Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Friday, August 31, 2007

20070831 This week in The Tentacle

This week in The Tentacle

August 31st, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Kuzemchak's Not Listening

Roy Meachum

All the sound and fury coming out of City Hall these days belong to a single alderman. Donna Kuzemchak obviously wasn't listening to voters in the last election.

City Charter revisions - An Ambitious Task

George Wenschhof

The decision by Mayor Jeff Holtzinger to review the 20-plus articles that make up the Charter of City of Frederick is a worthwhile and much needed endeavor. A regularly scheduled interval for future comprehensive charter reviews should also result from this action.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The 126th Annual Maryland State Fair

Chris Cavey

The best 11 days of summer 2007 are upon us and that means just one thing - The 126th Annual Maryland State Fair. For those of us who "work" the Fair, it means meeting and greeting the public while "selling your wares" in the main Exhibition Hall. My sale is, as always, The Maryland Republican Party.


A reader in Emmitsburg takes issue with Tony Soltero's column of last week on the need to raise taxes. CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"The Crocodile Dundee Factor"

Kevin E. Dayhoff

September 15 is fast approaching. That's when Gen. David H. Petraeus will give his report to Congress on the progress in the war in Iraq.

General Petraeus has become a household name in America as the military mind tapped to head-up President George W. Bush's new way forward - or "surge" initiative announced in January.

Even though most people are well aware of General Petraeus, one wonders how many are aware of the work of Dr. David Kilcullen.

Any definitive discourse as to why the current military efforts in Iraq are successful must include some knowledge of Dr. Kilcullen, an Australian counterinsurgency expert.


Senator Clinton: A Gambling Woman

Katie Nash

Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D., NY) and her staff are working hard to portray her as a centrist, with their eye on the prize of 2008. This strategy was successful for her husband, but can a centrist win in the Democratic primary election? It appears the Clinton machine is going for double or nothing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"The Big Easy" Ain't Easy

Roy Meachum

Tomorrow brings Hurricane Katrina's second anniversary. The world ended for much of the New Orleans I grew up in, on August 29, 2005. Not my neighborhood though.

The Proboscis Monkeys - Sarawak Part 2

Tom McLaughlin

I have a big nose and have always been teased about it. I once considered a nose job, but one teacher told me it was a good strong Roman nose and I should be proud of it. During the summer months it often becomes bright red, refusing to tan with the rest of me. I guess this is the reason I became enamored with the Proboscis Monkey's of Borneo.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Solution or Problem: Which part are you?

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

I'm writing this from a fourth floor balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Families are spread out on the sand below; children are frolicking in the wind-whipped surf. The Maryland Association of Counties summer conference is in full swing.

Orang Hutan - Sarawak Part 1

Tom McLaughlin

Okay, let's get this straight. It's Orang Hutan, not orangutan. Orang means man and hutan means forest in the Malay language. Orang Hutan. Impress your friends by saying I read an article about the Orang Hutan on The Tentacle and then politely correct them when they say orangutan.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Christian Concern?

Roy Meachum

Charity to Muslims is "Zagat," which requires the faithful to share with their less privileged brothers and sisters. In the Old Testament, Jews were told to turn away from their table no one needy. The very essence of Christ's teaching was we must comfort all other human beings.

The Business of Taking Care

Patricia A. Kelly

A crucial interstate highway bridge connecting two important sister cities in the United States of America recently collapsed. One of the last missing bodies came out of the water just this week.

The Sounds of Summer

Edward Lulie III

Recently the dull roar of lawnmowers, that ever constant background sound of summer, has vanished. It seems that those sun-drenched - but rainless skies - had shriveled away any need for the grass to be cut.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Doctrinaire Consequences

Tony Soltero

About a year ago or so, the Minnesota legislature drafted a budget bill that, among other things, included a gas tax to be used for infrastructure investment. The bill easily passed the state's legislature and went to Republican Gov. Tom Pawlenty for his signature.

August 22, 2007

Edward Hopper: Poet of the ordinary

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks," 1942, oil on canvas, depicts a voyeuristic portrayal of ambiguous urban alienation and impersonalization as three customers and a soda jerk spend time together in the harsh glare of artificial light in the middle of the night.

The voyeuristic stark world of American Scene realist artist Edward Hopper was recently displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

August 15, 2007

The Subprime Mortgage Mania Mess

Kevin E. Dayhoff

After several weeks of Wall Street volatility, it appears that the market has hopefully finally exhaled and calmed down.

20070827 A dream come true: Feather Fund helps girl purchase the pony she has always wanted By Carrie Ann Knauer, Carroll County Times Staff Writer

20070827 A dream come true: Feather Fund helps girl purchase the pony she has always wanted By Carrie Ann Knauer, Carroll County Times Staff Writer

Carroll County Times

A dream come true: Feather Fund helps girl purchase the pony she has always wanted

By Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer
Monday, August 27, 2007

Skylar Hull, 9, pets her Chincoteague pony, Nevaeh’s Precious Angel, given to her by the Feather Fund, at her Manchester home Thursday.

Skylar Hull wrote in her Feather Fund application essay that she has wanted a pony since she was 5 years old.

“Every time I had a birthday, I’d ask ‘Is there a pony in the pasture for me?’ ” said the 9-year-old Manchester resident.

Skylar’s dreams came true this month when a local charity, the Feather Fund, helped her purchase a Chincoteague pony.

Each year, the Feather Fund receives about a dozen applications from children who want a Chincoteague pony, said Lois Szymanski, a member of the board of directors. The organization sees distributing the ponies as a way for children to learn responsibility, care and respect, as well as teaching the concept of “giving back” that was embodied by Carollynn Suplee, who inspired the creation of the organization.

