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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

20070929 12-Year-Old Asks Bush To Sign Children's Health Bill

20070929 12-Year-Old Asks Bush To Sign Children's Health Bill

12-Year-Old Asks Bush To Sign Children's Health Bill

September 29th, 2007

"I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP…”

Graeme Frost, 12, delivers this week's Democratic Radio Address. Because of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Graeme was able to get the medical care he needed after a serious car accident caused severe brain trauma, paralyzed one of his vocal chords and put him in a coma. He asks President Bush to sign into law the renewal of CHIP that both houses of Congress passed this week with broad bipartisan support.

The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:

"Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I'm 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably haven't heard of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today.

"CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn't eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse. I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.

"My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program.

"But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.

"Now I'm back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don't talk the same way I used to. And I can't walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can't play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I'm just happy to be back with my friends.

"I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I'm glad I could see them because of the Children's Health Program.

"I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me. This is Graeme Frost, and this has been the Weekly Democratic Radio address. Thanks for listening."


Graeme Frost, 12, was in a serious car accident a few years ago and suffered severe brain trauma. He was in a coma and lost his ability to eat and walk. Fortunately, Graeme was covered by the CHIP program and was able to get the medical care he needed. After extensive therapy and continual treatments at a clinic he goes to every summer, Graeme has regained his functional abilities. He still needs to visit several different specialists, and his mother, Bonnie, says he would not have survived - or would at least be wheelchair-bound - without medical coverage.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

20070926 Daily Photoblog

"N. Main St."

Kevin Dayhoff

20070928 News Clips

News Clips

Sept. 28, 2007


Republican long shots get moment in spotlight
Candidate debate on issues of importance to minorities is notable as much for who's not there as for what's said,0,7413692.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout
The lesser-known Republican presidential candidates had the stage to themselves last night at Morgan State University, taking advantage of high-profile absences to pitch themselves to a national audience. The no-shows meant a larger share of the spotlight for contenders all polling in single digits. But it came with challenges: The event's hosts and some questioners voiced skepticism that the Republican Party offered any opportunities for people of color.Even if the Republican s won converts, it was unlikely they would benefit anytime soon, given the relatively few blacks and Hispanics expected to vote in the GOP primaries.
The debate was perhaps most noteworthy for who wasn't there.

Leading GOP Candidates Skip Debate on Black Issues

4 Contenders Attend Fundraisers Instead D. Thompson was at a fundraiser in Franklin, Tenn. Mitt Romney was gathering checks in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Rudolph W. Giuliani was in California raking in some last-minute cash just north of Napa. John McCain spent the day in New York City, giving a speech and raising money.

Such were the scheduling conflicts that left the lecterns for the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination empty at what was billed as the first GOP debate tailored to the concerns of black voters, held last night at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Right cheek or left, it still feels like a slap
At GOP debate on minority issues, absent candidates incur resentment,0,2898579.story?coll=bal-business
Outside the debate hall at Morgan State University, African-Americans across the political spectrum used the phrase "slap in the face" when expressing their frustration at the decision of four leading Republican presidential candidates to skip last night's debate. About two-thirds of the 2,000-plus-seat Murphy Fine Arts Center was filled for the debate. "I heard there was really bad traffic," said Public Broadcasting Service representative Carrie Johnson. "But I think we're overall proud and pleased." The chairman of Morgan's political science department called the debate "a major event" for the university. "It will give us some national showcasing," said Max Hilaire.

Maryland might take tip from Del.,0,7832441.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout
Gov. Martin O'Malley's announcement that he will push for legalized slot machine gambling to help solve Maryland's budget woes was short on specifics, but he gave clues to his thinking that suggest he is exploring a slots program that would be similar to Delaware's. While O'Malley said he favors "state ownership" of slot machines, that doesn't mean the state would build facilities and hire contractors.
Maryland could, like Delaware, lease slot machines from vendors, link them to a central computer through the state's lottery and place the devices in privately run racetracks or other facilities.

O'Malley has given few details of what kind of slots program he envisions for Maryland, including where machines would go and how revenues would be divided.

"We're going to introduce something very close to what the House did," O'Malley said, referring to a slots bill that passed in the House of Delegates in 2005 but died in the Senate. "In the House plan, the machines were going to be state-owned," he said. "We'll have something in bill form in the not-too-distant future."

School fund plans emerge
O'Malley renews push to boost city, D.C. suburbs,0,1648983.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout
Gov. Martin O'Malley is renewing his push to funnel tens of millions more in state dollars a year to schools in Baltimore City and suburban districts, a move aimed at helping counties with higher costs of living bear the price of providing a more expensive education. Under the plan, 12 high-cost districts would share $38 million in the fiscal year that starts in July 2008, $76 million in the following year and $129 million by 2011. The biggest beneficiaries would be Baltimore City and the Washington suburbs. His plan requires the General Assembly's approval.
According to the formula in the landmark Thornton legislation that recommended initiatives such as statewide full-day kindergarten, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore City would receive the most, with Montgomery receiving as much as $12 million and Baltimore City receiving between $7 million and $9 million in the first year. It's O'Malley's second shot at providing this cost adjustment. A measure stalled in the Maryland General Assembly during the past legislative session amid concerns over budget deficits.

