Talking Maryland podcasts

Here’s a partial list of the times I’ve been interviewed as a podcast guest on Maryland-based shows and Maryland issues (redistricting in particular). Radio generally excluded.

New Jan. 14, 2022: I talk gerrymandering and redistricting reform with host Sunil Dasgupta of Montgomery County at his I Hate Politics podcast.

In March 2021 I joined Dan Sally, who makes a practice of getting past “red versus blue” narratives, at his You Don’t Have to Yell podcast.

In March 2020 I joined hosts Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally at the Maryland Association of Counties’ Conduit Street Podcast. We ranged across all sorts of topics including how libertarians fit into politics and the role of emergency powers in the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March 2019, with the District 6 court challenge at its highest pitch, host Ryan Miner at A Miner Detail interviewed me and (no relation) Ashley Oleson, 2/3rds of the chairs of Gov. Hogan’s Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering.

In December 2018 I joined Emma Kerr and Colin McGuire at the Frederick News Post’s Frederick Uncut, also on the District 6 battle. And there was a followup interview in June 2019 when the Supreme Court ruled.

In fact I think I was the first guest “Frederick Uncut” ever had back for a repeat interview. In 2016 I had discussed the role of third party candidates in politics.

In August 2018 I joined hosts Candace Dodson Reed and Tom Coale on the Elevate Maryland podcast to talk — what else? — gerrymandering.

In November 2017 Patrick Hanes at Frederick-based WFRE interviewed me on what it’s like to work at a think tank. It’s a completely different interview than others I’ve done, because the questions are different, and I recommend it.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some (as well as generally omitting the many radio and TV hits that weren’t in podcast format). So many good podcasts out there for those of us who follow Maryland issues. Check these shows out!

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The Democrats’ lone dissenter

I’d like to write a few words just to salute first-term Maryland delegate Gabriel Acevero (D-19; Germantown, Montgomery Village), someone whose politics differ widely from mine. I knew Del. Acevero’s name because last year he took a principled stand at likely cost to himself. Now he’s gone and done that again.

This week, Del. Acevero was the only Democrat in the Maryland legislature to vote against the leadership’s super-gerrymandered map of Congressional seats. He saw the principle of the thing.

You might guess that Del. Acevero would get primaried over that. But here’s the thing: he’s already being primaried in his three-member District 39 following the principled thing he did last year.

In 2020 Del. Acevero led the fight to repeal Maryland’s very bad police-tenure law, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. His day job, however, was with MC-GEO, a powerful public employee union that represents some LEOs. It fired him.

In the event, LEOBR was modified, though not repealed. Meanwhile, a VP of the union that fired Acevero, MC-GEO, is running in his district, and the union says it’s “all in” on supporting the candidacy of its officer, who’s run before.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next to Del. Acevero in electoral politics. But I do know that at age 31, he’s already taken more meaningful stands on principle than many lawmakers get around to taking in their whole careers.

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Absent with a good reason

I’ve been absent from blogging here since the summer in order to concentrate on my duties concerning the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, the nine-member panel charged with recommending maps for Gov. Hogan to propose for redrawing Congressional and legislative lines. That job will continue for a while, but the commission has now proposed to the public all three of its maps — Congressional, state senate, and delegate — and you can check them out here or use a viewer that allows zooming down to the street level. Public comment continues for a couple more weeks and the commission will consider altering lines to reflect public reaction and comments, as it has already done in several areas.

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In miniature, June 8

  • [Some] Republicans against employers’ rights? Notion of forbidding employers from asking for proof of vaccination has at least one backer in the General Assembly [Laura Olson, Maryland Matters]
  • Councilmember Hans Riemer is now running for Montgomery County Executive. MDGEO county employee union has used hardball tactics against him in past [Seventh State]
  • I joined Yuripzy Morgan’s WBAL show to discuss guaranteed-income programs that discriminate by race;
  • “Research shows, time and again, however, that bans on single‐use plastic bags can have unintended consequences, not least by inducing substitution towards alternatives with potentially worse environmental impacts.” [Ryan Bourne and Erin_Partin, Cato; earlier here, etc.]
  • As of six months ago, 35 states followed the stand-your-ground doctrine in self-defense cases, while 15 followed duty-to-retreat. Maryland is in the minority, prescribing duty to retreat with a sole exception of the home [Eugene Volokh]
  • Renowned New Haven pizzeria Frank Pepe’s still plans 2021 Bethesda opening [Washingtonian]

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Marilyn Mosby files FCC complaint against broadcast criticism

Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, doesn’t like the many critical and investigative stories that WBFF Baltimore has run about her and just sent an astonishing letter to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that its “coverage [be] curtailed and ceased.”  Mosby’s letter really must be seen to be believed: it openly seeks to intimidate and chill speech protected by the First Amendment.