The applications are evaluated by the board of directors. They are looking for children who can’t afford to buy a pony by themselves and for evidence of a strong work ethic.

Skylar was chosen for her efforts to raise money on her own, and for her passion for wanting a pony, Szymanski said.

“She eats, sleeps and dreams ponies,” she said.

Skylar’s mother Barbara Hull said her daughter had always loved ponies, but when she started helping their neighbor muck out horse stalls and clean their hooves, she and her husband realized it was more than a fleeting interest.


Read the entire article here:
A dream come true: Feather Fund helps girl purchase the pony she has always wanted

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or


The legend is that these ponies swam ashore from a Spanish vessel that had capsized off the coast, around the year 1600. Once on the islands, they became stunted under the harsh environment. To keep from starving, they ate coarse saltmarsh cordgrass, American beachgrass, thorny greenbrier stems, bayberry twigs, seaweed and even poison ivy. The horses bred down to the unique breed known today as the Chincoteague Pony.

There are two groups of these ponies descended from the original Arabian horses that survived the legendary shipwreck.

The Virginia Herd consists of approximately 130 ponies and is owned by the Chincoteague volunteer fire department. The ponies graze in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island.

The Maryland Herd consists of approximately 140 ponies and is owned by the Maryland Park Service.

The famous annual “Pony Round-up” and “Pony Swim” is held each year during the month of July. The Chincoteague Volunteer Firemen herd the ponies off their island at slack tide, through the seawater channel to Virginia. On the last Wednesday of every July, the ponies are gathered for the sale the next day.

Source: The National Chincoteague Pony Association


The Feather Fund was created in 2003 to carry on the memory of Carollynn Suplee, a woman who purchased her first pony to donate to Lois Szymanski’s daughters in 1995, even though they were strangers.The two families met at the annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim and Round-Up sale. For the Szymanskis, it was a tradition, but Suplee, then a resident of Herndon, Va., was there for the first time on a visit to her husband’s mother.

Szymanski’s daughters, Ashley and Shannon, had saved $500 and wanted to buy a pony, though their parents knew that the ponies sold for much more. After watching 40 ponies sell at the auction at prices well over the girls’ savings, the girls started to give up hope, when they were introduced to Suplee.

Suplee had come to the auction to purchase a pony and donate it back to the island, part of her way of “giving something back” after recently surviving brain tumor surgery. Suplee had missed the opportunity to purchase the ponies that were set aside to be re-released, so she had decided to buy a pony for a child that couldn’t afford the price on their own.At first the family resisted, but then saw how much the act meant to Suplee and accepted. The girls bought a brown foal with a white feather-shaped mark on its shoulder and named him Sea Feather.

The Suplees continued to return to the island for several years to purchase ponies for children or to release them into the wild. But in 2003, her cancer returned, and she passed away that November. The Szymanskis, Suplee’s family and friends, decided to honor Carollynn Suplee’s memory by continuing her mission. They named the organization the Feather Fund because Suplee believed feathers were signs from God, as referenced in the Bible’s Psalm 91.


20070827 A dream come true: Feather Fund helps girl purchase the pony she has always wanted By Carrie Ann Knauer, Carroll County Times Staff Writer

Labels: Annual events Chincoteague Pony Auction, Non-profits-charities The Feather Fund, Animals horses Chincoteague Pony, US state Virginia Delmarva Chincoteague,
Media journalists Knauer - Carrie Ann Knauer


People Carroll County Szymanski – Lois Szymanski

US state Virginia Delmarva,
Non-profits and charities Carroll Community Foundation, Animals horses, Non-profits and charities, US state Virginia, Maryland county Eastern Shore Delmarva

Thursday, August 30, 2007

20070828 Making America Safer By Defeating Extremists In The Middle East




Office of the Press Secretary

(Reno, Nevada)


For Immediate Release August 28, 2007

Making America Safer By Defeating Extremists In The Middle East

President Bush Explains Why Winning The Fight In Iraq Is Key To Countering The Ambitions Of Al Qaeda And Iran

Today, President Bush Will Address The American Legion National Convention In Reno, Nevada, To Explain Why Defeating Extremists In The Middle East Is Essential To American Security And Why Success In Iraq Is Vital To Winning This Battle. America is engaged in a great ideological struggle against violent Islamic extremists around the world, and the fight for the future of the Middle East is a key aspect of this struggle.

X America Has Enduring And Vital Interests In The Middle East.

We seek a region of secure democratic states at peace with each other, participating in an open global market and existing as partners in the war on terror.

We seek to dry up the stream of recruits for al Qaeda by helping nations offer their people a path to a more hopeful future.

We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.

We seek to advance a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security; and

We seek justice and dignity and human rights for all people of the Middle East.

Achieving this future requires hard work and strategic patience, but our security depends on getting it done.

X The Most Important And Immediate Way To Counter The Ambitions Of Al Qaeda, Iran, And Other Forces Of Instability And Terror In The Middle East Is To Win The Fight In Iraq. The challenge in Iraq comes down to this: either the forces of violent e xtremism succeed and our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or the forces of freedom succeed and we advance our interests.

If Violent Extremists Were Allowed To Prevail In The Middle East, The Region Would Be Dramatically Transformed In A Way That Could Imperil The World

The Violent Islamic Radicalism That Inspires Extremists In The Middle East Has Two Main Strains. Allowing these forces of radicalism to drive America out of the Middle East could result in disaster for the region's people, danger to our frien ds and allies, and a direct threat to American peace and security.

