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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Schoolteacher Pension Bailout - To Cost Wicomico 10.8 Million Dollars By 2022

The taxpayers of Wicomico County will soon be assessed additional property taxes and/or other taxes to makeup for the huge losses incurred in the school teachers pension fund.

Although the teachers pension was almost 100% funded as late as 2000 - the pension fund valuation dropped into the 50% funded range as a result of poor investing. Even Maryland's bonding rating agency - Fitch - issued a bad report citing that Maryland had better take action or else risk losing its pristine rating. Well - Maryland officials have taken action and soon will pass-on these costs down to the Counties. How will this stack-up for Wicomico? Well take a look at the table below:

Projected Teacher Pension Cost - (in millions) - Wicomico County

2013 - $3.80 million
2014 - $4.32 million
2015 - $4.89 million
2016 - $5.53 million
2017 - $6.22 million
2018 - $6.98 million
2019 - $7.82 million
2020 - $8.73 million
2021 - $9.74 million
2022 - $10.83 million

New Posts to fall below.

Australia Asks _ Again: Did A Dingo Kill The Baby?

SYDNEY (AP) - The growl came first, low and throaty, piercing the darkness that had fallen across the remote Australian desert. A baby's cry followed, then abruptly went silent. Inside the tent, the infant girl had vanished. Outside, her mother was screaming: "The dingo's got my baby!"

With those panicked words, the mystery of Azaria Chamberlain's disappearance in the Australian Outback in 1980 became the most notorious, divisive and baffling legal drama in the country's history. Had a wild dog really taken the baby? Or had Azaria's mother, Lindy, slit her daughter's throat and buried her in the desert?


Lawyers: Cocaine On Capsized Cruise Captain's Hair

ROME (AP) - Lawyers for survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship on Saturday pressed for new drug tests on the ship's captain after traces of cocaine were reportedly found on the outside of a hair sample.

But the consultant who did the analyses for prosecutors stood by results, which found no presence of the drug in urine samples or within the hair of Captain Francesco Schettino.

Italian consumer protection group Codacons is representing some survivors of the shipwreck of the cruise liner, which rammed a reef near a Tuscan island the night of Jan. 13. Under Italian law, those attaching civil suits to a criminal case must be informed of, and allowed to monitor, evidence and other developments in the probe.


Obama: Manufacturing Rebounding After Painful Time

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the painful restructuring of America's manufacturing base means a lot of jobs are gone forever, but not that Americans must "settle for a lesser future."

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama said American manufacturers are reinventing themselves with new technology and new efficiencies that have helped lead to what the administration claims are 3.7 million new jobs created over the past two years.


Gas Prices Are Highest Ever For This Time Of Year

NEW YORK (AP) - Gasoline prices have never been higher this time of the year.

At $3.53 a gallon, prices are already up 25 cents since Jan. 1. And experts say they could reach a record $4.25 a gallon by late April.

"You're going to see a lot more staycations this year," says Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. "When the price gets anywhere near $4, you really see people react."


NASCAR President Says Penalties Likely For 48 Team

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - NASCAR will likely penalize the crew chief for five-time champion Jimmie Johnson for infractions found during Daytona 500 inspection.

NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday its a "high likelihood" crew chief Chad Knaus will be penalized. But, Helton indicated punishment would not be doled out until after the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500 race.

The No. 48 Chevrolet had illegally modified sheet metal between the roof and the side windows _ the area known as the C-posts _ that was found in Friday's opening day inspection.


Jack Johnson To Begin Serving Prison Term

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - Former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson is about to begin serving prison time.

Johnson is scheduled to begin serving his sentence Saturday on an extortion conviction.

Johnson was sentenced in December to more than seven years in prison for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers and accepting assorted gifts.


Climbing Gasoline Prices

On a seasonal basis gasoline prices generally peak in early summer, so prices aren't at those peak levels,yet. But what is noteworthy is that current prices are well ahead of prices at this time last year (the two circled areas).

Price inflation is developing. Ben Bernanke's money is hitting the system


IRS Seeks Nearly $1 Billion Budget Increase For Hiring Spree

The Obama administration is asking Congress for a nearly $1 billion budget increase for the IRS, a move that would allow the agency to hire thousands more employees.

The administration is arguing that hiring additional IRS agents will more than pay for itself. The IRS wants to dedicate another $400 million to enforcement efforts, claiming that alone would raise $1.5 billion in additional revenue -- once all the agents are trained up in a few years.

Ron Paul: Why Can’t We ‘Put Into Our Body Whatever We Want?’

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul decried the “war on drugs” Thursday night, telling supporters in Washington state that people should be able to make their own decisions on such matters.

Voters in Washington are likely to decide this year whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana

“If we are allowed to deal with our eternity and all that we believe in spiritually, and if we’re allowed to read any book that we want under freedom of speech, why is it we can’t put into our body whatever we want?” Paul told more than 1,000 people at a rally in Vancouver, a suburb of Portland, Ore.


Teacher Sent Student Holiday Cards To Inmate Boyfriend In New York: Report

A New York teacher is under fire after she forced her fifth-graders to make holiday cards for her incarcerated boyfriend -- who's been accused of possessing child porn and convicted on weapons charges.

Queens educator Melissa Dean told kids at Public School 143 to draw up 27 cards for upstate inmate John Coccarelli, because she "thought it was a nice thing to do,"



The Library Trustees for the Wicomico Public Library are looking for residents of Wicomico County to fill vacancies on the Library Board. Terms for the Board begin July 1, 2012. The term of office is five years, with the eligibility of being appointed for a second five-year term. The Library Board meets from 4 PM to 6 PM on the second Tuesday of the following months: August, October, December, February, April, and June.

The responsibilities of the Wicomico County Board of Library Trustees include the following: determining policy; adopting reasonable rules, regulations, and bylaws; advising in the preparation of, and approving the library budget, selecting the location of and approving plans for library buildings, subject to County approval. Board members must be approved by the Wicomico County Council.

