Sunday, May 31, 2020

An Open Letter to White Protestors

I am more likely to believe that the white protestors who are engaging in acts of vandalism over the course of the past several days are, overwhelmingly, right-wing agent provocateurs. True anti-fascist allies would not be using legitimate, peaceful protests against racism and police brutality as a cover in order to act out and damage property. Moreover, no offense to my friends on the left…these white protestors seem to be operating in a very organized manner.  The Left is seldom so well-organized.

That said, if any white socialists, communists, or anarchists are committing such acts, they need to stop…immediately.

Those white folks who are smashing windows, setting fires, and flipping over cop cars are subverting the point of the protests – which are about combatting racism and ending police violence against Black and Brown people.  Full stop.

By acting in such a manner, those white folks are providing fuel for the media outlets (and others) that want to portray these uprisings as something they are not – lawless riots.  The true lawless rioters have been the racist cops who are using these protests to commit acts of violence against those who are exercising their First Amendment rights, specifically freedom of speech and the right of the people to peacefully assemble. What we are seeing now are akin to the police riots of Chicago ’68, but on a national scale.

Furthermore, these white “protestors” need to recognize that the consequences of their actions are far more likely to have a negative impact on Black and Brown people.  Who will the police target for reprisals?  Not Skippy from the ‘burbs who thought it would be “fun” to graffiti a bank or smash out a headlight or two.  And burning businesses, especially small businesses that serve predominately Black and Brown communities, just makes life harder for said communities.

In short, if you are a white protestor who is engaging in such behaviors or even thinking about it, cut that shit out.  You are damaging the cause and, more importantly, hurting those you should be supporting.  Be a good ally, don’t make it about you, and listen to your Black and Brown comrades. 

In solidarity.  

Re-Open Howard County and Their Praise for Racists

The recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, against the backdrop of hundreds of years of oppression and countless lost Black and Brown lives, have led people across the country to rise up in protest against racism and police brutality.

Meanwhile, a cowardly, feckless sociopath skulks around the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania.  Bull Connor with a Twitter account.  His words and deeds have “inspired” some of his followers to encourage and/or engage in violent acts, up to and including murder.  Tragically, some of those toadies are in positions of authority…ranging from local police officers to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Turning locally, much has already been written about Re-Open Howard County and their true motivations.  Yes, they may issue statements that are soaking wet from their crocodile tears, but their mask continues to slip. 

On the evening of May 30, on their official Facebook group page, they touted three “great speakers” who offered their perspectives at the Re-Open Maryland rally in Annapolis held on that same day. One, Michael Peroutka, was described by Re-Open Howard County as a “constitutionalist.”

The question is, whose constitution?  The United States?  The Confederacy?  Another nation?

Peroutka is perhaps better known in Maryland for being a one-term Anne Arundel County Council member, having fluked his way into a GOP nomination in 2014, he lost his re-election bid (in the primary) in 2018.

But before then, he was a member of the League of the South, a “white nationalist, Neo-Confederate, white supremacist” organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated this organization as a hate group.  This should not be surprising given the League's worldview as well as their connection with various neo-Nazi groups.

From Wikipedia:

“On December 6, 2012, the Human Rights Campaign called Peroutka an "active white supremacist and secessionist sympathizer" due to links to the League of the South.[15][16]Peroutka told The Baltimore Sun that he "continues to be a proud member of the League of the South,"… and

In 2012, a video of Peroutka showed asking a group to stand for the national anthem, then leading them in Dixie.”


He claims to have left the League of the South, having once served on their Board of Directors.  But has the organization left him?

If Re-Open Howard County can praise such a figure in public, who else are they adulting in private?

In solidarity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Buying a Board of Education Seat: The Sezin Palmer Edition

Going through the latest campaign finance report, it appears as though Sezin Palmer and her deep-pocketed donors are attempting to purchase a Howard County Board of Education seat (District 4).

