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Friday, September 29, 2006

Puppies or Bush -- You Decide!

In case you didn't see the DSCC's response to Michael Steele's ad about loving puppies.

Quoting an R

I don't often find Republican quotes to be worth quoting here, but I have one I need to share. CQ had this tidbit on the congressional hearings on HP's devious internal spy scandal:
“Pretexting is pretending to be someone you’re not, to get something you probably shouldn’t have, to use in a way that is probably wrong,” said full committee chairman Joe L. Barton, R-Texas.
The Energy and Commerce committee approved a bill in March to make pretexting illegal, but the measure has stalled. Barton said he was urging the House leadership to pass it before the end of the year.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rolle and Duck

Progressive Maryland and the Maryland NAACP confronted Rep. Bartlett in what seems like a rare show of grassroots activism in western Maryland yesterday. Although the Dem nominee Andrew Duck is a bit of a longshot, it makes it a bit more interesting and after Al Wynn’s recent near-defeat, anything is possible in the anti-incumbent mood of today.

Have you thought about Scott Rolle lately? He’s the ambitious Frederick County state's attorney who challenged Bartlett from the right for the western Maryland seat in Congress two years ago. Now Rolle is running a quixotic campaign for attorney general against Doug Gansler. No one gives Rolle much chance of actually winning, but I guess if it gets him back in the good graces of the Republican establishment (Ehrlich has been saying nice things about him and apparently Bartlett gave him several thousand earlier this year) by improving turnout in the more conservative counties in the west, then he’ll have smooth sailing when the 80 year old Bartlett decides to retire.

Many Maryland progressives have to sit with me in the corner because we largely sat out Donna Edwards' challenge to Al Wynn, thinking she wouldn't get close (even though we knew he was vulnerable). So, so as not to let this happen again, I thought I should look closely at the two Republican Members of Congress from Maryland -- Bartlett and Wayne Gilchrest from the Eastern Shore to decide whether Democrats should be focusing on helping their opponents before that November Tuesday. Anyone know anything interesting about the incumbents or their challengers?

From fourseasonspress.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


In case you never saw it, above is Dennis Rasmussen's cartoon trying to appeal to midddle-o-the-roaders.


Ann Arundel (District 21) State Senator Gianetti, recently defeated in the Democratic primary, apparently decided to switch parties or, as Blog Arundel put it, "Senator Speedo Considers Pulling a Lieberman."

Commentary includes:

"It would be a strange move for a guy I put on a bus in the winter of 2003 to go to Vermont as we worked together in the Howard Dean campaign," said David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party. Last night, he called Giannetti a "sore loser whose political career is essentially over."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Steele: Running from the Truth

Friday, September 22, 2006


WTF: Stupid Hire

Now why would you hire someone for a six year job that you knew they only wanted for two years? And if you knew that they'd start spending gobs of time looking for a new job as soon as they started working for you, you'd be crazy to hire them.

So, are the forty-something percent of Virginians who say they might vote for George Allen crazy? I mean, come on folks, you know that if you reelect him he's gonna start campaigning to be president right after the vote. Do you know how much time these guys spend campaigning? He's not even going to be a part-time senator for the two years -- he's going to spend every second he possibly can kissing up to Iowans and New Hampshirites, not working for Virginians. Come on, you're not that gullible, are you?


Oh, and one of Mfume's sons apparently decided to back Steele: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0906/362890.html

Bits and pieces

Check out:

* new poll results that show the Senate race is neck-and-neck.

* the nasty little Republican attack ad attempting to portray Democrats as racists?

* updates on the election in CD4

* sneaky, confusing campaign tactics in a state senate race (as reporter by the Sun)

* interview with state Senate candidate Pat Foerster (of the Maryland Teachers Association)

* and apparently Steve Silverman's been doing some of those forbidden meetings again.

It’s a bit late, but when the altercation between folks from Al Wynn’s campaign and Donna Edwards’ volunteer happened, there was some question about someone who was working for both Wynn’s congressional office and campaign. Find out the truth of who works where, and see staff salaries.

