Archive for Maryland

Watch Justin Berk’s Mobbies Meltdown

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Congratulations would all you’d expect to be in order to Justin Berk for winning Best Twitter Account and Best Facebook Page at Wednesday night’s Mobbies, sponsored by The Baltimore Sun. However, reports by people in attendance indicated a Berk meltdown when he got on stage to accept an award. Berk talked about the good things, like fundraising, he had accomplished via social media. He then talked about an “impostor” account that he said had said petulant and immature things. He claimed the person behind this “impostor” (really a parody account despite his claim of imitation) was in the room. He made other comments that basically said he was taking the high road but that he was sitting on a big story and could cause problems for people with it if he wanted. He then quoted Taylor Swift and grabbed his crotch before leaving the stage.

That parody account he was referring to is @notjustinberk on Twitter. Since it’s clearly a parody account and not someone trying to imitate him I suspect Berk taking the high road is because his lawyer told him he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if he were to sue. (You can see videos including the full speech at various points below.) I’m not sure Berk is deserving of Best Twitter Account if he doesn’t understand parody accounts. He was able to get enough votes to win the award and talk about what a big deal he is, but he’s so thin-skinned he can’t handle a parody account – an account which wouldn’t exist if he wasn’t at least somewhat popular. Now, thanks to the same social media popularity that has made him since his abrupt departure from local television, he will be remembered for this meltdown more than for the awards.

One person who was there also had thoughts and comments – referring to Berk’s speech as “embarrassing”, “passive-aggressive”, and “ego-laced.” The comments there also included this:

Basically he went off on trolls who apparently upset him with a parody Twitter account. In the process he proclaimed that he “knew some of you here were helping them” and said he had evidence of that, and action by former employers, etc that he could use to “destroy careers” with if he hadn’t decided to “take the high road”. Then went on to laud himself for a bit longer. So… he had an opportunity to use this stage to discuss online abuse with a sympathetic audience, and instead melted down in his own self-aggrandizement. It was sort of sad, as much as it was somewhat entertaining in a slow-motion-train-wreck way. But it was a true downer in an otherwise upbeat evening.

Berk himself responded to one person’s criticism on Twitter and alcohol consumption was mentioned. Some other comments on Twitter are here.

City That Breeds posted this video – which clearly captures the audio of the entire speech


This video, posted Thursday morning, shows Berk quoting Taylor Swift and grabbing his crotch at the end of his speech:

 

ICYMI @justinweather just likes to shake shake shake it off #Mobbies

 

A video posted by Will C (@wheelsee) on

State official falls for urban legend, issues scam warning

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ABC News:

Authorities in Maryland have warned the public about a potential holiday scam that involves the temptation of a $100 bill left on a car windshield.

The simple scheme works like this: Drivers walk to their parked cars and, after they get in the vehicle, they notice a $100 bill in the windshield. The driver exits the car with the door open to retrieve it, only to have a thief steal the vehicle.

Karen Straughn, Maryland Assistant Attorney General – Consumer Protection, wants the public to be aware of it, as reported by ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington. Straughn said an unknown resident, during a public information safety session in Baltimore County, informed her of one incident, but Straughn said she has not seen a police report about it.

Here’s what Snopes, who rates it “False” has to say:

In November 2014, Washington, D.C., television station WJLA ran a muddled news report about a new satellite office of the Maryland attorney general issuing a warning about “carjackers” or “scammers” (they couldn’t decide which) leaving $100 bills (or fakes that look like $100 bills, they weren’t clear which) under the windshield wipers of cars parked at malls and then taking off with those vehicles when their drivers exit them to snatch the money. But again, the whole news story was based on nothing more than someone at the attorney general’s office saying they had “gotten reports of scammers in Maryland leaving $100 bills on windshields” and provided no documented instance of such a crime actually having taken place. (The Maryland attorney general’s office has yet to respond to our request for verification that any such carjackings have occurred.) Quite possibly what’s being reported is yet another instance of unknown persons leaving realistic-looking fake money on cars as a prank or an advertising gimmick, with no intent to steal those vehicles.