Thus far, she has raised $25,930, which is quite a healthy sum for such a local race.  Most disturbingly, more than two out of five of those dollars (43%) have come from just six donors, including one PAC (CAPA-PAC) that has donated $6,000 to her campaign.  Combine their $6,000 with five other donors who have each sent at least $1,000 to the Palmer effort, and that works out to $11,100 out of $25,930 in total receipts, not even including the “other receipts and in-kind contributions.”

Notable contributors include:

One Thomas Harriman who hails from Santa Barbara, California.  He sent her campaign $1,000 on February 17, 2020. 

Timothy Dull, gave her $1,000 on February 12, 2020 (another Dull in the same household contributed $100 on January 8, but that is not included in $11,100 figure).  Tim Dull also contributed to current GOP congressional candidate Liz Matory as well as the Republican presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2011 and John McCain in 2007.

[Other “notables” whose contributions are not included in the aforementioned $11,100 are current County Council person from District 5, Republican David Yungmann.  Mr. Yungmann also helped the Board of Education campaigns of Christina Delmont Small and Vicky Cutroneo (both current BoE members).  He was their campaign Treasurer in 2016.  The Palmer campaign also accepted money from Larry Pretlow, current Board of Education candidate in District 2).]

Beyond the conservative ideology held by some/most of these donors, anyone concerned about the aggregation of political and economic power at the national, state, and local levels should be alarmed at the sizable contributions that have managed to find their way into the Palmer campaign coffers...and what they might expect for their "generous" support.

Let Sezin Palmer and her well-heeled donors know: our public schools are not up for sale.

** Correction: the first iterations of this post incorrectly identified Dr. Wu as being on the board of directors of the CAPA PAC (which is also based in Howard County).  He is, in fact, on the Board of Directors of CAPA - Howard County, which is a different organization.  For that error, I apologize to Dr. Wu.

In solidarity.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

On Re-Opening HoCo and the Proposed Budget Cuts

Played by the irreplaceable John Spencer, The West Wing’s Leo McGarry (quoting Khalil Gibran) once said “Never argue with a drunk or a fool.”

I have been violating that tenet with great regularity recently.

While I cannot speak to their state of inebriation, the fools have been coming in many forms:

Bipartisanship-fetishists, Republican death-cultists, Democrats who appear to have either taken leave of their senses or who should know better, people who argue in bad faith and/or just badly.

So many of the arguments can be distilled to choices. 

The Reopen Howard County folks, exercising a newfound embrace of the concept of “choice,” (albeit a twisted version of it), believe in flinging the doors wide open when we are still not out of the COVID-19 woods.  “Well-considered public health guidance be damned!” appears to be their mantra.  They even have a rally planned, regardless of whether or not Ellicott City business owners or residents want such protestors tramping about their streets and sidewalks.  Will people get sick as a result of such a gathering?  Unfortunately, it is quite likely.  Further, they try to cloak their behaviors as being expressions of “patriotism.” This is codswallop of the highest order.  Even General Washington’s army took preventative measures to protect against the spread of smallpox during the Revolutionary War.  So, employing their logic, George Washington was being un-American?   

Turning to Howard County’s FY21 Budget, this is more of a nuanced choice compared to the first example, but nonetheless, there are clear right and wrong approaches…especially if you call yourself a progressive.

Now, perhaps Councilpersons Deb Jung and Liz Walsh have embraced monetarist economic theory over the past few days, I don’t know.  But assuming they have not, making budget cuts in the midst of a recession or depression is incredibly ill-advised. 

Should developers pay more? Absolutely.  And the proposed recordation fee increase is progressive and will largely be paid by developers.  As Councilperson Rigby noted, “76% of the revenue comes from a 2% tax on real estate transactions over $1,000,000.”   This is simple math, not rocket science. Democrats should love a user-fee that largely impacts those with deep pockets. Especially considering the alternative…

Instead, channeling some version of budget hawkishness (how did that work out for Paul Tsongas in ’92 by the way?), Councilpersons Jung, and Walsh…along with their partner in this endeavor, conservative operative and Republican Councilperson David Yungmann, want to cut vital services.  The cuts would have a negative impact public health, public safety, infrastructure, and transportation (among other areas).  They would defund the New Cultural Center (along with the affordable housing that comes with it).  And, also distressingly, it looks like it will cost jobs.  Again, this is being proposed in the midst of a pandemic.

