Truth-tellers, liars and equivocators

Archive for February 2011

Lay off the chips: O'Malley wants more energy R&D spending

February 23, 2011 - 06:00 AM

If a politician mentions the lowly potato chip -- the standard food of the lazy, the fat, the sloppy -- it’s generally going to be in reference to how children need to exercise more, or how Americans need to eat healthy, or (in the case of Michael Bloomberg) how fatty foods should be taxed.

But in a speech at the Virginia Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley turned the American love of the potato chip on its head, using it to make an argument that maybe — just maybe — our priorities are a little messed up.

“As a nation, we now spend more on potato chips than we invest through our government into energy research and development,” he said.

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Maryland's alcohol tax increase: How hard will it hit your wallet?

February 18, 2011 - 02:24 PM
wine bottles
Marylanders could soon be paying more to drink. (Photo: Associated Press)

For several years now, health care advocates in Maryland have pushed a tax increase on alcohol as the solution to the state's budget woes. This year's version, dubbed by its supporters as the 'dime a drink' bill, has more sponsors than ever before. Even powerful State Senate President Mike Miller, who earlier dismissed such legislation as "nonsense," has conceded some type of alcohol tax increase is going to pass this year.

At a rally last week, the executives of Maryland’s two largest counties — Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — rallied in support of the tax, pushing it as a modest burden that could help their counties' precarious fiscal situations.

"That's a modest increase, and for those who drink modestly throughout the state of Maryland, it will mean about $10 to your drink bill for the rest of the year," Leggett said, according to WTOP.

The actual cost of the proposed tax increase to the average consumer is contested. Retailers and restaurants have charged that the true increase would be much higher, 700 percent or more, depending on the drink.

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U.S. Senators to District: We do not think highly of your public schools

February 17, 2011 - 12:34 PM

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) do not think highly of the District of Columbia’s public schools. (Don’t they know Michelle Rhee fixed them and now everything is perfect?) That much quickly became clear during a Wednesday hearing on rebooting a program that provides vouchers so D.C. school children can afford to attend private schools.

In her opening statement, Collins said that if the program ended, “93 percent of the children [enrolled] would be returned to schools that do not measure up.”

And when the senators -- they appeared to be the only two members of the 17-person Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in attendance for the hearing -- were questioning Mayor Vince Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown about the program, Lieberman said that D.C. eighth graders were the worst in the nation at reading and math.

Eventually, Collins threatened to withhold funding from D.C. Public Schools if the voucher program -- formally named the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program -- wasn’t continued. After all, if D.C.’s public classrooms are as wretched as our congressional overlords claim, it would be the only appropriate thing to do. Are they that bad?

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George Allen, big spender?: Jamie Radtke criticizes Allen on debt, earmarks

February 14, 2011 - 08:00 AM

With incumbent Democrat Jim Webb now officially out of Virginia’s senate race, a new waiting game is beginning. Dominion Democrats need to figure out who among them will run for the Democratic nomination, and they have a lot of potential options.

But while the Democratic primary is taking shape, a Republican one is already going on. Well, sorta. Former senator and governor George Allen has announced he’s running to reclaim his old seat, while Tea Party activist (and former Allen staffer) Jamie Radtke has announced her candidacy. Others (including Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William) could soon join them. For now, though, Virginians looking for some statewide political bloodsport will have to sate themselves with Radtke’s attacks on her former boss. (Allen, acting like the frontrunner he is, hasn’t deigned to respond.)

Webb’s decision not to run for re-election gave Radtke a reason to launch this gem at Allen:

Twelve years ago George Allen ran for U.S. Senate pledging to work for a balanced budget, to reduce spending and to reduce the debt. Then Mr. Allen went to Washington and voted for spending measures that increased our national debt by $3.1 trillion and voted for $90 billion in earmarks. Now, 12 years later, George Allen is making the same promises again.

Allen’s rhetoric has remained consistently opposed to big government spending. Did he really have a big-spending record in the Senate? Did he vote “for spending measures that increased our national debt by $3.1 trillion” and “for $90 billion in earmarks?”

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O'Malley's shrinking state workforce: Just how small is it?

February 8, 2011 - 09:50 AM
Martin O'Malley delivers the 2011 State of the State address. (Photo: Associated Press)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley delivered his State of the State address on Thursday, and to those familiar with the rhetorical stylings of the Old Line State’s head honcho, not much was new. We’re in the toughest of times! Maryland is well-positioned for the new economy because of innovation and education! Moving forward!

O’Malley did drop one nugget we’d never heard him use before: “Together, we’ve reduced the size of state government — already the 8th smallest government among the 50 states.”

Is Maryland, a traditional stronghold for Democrats, a paragon of small government?

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Dan Snyder lawsuit: What about his wife?

February 4, 2011 - 04:30 PM

Newspaper criticizes Dan Snyder. Snyder files error-ridden lawsuit. Other media outlets criticize Snyder’s lawsuit. Snyder goes on the radio to defend himself from criticism. While on the radio, Snyder makes another error.

During an interview on ESPN 980's The John Thompson Show this afternoon, Snyder said the following: “Someone calls you a criminal, someone makes fun of your wife who's battling breast cancer, shame on you.”

He repeated the claim during an interview with ABC7's Britt McHenry.

"When someone calls you a criminal and someone makes fun of your wife, who's fighting breast cancer and is a national spokesperson for the National Football League on breast cancer awareness, you sit there and you say, 'Enough is enough. What's right is right, what's wrong is wrong,'" Snyder told McHenry.

The “someone” in question is Washington City Paper sports writer Dave McKenna, who wrote “The Cranky Redskins’ Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” the article that prompted Snyder’s lawsuit and is a general thorn in the side of the Redskins' owner.

The Facts Machine is looking at the second half of Snyder's two part accusation --- that McKenna made “fun of [Snyder's] wife.”

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Cuccinelli's Cuban cabbie tale

February 2, 2011 - 08:00 AM

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was in a cab traveling in California Monday night. And like exactly 99 percent of cabbies worldwide, Cuccinelli’s cabbie griped to his fare about all the nonsense he has to deal with as a hacker. The attorney general, who sporadically tweets from a personal account, decided to tell the world about it.

“My hispanic cab driver complained about his regs today,” he wrote. “I don't know what's happening to this country, the regs are getting worse than cuba.”

Did the Cuba reference come from Cuccinelli’s Republican rhetorical playbook? Not likely, according to Brian Gottstein, a spokesperson for Cuccinelli. The driver of the attorney general’s cab was “very likely” Cuban, since he spoke with knowledge of Cuban cabbing practices, says the spokesman. Since Cuccinelli is a limited government guy, by "worse," he naturally means "more."

Cuccinelli’s digital outburst would appear to fit into something of a trend. Pepco is already providing Third World-level service in D.C. The U.S. soccer team lost to Ghana at the World Cup. China has larger casinos than we do. Has the U.S. even fallen behind in the freedom we grant to our taxi drivers? Are our taxi regulations actually more onerous than those crafted by a bunch of commies in Havana?

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