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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Field Notes By Delegate Michael A. McDermott

Week 7 February 20-24, 2012

Monday Evening-President’s Day Speech
According to House traditions, the House Democratic Caucus selected one of their members to deliver the President’s Day Speech to the members. Delegate John A. Olszewski, Jr.was chosen and provided a reflection on President Washington which implied that he liked taxes. I’m quite sure I do not share the good delegate’s opinion of Washington...but maybe he was referring to Washington DC.

Challenge to Vote Count
Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell voiced a challenge to the recorded vote on the O’Malley-Brown Same Sex Marriage bill (HB-438) which occurred on the previous Friday. As I previously reported, the vote count on the board at the final call showed 71 in favor and 67 opposed. After the session, the Speakers Office released a press release stating that Delegate Bohanan (D-St. Mary’s Co.) had voted in favor of the bill but his vote was, somehow, not counted. This is highly irregular and, when it occurs, the delegate is required by House Rules to stand immediately on the floor and make this known to the Speaker. Delegate Bohanan did not do so. The Speaker blamed it on a mechanical failure within the computer voting system. We are, to say the least, highly skeptical of this explanation. Bottom line, it appears that the delegate’s vote was not needed and he cleared his vote from the board. Since his green vote was seen on the board by the media, this “explanation” was laid out in the aftermath of the vote. As a result of the challenge to the vote, the days journal has not been agreed to and is currently standing in limbo.

On a side note...I was behind a couple of IT guys going into the State House building on Tuesday morning with their equipment in tow. They were talking about finding this “missing vote”. I said to them, “you guys here to solve that missing vote problem?” to which they looked at each other and one said, “yeah...ha ha...right”.

Conclusion: there is no missing vote problem...just a case of some missing integrity.

Judiciary Committee Hearings, Tuesday: Gun Day
Today is traditionally referred to as “Gun Day” on the committee as this is the day when we review all of the bills filed which have to do with gun rights or restrictions. The star for the day on the pro-gun legislation were several bills all similar to HB-45. This bill seeks to make Maryland a “shall issue” state as it relates to Gun Permits issued by the Maryland State Police. Currently, the law requires a citizen to provide a “good and substantial reason” to show a need to protect themselves with a pistol carry permit. The proponents of the bill believe, as is the case in 40 other states, that the burden should be upon the state to show cause why a permit should not be issued as opposed to the burden being on a citizen to show they have a good reason.

The Chairman has refused to allow these types of bills to come out for a vote, even if they are well supported on the committee. That appears to be the case this year as well. There is a clear demand from many citizens from all over the state that they should be allowed to protect themselves and their families no matter where they travel in Maryland. Some of the bills sought reciprocity agreements with surrounding states for their permit holders. Liberals are always interested in restricting 2nd Amendment rights in Maryland and we will continue to be a very unfriendly state for gun owners. The pro-gun bills included:
HB-45, HB-256, HB-300, HB-396, HB-430, HB-488, HB-579

There were a few regulatory bills regarding firearms. Some dealt with mental health issues and the ability to purchase firearms, the criminal use of firearms during criminal acts, and the possession of stolen firearms. The regulatory bills included:
HB-618, HB-856, HB-968, HB-1100, HB-1104, HB-1113, HB-114, HB-1135

There was a bill to restrict the sale of certain compounds that are currently marketed for explosive targets. The components are purchased and then combined together to create something that can be detonated as a target shot by a firearm with significant velocity. There was debate abut information available on line about other common compounds readily available. The State Fire Marshall has come back again this year with HB-875 to address the potential misuse of this one particular binary compound by determined individuals.

Judiciary Committee Hearings Conducted Wednesday
Today was DWI Day in the committee. All filed bills that address aspects of driving under the influence were heard. Most seek enhanced penalties for certain acts committed while driving under the influence such as having children in the vehicle or causing death or serious injury. Those seeking enhanced penalties included:
HB-535, HB-608,

Those bills addressing deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents included enhancing penalties, making them must appear offenses, and mandating drug and alcohol testing under certain circumstances. These bills included:
HB-469, HB-462, HB-649, HB-1022

HB-778 seeks to expand the definition of “operator” of a motor vehicle in cases of vehicular manslaughter when the actions of a driver create a dangerous situation that results in the death of another.

HB-1179 seeks to expand the definition for a police vehicle for purposes of charging an individual with fleeing and eluding police.

HB-1082 seeks to address a problem in Carroll County with the use of Drug Recognition Experts. While they are accepted across the state, it seems a certain judge is holding up decisions in his county due to his interpretation of the law concerning these trained law enforcement experts.

