Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Annapolis Gospel Fest

(Caution this is a parody - it may offend - I'm hoping you'll laugh like I did.)

Annapolis- Welcome to the First AME Church in Christ Holy Name of the Redeemer in the Mosque and Synagogue of Annapolis. We have asked clergy members to move to the front, and please no crowding. Our invocations will be lead by a pair of renowned pastors from our state Reverends C.A.Museum, and His Eminence Fireinpants. Pastors please note our time is short (one week to be exact) so refrain from any shout-outs.

Reverend Museum –“In the name of the most holy Gorgeous Prince George’s County I want to welcome you to this preordained service. My name, I mean his name, shall be exalted above all others. If god had not created a more perfect region in the state of Maryland it would be my home county. Heavenly father please bless my county known for corruption, malfeasance, bribery, and our close proximity to Washington. We pray for our bounty as the most affluent Black jurisdiction in the state which we never fail to let people know. In god’s name we pray that my exploratory committee to run for higher office attracts people other than my Prince Georgians (Baltimore are you with me). Amen.”

Reverend Fireinpants- in his deepest southern drawl – “Father have mercy on our state for we often don’t understand what we do…like the last session when we took blasphemy to a new level by considering Same Sex Marriage. Heavenly, father that dreaded bill will not come up during this session if you will have your will. God we ask you to remember all those Prince Georgians who voted to kill this measure and grant them sizable tax free donations from your churches. In heavens name we pray, Amen."

Our Announcer is Brother Charles “I use to work in White Country/Black Gospel Radio Back in the Day” Robinson. Brother Robinson you have the mike.

I want to lay down the rules for this Gospel Fest.

1. All participants must sing from the same Hymnal.
2. Groups must prescribe to the call and response of Gospel Music.
3. Soloist cannot extend their songs by resorting to jazz scatting.
4. Straying from the provided text may cause primary political challengers. No political parties are exempt.
5. Winners and losers will be selected in the same manner imposed by such shows as American Idol, The Voice, and the X-factor.

Lastly, I want to let you know this event is being sponsored by the Pit- “You know we can smell it before we see it.”

First up is a trio known as “Sue Who” – It features an Irish singer, a Notre Dame fan, and a red/blonde Singer who favors a personal friend who went to the University of Maryland but doesn’t live anywhere near the school.

“Excuse me Brother Robinson?”


“We have a featured vocalist.”

And who is that.

“Freda Getalong. She’ll be leading us in a song we just love. “Don’t Stray from the Hymnal or We’ll Hurt You.”

Let’s take a listen.

Our next performer is Evangelist Don’t Mess With Me Congresswoman. Evangelist Congresswoman, what song are you going sing?

“They Never Knew My Pain and Want to Marginalize Me”.

Let’s hear it.

I see we have a group resembling the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“Brother Robinson, how many people can we have on stage?”

It’s up to you.

“We would like to start with several soloist who have variations on our theme ‘God Knows, What Were You Thinking When You Drew This Map’ followed by our chorus who will chime in with “They Are Here to Raise Your Taxes Jesus.”

You’re going to get this all in during the prescribed timeframe?

“Hallelujah we will.”

Get ready for soul stirring Gospel, folks.

This next group comes from the Church of the Evangelista of Montgomery County. Carmelita Pho Seoul Patel is its leader. What song are you planning to sing?

“Brother Robinson ours is a classic; ‘You Can’t See Me But I’m Here and the Census Proves It.’”

Ah, sookie –sookie now ya’ll gonna get a lot of praise for that one.

Are there any other performers? I’ll leave the sign-up sheet on the table in case of any last minute entries.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any person real or fictional is purely coincidental. This is parody.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Special Session Day One

Annapolis - Want to let folks see the process on the Opening Day of the Maryland Special Session to deal with redistricting. The focus was on maps with dueling press conferences. There was a lot of passion, take a look.

Special Session Day Two

Annapolis - The debate on the floor of the Senate was cordial but not persuasive. The body passed the governor's plan in tack. Take a listen to those who took to the floor.

The measure now goes to the house for second reader. Several attempts were in the House committee hearing the bill to make changes. Much of the changes came from Republicans which went not where.