1) The First Strain Is Sunni Extremism, Embodied By Al Qaeda And Its Terrorist Allies. These extremists hope to impose their dark vision across the Middle East by raising up a violent and radical caliphate that spans from Spain to Indonesia. They kill fellow Muslims in places like Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to undermine their governments. And they kill Americans because they know we stand in their way they attacked U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998, attacked the USS Cole in 2000, killed nearly 3,000 people on 9/11, and plot to attack us again.

2) The Second Strain Is Shia Extremism, Supported And Embodied By Iran's Government. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and the United States is working with friends and allies around the world to confront the danger presented by actions of Iran's government. Iran's leaders threaten the security of nations everywhere by:

Actively pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons;

Arresting visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime;

Backing Hezbollah terrorists who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon;

Funding the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories;

Sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which can be used to attack American and NATO troops and Afghan civilians; and

Sending arms to extremists in Iraq that are used against Coalition and Iraqi troops, and Iraqi civilians.

These Two Dangerous Strains Of Extremism Vying For Control Of The Middle East Have Now Closed In On Iraq In An Effort To Bring Down Its Young Democracy

Sunni Extremists, Led By Al Qaeda, Are Staging Sensational Attacks On Innocent Men, Women, And Children In Iraq In An Attempt To Stoke Sectarian Violence. These violent extremists' ranks include foreign fighters from a variety of countries in the region who travel to Iraq through Syria. Their operatives have killed those see king to build a new future for the Iraqi people, and their operations seek to create images of chaos and carnage to break the will of the American people. Their targets include everyone they consider infidels including Christians, Jews, Yezidis, Shia, and even fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical distortion of Islam.

Shia Extremists, Backed By Iran, Are Training Iraqis To Carry Out Attacks On Our Forces, The Iraqi Government, And The Iraqi People. Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force are supplying extremist groups with funding and weapons, including sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs). With the assistance of Hezbollah, they have provided training for violent forces active inside Iraq.

X The Attacks On Our Bases And Our Troops Using Iranian-Supplied Munitions Have Increased In The Last Few Months Despite Pledges By Iran To Help Stabilize The Security Situation In Iraq. Recently, Coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rocket s that had been manufactured in Iran this year and provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents.

X The Iranian Regime Must Halt These Actions At Once. Some say Iran's leaders are not aware of what members of their own regime are doing. Others say Iran's leaders are actively seeking to provoke the West. Either way, Iranian leaders bear the responsibility for aiding attacks against Coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis.

The Fight In Iraq Has A Direct Impact On The Safety Of Americans Here At Home. We have seen what violent extremists will do when American forces are actively engaged in Iraq, and we can envision what they would do if they were emboldened by American forces in retreat. For all those who ask whether the fight in Iraq is worth it, imagine an Iraq where militia groups backed b y Iran control large parts of the country, and al Qaeda has established sanctuaries to safely plot future attacks on targets all over the world, including the U.S. Homeland and they could use billions of dollars in oil revenues to buy weapons and pursue their deadly ambitions.

The Momentum Is On Now Our Side In Iraq Our New Strategy Is Seizing The Initiative From Our Enemy, And Giving It To The Iraqi People

Our New Strategy Is Showing Results In Better Security.

X Sectarian violence has sharply decreased in Baghdad.

X Since January, we have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other enemies of Iraq's elected government each month.

X Al Qaeda is being displaced from former strongholds in Baghdad, Anbar, and Diyala provinces.

X We have conducted operations against Iranian Qods Force agents whose group supplies lethal munitions to extremist groups.

X We have targeted Iranian-backed Shia militants and their supply networks and Prime Minister Maliki has courageously committed to pursue them.

Our New Strategy Is Resulting In Encouraging Developments At The Local Level, And As Iraqis Take Control Over Their Lives At The Local Level, They Will Demand More Action From Their National Leaders In Baghdad. In the cities and neighborhoods where they live, Iraqis are increasingly reaching accommodations with each other, with the Coalition, and with the government in Baghdad. This reconciliation is coming from the bottom up; it is having an impact in the fight against the enemy; and it is building a solid foundation for a democratic Iraq.

X In Anbar The Province That Had Been Called "Lost" To The Enemy Increasing Numbers Of Local Sunnis Have Turned Against Al Qaeda. Local sheikhs have joined with American forces to drive the terrorists out of the capital city of Ramadi, and elsewhere, residents are providing critical intelligence, and tribesmen have joined the Iraqi police and security forces.

X Many Iraqis Who Once Felt Marginalized Are Rejoining The Political Process. Virtually every city and town in the province now has a mayor and a municipal council, and local officials are forming ties with the central government in Baghdad because these Sunni leaders now see a role for their people in the new Iraq. In an encouraging sign, the central government is beginning to respond with funding for vital services and reconstruction, and with increased security forces.

X In Other Provinces, There Are Also Signs Of Bottom Up Progress. For example, in Diyala province, the city of Baqubah re-opened six of its banks, providing residents with capital for the local economy. And in Ninewa province, local officials have established a commission to investigate corruption, with a local judge empowered to pursue charges of fraud and racketeering.

Iraq's Government Still Has More Work To Do To Meet Many Of Its Legislative Benchmarks, But It Is Also Important To Note That Many Of The Goals Behind These Benchmarks Are Being Achieved Without Legislation. For example, the national government is already sharing oil revenues with provinces despite the fact that no formal law has been passed.

