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Monday, October 17, 2011

World Population Nears 7 Billion: Can We Handle It?

She's a 40-year-old mother of eight, with a ninth child due soon. The family homestead in a Burundi village is too small to provide enough food, and three of the children have quit school for lack of money to pay required fees.

"I regret to have made all those children," says Godelive Ndageramiwe. "If I were to start over, I would only make two or three."


Why Not Pot?

There have been a raft of articles here recently about PTSD and veterans including one on the difficulty of diagnosing PTSD, the staggering number of new veterans seeking mental health care at the VA, and the both surprising and somewhat sobering news that younger veterans are more willing to ask for mental health care—this is sobering in that the number of Vietnam era veterans seeking mental health care might increase if they see a reduction in the stigma of asking for help.

Jimmie Johnson To IndyCar: "No More Ovals"


CONCORD, N.C. - Five-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson called on IndyCar to stop racing on ovals in the wake of Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon's death.

Wheldon was killed in a 15-car accident in Sunday's season finale IndyCar race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a high banked, 1.5-mile oval.

"I wouldn't run them on ovals. There's just no need to," Johnson said Monday during a test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Those cars are fantastic for street circuits, for road courses. I hate, hate, hate that this tragedy took place. But hopefully they can learn from it and make those cars safer on ovals somehow.


Wireless Carriers Agree To End 'Bill Shock'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Those surprise overage charges on your wireless bill will soon be a thing of the past.

The vast majority of America's wireless carriers came to terms with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, agreeing to alert consumers when they are approaching their monthly limits for voice, data and text messages, or when they are about to incur international roaming charges. Mobile providers will send a second alert when customers reach those limits.

The news comes after a nearly two-year FCC probe into "bill shock" -- the sudden, unexpected increase in monthly wireless charges without a change to a customer's plan. The regulator estimates about 30 million Americans have experienced some form of bill shock.

A study that the FCC conducted last year found that 84% of Americans who experienced bill shock said they were not tipped off by their wireless company when they were about to exceed their limits, and 88% said they heard nothing from their provider after they went over.

Costs Of The Occupiers

Protesters on Wall Street and elsewhere are acting out on your dime.

The trash generated by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests keeps piling up. So do the bills. Liberal media outlets claim the anarchic, anti-capitalist movement is more popular than the Tea Party. But wait until Americans across the country get a full picture of the costs of the aimless occupiers.

In New York City, government officials estimate the month-long siege of Zuccotti Park has now imposed $3.2 million in overtime police costs on the public. On Thursday, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office pressured left-wing activists to vacate the park for cleaning, Occupy Wall Street urged sympathizers to flood the city’s customer-services lines: “Call 311 and tell Bloomberg not to evict us!”


Army Museum's Morbid Oddities Resettled In Maryland

The bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln is mounted under glass, like a diamond in a snow globe, in its new home at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

The lead ball and several skull fragments from the 16th president are in a tall, antique case overlooking a Civil War exhibit in a museum gallery in Silver Spring, just off the Capital Beltway. The military museum, known for its collection of morbid oddities, moved in September from the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. 



The Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit in partnership with the Assateague Coastal Trust, Berlin Police Department, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Worcester County Health Department will be participating in "OPERATION MEDICINE DROP," a one-day medication take-back effort to be held on Saturday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"Operation Medicine Drop" is a bi-annual Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) federal program in conjunction with state and local law enforcement to encourage citizens to properly dispose of their prescription drugs. The objective is to get unwanted, unused and expired prescription medication out of people’s cabinets and off of the streets. Citizens are urged to not flush their medication or throw them away. Disposing of medication properly prevents the medication from entering our waterways and landfills.

There will be six drop off locations in Worcester County.

Berlin Police Department, 10 Williams St.
Worcester County Health Dept., Public Landing Road, Snow Hill
Ocean City Public Safety Building, 6501 Coastal Hwy, OC/MD
Pocomoke Health Center, 400-A Walnut Street
Food Lion, Manklin Creek Rd, Ocean Pines
Food Lion, Rt 611, West Ocean City

The Maryland Executive Board Members of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) have hailed this effort as a success in keeping unwanted and unused prescription drugs out of the hands of persons who shouldn’t have them as well as out of Maryland coastal bays and waterways. This program was considered a success last April, yielding over 130 pounds of prescription medication in Worcester County.

The program is free and confidential. If you have any questions, please contact the OCPD Public Affairs Office at: 410-723-6665 or 410-529-5395.

Today's Top Stories 10-17-11


Military force shouldn’t be ruled out as a response to an alleged Iranian assassination plot on U.S. soil, the top House Republican on intelligence issues said.

The U.S. Senate’s vote to punish China for depressing its currency to promote cheap exports is the latest legislative ritual in which the message may be as important as the proposed sanction.

President Obama will call on Congress this week to send $35 billion to communities to rehire teachers, firefighters and police, in the first stage of his strategy to get some parts of his jobs plan enacted, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said yesterday.

Manufacturing in the New York region contracted at a faster pace than forecast, reflecting a lack of confidence in the U.S. recovery that failed to be confirmed by measures of orders and sales.

