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Monday, April 09, 2012


According to a new report by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – more than 46,000 parents of U.S. citizens were deported in just six month between January and June of 2011. This unprecedented rate of deportations is breaking up families and leaving tens of thousands of American children without parents and forced to grow up in foster care. President Obama has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than any other president, although right-wingers lie about his record and want more and more families broken up. And, tragically – this sort of crackdown is leading to enormous pain and suffering.

It's a 'Mad Max' World: Rising Gas Prices Fuel Criminal Ingenuity

With gas hovering around $4 a gallon, more and more people are deciding they'd rather steal it than pay for it.

Theft of fuel has traditionally risen and fallen with pump prices, but now crooks are going beyond simply siphoning gas from a parked car or driving off without paying after a fill-up. Around the nation, thieves are using ingenious methods and breathtaking brazenness to empty the tanks of trucks, industrial fleets and even gas stations themselves.

Some of the unusual incidents that have occurred in the past two months include:

Doubling Flush Tax Increase Almost Certain

Bay Restoration Fund still vulnerable to future raids

Most Marylanders will see their flush tax bill double from $30 to $60 beginning July 1, but the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund will remain vulnerable to raids that have climbed to $290 million since 2010. The Senate approved the fee increase in 28-18 vote late Saturday, with an amendment that exempts residents far western Maryland and the Ocean City area that are not part of the Chesapeake Bay drainage area.


Facebook Buying Photo-Share App Instagram For $1B

NEW YORK — Facebook is spending $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing company Instagram in the social network’s largest acquisition ever.

Instagram lets people apply filters to photos they snap with their mobile devices and share them with friends and strangers. Some of the filters make the photos look as if they’ve been taken in the 1970s or on Polaroid cameras.

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”


A Government Out Of Control Part 1 &2

Amazing Dog Lifeguard Rescues Pup

Jesse Jackson On Holy Saturday: Jesus Was An Occupier

Trayvon Martin Death Won't Go To Fla. Grand Jury

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A grand jury will not look into the Trayvon Martin case, a special prosecutor said Monday, leaving the decision of whether to charge the teen's shooter in her hands alone and eliminating the possibility of a first-degree murder charge.

That prosecutor, Angela Corey, said her decision had no bearing on whether she would file charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has said he shot the unarmed black teen in self-defense. Corey could still decide to charge him with a serious felony such as manslaughter which can carry a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted.


The New Normal: Trickle-Down Poverty

RUSH: Okay. Let's look at where we are, in terms of the redefinition of progress: 8.2% unemployment is the new 5.2%. The new norm. That 8.2% is nothing to be alarmed about. No emergency here. And $5-a-gallon gasoline, that's the new $3. Not $4. Remember when $4 was hit, everybody went crazy? No, now $5 gasoline, "Hey, it's the new the norm! It's not as much as they're paying in Europe. You should feel lucky." Trickle-down economics made fun of while trickle-down poverty is their policy. Trickle-down poverty is what is occurring in this country. Trickle-down poverty brought to us by Obama.

He's trying to score points as a defender of women. His comments about Augusta National. But again I ask, 'cause I've just told you, look at the number of women unemployed today as a result of Obama's policies. It's easy to talk about something you have absolutely no control over, like Augusta National. It affects what may be 20 people. What are we talking about with this Augusta business anyway? You can't control it. It's easy to sit there and point fingers of blame and mouth off while you ignore what you've done. But when it comes to Obama's job as president, who has done more harm to women, and men for that matter, in their actual lives than Barack Obama and his administration?


A Cowboy's Guide to Aging

Every day for the next 19 years 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 and be eligible for Social Security and Medicare. That is if there is any money left.

This year along with other boomers who were born in 1952, I will turn 60. I am not quite ready to retire and the way the economy is going it looks like a lot of us including myself will be working longer than we anticipated.

And with my youth and middle age in the rearview mirror, the end gets closer every day unless they figure a way to replace all the worn out parts of my body or find a fountain of youth. Even if I make it to the ripe old age of 100, I am way past the halfway mark of my life.

Lincoln Must Have Worked For Money Power

New Tim Burton film features Abraham Lincoln, vampires ... "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" to premiere in June 2012 ... While sitting in the theater waiting for "The Hunger Games" to start, I witnessed the most fantastically ridiculous trailer I've seen in a long time. It began when a slender man of large stature with the token beard, chiseled chin and tall top hat appeared on the screen. It was evident that he was Abraham Lincoln. When the trailer began, it looked like this movie might be some interesting, slightly morbid take on our 16th president's life. Or at least something that loosely follows documented history. But then the trailer cut to scenes of Honest Abe wielding an axe like he attended some brute weapons combat school. The slow-motion shot of Abe with his axe, though borderline cheesy, looked edgy. – Daily Wildcat

Dominant Social Theme: Abraham Lincoln − so great he even kills vampires.

