Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marylanders Don't Want a President O'Malley!

This is music to my ears!  O'Malley has been running for President for the 2016 election for years now.  But according to a poll conducted for the Baltimore Sun, the majority of Marylanders do NOT want Martin O'Malley to run for President.

Wow, if your own state doesn't want you to run for President, what does that tell you?

O'Malley gets mostly good grades from a state that is over 65% Democrat, though only 50% overall approve of him.  So assuming 100% of Republicans in Maryland thinks that he sucks, there is still a fairly large chuck of Democrats that also think he sucks.

The same poll also reviewed Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  In a city that is 124% Democrat, 50% of those polled think that she's doing a good job.

Also thrown out were potential gubernatorial candidates for 2014.  Tony Brown leads the list.  Most people responded, "Who's Tony Brown?"  He was followed by Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, and Ken Ulman.
Finally, Harford County Executive Dave Craig's name was thrown out there.  He's a Republican.  I seriously doubt if Bob Ehrlich is going to run for governor a 4th time.  Is Craig thinking about running?  What other Republicans may throw their hats into the ring?  Nancy Jacobs if she doesn't beat Dutch Ruppersberger? Tony O'Donnell?  Pat McDonough (I hope not)? E.J. Pipkin?  Allan Kittlemann?

Anyway, read the article.  I think it's interesting to read what Marylanders are thinking.

Post Super Storm Sandy

The past few days have been crazy.  The mid-Atlantic states braced, and then got hit by the most colossal worst hugest hurricane of the century ever.  Who knew that the worst storm to ever hit the area would be a CAT-1 hurricane???  I guess we have short memories.

I actually went to work on Monday at American Corrugated Amalgamated Conglomerates of America to set up the corrugator and before I knew it we got the message to leave as only essential employees needed to be there.  And I'm not essential by any stretch of the imagination.  I promptly went home and took a 2 1/2 hour nap.  Oh, what heaven.

I watched it rain all day.  Not heavy rain, just normal rain.  And it got a bit windy.  Then Tuesday I found out we were closed again.  And it rained a little.  And was a little windy.  I heard that others in Carroll County lost power, but ours only flickered now and then.  We lost the cable television for about 30 minutes.  But that was the worst of it.

The most fun I had was watching the pond behind our house rise to its banks, then start spilling into the grated drain, then rise even higher until it crested the spillway.  I think the pond rose about 6-8 feet.  Maybe more!

Before I grace you with my pictures, here are my top pet peeves from the storm:

1) the phrase "stay safe".  Hey, that's a great idea.  I'll cross wind-sailing from the top of my roof off of my list.
2) hunker down.  We don't live under a pile of sticks in the woods.  I can stand upright and still feel safe in my house.  Are we all sore now from hunkering?
3) fake photos.  OMG!!! - the Route 50 bridge to Ocean City was destroyed!  The boardwalk doesn't exist anymore!  Godzilla just came out of the ocean!
4) pictures of Marines guarding Tomb of the Unknown soldier.  Yes, gallant.  They guard the tomb no matter what.  But that same picture has been circulating the Internet for years.  Every time it rains or snows we see that picture.
5) Facebook.  "Sure glad we have plenty of alcohol."  That's a great idea, get drunk in the middle of a storm while your kids are scared. That way if a tree falls on your house and you're injured you  won't feel it and you won't be able to help them.
6) Channel 13 - "Look, here's a puddle of 'wooder' in the parking lot.  And over there some leaves and branches have fallen.  Let's go take a look....."
7) The Weather Channel - "we've updated our maps from 30 seconds ago, let's take a look...."
8) the crawler at the bottom of the screen - Toots daycare is closed.  Bel Air library is closed.  John's Service station is closed..... Do I need to know the name of every entity in the state of Maryland that is closed???

This is our pond in April.  Notice the railing over the storm drain in the bottom right corner.  Notice the berm through the middle of the pond on the right side.  Note the little bit of a dip in the berm behind the 2nd house from the left.  That's the spillway.


Here's the pond at noon on Monday.  Notice that the water is nearing the top of the storm drain and the burm through the middle of the pond is barely visible on the right side, but mostly goes across the pond.


This is about 3pm.  Notice that the water has crested the storm drain and the railing is now partially submerged.  And the berm is shrinking.


