Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Proof that Nancy Pelosi is Either an Idiot or a Liar

Jonathan Gruber is making news by basically saying that Obamacare got passed because the American people are idiots and the government intentionally withheld the truth.

So watch this first:


Now watch this:


Politicians really hope that Americans are stupid.  Too bad that they forget that the Internet exists and people record and archive everything they say.

Too Many Wires in Eldersburg

Have you ever noticed how many wires are strung from pole to pole around Eldersburg?  This is mainly evident down the Route 26 and Route 32 corridor. This seems a bit crazy to me.

Here is the intersection of Route 32 and 26 in front of the Exxon station.  I count 31 wires.  I think there are enough wires strung across the road to stop a moving ship. Perhaps there should be a project to start burying our wires.  They are as unsightly as the DVD cover of any Melissa McCarthy movie.


Friday, November 07, 2014

Anthony Brown - What's Next?

As much as I've bashed New York-born Anthony Brown over the years, I do feel bad for him.  Let's consider the facts.

Anthony Brown served in the military, rising to the rank of colonel and serving in Iraq.  I have a lot of respect for people that served in the military and sacrificed a part of their life, giving up time with their families, their jobs, and life as they know it.  I can't imagine what soldiers goes through to make the sacrifices they make.  However, in the end, an impeccable military record does not qualify you to be a governor.

In 1998, Anthony Brown started serving in the Maryland House of Delegates representing Prince George's County.  Delegate Brown then gave up a safe seat and perhaps an opportunity to rise to the Maryland Senate in order to run as Martin O'Malley's Lieutenant Governor, which at the time was not a sure thing.  Fortunately for Brown, O'Malley won, then won again.  I think Brown dutifully served Martin O'Malley for those 8 years, even if I totally disagree with the direction they took this state and the changes they made.  However, in the end, dutifully serving a governor does not qualify you to be the governor.

Near the end of this second term, Brown most likely became the fall guy for the failed Maryland Health Exchange.  The "state" used over $200 million of taxpayer money to create a website that didn't work.  They then had to buy another website for God-knows how much more money.  Brown put his name on the project, but I honestly don't think he actually did anything other than promote it.  He certainly would have taken credit had it been a raging success. Howeer, it was an abominable failure, therefor he gets credit for that outcome, too.

Now Anthony Brown is out of a job, as far as I know.  Will he go back to a lesser political job?  Will he get his first job (?) in the private sector?  Will he become a lobbyist?  Perhaps he'll be O'Malley's campaign manager.  The future may be unclear for the Lt. Governor, but in the end I'm glad he's not going to be our governor.

That Old Abandoned Farm House Revisited

Three years ago I wrote a post about the old farm house owned by the Patton family on the farm just prior to crossing the Morgan Run bridge at the Liberty Reservoir.  The house has not been renovated.  It continues to get more run-down.  The only thing that really changed is that the tree in the front yard fell during a storm. I think the owners are waiting for the house to also fall down so that they can sell the land for billions of dollars.


Here's what the house looked like 3 years ago.  What do you think of abandoned properties like this?  What do you think should be done?  Anything?


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Martin O'Malley - What's Next?

In the wake of the 2014 election, many are wondering what is going to happen next with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.  Republican Larry Hogan defeated heir apparent Anthony Brown, the current Lt. Governor.  Now that O'Malley is a true lame duck, what next?

It was thought by many that O'Malley was building a new Democratic machine that would promote the policies he established and continue Maryland down his road of liberal ideology for many generations to come.  Anthony Brown has been his puppet-in-training for many years and he would continue without missing a beat, through with fewer strings.  Then Ken Ulman would follow after that.  However, Marylanders solidly rejected another 4 years of higher taxes, anti-Constitution, and anti-business climate.  And did you know that no Lt. Governor in Maryland has ever been elected as Governor?  It's true!

Martin O'Malley being a dork.

Martin O'Malley was going to run for President. Heck, he may still run, but he's got his problems.  He repeatedly comes in 5th places in name recognition polls for candidates for the Democrat ticker.  He's been selling himself as the sole leader that can ambiguously move everything forward. Remember when he made an ass of himself at the 2012 Democratic National Convention?  "Move...?" and the crowd was supposed to yell, "Forward!", but most of them had no idea where he was going with that. The Maryland delegation tried to lead the chant, but it was so awkward that it eventually petered out.

