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November 2010 Aftermath

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, November 4, 2010

Well, it is over – election day. Nationally the GOP did very well. It will be an interesting 2 years. I hope the House, Senate, and White House figure it out.

Locally? Larry Carson put it best “Status Quo”.  Absentee ballots still need to be counted.  There may be a couple changes but it is doubtful. I agree with Larry that it will likely impact the Board of Election candidates more than anyone. 

Will it have an impact on the District 1 race? Probably not but I will watch.

As to the Register of Wills? I think it will go Kay Hartleb’s way. Why? Same situation four years ago. Kay was slightly ahead at the end of the election. When absentee ballots were counted she took a very large lead over her opponent. I don’t see why that would change four years later.

All night long Kay was trailing Byron McFarlane. I didn’t think much of it because the number of polls reporting was very low. I admit that I did worry a little. But when the board of elections posted their update at 11:43PM Kay was leading and the report at 4:48PM yesterday solidified it.

Reports from Democratic Headquarters were that Byron MacFarlane thought he had it in the bag (he may still win) and celebrated a bit too early. Darn modern technology.  (This comes from a conversation between the reporters covering poll watching parties at the democratic and republican spots).

I wanted to address a letter that appeared in the Ho Co Times suggesting that the lawyers who were writing letters or otherwise supporting Kay in this election were doing so to influence the office of the Register of Wills. Really? Really?  Here is what the letter said:

“The incumbent has received 100 percent of her campaign contributions in Maryland from lawyers and law firms. In contrast, Mr. Macfarlane has not taken a single penny from practicing estate lawyers in Howard County… candidates take contributions from the very people who will bring clients before them for supposedly impartial treatment.”

Influence what? What is that office going to do for a lawyer other than be effecient and as perfect in everyway as possible? What was that writer suggesting – that Kay Hartleb was going to triple the size of the clients estate?   The Register of Wills is an administrator.  They don’t rezone property.  Also, the writer states;

“She and her supporters have claimed that her opponent, Democratic attorney Byron Macfarlane, has never practiced estate law, even though a quick look into his record proves otherwise.”

The records states he hasn’t and he admitted it in a public forum.  He said; “I have never been the attorney or record but I helped my family.”  Yeah?

Seriously – does that writer have any idea about the office of the Register of Wills (doesn’t sound like he knows more than Byron MacFarlane).  The simple fact is MacFarlane remains unqualified for the position and the lawyers who support Kay don’t want Howard County’s Register’s office to get sloppy, inefficient, slow, error ridden, etc.  Not that the office under MacFarlane would be like that but during a transition period with staff turn over it would be until he could right that ship.  It is natural and the best manager can’t avoid it.  Those attorneys supporting Kay don’t have time to deal with a freshman Register of Wills and made it clear in their support of Kay.

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Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Howard County, Republicans | 4 Comments »

There’s Something Going On

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, September 16, 2010

The past 36 hours or so (i.e., since the night of the primary election) have convinced me that there is a seismic shift going on politically the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

First, an anecdotal observation. This morning I drove from home (in Woodbine) to meet a client at Leisure World (a large age-restricted development in Silver Spring). On the way down Georgia Avenue, and then across Norbeck Road heading back to my office in Columbia, I noticed a handful of Ehrlich signs here and there. But I did not see a single O’Malley sign in my travels to and from Montgomery County, which is one of the bluest counties in this most blue of states. Even driving through the liberal hotbed that is Columbia, I see a roughly even split of O’Malley and Ehrlich signs. This is only anecdotal, but I am convinced that there is practically no enthusiasm this year for O’Malley.

Second, this morning I read that the latest poll done in the Ohio governor’s race has John Kasich (R) up 17 points over Ted Strickland (D). For those of you not familiar with the politics of my home state, the stunning thing about this poll is that Strickland is the INCUMBENT who was leading Kasich by 5 points in the polls in late June. Strickland is not mired in any scandal, and he has not made any significant campaign gaffe. The worst thing that Strickland has done so far in this campaign is a YouTube video clip showing him in a Howard Dean type tirade about how Republicans hate America. But that clip was not major news and the tirade occurred only about 10 days ago, when Strickland was already trailing badly in the polls. Across the Great Lakes states, it looks like governorships of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are going to flip from Democratic to Republican.