Though the study found test scores rose in every county and the city over the three-year period, particularly in the elementary grades, fiscal conservatives on local school boards and at the state level have criticized schools for using the money to boost salaries. They say this is a move away from Thornton's intent to put in place programs that closed achievement gaps among minority and poor students and their peers.

Cummings urges halt to razing of homes
Congressman says rebuilding plans must be done first,0,6433253.story
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings called yesterday for a moratorium on the demolition of public housing in Baltimore until "demonstrable progress" is made in constructing homes for low-income residents.
In a letter to city Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano, the Democratic congressman said he is "gravely concerned" about plans to demolish housing at 15 sites in Baltimore before redevelopment plans are complete. The demolition is being paid for with money from the city's affordable housing fund. "I think Mr. Graziano needs to stop and pause," Cummings told The Sun yesterday. "I don't want this to be a bulldozer going through the city, leaving a trail of dust with the people standing on the sidelines with no place to go."

Panel seeks fly-ash rules
MDE developing standards tougher than those of U.S. l/bal-ar.ash28sep28,0,2297501.story
As Maryland's environmental agency tries to broker a deal over the disposal of billions of pounds of coal ash in Gambrills, an internal panel is quietly working to create standards that would surpass those of the federal government and many states.

Stephen L. Pattison, assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, said a panel of regulators was assembled last month to begin considering new rules, fueled by the discovery of cancer-causing metals in 23 private drinking wells near the fly-ash disposal site operated by BBSS Inc. The state does not intend to pursue an outright ban on fly-ash disposal in Maryland, though Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold has called for such a ban. "There's a strong interest in what's going on in Gambrills," Pattison said Wednesday. "The lesson learned is: We need to have a much stronger regulatory program." Leopold, a Republican who has intr oduced a bill to ban dumping of fly ash in Anne Arundel, called the effort to create more stringent regulation of fly ash "welcome." But he again criticized the O'Malley administration for not involving the county in the discussions. "Just as the state has precluded county involvement in the negotiations, the state has precluded the county's involvement in drafting new regulations," Leopold said Wednesday. "That is unfortunate and not helpful." Leopold said he will seek to eliminate a loophole in his fly-ash ban legislation, offering an amendment to prohibit dumping such ash at rubble landfills.

Harford officials propose land tax credit,0,813208.story
Harford County officials proposed an agricultural land tax credit yesterday intended to spur interest in saving farmland and help those who already have acreage in the preservation program. "This is all about making Harford affordable for people who already live here," County Executive David R. Craig said yesterday, when he announced the proposal in Churchville. County Council President Billy Boniface, a lifelong farmer, said the credit, which has not changed since Harford began its land preservation efforts in 1994, would help increase farm profit and attract other landowners to the program that permanently safeguards land from development.

Local leaders meet with lawmakers
Local leaders are hopeful a Thursday afternoon meeting with state lawmakers will help their message get to Annapolis, but still fear major budget cuts could wreak havoc on county and municipal budgets.
The Frederick County Commissioners initiated the meeting after the state's Department of Legislative Services released the so-called "doomsday budget" in June. The budget calls for almost $21 million in funding cuts to Frederick County.
Sen. David Brinkley, the Senate minority leader, said the doomsday budget was designed by Democrats in favor of new taxes to spur meetings exactly like the one Thursday. "(The purpose) was to initiate people to have activity back in the hinterlands and frankly to scare the local governments and scare the county governments into saying this is what's going to happen to us," Brinkley said.

Students dismiss, praise GOP contenders _GOP_contenders.html
Morgan State freshman Malcolm Mays walked into the Republican debate at his school not knowing which presidential candidate for whom to vote. He walked out with at least one name in mind. A few carloads of students who belong to the College Republicans at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, also attended. Another UMBC College Republican, Devon Chamberlain, came to learn more about the candidates' platforms. "I didn't know much about the candidates before this," said Chamberlain, a UMBC freshman political science major. "I was impressed with the way they thought on their feet."

O'Malley plans to freeze Thornton funding
After a week rolling out a series of tax increases and cuts, Gov. Martin O'Malley told a roomful of officials late Thursday that he would close a $1.7 billion budget deficit next year and beyond by freezing Thornton school aid funding, saving $400 million over the next two years. The freeze on the indexing of Thornton spending reverses a repeated campaign promise that "we will fully fund the entire Thornton Commission plan to improve K-12 education across Maryland."
Local education officials had not been given advance warning of the governor's school funding lid. But Kevin Maxwell, superintendent of Anne Arundel County schools, said, th"I don't think he should freeze Thornton for two years." Maxwell noted that the governor was "proposing" the change in formula that was mandated in law by the General Assembly. "There is a legislature," Maxwell said.

O'Malley fleshes out budget plan on tax tour
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley ended his statewide tax tour yesterday with a more definitive outline of how he plans to close the state's $1.7 billion budget shortfall, including plans to cut education funding. Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, said he would cut $207 million in mandated education spending while phasing in an optional $38 million for teachers based on where they work.
Many of the new taxes, including increasing corporate income tax and car-titling fees, will go toward increased spending, after the shortfall is erased. The sprawling plan left some Marylanders wondering what the net effect would be for them.

