the ACLU of Maryland is your first responder!

At a time when many families are struggling to pay for food, CSAs make sure families can put local, healthy food on the table. As Vermonters have shown, linking local farmers with families creates jobs on farms and ensures that people have a healthy source of food.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (via hermannview) Does this sound like anywhere in Maryland? Eastern Shore? More Agricultural? Think about it.(Source: twitter.com)

Who are you to make me feel so good? Who are we to tell ourselves that we’re misunderstood?
Oh, who am I to say I’m always [misinformed?].

My take on the Ellie Goulding song, This Love (Will be Your Downfall), but I bent it to to a description of a criticism of my school’s administration.(Source: songmeanings.net)

Protest at Towson High School?

I have been thinking of having a protest at Towson High School. It stems out of the banning of hacky sacks at lunch. Well, I don’t care that much, but it provides an avenue for me to present my ideas. There is no other choice. Then the administration can really know what I think!

Part of #occupywallst is to start a revolution. I am part of that by writing about it. Part of this revolution should be held in Baltimore, no question.

(via trafficblur-deactivated20110925)

startarev

—————————————————————————————————————————–

filmspiration:

(by 夏先生)

It looks like Baltimore, right? [comment now: is that actually Baltimore?] Well, the use of those lights probably emits a lot of greenhouse gases into the trophosphere. Thanks to Environmental Science I know that.

bmore maybe

Balt. Brew gets tough

baltbrew1

Would people gain this money?

hmmmm 2

Could the jobs bill do this?

jobsbill

Has poverty rate increased in Maryland?

poverty rate

Unpaid loans? A problem for o’Malley, showing his incompetence

watcyhdogdog

Sadly SRB or Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won.

cry

Another MD politics tweet

6000 teachers

Cummings is on a committee to investigate the 9/11 phone hacking

cummuing

Another tweet by MD dems Red Maryland about the governor and MD Dems

balanced paln

Math class is hell

I sit in my chair.
The teacher seems
to go on and on.
It really seems to
be of no meaning
at all in life.
Maybe this really
is No Exit as
Sartre predicted.
Its not the
five-minutes hate
Orwell wrote about.
Its 45 minutes
of condensed hell.
Its something you
can’t escape because
its everywhere in
every part of life.
Math is degrading me
along with those
others of the
young generation.
We must escape
We must be free
We must question
Work does not
set you free,
thought does.

- Burkely Hermann

———————————————

A tweet by Maryland Dems Red Maryland account about MD’s governor

balanced approach

——————————————–

Even though it doesn’t specifically mention Maryland, it still shows the amount of income in this area to be decreasing.

changes

xxxx

On Thursday I’m meeting the Governor of Maryland

becomingefflorscence:

He put out a statement earlier this year stating that he was prepared to sign the bill to allow gay marriage into law.

Sadly he didn’t get that chance, but I will forever be grateful toward his kindness, and unhomophobic-ness.

I’ll try to get a picture with him thursday so that I can fan-girl forever.

I should probably google him, as I don’t know what he even looks like.

Well, it is partly his fault it didn’t get passed. There wasn’t enough of a push to make the General Assembly approve a bill that legalized gay marriage.

(Source: i-am-a-direwolf)

stadium-love-:

Pit Road of the 2011 Baltimore Grand Prix

Photo by KimandMike

The Grand Prix was a waste of money. Does it help the average Marylander? Absolutely not. Was it a money maker for huge corporations? Absolutely. Jobs and the economy need to be focused on, not some sports event. We need to get back to the real issues.

Pit Road @ Camden Yards HDR
  • 1 year ago

A Gaztañaga administration will be a transparent administration in which citizens will know exactly where their tax dollars are going. The double burden of excessive taxation and intrusive regulation is keeping the neediest citizens of Maryland from starting businesses, creating jobs, and building a thriving economy. If the State government sticks to its basic responsibility of providing a safe, secure environment in which people can conduct their business, maintaining our infrastructure of roads, bridges and tunnels, and providing an emergency response system, I am confident that Marylanders will be able to feed, clothe, house, educate and care for themselves and their loved ones. As a symbolic first step in restoring the tradition of true public service, I will reinvest $90,000 of the Governor’s $150,000 yearly salary every year towards reducing the State debt.

Statement of Susan Gaztañaga, the Libertarian candidate for Maryland governor in 2010: https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=101137619929333

 

PolitickerMD.com is a virtual watercooler for Maryland’s political elite – officeholders, news makers, staff, party leaders, fundraisers, journalists, government employees, interest groups and policy wonks. It’s a necessary daily stop for politically minded web surfers.

