RedState: We want our Scandal Mr. Bush!

The folks at Redstate are livid at the White House for ruining the Republicans' farce of a "scandal".

This is highly recommended reading just so you can see how some folks on the right view political discourse. From lauding the Pentagon for it's complicity in a partisan hit job, to lambasting the White House for doing the right thing for once, it's all there.

They want their scandal no matter the substance behind it. If only the White House would have over-reacted with them...

The Pelosi/Plane Story is Completely False

Its a shame that I even have to comment on this completely partisan fabrication, coming from of all places, the Pentagon.

First, you must visit the link above. Just in case you missed it, here it is again:

Of course, every right-wing populist wannabe has jumped on the story. Its always funny to watch Republicans wield the class war club. They bristle at any suggestion to tax executive bonuses, to raise taxes on the rich, to provide working men and women with a living wage, but when it comes to whipping up some populist fervor to bash a Democrat, they are all for it.

What is the point here? The meme is meant to be "Pelosi rides luxury on your dime." Well, so did Denny Hastert. The reality is that this is security measure, requested by the House Sergeant at Arms, not Pelosi.

Is the plane larger than Hastert's? Yes, but Hastert had to fly to Illinois. Pelosi is flying to California. Its called geography and security folks.

In our "post 9-11 world" I see no problem being overcautious about the safety of the third in line for the Presidency. Pelosi needs a military aircraft that can make a cross-country flight with no stops for refueling. Could Pelosi just fly commercial? Yes. In fact, she has agreed to do so for cross country flights should the DOD deny the request of the Sergeant at Arms.

Personally, I think it is horribly embarrassing that we are debating over a security measure for one of the most powerful people in the world. The DOD, the Pentagon, and anyone else criticizing this completely normal and realistic request should be ashamed of themselves.


A Quick Note on Councilman Mitchell

Keiffer Mitchell is running for Mayor of Baltimore (old news, I know), and to be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the man. However, on thing caught my eye in a discussion today about the proposed demolition of some historic Baltimore row houses (pre-fire even!).

Apparently, Mitchell has played a rather large part in helping Mercy Medical Center demolish the houses.
City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. sponsored an amendment to a bill that stripped the houses of historic protections. The amendment, added quietly at Mercy's request, eliminated a required one-year demolition deliberation process that would have hampered Mercy's construction schedule.
This stinks to high heaven. Does Mr. Mitchell think this is acceptable? Does Mitchell place the needs of big business over the concerns of the citizens in the city? Does he think it is his duty to subvert the laws of our city and to create loopholes for developers?

If so, perhaps Mr. Mitchell should reconsider his run for Mayor of Baltimore.

(by the way, if you're interested in a candidate for city council who will really fight for neighborhood dwellers and not for developers, check out Adam Meister, owner of techbalt)

Anti-Marijuana Ads Lead to Increased Marijuana Use Among Teens

You can see the ridiculous ads here. The study can be found here (pdf).

Ah yes, the "War on Drugs". As things are in any un-winnable war, it matters not if you win the battle, only that you continue to fight.

Hat tip to Thinkprogress and The Politico:
The GAO-reviewed study found that "greater exposure to the campaign was associated with weaker anti-drug norms and increases in the perceptions that others use marijuana." In some categories, such as 14- to 16-year-olds, and among all white teens, more exposure to the ads led to higher rates of first-time drug use.
Don't worry, encouraging our teens to use drugs only cost taxpayers $1,400,000,000 since 1998. The study of the ad campaign cost $47,000,000. Talk about wasteful spending...

Update: In other LEGAL DRUG news,
Unintentional deaths due to drug poisoning, primarily with prescription drugs, increased by 68.3% between 1999 and 2004, and is second only to motor vehicle crashes as a cause of death from unintentional injury in the US, investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
The thing to keep in mind here is that Merck and other big Pharma companies have huge lobbies that keep their potentially deadly/addictive products legal. If the point is to criminalize the possession, use and sale of dangerous and addictive substances, I can't think of any other reason why drugs like Adderal (a legal amphetamine) and Fentanyl (a legal narcotic) are still legal while meth and heroin are criminalized.