I strongly encourage Councilpersons Jung and Walsh to reflect on this issue.  Think carefully about its impact.  Do the correct thing.

In solidarity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

It's All in the Details

Let’s face it, two individuals running in District Four are, essentially, single-issue candidates:  Matt Levine and Sezin Palmer.

I have seen this before.  These candidates are so focused on one part of the job, they neglect doing their work on other important issues and they make mistakes. 

Take Ms. Palmer for a moment.  The *one* time she provided testimony on an issue aside from redistricting, she got the facts wrong.  In her testimony regarding the Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2021 Budget (remarks delivered in January 2020, after she got into the race for Board of Education) she claimed there was a “near doubling of the Student Access and Achievement budget.”

In the same remarks, Ms. Palmer questioned the evidence behind equity-related initiatives (which should provide a clear indication of where she stands on equity in education).  And, going back to the “doubling” point, her statement was simply incorrect.  The Student Access and Achievement program was combined with another initiative, which explains the budget increase.  After the fact, she acknowledged that “the increase is not nearly as big as it appears.”  Her full quote is below.

She tried to pass the buck by saying the information was “buried” in a large document.  Really?  If you want to serve on the Board of Education, you have to do your homework.   Howard County’s students deserve the best, not the functional equivalent of “I didn’t have time to do the reading” excuses.

In solidarity.

“Apparently buried in the 600-page document that accompanies the plethora of spreadsheets, there is information that indicates the Student Access and Achievement program is actually being combined with another program, hence the increase is not nearly as big as it appears. Thanks to a helpful BOE member for pointing this out... really shouldn't be this complicated though!” – Sezin Palmer

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Protest Vote

I am going to level with you, Dear Reader.  I have not yet voted for once and current U.S. Representative Kweisi Mfume (MD-7).  I was a Michigan resident during his first terms in Congress, listening to contemporary artists such as Terence Trent D’Arby, Johnny Hates Jazz, and Pebbles.

Fast forward to 2020, I voted for Jill Carter in both the special and June primaries.  In the special general election, I wrote in a name.  I just couldn’t bring myself to cast a ballot for Mr. Mfume for several reasons (too much “Yesterday,” being insufficiently progressive on health care and other issues, and…).

While the Fightin’ 7th is a Safe Democratic seat, and I certainly am not voting for the Republican nominee, be it Kimberly Klacik or whoever else the GOP electorate decides to put up as their standard-bearer, I am not yet on Team Mfume.

If you feel similarly, the June ballot is a perfect time to express your discomfort with the direction of the Democratic Party.  Will Mfume do a capable job as a legislator, filling out the remainder of Congressman Elijah Cummings’ term?  Most likely.  Does he deserve a full term of his own?  That is up for you to decide.

Mfume garnered 43% of the vote in the special primary election, held before COVID-19 dominated the U.S. headlines and our lives. Quick math, that means 57% of the Democratic primary vote went for other candidates.

I strongly encourage you to vote for another, more future-oriented choice.  For me, it was and is Jill Carter.  I can also understand a vote for Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings although, in order to defeat Mfume in a primary, the opposition should be united behind one candidate.

Mfume may win again in June, but a healthy protest vote may encourage him to re-think his policy stances on certain issues…and realize that the Democratic Party of 2020 is far different than the Democratic Party of the early ‘90s.  Looking at his campaign literature, featuring a photograph of a younger Mfume standing next to a younger Bill Clinton, I don’t know if he recognizes that yet.

In solidarity.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mostly Levine with a Little Palmer

In a typical election cycle, I would not spend much time writing about Matt Levine, candidate for Howard County Board of Education and local shouter-at-clouds.  But in this world where a morally bankrupt megalomaniac reality tv performer can become President of the United States, it is best to bring relevant information to light.