Third, Christine O’Donnell defeated ex-Governor and current Congressman Mike Castle in the Delaware primary for the Senate seat previously held by VP Joe Biden. Normally an insurgent can beat a party favorite only when there is an very low turnout in the primary, and the insurgent’s villagers with torches and pitchforks are the only ones who show up at the polls. What was especially interesting about O’Donnell’s victory is that the turnout in Delaware was three times the average primary turnout.

All the pundits immediately said that the Delaware voters were crazy and the Republicans had just lost their chance at picking up that Senate seat, and hurt their chances to gain the majority in the Senate, citing polls showing Democratic nominee (New Castle County executive) Chris Coons with a 16 point lead over O’Donnell. Karl Rove promptly bashed O’Donnell for her past financial problems and quirks. Even before O’Donnell concluded her victory speech Tuesday night, the Republican Senatorial Committee said it would not be supporting her in the general election. Castle, in his concession speech, did not congratulate O’Donnell or even mention her by name (reminiscent of Maryland’s own sore loser Wayne Gilchrest in 2008). Why the outrage at O’Donnell, particularly from Republicans? What happened to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”?

Some Republicans dislike the Tea Party movement for its impact on the Delaware, and Alaska, and Nevada primaries. They like the enthusiasm that the Tea Party has generated for conservative candidates, but resent those same Tea Party-ers for upsetting the apple cart for some party insiders. Those Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t expect a group to be enthusiastic about the political process unless that group can have an impact.

There were online reports that Karl Rove was working behind the scenes for the Castle campaign, so maybe he was just ticked off that his horse got beat. Even so, Rove is a political professional and his blast was a head scratcher. For those fans of conspiracy theories, I read one comment suggesting that Rove had done O’Donnell a huge favor. Now she was the underdog again, berated and dismissed by fellow Republicans. She was immediately transformed from a kooky fringe candidate to a sympathetic rallying point for conservatives across the country. On the day after the primary election, O’Donnell collected $750,000 in donations. By noon Thursday, she was up to $1,000,000. At the very least, she will have enough money to range a credible campaign, and the Democrats will still have to spend a significant amount of money in Delaware that they could have used elsewhere. Two days after the election, Coons’ lead over O’Donnell was down to 11 points. Now Delaware may be a blue state, but Chris Coons is no Joe Biden. He does not engender enthusiastic support. I think the momentum is shifting back to O’Donnell. I fully expect that any poll done the week of 9/19 will have her down by no more than 8 points. At the very least, O’Donnell is still going to make a race of it.

Let me try to connect some dots.
(1) There is no enthusiasm among Democrats.
(2) Republicans and independents are more likely to vote this year and they are angry. Ohio is the ultimate swing state, going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. If an incumbent Ohio governor with no scandal or major gaffe is down 17 points, I’m extrapolating that Republicans have maybe a 12-15 point advantage over their base line of support this year.
(3) Christine O’Donnell is attracting money and support at an unprecedented rate.

Now let me go far out on a limb and make some predictions:
(1) Republicans take the House.
(2) Republicans take the Senate.
(3) Christine O’Donnell wins.

Posted in Democrats, Ehrlich, Jim Walsh, O'Malley, Republicans | 3 Comments »

Who is Jack Dawkins?

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, September 6, 2010

I hope Mr. Dawkins doesn’t mind me using his name or refering readers of this blog to his comments in reference to Mr. MacFarlane’s announcement that Mr. MacFarlane will be running for the Register of Wills.

Mr. Dawkins replied to Mr. MacFarlane’s announcement as follows:

I am an attorney and I practice estates and trusts law. We handle dozens of probate administration cases each year in Howard, Montgomery, and Anne Arundel County, as well as DC and Virginia. I am a life-long indepedent voter, but I almost always vote for a democrat in elections. Howard County has the best Register of Wills office around – PERIOD. I’ll be doing everything I can between now and this election to make sure people know what a great job Kay Hartleb does in this office.

http://www.explorehoward.com/news/65394/democrat-throws-hat-ring-register-wills/

Thank you Mr. Dawkins for such a ringing endorsement. Coming from one who works frequently with Kay Hartleb’s office (and many other Registers at that) this is a most welcome testiment. One may refer to other such testimonials on Kay Hartleb’s web site http://www.kayhartleb.com

Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Howard County, Republicans | 1 Comment »

MacFarlane for Register of Wills but Where?

