Archive for Uncategorized

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton dodges shoe thrown at her in Las Vegas

Hillary Clinton Addresses Recycling Industries Trade Conference In Las Vegas

USA Today

Hillary Rodham Clinton was ready with a quip after a woman threw a shoe at her as she took the stage for a Las Vegas speech.

Security at the Mandalay Bay casino resort ushered out the woman, who is now in federal custody after the incident at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries meeting.

“My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial,” Clinton said. “Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did.”

Clinton dodged the object, which sailed past her head.

Mark Carpenter, a spokesman for the recycling institute, said the woman was not affiliated with the organization nor credentialed for the event.

“Our staff denied her access before she later rushed past security,” Carpenter said in a statement. “An ISRI staffer then stopped her as she approached the stage. She was then handed over to law enforcement.”

No word on the motivation of the shoe-tosser yet.

Ron George snipes at Red Maryland & Larry Hogan – later apologizes

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The Baltimore Sun reported on a Friday night event in Annapolis featuring House of Cards star Kevin Spacey organized by a lobbyist pushing for more money in tax credits for film production in Maryland. The story, written by Michael Dresser, included quotes from a candidate for Lt. Governor and a candidate for Governor:

Del. Jeannie Haddaway of Talbot County, the running mate of  GOP candidate David R. Craig, said she’s a big supporter of the program.

“On the Eastern Shore we’ve seen the benefit of the film industry, most recently with “Wedding Crashers” in  St. Michaels,” she said.

For Del. Ron George,  who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor,  the party was only a few steps from his Annapolis jewelry store.

George, an occasional actor who said  he’s probably the only Maryland lawmaker with a Screen Actors Guild card,  expressed support for the film tax credit program as he headed in to meet his union
brother.

“I will do whatever I can to attract them here, but I don’t take kindly to threats,’ he said.

George was an especially desirable guest because he sits on the Ways and Means Committee, which will decide the position the House will take in its negotiations with the Senate. [emphasis added]

Mark Newgent wrote about the bill Saturday. Here’s what he said about the bill itself:

House of Cards has already benefitted from $26 million in taxpayer subsidies, and The House is considering an O’Malley administration sponsored bill to increase the credit by $11 million, meanwhile earlier this week the Senate approved increasing the subsidy to $18.5 million.

Newgent also discussed what Haddaway and George said about the bill:

Haddaway’s support for the subsidies doesn’t surprise me as she’s proposed millions in bond bill pork for her district.
However, Ron George, one of the Republicans who, actually walks the walk in Annapolis, voicing support for these subsidies is surprising.  I vividly remember a House GOP Caucus pre-session briefing, in 2010 where Ron chastised the Maryland Chamber of Commerce for “taking the wind out of his sails” by rolling over on principle for meager scraps from the O’Malley administration.  It’s rare that you’ll find a Republican legislator willing to call out those who are, at least ostensibly on their side.  I hope Ron and Jeannie reconsider their support for this clear case of corporate welfare. [emphasis added]
On Sunday, Joe Steffen wrote about Newgent’s post:
Based upon what Newgent wrote about Ron George supporting the tax credits for “House of Cards,” I emailed Ron George this morning and asked him why he was supporting them. Ron quickly responded by writing, “What? I am not for this.”

A few hours later, Ron George got back to me with his official answer. And, here it is, verbatim and in full…

“There is a litmus test I made when voting on tax credits.

Of course my first choice is to lower all business taxes. It drives me crazy that the liberal dems go gaga over some actor and start saying a lower tax will stimulate growth but they won’t give a break to the local businesses.

My test is simply:

1st: given our states high taxes will this be a credit that will generate growth in a industry which is stagnant because of our high rates and will the industry grow on its own after that.

2nd: is it a credit given to one business but not to others in the same industry and if so, why is that: Is it because of donations given to elected officials? (Crony capitalism) This is a big NO vote for me. Note I have been uncovering for two years and arguing that Maximus gave big donations to O’Malley and the DGA right after getting the contract for the health care rollout because O’Malley chose them out of ten companies without a procurement process. That is wrong.

I did support the film tax credit the first time as it was meant for the entire film industry and not just one company and was a small test to see if it would work. It has not.

