Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's Keep Paving a Superhighway to Hell so that we can Feel Good about Ourselves

Here are two stories. Which one do YOU think comes closer to the truth?

from the AP...
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Sean Penn remembers smelling dead bodies when he arrived in Haiti after the earthquake.

But the Academy Award-winning actor says there's now music in those same streets even as the country faces many years of rebuilding.

Penn says "extraordinary" changes have happened since the January 2010 natural disaster killed more than 300,000 people and left about 1.5 million homeless.

He spoke Tuesday at a forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

The actor is an ambassador-at-large for Haiti's president and CEO of an aid group.

It started with a goal of bringing painkillers to victims and became an agency that manages a camp for displaced people and works to resettle them.

Former Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis and Army official Ken Keen joined Penn as panelists.
from NPR:
After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

Roughly 350,000 people still live in camps. Many others simply moved back to the same shoddily built structures that proved so deadly during the disaster.

Martelly says the relief effort is uncoordinated and projects hatched from good intentions have undermined his government. "We don't just want the money to come to Haiti. Stop sending money," he tells Shots. "Let's fix it," he says, referring the international relief system. "Let's fix it."

Disaster specialist Dr. Tom Kirsch from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine agrees with Martelly. "Clearly we saved lives," he says. "Clearly we put people in tents. Clearly we did all kinds of stuff. But at the same time the level of chaos and the overall ability to reach needy people, we don't know how well we did."

Kirsch, who's been in Haiti several times since the quake, added, "We could have written a check to everyone in Haiti for — I don't know — $10,000 a piece, which would support them forever rather than the way we spent it."

Annapolis Will Strip Marylander's of their RIGHT to Bear Arms will now require a state license to own a gun, and so become a government-granted "privilege", as opposed to an inalienable Constitutional "right"

from the Maryland Daily Record
Rejecting a proposal to remove a licensing requirement, the Maryland Senate has given preliminary approval to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun legislation by a vote of 28-19.

What part of the following isn't CLEAR in Annapolis?
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
2. Obsolete To defeat; invalidate.
To encroach on someone or something; engage in trespassing: an increased workload that infringed on his personal life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Evidence of the Idiocy Bearing Currency in Annapolis

from the Baltimore Sun
Maryland senators alternatively questioned, challenged and heralded Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun-control bill for more than two hours Tuesday, a prelude to a debate expected to stretch through the week as lawmakers wrestle over whether to enact some of the country’s strictest gun laws.

Senators argued at length over whether to require a license to buy a handgun — a provision gun-control experts consider essential to stemming gun violence in Maryland but that opponents find unfair.

While proponents say requiring fingerprints and training for a license makes it less likely someone would buy a gun only to pass it off to a criminal, Sen. E.J. Pipkin called licensing “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in Maryland.”

Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, discounted research by a Johns Hopkins policy expert on whom Democratic leaders on gun control have relied. Pipkin said the $1 billion New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a gun-control advocate, has donated to the university should lead the public to question whether the research is neutral.

Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, a Charles County Democrat, asked whether it was worth imposing the inconvenience of requiring fingerprints to buy a handgun. “I don’t know if the juice is worth the squeeze,” he said.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a critic of fingerprinting, acknowledged later that Maryland already requires fingerprints for a host of other purposes — to get a child care license or, in his district of Calvert County, to tell someone’s fortunes.

Miller added that he expects the effort to remove fingerprinting from the law to be unsuccessful, and predicted that “people are going to consider it an obstruction.”

The two-hour discussion was the first floor debate of O’Malley’s gun control bill, which also calls for limiting magazines to 10 bullets and banning the sale of military-style assault rifles.

A Senate committee has already suggested 20 amendments to the bill, which drew more than 1,000 people to a hearing earlier this month. Senate leaders hope to take their final vote on the proposal by Friday, sending it to the House of Delegates. The House has its gun control hearing Friday.

The licensing provision has strong support among Maryland voters, according a Washington Post poll released Tuesday that found 85 percent of people back licensing.

Although Senate leaders were initially optimistic they could pass a gun bill and then turn attention to voting on death penalty repeal as early as Wednesday, they are now lining up votes to avoid a filibuster on the gun bill. Death penalty talks are expected to get pushed to Friday at the earliest.

Senators also discussed whether efforts to keep guns away from some people with mental illnesses go far enough to protect the public — or go too far, potentially discouraging people from seeking help.

“The question is, who among us should not have access to firearms because of a mental illness?” said Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat who is chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

“We also don’t want barriers to people seeking treatment,” said Sen. David R. Brinkley, a Republican who said the prohibitions were too broad.

Debate is expected to resume early Wednesday and span at least two days.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Renewable Energy's Big Secret

from the Energy Tribune
Originally published in The Washington Times

Climate change has again moved to center stage. Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama stated, “But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.” Two days later, Senators Sanders and Boxer introduced a legislative package calling for a carbon tax on coal mines, refineries, and natural gas facilities. On Sunday, an estimated 35,000 climate crusaders joined a rally on the national mall in Washington, urging President Obama to block the Keystone XL pipeline project.

