Saturday, October 27, 2007
Japan to Fingerprint Foreign Visitors

Japan hopes to thwart potential terrorists from entering the country by fingerprinting and photographing all foreigners aged 16 or over on entry starting next month, an official said Friday.

Only some permanent residents, diplomatic visitors, and children under 16 will be exempt from the measures after the system goes into effect Nov. 20, Immigration Bureau official Takumi Sato said.

Philip Coons 11:48 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Governor Proposes Expanded Health Insurance Program in Special Session

Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday he will ask lawmakers to consider a $210 million health care plan in their special session, which he said could extend coverage to an additional 100,000 Marylanders.

The proposal comes as lawmakers prepare to take up O’Malley’s plan to close a $1.7 billion budget deficit by raising the sales tax and tobacco tax, lowering the property tax and changing the income tax, among other revenue proposals. [So. Md. Online]

Philip Coons 11:08 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - October 28, 2007


Philip Coons 11:00 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Abell and a DuckPond Member file Public Info Act Requests for AP Scores

Last week, as a result of the Board of Educations controversial decision to refrain from seeing test scores for AP students sorted by school, School Board Member Jennifer Abell has made a Maryland Public Information Act Request for the data. It is believed that a courageous member of the Duckpond, who will remain anonymous, has made a request also.

I am still scratching my head as to why any one would not want to see data. The best I can figure is the Ostrich mentality - if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

Jennifer is a lightning rod for controversy, and I know opinions vary here in the pond. But I think all of us owe her a debt of gratitude for striking a courageous blow for open government.  If history teaches us anything, she will be ostracized for not being a “team player”, and the others will probably treat her as if she has been diagnosed with one of those “diseases” because she won’t just roll over and accept their ridiculous decision that we, the public, are somehow too stupid, too emotional, or somehow otherwise not entitled to see statistics paid for with our tax money.

This time, Jennifer is right, and I hope the other two members who voted with her, Pam Pedersen and Moira Cook, who deserve credit for their original vote, also will support Jennifer’s PIA request.

Thanks for sticking your neck out a bit, Jennifer. I am proud of you that you did not side with the BOE to the detriment of the public. You know that you have been given a sacred trust to represent us, not them.  It seems that 4 of the members need some education in what it means to be a representative in a representative democracy. Thanks also to that duckpond dweller, you know who you are, you and your spouse are a credit to the community.

Philip Coons 08:31 PM | (8) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
In The Spirit of Water Conservation

Thank goodness it’s a voluntary water conservation, because that means you don’t have to cut back if you don’t want to. At least, that’s what I suppose the CVS at the corner of St. Charles Parkway and Route 5 will say if anyone happens to complain about the fact it had all its sprinklers on this morning during the waning hours of a three and a half day rain storm. I guess the fact that small rivers of water were flowing from the flower beds into a parking lot already filled with several inches of standing water wasn’t enough to convince the staff of the store that the flowers didn’t needed watered. Regardless of the excuse, as I drove by at 8:30 this morning a dozen or more 10 to 15 foot columns of water were spraying straight up into a steady downpour.

Philip Coons 05:56 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Counties Still Have Teaching Vacancies

Washington Post

Two months into the academic year, Southern Maryland public schools have been unable to fill at least 25 teaching vacancies, administrators said last week.
Of the three Southern Maryland school systems, Charles County public schools have the largest teacher shortage, with 14 vacancies. Calvert County schools are four teachers short, and St. Mary’s County is still trying to hire seven.

Philip Coons 03:23 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Does anyone out there really care?


Summer, 2006, I was promised that the town of La Plata would fix all of its overflowing sewer mains by October 06. Its under contract, they said. The contractor is great, they said. The water that overflows is mostly rainwater, they said.

In October, it was still happening. I had a talk with Mayor D’Ambrosio, who assured me that it would be fixed soon, that the contract had just slipped a bit.
In December, 06, there was a sizable spill, and in January 07. 

I guess the drought was good for something, like covering up incompetence in government in the inability to stop illegal, fineable dumping of raw sewage. No leaks for a while because of no rain. Now its back.

My question: should I just resign myself to the fact that it is going to happen, and I am powerless to make government function properly to stop it? Should I write off the dying rivers, and the fish that are no longer there, and the Herons who have either died, or left, and the water we can’t swim in, and the people eating tainted seafood? Because the politicians have. And worse than that, so have you. So have you, unless you get up off of your couch and do something.

