Maryland General Assembly Lame-Duck Session, 2014

Maryland State flag

John Hayden photo

The Maryland General Assembly is back in session is open for business as usual in Annapolis. I’m having a hard time making myself care.

All eyes are on the Democratic primary in June. The politicians are full of energy — all of it directed at collecting campaign contributions.

But they have to stop fundraising, now that the session has started, and I doubt they have the heart to do anything of substance over the next 90 days.

It’s truly difficult to imagine this lame-duck Assembly, with a lame-duck governor gazing at the White House, doing anything other than image repair.

Am I getting cynical in my old age, or what?

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U.S. Government Shutdown Might Continue Indefinitely

Both sides now have reason to dig in and refuse to budge. Both sides think they’re on the verge of achieving a cherished goal, if only they hang tough.

For President Obama, the Affordable Care Act is taking effect even as we speak, despite the so-called “partial” government shutdown. Health care for all has been a Democratic goal for 60 years or more. Obama has a passed bill, a signed law with his name on it. The president and Democrats believe that once Obamacare is implemented, people will decide they love it — just like Social Security and Medicare — and will refuse to give it up.

The Republicans are dead set against Obamacare, just as they were against Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading

America and Maryland Coming Apart At The Seams

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during...

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool during the 1963 March on Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a few short weeks, we’ve had the following:

A joyful national coming together to  celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech.

The warm, fuzzy feeling of a unifying “American Dream” was quickly replaced by spinning centrifugal forces.

We went to the brink of war, and back, in Syria.

Oh, never mind, forget war. Back to our regularly scheduled program: “Defund Obamacare.”  Or else.

Wait! Wait! A mass shooting inside America’s oldest military installation, the Navy Yard, in the heart of the nation’s capital, a mile from the Capitol building . . . But mass shootings and gun control debates hold our attention for shorter time spans with each round of crazy violence.

Back, quickly now, to defunding Obamacare. (Obamacare is a serious but somewhat flawed effort to provide access to health care for all Americans. Therefore, it must be EVIL, right? Let me know if you can figure it out. I can’t.)

The alternative to defunding Obamacare, far as the crazies on the right are concerned, is shutting down the federal government!  And defaulting on the national debt; to be followed by worldwide economic chaos.

Loud and fevered — and apparently serious — conspiracy to bring down the federal government of the USA has previously been known as Treason. What should we call it today? Political and cultural insanity?

English: Map of Maryland counties

And now. to add a touch of humor, or not, the counties of Western Maryland (depending on how you define Western Maryland) are talking about seceding from Maryland to form a new state, complete with two U.S. senators! (Just what we need, two more additions to the world’s most dysfunctional deliberative body.)

Into the midst of the debate about secession comes a guest host on a Baltimore radio show, who displays amazing ignorance of Maryland geography and politics. She blindly relocated a state senator from District 37 on the Eastern Shore, placing him not only in the wrong county, but in a whole other region of the state, Southern Maryland, which is on the whole other side of the Chesapeake Bay. Hey, it’s only mainstream media. Actual facts are peripheral.

Not surprising that voters are fed up with the way things are going. Can the center hold? It’s looking more and more unlikely.

Fragmentation is the preferred intoxication of the day. Ah, the sweet wine of liberty!  “Don’t tread on me,” reads the label. Savor the fruity overtones of anarchy, and the subtle hint of chaos.

— John Hayden

John Roberts’ “Can-Do” Doctrine Scandalizes Conservatives

“I will find a way or make one.” — Admiral Robert E. Peary, American explorer

“As between two possible interpretations of a statute, by one of which it would be unconstitutional and by the other valid, our plain duty is to adopt that which will save the act.”  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

By all accounts, Chief Justice John Roberts believes that the Supreme Court of the U.S. should try to find a way to uphold  a law enacted by Congress, rather than declare it unconstitutional. In other words, declare a Congressional act unconstitutional only if it really is unconstitutional.

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John Roberts Is Man Of The Hour

Official 2005 photo of Chief Justice John G. R...

Official 2005 photo of Chief Justice John G. Roberts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court decision today on the Affordable Care Act, AKA “Obamacare,” shocked my system. It was the first jolt of optimism about the future of America that I’d felt in months. And I hadn’t expected to have any reaction at all.

Chief Justice John Roberts is the man of the hour. With one stroke he won for himself a place in American history.

I can’t claim full understanding of the High Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. My gut reaction is it changes everything. It goes far beyond the legal issues at hand. This ruling might be the turning point that saves the American system.

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