Straughn isn’t letting the facts get in the way of her fear-mongering in the story:

Straughn said she is aware that the scam is touted online as an urban legend, but she wants to warn the public as a precautionary measure.

The story notes police in Prince George’s County and Baltimore County have not seen this and there is no record of it taking place. Thanks to the national coverage this story is going viral with the presumed authority of the office of outgoing Attorney General Doug Gansler attached to it (through an Assistant AG) to give it credibility. This isn’t even a new story as Snopes points out. It is irresponsible for the state of Maryland to spread a falsehood just to get media attention.

Baltimore Marxists plan #Ferguson protests

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WBAL.com reports:

Protests are being planned in Baltimore if a grand jury declines to return an indictment against the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.

In downtown Baltimore, the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly is planning an “emergency response protest” in McKeldin Square, either the day of the grand jury decision or the day after.

The demonstrations are both planned in protest of Brown’s shooting, but also of other fatal officer-involved shootings involving Hispanic and black people.

As I noted before, the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly has an office they call their Solidarity Center:

The Solidarity Center has opened its doors to a variety of different groups who have met and planned activities including Occupy Baltimore, SCLC, UPP, WWP, the Green Party and the families and victims of police violence.

The WWP, a.k.a. The Workers World Party, split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1959. The split was partly because of the SWP’s support of Henry Wallace in the 1948 election and because the SWP was supporting Mao Zedong in China. Since then the WWP has supported Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-Il. They also supported the Chinese crackdown on democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square in China in 1989. Additionally, WWP supported domestic terrorists including the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.

The name of Steven Ceci consistently comes up as it relates to the PPA. He even included a comment on my original post confirming that he is a “communist” and the PPA is affiliated with the Workers World Party.

The local media generally doesn’t even name the PPA, let alone detail their connections. As I noted on a story about their anti-Israeli protest, they usually have signs for every single issue in the smorgasbord of progressive coalition issues.

American Power blog had this to say about the anti-Israel event and Ceci:

These groups are vehicles for the most vile eliminationist anti-Semitism. Mainstream media outlets do significant harm in omitting any mention of the ideological, anti-Semitic background of organizers like Baltimore’s Steven Ceci and his ilk.

Illegal alien charged with kidnap, rape of Maryland girl

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WBAL.com:

Victor Arroyo made had a court appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina Monday after being arrested late Friday night.

The court kept his $1.5 million dollar bond intact and appointed a public defender to represent him.

Arroyo is charged with kidnapping and rape in the case of the 12-year-old who disappeared last Tuesday while on her way to Perry Hall Middle School.

A prosecutor with the Wake County District Attorney’s office says Arroyo’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Arroyo illegally re-entered the United States after previously being deported, so there is an immigration hold for 48 hours before he can make bail. He could still face charges from Maryland or the federal government in addition to the charges in North Carolina.

The News & Observer in Raleigh also reported that:

Arroyo also was charged with probation violation because the state had listed him as an absconder from probation that came with a suspended sentence for misdemeanor assault on a female in 2007.

Hogan: Tax Cuts in Maryland Could Be Delayed

Jayne Miller made the following tweet today
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From a lede of a story in The Daily Record by Bryan Sears:

Maryland’s incoming governor said Monday that a larger-than-expected budget gap will likely affect how quickly he can keep a campaign promise to roll back taxes.

Hogan also said, “The problem seems to be even greater than we expected it to be.”

More from the Sears article:

“I’ve been talking about these issues for three years. Much of the time I was the lone voice in the wilderness talking about the problems. Now people are starting to realize that what we were talking about is true,” Hogan said. “Quite frankly, even I am surprised at the magnitude of the problem. The task ahead of us is vast.”

Hogan getting in front of this issue before he even takes office is a good move to prevent Democrats from hitting him on it. Hogan pointing out the state’s budgetary woes were even worse than he thought before he is even inaugurated should insulate him from criticism on the issue.

Hogan blaming O’Malley at this point is a valid thing to do and a Democrats would look hypocritical to attack him over it. After all, Nationally, Democrats and the President blamed all of the nation’s woes on the Bush administration for several years and, here in Maryland, the hyper-partisan administration of Martin O’Malley was an active player in the Blame Bush cavalcade.