Notes UCLA lawprof and leading free speech law expert Eugene Volokh writes: “I note that none of the letter’s claims of ‘distortion’ are supported by any actual explanation of why the stories are supposedly inconsistent with the facts.” After examining and dismissing as unactionable other charges raised in the Mosby letter, including invasion of her privacy, he adds: “certainly critical news coverage, whether of prosecutors, police officers, or anyone else, can’t be suppressed on the grounds that some tiny fraction of the audience may be so angered by it that they will commit crimes against the people being criticized. I expect the FCC to (rightly) dismiss the complaint.”

It seems to me that Mosby’s letter should be met by a united front of condemnation among free speech advocates, media people (in Maryland especially), and those who track D.A. misconduct. Prosecutors must not be allowed to chill and suppress critical journalism about their doings.

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“You Don’t Have To Yell” podcast on gerrymandering

I joined host Dan Sally last month at the nonpartisan You Don’t Have To Yell podcast for a discussion of gerrymandering and redistricting in Maryland and other states. You can listen here.

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In miniature, March 6

  • “Do-it-yourself manufacturing has always hobbled authorities’ ability to control things they don’t like, and the modern ghost gun movement specifically evolved to put personal armaments beyond the reach of the state.” [J.D. Tuccille/Reason] Nonetheless, some in Annapolis hope a legal ban will defy the technology [Hannah Gaskill, Maryland Matters
  • West Coast bills attempting to force pay raises for grocery workers backfire. A bill in the Maryland General Assembly would try the same thing [Brad Palumbo, FEE]
  • “Opinion: Lawmakers Should Oppose Bill to Retroactively Allow Old Lawsuits” [Sean Caine, Maryland Matters]
  • New report from legislative analysis office confirms that in Montgomery County, as elsewhere, legal curbs on rents can be expected to have highly damaging economic consequences [Adam Pagnucco, Seventh State; Ryan Bourne, Cato]
  • Not all the Montgomery County housing proposals are wretched, one would ease rules for constructing duplexes/triplexes/etc. [Dan Reed, Greater Greater Washington]
  • Latest proposed Annapolis imposition on business would ban plastic bags at retailers. Hope Gov. Hogan has his veto pen ready [Madison Hunt, CNS/Maryland Reporter and Elizabeth Shwe/Maryland Matters

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In miniature, January 22

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An Electoral College floor challenge four years ago, and the Maryland angle

On Jan. 6, when Congress meets to count electoral votes, some members may object from the floor on whether or not to accept each state’s electoral college submission, and if there is such an objection from at least one member of each House, the members will go on record on whether to approve. The result appears to be a foregone conclusion; in practice neither House will agree to overturn a certified state outcome (Democrats will organize the House, while in the Republican Senate only a minority of Trump ultras at most will contest Joe Biden’s victory.)

Whatever you think of this, much of it is not new; a version of it happened four years ago. Even though Donald Trump had obviously won a lawful victory in the 2016 electoral college, a few left-wing Democrats insisted on mounting a floor challenge. What followed is choice enough to quote, from a 2017 account in Slate:

Senate President Joe Biden oversaw the proceedings. On the Democratic side of the aisle, a half-dozen or so members, including Reps. Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, Raúl Grijalva and freshman Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin, switched seats to take turns raising objections. The objections varied from state to state. In North Carolina the objections hinged on the state’s effective disenfranchisement of black voters. But most objections referenced Russia’s interference in the election.”

Biden was having little of it, and banged the gavel loudly, because none of the members were able to find a senatorial co-signator, thus voiding their objections. The much more populated Republican side of the aisle booed or called out “order!” following each denied objection. When Rep. Jayapal gave her objection, Biden finally said, “It is over.” Republicans gave him a standing ovation.

I am pained to record that lefty Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), one of the loopy few that day, represents my own community in the House of Representatives. If circus-like proceedings do unfold this coming Jan. 6, Raskin will be one of the few Democratic members not in a good position to complain.

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Ideological commitments and academic freedom at UMD

The University of Maryland’s public policy school “is apparently about to require faculty members to add a statement to their syllabus” avowing a series of deeply ideological commitments on topics ranging from “anti-racism” to Indian land acknowledgments. It will also impose rules about how classroom discussions and materials must treat topics related to diversity. Both policies are inconsistent with principles of academic freedom, notes Eugene Volokh.

As a public institution, UMD comes under First Amendment constraints that a private educational institution would not face, and it is likely that some of the new rules overstep those First Amendment prohibitions as well. You can read more about the proposals here.

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