Welcome the The Blog Carnival of Maryland for January 13, 2008. Members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance (see right side of this page) submit posts that they have selected, and as your host for this installment, my job is to expertly guide you to information that sparks your interest.
Municipal Economic Development
I, along with the help of some commenters, provide a look at how the mall and other unique characteristics of Annapolis may or may not be affecting Downtown Business, and what (if anything) the city government can or should do about it.....posted at Annapolis Politics (right here).
Joyce Dowling offers a useful guide to P.G. county happenings, and chronicles how Prince Georgians are participating in national and local political campaigns. See Busy Prince Georgians, events, & commentary, posted at Creating a Jubilee County: Prince George's Co., MD.
Crime and Public Policy
Now that the new year is upon us, we all can analyze how effective we were in the last year. Attila does just that for one particular set of goals, taking Another look at crime in Baltimore, posted at Pillage Idiot. While blaming O'Malley or Dixon for the increase in murders in Baltimore might be a bit unfair, Atila points out that the proper disincentives for crime should exist. Laws that criminalize legal gun owners for not reporting missing weapons are not as useful as heavy penalties for the rif-raf that commit violent crimes with the guns, especially since those who would maliciously allow guns into the wrong hands don't have much regard for the law in the first place.
Speaking of campaign politics, Chester Peake presents Ask & Ye Shall Receive..., his latest analysis of the Republican primary race in Maryland's first Congressional district, posted at Maryland Chesapeake Blog. He laments the fact that the candidates' "race to the right" has resulted in little other than negative campaigning, and reminds readers of the benefits of voting 'for' someone rather than 'against' an opponent.
Michael Swartz has paid close attention to the Presidential race, and with the Maryland primary mere weeks away, he wants to know Who decides?, posted at monoblogue. The answer, he concludes, regrettably includes the media to a detrimental extent. The prevailing wisdom is that most Americans are uninformed and uninspired when it comes to candidates and issues. More people can identify Brittney Spears than our Vice President, and when voters seek information, the vast majority still receive that information after it has passed through the contorted filters of the mainstream media. Michael takes issue with the media's arbitrary assignment of certain candidates to "second-tier" status, essentially sealing the doom of candidates who might be better qualified--because they might not be a better story.
The Patriot Sharpshooter warms my heart with a logical stance against taxes, instead of coming up with creative ways for citizens to deal with skyrocketing taxes: Property Taxes Too High? Government's Newest Angle posted at Common Sense. He (or she?) compares with the government with the private sector and documents the results when no economic incentives are in place. This state (and probably many others) have different standards for government workers--if Maryland state employees were made to seek the same retirement program that is available to all other Marylanders, the state would save a quarter of a billion dollars! This means that our tax dollars fund pensions that we do not get for ourselves.
Soccer Dad offers a duo of political commentaries: 6% martin posted at Soccer Dad, and Seapork posted at Don Surber. At the state level, he points out how drastically bad, or brave depending on how you feel, Martin O'Malley had to be to earn a lower approval rating than President Bush. He also wonders aloud why you have to look hard on some of the mainstream media to find this information. He goes on to highlight a fundamental conservative argument that the government can do wrong even if it has good intentions. "Seapork" points out how money for Chesapeake Bay crab restoration was spent publishing papers and buying plane tickets to conferences, rather than stocking the bay with crabs.
Articulating another solid political philosophy is Cheryl T, who presents Thick Political Atmosphere Attributable to Impending Iowa Caucuses posted at The Spewker. Striking a humorous blend of self-promoting and self-deprecating commentary, she cooks up a very entertaining post about the dangers of O'Malley's incentive-less policies, and how to avoid the same result at the national level. The talking heads of the mainstream media and the blogosphere should take heed, as this blogger has them figured out.
Paul Foer, an Annapolis-based blogger, emphasizes a theme that continues to emerge in that city with MORE REASONS WHY WE NEED MORE GATED, WATERFRONT HOMES IN EASTPORT, posted at Annapolis Capital Punishment. The local paper recently detailed "a tale of two cities", highlighting the interaction that takes place between the rich residents and the poorer residents. He juxtaposes a party in a rich neighborhood, that included scantily clad Bond girls and a spotlight visible from distance, with what must have been going on merely a brisk walk away, where crime is at record levels.
Julie Dunlap cleverly anticipates that New Year's resolutions to 'get more organized' will probably produce a surplus of books, and offers some Decluttering Destinations, posted at Pines Above Snow. For those who want to see their book donations used more astutely than perhaps would happen at the Salvation Army or Goodwill, she suggests some book-specific charitable organizations.
Jeff Quinton provides a load of helpful information, as the NSA plans mitigation for electrical problems, posted at Inside Charm City: Baltimore, Maryland blog. He and others have documented electrical problems at Fort Meade, and luckily for all of us, there is a strategy to fix the problem. Plans for replacing generators as well as building new sub-stations aim to bring Fort Meade to complete self-sustainability, and now must go through an environmental review.
The Ridger offers more than a review of the Will Smith movie I Am Legend (but not the same one), posted at The Greenbelt. The movie is compared to its inspiration, a Novella written half a century ago, as well as the first movie adaptation. Particular attention is paid to the theme of religion vs science, as well as the portrayals of inherent evil or good of humanity.