Attention

All comments are subject to approval by Moderators. Any off-topic comments will be rejected. Thanks for your cooperation!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kerry Had More Security on Trip to Arlington, Va., Than State Dept. Posted in Benghazi

A larger detail of security agents escorted Secretary of State John Kerry on a trip to Arlington, Va., last week, when he went to visit—of all places—the headquarters of the department’s security bureau, than the State Department posted to its compound in Benghazi, Libya, in the days leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.

Kerry, as recorded by an official State Department publicity photograph, was "surrounded" in Arlington on Monday, Feb. 4, by at least four of the department’s Diplomatic Security (DS) agents. In the days leading up to the Benghazi attacks, the State Department deployed only three Dipomatic Security agents to the department's mission in Benghazi.

More 

Meet the Heartless Jerk Leading A Project to Eliminate Sick Leave

Opponents of paid sick leave, like opponents of raising the minimum wage, tend to keep their arguments data-free, sticking to vague claims of how bad it would be for small business, no evidence offered. But every now and then they decide to try to make their arguments look factual. Look being the key word. 

That's the story with the latest from one of Rick Berman's many front groups, the Employment Policies Institute, a laughably weak (PDF) "pilot study of businesses' responses" to Connecticut's paid sick leave law that completely ignores the actual facts of what's happened in Connecticut's economy since the law was passed.

California's "Solution" To Its Doctor Shortage

California has been at the forefront of ObamaCare implementation, but state lawmakers are facing a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors in the state to treat the expected influx of newly-insured patients.

A government council has recommended a physician-to-population ratio of 60 to 80 primary care doctors per 100,000 residents. Only 16 of California’s 58 counties reach this recommended supply of primary care physicians.

With ObamaCare, it’s only going to get worse.

The huge influx of newly-insured patients with ObamaCare is not the only reason for this lack of doctors. In a recent Physicians Foundation Survey, 13,575 doctors were asked how the passage of ObamaCare has affected their feelings about the future of healthcare in America. 59.3% of those surveyed said they were “less positive” about the future of American healthcare.

 More

LA Cop At Center Of Rape Investigation Now Being Sued For Police Brutality

An LA police officer under investigation over claims he threatened women with jail time if they refused to have sex with him is now being sued by a man he and another officer beat nearly to death after trying to extort money from him last May.

Officer James Nichols is included with the City of Los Angeles, the LAPD, the police union and John Miller, another officer, in a $20 million lawsuit brought by Brian Mulligan, a former finance executive. Mulligan alleges that Nichols and Miller nearly killed him last year.


Mulligan's lawsuit claims that in addition to the beating, the LAPD and its union engineered a smear campaign against him that resulted in him losing his job.

Mulligan “suffered a broken shoulder blade and facial fractures requiring several surgeries at the hands of police officers after they stopped him in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood and forced him to check into a local motel and stay there against his will," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION’S CRACKDOWN ON OBAMA LAWN SIGN TEARS COMMUNITY APART: ‘IT’S LIKE WE WEREN’T LIVING IN AMERICA’

Many housing developments have homeowners associations (HOA) that impose strict rules and regulations. While some of the stipulations seem silly, abiding by them is a necessity for those who wish to live within these groups’ bounds. A Fairfax, Va., family learned this lesson after they posted a yard sign in support of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run and the board ruled that it violated HOA standards. What resulted was an epic legal battle between the Farran family and the housing authority — one that inevitably led the board to bankruptcy, splintering the community and creating ongoing division among its residents.

While there is certainly no ban on the placement of political signs at Olde Belhaven, the development at the center of the debate, the placard that was posted by Sam and Maria Farran was four inches taller than allowed by the rules and regulations. When the board approached the family in the heat of the highly-contentious election season and told them to remove the Obama sign, the Farrans decided to simply cut the placard in half, with one side reading “OBA” and the other reading “MA.”

More 

Nancy Pelosi: Video Games Are Not The Reason For Violence In America

WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday pushed back against the argument that violent video games are responsible for mass shootings in the United States, pointing to other countries where similar games are played but rates of shooting deaths are low.

As part of their larger effort to address mass shootings in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., House Democrats are proposing using federal dollars for scientific research on the "relationship between popular culture and gun violence."


Study: 1 In 5 Consumers Had Error In Credit Report

A government study says 20 percent of consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency.

The Federal Trade Commission study also says 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.

The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors.

More 

Raining Spiders In Brazil? Video Appears To Show Numerous Arachnids Dangling


Arachnophobes would be wise to steer clear of Santo Antônio da Platina in Brazil.

According to a video uploaded to YouTube on Feb. 7, spiders appear have taken to dangling from the city's electric lines and other surfaces.

These seem to be fairly large critters, too, plainly visible when the camera is zoomed all the way out, with a rough approximation of size given by nearby transformers on the electric poles.

Dueling Dog Bills Introduced In House

Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr. is resurrecting a bill from August’s special session that would hold dog owners strictly liable if their pets attack someone while running loose, whether or not the dogs have a history of vicious behavior.

Smigiel (R-Dist. 36) of Chesapeake City said that his bill is the only proposal on the table that will prevent bites from occurring in the first place.

“You pass this bill, then you give the incentive to the owner,” Smigiel said. “You fix the hole in the fence, or you put your dog on the leash.”

More 

Joe Paterno's Family Begins Reputation Repair Work

A new report commissioned by Joe Paterno's family challenges the conclusion by former FBI director Louis Freeh that the late Penn State coach conspired to hide child sex abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
The Paterno family's critique, released Sunday, argues that the findings of the Freeh report published last July were unsupported by the facts.


Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, one of the experts assembled by the family's lawyer to review Freeh's report last year to Penn State, said the document was fundamentally flawed and incomplete.

White House: GOP Spreading ‘Myths’ About Obama’s Fiscal Approach

The White House accused congressional Republicans on Sunday of spreading “myths” about President Obama’s efforts to avoid looming budget cuts and blamed the GOP for pushing an “unbalanced” approach that favors the wealthy.

“The notion that President Obama hasn’t put forward a solution to deal with these looming cuts is false,” said Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer in a blog post. He said Mr. Obama’s latest offer to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, “meets the Republicans halfway on spending and on revenues, and would permanently turn off the sequester and put us on a fiscally sustainable path.”

With less than three weeks before the mandated spending cuts take effect March 1, Mr. Obama is pushing lawmakers to reach a short-term solution that would again postpone the steeper, across-the-board cuts. The president also is seeking to raise more tax revenue as part of a long-term deficit reduction plan by closing tax loopholes and eliminating deductions, but many Republicans are opposed to further tax increases after a deal in early January raised tax rates on wealthier families.

More 

Cruise Safety Drill Results In 5 Deaths

Madrid (CNN) -- A safety drill gone wrong on a cruise ship resulted in the death of five crew members in the Canary Islands, Thomson Cruises said Sunday.

Three other workers were injured, though not seriously, the cruise line said. The incident happened just before noon Sunday on board the Thomson Majesty while it was docked in La Palma, among the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands.

Price Of Gas Approaches $4 A Gallon

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hold on to your wallets. Gas prices make the biggest February jump in decades.

Adam May explains why.

At the rate we’re going experts say $4 a gallon is just around the corner.

2013 is on track to be one of the most expensive years to fill ‘er up. Gas prices in Maryland–up 16 cents in just one month–nationally up 17 cents. AAA says it’s just the beginning.

“The way prices have been increasing over the past few weeks we wouldn’t be surprised to see prices approach near $4 a gallon here in Maryland,” said Christine Delise, AAA.

More 

Soybean Farmer Takes Monsanto to Supreme Court

A single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer in rural southwestern Indiana is taking on the multibillion dollar agricultural giant Monsanto over the issue of who controls the rights to seeds planted in the ground.

When confronted with the David vs. Goliath nature of his battle, Vernon Hugh Bowman told The Guardian: “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”

Another Business Threatens To Leave Salisbury Because Of Mayor Ireton's Lack Of Leadership & Understanding

This morning I received a call from a business owner asking if I could find the time to sit down with him and discuss a situation he's currently experiencing. I agreed to meet with him right away and here's how it went.

A couple months ago his fire alarm went off. The SFD showed up and ruled it a false alarm, (in which it was) The owner came to the business, turned the alarm off but it went off again later. 

The next morning he called the alarm company and they immediately came to his business to fix the problem. He installed new smoke detectors, wiring and the whole nine yards. They contacted the SFD and told them they would be on test mode. While working on the system the alarm company triggered the system and the SFD, (even though they had been told they were in test mode) showed up AGAIN. They immediately realized the alarm company was working on the system and the SFD even documented this on their paperwork. 

Just when they were wrapping up the repairs the system was triggered again and as you might guess, the SFD came to the scene as if there might be a fire.

NOW, each time it was documented on their internal paperwork the system was being worked on, yet the City sent this business owner TWO bills. The first was for $300.00 and the second was for $600.00. 

The business owner tried numerous times to contact Mayor Ireton, (since EVERYTHING has to go through the Mayor now) and the Mayor refused to call him back. His secretary did finally call back after numerous attempts and stated the Mayor had reviewed his complaint and felt the business owner owned the money, period. 

The property owner then tried to contact Rick Hoppes, who also refused to return his calls. Until today, the SFD has refused to work with this gentleman. 

Well, AFTER my meeting with the business owner today, he went to the SFD and told them that he had been in to see Joe Albero and all of a sudden they told him they would be willing to meet with him tomorrow. Funny how this exact legislation is going up for SECOND reading tonight on false alarm fees, hence my publishing this information now rather then later. 

Mayor Jim Ireton is driving businesses OUT of Town and couldn't care less. Jim Ireton has let the position of Mayor go right to his head. He has no respect or understanding of how business works. This owner could easily pack up his business and move to Delmar, DE., (like so many others have already done) and we'd have that much less taxes being collected because the Fire Department is scamming business owners out of money. 

The more these businesses leave, the higher your taxes go up. Someone has to make up that loss and clearly Jim Ireton doesn't care. 

"This is not Joe Albero's election to lose, it's the citizens' election to lose".

TELL US YOUR STORY... Have you been billed by the Fire Department for false alarms you feel were not justified? Send To: alberobutzo@wmconnect.com 

Nancy Pelosi: We Don't Have A Spending Problem

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that the United States government doesn’t have “a spending problem,” a position President Obama has reportedly taken in private but avoided saying in public.

“We have to make a judgment about what — how do we get growth with jobs?” Pelosi said on Fox News Sunday. “That’s where the revenue comes from . . . So, it isn’t as much a spending problem as it is a priorities [problem], and that is what the budget is, setting priorities.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that President Obama told him “We don’t have a spending problem” during one of their fiscal cliff negotiations.

More 

The Most Stressed Out Generation? Young Adults

The latest survey shows stress is on the decline overall, but still hover above healthy levels, especially for young adults.
In the national Stress in America survey, an annual analysis by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association, 35% of adults polled since 2007 reported feeling more stress this year compared to last year, and 53% said they received little or no support from their health care providers in coping with that heightened stress. The survey involved more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who answered an online survey in August 2012.


