Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Michigan Deposit Bottle Scam - in Belgium

The Low Countries - 4,000 miles outside the Beltway

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Thrifty Belgians are causing a headache for Dutch supermarkets by gathering large numbers of plastic Coca Cola bottles and bringing them across the border to the Netherlands to collect the deposit, Dutch media reported Tuesday.

The scheme takes advantage of a recent move by Coke's Dutch arm to introduce new bottles that are identical to the ones used in Belgium - but the Dutch bottles carry a euro0.25 (US$0.30) deposit.

It also recalls a classic two-part episode of Seinfeld.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, February 27, 2006

More Congressional Drama in Ohio

St. Clairsville, Ohio - 300 miles outside the Beltway

Less than two weeks after Democrats forced Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race, Ohio brings more drama for the Democrats:

The candidate thought of as the Democratic Party’s best chance to succeed current U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, Wilson failed to make the Tuesday, May 2, primary election ballot this week after submitting just 46 valid signatures to the Columbiana County Board of Elections. A total of 50 of the 96 signatures he submitted — obtained in Belmont and Scioto counties — were ruled invalid largely because addresses were listed improperly or because the resident signing Wilson’s petition didn’t live in the 6th District.

Wilson, himself, is a resident of the 18th Congressional District and will not be able to vote for himself in the 6th District race.

That's just embarrassing. Gathering signatures is always uncertain, but it's hard to be very sympathetic when the number is so small that it could easily have been scrutinized by Wilson's campaign staff.

Republicans are excited:

The Columbiana County Board of Elections' decision to disqualify him "represents a major setback for National Democrats in their efforts to hold on to one of the country's most vulnerable open seats," the National Republican Congressional Committee said.

"Charlie Wilson has proven he's either habitually careless, or simply doesn't believe he has to play by the same rules that every other Ohioan has to -- that he's above the law," said NRCC spokesman Ed Patru. "Either way, Charlie Wilson's actions are unacceptable for someone pursuing the public trust."

Wilson will face the two previously ignored candidates who did manage to find 50 supporters in their district as a write-in candidate - a difficult and expensive task.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pricey Pandas

From the Washington Times:

Officials with the four zoos in the United States that house giant pandas -- including Washington's National Zoo -- hope to renegotiate future loan agreements with China. They say the animals are such a drain on finances that it may make more sense to send them back to the communist country after contracts expire.


Under current agreements, the zoos in Atlanta, Memphis, Washington and San Diego each pay more than $1 million a year for what the Chinese government says is a fund to protect endangered animals. In addition, China charges the zoos a one-time fee of about $600,000 each time a panda cub, such as Tai Shan, is born.

Though most of the money is supposed to go toward panda conservation in China, the U.S. zoo officials say the loan fees and money required for the animals' upkeep here siphons funds from other species that also need protection.


The National Zoo's contract to house two adult pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, expires in 2010. Panda cub Tai Shan, now 7 months old, is slated to be sent to China when he is 2 years old.

[Spokesman John Gibbons] said the National Zoo has joined with the three other zoos to open an informal dialogue with China regarding a new contract. They hope a less-expensive agreement can be reached so that Mei Xiang and Tian Tian perhaps could make Washington their permanent home.

"We know we would not be able to undertake any future loan agreement for giant pandas under the current conditions," Mr. Gibbons said. "That is not to say the National Zoo would not still be involved in our conservation and science efforts with the species. ... We will continue our work with giant pandas, whether they are here in the future or not."

Or the Chinese could build fewer offensive weapons for use against Taiwan and take care of panda habitat themselves.

It would be interesting to see more about the financial implications of pandas at the National Zoo. Since there is no admission charge, they can only hope to get more money from donations, gift shops, and concessions.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Montgomery County Sues to Allow Drug Laundering

From the Washington Post:

Montgomery County filed a federal lawsuit this morning against the Bush administration seeking a court order that would allow county residents to import [price controlled] prescription drugs from Canada.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, argues that the Food and Drug Administration unfairly denied the county's request for a waiver to allow Montgomery to disperse Canadian drugs to its nearly 1 million residents...

In November, the FDA denied the request, saying Canadian drugs are neither safe nor legal.

Randall W. Lutter, acting FDA associate commissioner for policy and planning, wrote that the agency worries some drugs coming from Canada actually originate in countries with fewer safety controls.