These efforts advocate reducing the use of hydrocarbon energy from oil, coal, and natural gas while increasing incentives for wind, solar, biofuel, and other renewable energy sources. Proponents say that use of renewables will reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are claimed to be causing dangerous global warming. But they don’t tell you about renewable energy’s big secret.

Renewable energy remains a tiny part of our energy picture. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by the end of 2011, 39,000 wind turbine towers were operating in the United States, but provided only 2.9% of our electricity, compared to 42% from coal, 25% from natural gas, 20% from nuclear, and 6% from hydroelectric sources. After twenty years of subsidies and mandates, solar energy remained absolutely trivial, contributing a miniscule 0.04% of our electricity. Ethanol and biodiesel provided about 11% of U.S. vehicle fuel at the heavy cost of using 40% of the corn crop.

Renewable energy’s big secret is that the two biggest renewable sources, wind and biofuels, don’t reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Wind energy is highly variable. Wind output can ramp from negligible output to 100% of rated output to zero again over just a few hours. On average, wind systems provide rated output only about 30% of the time, so they can’t replace hydrocarbon or nuclear electricity sources. Coal or natural gas plants must be used as backup to the wind system, ramping up and down inefficiently to mirror changes in wind velocity.

Your car has two mileage ratings, one for city driving and one for highway driving. A typical car may get 23 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 33 mpg when driving on the highway. Stop-and-go driving uses more fuel and produces more emissions than highway driving at continuous speed.

Wind farms change our electrical networks into stop-and-go electrical systems. Analysis of utilities in Netherlands and Colorado show that combined wind-hydrocarbon systems use more fuel, produce more nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollutants, and emit more carbon dioxide than coal or natural gas systems alone. Despite claims to the contrary, addition of wind farms to our electrical grid does not reduce emissions.

Neither does the use of biofuels reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For years, advocates for the fight against climate change assumed the burning of biofuels to be “carbon neutral.” Even though the burning of wood or plant material releases CO2 to the atmosphere like any other combustion, the “carbon neutral” concept assumed that as biofuel plants grow they absorb CO2 equal to the amount released when burned.

But a 2011 opinion by the European Environment Agency pointed to a “serious error” in greenhouse gas accounting. The carbon neutral concept does not take into account the CO2 that would be absorbed by the natural vegetation that grows on land not used for biofuel production. A 2011 study by the National Academy of Sciences found that, after considering land use effects, production of ethanol as replacement fuel for gasoline was likely to “increase such air pollutants as particulate matter, ozone, and sulfur oxides.” The study also found that greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol fuel were likely to be higher than gasoline.

So, even if you ascribe to the theory of man-made climate change, it’s unlikely that deployment of renewable energy will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Differing Perspectives

What They're Smoking in Annapolis to Generate New Revenues

from MyFOX DC
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland lawmaker has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana.

Delegate Curt Anderson introduced the measure in the House of Delegates on Thursday.

It would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and over and create a system to regulate and tax it like alcohol.

The measure introduced by the Baltimore Democrat also would direct the Maryland comptroller to license marijuana retail stores, wholesale facilities and testing facilities.

The bill would create an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales and direct proceeds to fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.

Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington state approved measures to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older.

Friday, February 22, 2013

...because Gas Prices aren't High Enough!

from the Harford County Dagger
On Wednedsay of this week, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller was proposing to raise the gas tax by 70% to $.40 cents per gallon. “Maryland families simply cannot afford this huge gas tax increase. It’s unreasonable and perilous to raise gas taxes this much, especially during tough economic times,” said Delegate Kathy Szeliga (Baltimore & Harford Counties) in reaction to President Miller’s gas tax idea.

Under the proposed bill, Maryland’s state gas tax will increase from $23.5 cents to $.40 cents per gallon and will be the 5th highest in the nation. Miller’s proposal also includes language to create two new mass transit bureaucracies that will have wide authority to raise property taxes, condemn private property and borrow money.

Tuesday, Senator Miller called House Republicans who oppose his gas tax proposal, “Neanderthals,” and “obstructionists.” In response to his comments, Delegate Szeliga tweeted, “Yabba-dabba-do, Mr. Miller,” further commenting that she hopes to obstruct and stop this massive 70% increase in the gas tax and government expansion. In response to Senator Miller’s jabs at Republicans, Delegate Herb McMillan added, “Even a caveman can see that it’s stupid to raise gas taxes when there’s no guarantee they’ll be used for roads.”

The House Republicans rolled out their transportation plan that protects transportation funding, aligns spending to favor highways and roads, and restores all the funds that have been taken from the Transportation Trust Fund. The Republican plan evoked the “Neanderthal” comments from Senate President Mike Miller who favors his own solutions for Maryland’s transportation problems found in SB 830 being heard in the Senate Budget and Tax Committee.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annapolis Central Planners Flex Muscles Against Farmers

from the Baltimore Sun
A bill to lift state curbs on development using septic systems has died in Annapolis, less than a week after a small "tractorcade" to the State House by farmers upset over pending limits on how many houses can be built on their land.