Democrats often attacked former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, for not completely funding the mandated education initiative known as the Thornton Plan, even giving students a day off from school to protest Mr. Ehrlich's plan. But Mr. O'Malley's plan to do the same with education spending had a roomful of people applauding him yesterday.

Mr. O'Malley hopes to move his plan through the assembly during a special session before November. He expect the entire plan, including slots, to generate $2.2 billion by the end of July 2009. "We don't really have a good backup plan if we don't come back for a special session," he said.

Builders Might See Big Jump In Taxes
Leggett Hoping Council Curtails Planners' Advice
Montgomery County's planning board yesterday agreed to recommend making it more costly for developers to build in traffic-clogge d areas and stuck to a proposal to nearly triple taxes for some new development. The planners' decision on those issues brushed aside opposition from County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and several county council members. But the board did back off its proposal to increase the recordation tax paid by buyers and sellers when they close a real estate deal, another measure opposed by Leggett. Developers are expected to vigorously oppose the higher taxes, which they say would unfairly target new construction for problems they believe were created long ago.Jim Humphrey, who heads the land use committee for the Montgomery County Civic Federation, said he worries that the proposals rely too heavily on payments through impact taxes to offset the effect of new development. "It seems like the plan is to tell developers you can just throw money at the county and you'll get your project approved," he said.


Midterm Retirement A 'Democratic Trick'
Having followed Del. Marilyn R. Goldwater's multiple absences in her prior term, I was compelled to do better and ran against her unsuccessfully last year for the District 16 seat. This retirement from her continued absences and health issues should have come at the end of her last term.
Although she can be thanked for her contributions, Goldwater's retirement one year into her new term should be exposed for what it is -- a partisan Democratic trick to maintain the lopsided majority and prevent the Republican Party from being able to participate in a fair and open election for a "vacant" seat. Once again, the majority has abused the system.
Michael Monroe
2006 Republican candidate
Maryland State House
District 16


Political Notes - O'Malley 'drops the puck'
TO EXPLAIN the governor's recent budget proposals, state Sen. Minority Leader David Brinkley describes Martin O'Malley as the referee in a hockey game. He dropped the puck, is getting off the ice, and now it's up to legislative leaders to duke out the details, said Brinkley, a Republican who represents Frederick and Carroll counties. O'Malley presented the overview of his budget Thursday, but he's been going over specific components at media events throughout the state during the week. Frederick's delegation members have been following the developments carefully, but note the details are still vague, perhaps deliberately so.
Brinkley said the Senate's budget and taxation committee is just learning about the proposal and history. Nothing appears to have been decided. "The fact is no decisions have been made, no one has come to any type of a resolution on what should happen because there are so many different competing factions," Brinkley said.

Between the Democrats in D.C. and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's new tax plans, I'm not sure who to be mad at the most.
Anyone who believes the words of career politicians of either party ought to have their voter card revoked. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to put a 100 percent tax on the obscene profits from the stock market and other investments so she can equalize the incomes of welfare recipients, the unemployed and minorities. O'Malley is in the process of touring specific areas of the state to sell his plan to increase just about ever tax there is and possibly create new ones if he can get away with it.
Redistribution of wealth is a buzzword that brings us closer to socialism. I have no problem taking responsibility for my own actions, inactions and decisions. I really wish the rest of the country would start taking responsibility again, but it is so much easier to stand there with a hand turned up and have it filled by Big Brother, isn't it? For me, socialism is too high a price to pay.

Debates rankle, not the no-shows
Four leading Republican presidential candidates did not show at Morgan State University's debate last night. Big deal.
More importantly, the format of what passes for debates is so ploddingly fair and balanced and the responses so carefully scripted and focus-group approved that they serve as broadcast NyQuil.

If it were up to us, we would have moved the debate to a more crowd-friendly day and time. And we would require candidates to sign a pledge that their words are theirs alone, with no focus-group or public relations' approval. Maybe we're crazy. But if the popularity of reality shows is any indication, real sells. We just haven't seen it on the campaign trail yet.

Governor's road to slots shouldn't be traveled hastily
Gov. Martin O'Malley's attempt to chart the state's fiscal path - via a budget plan he has been gradually rolling out - took a detour on Tuesday. The governor steered toward the future and arrived back in 2005.
The governor's own plan, still short on specifics, would involve 9,500 to 15,000 slot machines, which he expects would eventually generate $650 million annually for the state. But even in the plan's early, sketchy form, there's no evidence that slots have to be approved immediately to get the state past next year's budget shortfall. Taxes and fees can be raised quickly. But slot machine gambling - which will require contracts and a complex regulatory system - will take years to set up.
That means there's no hurry for the state to pass this part of the governor's plan. And there's even less reason to try to hustle it through, with minimal public comment, during a legislative special session this au tumn - except, perhaps, as a matter of political expediency.

Political courage and the gasoline tax
Each campaign year, candidates for office flood Maryland voters with a litany of familiar-sounding promises: Vote for me, and I'll cut your health care costs. I'll reduce your children's class sizes. I'll get rid of traffic. The real test for our officials in Annapolis, however, ought not to be their passion on the issues we all agree on. Nobody opposes smaller class sizes. It ought to be their courage on issues that may not be politically convenient, but are nonetheless vital to our quality of life.

