Howard County Maryland Blog

Convention of States in Maryland

An interesting read…

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, July 1, 2018


Posted in General | Leave a Comment » / In depth – Seeds of its own destruction

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, March 9, 2009

We are studying Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes’ opposing view of managing the economy. This is a very timely article and very insightful.

Have we swung too far away from Kensyian thought and embraced Hayek too much. Are we now swinging back to Kensyian theory just as radically?

I definately lean toward Hayek, but must admit that the free hand of the market has gone too far.  The finance markets need a littl love from John Keynes’

Seeds of its own destruction

By Martin Wolf

Published: March 8 2009 19:13 | Last updated: March 8 2009 19:13 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in General | 3 Comments »

July 4, 1776 – 232 years ago these words were approved by Congress.

Posted by Ed C on Thursday, July 3, 2008

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The complete text and information on the signers, drafts and much is available at

Have a happy and safe July 4th.

Posted in Ed C, General | Leave a Comment »

Relax, the current 110th congressional session is 90% complete.

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yep, here we are at the end of June, and the congressional session is almost finished. According to Nancy Pelosi (from Human Events: Pelosi Supports ‘Fairness Doctrine):

Pelosi pointed out that, after it returns from its Fourth of July recess, the House will only meet for another three weeks in July and three weeks in the fall.

When I read this in passing I thought this can’t be right, Congress is scheduled to meet just 6 weeks from the end of June through the November elections? Six weeks out of the next eighteen, and by six weeks I think they really mean three day Tue-Thur type ‘weeks’.

With pending FISA legislation, Energy policy, court appointments (cough, cough), spending bills, emergency spending bills and all of that pork to pass, national whatever-day, week, year declarations…, and that’s all they can mange?

Not that they make it easy to figure out. The complete house schedule is below the jump, but other than the helpful reminders that Daylight Saving Time ends Nov 2 and that Election day is Nov 4th for Republicans and for Democrats, begins Nov 5th runs through the December 15th, or whenever the last court challenge is settled by the Supreme Court, you need to subtract out the ‘District Work Periods’ to figure out when they will actually be in session.

A note about those court appointments from Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) Democrats Press Judicial Obstruction Campaign:

… Using the appropriate yardstick of the last seven presidential election Congresses, we are today more then 90% finished with our days in session but have so far given a hearing to less than one-third and confirmed only half as many appeals court nominees. As a result, President Bush’s judicial confirmation total lags far beyond his predecessors’, 305 to 357 at this point in their respective presidencies.

Such a deliberate slowdown is otherwise known as obstruction. Democrats keep changing their standards, ignoring long-pending nominees, and taking whatever steps are necessary to suppress judicial confirmations. The list of changing standards grows all the time. At the end of the Clinton administration, for example, the Democratic minority demanded that hearings and confirmations continue to the end of the year. They offered as a guide the presidential election year 1992, when the Judiciary Committee held hearings until September 24 and the Senate confirmed nominees until October 8, the day before final adjournment. In 1992, the Senate confirmed 64 judges, 11 to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

I guess this just another example of that ‘moving bar’ that Michelle Obama was speaking about during her speech 3/14/08 at Villanova University in Philadelphia, PA.

House Schedule below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ed C, General | 1 Comment »

The first 10 amendments are the Bill of Rights

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, June 26, 2008

In District of Columbia v. Heller, decided today (6/26/08), the Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s ban on individual ownership of handguns.  In doing so, the Court expressly adopted the view that the Second Amendment grants an individual right to keep and bear arms, as opposed to the “collective right” (relating to a “well-regulated militia’) theory espoused by gun control advocates.

Although I personally own no firearms, and confess that in my college days I contributed $5 to a group called Handgun Control, I have seen the light of the individual rights view, and have long wondered why groups that are usually screaming at the top of their lungs for all sorts of individual rights (usually with no notion of corresponding responsibility) are so inconsistent when it comes to the Second Amendment.

I can never recall the left ever doubting in any other case involving one of the amendments of the Bill of Rights that the Constitution did not grant an individual right.  If the Second Amendment did really involve just a collective right for the states, why was it even necessary?  The left frequently admonishes us, with their usual sanctimony, that we need to live up to the ideals of the Constitution, inconvenient though they may sometimes be.  Why should the Second Amendment be disregarded or regulated so much as to be meaningless?

For anyone who truly loves liberty, and regardless of your personal feelings about firearms, do you really want the government to be able to deny one of your Constitutional rights just because it has become unpopular among certain constituencies?

Posted in General, Jim Walsh, The US Constitution | 1 Comment »

Why Jefferson-Jackson?