With that being said, the delay in tax relief should not be much of one or it might actually hurt Hogan politically, especially if the Democrats try to sabotage his administration on this issue.

UPDATE
NBC Washington reports:

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan says he remains committed to pursuing tax relief in his first year as governor, despite a projected budget shortfall of more than a half a billion dollars.

Hogan, a Republican, said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press that he would consider calling a special session next year to do more work on the state’s finances, if that’s necessary.

Governor-Elect Hogan supports late-term abortion restrictions

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During the campaign, the Anthony Brown campaign dug into Larry Hogan’s past statements going back thirty years to try to scare some voters by making it look like Hogan could and would singlehandedly roll back Roe v. Wade if elected. Hogan initially said his past positions were “superfluous” because abortion is settled law in Maryland.

As the Democrats continued to hit Hogan, his campaign responded with an ad featuring his daughter. The ad included a pull quote from Hogan and a line from his daughter basically saying he wouldn’t do anything to restrict or roll back a woman’s right to choose.

I was a bit surprised that this didn’t result in further pushback by the
Democrats since Hogan answered a question about late term abortions by the Maryland Catholic Conference by saying:

If legislation were passed by the legislature that reflected reasonable restrictions to that effect on third trimester abortions past the point of fetal viability I would sign it.

Brown answers the same question, as I noted before, by saying:

I believe in a woman’s right to choose under Maryland law. This is a decision between a woman and her doctor.

Much legislation proposed now restricting late-term abortions is based on fetal pain and not just viability. I don’t foresee such legislation getting through the General Assembly yet for Hogan’s signature. I am more astonished that the Brown campaign did not hit Hogan on this issue and instead chose to dig up remarks he made in the early 1980s.

It’s either because they were incompetent (the election loss makes me think that’s why) or they were afraid to touch the issue themselves since Maryland has become a destination for late-term abortions.

The administration of Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown gave a license to notorious late term abortionist Leroy Carhart, despite Carhart’s track record and his lies on his application. As a result, Jennifer Morbelli died after a botched abortion at Carhart’s Germantown facility. Complaints were filed against Carhart’s license, but “no deficiencies” were found in her death by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Brown also told the conference that he had opposed a ban on physician-assisted suicide in the past when he was a legislator. As reported at LifeNews.com, Hogan would oppose legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

As I’ve noted before, I didn’t vote for Hogan in the primary. However, as I noted before the general election:

In the document A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD wrote that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a mortal sin. Fr. Torraco also wrote that voting for a candidate who cites personal opposition to abortion while still voting for it would make the voter “an accomplice in advancing the moral evil of abortion.”

When none of the candidates for a particular office are completely pro-life, it’s necessary to choose the candidate that will do the most to promote a culture of life. There are many incremental steps that can be taken in Maryland to advance the pro-life cause. Otherwise, Maryland will continue to be a state where minors have to get parental consent to go to a tanning bed, but not to kill their unborn child.

Based on the principles I wrote about, I voted for Larry Hogan. I also detailed before the election about the reasons I couldn’t vote for Brown.

In the future, I will look at some of the executive actions and appointments that Larry Hogan can take as governor to protect the unborn – many of them non-controversial.

Larry Hogan should do this on Day 1

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I remember a news story from the day Gov. Martin O’Malley was sworn in the first time in 2007 that dealt with the lightning speed with which state government workers replaced the small signs attached to all the highway welcome signs at the borders and at places like the Key Bridge in Baltimore. Pretty quickly after O’Malley became governor the old Bob Ehrlich signs were taken down and the new ones (see above) were put up. I’ve heard anecdotally that Ehrlich was the first governor to add these signs, but I have yet to see anything authoritative. [Update: I have since heard that there were signs for Governors Glendening and Schaeffer.]

Clarification – I am referring solely to the bottom portion with the name of the governor. That is actually a separate sign.