The House Environmental Matters Committee gave an "unfavorable" report to HB106, which would have repealed the "Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012." Sponsored by Del. Michael A. McDermott, a Republican representing Wicomico and Worcester counties on the Eastern Shore. the measure had the backing of 24 other GOP delegates.

About 15 tractors of various types paraded past the State House on Feb. 12 to protest the law, which they contend has depressed their land value and reduced the borrowing power they need to continue farming. That was the day the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on a companion repeal bill introduced by three Republican senators from the Eastern Shore and Frederick County. With the House bill scotched, the Senate measure is likewise dead.

It's not the end of controversy over the septic limits, though. Cecil and Wicomico counties are holding public hearings this week on the four-tiered maps the law calls for each county to prepare, with progressive limits on septic-based housing development from urban areas to rural agricultural zones.

The Maryland Department of Planning found parts of the map submitted by Cecil did not do as much as the law requires in limiting housing on septics in farming areas. Under the law, all the state planning department can do to counties it deems out of compliance is require them to hold a hearing and allow for public comment. However, state Planning Secretary Richard Hall has said it's possible a citizen or group may take the counties to court.

Cecil's hearing will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Elk Room of the County Administration Building at 200 Chesapeake Blvd. in Elkton.

Along with roughly half the state's counties, Wicomico did not submit a map by the December deadline, so it is not allowed to have any large-scale septic development for the time being. County officials have been inviting rural landowners to either volunteer to be included in the tier restricting septic development or to request to have their land carved out of the restrictive zones.

The County Council will hold its hearing on the process at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, 500 Glen Ave., Salisbury.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Annapolis Today: Legislating Stupidity

from the Baltimore Sun
Legislation to subsidize an offshore wind energy project off Ocean City moved ahead Friday, as the House Economic Matters Committee approved the measure, a priority of Gov. Martin O'Malley and many environmental activists.

The committee voted 14-7 to send HB226 to the House floor with two minor amendments and little debate. While expected to sail through the House, a bigger test awaits it in the Senate.

The governor's bill would require the state's electricity providers to purchase a certain amount of power from an offshore wind project. The average household would pay no more than $1.50 a month extra for the project, according to the bill. (Editorial note: BWAAAAA HA HA HA HA, $1.50.... today)

Del. Warren E. Miller, a Howard County Republican, questioned the wisdom of "carving out" a special requirement for offshore wind power in the state's current renewable energy law, which already mandates that electricity providers get up to 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2022.

Del. Steven R. Schuh, an Anne Arundel County Republican, quizzed administration officials over the projected costs to ratepayers of the project, and questioned whether the non-monetary benefits of developing offshore wind overcame the expense. According to the Department of Legislative Services, the net ratepayer subsidy for the project is projected to be nearly $96 million in the first year turbines would start operating 10 to 30 miles off Ocean City.

But Del. Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick, a Baltimore County Democrat, brushed aside such concerns, saying he didn't the project would ever get off the ground and calling it "feel-good" legislation.

Critics have suggested offshore wind has little to no chance of being developed because the $1 billion-plus costs of constructing dozens of turbines in the ocean is so much more expensive than building a comparable conventional power plant fueled by natural gas, even though the wind would provide essentially a free fuel once the project is built. But some offshore wind developers contend the first turbines may begin construction off the Atlantic coast this year, and that a Maryland package of incentives would help draw developers here.

Environment Maryland, one of several green groups pushing for offshore wind, hailed the committee vote, calling offshore wind "a critical part of Maryland’s clean energy future, since it is our single largest source of truly clean, renewable energy."

One change made by the House panel would add two more members to a board that would advise the Maryland Energy Administration how to spend a $10 million fund dedicated to providing financial assistance and training so small and minority-owned businesses could participate in the development of offshore wind energy facilities in the state. The other would call for a study of creating a degree program in clean energy at one of the state's historically black colleges.

The House passed a similar offshore wind bill put in by the governor last year, but the measure failed to make it out of the Senate Finance Committee. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, an offshore wind supporter, has tweaked the panel membership to improve its chances of approval this year. The committee heard the governor's bill this week. Sen. Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton, a Charles County Democrat who chairs the panel, said he expected to bring it up for a vote in the next week or so.
Offshore wind costs 5-10x what other energy sources cost. it is the MOST expensive energy alternative available, short of burning paper CASH money.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The NEW Government Money Program!

From the Dagger and Ted Patterson, Maryland State Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty:
Delegate Susan McComas (R-District 35B) has lost her mind.

She filed, as the primary sponsor, House Bill 1103, a speed camera expansion bill that features as its center piece…an increase of speed camera fines to $80! Does Delegate McComas live under a rock?