Applications are available at the Main Library in Downtown Salisbury, on the Bookmobile, at the Centre Branch, the Pittsville Branch, the Bivalve Station and at

First consideration will be given to applications received by Monday, March 12, 2012.

Grand Canyon Abuse Trial: Grandson Says He Asked Witness To Call Police During Hike From Hell

PHOENIX -- The oldest grandson of a man standing trial on child abuse charges testified Thursday that he secretly asked another hiker to call 911 during a long, hot hike in the Grand Canyon last year.

The 12-year-old said his vision and hearing became altered and mountains appeared to sway during the 19-mile hike on Aug. 28, a day that saw temperatures as high as 108 degrees. He said he fell down several times because of cramping.


Mars Puts Snickers Bars On A Diet

Have you ever stood near the checkout of a grocery store and stared at the rack of chocolate bars, debating whether anyone would judge you for buying the king-size?

You know the regular size is enough to satisfy your craving, but the bigger candy bar is only 40 cents more and it just... Looks. So. Good.

Worry no more - Mars, Inc. is going taking that decision out of your hands. The company that produces M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, Snickers and Twix bars has vowed to stop shipping any Mars chocolate products that exceed 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013.

Why Down Syndrome Is On The Decline

New prenatal blood tests can inform pregnant women as early as 10 weeks that their fetus may have Down syndrome.

A little over a year ago, Abbie and Rick Smith had a baby they named Noah. They are still smarting from their obstetrician’s words after his birth. “She said, ‘I’m sorry,’” says Rick. “Everyone at the hospital treated us like it was a funeral.” Noah had Down syndrome, and neither his parents nor his doctor had been aware of his diagnosis before he was born.

Noah’s father had never known anyone with Down syndrome, but he was determined to show the world that Noah was a regular kid and not someone to be pitied or feared. Nor is he the stereotypical “sweet angel” that kids with Down syndrome are often made out to be; he gets pretty testy when he wants his bottle. On, Smith uploads a daily one-minute video of Noah doing his thing — going to the mall, going to physical therapy — and has garnered his son a pretty impressive following for a 1-year-old: Noah’s Facebook page has got nearly 13,000 fans. Says Smith: “There’s no ‘sorry’ in this house. The only thing in this house is celebration.”


Brain Scans In Infants Shed Light On Autism Onset

New research provides evidence that wiring in the brains of children with autism differs from typically developing children as early as six months of age, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Friday.

"This is the earliest study of brain development using neuro-imaging," says Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. "By six months of age, even before the symptoms [of autism] emerge, the brain networks that connect different brain regions do not develop correctly."

Dawson is not only one of the study authors, she's also the Chief Science Officer of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, which, along with the National Institutes of Health and the Simons Foundation, funded the research.

Um, Oops? Conservative Radio Host Accused Of Hit-And-Run After Visiting Gay Bar


Conservative radio host Michael Berry, who has made anti-gay statements in the past, has been accused of being involved in a hit-and-run after visiting a local gay bar in Houston.

A bouncer at the bar identified the former Councilman after he saw Berry's hit car hit another car just moments after leaving TC's Show Bar in Houston's Montrose Distict.


Six Members Withdraw From Waters Probe

Washington (CNN) - In an unusual move Friday, six members of the House Ethics Committee recused themselves from the investigation of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, after outside counsel hired to review the case recommended they no longer participate in the probe.

A letter from Alabama Republican Jo Bonner read on the House floor requested that House Speaker John Boehner appoint six new members to continue the inquiry, effectively replacing himself, four additional Republicans, and one Democrat two and a half years into the investigation.

Field Notes By Delegate Mike McDermott 2-18-12

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

Week 6 February 13-17, 2012
Lincoln Day Speech, Monday Session
I was honored to be chosen by our leadership to give the Lincoln Day Address to the House of Delegates. There were several special guests in the House that night including my wife, Laura, and also the governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad. I spoke on the re-adoption of the principles of the Declaration of Independence as the motivation behind the Lincoln presidency. The speech lasted 12-minutes and I enjoyed the opportunity to share with my colleagues the time honored challenges of securing freedom for the coming generations, and for the world.

Judiciary Hearings Tuesday, Feb.14
HB-199 Would modify the current makeup of the Judicial panels conducting Sentencing Reviews by setting the panel number at three. We heard from several judges who have been working with the committee to update current law in order to streamline the review process.
HB-235 Would allow for records of non-violent crimes to be shielded after 10-years from public view yet remain available for criminal justice agencies (need to know). This may have merit but needs to be amended to insure that the 10-year time span begins following completed service of the original sentence. There was some opposition from Social Services, Nursing Board and various groups who need criminal history to protect their clients.
HB-237 Would require a court to provide people convicted with instructions on the process of expungment of records. It appears that this is already required by the law. There were other flaws pointed out by the State’s Attorney Association.
HB-398 Would expand the Wiretapping statute to include Theft Scheme as a crime to be included on the list of enumerated crimes allowing law enforcement to conduct this type of surveillance. This was requested by several states attorneys who have found it complicated to develop cases against major theft operations involving millions of dollars due to the limitations of the current statute.
HB-411 Would keep the Post Conviction Review by use of DNA evidence in place. It is due to sunset this year. This would allow the reviews to continue.This act has led to some innocent person to be released from prison based upon DNA review.
HB-251 Would allow Ocean City to conduct criminal background checks on taxi cab applicants. This is already allowed in many jurisdictions across the state. There was no opposition.
HB-349 This bill would extend the statute of limitations on misdemeanor Child Pornography charges. Law enforcement can run into time crunches trying to secure digital evidence in these cases. The addition of two years would make sense in these types of cases.
HB-351 Would include the crime of Burglary as a factor in determining if a sexual contact offense should be considered as being in the third degree. Currently, this type of contact within the context of a burglary would only be a fourth degree act.
HB-188 Seeks to create a law dealing with possession of synthetic cannabinoids. Worcester County recently took this action locally. This bill seeks to ban the synthetics statewide. Proponents stated that “K-2” or “Spice” is a gateway drug and can cause seizures and other reactions. One chief witness claimed that death has also been a result. The testimony indicated that the substances are already banned in 40-states. Many of the synthetics have already been listed as Schedule One drugs by the federal government making them illegal.
HB-338 Seeks pre trial release restrictions to eliminate Unsecured Bonds for any serious crimes. These are bonds where a person simply signs an assurance that they will appear for court or face forfeiture of a certain cash amount. Their only security is their signature.