Judiciary Hearings Conducted on Thursday
Today was Family Law Day. Standing room only crowd for the previous two days and today was the same. We took up bills that involve child custody, divorce law, adoptions, and child support issues. Most of these bills were heard in previous sessions with some modifications hoping for traction this year. The following bills addressed aspects of custody arrangement including HB-459 which seeks a task force to study joint custody of children:
HB-485, HB-761 (grandparent visitation), HB-1165

HB-719 seeks to alter access and record searches for adoption records. It would make it easier to search for birth parents by those so inclined and would expand access to adopted individual 18 years of age or older.

HB-873 seeks to address some issues surrounding Reproduction Agreements where surrogates carry a baby on behalf of a couple who cannot otherwise have children. This is a comprehensive bill and there was a lot of witnesses in support of some of these changes.

There were two bills addressing Protective Orders. HB-883 seeks to place an actual distance within a Protective Order whereby a person must keep their distance. HB-971 would allow a person seeking a Protective Order to not necessarily need a fixed address for a Respondent.

HB-1010 was back for a second year. It would allow a parent who was in arrears with child support payments to take up a second job to get caught up without altering their original payment order amount.

Judiciary Voting Session on Thursday
The following bills received a “Favorable” report from the committee and will bime sent to the House floor for 2nd Reader:
HB-96 Probation Before Judgement allowance for second CDS arrest with successful completion of Drug Court and probation.
HB-318 Lowers eligibility amounts for small estate settlements.
HB-398 Adds the investigation of Theft Schemes to the list of enumerated crimes where a wire tap can be utilized by law enforcement.

On the Senate Side Thursday...
The senate voted quickly on the O’Malley-Brown Same Sex Marriage Bill. They also created two legislative days out of one calendar day and passed the bill in the afternoon. No amendments were accepted onto the bill by the democrats which could have at least made the bill better. These included amendments to address homosexual-same sex marriage curriculum in public schools and a prohibition on a minor being able to enter into a same sex marriage. As a result of these rejections, when the governor signs the bill into law next week, a 16 year old boy will be able to marry a 40 year old man and our schools will be forced to instruct that same sex marriage is a normal option.

As a result, the referendum process has begun. The people of Maryland will have the last word when we force the issue into the ballot box. In the coming weeks, I will provide detailed information on how to get involved in the referendum. For those who helped in the referendum on Illegal Alien In-State Tuition last year, it will be the same process. We will now be on guard in the House for legislation that will seek to make the referendum process more complicated and arduous for the people. We know it is coming.

House Voting Session Friday
In the interest of space, I will highlight bills during voting sessions and share the linkwhere you can see all of the bills voted on during this particular session. Today, my first bill cleared the House and moved onto the Senate. It is HB-251 which allows for criminal history checks to be performed on taxi driver applicants. We also passed HB-104 which makes texting on a cell phone while driving a primary offense.

Judiciary voting Session on Friday
This was a big day for me as two of my bills were up in the voting session. HB-119 will allow law enforcement officers in Maryland the ability to charge most misdemeanor offenses by issuance of a citation instead of requiring them to be taken before a District Court Commissioner for release. This will save the state millions and limit the down time for law enforcement officers tied up waiting on the District Court. This is a companion bill to HB-112 and HB-261 which I introduced to address the problems associated with providing Public Defender access at the Initial Appearance those charged with a crime have before a District Court Commissioner. The bill guarantees a right to counsel in the District Court appearance before a judge but does not require it before a Commissioner. This will save the state anywhere from $30 million to $100 million based upon estimates from the Public Defender’s Office, States Attorneys, and the Department of Legislative Services. Wicomico State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello helped me craft this bill and I also received support from Worcester State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby and Somerset State’s Attorney Dan Powell. The bills have been worked on by many in our committee along with representatives from the Governor’s Office. Both of these bills will now move to the House for Second and Third Reader next week.

One Last Kiss

Economic Doomsday Predictions Gathering Strength

The Bipartisan Policy Center today added its warning to the gathering cloud of predictions that an economic doomsday – the need to raise the federal debt ceiling again – could collide with the 2012 election.

“When the Budget Control Act of 2011 increased the debt ceiling last August, Congress, the administration and outside analysts believed that this increase would allow federal borrowing under the limit well into 2013,” the center wrote. “Due to unexpected circumstances – that belief appears increasingly likely to have been misguided.”


