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Messages - MarcNelsonJr

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Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 23, 2014, 08:23:28 PM »
Sounds great! Who's buying?  ;)

Legalized theft. The state is the biggest gang with the most guns.

Legalized theft, nothing more.

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 23, 2014, 11:18:01 AM »
So El Paso finally decided to bet on sports, like so many aspirational cities around the country. Citizens coughed up $62 million — so far — and contractors began erecting a new baseball stadium. As ordered by city leaders and league officials, they placed the stadium downtown, where space was limited. To make room, they first needed to remove one little obstacle.

“The symbolism!” Rickey repeats. “A community willing to blow up their city hall! Oh, god. In order to bring minor league baseball to town! You can’t make that up. ‘We blew up our city hall for minor league baseball!’”


Thanks for the link! It's a good read, especially the part about how tax dollars have turned minor league owners from small businessmen to billionaires.

Silver Screen and the Boob Tube / Re: Iron Man 3
« on: April 21, 2014, 12:36:33 PM »
Watched this the other day and really enjoyed it. I like the progression through the three movies - suit saves Tony, suit is killing Tony, Tony finally figures out that that fixing the suit does not equal fixing Tony, i.e. Tony is not Iron Man.

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 21, 2014, 11:02:43 AM »
For those wanting to support a rancher fighting opporessive forces for his property rights (on land he actually owns, unlike Cliven Bundy), please support Randy Thompson of Nebraska.  He is fighting to stop TransCanada from taking his ranch to build the Keystone XL pipeline. 

He is fighting (and unlike Cliven Bundy) winning in the courts.

I am sure he will be featured on lots of conservative shows highlighting his fight to stop the pipeline.... ::)

If only there were some sort of political philosophy opposed to eminent domain abuse...

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 21, 2014, 11:01:15 AM »
Btw, you also hate the government "picking winners and losers."  Well now all the ranchers who obey the law and pay grazing fees are the losers.  Is that really a just result?

Hopefully, they'll all stop paying. I can't think of a quicker way to induce the feds to divest their land holdings.

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 20, 2014, 01:35:33 AM »
Looks like almost no one is opposed to this.

It is certainly easy to get that impression from our local media.

Despite my attending the meeting, speaking with the press, providing them with information on stadium costs and funding sources, and following up with them via email - neither the T-N nor WCBC saw fit to quote anyone opposed to the study. One side of the story is enough, I guess.

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 20, 2014, 01:20:58 AM »
Furthermore, the public is misinformed about the expense of this land use. Every public lands livestock permittee is banking on federally-funded range infrastructure like solar wells and fences and benefitting from federally-funded wildlife killing that targets native predators like wolves and coyotes for the sake of livestock safety. Many permittees benefit from drought payments and disaster payments, seek handouts for "restoration projects" that are really just reseeding the forage species their cows stripped in the first place.

OK... If the feds don't own the land, they don't need to build wells and fences and shoot coyotes and all the rest. Sell the land, get out of the cattle (and mining, and oil, and....) business, the end.

But he is wearing a cowboy hat, so I guess it's all good ...

I'm not sure who sent out the bat-signal on this one, but I am genuinely confused what any of this has to do with race.

Besides, your "all right-wingers love Cliven Bundy" story line isn't even true. I've already provided one counterexample, and there are plenty of others if you bother looking.

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 19, 2014, 08:11:44 PM »
He wants to have his cattle graze on land he never owned and have me pay for it.

How are you "paying" when cattle graze on a patch of nothing 2,000 miles away? What does it cost you?

The federal government should not be in the cattle business. There's a real simple solution that should have been offered years ago: sell the guy the land.

Anyone who uses the word 'socialism' is labeled a nut. But what else do you call it when the government owns 80% of the land?

Thank you though, for focusing on the merits of the case at hand and not racial conspiracy theories.

The same way you pay for a food stamp or public housing user in Las Vegas.  How is someone refusing to pay their rent or leave in public housing for a crappy apartment 2000 miles away costing you money?  When it costs the federal government money, as conservatives like to remind us, it costs taxpayers money.

Buildings and food have costs. Dirt in Nevada does not.

And to be clear, it is not just that BLM has told him to get off federal lands, it is that he has refused to pay grazing fees.  Other ranchers pay grazing fees.  Why should he be special?

And your alternative?  A Kelo situation really.  Someone refuses to sell to him, so he just takes it for 20 years without paying a dime?  That is not how transactions work.

Why would the feds refuse to sell empty land? What is the purpose of retaining it?

If they want to build an air force base or fence off a bombing range or something, that's another story. But to fight off a guy who wants to put the land to productive use, for no purpose at all? That's insanity.

Local Events / Re: Allegany Boardgaming Society
« on: April 19, 2014, 12:47:50 AM »
We played a big, three-way game of X-Wing last Saturday:

Very fun game! And if you're not into Star Wars, you could always try the Star Trek version. :)

Our next Game Day is:

Saturday, April 19th, 1PM-5PM - at the Frostburg Public Library meeting room

Hope to see you there!