Read More

Proposed Voter ID Law Again Draws Hot Debate In Annapolis

Republican legislators are back again, pushing controversial voter identification laws after failed attempts in prior years.

Sponsored by Republican Dels. Nic Kipke, Kathy Afzali and 32 other Republicans, but no Democrats, the contentious bill sparked heated debate last week in the House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 137 is a very familiar subject to many of us in this room,” Kipke told the committee. “I think most of us have differing views, but I believe requiring proof of identity on election day is a good thing for our election integrity.”

More 

Mom Charged In Child's Death Said Girl 'Possessed By Evil Spirit'

An Annapolis woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and placing her body in a trash bin earlier this week told police she believed the girl was “possessed by an evil spirit.”

Chelsea Michelle Booth, 25, of Bens Drive, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. She is being held at Jennifer Road Detention Center after being denied bond at a bail review hearing Friday morning.

Yellow Journalism

Joe, I’ve never read a more slanted, biased article against anyone than the Daily Times piece on your candidacy for mayor. The newspaper should be ashamed of itself for allowing something like that to be printed as news.

Montgomery Republicans Striving To Turn County Purple in 2014

Republican National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose 
addresses Montgomery County convention.

With the help of state party leaders and a lot of data, the Montgomery County Republican Party – which boasts the largest number of registered Republicans in the state – launched an all out ground game Saturday at their annual convention in Rockville.

Their goal in this targeted effort is to change Montgomery County from blue to purple by the 2014 election.

“We are not going to get where we want to be with just Republicans,” said Montgomery Republican Chairman Mark Uncapher. “We need to go after Independents and soft Democrats.”

More 

BREAKING NEWS

Today at 3:00 p.m., in the third floor conference room of the Carvel State Building, 820 North French Street, Wilmington, Attorney General Beau Biden and Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police, will make comments on this morning’s courthouse shooting. No operational or investigative updates are scheduled at this time.

A Choice For Corporate America: Are You With America Or The Cayman Islands

When the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street drove this country into the deepest recession since the 1930s, the largest financial institutions in the United States took every advantage of being American. They just loved their country - and the willingness of the American people to provide them with the largest bailout in world history. In 2008, Congress approved a $700 billion gift to Wall Street. Another $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans and other financial assistance came from the Federal Reserve. America. What a great country.

But just two years later, as soon as these giant financial institutions started making record-breaking profits again, they suddenly lost their love for their native country. At a time when the nation was suffering from a huge deficit, largely created by the recession that Wall Street caused, the major financial institutions did everything they could to avoid paying American taxes by establishing shell corporations in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.

Western Md. Inmate Slain; Charges Pending

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) -- Authorities say an inmate at a state prison in western Maryland was found slain in his cell, and charges are pending against a fellow inmate.

State police say 51-year-old Ricky Bailey was found unresponsive in his cell early Sunday morning at the North Branch Correctional Institution. He had numerous injuries, including to his head and neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bailey was serving a sentence of life without parole.

More 

3 Dead In Courthouse Shooting in Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- Three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse in Delaware, including the shooter, authorities said.

Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack confirmed three people died in the shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington. He said the suspected gunman and two women are dead. The city's mayor said one of the women killed was the shooter's estranged wife, but Shavack said police had not confirmed that was the case.

Shavak said in a noon briefing that the motive was still to be determined but that it was not a random shooting. He cautioned against information coming from any other source.

Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said in a telephone interview that he was told the man shot and killed his wife.

More 

Drug Tests For Welfare Bills Come To Three More States

Looking at the range of drug testing-for-benefits bills being pushed in state legislatures across the country, you almost have to suspect Republicans of some kind of urine fetish. In addition to all the states that are debating or have passed bills requiring people applying for unemployment insurance benefits to pee in cups, drug-testing bills aimed at welfare applicants are being introduced in three states. The specifics would be ripe for comedy if we weren't talking about a concerted effort by the powerful to stigmatize vulnerable people as drug addicts, as if that's the only reason a person might need help in an economy in which there are still more than three job-seekers for every job opening:

‘You Have The Right To Blog,’ Says Judge

By Jacob Gershman

You have the right to remain silent. But the right to blog? That’s more complicated.

Last week, federal prosecutors sought a gag order to keep a southwest Virginia woman from blogging or tweeting about her upcoming trial.

Linda Cheek, a family practice doctor accused of illegally prescribing pain medication, made no bones about her opinion of the case against her.

About to stand trial, Dr. Cheek wrote on herpersonal web site that she’s unable to practice medicine “because of government collusion” and said she and other doctors are being treated like “Columbian [sic] drug lords.”

Dr. Cheek is charged with dispensing controlled substances without proper authority. Her Drug Enforcement Administration registration was revoked in 2008 after she pleaded guilty to submitting false Medicaid and Medicare claims.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia asked District Judge Glen Conrad to order Dr. Cheek to “cease her internet blogging, tweeting and otherwise public internet communication about her trial,” scheduled to start Feb. 11.

Mr. Conrad, though, refused to silence Dr. Cheek. “It would be wrong for the court to say she forfeits her First Amendment rights when she becomes a defendant,” he said at a hearing on Monday, the Associated Press reported.

So when can a judge knock the laptop off the lap of a blogging defendant? For the answer, Law Blog turned to Ken Paulson, president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

Judges have ordered gags in cases where an outspoken defendant says enough inflammatory and untrue things about the prosecution to make it difficult for a judge to ensure a fair jury trial, said Mr. Paulson, whose center supports strong speech protections.