It seems like one of the best political sources to go on Maryland’s news!(Source: facebook.com)

1 year ago
“We embrace both Republican and Democratic ideals and consider ourselves to be independent-minded voters who seek a moderate, middle-of-the-road party. As the fastest-growing mainstream political party we strive endlessly to reach out to the average citizen who desires a realistic approach to politics…advocating for a mainstream approach to such issues as fiscal responsibility, bold social progression, and strong national defense.”- https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=90373902017

Senate President Mike Miller, wants to remove the current tuition freeze on Maryland state universities which would cause tuition to to go up. Email or call Mike Miller and tell him to keep the tuition freeze in place.

From the Facebook group that is against the raise in College Tuition(Source: facebook.com)

I was recently invited to a group called “Young Republicans of Southern Maryland” and decided to make a group for all of the moderates in our County. All four of them. This isn’t a group to haphazardly praise or denounce our Gov’t, we aren’t in the worshippin’ biddness, nor the mudslingin’ biddness. This is a group for thoughtful discussion of politics.

From the group page of the Young Moderates of Southern Maryland(Source: facebook.com)

[The goal of the Harford County, Maryland Politics group is] for those interested in discussing Maryland politics and how we need to get state politicians to stop wasting our money.

Going along the lines of the previous groups I’ve mentioned, a Facebook group about Baltimore County is small, but could be mighty. I will try to understand more about this group and see what its all about.(Source: facebook.com)

“We are two weeks away from the public hearing for the bill to extend the cheap prices for impact fees. We need to start applying the pressure to our council members.

Please take a moment to write a letter to The Capital. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple statement. I have included talking points below as well as the contact information and rules for letters to the editors.”

Part of a letter written by Maryland Polititracker’s founder William Small in 2010. The group has been inactive for over a year.(Source: facebook.com)

Janet Owens decides not to run for Anne Arundel County Executive. The Annapolis Capital reports that Democratic support for Green Party candidate Mike Shay may have something to do with it.

Brian Bettier of the Maryland Green Party comments on an upcoming election in July 2010(Source: facebook.com)

Student’s civil rights dumped in favor of “safety”

An Op-ed that never accepted to be published in the Baltimore Sun…It hopefully will be soon. Revised…It will be published in the Baltimore Sun in the future. For now, I’ll post a teaser here…

Almost every politician in the halls of the Maryland General Assembly and United States Congress talks about education. They say we can’t forget our children and grandchildren. Why? Because everyone has the right to an education. FDR included it in his 1944 state of the union Address. He stated Americans have “The right to a good education.” What if funding educational institutions isn’t the problem? What if deterioration of civil liberties has been brewing for years? As a high school student, I see that first-hand as the handbook barely changes every year. One teacher told me students shed their rights as they enter the schoolhouse…

The Real News: How Baltimore is being affected by the current economic crisis and the effect of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”

Remember the 2010 election between O-Malley and Ehrlich? Back in 2010 there was an article in the Baltimore Sun about this.

One is a bartender in Annapolis. Another has been imprisoned for spray-painting political slogans on government buildings. A third is a former commodities trader who owns a company that markets Maryland’s official state dessert.

They haven’t held elected office before, but they’re aiming to start at the top — as Maryland’s next governor.

While Democratic incumbent Martin O’Malley and Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. command nearly all of the attention in this year’s gubernatorial race, theirs won’t be the only names on the ballot. A colorful selection of seven people — mainly political outsiders — offer an alternative to voters unsatisfied with the two main choices.

Maryland’s Green Party candidates

According to Green Party Watch there are not many Green Party members running in Maryland for public office. As an alternative party, this political party has members across Maryland.

The citizens running include:

  • Bill Barry, Baltimore City Council District 3 (he says: “I want…a decent city (and beyond this, a decent state and decent country) for myself, for my children and their children and for my neighbors…There is now total one-party domination in the state of Maryland. This party controls everything and, if you want to check out the record of the Democratic Party, just drive through Baltimore City from one border to the other.
  • Douglas Armstrong, Baltimore City Council District 14 (he says that “Douglas Armstrong understands that Baltimore’s current political system answers to a select few, places institutions before people, divides rather than unites us, and squanders the City’s greatest asset: our diverse, dedicated, law-abiding citizens who want to live healthy and peaceful lives among their neighbors.”)
  • Christine Nagle, College Park City Council District 1 (no information available at this time)

According to a quick Wikipedia search, the Green Party candidate in District 3, Mr. Barry is running against Democrat Robert W. Curran, who has been in power since 1995 (about 16 years). Mr. Curran, the Chair of Executive Appointments in the Baltimore County Council, introduced a law that banned smoking in restaurants and bars. That is all Wikipedia says on the subject. As for Mr. Armstrong in District 14, he is running against Democrat Mary Pat Clarke who has been there since 1975 (about 36 years!). Ms. Clarke is the chair of the Education Committee and vice-Chair of the Judiciary and Legislative Investigation Committee. In her tenure she has, according to the Wikipedia page: “spen[t] the night once in a now demolished public housing project to bring attention to deplorable living conditions for poor people…She and her New Democratic Club forged alliances with Baltimore’s black democratic clubs in the 1970’s…In the council, she forged alliances with her black colleagues…resulting in a Baltimore City mandate for smaller class sizes in the 1980’s.” But, it doesn’t mention what she didn’t do. That’s a interesting thought.