Judiciary/HGO Joint Voting SessionTuesday
A joint voting session was conducted on Tuesday with the Judiciary and the Health and government Operations Committees meeting in the House Judiciary Meeting Room to address HB-438, the Same Sex marriage Bill. Several amendments were brought forward and debated. There was great reluctance to allow any changes to the bill on the part of the democrats. here are the amendments which were offered:
1-Would allow public school teachers the ability to opt out of teaching materials relating to sex education or non-traditional families if it were to be opposed to their values or religious teachings. This amendment was defeated following debate.
2. Would allow parents the opportunity to determine what portions of a sex education curriculum that their students will participate in at school. As opposed to opting out of the education, this would require parents to opt into the instruction. This amendment was defeated following debate.
3. Would prohibit a minor from marrying another individual of the same sex. It was fascinating to see all of the democrats agree that it would be alright for a 16 year old boy to marry a 48 year old man...incredible! Even this amendment, reasonable as it is, was defeated.
4. Would allow the effective date to be pushed back by several months to allow for a public referendum to be mounted. There was much debate on the process and whether the rights of the people would be protected should the Attorney General not certify the petition process.There is a lot of concern that shenanigans would follow this process and the people would have their Constitutional rights abridged. This amendment was also defeated on a very close vote.
5. Would protect the definition of marriage and create Civil Unions for same sex couples.It would give all the rights of married individuals to same sex couples, but it would not redefine marriage as being between a man and a woman. I consider this amendment a great compromise that bridges the gap. This was also defeated by the democrats.

Following the amendments, there were closing statements on HB-438 itself. Having made the final arguments, and lamenting that the people were not being allowed to vote for themselves. Several delegates raised concerns on many aspects of the bill, but in the end, both committees voted largely along party lines with a few democrats voting against the bill. The bill was passed onto the floor by a vote of 25-18.

Judiciary Hearings Wednesday
HB-265 Would create a task force to study the implementation of a civil right to counsel in Maryland. This request was being put forward by members of the judiciary and civil rights advocates. While this is just a study request, no doubt the implementation of expanded rights to counsel would come with a huge price tag for Marylanders.
HB-557 Would provide certain protections to the estates of deceased persons whose names (famous personalities) may be used unscrupulously by persons for profit. This bill would provide protections that would not dissuade famous people from feeling like they needed to leave Maryland in order to protect their estate interests after they died. There was some debate over trade mark issues already in play and available.
HB-353 Would require employers to make allowances for workers who must serve on jury duty from being required to work on the same day they have jury duty. It particularly seeks to protect employees who must work a night shift. Testimony would indicate that this is not a major problem, but we did here from an employee who had trouble with an employer when she was summoned for jury duty and was required to serve.
HB-318 Would alter the eligibility threshold for “small” estates. This allows for a streamlined process for estates of limited amounts. This bill would raise the threshold amounts to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively when dealing with these estates. The amounts have not been adjusted for many years and this would raise the amounts to a level commensurate with inflation and values. This makes sense and would help folks dealing with these small estates.
HB-527 Addresses amounts in bankruptcy cases which would add $2000.00 in exemptions of firearms which can be shielded from normal bankruptcy proceedings. This would help protect heritage firearms from being sold off as part of a bankruptcy settlement.
HB-524 This bill would allow sheriff’s deputies who are members of the bar in Maryland to practice law in Maryland.

Judiciary Hearings Conducted Thursday
HB-598 Would allow for Arrest Warrants to be issued for Juveniles. Currently, juveniles are often picked up by police and then Juvenile Justice is contacted. This bill would allow for a Juvenile Court Judge to issue a warrant for the arrest of a juvenile who is wanted by police.There was some question as to whether or not this right of the judiciary already exists.
HB-496 Would place criminal penalties against professionals who fail to report child abuse in accordance with proper procedures. The requirement is already in the law, but up till now, there is no fine or sentence attached to this statute. This bill is one of many that have been filed this year (including one of my own) and the primary difference may be found in the fines and sentencing applications.
HB-614 Would require the Department of Juvenile Services to provide address and other pertinent contact information to the victims of certain criminal acts so they can better protect themselves and their safety compromised.This bill would allow the release of juvenile information as to where a perpetrator lives, works, goes to school, etc.
HB-484 Would require a person found guilty of Animal Cruelty to pay the costs associated with the care and medical treatment of the animal. There are a few of these bills being circulated this year.
HB-420 Would continue a pilot program ongoing in Washington County which requires certain individuals to be monitored by GPS Tracking devices.

Friday Session
Friday was a blur of activity culminating in a historic vote on Gay marriage. The machinations to bring this vote about, the creation of “magic” Legislative Days which allowed this to occur, and the back room dealings I will attempt to address in a follow up response to this weeks release. The final vote count was close as the democrats, with the help of two flipped republicans, put up the minimum “71” votes needed to pass HB-438. Much more to follow on this bill.

The Same Sex marriage bill now moves on to the Senate whee it is expected to pass with few obstacles.

New Posts to fall below.

Why Right-Wingers (and Media Hacks) Are Totally Wrong About What Americans Believe

We're Becoming Less, Not More, Conservative

Americans' views on the most pressing issues of the day are actually solidly progressive, so why do the media keep getting the story wrong?

