Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems - Address: PO Box 124, Westminster MD 21158 410-259-6403 Runner, writer, artist, fire & police chaplain Mindless ramblings of a runner, journalist & artist: Travel, art, artists, authors, books, newspapers, media, writers and writing, journalists and journalism, reporters and reporting, technology, music, culture, opera... National & International politics For community: For art, technology, writing, & travel:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Daily Photoblog October 28, 2008 Kevin Dayhoff

I saw this on a PFG Carroll County Foods truck while driving through Westminster on October 28, 2008. Too funny.

20081028 Happy Halloween

Landmark suspends sale of assets, but not the Pilot

Landmark suspends sale of assets, but not the Pilot

By Philip Walzer The Virginian-Pilot © October 30, 2008 NORFOLK


Locally, Landmark owns the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

20080104 Company looks into sales scenarios by Carrie Ann Knauer

Landmark considers possible sale of Pilot, Weather Channel (Jan. 3, 2008)

Weather Channel's profitability is behind sale, says Landmark executive (Jan. 10, 2008)

Arkansas company scouts The Virginian-Pilot, other papers (June 29, 2008)

Weather Channel deal sealed for $3.5 billion to NBC group (July 7, 2008)

Sale of Landmark TV station in Nashville falls through (Oct. 15, 2008)

Full archive on the Landmark Communications sale

Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, citing the "credit crisis," announced Wednesday that it has taken most of its properties, including Dominion Enterprises, off the market. But the company is continuing negotiations to sell The Virginian-Pilot.

"We are having discussions regarding The Virginian-Pilot Media Companies with an interested buyer," Landmark's vice chairman, Richard F. Barry III, said Wednesday. "The buyer is encouraged about obtaining financing."

He declined to identify the prospective buyer or say when he expected the sale to be completed.

The Virginian-Pilot and its affiliates employ about 1,260 people, mostly in Hampton Roads. The Pilot's associated businesses include Web sites such as and more than a dozen specialty publications, such as Link, Port Folio Weekly, Inside Business, and newspapers on military bases.


Newspaper-industry analyst John Morton said he wasn't surprised that Landmark was dropping its plans to sell most of its businesses. He noted that other newspapers remain on the market, including most of Cox Enterprises' publications and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"The market is awash in sellers and no buyers," said Morton, who is based in Silver Spring, Md. "Right now it's the credit, but it wasn't happening before the credit tied up. People are very leery. They're not sure what they should pay or how well the newspapers are going to come out of the recession they've been in."

Facing steep market declines in advertising revenue and circulation, newspapers have lost more than half of their value since 2002, he said.

Landmark officials announced in January that they were looking to sell all of the businesses owned by the privately held media company. They did not offer a reason.

In September, Landmark completed the sale of its most profitable business, The Weather Channel Cos., to NBC Universal and two private-equity firms. The sal e price was not disclosed, but people close to the parties said it was about $3.5 billion.

Two weeks ago, however, Landmark announced that the planned sale of its Nashville television station to Bonten Media Group Inc. of New York had fallen through because of credit-market problems.

Landmark's businesses, minus The Weather Channel Cos., have combined revenues exceeding $1 billion a year, Barry said.


Read the entire article here: Landmark suspends sale of assets, but not the Pilot

20081030 Landmark suspends sale of assets but not the Pilot

Carroll County Times Newspapers In Education Fundraiser November 6 2008

Carroll County Times Newspapers In Education Fundraiser November 6 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008 by Kevin Dayhoff

I used the Newspapers in Education curriculum for a “Community Learning Center” after school program I taught for students at risk in 2007.

I taught students to collage their own newspaper by using the print editions of the Carroll County Times.

Don’t tell the students but they did not know that they were being taught remedial reading in the process.

In the past I have supported the program by donating art for the annual auction fundraiser – which this year will be held on November 6th, 2008. See below for more details.

Yesterday, I dropped off art for my contribution for this year.

For more information, call 410-857-8554 and ask for Gwen Welty and tell her that I asked you to call…

This community initiative by the Carroll County is worthy of your support:

Each year the Times holds several major fundraisers to support the NIE program. The largest is the annual Newspapers in Education Holiday Auction in the fall. Gift certificate block sales may be held throughout the year.

Newspapers in Education Holiday Auction

Newspapers in Education Holiday Auction
Thursday, November 6, 2008

B and D Auctions (formerly O'Farrell's Auctions)
435 Sullivan Road
Westminster, MD 21157

Preview and silent auction begins at 5 p.m. Live auction begins at 6 p.m.Hundreds of items and gift certificates will be on the block to benefit local students. Refreshments will be available. Click here to preview a list of auction items.

For information on how to donate to the auction, contact the NIE coordinator at 410-857-8554 or

Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and checks payable to Community Foundation of Carroll County/NIE will be accepted. For more information contact the NIE Coordinator at 410-857-8554 or

20081031 CCT NIE Fundraiser Nov 6 2008

Forget it, old people. No more TV for you starting in 2009.

Forget it, old people. No more TV for you starting in 2009.

Hat Tip: B5

Cable PSA

Talkshow with Spike Feresten


20081030 Forget it old people No more TV for you

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Washington Post editorial says No to slots … and so do I

Washington Post editorial says No to slots … and so do I

Sunday, October 19, 2008 – October 27, 2008

Hat Tip: Delusional Duck Maryland Southern Maryland

The Washington Post published an editorial on Sunday, October 19, 2008 that argued “No” to slots in the upcoming referendum to be held in Maryland on November 4th, 2008.