This is just a quick overview for you. I’m going to do an article more in depth on this political party soon, but I don’t have the time to go into too much detail at this time. I hope this is a good start for your political ideas.

I agree with many ideas on the Conservative side at times except for limited government and complete free market. An economy should regulated to stop disasters I think a responsible government is needed to have a good government. If that government is big, than it must be. But it should not intervene on rights of the people. Intervention on the rights of people is too much government but there must be a balance between the public safety and preserving individual rights. For example, the drug war is an issue where this issue comes into play.

Does Maryland’s government need to be changed? If so, how?(Source: notyourmomsblog.com)

12 reasons why voters stayed home in droves

From the Baltimore Sun an opinion piece by Dan Rodricks

It was a beautiful day in the city of Baltimore, and the Ravens weren’to on TV, so we can’t blame weather or football. But there are a bunch of other explanations for the low-and-slow voter turnout in the 2011 city primary, and here are 12 of them:

1.This was the most overrated mayoral race in memory. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had some attractive opponents, and one of them had Bill Cosby on his side. Plus, they all talked about something that should have excited voters — cutting property taxes. But that never gained traction as an issue — the last TV commercial I saw for Jody Landers didn’t even mention it — and the challengers developed no other issue to either attract attention to themselves or to pin as a game-changing negative on Rawlings-Blake.

2.Nobody went negative. We kept hearing rumors that one of the candidates was about to unleash some real mudballs, but it never happened. I’m not complaining about that — no, really — just pointing it out.

3.Related to No. 2, Julius Henson was under indictment and not active in any mayoral campaign that we know of.

4.The Grand Prix was not a disaster.

5.A heavy turnout only comes when candidates pull in people who don’t always vote; running up big numbers of voters requires pushing new and undecided voters to the polls. Too many strategists in city elections think they can win without a broad appeal and by focusing on the people in their smart-phone contact lists.

6.The Otis Rolley bullet tax failed to capture the public’s imagination.

7.Baltimore has had three mayors in five years, and no one wanted a fourth. Martin O’Malley was elected governor in 2006, skipping town and leaving City Hall in Sheila Dixon’s hands. Dixon was elected to a four-year term in 2007. But, shortly after that, we learned that Dixon had taken what she thought she deserved — then she got what she deserved. Her plea bargain was just a little more than 18 months ago. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took her place and did a satisfactory job cleaning up the mess left behind. Rawlings-Blake’s opponents tried to convince voters to dump her for another mayor, but the hope that you might elect somebody a little bit better doesn’t drive people to the polls like a burning desire to throw someone out.

8.Unless there’s a hot race at the top of the ticket, we don’t get big voter turnouts in Baltimore. The last time we had a hot Democratic primary was 1999, when O’Malley defeated Lawrence Bell and Carl Stokes. At least 49 percent of city voters turned out. You have to go back to 1983 to find another hot primary; the turnout was 63 percent that year, with William Donald Schaefer winning in a landslide over attorney Billy Murphy.

9.Early on, Rawlings-Blake got rid of the bangs and went with a more professional and fetching hairstyle. So there was no bad hair to vote against.

10.People are burned out, tired and jaded by political dysfunction. The public gives Congress a lousy rating — perhaps the worst since this sort of thing was measured in any scientific way — and that trickles down to the local level. The public’s opinion of politicians might be at an all-time low. And many of the 243,968 Baltimoreans who supported President Obama in 2008, the vast majority of them Democrats, are scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the guy they voted for. So, come the city primary on a Tuesday in September 2011, lots of stressed and unhappy people, turned off to politics generally, just skip it. Given the perceived mood of voters these days, it would have been very hard for a challenger to inspire a mass movement against a sitting mayor who appeared stable and smart.

11.The economy is still a drag, and we learned yesterday that 46.2 million Americans now live in poverty — the most in the half-century that the government has been counting the poor. The unemployment rate in Baltimore is about 11 percent, above the national average. But that has been the case for years, and no one seems to blame the mayor for it. There will be a reckoning on the economy for Congress and the president in 2012. Voter anger is not usually a dynamic in city politics.

12. Baltimoreans were so happy about the Ravens’ trouncing of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday they weren’t in the mood to throw anyone out of office.

http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/click.phdo?i=f9e42b63217d48567c0f0686d997a4bb

tofias:

And (wait for it) Big Business is big.