British police sealed off routes to the London Stock Exchange and Italian officers conducted nationwide raids following protests against economic inequality on four continents.

European leaders have one week to settle differences and flesh out a strategy to terminate their sovereign debt crisis as global finance chiefs warn failure to do so would endanger the world economy.

The Federal Reserve said its holdings of U.S. government debt on behalf of central bankers and institutional investors outside America has plunged $76.5 billion in the last seven weeks, the most since August 2007. At the same time, bond mutual funds are adding Treasuries, banks have increased their holdings 45 percent in the past five years and the Fed has added $656 billion to its balance sheet this year. Inc.’s profit margins, already at a five-year low last quarter, are set to narrow next year.

Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 0.2 percent, in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey, after being little changed in August,
Children as young as 4 years old may now be treated with medications such as Novartis AG’s Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, under new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

AP Top Stories

Strikes halted ferries to the Greek islands and left rotting trash piling up in Athens for the 16th straight day Monday, as unions fought back against more austerity cuts.

The stern, bulky visage of Martin Luther King Jr. now gracing the National Mall has brought forth tears of joy and redemption from onlookers. But for some Americans, the massive monument will forever be marred by where it was made: China.

Renee-Nicole Douceur, who suffered an apparent stroke at the South Pole in the dead of winter, landed at a New Zealand airport today after an emergency evacuation.

Syrian security forces clashed with gunmen believed to be army defectors, and at least five government troops were killed, an activist said.

Abortion opponents have a new weapon of choice: the "heartbeat bill." A coalition of anti-abortion groups said that it was pushing to enact laws in all 50 states that would make women listen to a fetus's heart beat before they could abort. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has introduced a similar federal bill, The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, in Congress.

Philips Electronics has all but abandoned hope of selling its TV business by the end of the year, leaving a question mark over how quickly it can divest its loss-making problem child. Philips said it would aim to cut 4,500 jobs as part of the restructuring scheme to boost profit and meet its financial targets. That is about 3.7 percent of its non-TV workforce of just over 120,000, which had already been reduced by a 2009 program to cut 6,000 jobs.

Lowe's Cos Inc said it is closing 20 of its U.S. stores, eliminating nearly 2,000 jobs.

CDC: Add $2 Per Drink For US Excessive Drinking

ATLANTA (AP) - The toll of excessive drinking works out to about $2 per drink, in terms of medical expenses and other costs to society, according to a new federal research.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study calculated societal costs from binge and heavy drinking beyond what consumers pay at the bar or liquor store. It's the first such federal estimate in more than a dozen years.

The study looked at costs that included _ among other things _ lost work productivity, property damage from car crashes, expenditures for liver cirrhosis and other alcohol-associated medical problems, and money spent on incarceration of drunk drivers and criminals using alcohol.

The CDC estimated excessive drinking cost society nearly $224 billion in 2006, the most recent year for which all necessary statistics were available. That worked out to about $1.90 per drink, 80 cents of which was spent by federal, state or local governments, the researchers estimated. The rest came from drinkers, their families, private health insurers, employers, crime victims and others.

Most of that was related to binge drinking, in which four or five alcoholic beverages are consumed on one occasion.

"Binge drinking results in binge spending," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.


Poll: Blacks, Va. Conservatives Show support For 'Occupy'

WASHINGTON -- Regional support for the Occupy movement sweeping across the country is surprisingly high, particularly in conservative regions, according to a new WTOP poll, which paints a gloomy outlook for confidence and trust in elected officials throughout the highly educated area.
Roughly 96 percent of area residents know about the Occupy protests, according to the WTOP Beltway Poll conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies. In the weeks since it first began on New York's Wall Street, similar demonstrations have popped up across the country, including throughout Northwest D.C., pressing an anti-corporate greed and anti-war message.
The movement finds most of its local support from African American men (whose unemployment rate nation-wide is roughly twice that of whites) and those who say they are paying close attention to the protests (both at roughly 60 percent). About half of Democrats, moderates and liberals polled also support it.
Roughly a third of Washington metro residents follow the Occupy movement somewhat closely, with 27 percent following closely and 32 percent not following it.


Wireless Customers To Receive Free Text Alerts To Avoid Overage Charges

After months of talking about the issue, the FCC and the nation's wireless providers have announced a deal that will provide almost every wireless customer in the country with free text alerts to help them avoid "bill shock" from unexpected overage charges.

More »

Passengers Stuck In Plane For 9 Hours, Only 45 Miles From Destination

Yesterday, an Air India flight from Mumbai to London's Heathrow airport got diverted because of bad weather to nearby Gatwick airport. Since the passengers were only 45 miles away from their intended destination, the airline obviously let them off the plane rather than sit in cramped quarters for nine hours. Oh wait — no it didn't.

More »

Controversial Therapy For Pre-Teen Transgender Patient Raises Questions

A lesbian couple in California who say their 11-year-old son Tommy who wants to be a girl named Tammy are giving their child hormone blockers that delay the onset of puberty -- so that he can have more time that he can have more time to decide if he wants to change his gender.