Free-Market Analysis: The cult of Lincoln continues unabated. Now comes another movie glorifying the Great Emancipator − see excerpt above.

It is a "mash up" in which several genres are combined, fictionally. This mash up was initially fiction that combined the historical Lincoln with the vampire sub-genre.

The author was purposefully clever − or just lucky − to have featured Lincoln at a time when the powers-that-be are increasingly desperate for pro-government propaganda. We figure in this era of the Internet, Lincoln looks like a valuable figure to those who want to reinforce the primacy of government.

The dynastic families that run central banks along with their enablers and associates are continually attempting to bolster statist heroes like Lincoln because these elites maintain control via mercantilism. They need government, the bigger the better, to efficaciously move toward a New World Order.


US Navy Deploys 2nd Aircraft Carrier to Gulf

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The U.S. Navy said Monday it has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region amid rising tensions with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

The deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along with the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group marks one of the few times the Navy has had two aircraft carriers operating in waters near the Persian Gulf, said Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.

The two carriers will support the American military operations in Afghanistan and anti-piracy efforts off Somalia's coast and in the Gulf of Aden, she said.


“Hey, This Obama Guy’s Not Really Passionate About Freedom"

Over at the Washington Post, editorial page editor Fred Hyatt wonders about Obama’s lack of passion in supporting freedom around the world, something those of us on the Right noticed long ago, though we might term it derision of freedom

More than three years into his term, it’s possible to assess where the promotion of democracy and freedom ranks in President Obama’s foreign policy: not high.

It’s also possible to venture a theory as to why that’s so.

Mine would include several reasons: he’s incompetent. He had no real executive or legislative experience dealing with foreign countries (remember Hillary’s 3am ad?). His State department is run by boobs with nary a clue. It’s hard work. It gets in the way of golf and campaigning. He doesn’t control the media in those countries, so, he can’t bloviate, pontificate, and lie and get away with it. And, he really doesn’t care. He doesn’t care much for freedom here in the USA.

This was a matter of uncertainty before his election. Not surprisingly, Obama was eager to separate himself from his predecessor’s “Freedom Agenda,” which had been oversold and yoked to an unpopular war in Iraq. Obama talked more about “dignity” than “democracy” and warned that self-government couldn’t be imposed.


Durbin Joins Call For Hearings on Agency's Vegas Getaway

A top Senate Democrat on Sunday joined the chorus of lawmakers vowing to get to the bottom of what happened in Vegas -- after a federal agency blew through more than $820,000 for a 2010 conference.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, said the subcommittee he leads on the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the controversy when Congress returns from break.

"It's an absolutely outrageous expenditure of taxpayers' money," Durbin said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "That kind of misuse of taxpayers' funds is totally unacceptable."

When Losers Write History

Why legacy-newspaper media reporters get their own industry so wrong

Most journalists are familiar with the arch observation, made famous by Winston Churchill, that history tends to be written “by the victors.” Less known and more cheeky was Churchill’s prediction (mostly accurate, it turned out) that “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”

To make even preliminary sense of the hotly disputed and remarkably fluid landscape of modern media, it helps to recall Churchill’s axioms about historiography, and recognize that something closer to the inverse is warping our basic view of journalism. It’s the losers, not the winners, who are writing the early historical drafts of this transformational media moment, while those actually making that history—the people formerly known as the audience, in critic Jay Rosen’s apt phrase—are treating their legacy interpreters not with kindness but contempt. So much misunderstanding and breathtakingly wrong-headed analysis tumbles forth from this one paradox.


Rosetta Stone v. Google

Rosetta Stone sued Google for allowing its competitors to buy ads that appeared when people search for “Rosetta Stone”. The lawsuit was based upon trademark infringement.

At trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, Google had the lawsuit thrown out. Today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based out of Richmond, reinstated part of the lawsuit, allowing Rosetta Stone to have their day in court. The evidence produced in discovery showed the makers of counterfeit software were buying ads that appeared when people searched for Rosetta Stone and then selling fake language software.

