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Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Reader Wants To Know, Will There Be Ravens TV Trouble Tomorrow


Is WBOC having issues with their broadcast of football playoff game?? We have directv and get local channels through them. My screen keeps freezing. We even went and tried to use converter box with the antenna and still cant get it. Its absolutely ridiculous and it really pisses me off!! I noticed it on fox 21 earlier but it wasn't quite this bad...Hope they don't have coverage of ravens game tomorrow. Have a great night.

A Very Important Message

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM I will be providing what I feel is by far the most important message Salisbury News has ever delivered. I am asking you not only to stop in tomorrow morning, (or any time tomorrow) to view this message, I am also asking you to please let others know it is available. I'm very confident once you see it you'll be more than happy to ask others to come here and see it.

I do not often ask our readers to reach out and encourage others to come to Salisbury News. However, I'm doing so now because it's that important. I'm NOT looking for the "hits" to drive our numbers up, we already enjoy an audience far and beyond what we had ever dreamed of. However, once you see this important message you'll want to encourage others to see it as well. At that time you'll truly appreciate why we are reaching out to more than just the normal every day traffic. You'll be proud to ask your business associates, friends and family to view what we have provided.

Spread the word Ladies and Gentlemen. Tomorrow will be a very big day.

Field Notes By Delegate Mike McDermott

Field Notes
Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Mike McDermott

Week 1 January 11-13, 2012
It Begins...
Opening day of session involves much pomp and circumstance coupled with historic traditions. The work of the day involves the election of presiding officers. These actions are all staged and predetermined by the Democratic Caucus. The first vote is for the Speaker Pro Tempore who then presides over the body until the election of the Speaker of the House is conducted. With this session, Michael Busch becomes the longest serving Speaker of the House in Maryland history.

All committee Chairmen are reappointed along with committee assignments formalized. No changes were seen this year over recent years. It is not unusual to have most of the congressional delegation present for the opening ceremony along with the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Comptroller. This year was no exception.

I found some of the comments made by the Governor and Speaker very interesting. Both mentioned how important it was to have the views “of the right and the left” expressed in the General Assembly and how we were made better by this diversity of thought and approach to government. On the heels of these fine sentiments came the Governor and Democrats Legislative Redistricting Map which seeks to destroy and eliminate many districts currently held by Republicans. They could not even get through the first stanza of “Kumbaya.’

Changes to the map are possible during the next 45 days but it seems more likely than not that many Republican lawmakers will have some decisions to make in the coming months. Del. Otto and I have seen our districts altered by well over half and now find ourselves together in a single member district. These are the actions of a ruling party that has little interest in hearing from those representing the values of the Eastern Shore.

Judiciary Committee:
A hearing was conducted to review the use of phone contracts and collect call charges made by inmates in the prisons and jails throughout the state. In order to provide the specialized phones and recording services, the state and local jurisdictions contract with various companies to furnish all of the equipment needed along with billing services. It is a lucrative business whereby the state collects a profit/commission of roughly 42%. The companies themselves have a profit margin of approximately 5%. In some jurisdictions the profit is used for providing inmate services while in others it is simply placed in their general operating budget.

An advocate for reducing the cost to the inmates of making these types of calls questioned what she referred to as the “kickbacks” being received by corrections officials for providing these services. That term was a misnomer as she was actually referring to the negotiated commissions received by the state. It was pointed out that Maryland is among the lowest in terms of cost to the inmates for local calls. In fact, only Alaska came in lower due to their local calls being free. It was good to see that Maryland State government was competitive in something with surrounding states, even if it is the cost of inmate phone calls.

Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting:
Secretary of Planning
We met with Secretary of Planning Richard Hall to discuss Plan Maryland. The plan provides for increased state oversight of local planning and zoning land use issues. It seems clear from the discussion that the state can and will use state money as the lever to gain active compliance from resistant local governments. The Secretary skated around a lot of the issues that were addressed to him, predominately because the plan is so broad based, no one has any real notion how the implementation will affect local governments and Maryland citizens. The delegation expressed consternation with the plan not coming through the General Assembly and being back doored by the governor. The Secretary offered that the plan was authorized in 1974 and simply had not been acted upon until now.

