Minors need parental consent for tanning beds, but not abortions, in Maryland


Just a reminder, the 2014 Maryland March for Life is next Monday, March 10, in Annapolis.

Here’s Maryland law relating to the use of tanning beds by minors:

An owner, employee, or operator of a tanning facility may not allow a minor under the age of 18 years to use a tanning device unless the minor’s parent or legal guardian provides written consent on the premises of the tanning facility and in the presence of an owner, employee, or operator of the tanning facility.

Maryland does not have an informed consent law that would require parental consent for a minor to have  an abortion. Maryland law does have what claims to be a parental notice law.

Under current Maryland law, an unmarried minor under the age of 18 who lives with a parent may not undergo an abortion unless one parent has been notified by the physician.  However, the law contains a significant loophole: a minor may obtain an abortion without parental notification if, in the professional judgment of the physician, notice to the parent may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor, the minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion, or notice would not be in the “best interests” of the minor.

In other words, the person profiting from the abortion gets to make the decision of whether parental notification is needed.

VIDEO: What happens if you “open carry” in Maryland as the AG suggests?


Delegate Mike Smigiel blogs:

In the video below you see what happens if a citizen follows the advice of the Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and open carries a rifle or shotgun.

The Federal Courts have held that individual citizens can not be prevented from having either an “open carry” or “concealed carry” of firearms. If “concealed carry” is allowed then it can not have an Unconstitutional infringement such as requiring a “good and substantial” reason to carry as a pre-requisite to obtaining said “concealed carry” permit.

If “open carry” is allowed, the police and citizens of the State have to be ready for scenarios like that which is contained in this video. More tragic results may occur if citizens and Police are not properly educated as to the Constitutionality of “open carry”. The easiest way to prevent concern of citizens and police associated with viewing the open display of firearms associated with “open carry” is to pass shall issue “concealed carry” in Maryland.

The Maryland House of Delegates will be able to rectify the “Open Carry” dangers by voting to remove the Unconstitutional impediment, of “good and substantial reason” required before a “concealed carry” permit is issued, by voting for HB-36.

Here’s the video:

Several gun bills are being heard in Annapolis today.

Why you shouldn’t treat politicians like rock stars at CPAC


Why shouldn’t you treat politicians like rock stars at CPAC (or anywhere else for that matter)?

One of my first memories of going to CPAC after I started working in DC was the over-the-top entrance of Newt Gingrich into the ballroom at the previous venue. Instead of just walking out from backstage, Gingrich pulled a stunt that professional wrestlers do at times and came in from the back of the ballroom through the crowd as “Eye of the Tiger” blared.

I remember that year and in subsequent years that whenever a politician came to the blogger lounge in the back of the main ballroom, there would be a swarm of people to surround them and there was some Q&A but most people just stood around and gawked and tried to get pictures made or just shake hands with the politician. There were usually 1 or 2 people in the room who would remain at their computers writing or otherwise working, and I would often be one of those after the first few times of finding the unruly gaggle around a politician a waste of time.

This isn’t the only time it happens. You can see people fawning all over politicians and falling at their feet all over during CPAC, often at the many parties or receptions going on when all sorts of things happen. Not to mention all the free labor people give to organizations or politicians just for a chance to hang out with VIPs or other political celebrities. The level of adoration some have for politicians approaches the level of teenage girls screaming and shrieking over One Direction or Justin Bieber.

The key thing to remember any time you are at CPAC or another conference or event where this kind of behavior tends to happen: these people work for you.

Sure, you can be inspired by the political figures who are great speakers and who are great on the issues. Clap for them, give them standing ovations, and otherwise give them affirmation. If you run into a politician you like shake hands with them, get your picture taken with them (if you must), and otherwise be nice to them like you would any new person you were meeting at CPAC, whether a politician or not. Just don’t debase yourself by turning into a groupie for every politician or recognizable person you see.

Just remember, these are normal people who just happen to have gotten elected to office. They are nothing special. Remember, our founders thought our leaders would be farmers who left the fields to serve and then after their term in office was done they would return to the plow.

I honestly think most people assume that this type of behavior at CPAC (along with the complaints about inappropriate dress and the out of control partying) is limited to all the college students who are there,  but honestly that stereotype is a bit flawed. The grown-ups at CPAC are just as guilty of any bad behavior as those crazy college kids. So, don’t assume that my rant about people losing their mind when Ted Cruz walks into the room is meant as a criticism of college students.

I have talked to others about this as well, and the consensus seems to be the first year you attend CPAC you’re at your most enthusiastic. You go to every big name speaker, you go to the exhibit hall and get freebies and brochures from every booth, you go to book signings and other events, and generally, to again invoke professional wrestling, you mark out (i.e. you’re a mark) for every activity and politician at CPAC (a mark is someone who idolizes a particular wrestler, often to the point of excessiveness.)

