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.

A Catholic’s Prayer on Reformation Day

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Via Catholicism.org:

O Mary, Mother of mercy and Refuge of sinners, we beseech thee, be pleased to look with pitiful eyes upon poor heretics and schismatics. Thou who art the Seat of Wisdom, enlighten the minds that are miserably enfolded in the darkness of ignorance and sin, that they may clearly know that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, outside of which neither holiness nor salvation can be found. Finish the work of their conversion by obtaining for them the grace to accept all the truths of our Holy Faith, and to submit themselves to the supreme Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth; that so, being united with us in the sweet chains of divine charity, there may soon be only one fold under the same one shepherd; and may we all, O glorious Virgin, sing forever with exultation: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou only hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world. Amen.

Here’s what Francis J. Beckwith wrote in 2010:

Since returning to the Catholic Church in late April 2007, I find Reformation Day has taken on a different meaning than when I stood on the other side of the Tiber. Nevertheless, even as a Protestant, my enthusiasm for October 31 never rose higher than modest appreciation for what I thought were Luther’s, and later Calvin’s, significant contributions in helping Western Christians to retrieve what had been lost. I say “modest appreciation,” since it always seemed to me rather unseemly to get too excited about schism and mutual charges of apostasy and heresy. It would be like celebrating the tenth anniversary of your divorce. You may think that the divorce was a good idea, but not because you think divorce itself is the proper end of a marriage.

Luther himself, though excommunicated, never saw his movement as anything more than a renewal movement within the Church. We, of course, know now that the movement he started had a life of its own, resulting in scores of different and often conflicting understandings of Scripture, sacrament, and Church, and each finding something in Christianity’s traditions to challenge.

More from Beckwith:

It is not surprising, then, why it is sometimes difficult for both Protestants and Catholics to think of ecclesial unity as the proper state of Christ’s Church. Because we are modern people, we tend to think of the Church as a collection of individual choosers, each with his own autonomy that may not legitimately be subject to something outside itself without good reason. That is, we assume that the burden of proving the necessity of ecclesial unity is not on the individual believer, but rather on the corporate entity that demands his allegiance. The Church, in that sense, becomes the enemy of faith, an unwelcome intruder into the believer’s pious solitude. For the modern mind, it would be like the commodity choosing the buyer, since religion, like sex and commerce, is just another act between consenting adults, which by implication makes the authority of creeds the doctrinal equivalent of annoying chaperones.

Ironically, this sort of mindset, which sees schism as proper and unity as unnatural, is one of the conceptual catalysts that helped lead me back to the Catholic Church. For I began to see that the whole idea of theology as something that is mine to choose – like a pair of slacks that I can have tailored for my own specifications – was precisely the problem. As long as “Church” was something that was under me rather than me under it, I was doomed to a life of ecclesiastical promiscuity despite my best efforts to practice safe sects.

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:

Desperate Democrats Play Race Card in Maryland

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(Via the Maryland Daily Record)

Democrats have already sent racially-tinged mail in Georgia and North Carolina that evoked lynchings and the specter of Michael Brown’s death. Now they’ve sent the above mailer targeting Black voters in Charles and Princes George’s County.

Bryan Sears has more at The Daily Record:

The glossy mailings, sent out in the days before the beginning of early voting, target black voters in key areas in support of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. Samples obtained by The Daily Record were sent to voters in Charles and Prince George’s Counties.

“They’ve placed a lot of roadblocks in our path at every turn,” reads the flier over segregationist images from the Civil Rights era as well as more recent photos relating to voter ID laws and real estate mogul Donald Trump and his views on President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

[…]

In addition to the message that evokes racial tension, the mailing urges voters to come out for the early voting period and reminds voters that Brown would be the first black governor in Maryland history—a designation from which Brown has shied away.

Sears also reports no one at the Maryland Democratic Party would comment.

Sears also talked to two political observers about the mailer:

Political observers say the mailings are yet another sign that the race for governor between Brown, the Democrat, and Republican Larry Hogan is closer than the Democratic Party would like.

“I’m not saying they’re scared but the race is definitely tighter,” said John Bullock, assistant professor of political science at Towson University.

Bullock added that the mailing attempts to paint Hogan in a racially derogatory light without using his name or image.

“It doesn’t specifically say Hogan is this person but it definitely goes there,” Bullock said. “It’s making a direct appeal to race and clearly targeting black voters.”

[…]

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College, said the mailing is similar to others in North Carolina and in Georgia that highlight racial division to evoke emotional responses in order to turn out black voters.

“This mailing really seems to suggest that some people in Maryland want to take someone else’s rights away,” Eberly said. It’s not a claim that can be substantiated nor defended.”

“The implied ‘they’ has to be Republicans—who else can it be?” Eberly said. “If this is what the Democratic Party has to do to get people to vote then they should probably take a look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they don’t have a positive message to get people to the polls.”

Democrats packed a gym in Prince George’s County Sunday to see President Obama but news reports indicated they weren’t that excited about the Brown campaign. In fact, many of them left during the middle of Obama’s speech. Instead of admitting people left, they tried spinning it in various directions and it blew up in their face.

The fact the Democrats only have this tactic to go to right now shows the race is tighter than they expected and all their other attack ads aren’t work as well as they’d hoped. It’s a desperate tactic whether the situation is desperate for them or not.

Maryland Catholics, Voting, and Abortion

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I recently wrote this piece for a newsletter for the Knights of Columbus Council I am a member of (and Culture of Life Committee co-chairman.)

