Monday, March 18, 2013

JuiceBlender: Luedtke Attacked, Westboro Baptist in Maryland, Brochin Kills Non-Discrimination Bill, Leggett's Harlem Shake

UPDATE: At the request of the Suitland High School principal, the Prince George's Young Democrats are cancelling their counter-protest of the Westboro Baptist actions.

Below Maryland Juice highlights several items that may be of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: DEL. ERIC LUEDTKE ATTACKED BY DIRECT MAIL - Several Maryland Juice readers have received direct mail attacking Democratic Del. Eric Luedtke of Montgomery County. The mailer appears to take issue with the fact that Luedtke is sponsoring legislation to make it more difficult to petition bills to referendum (a legislative response to the prospect of referenda battles emerging in every election cycle) . See snapshots of the mailer below:

TREASURER FOR ANTI-LUEDTKE PIECE IS A LEADER IN NATIONAL LIBERTARIAN PARTY - Notably, the authority line for the mailer states it is from: "Citizens in Charge, William Redpath, Treasurer." The website for Citizens in Charge states its mission as follows (excerpt below):
Citizens in Charge is a 501 (c) (4) citizen-powered advocacy organization that serves as a partner to Citizens in Charge Foundation in protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum process.

The organization works with activists, legislators, media, opinion leaders and voters to protect the initiative and referendum process where it exists in 26 states and to expand the process to the 26 states where voters currently lack that right.

There never has been a more important time to defend the initiative process. Voters increasingly turn to initiatives to make needed reforms, while legislators increasingly seek to impose limitations on this process.
File this under the "small world," category, but Maryland Juice actually knows William Redpath personally, and is aware that he is one of the leaders of the national Liberatarian Party. Interesting!

JUICE #2: ANTI-GAY WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH PROTESTS IN PRINCE GEORGE'S - Remember that church whose members like to protest about gay rights at the funerals of dead soldiers? Well they are now coming to Suitland High School in Prince George's County. The principal of Suitland High sent a notice to parents last week (excerpt below):
SUITLAND HIGH SCHOOL: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas have informed both the School District and the Prince George’s Police Department of their plans to send ten (10) of their members to protest at Suitland High School on Tuesday, March 26 from 3:00-3:30 p.m.
The members of the Westboro Baptist Church are an anti-gay group that regularly stage protests around the country. Many of you have probably seen the memorandum that they have been distributing. It is a standard memorandum that they use when protesting at schools.
A Twitter user elaborated on Westboro Baptists venomous statements:

The Prince George's County Young Democrats were helping to organize a counter-protest to the Westboro shenanigans. See their announcement below, but note the event has now been cancelled at the request of the Suitland High School principal:
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY YOUNG DEMOCRATS - Westboro Baptist Church has chosen their next target.  Usually we are insulated from the hatred by distance or a television screen.  But not this time.  This time, Westboro Baptist Church descends upon an institution in our own backyards, in our own community, Suitland High School.  A school that produces great leaders and creative minds who go on to achieve and inspire others to do the same.  On Tuesday, March 26th at 3pm, the Westboro picket signs will go up and they will spew their hate speech at our children, our neighbors, and our family members.  In the wake of the violence that has recently plagued this area, let's show Westboro Baptist Church that they have come to the wrong place and such hatred will not be tolerated here in Prince George's County.

Click here give a donation to support the families of the fallen victims.

As we attempt to calm the waves of violence, let's meet them with a force of peace.  We must demonstrate to not only support and anchor our children, but to infuse our communities with the love needed to continue the healing and promote unity.  As they stand at the pulpit of ignorance, let us gather as one congregation and remind ourselves, and the country, that Prince George's County is a place of not just tolerance, but acceptance.  We embrace the color, creed, religion, orientation and ethnicity of all. 

Click here to let us know you'll be there.

This is not only a call to action, but a challenge for you to act.  We must counter this descent of hatred by Westboro Baptist Church.  Let this adversity bind us even tighter as a community and let's show them they came to the wrong county.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
    -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

See you in Suitland,


JUICE #3: STATE SENATORS BROCHIN, MUSE & STONE KILL NON-DISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION - Yesterday, members of the Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee surprised observers by killing a transgender non-discrimination legislation in a 5-6 vote. Democratic Senators Jim Brochin, Anthony Muse and Norm Stone joined with the Republicans to kill this common-sense protection for our fellow Maryland residents. Equality Maryland published the committee roll call, along with some commentary on the issue (excerpt below):
EQUALITY MARYLAND: In a 5-6 vote this afternoon, the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee failed to pass SB 449,The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013. Voting infavor of the bill were, Senators Raskin, Forehand, Frosh, Gladden and Zirkin. Voting against the bill were Senators Stone, Muse, Jacobs, Brochin, Shank and Getty.

Equality Maryland’s Executive Director commented on this vote, “It is terribly disappointing the committee failed to stand up for fairness and protect transgender Marylanders.We are particularly incensed with Senator Jim Brochin’s vote. He had at least 1,000 constituents contact him asking him to support this bill. Despite this, he turned his back on these voters. It ironic that transgender people in his own district [Baltimore County] have protections yet he wouldn’t cast a vote to extend these protections to transgender individuals in the 20 counties that aren’t  so fortunate.”

Several Maryland Juice readers are pointing the finger for the loss at State Senator Jim Brochin, who they say backstabbed supporters of the non-discrimination bill. But Brochin was joined by Democratic Senators Anthony Muse and Norm Stone in fighting the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. Notably, Stone also voted against interracial marriage when he first arrived in Annapolis. It appears that he hasn't changed much since then. Check out the following report from The Washington Blade (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: A Maryland state Senate committee on Thursday struck down a bill that would have banned anti-transgender discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation....

“Despite months of hard work by our broad coalition of supporters, key committee members were unwilling to advance the promise of equality under the law to the transgender community,” Madaleno said in an e-mail he sent to his constituents after the vote. “A majority of committee members were unwilling to pass a bill that prohibited discrimination by restaurants, theaters, hotels, shopping centers and other places of public accommodations. Their lack of understanding and empathy for their fellow Marylanders is appalling.”

Baltimore County, of which Brochin represents portions in Annapolis, along with Montgomery and Howard Counties and Baltimore City have already adopted trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws....

Sixteen states and D.C. currently ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

JUICE #4: IKE LEGGETT DOES HARLEM SHAKE // SIGN OF RE-ELECTION ACTIVITY?  - For those of you that follow online viral sensations, you may have seen videos of the "Harlem Shake." Wikipedia describes the meme as follows:
WIKIPEDIA: The Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in the form of a video in which a group of people performs a comedy sketch accompanied by a short excerpt from the song "Harlem Shake". As a meme, the video was replicated by many people, using the same concept, and this rapidly led to it becoming viral in early February 2013, with thousands of "Harlem Shake" videos being made and uploaded to YouTube every day at the height of its popularity.

The form of the meme was established in a video uploaded on February 2 by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia known on YouTube as The Sunny Coast Skate. The video started a viral trend of people uploading their own "Harlem Shake" videos to YouTube. The teenagers' video was, in its turn, a follow-up to a video by a YouTube comedy vlogger named Filthy Frank which featured a section where several costumed people danced to the song "Harlem Shake" by Baauer.

Now Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has produced his own "Harlem Shake" video, and it is a hoot. Could the video below be the clearest sign that Leggett might be trying to run for re-election?

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