Anxious To Get Your Tax Refund? IRS Says 'Go Get Another Job'

Emily is a law student, and she spent last summer doing lawyer-type work and earning lawyer-type money. She mistakenly set up her withholding as if she were earning that much money year-round, though, so the government owes her a pretty sweet refund now that she's returned to the poor, ascetic life of a student. She even filed her taxes super early so she can get that money back. Only the IRS has flagged her for extra-special review, delaying her refund, and no one she can get in touch with seems to care. "You should just get another job," one helpful representative told her.

More »

Washington Post 4Q Earnings Down 22 Percent

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post Co. on Friday reported a 22 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income.

The media and education company reported net income of $61.7 million or $8.03 per share for the October to December period, down from earnings of $79 million, or $9.42 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $1.06 billion from $1.18 billion. Revenue declined at all of its divisions except cable TV, where it was flat.

The company said its latest quarter included several one-time items, including $9.6 million in severance and restructuring charges at the Kaplan education business.


35,000 Pink Slips Are In The Mail For USPS Employees

As we wrote back in September, the U.S. Postal Service was looking at closing more than half of its mail processing centers around the nation, which was predicted would translate into around 35,000 lost jobs. Last night, the USPS finally announced that while some of those centers have survived the executioner's blade, the number of layoffs will remain about the same.

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Snowman Prank

Yes, Televisions Are Pretty Much Disposable Now

It seems like an ancient, lost world now, but there was once a time when people bought electronics or appliances, and when they broke down, they hired someone to repair the item and kept using it. This may not sound weird and obsolete to you or to me or to reader Donna. Toshiba, on the other hand, certainly thinks that it's not worthwhile to repair the television that she paid $1,800 for in 2007. She doesn't want anything for free, and is willing to pay for parts and repair. Only the needed part isn't available from Toshiba, or from anyone.

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Film ‘Jamesy Boy’ To Shoot In Baltimore

Maryland natives Trevor and Tim White are set to start shooting their independent film, “Jamesy Boy” in Baltimore next month.

The Maryland Film Office says the movie based on the life of teen James Burns will be filmed in the city over five weeks. The film follows Burns from suburban street gangs to maximum-security prison, where a convicted murderer becomes his mentor and changes the course of his life.

The cast includes Golden Globe Award winners Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames and James Woods. The lead role of “James” will be played by Spencer Lofranco. Co-writer Trevor White will direct and the film will be produced by his brother, Tim White.

The Maryland Film Office estimates the production could have a $5 million economic impact and create nearly 400 jobs


Darwin Awards

This year's winner was a genuine Rocket jive! Read on...and remember that each and every one of these is a true story. The nominees were:

Semifinalist #1

A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both he and his sister.

Semifinalist #2

Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

Semifinalist #3

A 22-year-old Reston, VA man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot rail road trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. "The length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the concrete," Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was "Major trauma."

Semifinalist #4

A man in Alabama died from numerous rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend - no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - was hospitalized, but lived.

Semifinalist #5

Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition; lights, power, etc. After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter
was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician suspected of causing
the blast had never been thought of as ''especially bright'' by his peers.

And now the winner of this year's Darwin Award; as always, awarded posthumously;


Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene.

Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off...actually a solid-fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra 'push' for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!

The facts as best could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.

The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5
seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20 -25 seconds.

The driver, and soon-to-be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event.

However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles
(15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes,
blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable.

Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of
approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.

Gas Tax Shaping Up To Be Tough Sell In Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Rising gas prices and the need to tackle a tough state budget are creating mounting challenges for Gov. Martin O'Malley's gas tax proposal, lawmakers said Friday, as the governor's chief of staff worked to explain to lawmakers a part of the measure that would delay implementation if gas prices rise by more than 15 percent over the prior year.

Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, D-Baltimore, said the proposal is getting a chilly reception, particularly now that oil prices are approaching last year's highs.

"Twenty-five degrees," the senator said, with a laugh when asked what the temperature in Annapolis is for the proposal now. "No, to be honest with you, it's that cold."



These are real notes written by parents in an ALABAMA school district. Mis-spellings have been left intact.

1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take PE today. Please execute him.

2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and i had her shot.

3. Dear school: please ecsc's john being absent on jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.

4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.

5. Please excuse roland from p.e. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.

6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.

8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.

9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.

10. Please excuse ray friday from school. He has very loose vowels.

11. Please excuse Lesli from being absent yesterday. She had diahre dyrea direathe the shits.

12. Please excuse tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak.

13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.

14. Please excuse jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because i don't know what size she wear.

16. Please excuse jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it monday. We thought it was sunday.

17. Sally won't be in school a week from friday. We have to attend her funeral.

18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the marines.

19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

20. Please excuse mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.

21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.

22. Please excuse brenda. She has been sick and under the doctor.

23. Maryann was absent december 11-16, because she had a fever, sorethroat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever an sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

Now we know why parents are screaming for better education for our kids.

