Monday, January 23, 2012

JuiceBlender: Updates on Ocean City Mayor, Andy Harris' Drunk Intern, Sam Arora on Marriage, Redistricting & MORE!

SPECIAL EDITION: "Don't Shoot the Messenger"

Maryland Juice was distracted with work last week and missed a few screwy political headlines. Let me try and catch you up with a quick whiz-bang through recent "news of the angry." See miscellaneous juice below. Note: these aren't my words, just my curation. Where appropriate, I'll note the writer/speaker's name in bold:

JUICE #1: UPDATE on Ocean City Disgrace: Last Friday, Maryland Juice wrote about how Ocean City's Mayor was embarrassing the Free State by inviting an extremist, Jerry Boykin, to be his honored guest. The story is now snowballing as The Washington Post provides more background on Mr. Boykin (who refused to respond to their reporter about this issue):
Washington Post: A Pentagon investigation in 2004 concluded that Boykin had violated “internal regulations” by giving speeches marked by fiery religious rhetoric while in his U.S. Army uniform. The controversy surfaced after videos of his speeches were picked up in the nation’s press.

In one instance, Boykin mocked a Muslim adversary in Mogadishu for believing he would be protected by Allah. “I knew that my God was bigger than his,” Boykin said. “I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Boykin described the war on terror as a battle against satan, and said that then-President George W. Bush had been installed in his position by God. Despite the controversy, Boykin remained deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, and retired in 2007.

JUICE #2: UPDATE on Rep. Andy Harris' Underage Booze Party: At the start of the New Year, Governor Ehrlich's former "Prince of Darkness" Joe Steffen revealed that GOP Rep. Andy Harris may have tried to sweep under the rug misconduct from his Chief of Staff Kevin Reigrut. We previously wrote about how Mr. Reigrut allegedly bought alcohol that resulted in an underage intern getting trashed and booted from her program. Baltimore's Inside Charm City blog updates on this story:
Inside Charm City: Sources tell me that Andy Harris’ Chief of Staff Kevin Reigrut is shopping his resume around in South Carolina in search of a job there. Reigrut was said to be the one responsible in the recent underage drinking scandal in Harris’ office that was broken by Joe Steffen (the response to that scandal proved everything Steffen said was right.)
Reigrut is reportedly a Maryland native and I have yet to find any ties that might move him to the Palmetto State. It would appear that after he was “disciplined” by Harris for his mistakes in the recent scandal that he may have been encouraged to look for something elsewhere.

JUICE #3: Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich Wears SunBlock: Speaking of former Gov. Ehrlich, The Baltimore Sun just announced they've hired him to write a weekly column for them. Does anyone care what he thinks? We shall see how this goes:
Baltimore Sun: Former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who had a tumultuous relationship with The Baltimore Sun while in office, will now regularly contribute to its pages, penning a column focused on national politics.

Ehrlich, who was the state's governor from 2003 until 2007, said the weekly op-ed column will offer an outlet for his writing as well as a platform to reach a broader audience. The column will appear Sundays, starting Jan. 29.
My response to the Sun's editors is this: bringing in a loudmouth to write for you is one way potential of boosting readership; your pay firewall is not. I really want Annie Linskey, John Fritze and Michael Dresser to get paid -- and fairly -- but I don't think shielding their work from the public is the solution. [ Curious?  Ask Rupert Murdoch & The Simpsons about thisP.S. If you are having trouble viewing an article on the Sun's website, try clicking Ctrl-A then Ctrl-C when you first open the page. You can then copy the article into a word processor to read it.

JUICE #4: Another Redistricting Lawsuit? Maryland Juice last week encouraged State Senator Jim Brochin to consider supporting death penalty repeal this year, since he is a known swing vote on the issue. He is now floating the idea of bringing a lawsuit against Maryland's 2012 state legislative districts:
Baltimore Sun: Sen. Jim Brochin, the self-described "odd man out" in Gov. Martin O"Malley's legislative redistricting plan, said he's considering a court challenge to the plan if it is not changed.

"I'm leaving every option open," said the Baltimore County Democrat, whose new district includes a vast swath of Republican-dominated rural areas extending to the Pennsylvania state line....

Brochin said he hasn't hired an attorney but has sought advice on whether the new map violates the guidelines set down by the Court of Appeals after the last redistricting....

"Baltimore City loses population, they should lose representation," he said....

JUICE #5: Sam Arora Marriage Equality Update: Nationally popular "America blog" is already out attacking Delegate Sam Arora on Maryland marriage equality. They point to a past candidate survey indicating support for marriage equality, alongside a recent Washington Post article indicating that Arora is still uncommitted on the issue:
AMERICA blog: You may remember Sam Arora from the last time Maryland tried to pass marriage equality. Arora, who ran on a pro marriage equality platform, fervently, suddenly switched gears, with no explanation, leading many to wonder what happened behind closed doors to force such a sudden and extreme switch. Well, he's baaack.... From the Wash Post on the effort to pass marriage equality in Maryland this time around:
Arora said he is waiting to see the specifics of the bill that O’Malley puts forward.

“I will consider the bill when I see it,” he said. “I can’t comment on hypotheticals.”
The America blog editor encourages Mr. Arora's constituents to contact him about this issue:

JUICE #6: VIDEO - Rep. Donna Edwards on Marriage Equality: "I go to church .... All of us have to be on a level playing field ... We can't pick and choose which civil rights we fight for."

JUICE #7: Gansler Leads Defense of Obama Health Plan? - Maryland Juice caught this announcment on Attorney General Doug Gansler's Facebook page a couple weeks ago:
Federal health care reform is working AND it's constitutional. So, today, Maryland took the lead filing a "friend of the court" brief with the Supreme Court in support of President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - health care reform. 11 states plus DC and the Virgin Islands joined in the brief.

Alright -- hopefully I'm all caught up on wacky juice now!

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