Fentanyl, you may have heard, was one of the major reasons for an increase in drug overdoses in Detroit in 2006. The drug is still legal to this day.


Right-wing Attack on Bloggers Hurts Both Sides

Nice try at humor though. And yes, right-wingers really find this stupidity to be hilarious.

Way to denigrate and reduce the power of the whole political blogosphere. Michelle Malkin is a complete idiot, and the controversy over John Edwards' bloggers' bad language is both short sighted and anti-speech.

In a world where the MSM is on constant patrol for a story with which to beat the blogosphere over the head with, Malkin and her ilk are giving them firepower. Every blogger makes principled stands for unpopular issues at some times. Those that do not aren't worth their weight in digital ink.

So to go after Edwards and his bloggers over their "paper trail" of personal opinions is working against us all. Now every candidate for '08 will think harder about how they control and censor their campaign bloggers. It will lead to a lot of quality bloggers missing out on job opportunities, and the hiring of a lot of boring consultants to do their job instead.

Yeah, its an attack strategy that is working for the GOP, but it will come back to bite us all in the ... errr... "behind".

Class Warfare comes to Maryland

Hat tip to Maryland Law.

I have mixed feelings about a Maryland Senate bill aimed at taxing excessive executive pay. As a progressive, I do find most executive bonuses to be excessive, and I agree that something should be done to curb them. But I also fear that this bill will hurt Maryland's economic interests because it is a state based bill.

Senator Paul G. Pinsky weighs in on the necessity of the bill:
“At the end of the day, they have to pay taxes on their profits. There are no limits on their ability to write off compensation packages. So if one company has an executive who’s paid $300,000, and another $15 million, that $15 million is considered a legitimate business expense, and I think it’s not,” Pinsky said. “When you get a corporate write-off for that, it transfers the tax burden to middle- and working-class people. I think we’re losing money.”
I am inclined to agree, these bonuses should not be tax deductible. In fact, I am inclined to agree with the whole bill and its proposed implementation. My problem is, if CEO's only have the follow the rules in Maryland, what will stop them from picking up shop and heading out of state? Not too much.

A bill like this needs to be passed nationally, and unlike some other issues, where it is beneficial for states to take the lead, that seems not to be the case here. Maryland should not handicap itself with the good-intentioned, economically populist legislation until we are sure that it will not adversely harm our working class population with loss of jobs or revenue. Otherwise, we could be placing ourselves at a serious economic disadvantage in the future.

Al Wynn Feels the Heat

Why else would he be co-sponsoring Rep. Dennis Kucinich's "Department of Peace" bill?

Despite the logistical hurdles and legislative roadblocks, Kucinich made history when he said he would hold hearings on H.R. 808, which has 52 cosponsors, including centrist Democratic Reps. Ellen Tauscher (Calif.) and Albert Wynn (Md.).

Tauscher pointed to a letter she and Kucinich wrote in 2002 urging Bush to postpone a vote on going to war until after the midterm election. At least one left-leaning political action committee has suggested finding a liberal Democrat to challenge Tauscher; Wynn nearly lost his primary in 2006 to a more liberal Democrat.


Wynn, a new convert to the bill who has called his 2002 vote for the war in Iraq a mistake, said, “It makes sense to send a signal to the world that we’ll at least consider non-violent solutions.”

Now, if it was only his Iraq war vote that I was worried about, I would be able to forgive Rep. Wynn. But progressives' concerns over Wynn are related to several other terrible, pro-republican votes.

Wynn has taken heat for his vote to invade Iraq. But for the past two years, he has attempted to recant.

‘‘I think basically the president misled the country and the Congress about weapons of mass destruction,” Wynn said in an interview with The Gazette. Wynn says he cast his vote in part out of concern for his district’s proximity to Washington, a potential terrorist target.

‘‘I’m not too proud to admit I made a mistake ... knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have voted for the use of force.”

Wynn is now backing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

But he also broke with his party to support an energy bill giving oil and gas companies tax breaks and incentives, and an amendment banning flag burning. Unlike most Democrats, he supported the move to give the federal courts jurisdiction in the case of Terry Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose husband wanted to remove her feeding tube.