New Trial Sought In Frederick Stun Gun Death Case

FREDERICK — A Frederick man’s parents are seeking a new trial on their civil claim that a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy wrongfully caused his death by shocking him twice with an electric stun gun.

The Frederick News-Post reports that lawyers for Tanya Thomas and Jeffrey Gray filed the motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

A federal jury ruled last month that Cpl. Rudy Torres didn’t use excessive force against 20-year-old Jarrel Gray. The jury found that Torres assaulted Gray but said he wasn’t liable because he was protecting himself.

The motion says the verdict contradicted the weight of the evidence. It says Gray posed no threat lying face-down and unresponsive after the first jolt.

Torres’ attorney called the motion a last-gasp attempt to revive the case for financial gain.





President Obama Criticizes Republicans Over Gas Price Controversy

MIAMI (AP) - President Barack Obama on Thursday assailed Republicans for what he described as a flawed and dishonest strategy for reducing gas prices, predicting his rivals would offer nothing but more drilling and political promises of $2-a-gallon gas.

Said the president: "The American people aren't stupid." "That's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling. That's a bumper sticker," Obama said in a stop at the University of Miami.

"It's not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. That's a strategy to get politicians through an election. You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.


USA Slipping And Sliding Towards Fascism

The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State – a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values – interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people. – Benito Mussolini, 1932

I never watch the State of the Union in the US. I just can't stand someone looking into my eyes and lying to me for an hour. But I sometimes like to skim the transcripts after, mostly for entertainment, to see how they spin everything.

But the one thing I've noticed is there are never any tangible plans or strategies laid out. It's pure demagoguery. But, behind the scenes, the US Government is working to transform the country in leaps and bounds... and not for the better.

Buried deep in Barack O'Bomber's 2013 budget is actually a plan to all but outright nationalize the US Economy.


U.S., Saudi Maneuver To Contain Iran Oil Market Threat

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has raised oil exports and the United States is considering releasing crude from its strategic reserves as oil prices hit nine-month highs on Friday and concerns deepened over Iran's nuclear program.

Brent crude surged to over $125 a barrel after the United Nation's nuclear watchdog issued a report flagging the potential military nature of Iran's nuclear program, following an aborted U.N. inspection mission to Iran this week.

The report heightened fears of a supply disruption and could stoke worries in Israel, which has threatened Iran with pre-emptive strikes on nuclear sites. That would send shockwaves across the region and almost certainly drive oil prices even higher.


Incident: DUI
Date of Incident: 24 February 2012
Location: College Avenue, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Timothy C. Lum, 22, Salisbury, MD

Narrative: On 24 February 2012 at 2:50 AM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle operated by Timothy Lum for erratic driving and speeding. Upon contacting Lum, the deputy detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from inside the vehicle. The deputy began sobriety testing of Lum which culminated in Lum’s arrest for DUI.

The deputy processed Lum and obtained a breath sample which registered over the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Maryland. Lum was released upon the issuance of citations.

Charges: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se

Incident: Theft
Date of Incident: 23 February 2012
Location: 900 block of West Road, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Male Juvenile, 16, Salisbury, MD

Narrative: On 23 February 2012 at 9:24 AM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office met with a woman who resided in the 900 block of Booth Street who reported that her 16 year old son was stealing from her. The mother stated that she had suspected this was going on and it was confirmed when she smelled cologne that had been in her room. The woman discovered medication, personal paperwork and cash missing.

The 16 year old juvenile was charged on a juvenile referral that will be sent to the Department of Juvenile Services for adjudication.

Charges: Theft

White House Easter Egg Roll Tickets

This year's traditional White House Easter Egg Roll will be held on Monday, April 9, 2012.

This year, the event is tied to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative to end childhood obesity. The event will have music, sports courts, storytelling and an Easter egg roll.

Here’s how to get tickets – from the White House: White House Easter Egg Roll tickets will be distributed through an online lottery system, allowing guests from across the United States to participate in a tradition that dates back to 1878. The lottery will open for entries on March 1st at 10:00am and close on March 5th at 10:00am.

