Archive for Uncategorized

Smithsonian bans selfie sticks

From a Smithsonian press release:

For the safety of our visitors and collections, the Smithsonian prohibits the use of tripods or monopods in our museums and gardens. Effective today, March 3, monopod selfie sticks are included in this policy.
This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions.
We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences—and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.

Good move and I guess it must’ve become a problem at other museums if not the Smithsonian yet. 

MD GOP responds to claims about Boehner, Bongino, NRCC funding

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Earlier this week, I noted a Breitbart Texas story on Louie Gohmert’s challenge to John Boehner that made the claim that congressional candidate Dan Bongino was denied funding from the National Republican Congressional Committee and other national Republicans because he was expected to not support John Boehner for speaker if elected. I made it clear that it was a report from another website and that “if true” it is damning.

I was contacted by MD GOP officials (and not the NRCC or RNC) who disagreed. Joe Cluster, Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party, gave me the following statement:

First, the RNC gave money to the State Party that was spent on his campaign and second the State Party held a joint fundraiser with him to try and help raise him money. I wish the NRCC and the RNC would have invested more in this race, but they never had this race or the Governor’s race on their radar. They did not invest in Maryland until the last minute because the numbers were not there until late in the game at which time they had little resources to offer. Dan was a great candidate and ran a great campaign – unfortunately the MDGOP did not have the resources to invest heavily – but out of the $90k we got last minute from the RNC, $40k was spent in get out the vote efforts in the 6th congressional district. FYI: Alex Mooney openly talked about not supporting the speaker when he was running but that didn’t stop the NRCC, the RNC, and the speaker from investing in his campaign. Why? Because that was a seat they had on their list to invest in. Unfortunately the 6th district in MD was thought un-winnable by the DC crowd. Criticize them for that but not this.

I have left a message for Bongino in hopes of getting his comment on this matter. Earlier in the week he tweeted this linking to the original Breitbart piece by Sarah Rumpf:

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Then yesterday he retweeted a tweet by @anthropocon that linked to my story:
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Black Guerilla Family gang gunman tests police security

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Jayne Miller of WBAL reports:

The Black Guerrilla Family gang sent an armed gunman into a Baltimore police station Tuesday to test security, police said.

Police said the man was sent to the Northeastern District station.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has called the incident “alarming.” Batts said he is calling a meeting of other agencies to put them on notice about Tuesday’s incident.

In December, there were warnings issued that the BGF might be targeting police officers. The gang also threatened to “storm” NYPD precincts and “shoot it out” with police.

UPDATE
WMAR has more details:

A man with a handgun and drugs was arrested inside the Baltimore Police Department’s Northeast District station after the man said he was sent to the precinct to “probe security,” police officials said.

The man told police that was sent to the station on orders from the Black Guerrilla Family, although police are interviewing the suspect to the confirm that authenticity of his claim.

The man claiming ties to the gang was taken into custody at about 8:45 a.m., according to Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

Little Jimmy Dickens hospitalized in “critical care”

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The Tennessean reports:

Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame icon Jimmy Dickens is in critical care with an undisclosed illness after being admitted to a Nashville area hospital on Christmas.

Dickens’ wife, family and the Opry are requesting prayers from his friends and fans around the world, according to an press release sent out Sunday. Dickens turned 94 on Dec. 19.

Dickens is known for songs including the #1 hit May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.

Cards and letters can be sent to:

Jimmy Dickens
c/o Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive
Nashville, TN 37214

Report: MD man lied about being a POW in Vietnam

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Steve Barr (pictured above between Delegate Nic Kipke and new Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh) lives in Pasadena and claims he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was honored – along with other veterans – by the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company last month and Kipke tweeted the above photograph, which Schuh retweeted.)

Unfortunately, This Ain’t Hell reports that Barr is lying about being a POW. TAH has his service records which show he did serve in Vietnam honorably, but that he wasn’t a POW. Barr even fooled Voice of America News and told them a story about a supposedly fallen comrade who died well after Barr’s service in Vietnam. TAH also notes that only one POW in Vietnam had the last name Barr and his remains were repatriated to the US in 1995.

I have written things that were less than flattering about both Kipke and Schuh in the past so I want to make sure to emphasize that I am not doing that here. They, along with everyone else Barr lied to, are among the victims in this situation. As a veteran, I am astounded that someone who went to Vietnam and was honorably discharged would betray his brothers who were held prisoner and, in many cases, died in captivity. It seems to me in some way that people who actually have a service record and embellish it this way are guilty of a worse offense than people who make their service up from whole cloth. Either way, people who commit this offense of stolen valor are reprehensible people.

Stolen Valor was in the news earlier this week after video emerged of Sean Yetman, a fake Army Ranger who never served, being berated in a Philadelphia-area mall last Friday by a veteran who saw him for the phony that he was. Officials are looking into whether Yetman benefited from his lies so that they can decide whether to charge him. A federal law that banned lying about your military service was struck down by the Supreme Court, so getting people for fraudulently obtaining benefits is the only avenue now in most cases.

I would suggest to Delegate Kipke and other members of the General Assembly that they might want to explore their options to pass a state law dealing with this issue. It might not help in the case of Barr (although it could – I’m just not sure what specific benefits he might have received solely because of the POW claim) but it’s something that needs to be looked at and would likely enjoy bipartisan support.

Stolen valor cases in this area are a topic I will continue to cover in the future.

Here’s the original tweet from Kipke:

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

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.