Speed cameras are malfunctioning in Maryland. The Baltimore Sun is covering case after case where motorists are being fined when they were clearly not speeding. Its gotten so bad in Baltimore City that they are replacing their whole speed camera system. Instead of repealing speed cameras in Maryland, Delegate Susan McComas is implementing the liberal agenda in Annapolis by expanding them.

Apparently the fact that families are struggling in this economy doesn’t matter to Delegate McComas. You see, we live to provide revenue to the government in her mind, so why shouldn’t we pay higher fines for tickets? Delegate McComas, like Martin O’Malley, wants to expand the money going into her pocket. Speed cameras bring in millions upon millions of dollars in new tax revenue into state government every year and politicians just can’t get enough!

I need you to call Delegate Susan McComas today to tell her to hold onto her sanity and pull this bill. Call her at: 410-841-3272

Send her an email too at:

Maryland Campaign for Liberty needs your grassroots pressure to prevent this pro-speed camera legislator from getting her bill passed. If you want to get rid of Big Brother’s speed cameras, it is absolutely vital you call Delegate Susan McComas today. You and I must stand together against the fleecing of our communities by private companies working hand-in-glove with corrupt politicians in Annapolis.

Time is running out on our opportunity to stop Delegate McComas’s wild idea to expand Big Brother in Maryland, so please take action today!

For Liberty,

Theodore Patterson
Maryland State Coordinator
Maryland Campaign for Liberty

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just How Green IS Your Solar?

from Yahoo News
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Homeowners on the hunt for sparkling solar panels are lured by ads filled with images of pristine landscapes and bright sunshine, and words about the technology's benefits for the environment — and the wallet.

What customers may not know is that there's a dirtier side.

While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.

To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.

The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar's carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product's impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is.

After installing a solar panel, "it would take one to three months of generating electricity to pay off the energy invested in driving those hazardous waste emissions out of state," said Dustin Mulvaney, a San Jose State University environmental studies professor who conducts carbon footprint analyses of solar, biofuel and natural gas production.

The waste from manufacturing has raised concerns within the industry, which fears that the problem, if left unchecked, could undermine solar's green image at a time when companies are facing stiff competition from each other and from low-cost panel manufacturers from China and elsewhere.

"We want to take the lessons learned from electronics and semiconductor industries (about pollution) and get ahead of some of these problems," said John Smirnow, vice president for trade and competitiveness at the nearly 500-member Solar Energy Industries Association.

The increase in solar hazardous waste is directly related to the industry's fast growth over the past five years — even with solar business moving to China rapidly, the U.S. was a net exporter of solar products by $2 billion in 2010, the last year of data available. The nation was even a net exporter to China.

New companies often send hazardous waste out of their plants because they have not yet invested in on-site treatment equipment, which allows them to recycle some waste.

Nowhere is the waste issue more evident than in California, where landmark regulations approved in the 1970s require industrial plants like solar panel makers to report the amount of hazardous materials they produce, and where they send it. California leads the consumer solar market in the U.S. — which doubled overall both in 2010 and 2011.

The Associated Press compiled a list of 41 solar makers in the state, which included the top companies based on market data, and startups. In response to an AP records request, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control provided data that showed 17 of them reported waste, while the remaining did not.

The same level of federal data does not exist.

The state records show the 17 companies, which had 44 manufacturing facilities in California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011. Roughly 97 percent of it was taken to hazardous waste facilities throughout the state, but more than 1.4 million pounds were transported to nine other states: Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Several solar energy experts said they have not calculated the industry's total waste and were surprised at what the records showed.

Solyndra, the now-defunct solar company that received $535 million in guaranteed federal loans, reported producing about 12.5 million pounds of hazardous waste, much of it carcinogenic cadmium-contaminated water, which was sent to waste facilities from 2007 through mid-2011.

Before the company went bankrupt, leading to increased scrutiny of the solar industry and political fallout for President Barack Obama's administration, Solyndra said it created 100 megawatts-worth of solar panels, enough to power 100,000 homes.

The records also show several other Silicon Valley solar facilities created millions of pounds of toxic waste without selling a single solar panel, while they were developing their technology or fine-tuning their production.

While much of the waste produced is considered toxic, there was no evidence it has harmed human health.

The vast majority of solar companies that generated hazardous waste in California have not been cited for waste-related pollution violations, although three had minor violations on file.

In many cases, a toxic sludge is created when metals and other toxins are removed from water used in the manufacturing process. If a company doesn't have its own treatment equipment, then it will send contaminated water to be stored at an approved dump.

According to scientists who conduct so-called "life cycle analysis" for solar, the transport of waste is not currently being factored into the carbon footprint score, which measures the amount of greenhouse gases produced when making a product.

Life cycle analysts add up all the global warming pollution that goes into making a certain product — from the mining needed for components to the exhaust from diesel trucks used to transport waste and materials. Not factoring the hazardous waste transport into solar's carbon footprint is an obvious oversight, analysts said.

