Impallaria Strikes Back

impallaria-car

After I was the first to write about Delegate Rick Impallaria engineering HB 1513 –  emergency legislation  that would seemingly let him control the Harford County Central Committee no matter who wins the elections in June – there was swift reaction and response online, mainly from those who oppose it.

Delegate Kelly Schulz made this statement on a Frederick County GOP Facebook group:

 It is a very late filed bill. I have a feeling it may be a bill to send a message as opposed to an expectation of passing. I am sure there is a story….but, as a former CC member, I would never support this.

Here’s an emailed response from Impallaria that seems to be just digging him into  a deeper hole as far as those who oppose this bill are concerned:

Thank you for your concern about HB 1513. Unfortunately, someone has misinformed you about the purpose of the bill.

First, the bill does not make the Republican members of the House voting members of the Harford County Central Committee (HCCC). The bill provides that, if there is a vacancy on the HCCC for any reason, the Republican members of the Harford County Delegation will vote along with the HCCC members on the replacement. The last time a replacement was made on the HCCC, that replacement was made not by someone on the CC or the Delegation, but by someone who lived in West Virginia. That person was not a resident or a registered voter in Harford County. By making this change, that unacceptable action will never occur again in the HCCC.

Second, in past years there have been attempts to remove members of the HCCC. If the HCCC believes that a member should be removed, they’d better have clear and convincing evidence. By this bill, before removing a member they will have to have a majority vote of the HCCC members and the elected officials.

To speak of “stacking” the Committee is just silly. As it stands right now, if any of the elected officials wanted to run for both offices, they could. But we all believe that the CC should be a building block to allow new people to experience public service as it related to the Republican Party.

Finally, the reason this is an emergency bill is that the election date has been moved back to June, creating a lame-duck CC for as much as 7-8 months. Knowing that, after the primary, many people, feeling that their good work has been completed, will decide to leave the CC, it is vitally important that we fill those positions quickly to support and promote the Republican candidates for office.

Rick Impallaria
Chair, Harford County Delegation

I also saw posts by people online who called Impallaria’s office yesterday and the responses (apparently from earlier yesterday) ranged from not knowing anything about the bill to (later in the day) blaming the opposition and criticism on “liberal” groups. Whoever was answering the phone must not have been a poli sci major or otherwise was ignorant of Republican party politics and “libertarian”-leaning groups in the MD GOP. Unless of course, the person knew better and the “liberal” label was meant intentionally as deception.

Also yesterday, Joe Steffen wrote about the bill:

One of my own sources also told me that Impallaria was trying to be a Kingmaker.  Seriously, Rick?  What the Hell, man?  I remember when you first ran in your frumpy suits and even frumpier language – back when you used to stand for something other than your own self-aggrandizement and power.  Remember those days, King Rick?  Do you? Do you…? So, now you want to be a Delegate AND a Central Committee member?

[...]

What all this boils down to, ultimately is that, in the words of Conservative activist Tonya Watson Tiffany, “The Harford Co. Delegation put in an emergency bill to have themselves named the Republican Central Committee…. I looked up the candidate list thinking that maybe no one had filed….. 32 people have filed. A very strong showing of Campaign for Liberty people among them. I will let you make your own conclusions.”

Lastly, one of my sources from last night, Greg Johnson, a political activist and Harford County resident – not to mention one of the most principled men I’ve met in 30 plus years in this business had this to say about what took place last night:

“They are literally subverting the voters of Harford County and declaring themselves de facto members of the Central Committee with the full powers of removal from office members who were duly elected.”

That’s right, ladies and gents.  Harford County’s delegation has reserved the right to remove from office central committee members who were duly elected and replace them with…themselves.  How positively Obama-esque!

Michael Swartz, a Central Committee member in Wicomico County, also weighed in last night:

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t surprise me if this bill passes, even if it does so on just Democratic votes (which is very possible.)  And I’m not sure what sort of legal challenge could be made to it, aside from perhaps the fact they would be adding non-residents to the Central Committee – but it could be argued as well that they were voted in by the people of Harford County, too. And if it does, look for a lot of copycat bills in the coming years as the legislative branch consolidates power.

To this I say not just no, but “hell no!” They won’t let us come vote in the General Assembly on bills, so why should they have the right to vote on our Central Committee?

Is this just an attempt to send a message, or does Impallaria really think this bill will pass?

Either way, I would not be surprised if this results in a more robust campaign against Impallaria in June, since there are five Republicans running in his House District (including him and his colleagues Pat McDonough and Kathy Szeliga who apparently assented to this bill also.)

It could make for an interesting primary for the House of Delegates in District 7.

Hough-Brinkley Bloodbath Update

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David Lublin of The Seventh State has been looking at Maryland Senate primaries.

