The Republican wave that swept both D.C. and Maryland in the November elections appears poised to at least reroute Baltimore’s plans to build a new east-west commuter rail. The proposed Red Line, which would run from Rosemont through downtown, Fell’s Point and Canton to Bayview Hospital, is currently projected to cost about $2 billion to build. Read More →
Usually when the subject is “Towson University students causing a ruckus by being provocatively hateful about race (or sexual orientation!), our old pal Matthew Heimbach has been the culprit. (If you don’t remember, he’s the college student who started a White Student Union, hosted a Straight Pride day, and chalked “WHITE PRIDE” messages all over Towson’s campus — right before a bunch of tour groups came through.) So we were surprised to learn that the Towson student who caused a “verbal brawl” at the prominent conservative CPAC conference by advocating segregation — yes, you heard me right, he is pro-segregation — I was surprised to hear that the culprit wasn’t Heimbach. But, of course, there’s more to the story than that.
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If you’ve been following Maryland’s budget issue, you’ll know that Democrats are warning of a budget plan with hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to things like education, law enforcement, libraries, and state employees that is set to take effect unless the General Assembly passes a tax package in a special session, while Republicans argue that the so called “doomsday budget” actual represents a spending increase of $700 million.
At least one of them is lying, right? Or else maliciously distorting the truth. I mean, we’re talking about some pretty contradictory arithmetic, here. And with little to no explanation beyond these simple claims, what we get is not so much an argument as a partisan shouting match.
Now, I’ve got at least one thing in common with Mike Daisey, Glenn Beck, Crystal Cox, and this other guy: I’m not a journalist. So it was with great indignation as a citizen-blogger being forced to actually contact someone for a comment that I wrote to the Maryland Department of Budget and Management and asked them how Democrats could see hundreds of millions in cuts where Republicans see hundreds of millions in additional spending. Read More →
After Maryland’s general assembly failed to pass a tax package that would balance the budget and defaulted to a “doomsday” budget with heavy cuts to education, Gov. Martin O’Malley has been meeting with Senate and House leaders to work out the terms of a special session to special to address the budget problem, among other things.
But Maryland Republicans don’t see a need for a special session at all. As far as they’re concerned, the “doomsday” budget is overhyped. In the words of Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, “We can live with this budget for a year.” Okay. So will he be ready to raise taxes next year?
Keeping everything as is, Maryland counties will find themselves in a bind, as they state has required they spend a prescribed amount on education while at the same time cutting aid — producing the type of financial inflexibility that government credit rating agency Moody’s says would be a “credit negative” for Maryland’s county governments.
By the way, a special session would cost tax payers somewhere around $20,000 a day. Let’s make it count, guys!
Courtesy of Citybizlist - The Republican presidential primary has become a dog fight for delegates to the August convention, putting Maryland in an unfamiliar situation — it actually matters.
“Probably the last time it was relevant was 35, 40 years ago,” said professor of history at American University and author of “The Keys to the White House,” Allan Lichtman, referring to the 1976 primary between Ronald Reagan and then-President Gerald Ford.
Maryland’s primary on April 3 is exactly three months after the first primary caucus in Iowa. Usually candidates have been selected by the time the primary comes to Maryland, but not this year.
The Republican primary has become a race to the magic number of 1,144 delegates that would give a candidate the nomination. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the lead with 558 delegates, former Sen. Rick Santorum has 273, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 133 and Rep. Ron Paul has 50.
“This is a contest for delegates and every delegate counts. And Maryland’s 37 delegates count,” said Lichtman.
Maryland’s delegates are allocated through a combination of a winner-take-all system and a proportion distribution. The primary is also closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote.
Tuesday Links: Baltimore Considers What to Do with Its Landmarks, Local Internet Puppet Show Makes Full-length Pilot, Taxes, and More
Baltimore mulls selling, redeveloping 15 landmarks – Baltimore Business Journal
Web show creators unleash the ‘Beast’ – Baltimore Sun
House panel would raise taxes– but less than Senate – Baltimore Sun
16 Fascinating Differences Between Democrats And Republicans – Business Insider
Yes, Your New iPad Actually Runs 10 Degrees Hotter Than Your Old One – Business Insider
Pakistani Parliament Demands End to U.S. Drone Strikes – New York Times
Courtesy of Center Maryland – When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964, he knew he was doing the right thing. But he also figured he was inexorably changing the politics of the American South, and that the Democratic Party, once so dominant throughout the region, would suffer the consequences.