"The greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting this waste is not insignificant," Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney noted that shipping, for example, 6.2 million pounds of waste by heavy-duty tractor-trailer from Fremont, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area, to a site 1,800 miles away could add 5 percent to a particular product's carbon footprint.

Such scores are important because they provide transparency to government and consumers into just how environmentally sustainable specific products are and lay out a choice between one company's technology and another's.

The roughly 20-year life of a solar panel still makes it some of the cleanest energy technology currently available. Producing solar is still significantly cleaner than fossil fuels. Energy derived from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, for example, creates more than 10 times more hazardous waste than the same energy created by a solar panel, according to Mulvaney.

The U.S. solar industry said it is reporting its waste, and sending it to approved storage facilities — thus keeping it out of the nation's air and water. A coal-fired power plant, in contrast, sends mercury, cadmium and other toxins directly into the air, which pollutes water and land around the facility.

"Having this stuff go to ... hazardous waste sites, that's what you want to have happen," said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a solar advocacy group.

Environmental advocates say the solar industry needs greater transparency, which is getting more complicated as manufacturing moves from the U.S. and Europe to less regulated places such as China and Malaysia.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a watchdog group created in 1982 in response to severe environmental problems associated with the valley's electronics industry, is now trying to keep the solar industry from making similar mistakes through a voluntary waste reporting "scorecard." So far, only 14 of 114 companies contacted have replied. Those 14 were larger firms that comprised 51-percent of the solar market share.

"We find the overall industry response rate to our request for environmental information to be pretty dismal for an industry that is considered 'green,'" the group's executive director, Sheila Davis, said in an email.

While there are no specific industry standards, Smirnow, head of the solar industry association, is spearheading a voluntary program of environmental responsibility. So far, only seven of the group's nearly 81 manufacturers have signed the pledge.

"We want (our program) to be more demanding, but this is a young industry and right now manufacturing companies are focused on survival," he said.
I sure hope that those expensive solar panels that you just bought LAST you MORE than four years... else you've paid a bundle in unjustified energy rate premiums for "green" solar energy.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Safe Abortions? Not in Maryland!

from Susan B. Anthony List
This morning Operation Rescue and the Maryland Coalition for Life announced that yesterday a woman died from complications after undergoing a late-term, 33-week abortion at the hands of the infamous abortionist, LeRoy Carhart, in Germantown, Maryland.

From Operation Rescue's press release:

The woman, who came for a third trimester abortion from out-of-state, arrived at GRHC on Sunday and was seen by pro-life activists every day through Wednesday. Witnesses said she appeared “pale and weak.”

Early Thursday morning, the woman began suffering chest pain and other discomforts. Her attempts to reach Carhart were unsuccessful. The woman was taken by her family from her hotel to a nearby hospital emergency room at approximately 5:00 a.m. Efforts by hospital staff to contact Carhart or get informational assistance from the abortion clinic were unsuccessful.

The patient suffered massive internal bleeding into her abdominal cavity. She slipped into a Code Blue condition approximately six times before finally succumbing to her injuries at around 9:30 a.m. The case has been placed with the Medical Examiner for further investigation.

This is tragic news. Please join the entire SBA List staff in praying for the deceased mother and child, as well as their family during this time.

This is not an isolated incident. reports that yesterday's death occurred the same day of another medical emergency at a New Mexico abortion clinic where LeRoy Carhart's associate Shelley Sella is working. Carhart himself is also responsible for another woman's death following a botched abortion in 2005.

This woman came to Maryland from out-of-state because Maryland's permissive abortion laws allow Carhart to perform abortions for any reason, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, until the moment of birth.

Women deserve better than a dangerous late-term abortion at the hands of a notorious abortionist.

Please Take Action immediately: Demand that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley investigate and close Carhart's dangerous and deadly late-term abortion center in Germantown, Maryland.

This is not an isolated incident. Live Action has found that 14 medical emergencies have occurred at Planned Parenthood's nationwide in the last two years. Planned Parenthood is America's largest abortion chain and these incident may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Abortion-advocates supposedly once operated under the premise that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” The reality is that of these three, abortion is only really legal.
More on Maryland's loosely regulated and largely unsupervised abortion disaster.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Drones? Who Needs Drones?

from the Baltimore Sun:
The Army is planning to move an over-the-horizon radar system, with more than 100 soldiers and a pair of giant, blimp-like aerostats that fly as high as two miles up, to Aberdeen Proving Ground in the fall, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said Thursday.

Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said commanders chose the Army base in Harford County for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, because offers FAA-approved restricted airspace and allows for testing weapons tracking over water.

Ruppersberger said the move would generate about 140 jobs for the region.

"At a time when most of the Department of Defense is experiencing significant budget cuts, this $20 million investment in APG will have a domino effect on our local economy," the Baltimore County lawmaker said. "The JLENS workers will be buying homes, shopping in our grocery stores and eating in our restaurants."

The radar surveillance is conducted from two tethered, helium-filled aerostats that measure 243 feet in length and reach an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Earlier, officials had said they planned to add the system to the umbrella that protects the Washington, D.C., area.