I think this is how I will be voting also. In spite of personal reservations about slots; I believe that I could’ve supported some of the formulations offering slots in Maryland under the previous administration.

At least I could’ve closed my eyes, held my breath, pinched my nose, and pushed the green button.

I happen to be old enough to remember slots and members of my family viewed them as harmless entertainment – and by and large, it was just that.

I never saw the ills that slots created for society and yet as I grew older I began to see that slots are a huge potential for harm to the fabric of the community.

Earlier proposals had more benefits than harms. I liked the revenue for agriculture and education and I certainly liked the jobs creation.

However, the current proposal is not very attractive in that there is not enough upside to the proposal to overcome the downside.

Overlooking for the moment that it places slots in the Maryland constitution where it does not belong; it appears that little of the revenue will go to help agriculture, or more specifically, the horse industry; way too little goes to education and too much goes to the general revenue fund coffers of Maryland state government.

Maryland state government already has a pathological spending addiction and the current legislation only fuels the problem as opposed to what a dedicated fund for ag and education would provide.

And there’s the rub.

Anyway, the Washington Post says: No on Maryland Slots:

Voters should oppose a referendum that would bring the machines -- and a host of maladies -- back to the state.

Sunday, October 19, 2008; B06

ON JULY 1, 1968, the last slot machines were wheeled out of the taverns and diners that dotted a stretch of Southern Maryland known as Little Vegas. Maryland banned the machines because they fostered crime and corruption and drained money from the poor. In the 40 years since, the lever on the side of the machine has given way to a button on the front, but the scourges ushered in by slots are the same.

Supporters of a Nov. 4 referendum that would restore slots to Maryland paper over these memories with dollar bills. Slots, they promise, will plug Maryland's $430 million budget gap, revive the faltering horse-racing industry and inject needed cash into schools. Marylanders shouldn't fall for this neon mirage.


Maryland had the good sense to rid itself of the machines 40 years ago, and voters should continue to resist the glow of slot machines and the false promise of pain-free revenue they represent.


Read the entire editorial here: No on Maryland Slots

20081019 Washington Post editorial says No to slots

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is happening at the Westminster Shopping Center?

What is happening at the Westminster Shopping Center?

July 11, 2008

Update: photo – October 28, 2008

Many folks have asked what is happening with the portion of the Westminster Shopping Center at the corner of Englar Road and Rte 140.

Sometime ago, the two back-to-back gas stations, that were located there, were torn down.

Then the area was fenced off and nothing has happened since.

Now anyone who knows anything about shopping centers knows that things often happen at break-neck glacier speed; so many of us thought nothing of it for a while.

I asked around and no one seemed to know anything. I thought of calling the owners, the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRIT) – and well - I lost track of it. There are only so many hours in the day.

My experience with the WRIT is that they are usually very accessible – I just never got around to calling them.

And then the other night I was rummaging around the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) website researching another matter and there it was: “Facts about Westminster Citgo and Shopping Center Voluntary Cleanup Program.”

Apparently they are cleaning-up the site before they move forward… Which is a good thing.

I’ll paste the information from the MDE website below, but first some very brief reference material on the shopping center: “StoreTrax” deck sheet on the Westminster Shopping Center (retrieved July 10th, 2008):

Westminster Shopping Center, Route 140 & Englar Road, Westminster, MD
Details: County: Carroll, Type: Community, Built: 1958, Renovated: 2000: Westminster Shopping Center went through a complete redevelopment in 2000. Medium Boxes and Small Sites available for National Tenants. Total Square Feet: 176,692

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 6110 Executive Blvd. Suite 800 Rockville, MD 20852

Leasing Agent(s) Steve Krupinski, 301-255-0846 phone, 301-984-9612

MDE Facts about Westminster Citgo and Shopping Center Voluntary Cleanup Program

October 30, 2007

Page 1
Maryland Department of the Enviroment
1800 Washington Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21230-1718
410-537-3000 800-633-6101 TTY Users: 800-735-2258

Facts About…

Department of the Environment

Site Location

The Westminster Citgo and Shopping Center property consists of two parcels totaling 10.84-acres located at the southeast corner of Route 140 and Englar Road in Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland. The property is a strip mall shopping center with several stand-alone buildings and paved parking areas. Overland flow from the property discharges to the southeast. The Town of Westminster supplies water and sanitary sewer services to the property and the vicinity. The Town of Westminster derives the majority of their potable water from groundwater and the Westminster Citgo property is located in the wellhead protection area. The property is zoned business. Other commercial properties surround the property.

Site History

Prior to 1958, the property was used for agricultural purposes, and in 1958, the property was developed into a shopping center. A dual operator service station was located on the property as early as 1959 and the associated building was demolished in 2006.

The current owner, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, purchased the property from Westminster Shopping Center, Inc. in 1972.

In 1957, Westminster Shopping Center, Inc. purchased the property from Scott and Anita Bair who purchased it in 1955. Prior to 1955, the Albaugh and Babylon Grocery Company owned the property.

Environmental Investigations and Actions

Two service stations operated at the property from 1959 until 2006. Numerous underground storage tanks have historically been associated with the service stations. These tanks have all been removed from the property with the exception of one 8,000-gallon tank that was abandoned in place in 1989. During tank removal in 2006, petroleum contamination was noted in the soil and groundwater. Contaminated soils, totaling 322 tons, were also removed during the tank excavations. A Phase II investigation was conducted subsequently and revealed additional petroleum soil impacts and contamination of groundwater at the property.