An issue like that surfaced last session in Senate Bill 949, the Transportation Funding Act of 2007. In that bill, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller proposed raising the state's gasoline tax from 23.5 to 35.5 cents per gallon. Neither chamber of the legislature found the courage to pass it.

It has been a decade and a half since Maryland last increased its gasoline tax. It's past time for the state to react to the inflation that has occurred over that time and lead the nation in taking our global warming and national security challenges seriously. And you need not be a liberal to agree.

What's more, maybe the legislature can find the funds to pay for all the usual campaign promises by passing the 12-cent increase. You can't reduce health care costs, class sizes and traffic for free.


Gilchrest urges Gingrich to run for president EFAULT
U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest says he wants former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to run for president. Gilchrest sent out a news release this week announcing that he had sent a letter to Gingrich, urging him to seek the Republican nomination.
Gilchrest says Gingrich, who represented a district in Georgia, was controversial but he's also a visionary.
The Eastern Shore Republican stopped short of saying he would support Gingrich if he sought the Republican nomination for president. But he did stress that he hasn't yet endorsed any candidate in the Republican presidential field, and is unlikely to do so until Gingrich makes his plans clear.

Brothers to launch biodiesel plant in Baltimore
Buckeystown company plans to start production in next year
For years, the Butz brothers - Edward, Thomas, Robert and Jeremy - have been tinkering like mad scientists with the biodiesel production process. They are now on the verge of launching what they hope will be their successful entry into the growing market for the alternative fuel. Butz said he hopes widespread use of biodiesel will relieve the United States of its dependence on foreign oil, while creating a fuel with multiple benefits for the environment. Del. Paul S. Stull, who toured the Buckeystown operation Tuesday with several other members of the state's Environmental Matters Committee, said he thinks government could have a role in boosting the use of the alternative fuel. ''It's a good renewable fuel," said Stull (R-Dist. 4A) of Walkersville. ''If we can keep that going, it's going to hopefully help with the price of gasoline."
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Dist. 6) of Buckeystown supports tax credits for biodiesel, which for producers are $1 per gallon for biodiesel derived from agricultural products and 50 cents per gallon for fat-based products, said his spokeswoman Lisa Wright.

20070927 News Clips

News Clips

Sept. 27, 2007


MARC aims to triple service
28-year plan calls for more trains, track, 2008 weekend runs,0,5095732.story
The Maryland Transit Administration is planning a sweeping expansion of its popular but crowded MARC commuter train service, including weekend runs and additional weekday trains by next year and a tripling of the system's capacity by 2035.
The detailed blueprint, outlined in a briefing by MTA Administrator Paul J. Wiedefeld, envisions a system that eventually would stretch from Virginia to Delaware and have the capacity to carry more than 100,000 riders a day. The plan, the cost of which would amount to billions of dollars over the next 28 years, would add tracks in areas that are bott lenecks and would increase the frequency of train arrivals. It would bring new interconnections with existing and future transit lines and create a new transportation hub at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Over the next nine months, Wiedefeld said, MARC plans a series of improvements in customer service -- including an overhaul of an electronic passenger alert system that now often delivers news of problems hours after the information would be useful. Between now and next summer, he said, he hopes to add 1,500 seats per day. An additional 4,000 would be added by 2010.

State troopers try out electronic ticketing,0,5640862.story
An electronic ticketing system that will allow state troopers to issue and track traffic citations is being tested in Baltim ore, Carroll and Harford counties and is scheduled to expand within a month to barracks throughout Maryland, state police officials said yesterday. "If all goes well, Carroll County will probably be the first county to be fully outfitted with the system," Cpl. Doug Baralo of the state police information and technology bureau told the county commissioners yesterday. The system, which then prints out traffic citations from a computer, can collect multiple charges under one document and eliminates the need for a violator's signature, Baralo said.
The General Assembly approved a bill last session granting police officers permission to issue electronic tickets by scanning bar codes on drivers' licenses and, eventually, on registration cards.

Mass transit good for your health, panel told,0,4146361.story
Pushing for mass transit improvements instead of new roads to accommodate the looming expansion at Aberdeen Proving Ground would mitigate air pollution from increased traffic, Harford County's health officer said yesterday during a meeting with a county transportation group. More vehicles - as many as 60,000 when the full effect of BRAC is felt in about four years - will mean more air pollution.

O'Malley betting on slots
Governor backs gambling to fix Md. budget shortfall,0,6914970.story
Reviving one of the most hotly debated issues in Annapolis, Gov. Martin O'Malley said yesterday that he will push for legalized slot machine gambling as a way to close Maryland's $1.7 billion budget gap, help the state's struggling horse industry and preserve open space.
Slots will almost certainly be the toughest sell among the dozen measures O'Malley is proposing to eliminate the state's projected $1.7 billion budget shortfall and to add hundreds of millions in new spending for health care, transportation, higher education and the environment. O'Malley's predecessor, Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., tried and failed four times to bring slots to Maryland, thwarted largely by the Democratic-controlled House of Delegates. Although a fellow Democrat is now governor, House Speaker Michael E. Busch has not budged. Ehrlich was able to secure near-unanimous support from Republicans for slots, but some GOP legislators have already said they would be less likely to support expanded gambling knowing that O'Malley, not Ehrlich, would be the one deciding how to spend the proceeds.
Many Republican s disliked the 2005 House bill but voted for it anyway to keep the issue alive, hoping that it would result in a compromise with the Senate, said Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell, the minority leader from Southern Maryland. "That doesn't mean we'll vote for it on final passage," O'Donnell said. "Anybody assuming broad support for that better talk to us."

