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Archive for May, 2013

Audit: Baltimore & PG Schools Wildly Misspent Funds

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General issued an audit of Maryland’s use of federal money given as part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” The audit covered from April 2009 through June 2010, but was expanded through May 2011 after uncovering prohibited expenses.

The report found $362,939 in unallowable and $346,861 in unsupported expenditures. The troubling expenditures included travel, entertainment events, utility bills, awards, giveaway items, food, and items for personal use.

The audit also found that Maryland Dept. of Education did not monitor any of the Recovery Act expenditures until after the audit period.

Breakdown of some of the most outrageous expenses, all of which are prohibited uses of federal grant money:
$2,413 for a fried chicken dinner at a PTA meeting for 25 adults ($99/parent)
$4,352 for two Baltimore Inner Harbor dinner cruises for parents and teachers
$1,336 for 30 people for dinner, dancing, and a performance by a “local singer” at a theater in Baltimore
$500 for food at a Parent/Student makeover day
PG County even paid $222 for an electric pencil sharpener

Sources: US DOE Office of Inspector General
Baltimore Sun for original story

Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan still on Army payroll – $278k

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who is the “suspected” shooter in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, has reportedly earned more than $278,000 in military salary since the shooting. According to the Washington Times, Major Hasan was a psychiatrist and the Department of Defense has a policy that all employees continue to earn a salary until a guilty verdict is rendered.

As you may remember, 13 people died, and 32 people were injured in the Fort Hood shooting. This was the worst shooting ever on a military base. Several employees reported that Hasan yelled “Allahu Akbar!” and then opened fire. Witnesses also note that he took particular aim at soldiers and not civilians. However, the Army still calls this an act of “workplace violence” instead of what it really should be called, Islamic Terrorism.

Del. Don Dwyer Sentenced to Jail Time for Boat Accident

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Delegate-DwyerThe boating accident on the Magothy River injured 7 people including himself and 5 kids. His alcohol level at the time was .24, which is three times the legal limit. According to WBAL, Delegate Dwyer was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and 1 year of supervised probation. He has filed an appeal, and the sentence will be postponed while under appeal.

On January 8, Delegate Dwyer spoke out on Facebook about the boating accident:

In the past year I have faced both personal and professional challenges that were extremely difficult for me. As a result, and regrettably so, I turned to alcohol to cope. As many of you know, this culminated in a serious boat accident in August when the boat I was operating was struck by another vessel.

In that post, he said that in order to prevent a prolonged problem with alcohol, he voluntarily entered and completed an alcohol intervention program.

Delegate Dwyer also just held a “Gun Rights and Liberty BBQ” on May 11th, where they were selling raffle tickets to buy an AR-15 and AK-47.

Source:
Del. Don Dwyer’s Facebook Page
WBAL.com

Two New Scandals at a Second Maryland Prison

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Bloods Gang/Drug Activity Run Partially From Baltimore Prison

18 suspected members of the Bloods gang have been indicted by a federal grand jury for racketeering, drug related crimes. The case revolves around an investigation that began with a separate federal indictment of Michael Dominique Johnson, who is from Columbia, MD in Howard County.

The investigators began to monitor his communications from the Chesapeake Detention Center. The federally owned prison is run by the State of Maryland, and just happens to be located across the street from the Baltimore City Detention Center that had 13 correctional officers indicted in a major scandal in April.

This story is developing.

In other news at the Chesapeake Detention Center, a male correctional officer, Sgt. Nathan Colbert, has been charged of sexually assaulting a female inmate in front of two witnesses. A review of the court documents shows that the alleged assault occurred on July 7, 2012. Sgt. Colbert, 49, has been charged with 2nd degree assault, a 4th degree sex offense, and a correctional inmate sex offense. The trial is set for July 15, 2013.

FoxBaltimore reports that Sgt. Colbert placed his hand under her shorts and assaulted her, and she immediately pushed him away.

Sources: District Court of Maryland
FoxBaltimore

Overturning the Death Penalty Repeal in Maryland

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

A new petition has been started to overturn Maryland’s death penalty repeal which was just signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley last week. The petition is to put a referendum on the ballot for the 2014 General Election.

The new petition from MDPetitions.com is lead by Maryland Delegate Neil Parrot. In his email to previous petition subscribers he stated:

“We are going to work very hard to allow the people of Maryland to decide whether or not the Death Penalty should be available in Maryland if, heaven forbid, something as atrocious as the Boston Marathon Bombing were to occur at the Raven’s stadium or Camden Yards.”