An Oil Control Program (OCP) case was opened for the property (#2005-0945-CL). In November 2006, the OCP approved a work plan for the property that required additional sampling. In April 2007, the OCP requested an interim corrective action plan be developed to address the petroleum contamination at the property. The request also includes quarterly sampling of the groundwater from the existing monitoring wells.
Page 2

1800 Washington Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21230-1718
410-537-3000 800-633-6101 TTY Users: 800-735-2258

Current Status

On August 20, 2007, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust submitted two Voluntary Cleanup Program applications for the property seeking a restricted no further requirements determination for the shopping center and certificate of completion for the service station for commercial future uses of the property.
Planned or Potential Future Action

The proposed future use of the property will be commercial.


Jim Carroll
Maryland Department of the Environment
(410) 537-3437
Land Restoration Program
Last Update: October 30, 2007

20080711 What is happening at the Westminster Shopping Center?
Kevin Dayhoff
Kevin Dayhoff Art: (

Friday, October 24, 2008

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? By Orson Scott Card

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? By Orson Scott Card

When I wrote Journalistic Bubble Wrap in The Tentacle on October 15, 2008 -

One of the hottest subplots to the 2008 presidential campaign is how would the contest, the polls and the final outcome have looked if the “old – elite” media had not been so biased towards the Democratic Party in general and specifically the Democrat nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

I wish I had written it as well as when Orson Scott Card wrote Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

October 5, 2008 - Featured on Rush Limbaugh 10/22/08

Editor's note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" (] ): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

Read the rest here: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

20081005 Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? By Orson Scott Card

My three part series on the current economic mess in The Tentacle

My three part series on the current economic mess in The Tentacle

Folks have been asking where they can find my three-part series on the current economic mess in The Tentacle from October 1, 2 and 3, 2008.

They may be found here:

October 3, 2008
Congress and The Rattlesnake – Part 3
Kevin E. Dayhoff
On May 13, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama compared the current housing crisis in the U.S. to the Great Depression in a campaign stop in Missouri.

October 2, 2008
Congress and The Rattlesnake – Part 2
Kevin E. Dayhoff
For several weeks the nation and the world have been watching the financial news emanating from Washington and Wall Street with that “deer in headlights” look as everyone holds their breath in disbelief and worries another shoe will drop.

October 1, 2008
Congress and the Rattlesnake – Part 1
Kevin E. Dayhoff
In response to the increasing wrath of the American voter, the U.S. House of Representatives came to its senses on Monday and voted 288 to 205 to kill the rash and ill-conceived proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

20081003 My three part series on the current economic mess in The Tentacle

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken

Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken

October 23, 2008
I’m not sure when Orson Scott Card said this; however the following quote ought to be an everyday mantra for anyone in the public spotlight.

It is certainly a thought that many in the blogosphere ought to take to heart…

It reminds me of the great admonition that I often repeated to myself when I was an elected official – although critics will suggest that I, all too often did not follow my own advice enough: “Never miss an opportunity to sit down and shut up.”

"Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken." Attributed to Orson Scott Card

20081023 Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken

Monday, October 20, 2008

New York Times Op-Ed Contributor: “Buy American. I Am.” by Warren E. Buffett

“Buy American. I Am.” by Warren E. Buffett

New York Times Op-Ed Contributor October 17, 2008 Omaha

THE financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary.

So ... I’ve been buying American stocks…


A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful…


A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.


Read Mr. Buffet’s entire Op-Ed here: “Buy American. I Am.” by Warren E. Buffett

Warren E. Buffett is the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified holding company.

20081017 New York Times Op-Ed Contributor: “Buy American. I Am.” by Warren E. Buffett

We had joy, we had fun, we had sidewalks in the sun

I'm writing this week's column within feet of the Atlantic Ocean in Nags Head, N.C.

And I mean, literally, "feet from the ocean." Our unit is one of the older ones built here and was, in hindsight, probably too close to the water. Yet it has managed to not yet be washed into the sea.

If you listen carefully while reading this, that is the sound of the ocean in the background.

Life is so hard ...

Many folks from Carroll County vacation on the Outer Banks in places such as Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Ocracoke, Kitty Hawk, Corolla and Manteo. Of course, most people come down here in the summer. (Which is why I like the Outer Banks in the off-season. It is way less crowded.)

Of course, I can't get away from history -- the Outer Banks is rich in history, lighthouses, scenery and miles of pristine beaches.

The Banks was the site of the first attempt at an English settlement on Roanoke Island in 1585.

Nags Head was first established in the 1830s, by a planter by the name of Francis Nixon. Hotels sprang up on the Outer Banks as early as the 1838. The first oceanfront cottages were built around 1855, by an investor named Dr. W. G. Pool, who bought 50 acres of oceanfront property for $30.

During the Civil War, on Dec. 30, 1862, a gale off Cape Hatteras sank the Union ironclad USS Monitor.

The Outer Banks is also where Orville and Wilbur Wright became the first to pilot a mechanically driven, heavier than air, machine about 120 feet, for 12 seconds, on Dec. 17, 1903.

OK, that's enough out-of-Carroll history. Many readers might be surprised to learn that Westminster was promoted 120 years ago as a summer vacation destination.

A promotional piece published by Vanderford Bros. on Jan. 1, 1887, and called to my attention by historian Jay Graybeal, included a section entitled, "(Westminster) as a Summer Resort"

Those who have been following recent discussions in Westminster Common Council meetings about efforts to maintain our streets would be fascinated to learn that the current struggle is not new. The 1887 promotion read, in part:

"The streets are lighted by gas, and are wide and straight. They have recently been graded and the sidewalks been relaid to conform to a uniform grade.