This case will have a huge impact on online advertising. The full text of the case can be read here:

Off-Duty Montgomery Co. Officer Shoots Self After Stop, Pursuit On Eastern Shore

EASTON — Maryland State Police say an off-duty Montgomery County police officer fatally shot himself after a trooper stopped him for speeding and suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police say a trooper stopped 30-year-old Jed Bylsma of Gettysburg, Pa., on Route 50 near Easton around 1:30 a.m. Monday for speeding and noticed signs that the driver, who identified himself as a county officer, was under the influence. While the trooper returned to his cruiser, police say Bylsma took off.

Bylsma’s Nissan struck stop sticks near Airport Road and rolled to a stop and troopers found Bylsma with a gunshot wound to his head and a gun by his hand. Emergency care was provided, but Bylsma was dead. His body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

Court Tosses Claim Prayer Caused Damages

A Texas atheist may end up unwittingly fulfilling the same prayer he sued a former Navy Chaplain over after a judge dismissed his lawsuit alleging he was damaged by the prayer.

“This has been hanging over my head like a Damocles Sword for the last two and a half years, and now the string has been cut loose,” former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt said.

Last week, when the case finally came to court, Texas Judge Martin Hoffman issued a summary judgment dismissing it as frivolous.


Republican Challenge With Blacks And Hispanics

National Journal’s Ron Brownstein provided an eye opening reminder in a column last week about the impact of changing ethnic demographics on America’s political landscape.

The flashing red light of Brownstein’s message is pointed to the Republican Party.

America is changing inexorably into a country that is less and less white and the Republican Party remains today a party whose base is overwhelmingly white.

Brownstein estimates that Barack Obama could be re-elected this year with as little as 39 percent of the white vote. He notes that in 2008, when Obama won with just 43% of the white vote, it was the first time ever that a presidential candidate was victorious with double digit losses of white voters.


New Black Panthers: Race War For Trayvon April 9th 'Day of Action'

On the organizing phone call for their Trayvon Martin April 9th National Day of action protest The New Black Panther Party engaged in violent, racist, hate filled speech.

Video Here

WARNING: Extreme Language

A Comment Worthy Of A Post 4-9-12

Death and the fear of death is a Persuader and Hitler knew this also... He controlled the media and their lives by treating them, and our govt knows this and knows what works when it comes to taking freedoms... Hitler said if you want to take freedoms give the people a sense of security and they will give up all freedoms willingly... and he is right, and the said posters are right... they are attacking us NOW not later, NOW... Every bill they pas has a new measure to take from us... which is why they never past bills for long periods of time, they only do it in steps...

U.S. Brags About Quality Medical Care For Detained Illegal Immigrants

Weeks after announcing resort-like accommodations for illegal immigrants in federal detention facilities, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is bragging about the quality medical care it provides for undocumented aliens housed at nearly two dozen locations throughout the U.S.

It’s all part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to reform the immigration detention system so that it’s more humane. This includes a number of outrageous perks for arrestees, including female hormone treatments for transgender men, abortions for women and “ethnically diverse” diet options.

It also includes topnotch medical care provided by more than 900 Public Health Service-commissioned officers, federal civil servants and contract support staff. The DHS agency that runs the nation’s 21 detention facilities, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), promoted the new and improved healthcare system this week with an announcement titled “ICE Provides Quality Medical Care to Detainees.”


Ronald Reagan Tribute -- Bel Air Presbyterian Church

Pastor Threatens Iran with Quran Burning

Rev. Terry Jones warned today he will burn copies of the Quran if Iran doesn’t release an imprisoned pastor sentenced to death sentence after converting from Islam to Christianity.

Jones said in a radio interview that Iran has until April 28 to release Youcef Nadarkhani, currently facing death for preaching Christianity in Iran.

Declared Jones: “We have tried to contact Iran. We have tried to contact many of the religious leaders there. We have put out an ultimatum that if they have not released Pastor Yousef by April 28th we are calling for a worldwide burning of the Quran and also images of Mohammad as a protest.”

Jones is infamous for setting off deadly protests when he threatened to burn Qurans in June 2010 in protest of the 9-11 attacks.


My Message From Mike Wallace

When Mike Wallace left a message on my answering machine a decade ago, my dozing roommate thought it was all just part of a dream.

This was college, and we had one of those setups that broadcast phone messages as they recorded them. To my roommate, who had been passed out on the couch for hours, surely this was a dream.

Why else on a random weekday morning would the iconic CBS newsman's voice -- heard almost every Sunday on "60 Minutes" -- be ricocheting inside an apartment rented by three college kids he wasn't investigating?

But it was no dream, and the answer to me is now clear: Mike Wallace, decades into his career, wanted to inspire others to join his profession. And he was willing to reach out -- to cubs like me -- to help them get started.

