Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 General Election Candidate Endorsements - Extended Remix Version


It was once proclaimed, at the regionally celebrated Themeland Amusement Park in Stockton, California, that the sparse assembly would be “witnesses at the new birth of Spinal Tap, Mark 2.”

This post shall not mark an occasion nearly as epoch-defining as the one heralded by David St. Hubbins on that fateful day when his storied band was billed below a puppet show.

That said, this blog will be headed in different direction following the General Election.  Since 2014 and over the course of 300 posts (and counting), I have used this platform to deliver a series of essays featuring my perspectives on ideas, events, and people.  I suspect that will continue, albeit with a greater emphasis on global issues, the culture that informs and shapes our politics, and political philosophy.

I recognize the readership numbers might dwindle, but ultimately, I have to write for both myself and a larger cause.  If I am writing quickly, to catch something that is hot yet ephemeral, much like a match struck in a rainstorm, I am likely performing a disservice to you and myself by not confronting larger issues.   

I genuinely believed we, as a nation, would spend more time post-9/11 discussing Serious Existential Topics pertaining to who America is and where we are headed.  I had this foremost in mind one day in late 2003 or early 2004 when MSNBC called me to ask if I would come up from DC to their NJ studios, on my dime, so I could spend three or four minutes on air talking about the sartorial choices of the Democratic presidential candidates.  Not being Mr. Blackwell, I felt a little insulted, so I declined.  Then I passed on another two or three opportunities.  And they stopped calling.

Perhaps I made a mistake, career-wise.  I did violate one of Gore Vidal’s rules: “Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television.”  I do not know Mr. Vidal’s thoughts on combining those activities. That said, this was in the pre-Morning Joe days and while I had a few engaging appearances in the late Clinton and early Bush 43 years (usually at or around 5:30 am-ish, hardly prime time), I knew I could be…moody…and turn in performances that could be described, charitably, as “workmanlike.”

Writing is more forgiving as I can edit, and smooth out the rough edges, out of sight of the audience.  This smoothing includes the words I put on the paper as well as the utterances I might be making as I pen them.  You don’t have that option on live television.  Of course, I have published far too many first drafts…and that increases the risk of making careless mistakes.  And doing so, dear reader, helps open the door for the Chorus of Dysthymia and Anxiety to remind me of past failings.  And this Chorus, like Javert, can be relentless.

So, I am hoping that my readers will notice an uptick in quality, and that you will be entertained and/or educated (or perhaps enraged, who knows?) by my future posts.  But first, in keeping with this blog’s tradition of providing endorsements, an homage to so-called legacy media, here are the Spartan Considerations 2018 General Election Candidate Endorsements.

Rather than go through each race one-by-one and point out the merits of each endorsed candidate (most possess several commendable qualities), I opted to go for an overarching theme.

This blog, particularly over the past 20+ months, has covered a number of issues that touch upon social justice themes.  Each of the endorsed candidates, as demonstrated through their actions and/or declared by their platforms, show a commitment to devising/implementing public policy solutions that advance the cause of social justice.  In their own way and within their own spheres, these candidates would work to bring about a fairer, more equitable society where the effective liberty of the many are maximized to the greatest extent possible, and where promoting the common good is valued more than furthering the narrow special interests of the powerful few.  

While some embrace this progressive ethos more readily than others, or have fewer opportunities to express it given the function of the office they hold or seek, the following candidates receive the Spartan Considerations Seal of Approval:

Governor/Lt. Governor:        Ben Jealous and Susan Turnbull
Attorney General:                  Brian Frosh
U.S. Senator:                           Ben Cardin
U.S. Representative   
(7th District):                           Elijah Cummings
State Senate:
(District 9):                              Katie Fry Hester
State Senate
(District 12):                           Clarence Lam
State Senate
(District 13):                            Guy Guzzone
House of Delegates
(District 9A):                           Steven Bolen
                                                Natalie Ziegler
House of Delegates
(District 9B):                           Courtney Watson
House of Delegates
(District 12):                           Eric Ebersole
                                                Jessica Feldmark
                                                Terri Hill
House of Delegates
(District 13):                           Vanessa Atterbeary
                                                Shane Pendergrass
                                                Jen Terrasa
County Executive:                Calvin Ball
County Council
(District 1):                              Liz Walsh
County Council
(District 2):                              Opel Jones
County Council
(District 3):                              Christiana Rigby
County Council                                   
(District 4):                             Deb Jung
County Council
(District 5):                              China Williams
State’s Attorney:                    Rich Gibson
Clerk of the Circuit Court:   Wayne Robey
Register of Wills:                    Byron Macfarlane
Judge of the Orphans’ Court: Leslie Smith Turner    
Sheriff:                                    Marcus Harris
Board of Education:              Sabina Taj
                                                Jen Mallo
                                                Robert Wayne Miller

[Bold = I am able to vote for this individual.]

If your name is not on this list and you are a Democrat on the ballot in Howard County this November, it most likely means that my public support for your campaign would not help you (not that the Spartan Tendency is an unstoppable Political Machine…except in Faulkner Ridge, of course). Or that you don’t need my backing.  Or, I still don’t know enough about you to be comfortable endorsing you.  Or you are Peter Franchot.

Yes, this was a long post.  Thank you for reading it all the way through.  I will have a separate post on the proposed Constitutional Amendments and Charter Amendment soon.  And yes, I will most likely have at least one more post where I go into a little more detail regarding the Board of Education race.

In solidarity.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Reply to David Yungmann


I wanted to respond to some of the recent comments made by Mr. Yungmann, as re-posted on Scott E’s Blog.  That story can be found here: https://scotteblog.com/2018/10/12/david-yungmann-responds-to-posts-about-mailer/

The short version of my reply (for the time-pressed):

“Too much, too little, too late, too triangulating.”

For those with more time, I will delve somewhat deeper.


1) Apparently, Mr. Yungmann believes I am recovering from the head injury that I assuredly must have suffered when I, first arriving in town last week, fell off the turnip truck. 

First, despite being, in his own words, a “45-year resident of Howard County District 5,” those were the five accomplishments he chose to highlight?  Surely there were others? Right? Perhaps not.

By including the mosque issue on his campaign literature, he is signaling to the GOP base…many of whom are more concerned about the word “mosque” than the word “huge” in that sentence.  His campaign certainly knows this.  He can claim it was about zoning, and perhaps, just perhaps, that is actually why he personally opposed it.  Who knows? My point, which he chose not to address, is that he included this specific message in his lit – phrased in precisely that manner – intentionally.        

2) For those who received support from David Yungmann in recent campaigns, I would still like to hear their thoughts on the mosque issue as well as whether or not they agree with Mr. Yungmann on other issues, such as education & school safety.  His views on several topics can be found here:



Stay tuned, as more will follow.