Despite some misguided triumphalism on the Right, America is not getting more conservative. In fact, if you look at lots of public opinion polls, you'll find that just the opposite is true—Americans' views on the most pressing issues of the day are actually solidly progressive, with strong support for the social safety net and growing support for once-controversial social issues like marriage equality.


Postal Service Seeks 50- Cent Stamps

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- A nickel boost in the first-class stamp price to 50 cents is part of the U.S. Postal Service's latest plan to stop bleeding red ink.

The Postal Service released the 5-year business plan to Congress late Thursday in part to push Congress to pass legislation to help them get through ongoing financial woes. Due in large part to declining first-class mail volume, the service recorded a $3.3 billion loss in the final three months of last year, which is usually a profitable period

Seattle Police Vindictively Take Dash-Cam Video Of Man's Traffic Infraction And Show It To His Boss

N.J. Governor Vetoes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

(CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed, setting up a confrontation with a Democrat-controlled legislature that has vowed to eventually get the bill into law.

The General Assembly on Thursday passed the measure, which the Senate had approved Monday.

Lawmakers have until the legislative session ends in January 2014 to override Christie's veto. They would need a two-thirds majority in both houses to succeed.


Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Wait For Christie Veto, Plan Strategy

TRENTON, N.J. — The intensive lobbying that helped coax majorities in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature to support a bill legalizing same-sex marriage this week is expected to continue while supporters work to overcome a promised veto by Gov. Chris Christie.

The Assembly on Thursday followed the lead of the Senate and voted to approve the bill 42-33, thanks in part to last-minute lobbying by civil rights leaders, unions and congressmen. While gay and lesbian couples and advocates celebrated their victory, they also waited for the veto and planned their strategy to try to garner enough votes to override it at some point in the future.

Those votes currently don’t exist, so supporters are in no rush to challenge the governor.


U.S. Stops Minting Unloved $1 Coins

There's a lot to like about $1 coins. They are more durable than paper money, and they're easier and cheaper to handle. The only problem is, Americans hate using them.

Because of that, the Federal Reserve has literally entire warehouses full of unused $1 coins returned to them by banks because people don't want them. From Robert Benincasa and David Kestenbaum at NPR's Planet Money:


Foreclosure Abuse Rampant Across U.S., Experts Say

(Reuters) - A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country.

The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.

"The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done - but it's likely those numbers are comparable nationally," Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters.


Connecticut Son Reportedly Wants To Evict 98-Year-Old Mother

Connecticut son reportedly wants to evict 98-year-old mother

A Connecticut mother reportedly received an unusual gift for her 98th birthday from her eldest son -- eviction papers.

Mary Kantorowski, who has lived in the same Southport, Conn., home since 1953, is now facing eviction from her yellow, Cape Cod-style home valued at $333,410, the Connecticut Post reports. Her son Peter Kantorowski, 71, a retired taxidermist, said he's doing it for her own good.

Obama May Ditch Most US Nukes

Conservatives in Congress say the president's policy is "reckless lunacy"—but military strategists think it's smart.

If the White House has its way, the United States could soon reduce its nuclear arsenal dramatically, possibly even to the point where it would possess fewer atomic bombs than congressmen. And though Republicans on the Hill are already complaining that the plans are "reckless lunacy," the administration appears to have plenty of military thinkers on its side.


Bathing, Sex Habits Fair Game For Census?

The Rutherford Institute is expanding its fight against the federal government’s American Community Survey, a list of privacy-invading questions sent to some 3 million homes every year with instructions that answers must be provided under penalty of law.

The questions ask for details about mortgages, marital histories, bathing habits, utility costs, telephone numbers and other personal issues.


Let's Start Here

Before a sensible conversation is possible, everyone has to agree on definitions. The fact that millions of Americans don’t agree on definitions is arguably the main reason why political conversation in this country is so often incoherent – and we therefore get nowhere.

For example, we have the ongoing “debate” (so-called) between Republicans and Democrats, “conservatives” and”liberals.” It is like the “debate” between the National Socialists of long-ago Germany and the communists of Soviet Russia. Fascism, communism – they are both in fundamental agreement, much as they argue (often fiercely) about the particulars. It is the same with our Republicans and Democrats. They do not fundamentally disagree. Both urge that society be organized on an authoritarian collectivist basis – though they each call this by a different name. They disagree merely on the ways in which this force is to be organized – and how it is to be used.

Most Americans are either socialists or fascists, to one degree or another. On the political “left” we have those who favor economic redistribution in the name of “the poor.” On the political “right,” we have those who favor economic redistribution for the sake of “defense” and other cartelized manifestations of big business.

But both meet in the middle.


Superior Court Asked To Boot Obama From Ballot

A state Superior Court in Georgia is being asked to review and overturn Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s decision, based on a recommendation from an administrative law judge, that Barack Obama’s name be on the state’s 2012 primary ballot.

The appeal to the higher court says the recommendation from the administrative law judge, Michael Malihi, was faulty and that he allegedly to this date has refused to follow the state’s requirements regarding the case.


Central Banks 'Good', Ron Paul 'Bad'?

Money Bawl ... Monetary expansion is also, for Paul, a key enabler of what he takes to be our imperialist foreign policy: The creation of money out of thin air allows the government to finance wars, as well as the welfare state. Central banking is a form of central planning, on his theory, and as such "incompatible" with freedom. Paul allows that "not every supporter of the Fed is somehow a participant in a conspiracy to control the world." The rest of them, judging from comments repeatedly made in the book, have fallen for the delusion that expanding the money supply is a "magic means to generate prosperity." Paul finds it baffling that anyone could hold this absurd view, but attributes it to Chairman Bernanke, among others. Almost all of the criticisms Paul makes of central banking, when stated in the axiomatic form he prefers, are false. – National Review Online / Ramesh Ponnuru

Dominant Social Theme: Central banks are good and Ron Paul doesn't know what he's talking about.