After your first year, your enthusiasm wanes, especially if you’re attending for work. You get to the point that you’re going for the networking and to see friends you might not have seen since CPAC the year before. Your idealism wanes and  is replaced by a creeping cynicism. This cynicism is a good thing for a conservative to have. A healthy cynicism of government and politicians is a good thing, even if they happen to be on your “team.”

If you let your cynicism kick in even further you respond to friends who still call CPAC the “Super Bowl” of the conservative movement by pointing out that the DC conservative movement appears to be nothing but a money laundering scheme for the people involved in it. In year 2, or later, you find yourself not coming into town on Saturday since the previous two days were work for you.

Extreme cynicism is probably best avoided, but so is extreme boosterism. Sure, the movement needs its less sophisticated “go team, go” people involved on the ground in the grassroots, but those aren’t the type of people you expect to be in grassroots leadership or at the forefront of the movement at events like CPAC.

The point of my rant is, do whatever you want at CPAC, but do as much as you can to spend time with your friends you might not have seen in a while. Chat up a stranger, whether it’s someone at CPAC or the shoeshine guy at the hotel. CPAC can be a great learning experience as well as a great place to watch people. If you really want to work hard and bust your hump in the conservative movement, network with strangers or friends of friends and find a bigger role in the movement. You have something valuable to provide or you wouldn’t be there. Don’t let the cynics like me get you down if you are still an idealist, but also remember what I said before you run into a wall of cold, hard reality and it catches you totally by surprise.

You can have a good time at CPAC without damaging your own credibility or making a fool out of yourself fawning over somebody who works for you ultimately. Politicians need people reminding them they’re human, not people encouraging their excesses. There are still humble politicians around (e.g. Mick Mulvaney and Dan Bongino.)

We shouldn’t put our politicians on a pedestal whether at CPAC or anywhere else. Ask them tough questions, praise them when they do good, but also express your polite criticism when you disagree.

Being at CPAC is about more than wasting your time with a bunch of politicians. If it isn’t too frigid, hop the water taxi over to Old Town Alexandria when you get a chance (or take a cab) and walk along the streets where some of our founding fathers walked. Go to the some of the great restaurants at National Harbor and check out the Awakening statue.

I’ve been a political junkie for at least 25 years now and while I still like following politics and writing about them, there are so many other things that are more important to me now. My best experience at CPAC all-time now was Saturday last year when I got to bring my wife and  6-month old daughter to CPAC so all of my friends at CPAC could meet her. I didn’t follow any schedule at all related to what was going on in the convention hall. I didn’t have to rush to go anywhere and it really reminded me of what is important in life.

I will be at CPAC this year but I’m looking at it differently now. I’m going as credentialed media (a blogger) and I will likely be going to a couple of happy hours or parties while I’m there. I’ll do what I do and look forward to seeing my friends more than anything else.

You can love this rant or hate it and it won’t matter to me. All I want you to do is think about the facts I’ve presented, especially these:

  • You, no matter what your lot in life, are just as important as any politician. Your vote on election day is the only reason this rock star atmosphere is necessary for them to try to keep getting re-elected.
  • Spending time with your friends is more important than any bit of chum or swag from some non-profit (who pays six figure salaries to their leadership) who is only giving it to you to get you on their email list so they can send you spam to ask you to give them your hard-earned money later.
  • Don’t mistake my cynicism with me being a hater. I still love DC. I love following politics and writing about it. I just am probably very old for my 40 years. Take this as a warning to concern yourselves more with the things that matter than putting your faith in a politician of any party.
  • I’m not indicting every politician, politico, policy wonk, staffer, or organization in this rant. There are plenty of fine people in the conservative movement and CPAC. The bad apples just spoil the whole barrel at times.

I will be at CPAC, like I said.  No matter what I say about it, I’m a conservative blogger and it’s the big thing happening this week. I’ll be around mainly Thursday and Friday. Follow my Twitter feed if you want to have a civil conversation about this topic and we can get together over a beer or coffee or talk in the lobby. I may be there Saturday, but the odds are not as good now that I am participating at a kickoff rally for my local 40 Days for Life campaign in the morning. Later, at evening Mass at my parish, I am joining my Brother Knights (in the Knights of Columbus) and handing out baby bottles for a Lenten campaign to raise money for a local crisis pregnancy center. Those activities, and spending time with my daughter, are more important than coming into CPAC on a Saturday now.

I’ve laid out my case, along with some snark, for why politicians shouldn’t be treated like rock stars at CPAC, or anywhere else. For these politicians to come to Washington is a privilege for them. They get to serve the greatest people in the greatest country in the world. We should keep our standards high, praise them when they do well, and ask them to come home before Potomac Fever fully sets in.

Larry Hogan rewrites War and Peace then emails it to his supporters


Just a quick note before Larry-noia sets in over at the Hogan campaign because a blogger actually wrote something about them they couldn’t control: I have critiqued campaign and political emails on more than one occasion before and had any other candidate sent something this blatantly bad I would’ve done the same for them.