Full ticketing details will be available on March 1st at


$200 Oil Coming As Central Banks Go CTRL+P Happy

We have been saying it for weeks, and today even the WSJ [15]jumped on the bandwagon: the sole reason why crude prices are surging (RIP European profit margins: with EUR Brent at a record, we can only assume the ECB will pull a 2011 and hike rates in 3-4 months even as it pumps trillions in PIIGS, banks bailout liquidity) is because global liquidity has risen by $2 trillion in a few short months, on the most epic shadow liquidity tsunami launched in history in lieu of QE3 (discussed extensively here in our words, but here are JPM [16]'s). Luckily, the market is finally waking up to this, and just as world central banks were preparing to offset deflation, they will instead have to deal with spiking inflation, because the market may have a short memory, it can remember what happened just about this time in 2011. And the problem is that when it comes to the inflation trade, the market, unlike in most other instances, can be fast - blazing fast, at anticipating what the central planning collective's next step will be, after all there is only one. And if Bank of America is correct, that next step could well lead to the same unprecedented economic catastrophe that we saw back in 2008, only worse: $200 oil. Note - this is completely independent of what happens in Iran, and is 100% dependent on what happens in the 3rd subbasement of the Marriner Eccles building. Throw in an Iran war and all bets are off. Needless to say, an epic deflationary shock will need to follow immediately, just as in 2008, which means that, in keeping with the tradition of being 6-9 months ahead of the market, our question today is - which bank will be 2012's sacrificial Lehman to set off the latest and greatest deflationary collapse and send crude plunging to $30 just after it hits $200.

How do we get to $200 crude? BofA's Francisco Blanch explains:


Biden: Put Osama on Obama's 2012 bumper sticker

The quest marches on for a bumper sticker for the 2012 Obama campaign, and Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. believes the slogan should highlight the death of Osama bin Laden.

At a campaign event in Manchester, N.H., Thursday night, Mr. Biden offered this suggestion for the campaign's 2012 bumper sticker: "Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive."

The vice president said the bailout of the American auto industry saved "millions" of jobs, including 20,000 in New Hampshire. The administration cites the killing of bin Laden last spring as one of its top national-security achievements.

The search for a catchy bumper sticker for the president's reelection campaign has been elusive. In October, Mr. Obama suggested the slogan could be, ""Our vision for the future."

But don't look for either the president's or vice president's suggestions anytime soon on the car in front of you.


Delmarva Safety Association Presents Safety & Health Conference

(Salisbury, MD) Join the Delmarva Safety Association for the Safety & Health Conference at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center on March 22, 2012. This full-day conference is an efficient and affordable way to educate and train employees on compliance issues and ways to reduce injuries and save lives every day. The sessions are presented by professionals who are experts in their field.

Registration is available online at The early registration fee is $95 per person. After March 9, the cost will be $125 per person, so register today! Lunch is included with each paid registration.

Records: Alabama Girl Had Troubled Life Before Stepmom And Grandma Allegedly Ran Her to Death

Many who knew Savannah described her as normal and happy. She played and laughed with other kids at the bus stop, and sometimes rode a four-wheeler with her dad when he visited, they said. She loved horses and her favorite colors were lime green, hot pink and ocean blue, Johnson said in her statement.

Court documents filed by Savannah’s father, Robert Hardin, last May show she attended counseling sessions every other week but seemed well adjusted.

But the records also tell a different story, that of a brief life rocked by tumult.



“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
― Groucho Marx

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’.”
― Groucho Marx

“Humor is reason gone mad.”
― Groucho Marx

“I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”
― Groucho Marx

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
― Groucho Marx

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”
― Groucho Marx

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well I have others.”
― Groucho Marx

“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”
― Groucho Marx

“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”
― Groucho Marx

“Whatever it is, I’m against it.”
― Groucho Marx

Geithner: 'Privilege of Being an American' Is Why Rich Need Higher Taxes

"That’s the kind of balance you need," said Geithner. "Why is that the case? Because if you don't try to generate more revenues through tax reform, if you don't ask, you know, the most fortunate Americans to bear a slightly larger burden of the privilege of being an American, then you have to -- the only way to achieve fiscal sustainability is through unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for middle class seniors, or unacceptably deep cuts in national security."


New Legislative Map Becomes Law

The balance of legislative power in Maryland tips farther away from Baltimore under the new legislative boundaries that quietly became law Friday.

The city loses two of its 18 delegates and will have to share a senator with Baltimore County under the map, drawn by Gov. Martin O'Malley. It became law Friday, the 45th day of the General Assembly session, because lawmakers, as expected, took no action to change it.

The map adds two majority African-American districts to the 47-member state Senate and creates the state's first majority Hispanic House of Delegates district.