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, June 15, 2008

Throughout the county, local Republican and Democratic parties hold annual fund raisers / dinners. The Republican events are usually called Lincoln Day (or lately Lincoln-Regan.) For the Democrats, it is usually the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. I can understand the nod to Thomas Jefferson, but why Andrew Jackson?

Maybe this entry from Wikipedia on Campaign Finance Reform provides the answer:

In order to gain votes from recently enfranchised, unpropertied voters, Andrew Jackson launched his campaign for the 1828 election through a network of partisan newspapers across the nation. After his election, Jackson began a political patronage system that rewarded political party operatives, which had a profound effect on future elections. Eventually, appointees were expected to contribute portions of their pay back to the political machine.

Does union dues count as a required contribution to the political machine? It appears that the patronage system, partisan newspapers and the political kickbacks started by Andrew Jackson are alive and still celebrated by today’s Democratic party.

Posted in Democrats, Ed C, General | 5 Comments »

John Adams – HBO series begins tonight.

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, March 16, 2008

HBO is airing a 7 part series based on the book John Adams by David McCullough. Episodes 1 & 2 air tonight (and throughout the week.)

By most accounts, the series does a good job of recreating the hardships faced at the birth of our county through the story of our second President.

[Update: Sunday – 4/20/08]

The series concludes tonight at 9:00 PM EDTwith part 7, Peace Field. HBO is also showing the entire series starting at 1:00 PM EDT.

  1. 1:00 PM – Join or Die
  2. 2:30 PM – Independence
  3. 4:00 PM – Don’t Tread on Me
  4. 5:00 PM – Reunion
  5. 6:30 PM – Unite or Die
  6. 7:30 PM – Unnecessary War
  7. 9:00 PM – Peacefield (will also air throughout the week.)

Posted in Ed C, General | 6 Comments »

The State Legislature – How could we live without them?

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, February 10, 2008

Well, the bills are in and the schedules are being finalized. This year there are more than 2300 bills, including 1432 House bills and 849 Senate bills that will be considered in the 90 days of the 2008 session.

2300 bills? Why so many? Well one example, House Bill 380 seeks to prohibit using a text message device while driving by making it a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than $500. Okay, a good bill and a good sentiment – but is a separate bill for each possible distraction really necessary? Is this really the way to approach the problem? First we had cell phones, now text messaging devices and who knows what else. Would it not make more sense, be easier to comprehend and still have the intended effect to make the law apply to any distraction that causes a driver to operate a vehicle in an unsafe manner? Maybe there already is a law against reading a newspaper while driving – but is that any different than reading a text message? Why make a distinction? Both are unsafe activities while driving.

Or how about House Bill 42, The Home Financial Accountability Act 0f 2008?

FOR the purpose of clarifying the availability of certain books and records kept by or on behalf of certain common ownership communities for certain purposes and to certain persons; requiring the governing body of certain common ownership communities, on request of a member, to compile and mail certain information within a certain time; making a stylistic change; altering certain limitations concerning public inspection of certain records; prohibiting certain common ownership communities from imposing certain fees other than a reasonable charge imposed on a person desiring to copy certain books and records; providing that a charge for copying certain records may not exceed a certain amount; and generally relating to access to the books and records of cooperative housing associations, condominiums, and homeowners associations.

Well first of all, if the purpose of this bill is to clarify anything, well I think it fails right here in the introduction. Certain books, certain blah blah, generally relating to zzzzz…, yea, that’s clarifying alright. The best that I can tell, this bill is to give homeowners (and others) in a co-op the right to request financial statements from their housing co-op, receive them in 10 days and they cannot be charged more than the average commercial copying charge in the area.

We have laws that require all sorts of disclosures and reporting requirements. Okay, fine. Well, as a Maryland resident, can I demand equal status from the State? Could I walk into the State house and ask for a copy of all laws and regulations that apply to me and get a copy? Would I have to pay for it? If they charged me standard copying rates, what would it cost? Would I need to bring my own dolly or could I rent one of theirs?

How would Marylanders react that if 10 days after the end of each session, the State delivered a new, complete copy of all of the Maryland statues that we are expected to comply with? Would having a stack of telephone sized books delivered to each household every year cause people to sit up and ask what are we doing to ourselves?

Would that be enough for ordinary citizens to start demanding that certain legislators take certain actions when they compile and distribute certain rules and regulations that they take actions generally relating to stylistic changes that actually make sense to everyone that thinks this sentence is BS?