"We're trying to determine how the surveillance radar information from the JLENS platforms can be integrated with existing systems in the National Capital Region," Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Reuters last week.

Ruppersberger said the Army will host town halls to discuss the project with neighbors and take questions.

"I look forward to working with them and my constituents to ensure all concerns are addressed," he said.

I have received notification that the Army will be relocating its Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, to Aberdeen Proving Ground this fall. JLENS is a radar system that conducts over-the-horizon surveillance to protect us from air attacks including missiles, drones and rockets. Aberdeen Proving Ground was selected because it provides the ability to test weapons tracking over water and offers already-established FAA-approved restricted airspace.

More than 100 soldiers will be relocating to the APG region to support this mission. The project will also create jobs for about 30 contractors and 10 civilians. At a time when most of the Department of Defense is experiencing significant budget cuts, this $20 million investment in APG will have a domino effect on our local economy. The JLENS workers will be buying homes, shopping in our grocery stores and eating in our restaurants.

The JLENS surveillance is conducted by two tethered aerostats flying as high as 10,000 feet. The Army will be hosting a series of public town halls to discuss the project with local residents and answer any questions. I look forward to working with them and my constituents to ensure all concerns are addressed.
WWII Barrage Balloons

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bel Air WalMart Submits New Plans

from the Harford County Dagger
Wal-Mart on Friday submitted revised plans to county officials for a proposed Bel Air Supercenter, signifying the company’s intention to build the store despite public protests over the location. The company’s revised plans must be reviewed by the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning for compliance with regulatory requirements before the Supercenter can be built as proposed near the intersection of Plumtree Rd. and MD Route 924. The proposed store site is zoned as a general business district.

Wal-Mart’s move follows an October Development Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting where county officials outlined deficiencies in the company’s original plans, including the site plan, forest conservation plan, landscaping plan, and traffic impact analysis. It is not unusual for a development proposal to undergo revisions prior to receiving final approval.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the company had submitted a revised preliminary plan, site plan, landscape plan and traffic impact analysis. The revised plans have been posted on the county Web site and can be found here.

Pete Gutwald, county director of planning and zoning, said Tuesday that the revised plans had not yet been reviewed, a process that he said would take months at best and could require additional information from the company as the review unfolds. He said it was too soon to identify the major changes from the original plans, although he noted an increase in the store size, which was originally proposed at 186,000 sq.ft. and revised to nearly 190,000 sq.ft.

Wal-Mart first revealed plans to close its Abingdon store and build a new Bel Air Supercenter at a July community input meeting, which was required by the county as part of the development review process. The meeting drew more than 800 angry residents who said that the new store would snarl traffic in an already congested area and otherwise diminish the quality of life for nearby residents.

Since then, opponents have pressured elected officials to stop the project, leading to a request from the Harford County Council to the State Highway Administration to deny access to the store from MD Route 924 because of concerns about public safety. In order to review the council’s request, SHA asked Wal-Mart to submit a revised traffic impact analysis without the planned access to the site at MD 924 and Bright Oaks Drive.

Opponents have also staged roadside rallies near the proposed store site in recent months. On Saturday, protesters stood along Constant Friendship Blvd. near the Abingdon Wal-Mart, urging the company to expand at that location rather than move to Bel Air.

Bill Wertz, Wal-Mart’s community and media relations director for the eastern division, told The Dagger in an October interview that the company appreciated community input, but the Supercenter would not fit at the Abingdon location due to constraints at the site. Countering the protests, he said that the Bel Air Supercenter would bring area consumers a beautiful new store with a greater assortment of merchandise at low prices, including fresh produce and a garden center. Increased tax revenue and 100 new jobs would also come to the county as a result, Wertz said.

Below are the overall “Results, Recommendations, and Conclusions” from the revised traffic impact analysis:

Walmartrevisedplan_2_5_13 by

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guns, the Next "Sin" Tax Revenue Stream...

from the Baltimore Sun
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to require handgun licenses would make the state more than twice as much as it would cost to administer the program, according to a Department of Legislative Services analysis released Monday night.

The analysis is the first independent look the costs of licensing, which advocates call the most effective and the most controversial piece of O'Malley's sweeping gun proposal.

Requiring a license to buy a handgun in Maryland would generate $3.8 million for Maryland in its first year, after the Maryland State Police hires 22 people to help implement the program. By the second year, the state would generate $5 million, more than twice the cost to give out the licenses.

Handgun purchasers must now undergo a background check and complete a 30-minute, online safety training course. Under O'Malley's proposal, no one could buy a handgun without first obtaining a license, which requires a a $100 fee, undergoing more expansive background check, completing an eight-hour training course and giving digital fingerprints to state police.

Gun control advocates say licensure cuts down on "straw-purchases" because the more rigourous buying process deters people from purchasing guns for criminals to use.