Free-Market Analysis: Recently, the National Review Online responded to libertarian Congressman Ron Paul's criticism of central banking. Why anyone would want to defend central banks is beyond us, but Ponnuru, a leading young conservative thinker has taken on the task.

The US is the world's dominant superpower, and the US central banking system is part of how the US as an entity has afforded its current dominance. Since 1971, the world has been on a dollar gold standard, reinforced by the determination of Saudi Sheiks to sell oil for nothing but dollars.

Of course, one could hardly blame the Sheiks. Muammar Gaddafi announced that he wanted to place Africa on a quasi-gold standard and not more than a year later he was dead along with most of his family and his regime deposed.


Terror Suspect Arrested Near Capitol In FBI Sting

WASHINGTON - A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested Friday near the U.S. Capitol as he was planning to detonate what he thought was a suicide vest, given to him by FBI undercover operatives, said police and government officials.

Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Va., was taken into custody with an inoperable gun and inert explosives, according to a counterterrorism official.


Ages 4-16
2012 registration will be held at EWLL, located in the board room at
Winterplace Park until try outs.
Registration dates for the 2012 Little League season will be as follows:
Saturday February 18th 10am-Noon
Wednesday, February 22nd 6pm-8pm
Saturday February 25th 10am-Noon
Wednesday Feb 29th 6pm-8pm
Scholarships are available!!
Leagues: 4/6 y/o, 7/8 y/o, Minor 9/10, Major 11/12, Junior 13/14,
Senior 15/16
Registration is for all leagues, ages 4-16. Age is determined as of April 30, 2012
East Wicomico Little League is for boys and girls 4-16 living in the following school districts, Beaver
Run, East Salisbury, Glen Avenue, and North Salisbury Home School
For more information call 410.430.8900 or 410.860.2221

Va. Bill Could Require 'Transvaginal Ultrasound' Before Abortions

WASHINGTON - A Virginia bill on track to become law would require women considering an abortion to have access to images of their unborn fetus, even if that means the doctor would have to perform the ultrasound from within the womb.

Virginia House Bill 462, and a similar bill in the state Senate, would require doctors to perform a fetal ultrasound, which the bill says should be made a standard practice, include the dimensions of the fetus and accurately portray its external features and internal organs, if possible.

Pro-choice groups criticize the legislation for requiring a "transvaginal ultrasound" in most cases, while supporters of the bill believe the information it garners is essential for women deciding whether to have an abortion.



Salisbury, MD – February 16, 2012 The Department of Public Works announces that Whitehaven Ferry will be back in operation on Wednesday, February 22nd. Upper Ferry service will be suspended as of Tuesday, February 21st for annual maintenance at the ship yard. Upper Ferry is expected to be closed for approximately three months.

Annual maintenance may involve replacing engines, electrical and mechanical equipment and safety devices. The Ferry Information Hotline will be updated and signage posted nearby. The Department of Public Works appreciates the public’s patience during critical maintenance projects.

Annually, total ridership for both ferries is approximately 200,000 vehicle trips. Whitehaven Ferry is located at the Village of Whitehaven and crosses into Somerset County. Upper Ferry is located at Upper Ferry Road and serves Wicomico County only.

Ferry Information Hotline: 410-543-2765

Obama at the blackjack table

Slavery Lives On In The United States

September 22, 2012, will mark the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation, President Lincoln's decisive move to abolish slavery nationwide. President Obama echoed this decisive call by declaring January "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month." In January 1, 2013, the FBI Unified Crime Reports will at last feature a "trafficking" category to allow police departments to begin quantifying the size of the problem.

Yet, while many can agree on the need to wipe out this abhorrent practice, a large proportion of the US population(1) are unaware of the dramatic rise in human trafficking within the US in recent years: trafficking is actually one of the fastest-growing criminal activities in the world, second only to the drug trade. Many people wrongly assume that human trafficking only refers to sex trafficking and is limited to developing countries on the other side of the world, yet The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that at least 100,000 American children are the victims of commercial sexual trafficking and prostitution each year. This is in addition to the estimated 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the US each year, according to the Washington DC-based Polaris Project.


Md. House Roll Call On Same-Sex Marriage

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Here’s how members of the Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to approve same-sex marriage legislation. The vote was 72-67. A majority of 71 votes was needed.

Voting “yes” were 70 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

Voting “no” were 26 Democrats and 41 Republicans.


Seth Casteel Underwater Dog Pictures: Images Of Swimming Canines Go Viral

It's fair to say photographer Seth Casteel now understands the power of the social web.

On Thursday night, the Los Angeles-based photographer received a couple of emails informing him that photos he had taken of dogs underwater had been posted to Reddit and Google+.

Then, Friday morning.

"I woke up to a bunch of money in my bank account," the photographer told The Huffington Post in a telephone interview, saying that he had received so many orders for prints that his newly established online store was experiencing stability issues


Additional photos HERE


A few years ago you may have seen the movie "Castaway," in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx employee who was stranded for years on a remote island, struggled to survive, and struggled to hold onto his sanity by talking to a volleyball he named "Wilson". Do you remember the FedEx box that survived the plane crash, and which Hanks felt compelled to deliver? If so, did you ever wonder what was in that box? Well, attached is a FedEx commercial that answers the question!

Self-Driving Cars Get First Green Light As Nevada Approves Requirement Regulations

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Nevada is envisioning a day when taxicabs might shuttle fares without a driver, or people with medical conditions that make them ineligible for a license could get around with a virtual chauffeur.

The concept took a big step when Nevada became the first state to approve regulations that spell out requirements for companies to test driverless cars on state roads.

"Then they have to take us out and prove that they can do it," Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, said of the autonomous vehicles. "They're not ready to go to market yet."


