Category Archives: Baltimore

Calendar of Events

For those in the Baltimore area, have a look at a calendar of events we compile each month.

More to come on the marketing front with the new business, but we’ve got a name!  Website, facebook page, etc to come.

How Quaint

Who knew there were still towns in Maryland that are dry?  Damascus will have the issue on the ballot this year as a referendum.


Baltimore Calendar of Events

Every month, my wife, J, puts up a Calendar of Events for Baltimore.  Check it out!

I already knew they weren’t concerned with people’s rights, but at least now they admit it

Over the weekend, a non violent spray paint artist was arrested(!?) at Baltimore’s Harborplace.  Police claim he was on private property, he claims he was on public land.  I don’t know, and I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment if the arrest was legal.

However, the officer involved did finally admit something we’ve known for quite some time.

A police officer on bicycle patrol wrote in his report that Chase was “performing for money” and had three buckets with the word “Tips” painted on the side. The officer wrote that the buckets were on private property operated by General Growth Properties, which runs Harborplace. But a company spokesman said Chase was on city property.

The report says the officer and Chase argued about his rights before he was arrested, taken to the booking center and given an October trial date.

“It is my constitutional right to be here without prior approval,” Chase said to the officer, according to a video that captured part of his encounter with police.

“Your constitutional rights have nothing to do with the law,” the officer responded.

No kidding.  In Baltimore, that is a true statement. Later, to their credit, they try to backtrack.

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the officer was trying to explain that he was enforcing a valid law and couldn’t debate constitutional claims more suited for a courtroom than a street corner.

“The courts have a right to weigh in on it,” Guglielmi said. “But as of today … we still have an ordinance we have to enforce.”

This is the problem.  The guys and gals on the street don’t understand (or don’t care) about the rights of the citizens.  The union backs them up.  (See also:  Tshamba shooting).  The only person who can discuss rights and the Constitution in an intelligent manner is the department spokesperson, reading from a script.

We deserve better, and the Baltimore Police Department needs to start taking accountability.

Exactly what they wanted

The original bill to permit direct shipping of wine to the subjects of the State of Maryland and Liquor Distributors allowed for both wineries and retail outlets, and had minimal requirements to register.

The bill crafted behind closed doors by a few legislators and the liquor distribution lobby removed retailers altogether, and required a $1000 bond and $200 per year for wineries to register for the privilege to ship a legal product to grownups in Maryland.

With the restrictions on shipping going in to effect on Friday, just 11 wineries have applied.

Wine retailers are still not allowed to ship to consumers, which keeps popular Internet-based wine-of-the-month clubs off limits, though consumer advocates have vowed to continue lobbying Annapolis to allow retail delivery.

“If there’s a particular bottle that you want shipped, and it’s not offered by one of the wineries with a permit, you’re right back to the same problem as before the new law,” said Adam Borden, president of Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws.

“There were people who felt, let’s get this done right the first time. But the General Assembly was more, ‘One step at a time.'”

Borden said the cost to sign up, including the $200 yearly fee and a $100 annual insurance payment on the required $1,000 bond, might be prohibitive for many of the country’s smaller wineries.

Which is exactly what they wanted.  Free State, indeed.

Economics of Gas Taxes

Peter Franchot, the MD State Comptroller, has floated the idea of a gas tax holiday over one of the upcoming summer long weekends.

While gas prices have dropped about 10 cents per gallon over the last week, the Maryland average is still about $3.85 a gallon — about a dollar more than the same time last year.

A high-ranking state official who has vowed to fight soaring gas prices is floating the idea of a gas tax holiday, according to 11 News reporter David Collins.

Comptroller Peter Franchot plans to pitch a three-day gas tax holiday to the Maryland General Assembly, Collins reported Thursday.

“We think it would put Maryland on the map, and it would more than pay for itself through increased economic activity,” Franchot said. “Most of all, just give Maryland citizens a break.”

The current state gas tax is 23.4 cents per gallon. At one station Collins visited Thursday, a 15-gallon purchase would cost $56.25. With the gas tax lifted, the bill would have been reduced by $3.50.

I heard Franchot on the radio yesterday, explaining that certainly we can’t do it permanently, because of the revenue loss, but over a weekend the loss of $6 Million in revenue would be offset by increased economic activity, and would be a net gain for state tax revenue, as well as good for residents of the state.

How is it possible he understands eliminating the tax for a short period of time would have a net positive benefit, but doesn’t understand that it would have a positive benefit if it were eliminated permanently?

The next time someone suggests we need to raise taxes (again) in Baltimore City…

Show them this.

Alone amidst a wash of concrete and bricks, paving and sidewalk, the tiny unidentified greenery struggles to spread its sprouts into a seemingly intractable blanket of shade.

But do not mourn this poor forlorn seedling, for the city’s Board of Estimates just approved $8,800 for its care and maintenance. Along with 15 months of watering and pruning, the contract will also provide company for the lone greenery in the four-story concrete parking garage, with plans to add several additional planters to the darkened caverns that temporarily house the cars of motorists visiting the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.

The money is part of $27,000 in landscaping contracts approved for four city-owned parking garages Wednesday. The contracts provide for 15 months’ worth of work by Grass Roots Landscaping, a Baltimore-based business that will now be responsible for nurturing the lone plant in Franklin Garage, along with other potted shrubbery withering on sidewalks or wilting in the exhaust-filled concrete facilities at three other parking garages.

The expenditure for the solo shrub, that comes amidst intractable budget shortfalls and higher taxes, was justified as key to presenting an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere inside the otherwise mundane parking garage, an important selling point for attracting out-of-town motorists.

Yup.  $8,800 for a plant in a parking garage.   The Lovely Mrs. Stagg, who, of above average intelligence, reminded me that it’s probably that expensive because plants can’t live in a dark parking garage.

Our property taxes are twice the surrounding counties.  The city implemented an additional sales tax on bottled beverages (that retailers are not allowed to call a sales tax, or even disclose to their customers) because if we didn’t, we’d have to ground the police helicopter.

Yet we’re spending money on this.  Awesome.

We’re Getting There

The MD House of Delegates passed a bill ‘allowing’ shipping of wine from wineries directly to consumers in Maryland.

The bill requires wineries pay $200 for the ‘privilege’ of shipping wine to MD, and consumers can only have 18 cases sent per year.  Still didn’t get all the way there, allowing for retailers to also ship into the state and eliminating the case limit, but I guess a partial win is a win in this state.

On a totally unrelated note, got 3 wines the other day from a winery in California (one of the very few who are willing to try to get around the current law by using a third party to ship something I already own.)

More Gun Banning Legislation in 3…2…1…

4 year old shoots himself in the face, dies.

I wouldn’t let a 4 year old in my house play with a Nerf ball without supervision.  How about we maybe hold the guardian accountable instead of the usual reaction?


I give you our Governor, Martin O’Malley, from Maryland Reporter:

Our state is not like other states.  You will not find in Maryland the sort of Midwestern oppression that you find in Ohio and Wisconsin.

I’m not all for what the (elected by the people) legislature and (elected by the people) Governor of Wisconsin have done.  Perhaps I’ll put up something more substantial later on the Libertarian position on the right to (and to not) associate.  But “oppression”?  No.

Remember the call for civil discourse?  Yeah, right.

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