"On several of the outlying streets, much new paving has been done, and the work will begin anew in the spring. A proposition for paving the beds of the streets has been considered for some time, and the Mayor and Common Council, by a vote of the people, are authorized to have the work done when a suitable plan is decided upon ..."

"In short, Westminster is a live town, filled with an active, industrious, and thrifty population, that is unsurpassed for intelligence, skill and business energy.

"Altogether there is no more desirable place for business, for a comfortable, healthful and convenient permanent residence, or for the summer's sojourn, than Westminster."

All we need is a lighthouse.

Read the entire column here: We had joy, we had fun, we had sidewalks in the sun
20081019 SCE Westminster as a summer resort
20081019 SCE We had joy we had fun we had com/ sidewalks in the sun sceked
Kevin Dayhoff http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.
Kevin Dayhoff Art

War driving in Nags Head NC – The Scream

Monday, October 20, 2008

War driving in Nags Head NC – The Scream
October 10 – 19, 2008

I spent the week of October 10-19, 2008 in Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a unit that did not have internet access. To find wireless service, we had to go war driving. It was maddening.

I’m back home now – and I’m fine. Really I am. I’m told the twitching will stop soon…

20081019 War driving in Nags Head NC The Scream
Sphere: Related Content

Kevin Dayhoff Art

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Washington Times Editorial: What is ACORN?

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN, is under investigation by state and federal authorities for its voter registration drives. Allegations are that ACORN's get-out-the-vote efforts have produced thousands of fraudulent registrations. The probes are encouraging; America wouldn't be in position to criticize other nations of ballot-stuffing if it permits the same at home. What's most encouraging, though, is that House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio is calling for ACORN to be defunded. "The latest allegations of voter registration fraud by ACORN are further evidence that this group cannot be trusted with another dollar of the taxpayers' money," he said.

ACORN helped make the term "affordable housing" a Washington staple. So as the roots of the financial crisis are laid bare, take a hard look at ACORN.

ACORN has its roots in the community-organization teachings of Saul Alinsky, who mobilized Chicago's stockyard workers in the 1930s. The organization was founded as the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now by Wade Rathke, a protege of George Wiley, the civil-rights activist who later engineered the Poor People's Campaign with his founding of the National Welfare Reform Organization. After fighting for "motor-voter" registration in the 1990s, which allowed people to register to vote at departments of motor vehicles, ACORN began expanding its voter registration activities. Since 2004 it has come under scrutiny for producing thousands of fraudulent registrations, and 15 employees intent on exploiting their pay-per-registration policy to make money have been indicted or convicted of voter registration fraud. But it didn't start out that way.

If the political left is an abstract concept for social justice and socialist sentiments, then ACORN is its avatar.


Read the entire editorial here: Washington Times Editorial: What is ACORN?

20081010 Washington Times Editorial What is ACORN?

Friday, October 10, 2008

This week in The Tentacle

This week in The Tentacle

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taliban, Welcome
Roy Meachum
The Bush Administration has not posted signs, not yet, welcoming the Taliban back to Afghanistan. But all the signs and indices are there.

The Future of Maryland Medevac
Kevin E. Dayhoff
The recent tragic crash of the Maryland State Police aviation command Medevac helicopter has unfortunately developed a subplot for those who wish to further a debate about the future of the vital air rescue service.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Slots and The Second Debate
Richard B. Weldon Jr.
Lots of debate, discussion, and focus on politics in the last few weeks is responsible for a swirling mix of thoughts.

Wasting Taxpayers Time
Joan McIntyre
Anyone looking in on Frederick from the outside on Tuesday would have thought “what a bunch of idiots.” Taking a moment in time to look at us would not bode well. But follow the path backwards for a bit and you will find the same common denominator at the beginning of just about every drama that has gone on in our county over the past two years. One person.

March to The Battleground
Chris Cavey
Saturday was a typical clear early autumn day; cool, crisp and damp as the early morning saw a dedicated group of Maryland for McCain campaign workers heading south to Fairfax, Virginia, to help the cause in that highly targeted state.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

TFC Mickey Lippy – Hero
Kevin E. Dayhoff
At 11 P.M., September 27, Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter Trooper 2 left its hangar at the Andrews Air Force Base to preserve the “Golden Hour” for two traffic crash victims in Waldorf.

Colorado: Land of Paradox
Tom McLaughlin
The election seems to hinge on battleground states and I visited one of them recently. A trip to Colorado Springs, called “The Springs” by locals, proved to be an enlightening experience.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Republic In Danger
Roy Meachum
With the core of the nation's financial structure in shambles, at stake these next four weeks is the very governmental system itself. Never have these United States needed strong leadership more.

Monday, October 6, 2008
The People’s Will Not Done
Steven R. Berryman
The People to the government: “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part!” Or does it?

From the Desk of The Publisher:
John W. Ashbury
Over the weekend Frederick City Alderman C. Paul Smith submitted an emailed letter to the chairman of the Republican State Central Committee regarding the decision by Delegate Rick Weldon to change his voting registration from Republican to “Unaffiliated.” Alderman Smith suggests that the Central Committee take a strong stand to have Delegate Weldon removed as chairman of the Frederick County Delegation to the General Assembly. We reprint Alderman Smith’s letter in its entirety.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It’s All Male Bovine Dung
John W. Ashbury
This political season has given new meaning to the term used in the headline above. Both presidential camps have stooped to new lows with their ads, intentionally misrepresenting their opponent’s positions. Unfortunately, all too many American swallow the messages and believe one or the other.