Inmates Trapped in Blazing Honduran Prison Say Guards Shot At Them

Comayagua, Honduras - Charred bodies of inmates remained in the burned hulk of the Comayagua National Penitentiary on Wednesday night, nearly 24 hours after an inmate apparently set a mattress ablaze and triggered a conflagration that left as many as 350 prisoners dead.

The fire, which started at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday at the prison, took firefighters three hours to douse. Guards fired their guns repeatedly to keep screaming trapped inmates from escaping.

“It is a day of deep pain for Honduras,” President Porfirio Lobo said in a brief televised address, acknowledging that a criminal hand may have been behind the disaster.

“We will conduct an investigation to determine what provoked this lamentable and unacceptable tragedy and find those responsible,” Lobo said.


Should Pop Stars Be Celebrated With Flags at Half-Staff?

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is a bold man who has that single most important characteristic of leadership, namely, moral courage. Without a preparedness to be hated for pursing the courage of your convictions, you simply cannot lead. Christie has that courage in spades. He's saving our state from the oblivion of out-of-control taxes and he's been prepared to challenge the unions to make concessions on contracts that can otherwise bankrupt us. New Jersey has huge problems and people are leaving, as is reflected in how we just lost a congressional seat. Christie is slowly tackling the challenges and making considerable progress. It's no wonder he's being widely regarded as possessing presidential timber.


This Week In Poverty: Perfect Storm Threatens Long-Term Unemployed

In December, there were more than 13 million unemployed workers and about four people looking for work for every available job. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), 5.5 million people have been unemployed for more than half a year, up from 1.2 million in 2007, and the average duration for an unemployed person is over nine months.;


Iran Nuclear Coverage Echoes Iraq War Media Frenzy

NEW YORK -- Military strikes expected! Weapons inspectors called in! A murky al Qaeda connection! And Cheney says time's up for Ira...

Wait. Haven't we seen this movie before?

It's already been a decade since the media hyped bogus WMD claims prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But it sure feels like 2002 for anyone who was around then and is now scanning newspaper headlines or watching TV talking-heads discuss a possible Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities -- an act which could pull the U.S. into another thorny Middle East military conflict.


Is NYPD Running Wild? Patterns Of Brutality Raise Questions About Mayor's Control Of Police

Behind the NYPD's beating of Jateik Reed and the killing of Ramarley Graham is a long history of police harassment.

A series of incidents last year, in some cases where police broke the law, has sullied the reputation of the NYPD. From the department’s handling of Occupy protesters and journalists, to officers’ participation in illegal gun sales and a ticket-fixing scandal, to rape charges and reports that allege the targeting of Muslims, the NYPD’s pattern of abuse, law-breaking, and poor judgment is raising questions about whether some of New York’s finest are operating as rogue units. A disturbing series of events, including beatings and the shooting death of an unarmed teenager in the Bronx, are causing some to wonder whether Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are condoning the behavior or are unable to impose discipline on the department.

Along with the patterns of violence, new reports show that stop-and-frisk rates went through the roof in 2011, making it a record-breaking year for the controversial practice. Stop-and-frisks may only legally be used when police have reasonable suspicion someone has a gun, but they are widely abused, and have been targeted as the source of aggressive, race-based policing and what many consider to be illegal marijuana arrests.

So far, 2012 has proven no better. Already, six NYPD officers have already been stripped of their badges and placed on modified duty for their involvement in two incidents that took place early this year. On January 26, Bronx NYPD officers beat 19-year-old Jateik Reed after allegedly seeing him hold drugs. Jateik Reed was with two friends at the time of his arrest. For one of them, the beating was his introduction to police brutality.

In a previously unreported connection, a man named Will, who did not give his last name, was arrested and allegedly roughed up with Reed's family when they want to the police department to inquire about Reed on the day of his beating.


Live Feed: Eagle Cams Bring The Great Outdoors To Your Computer

WASHINGTON - A war is brewing in the Chesapeake Bay high above the ground, where generations of bald eagles are vying for precious territory.

Humans can catch a glimpse of these battles with cameras strategically hidden in nests along the James River. The Richmond pair, along with 16 others scattered through the region, are under surveillance by the Center for Conservation Biology.


Soon To Be Former Treasury Secretary Geithner Subpoenaed Over Lehman Fail

In a late, and somewhat underplayed, story from the WSJ [5], it appears that we may finally get some answers on exactly what former-Treasury-Secretary-to-be Geithner knew and sanctioned in the lead up to the Lehman fail. More specifically how JPMorgan illegally siphoned billions of dollars from Lehman in the final days, potentially via Geithner's FRBNY-overseen tri-party repo market. We discussed this at length almost two years ago [6] as the FRBNY was concerned at the ongoing risk of the market being structurally vulnerable to a repo run and furthermore why Lehman's suit against JPMorgan had grounds [7]. Critically, with Geithner being the man at the helm of the entity that approved repo entry and exit and in the final stages clearly sided with JP Morgan as collateral calls rained down, it makes sense to at least find out what he knew and decided - under oath.


Maine Caucus Results Look Even Fishier

Will Mitt Romney's "victory" in the February 11 Maine presidential caucuses be taken away like his phony victory in Iowa? That now seems quite possible. The Maine GOP declared the former Massachusetts Governor the narrow winner of the state's presidential caucus February 11, but Romney's 194-vote margin of victory over Texas Congressman Ron Paul is being whittled away as more results have been reported.

Moreover, the state's rural Washington County – along with a few other communities that postponed their caucuses February 11 – will hold the final caucuses Saturday, February 18 and may decide the victor of the non-binding straw poll.

But GOP Party Chairman Charlie Webster insists that he will not release updated results from the additional caucuses, even as he comes under increasing fire from his fellow Maine Republicans and national Ron Paul campaign officials. In results in the three counties that have been released to the public, Ron Paul won more votes than were reported in the official results. Webster claims that the missing votes – when all of them are counted -- will favor Romney, and that he is not going to give the press access to updated results. “No one has access,” he told the Daily Caller February 15. “There will be no access. We will give it to the committee on March 10. We are not going to release them [the missing votes]. People can whine and complain and plead, but I’m not going to make them public.”


