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March 11, 2007

Carnival of Maryland - second edition

Welcome to the second edition of the Carnival of Maryland, which is scheduled to run every other week. If you missed the stunning debut of the Carnival two weeks ago, please check it out at Crablaw.

The Carnival was the brainchild of members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance (see sidebar). You don't have to be a member to contribute to our Carnival, but we strongly urge you to join if you're a blogger in Maryland. There's really no downside to it. We're an eclectic bunch. We have no political litmus tests for membership, and an increasing number of our members don't focus on politics at all.

Before I begin, I have one public service announcement for Maryland bloggers. Aaron Brazell, whose The Not So Free State has been quiet lately, has an invitation up at his other site for a Maryland Blogger Meetup in White Marsh on March 31. Check it out.

Given the eclectic nature of the Alliance, the submissions here have been rather eclectic, and I'm not going try to organize the round pegs in square holes. We're here. We're eclectic. Get used to it!

I'll start with submissions from our three newest members, two of whom, I'm pleased to report, have offered us photography.

Snail's Tales, based in Germantown, has a photo of what might be a beaver footprint in Little Seneca Lake, not far north of where I live.

The post also features a photo of a beaver dam, which seems to back up the idea that the footprint is a beaver.

The Greenbelt, from Laurel, provides several photos in a post called "Geese in Winter." One of them is this:

Our third new member, Maryland Politics Today, which (you will not be surprised to learn) is chock full of good stuff about Maryland politics, writes about the $1.5 billion structural budget facing Governor O'Malley in 2008 and argues, in "No Sense in Waiting," that "waiting a year will not do justice for anyone."

Our political leaders will need to learn that they have to make tough decisions. They cannot just put it off because they do not want to deal with the issue or send it to referendum. They also cannot cherry pick what decisions they need to make that benefits them. They will have to decide on slots, they will have to decide on budget cuts or giving up lofty promises made last year and yes, they will have to look at raising taxes and cutting budgets.
Over at Oriole Post, we read about Kris Benson and Curt Schilling. Regarding Kris Benson (formerly with my team, the Mets), Oriole Post hears that he's "trying to rehab in camp, and experienced more pain after he took a day off," and reports that there's a big question whether he'll be back this season. Extra: Don't miss the photo of Kris and his exhibitionist wife Anna. I can tell you the New York papers are convinced that Anna's antics in New York led to the trade of her husband from the Mets. Another extra: Oriole Post says that Curt Schilling has a blog: "I especially love that he keeps most comments up, good or bad, although he does not allow cursing…" (Also worth reading at Oriole Post: "A Few Words ... A Q&A with Orioles Legend and Hall of Famer, Brooks Robinson...")

The Hedgehog Report writes about the new dishwashing detergent bill: "Just when you thought the environmental extremism couldn’t get any wackier, Maryland Democrats are looking to make washing dishes much more difficult." The bill would all but eliminate the phosphorus in dishwashing detergent that supposedly depletes oxygen in the Bay, limiting content to 1/2 percent, down from 7 percent, as now permitted. The detergent industry says that low-phosphorus detergents don't get dishes as clean. THR wonders: "We already have the evil Big Tobacco and Big Oil. How long before we have Big Soap?"

At the Howard County MD Blog, co-blogger Cindy Vaillancourt has a post called Litigation Based Decisions - Myth?, which kicks off from a talk by author Richard Louv about what "Nature Deficit Disorder." Cindy argues that people mistakenly cite litigation risks to avoid taking actions that are otherwise desirable -- for example, building playgrounds that would encourage children and their parents to interact more closely with nature. Louv's view is that "choosing not to do certain things using fears of exposure to litigation is often a baseless excuse." Cindy concludes that Louv is right: "Heaven forbid we take a good look at the proposal, weigh the pros and cons, calculate the costs and the risks and make every effort to be reasonably cautious while living a full life."

Jeremy Bruno, at The Voltage Gate, attended a forum on religion at Frostburg State University. He found the experience rather unsatisfying, and he had a different reaction to concerns expressed there about the breakdown of religious community: "Regional tribalism is deteriorating, being replaced with the far reaching unity of online communities (with some exceptions of course). Generally, I think people are realizing their part in a global community."

At Politics, Hon, Wade offers a balanced, two-part view of the controversy created several weeks ago by the removal of a show hosted by Tyrone Powers from the lineup at Morgan State University's radio station. Powers's supporters think Governor O'Malley was involved, and the governor's response seems somewhat less than candid. But Wade notes that it could be harmful if the accusations are false.

Matt Johnston, who's not yet a member of the MBA, writes about "helicopter parents," a term referring to the hovering that many parents engage in these days, which is made worse by technology. One of the culprits, according to Matt, is Edline, a system that allows parents of kids in the Montgomery County schools to see all their kids' grades online, even for homework assignments.

At blogger1947, Stan ponders Maryland and wonders why he stays. Back from a long trip across the South, he re-discovers that things in Maryland are, uh, different: "undirected public anger, crime, political corruption/ineptitude, and gridlocked traffic." It's a good read, and Stan seems irritated rather than angry.

Kevin Dayhoff has a lengthy discussion of a controversy in Carroll County about the Whittaker Chambers farm, where the famous "pumpkin papers" were buried. A news story began circulating that the county was planning to seize the farm as part of a reservoir project. Kevin shows that this is mistaken; the county has no plans to seize the farm.

Ray Lewis of the Ravens is going to be building a large project in downtown Baltimore. Lewis is not a blogger, as far as I know, but Bruce Godfrey is, and at Crablaw, Bruce analyzes the project -- in particular, the public-transportation issue it raises. I get the idea that Bruce is skeptical of the City's ability to deal with that issue: "my eternal hope that Baltimore will find the right crowbar to extract its head from the terminus of its alimentary canal on transit issues rivals the impossible dreams of Don Quixote."

In "Firing back at a white flag," at monoblogue, Michael publicly criticizes fellow Republican, Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, for voting in favor of the Democrats' anti-war resolution in the House. Michael reprints the letter he received from Gilchrest on the subject and offers a multi-point rebuttal. Gilchrest seems fixated on Vietnam, and Michael observes: "We fought and retreated from the Vietnam War in this manner."

Soccer Dad -- who, by the way, has a spanking new blog template -- posts "DiBiagio's baggage," which looks at the resignation of United States Attorney Thomas DiBiagio in 2005, an event that's become relevant again in light of the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys recently by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. DiBiagio now claims he was forced out to protect former governor Bob Ehrlich. Soccer Dad argues that this claim doesn't make sense.

Last, and possibly least, I've put up at Pillage Idiot another in my series about the new sex ed curriculum in Montgomery County's public schools: "Sex ed curriculum moves forward." Much of the series has made fun of the video showing how to put a condom on a cucumber (a video that's now been replaced), but my current post questions why the new segment on homosexuality -- which could be useful if based on factual information -- seems to omit any mention of HIV transmission.

Final note: The third edition of the Carnival of Maryland is scheduled for Sunday, March 25, at a host to be named later. Once we have a host, the information will be available at the submission form at Blog Carnival. Thanks for reading.