I was particularly concerned over the private property rights which will be jeopardized by such a broad, centralized plan. It is clear that the governor wishes to expand state control over an additional 300,000 acres of farmland in the next 20-years. I asked if the administration would support a bill I am working with that would require the state to compensate land owners when they create laws and regulations that prohibit that same land owner from being able to develop or utilize their property as they may desire. Secretary Hall said they would take a look at the bill but could not express any support.

There was much concern expressed about the future of poultry on the shore if Plan Maryland continues to move forward with the adoption of additional rules and regulations that only serve to restrict farming activities or make them cost prohibitive. I mentioned that this type of system where rules and regulations are imposed on business create a de facto moratorium on any growth or development of an industry.

It was quite clear that we are at polar ends of the specter with the O’Malley administration when it comes to Plan Maryland, but the concerns expressed were bi-partisan in nature. Maryland has operated for decades with a State Department of Planning that has worked to provide guidance to local government. This plan will turn that “guidance” into direct oversight. Yet another layer of government bureaucracy to overcome. We met with the governor as a delegation last year to express our concerns over his proposed septic bill (which went down to defeat). It seems the governor has decided that the General Assembly is not needed when it creates a stumbling block for his programs. It was suggested that we meet with the governor again, but the governor appears to have dug his heels in on Plan Maryland.

Caption This Photo 1-14-12

5 Words You've Got To Stop Pronouncing Incorrectly

Unless you speak with an endearing, cool-sounding accent, you can make yourself sound like a moron if you mispronounce certain words. Using casual utterances that are OK with friends and family can create a stigma that's tough to change if you do so in professional situations such as interviews or presentations.

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Preppers View - Power Generators

One of last weeks articles generated many questions about the need for generators, what size is necessary, etc. I am in no way an expert on power generators. I have one. I have my house wired to be able to use a generator to supply emergency power for things like lighting, refigerators/freezers, water pump, water heater, etc. Certainly there are many different methods available to enable you to operate your entire home continually off the grid for long term survival. I think there is a Sbynews contributor who is actually somewhat of an expert in that area and I would definitely defer to his expertise. As a matter of fact I will seek his expertise in the very near future. But for the purposes of this article, we will stick to the use of fuel operated generators for short term power supply.

The first question I want to address is "do I really need one". Some people stated that they had gas heat, has range, and candles - they would survive. A few things. Gas furnaces require electricity to run the electric blower motor that circulates heat from the heat exchanger to the rest of the house. Gas can make all the heat it wants in a gas furnace but none of it is any good if it doesn't get out of the furnace.

Next was a response to the power being interrupted due to an ice storm. The comment was's an ice storm we don't need a refrigerator. we can put our food outside and it will remain cold. Really? I would offer this rebuttle. It isn't uncommon for an ice storm that knocks out power for several days or a week to be followed by sunny, 50 degree days. Definitely not cold enough for safe food storage. That being said, everyone needs to make their own decision relating to the need to include a generator in their SHORT TERM survival preparation. The reason I emphasize short term is that an extended wide spread power failure will disable fuel pumps. Fuel storage supplies will eventually run out and it may be difficult to obtain more until power is restored. (The size of your fuel supply may be key to determining when you phase from short term to long term survival plans.)

Once you have made your decision to include a generator in your plan, several things need to be considered.

1) size
2) installation type (permanently or temporarily tied into your electrical panel)
3) Fuel type

Again, these are my opinions based upon my experience. Everyone is encouraged to do their own research.

