Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Put this in the small world file

You may have been reading about the resignation of Shirley Sherrod the local Georgia USDA official who may some racist remarks.

What you may not fully appreciate is that Ms. Sherrod was part of the largest civil rights case against the USDA known as the Pigford litigation. The suit took advantage of a Clinton era internal investigation by the USDA finding pervasive and systemic racial prejudice in the USDA's farm loan programs. The Clinton administration, with the help of the Congressional Black Caucus, set aside half a billion dollars to settle claims under the class action suit. It was the largest settlement of a civil rights suit brought against the Government.

With the settlement, individual plaintiffs could seek a single payment of approximately $50,000 (Track A) or go through a binding arbitration with no limit on damages. According to some sources, the number of claims for Track A exceeded the entire population of African American farmers in the United States. Needless to say, many claims were rejected but may unverifiable claims were paid simply because the settlement allowed for damages related to loan denials going back to the 1980's (for which the USDA no longer had documentation).

Sherrod was part of a Georgia communal farm, known as New Communities, Inc., which was part of the suit against the Government.

How do I know? I was working for the Department of Justice and represented the Government in this claim. Given the above mentioned settlement, the case was one of those Track B binding arbitration proceedings. Ultimately, New Communities, Inc., received nearly $13 million dollars.

I had the chance to meet and depose many of those involved with New Communities including Ms. Sherrod. I can say it was many years ago but once I heard the name I remembered it instantly and was not surprised. These are militant activists who are hardwired to believe that everything in American society is racist. While Ms. Sherrod and her husband were very pleasent they were convinced that New Communities failure was due to racism and not some other reason.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Irony is Not Lost On Me

I read today in the Annapolis Capital that Del. James King is calling himself "the Conservative Choice" in his State Senate race against Ed. Reily.

Clever tagline. Wish I thought of it. Oh wait, I did.

The true irony, though, is that the guy who broke with his own party to vote for the Governor's slots plan and enabled the largest tax increase in Maryland history is calling himself the "Conservative Choice."

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Farewell to a Friend

It was with great sadness that I heard today that conservative activist and blogger Mike Netherland passed away suddenly. Mike was a leader in the conservative community in Anne Arundel County and pioneered the local Elephant Club's Public Square email forum long before the word blogosphere existed.

Mike's own blog, Mike's Nether Land, emobodied his no holds barred conservatism and wonderfully unique view of the world. Mike even briefly blogged about his experiences as a MARC train commuter, a cirumstance that clearly consumed too much of his time.

While Mike had his disagreements with me and a number of my RedMaryland colleagues, he was a loyal friend and true believer in the conservative cause. I can fondly remember him supporting conservative candidates (including myself) and causes without first considering what others were doing.

But, of course, Mike was much more than this. He was a loving father, husband, brother and son. We pray for his family and friends who are mourning and we share their loss.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rush's Point about The Real World

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh today you heard him equate the wonkish Obama administration with a business professor who does not know how the real world works. As a deomonstrative aid, he mentioned the movie clip below from Back to School.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Are We Forgetting Something?

As my colleague passes along the good information about Wednesday's March on Annapolis there is some concern that some of the organizers of this event may be at best ignoring one of the biggest issues of concern to conservatives affecting how liberty and prosperity here in Maryland.

The issue, illegal immigration.

A recent report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) outlines the costs of illegal immigration to Marylanders. I urge you to read this report.

Here are some startling facts. The illegal alien population in Maryland is approximately 250,000 quadrupling since 2000. Maryland’s illegal immigrant population costs the state’s taxpayers more than $1.4 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. The annual fiscal burden amounts to about $790 per Maryland household headed by a native-born resident.

With these figures, this issue certainly deserves the same attention as increasing taxes and overall excessive spending in Annapolis. Most conservatives would agree.

According to some immigration activists, leaders of AFP and other organizations leading Wednesday's protest don't view illegal immigration as a major issue and view programs such as E-Verify which seeks to stop companies from hiring illegal aliens as an unnecessary hardship. Others have commented that immigration is simply a "social issue" that has no import to the debate about the direction our country is going.

This view is no better epitomized by Dick Armey of Freedomworks' support for open immigration.

I don't believe most of the good folks going out on Wednesday would support such an agenda or fail to see illegal immigration as harmful to our liberty and prosperity. As former Governor Ehrlich said "Citizenship should mean something" and the leaders in Annapolis (and of the Tea Party Movement) should get that message as well.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Split Decision on 3B

It appears the Frederick and Washington County Republican Central Committees could not agree on a replacement for outgoing Delegate Richard Weldon. As reported here, the Frederick County group picked Mike Hough and the Washington County committee picked Charles Jenkins.

Now it appears Governor O'Malley will have the final choice.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Decision Time for 3B

Tonight the Frederick County Republican Central Committee will interview and vote on the replacement for former Republican Delegate Rick Weldon. They have narrowed their choice to three finalists, Mike Hough, Charles A. Jenkins and John R. Lovell, Jr.

I and my RedMaryland colleague Brian Griffiths have been commenting on this race repeatedly and invited discussion not just from the candidates and members of the central committees making he ultimate choice but all Maryland conservatives.

While Brian and I disagree on the import of social conservatism in this choice, a reflection of discussions many Maryland conservatives are having, we both agree on one thing.

As Brian puts it:

"Now, when it comes to this vacancy in District 3B, the issue becomes more of state level issues. What issues should be the most important when it comes to considering the ideology of any successor to Weldon's seat? The most important need to be:

Fiscal Restraint
No On New Taxes
A Commitment to the Reduction of the Size of Government."put it:

As I put it:

"How can the GOP make fiscal conservatism and opposition to the O'Malley tax increases central themes next year when their own local committee members choose tax raisers."

Now to the candidates. As I reported and sourced before, former Frederick County Commissioner John Lovell both against tax cuts and or higher taxes. The same is true of Charles A. Jenkins, which you can read here and here.

In fact, here is a telling quote from Mr. Jenkins

Either way, Mr. Jenkins said, "It's kind of a no-win situation. The reality is if you don't (raise taxes) you're going to have to make cuts in services.

With Maryland facing continuing deficits do we really need a Republican member of the House of Delegates who sees the choice of higher taxes and reducing government as a "no-win situation" or Republicans with a record of raising taxes and expanding government on the local level.

That is why I support Mike Hough and urge the Frederick and Washington County Central Committees to do the same. Mike has signed the Maryland Taxpayers Association "No New Taxes" pledge. He has supported anti-tax conservative Republicans for years. For him, the choice of higher taxes or smaller government is an easy one and not a "no-win situation".

And for the record, he is a social conservative too.