Here’s the story behind that voice message, and what followed. It encapsulates what I’m sure is a minor series of moments in the famous newsman’s life. But now that he is gone, it does illustrate part of his legacy: the many young journalists who aspire to his stature. I count myself among them.


Time to Bolster Defenses Against Bugs

WASHINGTON - The most dreaded part of the summer is on the horizon: a mosquito onslaught. And in preparation for their inevitable visit, here are some helpful hints on how to avoid being bit.

Exposed skin will attract mosquitoes, so long sleeves and pants can keep them at bay. However, warm weather and humidity might make such clothing uncomfortable, so chemical sprays also are helpful.


A Look at Bills Passed By The Md. General Assembly

ANNAPOLIS — A glance at some measures approved by the Maryland General Assembly so far:


The legislature passed a watered-down version of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to limit where new residential septic systems can be located, especially in the most rural part of the states. Under the legislation, counties would be directed to develop a four-tiered system that dictates where septics can be placed. The state would not be allowed to overrule the county plans.


Maryland residents can expect their $30 annual sewer bill to double under another O’Malley priority passed by the General Assembly. The money is used to fight Chesapeake Bay pollution.


Report: Sony To Ax 10,000 Jobs, Expects $2.7 Billion Net Loss

TOKYO -- Sony Corp is cutting 10,000 jobs, about 6 percent of its global workforce, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday, as new CEO Kazuo Hirai comes under pressure to return the Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment company to profit after four years in the red.

The job cuts are the latest downsizing in Japan Inc where companies from tech names NEC Corp and Sumco Corp to brokerage Daiwa Securities are trimming costs to revamp their businesses.


Political, Legal Fights Over School Vouchers' Fate

Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable.

He was failing in his neighborhood public elementary school in Indianapolis until his mother enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school. Heather Coffy has scraped by for years to pay the tuition for Delano, now 16 and in a Catholic high school, and his two younger siblings, who attend the same Catholic elementary as their brother did. She's getting help today from a voucher program, passed last year at the urging of GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, that allows her to use state money for her children's education.


Whitney Houston's Funeral Costs Anger Hometown Residents

Whitney Houston’s funeral cost her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, $187,000 in police overtime, and some residents aren’t happy about footing the bill.

Local authorities staffed nearly 200 police officers at the New Baptist Church, where the funeral took place, as well as at the funeral home and a private gathering for friends and family. The nearly $200-thousand bill represents about 5 percent of the department's $4 million annual budget, CBS New York reports.


Finalists Emerge to Redesign National Mall Sites

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lakeside gardens, dining rooms hovering over water, grassy new amphitheaters and underground pavilions at the foot of the Washington Monument have emerged as finalists in a design competition to overhaul neglected sites on the National Mall.

Designers and architects are dreaming big for a chance to improve America's "front yard." One vision calls for a garden "museum without walls" in a place called Constitution Gardens. Another would "peel up" the landscape of the Washington Monument to reveal a large structure below ground with a theater and visitor amenities.


Red Flag Warning Issued

There is a high risk of fire danger today due to very dry conditions and some gusty winds to 30-35 miles per hour.

The fire danger will diminish tonight, as winds will be lower.

However tomorrow, we will have another fire danger day with gusty winds and dry conditions again.


Being ‘Army Strong’ Gets Weak Backing With Obama’s Strategy

The Army is coming out of a decade of war beat up and strapped for cash.

The force that arguably did most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered the most casualties, now finds itself in a new conflict.

It has begun a round of soul-searching and bureaucratic battles to determine its place in the Obama administration’s new military strategy, which celebrates the global striking power of air and sea forces and downplays the chance of another major land war.


You Just Can't Win For Being Honest

The investigator who revealed lavish spending at the General Services Administration is coming under fire himself. Former regional Public Building Service commissioner Alan Greenberg said the report "wreaks of a political hatchet job" designed to ruin senior GSA leaders. He said Inspector General Brian Miller embellished for the media, with inflammatory terms and editorial comments. He said IGs rarely release reports to the agency and the media on the same day, as Miller seems to have done. Former Public Building Services Commissioner Joseph Moravec described the fallout and uproar on Capitol Hill as a "witch hunt".

Md. Seeks to Block $18.5M Award in Inmate's Death

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Attorney General's Office is asking a Baltimore judge to cancel or reduce an $18.5 million award stemming from the murder of an inmate aboard a state prison bus.

The hearing is scheduled Monday afternoon in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

A jury awarded the damages in October to the parents and estate of Philip Parker Jr.