Governor releases first details of slots revenue plan
Gov. Martin O'Malley yesterday released the first details of his plan to legalize slot machines, expected to be the most contentious part of his proposal to raise $2 billion while closing the state's $1.7 billion budget shortfall. An O'Malley spokesman said the governor's fiscal 2009 budget w ould include at least 9,500 slot machines and would be similar to a bill the House passed in 2005. He would not say where the machines would be placed.
Proposals to legalize slots gambling in Maryland have divided state lawmakers for nearly five years. Slot-machine revenue has been touted as the salvation of Maryland's ailing horse-racing industry.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Mr. O'Malley's Republican predecessor, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Southern Maryland Democrat, proposed several plans to legalize slots, but the bills were killed in the House.

Retailers asking: Why stop at slots?
Group would replace proposed sales tax increase with casinos,0,1994891.story
As Gov. Martin O'Malley makes a pitch for slot machine gambling as part of his attempt to address a $1.7 billion budget shortfall, a powerful retail lobby is asking that he go one step further by pushing for table games. The Maryland Retailers Association, miffed by O'Malley's inclusion of a state sales tax increase in his budget package, is suggesting instead that the state approve full casinos. Without them, Maryland will lose customers to West Virginia, which has approved slots and table games in some jurisdictions, said Tom Saquella, president of the organization.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a longtime slots opponent, likened the jockeying for slots and casinos among Mid-Atlantic states to an "arms race." I don't think it'll be a surprise to anyone to see that these facilities will turn into full-blown casinos," said Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat. "The myth of limited slots has been broken up and down the Eastern Seaboard. It's going to take place, th ere's no doubt about it."
O'Malley's predecessor, Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., pushed unsuccessfully each year of his term to legalize slots.
Yesterday, Ehrlich told WBAL radio that "it's about time we get a slots bill passed."Ehrlich said he was offered a deal in 2003 to gain passage of a slots bill if he agreed to an increase in the state sales tax, but he rejected the proposal. "And so here we are four years later. We have lost a lot of farmland. We have lost a lot of jobs. We have lost a lot of breeding. ... We potentially could lose the Preakness," he said.
But Rep. Albert R. Wynn, a Democrat whose district includes the sprawling National Harbor project, cautioned against the governor's plan. Said Wynn: "There seems to be very little support for slots and even less support for casinos in Prince George's County."

Republican debate brings d ollars, but not top candidates, to city
Tonight's Republican presidential debate won't bring the GOP frontrunners to town, but it will bring some economic benefits and national attention to Morgan State University. The debate, moderated by talk-show host Tavis Smiley and broadcast nationally on PBS, will feature just five of the Republican candidates: Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and recently announced candidate Fred Thompson all declined to participate, citing "scheduling difficulties." Smiley's production company chose Morgan State as the site for the debate, according to PBS spokeswoman Carrie Johnson, due to its presence as a historically African-American university and its proximity to Washington for candidates w ho are also members of Congress. Coleman said it's difficult to place an exact dollar figure on what the debate will bring to the area, but said he didn't think the lack of GOP frontrunners would cut into that figure, or the prestige reaped by Morgan State.

Democrat calls for controls on transportation trust funds
Transportation taxes and fees should reflect the growing costs of construction, and those funds should be protected from unnecessary raiding, said one leading Democrat. "We need to keep as much in the transportation trust fund, not let it go into the general fund, and build up the funds to pay for these road projects," said Del. Tawanna Gaines, D-Prince George's, who leads the transp ortation subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. "The governor needs to show restrain and responsibility in handling the fund, and find other creative ways to bring in revenue," she said.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, a Republican, said the fund must be protected. Anne Arundel has several road and transit projects because of a perceived population growth from the Base Realignment and Closure at Fort Meade.

O'Malley pushes cigarette tax
Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to increase the cigarette tax by $1 to expand the state's health care services should help him win over key lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael E. Busch, in his plan to legalize slot machines in Maryland.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, announced plans yesterday to increase the cigarette tax and tie it to a health care expansion.
That should buy him points with the state's most powerful slots opponent - Mr. Busch - though he will face more hurdles from Republicans and traditional slots foes in his drive to legalize at least 9,500 slot machines in Maryland. Mr. O'Malley said this week he is banking on support from the state's Republicans, but Republican leaders said Mr. O'Malley's expectations are mistaken. "I don't think anyone should assume broad support from the Republicans," said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell, Southern Maryland Republican.

Carrier leaving airport Monday
Local residents likely will no longer be able to book flights through Hagerstown Regional Airport starting Monday.
Air Midwest, which has flown US Airways commuter flights between Hagerstown and Pittsburgh for the last three years, has said it will leave the airport when its contract expires Sunday. U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., introduced a bill Aug. 2 that would extend the federal program for five years. As of Wednesday, the bill had not moved from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, where it was assigned after it was introduced.