The couple’s supporters say the Hormone Blocking Therapy has only minor side effects and is appropriate for a child who is unsure of his gender. "This is definitely a changing landscape for transgender youth," said Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, a California-based non-profit group. "This is about giving kids and their families the opportunity to make the right decision."


Community Dialogue -- October 20

Folks --

Many Wicomico County citizens are concerned that the county's property tax revenue cap is a major obstacle to progress and growth.

Next Thursday, October 20, the Wicomico Neighborhood Congress will present two knowledgeable and articulate spokesmen with somewhat divergent views in a "community dialogue" on this important topic.  See the attached flyer for details.

Please try to attend, and bring your friends and neighbors.

Questions will be entertained from the audience; and we hope to have the session broadcast also on PAC14 and WSDL radio.

Mike Pretl

Great Orators Of The Democrat Party Past

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The buck stops here." - Harry S. Truman
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

And, Great orators of the Democrat Party  TODAY

"It depends what your definition of 'Sex' is?'' - Bill Clinton
"That Obama ... I would like to cut his nuts off." - Jesse Jackson
"Those rumors are false ... I believe in the sanctity of marriage." -
John Edwards
"I invented the Internet." - Al Gore
"The next Person that tells me I'm not religious, I'm going to shove my rosary beads up their ass." - Joe Biden
"America is is no longer, uh, what it, uh, could be, uh, what it was once was - uh, and I say to myself, uh, I don't want that future, uh, for my children." - Barack Obama
"I have campaigned in all 57 states." - Barack Obama (Quoted 2008)
"You don't need God anymore, you have us Democrats." - Nancy Pelosi
(Quoted 2006)
"Paying taxes is voluntary." - Sen. Harry Reid
"Bill is the greatest husband and father I know. No one is more faithful, true, and honest than he." - Hillary Clinton (Quoted 1998)

And the most recent gem of wisdom from the "Mother Moron":

"We just have to pass the Healthcare Bill to see what's in it." - Nancy Pelosi (Quoted March, 2010)


''Life's tough... It's even tougher when you're stupid.'' - John Wayne

Go green - recycle Congress in 2012!

Controversial Therapy for Pre-Teen Transgender Patient Raises Questions

A lesbian couple in California who say their 11-year-old son Tommy who wants to be a girl named Tammy are giving their child hormone blockers that delay the onset of puberty -- so that he can have more time that he can have more time to decide if he wants to change his gender.

The couple’s supporters say the Hormone Blocking Therapy has only minor side effects and is appropriate for a child who is unsure of his gender. "This is definitely a changing landscape for transgender youth," said Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, a California-based non-profit group. "This is about giving kids and their families the opportunity to make the right decision."


Wisconsin Teachers Union

Remember the violent and disgusting demonstrations over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker doing away with collective bargaining for teacher's unions? The results are in. Some school districts went from a $400,000 deficit to a $1,500,000 surplus as a result. Why?
It seems that the insurance company that provided all the "so-called" benefits to the teachers was an insurance company owned and operated by the teacher's union. Since the outfit was guaranteed to get the insurance business from the teachers, and the State had to pay for it (not the teachers) the insurance company was increasing annual costs every single year to become the most expensive insurance company in the state. Then the company was donating millions and millions of dollars to its favorite Democrat politicians who, when they got elected, guaranteed to keep funding the union's outrageous costs. In other words, the insurance company was a "pass through" for Wisconsin taxpayer money directly to the Democrat politicians.
Nice racket, and this is the racket that is going on in every single State that allows collective bargaining.
No wonder the States are taking it away. Now the State of Wisconsin is free to put the insurance contract out for bids and, lo and behold, they have saved so much money it has turned deficits into surplus amounts. As a result, none of the teachers had to be laid off, everyone got a raise, etc., and the taxpayers of Wisconsin don't have to pay more taxes to fund the union's political ambitions.
If you weren't aware of the reasons Gov. Walker was fighting to take away collective bargaining, it gives you an idea of the problem the Republican Party has. Outside of one or two, none of them know how to speak up and explain properly what the problem was. We could sure use a Ronald Reagan now - someone who could explain things for people to understand, since we know that people don't like to read anymore.
GO HERE to read the article.

900 Days & Still No Budget From Senate Democrats

Stopping Washington from spending money it doesn't have is a key part of the Republican jobs plan. The Democratic-led Senate, on the other hand, has now gone 900 days without passing a budget and is delaying action on more than a dozen House-passed jobs bills. In the Weekly Republican Address, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) - a former small business owner - urged "the president to call on leaders in his party to follow the House, listen to the American people, stop pushing ideas we know won’t work, and pass these jobs bills." McCarthy also highlights potential areas where both parties can work together to remove barriers to job growth. Watch the address here and read more below:

Rand Paul Hearing On Government Assault On Private Property

Senator Rand Paul on Friday hosted a roundtable discussion, "PROPERTY WRONGS: A Discussion With the Victims of the U.S. Government's Assault on Private Property," to bring to light a few of many instances of overreach by the U.S. government.