This picture is one hour later.  We got some heavy rain in the last hour.  The middle rail is now submerged and the berm across the middle of the pond is submerged.  Notice the spillway at the top of the pond in the middle.  It was crested and is now spilling behind drain, as designed.  That's a lot of water!


Here's a creek behind our house.  Normally it's just rocks and a slight trickle.  This is at noon.


Here's the creek at 3pm.  Muddy run-off from a nearby construction site has consumed the water.


 Now the drain under me is submerged and the water is just pooling up around me.



Before Obama Favored Gay Marriage....


The blogsphere, Facebook, and the Huffington Post are lighting up with lots of hate messages.  Apparently Mitt Romney hates women, hates the auto industry, hates 99% of all Americans, hates blacks, hates Latinos, hates gays and lesbians, and is a consummate liar and wants to destroy the country and give all the money to rich white guys.  To judge Mitt Romney from these sources, he puts the devil to shame.

I saw a foolish comment today on a bigoted hate picture that says Obama supports gay marriage, Romney is still trying to figure out how to destroy gay people.  The comment said, "At least Obama hasn't flip-flopped on supporting gay marriage."

Oh, really?  According to this video, Obama at one time did not support gay marriage and favored civil unions instead.  I think that's the very definition of flip-flopping.  Obama calls it evolving.  So when Romney changes his position on an issue, it's called flip-flopping.  When Obama changes his position, it's evolving.

Is this double-standard now clear to everyone?


Monday, October 22, 2012

What O'Malley Doesn't Understand About Question 7

It is amazing what Martin O'Malley is spinning when it comes to Question 7 on the Maryland election ballot. Question 7 pertains to allowing more casinos in Maryland and allowing table games, such as craps (I just said craps) and poker.

From a national perspective, the United States is getting saturated with gambling.  First it was New Jersey and Nevada.  Then the Indian nations were allowed open casinos.  We added casinos in South Dakota, Connecticut, and West Virginia.  Then Delaware, Michigan, Pennsyltucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio.  And this does not take into consideration the lottery, which is aimed at creatively separating poor people from their money.  Governments rely on the pairing of two old sayings.  One, that "a fool and his money are soon parted" and two, "a sucker is born every day."  When it comes to the lottery, the poor people lose their money to government-sanctioned gambling.

O'Malley says that Marylanders spend $550 million annually in other states.  One of his recent Tweets is:

@GovernorOMalley

Every year, Marylanders spend $550 million at casinos in other states. Q7 keeps that Maryland money in Maryland.

Is he implying that if Question 7 passes, that money will stay in Maryland?  Is O'Malley saying that Marylanders will stop going to Las Vegas?  Is Carolyn Goodman aware of this?  Is O'Malley saying that Marylanders will stop going to Atlantic City?  Marylanders will stop going to Charlestown, West Virginia and Dover, Delaware?  Anyone with a 4th grade education (which eliminates most Baltimore City public school students, victims of Martin O'Malley's failed education policies when he was Mayor of Baltimore) knows that this is not a realistic scenario.  People will NOT stop going to these places.  We may keep some of that money from going to West Virginia or Delaware.  But those other destinations?  Those are party destinations.  What our misguided politicians fail to see is that Las Vegas and Atlantic City are vacation destinations.  This may be mind-blowing to Martin O'Malley, but Arundel Mills Mall is not a vacation destination.  People aren't flying in from Milwaukee and Denver to go to Perryville.

How much of that $550 million will stay in Maryland?  I may be misguided here, but I think it will be about $30 million.  People will go to National Harbor and the Casinos in Baltimore as a novelty interest destination.    After a year, interest will wain and those parlors will begin to show less revenue every month, just like Perryville is showing now.  Once you've been there, I'm sure most people will not return.

Imagine the next bachelorette party: "Hey, where do want to go?  Let's go to Biloxi, Mississippi! No, let's go to Las Vegas.  No, let's go to the casino next to the Ravens' stadium that's next to that really bad neighborhood on Russell Street."  Make sense?  Of course not.  It's not going to be the huge financial success that O'Malley thinks it is going to be.