Prior to the signing of the death penalty repeal by Governor O’Malley, only premeditated, 1st degree murder was a capital offense. Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 5 convicted murderers have been executed by the State of Maryland, with the last two coming under Governor Ehrlich in 2004 and 2005.

You may remember the “DC Sniper” from October of 2002, who killed 10 people and critically injured three others in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. In that case, John Allen Muhammad was sentenced to death in Virginia. John Lee Malvo was 17 at the time of the shooting and the Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment prohibits execution for minors.

Turning Maryland is urging you to sign the new petition from MDPetitions.com to overturn the Death Penalty Repeal. You can learn more and sign the petition now at http://mdpetitions.com/. MDPetitions.com is asking for volunteers to help obtain the required number of signatures.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, “The petition must be signed by registered voters equal in number to 3% of the votes cast for Governor in the preceding Gubernatorial General Election. For statewide referendum petitions filed in 2013 through 2014, that number is 55,736. Not more than half the required signatures may be from any one county or Baltimore City.”

Upcoming Deadlines:
May 31: 18,579 Signatures Required (1/3 of the required 55,736)
June 30: 55,736 Signatures Required (including the 1/3 turned in by May 31)

The state is recommending that the petition be signed by at least 20-30% more voters than the number required, since a substantial number of signatures are usually ruled invalid. In TurningMaryland.com’s analysis of the previous three petitions in Maryland, about 11-17.5% were rejected. Of those rejected about two-third were rejected for invalid signatures, and the remaining one-third because the signers were not registered voters of the county they signed the form for.

Voters registered with a middle name, must sign with either their first or middle name written out, in addition to their last name. Also individuals cannot register to vote at the same time as sign the petition. Individuals must receive a voter notification card in the mail before signing a petition.

Source: http://www.elections.state.md.us/petitions/
http://www.elections.state.md.us/petitions/petitions_faq_01.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-te.md.oken18jun18,0,2440962,full.story
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2005-12-06/news/0512060136_1_baker-christopher-baltimore-county

Two New Posts Coming Shortly

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Since I haven’t posted an update in a couple of days, I just wanted to send you a quick note. I am currently working on two stories for Turning Maryland. The first story is about the new petition from MDPetitions.com to overturn the Death Penalty Repeal. You can learn more and sign the petition now at http://mdpetitions.com/. The second story I am working on will take me a little longer, as I am working on getting several sources on the complex issue of Governor O’Malley’s “Rain Tax” and whether or not it will be effective.

Stay tuned!

Can Democrats Change The GOP’s Platform?

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Why do Democrats try to dictate or change the Republicans strategy?

Last week I was watching “21 This Week” which is a local cable political show in Montgomery County. I will spare you a complete review of the show, but it was pretty good considering that it is a cable access show. In that episode Elbridge James, Board President of Progressive MD, opined that the Republicans need to change their principles if they are to “re-raise out of the dead the Republican Party.” What exactly was Elbridge trying to accomplish?

Eric Cary, Republican Activist, had a good rebuttal that I will expand upon here. In the last two Presidential elections, Republicans nominated a moderate Republican to be their nominee. This obviously didn’t turn out well, and now we are stuck with 8 years of an ultra-liberal President Obama. Democrats would have you believe that John McCain and Mitt Romney didn’t win because the Republican message is bad, outdated, and out of touch. If only we would cave on our principles, then maybe we could get elected. If we would just become more liberal, maybe democrats and independents would vote for us.

Sorry, but caving on our principles is the last thing that we need to do. What we need to do is to fix our primary process, and instead of getting the one moderate from the primary, if we could somehow figure out how to get one of the best conservative candidates, we would have a chance to win. Now I know some of you will think that politicians that are more moderate will do better in the general elections, and that is generally true. The problem however, is that if you can’t even get your own party to vote for you, then these moderate Republicans stand no chance.

The other BIG problem facing our party is that of getting our message out. Democrat activists are quick to belittle our message as tired, but think about how hard it is to become a Republican. As young children, most of us enter public schools where most teachers are Democrats. Children are taught liberal principles from the start. They learn about pollution, acid rain, global warming, and saving the planet. They do not learn about starting their own business, or managing money. They don’t read the federalist papers. These days, they are even changing the Pledge of Allegiance to remove the words “under god.” This onslaught of liberal messaging continues into college where the professors become even more liberal. A couple of weeks ago, one professor even required his students to literally stomp on a piece of paper that had the name Jesus on it. Once a young person finishes school, unless you purposely try, any newspaper, radio, or television source you see is heavily slanted left.