November 4 is Election Day and here in Maryland we will go to the polls to vote for state and local officials as well as members of Congress. 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.”

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.

Another positive step that could be taken in the executive branch of state government would be for a new governor to order the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to keep track of the number of abortions performed in Maryland every year. Those statistics have not been calculated since the current governor took office.

When pro-life Catholics vote based on the principles of their faith, they help elect government officials who will respect their wishes and start the ball rolling on incremental change that will ultimately lead to big changes.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in Living the Gospel of Life, “[t]he Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times.  The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well.”

Besides voting, we need to continue to pray for our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels. We need to be especially sure to pray for the ones who are pro-abortion – that their hearts may be changed on the issue.

For more information on candidates and their views, visit the Maryland Right to Life website and the website of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Clyburn’s GOP opponent compares gay marriage to Gremlins movie

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Rep. Jim Clyburn was already expected to easily win re-election in South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District and will remain the only Democrat in Congress (House or Senate) from the Palmetto State.

His opponent, Anthony Culler, isn’t exactly the most polished candidate.

On Facebook he referred to same-sex marriage as a “pestilence” and made the following comparison:

If you believe in traditional families and that marriage is defined as an institution between one man and one woman then I ask that you start acting like it and START VOTING like it! Do not buy the “cuteness” and “What will it hurt?” arguments whispered in your ears and marketed to our children. Same-sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life.

(Hat Tip: FITS News)

The Washington Post ignored crowd streaming out of Obama speech


(Reuters Photo)

I noted last night that Reuters and Politico (including the White House pool report by a reporter from that paper) reported on a stream of people leaving after President Barack Obama started speaking last night at an event for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Democrats tried to spin the reports, including one in The Baltimore Sun, by saying that the people leaving were from an overflow room that the president spoke to first. There was pushback by reporters on this (and pictures were tweeted proving it) and I’ll have more on that in a minute. There were even some Obama supporters on Twitter, when they weren’t calling reporters names, who were claiming the people who left were Republican plants.

The story in the Washington Post made no mention of people leaving at all, whatever the explanation. That story was written by Jenna Johnson and Arelis R. Hernandez (and John Wagner contributed to it.)

Excerpts from WaPo:

President Obama stood before thousands of Marylanders in a high school gym in Prince George’s County on Sunday and urged them to vote for Democrats who fight for the working class — such as gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown.

The president told the largely African American, and wildly enthusiastic, crowd that Republicans want voters to become so cynical that they don’t vote.

[…]

Although Obama has seen his popularity fade in many parts of the county, he was welcomed with raucous applause at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro. At times, the crowd punctuated each of his sentences with cheers. It also defended him with boos when a heckler challenged Obama on immigration.

It was a level of enthusiasm that Brown has yet to see as he campaigns to become the state’s first African American governor and the nation’s third to be popularly elected.Some in the crowd said they waited in line for hours to see Obama, not Brown.

I noted last night that news reports indicated that a “steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke” and that “once the president started speaking, the crowd began streaming out, a few at first, but then by the dozen once Obama was about 10 minutes into his talk.”

Other reports indicated there was a “traffic jam” of people trying to leave.

Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis called the Politico report a “lie” and crappy reporting. She also castigated Reuters and Yahoo for reporting it. She claimed that the people leaving were coming from an overflow room that Obama already spoke to prior to an event. She also had confusing versions of that spin, including saying the people in the overflow were leaving but then claiming they weren’t allowed to leave.

The reporter from Politico engaged with her on Twitter and corrected her and pointed out that the people were in the main room. Obama supporters and Democrats in Maryland and nationally took to Twitter to attack the reports who wrote about people leaving. These included claims of the reporters being “Obama-haters”, “racists”, “liars”, and other attacks. One person on Twitter even claimed that the people who walked out were GOP plants.

Here’s what Jeff Mason of Reuters told one of the Obama supporters (one who also engaged with me last night) on Twitter after she accused him of being a “dumb ass” and a “jealous hater”:

mason-hater

Twitchy also wrote about it and included tweets with details and pictures.

Other links:
Legal Insurrection
The Political Insider
Liberty News

Multiple parodies hit Anthony Brown over “Frederickstown” gaffe

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Last night, I noted Anthony Brown’s debate gaffe of referring to Frederick mistakenly as Frederickstown.

I also noted this parody set to the tune of Billy Joel’s Allentown:

Walter Olson wrote a parody as well:

[can be sung to “Nottamun Town,” made famous by Jean Ritchie, or other tunes. By Walter Olson]

SHOW ME THE WAY TO FREDERICKSTOWN,
or, LOST IN MARYLAND

Come all you good people and now gather round,
I’ll sing you the story of Anthony Brown;
Who wandered thro’ Mar’land, up hills and down,
Saying show me the way to fair Fred-er-ickstown.

“For eight years in office I’ve just hung around,
Except for that website I ran to the ground,
But Emperor O’Malley has willed me his crown,
So show me the way to fair Frederickstown.”

“Oh Tony, oh Tony, please pencil this down,
There’s a city called Frederick, of famous renown,
The state’s second largest, with green hills all round,
But there is no city called Frederickstown.”

“Do not contradict me,” Tony said with a frown,
These eight years I’ve traveled this whole state around,
Eastminster, St. Gary’s, and Salisboro town,
From Hagersville-Port to the Chesapeake Sound.”

We wanted a governor with feet on the ground,
We chose Larry Hogan, our taxes came down,
If out on the byways you should meet Mr. Brown,
He’s still out there looking for Frederickstown.