This Question 7 is a boondoggle.  I think the better answer is allow table games in the existing casinos. Swap out the casino in Perryville for the one at National Harbor. National Harbor is on a river next to Washington, D.C.  Millions of eople already go to Washington, D.C. every year.  Add this as a Maryland attraction for vacationers visiting the Capitol.

Perryville, on the other hand, is on Interstate 95.  Outside of the casino, the other tourist attractions are the I-95 toll plaza, Port Deposit, but avoid it during heavy rains, and the state-of-the-art library that opened in 2008.  The only advantage that Perryille has is its proximity to the interstate and Philadelphia and New York City.  People can drive another hour to visit the bustling destination of Hanover, Maryland, or 30 minotes more to National Harbor in Prince George's County.

We must focus the rest of our attention on rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure in Maryland, specifically the crime-riddled neighborhoods of Baltimore.  And that terrible intersection at Deer Park Road and Lyon's Mill Road in Randallstown.

Again, vote NO on Question 7.  Let's revisit the legislation next year and do it properly.

A Night With Micky Dolenz of the Monkees

I learned a new term this weekend.  It's "cancer perk".  It's used by many of the older kids who are battling cancer.  It's a perk that they get because they have cancer, such as going to baseball and football games, vacation destinations, meeting celebrities, and such.  While fun, I'm sure any child battling cancer would gladly trade in these cancer perks to be cancer free.

The cancer perks are also fun for the families.  And again, we'd be glad to never experience any of these perks if our daughter didn't have to go through what she's going through.  This weekend we experienced a wonderful cancer perk.

On Saturday we were honored guests at the Children's Cancer Foundation's annual ball at the Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, Maryland.  It was a black tie affair and I estimate about 1,000 people were in attendance.  With tickets at $250 each, this event brought in a lot of money (minus expenses).

We were treated to wonderful food, such as lamb chops and crab cakes as appetizers.  Dinner was steak and salmon, which were amazing.  Dessert?  Oh, my.  Chocolate mousse corralled with milk chocolate pieces, topped with fresh blueberries, apricots, and raspberries.  If this doesn't tame your sweet tooth, then nothing will.


After dinner, the Children's Cancer Foundation awarded grants to many hospitals and doctors.  The locally famous (world-famous?) Dr. Benjamin Carson was in attendance and was the recipient of a grant to purchase new equipment.  One of the children at our table was a benefactor of Dr. Carson, who removed a brain tumor from him when he was 6 years old.  He's now 18 years old.  He's an inspiring success story.


There was also a silent auction in the reception area.  I obviously wan't going to be able bid on anything.  One of the items up for auction was lunch with one of the executives of Safeway.  The current bid was $5,000.  Amazing.  There was some serious money floating around.

Finally there was the entertainment.  Micky Dolenz was there to sing.  Anyone older than 40 knows The Monkees.  If you're over 50, you probably remember watching The Monkees on television when it was new.  Anyone between 40 and 50 remembers The Monkees when MTV aired the reruns.  For those under 25, The Monkees were Big Time Rush of the 1960's.


Micky started with the Theme of the Monkees, then went right into I'm A Believer, while reminding the crowd that he sang this song long before Shrek made it popular again.  And did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it?  He told stories of the Monkees and eulogized his long-time friend Davy Jones who passed away this year.  His sister was there Coco was there to sing with them.


In the mix, Micky sang their first hit Last Train to Clarksville, then other songs such as She, Pleasant Valley Sunday, and I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone.  Finally in the finale they called up all of the special children who were guests of the Children's Cancer Foundation for a chorus of Daydream Believer.  None of the kids had ever heard that song, but the crowd willingly serenaded them with the chorus.  It was a really special moment.

Micky inspiring the crowd to sing with him:


After the entertainment, we got to get our picture taken with Micky, which I'm sure is more special to my wife and me than it is to my daughter.  He was pleasant.  His entertainment was fantastic and his stories were funny and interesting.  This guy may be 67, but his heart is still 22.

Micky looking right at me:


For the record, the Children's Cancer Foundation has given grants totally more that $33 million since it's inception about 28 years ago. If you're looking for a place to make a tax-deductible donation this year, this is a great choice.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Little Stop in Harper's Ferry

I really don't have anything political to write about today, so I'll post some photos and commentary about a family trip to Harper's Ferry that we took in August.  