Impartial Analysis Finds Only Ron Paul Would Cut US Debt Burden

When one puts aside all the histrionics, all the melodrama, all the irrelevant secondary bullshit such as appearance, charisma, ability to tele-evangelize, all the irrelevant policies such as what planet the US should colonize or how women should procreate, and focuses on just one thing: which presidential candidate (not to mention president) will do the right thing for America, which is to make sure that it doesn't collapse under a record debt load, there is just one answer. And it is not even ours: it comes from the impartial Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Project, aka US Budget Watch ("U.S. Budget Watch neither supports nor opposes any candidate for office. Its reports are intended to promote understanding and discussion of the federal budget and how specific policy proposals would affect the deficit") which today released an analysis on debt sustainability titled "The GOP Candidates and the National Debt." The answer is in the chart below.


Why Apologize to Afghanistan?

We have officially lost our minds.

The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president — “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. . . . I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.


"The Pledge of Allegiance" - by Senator John McCain

As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.

This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.
Mike came from a small town near Selma , Alabama . He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School . Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.

As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing.
Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.
One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.

As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.
You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Ariz. Gov. Brewer Likely To Skip Senate Hearing On Immigration

PHOENIX — Democrats on Thursday invited Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to testify to the Senate in April on her state’s tough immigration law, but her spokesman said she’s not likely to attend “a publicity stunt.”

“It doesn’t appear that this would be the most productive hearing for Governor Brewer to attend,” Matthew Benson, the spokesman, told The Washington Times on Thursday night.

Ms. Brewer, who got into a famous finger-wagging exchange with President Obama earlier this year, has championed the law, which allows police to question the immigration status of those they engage in their regular duties.


Wisconsin Bill Would Allow Hunting Of A Once-Rare Crane

In Wisconsin, a place where word of dwindling numbers of sandhill cranes set off elaborate conservation efforts decades ago, the birds — elegant, prehistoric-looking creatures that bugle hauntingly — are once more at the center of discussion among state leaders. This time, a member of the State Assembly wants to allow cranes to be hunted.


Volunteers Save Cities Billions, But Unions Cry Foul

With budgets tighter than ever, cities across America are increasingly looking for more free labor. Nowhere is that trend more evident than Yakima, Wash.

“More and more every year, a large part of what we do is volunteers,” says Archie Matthews, Yakima’s director of neighborhood development services, “It saves us a ton of money.”

Matthews says begging for volunteers is not beneath him. And to his surprise, he usually gets them. Once signed up, they do a variety of tasks, including construction work for low-income housing, painting over gang graffiti and keeping senior centers from having to close their doors.

Bank of America Breaks With Fannie Mae

Bank of America said Thursday that it would no longer sell new mortgages to Fannie Mae, underscoring tensions in a fight between giants of the home loan market over billions in losses in the housing bubble.


Nike Foamposite Galaxy Release Canceled

(AP/ABC7) After hours of waiting in line, hundreds of people who camped outside of The Mall at Prince George's Friday morning for Nike’s newest Foamposite sneakers were told the release was canceled.

In the early-morning hours, police announced that Friday’s release of the Nike Foamposite Galaxy shoe was canceled due to safety concerns with the huge crowd.

Officers say another release date would be announced at a later time.

Despite the news of the cancellation, long lines remained outside the mall, waiting for the chance to purchase the shoes.


Why Are Harvard Graduates In The Mailroom?

In their book “Freakonomics,” Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt explain, among other things, the odd economic behavior that guides many drug dealers. In one gang they described, the typical street-corner guy made less than minimum wage but still worked extremely hard in hopes of some day becoming one of the few wildly rich kingpins. This behavior isn’t isolated to illegal activity. There are a number of professions in which workers are paid, in part, with a figurative lottery ticket. The worker accepts a lower-paying job in exchange for a slim but real chance of a large, future payday.


UPDATE NATO recalls all staff from Afghan ministries 2 American advisers killed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The commander of NATO and U.S. forces says that all NATO personnel are being recalled from Afghan ministries following an attack at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

Gen. John Allen says staff are being recalled "for obvious force protection reasons." He says NATO is investigating Saturday's shooting and will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for the attack.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A gunman killed two American advisers inside a heavily guarded government compound in Kabul Saturday, officials said, as protests against the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book roiled the country for a fifth day.


Does White House deserve credit for increase in domestic oil production?

The president and the White House haven't been shy about claiming credit for doing everything possible to keep gasoline prices low.

As White House spokesman Jay Carney said this week "Oil and gas production in the United States has risen every year since the president's been in office. Oil production is now higher than it's been in eight years."

Industry analysts say production is rising -- not because of President Obama, but in spite of him.

"Today on federal land, the area where the president has control, production in the Gulf of Mexico is down 30 percent. Lease sales in Rocky Mountains on federal lands are down 70 percent," Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute said.


The Decline And Fall Of Parental Authority

American parents now face social circumstances that undermine the foundations of parental authority, leading them to challenge the context of childrearing.