Check out "Importing Price Controls" for a quick explanation of what drug "reimportation" really means. Essentially, it is sending American drugs to Canada and then buying them back, secretly applying Canadian price controls without an open debate. A more accurate term might be "drug laundering."

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who announced the suit, is a Democrat candidate for governor.
Duncan's decision to sue the federal government comes as he is trying to position himself as a moderate on the issue and appeal to seniors and liberal voters.
Drug laundering is an easy way to pander without a legitimate policy debate.

Earlier commentaries on drug laundering:
DC Price Controls Struck Down (Dec. 27, 2005)
Maryland County Exec. Demands Price Controls (Nov. 11, 2005)
Importing Price Controls (Nov. 14, 2004)

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Supreme Court: Idiots Can Sue Postal Service

From the AP:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Postal Service can be sued by a woman who tripped over mail left on her porch.

7-1 decision revived a Pennsylvania woman's claim that she was entitled to damages after suffering wrist and back injuries during the 2001 fall at her home in suburban Philadelphia. The letters, packages and periodicals were put on Barbara Dolan's porch instead of in her mailbox.

This is a lesson for the postal service: don't provide better service than expected. Some idiot might not watch where she's going and end up suing you. If this woman is incapable of going outside without tripping over her own mail, she shouldn't be going out at all (and probably would have tripped over her own feet on the way to the mialbox).

Justices had been asked to interpret a federal law that bars lawsuits over the "loss, miscarriage or negligent transmission of letters or postal matter." The court said the law did not cover Dolan's claim...

Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the government. In a lone dissent, he said that personal injury lawsuits resulting from mail delivery should be prohibited.

Thomas said that under the law, the post office cannot be sued if a carrier negligently drops a package of glassware, and if the customer is cut by the shattered glass. It makes no sense, he said, for the court to allow that same customer to sue if he trips on the package.

"There is no basis in the text (of the law) for the line drawn," he wrote.

New Justice Samuel Alito did not participate in the ruling, because he was not on the court when the case was argued.

Since the delivery had been completed, the woman really should be suing herself for negligent walking.

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Those Great Virginia Drivers

First, Southeast Virginia was paralyzed by less than an inch of snow:
Less than 1 inch of snow triggered more than 100 minor accidents Monday along a stretch of Interstate 64, prompting Virginia State Police to advise motorists to avoid the highway.
Second, while running errands today I stopped for a red light. The car behind me ran it.

Great driving, folks.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Ties" to Jack Abramoff

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brushed aside requests on Thursday that he remove himself from the investigation of Jack Abramoff and the lobbyist's ties to Bush administration officials and members of Congress...

Thirty-one Senate Democrats said in a letter to Gonzales that he was too close to the president and top administration officials who have had dealings with Abramoff and immediately should step aside from the investigation...

"Considering 28 of the 31 Democrats have received Abramoff-affiliated funds themselves, it appears their hypocrisy has exceeded even their partisanship," said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

The 28 Democrats have not yet recused themselves from the ongoing Senate investigations. They also didn't use the "ties" rationale to recuse themselves from considering the Clinton impeachment.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

An Air Force Memorial

From the Washington Times:
Workers set the first piece of the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington [Tuesday], marking the beginning of construction of a monument to the only military branch without a symbolic shrine in the D.C. area.
There are several monuments to individual Army divisions and leaders, but I don't know where there's a generic "Army" memorial in the D.C. area and the article does not identify one.

The focal point of the more than $30 million memorial will be three massive spires that overlook the Pentagon, next to Arlington National Cemetery, east of the Navy Annex.


The memorial's site -- which will include a "runway" to the monument, inscription walls, an honor-guard sculpture and a glass contemplation wall -- became a subject of disagreement between rival military branches in recent years.

The National Park Service, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission originally approved plans for a 50-foot-high Air Force star to stand about 600 feet south of the Iwo Jima Memorial and northeast of the Netherlands Carillon, in a wooded area on Arlington Ridge, according to the memorial foundation's Web site.

But complaints by current and former Marines, including several members of Congress, that the Air Force memorial intruded on the Iwo Jima shrine prompted the service chiefs of the two branches to agree to move the site.

Congress then authorized placement of the memorial at its current location -- just off Interstate 395, on Columbia Pike in Arlington -- in the 2002 defense authorization bill.