X The President Is Encouraged By The Agreement Reached Sunday Night By The Top Leaders In Iraq's Government. These leaders agreed on several draft pieces of legislation that are at the core of national reconciliation and are among the benchmarks identified by the United States Congress, including a draft law on de-Baathification reform and draft legislation on provincial powers. T hese measures still have to be passed by the Iraqi parliament, but the agreement shows that Iraq's leaders can put aside their differences, sit down together, and work out tough issues central to the fate of their country.

X Iraq's Government Is Also Making Gains In Other Important Areas. Electricity production is improving, and Iraq's pa rliament has passed about 60 pieces of legislation, including a $41 billion budget that includes $10 billion for reconstruction and capital investment.

X It Makes No Sense To Respond To Military Progress By Claiming That We Have Failed Because Iraq's Parliament Has Yet To Pass Every Law It Said It Would. Improving security is the precondition for making gains in other areas. In two weeks, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will return to Washin gton to deliver an interim assessment of the situation on the ground and the prospects for the future. This status report comes less than three months since the surge became fully operational. Congress should listen to it in its entirety and withhold conclusions until they can hear these men out.

Our Strategy Is Also Showing Results At The International Level. The international community increasingly understands the importance of a free Iraq, and we will continue to rally the world to this noble and necessary cause.

X International Compact For Iraq: The United Nations and Iraq with support from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and nations from around the globe have finalized an International Compact for Iraq that will bring new economic assistance and debt relief in exchange for aggressive economic reform. So far, the Iraqis have made significant progress mee ting IMF economic benchmarks.

X Neighbors Conference: The Iraqis have convened a Neighbors Conference that is bringing together nations in the region to help the Iraqis through specific security, economic, and diplomatic cooperation. As part of these diplomatic initiatives, Prime Minister Maliki has met with his counterparts in Turkey, Syria, and Iran to urge support for his nation.

X United Nations: The United Nations Security Council has decided to expand its mission in Iraq, and is seeking to help with local elections and reconciliation. The United Nations will soon name a new high-ranking envoy to Iraq, to coordinate the UN's expanded support for that country.

X Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is looking to open a new embassy in Baghdad.

# # #

20070828 News Clips

News Clips

Aug. 28, 2007


Mayoral hopefuls square off in debate
Homicides, ethics, schools discussed; Conaway quits race,0,4993684.story
Facing off last night in the first and likely only live, televised debate of the election, seven Democratic candidates for mayor laid out broadly different approaches for how they would lead Baltimore - and one candidate used the platform to announce that he was dropping out.
In a freewheeling format that focused more attention on Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. - considered the front-runners in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary - the candidates parried over government ethics, how to reduce homicides and whether the management of schools should be changed.
C. Vernon Gray, a professor of political science at Morgan State University, agreed that most of the candidates were short on specifics. But he said he thought voters would benefit from the exchange. "It was good overall to get a sense of who the candidates are and get a feel for them and how they handle questions," he said.

Balto. Co. system won't hire Kaplan
Schools to use teachers to write curriculum,0,5079975.story
Baltimore County school officials have scuttled plans to spend about $7.4 million for a national education firm's help in overhauling the system's curriculum -- a move that some educators and community leaders had questioned as unnecessa ry outsourcing.County schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston said yesterday that with the school year starting and with it becoming increasingly cumbersome to find ways to pay for the unbudgeted initiative, he decided to scrap the plan to hire the New York-based Kaplan K12 Learning Services Division.

EPA orders cleanup of Meade waste sites
Army must rid base of buried pollutants,0,217628.story
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Army yesterday to clean up 14 hazardous-waste sites at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County. The sites include former ammunition dumps, landfills, shooting ranges and buildings where hundreds of drums of fuel and other pollutants were buried on the Army post, prompting fines from Mar yland's environmental agency.The contaminants - including heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, explosives and arsenic - have been in the ground for decades, and some have seeped into underground water supplies, the EPA said.

Md. attorney general, governor discuss prisoner-release policy
At the request of a group of Washington County officials, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has spoken to Gov. Martin O'Malley about the state's prisoner release policy, Gansler spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said. Police and government officials in Washington County - which has three state prisons - have complained that the state's policy of dropping parolees off at a bus station, with money for a ticket home, makes it easy for convicts to stay here instead. The prisoner-release policy was one of the coalition's priorities for the 2007 Maryland General Assembly session earlier this year. The topic has come up periodically this year, but the policy has not changed.

County emergency planning reaffirmed
Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
It's the new mantra Frederick County officials hope residents will embrace during emergency preparedness month this September. At a press conference Monday, members of the county's Emergency Management Policy Advisory Committee reaffirmed their commitment to emergency planning, inter-agency training and constant vigilance to prepare the county for disasters.

High court OKs use of voting machines
Maryland's highest court has issued an opinion supporting state's use of voting machines, which critics say do not permit an independent audit of votes because they leave no paper trail. he Anne Arundel County Circuit Court "applied the correct standard in assessing the security and accuracy of Maryland's voting system," Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert Bell wrote in the high court's opinion, which was released Friday.

Westminster orders water restrictions
Mandatory water restrictions went into effect Monday in Westminster, with May or Thomas Ferguson signing the order Monday night at a council meeting.
Standards had been met to go to Code Red, according to an Aug. 20 memo from Jeff Glass, acting director of planning and public works.