He was strangled in 2005 by inmate Kevin Johns during a bus ride from Hagerstown to Baltimore


Worldwide Game Of Tag

The State Department said a worldwide game of tag showed how social networking can speed up diplomacy. It sponsored a competition in which teams had to find and photograph five people throughout the world. The winners were a group from the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. They found someone in Slovakia in under eight hours using only a photograph. They also tracked down targets here in Washington and in New York, but couldn't find the ones in Stockholm or London.

More Deer Means More Ticks and Illnesses

WASHINGTON - An early spring and warm winter are leading to a painfully long tick season, which will translate to more bites and illnesses.

Lyme disease continues to be at high levels ever since nearly tripling from 2006 through 2007, "which means there are a lot more black legged ticks out there biting," says Dr. David Gaines, Virginia's public health entomologist. Black legged ticks are also known as deer ticks.

While Lyme disease isn't fatal, the lone star tick -- the most common in Virginia -- carries ehrlichiosis, which can be fatal if left untreated.


Family Claims Coca-Cola Owes Them 1.8 Million Shares For Old Stock Certificate

Like something straight out of Antiques Roadshow (aka the show that makes you want to rip apart your attic every time someone gets a surprise windfall), the family of a man who passed away a few years ago claims Coca-Cola owes them 1.8 million shares, worth around $130 million, of the company after coming upon a stock certificate the man bought at a garage sale.


Today's Fill In The Blank 4-9-12

The American Dream Is ______.

Another Town Forced To Cancel Easter Egg Hunt Due To Pushy, Violent Parents

Come on, parents, pull yourselves together and act decent for your kids, because this is getting ridiculous: Yet another town, this one in Georgia, is canceling an Easter Egg hunt over concerns that parents will get violent during the festivities.


Another Serious Accident On Rt. 50: UPDATE

ALL East Bound lanes are closed on Rt. 50 and Stanton Ave. near the Royal Farm store. Accident with entrapment involving a SHA truck.

Originally posted at 11:52 M.

Today's Advertiser Of The Day 4-9-12

50 Million Americans Age 16 And Over Don't Read Books Anymore

While the study found that the average American now reads 17 books a year – thanks in large part to e-readers – a fifth of the population doesn't read at all. That's the highest number since the survey on American reading habits started in 1978. Unfortunately, America is quickly becoming no country for authors.

Teens Just Can't Stop Texting and Driving

WASHINGTON - April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, and the focus is on a dangerous combination of texting and driving.

It is illegal in Maryland, Virginia and D.C., but teens here and elsewhere appear to be ignoring the law in large numbers. In some surveys, almost 50 percent say they text while driving.

Rocco Panetta, executive director of the Texting Awareness Foundation, says texting can be more dangerous than drunken driving and creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving under normal circumstances.


Single Vehicle Accident

There's been a single vehicle accident west bound on Rt. 50 and Bent Pine. One lane of traffic is closed. We've been told this could be a fatal accident but let's hope it isn't.

Delegate Michael A. McDermott Field Notes 4-9-12

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Michael A. McDermott
Week 13 April 2-7, 2012
Monday Afternoon Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
SB-48 will require those serving as Orphan Court Judges in Baltimore County to be members of the State Bar Association. I did not support this bill as historically these elected positions have never required a person to be an attorney; rather it required one to have good common sense. Other counties in the metro areas are moving in this direction. The bill passed 105-30.
Tuesday Morning Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
SB-853 allows expanded collective bargaining for Baltimore County School Employees. It was approved along party lines. SB-153 created additional state debt of over $15 million for the Inter Agency Committee that funds certain school construction projects. Once again, in these tough economic times, we continue to plunge the state into more debt as we continue to max out our “credit card”. Once again, by a party line vote the bill passed.
Judiciary Committee Hearing Tuesday
The following are Senate cross filed bills with their matching House Bill numbers:
SB-203 (HB-484), SB-334 (HB-673), SB-799 (HB-776)
SB-80 would allow a vehicle repair estimate to be acceptable as evidence during civil litigation. This would eliminate the need for adjusters to testify.
Judiciary Voting Session Tuesday
The following bills were voted favorably by the committee:
SB-70, SB-640, SB-650, SB-691
The following bills were voted unfavorably by the committee:
Wednesday Morning Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
Judiciary Committee Hearing Wednesday
The following are Senate cross filed bills with their matching House Bill numbers:
SB-397 (HB-773), SB-489 (HB-742), SB-558 (HB-921), SB-678 (HB-708), SB-787 (HB-772), SB-889 (HB-349)
SB-76 is a synthetic cannabinoids (marijuana) bill which seeks to ban several different drugs identified as synthetics. They are truly different than marijuana and certain synthetics are being reviewed by the FDA, and some of them have been placed on the schedule of controlled dangerous substances. Worcester and Baltimore Counties have adopted local ordinance to address these drugs. This bill was rejected last year in committee. SB-422 was a conference bill amended by the Senate and House to address the Public Defender crisis created by the DeWolfe decision requiring representation at all court levels, including a District Court Commissioner Initial Appearance. The bill also expands the use of citations by police officers for petty crimes carrying 90-days or less sentencing guidelines. The controversial part of the bill dealt with the inclusion of simple possession of marijuana as an offense which would require release from custody by use of a citation unless certain criteria (uncooperative, identification issues, public safety, etc.) were present. Clearly, any large quantity of marijuana would generally be interpreted as possession with intent to distribute (which is a felony). Some argued thinking that police officers cannot determine the difference. I supported the measure, which will potentially save taxpayers $27-$100 million and will keep police from getting bogged down waiting on District Court Commissioners. The bill passed on a vote of 81-58.
Friday Morning Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
Debated bills included SB-602 (companion to HB-366) which requires a complete sprinkler system in every new home built in Maryland. Since the bill references the building code, any new code established after this bill is signed into law will become law. It will drive up the cost of building a home from 8-20 thousand dollars and will, no doubt, take thousands of Marylanders out of the market place. 16 counties wanted no part of this bill, but that did not matter to the other 8 counties. It passed 100-38 on party lines.
HB-113 was yet another tax/fee increase of 20% on each commercial scale or measuring device used by a business. This just constitutes another “unfriendly” business practice for Maryland. The bill passed 95-45. SB-236 is one of the more egregious bills of the session. The title, Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, seems to say one thing while actually doing another. This bill moves the state into the business of local planning and development as part of the O’Malley-Brown Plan Maryland Act. It will take away many local decisions and make them subservient to the whims and demands of various state agencies. As stated on the floor by Environmental Chairman McIntosh, the concept is simply to, “control the growth and development and insure that people move toward cities and not develop in the rural areas”. It will place tremendous caps on septic systems and will disallow future development in much of Maryland. It is reasonable to draw conclusions from this bill that this spells the end of rural development in Maryland. It will devalue farmland and place farmers who must borrow against their land for the next planting season to have land that is not worth anywhere near what it is in today’s market. This destructive bill is the camel’s nose under the tent. It was approved on a largely party line vote 93-45 (as was also the case in the senate).
Judiciary Committee Voting Session Friday Afternoon
Bills Voted Favorable
HB-15, HB-214, HB-797,
Saturday Morning Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
Bills debated included HB-167 which will ban the use of Roxarsone or any other feed additive which contains Arsenic. This will impact many companies on the shore who utilize this FDA approved treatment in chicken feed. It will drive up costs which will be transferred to consumers at the food store. Consumers always pay for the folly of the General Assembly. The bill passed 101-31. Despite our best efforts to educate those in the General Assembly, they have difficulty connecting the dots on the effects of balancing the environment with our delicate farm economies. Farmers continue to lose in Annapolis.
Saturday Afternoon Session
Second Reader, Third Reader
Debated bills included SB-309 which will require the registration of motor scooters as well as requiring insurance documents be kept on hand and the rider wear a helmet. This will be a real cost factor for many rental businesses at the beach. It will also hinder many who rely on this as a cheap form of transportation to work in the metro areas. It passed 95-31. SB-296 provides tax breaks for employees of high security companies who must apply for Security Clearance as a part of their job. It is corporate welfare to high end wage earners who could certainly afford to pay for such a clearance as part of their job. We do not pay for teachers and folks who must get fingerprinted as part of their job, and I think this is simply wrong headed. It is a couple of million that we could have saved. After some thorough questioning on the floor, the House passed this bill 93-29. SB-794 was the closest vote of the day (passed 76-44) which provides much needed relief of $1 million dollars for our horse industry. It will specifically provide relief to race tracks for purse money used to cover ongoing races. The money is being transferred from other portions of the Horse racing budget. There are many in the House who do not believe we should be subsidizing this industry, yet they will subsidize anything else that comes along. Locally, we have many who are employed or otherwise involved in the industry and I have always supported their efforts at building back this traditional Maryland business. This transfer will go to cover some of the lost purse money that Ocean Downs has endured in the past two years. My Misdemeanor on Citation Bill (HB-119) was drastically changed in the Senate and was assigned to a Conference Committee in the House. This is my second Conference Committee assignment this year and I am excited about trying to restore this bill to its original intent. There won’t be much time on Monday to make it happen.

