TAXPAYER BREAKING NEWS, December 2007
continued from MTA Home Page

December 29, 2007. Baltimore Sun: Court lifts obstacle in GOP lawsuit. "Court hearings on the arguments in Westminster have been postponed until Friday so that Monahan, who has been on vacation, could be found and deposed." READ MORE.

December 28, 2007. Bernie Becker Capital News Service in gazette.net: A state of exodus. Thousands flee Maryland in search of jobs, homes. Almost 20,000 more left state in ’06 than moved here. "A state losing residents usually means 'the job base is shrinking,' said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Maryland’s high-regulation, high-tax environment could be turning off businesses, Morici said, noting that rising energy prices might also prompt residents to move south." READ MORE.

December 28, 2007. Bernie Becker Capital News Service in gazette.net: Many now keeping jobs in Maryland but commuting from nearby states. "Worcester, president of Maryland Business for Responsive Government, said 'it’s at least 50/50 now' between Pennsylvania and Maryland license plates on I-83 at rush hour. He added that, while rush hour used to be a breeze, now 'you can expect to go around three to five miles per hour' at some spots. " READ MORE.

December 21, 2007. Iain Murray in National Review on Line: Oil Is Not the Enemy. "With all due respect to Robert Zubrin and the splendid Cliff May, their argument against oil seems to be based on a syllogism: Islamists produce oil, Islamists are bad, therefore oil is bad. The fact is that 80% of our oil comes from non-islamist sources. Our top sources for petroleum are Canada and Mexico. We even import more oil from Africa than from the Middle East. The rest of the world isn't going to switch away from the most cost-effective source of transportation energy just because we choose something different. So by switching to methanol (which would also require massive amounts of land) we cut off our nose to spite our face. The Islamists will keep getting their funding from other nations, just like they do now, and we'll be less resilient in the face of their attacks because we'll be paying more for a less efficient form of energy (and we'll therefore be less competetive with, eg, China as well). It's ludicrous. If you really want to reduce our imports and lower the world price, campaign for an end to the silly restrictions that keep us from utilizing our vast reserves of oil and gas that are locked away in ANWR, the Rockies and the Outer Continental Shelf. The American consumer is not our enemy." READ ORIGINAL POST.

December 20, 2007 U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007. "Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called 'consensus' on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore." READ MORE.

December 20, 2007. Heritage Foundation: Omnibus Earmarks Out: President Bush Should Cancel Congress’s Pork Spending. "Immediate Ways to Reform Fiscal Year 2008 Earmarks. President Bush should consider three options for keeping his pledge to rein in pork projects:" READ WHAT THE OPTIONS ARE.

December 17, 2007. Washington Times: Pardon Ramos and Compean now. "There is a growing, bipartisan understanding in Congress that Ramos and Compean do not belong in prison. Lawmakers ranging from conservative Republicans like Mr. Rohrabacher and fellow California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter to liberal Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts have raised objects to the incarceration of Ramos and Compean. The president should correct this oversight now and pardon the men so they can be home with their families for Christmas." READ MORE.

December 14, 2007. Baltimore Sun: GOP legislators sue to invalidate special session. "Dan Friedman, an attorney at Saul Ewing and author of a book on the Maryland Constitution, said courts typically do not overturn legislation on procedural grounds unless a gross violation takes place. In this instance, the bills were given the prescribed three readings in each chamber, enacted by majority votes, certified by the presiding officers and signed by the governor -- all the steps required for properly enacted legislation in a bicameral legislature, he said. 'What courts don't like is when somebody would reap a procedural windfall for what is a substantive political complaint,' Friedman said. 'They're trying to get what they want politically out of a minor procedural flaw, if it's a flaw at all.'" READ MORE.
UPDATE! December 17, 2007: Examiner. Experts differ on GOP suit seeking to overturn tax increases, slots vote. READ MORE.
FURTHER UPDATE! December 21, 2007. Continued to January 4, 2008 for additional hearing before Carroll County Judge Thomas Stansfield.