The Howard County Progress Report already did an excellent job of discussing his proclivity for tossing rhetorical firebombs.  Even some Republicans and right-of-center Independents I know roll their eyes at the mention of his name.  The common theme expressed is, “if elected, precisely what problem would he not make 100% worse?”

If you are concerned about having greater collegiality on the Board, Mr. Levine’s penchant for hurling insults makes him more of a bridge-burner than builder.

If you are seeking a candidate who possesses a great deal of education subject matter expertise, you would be hard-pressed to find that quality within Mr. Levine.  I went to the Howard County Neighbors United YouTube page, where they posted clips from an HCPSS Board of Education forum that occurred on February 24, 2020.  I was actually doing some fact-finding on another candidate when I decided to watch the Matt Levine clips, which featured his responses to several pressing, and usually complex, questions facing our schools.  His answers were shockingly vague and platitude filled. I strongly encourage you to visit this page to see for yourself:    

His views on inclusion and equity reveal a hard-edged, dogmatic conservativism that do not prefigure an ability to work well with others, on the Board, in the school system, or in the community.

And yes, his campaign does have a tendency to place yard signs illegally.  I think we can agree that being a scofflaw is a bad thing.

I am hard-pressed to come up with any positive attributes about Mr. Levine.  I think back to some of my past campaigns, going all the way back to the “Before Time” when I was a GOP pollster. Newt Gingrich was a terrible human being but at least he was capable of discussing weighty policy matters.  Dan Quayle was wrong on a host of issues but at least he was amiable.  Matt Levine…?

Shifting focus for a moment, I have one update on Sezin Palmer. I don’t know if this was discussed elsewhere but I believe this screen capture expresses a certain cut-and-run mentality, a lack of depth of commitment to Howard County Public Schools that some may find troubling:

That is all for today.

In solidarity.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Switchin’ Sezin?

As long-time readers of this blog are likely to know, I co-host the Forward Maryland podcast with the redoubtable Bill Woodcock.

Back on February 29 of this year, we interviewed Board of Education candidate (District 4), Sezin Palmer.  That conversation can be found here:

It is important to note that we interview people who we believe have an interesting story to tell.  They don’t necessarily have to be in alignment with Bill’s views or mine.  Of course, this is not the only test to determine who receives an invitation.  Matt Levine, for example, is not welcome on the show.

Back to Ms. Palmer.  In February, her positioning seemed to be different than it is today.  I knew she stood with the anti-redistricting folks. Perhaps it was her more polished communications style compared to the aforementioned Mr. Levine, or Larry Pretlow in District 2, that led me to believe that she deserved an opportunity to come on the podcast.  Speaking for myself and myself alone, seeing where she has gone with her campaign and knowing what I know now, I would not have extended her an invitation.  There are several reasons why, in no particular order:

I believe there is a false assumption that she is some kind of apolitical, technocratic moderate.  The reality is that she actually holds rather extreme viewpoints.  She received a failing grade from the Community Allies of Rainbow Youth (CARY)…even Mr. Levine received a D.  She is a self-described “libertarian.”  The national Libertarian Party has espoused. the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education.  Moreover, if she is truly neither/nor on “Democratic or Republican” question, why is the Howard County Republican Club listing her as one of the candidates who “shares their conservative values?”  

How can she square being a self-proclaimed “fiscal conservative” with a commitment to being a committed advocate for education funding?  How would those values-in-action impact our teachers and students?  What programs or jobs are at risk? Remember: there is no “waste, fraud, and abuse” line item to cut.

She was, and is, critical of the most recent redistricting.  Her go-to solution, along the lines of “let’s study the problem more,” would have locked in overcrowding in many Howard County schools.  How would that have furthered the cause of educational excellence?

Her response to the Alfeo situation, as I noted on my Facebook page, was “weak sauce.”  How can she be an advocate for ALL of our students if her embrace of inclusion seems something less than complete?

Ms. Palmer also wrote that she and Matt “guns in schools” Levine agree on many issues.  Need I say more?  

The bottom line is either that Ms. Palmer has evolved (or devolved) on certain issues or she has revealed herself for the candidate she actually is.  Either way, she seems a very poor fit for the Board of Education in general and District 4 in particular.