Just today I wrote about ethical issues with Wade Kach emails. I did the same for an email sent by Kathy Szeliga and got a very nice response and reaction from her about it. I also criticized a Maryland GOP email sent out in April. Additionally, I was critical of one of the worst political emails I’ve ever seen sent by the Lollar campaign (that was in addition to writing about all the twists and turns while the Lollar campaign website was down for 11 days.) More relevant to this current discussion are criticisms I wrote about the Maryland GOP sending out a 1300-word email on the 4th of July and the campaign of Ken Cuccinelli sending out an 1100 word email. This is a subject I’ve written about before based on my experiences being  involved in the process of creating and sending political emails all the way up to the point of clicking on the big green send button in the email system.

Now on to today’s Hogan campaign email. First, a screen shot of the header:



This email arrived with the all-caps subject line of “WE CAN WIN!”

There are also several other uses of all-caps sentences and phrases throughout the message. None of that is ideal for avoiding recipients’ spam filters. Of course, it’s probably not a good idea to send an email that’s over 1400 words long if you expect any of the recipients to actually read it. If they want the email to be productive in fundraising, it’s good that they include donation links throughout the message. However, putting the links at seemingly random places between paragraphs as the words “CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY!” is probably not the best way to do it. Working the ask so it flows into the copy of the message and then hyperlinking those phrases would probably have more positive results than how this Hogan email did it.

None of it’s new material for the Hogan campaign, either. Did everybody in the campaign think sending an email this long was a good idea? Did anyone speak out against it?

My personal experience leads me to believe (in general situations involving political emails)  one or two senior people in the campaign (or the candidate or head of an organization ) wants to add more and more to the message and it balloons out of control in the process. Either there’s not someone with the expertise to say “no” or the atmosphere in the office is not generally receptive to anyone saying anything is a bad idea. I don’t know if either of those is the case with this Hogan email, but either or both could be, based on things I’ve heard from people who know Hogan.

I noted over the weekend that Michael Swartz wrote a response to a Hogan email sent to central committee candidates. Swartz might end up having carpal tunnel problems if he tried to do the same for this one.

Now, without further ado, here’s the text of the email (starting below the header I showed above):

Read More…

VIDEO: Martin O’Malley struggles to reconcile his support for abortion

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley takes a picture with his smartphone camera in Baltimore

Don’t forget, the 2014 Maryland March for Life is next Monday (March 10.)

On February 19, 2014, Gov. Martin O’Malley was questioned by a student from JHU Voice for Life about his support for abortion and his opposition to the death penalty at the Johns Hopkins University Foreign Affairs Symposium:

Here’s a transcript posted on the video’s YouTube page:

Martin O’Malley: Boy it’s hot in here. Are we reducing heat in Shriver Hall?
Jill Xiang: Hello Governor, I’m Jill, I come from the state of New York. and I’m happy to call Maryland my home. I’m happy you’re here with us. Yes it’s warm in here with so very bright intellectuals here in the room. First of all I want to thank you for your courageous stand here against the death penalty here in your own state. It’s controversial, it’s not very popular, therefore I really thank you for your efforts. It’s a travesty that the minority community has bourne the brunt of this injustice. Having said that, could you please comment on how you reconcile your stance against the practice [the death penalty] and your support for legalized abortion on demand, which is the number one killer of minorities, and as a Catholic in the public square, how would you comment on Pope Francis’s quote that legalized abortion is “the death penalty” for the unborn. Thank you.

Martin O’Malley: I try not to comment on the pope or theological matters, but let me share with you as a person in the public square, how I’ve come to look at these issues. Because I was educated all my life in Catholic schools and it’s very important to my understanding of the public arena is the notion of the common good. And in fact if you look through any of the major talks I have ever given, whether it’s the state of the Union or the Inaugural or the like you will find the recitation of my core beliefs which I believe are the core beliefs of the people of this state. A belief in the dignity of the individual. A belief in our responsibility to advance the common good, and an understanding that we are all in this together. So when it comes the issue of the death penalty, I believe that the consensus was there in the arc of history to realize that the death penalty isn’t effective, it’s expensive, and it doesn’t work; it can’t be fairly applied. And if you need another reason, consider the fact that the vast majority of public executions that take place on this planet happen in the countries, I believe, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, communist China, and the United States of America. So we repealed the death penalty, and also brought crime down to its lowest levels in 30 or 45 years and I still have lots more to say on what we can do to try to support. But what I have issue with, and it wasn’t easy—we weren’t sure we had a consensus. We thought we did though. I want to tell you, one of the important principles of the (muffled) teaching is that one should not use the coercive power of the state unless there is a broad consensus about the use of that coercive power of the state. And on the issue of abortion, I have come to the conclusion that that is a choice that is best left to individual women and their doctors, and it’s not the sort of choice, the sort of coercive choice that any government is very good at making.
(after) One the goals we have had is to reduce infant mortality—something we have reduced to record lows by reaching women, with better prenatal health. We saved 164 lives last year–infant lives–compared to what it had been just five or six years before.