Conservative Delegate to Fight Spanish-Language Channel
Maryland Public Television's Spanish-language digital channel, has been on the air for less than a week, but a conservative lawmaker is already working to yank it.
Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) said he will introduce legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes that would establish a commission to determine what should air on MPT's three new digital stations. "These are very powerful public assets, " said McDonough, who has been vocal about his displeasure with MPT's decision to allow one of the stations to cater to a primarily Hispanic audience. "You're serving a very small minority."

Md., Va. Diverted Bridge Money
Funds Were Used To Widen Roads, Fix Streetlights
Virginia and Maryland officials used more than $30 million from the federal government's main bridge repair and replacement fund on projects that weren't bridges, according to interviews and government documents tracking spending over the past four years. Millions more in federal dollars might have been diverted to projects other than bridges in the two states, but federal and state officials say their accounting s ystems are not set up to track which projects eventually got the money.
Maryland officials said they should be judged by the overall generosity of their bridge spending. They argue that the state compares favorably in paying to fix existing infrastructure, including bridges.

Letters to the Editor,0,560060.story?page=3
Thanks, Leopold, for protecting residents
I applaud County Executive John Leopold for seeking to hold companies that employ illegal immigrants accountable and to terminate the contracts they have with the county.
If the federal and state governments do not want to control this problem of illegal immigrants entering and working in our county, state and country, why shouldn't Mr. Leopold protect the citizens of his county? Contractors have a responsibility to the communities they live and work in to support our laws as individuals do. How much of an effort is it for an employer to check the legal documents of individu als who they are hiring? If they want cheap labor, then they need to pay for the review of the documents that provide proof that the people are here legally.
There are many companies that compete for the county contracts and would gladly agree to these requirements. This will not have an impact on the services we receive. It will also allow legal citizens and immigrants an opportunity to fill these positions. We would not have these problems if we would stop people from entering the country illegally! Mr. Torres should be working toward getting these people the legal documents and not support illegal actions by any individual or group.
Ken Hasenei Millersville


A Gallup poll released last week reveals how poorly we regard our elected leaders in Congress
18 percent of Americans approve of the job the Democratic-controlled Congress is doing. An amazing 76 percent disapprove.
These numbers match the lowest approval ratings for Congress ever measured by the Gallup organization. This is not a partisan issue, either, as disapproval runs high among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.You have to wonder what it is that causes the American people to hold the institution and people of Congress in such low regard, even as they regularly re-elect their own representatives. If the dissatisfaction with Congress reflected in poll numbers was translated into votes, we would end up with a whole new Congress pretty soon. That may be what it takes to make some real changes. It's worth a try.


Gilchrest to push for marina repairs
Federal funding would help overhaul dock in Crisfield
Maryland Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest on Monday vowed to push for federal dollars to repair Somerset County commercial marinas, calling upkeep of the work ports crucial to the economies of the watermen's region. In particular, Gilchrest wants U.S. Senate support of a $150,000 bill approved in the House of Representatives to overhaul the Broad Street dock on the Crisfield waterfront, the county's busiest and a major port for heavy machinery and vehicles including fire engines and other emergency equipment bound for offshore Smith Island in Somerset and Tangier Island. The House of Representatives already has passed a bill that slates $150,000, or a third of the total estimated dock repai r cost. Gilchrest told the group he would lobby to get the bill through the Senate, and seek support in particular from Democratic senators in Maryland, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin.

Gilchrest takes questions on Iraq, immigration
When Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest stops to talk to each person in a room, he gets an earful on the Iraq war and the country's immigration policy. The divisive issues, both of which put the nine-term Republican incumbent in Maryland's 1st District at odds with President Bush, were on the plate Monday evening at a fundraising event that wrapped up Gilchrest's tri-county visit to the Lower Shore. Gilchrest's trip Monday to the Lower Shore, which also included stops at a commercial marina in Crisfield and a meeting with Ocean City leaders at town's Chamber of Commerce, is part of his efforts to bolster support.
His foremost challenger, state Sen. Andrew Harris R-7 Baltimore, has raised more than $178,600. Two other Republicans said they will soon announce their candidacy, John Leo Walter, a Centerville attorney, and Joe Arminio, an academic and author on national defense.

Hurdles ahead for federal pay boost, tax cut
Time and the financial bottom line are working against a package of attractive bills that would increase most federal workers' take-home pay and trim the federal tax bite on most federal retirees. The two plans, one to cut federal-postal worker premiums and the other to cut taxes for federal retirees, seem like a goo d idea - to federal workers and retirees.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, would have the government pay 80 cents of each premium dollar. Although he's one of the most powerful people on Capitol Hill, and although the bill would benefit members of the House, Senate and their staffs, it continues to languish in committee.Reason: Its higher cost to taxpayers and the fear of backlash from voters who don't have generous, lifetime health insurance coverage.

20070828 Stop sign

Need directions – this one was e-mailed to me, August 29th, 2007, by “Analog.”

There are days in which I understand this sign…

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

20070828 MD School for the Blind sells Westminster Inn to YMCA

Maryland School for the Blind sells Westminster Inn to YMCA

Baltimore, MD-August 28, 2007:

The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) has sold The Westminster Inn to The YMCA of Central Maryland for $1 million. The property was donated to the school in 2005. The proceeds from the sale will fund essential programs at the school.

The Maryland School for the Blind is a non-profit school that serves students across the state who are blind, visually impaired, or multiply disabled. MSB sought another mission-oriented, non-profit organization to negotiate the sale. John K. Holey, President and CEO of the YMCA Central Maryland states, "This opportunity became attractive to us because it allows us to provide programs and services, including health and wellness, and child care, in a location central and convenient to a larger percentage of Carroll County's families that we are currently serving".