For more information, check out the Air Force Memorial Foundation.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Saturday, February 18, 2006

No Pig Memorials for Virginia

The Washington Times reports:

The state has rejected two proposed markers near the sites of fatal crashes, contending that the memorials are for people, not pigs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) proposed the signs, each at a cost of $300, in memory of hogs that were killed on the way to slaughter at Smithfield Foods, the world's largest hog processor.

State law allows such memorials for human victims of fatal highway crashes.


The signs were to read: "99 pigs died here because of driver negligence Please drive with caution. PETA."

PETA wanted to put the state signs in Suffolk, where hogs were killed in a March 2004 wreck, and in Isle of Wight County, the site of two fatal hog-truck crashes.

Since the pigs were going to be slaughtered anyhow, the sign proposal should have read "Please drive with caution - your bacon is at stake."

Technorati Tags: ,

Friday, February 17, 2006

Lock Up The Court?

Over at Observant Observations, I've commented on an attempt to smear Justice Scalia for agreeing to teach a CLE seminar last September in Colorado.

The basic question seems to be whether Supreme Court Justices should be allowed outside of the Beltway and whether Brian Ross of ABC News speaks for Chief Justice Roberts.

Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Of Course He Can

From Newsweek:
In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting... to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.
If war powers ended at our nation's borders, we couldn't have shot back at the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor. We couldn't have even fought the War of 1812 or the Civil War. The U.S. government in exile would still be demanding trials.
Current and former government officials said they could think of several scenarios in which a president might consider ordering the killing of a terror suspect inside the United States. One former official noted that before Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, top administration officials weighed shooting down the aircraft if it got too close to Washington, D.C. What if the president had strong evidence that a Qaeda suspect was holed up with a dirty bomb and was about to attack? University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein says the post-9/11 congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Al Qaeda empowered the president to kill 9/11 perpetrators, or people who assisted their plot, whether they were overseas or inside the United States. On the other hand, Sunstein says, the president would be on less solid legal ground were he to order the killing of a terror suspect in the United States who was not actively preparing an attack.
He'd be on less solid political ground as well, since if captured, such a suspect could be a valuable source of intelligence.

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In Ohio, Single Issue Democrat Gives Up

Cincinnati, Ohio - 500 miles outside the Beltway

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, an Ohio Democrat who gained attention last year for criticizing President George W. Bush and [losing a bitter race for Congress], said on Tuesday he would drop his U.S. Senate bid and retire from politics.

Hackett said he was under heavy party pressure to end his Senate race and clear the way for Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown to face vulnerable Republican incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine in November.


Some Democratic leaders were unhappy Hackett planned to enter the Ohio Senate race and force a primary against Brown, a seven-term House veteran.

The Democrat establishment must be very nervous about the possibility of relying on single-issue anti-Bush candidates, leading to the current strategy of hoping everything that can possibly go wrong for America does.

Update, Feb. 26th:
"Economic sabotage, whisper campaigns, and threats: How the Democrats took Paul Hackett out"

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Virginia Dems Choose Primary

Virginia Democrats will have a primary to pick their candidate to challenge Senator Allen. Since they're letting a Republican seek their nomination, perhaps they will allow Republicans to vote in their primary as well.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Sharing" the Road

The Washington Times reports on pedestrian deaths in the District:
The string of pedestrian deaths in the District in the past two weeks has left community activists and city officials at odds over how to teach motorists and pedestrians to share the roads.
This may be the source of the problem - cars and pedestrians don't share the roads. Motorists drive on the the roads, pedestrians cross them. The job of the pedestrian is to get across the street quickly and legally. Many problems seem to occur when pedestrians don't understand this:
On Jan. 28, Jay Shawn Johnson, 7, and his mother, Shanika Howard, 25, were struck by a vehicle about 9 p.m. while crossing in the 800 block of Southern Avenue in Southeast. Both later died. Police said the two were not in a crosswalk.
Others are just injured by bad drivers:
In 1993, [Cheryle] Adams was struck at 13th and L streets in Northwest, where two vehicles crashed attempting to beat a red light. One driver lost control and hit Miss Adams while she was in the crosswalk, pinning her to a lamppost and severely injuring her legs.
Activists blame the police for not "educating":
Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey hasn't been fervent enough in teaching people about the dangers of crossing the street and educating motorists about being more aware of pedestrians.
We don't need some vague "educational" campaign from law enforcement - we need more law enforcement.

Click here for an earlier post on the open opposition to law and safety.

Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, February 11, 2006

DC's Favorite Ball of Fluff

Nick and April both saw DC's favorite ball of fluff today, along with many other critters, and learned that the hours leading up to a "major" storm are a good times to go to the zoo.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Democrats Support High School Dropouts?

From the AP:

If President Bush gets his way... 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts will lose their monthly [Social Security] survivor payments.

Not, however, if Democrats get their way...

"Children who have lost a parent need every assistance and encouragement we can provide, and everything the federal government can do to encourage them to stay in school and get an education makes it that much more likely that they can succeed," said Scott Milburn, a spokesman at the Office of Management and Budget.

"Linking benefits to school attendance provides that encouragement and is, in fact, currently the rule for 19-year-olds. We think more children can be helped by lowering that age to 16," he said.

Would you rather have your tax money help someone get through school or would you rather fund dropouts? I would have thought the answer would be easy - unless Democrats are trying to solidify their position as the party of welfare.

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Senator Allen Gets Republican Opponent, Running as a Democrat

The Washington Post reports:

James Webb, who served as President Ronald Reagan's Navy secretary, said Tuesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination to run against U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) this year, hoping to challenge the one-term incumbent on foreign policy and the conduct of the war in Iraq...

Allen's chief of staff, Dick Wadhams, said of Webb's announcement: "Senator Allen has always expected a competitive race. We will run on competitiveness, national security and values."

Before he can face Allen, though, Webb needs to get past former lobbyist Harris Miller, who announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination last month. Miller quit his job as head of the Information Technology Association of America to run.

...winning the Democratic nomination in Virginia this year will require Webb to explain his Republican roots.

He had served as an assistant secretary of defense under Reagan and was appointed secretary of the Navy in 1987. A year later, Webb resigned the post abruptly amid clashes with Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci...

In 1994, Webb endorsed Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) for reelection over retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, calling North a chronic liar. Six years later, Webb switched sides, endorsing Allen, the man he now hopes to beat. At the time, Webb said Allen was "better on issues of national security" than Robb was.

An opportunist in the mold of Wesley Clark (R/D/R/D-AR), it will be interesting to see if Webb can come up with any genuine Democrat credentials or policy positions.

If not for the recent posturing, I would have been interested in Webb running as a Republican for the Virginia's next open seat (often theorized to be 2008, one way or another).

In a December poll, Webb trailed Allen by over thirty points.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Lower Standards, Lower Success

Over at Observant Observations, I've commented on a Washington Post article that reports on minorities taking AP classes and exams, but that misses a pretty crucial observation on affirmative action:
The problem that is apparent from this article is one of the fundamental flaws of affirmative action - putting people in educational settings that they would not qualify for on merit, leading to failure and discouragement. The question shouldn't be why some minorities aren't passing the exams, but why they weren't qualified for the classes in the first place.

Technorati Tags: , ,

New Deal for DC Baseball

From the Washington Post:

The D.C. Council voted to reject a baseball stadium lease agreement last night, then reconsidered four hours later and approved the deal after a plea from Mayor Anthony A. Williams and a threat from Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy.

The dramatic about-face came at 12:40 this morning after the council added its own price cap to the lease, limiting the District's spending to $611 million for the project along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington. With the cap in place, the council voted 9 to 4 for emergency legislation that approved the lease deal.

It was not clear whether baseball would endorse the spending cap, but Williams's aides said the mayor supported the council's final plan.

...The legislation allows an additional $20 million contribution Major League Baseball promised in December to go toward the project. All other costs must be covered by the Nationals' future ownership group, developers or federal sources, the legislation said.

...Although the council approved a $535 million stadium financing package in December 2004, recent estimates from city financial officials put the cost at $667 million.

Hopefully this will lead to a less expensive stadium, not just attempts to suck money out of the federal budget to cover basic costs.

A more detailed account of last night's negotiations and votes can be found here.

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The DC Craigslist

The Washington Post reports:

Craigslist, the popular Web site where folks from around the world find used sofas, second jobs, cheap housing and new soul mates, is starting to ask for money for a spot on its busiest pages.

This week, it's New York City apartment brokers who are being told that a listing fee is on its way. Later this year, Washington area employers may be asked to cough up some money for an ad on the region's job listings page.

It's an out-of-character move for the site, which is best known for allowing users to post their ads free of charge. But it's the users who begged the site operators to do something about the number of repeat listings on the site.