To become a Republican is a challenge because generally events in your life guide you to become more conservative. That is one of the major reasons why Republicans are cast as older people. It takes time to get over the constant liberal messaging. You have to become tired of seeing how much money comes out of your paycheck. You have to learn not to be jealous of successful people, but realize that you too can become successful. You must grow tired of politicians constantly spending more and more of your tax money. Here in Maryland you have to become sick of higher gas taxes, higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, higher income taxes, higher tolls, more speed cameras, and higher fees and fines. Even after all of those new taxes, somehow Governor O’Malley and Maryland Democrats still seem to rely on selling bonds (creating debt) to make ends meet.

Eventually you have to say ENOUGH. Too many people coast through life, seemingly too busy to pay attention, or too overwhelmed by all of the information required to become informed. It is far easier to just tune politics out and just focus on ourselves and our family. The Republican Party is the party of lower taxes for everyone, not just businesses or the rich. The GOP is the party of decreasing government spending, eliminating wasteful and often duplicative programs. We are the party of reason, but usually we keep our opinion quietly to ourselves. We don’t shout our opponents down like the liberals do. The liberals are supposedly the party of tolerance, but try disagreeing with a liberal and watch out! You see, the Republicans don’t need to change our principles, we need to need to say “Enough!” We need to stop the out of control spending, stop the creation of new taxes, and lower the current taxes. But most of all, people generally agree with those things, but they don’t hear that message from us. Instead they hear from democratic strategists, unions, and liberal news sources all of the things that in their liberal opinion that are wrong with our party. Well… ENOUGH!

What do you think? Should we listen to the liberal strategists and change our principles, or should we start speaking up and taking a stand?

Republicans in Maryland House of Delegates Elect New Leadership

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

On Tuesday, Maryland House Republicans elected a new minority leader, Delegate Nic Kipke, and a new minority whip Delegate Kathy Szeliga. Del. Kipke, 34, is in his second term, represents Anne Arundel County. Del. Szeliga, 51, is in her first term.

According to the Capital Gazette, this is the third attempt by Kipke to unseat the former minority leader Tony O’Donnell from Calvert County. Del. Szeliga is replacing former minority whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio from Talbot County. Republicans currently have 43 seats out of a total of 141 seats.

Delegate Nic Kipke said the following on his Facebook page:

Today, Delegate Szeliga and I were elected to be the leaders of the Republicans in the House of Delegates. I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues and also thankful to Delegates O’Donnell and Haddaway-Ricco for their dedicated service over the years.

In this new role, I’m committed to advancing policies that will reduce poverty, improve classroom education outcomes, and make our streets safer. We can make Maryland a better, more affordable, safer place to live. I’m up for the challenge and invite you to get involved.

Earlier in April, the Maryland Republican Party also voted in new leadership. Interim party chair Diana Waterman was elected chair at the Spring Convention.

Sources:
Del. Nic Kipke Website and Facebook
Capital Gazette

2016 Elections

Primary - 4/5/2016
General - 11/8/2016

Races to Watch

U.S. Senate

Barbara Mikulski (D) is retiring.

Top (D) Candidates
Donna Edwards
Chris Van Hollen

All 8 House Seats are up for election.

Current Representatives
1st - Andy Harris (R)

2nd - Dutch Reppersberger (D)

3rd - John Sarbanes (D)
Top candidates Dr. Mark Plaster (R).

4th - Donna Edwards (D) - running for Senate
Top candidates Anthony Brown (D), Glenn Ivey (D), George McDermott (?)

5th - Steny Hoyer (D)

6th - John Delaney (D) - may run for Senate
Top (R) candidates David Vogt (R), Kathy Afzali (R), Neil Parrott (R), Mike McKay (R).

7th - Elijah Cummings (D) - may run for Senate
Top candidates Calvin Ball (D), Corrogan Vaughn (R).

8th - Chris Van Hollen (D) - running for Senate
Top (D) candidates Kumar Barve, Valerie Ervin, Kathleen Mattews, Jamie Raskin
Top (R) candidates Frank Howard - potential