He said the Supreme Court hasn’t taken up the matter. But appellate courts have set different thresholds. Four circuits have ruled that a court can’t silence a defendant unless there’s a clear-and-present danger of an unfair trial. Four other circuits have set the gag bar a bit lower, saying there needs to be a “substantial likelihood” of one.

“A judge should show a great deal of deference to a defendant’s First Amendment rights,” said Mr. Paulson. “Otherwise, you have a situation in which the government is accusing a citizen of committing a crime and then prohibiting him from defending himself in the court of public opinion.”

Fill In The Blank 2/11/13


Salisbury needs more ______.

Doctor Death: 29-Year-Old Patient Dies After Late-Term Abortion in Maryland

Dr. LeRoy Carhart is one of America’s most notorious abortionists. He specializes in late-term abortion and, unless you actually know what’s involved in it, you cannot possibly imagine what a gruesome atrocity the bland phrase “late-term abortion” describes. Now, according to a report by Operation Rescue, a 29-year-old woman has died after Carhart performed such an atrocity at a Maryland clinic:

A 29-year old woman died [Thursday] as the result of fatal complications suffered during an abortion at 33 weeks that was done by LeRoy Carhart at Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Germantown, Maryland. . . .

The woman, who came for a third trimester abortion from out-of-state, arrived at GRHC on Sunday and was seen by pro-life activists every day through Wednesday. Witnesses said she appeared “pale and weak.”

Early Thursday morning, the woman began suffering chest pain and other discomforts. Her attempts to reach Carhart were unsuccessful. The woman was taken by her family from her hotel to a nearby hospital emergency room at approximately 5:00 a.m. Efforts by hospital staff to contact Carhart or get informational assistance from the abortion clinic were unsuccessful.

The patient suffered massive internal bleeding into her abdominal cavity. She slipped into a Code Blue condition approximately six times before finally succumbing to her injuries at around 9:30 a.m. The case has been placed with the Medical Examiner for further investigation.

More

Week 5 Field Notes

Field NotesObservations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Michael A. McDermott
Week 5 Feb.4-Feb. 8, 2013

Monday Evening:

I drove over to Quiet Water Park to make a presentation to two outstanding Worcester County residents who were being awarded the 2012 Sportsmanship Award through the Maryland Dept. of Parks and Recreation. The state recognized Stephen Decatur Middle School student athlete Sarah Mitrecic and Coach Stan Parker for their commitment to sportsmanship and their pursuit of excellence.

Tuesday Morning Session:

HB-75 passed this morning allowing for a change in reporting deadlines for certain utility companies. We also adopted HS-0001 which was a rebuke of certain actions taken by Delegate William “Tony” McConkey during 2012 and to accept the report of the House Ethics Committee and the recommended actions. Delegate McConkey apologized to the House members for his conduct, but also offered some defense of his actions. I voted to censure the delegate and accept the report judging his actions as wholly inappropriate. (Full Report)

Tuesday Judiciary Committee Hearings:

HB-262, HB-267, HB-482, HB-483 all address synthetic cannabinoids and the distribution of faked controlled substances. The legislation seeks to outlaw all aspects of synthetic marijuana and provide the judiciary with the ability to take certain notice as the drug compounds are adjusted by the drug dealers to skirt the law. This particular drug is being sold as “bath salts” and “popery” mixes which are laced with a chemical compound designed to mimic the marijuana high.

HB-338 updates the limit on felony theft to requiring a value of over $1000.00 to bring the various laws governing theft and robbery in sync with one another.

HB-202 seeks to address the malicious destruction of property, specifically transit vehicles. I do not see the need for this bill when felony MDOP already exists.

HB-382 would require defendants to pay into the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. It would expand the requirement by allowing these fees to reflect the current practice of funds being received for PBJ cases.

HB-180 would provide an affirmative defense for caregivers of those individuals who acquire or provide marijuana for medical purposes to patients.

HB-183 would modify the composition of the state Correctional Training Commission. It would require the Commission membership to also consist of members from within the ranks of Correctional Officers. We heard from representatives of the corrections employees who feel the strong need to have a voice at the commission level. I suggested an ex-officio status for two committee members who would be appointed from within the ranks.

HB-254 would allow a local jail facility to detain individuals on Arrest documents when a District Court Commissioner is otherwise not available for a Preliminary Hearing. As written, this bill would only affect Allegany County. It is a good idea and I will be trying to see if other counties can be added to the bill.

HB-311 would require a parent or care giver to report a child as missing within 24-hours and 5-hours to notify authorities upon the death of a minor child once the condition becomes known. This was crafted to address some of the issues arising from the Casey Anthony case in Florida where a child’s disappearance went unreported.

HB-250 would require the victims in criminal cases being given priority in receiving compensation from a defendant before the state receives their penalties or fees. It puts victims first and gives priority for restitution.

HB-219 seeks to limit the use of “No-Knock” Search Warrants without prior notification being given to local authorities. The bill would require that the Sheriff of a jurisdiction would need to be notified prior to the execution of a “No-Knock” Warrant. These are warrants that are issued which do not require the police to “knock and announce” their presence prior to executing a warrant.

HB-377 seeks to codify the procedure for using GPS tracking technology in criminal investigations. This bill would require law enforcement to secure a court order in order to capture this information.