Female Inmates Put Pig Image In Vt. Police Decal

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Female prison inmates are to blame for a prank that put the image of a pig in a decal on the doors of some Vermont state police cruisers.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito tells WCAX-TV ( female inmates at the prison work center in Windsor are responsible for altering the decal in 2009. But he says figuring out specifically who did it is impossible unless someone confesses.



ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley submitted to the Maryland Senate a list of 111 “green bag” nominations for appointment and reappointment for State boards and commissions.
“I am proud to announce these appointments and reappointments for key leadership positions throughout Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “We have worked diligently to put forward a list of individuals who represent diverse gender, geographic, and ethnic backgrounds and whose skills and talents will help us continue the vital progress we are making to protect our shared priorities. These appointments represent positions that will advise and regulate on a broad range of issues important to the citizens of Maryland: transportation, education, environment, economic development, public safety and boards preserving art, history and culture. We are grateful that they have chosen to step up and serve the people of Maryland.”

The term “green bag” derives from the historical green satchel that is used once every year to bring the gubernatorial nominations to the Senate. When not in use, the bag is stored at the Maryland State Archives. It is state tradition that a senior member of the governor’s staff delivers the “green bag” to the Senate.

A full list of nominations can be found here.

35 Pets Died On Airplanes Last Year, Over Half On Delta

Animal lovers were justifiably critical of Delta Airlines after sixteen pets died in 2010 during or after flights in the cargo hold. But even after banning frequently-overheating short-muzzled breeds like bulldogs from the skies, nineteen pets passed away during or shortly after Delta flights in 2011. That's out of a total of 35 pets that died on U.S. carriers last year. In addition, nine pets sustained major or minor injuries, and two were lost.

More »

Transportation Secretary Doesn't Like New Gadgets

Visitors to the recent Washington Auto Show might have seen some spiffy new dashboard entertainment centers. Some of them have screens as big as an iPad. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn't like it. His National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing guidelines for carmakers. The voluntary guidelines would cover doodads in cars that might distract drivers. They would apply to any in-car devices not required to operate the vehicle. Like those spiffy in-dash entertainment systems. DOT's 2013 budget request includes $330 million over six years for a distracted driving awareness program.

Cybersecurity Bill

A big, new cybersecurity bill has hit the Senate floor. It landed with a thud. The bill drew objections from several Republicans. They say it gives the Homeland Security Department too much regulatory authority over private sector owners of critical infrastructure. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wonders why the bill steers clear of the IT industry. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano countered. She said the bill is more about cybersecurity and information sharing, than about regulation. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants a vote in the next few weeks.

$2.50-A-Gallon-Gas And Energy Independence

Although I am not a Newt fan this is a great article (presumable written by a staffer) with factual information that should be persued by each and every one of us. The impending gas crisis is going to affect us all regardless of our party affiliations! We have a small area here in western Maryland that can and should be drilled. Most of the information fed to the public on "fracking" is incorrect. If you do your own research you can read for yourself the facts that are not given to us because it is actually not doing any harm to the environment! Just google "fracking" and peruse the amount of jobs it has created and think about what this could do for our Country ~ and the facts about the water used and the ground water surrounding the areas being drilled will prove that what you have been told is just not true.

$2.50-a-gallon-gas andenergy independenceby Newt Gingrich

Dear Paulette A,$2.50-a-gallon gasoline and energy independence: An action plan to make it real America needs three goals in energy:

Independence from dictatorships so no American President ever again bows to a Saudi king.
Enough energy that Iranian efforts to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz have no impact on America.

Enough production to bring down the cost of gasoline for American motorists. All three goals can be achieved with an all of the above American energy plan.During the four years I was Speaker, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.13. When President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the average price nationwide was $1.89 a gallon. Three years into the Obama presidency, the average is $3.47 a gallon. Today, prices like those we enjoyed three years ago seem like a fantasy?and under the president's current policies, they are. But, these were prices Americans paid in the relatively recent past. Many Americans used to pay just $35 to fill up the very same cars that are today costing them over $60.

While some of the increase in gas prices comes from growing demand, the demand pressures on price can and should be offset by increasing domestic supplies. Yet the Obama administration's ideological refusal to expand American energy production continues to block the development of resources which could lower prices dramatically. ?As we saw most recently with the administration's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is more interested in playing favorites with environmental extremists rather than embracing the "all-of-the-above" strategy that could achieve energy independence and help all Americans now.

The fact that Americans must cope with ballooning gas prices and energy vulnerability, while living in a country with some of the richest untapped energy resources on the planet is an absurdity that can only be accomplished by bad government. ?By unleashing the American people from regulations and bureaucracy designed to promote the agenda of radical environmentalists, we can tap our enormous oil and natural gas supplies to drive fuel prices down.

Most Americans have no idea that the United States is sitting on enough technically recoverable oil to power us at current rates of consumption for over 250 years. We are estimated to have 1.4 trillion barrels of oil?or 1.7 trillion, adding in the resources of Canada and Mexico. That amount of oil, as a report from the Institute for Energy Research recently explained, is "more than the world has used since the first oil well was drilled over 150 years ago in Titusville, Pennsylvania" and 6 ? times the proved oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The true size of the oil supply could be even larger still than these estimates suggest. In many cases, far more oil has been recovered than was predicted to be available when development began. In 1985, for instance, the Minerals Management Service estimated the Gulf of Mexico had nine billion barrels of undiscovered oil.
Twenty-seven years later, after many billions of barrels have been pumped, the federal government estimates there are 45 billion undiscovered barrels.