Size - the size is based on one most important consideration. How many amps you need to operate your home in an emergency mode. In most cases, you will have to discuss this with an electrician or someone with extensive knowledge in the area in order to determine what size you need. I have a 7700 watt gas generator capable of delivering 240 volts at 30 amps. what does that mean? It means I can operate my lights, my refrigerator, my freezer, and my water pump at the same time. In order to operate my electric water heater, I have to shut my water pump off. I just let my pump fill the tank and don't allow any water useage for an hour while I run my water heater. After the water is hot, I shut the water heater off and turn the pump back on. Anyone who is getting a shower needs to do it at that time and limit it to 5 minutes. That way my water heater can provide enough hot water for everyone before running out. This system works well for my situation. You will have to find one that suits yours. My house operates entirely off of electricity including heat pumps (I do have gas logs for supplemental heat). Therefore In emergency mode I shut certain breakers off so that they don't overload my generator. The generator ONLY runs for a few hours out of an entire day. That is plenty to keep the food cold, allow for the refilling of water containers, personal hygiene, etc. It is not enough to maintain a status quo standard of living. there are generators out there that can provide seamless power that can satisfy every creature comfort if your pocket book is deep enough.

Installation type - There are two basic types. That which is tied in permanently and that which is tied in temporarily. One that is tied in permanently is usually larger and wired directly into you electric panel by a licensed electrician. You can have the type that turns on automatically when it senses an interruption of power or the type that you turn on physically when the power goes out. In large part this depends on your budget. The larger type tied permantly in to your panel is obviously more expensive than a smaller unit you roll out and plug in when the need arises. Either way, the connection should only be made by qualified professionals.

Fuel type - Again, a few options. The least expensive way to go is a gasoline generator that is temporarily connected to your electrical panel. A gasoline generator of sufficient size for most of your emergency needs can be found on Craigslist for about $300 in good condition. Gasoline can be stored for up to a year if you use the proper fuel stabilizer. And it would be wise to use the Prepper method of FIFO. First In First Out. Use the fuel you have been storing for your generator to run your lawnmower and other things such as tillers, chainsaws, etc., and replace your stock with fresh fuel. NEVER forget to stabilize. Another tyoe of fuel would be diesel. Diesel generators are more expensive but they tend to last much longer than gasoline generators. Fuel can be stored much longer and the fuel systems don't tend to get clogged up by using older fuel. You should treat diesel fuel to prevent it from gelling during the winter months. If you have propane heat as many do here on the shore, a propane generator would be an excellent choice if you intend to use the type of generator that is permanently tied in to your electric panel since the connection is permanent. A gas line is connected to the tank and runs directly to the generator. The gas doesn't go bad and it can be easily tested monthly to be sure that it will work when you need it.

Once your generator is connected and is operating properly, have your breakers color coded so that you know which ones must be turned off when the generator is being utilized. For example, your main breaker should always be turned off prior to throwing the breaker on that allows your generator to supply power. So the Main breaker should be color coded "red". If using a smaller generator like I do, all breakers should be turned off but those needed to provide essential power. Those breakers such as your heat pumps, air handlers, etc., should also be colored "red". Breakers that you will either leave on or turn on should be colored "green". Those breakers would be limited lighting, outlets that charge cell phones and rechargeable flashlights, refrigerators, freezers, etc. Breakers that will be turned off and on alternately, such as water heaters and water pumps, should be colored "orange". ALL orange and red breakers should be turned off before any green breakers are turned on. A color legend should be posted near the electrical panel with easy to understand instructions on how to employ emergency power.

At this point all there is left to do is teach everyone in your house the proper way to operate the generator and the panel in the event you are not at home when an emergency arises. Don't forget to start your generator once a month at a minimum to be sure that it will be working properly when you need it.

I can't adequately express the feeling of satisfaction you'll get when the power goes out and you still have water, lights, etc. It can only be second to the feeling you get when you look at your neighbor and he, too, has lights because you were able to talk him into being a prepper.

