2011-07-31

A catchy anthem for small government

You're Gonna Pay by Wilson Getchell. I like the part where Harry Reid points a pistol at six sperm and says "Give me all your money."

2011-07-29

When, where and how to testify at Maryland redistricting hearings

These hearings cover both congressional districts and Maryland state legislative districts. Dates and locations for the twelve hearings:
  1. Sat Jul 23, 11 a.m. Hancock High School (auditorium), 289 W. Main St., Hancock, Washington County
  2. Sat, Jul 23, 2 pm, Hood College (Rosenstock Hall-Hodson Auditorium), 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick
  3. Mon Jul 25, 7 pm, Prince George’s CC (Largo Student Center-Rennie Forum), 301 Largo Road, Largo, Prince George’s Co.
  4. Wed Augt 10, 7 pm, Universities at Shady Grove (Building #1 Auditorium), 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, Montgomery Co.
  5. Fri Aug 12, 7 pm, Morgan State U, Student Ctr (Calvin & Tina Tyler Ballroom #4), 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Balt City
  6. Wed Aug 24, 7 pm, College of Southern Maryland (Ctr for Bus and Industry, Room BI-113), 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, Charles Co.
  7. Sat Aug 27 11 am, Harford CC (Amoss Ctr), 200 Thomas Run Rd, Bel Air, Harford Co.
  8. Sat Aug 27, 2 pm, Towson University (Stephens Hall Theater), 8000 York Road, Towson, Baltimore County
  9. Tue, Aug 30, 4 pm, Anne Arundel County (Location to be announced)
  10. Tue Aug 30, 7 pm, Howard County (Location to be announced)
  11. Sat Sep 10, 12:30 pm, Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Avenue, Salisbury, Wicomico County
  12. Sat Sep 10, 4 pm, Chesapeake College (Todd Performing Arts Center), Routes 50 and 213, Wye Mills, Talbot County
Rules on how to testify:
Public hearings will start at the designated time and end following the last testimony of registered persons. More specific details about the hearings will be updated as soon as information becomes available at http://planning.maryland.gov/Redistricting. Guidelines for the public hearings and third-party plan submissions are also posted at the web site.

Advance sign-in for the public hearings is required (by e-mail only) and must be received by 12:00 noon the day prior to the public hearing. People interested in speaking can sign up electronically in advance at planning.maryland.gov/Redistricting. Click on the “bell icon” for the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee & Public Hearings and then click for the link for the hearing at which you want to speak. Any e-mails requesting advanced sign-in received after 12:00 noon the day prior to the hearing will not be included on the speaking roster. After that time, sign-in sheets will be available at the public hearing location.

Testifiers are also requested to provide electronic written comments to the committee by 12:00 noon the day before the hearing. Comments should be sent by e-mail as a PDF attachment to Redistricting2011@mdp.state.md.us. A hard copy will also be accepted at the hearing from people who testify who did not submit an electronic copy.

2011-07-28

5 ways to deflect public anger and demonstrate accountability

For any BCPS board member, admininstrator or task force member who is feeling under siege lately, here are some tips from a very perceptive guy*:
How to deflect anger and demonstrate accountability
  1. [Create] a video record
  2. Let the voters speak first.
  3. Vote NO on additional compensation.
  4. Zero tolerance for ethical lapses.
  5. "Say what you mean and mean what you say."
The list is excellent. And it's remarkable that BCPS leaders and the politicians who oversee them have failed to do any of these things adequately in recent years.

*Frank Luntz. The list comes from page 125 of his recent book What Americans Really Want . . . Really: The Truth About Our Hopes Dreams and Fears.

2011-07-19

Congressional redistricting is shaking things up in California

The tremors are happening in Mickey Kaus's back yard and he likes the feeling:

I thought one of the points of passing an anti-gerrymandering law was to shake things up. Well, it looks like things are being shaken. Politicians will have to explain themselves afresh–and actually worry about losing.

California has a long way to go to fix the dysfunction caused by gerrymandering, but they seem to be making pretty good progress.

I hope this kind of thing happens in Maryland this year too.

UPDATE: background music from Carole King:

2011-07-10

2011-07-05

Steven Hayward: It's time to "serve the check"

Hayward gives the conservative case for raising income taxes. Here's a longer quote:
if you want to limit government spending, instead of starving the beast, serve the check.
Makes sense to me. And if you're concerned about putting too much burden on low income folks, then reduce some regressive taxes at the same time, such as the payroll/FICA taxes.