In solidarity.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

On Marx and HoCo Neighbors United

While Karl is, statistically speaking, much funnier, for this post I am referring to Groucho.

In his letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club, he famously wrote: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

While I did not leave the Howard County Neighbors United Facebook group voluntarily (due to the swift and arbitrary work of their “admins”) I very much find myself in agreement with Groucho’s sentiment.  I suppose they imagine they exacted their gram of flesh following the Alfeo controversy.  Pity they failed in that regard, with not even a flesh wound to be found on the present author.

I thought they might perhaps appreciate the injection of some opposing views.  Apparently, their tree house of yes men and women is too small to accommodate differing perspectives.

That is fine by me, I am certain this group will fracture over one issue or another in the weeks and months ahead.   As Yeats wrote:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;”

And there is decidedly no centre in that group.

Shifting our focus to the left, I came across a recent article in The Atlantic about the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA for short) and their increasing membership; a link to which can be found here:

The DSA’s group membership now stands at “roughly 66,000.”  To put this number in context, the membership figure was just shy of 57,000 as recently as mid-November 2019.  In 2016, the numbers grew from 8,000 to 25,000. 

Several events are oft-cited for the DSA’s growth: the Sanders campaigns of 2016 and 2020, the walk of the fascists (also known as the “Unite the Right” rally) in Charlottesville, Virginia where a DSA member, Heather Heyer, was killed by a neo-Nazi, the campaign and election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress foremost among them.

Of course, I believe one has to look to the Great Recession, and the rising disaffection with neoliberalism, as providing the environment by which others would seek out alternative solutions to the political and economic challenges of our time.

I will wrap it up here.  But I strongly encourage my friends interested in socialism, or social democracy, or left ideas in general, to check out the DSA’s website:

With that, I will leave you with the first verse and chorus of the lyrics to The Internationale, as re-composed by the musical artist and activist Billy Bragg (inspired in part by a conversation he had with folk singer Pete Seeger).  Bragg’s performance of this song can be found here:

[Verse One]

Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might!
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing if you have no rights!
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all.


So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades, come rally
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal
Unites the human race

In solidarity.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dangerous Mindsets

Far too many people today – nationally and locally – believe that discussing race is itself inherently racist.  This idea is preposterous. This line of “thought” represents the failure to recognize the lived experiences of Black and Brown Americans – not to mention the impact of racism that manifests itself economically, politically, socially, culturally,  and psychologically…over the course of hundreds of years.

Of course, that is considering racism from a macro-perspective.  Turning to specific cases, it doesn’t take much energy to locate recent tragedies…some covered extensively in the media, others less so. 

If you don’t think Ahmaud Arbery would be alive today if he were jogging while white, you are fooling yourself.  If you don’t think that Breonna Taylor would be alive today if she was sleeping while white, you are deceiving yourself.  If you don’t think that Nina Pop would be alive today if she was simply living while white, you are deluding yourself.  And those are three lives, three stories, three of millions.

The problem isn’t just overt racists.  It’s never been just about the KKK, or other white nationalists, or fascists, or their fellow travelers.  They have clearly infected our nation for years.  The problem goes much farther and deeper…the mindset of “color-blindness,”  the lack of willingness to call out racism out of some twisted notion of “politeness,” or the selfish re-centering of discussions on race and its impact on society such as: “Well, my great-great-great grandparents were discriminated against because they were Irish.” Or “Our family never owned slaves.” Or some version of “Some of my best friends are Black,” (generally uttered immediately after a person is called out for saying something racist).

What does this have to do with Howard County, the geography of most interest to my readers?  Well, everything.  Howard County does not reside in some magical anti-racism bubble, it never has.  It’s the delusion that racism is waning in our society that is truly dangerous.  There must be no complacency in the struggle against it, whether it emanates from the White House or from one’s neighbor in Columbia.  It is pervasive and is interwoven in many current local debates, notably school redistricting and curriculum discussions.  If you can’t recognize that then perhaps you need to engage in some self-reflection.  And for my self-described liberal readers, remember that color-blindness is simply blindness.