Ah, but big business can stabilize economies. I am not in favor of big business, but it does rule the economy in places like downtown Baltimore.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2034352/Italy-strike-THREE-million-protest-austerity-package.html

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Sept. 7 – Italy ground to a halt today as a general strike brought thousands – if not millions – on to the street in protest at a belt-tightening €45billion (£39.5bn) austerity package.

The strike was organised by the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), the country’s biggest trade union, and saw disruption to flights, buses, trains as well as hospitals, schools, post offices and other government services.

Susanna Camusso, head of CGIL, said: ‘When you are on the edge of the abyss, you have to take a step backwards.

‘This is a general strike against a budget measure which is totally unjustified and as we have seen in the past few hours totally irresponsible.’

Protesters who gathered in central Rome unfurled a banner that said: ‘Change the austerity package to give a future to the country – more growth, more employment, more development.’

Why isn’t there protests like this in Baltimore, Annapolis, Towson or any of Maryland’s cities? Well, people have become complacent and are tending to not care as much about what their government does.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

http://peoplesworld.org/six-crucial-tasks-for-the-left-and-progressive-community/

leftliberty:

Since Ronald Reagan was elected president more than three decades ago, right-wing extremists gathered in the Republican Party have been attempting to restructure the role and functions of government to the advantage of the top layers of the capitalist class.

One of their main aims has been to dismantle the bundle of social programs and rights (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and voting, civil, disability, women’s and labor rights, and much more) that were legislated over the past eight decades. These progressive breakthroughs are anathema to them. Instead of triumphs, the right wing sees them as sorry episodes in American history.

Looking back over the past 30 years it is fair to say that the right wing has been successful in redistributing income, by way of taxes, to the wealthiest corporations and families. It has been much less successful in dismantling social entitlements and rights.

That speaks to the popularity of this social compact with the American people.

Read more

What Mr. Reagan did is most clear in Maryland since its the richest state per capita in America.

(via )

i think i want to start like a human rights club at school

cyberterrorist:

like, a mini Amnesty International chapter or something of the sort.

i’ve met plenty of other kids who are interested in this kind of stuff, but really just don’t know where to start. idk man, we have a fashion club and a bible club, i’m sure a human rights club would be an okay thing to start, yes?

idk man, it’s something i’ve been thinking about.

Well, I wish you good luck at that. I would create a human rights club at my school, but there isn’t many other sponsors to choose from.

(via cyberterrorist-deactivated20120)

vruz:

BofA paid no corporate taxes in 2009 and 2010. Received $1 billion tax refund. Today, lays off 30,000 workers. Any questions?

—via goodreasonnews

Hmmm. Is there any organizations in Baltimore that don’t pay taxes?

taxes

Hope for the elections

We here at Sunshine politics hope for a better Baltimore. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the current mayor must face the popular will. Someone must be elected in her place, as it is her time is up.

You may ask: why is her time up? Well, she supports slots, something that leads to more cost than revenue to the state government.

As said in West Wing by President Bartlett “We already have term limits. They’re called elections.”

Update:
Ms. Blake won with 52% of the vote with contestants behind at 25%, 13%, 7% and 3% respectfully. But only 22% of the electorate actually voted in the election, the lowest turnout ever. People are tired of so many mayors. They want a brake. Three mayors in five years is too much.

This year on September 11, India will mark the 105th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi launching the modern nonviolent resistance movement…On September 11, 1990, renowned Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack was assassinated in Guatemala City…On September 11, 1993, in the midst of the U.S.-backed coup in Haiti, Antoine Izméry was dragged out of a church by coup forces and murdered in broad daylight. He had been commemorating a massacre of parishioners at the Saint-Jean Bosco Church that had occurred five years earlier on September 11, 1988.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

On the national scale, the federal government got one of the lowest levels of revenue in 60 years. What do you think about Maryland? Should more taxes be in place to get more revenues?

budgetnational

——————————————————————

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/article1189829.ece

timetruthhumor:

The only thing that would make any of these Republicans squirm, is the thought that they might have to go to jail. They never squirm from embarrassment over the suffering they have caused their fellow citizens. I’ve never seen a Republican show an ounce of shame over the mess they have made of our country.

Do you think that Democrats should be investigated for corruption in MD? As well as MD Republicans? Remember from All the Kings Men: “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption.”

(Source: sarahlee310, via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

How the Space Race Fueled Innovation

The Space Race fueled numerous cultural, political, and scientific advancements, while changing the way we view the Earth.  Answers to these questions provide a summary of the innovations spawned by the Space Race:

  • Why is the Space Race important and how did it  influence history?

The Space Race was important because it led to many innovations we live with today and our modern life.