It's almost funny to see how now everyone (including Bobby Haircut) agrees with those on the margins who used to be the only ones worried about screwed up elections now that their fears have come true.

From CQ : According to new Rasmussen Reports polls, Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, now leads Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, 47 percent to 41 percent. In Rhode Island, Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse has opened up an even bigger lead, 51 percent to 43 percent, over GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee. And in Montana, Democrat Jon Tester has surged ahead of Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, 52 percent to 43 percent. In the last survey taken before Chafee’s primary victory on Sept. 12 over a conservative Republican, Whitehouse led by only two points. DeWine led in the Rasmussen surveys through April “but Brown has now held a lead for three polls in a row,” and has moved outside the margin of error. Burns and Tester were tied in the August survey.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Avast Matey!

The Sun wouldn't say this, but the Pirate (no, the one with the hat) said "As you order Gov. Ehrlich --we'll cut their health care, charge them more for education, and support the President's failed war!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


From Tuesday's Washington Post: the newspaper in the kid's hand says "SPINACH CAN KILL YOU"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yeah, yeah

I know, I should write something substantive, but I just don't feel like it. So, I'll just point you to several interesting things...

MoCo Slacker suggests that, unhappy with the results of the Democratic primary for Montgomery County Council, the Chamber of Commerce is looking for candidates to back in the general. That's exactly what the Democrats need to unite and really get behind anti-developer sentiment -- good plan guys.

The last race in question in Maryland apparently is the one for the 4th congressional district, where one of our contributors continues to raise questions. We'll see if Donna Edwards can pull from behind to beat incumbent Al Wynn.

Amongst all of the post-election commentary, one pundit says that the Montgomery County Education Association (the teachers – you know, with the apple ballot) were the real power in the primary, though many of us think that a backlash against irresponsible development and an anti-incumbent mood made a big difference.

Lastly, there's some good stuff about Gaithersburg, day laborers, and development is on offer.

Who the f**k is Ted Stevens?

Jon Stewart on Sen. Stevens' escapades:

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Get off your fanny

Any of our readers who lost their primaries (though progressives had one of the better election days in recent Maryland history) and think they might want to file to run as an indpendent (or pull a Lieberman) should check in with Blog Arundel, 'cause ya can't!

The rest of you should just take a minute to kick yourself for not spending (more) time and money to help Donna Edwards beat Al Wynn in the 4th congressional district.

What's that, you thought she didn't stand a chance?

You say you were too busy or you don't have the cash?

Well, the race is still up in the air as provisional ballots are counted (MoCo Progressive is calling the race for Edwards). Just think, if she'd started earlier or run a stronger campaign, or if you'd helped her, we'd have a progressive woman in Congress representing Maryland for the first time in a long time except for Sen. Mikulski! Seriously, just try to name a reasonably progressive woman (not a Republican) from the Free State other than Barb. Now we've got to make that feeling that we coulda, shoulda and woulda into a new call to action. Get off your fanny and start working, either on the election or on organizing people in your community for the long haul.

In other (way late) news, from National Journal’s Hotline:
Ehrlich Still Boasts Big Funding Lead

Fundraising figures reported 9/1, covering the period 8/9 to 8/27
(State Board of Elections).

Raised Spent CoH
EHRLICH $566K $728K $8.35M
O'MALLEY $333K $932K $3.84M

When running-mate totals are included, Ehrlich raised $630K to
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's (D) $455K. Del. Anthony Brown (D) "proved
to be an effective fundraiser," doubling Disabilities Sec. Kristen Cox (R)
with $121.7K raised (Rich, Washington Post, 9/2).