Wynn also has supported another GOP favorite, repealing the estate tax, which taxes the property of the wealthy after they die.

‘‘I’m a good Democrat, but I’m not a blind Democrat,” Wynn said. He says he stands with his party on the most important issues.
Terry Schiavo? Flag burning amendment? Repealing the estate tax? Unacceptable votes for a Maryland Democrat.

To make matters worse, Mr Wynn insults every Democrat who did the right thing on these votes claiming they are somehow "blind". No wonder fellow Maryland Democrat and head of the DCCC Chris Van HollenNo wonder Donna Edwards and the "They Work for Us PAC" have made Wynn a target for their organization in 2008. Even his reason for supporting the Iraq war is one of the most ridiculous cop outs I have ever heard. Did Mr. Wynn really fear a nuclear attack on PG county? What a joke.

Now Rep Wynn is trying to fool us by co-sponsoring pie in the sky "peace activist" legislation. Not on our watch.

Advanced Placement Successes Increase in Maryland Schools

As a former AP student, it makes me glad to see the program doing well in Maryland. 22 percent of Maryland students are scoring "mastery level" on AP tests. Thats 22% of students who will save money on college credits, and who are in many cases much more prepared for a college workload.

This is a victory for public schools in Maryland. Students are not only getting a quality education, but many are receiving free, top quality, college prep classes in the form of AP instruction. Often the teachers for these programs are the best a school has to offer, and they give students a view into what college may be like.

Even better:

The College Board recognized Maryland for dramatically increasing AP participation among minority students and cited the state for increasing Latino participation to the point of eliminating the “equity gap.”

In Maryland’s 2006 graduating class, however, Latino representation in the AP was 6.0 percent —more than the proportion of Latinos, 5.5 percent, in the student population. Black students comprised 14.3 percent of the pool of students taking AP exams in Maryland, up from 14.1 percent last year. It is the eighth highest percentage in the nation.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Students can choose from among 37 subject areas to demonstrate their knowledge of rigorous academic curriculum.

The new report gives special mention to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George’s County for having the largest number of African-American students scoring at college mastery levels in AP chemistry and AP physics.

Cheers to Maryland's AP program, something we can all be proud of.


Stories that Speak for Themselves

hat tip to Atrios:

U.S. military: Iraqi lawmaker is U.S. Embassy bomber

From CNN Correspondent Michael Ware

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq's parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, according to U.S. military intelligence.

Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq.

U.S. military intelligence in Iraq has approached al-Maliki's government with the allegations against Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, whom it says assists Iranian special forces in Iraq as "a conduit for weapons and political influence."

Ah yes, the "War on Terrorism".


The Sun Fails to Look Ahead On Global Warming

The Sun's Tom Pelton, this past Sunday asked Baltimore to look at it's future. Mr. Pelton asks that we consider floods, the migration or extinction of local species, and smog filled air as a distinct part the near future of Maryland.

Mr. Pelton considers this disastrous future and concludes that we, as a State, can and should do nothing. This is completely incorrect, and it's an attitude that fails to look to future of both our State and our Nation.

Whether you accept or deny the established science supporting Global Warming as a man made problem it is harder to deny the genuine social, scientific and political movement that now swirls around the issue. I can say with some certainty that soon enough we will seen Federal action on carbon emissions, "clean car requirements", etc.

Maryland would do well to play the game and get a head start on what will possibly become a state inspired program. Why let Arnold and California be the innovators when it comes to combating global warming at the state level? Maryland has it's own challenges to deal with when it comes to becoming carbon-neutral. Why should we wait to have the Feds impose their own ideas on us? Lets get a head start and create our own Maryland focused program for combating greenhouse gases.

If Maryland takes the initiative, we will have the chance to do things our own way, and to give businesses in Maryland a head start in what I am sure will become another lucrative virtual market, carbon emissions trading. Be warned, the global warming legislation will be coming. It is Maryland's choice whether we will be in control of our own carbon-neutral destiny or not.