Part I of his look at the primaries includes this analysis of the District 4 Senate Primary between David Brinkley and Mike Hough:

Incumbent David Brinkley faces Del. Michael Hough (R 3), who has been redistricted into this very Republican district in Frederick County. While Brinkley has the home turf advantage, Hough has far more money. This will be a bloody contest with Hough coming at Brinkley from the right and arguing that Republicans need a true conservative to carry the flag. Brinkley has committed the heretical sin of working with the majority Democrats on occasion. More info here and hereRating: Toss-Up.

Greg Kline of Red Maryland notes today that Hough has been endorsed by former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett and Blaine Young. This is apparently Young’s first endorsement of someone since he announced for County Executive. Young previously made an endorsement of Charles Lollar that in hindsight now looks to have been very premature.

Kline does get a passive-aggressive shot in at me in his post today (calling me “ill-informed”). This seems more than just a bit petty considering how I responded to the situation he alludes to and also how I laid out all his criticisms of Brinkley in full in the original post. I would think Red Maryland would have plenty of enemies to concern themselves with over the past few days without getting an unneeded dig in at a friend.

Red Maryland previously endorsed Hough as well and Joe Steffen also wrote that he is “strongly leaning” toward Hough in the race. As I said before, this puts that duo on the same side of something just a bit awkwardly this week. I have largely stayed out of the controversy/contention this week between Steffen and Red Maryland. I think some of the reaction to that situation is being overblown by those who would say Red Maryland had been bought off by the umbrella industry if they accurately reported it was going to rain.

Getting back to the Hough-Brinkley race, it’s already delivering on the promises of a nasty primary. The scuttblebutt and rumor-mongering on both sides makes what has actually been reported seem tame.

To paraphrase the great Jim Ross, this race is going to be a slobberknocker and it’s going to be bowling shoe ugly before it is all said and done.

Emergency legislation would alter Harford GOP Central Committee

impallaria

House Bill 1513, an emergency bill, was filed on February 28, 2014 and referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill was filed by the Harford County Delegation, which is chaired by Delegate Rick Impallaria (above.)

Here’s the bill’s synopsis:

Altering the membership of the Harford County Republican Party Central Committee; providing that specified Republican Party members of the House of Delegates who represent Harford County shall be members of the Central Committee; providing that the Republican Party members of the House of Delegates on the Central Committee may vote on matters, as specified; prohibiting a member of the Central Committee from holding any other elected office in the county; making the Act an emergency measure; etc.

From the bill summary itself:

FOR the purpose of altering the membership of the Harford County Republican Party
Central Committee; providing that certain members of the House of Delegates
who represent Harford County are ex officio members of the Harford County
Republican Party Central Committee; providing that the members of the House
of Delegates on the Harford County Republican Party Central Committee may
vote on certain matters but may not vote on certain other matters; prohibiting a
member of the Harford County Republican Party Central Committee from
holding any other elected office in the county; making this Act an emergency
measure; and generally relating to the Harford County Republican Party
Central Committee.

The law this bill would amend deals with central committees from other counties.

This is what is being proposed for the Harford County GOP Central Committee:

hb1513-1

hb1513-2

 

Summarizing this bill as I read it:

  • As ex officio members, it would give Republican delegates from Harford County a vote to fill vacancies on the GOP Central Committee or to vote to kick people off the Central Committee. It would prevent them from voting on other matters.
  • This bill also would prevent central committee members from holding any other elected office in Harford County, unless that committee member is also a delegate.

Current members of the Harford County Republican Central Committee according to a state website are:

Derek J. Howell, Chair (chosen by County Central Committee)
Lori Brown; Amy Hopkins Daney; J. Scott DeLong; Frank A. Dupree; Timothy P. Impallaria; Carol MacCubbin; Patrick L. McGrady; Teresa Reilly; Joan Ryder; David Tritt; Kim Wagner.

The Harford County GOP website replaces Dupree with Jeff McBride and also lists Reilly as Vice Chair.

Candidates who have filed to run for the Central Committee in June:  Sharon Beam, Jean Elaine Beulah, Jessica Blake, David Buchanan, Jan Christensen, Edward John Daly, Eric W. Daxon, Wayne Definbaugh, Scott DeLong, Joe Fleckenstein, Christopher Brian Gannon, Patrick Haggerty Jr., Christina M. Impallaria, Ricky D. Impallaria, Greg Johnson,  Scott Kidd, Larry Kimble, Carol M. Kiple, Carol MacCubbin, Stephen Eric Macko, R. Alexander McArtor, Jeffery Paul McBride, Patrick L. McGrady, Dane Alexander Meserve, Paula R. Mullis,  Mark Novak, Mike Perrone Jr., Ryan Patrick Pridgeon, Chad R. Shrodes, Mike Simon,  Sam Smedley, and Christina Trotta.