December 14, 2007. A Bad Week for the U S Senate: Reports David Freddoso and Iain Murray from National Review on Line.

One More Reason to Feel Depressed on a Dreary Day [David Freddoso]. The Senate cleared the energy corporate welfare bill (as Iain noted) and the farm corporate welfare bill — both overwhelmingly — before leaving for the weekend.

Senate Responds to Energy Concerns by Raising Prices [Iain Murray]. The anti-energy bill passed the Senate 86-8 last night following removal of the two titles David describes so well [here]. The eight good people to vote against were Sens Barrasso (R-WY), Coburn (R-OK), DeMint (R-SC), Enzi (R-WY), Hatch (R-UT), Inhofe (R-OK), Kyl (R-AZ), and Stabenow (D-MI). The President has said he will sign this terrible deal.

The bill will restrict Americans' choices when it comes to the sort of cars they can buy as well as making them more expensive (although there's a good chance technological advances that would have happened anyway might save Americans from this) and raise fuel, food, and drink prices as a result of an extension of the reprehensible ethanol scam.

Recent polls have shown that Americans are concerned about rising energy prices. It seems odd, then, that Congress's response serves only to add to this concern.

TBN: Here is chapter and verse on these burdensome measures from the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

The Energy Bill with a Body Count. READ MORE.
Senate Passes Farm Bill | Good for Special Interests, Bad for Consumers and Taxpayers. READ MORE.

December 14, 200. Washington Times. Grasmick wants governor to stay out of education. "Mr. O'Malley has been upset with Mrs. Grasmick since at least 2004, when he was Baltimore mayor and she first wanted to take control of the city's failing school system. Last year, Mrs. Grasmick attempted to take control of four failing high schools and make the city find a third party to run seven poorly performing middle schools, but the Democrat-controlled General Assembly blocked the move." READ MORE.

December 13, 2007 Board Estimate State Revenues for 2008 and 2009. READ ENTIRE ESTIMATE.

December 11, 2007. Examiner: Audit: 52,000 receiving aid in Maryland lack valid SSN's. "About 52,000 people who received public benefits like food stamps and temporary cash assistance in Maryland last year didn’t have valid Social Security numbers, a state audit has found." READ MORE.

December 11, 2007. Examiner: Editorial: Don’t go wobbly on spending, Mr. President. "Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has suggested a temporary way out of the current impasse. The continuing resolution (CR) currently funding the entire federal government expires Dec. 14. DeMint points out that simply extending the CR would save taxpayers $30 billion a year by maintaining current spending levels, compared to the Democrats’ alternative budget." READ MORE.

December 11, 2007. Washington Times: Regulation gives partners benefits. "'We were assured there would be an open process of defining this by regulation,' said Sen. Andrew P. Harris, Baltimore County Republican. 'I guess all we get is a regulation issued without sunshine. ... Is it unusual? Yes. Is it surprising? No.'" READ MORE.

December 11, 2007. Baltimore Sun: Letter aims to hold off Grasmick appointment. "In addition, Maryland regulations say the board should appoint a superintendent by July 1, and some Grasmick supporters have argued that Maryland regulations clearly are intended to take educational policymaking out of the political process by having the superintendent appointed by the state board, rather than the governor." READ MORE.

December 10, 2007. U.S. Senator James Inhoff in Human Events. Climate Bill Will Devastate American Families and Jobs. "Because this bill will strike a devastating blow to American families, American jobs and the American way of life, I vow to lead the charge in the Senate against this bill and work closely with my Senate colleagues to ensure this bill never becomes law." READ MORE.

December 10, 2007. Denver News Story - KMGH Denver. Security Guard: 'God Guided Me And Protected Me' - READ MORE.

December 10, 2007. The Patriot Sharpshooter on Commonsense Blog. Maryland's Prisons - Ever wonder why they ain't where the problem starts?