Analysts split on impact of debate snub
For 4 leading candidates, it may make strategic sense to forgo minority issues forum on/politics/bal-te.debate27sep27,0,2802283.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout
Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chairman, calls tonight's GOP presidential debate at Morgan State University "an important opportunity."
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele calls it "crucial" that all of his party's candidates show up.
Political analysts are divided over whether the decision by the four leading Republican candidates to skip the debate - set at a historically black college in Baltimore and focusing on issues of importance to minority voters - is likely to inflict enduring wounds.
In bypassing Baltimore, Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Thompson all have cited scheduling conflicts as a quarterly fundraising deadline draws near. "The fact that a group scheduled a debate at a difficult time on the political calendar, when all campaigns are focused on raising money, is unfortuna te," said Scott Reed, a Republican consultant who managed Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. "But as one of these major candidates, you can't be everywhere all the time."
State GOP Chairman James Pelura called the situation "really unfortunate" and said that middle-class blacks - a large number of whom reside in Maryland - increasingly "realize that the Democratic policies that are in place really hamper advancement."

Candidates should be like Ike and do the right thing,0,325664.story
This week, civil rights leaders and other dignitaries descended on Little Rock, Ark., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending troops to protect the students as they entered the school. History recorded the fact that President Eisenhower supported Brown v. Board and also told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the country in efforts to integrate black and white schoolchildren.
Coincidentally, this same week, the potential history-making views of the current generation of Republican leaders will also be on display, at the All-American Presidential Forum on PBS, which I will moderate as three journalists of color pose questions to the candidates. This forum, held tonight at Morgan State University in Baltimore, will provide a unique opportunity for the Republican presidential hopefuls to address civil rights and other issues of concern to communities of color, such as health care, housing, education and criminal justice. But unfortunately, as of this writing, the four top candidates, Rudolph W. Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and F red Thompson, had declined the invitation. Six other Republican candidates have agreed to participate. By contrast, all the Democratic candidates showed up in June for a similar forum at Howard University.It will be a missed opportunity for America if all the candidates don't choose to address all Americans in what is now the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever. It's not just about race, it's about respect. It's about candidates taking the time to get to know Americans even beyond their base. It's just the right thing to do.
Starting now and throughout the campaign, I hope that all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans, will be reminded of the example of President Eisenhower and step up to the plate.

All goobers to the gubernator md.vozzella26sep26,0,1569805.column
Invoking great tax protests in American and Maryland history, Del. Pat McDonough is urging citizens to stuff peanuts into envelopes and mail them off to Martin O'Malley. "Please include in your envelope a few well placed peanuts to make the point that you are a N.U.T. and will not be duped, lied to, or scared into believing that we need any tax increases in an already over-taxed state," he wrote constituents. "Let the Statehouse and Governor's Mansion receive an abundance of nuts as a protest against their shoddy shell game."

More than spinning wheels,0,3303580.story
When the business community complains that it's not getting taxed enough, attention must be paid. Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed $392 million plan to improve the state's transportation system doesn't raise enough money to suit two influential business groups, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Both would like to see a 10-cent increase in the gas tax and at least $600 million spent annually on transportation infrastructure. Why? Because spending more money on transit and roads might be the single most important measure state government can take to help ensure Maryland's economic prosperity.
Exactly how to pay for transportation can be debated, but an adequately financed transportation system ought to be a given. Prominent business leaders understand this, and Mr. O'Malley and the General Assembly would be wise to pay heed.

Auction slots licenses orial__Auction_slots_licenses.html
Finally. After a month of tax talk, the governor is pushing a way to raise money for the state that doesn't include forced raids on residents' bank accounts: Slots. On Tuesday, he said he favors adding about 9,500 slot machines in four locations across the state. But the key is in the details. O'Malley did not release the minutiae of the plan but said he favors state ownership and would use the plan that passed the House of Delegates in 2005 as a model.
O'Malley should rethink state ownership of slots. The state has no expertise in running businesses. If legislators jump the philosophical hurdle and pass slots, they must do so in a way that will best fill the state treasury. Auctioning licenses to those who would return the most money to the state is the clearest path to that goal.

Facing the music
The honeymoon between Gov. Martin O'Malley and many GOP members of the General Assembly has been cooling for some time now.
Locally, Delegate Rick Weldon was annoyed that O'Malley had not invited any Republicans to the private briefing, where the governor initially unveiled his new plan to attack the monetary shortfall. Weldon's reaction: "Oh, what a surprise. I wonder why that is? Is it because we've already proposed a solution to the ... deficit that doesn't involve a tax hike?
Weldon, Sens. Alex Mooney and David Brinkley
and other Republicans have been suspicious for months now that O'Malley's fix would be heavy on new taxes and light on spending cuts. Likely they now feel those suspicions were justified, though O'Malley and others will argue that his proposal is balanced and fair. The governor's plan was receive d like cold soup by many state Republicans. Delegate Anthony O'Donnell referred to it as a "shell game," asking, "Where is the spending restraint?" GOP Sen. Allen Kittleman characterized it as sleight of hand, with O'Malley dazzling taxpayers with one hand while pulling their wallets out of their pockets with the other. Republicans feel the emphasis should be on reducing scheduled spending increases, as opposed to the pain of new and/or higher taxes. Their reduced-spending approach, of course, also involves some pain.