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, September 6, 2010

Raising money for a political campaign ain’t easy and it aint fun.  But it is a necessary function if one intends to win the office that one is running for.  To that end I thought I would review the fundraising results of Byron MacFarlane’s campaign for Register of Wills.

Frankly, I am just curious to learn how strong support for Mr. MacFarlane’s campaign is in Howard County and where it might be coming from.  Here is the breakdown:

27.5% of his support comes from organizations (not individuals).  The largest contribution(s) came from an organization based in Baltimore City (MacFarlane Yost, LLC).

8% of his support from individuals comes from out of state

42% of his support comes from the county (54% of that from Columbia).

In short, the vast majority of support for Mr. MacFarlane’s campaign comes from other than Howard County which really raises the question.  Who is supporting him and why?  If he can’t raise his money from Howard County who is he serving?

Total Contributions  $  13,472.16 Percent of all % HoCo
Individual  $    9,756.05 72.4%  
Organization  $    3,716.11 27.6%  
Out of State   $    1,850.08 13.7%  
Maryland  $  11,622.08 86.3%  
Non Howard County  $    9,170.15 68.1%  
Baltimore  $    4,121.91 30.6%  
Howard County  $    4,302.01 31.9%  
       
  Clarksville  $        170.00 1.3% 4%
  Columbia  $    2,318.29 17.2% 54%
  Dayton  $          50.00 0.4% 1%
  Elkridge  $          48.25 0.4% 1%
  Ellicott City  $        663.97 4.9% 15%
  Glenelg  $          50.00 0.4% 1%
  Glenwood  $          25.00 0.2% 1%
  West Friendship  $          25.00 0.2% 1%
  Woodbine  $          25.00 0.2% 1%
  Woodstock  $        926.50 6.9% 22%
       
Number of Contributions 138    
Contributions from HoCo 58 42.0%  
Contributions other 80 58.0%  

Posted in David Keelan, Democrats, Howard County | 2 Comments »

Why is the Obama Administration against Americans?

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recent news stories illustrate how the Obama administration consistently views the world contrary to the wishes a vast majority of Americans.

With regard to the Arizona immigration law, roughly 70% of Americans support the position of the State of Arizona and oppose the Justice Department lawsuit against the state’s act of self-defense. Yet, the Justice Department selectively decides to challenge under the doctrine of pre-emption a state law that actually follows federal law, yet turns a blind eye to possible pre-emption challenges to dozens of politically correct cities that declare themselves “sanctuaries” for immigrants and forbid their own police officers to enforce federal law. In my view, there can be no clearer violation of an elected official’s oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution than to direct local police NOT to enforce federal law. (I know that lax immigration enforcement was an issue under the Bush Administration as well, but that’s not the point: it’s the Obama Justice Department that is filing suit against Arizona.)

Then there’s the Ground Zero mosque. Again, roughly 70% of the population opposes the placement of the mosque/Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. We all understand that the Islamic community has a constitutional right to worship where they wish. But there’s a difference between doing something because you have a right to do so and doing something that’s right to do. Most Americans believe this is not the right thing to do.

As Ron Smith pointed out on his radio show, it’s no coincidence that the “Cordoba Islamic Center” is going up two blocks from Ground Zero. Cordoba was the site of the primary mosque during the Moorish occupation of Spain, built on the ruins of a Christian cathedral and which in turn was converted to a Christian cathedral after the Moors were expelled from Spain. Many Muslim clerics teach that Islam will return to Cordoba, and Corboba has become a Muslim metaphor for conquest of the West.

Nonetheless, President Obama needs to chime in to lecture the rest of us that Muslims have their rights and we need to be sensitive to the Islamic community. (Apparently, they need not be sensitive to us.) After the following hue and cry over the president’s remarks, he backtracked somewhat, then facing criticism from the left for his backtracking, backtracked from his backtracking.

Then there’s the whole Obama attitude that America is just the same as every other nation in the world. Gone is Ronald Reagan’s vision of America as a shining beacon on the hill standing out among the rest of the whole world. Instead we have the worldwide apology tour for all the perceived slights and grudges that the rest of the world holds. If America is not a special place, why are we a wealthy nation and yet neighboring Mexico (with plenty of resources of its own) is dirt poor? Could it be that our culture had something to do with creating that wealth? And if Mexico is the equal of the U.S., why are so many Mexicans clamoring to come here?