Gov. O'Malley finally announces congressional redistricting panel . . . on the 4th of July

O'Malley's choice of a verrrrrry slow news day for the announcement speaks volumes. Voters should expect some serious gerrymandering to come out of this group. The official name of the panel: the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee (GRAC).

It consists of:
  1. Jeanne Hitchcock (Chair) - O'Malley's Secretary of Appointments
  2. Mike Busch - Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates (D-30, Anne Arundel County)
  3. James J. King, former state delegate (R-33A, Anne Arundel County)
  4. Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, Jr; Maryland Senate President (D-27, Calvert & Prince Georges Counties)
  5. Richard Stewart, owner of of Montgomery Mechanical Services, Inc. (Hmm: Google can't seem to find a website for Stewart's company. Perhaps he is a well-connected insider who doesn't need to advertise?)
Here at BaltoNorth, we look forward to following the activities of this panel closely.

UPDATE: A new Sun article has more details and bio information.

The Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee meets tomorrow [Wed July 6] in Annapolis to set a series of public hearings. [The committee] is charged with recommending a redistricting plan to the governor, who then must seek approval from the state legislature.

The General Assembly is expected to call a special session in mid-October to approve the governor's Congressional map, in time for the 2012 presidential election; state legislative districts will take shape early next year.

More on James King:

Small business owner who employs more than 100 Maryland residents. Recently named Business Owner of the Year by the West County Chamber of Commerce and in 2008, named Taxpayers Advocate of the Year by the Maryland Taxpayers Association.

More on Richard Stewart:

A member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Mr. Stewart also has held positions as a board member, director and past president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Metropolitan Washington. Member of the Maryland Stadium Authority since July 2007.

UPDATE 2: Pamela Wood at HometownAnnapolis.com says the special session of the Maryland General Assembly will start on October 17, 2011.

UPDATE 3: The WaPo yawns.

UPDATE 4: Here are two graphic reminders of how bad the gerrymandering problem is in Maryland:







2011-07-03

Economist Michael Spence looks beyond his field of expertise and gets an insight on growth in the developing world

Spence:
When I started studying growth in the developing world, I thought the subject was mainly about economics. I no longer believe that.
Spence is a very accomplished fellow. The quote is from Spence's new book The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World. In his interview of Spence, Peter Robinson asks about the quote (at 5:25) and draws this response (at 5:40):
Complicated high speed dynamics in the economics sphere turns out to be only a piece of the puzzle and what I really believe now is that the critical things are the governance. The interaction of economics and politics. The policy-making process. The wisdom with which it is conducted. The intent to help all the citizens in the country as opposed to grab as much as you can for yourself. When I go across the developing world and ask myself what's the largest single explanation for the huge diversity of economic performance [from country to country], it falls in this territory.
This strikes me as one of those "obvious" things that no one ever pointed out before.

2011-07-02

The great secular faith of our age: "education is the key to economic growth"

Most politicians keep repeating it, so the idea must still resonate with lots of voters. But it's not true.

via Tim Black, from his interview with professor Alison Wolf, author of Does Education Matter?

2011-07-01

Science is just a distraction from Al Gore's biggest climate failure, policy

Walter Russell Mead on Al Gore's failure, part 2:
[The] entire green policy vision was so poorly conceived, so carelessly constructed, so unbalanced and so rife with contradictions that it could only thrive among activists and enthusiasts. Once the political power of the climate movement, aided by an indulgent and largely unquestioning press, had pushed the climate agenda into the realm of serious politics, failure was inevitable. …

… the global climate movement has become the kind of embarrassment intellectuals like to ignore.

[The aim of Gore and his movement was] to stampede the populace into embracing one of the most dubious and unworkable policy prescriptions ever presented to the public eye. . . .

To argue with these people about science is to miss the core point. Even if the science is exactly as Mr. Gore claims, his policies are still useless…

… The policy makers and the heads of state who only two years ago were ready to follow Gore up the mountain have softly and quietly tuned him out.

[UPDATE: Gary Jones has a related item on Mead here. The post also points to Quandrant Online, which claims that "renewables are not green." Well, duh! Gary has another good post that points to an AGW climate science skeptic with separate messages for friends on both the Left and the Right.]