Posted in Ed C, General, General Assembly | Leave a Comment »

The Right To Vote

Posted by bsflag2007 on Sunday, January 20, 2008

Unless you happen to have a seventeen year old in your household, you may not be aware of a brewing controversy regarding his right to vote in the upcoming primary in Howard County. We have been working on understanding and addressing this issue in my own household for a couple of weeks, including contemplating bringing suit. I was please to see an article in this morning’s Baltimore Sun (howard county section) which will hopefully alert the general public to the current situation.,0,1843358.story

Basically the situation is this: Americans who are eighteen years old are legally entitled to vote. In many cases, there are primary elections held to determine what candidates will appear on the ballot for the general election. Since those who will be eighteen on the day of the general election are affected by the process which determines who will be on that ballot, it follows that they ought to be allowed to participate in the “primaries” which lead up to the actual general election in which they are legally entitled to participate.

Therefore, individuals who are not yet eighteen but will be on the date of the general election are “allowed” to vote in the applicable primary.

However, as of this writing, it is the intention of the Howard County Board of Elections to limit this “right” and in effect eliminate it for many. Based on “advice” received from the Maryland Attorney General’s office, eligible and registered seventeen year olds will be allowed to vote ONLY for candidates in their registered party. This is also true for those who are already eighteen. Howard County limits voters in primaries to their “own” party. Registered Independent voters are ONLY allowed to cast a vote for non-partisan races.

There will be other races on the February 12 primary ballot which are “non-partisan” – for example, school board candidates. Those who are already eighteen on the day of the primary are allowed to cast a vote in the contested school board primary. However, those who are not yet eighteen will NOT be allowed to cast votes for “non-partisan” races.

Seventeen year olds who registered as “Independent” will NOT be allowed to vote at all.

This is based on the notion that seventeen year olds are ONLY being allowed to vote in the partisan races because of their “right to Freedom of Association” – that registered political parties have a right to allow this “accommodation” to “their” voters.

I have a number of issues with this practice and the supporting “logic”.

However, the main issue is the fractured thinking about partisan rights and “plain citizen” rights.

It is reasonable that primary elections are held to narrow down the candidates who will be on the general election ballot. However, I do not concede the difference between the process to narrow the choices offered by the political “clubs” (Republican or Democrat) and the process to narrow the options available to ALL voters in races which are not officially affiliated with the “clubs” – ie, School Board candidates.

Unless the “state” interest in narrowing the ballot choices transcends political parties and is, in fact, an act in the interest of the public good – then the “state” should not be funding the narrowing down exercise solely for these political clubs.

If there is a legitimate state interest in narrowing the ballot choices – then the same interest is shared with the non-partisan ballot choices.

School Board candidates (and any other non-partisan race candidates) have as much right to appeal to their potential voters as those who are members of political clubs – and citizens who will be voting in the general election have as much right to participate in the candidate narrowing process for non-partisan elections as they do (if not more) than the club members.

Personally, I think the very minor argument that “clubs” don’t want non club members skewing their results pale in comparison to the questions of whether the state ought to be funding solely political club exercises —- and whether SOME legitimate general election voters ought to be precluded from supporting their chosen candidates in the primaries.

Our family has been investigating the options for bringing suit to ensure our soon to be eighteen year old will not have her right to vote censored.

Frankly, I believe Howard County takes a very illogical stance in the way it handles primaries limiting participation based on political club participation. “Swing” voters and “Independents” are likely to be the deciding factor again this year. Both major clubs are potentially harmed by excluding these voters from their primaries. Many other jurisdiction provide “open” primaries without problems with cross party voting manipulations.

In a supposedly open society it is only reasonable to err on the side of openness.

Cindy Vaillancourt

Posted in General | 4 Comments »

Free flu shots – comming to a traffic jam near you?

Posted by Ed C on Saturday, October 27, 2007

From the Baltimore Sun, Howard County offers free flu shots. The Howard County Heath Department is going to hold another flu shot clinic at Gateway Business Park on Sunday Nov 4th from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

I participated in this “emergency-preparedness” exercise last year. The article quotes waiting times last year were 90 minutes. Although I didn’t time it, I’d swear that I waited longer than that. The county is going to try to improve on that this year:

To cut waiting time, which last year was about 90 minutes, the county has separate vaccination sites for adults and families.

Police will direct traffic around Gateway Drive in the Gateway Business Park, off Route 175, which usually is empty on Sundays. Vehicles with adults will be directed to a parking lot at a building containing eight vaccination stations. Vehicles with families will be directed to another office building lot with 15 vaccination stations.

I really support using events like this as preparedness exercises. Last year showed they had some problems and it sound like they are going to address them. In the event of an true emergency like an avian flu out break or other biological event, the experience gained from these types of events could make a difference.

I’ve already received my shot this year, but I you haven’t received yours yet you may want to give this a try. You can’t beat the price and you get to help increase the county’s preparedness to boot.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ed C, General, Howard County | 8 Comments »