He was right.
In the same way, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) felt he was doing the right thing when he signed the DREAM Act into law last year and same-sex marriage just last week — and he was.
But has O’Malley — or any other state Democratic leader — given much thought to what those two new laws, and the upcoming referendum fights over them, are going to do for the party and its most reliable constituency, African-American voters? Could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of what has been, for Maryland Democrats, a beautiful relationship? Are Maryland Republicans in any way equipped to exploit whatever fissures may exist between Democrats and their loyal supporters?
There have been murmurs of marital difficulties between the Democrats and African-American voters for quite a while now. A dozen years ago, Ike Leggett was perhaps the first official to openly warn that Democrats risked losing black voters if party leaders took them for granted and didn’t do more to promote black candidates for higher office.
That warning seemed prophetic when in 2002, the Democrats’ gubernatorial nominee, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, tapped a white Republican to be her running mate, and she became the first Democratic candidate for governor to lose in 36 years. To add insult to injury, the Republicans won with a black candidate for lieutenant governor.
A decade later, not much has changed.
Black and Latino candidates for attorney general were overrun by Doug Gansler in the 2006 Democratic primary. Kweisi Mfume lost the Senate primary that year to Ben Cardin. O’Malley tapped Anthony Brown to be his running mate, but Brown only has the distinction of being the first black Democrat to be elected lieutenant governor.
It is entirely conceivable that had Mfume bothered to raise money six years ago, he’d be sitting in the Senate today, instead of Cardin. The way in which Mfume smoked Cardin in Baltimore city and Prince George’s County was eye-opening. While losing statewide by just 3.2 points, Mfume won the city — where Cardin had been a popular figure for 40 years — by more than 2-1. He won Prince George’s by almost 5-1, an astonishing ratio.
I caught up with Cardin last week and asked him about his Democratic primary challenge from Prince George’s state Sen. Anthony Muse. I prefaced my question by noting that no one thinks Muse can win except possibly for Muse himself. But Cardin cut me off, noting that some other people feel he can win, too.
The fate of same-sex marriage in Maryland — at least for the immediate future — could be in the hands of a few Republicans. The marriage equality bill proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will be unlikely to pass the House of Delegates without the “yea” of at least a couple GOP legislators.
Proponents of the bill are reaching out to a quarter of House Republicans. So far, they’re attempting to frame the issue as one of civil liberties, appealing to the libertarian sensibilities of some Republicans, as well as pointing out the growing support for gay marriage even among the youth, even Republicans. For those with religious objections (which, in Maryland at least, describes some Democrats as well), perhaps they could point to Delman Coates, a baptist pastor in Prince George’s County who supports gay marriage as a civil rights issue, irrespective of his personal views on homosexuality.
If that doesn’t work, maybe proponents could offer to add a section to the bill requiring all same-sex couples to raise their children Republican. Just an idea.
2 Huge Numbers About Yesterday’s Wikipedia Blackout – Business Insider
What does the Ravens’ lunch look like? Kind of like yours – The Baltimore Sun
Penn State Trustees Recall Decision to Fire Paterno – The NY Times
Gov. O’Malley’s Congressional redistricting map, plainly gerrymandered to increase the number of Democratic delegates Maryland sends to the House of Representatives from six to seven (decreasing the number of Republicans from two to one), was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates and is off to the Senate this morning where it is expected to be approved without incident.
Despite the well-founded objections of Republicans, principled Democrats, and minority groups (who may also see their voting influence diluted by the swirly map) the plan passed 91 to 46, which means that except for two Democrats who voted “no,” it was a purely partisan vote.
According to an article in The Sun, the implicit argument in favor of O’Malley’s plan is that Republicans will be making similar moves in states where they control the process.
But the idea that Maryland needs to disempower its conservative voters (and minorities along the way) because other states are moving to disempower their liberal voters is absurd. Our governor and House of Delegates should understand that they are in office to serve their constituents (and for O’Malley that includes our state’s Republican voters), not to score points in some national partisan chess game.
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