Who is prepping in YOUR neighborhood because you've spread the word? ;)

Abbott & Costello

US Dept of labor statistics as reported by Abbott and Costello

Costello: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
Abbott: Good subject, terrible times, it's 9%.
Costello: That many people are out of work.
Abbott: No that's 17%.
Costello: You just said 9%.
Abbott: 9% unemployed.
Costello: Right 9% out of work.
Abbott: No that's 17%.
Costello: Okay so it's 17% unemployed?
Abbott: No that's 9%.
Costello: Wait a minute, is it 9% or 17%?
Abbott: 9% are unemployed. 17% are out of work.
Costello: If you're out of work you are unemployed.
Abbott: No you can't count the out-of-work as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
Abbott: No, you miss the point.
Costello: What point?
Abbott: Some one who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work, it wouldn't be fair.
Costello: To who?
Abbott: The Unemployed.
Costello: But they are all out of work.
Abbott: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work ... those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up, and if you give up you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
Costello: So if you're off the unemployment role, that would count as less unemployment?
Abbott: Unemployment would go down, Absolutely!
Costello: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
Abbott: Absolutely it goes down that's how you get 9%, otherwise it would be 17%. You don't want to read about 17% unemployment do ya?
Costello: That would be frightening.
Abbott: Absolutely.
Costello: Wait, I got a question for you, that means that they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
Abbott: Two ways is correct.
Costello: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
Abbott: Correct.
Costello: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
Abbott: Bingo.
Costello: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
Abbott: Now you're thinking like an economist.
Costello: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

Quote Of The Day

Ironically with Europe imploding, it is America that is the source of our quote du jour (via BBG):


Let's just give Obama unlimited powers to fix all government.... and indefinitely detain anyone for "domestic terrorism purposes" as well (wait, that already happened) Sure. Why not. If we felt like it we would chart how under Obama, debt held by the public will have increased by over $5 trillion by the end of his first term, compared to $6.3 trillion under all other presidents. We don't feel like it.


Bored Office Workers Turn To Chocolate, Coffee And Booze

Sitting all day isn't the only health risk office workers face, new research suggests

If you're reading this because you are bored at work, you are probably also munching on some chocolates and guzzling coffee, new research suggests. That after-work brew doesn't sound too bad either, does it?
New research on a small sample of office workers indicates that when bored at the office we look to munchies and caffeinated beverages to perk us up. Bored workers are also more likely to hit a bar once they punch the clock, said study researcher Sandi Mann, of the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom.

How 401(k)s Make Many Americans Poorer

One of the most widely dispensed and universally accepted pieces of financial advice is that you should contribute at least enough to your 401(k) to get the full match from your company. If you don’t, so the wisdom goes, you will be giving up free money. Well, it turns out that money isn’t exactly “free.” In a sense, it’s coming right out of your paycheck.

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Radioactive Tissue Boxes Removed From Bed, Bath & Beyond Shelves - No, Really

When shipments bound for California Bed, Bath and Beyond stores set off radiation sensors at a truck scale, Bed, Bath and Beyond discovered that it had been stocking tissue-box covers mysteriously contaminated with low levels of cobalt-60. The radiation level isn't enough to cause real harm to humans—the equivalent of a few chest x-rays over the course of a year if you happened to keep them in your bathroom.

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How To Banish Google's Personalized Gimmickry From Your Search Results

If you're not a fan of Google's new personal search results and would rather return to the old Googling you're used to, you can do so with a few simple steps.

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Today's Weather 01/14/12





Overnight Low


Americans Clueless Paying Wall Street $20 Billion For Bad Swaps

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Seven months after Hurricane Katrina ripped holes in the Superdome’s roof in 2005, Louisiana State Bond Commission members made what they were told would be “the best of a bad situation” in financing the stadium’s renovation.

Acting against the recommendation of their staff, the commissioners voted for a Merrill Lynch & Co. plan to use debt and interest-rate swaps to pay for the job. While the deal helped keep the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints from leaving town -- and the arena got new scoreboards while 12,000 seats were converted to luxury class -- taxpayers became the losers for supporting a winning team.