Starting March 1, a $10 fee will be imposed for listings in New York with hopes of deterring the brokers who list the same apartment several times in a single day... Its simple interface gives the newest listings the most prominent spot, prompting some brokers to re-post the same listings several times a day to ensure that theirs were the first ones that home-seekers encounter.

As a result, the site gets 600,000 listings for real estate in New York per month; by instituting a fee, Craigslist hopes to cut that number by 90 percent.

Washington DC's Craigslist is one of the sites I regularly monitor for jobs. It's also one of the least useful. Once you get past the "anonymous" employers and vague titles, you still have to deal with a site that is flooded with multiple copies of the same listings - often temp agencies (also frequently anonymous) that might not even have jobs available.

I don't know if a listing fee will help, but I doubt it can hurt. The article doesn't really address the use of job listings, but the problem is probably similar to the real estate abuses.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Third Racial history Museum for DC

The Washington Times reports:

The Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents [announced on January 30th] that a new museum dedicated to black history will be built near the Washington Monument within the next 10 years.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will occupy a 5-acre plot across the street from the National Museum of American History on Constitution Avenue Northwest in the District.

"We believe that we picked the best possible site," said Roger W. Sant, chairman of the regents' executive committee, noting the proposed museum's proximity to one of the Mall's most recognized landmarks. "The Mall is a scenic place for all Americans ... and we think that it would be appropriate to be there."

Mr. Sant promised that the design process for the museum -- whose estimated cost is between $300 million and $350 million -- would be sensitive to its location on the increasingly crowded Mall.


Half of the expected $300 million cost of the black-history museum is to be provided by private contributions and the other half by the federal government.

This will be DC's third race-based Smithsonian museum after the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian.

I wish I had $150 million burning a hole in my pocket.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, February 06, 2006

America Ponders the Eyebrow

The Washington Times reports:

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's national television debut raised a few eyebrows last week, including those of funnyman Jon Stewart.

The Democratic governor delivered the rebuttal to President Bush's State of the Union address from the executive mansion in Richmond, in front of a glowing fire.

Mr. Stewart apparently thought the decor was laughable, and did the following bit on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." He played a clip of Mr. Kaine saying he was honored to give the rebuttal "on behalf of my commonwealth, my fellow Democratic governors ..."

"And my decorator," finished Mr. Stewart.

"I'm in Liberace's parlor room," the comedian sang.

"But the Democrats picked Kaine for more than just his arched eyebrow and sweet crib," Mr. Stewart said, playing a montage of Mr. Kaine's repeated signature line, "There's a better way."

I feel sorry for anyone who actually watched Governor Eyebrow's speech. America seems to be saying, "Why did you do this to us?"

Technorati Tags: , ,

Sunday, February 05, 2006

New "Doors Closing" Voice for DC Metro

The Washington Times reports:

Randi Miller of Woodbridge, Va., will soon have the most listened to voice in town.

After a monthlong talent search, Metro officials yesterday announced that Ms. Miller, 44, will be the new lady who warns riders when the trains' doors will be closing.

Officials said after a brief trial period, her voice will be played in all Metrorail cars and heard more than 33,000 times a day by riders.


People are so used to the old warnings that they no longer pay attention to them, said Candace Smith, a spokeswoman for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

Riders think of the old chime and pleasant voice that says "doors closing" as a "yellow light" that encourages them to hurry up and get in, Mrs. Smith said.


The contest was part of a larger effort by WMATA officials to increase flow and movement of commuters and reduce delayed trains.

In addition to the new voice, the message will be modified. It will now say, "For your safety, please step back. The doors are closing in 3, 2, 1."

So instead of just telling people the doors are closing, they're giving them a countdown to race against. I suggest electrifying the doors when the countdown gets to 1.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Maryland Democrats Take Stand Against Democracy

From the Washington Times:

Maryland House Democrats yesterday killed a proposed ban on homosexual "marriage," likely preventing any such proposal from getting on the November ballot.

"It doesn't look good for additional action," said Delegate Anthony J. O'Donnell, Southern Maryland Republican and minority whip. "The Democrats want to keep this from the citizenry in an election year."

Democrats are reluctant to put the amendment on the ballot because it would energize conservatives in an election year in which Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, is seeking re-election and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, also a Republican, is running for U.S. Senate.

Most Marylanders -- 54 percent -- would approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman, according to a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports.