Independent Rick Weldon
Roy Meachum
The only times fellow columnist Rick Weldon and I disagreed were when he stepped in the mud pie of partisan politics. Didn't happen often. He was not the sort of human being to give up reason for the sake of one party or the other. Especially in Maryland.

Congress and The Rattlesnake – Part 3
Kevin E. Dayhoff
On May 13, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama compared the current housing crisis in the U.S. to the Great Depression in a campaign stop in Missouri.

Thursday, October 2, 2008
Unfettered Capitalism = Disaster
Tony Soltero
One of the mantras of the right is that free markets only function properly in the complete absence of government intervention. Deregulate everything, get out of the way, and let the market work its magic. It's as essential to conservative dogma as war fever and religious fundamentalism.

Pork and Power
Patricia A. Kelly
I was listening to Senator Orrin Hatch the other day on television, when, referring to the financial bailout vote, he said, “We’re just going to have to sweeten it, and then they’ll vote for it.”

Legally Blonde – The Musical
Roy Meachum
Tuesday's opening at the Hippodrome Theatre brings to Baltimore a show that's still running, if not so strong on Broadway. A cast member's father confided the two-week closing notice has gone up on the New York hit. Pity! But out in the hinterland we have this wow! touring company with us.

Congress and The Rattlesnake – Part 2
Kevin E. Dayhoff
For several weeks the nation and the world have been watching the financial news emanating from Washington and Wall Street with that “deer in headlights” look as everyone holds their breath in disbelief and worries another shoe will drop.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

From the Desk of The Publisher
John W. Ashbury
Yesterday Delegate Rick Weldon announced that he has changed his voter registration from "Republican" to "Unaffiliated." The text of his announcement is presented here for your edification.

Congress and the Rattlesnake – Part 1
Kevin E. Dayhoff
In response to the increasing wrath of the American voter, the U.S. House of Representatives came to its senses on Monday and voted 288 to 205 to kill the rash and ill-conceived proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

Two Faces
Tom McLaughlin
I was really surprised how much Sen. John McCain reminded me of Dad. I watched him in the first debate and his mannerisms, coupled with his speech patterns, had Dad written all over him.

20081010 This week in The Tentacle

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the National Association for Business Economics 50th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the National Association for Business Economics 50th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Related: Speech - Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s 43rd Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition, Chicago, Illinois

October 7, 2008

Current Economic and Financial Conditions

Good afternoon. I am pleased to have once again the opportunity to address the National Association for Business Economics. My remarks today will focus on recent developments in the financial sector and the economy and on the challenges we face.

As you know, financial systems in the United States and in much of the rest of the world are under extraordinary stress, particularly the credit and money markets. The losses suffered by many banks and nonbank financial firms have both constrained their ability to lend and reduced the willingness of other market participants to deal with them. Great uncertainty about the values of financial assets, particularly more complex and opaque assets, has made investors extremely reluctant to bear credit risk, resulting in further declines in asset prices and a drying up of liquidity in a number of funding markets. Even secured funding has become expensive and difficult to obtain, as lenders worry about their ability to sell collateral in illiquid markets in the event of default. In addition, many securitization markets, such as the secondary market for private-label mortgage-backed securities, remain closed or impaired.

Considerable experience in both industrialized and emerging economies has shown that severe financial instability, together with the associated declines in asset prices and disruptions in credit markets, can take a heavy toll on the broader economy if left unchecked. For this reason, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and other agencies are committed to restoring market stability and are working assiduously to ensure that the financial system is able to perform its critical economic functions. Recent actions by the Congress have given the Treasury new tools and resources to address the stressed conditions of our financial markets and institutions. The Federal Reserve has also been granted a new authority, the ability to pay interest on bank reserves, which will allow us to expand our lending as needed to support the system while better managing the federal funds rate. These tools will provide important additional support for the government's efforts to strengthen financial markets and the economy.

Let me briefly review recent financial developments. On the heels of nearly a year of stress in credit markets, investors' and creditors' concerns about funding and credit risks at financial firms intensified over the summer as mortgage-related assets deteriorated further, economic growth slowed, and uncertainty about the economic outlook increased. As investors and creditors lost confidence in the ability of certain firms to meet their obligations, their access to capital markets as well as to short-term funding markets became increasingly impaired and their stock prices fell sharply. Among the companies that experienced this dynamic most forcefully were the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the investment bank Lehman Brothers; and the insurance company American International Group (AIG).

The Federal Reserve believes that, whenever possible, such difficulties should be addressed through private-sector arrangements--for example, by raising new equity capital, as many firms have done, by negotiations leading to a merger or acquisition, or by an orderly wind-down. Government assistance should be provided with the greatest reluctance and only when the stability of the financial system, and thus the health of the broader economy, is at risk. In those cases when financial stability is threatened, however, intervention to protect the public interest may well be justified.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac present cases in point. The Federal Reserve had long warned about the systemic risks posed by these companies' large portfolios of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, as well as the problems arising from the conflict between shareholders' objectives and the government's goals for the two firms. Given the scale of losses in their portfolios, raising enough new capital from private investors was infeasible. The firms' size and their government-sponsored status precluded a merger with, or acquisition by, another company. To avoid unacceptably large dislocations in the mortgage markets, the financial sector, and the economy as a whole, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) put Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship and the Treasury, drawing on authorities recently granted by the Congress, made financial support available. The Federal Reserve, acting in a consultative role, worked closely with FHFA in evaluating the GSE portfolios and capital positions. Based on the joint findings of the agencies, we supported FHFA's decision to place the companies into conservatorship as necessary and appropriate, given their conditions and systemic importance. The government's actions appear to have stabilized the GSEs, although like virtually all other firms they are experiencing effects of the current crisis. Nonetheless, we already have seen benefits of their stabilization in the form of lower mortgage rates, which should help the housing market.