We were delighted to negotiate a transaction where the Y is able to expand their services, and provide services to the residents of Carroll County> "> , said Steven Koren, board member of MSB Enterprises, LLC.

The property, located at 5 North Center St. in Westminster, MD, was formerly a full service inn, and also housed a restaurant and fitness facility. The sale was negotiated by MSB Properties and MSB Enterprises, LLC.


Located in the northeast corner of Baltimore, The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) is a private, nonprofit school dedicated to educating children and youth from infancy to age 21 who are blind, visually impaired, and multiply disabled. Each year, the school serves more than 800 students throughout the state. In addition to the traditional classroom education, MSB offers comprehensive services including; residential, braille and low-vision instruction, travel training, transition, health and therapy services, career education, and outreach.


Taiisha L. Pinkney

Public Relations Manager

The Maryland School for the Blind

Taiishap AT

(410) 319-5722p (410) 319-5755f

20070827 Alfred A Alfie Dell Obituary

Alfred A. 'Alfie' Dell, 52, of Westminster

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Related: see - 20070826 Fatal accident snarls traffic for hours - Kills local Westminster man

Alfred Allgire "Alfie" Dell, 52, of Westminster died Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, as a result of an automobile accident while on his way to a Corvette Show in Carlisle, Pa.

Born Dec. 2, 1954, in Baltimore, he was the son of Ottis I. and Irene R. Linton Dell of Harbor Oaks, Fla. He was the husband of Janie Lyons Dell, his wife of 32 years.

He was a 1972 graduate of Westminster High School. He was a back tender for Congoleum Corp. for 33 years; and also had a handyman business, where he was known as "Mr. Fix It."

He was a member of the United Pigeon Combine Carroll County Pigeon Club. He enjoyed breeding and racing pigeons, and had also released doves at weddings for many families.

He also enjoyed restoring antique muscle cars and doing carpentry work. He was an avid Maryland Terps and NASCAR fan. In addition, he was also a hunter and a strong supporter of the Carroll County 4-H program.

Surviving, in addition to his parents and wife, are daughters and fiancé Amanda Allgire Dell and Brian C. Owings of New Windsor, and Whitney Regina Dell of Rock Hill, S.C.; brother and sister-in-law Bruce A. and Susan Dell of Westminster; sister and brother-in-law Karen Dell Gaskins and George Gaskins of Tallahassee, Fla.; nephews Brian P. Dell of Tampa, Fla. and Matthew Dell of Westminster; and numerous other family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel, 412 Washington Road, Westminster, with the Rev. Sam Chamelin officiating. Interment will be private.

The family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the 4-H Horse Rings, c/o 4-H & FFA Fair, 700 Agricultural Center, Westminster, MD 21157.

20070824 Our troops have earned more time by Rep. Baird, D-Washington State 3rd Dist.

Our troops have earned more time by Rep. Baird, D-Washington State 3rd Dist.

By Brian Baird, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, represents Washington's 3rd Congressional District.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin: “Our troops have earned more time” on August 24th, 2007

Democrat Rep. Brian Baird is one of the most liberal members of Congress. Last week, he made headlines and angered moonbats after returning from Iraq and concluding that precipitous withdrawal would be disastrous. Today, he has an op-ed in the Seattle Times elaborating on the need to stay and fight despite his initial opposition to the war:


I imagine that the the Seattle Times staffers who were cheering Karl Rove’s resignation will not be cheering Brian Baird.


A related must-read: Greyhawk responds to the NYTimes op-ed by a group of 82d Airborne NCOs.

Via Vets for Freedom, a new ad campaign from Freedom’s Watch.

And in case you missed it, here’s a reminder of upcoming events and activities in Washington, D.C. in a few weeks: The return of the Eagles.


Other views…

The LATimes reports:


And GOP Sen. John Warner wants pullouts by Christmas.

Charles Krauthammer boils down what he sees as the “Iraqi convergence” and the path forward:


Update: Michelle Malkin: “The Left bashes Brian Baird” on August 28th, 2007

I highlighted Democrat Rep. Brian Baird’s op-ed last week in the Seattle Times arguing against precipitous withdrawal from Iraq after he returned from a trip there on the ground. The nutroots continue to be incensed with Baird’s conclusions.

Check out the reports on Baird’s appearance at a town hall meeting in Vancouver, Wa:

[…] has more:


Here is video of Baird in Iraq from his website.


Our troops have earned more time by Rep. Baird, D-Washington State 3rd Dist.

By Brian Baird, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, represents Washington's 3rd Congressional District.

Special to The Seattle Times

The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.

As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future. Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.


… how can someone who opposed the war now call for continuing the new directions that have been taken in Iraq? The answer is that the people, strategies and facts on the ground have changed for the better and those changes justify changing our position on what should be done.


From a strategic perspective, if we leave now, Iraq is likely to break into even worse sectarian conflict. The extremist regime in Iran will expand its influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. Terrorist organizations, the people who cut off the heads of civilians, stone women to death, and preach hatred and intolerance, will be emboldened by our departure. In the ensuing chaos, the courageous Iraqi civilians, soldiers and political leaders who have counted on us will be left to the slaughter. No American who cares about human rights, security and our moral standing in the world can be comfortable letting these things happen.


I do not know the details of what the September report will contain, but I trust and respect Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker. I have seen firsthand the progress they have made, and I firmly believe we must give them the time and resources they need to succeed.


Progress is being made and there is real reason for hope. It would be a tragic waste and lasting strategic blunder to let the hard-fought and important gains slip away, leaving chaos behind to haunt us and our allies for many years to come.