Harper's Ferry is rich in history and is very beautiful.  AND it's in West Virginia.  Imagine that.  The small town is mostly well-known for John Brown's raid, but there are many other things that we found interesting.

The Appalachian Trail winds through Harper's Ferry.  Check out this sign.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Maine is only 1,165 miles away.  Georgia is actually closer.


This tie was used by Union Troops during the Civil War.  Troops hammered in the tie and tied ropes to it, swam to the other side and used it to ferry boats across the Potomac River while under fire from the Confederates.  The tie was hammered into the stone foundation of the railroad bridge and remains there 150 years later.


Most of Harper's Ferry was destroyed during the Civil War as it changed hands several times and was subject to plundering and reckless hooliganism.  I'll pretend that this is what it looked like in 1861.  Minus the Dodge Caravan in the bottom right hand corner.  And the window air conditioning units.


These are the two railroad bridges that span the Potomac River into Maryland.  Both are still in use, more than 150 years later.  There was a bridge on the Shenandoah River side, but only the stone piers remain.


I found this tid-bit of history interesting.  Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark fame passed through Harper's Ferry to get the boats that were used to explore the west, as commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. Little did they know that their likenesses would be used on the back of the dime.


This series of pictures is really cool.  I guess someone had some extra rocks, some spare time, and a nice sense of creativity.  I wonder which brand of beer was involved.  I actually went into their yard to take these pictures, but I'm sure I'm not the only one to do this.




This is the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  It's hard to look at this picture and not sing Country Roads by John Denver.  Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.  You're humming it now, aren't you?


If you go to Harper's Ferry, make sure you stop at the Hannah's Train Depot and get some barbecue.  The restaurant is in an old Pullman train car.  It's amazing, the food that is.  And don't forget to get some ice cream at Scoops Ice Cream Cafe and shop at the little boutiques along the side roads.  Support small businesses!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Martin O'Malley Evokes G.W. Bush in Debate. Again. And Again.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has been doing the talk-show circuits and generally jumping in front of any camera that will air his image and propaganda.  I heard that he was on FoxNews Sunday a couple of weeks ago, but didn't have a chance to watch it until recently. 

If you've ever listened to Martin O'Malley speak, you know that he cannot go 10 minutes without bringing up George W. Bush's name as the source of all blame for anything that ails the universe.  Unemployment? George W. Bush's fault.  Wars in the Middle East?  No, not the terrorsts' fault.  It's George W. Bush's fault.  Mortgage foreclosures?  GW.  Federal deficit?  W.  The failed Imperial invasion of the planet Hoth?  George Walker Bush.

I'm not saying that George W. Bush didn't cause these.  What I'm saying that if you run for President, you are applying for a job where you know what you're getting yourself into.  And if you win, you accept those problems as your own and you vow to fix them.  GWB cannot be the eternal excuse for your inability to fix these problems.  A couple of years?  Sure, I'll give you that.  But we're four years into this.  Claim it as your own.

Here is the interview on FoxNews.  I encourage you to watch the whole thing, it's only 16.5 minutes long.  Check out O'Malley being a total clown at the 10:15 mark with his reference to Let's Make a Deal.  And he brought up Big Bird no less than twice, perhaps more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Franchot - Vote No on Question 5 - Redistricting Map

I find it weird that I'm agreeing more and more with Democrat Peter Franchot, the current State Comptroller.  As I've mentioned before, when he was a state delegate in Montgomery County I thought he was very untrustworthy.  Now I don't think he's half bad.

This week, Comptroller Franchot went on the record against Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on the issue of the Congressional redistricting map that O'Malley and the Democrat-dominated Maryland General Assembly created.  Franchot described the Congressional map as paint splatter and correctly identified the districts as not compact, once a requirement in Article 1, Section 4 Congressional elections, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, though the Supreme Court has muddled the issue with the Equal Protection Clause.  States have pounced on that clause as a valid reason to shove voters into non-compact districts in order to work the election into their favor.

What was really interesting, and most likely valid, is that Franchot said that the Democrats do not need the highly irregular maps to win the Congressional elections, save for 1 or 2 districts.  But since Maryland is about 35% Republican and there are 8 districts, it makes sense that two of them are Represented by Republicans, correct?