The difficulties at Lehman and AIG raised somewhat different issues. Like the GSEs, both companies were large and complex and deeply embedded in our financial system. In both cases, as the firms approached default, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve sought private-sector solutions, but none was forthcoming. Attempts to organize a consortium of private firms to purchase or recapitalize Lehman were unsuccessful. With respect to public-sector solutions, we determined that either facilitating a sale of Lehman or maintaining the company as a free-standing entity would have required a very sizable injection of public funds--much larger than in the case of Bear Stearns--and would have involved the assumption by taxpayers of billions of dollars of expected losses. Even if assuming these costs could be justified on public policy grounds, neither the Treasury nor the Federal Reserve had the authority to commit public money in that way; in particular, the Federal Reserve's loans must be sufficiently secured to provide reasonable assurance that the loan will be fully repaid. Such collateral was not available in this case. Recognizing that Lehman's potential failure posed risks to market functioning, the Federal Reserve sought to cushion the effects by implementing a number of measures, including substantially broadening the collateral accepted by the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) and Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF) to ensure that the remaining primary dealers would have uninterrupted access to funding.

In the case of AIG, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury judged that a disorderly failure of AIG would have severely threatened global financial stability and the performance of the U.S. economy. That judgment reflected our assessment of prevailing market conditions, AIG's central role in a number of markets other firms use to manage risks, and the size and composition of AIG's balance sheet. To avoid the default of AIG, the Federal Reserve was able to provide emergency credit that was judged to be adequately secured by the assets of the company. To protect U.S. taxpayers and to mitigate the possibility that lending to AIG would encourage inappropriate risk-taking by financial firms in the future, the Federal Reserve further ensured that the terms of the credit extended to AIG imposed significant costs and constraints on the firm's owners, managers, and creditors.

AIG's difficulties and Lehman's failure, along with growing concerns about the U.S. housing sector and economy, contributed to extraordinarily turbulent conditions in global financial markets in recent weeks. Equity prices have fallen sharply, the cost of short-term credit, where such credit has been available, has spiked, and liquidity has dried up in many markets. One money market fund's losses forced it to "break the buck"--that is, the value of its assets fell below par--an event that triggered extensive withdrawals from a number of money market funds. Those funds responded to the surge in redemptions by attempting to reduce their holdings of commercial paper and large certificates of deposit issued by banks. Some firms that could not roll over maturing commercial paper drew on back-up lines of credit with banks just as the banks were finding it even more difficult to raise cash in the money markets. At the same time, a marked increase in the demand for safe assets--a flight to quality and liquidity--resulted in a further drop in the value of mortgage-related assets and sent the yield on Treasury bills down to a few hundredths of a percent.

Developments during the summer pressured not only nonbank financial firms, but also a number of depository institutions, including Washington Mutual (WaMu) and Wachovia. In recent weeks, these two institutions suffered deposit outflows and reduced access to wholesale funding. The Office of Thrift Supervision, WaMu's regulator, closed that company and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver; the FDIC immediately sold the institution to JPMorgan Chase. In the case of Wachovia, to avoid serious adverse effects on economic conditions and financial stability, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the President and on the recommendation of the Federal Reserve and FDIC, authorized the FDIC to use its funds to facilitate the sale of that company's banking operations without loss to creditors. Both Citicorp and Wells Fargo have offered to buy the company and negotiations are continuing. Most importantly, however, in either case all depositors and creditors of Wachovia are fully protected, and depositors and other customers will experience no interruption in banking services.

By potentially restricting future flows of credit to households and businesses, the developments in financial markets pose a significant threat to economic growth. The Treasury and the Fed have taken a range of actions to address the very tight funding conditions that now prevail. For example, the Treasury implemented a temporary guarantee program for balances held in money market mutual funds, helping to stem the outflows from these funds and thus reducing their need to sell assets into already distressed markets. The Federal Reserve has taken a number of steps, including putting in place a temporary lending facility that provides financing for banks to purchase high-quality asset-backed commercial paper from money market funds. The Fed has also significantly increased the quantity of funds it auctions to banks and has accommodated heightened demands for funding from banks and primary dealers; as of last Wednesday, our various lending facilities, including our securities lending program, were providing more than $800 billion of liquidity to the financial system. To address dollar funding pressures worldwide, we have significantly expanded reciprocal currency arrangements (so-called swap agreements) with foreign central banks. These agreements enable the foreign central banks to provide dollar funding to financial institutions in their jurisdictions, which helps to improve the functioning of dollar funding markets globally. In addition, this morning the Federal Reserve announced a new facility that will help provide liquidity to term funding markets by purchasing three-month commercial paper and asset-backed commercial paper directly from eligible issuers.