Sen. Paul plans to introduce legislation in the coming days addressing the issues brought forth in today's hearing.

Witnesses included Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitars; Mike and Chantell Sackett of Idaho, whose current battle with the EPA is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court this winter; Victoria Pozsgai-Khoury of Pennsylvania, who was representing her father's continuing battle with EPA over erroneous wetland regulations; Peter Nimrod, chief engineer of the Mississippi Levee Board, currently suing EPA to allow for a pumping station in the Mississippi Delta region; and John and Judy Dollarhite of Missouri, rabbit breeders whose side business was shut down and fined by the USDA.


Leave It To The French


Transportation, Infrastructure and Job Creation Initiatives to be Discussed and Set Tone for 2012 Legislative Session;
Governor Announces 60 Day Review of State Regulations

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 17, 2011) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced a plan to spark job creation in Maryland and to build consensus for a comprehensive jobs package for the 2012 legislative session.  Governor O’Malley, joined by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, announced legislative hearings to be held during Special Session to explore job creation opportunities in transportation and infrastructure upgrades and in streamlining government processes to make it easier to do business in Maryland.    

“We will use the opportunity of the Special Session to address the single most pressing issue that we face as a State – job creation,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Since January, we’ve created nearly 15,000 jobs in our State.  But all of us agree that in these tough economic times, we need to do more.  The most important job we create is the next job.” 

Governor O’Malley signed an Executive Order calling for a 60 day review by State agencies of current State regulations that can be reformed or eliminated to help spark job creation.  After the 60 day review period, the intent is to introduce a package of regulatory reforms to the General Assembly in January.  Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch announced legislative hearings to be held on Tuesday, October 18 that will focus on Maryland’s infrastructure and transportation needs and economic development and job creation opportunities.

“Our infrastructure is one of those areas where we have the largest investment deficit in our state,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Tackling Maryland’s list of infrastructure needs will be a priority as we head into the 2012 legislative session.”

“We have to take steps to support the technology and research jobs that will ensure that Maryland is the best place to get an education, do research, spin off ideas into the marketplace, and successfully build a company,” said President Miller.  “I look forward to working with Governor O’Malley and Speaker Busch to find the solutions that will create jobs and breathe new life into our state’s economy.”

“Our number one goal is to support the private sector and build business confidence to create new jobs in Maryland,” said Speaker Busch.  “Investing in transportation infrastructure and capital projects to get the construction industry back to work is an important step that government can make to stimulate the economy.”

Ron Paul Proposes Elimination Of Education, Energy Departments, Lowering Presidential Salary To $39,336

Today at 3pm on Las Vegas, perpetually ignored by the media on both the left and right presidential candidate Ron Paul will announce details of his $1 trillion proposal in government spending cuts, which will be the start of a process to balance the Federal budget in three . As Politico reports, "the Texas congressman will lay out a budget blueprint for deep and far-reaching cuts to federal spending, including the elimination of five cabinet-level departments and the drawdown of American troops fighting overseas." Amusingly, and if there is anything that will Paul brownie points with an electorate disgusted by those spreading hypocritical class warfare, "there will even be a symbolic readjustment of the president’s own salary to put it in line with the average American salary." Which will simply make it a given that every president going forward will have at least three laid off Hollywood scriptwriters preoccupied as ghost writers and writing presidential "autobiographies." For the royalties. But we digress. "The federal workforce would be reduced by 10 percent, and the president’s pay would be cut to $39,336 — a level that the Paul document notes is “approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.” We somehow doubt that even Paul will go as far as proposing a much needed overhaul of campaign finance, which basically forces every politician to wear sponsorship tags of all the Wall Street banks that have "gifted" a given politician and/or president in the past 5 years, but we can surely hope.


Wine Festival

The Wicomico County Wine Festival was held this weekend and it was a packed house. On Saturday by 3:00 pm they had sold over 2,700 tickets and the weather was just prefect for an outside event.

Unfortunately here is the problem as I see it, they changed the layout of the event this year and it honestly just did not work very well.
The music stage was in the center of all the wine and food vendors and the area was so congested you could not get around. They had the speakers pointing at the wine vendors tents making so difficult to talk about the samples. By Sunday afternoon several of the employees had lost their voice trying to over talk the music.

Also, the food vendors where way to close to the wine vendors. The smoke from their fryers and smokers would get under the wine tents and get trapped. At times it was so heavy it was hard to breathe.
So, the positives were thousands of people showed up to enjoy the event. The down side was how it was laid out. Hopefully event organizers will hear what commenter's have to say and they will make the appropriate changes next year.

Colorado Says State Champion Goat Failed Drug Test

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - The grand champion goat from this year's Colorado State Fair and another goat raised by the same family were disqualified after testing positive for an unapproved feed additive, state officials said Friday.

The family says their goat feed may have been tampered with and they plan to appeal.

Disqualification means the college student who raised the champion won't get the $5,500 her goat netted at the State Fair auction, and her younger brother won't get $1,300 sale price of his goat. It also means both are barred from future livestock events at the fair.