Opponents of O'Malley's gun-control program has likened the requirement to a poll tax that would only allow weathly people to own guns.

The governor is scheduled to testify Wednesday on the first public hearing of his public safety bill, which includes the gun licensing provision and a ban on assault rifles.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why the RNC Will Never Represent Conservatives

from the New York Times
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.

The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.

“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”

The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.

The first test of the group’s effort to influence primary races could come here in Iowa, where some Republicans are already worrying about who will run for the seat being vacated by Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat. It is the first open Senate seat in Iowa since 1974, and Republicans are fearful of squandering a rare opportunity.

The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.

The project is being waged with last year’s Senate contests in mind, particularly the one in Missouri, where Representative Todd Akin’s comment that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy rippled through races across the country. In Indiana, the Republican candidate, Richard E. Mourdock, lost a race after he said that when a woman became pregnant during a rape it was “something God intended.”

As Republicans rebuild from losing the White House race and seats in the House and Senate last year, party leaders and strategists are placing a heightened focus on taking control of the Senate next year. Republicans must pick up six seats to win a majority.

Representative Steve King, a six-term Iowa Republican, could be among the earliest targets of the Conservative Victory Project. He said he had not decided whether he would run for the Senate, but the leaders of the project in Washington are not waiting to try to steer him away from the race.

The group’s plans, which were outlined for the first time last week in an interview with Mr. Law, call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against candidates whom party leaders see as unelectable and a drag on the efforts to win the Senate. Mr. Law cited Iowa as an example and said Republicans could no longer be squeamish about intervening in primary fights.

“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

Mr. King has compiled a record of incendiary statements during his time in Congress, including comparing illegal immigrants to dogs and likening Capitol Hill maintenance workers to “Stasi troops” after they were ordered to install environmentally friendly light bulbs. But he rejected the suggestion that his voting record or previous remarks would keep him from winning if he decided to run for the Senate.

“This is a decision for Iowans to make and should not be guided by some political staffers in Washington,” Mr. King said in an interview, pointing out that he won his Congressional race last year even though President Obama easily defeated Mitt Romney in Iowa. “The last election, they said I couldn’t win that, either, and the entire machine was against me.”

The Conservative Victory Project will be a super PAC operating independently of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It will disclose the names of donors and raise money separately from American Crossroads, officials said, because some donors were uncomfortable about aggressively weighing in on Republican-vs.-Republican fights.

“It is a delicate and sensitive undertaking,” Mr. Law said. “Our approach will be to institutionalize the Buckley rule: Support the most conservative candidate who can win.”

But by imposing the rule of the conservative leader William F. Buckley, the group could run afoul of Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment” to not speak ill of a fellow Republican.

In Iowa, Cory Adams, the chairman of the Story County Republican Party, said the criticism aimed at Mr. King was unfair and misdirected. He warned of resistance from conservative activists if outside groups tried to interfere in the Senate race.

“If he wants to run for the Senate, he should be allowed to run,” Mr. Adams said of Mr. King, whose Congressional district includes Story County. “The more people get to know him, the more they will like him.”

The retirement announcements last month from Mr. Harkin and Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, have created wide-open Senate races that are expected to attract several prospective candidates. The Conservative Victory Project is working to build a consensus with other groups on candidates who have the strongest chance of winning.

Grover Norquist, who leads Americans for Tax Reform, a fiscally conservative advocacy group that plays a role in Republican primary races, said he welcomed a pragmatic sense of discipline in recruiting candidates. But he said it was incorrect to suggest that candidates backed by Tea Party groups were the only ones to lose, pointing to establishment Republicans in North Dakota and Montana who also lost their races last year.

“People are imagining a problem that doesn’t exist,” Mr. Norquist said. “We’ve had people challenge the establishment guy and do swimmingly.”

Sue Everhart, the head of the Georgia Republican Party, said she did not object to outside intervention. But because open Senate seats do not come along very often, she said,“we have six congressmen who want the job,” which could create a messy and divisive primary regardless of the efforts to control the race.

“The primary has to sort itself out in Georgia,” Ms. Everhart said. “That’s what primaries are for. But we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball. This is going to be a very important election, and it’s paramount that Georgia keeps its Senate seat in Republican hands.”

Saturday, February 2, 2013

O'Malley Promises to "Out Liberal" Obama

from the Baltimore Sun
Gov. Martin O’Malley urged the General Assembly on Wednesday to approve an unabashedly liberal agenda that includes repeal of the state’s death penalty, new curbs on guns and spending for construction projects that create jobs.

Asking Maryland lawmakers to make what he called “better choices,” the governor also prodded them to raise new revenue to relieve traffic congestion and to pass his twice-rejected legislation to foster a new industry harnessing the power of offshore wind.