  • How did the Space Race develop over time?

Geopolitical struggles set the stage for the Space Race. After Sputnik’s launch, the United States (U.S.) and U.S.S.R. (Soviet Union) vied for dominance, starting the Space Race, an 18-year struggle. This struggle is highlighted on a timeline.  As the Space Race evolved, a short moon race developed and after the moon landing, the U.S. government cut funding to space exploration.

  • How did events of that time influence the Space Race?

The Space Race was a backdrop for hostile Cold War competition between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. This competition is discussed in our interviews  as well as Space Race innovations and potential space technologies.

The War on Drugs is a controversial topic that has caused cultural and political shifts in U.S. history. “While drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine were considered “miracle substances” for their alleged health benefits, they have been driven underground by certain drug policies and legislation. This created a global drug market that affected America’s diplomacy with other countries. The black market for drugs destabilized many countries, including Mexico and Colombia. While the drug war affects diplomacy abroad, in America, there is sustainable debate between those that still support it and those that rally against it. After 41 years, the debate rages with a multitude of viewpoints ranging from legalization to harsh penalties.

What you think about the drug war?(Source: 52325544.nhd.weebly.com)

Delegate Steve Lafferty talks about his views on drug policy

In a personalized email that he sent us on 2.24.11, Mr. Lafferty said: “There is ample information about high school youth using drugs and I know that there is reported police involvement with drug arrests…I believe we should fund more treatment beds for addicts and that a more focused drug court be established so that treatment is more integrated into the sentencing. I do not have a position on decriminalizing drug usage.”

MD State Senator James Brochin supporting medical marijuana

From a mailed form letter on 6.9.10, Mr. Brochin says: “I supported the medical marijuana bill which could relieve the suffering of our most vulnerable citizens. [The bill] allows someone who has pain through a chronic or terminal illness to be prescribed medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has been shown to stimulate appetite for those that must undergo chemotherapy. “

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski argues for prosecution and prevention

Ms. Mikulski speaking in the U.S. Senate As part of a personalized letter we received via email on 2.3.11, Ms. Mikulski argues: “Any drug prevention legislation must include programs aimed at prevention, intervention and prosecution. We must stem the flow of narcotics and educate young people about the dangers of drug use. We must make investments in our young people before trouble begins. I am a strong supporter of the Drug Courts program. These alternative courts are very successful in curbing recidivism rates. I will help drug courts secure the funding they need. We must make sure violent drug offenders are put behind bars and serve their time. I will support crime and drug prevention initiatives during this Congress. I look forward to working to advance the initiatives critical to the health and safety of our communities. “

aaronmicah:

“Trees, surely the most magnificent of all living things”—Planet Earth

This reminds me of environmental stewardship on Earth. In Maryland, please do what you can to help the environment, to save it for the future. The question is: what are living things?

This one of the only historical archives in Baltimore. If you haven’t seen it, see it. How does this relate to politics? It secured the Independence of the United States from Europe. You must question: what is independence?

(Source: youaretheonefatty)

independce

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2011/09/study-names-d-c-drivers-worst-in-america-65922.html

katebateman:

…what a surprise.

But Baltimore drivers aren’t the best either. Anyone concur?

(Source: katejamesflute)

http://theinbetweener.tumblr.com/post/9716583836

theinbetweener:

The people of Baltimore are going crazy about this weekend’s Grand Prix. Though not in a good way. The construction of the race course has worsened the city’s traffic problem and interrupted regular schedules of public transportation.

My commute to Hopkins yesterday was quite the adventure….

I believe that the Grand Prix is a waste of resources for the state, which I believe shouldn’t be funding it. Does anyone have a counter argument?

(via caffeinatedpoet-deactivated2013)

——————————————————————————————-

Maryland pride! Use this to show your loyalty to one of the best states in the country!

(via ringwaldhaze-deactivated2012071)

mdpride

#Baltimore

mizzy4ocj:

representing. For. Life

I have a few questions:

- Representing in what way? Just by living there?

- What you consider representing?

- What do you define as life?

(via mizzy4ocj-deactivated20111205)

freetohide:

Senator Bernie Sanders’ filibuster (today from 10:25 am – 7 pm) against extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest people in the USA was AWESOME. (and the others helping him, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, were great, too.)

I’m currently watching it (well, more like listening to it in, not actually watching the screen) here: http://c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

As a matter of fact, I learned about Bernie Sanders from this speech and I read the whole thing before I went up to the Adirondacks. Should there be a Bernie Sanders in Maryland?

sanders

baltiamore:

A Great Event for all Maryland bicyclists (pros & casual riders)… TOUR DU PORT

http://bikemd.org/

Like the previous posts about the environment, do a service and ride some bikes.

bikemd

hermannview:

U.S. Representative John Sarbanes speaks out against the Budget Control Act of 2011, dubbed the debt ceiling compromise by the media.