Md., Va. officials call for federal response to climate change
Virginia's Warner proposes 'cap and trade' emissions bill,0,5283404.story
Citing the c atastrophic effects that they said rising sea levels would have on the wildlife, shoreline and economy of the Chesapeake Bay, officials from Virginia and Maryland today called for a coordinated federal response to global warming.
"The time has come to develop national programs that effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plans, from our automobiles and a multitude of other sources," Gov. Martin O'Malley told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning. "We must transition from a carbon-based economy to a green, sustainable economy."
O'Malley joined Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland and Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest of the Eastern Shore at a hearing devoted to the impact of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay.

Carrier estimates raise red flags
Navy insists its budget for the Gerald R. Ford is re alistic but few independent analysts agree.,0,6541131.story
Federal investigators raised more red flags Monday on the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, warning that the cost of the Gerald Ford warship will likely exceed budget forecasts. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the budget for the first in a new line of carriers is "optimistic" and that "substantial risk remains" in the development of new technologies needed for the ship. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power who requested the GAO study, said a cost increase of just 10 percent on the Ford carrier would require an additional $1 billion. "In this budget environment, that's going to be a difficult sell," Bartlett said in a statement.

Ben Cardin: Too many barriers exist in the American voting process
Fifty years ago, Congress passed the first major civil rights bill since Reconstruction. It set an important precedent by establishing the U.S. Department of Justice as a ''guarantor" of the right to vote. Specifically, the law established the Commission on Civil Rights, a six-member bipartisan commission with the power to investigate allegations that certain citizens ''are being deprived of their right to vote." It also empowered the attorney general to prevent such interference through federal injunctions, and created the Civil Rights Division within the department to oversee civil rights enforcement.
The federal government has a responsibility and duty to make sure that those responsible for preventing others from exercising their right to vote are held accountable. I have co-sponsored the Prevention of Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation in Federal Elections Act, S. 453, which would criminalize voter intimidation.
Benjamin L. Cardin is a Democrat for the State of Maryland in the U.S. Senate

Senate looks to bay states for global warming strategies
Maryland and Virginia's initiatives to save the Chesapeake Bay should serve as models for federal policy on global warming, Senate environment committee members said Wednesday. The strategies include stricter clean car standards, a commission to set greenhouse gas reduction goals, electricity use reduction goals and devel oping new renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
"I think we can learn from the states," said Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., a member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. "That's what federalism is about. You're giving us workable models that we can now use to develop policy."
The discussion came during a three-hour committee hearing called by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to address the impact of global warming on the Chesapeake Bay. It included participation from top officials in both states, including all four senators, governors Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Tim Kaine of Virginia and U.S. Rep Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville.

An interest in principals
Md. congressman seeks to promote research into the qualities that make an excellent school leader,0,5343055.story
One lesson Rep. John Sarbanes learned in his seven years working with the Maryland State Department of Education, he says, is the value of a good principal. Now he wants to write that lesson into federal law. With Congress poised to debate the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, Sarbanes is trying to use the education law to provoke a national discussion about the role an experienced administrator can play in turning around a troubled school. "I came away convinced that if there is no silver bullet in education, the closest you come is the principal," said Sarbanes. "The schools that were making progress, the ones that could demonstrate that the kids were moving toward these proficiency goals [in the existing law], were ones where you had a principal who could walk into any classroom at any time of the day and know immediately where the teacher was in that lesson plan, whether they were delivering instruction at a high level, whether the kids were learning."

Friday, September 28, 2007

20070928 Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Ye Li.

Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Ye Li.

Thank Goodness It’s Friday September 28, 2007

Ye Li has placed 120 images depicting the subjects of Mr. Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Hat Tip: Harold

If you are a Billy Joel fan, that is a bonus, otherwise, the video sure is fun – and a lesson in history to boot.

After you click here: “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the video takes a moment to load.


Actually, I enjoyed Ye Li’s version better that the “Billy Joel” version here:


20070926 The Tentacle: The Priceless Right to Free Speech by Kevin E. Dayhoff

The Priceless Right to Free Speech by Kevin E. Dayhoff September 26, 2007

Related: Free Speech

20070925 Text of President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia

It has certainly been an interesting week for the exercise of our sacred right to freedom of speech in the United States. Various recent developments in this most cherished of rights provided a rich target environment for the news media, constitutional scholars, and pundits alike.

Certainly at the top of most anyone's kerfuffle was the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York on Sunday. In particular, there was his subsequent paradoxical pilgrimage to Columbia University on Monday.

As much as I am concerned, to say the least, about what it is that the Iranian president says, my problem is more with Columbia University's persistent inconsistencies about the sacred right to free speech.

The esteemed institution piously, self-righteously, if not - condescendingly - proclaims to be the standard-bearer for a "long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate," according to Columbia's president, Lee C. Bollinger.

Oh, pul-leeze! Columbia University extended an invitation to President Ahmadinejad, who many believe represents a country involved in the killing of Americans in uniform fighting in Iraq. However, the very military and its ROTC program, which defends our freedom of speech, are banned from the Columbia campus.

And that is just one example of the hypocrisy of the institution. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Columbia were to extend the courtesy to all Americans of varying political ideologies that it so easily extended to President Ahmadinejad?