Cornel West Arrested At Supreme Court

Civil rights activist and Princeton professor Cornel West was arrested and removed by police from the steps of the Supreme Court on Sunday.

He was one of 19 people arrested at a protest called "Occupy Supreme Court." It was an anti-war, anti-corporate greed demonstration. West joined the protest after leaving the dedication for the new Martin Luther King Memorial.

Boston Boy Survives 3-Story Drop From Burning Home

A 6-alarm arson fire tore through a large apartment building, including the apartment of a couple on the third floor who dropped their young grandson into the arms of a waiting firefighter, officials said. A man who came to a hospital with burns and claimed he started the fire was arrested, police said.

Firefighters rescued at least 15 people, including the 6-year-old grandson of Herbert and Judith Lamb, who live on the third floor of the apartment building and said they were woken by an explosion and smoke.

Ron Paul To Propose $1T In Specific Budget Cuts

Ron Paul’s opinions about cutting the budget are well-known, but on Monday, he’ll get specific: the Texas congressman will lay out a budget blueprint for deep and far-reaching cuts to federal spending, including the elimination of five cabinet-level departments and the drawdown of American troops fighting overseas.

There will even be a symbolic readjustment of the president’s own salary to put it in line with the average American salary.


Special Session of the General Assembly

Legislative Field Notes
By Delegate Mike McDermott

Morning Session:

The first matters that were taken up in the Special Session were the bills from the 2011 Regular Session which had been vetoed by the governor. There were 40 such bills to address. We had discussed all of these vetoed bills in our caucus meeting previously. Most were duplicate or cross filed bills which were passed under another file number and represented technical vetoes. Some of the vetoed legislation was reviewed following passage and found to have flaws which were not picked up prior to passage. These bills were vetoed by request of the sponsor. The only bill which we considered opposing was HB-22 which was a bill submitted by Del. Smegiel and passing easily in both chambers before coming to the governor’s desk. This bill simply called for a uniform Circuit Court subpoena process be established in the Maryland Circuit Courts. It was a money saving measure, but it was opposed by many in the judiciary and court clerks across the state. Following debate on the idea of attempting an override of the veto, it was decided by vote that this was not a battle we needed to fight at this time when considering that we needed to focus all of our efforts on redistricting.

All of the vetoed legislation was combined together by consent of the House members and the governor’s veto was sustained on a vote of 125-6.

There were 21 bills which were filed by several members for consideration by the House during the Special Session. Those bills were introduced into the House and were forwarded to the Rules Committee to determine if they will be assigned to a Committee for review. It is doubtful that any will be considered other than the bills addressing redistricting. On initial review, I did not see any bills calling for tax increases…but the session is young. I remain hopeful that we will stay the course and stick to redistricting issues.

Hearing in Judiciary
Expungement of Records/Shielding of Records-
Del. Anderson/Walstreicher/Carter
Review of HB-878; HB-1342; HB-1279; HB-1255

We heard from the Task Force on legislation which would address the shielding of criminal records under certain circumstances. There is ongoing debate over the way the courts and the legislature should address expanding guidelines for the shielding/expunging of criminal records. Certain automatic expungements were discussed when a person was found not guilty of a charge as opposed to a written request being required. It was also suggested that one’s driving record should be examined for possible automatic expungement following a set period of time. Some of the committee members like to use the word "mistake" as a substitute for "crime". There was quite a discussion over providing safe guards for businesses as well as those who may deserve a second chance. The committee took a lot of notes and it is clear we will be hearing this again in 2012.

Maryland Trust Act
Submitted by the Maryland Bankers Association/Committee members
Review of HB-750 (as submitted in 2011)

We heard from a group of bankers and attorneys in Maryland on the need to revise and codify the laws governing Trusts. The general issue concerns the lack of codified law and the desire of the committee to simplify the process and eliminate the need for continually going back to the courts to address issues that could be done outside of the courts by mutual agreement. There was concern that in trying to codify the rules/law, the committee may have modified existing rules. The submitted legislation is 93-pages and will require a thorough review and many additional hearings to address all of the many concerns. After hearing from the committee members, I am not convinced the "Trust Act" will be ready for prime time in January. The technical law questions are extensive.

On the Lawyer’s Mall there were a few press conferences for alternative bills being offered for redistricting. There are three primary bills which people are rallying behind other than the governor’s plan. All three of the bills address the creation of an additional minority district. We expect all of these bills to be heard in committee tomorrow.

On redistricting, there may be an opportunity to work across the aisle with those from certain districts who may feel disenfranchised by the governor’s gerrymandered map. Currently, a map backed by the Fannie Lou Hamer PAC is being sponsored by Del. Hough (R-Frederick) and Sen. Pipkin (R-Upper Shore) in cooperation with the PAC. It is a good map and would create the potential for a third minority congressional district in Maryland. It would also make some of the other districts more competitive for both parties. It is a balanced approach and has bi-partisan support in both chambers.