American parents today face a perfect storm of cultural and social circumstances that undermine the very foundations of parental authority. In response, mothers and fathers are beginning to see therapists as irrelevant and to challenge the entire social, educational, and economic context of childrearing. On a day long before the Occupy Wall Street Movement began, I met with a large group of 21st-century child professionals who were on a tear about the multiple inadequacies of today’s mothers and fathers. Sparks of indignation about parents’ inability or refusal to take charge of their kids—to create any kind of appropriate hierarchy in the family—lit up the auditorium. “They’re scared of their own children!” one proclaimed to nods of agreement all around. “If I ever said just one thing to my parents the way they allow their kids to talk to them every single day, I know exactly what would have happened to me!” said another. “They’ve abdicated, handing their children over to us to raise!” yelled a third. The general consensus was that today’s parents had become a “doormat generation” to their own kids, and that they were resisting all efforts by well-meaning professionals to help them grow parental backbones. It was enough to make one’s head spin.


Afghan Quran Protests Enter 5th Day

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Protesters threw rocks at police, government buildings and a U.N. office in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, kicking off a fifth day of riots sparked by the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base, officials said.

At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since Tuesday, when it first emerged that Qurans and religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large U.S. base north of Kabul. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials apologized and said it was a terrible mistake, but the incident has sent thousands to the streets in this deeply religious country.


Those Were The Days

Plans for Welfare Drug Tests Gain Momentum

Conservatives who say welfare recipients should have to pass a drug test to receive government assistance have momentum on their side.

The issue has come up in the Republican presidential campaign, with front-runner Mitt Romney saying it's an "excellent idea."

Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Wyoming lawmakers advanced such a proposal this week.

Friday, March 2ND IS National “Dress In Blue Day”

Wear Blue to Raise Awareness about Colon Cancer

Salisbury, MD
– The Wicomico County Health Department is encouraging residents to observe National Dress In Blue Day on Friday, March 2nd as part of National Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Dress in Blue Day takes place on the first Friday in March and encourages individuals, businesses and community groups to wear blue clothing and talk to each other about the importance of colon cancer screenings.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the country. “Everyone age 50 or older should talk with their doctor about being screened,” said Lori Brewster, Health Officer for Wicomico County. For more information on colorectal cancer call the Wicomico County Colorectal Cancer Screening Program at (410) 543-6938.


A Short History of Salisbury, Maryland

It was in a colonial atmosphere that Salisbury Town was “erected” by act of the Provincial Assembly on August 8, 1732 – some 276 years ago. The site of the present Main St. bridge was where the shipping business of Col. Isaac Handy was established in 1665. For the following six decades, it was known as Handy’s Landing. When the Provincial Assembly decided to erect a town on this site, it was named Salisbury after Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. Many of the large land owners of the section at that time had emigrated from the vicinity of the ancient English city, some for religious reasons that they might have absolute freedom of worship, others to enlarge their fortunes in this new land.

At the time of its founding, Salisbury was a part of Somerset County and remained that way until 1867, when parts of Worcester and Somerset counties were set aside to form the new county of Wicomico. Prior to the formation of the new Wicomico County, residents had to go to either Snow Hill in Worcester County or Princess Anne in Somerset County to conduct official business. By 1867, there was enough business conducted in Salisbury to apply to the legislature for the formation of a new county. This also gave the Eastern Shore another vote in the legislature in Annapolis.

Salisbury was the center for a large farming community and the town grew along with it. The first major blow to the growth of Salisbury came in 1860, when a fire that started in the Daniel Davis building, located on the northwest corner of Main (then known as Bridge St.) and St. Peter’s streets, spread throughout what was then the “downtown” area and left Salisbury in smoldering ruins.

Slowly they rebuilt, until the area was bustling with business activity again. The railroad had started to come down through Delaware, but the Civil War interrupted the progress through Salisbury. After the war, the railroad was extended to Salisbury and that greatly enhanced the ability to move goods both to and from Salisbury. They were expanding at a rapid pace until the second major fire in 1886 destroyed 22 acres in the heart of Salisbury. After this fire, an ordinance was passed that all subsequent buildings be of either brick or stone to prevent another disaster like the fires of 1860 and 1886. The streets were also made wider to prevent fire from spreading as it had previously.

The form of government changed in 1888 from a three commissioner form of rule to a mayor and council elected by the citizens.