In solidarity.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A is for Ally

Recently, the Community Allies of Rainbow Youth (CARY) posted their Howard County Board of Education Survey and Ratings.  That information can be found here:

In light of recent campaign developments, it is worth re-posting the grades here.  In this case, sorted by grade.  I believe this makes it easier to see the sharp divide that exists between the BoE candidates.  Also, let’s look for patterns.  If the candidate condemned the social media posts made by a certain BoE candidate in District Three, there will be an asterisk by their name.  Candidates who have been essentially endorsed by the Howard County Republican Club (Their own words: “We recommend you look at the following candidates that share our conservative values…”) will have an “R” by their name.

The Top of the Class:
Matthew Molyett – A (District 1)*
Antonia Barkley Watts – A (District 2)*
James Cecil – A (District 2)*
Jolene Mosley – A (District 3)*
Jen Mallo – A (District 4)*
Kirsten Coombs – A (District 4)*

Those With Average or Above Average Grades:
Cindy Vaillancourt – B (District 5)*
Tom Heffner – C (District 3)*

Those With Poor but Passing Grades:
Matt Levine – D (District 4) – R

Those Who Failed:
Christina Delmont-Small – F (District 1) – R
Larry Pretlow – F (District 2) – R
Gian Alfeo – F (District 3) – R
Sezin Palmer – F (District 4) – R*
Daniel Margolis – A No-Response F (District 4)
Yun Lu – A No-Response F (District 5) – R
Saif Rehman – A No-Response F (District 5) – R
Gene Ryan – A No-Response F (District 5) – R

There appears to be a correlation between values and ideological perspectives (and their very close cousin: partisan affiliations) and HCPSS operational and communications issues.  Who knew?  Wait, many people know this.  How do we know this? Because we understand the linkage between world-views (awareness, attitudes, preferences) and public policymaking (behaviors).

My point being: if the issues discussed in CARY’s questionnaires are important to you, and you find yourself in alignment with them, then take a good look at those who earned A’s and those who received D’s and F’s. And sear that information onto your brain (figuratively of course).  Keep it in mind as you fill out your ballot.

In solidarity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Masks in Howard County

Who knew masks would be so popular in 2020, aside from the Watchmen?

Masks, of course, come in many forms.  There are the literal ones, such as the black balaclava that I don before leaving the house.  Worn in conjunction with black fleece, sweatpants, and tennis shoes, let’s just say that I receive a great deal of attention when I walk into banks.

Then there are the figurative masks.  I have noticed in recent years, with the rise of ethno-nationalism in the US and overseas, that many of these masks have been slipping.

Turning closer to home, in our very own slice of heaven we know as “Howard County,”  many masks have been ripped off…sometimes by their owner.

We have seen Gian Alfeo, current (but not for long) candidate for the Howard County Board of Education in District Three, seen his mask removed…as has been revealed by the intrepid reporting of the Howard County Progress Report.

Further, we seen which of the other 2020 candidates for the Board of Education possess the courage to rebuke Mr. Alfeo’s sentiments, and who (at least as of this writing) lack that attribute.  The question must be asked, for those who have chosen to remain silent…why?

Why not stand with CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Howard County Muslim Council, in full-throated condemnation of Mr. Alfeo’s social media posts?  One would think that all BoE candidates would find a way to express their public outrage against the Islamophobic (and racist and misogynistic and transphobic) views expressed by Mr. Alfeo via those posts. 

Perhaps I have not yet seen those posts from Christina Delmont-Small, or Larry Pretlow, or Matt Levine, or all but one of the candidates running in District Five.*  If and when such posts are made, please let me know so I can update this post appropriately.

In the meantime, I can only assume a few more masks have slipped, exposing some genuine moral repulsiveness in our community.

*Update:  it has been brought to my attention that Cindy Vaillancourt has also posted on this topic on social media (HoCo education-centric groups, HoCo School Interest and HoCo Neighbors United).  Also, Tom Heffner reported that he posted to his BoE campaign page regarding this issue.