This time they are back asking for much more and, as I told the press, I do not believe they have shown how this is attracting the industry and generating growth on its own. They also have made no attempt to locate here and establish more growth, AND I feel local businesses deserve a break 1st. It is not our job to tax locals in order to help companies located elsewhere.

I was asked by the press to come to say a comment. I went to Red Red Wine (my Jewelery store is three doors up) spoke to the press, stuck my head in and left after one beer. i watched it as an anthropology project…It was sickening to see the gaga attitudes of liberals who won’t cut a break for the local business guy. I told the press I will listen to what they have to say as I do on all issues pro or con. But It was too hokey a gathering so I left after a quick draft beer.

Larry Hogan’s marionettes at Red Maryland imply I support it and never asked. I do not see stats that support this increase and this credit. I am one big reason it has been held up in my committee. It is a shame that Red Maryland has lost their credibility. A credible news person would have asked me. But then Hogan won’t even debate me.”
[emphasis added]

Mark Newgent responded and accused Steffen of defaming Red Maryland and him personally in his post.

Newgent also talked to George on the phone:

Does Ron George support the film tax credit? No he does not.  My mistake was relying on Dressser’s reporting, and not contacting George to confirm it.  I spoke with Del. George on the phone, and what he told me was quite interesting.
George told me he never actually read my post after Steffen contacted him.  In fact, his response was based solely on what Steffen told him about my piece.  George told me entire exchange was conducted via Facebook messenger.
Given that Steffen deliberately omitted Dresser’s piece as the source of my statement about George supporting the film tax credit, as well as a key sentence to distort what I wrote, it should be no surprise that Steffen mislead George about what I actually wrote. [emphasis added]
Newgent also received an email from George. Here’s the most germane part to this topic:

Mark, I thank you for the phone call this evening and allowing me the chance to explain my position on the film tax credit.  While you apologized for assuming the Mike Dresser Sun article was correct and for not calling me, I also owe you an apology for my strong comment at the end of my earlier statement as this was the second time Red Maryland wrote something without calling me first and thus I responded a bit harsh.  I apologize since I had not yet read your full comment where you had complemented me for “having always walked the walk”. I realize your comments of me were more an expression of shock that I would continue to support it.  I will say that you are someone that tries to be fair in your reporting.  I appreciate your apology for not calling me and I thank you for accepting mine for my stronger than usual statement of frustration at the end of my statement.

The fact is, I never told Dresser I supported it. I said I supported it in the past at a smaller amount to attract the film industry but that we were holding it up in Ways and Means, studying what the returns were and had concerns for the requested larger increase.  I also do not see this as helping an entire industry, but only two productions, one in particular. That is against my litmus test for tax credits. My comment I sent out this afternoon on it is below minus my questioning your integrity. Again, thank you for your call this evening to set the record straight.

George went on in the email to discuss the policy in general and made some of the same remarks he made to Steffen about tax breaks.

At the same time, George posted the following comment as a reply to a status update by Joe Steffen (that linked to his post.)

george-FB

 

George later deleted the above comment. I already previously discussed issues with communications and social media internally at the George campaign. I will echo what I said then about Ron George engaging in political discussion with others in groups and on their walls from his personal Facebook account.

Newgent closed with this:

Again, I reiterate, nowhere in his piece did Steffen mention Dresser’s Sun article, which was my source, and he selectively omitted a key paragraph where I praised George.
Ron George does not support the House of Cards subsidy, and as I said he walks the walk in Annapolis.
I can admit when I’m wrong.  Can Joe Steffen admit he distorted what I wrote and mislead Delegate George?
[emphasis added]

The latest chapter in Red Maryland vs. Joe Steffen seems to have wound down for now.

Larry Hogan reaches out to Democrat donors

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I received a copy of a fundraising letter dated February 24, 2014 that was sent by the Hogan campaign. My source of the document is a long-time registered Democrat. I’ll make no comment on the fact that Hogan sent the fundraising  letter to registered Democrats other than to say he is really trying to make sure he raises the seed money needed (over $250K) since he is going for public financing. I do wonder if any other candidates have reached out to Democrats this way. (Charles Lollar organized Democrats for Lollar efforts in Baltimore City and other areas.)