In another example, the estimate of the Bakken formation in North Dakota has jumped an astonishing 2,500 percent since 1995 due to new technology.? The Bakken along with other emerging unconventional oil and gas "plays" in Texas, New Mexico, Ohio, West Virginia, Louisiana, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, and in other states, have allowed the U.S. to begin increasing oil production after 40 years of steady production declines.?
Unlocked by the new technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the full potential of these new resource plays is yet to be fully comprehended or realized. Without opening up more areas to drilling, we have no way of knowing how many more Bakken-sized discoveries are waiting for us. But we do know this. The potential to increase American oil and gas supplies dramatically and become energy secure and independent is real.? Increasing oil supplies will lower fuel prices significantly.? And the biggest thing standing in the way is government obstruction.

A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs projects that the United States could become the world leader in oil production by 2017. But if the President continues his assault on American energy, including his proposals to raise taxes on domestic oil and gas and his own EPA's attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, that future will be arbitrarily and unnecessarily upended.

The administration is determined to ban additional development of America's most promising oil and gas resources, such as offshore Alaska in the Beaufort and Chuckchi Seas, and off the East and West Coasts of the lower 48 on the Outer Continental Shelf. Overall, there is an estimated 88.6 billion barrels of oil, but only 2.2 percent of federal offshore land is currently being leased for production, and the president is refusing to allow more.

On land, the administration's obstruction is just as damaging. Among the 30.5 billion barrels of oil located onshore on Federal lands (not including oil shale), 92 percent of them are inaccessible or under restrictions above and beyond standard regulatory and administrative hurdles, according to the most recent assessment by the Bureau of Land ?Management. New production from oil and gas resources has come overwhelmingly from private lands, such as the huge increases from oil and gas in shale. These achievements did not come because the government decided to permit more leases, but rather because the lands were privately held. Yet even when the government does not own the land, government can still aid obstruction America's energy potential. The gigantic Monterey shale oil field in California, for instance, which the Energy Information Administration estimates holds 64 percent of the recoverable shale oil in the U.S., has been slowed dramatically by environmentalist lawsuits California's go-it-alone global warming law.

The federal government owns most of the world's oil shale reserves, located in the Green River Basin in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.? This immense source of future oil supply is being held off-limits to leasing by Obama's Bureau of Land Management.? Recoverable U.S. oil shale reserves are estimated to approach if not exceed 1 trillion barrels of American oil. A stunningly small percentage of the enormous federal land, which is owned by the American people, is available for energy exploration that could yield new discoveries.? Eight-six percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government. That is almost 40 percent the area of Texas. If these lands were properly marketed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, opening even half this promising acreage to exploration, we'd add an area a fifth the size of Texas for oil and gas prospecting.

What's even more baffling is that these lands are potentially a huge source of revenue for the federal government -- revenue that doesn't involve raising taxes on the American people.

Experts in the private-sector royalties industry estimate that implementing commercial standards in federal leasing of oil and gas royalties could bring over $100 billion into the federal treasury over the next decade. Harold Hamm, who discovered the Bakken formation, recently told the Wall Street Journal that with expanded drilling for oil and gas on federal lands, onshore and offshore, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, $15.4 trillion. Rather than leasing programs expanding as gasoline prices rose, oil and natural gas production on federal lands under the Obama administration oil and natural gas production on federal lands has diminished by 40 percent. With so much unused potential and gasoline approaching $4 a gallon nationwide, the president's failure to tap the energy we have here in America is inexcusable. Considering the abundance of our energy resources and their potential to drive down prices, create jobs, stimulate economic growth and a sustainable manufacturing boom, provide a steady source of state and federal revenue, and bolster national security, the administration's refusal to permit development borders on insanity. Not content to confine its hostilities to curtailing new leases, the administration frequently demonizes energy companies for political purposes and advocates new taxes and fees on producers. But the United States is already one of the worst places in the world for oil and gas companies to do business. As the American Enterprise Institute's Steve Hayward writes, "when compared properly with the royalty and tax systems of 29 other nations, only Venezuela extracts a higher take from oil and gas production than the United States." New taxes will just drive producers abroad even further.We must embrace an all-of-the-above energy strategy of oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, biofuels, wind, and oil shale if we are to achieve energy independence, lower gasoline prices, power a renewed boom in American manufacturing and raise government revenues with no new taxes. Pursuant to this plan, we should take eight steps immediately to address these skyrocketing gas prices and jumpstart production of American energy:

Approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Replace the EPA with a new economically rational Environmental Solutions Agency.
Condense regulations to make it easier to build new refineries. We haven't built a major new refinery in the U.S. since 1977, in part because federal restrictions and regulatory uncertainty make it so difficult.

Overhaul the Department of Interior processes to expedite approval of leases.

Move to 100 percent expensing for all new equipment so companies could write it off in one year, making it easier for companies to build new extraction sites.
Eliminate the capital gains tax to promote investment.

Adopt a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate to make America the best country in the world to do business

Abolish the death tax. Gas at $2.50 a gallon gas is not a dream. It's achievable with the right policies. If we take these steps, we can quickly and dramatically reduce the price of gas by tapping America's incredible oil and gas resources to increase supply. That would mean more money in Americans' pockets, lower costs for millions of businesses and tens of thousands of jobs across the country in an industry poised to take off.

It should tell you everything you need to know about the president and his administration that they want to double-down with giant bets on green start-up companies like Solyndra while refusing to take the simple steps required to unleash American energy production to help millions of Americans now.

Your Friend,

USPS Wants To Rid Of More Than 100,000 Employees

fficeyo someThe Postal Service may offer buyouts and early retirement incentives to get more than a 100,000 workers off its payroll fast. The agency calls it a "soft landing." It has already discussed the option with the Office of Personnel Management. That's one leg of its revised five-year recovery plan, and requires Congress' help because the agency is so low on cash. The plan also emphasizes restructuring the USPS network and taking workers out of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program and into a new Postal Service healthcare plan.