The overall attitude that I perceive is that President Obama has no real appreciation of American culture or greatness. He sees greatness only in how the pie is sliced so that everyone is treated “fairly.” He fails to the see the greatness in the people who make the pie in the first place.

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh | 2 Comments »

Obama names 15 recess appointments – where was Senator Jim Webb?

Posted by Ed C on Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, President Obama appointed 15 nominees using recess appointments.

From The Hill:

Nevertheless, Obama attributed the need for recess appointments on the “unprecedented level of obstruction” in the U.S. Senate, led primarily by the chamber’s Republicans.

Unprecedented level of obstruction – really?  Anyone remember 2007?  (From opencongress.org)

Unprecedented – You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(h/t the corner)

Posted in Democrats, Ed C | Leave a Comment »

Great Scott!

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Democrats are reeling from the victory of Scott Brown (R) over heavily-favored Martha Coakley (D) in the special election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Excuse me, I should have said “the people’s seat formerly filled by Ted Kennedy.”

The Democrats are grasping at straws to explain away this defeat. Unlike the GOP gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey that were dismissed as anomalies over local issues and poorly-run campaigns, the Democrats have some real spinning to do to explain how a relatively little-known Republican state senator can overcome a 30 point deficit in a month against the well-known Democratic Attorney General of the bluest of blue states.

I knew that internal polls must have shown Coakley losing when stories were posted Monday about the finger pointing that was already going on among Democrats over the Coakley campaign. Coakley WAS a poor campaigner. Her comment about how she, unlike Brown, was unwilling to greet voters outside Fenway Pary in the cold during the Bruins’ New Year’s Day hockey game reeked of arrogance. Her dismissal of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as just another Yankee fan showed her disconnection from her constituents. Less than two weeks before the election, she took time off from campaigning to hold a fund-raiser among lobbyists in Washington. Brown, by contrast, ran a smart, consistent, near-perfect campaign. That said, in normal circumstances, even with such contrasting campaign styles, there is no way that Brown could have defeated Coakley in Massachusetts. There had to be an underlying anger among voters over what’s going on in Washington.

Some Democratic pundits are spinning Brown’s victory not as the people’s dislike of Obamacare, but as the people’s dislike of the distraction that Obamacare has become at the expense of addressing the issues of the economy and jobs. Let them spin. The fact is Brown explicitly campaigned on the idea that he would be the 41st vote against Obamacare.

It’s too soon to assess how the Democrats will respond. Some are urging full speed ahead on Obamacare. knowing that this may be their only chance to get this monstrosity of a bill passed. But that would be asking dozens of Democrats in Congress to sacrifice their own political careers for Obama. And that violates the first principle of politicians: self-preservation.

While the Massachusetts election results bode well for Republicans, we can’t be too smug just yet. The mid-term elections are over nine months away, and that’s practically a lifetime in politics. Until the last week before the election, the Democrats were caught napping in Massachusetts. I doubt that they will be so complacent in November.

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh, Republicans | 2 Comments »

Obama Panders to His Base, Plays the Race Card

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama, admitting he doesn’t know all the facts of the case, nonetheless said Wednesday (7/22/09) that “the Cambridge [MA] police acted stupidly in arresting [black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr.] when there was already proof that they were in their own home. There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

To recap the story, Gates lost his keys and broke into his own home. A witness saw the incident and, thinking a burglary was in progress, called police. When police arrived, Gates refused to answer the door. Police claim Gates refused to show any identification, or identify himself to the police, and was ultimately arrested for disorderly conduct. Soon after the all too predictable hue and cry over the oppression of a black man by Cambridge Police, the charges were dropped. (They probably would have been dropped, anyway.) To his credit, the police sergeant accused of racism after he arrested Gates insisted Wednesday that he won’t apologize.

Let’s look at the incident from the police point of view. Having received a call of a burglary in progress, they discover a man inside who refuses to come to the door or identify himself. Had an actually burglary been in progress and had the police simply left the premises at that point, they would have rightly been accused of being derelict in their duty, and no doubt Gates and Obama would be chastising the police for their double-standard failure to protect black people’s homes. Instead, Gates chose to make a media event over a minor confrontation, and the PC media are ever so willing to oblige him. Obama, who insisted during the campaign that we would rise above racial divisions, nonetheless reverts to the reflexive call of racism, although there is no suggestion that the police acted contrary to standard procedure. Do you think that the police would have acted any differently if a white homeowner had responded the same way?