Read the entire piece by Representative Baird here: Our troops have earned more time by Rep. Baird, D-Washington State 3rd Dist.

Monday, August 27, 2007

20070827 News Clips

News Clips

August 27, 2007


Triathlon organizers win use of county roads
Group will pay an undisclosed fee for an increased police presence Sept. 9,0,2390475.story
Organizers of Annapolis' first triathlon, who first struggled to win over some angry downtown merchants, have climbed over another obstacle: the possibility of the race being kept off county-owned roads. The Annapolis Triathlon Club last week agreed to pay Anne Arundel County an unspecified fee for a beefed-up police presence during the Sept. 9 event, which is expected to draw 1,500 athletes and thousands more spectators to the city.
Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, a vocal proponent of the event, said s he had asked state Sen. John C. Astle and Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch, who both live in Annapolis, to intervene in last week's controversy to ensure it would go on as planned. She said that the city can and should work to accommodate such events that draw attention to the historic city.

Ulman hopes state funding cuts will be 'reasonable',0,2234346.story
With General Assembly leaders talking about local governments sharing the pain of the state's $1.5 billion projected revenue shortfall next fiscal year, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman knows his next budget could take a big hit -- up to $40 million -- despite Gov. Martin O'Malley's promise to keep local governments in the clear.
The final decisio ns won't come until next year's General Assembly session is nearing an end in the spring, but Ulman is saying he is not likely to raise county property taxes to compensate for any state cuts.
"If anyone thinks we can easily raise revenue, they're mistaken," he said. "We're at our maximum on the piggyback [income tax]. Raising the property tax is not something I would consider lightly. People need to be prepared that these are cuts that will not be backfilled with local taxes." But County Councilman Greg Fox, a western county Republican, is not buying Ulman's argument."We knew that the state was looking at us as being part of the solution, and we shouldn't have been spending and spending as if we weren't going to be part of it," Fox said.

Craig backs camera plan
County executive supports putting surveillance tool on Edgewood streets,0,3502240.story
A crime-fighting tool that has paid dividends when put to use in Baltimore and Aberdeen now is the focus of Harford County officials looking to turn back the tide of crime in Edgewood. The use of surveillance cameras, the topic of frequent discussion in the community in recent weeks, took an important step forward last week when County Executive David R. Craig offered his support for the plan."This won't happen overnight, but I have asked the sheriff to look into the cameras," Craig said Friday.In Aberdeen, two surveillance cameras have been mounted in the town's higher-crime areas. The cameras rotate 360 degrees and are monitored from the city's police station. Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said prosecutors have used footage from the cameras i n a drug case. "Because of that film, we had enough to get a conviction," Cassilly said. "So it just seemed like an idea that should be explored for Edgewood."

Craig unveils plan for new school,0,5851205.story
An open house at the county's first new high school in 27 years gave County Executive David R. Craig the chance to announce more school construction. As he was about to tour the $70 million Patterson Mill complex Friday, Craig heralded the $1.4 million purchase of 23 acres in Churchville for another elementary school. Harford County will have 34 elementary schools when the two new schools open in 2011 and relieve crowding in the Bel Air area. Although the new schools have long b een needed, the county has been stymied in its efforts to find affordable land.

Lawmaker wants to remove Md. assets from Iran, North Korea, Syria
State retirement and pension assets would be removed from companies doing business in Iran, Syria and North Korea, under a bill an Anne Arundel County lawmaker plans to bring back for the General Assembly's next session.
Delegate Ron George, a Republican, said lawmakers have a responsibility to divest about $1.7 billion Maryland has in those countries to make sure the money is not helping nations that the federal government has designated as state sponsors of terrorism.

O'Malley faces tough choices Taxes , transportation, slots are challenges
Tax bills will be going up while spending goes down, slots at destination locations near Maryland's borders could become an issue, and nobody should expect a new span for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as long as Gov. Martin O'Malley is in the State House.Leading the state is a much different task than taking over Baltimore, the governor said, especially since the city was going "code blue" and Maryland is strong. Mr. O'Malley - who has a fiery reputation - said the State House has to have a more patient leader to forge compromises. The governor has taken heat from Republicans and Democrats alike for not trying to solve the budget deficit last session, but Mr. O'Malley saw the 90 days of the General Assembly session and the months afterwards as a time to build partnerships. Maryland doesn't have to overcome the "culture of failure" that pervaded in Baltimore, but the challenges ahead will need to be solved by a united front, he said.

Leggett's Strategy On Slots: Hushed
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has been quietly urging local lawmakers to take a low profile in the statewide debate over slot machine gambling even though polls have shown repeatedly that county residents are the state's most ardent opponents.Leggett's decision to lower the decibel level on slots marks a new approach for Montgomery Democrats in a debate that for years has divided state political leaders. The payback, Leggett hopes, would be a state budget package that plugs an estimated $1.5 billion shortfall without making Montgomery residents shoulder what county leaders say would be a disproportionate share of the costs.

Rail Projects at the Mercy of U.S. Agency
Federal Guidelines, and Funds, Direct Plans for Dulles, Purple Lines
The key decisions about Maryland's proposed Purple Line -- the route it takes, the type of rail cars it uses, the possibility of tunneling underground -- will be determined not by public opinion or political pressure.
Rather, a single agency that controls the limited federal money set aside for transit projects will shape the rail or bus line that could eventually link Bethesda and New Carrollton.
The Federal Transit Administration, which helped sink plans for a tunnel through Tysons Corner and is demanding further cost accounting for the proposed Metro line through Dulles International Airport, will likewise dictate what any new transit line through suburban Maryland would look like and when -- or whether -- there will be money to build it.
"It's the driving force behind the planning process," Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari said of the competition for federal money. "You can have the best conceived transit project in the world, and it's not going forward if it doesn't qualify for federal funding."