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 18, 2014, 09:08:19 PM »
He wants to have his cattle graze on land he never owned and have me pay for it.

How are you "paying" when cattle graze on a patch of nothing 2,000 miles away? What does it cost you?

The federal government should not be in the cattle business. There's a real simple solution that should have been offered years ago: sell the guy the land.

Anyone who uses the word 'socialism' is labeled a nut. But what else do you call it when the government owns 80% of the land?

Thank you though, for focusing on the merits of the case at hand and not racial conspiracy theories.

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 18, 2014, 04:10:56 PM »
This is America. The whole damn country was founded on telling the authorities where they could stick their laws.

From the Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party, to Thoreau, to the lunch counter sit-ins and Rosa Parks, to Charlton Heston and 'molon labe': Cliven Bundy is just the latest in a long line of disobedient Americans. It requires massive ignorance of American history to paint sympathy for his cause as some sort of racism.

And not only is civil disobedience an American tradition, it works! It brought down George III, it brought down Jim Crow, it brought down Prohibition once and it's doing so again as we speak. If Bundy's resistance brings an end to overbearing federal interference in Western land management, then good.

Order is certainly an important value. Some on the right are arguing that whatever the merits of this particular grievance, order must come first.

But it is not the only value; America has traditionally placed liberty above order. Where are the so-called "liberals" (note root word) sticking up for civil disobedience? When did the draft card burners and freedom riders turn into Bull Conner?

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:30:30 PM »
Here's the portion of today's work session pertaining to the stadium plan:

Everyone makes sure to say repeatedly that all they want to do is fund a study, not a stadium. When you look at the numbers that show the public will inevitably foot the bill, the only question is whether they are being dishonest with themselves, or dishonest with us.

The commissioners will vote to fund the study in two weeks, on May 1.

What I find most interesting is that the reputations of the counties are so inaccurate, according to these measures.

When we look at the DC suburbs, it's said how awful Prince George's County is, but how great Montgomery County is. People have been using that for decades to move out of the county, to avoid doing business there, and the county has suffered for it.

Yet looking at these numbers, Montgomery County isn't represented at all outside of Takoma Park (and they fought to leave Prince George's County because of that reputation). And Prince George's County is represented more than any other county on here.

Glenarden, Bowie, New Carrollton, District Heights, Cheverly, Riverdale Park, Laurel (mostly), Greenbelt, Mount Rainier, Hyattsville and Bladensburg are all in PG County.

While an issue beyond our local scope, it does suggest the reputation of Prince George's County may have less to do with actual crime and more to do with the demographics of the people who predominantly live there, and unfair stereotypes of minorities.

It seems like they only looked at municipalities. Looking at the 2013 murder map, murders (and presumably other violent crimes) are clustered in the non-incorporated areas of PG County bordering DC.

National Politics / Re: Pandering to Criminals
« on: April 17, 2014, 01:57:43 PM »
If this type of armed aggressive stand would have taken place in a place like South Central LA, I think the outcome would have been different. That is just speculation.

Ask the folks at Waco or Ruby Ridge how far their "white privilege" got them.  ;)

What in the world does race have to do with federal land management, anyway? I know we've tried our damndest to stigmatize disagreement with a black president as racist... Does sympathizing with a white rancher make you racist now, too?

This sort of crap is the reason why the cry "RACIST!" has become a punchline.


But if someone in urban federally-owned public housing was evicted, refused to leave or pay for 10 years, and got a bunch of his friends to bring guns to help him defend where he was squatting, something tells me that the conservative media would look at that entirely differently.

As would the Team Blue media.

We could game out what we think partisans would say about a hypothetical case involving different actors and different circumstances, and then using the predicted reactions to that hypothetical case to accuse the other guy of being a racist... Or we could discuss the actual issue at hand.

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:50:33 AM »
And if you have any doubt that a stadium will be funded by we taxpayers, take a look at this. It's a slide from a presentation that B&D Venues gave recently to Columbia, South Carolina:

The presentation also shows that I've actually been underestimating the cost of a stadium. The average cost of even a Class A ballpark built in the past 10 years is $38 million - or about one high school.

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:15:51 AM »
I think a small baseball stadium and a healthy minor league tenant sounds wonderful for Cumberland. 

So do I! But 'healthy' is the operative word here. If $7500 is a stumbling block, then the effort is already proving not economically viable. To cross the streams to another thread, I also think an Aldi would be wonderful for our area. But that doesn't mean the taxpayers should be paying for Aldi's market research and building them a free facility.

Minor league franchises aren't shoestring operations owned by the local car dealer any more. They are big business - in many cases owned by the same billionaires who own major league franchises. I can't think of any good reason why the taxpayers of an impoverished rural county should allow the politicians to take money out of our pockets and give it to the likes of Robert Rich or Peter Guber. Does anyone believe that those guys couldn't scrape together $7500?