The same can be said for a map being offered by Sen. Getty (D-Carroll) and Del. Smigiel (R-Cecil). This map also helps create an additional minority district and provides for greater sense of natural, political, and historic boundaries. In essence, it abides by the Maryland Constitution and is bi-partisan on approach.

The third alternative to the governor’s map is referred to as the "Good Government Map" which has been proffered by the Maryland GOP. This is probably the best drawn map, geographically and it lends itself to an additional minority district as well. Sadly, since it is the GOP map, it is not going to get very far.

Tomorrow at noon, a Rally for Good Government will be held on the Lawyer’s Mall in front of the Capitol steps. Special speakers include Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, Grover Norquist (American’s for Tax Reform), Sen. Pipkin, Charles Lollar (American’s for Prosperity), Del. Smigiel, as well as myself and others. The people are demanding good government, and all of the speakers will be encouraging Marylanders to press on. We are hoping for a great turnout.

Missouri National Guard Joins Search for Missing Baby Lisa Irwin as Mother Admits She Was Drunk on Night of Disappearance

Missouri National Guard officials joined the search for a Kansas City baby on Sunday as the girl's mother told Fox News she was drunk when the 10-month-old disappeared.

Deborah Bradley, the mother of missing girl 10-month-old Lisa Irwin, told Fox News on Sunday that she was drunk when the girl disappeared. She admitted having "several glasses" of wine with a neighbor prior to the girl's disappearance on Oct. 4.


The Great Salisbury Fire Was 125 Years Ago Today

The Great Fire of Salisbury today.

The fire started 125 years ago this evening (October 17, 1886), around 7 pm and destroyed most of Salisbury.

It might not be SBY News-worthy today but 125 years ago it was a pretty big deal.

Salisbury lost 22 acres of prime real estate. Downtown was totally lost with a couple of small exceptions & one more notable one: The Wicomico County Courthouse (the old courthouse as we call it). Fortunately though, for such a devastating fire, no one died.

Drug Smugglers Tunnel Directly Into Arizona Parking Spaces

Forget the high costs typically associated with getting drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. Some smugglers are sneaking their stock in for just 25 cents.

International Street in Nogales, Ariz. runs directly along the border wall. It's a popular shopping district and meeting point for family members from both countries. So, it's understandable why the city of Nogales installed parking meters on the street to make an extra profit. But it turns out the drug smugglers were the ones profiting.

Manhattan Islamic Center Owes $1.7 Million, Landlord Says

New York (CNN) -- Lower Manhattan's controversial Park51 Islamic center is now in a court battle with utility Consolidated Edison, which says the center owes it $1.7 million in a dispute over back rent.In court papers, Park51 says it owes Con Edison only $881,000 and calls the utility's demand "grossly inflated."

The center has filed suit against the company over a default notice it was issued in September, and a New York state judge has stayed any action until after a hearing in November.

In a statement to CNN on Sunday, Con Edison said it "remains hopeful" that it can work out an agreement with Park51, which leases part of its property from the utility. Park51's developers did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Cain On Abortion: No ‘Exceptions For Rape And Incest’

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that he didn’t agree with abortion “under any circumstance.”

The candidate, who has promised to work to overturn Roe v. Wade, told NBC’s David Gregory that he believes in “life from conception.”

“I do not agree with abortion under any circumstance,” he insisted.



“Those who nobly set out to be their brother’s keeper sometimes end up by becoming his jailer. Every emancipation has in it the seeds of a new slavery, and every truth easily becomes a lie.”

I.F. Stone

Blame Government, Not Greed - And, Please, Ignore Central Banking

There is no mystery where the Occupy Wall Street movement came from: It is an offspring of the same false narrative about the causes of the financial crisis that exculpated the government and brought us the Dodd-Frank Act. According to this story, the financial crisis and ensuing deep recession was caused by a reckless private sector driven by greed and insufficiently regulated. It is no wonder that people who hear this tale repeated endlessly in the media turn on Wall Street to express their frustration with the current conditions in the economy. Their anger should be directed at those who developed and supported the federal government's housing policies that were responsible for the financial crisis. – Wall Street Journal

Dominant Social Theme: Look here, look here ... It's government policies, see! Don't look THERE. Don't look at central banking. Look away from there. Look here ... at government.


America's Wealth-Defined Society

Many of us wonder whether the Occupy Wall Street movement will continue to grow and establish roots, to offer some hope for change… or whether it will be stopped and smothered… not by the Fat-Cats represented in that odious One Percent, but by the Squires, that Nineteen Percent of enforcers, or bystanders, of predatory capitalism that has taken over America; what is now Corporate America.  The Squires are the only middle-class left in the United States today, even if there are many others who illusorily think of themselves as middle-class, not wanting to be included in a bottom 80 percent, the place where they belong if only they would wake up to reality, set aside their pride.

For almost three generations most anyone in America considered themselves to be part of that mythical middle-class.  Lower class was a term seldom mentioned; only people down on their luck and one-third or more of blacks and browns living in virtual poverty, belonged to that class swept under the rug.  Be that as it may, the majority of Americans by most any standard were affluent enough not to worry about the many wealth rungs in the socio-economic ladder, or where they stood in it.