Governor: MARYLAND: Blame The Feds

Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) "squared
off" at a forum on disabilities issues 9/5. The discussion "became more
intense" as O'Malley tried to link Ehrlich with the nat'l GOP by blaming
Pres. Bush's admin for cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and fed. insurance
programs for the disabled. O'Malley: "We need a governor who will stand up
to the ... cuts being shoved down the throat of state and local government."
Ehrlich: "The federal government is not the enemy. In fact, with our
administration, it's been the friend of many people in this room." Ehrlich
running mate/Disabilities Sec. Kristen Cox (R), "who is legally blind,"
filled in for Ehrlich after he left 15 minutes early (Fritze, Baltimore Sun,

O'Malley Fights Back

O'Malley is up with a new TV ad. Full script, "Plus":

ANNCR: "Can we really trust Bob Ehrlich on education? He broke his promise
to support the Thornton school funding plan. He cut $176 million in school
construction. Ehrlich even increased college tuition by 40%. No surprise
from the same governor who opposed a $1 increase in the minimum wage. Who
sided with the big corporations to raise utility rates, and deny middle
class workers health coverage. Bob Ehrlich, a record of siding with the
powerful corporate interests, instead of families like yours."

The ad closes with a picture of Ehrlich and Bush (Fritze, Baltimore
Sun, 9/6).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Numbers, please!

The numbers are still not in conclusively for yesterday's primary, but for those of us in Montgomery County, the best source is still the 5 am report of the Board of Elections. The statewide results are even less thorough as some counties apparently hadn't sent in their results yet. Those and links to other counties are on the state BoE site. I assume you can read, so I'm not going to repeat or even parse the results yet, except to say that it seems that a number of unexpected things happened yesterday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stuck in a Silverman

First, from local Democratic activist Keith Berner, a funny with a political bite:

Q: What do you call it when you’re in your car and there are cars in front and behind and nothing’s moving?
A: A “Silverman,” as in: “Honey, I don’t know if I’m going to make it home in time for dinner. I’m stuck in a terrible Silverman on the Beltway.”

Be sure to vote tomorrow, and vote progressive.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good Italian in MoCo

If you've had as much difficulty as this writer in finding good Italian food in southeastern Montgomery or northern Prince George's county, check out Christina's Italian Ristorante (at 2666 University Blvd W, in Silver Spring, tel: (301) 942-4137). And for Italian groceries, excellent sandwiches (try the mozzarella and prosciutto), and deli-style food, check out Da Marco on Colesville, across from the AFI. Tasty!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Life is a Cabaret

Arena Stage's production of Cabaret is entertaining, sexy, thought provoking, and for first-timers, maybe even a bit shocking. It's a musical story about love, the rise of Nazis and Nazism in the hearts of Germans, even as the audience gets sexy dance numbers and bizarre characters (the Emcee is particularly well done).

Welcome to Cabaret – a delicious, decadent journey to pre-World War II Berlin featuring unforgettable music and a powerful story. Young American journalist Clifford Bradshaw lands at the notorious Kit Kat Club, home to the social rebels and bohemians of Europe, where he falls madly in love with English entertainer Sally Bowles – but their affair is tested as her wild and reckless lifestyle overwhelms him. All the while, the Kit Kat Emcee taunts and satirizes the locals and visitors to the cabaret with dazzling musical numbers in a score that includes “Money (Makes the World Go Around),” “Maybe This Time” and “Two Ladies.”

With brief but interesting hints of the homosexuality in pre-WWII Germany, men and women both play sexy roles in the cabaret where age, gender, and race matter little, making Cabaret an interesting romp through a gradually darkening time. Playing through the end of October, Cabaret is worth your time and more than worth the low price of the tickets.

Bush Praises Steele

LG Michael Steele is working overtime to tell people he'll be something different, while deliberately hiding his right wing ideology and his ties to George W. Bush. But, through the magic of video (and the folks at the DSCC) you can remind your friends of W's deep commitment to getting the Republican elected in Maryland:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Stop Digging!

Marc Elrich, at-large candidate for the Montgomery County Council, was just running out of school (he teaches 5th graders at Rolling Terrace Elementary) when I caught him for an interview on his candidacy and his priorities.

Elrich has served in government as an elected official for 19 years while teaching full-time in our public schools and working with numerous committees and civic groups on community matters, redevelopment and development generally, transportation, and other issues: “I don't pigeon-hole very well, and I see the County in all its dimensions.”

One of the silliest parts of elections is when complex topics are boiled down to silly soundbites. Since Elrich really addressed the issues in detail, I've decided to give you a feel for where Elrich thinks the County should go and how we should deal with the challenges we face with a minimum of commentary, by just giving him some space.