Here’s the first page of the letter:

hogan-dmail1

Page one includes content that looks familiar if you’ve seen other Hogan campaign literature and statements. Additionally, Hogan claims to not be a politician. He also uses the caps-lock key to tell the recipients that matching funds are “NOT TAXPAYER DOLLARS.”

The language about the matching funds being a 12:1 match is included again in a Hogan solicitation. The letter notes the first $250 will be matched of every contribution and also asks for contribution levels up to $2500.

Here’s page 2 of the letter:

hogan-dmail2

Page two cites material you’ve seen before as well if you’ve followed Hogan’s campaign. The line that other campaigns have mocked before is included as well. I won’t mock it, since it cites internal polling but I also wonder about how the language of the sentence is constructed compared to what the internal data actually say. That sentence: “We have a 30% better chance to beat Brown than Gansler does, and a 36% better chance than Ehrlich had in 2002.”

Much of the rest of the letter isn’t new either. The postcript includes an ask for donations at levels starting at $100 and going up to $4000.

One long-time registered Democrat receiving this letter doesn’t prove it was only sent to Democrats. It does prove it was sent to Democrats, however. As I said, I’m not slamming or praising that audience for a fundraising letter. I am just pointing it out.

Steve Schuh and the 2nd Anniversary of the Rain Tax

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Today (March 23) is the two-year anniversary for the Rain Tax vote in the House. Steve Schuh, the only Republican to vote for the Rain Tax twice, has doubled down on his support for the state bill and is blaming all the problems on Anne Arundel County for bad implementation.

In his “Background on the ‘Rain Tax’” (which is linked to from a Schuh campaign press release),

1. He admits to supporting the state’s unfunded mandate on the counties.

2. He says the bill does not mandate a tax, and instead “authorizes” a fee.

The bill clearly requires the county to “adopt and implement…a stormwater remediation fee”, and the other counties he cites as examples – like Carroll – had to fight the state threatening outrageous penalties to avoid it.

3. He calls forcing the county to create a fee to cover an unfunded mandate “complete flexibility.”

Schuh has been all over the map with misleading statements on the rain tax trying to rewrite history and obscure his bad record.

Notes from the Hogan blogger event

hogan-bulls

I previously wrote about the blogger event Larry Hogan’s campaign was holding this afternoon.

Michael Swartz, who wasn’t invited, wrote about the event and noted that the time of day of the event would make it tough for many people. Swartz also recounts the amount of access other candidates including David Craig and Charles Lollar have compared to Hogan.

Swartz then writes:

Then again, what do I know? In the scheme of things I’m just a blogger whose main complaint about the Hogan campaign isn’t lack of access but lack of detail, as in his plans for governance should he be fortunate enough to win. Maybe I’m just one voter but I have a lot of pet issues, so that’s why I want to know.

Hannah Marr of the Hogan campaign couldn’t help herself and had to react to my previous piece on Twitter:

marr-po

I would thank Ms. Marr for the affirmation since I’ve heard nothing but how pissed off she and others in the Hogan campaign get whenever I write about them.

Moving on to the event itself…

The bloggers present in the room were Greg Kline and Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland, Dennis McIver (a.k.a. @dennisthecynic) of City that Breeds, and Carol Ott of Baltimore Slumlord Watch. Jackie Wellfonder was not there but participated via telephone. [UPDATE: My good friend Don Irvine of Accuracy in Media tweeted about the event as he was listening in via telephone.] In addition to that, Matthew Newman and Richard Cross were invited but didn’t attend.

Besides Larry Hogan himself, there were various campaign staffers who were there for all or part of the meeting. These included Steve Crim, Hannah Marr, Chris Cavey, and new communications staffer Adam Dubitsky. I heard from multiple people involved in the meeting that Dubitsky stood out, which is a good thing for the campaign. As I noted in my post before the meeting, I am optimistic that having a cmnmunications professional like Dubitsky involved in the campaign will help them immensely with how they handle their dealings with the media and bloggers.

Most of the discussion centered around why Hogan decided to run and what the polling numbers show his chances are. Nothing really new was covered. For anyone who has seen Hogan speak before, follows the campaign online, or has received emails or direct mail, it was largely a rehash.

As I noted before, the time the event was scheduled for was bad and limited who could actually attend. That and how tightly the Hogan campaign attempted to limit access to the event caused a situation where there were as many people involved from the campaign as there were bloggers.