Gaming Bills
Bills that would alter the original gaming legislation enacted two years ago were moving all over the place on Friday and Saturday. They include creating a 6th casino in Prince Georges County and allowing table games in all Maryland casinos. I have been attempting to secure language in the new legislation that would limit changes at Ocean Downs while still allowing them to bring in table games. So far, we have been able to secure the language which would prevent a convention center or motel facility from being located at the casino site, but we continue to press on the other provisions in the current law. Like the budget issues, this one could fail completely, be a complete disaster, or be modified to our liking. We work the problem, but time will tell.

We waited on many other potential bills to move over from the Senate, but none were forthcoming. I watched many of the members of the House Appropriations Committee moving off the House floor as the Conference Committee on the budget and revenue bills continue to grind out their issues. While some compromise was reached, I understood the bulk of the division still centered on the revenue bills and where they were going to tax. We face a Sine Die (Monday) that will be full of challenges and Marylanders will be the ones holding the bag at the end of the day.

Today's Survey Question 4-9-12

If you could afford to quit your job, would you?

Americans Who Don't Want To Be Murdered By A Handgun are screwed

A new report by the British newspaper The Guardian finds that there's been a huge increase in so-called "justifiable homicides" across America, thanks in part to the new ALEC-written Stand Your Ground – or shoot first – laws. Since Florida became the first state to pass a Stand Your Ground law back in 2005 – and was then followed by 20 other states passing similar laws – the number of so-called justifiable homicides across the nation has gone up 25%. The Stand Your Ground law is at the center of the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida – and is the main reason why the shooter, George Zimmerman, is still walking around as a free man. As Dan Gross – the President of the Brady Campaign - said about this new study, "This research demonstrates a fundamental point. Stand-your-ground laws are dangerous on their own as a mentality. But when combined with weak gun laws they become a recipe for tragedy." The number of justifiable homicides by police officers is also up across the nation – meaning cops are also adopting a shoot-first mentality. After a decade of Republicans and the military/police complex convincing Americans that we have to be scared to death of countless threats – too many of us have all gone crazy and are now shooting each other. It's time to return to our roots – as the home of the brave – not the home of the frightened and trigger-happy.

Easter Egg Hunts: New Full Contact Sport?

Hunt organizers are increasing security due to unruly, overzealous parents

Video Here

Private Consultants Rake In Public Pension Fund Fees

The woes of public pension funds have generally been placed squarely at the feet of public employees, who are often accused of having bloated pension packages that are neither realistic in today's economy nor fiscally sustainable. But much of the damage to pension fund account balances occurred as a result of losses incurred during the collapse of the bubble in 2008 to 2009.

Who has been responsible for fund performance? A recent article in The New York Times shed some light on the huge amounts of money that public pension funds pay each year to Wall Street firms for the service of managing their assets.

But external management fees are only part of the expenses that pension funds pay to private companies. Most funds also retain "investment consultants" who advise them on how to allocate their assets. The fees paid to these consultants in many cases are equal to a sizable portion of the amount of money that pension funds pay to their own employees.


Md. Likely To Raise School Dropout Rate to 18

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland lets kids drop out of school at age 16, two years before they can in Virginia and D.C., but it looks like that's about to change.

The General Assembly looks set to pass a bill that would require kids to stay in school until they turn 18.

The bill details some exceptions, including for kids who graduate early or get a GED, are married or in the military, provide financial support for their family, or are taking classes through an alternative program.


What's New, Not Much

In case you hadn't noticed, there really hasn't been a lot of local news these past two weeks. Yeah, there's been some ribbon cuttings and things of that nature but all in all it's been more quiet than normal.

The timing, (for me, anyway) couldn't have been better. I've had a ton of things to do and fortunately that break has allowed me to get everything I wanted done complete.

Now, the one thing you don't want to do is leave someone like Joe Albero with a whole lot of time on my hands because I will find something. After all, that's how Salisbury News got started. The Zoo, the Waste Water Treatment Plant, you name it.

In the mean time, while I start snooping around, if you know of certain events or things going on we may not be aware of, drop me a note. Especially things that make for positive news. Lord knows we could always use more of that.

In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this recent holiday break.

Two Of Latin America's Deadliest Gangs Join Forces

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - _ Hardened in the streets and prisons of California and deported in the 1990s to the Central American countries where they were born, the members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang swiftly grew into a force of heavily tattooed young men carrying out kidnappings, murder and extortion.