And my ultimate favorite statement is that the Congressional districts proposed are an embarrassment to the state and should be created by a bi-partisan commission rather than elected legislators and the Governor.  I don't think Martin O'Malley is embarrassed by his blatant manipulation of the voters in Maryland.  If Franchot wins the gubernatorial election next time, and I'm pretty sure he'll run, I'm going to hold him to that proposal.

The most striking map is District 3 represented by former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbane's son John Sarbanes.  Again, if his name was John Rupper, he would not have been elected.  I hope he thanks his father every day for winning that election for him.

I found this article identifying the most non-compact districts in the country.  Maryland has 6 districts in the 50-worst mapped districts, with Sarbanes' District 3 as the 3rd worst.  And for reference, there are 428 Congressional districts in the United States.  Sarbanes district spans many counties and crosses rivers that are not contiguous with the land around it.  Sarbanes' district goes up streets, turns left on allies, and makes a few stops at Starbucks for a pumpkin latte with a nutmeg sprinkle.  Is that a fair district?

As the article states comically, O'Malley's spokewoman Raquel Guillory said that the redistricting method was necessary due to population shifts.  I guess technically that can mean population shifts of Republicans across the state.  I suppose if O'Malley had his way, all Republicans would be compacted in far away  Garrett County, a county that is ignored to the point that it doesn't even have a casino.

This is another fine example of the disingenuous leadership in Maryland.  Thank goodness for Comptroller Franchot's constant watch-dogging of our elected officials.

In summary, I think it would be wise to vote NO on Question 5.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Orioles Hangover

Hey, hon.  How 'bout dem O's?!!!

What a season it was.  If I'm not mistaken, most of the experts (re: guys that want other people to hear him talk) said the Orioles would come in last.  Again.  My prediction was a bit more optimistic. I predicted the Orioles to finish closer to .500.  And they did!

I only attended three Orioles games this year, down from nine last year.  I saw opening day, compliments of the Mayor of Eldersburg.  I saw the 2nd game against the Red Sox, compliments of Casey Cares.  I saw the third game, which coincidentally was not only my first Yankees game, but also my first playoff game, which was the 2nd game of the series, compliments of a friend of a friend.  He posted them on Facebook, I told him that if no one replied, I'd be more than happy to go with him.  And with him I went!

If you've never been to a playoff game, you've never truly experienced baseball.  During a regular season game, there's a lot of mingling and socializing going on.  We're actually prompted when to cheer.  Not in the playoffs.  We were on our feet almost the entire time.  Fans were loud.  Fans were cheering.  Fans were paying attention to the game.  And fans did not need to be prompted for the rally cries.  It was beautiful.

The best part is that the Orioles won the game.  And like almost all of the other games, it was a great pitchers' duel.  The game ended after midnight, but I didn't care.  It took nearly 30 minutes to walk out of the stadium because EVERYONE stayed to watch the whole game, but I didn't care.  It took almost another 30 to get out of the parking lot, but I didn't care.  It took another 35 minutes to get home, but I didn't care.  I got home at 1:30 am, but I didn't care.  I finally put my head on my pillow at 2am, looked at the clock and realized that I needed to wake up for work in 3 hours and 45 minutes, but I didn't care.  I got to see the Orioles in the playoffs.  I got to see a game that hasn't happened in Baltimore in 14 years.  I got to see a team that made the fans proud!

Sadly, the Orioles lost two out of the next three games and were eliminated from the playoffs by the Evil Empire.  Who says money can't buy you happiness?  If winning the playoffs and the World Series make you happy, then money is exactly what you need.  Just ask Brian Cashman and 12 million New Yorkers.  For sale - one World Series.  $250 million.

If you want to know what the crowd sounds like after a playoff win, listen to this video!

video


I watched every single Orioles' playoff game.  All five.  This is something that I probably haven't done since 1983.  (Thank you, Tito Landrum!)   I seriously doubt that I did this in 1996 and 1997.

The Yankees haven't fared as well in the 2nd round.  In the first round, we can blame it on the great pitching.  Now we can confidently place the blame on the players inability to hit the ball.  I heard Elliott on DC101 this morning say that MLB ought to let the Yankees start using steroids again so that they'd be more competitive.  Hysterical!