I think the county faces pretty serious challenges, but none more serious than trying to manage growth in a responsible way. Not because I'm nuts about growth and think it's the center of the universe, but because funding what it takes to support growth affects a host of other funding decisions. I want to be sure we make good decisions and that we avoid simplistic approaches that primarily end up digging us a deeper hole. I think we're ill-served by a debate over the growth "rate", and that the real issue is growth "policy". I'm not "no-growth".

Whether I'd be fast or slow growth would depend on the three things: the policies that govern it, the infrastructure to support it, and the availability of resources to fund the infrastructure. People who try to get out of this by saying we're simply going to grow by 300,000 people and that's a fact, ignore the reality that we have some power and something to say about this. But worse, they refuse to say how they're going to accommodate it with either the facilities or the capital to build them.

No one talks about the cost of infrastructure to pay for the roads and schools, they just talk about "gotta have growth". How bout the other gotta haves: police, fire stations, rec services, classrooms, and transportation (roads or public)?

I would focus on using our capital resources to do the fixes that we need now - school additions and modernizations, road projects that improve local mobility, and I'd put off projects that are meant to foster further growth. Every dollar that growth siphons off is a school not fixed or a road not improved, or a limitation on our ability to expand library hours and rec services. Park and Planning told the Council that growth is costing more than the revenue it generates, so under current practices we're both neglecting existing problems and digging a deeper long term hole to get out of. Just one example, the Annual Growth Policy Report in 2003 told the council we needed 12 fire stations - we're, in this Capital budget over the next several years - building the first 4 stations that we've constructed since 1981. So I'd prioritize spending on getting us caught up.

I'd raise impact fees on new development to make sure it paid for itself - with higher impact fees, fees that covered the cost of expanding the infrastructure you could sustain more growth than you can with lower fees - and the Council, when it gave up Policy Area Review and the fees that came with it and replaced it with Impact Fees actually created a system where they collected less money than before - and this was told to them by both the Planning Staff and their own staff.

I want to say something else about building what we need and fixing existing problems. If we're fixing things because people find the schools overcrowded and the roads over-congested, you'd think your goal would be to keep them fixed. But under the changes this council made to Adequate Public Facilities Law (and in truth this has been going on for longer than the past 4 years, they just made it worse), anything you fix is guaranteed to be wrecked again because all of the failing intersections, the congestion and the crowded schools are what the Council and Executive have defined as "adequate public facilities". So if you want real improvement you have to adopt better, more sane definitions of adequate: a definition that fits with what the community would consider adequate, so that when you fix a school or an intersection, it stays fixed, rather than simply making it possible for the next development to come along and fill it back up again. No wonder people are frustrated, we fix something and then let it get messed right back up again.

I'd increase the fees for new development so I didn't compound the problem. I'd prioritize how we spend current revenues and the projects in the CIP to address the existing shortfalls. There's no quick way out of this mess.

There's a lot at stake. Oddly, it's really a matter of degrees and over what period of time.

Most people who listen realize I'm not talking about grinding the county to a halt and most people think this is a pretty conservative business-like approach. I've had business people tell that my approach is how they'd approach running their business - you build capacity for expansion and you don't saddle yourself with unsustainable long-term obligations.

That's Marc Elrich up close and in detail. So what do you think? Do you prefer full interviews like the ones Crablaw has featured on FreeStatePolitics, posts based on interviews with some quotes like the pieces I did on Tom Perez and Jamie Raskin, or hybrid pieces like this that avoid some of the repetition that comes out in an interview without inserting too much of the writer's opinion?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What did YOU do?

Take a look at a homemade video political short from Silver Spring, via google:


In today's Maryland political news:

Lublin has an interesting take on the D20 Maryland Senate race and points us to a Gazette piece assessing Delegate open-seat races in Prince Georges,

Sharon in MD has a good review of the campaign in the district of House Speaker Busch (D30),

NOW PAC endorsed Kweisi Mfume, for Senate -local-headlines

and CQ points out the advantage of name i.d. for John Sarbanes in the crowded 3rd CD primary, while Paula Hollinger got Rep. Cummings support.