Wednesday Morning Session:

Several House of Delegates Awards were presented this morning. The Speaker’s Medallion was presented to John M. Colmers from John Hopkins. The Thomas Kennedy Award was presented to the late Delegates Howard P. Rawlings and Jean B. Cryor. The Caspor R. Taylor Jr. Founders Award was presented to Delegate Veronica L. Turner (Prince Georges Co.).

Wednesday 2nd Amendment Rally on the Mall:

Photo: Here I am with Delegate Smigiel and Delegate Norman waiting to get started.
Thousands turned out for a pro-gun rally on the mall conducted at noon. It tied in with the first hearing in the Senate of SB-281, the O’Malley-Brown Gun Bill. While thousands attended the rally, thousands more signed up to speak in the Senate. Just before we began speaking to the crowd, a beautiful American Bald Eagle circled overhead…not a familiar site in downtown Annapolis to be sure, but an incredible omen for those attending. I’m quite sure that for every thousand that attended, there were another 10,000 that wanted to be there to raise their collective voice against this bill.

Surely there are areas where we could work to make things better for gun owners and our communities, but much of the bill is cosmetic. Banning one type or class of firearm over another is not going to get the job done and is a fool’s errand. Portions of the bill address mental health issues, which we could focus on this year, but much of the bill misses the target. I spoke to the folks as did many other lawmakers and grass roots organizers and it was wonderful to see such a passionate response. I tell you, it made those senators take notice. If we, as citizens, responded more passionately about the other areas of life that come under attack by our elected officials, our Maryland would be a much better place to live and raise a family.

(Here are some clips from the rally)

Wednesday Judiciary Committee Hearings:

HB-129 would create a task force committee to study the implementation of a right to civil counsel in Maryland. The principal would be to create a mechanism for providing legal counsel for civil litigants so lower income citizens could have assistance in cases involving basic needs and services. This type of bill will be hamstrung by funding issues, but the concept should be studied.

HB-130 addresses the issue of awarding attorney fees and expenses by the courts. The advocates testified that many cases do not move forward since they are not monetary based and the attorney would have difficulty taking such a case due to the financial implications. This bill would allow a Maryland judge to allow for the awarding of attorney fees in such cases is deemed appropriate by the court. There is some degree of confusion as to what courts this might apply.

HB-186 would create a Law Enforcement Training and Technology Fund by assessing a $5.00 fee on court costs for traffic violations. The money collected would be distributed to the counties through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control. This fund exists within the governor’s budget, but has never been funded.

Bill Hearing on HB-106 (Repeal SB-236):

This afternoon I had my hearing on the repeal of last year’s Sustainable Growth-Septic Bill, HB-106. What a great turnout from the shore and the rest of Maryland. The testimony took a couple of hours and I heard from some of the folks on the committee who supported the governor’s bill last year that may be having a change of heart after listening to the folks today. While we had many come up for the 2nd Amendment rally on the mall today, a significant number came to testify to repeal a bill that is a jobs killer and a taking of land rights and value with no compensation to the owner. It truly represents a great land grab by the governor and I was proud to stand with Delegate Fisher (R-St. Mary’s) and make a passionate plea for them to move forward with a full repeal of this legislation. I want to thank all those who took the time to travel from all over this great state to speak out on this very important subject.
(Click here to see testimony-start time was 3:19 pm)

Bill Hearing on HB-188 (Generator Tax Credit):

My hearing on HB-188 was conducted before the Ways and Means Committee this afternoon. The bill allows for a tax credit of up to $7000.00 for gas stations who install emergency power generation equipment. The credit would be provided against their State Corporate Income Tax liability. I showed a prepared video of the problems encountered following Hurricane Sandy. The members asked several thoughtful questions and I believe the bill may have a chance at moving forward.

(Click here to see testimony-start time is 3:09pm)

Thursday Morning Session:

We had a good debate this morning over HB-89 which would create a surcharge tax on natural gas consumers in Maryland of up to $2.00 per month. It was said that this would “protect” consumers by putting a cap on the amount that can be charged for replacement projects on underground pipe. It was argued that these fees area already factored into utility rates by the Public Service Commission and they have the ability to include these increases in the rates at anytime they feel it is warranted. Originally, I liked the idea of a cap being in place and supported the concept. In the end, there were too many unanswered questions and potential outcomes that moved me to be unfavorable on the bill.

Thursday Special Committee on SB-281 (Gun Bill):

We heard from the State Superintendent of Public Schools and her staff regarding school safety. As one might expect, their position and approach tended to be very academic. They do not like the idea of introducing any firearms into the security equation as an option. They do not like the idea of electronic control devices either. In fact, they did not even like the idea of off-duty or retired police having the ability to carry firearms on their campuses. They want to spend the money on locking doors and training people how to respond. This is alright, but we know that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Their failure to embrace this notion is disturbing.

Thursday Judiciary Hearings:

HB-257 seeks a change to the makeup of the local St. Mary’s Adult Protective Services Board. Currently the law requires a psychologist be one of the members and the board has had trouble keeping this particular position filled.

HB-277 would change the manner of hearings conducted before the judiciary in cases involving children in need of assistance. It would add a new review hearing to be conducted within 6-months of a child being brought into the system. This would be a minor extension of the hearing schedule already being conducted.

HB-278 would require the notification at least 10-days prior to any hearing involving a child be made to a foster parent, caregiver, or pre-adoptive parent. This is in response to a federal mandate requiring these actions to bring Maryland into compliance with federal law. It is requested by the Maryland Judiciary.