I have no children, and I will not live to see the day (I pray) that we have to change the motto “Where Eagles Fly” because they are all dead. But those of you who refuse to be a part of the solution, those of you who want to leave it to the politicians, I have another prayer. I pray that one day your children, or your grandchildren get up on your lap and asked you why you didn’t save the Potomac, the Port Tobacco, the Mattawoman, the Wicomico, the Nanjemoy, Neale Sound, Cuckold Creek, and all the other dying little miracles created by the hand of God while you had the chance.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is your raw sh-t flowing once again into the streets of La Plata, where no one cares, and then on into where herons are trying to eat, and fish are for the moment swimming, and people are kayaking, and kingfishers and eagles are fishing, and people are fishing.  By the way, there is an awful lot of toilet paper in this strong flow of water that is supposedly mostly rainwater. Must be raining toilet paper.  Some of you reading this have done your part. The rest of you, if the soggy, disgusting foul shoe full of sh-t water fits, then I hope you wear it for a long time.


Philip Coons 12:54 PM | (17) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Do You Have Afterlife Insurance?

A good insurance policy will protect you from cradle to grave—and then some.

A little-known part of most homeowners policies is that they cover headstones, grave markers, monuments and urns.

Philip Coons 12:36 PM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Museum Move Marks Rare Md. BRAC Loss

It doesn’t take long to realize the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum isn’t your garden variety shrine.

Some 240 tanks, cannons and other heavy equipment are scattered across the museum’s grounds. A German K5 Leopold rail gun sits on railroad tracks across the street, its 70-foot-long barrel a reminder of World War II, where it was captured by troops in Italy.

Philip Coons 12:34 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Love Story

I will seek and find you . .
I shall take you to bed and have my way with you
I will make you ache, shake & sweat until you moan & groan.
I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop.
I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I’m finished with you.
And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.
All my love, The Flu

Now, get your mind out of the gutter and go get your flu shot!

Philip Coons 11:53 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The Legislative Scorecard

Notice the cool graphic on the side bar with Paul Revere coming to warn all the colonists that King O’Malley’s taxes are coming? Click there and you will see the list of legislators, sorted by district. Right now our elected officials are working with a clean slate, but this is a fair warning that their votes on the bills we highlight (whether in committee or on the floor) will be available for voters to judge.

Philip Coons 09:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The Problem With ‘C’ Student Math

The title of the article is supposed to be comical so I don’t want ‘C’ students getting mad at me. I was a B- or C student for my Undergrad (a solid B post graduate) but I don’t want you to think I am passing judgment in this case. Now that I have done the disclaimer, I want to tell you the problem with ‘C’ student math.

Philip Coons 09:41 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Cedarville State Forest

LOCATION: Cedarville Road off US Route 301, just before Waldorf at 10201 Bee Oak Road

Located in Prince George’s and Charles Counties, Cedarville State Forest offers visitors 3,697 acres of woodland with freshwater fishing and hiking. A visitors’ center at the state’s only warm-water fish hatchery is open during the summer.


Philip Coons 09:16 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink

Charles County does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of disability in the admission or access to, or treatment in, its programs or activities. The County has designated Joane Gulvas as the County’s ADA Coordinator to coordinate compliance with the nondiscrimination requirements of the ADA contained in Section 35.107 of the U.S. Department of Justice regulations.

Philip Coons 09:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Board of Appeals: Public Hearings

THE BOARD OF APPEALS FOR CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND has been petitioned by Riverview Builders/Developers, a.k.a. SMIG, LLC, for a Variance to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area regulations for the construction of a single family dwelling within the Critical Area Buffer, as provided in Article
IX, Section 297-131 and Article XXV, Section 297-416 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance. The subject property is located at 12421 Channelview Drive, Clifton on the Potomac Subdivision (Lots 40 and 41 a.k.a. 40R, Block C), Newburg, Maryland, designated as Tax Map 79, Grid 15, Parcel 107. The
property consists of approximately 0.5765 acres within the Medium Density Residential (RM) Zone and located in the Limited Development Overlay (LDZ) Zone of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.


Philip Coons 08:59 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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