You know, the most compelling article in today's Post was about an Austrian girl who was kidnapped at age 10 by a stranger and held for eight years in his home until she escaped. Sometimes she was put into a pit beneath his house for days, deprived of food, and almost certainly mistreated. Can you even imagine? The world is a scary place.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

District 20 Delegate Endorsement

Silver Spring and Takoma Park residents will vote Tuesday for at least one new state Delegate. They should base their votes on who will be the best progressive legislator and representative of the community. With a bumper crop of Democrats with legislative experience, it should be easy to elect three capable legislators.

There is one clear choice: Tom Hucker. While the other candidates generally have legislative experience and indicate support for some liberal programs, none have stood up repeatedly and effectively to actually pass progressive legislation in Annapolis like Hucker has as executive director and founder of Progressive Maryland and previously with other progressive groups. He has the knowledge, experience, and relationships to pass important legislation, represent Silver Spring and Takoma Park, and build important coalitions to make a difference.

Without questioning the professed beliefs of congressional staffers, one still cannot help but applaud the one challenger who has been a leader in his own right – Tom Hucker has demonstrated that he will lead on our values and really accomplish something.

...not a potted plant

In notes on Maryland campaigns in today's Post, U.S. House Minority Whip (not Leader yet, as the Post wrote) said defended the potential diversity of the Democratic ticket, even as he backed Senate candidate, Rep. Ben Cardin. In particular he focused on LG candidate/O'Malley running mate state Del. Anthony Brown, saying "I am really outraged at the press's treatment of Anthony Brown. Anthony Brown is not a potted plant. This is not some throwaway guy." Powerful words.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Who controls our public space?

I'm probably going to vote for Kwiesi Mfume for Senate, but I've been kind of interested in Allan Lichtman and his campaign. There's been a lot of talk about who should be included in debates and while it is a tough question with no easy answer (if you include everyone who files than you'll have a debate that isn't substantive, but when you start to narrow the field it gets arbitrary), it gets tougher when a semi-public entity supported by taxes, in this case Maryland Public Television, is making the decision.

Lichtman's supporters put up a couple of videos of his recent arrest while trying to get into a debate between the two "leading" Senate candidates. Amidst all of the rhetoric, tension, and even action (between 1:20 and 2:20 is where things get energized and Lichtman gets arrested), the most interesting question isn't really explored.

The real question is, who controls the public space, both literally and figuratively? What happens when public television staff decide who gets to be on tv? And what happens when security staffers keep Lichtman or really anyone out of a particular publicly funded and controlled (i.e. by your tax dollars) space, namely the MPT studio? Lichtman asks under what authority they are trying to drive him out and then, under what authority they are arresting him. He asks what laws were violated, what right they have to arrest him. And it's a good question.

Who decides who can come on public property and what they can do there? And is it just the fact that they are government employees that the police can arrest someone? I don't think so. I'm not sure if we need to be as scared for our democracy as Lichtman suggests in a subsequent letter from jail, but this is something we need to grapple with. How far will some go with power if we don't question them?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Roundup: Attacks, Investigations, Protests and Jon Stewart

Check out Steve on CircleWoods for his investigation of what "appears to be a phony charge planted by the Ruben campaign (or an ignorant operative) that Raskin's campaign had stolen hundreds of her lawn signs from her own neighborhood."

The Edwards campaign is drawing attention to big donations to Al Wynn's campaign from telecom interests, utilities, and other big businesses.

According to Progressive Maryland, on Thursday in DC there will be
Civil Rights March Protests Republican 'Immigration Bill'
Thurs. Sept. 7, 4 pm on the National Mall. Join CASA of Maryland, Progressive Maryland, and many thousands to oppose the Republican "immigration bill", which would undermine the civil rights of all U.S. citizens and human rights of legal, documented immigrants. More at www.casademaryland.org

And I know this is dated, but it's always fun to get your news from Jon Stewart-- it's so much more fun than the news channels.