However, political economics during the past three decades have helped create greater inequality, much greater wealth differences between lower and higher rungs.  And, what may be even worse, it also helped erase the upward economic mobility it once existed in the lower rungs, where 80 percent of the nation’s population resides.  Such mobility has completely disappeared.  Ronald Reagan made greed a top virtue for Americans, and much of the population was ready to live by that creed.  But as it turned out, only a small percentage was successful at it – and not entrepreneurially but predatorily – most others still smarting from a real estate bubble, as acquisition of a home mortgage was dabbed part of the American dream… what should have been called the American nightmare.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, whether by art or by design, has been careful not to make their common cause one of a struggle between classes, and that has been, at least initially, a wise thing.  Having said that, however, it would be wise and survivalist for them to realize that although they portray the wealthy top One Percent as the enemy, it is the power of the Nineteen Percent behind them that they need to worry about; and that appears as not much of an issue with the protesters.  If so, it could easily become their downfall, a complete debacle for the movement.

For once, let’s be realistic and try not to live in ignorance or make-believe.

We should be challenging not only the meaning behind those statistics which are getting all the headlines, but also dig deeper for what other statistics may mean for a more just society.  Such statistics are available but unfortunately not properly analyzed or, at the very least, not properly presented.  There are very powerful implications to the well-being and justice for the bottom 80 percent of us… not just a majority, but a resounding and truly overwhelming majority… the EIGHTY PERCENT of POOR and POWERLESS in a nation we deem free and democratic, but which unfortunately is neither.  Here is what we tend to focus on… how unequal we are relative to The Wealthiest One Percent with three examples cited time and time again:
  • That the Top 1% owns 40% of the Nation’s Wealth; and,
  • That the Top 1% end up receiving 24% of the National Income (Take Home Pay); and,
  • That the Top 1% owns 50% of the nation’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Found Dog: UPDATE

I have just spoken with the owner, and she is en route to get Minnie.

Thank you so much for your help. You're a good man for providing such a
valuable service.

Good morning, Joe.  My husband found this dog on College Avenue near Taney around 7:30 a.m.  She has a collar but no tags.  She is very sweet and well cared for.  We will report her to the Humane Society also, but will keep her with us until we hopefully hear from the owners.  If you would kindly post this, we would be very appreciative.  Our contact number is 410-546-1544 or 443-880-8271.

If You're Going To Shoplift At Walmart With Your Kids, Don't Leave Them Behind When You Flee

Kids are adorable and we suppose they could make adorable decoys if one was trying to shoplift at Walmart. But if you're going to involve small children in your criminal activities, it's probably not a great idea to leave them behind.

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Are San Francisco Restaurants Actually Pushing To Make 25% The Standard Tip?

Earlier last week, a writer for the San Jose Mercury News posted a story claiming that wait staff and high-end restaurants in San Francisco are behind a move to make 25% tips standard across the city. But is this actually true or just hype?

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Woman Sues Facebook For Allegedly Violating Wiretap Law

Accusing Facebook of violating federal wiretap laws by tracking her web use when she wasn't logged in to the site, a Mississippi woman is taking the social networking giant to court. Her suit, which seeks class action status, is going after Facebook for trespassing, invasion of privacy, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.

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Small NFL Beers Cost More Than $7 On Average

Tickets, parking and concessions are all costly at sporting events. Those who haven't been to an NFL game in a while may experience plastic cup price shock when they order a beer. An analysis revealed that the average small draft beer is $7.13, 22.7 percent more than Major Leauge baseball brewskis.

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Do You Need Divorce Insurance?

We've all heard of pre-nups, but this is a little different. A company out of North Carolina is now selling "divorce insurance."

That's right. According's website: "The casualty insurance is designed to provide financial assistance in the form of cash to cover the costs of a divorce, such as legal proceedings or setting up a new apartment or house."


Pat Downs, Chat Downs?

You've just gotten accustomed to "pat downs" when you fly. Now, get ready for "chat downs," USA Today reports. The Transportation Security Administration is prepared to ask you a flurry of questions about where you're going, where you're staying, why you're traveling and how long you'll be gone. For now, it is only an experiment. But if the test at Boston Logan works, you can expect face-to-face questioning by a TSA officer before you even get to the full-body scan and pat down, USA Today reports. You can refuse to answer the questions and still make your flight, however your carry-on will be searched.

Federal Jobs Website Nearly Shuts Down Due To Heavy Traffic

The new federal jobs web site nearly ground to a halt from heavy traffic. The Office of Personnel Management launched the new version of USA Jobs with much fanfare last week, and some 2.5 million visitors a day have logged in. But many of them complain the site is slow and clunky. OPM posted an apology on the home page. A spokeswoman told Federal News Radio a team is working around the clock to tune the system. Adding to the confusion is that the new site requires new passwords, even for people with accounts at the old USA Jobs site.