Partisanship takes precedence over democracy. Personal power is important as well:

Delegate Joseph F. Vallario Jr., Prince George's County Democrat and House Judiciary Committee chairman, argued that saving the bill would undermine the legislature's committee system.

He warned that reviving the constitutional amendment would lead to the resurrection of every bill killed in committee.

It is undemocratic for committees to kill bills that are popular enough for a discharge petition. What Vallario is really worried about is his own personal power to thwart the will of his colleagues and his state.

The Washington Post adds:

Afterward, a number of the 19 Democrats [who voted to save the bill] said they appreciated the chance to vote, even if it was on a procedural question, because it let them publicly identify their position on an issue that carries deeply personal and broadly political implications.

"We needed to show where we were," said Del. Eric M. Bromwell (D-Baltimore County), who said many of his constituents feel passionately that marriage should involve only a man and woman. "Today, this allowed us to do that."

House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) said that was a helpful byproduct of the morning vote. Although many members supported the marriage bill, they also recognized the delicate balance between their political needs and those of the state Democratic Party.

Of course, there is no concern about the needs of the state of Maryland, Maryland law, the Maryland Constitution, or the people of Maryland - for the undemocratic Democrats, the balancing act is between political power as an individual and political power as a group.

Democrats also refused to debate the merits of the issue:
Although Democrats said the debate enabled advocates on both sides to voice their views, the speaker took pains to limit the floor discussion to whether the procedure should be used to resuscitate the measure.
Republicans should campaign on letting the people vote.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Friday, February 03, 2006

Maryland Democrats Shut Down House to Avoid Voting

The Washington Times reports:

Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, determined to avoid a vote on homosexual "marriage" in an election year, closed the House yesterday to quash a constitutional amendment endorsing traditional marriage.

In a move unprecedented in the modern history of the General Assembly, House Speaker Michael E. Busch abruptly recessed the chamber to block a vote on a proposed amendment that would define marriage as a union only of one man and one woman.


Most Maryland voters -- 54 percent -- would approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman, according to a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports.

And voters ultimately would decide whether to amend the state's constitution when they go to the polls in November. The amendment needs the support of three-fifths of both General Assembly chambers to get on the ballot.

It's always amusing to see Democrats take stands against democracy, recalling the ones that claimed that the California recall is "undemocratic". This particular display of theatrics was a bit more serious than the non-story that produced Just Barely Inside the Beltway's inaugural post - it has the actual consequences of preventing the people of Maryland from deciding this important issue for themselves.

Mr. Busch gaveled the chamber into recess nine minutes into yesterday's session, just as Republicans tried to submit a discharge petition to bring the bill to the House floor.


"It's game-playing," said Delegate Anthony J. O'Donnell, Southern Maryland Republican and minority whip. "It is one more example of unchecked power by a [Democratic] majority that has been in control of the House for 180 years."

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican who supports the amendment, said closing the House was "at least, an abuse of the spirit of the rules."


"[Democrats] went through great political gyrations to get around what should have been a straightforward process," said Delegate Michael D. Smigiel Sr., Eastern Shore Republican and committee member. "They were more interested in protecting their political party than in letting Marylanders vote on this important issue."

The dueling headlines are particularly interesting:
The Washington Post: Gay Marriage Ban Fails in Md.: GOP Sponsor Vows to Revive Measure With Parliamentary Ploys
The Washington Times: Busch Blocks Vote on Marriage
The Washington Times should be applauded for not ignoring the Democrat parliamentary ploys that created the story in the first place.

For more on the debate, check out Marriage in Maryland.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tim Kaine Forgets JFK

I commented recently on the absence of historical knowledge in a Washington Post article. Now the same disease seems to have spread to Virginia's governor. After promoting the idea of governors (including his predecessor) as presidential candidates, a comment (unfortunately lacking a direct quote) raised some eyebrows about his knowledge of history:
He made sure to note that senators, too, can win but had to refer all the way back to Harry S. Truman for a good example.
Besides the rather important fact that Senator Truman was never elected President, how do you skip JFK?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

America Meets the Eyebrow

We've noted (and welcomed) a large number of visitors recently who found us with google searches like the following:
democrat response eyebrow
kaine virginia eyebrow
democratic rebuttal eyebrow
virginia governor eyebrow
Yes, bored Americans, that was Governor Eyebrow on tv last night. Democrats should have seen this coming.

Technorati Tags: , ,