HB-200 would make strangulation a First Degree Assault as opposed to a Second Degree Assault. There was testimony that this issue needs to be addressed to deal with domestic violence assaults. Since Second Degree Assault already carries a 10-year penalty, the committee seemed reluctant to increase the penalty for any degree of strangulation or choking as the full penalty is rarely being applied.

HB-178 is a bill that would strengthen the Dangerous Dog Law. It covers issues surrounding registration with Animal Control and dog owner liability when it comes to protecting the public from dog bites and attacks. The committee is attempting to address the Dangerous Dog Law in light of recent court decisions which make Pit Bulls, by definition, a “dangerous breed”. I believe a bill one bill will come out of the committee to address this issue.

HB-618 would place a strict liability standard on all dogs which are considered to be “running at large”. This is the bill which was favored by the Judiciary Committee during one of the Special Sessions in 2012.

Judiciary Voting Session:

The following bills were approved by the committee:

HB-12; HB-116

Friday Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting:

We heard from Sec. of Agriculture Buddy Hance today and generally it was discouraging. Former Ag Secretaries always found a kindred spirit in the Eastern Shore Delegation, but that is not true for Sec. Hance. While previous Ag Secretaries often fought against the Governor’s proposals tried to minimize the damage for the farming communities, Sec. Hance seems to accept the environmental push down of fees and over regulation as unavoidable and offers rarely a whimper of objection. Much of this was pointed out by Sen. Pipkin. Sen. Mathias defended the governor and the administration. I’m quite sure our previous Ag Secretaries from the shore would have already resigned in protest of the administration’s actions. The fact that Sec. Hance feet remain fixed speaks volumes.

We also heard from the Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) representatives who painted a very bleak picture of their industries status in Maryland. New House construction is not even close to meeting a sustainability number for the industry. Folks are still reporting 1-2 year wait times and delays for permit approvals. We heard from the banking side of industry which highlighted the damage to borrowing power done by last year’s Septic Bill (SB-236). When you contrast our decline with our neighboring states progress, it appears very unlikely that we can recover. The industry is expanding in Delaware at the same rate it is contracting in Maryland.

The Mayor’s Association was in town for meetings and we had Mayor Gee Williams from Berlin and Mayor Bruce Morrison along with his wife Laura in attendance at the meeting. I also had the privilege of being shadowed by Jack Fager who came with his mom Michelle from Ocean City to see Maryland government in action.

Money At The Pump Benefits Coffers, Not Stations

WASHINGTON - When you pull up to the pump to fill your tank, do you ever wonder where your gas money goes? If you think the gas station gets your bills, think again.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), gas stations receive about 3 to 5 cents of profit from each gallon of gas they sell.

In fact, gas stations make more money off of the candy and soda sold inside the service stores than from the fuel sold outside.

 More

Today's Survey Question


Do you believe Wicomico County is doing everything it can to keep our children safe?

FEBRUARY IS CHILDREN’S DENTAL HEALTH MONTH

(Salisbury, MD) A healthy mouth is important for the overall health of infants, toddlers, and children. Poor oral health can cause children to have problems with eating, speaking, and learning. Each year, more than 51 million school hours are missed due to dental problems. Cavities can cause children pain and serious health problems. Fortunately, parents can prevent cavities by taking care of their children’s mouths every day.
Parents should clean their baby’s gums with a soft toothbrush or clean washcloth before teeth come in. Once teeth come in, parents should brush their child’s teeth with a certain amount of fluoride toothpaste, depending upon the child’s age, twice a day, and every day. Additionally, parents should take children to the dentist. “Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday and regularly after that,” said Lori Brewster, Health Officer for Wicomico County. Children should not be given bottles in bed or at nap time, and should be offered milk or water instead of sugary drinks like soda, juice or punch. Parents should not share food, spoons, or forks as these can spread the germs that can cause cavities. “Incorporating habits such as these into their everyday lives will ensure that children have a healthy mouth as well as a healthy body,” said Mrs. Brewster. 
Families can discover the power of a healthy smile by exploring two interactive web-based programs hosted by the University of Maryland Dental School’s National Museum of Dentistry, a member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. MouthPower® Online is an entertaining program suited for elementary school age children. Developed in conjunction with the American Dental Association, children can explore Mouthie’s interactive online laboratory to learn how to keep their smiles sparkling. They can learn how to brush and floss, make healthy food choices, and steer clear of the pitfalls of tobacco. After completing the program that entails “earning” teeth, children can download a personalized certificate. The program is available in English and Spanish at www.MouthPower.org

For older children and adults, the “Your Spitting Image” website provides an opportunity to unlock the mysteries of the body to reveal what your mouth says about you. This three part online exhibit explores the future of dentistry through forensics, saliva and bioengineering. Key scientific topics include DNA, genetics, the mouth/body connection and stem cells. Visit http://www.dentalmuseum.org/ysi.

Families can also test their dental knowledge by playing the "Million Dollar Smile" and "Dental Jeopardy, Elementary and Advanced Edition" games by visiting the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Oral Health website at http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/oralhealth.
Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children
Schedule a child’s first dental visit when his or her first tooth appears, or by the first birthday.
Provide children with healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary foods and drinks. Give them water to drink between meals.
Your child’s teeth should be brushed with toothpaste that has fluoride at least twice a day for two minutes. The amount of toothpaste that goes on the toothbrush depends on the child’s age. Children need brushing supervision until seven to eight years of age.
Ask your children’s dentist about the need for fluoride treatment.
Check with your local health department or water board or have your water tested to determine the amount of fluoride in your water. If it is too low to prevent tooth decay, ask your dentist or physician about fluoride supplements.
Ask about dental sealants when your child’s permanent teeth come in.
For more information on promoting your child’s dental health or to see if you qualify for dental services, contact the Village Dental Center at (410) 334-3401 or visit the health department website at www.wicomicohealth.org, on facebook at www.facebook.com/wicomicohealth and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @WicomicoHealth.

