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Archive for the ‘Election’ Category

Pouring on Confusion

Up against a looming $121 million budget gap, Baltimore’s City Council is  again considering a 4 cents levy on beverages. Beverages included in this tax are soda, water, alcohol and other beverages with less than 10% fruit juice. But this one is facing hefty opposition (er, no pun intended). The alternatives are an increase in property taxes, laying off police offers and closing city pools just as another humid, sizzling summer kicks off.

The Stop the Baltimore Beverage Tax web site bills itself as “a coalition of concerned citizens, businesses and community organizations that oppose placing a new tax on beverages on the backs of hardworking families.” What the site doesn’t say is that it is funded by the American Beverage Association, which has launched a fierce advocacy campaign to stop this from going through. (more…)

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

A new jobs report issued Saturday by the Labor Department shows that businesses cut some 85,000 jobs in December.  The Washington Post sees this as proof that the job market remains in a deep funk.  We seem stuck in the midst of a jobless recovery, which sounds like the economic equivalent of a dry hump to me.  Is a recovery without job creation really a recovery?  For the bankers maybe, but for the rest of us?  Although the unemployment rate remained at 10%, economists suspect that this figure remained steady in December because of hundreds of thousands of frustrated workers who have simply given up on finding a job.  Beyond the national political implications as we begin an election year, what does this news mean for Baltimore? (more…)

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Sno Ball image courtesy of Urban Wanderer

Sno Ball image courtesy of Urban Wanderer

It’s 4th of July weekend. America, our America, land of Stars and Stripes tees, anemic hot dogs in buns, pudgy dogs in red collars, porky men in too-tight shorts, yellow-haired children clutching glowing light sabers, whistling Chinese fireworks in the sky, and cold beer.

Top 10 ways you can tell you’re in Baltimore on Independence Day Weekend:

10)Cash-poor police department installs sobriety check on Interstate 395 to challenge all drivers entering Charm City.

9) Harbor water mysteriously turns color. Fishy-smelling grey is now fishy-smelling aquamarine.

8) Patriotic visitors strolling the harbor observe a 15-foot cell phone, supposedly the world’s largest, thanks to fireworks sponsor CricKet. Wild rock music plays, people are invited to make the “biggest call of their lives”

7) To witness the Harbor fireworks display, multilingual families camp out 10 hours before showtime on the lawn within ear blast by Poison from the Hard Rock Cafe loudspeakers. The saree-clad Desi camp settled in opposite the aquarium where bullhorns shepherded sunstroked parents and children through a multitude of lines.

6) African American Festival at M&T Bank Stadium features poetry slam, spelling bee, health education fair, and $5000 VIP cabana seats.

5) Fort McHenry revelers commemorate the day with fife and drum music, cannon-firing, poetry reading, musket salute for 18 states, period games, feasting and historic toasts… and hanging King George in effigy.

4) Crab permeates air, shards of claws appear in gutters, your neighbor’s fingernails are crusted with Old Bay.

3) Sno-Balls trump Bomb Pops. Souse that sucker in Blue Raspberry, Cherry and Vanilla.

2) The roofs in Fell’s fit together like jigsaw squares. From the ubiquitous wooden decks, roof hopping becomes a competitive sport (Ray Ray, the hahbor view’s better down here!).

1) It’s 3am and loud banging noises sound off in quick succession. POP POP POP POP!! Firecrackers, faulty wiring exploding, or semiautomatic weapons?

God bless America.

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Obama’s Whistle Stop in Baltimore

News that Obama plans a whistle stop tour to Washington  must have Baltimore city planners in a tizzy. An expected 150,000 people will show up in Charm City to catch a glimpse as the Audaciously Hopeful President chugs his way towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Reporters point out the largest stadium holds just 77,000. Luckily, security threats should be minimal in this solidly pro-Obama city. The prez-to-be — he arrives here on January 17 — could hold court at Patterson Park, below the playful Victorian-style pagoda.

Ideal for a secret service lookout?

Ideal for a secret service lookout?

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Rabble-rousing in Washington Place after Obama's resounding victory

Election night rabble-rousing in Washington Place

We all heard about celebrations, rain mixing with tears, in front of the White House and on historically black U Street. Yet while Washington, Harlem and Times Square rocked with joy, many of Baltimore’s inhabitants apparently slept through the night. Needless to say, the rabble rousers above didn’t sleep much. After four cable news channels proclaimed BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT, we blinked, rubbed our eyes and started to shout, hysterically. After celebratory drinks at the weirdly sedate Midtown Yacht Club, we joined a herd of 20-somethings gathered around the Washington Monument jumping and shrieking at any car spotted (there weren’t many at 1:30am) until they slapped us five and honked good and loud. Any and all passersby shouted and raised fists. I spotted my trusted OBAMA t-shirt from MoveOn.org on a couple other people. BARACK ON! we enthused. Yes, we can– Yes, we did! 

I voted

I voted

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Obama win in the news

On Wednesday, we scrounged every news vendor in Mount Vernon but to no avail–everyone wanted a copy of the day’s papers declaring the Obama victory. Even the free quasi-newspaper B was snatched up.

So I did the new school thing and saved home page screenshots from November 5. (this also prevents my apartment from becoming stacked with yellowed newspapers–I still have one from Clinton’s inauguration… why on earth would I not recycle this?). Here goes this week’s news.

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