Posted in Democrats, Jim Walsh | 1 Comment »

General Motors

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, May 31, 2009

President Bush should have let GM sink into bankruptcy like he threatened to do a day before he bailed them out.  I understand he didn’t want to hand that mess off to President Obama – but in the end he handed off a different mess.

Senator Shelbey seems to agree.  We are on a slippery slope.

Shelby assails large gov’t role in General Motors

Top Banking panel GOP member raps large federal stake in financially beleaguered GM Corp.

  • On Friday May 29, 2009, 8:27 am EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Richard Shelby said Friday the government should have allowed the marketplace to decide General Motors’ fate and that the huge federal stake in the company puts Washington on “the road to socialism.”

Shelby, ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, argued that the financially beleaguered GM could have saved “lots of money” if it had chosen six months ago to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.

“What I worry about” is Washington’s large interest in the company, the senator said in a nationally broadcast network interview. “It’s basically going to be a government-owned, government-run company … a company that has been sadly run into the ground.”

Shelby represents Alabama, a state with a significant presence of non-U.S. automakers, including Honda, Mercedes and Hyundai.

Facing a restructuring deadline, GM is in the process of brokering a last-minute deal with bondholders and the United Auto Makers, and then is expected to file Monday what would be one of the largest bankruptcies ever.

Said Shelby: “I’m sure they haven’t cut enough and there are not enough concessions there.” 

The Treasury has loaned GM $19.4 billion and would provide $30 billion in additional financing to keep the new GM operating under bankruptcy protection. The government would get 72.5 percent of the new company’s stock under the plan.

A friend/neighbor and I sat down over memorial day weekend to discuss President Obama’s firt 100 days in office.  He the democract and me the republican you might expect firework but I think we were both “hopeful” that President Obama would do the right things when it comes to the economy.

I think the President (at this point in time) will be measured on how he manages this crisis after the fact.  Other presidents facing crisis during their terms have managed that crisis through the increase in power of the federal government (Lincoln, Wilson, FDR,  Bush, etc).  Today we have see a growth in power on the scale of the Civil War and WWII.  Since those two crisis have passed government power has continued to increase.

In case you didn’t think of it this way let me share with you my thought on POWER.  Their is not an unlimited amount of power – their is only so much.  It is like a piece of pie.  If someone has all the pie they have all the power.  Government has been taking more slices of pie than the states, local governments and people for a long time.  President Obama holds the knife in his hands.  How big of a pie is he willing to cut and who will he serve it to?  You or government.

To manage through the financial crisis government is buying, lending, and printing a lot of money.  They have an unbalanced amount of power and influence over private business and the markets.  We are headed toward hyperinflation and high interest rates (not today but we are on the path).

So, when the “crisis” is over what will President Obama do that could make him my hero?  Quickly exit from the financial markets and the automobile business.  Use the tools available to the President to tighten monetary policy in order to avoid Carter like inflation and keep interest rates low. 

We will see.

Posted in Democrats | 2 Comments »

Where did Maryland’s Millionaires Go?

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Millionaires Go Missing
The Wall Street Journal Reports

Maryland’s fleeced taxpayers fight back

Here’s a two-minute drill in soak-the-rich economics:

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

No doubt the majority of that loss in millionaire filings results from the recession. However, this is one reason that depending on the rich to finance government is so ill-advised: Progressive tax rates create mountains of cash during good times that vanish during recessions. For evidence, consult California, New York and New Jersey (see here).

The Maryland state revenue office says it’s “way too early” to tell how many millionaires moved out of the state when the tax rates rose. But no one disputes that some rich filers did leave. It’s easier than the redistributionists think. Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, notes: “Marylanders with high incomes typically own second homes in tax friendlier states like Florida, Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia. So it’s easy for them to change their residency.”

All of this means that the burden of paying for bloated government in Annapolis will fall on the middle class. Thanks to the futility of soaking the rich, these working families will now pay Mr. O’Malley’s “fair share.”

Posted in Democrats, General, Maryland, O'Malley | 1 Comment »