IS THE DROUGHT OVER?

I find it fascinating that we are hearing nothing from the MSM about the drought. Absolutely nothing. If you google Midwest drought, you find no articles in the last month from any MSM outlet. Considering it’s an issue that will have a tremendous impact on worldwide food supplies and prices, the silence is deafening. Is the MSM incompetent or are they purposely keeping the ignorant masses in the dark? The two maps below show the drought has not let up. Any improvement has been matched by new drought development in other areas.

The article that I found below shoots a big hole in the storyline that this drought is due to global warming. It seems severe droughts have tracked every Fourth Turning, arriving like clockwork every 80 years.

If this drought continues and/or worsens during 2013 it could be a black swan that pushes food prices past a breaking point. The combination of Bernanke money printing, central banks debasing currencies across the globe, and food shortages could create a perfect storm. We are already seeing cracks in the foundation, as Venezuela and Argentina are experiencing the start of hyperinflation. Iran already has hyperinflation. Middle Eastern and Far East countires cannot withstand rapidly rising food prices. Revolution will follow.

The MSM is keeping the lid on this story because the implications are dire and the oligarchs have no control over it. They only control the message or lack of message.

More

Canteen Boutique Opening Feb 20th


Households On Foodstamps Rise To New Record

While hardly presented by the mainstream media with the same panache dedicated to the monthly ARIMA-X-12 seasonally-adjusted, climate-affected, goal-seek devised non-farm payroll data, the three month delayed Foodstamp number is according to many a far greater attestation to the "effectiveness" of the Obama administration to turn the economy around. And far greater it is: since his inauguration, the US has generated just 841,000 jobs through November 2012, a number is more than dwarfed by the 17.3 million new foodstamps and disability recipients added to the rolls in the past 4 years. And since the start of the depression in December 2007, America has seen those on foodstamps and disability increase by 21.8 million, while losing 3.6 million jobs. End result: total number of foodstamp recipients as of November: 47.7 million, an increase of 141,000 from the prior month, and reversing the brief downturn in October, while total US households on foodstamps just hit an all time record of 23,017,768, an increase of 73,952 from the prior month. The cost to the government to keep these 23 million households content and not rising up? $281.21 per month per household.

More

Week Six: O'Malley To Testify On Wind Energy, Death Penalty Bills

Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to testify for two more bills on his legislative agenda this week.

On Wednesday, the governor will appear before the Senate Finance Committee on his bill to establish off shore wind energy turbines off the coast of Ocean City.

The governor sees wind energy as a low cost, environmentally friendly source of electricity.

Under the measure, Maryland residents could pay a surcharge on their electric bill of up to $1.50 a month once the turbines become operative.

More 

The U.S. Economy Is Now Dangerously Detached From Reality

Recently I was asked to give a presentation on the current state of the global economy to a local group of concerned citizens here in Northwest Montana. I was happy to oblige but when composing my bullet points I realized that, in truth, there were no legitimate economic numbers to examine anymore. You see, financial analysts have traditionally used multiple indicators of employment, profit, savings, credit, supply, and demand in their efforts to divine the often obscured facts of our financial system. The problem is, nearly every index we used in the past, every measure of capital flow and industry, is absolutely useless today.

We now live in an entirely fabricated fiscal environment. Every aspect of it is filtered, muddled, molded, and manipulated before our eyes ever get to study the stats. The metaphor may be overused, but our economic system has become an absolute “matrix”. All that we see and hear has been homogenized and all truth has been sterilized away. There is nothing to investigate anymore. It is like awaking in the middle of a vast and hallucinatory live action theater production, complete with performers, props, and sound effects, all designed to confuse us and do us harm. In the end, trying to make sense of the illusion is a waste of time. All we can do is look for the exits…

There is some tangible reality out there, but it is difficult to find, and there are few if any mainstream numbers to verify. One has to remember always that the fundamental world of money and trade revolves around real people and real circumstances. No matter how corrupt our economic system is, as long as there are human beings, there will always be supply and demand that cannot be hidden. We have to look past the “official numbers” and look at the roots of trade. Where has demand fallen? Where has supply diminished? Where are the tangible goods and needs and how have they changed?

Let’s first start with the mainstream version of our system, looking at each aspect of the economy that no longer represents the truth of our situation…

More

Obama Paranoid Government Coming For His Guns

WASHINGTON—Reflecting attitudes held throughout his personal and political life, President Barack Obama restated Thursday his long-standing fear that the U.S. government is even now putting measures in place to take his guns away.

Obama, an avid gun enthusiast with an extensive history of mistrusting the federal government, claimed Washington's actions in recent years have been particularly egregious and described its "rabid anti-gun zealotry" as "some real sinister, Nazi-type shit."

"The thing for damn sure is you can't trust 'em," Obama told reporters Thursday morning, cradling a .22-caliber bolt-action hunting rifle in his arms. "No matter how hard you work or how many taxes you pay, the goddamn government's sure as shit gonna pass some law or officiate some warrant to try and take your guns. Because when the people don't have any guns, that's when theytake control."

"Just like in England," the president added. "They took away all the guns there, and now they have video cameras all over the place to spy on everybody. You think America wouldn't do that if they could?"