But, I also think Marc is correct, that this idea is further down the road than the official description of the work concedes. There is some type of support already committed at the staff level, since the scope of work is being presented as a staff recommendation.

It is certainly looking that way. The commissioners are trying to play down this spending with the cover that "it's just a study." You have to understand the economics of subsidized sports to understand what this study actually means.

The feasibility study isn't mean to discover feasibility; its purpose is to create it. For the wealthy franchise owners, the economics don't work without a "free" facility to locate the team in. They aren't interested in the economic climate here, but the political climate - whether we are dumb enough to give them a stadium. The feasibility study indicates that the politicians are willing to spend public money for private good, and it helps shape public opinion towards spending even more of it.

Local Politics / Re: Is the county hurting education?
« on: April 17, 2014, 09:41:02 AM »
"Ballooning teachers salaries"??  Really?  I guess I'd better go home and recheck my Allegany County Teachers Federal Credit Union account.....I must be rich!  I'm going to go quit the second job I have that supplements my salary!!  Yay!! Thanks for letting me know!

BoE Salaries and Wages, FY06: $53,673,844

BoE Salaries and Wages, FY14: $64,886,100

Interesting choice of years Marc. A person can cherry pick numbers and stats to tell any story he/she would like...just watch the news once.  Try FY10 and FY14 for comparison:

BoE Salaries and Wages, FY10: $68,880,717 (total)  $43,161,565 (Instructional)

BoE Salaries and Wages, FY14: $64,886,100 (total)  $40,159,452 (Instructional)

I took the oldest budget available on the BoE's website, and the newest one.

The BoE did shed some positions through attrition - but as Nathan said, that just indicates how much salaries have increased. Fewer employees are making more money.

Local Politics / Re: Commissioners subsidizing baseball?
« on: April 17, 2014, 12:54:16 AM »
Here is the email I sent to the mayor and city council:

Mayor and Council:

Hello! I have some questions that I am hoping you can answer.

The county commissioners have listed the following agenda item for their work session tomorrow:

Cumberland Baseball Committee Initiative – David Caporale, City Councilman,    Shawn Hershberger, Economic Development Coordinator and Jeffrey S. Barclay, Economic Development Specialist.

My questions are:

- Why are Mr. Caporale and Mr. Hershberger attending tomorrow's work session?

- What is the extent of the city's involvement in the minor league baseball proposal? When did the involvement begin?

- When was the decision made to involve the city?

- Was this decision discussed or voted upon?

- Has the city entered into any contracts, agreements, or MOUs concerning this proposal? Is the city currently engaged in negotiating any of the above?

I won't restate my entire case for staying out of the baseball business, but I think we can agree that there is the potential for large taxpayer expenditures here. It is very important that the citizens of Cumberland be involved at every step of the city's decision-making process and that no deals be made without our knowledge and consent.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to an informed dialogue on this issue.

And the response I received from city administrator Jeff Rhodes:

Mr. Nelson,

I have been asked to respond to your message sent to the Mayor and City Council relative to the County Baseball Study.  I am aware of the issue and they thought I could be helpful in answering your questions.

First, I do not know if Councilman Caporale or Mr. Hershberger will be attending the work session tomorrow.  While I do not speak for Councilman Caporale, I will say that I am not aware that he plans to attend.   I believe that Mr. Hershberger may be planning to attend….though I am not certain of that.  I can also say that the reason Mr. Hershberger may attend is because he has been asked to attend by the County.   

Second, Mr. Hershberger has attended some meetings that have been held to discuss the matter.  There is a citizens group that has been exploring the idea for quite some time and Mr. Hershberger has been invited to attend some of those meetings.  It is my understanding that the citizens group have been meeting off and on for quite a while but I am not certain how many meetings that Mr. Hershberger has attended.  Additionally, I participated in a brief discussion on the matter last month.  That discussion took place between County and City staff as part of an overall discussion on a number of other subjects. 

Third, I am not sure I would refer to the City as even being involved.  The Mayor, City Council and City Staff are frequently called upon to participate in meetings, discussions and other matters so attendance at such meetings would be considered a routine activity.  In fact, I do not believe the so called “Committee” has even met on the subject…at least not that I am aware of.

Fourth, the matter has not been voted on by the Mayor and City Council and they have not formally discussed the matter. 

Fifth, the City has not entered into any contracts, agreements or MOU’s relative to the study and the City is not engaged in negotiating anything relative to the study.

Lastly, I will simply say that the Mayor and City Council conduct their business in public. 

In summary, while I have no knowledge of your “case for staying out of the baseball business”, I would say that this issue has been around for many years and has a number of supporters.  Further, the particular study being discussed only involves determining whether any specific teams or leagues would have an interest in expanding to Allegany County.  In that regard, the City generally supports the County’s effort at this time.

Please let me know if you have any further questions on the matter.

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