December 9, 2007. Baltimore Sun: Repeal sought for computer tax. "The result of the rush to enact the tax will be a levy that is impossible to enforce, opponents say. John Nyland, IBM's senior executive in Maryland, said much will depend on whether the tax will apply to Maryland consumers buying services from companies in neighboring states or vice versa. 'If Maryland consumers have to pay the tax to in-state companies but not when they hire out-of-state companies to do that work, it puts the Maryland tech companies at a disadvantage,' Nyland said." READ MORE.

December 7, 2007. ALERT! from NRO - - - "Democrats Suddenly Change Mind, Pass AMT Patch [David Freddoso]"

December 7, 2007. Washington Times: Bush urged to commute ex-agents' sentences. "'It's outrageous,' said Mr. Delahunt, a former prosecutor, 'that these men should be serving more time than killers and rapists. They were law-enforcement officers; of course they carry firearms. To hit them with a gun charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years is harsh and unnecessary.'" READ MORE.
Faithful readers will recall that MTA and other Maryland activists joined a nationwide conservative petition to the president in behalf of the border agents.

December 7, 2007. Washington Times: Anne Arundel goes after illegals. "The county has gone 'above and beyond the normal course of business,' said James Dinkins, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Baltimore field office. 'They're taking it another step, and I have to say it's an outstanding avenue — to look at people who are receiving benefits and contracts and receiving local tax dollars.'" READ MORE.

December 5, 2007. Mortgage Bailout Unjust | OpenMarket.org. "The Washington Times has an editorial today, 'No Bailout,' explaining why the Treasury Secretary’s plan to freeze mortgage interest rates for people who borrowed more than they could afford is unjust. As the Times points out, if people can’t afford their monthly mortgage payment, and want it reduced, then they should be willing to take out a longer term mortgage (say, 40 years) to offset that lower monthly payment, rather than just getting a cut in their interest rate at the expense of investors and taxpayers. READ MORE.

December 5, 2007. Conservatives bemoan mortgage bailout - Victoria McGrane and Patrick O'Connor - Politico.com. “'It’s akin to negotiating with someone who has put a gun on the table in front of you,' Derek Hunter, federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform, said, describing the administration’s effort to oversee a coordinated response from the private lending sector to assist distressed homeowners." READ MORE.

December 5, 2007 AIM Cliff Kincaid Huckabee Supports Special Rights for Terrorists. "Weeks ago Mike Huckabee courageously bucked the "international community" by opposing the U.N.'s Law of the Sea Treaty and calling for the impeachment of federal judges who use foreign law in making decisions. Now he's in favor of closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay because "the rest of the world" is demanding it." READ MORE.

December 5, 2007. Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal: What if everyone believes in global warmism only because everyone believes in global warmism? "How this honor has befallen the former Veep could perhaps be explained by another Nobel, awarded in 2002 to Daniel Kahneman for work he and the late Amos Tversky did on 'availability bias,' roughly the human propensity to judge the validity of a proposition by how easily it comes to mind. Their insight has been fruitful and multiplied: 'Availability cascade' has been coined for the way a proposition can become irresistible simply by the media repeating it; 'informational cascade' for the tendency to replace our beliefs with the crowd's beliefs; and 'reputational cascade' for the rational incentive to do so." READ MORE.

December 5, 2007. Washington Times: Panel to propose strictest caps on carbon emissions. "The commission also will urge more education about the dangers global warming poses to Maryland. 'Students in Maryland schools are learning about the impact of global warming on polar bears, but they're not necessarily learning about the impact on Maryland wildlife,' said Zoe Johnson, a planner with the Department of Natural Resources." READ MORE.
Faithful TBN readers will remember the Washington, D. C. Examiner's warning of less than a month ago about this panel: ". . . O’Malley’s commission outsourced development of the Maryland government’s global warming policy to a group with a financial and ideological stake in the outcome — the environmental firms and consultants behind CCS gaining the inside track for future business in Maryland."

TBN recommends US Senator Jim Inhofe's October 26 speech giving chapter and verse on Global Warming Alarmism. Also see Senator Inhofe's December 3 speech, "Look Closer at Global Warming "Solutions."