Annapolis, MD – “I’m a little bit outside of the box. I didn’t come through the Democratic party establishment…the hymn book I do follow is one that’s about the concerns of average ordinary working people” a frustrated Representative Donna Edwards (D) Maryland extorted following her nearly hour long questioning at a Joint Hearing of the Annapolis Legislature. The legislative body is trying to tackle the thorny issue of congressional redistricting. Republican and Democrats tried to sort through the myriad of maps. Congresswoman Edwards joined a chorus of optimist who wanted no parts of a map conceived to reconfigure the state’s congressional districts.

The implausible map arrived in my twitter account on Saturday evening which kind of surprised me. It came close to a map drawn by a Committee on Reapportionment and Redistricting. Under the leadership of Jeanne Hitchcock, the group held 12 public hearings around the state. I’ve seen nearly 5 different maps of the newly drawn congressional maps of the state. It’s clear with a Democratic majority of the state one of two Republican congress people were going to be shutout in the process. The early idea was to redraw a district involving the 1st Congressional District but that prove untenable. It fell to the 6th Congressional District (Western Maryland) for change.

The 6th District under the new proposal will include all of western Maryland and portions of Montgomery County. The map looks to dilute the strength of pro-Republican voters, known as “cracking.”

The 4th District, which was originally drawn to carve out a minority majority district, will now include not only Prince Georges, and Montgomery Counties will now include parts of Anne Arundel County which it gave up to 6th District.

According to Governor Martin O’Malley, the state’s most recent data shows the growth of population occurred around the Washington suburbs. A sizable chunk occurred in Montgomery County and Prince George’s (with some spill over in Charles and Saint Mary’s Counties).

Future growth shows Frederick County will become a bed room community of Washington (which it kind of already has) is the area that was annexed to the 6th District.
There were a lot of people weighing in on the process. There were those with political ambition and those who used new software to generate models. In the past models resembled erector sets, dominoes, or Lego’s. Pick your favorite childhood metaphors.

Plausible Alternatives

It started with a number of emails from various constituents. Hassan Giordano began flooding my email box with questions about the dilution of African-American voters. Chiming in was Doni Glover of who also questioned the sincerity of African-American political leadership.

The issue that seems to consume these and others was a dilution of African-American representation in congress. The state has had its issues with providing its minority population with representation. Currently the state is served by two African-Americans, Rep. Edwards (Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties) and the Rep. Elijah Cummings (Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard Counties). The recent census showed there are new growing minorities in Washington suburbs (Latino and Asian populations).

The suggestion these were not factored into the map consider was dismissed by the states chief executive. Any suggestion it would not pass the Voting Rights Act was summarily dismissed “it’s balanced.”

Members of the Republican Party and the newly formed Fannie Lou Hammer PAC under the direction of Carletta Fellows were not impressed by the final map and stage their own press conference.

Also mounting a challenge was Nancy Soeng, President of the League of Women Voters of Maryland Inc. She called “the process troubling.” In her testimony she challenged the politics at play.

Others challenging the legislation include Common Cause.

Here are some of the raw numbers which are in play; the state’s minority population makes up 40% of the state. 29% of the minority population is African-American. Opponents of the governor’s plan suggest there are enough minorities in the state to create another minority majority district.

This idea runs into reality and unfortunate the planners turn to computers to assist. Let me provide that old adage “garbage in garbage out.” Computers can count but they cannot discern.

In anticipation of a challenge, the state has consulted with Attorney General’s office. They have retained an expert through Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman who will lead its litigation if it doesn't pass section two of the Voting Rights Act.


In a power move Del. Kumar Barve requested a meeting with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake. “Hey we need to talk I’m thinking about running for Comptroller, let’s talk.” Mayor Blake nodded with her traditional wry smile. The mayor is coming off a decisive primary win. She was just one of two of the state’s power brokers (Ike Leggett and Rushern Baker) who were in Annapolis. Some attribute the most recent acquisition of Indy Race Car series in Baltimore as a success. The mayor called the recent death of an Indy driver in Las Vegas “tragic.”

I also wanted to know more about her decision to privatize the city’s recreation centers. “We must get away from the status quo.” The mayor sent out an RFP for community groups and non-profits to consider taking over the nearly all the cities recreation centers. Only 7 groups applied. Hmmm?

Missing from the legislative session is a pair of legislators Sen. Jeanne Forehand and Sen. Ulysses Currie. There is no word of Forehands absence, Currie has been locked in a federal trial. At the trial the defense is starting to weigh-in. Two witnesses suggest the Senator isn’t very bright. Ugh…Currie was the chair Budget and Taxation Committee.