According to President Obama, the U.S. government has for years made a concerted effort to "destroy the Second Amendment of the damned Constitution, for God's sake," while silencing the voices of gun owners such as himself who merely wish to retain the ability to protect their home and family.

More

Yard Signs

If you are not able to come Downtown to get a Yard Sign, send me an e-mail with your name, address and phone number and we will deliver one to your home or business. alberobutzo@wmconnect.com   
or AlberoForMayor@gmail.com . You can also call 410-430-5349.

"This is not Joe Albero's election to lose, it's the citizens' election to lose".

Telemarketers Tricks

Joe:

In recent weeks, a telemarketer has been blitzing this area trying to get consumers to switch their electric energy supplier to Starion Energy.

This outfit has been contacting folks on the "do not call" list, and I can personally attest that they did indeed call my home number at least once -- and it has been on the do not call list for years. Most of the calls I have received have been to my business lines, however. There is no requirement that they honor the federal do not call list for business lines, I believe.

When they call local folks here, the caller-ID box displays what appears to be a local number: 410-397-0063. Google that number, and you get all kinds of hits and horror stories, etc. Most of the time, even if folks answer the phone, they get dead silence and eventually hung up on.

If one calls back that number, they get a recording that says, "The number you have dialed has not been assigned"

My first thought is that these folks are spoofing a fake caller-ID to attempt to get folks to actually answer their phone when they call, since displaying a toll-free number is a dead giveaway that a telemarketer is calling. Folks generally won't answer the phone if they don't recognize the calling number, and specifically won't answer if they believe that a telemarketer is on the other end.

But when I received my phone bill today, I noticed that the itemized call list showed the same 410-397-0063 number as a dialed and completed call. In other words: When I attempted to call them back, I was billed for the call to listen to the "non-assigned" recording.

I believe that they may be paying for that local number in order to escape possible violation of laws requiring a proper ID being displayed. If they are indeed the subscriber to that number, are they allowed to use it as a legitimate ID display when placing telemarketing calls to local folks? I thought that the displayed number has to be one that allows consumers to call back the company that called them? And calling back the company has to be more than receiving a "non-assigned" message?

The second thought that comes to my mind is they are lying to me even before I answer the phone! How can I believe anything they have to say if they lie to me just to get me to answer the phone?

The third thought I have is can I file harassment complaints against them for calling my line(s) multiple times and then hanging up on me? Isn't that against the law as well?

The last thought I have on this is they are wasting much of their time contacting folks who are served by the local cooperative, who is already offering better rates than they have to offer. When I did engage them in conversation, I learned they are offering a power generation rate of $.079 per kWh. Choptank Cooperative's basic residential generation rate is $.07532 when you factor in their negative power-cost adjustments.

$1M Reward Posted For Former Cop

A heavy police presence blocked off a street in a typically quiet Southern California suburb Sunday, as residents adjusted to life in the midst of a sprawling manhunt for a fugitive whose police and military background and vitriolic online manifesto has put the region on high-alert.

Police are working to protect dozens of families considered targets based on Christopher Dorner's Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the Los Angeles Police Department five years ago.

Dorner, 33, is suspected of killing three people, including one police officer, and on the fourth day of the manhunt, authorities put up a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

More 

British Hospital Carnage A Window Into US Future

Britain was rocked this week by one of the biggest scandals in the recent history of its health system—and it just might be a taste of things to come in the U.S.

The scandal surrounds a recent hospital report’s findings that Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire ignored even the most basic standards of treatment to disastrous, and disgusting, effect. The NYT has more:
The report, which examined conditions…over a 50-month period between 2005 and 2009, cites example after example of horrific treatment: patients left unbathed and lying in their own urine and excrement; patients left so thirsty that they drank water from vases; patients denied medication, pain relief and food by callous and overworked staff members; patients who contracted infections due to filthy conditions; and patients sent home to die after being given the wrong diagnoses.

More

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Respond To Sandy Hook

Mayor Dayne Walling Dec. 20 made the following statement after the killings atSandy Hook Elementary School.

“It is time to face the fact that we have allowed our communities to be flooded with illegal and military-style guns that put our children and families at risk. More than 200 people end up in hospital emergency rooms on a daily basis because of gunshot wounds.

“In Flint we know the tragic costs of gun violence all too well. Along with the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), I am calling for federal, state and local reforms to prevent dangerous individuals from attaining firearms and to get military-style assault weapons off our streets.”

Below is a letter sent by Mayors Against Illegal Guns to President Barack Obama
Maryland ~ Mayor Joshua J. Cohen, Annapolis, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, Mayor Andrew M. Fellows, College Park, Mayor Brian K. Grim, Cumberland, Mayor Robert C. Willey, Easton, Mayor Peter Benjamin, Garrett Park, Mayor Dennis J. Scheessele, Indian Head, Mayor Craig A. Moe, Laurel, Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, Rockville, Mayor James Ireton Jr, Salisbury, Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, Somerset, and Mayor Bruce R. Williams, Takoma Park.
More

Arson Damages Eastern Shore Commercial Building

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia State Police say another fire on the Eastern Shore Sunday night is believed to be the work of an arsonist.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya with the Virginia State Police said agents were dispatched to a structure fire on Route 13 in Nelsonia around 11:30 p.m. The two-story commercial building was abandoned.

According to Anaya, the fire was discovered shortly after it was started, so the structure suffered little damage.

More 

Pope Benedict XVI To Resign At The End Of February

Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of February, the Vatican Press Office tells Fox News.

A spokesman for the Vatican did not have any more information and did not reveal a possible reason for the 85-year-old's resignation.

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

More