December 3, 2007 Editorial: Speak up, business, for all. "According to Rocky Worcester, president of Maryland Business for Responsive Government, 'Maryland business is cowed and averse to the kind of conflict required to challenge the status quo.'” READ MORE.
TBN believes that Mr. Worcester gets it right - - - the situation he deplores is likely the result of many years of one-party domination of Maryland state and mega-county government. "Averse to the kind of conflict required to challenge the status quo" also characterizes, in our view, too many Republican state legislators.

December 3, 2007. David Freddoso in National Review Online: Millions of late tax refunds. "If the Republicans were wise about this, then every single Republican Congressman and candidate would be giving home-district speeches and calling local news stations and newspapers to do interviews on this issue. This is an issue that hits very close to home for a lot of people." READ MORE.

December 3, 2007. Baltimore Sun: "Funds unsure for Md. groups." "A year away from opening a new education complex in Owings Mills, the Irvine Nature Center had been counting on the $335,000 in federal funding that Rep. John Sarbanes worked to secure for it in the 2008 budget. But with President Bush threatening to veto the spending bill that contains that earmark, the federal contribution to the $11.5 million building project is now in limbo." READ MORE.
TBN never fails to be surprised by the alternate fiscal reality in which some writers of the Baltimore Sun live. Much of the electorate is up in arms about out-of-control public spending; the reigning party of Maryland has just succeeded in getting enacted a giant tax hike; and leading members of this political party in Washington, D.C., are crafting "the mother of all tax hikes." Yet this venerable newspaper gives serious space to complaints about the jeopardy in which a highly questionable Congressional earmark finds itself. (Readers are reminded that in 2005, Maryland received $1.30 in Federal spending for every dollar of Federal taxes paid to Washington, D.C. In the same year, California received $.78 for every dollar paid, and New Hampshire $.71.) Of course, questionable state earmarks are a bipartisan problem in Maryland. Click here to read about Annapolis-approved pork and "the steamboat to nowhere."

December 3, 2007. Washington Examiner: "Party’s over in Montgomery." “Cities that adopt below-market housing mandates actually drive housing prices up by 20 percent and end up with 10 percent fewer homes,” the Independent Institute concluded. The mandates act like price controls by restricting supply and thus forcing prices up.
. . . . . . .
These trends are especially troubling as Maryland’s wealthiest and most populous county faces its worst budget deficit ever with a shrinking tax base. Montgomery County voters have long been warned that this could happen, even to them. Now they must choose: Will they continue electing the same tired crowd of tax-and-spenders or will they adopt real — dare we say, conservative — fiscal policies before it is too late? READ MORE.

December 2, 2007. Baltimore Sun: "GOP puts hopes on session fallout " "I just think that anybody who is running against any individuals who voted for the tax increase or in the Senate opposed a filibuster are going to be held accountable," Kittleman said. "Once they are reminded, the voters will hopefully realize those individuals didn't represent them well." READ MORE.
TBN adds that if the anti-tax-hike opposition pushes repealing amendments in the very next session of the General Assembly, voters will find it far easier to remember 'those individuals [who] didn't represent them well.'The General Assembly Republican establishment might also consider proposing and marketing sensible new approaches in education, transportation, and health care. TBN just doesn't believe saying 'no' to tax hikes without proposing alternatives is a winning hand in the long run.

December 1, 2007. Wall Street Journal: "Sovereign Impunity - - - There's a difference between Abu Dhabi now and Japan in the 1980s." "We'd add that it is in their own interest for these funds to become more transparent. The American political system is remarkably open to foreign capital, and it should be. But it is not likely to accept a big buying spree of American assets by foreign governments through entities that operate in the shadows. This goes double for a city-statelet like Abu Dhabi, which has a history of flouting U.S. banking laws in the BCCI scandal. Perhaps the most disturbing part of that scandal was that it had to be uncovered by Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau--because much of official Washington had been either conned or bought off." (Underscoring MTA's) READ MORE.

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