My Orioles' hangover extended into the weekend.  Oh, those Ravens.  The Ravens did not win that game, Dallas lost it.  And with Webb and Lewis out, possibly for the season, our defense will not be able to prop up the team against upcoming foes such as Houston, Pittsburgh, and the NY Giants.  I'm hoping for the best, but wouldn't be surprised to see the worst.  Ugh....

So, when does hockey start???

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gallaudet University Hates Free Speech

This is certainly the latest buzz on the Internet.  Everyone knows that free speech is punishable in many areas of the world.  Imagine writing a blog in the Muslim world advocating education for women.  Sadly, you'll be shot in the head.  Some other non-free speech places in the world that come to mind are China, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the NFL, Maryland.....

Wait, what?  Oh, that's right.  You are not entitled to an opinion in some places in Maryland.  If you live in Maryland or are a strong advocate on either side of Question 6, which is a referendum to allow gay marriage in Maryland, then you are familiar with this whole issue.

Though not in Maryland, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. placed an employee of the school on leave when it learned that she signed a petition favoring placement of the issue on the ballot in Maryland, which recently passed a marriage equality law.

It's disappointing, perhaps even illegal, that a school would punish an employee for their opinion and participation in the legislative process.  According to this article, Gallaudet University has no written policy prohibiting employees from participating in politics.  Therefore I must conclude that it's an unwritten policy.

So if you're looking for a job and you value your opinion, you should consider avoiding Gallaudet University.  They are the school for the deaf and intolerant.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Closed in Eldersburg - La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant

I swung by Domino's to pick up a pizza on Friday and noticed that the La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant was closed.  I'm not sure how long it has been closed.  I think the last time I drove by was in the summer when we went to Rita's.

That being said, I only went to La Fiesta once and I was not too impressed.  It was several years ago, so I'm actually kind of surprised that it took this long to go out of business.  The food, while good, was expensive and of very small portions.  I got the spinach soup.  There must have been a spinach shortage.  I don't think there was more than a quarter cup of soup in the bowl.  And it was about $8.  My wife and I vowed not to go back unless we had a 50% coupon, which we never got.

Since La Fiesta is now gone, I'll place my bet on another nail salon or martial arts studio to take its place.  What would I really like to see?  Probably too small, but how about a Corner Bakery?  Or maybe a Firehouse Subs?


Friday, October 05, 2012

Is Anyone Other Than Rob Sobhani Running For Senate in Maryland?

Is Rob Sobhani the only person running for U.S. Senate in Maryland?  I heard that Ben Cardin and Dan Bongino are also running, but I haven't seen any commercials for either one.

I'm assuming Democratic Senator Ben Cardin thinks the race is in the bag and he doesn't have to spend any money.  It's the arrogant assumption of most Maryland politicians.

I suspect Dan Bongino, being a Maryland Republican, doesn't have any money to advertise.

My conclusion is that Rob Sobhani, the Independent, is the only one that cares.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a change in Maryland?  We complain about how things are, but we elect the same people over and over and over and over again.  That's not really change.  Perhaps we should try something different???




Star Wars Window Decal of the Year

While I anxiously watch this Orioles playoff game (I've got butterflies in my stomach!), I thought I'd share some Star Wars humor with you. I saw this window decal on a car in Eldersburg today.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Martin O'Malley's Post Debate Feedback...."I Don't Know."

Check out this interview with supposed Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley after the Presidential debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  I say former because O'Malley hasn't been seen in Maryland in weeks.

For everyone that didn't watch the debate, Obama got trounced.  He appeared as if he didn't realize that he was the President.  Romney put a Bain Capital beat down on the President last night.

When interviewed after the debate, O'Malley basically says, 'um...uh....well...I don't know."  How eloquent.  I guess O'Malley was as dejected as Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow.

Fishing at Liberty Reservoir

I may have mentioned that my son and I are having a contest to see who can catch the most different kinds of fish this year.  He's ahead of me by a few fish.  One fish that neither of us have ever caught is a carp.  Our neighbor caught one at Liberty Reservoir last month, so my son decided that we were going there yesterday.