Now, how can O'Malley sell his celebrity and success if his successor couldn't even get elected?  "Hi, I'm the guy whose policies were rejected by the electorate and the guy who was going to continue my legacy is now unemployed."  That's not a great campaign slogan.

And the best part is, the Presidential election is in 2016.  O'Malley is out of Annapolis in January of 2015.  He'd have to run for President as a civilian, though at this point, so would Hillary Clinton.  But that's another point - what Democrat would vote for O'Malley when they could vote for another Clinton?  What's Marty going to do between now and then?  Campaign?  He can't do it on the Maryland tax-payer's dime anymore.  That's right - all those trips he's been taking - you and I paid for those.  Will he get a no-show job that can fund him for a year and a half so he can prance around Iowa and New Hampshire at every backyard barbecue and Democratic award ceremony?

And the most important question of all - what happens if O'Malley fades off into oblivion?  Will I be forced to shut down this blog and start a new one?  I'd be more than happy to do that!


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Harvest Inn Getting New Parking Lot

The first restaurant I ever visited when I moved to Eldersburg 15 1/2 years ago is getting a new parking lot.  The age-old over-sized brown Harvest Inn, after years of decay, is getting new curbs, new sidewalks, and a resurfaced parking lot.

I think it's also worth noting that my first visit to the Harvest Inn was also my last.  I thought the food sucked.  The service definitely sucked.  It could have been a fluke.  I hear the breakfast is great, but once you've had a bad experience, it's difficult to convince someone to try again.

If anything else, at least the parking lot will be less of an eyesore.




Election Results - The Breakdown

Unless you've been watching a Honey-Boo-Boo marathon, you know that there was an overwhelming Republican clobbering of Democrats across the country.

Perhaps the biggest surprise (to some, but not all) was Republican businessman Larry Hogan's defeat of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown to succeed outgoing (thank God!) Governor Martin O'Malley.  Honestly, I thought the election would be close, but I was convinced that Anthony Brown would pull out the win.  Late season polls indicated that Brown's lead was somewhere between 2-9%, though a poll commissioned by Hogan indicated that the race was dead even.  Brown dismissed the poll because Larry paid for it.  End result - EVERYONE was wrong.  Not only did Anthony Brown lose, but he lost Big Time Rush.  I've never been happier to be wrong.

Larry Hogan got in the lead with about 15% of the precincts reporting.  Conservatives across the state muddled around waiting for the other shoe to fall and for Brown to take the commanding lead.  And they waited.  And waited.  And that moment never came.  After midnight it was clear that Hogan was going to win.  WBAL's reporting showed the Brown headquarters filled with morose lethargic followers.  The Hogan headquarters, on the other hand, was handing out alcohol and jubilantly celebrating and singing and jamming to the music as if the Berlin Wall just fell.

Larry Hogan speaking at a rally on Sunday November 2nd, 2014.

So how did Hogan win?  Here are some numbers.

Without absentee ballots, Hogan received 51.48% of the votes, while Brown only got 46.82%.

Hogan's largest margin of victory was in Carroll County (no surprise there).  He received 82.41% to Brown's 15.88%.  The Brown voters in Carroll County are currently being rounded up and sent to reeducation camps.

The closest contest for Governor was in Howard County where Hogan won 51.74% - 46.5%.  There Hogan won by 5,000 votes in blue Howard County.  Wow!!!

Blue-leaning Charles and Somerset Counties all went to Hogan, as did purple Baltimore County and Frederick County.  In fact, Brown only carried Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and Baltimore City.

Of Brown's 3 victories, his largest margin of victory was in his front yard of Prince George's County where he got 84.35% to Hogan's 14.76%.

In his backyard of Montgomery County, the most populous county in Maryland, Brown won, but Hogan got almost 40% of the vote, which is HUGE!!!  That's 90,000 votes to Hogan from Montgomery County alone.  In fact, Hogan's votes from Montgomery County are the 3rd most votes by county after Baltimore County (150,000 votes) and Anne Arundel County (114,000).  So in a manner of speaking, Montgomery County put Larry Hogan in the Governor's mansion.