** Second Update:  Sezin Palmer posted a condemnation on her campaign page.

In solidarity.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Contemplations on the Board of Education Races

“Fool if you think it’s over/
It’s just begun.” – Chris Rea

Almost two fortnights since my last post. And what new madness is visited upon us?

Perhaps I shall become an apiarist.  The world could use a new breed of bee specifically designed to handle murder hornets.  Two words: Ninja Bumblebees.  The body type of Jack Black combined with the silent lethality of Carlos the Jackal.  It’s a million-dollar idea.  Kindly contact me at my Hotmail address to learn more about investment opportunities.

The commentariat has been a reliable disappointment throughout multiple tragedies.  Candace Owens has apparently decided that acting out some form of public raceplay would be good for her “career.”  Trump manages to find new levels of unhinged and many Democrats are apparently trying to run out the clock when its only in early in the third quarter.  So many amateurs. 

I have been asked for my thoughts on the Board of Education races.  And how can I deny such requests?  Especially when the louder voices are to be found in groups like HoCo Neighbors United (what a sense of humour Mr. Keller possesses).  Then of course you have entities such as Ethical People for the Ethical Treatment of Ethical Ethics and their Integrity Ballot.  I am fairly certain their candidate questionnaires contains the query, “Do we hang out socially? Yes/No/Maybe”. But I jest.  Actually not really, but it takes off the edge.    

Yet, there are newcomers on the scene…and, as a Vicar of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude (Reformed), I thank God for those who are engaging in the heavy lifting for the cause.  Here I am thinking about Howard County Progress Report.  The author of that blog is crafting some scintillating, and sometimes devastating, exposes.  To her I say, “I like your style.”

Where was I?  Yes, thoughts on the BoE.  As I wrote about in a pre-COVID post, I am no longer in the endorsement game.  At least not formally. I think the trope worked for an election cycle, perhaps two, but it seems oddly stuffy and old-hat.  Being a relic, one would think that would be an excellent fit for me, but I don’t know if it’s good for the Movement. 


I will tell you who I am (or would be) voting for in each of the five districts.  If you want to consider that an endorsement and run with it, then by all means take those balls and apply them directly and firmly to the wall.  By the way, it’s an aviation phrase you dirty-minded person.  You think a man of the cloth would curse?!  Perish the thought.  Say and pass five Hail Marys.

District One:  Matthew Molyett.  With only two candidates running, he is guaranteed a spot on the General Election ballot.  He is up against the well-funded Christina Delmont-Small.  The incumbent deserves to lose and lose badly in what has been, in recent history, a swing district.  If her political views and rancid affiliations were better known, she would already be an underdog to Mr. Molyett.  He deserves our support.

District Two: Antonia Barkley Watts.  I didn’t know her that well until the past few months.  With her impressive education credentials, I think she would be an exceptional member of the Board.  Also, I don’t like punching down but sometimes you need to stop someone’s career before it gets started.  That is why “La Pret” a semi-perennial candidate and constant gadfly must be defeated, preferably in the primary and by a wide margin.

District  Three: I am going with Jolene Mosley.  Tom Heffner, who was also on the show I co-host from time to time, Forward Maryland, seems like a decent chap with some interesting ideas on resilience.  I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Mosley at a candidate forum that was co-hosted by the aforementioned podcast…and I walked away with a very favorable impression. 

District Four:  Jen Mallo.  I think the HoCo cognoscenti, which would be YOU, Dear Reader, know that I support Ms. Mallo.  Beyond the attribute of toughness and her sharp mind, I think she is the candidate best positioned to keep the Fightin’ Fourth out of Matt Levine’s guns-in-schools lovin’ mitts.  Should it come to it, head-to-head, I believe Mallo defeats Ms. Palmer too.     

District Five:  No comment.  Do I have a favorite? Yes.  Would it help them if I stated my preference?  My West HoCo associate, Clive Hammerjets, chortled a hearty “Noooooo.”  So I will say nothing more at present.

So there you have it. 

In solidarity.