O’Malley used his seventh and next-to-last State of the State address — attended by a half-dozen foreign ambassadors and carried nationally on C-SPAN — to promote a record he apparently is preparing to take to the national political stage as a potential contender for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

“No other state can say at once that they are No. 1 in education five years in a row, No. 1 in holding down the cost of college tuition, No. 1 in innovation and entrepreneurship, No. 1 in human capital capacity, No. 1 in access to dental care for all children, regardless of income, No. 1 in PhD. scientists and researchers, No. 1 in research and development, No. 1 in businesses owned by women, and No. 1 in median family income,” O’Malley told a joint session of the House of Delegates and the Senate.

The governor’s speech appeared to have been carefully crafted to work on both a state and national level — combining forceful arguments for his legislative agenda with themes that could resonate with Democrats around the country.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, said it was the kind of speech that will circulate among party activists.

“He’s done a good job the last six years, and now I think he marches toward completing that legacy,” Cummings said. “And I think that legacy will be very appealing to a national audience.”

But if O’Malley’s message resonated with the political left, it struck a discordant note with Republicans such as House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell of Calvert County.

“They were the most leftist remarks I’ve heard in the 19 years I’ve been here,” he said. “He’s probably one of the most extreme left-wing politicians in America today.”

The governor stressed a theme of “choices,” using the word repeatedly in his roughly 35-minute address. His point was that Maryland, and his administration, had made the right ones while other states and officials made bad decisions.

Striking a contrast between Maryland’s response to the economic downturn and that of other states, O’Malley boasted about the results of what he has called a “balanced approach” of tax increases and $8.3 billion in cuts to projected spending since he took office in 2007.

“When the national recession hit — wiping out jobs and revenues all across our country — other states tried to cut their way to prosperity. Many found this only made things worse,” he said. Maryland, he said, found ways to avoid the teacher and police layoffs, cuts to public education and double-digit college tuition increases chosen by other states.

While he touted the ways Maryland had maintained its spending levels in the face of a stagnant economy, O’Malley also stressed a theme of government efficiency.

“We started measuring weekly performance to make government more effective. We constrained budget growth and made government smaller,” he said. “We cut more state spending than any administration in modern Maryland history.”

In contrast to his previous State of the State speeches, this year O’Malley brought an upbeat message about the state’s budget. He said his proposed budget for next year “very nearly eliminates” a long-term revenue shortfall that once amounted to about $2 billion.

The budget, he said, meets the spending affordability guidelines set by the legislature, beefs up the state’s cash reserves and protects its AAA bond rating.

The governor laid out plans for a series of capital spending programs that he said would create jobs, which he called “our top priority, always.” His proposals include spending $336 million next year on school construction and $25 million to help private developers build affordable rental housing.

O’Malley’s list of claimed achievements brought a caustic rejoinder from Republican state Sen. Nancy Jacobs of Harford County.

“You can do that when you consistently raise taxes and give people what they want instead of being fiscally responsible,” she said.

It was only toward the end of his speech that the governor mentioned what will likely be one of the most controversial proposals on his agenda: an end to capital punishment in Maryland.

Making a second attempt to win repeal after an earlier effort fell short in 2009, O’Malley told lawmakers that the death penalty is ineffective and expensive.

“It is not a deterrent. It cannot be administered without racial bias. It costs three times as much as locking someone up for life without parole. And it cannot be reversed if an innocent person is executed,” he said. “It is time to repeal the death penalty in Maryland and replace it with life without parole.”

O’Donnell took particular exception to O’Malley’s argument for death penalty repeal, in which the governor listed the countries other than the United States that carry out most of the world’s executions, including China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iraq and Iran, with the implication that Maryland shouldn’t be in that company. O’Donnell said it was offensive to say that with foreign diplomats present.

“You can advocate for your policy changes without running the United States of America into the ground,” O’Donnell said.

O’Malley also issued a call for the licensing of handgun owners and a ban on assault-type weapons, measures he added to his agenda after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

“Who can watch the sad images of the last several weeks, who can see the pictures of those young faces, and honestly say we’re doing enough?” he asked.

The governor’s speech, especially the passages dealing with guns and the death penalty, received a mixed response. Near the front and middle of the House chamber, where the all-Democratic delegations from Baltimore and Montgomery County sit, he drew repeated standing ovations. But at the back, where the mostly Republican contingent from Western Maryland and Harford County sits, most lawmakers remained silent in their seats.

The address was noteworthy for one issue O’Malley did not mention: Baltimore’s effort to win approval for a $2.4 billion plan to rebuild dilapidated schools. O’Malley has yet to take a position on the plan promoted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who was in the audience, and city schools chief executive AndrĂ©s Alonso.

More than in past years, what O’Malley said in Annapolis could have political repercussions outside the state. The governor, who cannot run for re-election in 2014 because of term limits, is among a handful of Democrats — along with outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — who is regularly listed by pundits as a likely candidate for president in 2016.

Two observers from opposite ends of the political spectrum — Cummings and Republican state Sen. Richard F. Colburn of the Eastern Shore — had the same view of what would happen if Clinton were to run. Both thought O’Malley would pass on the race but would be on the short list for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

“He’s not running for president,” Colburn said. “He’s running for vice president.”