Outside of the governor's race, the next most interesting race was in the redrawn Maryland 6th Congressional district where Democratic incumbent John Delaney is on edge with his battle with perennial Republican challenger Dan Bongino. Without absentee ballots, Delaney leads 49.59% to 48.39%, separated by a mere 2,160 votes.  If Delaney ends up winning, this should be a clear message to him that he needs to vote closer to the center than with the hard left-wing extremists like Nancy Pelosi.  I don't think the good folks of Western Maryland want to be represented by the fringes of the despotic left.

Another interesting race was for the County Commissioner of Howard County, the seat being vacated by the jeans & sneakers wearing Ken Ulman, who boldly decided to go with Brown on the gubernatorial ticket.  Legendary State Senator Allen Kittleman faced local mom Courtney Watson.  I think any other year this would have been a cakewalk for Mrs. Watson, but in this year of voter rebellion,  Kittleman came out on top, but barely.  I've known and watched Kittleman for almost 10 years.  He definitely thinks and votes right down the middle.  He reminds me a lot of Eisenhower.  Unfortunately in politics, the middle road is the road less taken.  I think Kittleman will do a fine job in Howard County and I hope the good residents there will reward him.

In Maryland's gerrymandered 8th district, which snakes through 45 counties and down some alleys, Montgomery County incumbent Chris Van Hollen won, though by a much smaller margin than most anticipated.  The 55 year old who was born in Pakistan had his closest battle since 2002 when he faced a newly redrawn district against Republican incumbent Connie Morrella.  Challenger Dave Wallace received almost 40% of the vote to Van Hollen's 60.1%.  This is the 4th consecutive election where Van Hollen has seen a reduction in his percentage of votes.  If all goes well, in 3 or 4 more elections he can finally be defeated.

I think the remaining elections across the state ended as expected.  Racist Steny Hoyer handily beat Chris Chaffee.  Just Call Me Dutch Ruppersberger defeated David Branch.  The other results were boring.

What do you think about the election results in Maryland?  Any race in particular worth noting?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Carroll County Board of Education Candidates

Election day is around the corner.  If you're like me, you're interested in the national candidates and the state level candidates, but once you get to the local candidates, you know nothing about them. Here's some information that may pursuade you to vote one way or the other.

For those of us with children in school, you know that 10 x 15 is not 150.  This answer is wrong.  You need to go through the chimney method, the grouping, and the rounding, and 17 other steps until you can get to the correct answer.  Memorization of number facts is vigorously discouraged.  Why?  Because that's how common core math is taught.

Here are you candidates for Carroll County Board of Education and where they stand with Common Core:



FOR  COMMON  CORE: Virginia  Harrison, Bob Lord and Devon Rothschild



AGAINST  COMMON CORE: George Harmening, Charles "Bud" Nason and James Roenick

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Maryland's Transportation Bucket List - Part 1

Here is a great example to prove that I do not tow the Republican Party line.  It seems as if Republicans want to pull the plug on all public transportation projects and focus on building wider roads and more roads to eliviate the traffic problems that are plaguing the Baltimore and Washington suburbs.  I think Maryland should actually be investing in more public transportation.

When you think of the great cities of the world, you think of New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland.  What do these cities all have in common?  They have excellent public transportation systems.

In Baltimore, we have a disjointed collection of transportation options.  There is the light rail system (commonly referred to as the Fright Rail) that runs north and south with a key connection at the airport with the longest name in history, the Thurgood Marshall Friendship Baltimore Washington International Airport.  Then there is the Metro subway, also known as the Mugger Mover, which runs from the northwest corner of the suburbs to the business center and mysteriously ends at Johns Hopkins Hospital with no other throughput to another side of the metropolitan area.

Baltimore also boasts MTA commuter buses that scurry city-fearing suburbanites from their offices jobs to their cozy colonials on cul-de-sacs.  And then there are the ever-present MTA buses that run the routes throughout the city.