Many are singing praises for Columbia President Bollinger for his stinging rebuke in the introduction of his guest. Then again, there are those of us who understand the paradox of President Bollinger's heroic Shakespearian soliloquy as a convenient - if not hypocritical - response to a conundrum he synthetically manufactured.

Read the entire column here: The Priceless Right to Free Speech


20070926 The Tentacle: The Priceless Right to Free Speech by Kevin E. Dayhoff

Thursday, September 27, 2007

20070927 This week in The Tentacle

This week in The Tentacle

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No Apology Needed

Chris Cavey

This evening is the "All-American Presidential Forum" at Morgan State University, hosted by Tavis Smiley and broadcast on PBS. Outside of those of us directly involved with this production, and the students at Morgan, the anticipation of the event is like waiting in line for a viewing at a funeral home.

Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Derek Shackelford

Here we go again with the issue of race surfacing over the last couple of weeks. It is not enough that much attention was given to shock jock Don Imus and his comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. The outrage that those comments garnered caused Mr. Imus to lose his national morning radio program.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Priceless Right to Free Speech

Kevin E. Dayhoff

It has certainly been an interesting week for the exercise of our sacred right to freedom of speech in the United States. Various recent developments in this most cherished of rights provided a rich target environment for the news media, constitutional scholars, and pundits alike.

Certainly at the top of most anyone's kerfuffle was the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York on Sunday. In particular, there was his subsequent paradoxical pilgrimage to Columbia University on Monday.

As much as I am concerned, to say the least, about what it is that the Iranian president says, my problem is more with Columbia University's persistent inconsistencies about the sacred right to free speech.

The esteemed institution piously, self-righteously, if not - condescendingly - proclaims to be the standard-bearer for a "long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate," according to Columbia's president, Lee C. Bollinger.

Oh, pul-leeze! Columbia University extended an invitation to President Ahmadinejad, who many believe represents a country involved in the killing of Americans in uniform fighting in Iraq. However, the very military and its ROTC program, which defends our freedom of speech, are banned from the Columbia campus.

And that is just one example of the hypocrisy of the institution. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Columbia were to extend the courtesy to all Americans of varying political ideologies that it so easily extended to President Ahmadinejad?

Many are singing praises for Columbia President Bollinger for his stinging rebuke in the introduction of his guest. Then again, there are those of us who understand the paradox of President Bollinger's heroic Shakespearian soliloquy as a convenient - if not hypocritical - response to a conundrum he synthetically manufactured.

Read the entire column here: The Priceless Right to Free Speech

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Peace Be Unto You

Roy Meachum

Our blue-eyed, blonde-hair culture becomes more antagonistic as our numbers decrease as a proportion of the population. There are those among us who hate all those darker-hair, brown-eyes who are popping up everywhere.

Both Sides Now

Farrell Keough

Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change, et al are the headlines of the crisis de jour. Most people do not involve themselves in this debate as it seems too complicated and all the scientists agree, so it must be true.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Striking the Deal

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

I really wanted to write about the Great Frederick Fair, but Patricia Kelly did such a great job on last Thursday's Tentacle, I wouldn't pretend to try.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Second Battle of Jena

Roy Meachum

On his way to the unsuccessful attempt to take Moscow, Napoleon knocked the Prussians out of the war at the Battle of Jena, almost exactly 201 years ago (October 14, 1806).

Gloom and Doom - Part 2

Edward Lulie III

The left has predicted Gloom and Doom for the GOP in 2008. That prediction might be premature. Despite the gleeful optimism of many Democrats, there are several problems that they must overcome before they can celebrate.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Worthy Plan

Tony Soltero

As Gov. Martin O'Malley puts the finishing touches on his budget and tax proposals and prepares them for release, we can all assume that his political opponents have well-honed talking points ready to attack any part of his plan that they find objectionable.

Oh! The Joy of The Fair

Patricia A. Kelly

I'm sitting at my desk on 3rd Street, listening to the tractor pull at the Great Frederick Fair. I've been able to hear it at my house almost every year of the 25 that I have lived in Frederick, always at the back of the house, on the north side of the street. Go figure.

Gloom and Doom - Part 1

Edward Lulie III

Oh, woe is the GOP; oh, gloom and doom; doom. doom. That is the endless refrain of the mainstream media, gleefully being repeated inside the echo chambers and offices of the left. Hillary or Obama, maybe both, will soon ride into power and save the world from cowboy imperialism.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iraq: Into the Heart of Darkness

Kevin E. Dayhoff

For those who have grown weary of the longest presidential campaign in history and the war in Iraq, last week was long and bewildering.


A reader from Catonsville lavishes high praise on Delegate Rick Weldon. CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bye-Bye, Bangtails?

Roy Meachum

The Sun's front page headline Sunday shouted: MD NOT HOLDING ITS RACE HORSES. In not much smaller print, an editor wrote: "Purses, incentives sending breeders and farmers to Pa."

20070925 Ben Franklin on writing

Ben Franklin on writing

I received this in an e-mail on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Attributed to Ben Franklin

Hat Tip: Grammy

20070925 Subject: Buying a Computer

Subject: Buying a Computer

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007

Hat Tip: Inchon

I received this in an e-mail on Tuesday, September 25, 2007:

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking

about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write

proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Window's.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say

I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with

some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'