John Sarbanes was one of the only Marylanders who was right!

srabnes

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

NORML: We’re Looking for a Few Good Politicians: Tell Your Rep. to Co-Sponsor HR 2306

Click the picture to contact your representative. Tell them to stand with us and support HR 2306 to move toward ending cannabis prohibition.

So far, this bill has twelve co-sponsors:

  • Barney Frank (D-MA) (primary sponsor)
  • Ron Paul (R-TX)
  • Jared Polis (D-CO)
  • Steve Cohen (D-TN)
  • John Conyers (D-MI)
  • Michael Honda (D-CA)
  • Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • James McDermott (D-WA)
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Del. Eleanor Norton (D-DC)
  • Charles Rangel (D-NY)
  • Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
  • Fortney Stark (D-CA)

Learn more about HR 2306

Notably, not one Marylander is supporting this legislation, only a person from DC, which can’t vote at all, since not enough people will give District of Columbia representatives the right to vote. They can just sit in the sessions, but can’t vote. Please correct me if I’m wrong about this, but I believe I’m correct. There was an amendment, the 26th amendment that dealt with D.C., but that just made D.C. part of the electoral college. Its not surprising Ron Paul would support this, depending on a statement he made in 2008: http://52325544.nhd.weebly.com/debate.html. Also Barney Frank as I found out last year introduced a law to decriminalize marijuana and I tried to contact him about it, but to no avail.

(via freetohide)

potprohibiton

—————————————-

Mr. Hermann, Did you get permission to quote your mom and dad in that post?

Signed,

Your mom

My response: Well, do I need to ask permission everytime?

—————————-

BGE should be broken up

 

  • Me:I read today that most Marylanders want more power companies. I think BGE should be broken up.
  • My mom:I don’t know about that.
  • My dad:Its fine the way it is now.
  • Me:It would be better for Marylanders.
  • My dad:What’s the problem with it now?
  • Me:There is so many problems I can’t list them all…

—————————————————————————————————————–

News Release…September 1, 2011…County Executive Kevin Kamenetz addressed County residents on Facebook and YouTube this evening regarding BGE’s effort to restore power in the County.

Anyone else think that BGE should be broken up? I think the only thing that’s good for Marylanders.
Remember Cordish? Maybe not…$21,000 in contributions went to Mayor Stephanie-Rowlings Blake’s campaign…why is this the case? Read this article and tell us what you think.
——————————————————

Motorola gets contracts

A Baltimore Brew article said something interesting. They stated: “The Baltimore Board of Estimates today awarded Motorola more than $11 million in unbid contract extensions – and approved a $2 million contract extension to two generous contributors of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s reelection campaign. For $10 million, Motorola will take care of equipment related to the city’s 800 MHz radio communications facilities over the next five years. Motorola is the original equipment manufacturer and exclusive provider of the maintenance required, according to the city. Additionally, the Motorola Communication Division was awarded a $1.5 million add-on to its original $5.4 million contract to provide hosting services for the 311 call center.” (http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2011/08/24/inside-city-hall-spending-before-the-board-of-estimates-3/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+baltimorebrew+%28Baltimore+Brew+-+Stirring+Up+Baltimore+News+and+Views%29)

This concerns me that such a corporation would get these contracts. As said in All the Kings Men, “Men is conceived in sin and born in corruption.” Is there some kind of corruption present in this situation?

Why I registered as A Democrat in Maryland

Recently as many young adults do, I waited in an MVA office for three hours, consuming my Saturday morning to get my Learner’s Permit. When I was one, I registered to vote. There was a few boxes to choose from such as: Constitution, Green, Republican, Democratic, unaffiliated (other) and Libertarian.[i] In Maryland’s primary elections, only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote. Hence the name “closed” elections.

I am not in favor of closed elections since it pushes independent-minded people out of voting in the election primaries. To me, that is unfair. Every group and person must be qualified to be a candidate; people of any ideology must be allowed to vote freely. When the sheet was in front of me, I checked ‘Democrat.’ My political views are mix of Democratism, Republicanism and Independentism, but I wanted to vote in the primary election (Greens and Libertarians are established parties in MD, but I have not completely gone to the side of those parties yet. I like to be independent of political parties).

Remember when you vote in Maryland, register as a Republican or Democrat or any other established party in Maryland (mentioned earlier) if you want to vote in the primary election. But you can still be a free thinker: “In this type, only registered voters affiliated with a given party have the chance to go to the polls to cast their vote for their chosen candidate within that party. In closed primaries, only Republicans can vote for Republicans and Democrats for Democrats.”[ii] In the general election, you can vote for candidates of any political ideology you want (Democrats for Green Party candidates, Republicans for Independents, etc…).