Baltimore subway train in Owings Mills, MD at I-795

I'm not as familiar with all of the transportation options in the D.C. suburbs, but who can argue with the D.C. Metro with its maze of blue, green, orange, red, silver, and yellow lines that criss-cross the entire metro area through 2 states and the District?  It's the second busiest subway system in the United States with over 270 million riders annually.  This compares to 15 million riders of Baltimore's single subway line.

So where do we need improvements?  Everyone will holler that they don't want public transportation near their house.  People will rob us and commute back to the city.  Well, there is some truth to that, but I think you need to balance that with managing transportation.

Let's start with Baltimore.  The existing subway line needs to be extended to the northeast suburbs.  I think that's a no-brainer.  By extending the line, two sections of the county can benefit from a lot of the existing infrastructure.

Baltimore's Light Rail train near Camden Yards.

Then there is the infamous Red Line that has been proposed for several generations.  I even recall Martin O'Malley blithering that this will not be 'your father's light rail'.  Why are we building another light rail?  The light rail mucks up the existing traffic infrastructure in the city.  Ever been on Pratt Street when a light rail car is going by?  Traffic's already backed up for blocks and now you have to wait for the train.  Additionally, O'Malley has suggested a new type of train.  Why are we targeting ANOTHER type of train?  That would create a 5th type of train in the state, if you don't include the proposed D.C. purple light rail line.  These trains are all incompatible.  Shouldn't we be pursuing some sort of economies of scale?  Buy more of the same thing and you get a better deal.  Buy 5 different things that don't operate together and the taxpayers pay more money.  That's not investing in the future.  That's wasteful spending.

For those of you trying to figure out the 5 different rail lines, 1) Baltimore metro heavy rail, 2) MARC train & Amtrak, 3) Baltimore light rail, 4) D.C. Metro, and 5) Baltimore Red Line light rail.  That's just stupid! Make the Red Line a subway that actually connects with the existing subway line and have it snake through the city and dump out either in East Point or go all the way to White Marsh. I used to live in Bel Air, so I know what I-95 is like at White Marsh.

Here's another crazy idea.  Figure out how to connect the existing Baltimore Light rail to the existing Baltimore Subway.  Nutty, right?  Connect that with the new Red Line Subway and now you have a useful transportation system in Baltimore.  Let's not keep pushing for a transportation system that looks like it was developed by a politician.

In Washington, the politicians (here they go again) are pushing for an incompatible Purple Line that will snake down congested streets.  They plan to solve the congestion by removing existing lanes of traffic and planting a big lumbering train in the middle of it.  Problem solved bureaucracy-style!

Wouldn't it be great if there was a subway line that traversed the D.C. Beltway?  With the current grid, you have to go into the city, then come back out to get to another part of the suburbs. Tie the suburbs together with a big loop!  Please let me know where I can pick up my award for that idea.

That is my rail transportation pontification.  Stay tuned for my highway spiel.  This may come as a surprise, but I'm in favor of the middle ground more often than you think!




Friday, October 17, 2014

Eldersburg Big Lots - CLOSED!!!!

The day has finally come!  I drove by Big Lots the other day and noticed that there were no cars in the parking lot.  On my way back I pulled up to the door, looked into the empty building to confirm my findings and found a note on the door.

Here's the note.  Let the celebration begin!


Eldersburg Shell Station - Your To-Do List

I mentioned to a neighbor something about the Shell station recently and she was perplexed. "The Shell station?"  You know, the one that was a Texaco and prior to that it was a Crown station?  Now it makes sense.

When we first moved to Eldersburg in 1999, the gas station at the corner of Ridge Road and Liberty Road was a Crown station, one of two in town.  The other was at the corner of Route 32 and Route 26 where the WalGreens is now.

Crown stations used to be known for their water fountains.  The water fountain has not worked since we've lived here.  And since it has changed hands several times, some people may not even know that it's even there.  All they see is a big jungle of overgrown bushes and weeds.

This is craziness!  Yes, there is the foundation of an old fountain under this mess.


So I'm calling out the owners of the Shell gas station, HJR Benson Venture, LLC, located at 2700 Loch Raven Boulevard in Baltimore.  You need to do something about this mess because now only is it an eyesore, but this is a symbol of apathy and laziness on your part, and an embarrassment on ours.



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