We fished underneath the Route 32 bridge that crosses over the Liberty Reservoir.  The bad news is that we didn't catch any carp.  The good news is that it was really pretty.  The other news is that it was REALLY loud under there.  That bridge shakes and pounds and creeks when every car goes over it.  When multiple cars and a big truck go over-top  you can't even talk to each other it's so loud.

Here's our view looking west under the bridge.  The leaves are starting to be painted with their fall colors.  The water was as smooth as glass creating this awesome reflection.


I took a picture of this bridge back in 1902.  Just kidding, the bridge didn't exist back then.  I think it was built in the 1950's.  I love black and white pictures.


Here's a picture slightly to the east of the bridge.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but the road is probably 40-50 feet off of the water.


And this is not related at all, but did anyone else catch the United States Navy blimp flying over Eldersburg last week?  There ain't no Navy in Carroll County.


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

O'Malley Challenges Virginia Governor to a Push-Up Contest

Did you hear about this one?  This is so absurd I couldn't even make this up.  If I told you this without referencing the article, you would laugh at me and call me a phony.

Everyone knows that Maryland Governor hates Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.  It's mostly an inferiority complex.  Virginia has all the jobs.  Maryland continues to lose jobs.  Virginia is growing.  Maryland's economy is anemic.  Companies move to Virginia.  And a lot of them are from Maryland.  What's not to be jealous about?

In an interview with WTOP, Martin O'Malley went on the offensive implying that Virginia's success was fake.  He then turned into a bully and challenged Governor McDonnell to a push-up contest.  WTF???

Everyone remembers that jackass in high school who couldn't beat you in test scores, so to intimidate you in the locker room he challenged you to a push-up contest.  And if you didn't take him on, he started hardy-har-har-ing you and pushed you into the lockers and pointed and laughed at you.  Yep, you know where I'm going.

Virginia Governor McDonnell came back and gave the metaphoric punch in the face citing Virginia's lower unemployment rate and lower taxes.

To top it all off, O'Malley challenged McDonnell to a debate.  For what purpose???  For a prelude to the 2016 presidential election?  Is O'Malley not getting enough national exposure to satisfy his inflated ego?

Politicians.  Sometimes these guys write your blog for you.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Obama Steals O'Malley's Forward?

Did you happen to see that advertisement that Obama will help keep America moving forward?  For those of you who live in Maryland and have been suffering through that trite statement for what seems like a generation, you're probably wondering why Obama is using this slogan now.  Did Obama hijack it from O'Malley?  Did O'Malley give it to Obama?  Or is the price that O'Malley paid for flip-flopping on the national news about whether we are better off four years ago than today?  If you'd rather not sit through the entire 2 minutes and 3 seconds of political dribble, go to the 1 minute and 58 second mark.





And if you didn't get enough of O'Malley being a total dufuss at the Democratic Convention, here's that clip again.  I don't think anyone one national honor by leading a high school cheer.

Maryland Question 7 - What is the Truth?

If you've watched any television for 30 minutes in the past 2 months or so, you've seen the Question 7 advertisements at least a million times.  What is the truth behind Question 7?  Is one side lying?  Are we being had?  Or is this the biggest revenue generator since the Maryland Lottery?

If you are not familiar with this whole issue, Question 7 is officially called Gaming Expansion Referendum.  On the ballot the question will read as follows:

Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education to authorize video lottery operation licensees to operate “table games” as defined by law; to increase from 15,000 to 16,500 the maximum number of video lottery terminals that may be operated in the State; and to increase from 5 to 6 the maximum number of video lottery operation licenses that may be awarded in the State and allow a video lottery facility to operate in Prince George’s County?

Martin O'Malley has been touting Question 7 as the answer to all of our prayers.  Question 7 will allow for a new casino in Prince George's County.  It will allow for table games in the state.  O'Malley says that the development of the casino will create thousands of construction jobs, provide thousands of permanent jobs, and will provide millions of dollars for education and teachers.  And he may have also said that it will allow Baltimore County to repave that terribly bumpy intersection at Deer Park Road and Lyon's Mill Road.


The truth is that many of the jobs will go to illegal, I mean undocumented workers.  As you know, construction work is not permanent work.  When the project is complete, those employees are terminated if there are no new projects.  As I've said before, the completion of construction projects is one of the leading causes of unemployment.