Keeping up,0,585401.story
Since 1971, Maryland has financed its road and transit projects thro ugh a self-sustaining account known as the Transportation Trust Fund. It's proved a highly successful formula. A variety of user fees including the state gas tax, vehicle titling tax, registration fees and the like have fueled billions of dollars of investment in needed infrastructure. But the system is in danger of breaking down. Various alternatives to replenishing the trust fund - from raising the vehicle titling tax (particularly for gas guzzlers) and increasing the trust fund's share of the state tax on corporate profits, to applying the state sales tax to transportation-related transactions like car repairs - deserve serious consideration. But indexing the gas tax - arguably the fairest of all the highway user fees, because those who drive the most also pay the most - ought to be the starting point for next year's debate.

Under new schools CEO, reason for optimism amid the challenges,0,5381120.story
I'm excited about the new school year in Baltimore, which starts today. And I'm not alone. The appointment of Andres Alonso as CEO has generated hopeful anticipation. One thing's for sure: Under his leadership, city school bells will be chiming a different tune. National as well as local eyes will be on us. He represents a new breed of urban school superintendent, one with potential to bridge traditional and nontraditional schools of thought about what it takes to be a successful superintendent. There's a fighting chance. Mr. Alonso chose to come to Baltimore because he felt the circumstances were ripe: the manageable scale of our city's school population compared with larger cities; the shared vision with the school board; the relative stability of local and state politics; and the school s ystem's foundation of progress in recent years.

Get politics, therapy out of classrooms,0,1907705.story
Last week I went shopping in our small rural hometown, where my family has attended the same public schools since 1896. Without exception, all six generations of us - whether farmers, housewives, day laborers, businesspeople, writers, lawyers or educators - were given a good, competitive K-12 education. But after a haircut, I noticed that the 20-something cashier could not count out change. The next day, at the electronics outlet store, another young clerk could not read - much less explain - the basic English of the buyer's warranty. At the food market, I listened as a young couple argued over the price of a cut of tri-tip, unable to calculat e the meat's real value from its price per pound.
As another school year is set to get under way, it's worth pondering where this epidemic of ignorance came from.
Our presidential candidates sense the danger of this dumbing down of American society and are arguing over the dismal status of contemporary education: poor graduation rates, weak test scores and suspect literacy among the general population. Politicians warn that America's edge in global research and productivity will disappear, and with it our high standard of living.

Leopold stands up for the law
Law-abiding businesses with Anne Arundel County contracts have nothing to fear from a new local government rule. County Executive John R. Leopold, a Republica n, recently signed an executive order requiring all firms with county contracts to certify no illegal immigrants work for them. Why should taxpayers be forced to pay contractors who break the law?
Unlike Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who earlier this month "forgot" to file tax forms for his housekeeper until days after firing her for being an illegal immigrant, Leopold showed symbolic courage in signing the executive order. Just because everybody else may be ignoring the law does not make it right nor good policy. County executives across the state should reaffirm their local government's commitment to its own laws by issuing similar orders. If it's OK to flout one law, it's a slippery slope to governments choosing to enforce only those laws they find palatable.

Budget to deflect O'Malley's key issues
Maryland's budget problems are likely to push aside many of the special interests that dominated Gov. Martin O'Malley's first General Assembly session. "There's a buffet of issues to keep the voter and the taxpayer angry," said Senate Minority Leader David R. Brinkley, Frederick Republican. "I think the trick will be to see how the legislature and the governor fill their plates and hope to be rewarded in 2010. There will be a lot of bitter food." Mr. Brinkley said it would help to hold a special session to close the deficit before the next session, which convenes in January. But he expressed little optimism that House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat; Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George's Democrat; and Mr. O'Malley, also a Democrat, will agree on a solution before the next session.


Gilchrest swings by Lower Shore
Stops on the congressman's agenda today include Crisfield dock, Salisbury fundraiser
U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-1-Md., plans a firsthand look at a Crisfield dock in need of a complete overhaul today during stops in all three Lower Shore counties. He will tour the 97-foot dock at the end of Broad Street with Somerset County officials at 3 p.m., between visits to Ocean City and Salisbury. Several months ago, Somerset County officials turned to lawmakers in Washington for funding help after learning it will cost $450,000 to repair the dock. Gilchrest has written $150,000 of federal transportation funds into the House-vers ion of the Appropriations Bill, which has been approved. The bill, however, has not been approved by the Senate, and the congressman will have to ensure the money is not cut, said Tony Caligiuri, Gilchrest's chief of staff.

Poultry farmers fall under plan for terror watch
Poultry growers are protesting proposed Department of Homeland Security regulations that would label propane gas a "chemical of interest" and require anybody with 7,500 pounds or more of the fuel to register with the agency. At that amount, poultry farmers who use propane to heat chicken houses would have to fill out the forms. British police last month thwarted a terrorist plot in which two vehicles were loaded with nails packed around canisters of propane and gasoline, then set to deto nate. In Iraq, the military has seen propane tanks used in homemade bombs. Still, U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrats, and Sen. Thomas R. Carper, Delaware Democrat, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking that the rule be shelved.
"Given the serious threats that are currently facing our country and the limited resources of the Department of Homeland Security, please explain why this initiative is a good use of federal dollars," the senators wrote earlier this month.