For the next 20 years, Salisbury experienced tremendous growth. In keeping up with the rest of the country, Salisbury acquired electricity and telephone service. The harbor was dredged to a navigable depth by 1906. Automobiles started to appear on city streets. In 1909, the dam holding back Humphreys Lake broke, exposing the land east of Division St. At one time Humphreys Lake extended from Division St. on the west to about Davis St. on the east end. The southern shore extended from where the Daily Times building is now to along S. Park Dr. The northern shore ran approximately along what is now Rt. 50- a rather large body of water to be sure. When it emptied, a group of businessmen bought the land from the Humphreys family and formed the Salisbury Realty Co. Many of today’s structures east of Division St. are built on land that was once under water.

On the southern side of Humphreys Lake, a new high school was built in 1905. Prior to this, the previous school was named Salisbury High School and was available only to residents of Salisbury. When the new school opened, it was named Wicomico High School, to reflect the fact that they served all of Wicomico County. Another new High School was opened in 1932. This is now Wicomico Middle School. The present Wicomico High School was opened in 1954. Since that time both James M. Bennett (named after a former superintendent of Wicomico County schools) and Parkside High Schools have been built.

Two other occurrences contributed to Salisbury’s growth. Route 13 was built through the city in the late 1930’s and Route 50 was built in the early 1960’s. Both of these improvements made traveling in either direction much more desirable and added to the traffic flow both to and from Salisbury. Both of these routes have been superceded by the new by-passes that have recently been completed. While this relieves the traffic flow through downtown, fewer people see Salisbury’s business district.

3rd Party Stupid

Jon Huntsman, who started out the race for the Presidency as the moderate alternative to the other candidates and finished by trying to portray himself as the “true conservative” in the race is making an equally schizophrenic pitch for the third party.

Jon Huntsman called for the rise of a third party on Thursday as he argued the remaining GOP presidential candidates lack big ideas.

The comments from the former Utah governor, who dropped out of the race in January after a disappointing showing in New Hampshire’s primary, were striking given his support for Mitt Romney, one of the four remaining GOP candidates for president.

“Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff,” Huntsman said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I see zero evidence of people getting out there and addressing the economic deficit — which is a national-security problem, for heaven’s sake,” he said. “I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.”

…”Listen, until someone comes out that we’re going to sweep-clean the tax code, until we have the opportunity for a manufacturing renaissance … I’m a little disappointed that the big, bold, visionary stuff that the Republican Party is famous for is not on display for people to see,” Huntsman said.

In addition to calling for a third party, Huntsman endorsed campaign finance reform and term limits, saying both would be healthy for a democracy mired in the two-party system.

He also argued that Republicans had made a tactical mistake in embracing a culture-war argument over birth-control mandates.

“Not only is it a waste of airtime, but it’s a political loser, because of the impact it has on the demographic you’re describing,” Huntsman said to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who had just discussed conservative women in his life who were upset with the party over the issue.

This is a particularly bizarre argument coming from Huntsman.


Maryland's Blown Through Most Of Its Snow Removal Budget

ROCKVILLE, MD (WUSA) -- Our winter has been so mild, you might expect state highway departments would be socking away cash for next year.

Not Maryland.

It's spent $30 million of its $36 million dollar snow removal budget for the year. Compare that to Northern Virginia, which has spent less than half of its snow budget: about $20 million of a $55 million budget. DC's spent about $3.5 million of a $6.2 million budget.

"On what? it doesn't make sense," said Margaret Lancaster of Silver Spring. "On snow removal. We've had snow this year?" said Jonathan and Lisa Ai of Rockville.


Say What?

Pentagon Apologizes at Local Mosque For Quran Burning

STERLING, Va. (AP) - A senior Pentagon official apologized Friday to Washington-area Muslims for the burning of Qurans at a military base in Afghanistan.

Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, said the military is investigating what occurred and that all 140,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan are being retrained in the handling of religious materials.

Lavoy apologized multiple times during a brief speech during prayer services at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, one of the largest mosques in the country.


Piggy Bank

Mexican Journalist On Drug Lords: "If They're Going To Kill You, They're Going To Kill You'

MIAMI – "If they're going to kill you, they're going to kill you," said Luz del Carmen Sosa, a reporter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and mother of two, who spends most of her day running from one murder scene to another. "Even if you arrive surrounded by police, security escorts, whoever wants to hurt you will hurt you."

Just 20 miles from Ciudad Juarez, photojournalist Alejandro Hernández Pacheco did get hurt. On July 26, 2010, Hernandez was part of a TV news crew videotaping at a prison in the city of Gomez Palacio when he was kidnapped at gunpoint, along with two colleagues.

"They took us to a place that was covered with dried blood, with teeth and hair stuck to the walls," said Hernandez. He stopped himself from describing the room any further, saying it brings back terrifying memories.