Getting back to voting, if you don’t want to vote in the primary election, switch to independent (unaffiliated). Many of those I’ve read in the conspiracy world and others say voting is stupid and useless, such as comedian George Carlin. I disagree. If there is one of the many rights that you can’t give up as a citizen, it is the right to vote, a right that you must protect at all times, no matter what. Remember to consider your choice of political affiliation before you register to vote, so you can choose an option that will benefit you.


[i] http://elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/index.html

[ii] http://people.howstuffworks.com/primary1.htm

Four of the five Democrats running to succeed Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake as Baltimore’s chief executive today branded the incumbent a “surrogate mayor,” taking Blake to task for regularly failing to appear at candidate debates and for claiming that she never sought the mayoralty but that it was “thrust upon her.” The mayor “was not thrust into her position,” countered candidate Otis Rolley, a former head of the city’s Planning Department under Martin O’Malley and chief of staff for ex-Mayor Sheila Dixon, while also noting that “longevity [in office] does not equal productivity.

Democrats running for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s position criticize her for poor leadership. I predict that Ms. Rawlings-Blake may have a problem of public trust because she was never elected to mayor, she only became mayor because of the line of sucession.

MD Public servants that fall like dominoes

I know you have heard of the debt ceiling deal (Budget Control Act of 2011), but how did Maryland representatives vote? Well, sadly, most of them voted for the legislation. But before I get into that, I went through the bill and created a list of the main ideas in the bill.

The ideas actually in the debt ceiling deal (budget control act of 2011) [http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s365/text]
– Military personnel exempt from cuts to govt.
– War on Terror is still considered “emergency appropriations”
– Limiting amount of money that can be used for Social Security in future budgets
– Limiting amount of money going toward combating healthcare fraud
– Limiting amount of disaster relief to “average funding in past 10 years”
– Cap of $684 billion of security category of budget this year and $686 billion next year (according to the act: “The term ‘security category’ includes discretionary appropriations associated with agency budgets for the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the intelligence community management account (95–0401–0–1–054), and all budget accounts in budget function 150 (international affairs).”*
– cap of $359 and $361 billion in nonsecurity category (everything else other than programs in the security category at home)*
– emergency appropriations now are legalized (if not before this) as “[stopping] loss of life or property [and] threats to national security.”
– No discretionary spending cap exceeding section 251 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (that states that if “the deficit excess of a fiscal year is more than 10 [billion]…such deficit excesses shall be divided in halves.” The whole section comprises of pages 27 [bottom] to page 36. Its a really long section)**
– U.S. Senate must aggregate spending and revenue levels in 2011 and 2012 along with displaying Social Security levels
– Giving more power to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Budget
to balance the budget and reports to Congress on: Social Security revenue levels, revenue levels and spending levels up to 2022
– Both the House and Senate must vote on a balanced budget amendment, one that would balance the federal budget. This was also proposed by the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, that passed the House of Representatives.***
– Process if the debt ceiling is rejected (President can raise the debt ceiling if it has been increased by 900 billion. All he has do is submit a written certification to Congress that “further borrowing is required”). Also if the debt limit is rot raised in “50 calendar days” the President can raise the debt limit by $400 billion!
– Discretionary spending limit increases by 2021 with $664 billion for the security category and $590 in the nonsecurity category. This is a strange part of law because eariler it said the limit was higher.
– The Office of Management and Budget shall calculate reduction in discretionary spending. Nowhere in this bill does it talk about non-discretionary spending
– “Establishment of a Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction” a.k.a. the famed Super Congress that has been discussed at great lengths here: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/backgrounder-super-congress/2011-08-09
– The cutting of federal Pell Grants: “For any period of instruction beginning on or after July 1, 2012, a graduate or professional student shall not be eligible to recieve a Federal Stafford loan…No repayment incentives for new loans after July 21st, 2012.”

*See http://www.hlswatch.com/20​11/08/05/the-debt-ceiling-​deal-and-the-security-cate​gory/ for more info

**Read Public Law No: 99-177,
http://history.nih.gov/res​earch/downloads/PL99-177.p​df for more
info and evidence this in fact the legislation: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-​bin/bdquery/z?d099%3AH.J.R​ES.372:

***See last section to find mention of amendment: http://www.opencongress.or​g/bill/112-h2560/show

So, you are wondering, who voted for this piece of legislation that didn’t postively affect the average American? Well these people from the Maryland delegation voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011:
– Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5]

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger [D, MD-2]
Rep. Christopher Van Hollen [D, MD-8]
Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D, MD]
Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD]

- Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6]