Home From Afghanistan

Maryland guard troops return after year in war zone

A bus full of Maryland National Guard troops pulled up outside the Army Reserve Center in Glen Burnie yesterday to a hero's welcome.

Children held "Welcome Home Daddy" signs while parents and spouses looked on anxiously as their loved ones filed off the bus.

The fanfare was for the Maryland National Guard 313th Movement Control Battalion's return from a yearlong stint in Afghanistan.


FCC Test to Measure Cellphone Radiation Flawed, Group Says

A government test used to measure the radiation people absorb from their cellphones might underestimate the levels to which most adults and children are exposed, according to a group of doctors and researchers whose stated mission is to promote awareness of environmental health risks they believe may be linked to cancer.

Derivatives: The $600 Trillion Time Bomb That's Set To Explode

Do you want to know the real reason banks aren't lending and the PIIGS have control of the barnyard in Europe?

It's because risk in the $600 trillion derivatives market isn't evening out. To the contrary, it's growing increasingly concentrated among a select few banks, especially here in the United States.

In 2009, five banks held 80% of derivatives in America. Now, just four banks hold a staggering 95.9% of U.S. derivatives, according to a recent report from the Office of the Currency Comptroller.

The four banks in question: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).

Derivatives played a crucial role in bringing down the global economy, so you would think that the world's top policymakers would have reined these things in by now - but they haven't.

Instead of attacking the problem, regulators have let it spiral out of control, and the result is a $600 trillion time bomb called the derivatives market.

Think I'm exaggerating?

The notional value of the world's derivatives actually is estimated at more than $600 trillion. Notional value, of course, is the total value of a leveraged position's assets. This distinction is necessary because when you're talking about leveraged assets like options and derivatives, a little bit of money can control a disproportionately large position that may be as much as 5, 10, 30, or, in extreme cases, 100 times greater than investments that could be funded only in cash instruments.

The world's gross domestic product (GDP) is only about $65 trillion, or roughly 10.83% of the worldwide value of the global derivatives market, according to The Economist. So there is literally not enough money on the planet to backstop the banks trading these things if they run into trouble.


Lady Gaga Makes Splash At Clinton Birthday Bash

(CBS News)

Former President Bill Clinton celebrated his 65th birthday -- and the anniversary of his non-profit foundation -- this past weekend with a three-day all-star Hollywood party -- even though his birthday is Aug. 19.

Lady Gaga headlined one part of the celebration, at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday, joined by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Usher.

But it was clear Mr. Clinton was the night's real rock star.


Today's Wildlife Photo 10-17-11

Fill In The Blank 10-17-11

I can't stand when my neighbor ____ !

A Picture I Couldn't Resist Taking

Occupy Wall Street Has Raised $300,000


NEW YORK - The Occupy Wall Street movement has close to $300,000, as well as storage space loaded with donated supplies in lower Manhattan. It stared down city officials to hang on to its makeshift headquarters, showed its muscle Saturday with a big Times Square demonstration and found legions of activists demonstrating in solidarity across the country and around the world.

Could this be the peak for loosely organized protesters, united less by a common cause than by revulsion to what they consider unbridled corporate greed? Or are they just getting started?


Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

Have you ever seen such a crowd at an amusement park? Click on images to enlarge.

This weekend the entire Albero Family met at Busch Gardens for their Howl-O-Scream event. By 2:00 they were closing off the park as they had reached capacity.

Even though the lines for the rides were long, they moved fairly quickly but to be honest you have to be a really big fan of these types of events because the lines to get into haunted houses were at least 2 hours long.

We left the park around 11:00 PM Saturday night and people were still standing in long lines to get through.

Lowe's To Close 20 Stores

Retailer to close underperforming stores in 15 states, cut 1,950 jobs

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. says it will close 20 underperforming stores in 15 states and cut 1,950 jobs in a move that it says will allow it to focus on more profitable locations.

Ten locations were closed Sunday; the other 10 will close in a month.


The Next Abortion Battleground: Fetal Heartbeats

Anti-abortion groups begin a brazen campaign to make women listen to their fetus before they end a pregnancy

Abortion opponents have a new weapon of choice: the “heartbeat bill.” A coalition of anti-abortion groups told the Associate Press last week last week that it was pushing to enact laws in all 50 states that would make women listen to a fetus’s heart beat before they could abort. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has introduced a similar federal bill, The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, in Congress.


Police: Men Sold Guns From Hot Dog Stand

Authorities say a Northern California hot dog vendor offered undercover officers more than just mustard, ketchup and relish on the side.

Fifty-eight-year-old Jose Gilberto Ortiz was arraigned in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Thursday on charges of selling firearms to the officers from his hot dog stand.

Student Says School Held Him Back Because Of Religion

A public Brooklyn school refused to promote a Muslim boy to the sixth grade because of his religion, says an incendiary lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court.

Abedin Kajoshaj, 11, had the marks to move on to the sixth grade at PS 180, the SEEALL Academy in Borough Park, but was inexplicably held back at the end of the 2009-2010 year, the suit claims.

“I don’t know why they kept me back. I was one of the smarter kids in my class,” Abedin said.