Second, we all know that most of the jobs at the casino will be low wage jobs.  I've heard the pro-Question 7 crowd say that the average salary of the new jobs will be $50,000.  Politicians and lawyers always lie by about 100%, so the real figure is probably closer to $25,000.  Additionally, the majority of these jobs will not require a college degree.  Do you need a college degree to operate a table came, wipe down a slot machine, serve food to overweight people, or to vacuum the floors?  There will be a modicum of skilled jobs for people with college degrees, such as supervisors (I'm stretching it there), managers, accounting, and other office jobs.  The people you see on the floor will not be skilled workers.

Furthermore, O'Malley loves to tell us how much we invest in our education.  I'm all in favor of investing in education.  But did you know that there is nothing in the new law that says the money HAS to be used for education?  It goes to the general fund and it allows state legislators to use the money as they see fit.  If they want to use it for education - great!  If they want to use it for building a new state office building in Baltimore City, then they can do that instead.  Even the Baltimore Sun agrees with that:

Moreover, nothing in the law says that the state is actually required to spend more on education than it would have otherwise. More money in the education trust fund can mean — and heretofore always has meant — that less general fund money is sent to the schools, freeing it up for other purposes. That's what happened with the lottery, keno and slots, and that's what would happen if Question 7 passes.

Moreover, O'Malley is trying to hypnotize us into believing that ANOTHER casino will help generate more revenue. Anyone who's taken basic economics knows that when there is a finite amount of money, it can only be spent finitely (unless you're the Federal government).  By adding another casino, you are spreading existing dollars from one casino to another.  Or, for that matter, existing dollars from other entertainment venues, such as the Ravens, Orioles, Redskins, theaters, and shopping, are being shifted away to the new casino.  So while the new casino will generate revenue, and predictably a lot less than state officials anticipate, surrounding establishments will suffer from declines in revenue.  We've already seen the impacts of the new Maryland Live Casino in Arundel Mills on the existing casinos Perryville and Dover Downs.

Additionally, studies show that gambling disproportionately impacts people that are poor.  Many gamble with hopes of getting out of poverty or their personal money problems.  Some studies show that poor people who gamble bet more money than higher income people that gamble.  I think it's safe to say that gambling is a regressive tax.  Poor people lose their money while smarter people stay at home, though they may venture to a casino a time or two for pure entertainment purposes.  It is like the FICA tax - poor people pay disproportionately more of their income versus higher income people toward the tax.  Why does Maryland and Martin O'Malley want to tax its poor people more than the middle class or upper class?  Regressive taxes do not help people move forward.

And finally, there are two campaigns funding the advertising on Question 7.  The anti-Question 7 group, pretending to be looking out for Marylander's best interests, are sponsored by the West Virginia gaming industry, whereas the pro-Question 7 group is sponsored by unions and the casino company that would manage the new casino.  Neither advertisement is sponsored by the real people of Maryland.

So, while no one is actually lying, everyone is certainly bending the truth.  I am going to vote against Question 7 because I think there are enough gambling attractions in Maryland and if the state wants to expand gambling, it should do so at the existing facilities.  How do you plan to vote?

Robbed in Eldersburg - Carroll Community Bank

I can't wait to read the whiny comments to the people that think we should resign ourselves to the spike in crime that is occurring throughout South Carroll.  I can already hear, "Crime happens everywhere."  "This is still a wonderful area."  "It's George Bush's fault that people have to resort to crime to support their families and move forward."  Yadda-yadda-yadda.

Eldersburg suffered yet another robbery.  This time the Carroll Community Bank was robbed by three men in the middle of the afternoon.  If you're not familiar with CCB, it's between Exxon on the corner and the Verizon store and Qdoba.  You know, with the annoying blue LED sign intended to distract drivers.


I'm not going to argue that Eldersburg is not a nice place to live, but you cannot deny the fact that crime is on the rise here.  And if the crime continues, people that can afford to move will move farther out Liberty Road will do so.  Those who cannot afford to move will stay and learn to live with a lower standard of living, just like the nice folks in Randallstown had to do in the 1970's and 1980's.  This certainly isn't going to happen over night.  Or next year.  But that is the trend.  Ten years perhaps?  Sooner?
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