These people from the Maryland Delegation voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011:
Rep. Elijah Cummings [D, MD-7]
Rep. Donna Edwards [D, MD-4]
Rep. John Sarbanes [D, MD-3]

- Rep. Andy Harris [R, MD-1]
So of the eight Congressmembers, 5 of them voted for the Budget Control Act (vote in House- http://www.opencongress.org/vote/2011/h/690, vote in Senate- http://www.opencongress.org/vote/2011/s/123). That’s 60.0% of the delegation. That is a shame for a state that has at times enacted laws that help the people. Maryland is a very Democratic state, so it may surprise Marylanders and others readining this that so many of their Senators and Congressmen would vote for such a proposal. Well, on the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, an act that created an unconstitutional central bank to help big business, only two Democrats voted against the act, so this vote in historical terms is not that uncommon. But, it is troubling. Maryland and the rest of America needs people in Congress that represent the common man.

The Real News: Baltimore Election Heats up. Probably because a lot of people don’t like Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak6Bi3WThMc&feature=player_embedded

While the U.S. government doesn’t have a Triple A rating, Baltimore Country does. Very interesting and suspicious.

triplbond

 

 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. (EA) and Merritt Properties to announce that construction has started on a new headquarters for the environmental and engineering firm.

News Release: Kamenetz Announces New Green Headquarters July 26, 2011

Real News talks about redlining (kicking certain ethnic groups out of a neighborhood which “purifies” the neighborhood) in Baltimore.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqwvBHst_x8&feature=player_embedded

 

 

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz today launched the County’s greatly enhanced “My Neighborhood” online map and data application that offers the public easy and comprehensive access to a wide range of geographic information systems (GIS) maps and data.

News Release: Kamenetz Launches Updated Online Map Tool

Towson, MD – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz officially opened the Cherry Hill Road Bridge at a ribbon cutting ceremony July 19.

From a NEWS RELEASE: County Executive Kamenetz Opens Cherry Hill Road Bridge July 19, 2011

The homepage of Maryland’s legislative branch of the government, the General assembly.

mdga

Attention fellow Marylanders!

memoriescantwait:

Speaking of state politics – if you are from Maryland, check out the Equality Maryland website to see what you can do to support the passing of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, which would extend the existing benefits Maryland has for gay and bisexual people to the transgender community as well.

Support laws that uphold the idea in the 14th Amendment: equal protection under the law. Discrimination must be stopped, starting in Maryland, then going elsewhere. People that are transgender should have the benefits of gay/lesbian and bisexual community.

 

http://colormysoul.tumblr.com/post/4448592691

colormysoul:

 

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown released the following statement today congratulating the House of Delegates for passing the Maryland DREAM Act:

“The only way Maryland will continue to thrive is if we embrace all who wish to contribute to our great State. Allowing children of undocumented…

Everyone should have the right to a education, whether you are an illegal or not. I commend and commended in the past the Maryland General Assembly from passing this legislation.

haste-makes-waste:

Baltimore just sucks, doesn’t it? It’s voted as the 2nd city with the ugliest people, the 6th dirtiest city, and the 8th most dangerous city in the United States. But somehow, I’m fine living here.

Baltimore isn’t as bad as this user admits. I feel that although some officials have been accused of corruption, Baltimore City’s government have addressed the problems of dirtiness and danger in effective ways that helped their citizens.(Source: missteencalifornia)

 

http://hermannview.tumblr.com/post/1129403375/post-election-md-election-results-and-general-election

hermannview:

I finished a voter guide yesterday but it was too late to publish, because it wouldn’t have been worth it. You can see my original guide on Google Docs (if you can’t view it there, just email me at burkelyhermann@yahoo.com). I marked up the voter guide I made yesterday, explaining if the…

An old post on my other blog I did about Maryland candidates I supported in the 2010 races. I made a whole voters guide. This was post-election report.

 

http://hermannview.tumblr.com/post/999333632/baltimore-politics-my-picks-for-two-county-council

hermannview:

I was looking through the Towson Times, Baltimore Sun and City Paper at articles about who was running for office. I reviewed each article and took out what I thought was important. I’ll start with the most local part, the Baltimore County Council (If you live in Baltimore County use the Board…

On my other blog, I did a post where I picked who I thought would be the best on the Baltimore County Council.

Hi!

I started this blog, called Sunshine politics, a blog about politics in Maryland. I want to show all that happens in Maryland in an even light, so I show both sides of a debate always.  I always question what is said by the government, because that what’s a good citizen does. Never take anything as it is first presented. Always question your leaders or you cannot be a an active populace. Enjoy!

About interestingblogger

I'm a social activist and a person interested in politics in general. I want to make a change and have a more just world for all.
This entry was posted in activism, Baltimore, banks, campaign. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Moving stuff over (it took hours to copy this over)

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