When Larry Hogan becomes governor these O’Malley signs should come down and not be replaced with Hogan ones. The production and installation of these signs might be a small number relative to the overall state budget, but the symbolism is important. It would be further proof of Hogan’s commitment to efficient stewardship of the taxes paid by the hard-working people of Maryland.
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Placing a portrait of the new governor and lieutenant governor in every state building probably should not be completely eliminated, but that is another early task that can be looked at to make sure it’s done as inexpensively as possible.

Another matter of signage that became more prevalent after all the federal stimulus project signs included the name of President Barack Obama on them is the state government construction project sign that basically brags a governor, lieutenant governor, and local officials brought government largesse to a particular area. This is something else that should be looked at as a place to cut government spending.

Larry Hogan can help reinforce his overall message just by doing these simple things.

Is it a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Anthony Brown?

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I will start by noting that I am not going to answer the question in the title. I am going to note what has been said about the subject by much more eloquent writers than me and let the reader decide. Additionally, Anthony Brown is a placeholder in the subject line, so if you’re not in Maryland, like I am, you should substitute any other pro-abortion politician on the ballot Tuesday.

I’ll begin by urging Catholics to make the sacrament of Reconciliation a regular part of their lives if it isn’t already. Before you go to confession you should do a good examination of your conscience. One online examination of conscience asks the person examining their conscience if they “supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church.” I’ll also note that two smartphone apps used for examining your conscience, both Confession and Mea Culpa, include certain voting behavior among their lists of sins. Specifically, the Confession app asks the user if they have “supported or voted for a politician whose teachings are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church.” The Mea Culpa app explicitly calls “voting for someone who is pro abortion” a Mortal Sin. (For anyone reading this who needs a quick primer on the definitions of mortal sin and venial sin, check out the very easy to read discussion at Catholicism for Dummies.)

I recently wrote the following:

In the document A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD wrote that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a mortal sin. Fr. Torraco also wrote that voting for a candidate who cites personal opposition to abortion while still voting for it would make the voter “an accomplice in advancing the moral evil of abortion.”

When none of the candidates for a particular office are completely pro-life, it’s necessary to choose the candidate that will do the most to promote a culture of life. There are many incremental steps that can be taken in Maryland to advance the pro-life cause. Otherwise, Maryland will continue to be a state where minors have to get parental consent to go to a tanning bed, but not to kill their unborn child.

Anthony Brown got a D from the Maryland Catholic Conference on this issue and told them:

I believe in a woman’s right to choose under Maryland law. This is a decision between a woman and her doctor.

He also told the conference he supports a discussion on physician assisted suicide, but that he voted against a ban on it as a legislator.

Brown is a Catholic but he has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. I previously discussed the obligations Catholic elected officials have on life issues in the primaries.

Yes, there are other issues of importance to Catholics, but, as Saint John Paul II noted, the right to life is “the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost.”

If you already voted for a candidate who supported abortion in early voting, whether here in Maryland or another state, you should also examine your conscience as well.

Baltimore, DC named to Top 10 Cities for rats

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Fast Company

Earlier this month, the pest control company Orkin released a ranking of the top rattiest cities–the places that sent out the most rodent-elimination requests in the year 2013. Here are the top 10 winners:

Chicago
Los Angeles
Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown
New York
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Seattle-Tacoma
Detroit
Cleveland-Akron-Canton
Baltimore
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
Rats are well-suited to carry lots of different diseases that are harmful to humans. Hantavirus, the bubonic plague, and Leptospirosis (a disease causing liver damage) are just a few. Some research suggests that rat infestation problems could be worsened by climate change, as rats tend to breed in warmer and wetter weather. If rising sea levels mean increased flooding, that could mean more ideal habitats for rats to raise families.

Of course this is only counting rats with four legs or DC would likely rank at the top. Earlier this year, Baltimore ranked 3rd internationally for rats in an Animal Planet ranking.

New ad hits Anthony Brown (and Martin O’Malley) over taxes

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The new ad, by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) hits Anthony Brown, and Martin O’Malley, for all the tax and fee increases during their administration. It also refers to Anthony Brown as “The second string for O’Malley’s third high tax term.”

Here’s the ad: