In the News

Kujanblog, in association with Google news search (not really), brings you interesting news from around the state.


Somewhat discouraging article in the WAPO about Charles Dutton and his support for Mike Steele. Dutton, the actor and Baltimore native recorded a radio ad for Steele, but is dismayed by the reports of homeless men from Philadelphia being paid to distribute misleading (to say the least) campaign literature.

Dutton then goes on to make some completely unsupportable claims about Ben Cardin and Martin O'Malley. Apparently, all Dutton wanted out of Steele was a Senator who would return the calls of his Black constituents. But, but, but... what about passing legislation that will make America a better place for working folks and for folks in poverty? Nah, just phone calls.


In case you didn't know already, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum have been offering free admission since October 1st. Guess what has happened since then?

Museum attendance is up more than 200%.

My girlfriend and I dropped into the BMA a few weeks ago and it was totally worth the 10 minute walk from my Charles Village apartment. I might try to make it to the Walters this weekend.

The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Walters Art Museum


On the medical front in Maryland, the Maryland Health Care Commission is working on a plan for the assembly that would require all Marylanders to buy health insurance. A similar bill passed in Massachusetts. It would require employers to pay the lions share of health plan costs for their employees, and the kicker is that the employee has the choice when it comes to coverage, not the employer, as it always has been.

Towards the end of the article, I noticed this awesome piece of news:

A $1 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax is being pushed by the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative to raise an estimated $200 million a year to expand Medicaid to more adults and to subsidize small businesses that can't afford to pay for health insurance for their employees. The Maryland Hospital Association considers expanded health insurance coverage its top priority.

As a smoker I actually see this as a good thing. First, it creates revenue that Maryland desperately needs after 4 years of Ehrlich. Secondly, and most importantly, if state and city governments are serious about ending tobacco use (I don't even think it should be on the radar) the best method is increasing the tax on it. Bans in bars do nothing but hurt business and force me to smoke outside. Raising taxes is the key. I wouldn't buy a pack of cigarettes if it cost $9, but I will probably still buy them at $5.15, which will be about the price of a pack of Camel lights after the proposed tax increase.


And finally, my main man for 2008, John Edwards, visited Maryland, bring with him his message of honesty and economic populism:
But it was his focus on honesty that seemed to resonate most strongly with several in the crowd, many of whom waited in line after his speech to have their books signed.

"Most politicians follow a package that sells, and I'm tired of being lied to," said Jan Chapman. "He's genuine and I don't think he can be bought by special interests. That's very rare."
Indeed it is.

See ya' in the comments.


A No-Brainer for O'Malley - Re-establish the Moratorium on the Death Penalty

We should hope that after January, we won't be reading stories like this about our fellow Marylanders.

Kirk Bloodsworth spent nine years in prison, including two years on death row, after he was wrongly convicted of the 1984 killing of a 9-year-old girl. He was scheduled to speak Tuesday at Goucher College in Towson at an event sponsored by Maryland Citizens Against State Executions.

"I just want to tell people what it was like for me and how easy it can happen," Bloodsworth said Monday in a telephone interview. "If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody."

I can't really think of an easier decision for Governor elect O'Malley than to re-establish the moratorium on the death penalty in Maryland. Glendening set the precedent, effectively stopping the death penalty from being carried out in Maryland. This move however, was not one aimed at attacking the morality of the death penalty itself (an argument that I personally think holds some water), but instead that was based on a University of Maryland study of the way the death penalty was applied in Maryland. For a slightly dated, but in depth look at the study, go here.

But will O'Malley do it? Things look good, in my opinion. O'Malley has come out against the death penalty personally:

O'Malley, who is Catholic, has said he personally opposes capital punishment, but spokesmen for his campaign have said he will enforce the laws of the state, including the application of the death penalty. Calls Monday to O'Malley's staff for further comment were not immediately returned.

When O'Malley signed on in 2000 to a newspaper advertisement taken out by former Mayor Kurt Schmoke and the late lawmaker Howard Rawlings asking for a moratorium, he talked about the issue.

"I am not in favor of the death penalty. I don't think as people in a civilized society we can support capital punishment. You don't promote respect for life by making us participate in the death penalty," he said at the time.

Of course, Governor elect O'Malley's personal views on the issue should not really be involved here. Unless a new study comes out refuting the findings at Maryland, as a Democrat I feel like O'Malley's hands are tied. He must re-establish the moratorium on the death penalty if he is truly interested in reversing the damage done to our state by the Ehrlich/Steele administration.

If somehow, O'Malley still needs a kick in the pants, the assembly is ready to deliver it:

Maryland lawmakers have regularly submitted measures to repeal the death penalty law. Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore, who has supported a repeal, said she expected it would be introduced again. "I'm sure I'll be a co-sponsor," she said.

Lets hope someone delivers on this issue. Re-establishing the moratorium would be a positive, if not symbolic, way of reforming the ailing criminal justice system in Maryland.

A few things

First, if you have commented on my blog, I only recently found out. I guess I couldn't see any comments until I upgraded to blogger beta. Well, thanks for the comments and sorry if it appeared that I was not paying attention.

I really just want to post this great editorial by Senator Jim Webb.


Will the "Conservative" Democrats cave in the face of Republican Terrorism?

Once again the Republican terrorists have reared their ugly heads. When, oh when will our patriotic "conservative" Democrats see the light. They are so constricted by those damn liberals that they can't see the forest from the trees.

Another Republican has committed an act of terror.

This cannot go unanswered by our new "Conservative" Democrats. It is time to stop listening to the liberals who cautioned that we should not attack a "belief system" and instead focus on terrorism as "a law enforcement problem". The time for mincing words is over and the time to attack this Freedom hating ideology is now.

Republicans hate our freedom. They hate our troops. They want to dismantle our "Conservative" Democracy and set up a society based on their radical beliefs. They want to replace our national anthem and pledge of allegiance with prayers to their God. Republican's have infiltrated our congress and voted against our troops repeatedly. They voted against effective body armor and against increasing troop benefits. Republicans also terrorized our "Conservative" Democrats while they were in the minority to stop them from passing the recommendations of the 9-11 commission.

It is time to institute some necessary measures to combat the Republican Terrorists.

First, lets stop fooling ourselves. The majority of domestic terrorism in the past few years in America has come from Republicans, so IT ONLY MAKES SENSE to start targeting them at airports, traffic stops, and at the border. Of course, MOST REPUBLICANS are probably not terrorists (we think...) but who really knows. We need to protect AMERICANS first, REPUBLICANS later, so I think our choices are clear.

Next time, I will discuss possible ways of spotting a Republican. Its easy to mix them up with libertarians and Democrats from Connecticut, but i am sure our Law Enforcement is up to the task.