The expansion of Federal Reserve lending is helping financial firms cope with reduced access to their usual sources of funding. Recently, however, our liquidity provision had begun to run ahead of our ability to absorb excess reserves held by the banking system, leading the effective funds rate, on many days, to fall below the target set by the Federal Open Market Committee. This problem has largely been addressed by a provision of the legislation the Congress passed last week, which gives the Federal Reserve the authority to pay interest on balances that depository institutions hold in their accounts at the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve announced yesterday that it will pay interest on required reserve balances at 10 basis points below the target federal funds rate, and pay interest on excess reserves, initially at 75 basis points below the target. Paying interest on reserves should allow us to better control the federal funds rate, as banks are unlikely to lend overnight balances at a rate lower than they can receive from the Fed; thus, the payment of interest on reserves should set a floor for the funds rate over the day. With this step, our lending facilities may be more easily expanded as necessary. So long as financial conditions warrant, we will continue to look for ways to reduce funding pressures in key markets.

Economic activity had shown signs of decelerating even before the recent upsurge in financial-market tensions. As has been the case for some time, the housing market continues to be a primary source of weakness in the real economy as well as in the financial markets. However, the slowdown in economic activity has spread outside the housing sector. Private payrolls have continued to contract, and the declines in employment, together with earlier increases in food and energy prices, have eroded the purchasing power of households. This sluggishness of real incomes, together with tighter credit and declining household wealth, is now showing through more clearly to consumer spending. Indeed, since May, real consumer outlays have contracted significantly. Meanwhile, in the business sector, worsening sales prospects and a heightened sense of uncertainty have begun to weigh more heavily on investment spending as well.

The intensification of financial turmoil and the further impairment of the functioning of credit markets seem likely to increase the restraint on economic activity in the period ahead. Even households with good credit histories are now facing difficulties obtaining mortgage loans or home equity lines of credit. Banks are also reducing credit card limits, and denial rates on automobile loan applications reportedly are rising. Businesses, too, are confronting diminished access to credit. For example, disruptions in the commercial paper market and tightening of bank lending standards have made it more difficult for businesses to obtain the working capital they need to meet everyday operating expenses such as payrolls and inventories.

All told, economic activity is likely to be subdued during the remainder of this year and into next year. The heightened financial turmoil that we have experienced of late may well lengthen the period of weak economic performance and further increase the risks to growth. To support growth and reduce the downside risks, continued efforts to stabilize the financial markets are essential. The Federal Reserve will continue to use the tools at its disposal to improve market functioning and liquidity.

Inflation has been elevated, reflecting the steep increases in the prices of oil, other commodities, and imports that occurred earlier this year, as well as some pass-through by firms to consumers of their higher costs of production. However, more recently, the prices of oil and other commodities, while remaining quite volatile, have fallen from their peaks, and prices of imports show signs of decelerating. In addition, expected inflation, as measured by consumer surveys and inflation-indexed Treasury securities, has held steady or eased. These recent developments, together with economic activity that is likely to fall short of potential for a time, should lead to rates of inflation more consistent with price stability. Still, the inflation outlook remains highly uncertain, in part because of the extraordinary volatility of commodity prices. We will need to continue to monitor price developments closely.

Overall, the combination of the incoming data and recent financial developments suggests that the outlook for economic growth has worsened and that the downside risks to growth have increased. At the same time, the outlook for inflation has improved somewhat, though it remains uncertain. In light of these developments, the Federal Reserve will need to consider whether the current stance of policy remains appropriate.

The intensification of the financial crisis in recent weeks made clear that a more powerful and comprehensive approach involving the fiscal authorities was needed to solve these problems. On that basis, the Secretary of the Treasury, with the support of the Federal Reserve, went to the Congress to ask for a substantial program aimed at stabilizing our financial markets. As you know, last week the Congress passed and the President signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. This legislation provides important new tools for addressing the distress in financial markets and thus mitigating the risks to the economy. The act adds broad, flexible authorities to buy troubled assets, to provide guarantees, and to directly strengthen the balance sheets of individual institutions. Notably, the legislation establishes a new Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, under which the Treasury is authorized to purchase as much as $700billion of troubled mortgages, mortgage-related securities, and other financial instruments from financial firms that are regulated under U.S. law and have significant operations in the United States. The act also raises the limit on deposit insurance at banks and credit unions from $100,000 to $250,000 per account, a step that should reinforce depositors' confidence in the security of their funds and thus help to stabilize depository institutions. And, as I mentioned, the act provides the Federal Reserve the authority to pay interest on reserves, which will allow us to better manage the federal funds rate as we provide liquidity to the markets. We will begin exercising that authority this week.

The TARP's purchases of illiquid assets from banks and other financial institutions will create liquidity and promote price discovery in the markets for these assets. This in turn will reduce investor uncertainty about the current value and prospects of financial institutions, enabling banks and other institutions to raise capital and increasing the willingness of counterparties to engage. More generally, increased liquidity and transparency in pricing will help to restore confidence in our financial markets and promote more normal functioning. With time, strengthening our financial institutions and markets will allow credit to begin flowing again, supporting economic growth.

The interests of taxpayers are carefully protected under this program. First, the Congress has required extensive controls and oversight to ensure that the allotted funds are used appropriately and effectively. Second, the $700 billion allocated by the legislation is not an authorization to spend but rather an authorization to purchase financial assets. The Treasury will be a patient investor and will likely hold these assets for an appreciable period of time. Eventually, however, some assets will mature, and the Treasury will choose to sell others to private investors. Financially, in the long run, the taxpayer may come out either ahead or behind in this process; in light of the many uncertainties, no assurances can be given. But the ultimate cost of the program to the taxpayer will certainly be far less than $700 billion. Third, and most important, restoring the normal flow of credit is essential for economic recovery. If the TARP promotes financial stability, leading ultimately to stronger economic growth and job creation, it will have proved a very good investment indeed, to everyone's benefit.