Now, Guatemalan authorities say, they have begun to see new and disturbing evidence of an alliance between the Maras and another of the most feared criminal organizations in Latin America _ a deal with the potential to further undermine that U.S.-backed effort to fight violent crime and narcotics trafficking in the region.


Panel to Focus on Perceptions of Black Men, in Wake of Trayvon Martin's Death

WASHINGTON - Perceptions of Black men in society, in the wake of Trayvon Martin's death, will be the topic of a community discussion Tuesday night at the D.C. Armory.

It will happen the same day that a grand jury in Florida is scheduled to to decide whether or not to charge admitted gunman George Zimmerman with a crime.

Zimmerman has maintained that he shot Martin in self defense the night of Feb. 26 in a Sanford, Fla. neighborhood.


Legislative Session Produces Profound Changes

Education, environment, health - state changing relationship with counties, citizens

The 2012 General Assembly has not been kind to Maryland's county governments or their checkbooks.

This year's session, which is scheduled to end Monday night, has been a deal-changer for the state's relationship with its counties. Bills have passed to direct more education costs to the counties and place greater burdens on them to clean up the environment.
Now it is up to the counties to determine how to pay for their new obligations.


Lawmakers Race To A Midnight Adjournment, Budget Unresolved

Hundreds of bills hang in the balance as state lawmakers begin their final day of the 2012 session today.

The session ends at midnight tonight.

The biggest unresolved issue is a compromise on the state's nearly $36-billion budget, along with a series of tax increases.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to boost income tax rates on individuals earning more than $100,000, but they disagree on plans to limit or remove exemptions, increase some tobacco taxes, and shift the cost of teacher pensions to county governments.


Shelby American Marks 50th Anniversary With 950-hp Street-Legal Mustang

Last year, I drove a Shelby GT500 Super Snake at the California Speedway. The very latest evolution of the high-performance GT500 Mustang, this Super Snake was street friendly, but with 800 horsepower, its brutality could be unleashed with a mere ankle twitch. Unlike many of today's miserly mainstream machines, I never questioned what it would be like with more power. But living-legend Carroll Shelby did. In fact, after his first ride in the Snake, Shelby American President John Luft says the namesake leader challenged the team to reach for 1,000 horsepower. And they did.


1 Man With The Courage to Save 40,000

Dr. Jim Garrow was willing to be called a “smuggler” and a “child trafficker,” risking his life if the Chinese police discovered what he was doing – but for this Canadian living in the land of a one-child policy, saving baby girls from certain death was worth the risk.

“That river was fraught with dangerous currents,” Garrow explains. “As a foreigner, especially, if I were caught ‘stealing babies,’ as the Chinese authorities would perceive my actions, I would be killed. Pure and simple. … Failure was not an option.”


WCSO Press Release 4-9-12

Incident: Child Neglect
Date of Incident: 4 April 2012
Location: 400 block of Keene Avenue, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Martine Marcellus, 21, Salisbury, MD

Narrative: On 4 April 2012 at 11:15 AM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of young children left alone at a residence in the 400 block of Keene Avenue. Upon arrival, the deputy learned that Martine Marcellus had left her two children, a four and two year old, alone unattended. The children were discovered when a maintenance man came to the house to complete some repairs. The deputy observed what could be describe as squalor like conditions with foul smelling rotten food left out. The deputy discovered that the two year old was fitted with a diaper that had gone quite a while without a change.

The children’s mother returned at 1:33 PM and did not appear to understand there was a problem. The deputy placed the mother, Martine Marcellus, under arrest for the neglect of her children. Marcellus was transported to the Central Booking Unit where she was processed and taken in front of the District Court Commissioner. After an initial appearance, the Commissioner detained Marcellus in the Detention Center in lieu of $100,000.00 bond.

The Department of Social Services assisted with placement of the children.

Charges: Child Neglect
Unattended Children
Contributing to the Condition of a Child

Remembering Mike Wallace 1918-2012

(CBS News) For half a century, he took on corrupt politicians, scam artists and bureaucratic bumblers. His visits were preceded by the four dreaded words: Mike Wallace is here.

Wallace took to heart the old reporter's pledge to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. He characterized himself as "nosy and insistent."

So insistent, there were very few 20th century icons who didn't submit to a Mike Wallace interview. He lectured Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, on corruption. He lectured Yassir Arafat on violence.

He asked the Ayatollah Khoumeini if he were crazy.