County Council candidates who are also Central Committee candidates: Eric W. Daxon, Mike Perrone Jr., Chad Shrodes.

Board of Education candidates who are also Central Committee Candidates: Joe Fleckenstein and Stephen Eric Macko,

24 candidates are running for 12 central committee slots. Note that two central committee candidates have the last name of Impallaria. Also note that a current member of the central committee who is running again is Patrick McGrady of Maryland Liberty PAC.

One thing that jumps out to me is that, under this bill, Eric Daxon, Mike Perrone, Chad Shrodes, Joe Fleckenstein, and Stephen Eric Macko would have to choose between central committee and the other office they are running for. That would potentially knock down the number of central committee candidates to 19.

After talking to people in Harford County, it appears that this may be the latest salvo in the ongoing feud involving some of the liberty people and some in the establishment. When I wrote about this before, my comments quickly filled up with a bunch of remarks from people, mainly Cecil County Patriots, who were playing shoot the messenger without refuting anything I said. (Of course, the source that told me that Harris was fielding candidates against the Campaign for Liberty (C4L) candidates for Central Committee was an elected official and Harris ally.)

One candidate I talked to in Harford County told me that Delegate Impallaria was talking to  people before the filing deadline and encouraging people to run for central committee while trying to intimidate others into not running. He was described as attempting to be a “kingmaker” by my source.

The legislation was filed after the filing deadline, which means Impallaria and the rest of the delegation must not have been too happy with who filed in Harford County. No action has taken place in committee  yet apparently and I haven’t found it on a calendar yet.

I have to question the wisdom of these tactics. What is the point of trying to bully people out of the race in the first place other than trying to be the political boss of the county?

This legislation seems to have no purpose other than letting the Harford delegation help kick people off the central committee and fill vacancies. It would seem to be an attempt to sabotage the electoral process in the upcoming election to let the members of the delegation run things no matter who gets elected.

With party unity in the Maryland Republican Party already in the crapper, are Delegate Impallaria and his colleagues more concerned with helping their allies in the county GOP fight over the crumbs?

If you’re trying to hang on to a potentially tenuous grasp on power, are these tactics really the best way to win friends and influence people?

This is just the latest proof that the in-fighting in the Maryland GOP is  so fierce because the stakes are so low. No faction bears the full responsibility for the disunity, but they all need to get on the ball to fix it if they want to actually accomplish anything. Otherwise, it’s just being content in holding a worthless office in an impotent political party.

I would hope somebody talks some sense in to Impallaria and his colleagues, if that is even possible.

I have heard of tactics in another county that are similar, without the extra step of emergency legislation being involved. As soon as I confirm details of that county’s situation, I will have more on it here.

Kathy Klausmeier draws a Republican challenger

klausmeier

State Senator Kathy Klausmeier now has a Republican challenger in November if she manages to get by her primary opponent. Former Republican Delegate John Bishop filed to run against her in the Democratic primary before last week’s filing deadline. Bishop was a delegate in District 9 from 1987-1995.

Now, today, Erik Lofstad has filed to run as a Republican after being appointed by the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee. Lofstad is a graduate of Towson University and works as a business analyst at Loyola University.

Klausmeier’s atrocious voting record shows how out of touch with the voters in her district she is.  A primary against a more conservative Democrat could soften her up for November.

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

tanningbed

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?

smigiel

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

cpac2014

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

lhogan

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:

hogan-email

 

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.

Chick-Fil-A selling fish sandwiches for Lent

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My wife came home from work earlier to report that our local Chick-Fil-A had a sign up saying that for a limited time they would be selling fish sandwiches. Of course, the timing is perfect since Wednesday kicks off Lent with Ash Wednesday. Catholics , and some other Christians, don’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday or on Fridays during Lent (some Catholics still observe the old rules and don’t eat meat on any Friday, Lent or not.)

I couldn’t find much information online to see if this is a chain-wide thing for CFA. However, I’m thinking it might be national, or regionally in certain areas (we’re in Baltimore if you’re a new reader), because I did find this on the website of a Chick-Fil-A in Missouri:

Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich returns EVERYDAY of Lent

This year not only will we have the Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich available Fridays but because our guests requested we will have the Fish Sandwich EVERYDAY of the Lent season, March 5th-April 17th.

This isn’t without precedent. McDonald’s added the Filet-O-Fish to the menu after one franchise owner in Ohio experimented with it locally to save his struggling business in an area that was 87% Catholic.

Additionally, you will notice other fast food restaurants either adding or advertising their fish offerings during Lent. Long John Silver’s and other places advertise more and Golden Corral features seafood on their buffet.

This is just another example of a savvy business move by Chick-Fil-A.