To be sure, there are many challenges associated with the design and implementation of the TARP, including determining which assets will be purchased and how prices will be determined. The Treasury, with the advice and cooperation of the Federal Reserve, is working to address these challenges as quickly as possible. It is unlikely that a single method will be used for acquiring assets; inevitably, some experimentation will be necessary to determine which approaches are most effective. Importantly, the legislation that created the TARP does provide sufficient flexibility to allow for different approaches to solving the problem--subject, of course, to the close oversight that will ensure that the program's funds are used in ways that are in the interest of taxpayers.

These are momentous steps, but they are being taken to address a problem of historic dimensions. In one respect, however, we are fortunate. We have learned from historical experience with severe financial crises that if government intervention comes only at a point at which many or most financial institutions are insolvent or nearly so, the costs of restoring the system are greatly increased. This is not the situation we face today. The Congress and the Administration chose to act at a moment of great stress, but one at which the great majority of financial institutions have sufficient capital and liquidity to return to their critical function of providing new credit for our economy. The steps being taken now to restore confidence in our institutions and markets will go far to resolving the current dislocations in the markets. I believe that the bold actions taken by the Congress, the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and other agencies, together with the natural recuperative powers of the financial markets, will lay the groundwork for financial and economic recovery.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Subject: Request For Urgent Business Relationship








20081003 Request for Urgent Business Relationship

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This week in The Tentacle – October 1, 2008

This week in The Tentacle – October 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

From the Desk of The Publisher
John W. Ashbury
Yesterday Delegate Rick Weldon announced that he has changed his voter registration from "Republican" to "Unaffiliated." The text of his announcement is presented here for your edification.

Congress and the Rattlesnake – Part 1
Kevin E. Dayhoff
In response to the increasing wrath of the American voter, the U.S. House of Representatives came to its senses on Monday and voted 288 to 205 to kill the rash and ill-conceived proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

Two Faces
Tom McLaughlin
I was really surprised how much Sen. John McCain reminded me of Dad. I watched him in the first debate and his mannerisms, coupled with his speech patterns, had Dad written all over him.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
My Best Friend's Fancy
Roy Meachum
Other people said Pushkin is Downtown Frederick's best known celebrity. He also runs high in the best-loved category. Every time the English pointer hits the sidewalk, his fans appear. They start conversations when their heads reach my knee level.

The Rites of Autumn on Two Wheels
Nick Diaz
Readers of may remember one of my earlier columns, written late last Fall, in which I listed the 10 dumb questions people ask of motorcycle riders. Since it’s the last day of September, several days past the equinox, one of the 10 dumb questions deserves reiteration, to wit:

Monday, September 29, 2008
Take a Chance
Richard B. Weldon Jr.
Well, it seems as though every expert, bush league moralist, and elected opinion maker is busy sharing their opinions on the question of slot machines in Maryland. In fact, the rush to find a microphone is so overwhelming that it sounds like a stampede.

Three Blind Mice
Steven R. Berryman
What do the president’s speech to the American people on Thursday, and the performance of both the Democratic and Republican candidate at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi, have in common? Answer: None of them acted with full candor and in a bipartisan way, as advertised.

Friday, September 26, 2008
GOP Rotten Fish
Roy Meachum
Coming out of the Fredericktown movies Wednesday I was greeted by the voice of the commander-in-chief. George W. Bush informed me and all Americans that his financial rescue proposal would save the lives we cheer. It was a clunker of a speech.

Don’t Panic!
Steven R. Berryman
…With those words, and the threat of bipartisan congressional intervention, you may wish to do exactly that. Any rush to solution is certainly against the best interests of the citizens of the United States of America.

Making A Wise Choice
Derek Shackelford
Okay, it has been weeks since the glitz and glamour, the pomp and circumstances, the cartwheels, boos over the “other” name and cheers for it as well just because someone delivered a good punch line.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Struggling Citizens = Pay Hike?
Joan McIntyre
In the legislative package that is just now being developed for the upcoming session, Commissioner David Gray put a proposal on the table for not only a raise for the Board of County Commissioners but a raise of huge proportions and with no reasoning other than it makes sense to him. How could you argue with that?

From Whence Cometh This Star Status
Chris Cavey
There is a growing phenomenon that is taking the United States by storm – The Palin Effect. You can recognize this new occurrence by the renewed and intense interest in national politics by the overall female population.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Bush’s Crowd to Blame
Tom McLaughlin
For the past year the nation has been embroiled in a roller coaster ride of the economy brought about by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their cronies.

The Taneytown Business Breakfast
Kevin E. Dayhoff
I recently had a chance to attend the Taneytown business breakfast. I jumped at the opportunity to take a wonderful break from the drama of national politics and the byzantine intrigue over projected shortfalls in the Maryland state budget.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Election Year Low-jinks
Roy Meachum
The Harvard of the West is the catch-phrase prized by California's Stanford University. By whatever name, a recent survey designed and supervised in the school's Palo Alto academic laboratories is, by any standard, the dumbest thing I've encountered going back through nearly 60 years in journalism.

Demand Answers, Expect None
Farrell Keough
When Congress, the president, and the Federal Reserve come together to make a huge new plan with very little dissent or public discussion, it is time to worry. That is what occurred last weekend.

Monday, September 22, 2008
You Bet Your Life…
Steven R. Berryman
The market psychology of the financial investment world has now changed forever. What had been betting essentially on the fortunes of businesses will at least – for the short term – be replaced by betting on how we suspect the rules of the game will change.

20081001 This week in The Tentacle – October 1, 2008