As the Ravens go, so goes the Maryland House of Delegates ...
The recent successes of the Baltimore footballers –– retirement announcement of Ray Lewis notwithstanding –– have prompted mysterious fits of shouting, cheering, barking and general purple-ness among lawmakers from all over the state.
Case in point: Friday last, Annapolis, 11ish. The House convened in a sea of purple Ravens’ jerseys, scarfs, sweaters, neckties ... even Mike Busch sported, briefly, a Ravens cap from the rostrum.
But the obvious ringleader appeared to be Shawn Tarrant, who took the microphone and demanded to know if his colleagues’ support for the team was genuine.
To wit: “Any dogs in the House?” Tarrant bellowed, prompting enthusiastic cries of “Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!” from the rest of the chamber.
Needless to say, the House’s efforts were clearly responsible for the Ravens’ nail-biting, double-overtime win in Denver on Saturday, and the lawmakers have pledged another “Purple Friday” pep-rally-cum-important-state-economic-and-general-prestige stimulus event for the 18th, two days before the Ravens’ next game against the Patriots.
We have a bone to pick with one Del. Maggie McIntosh, chairwoman of the Environmental Matters Committee and grand dame of alliterative names. We couldn’t help but admire her tenacity in advocating for passage of Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill –– first in the House chamber and then at the ballot box. She was out there, fighting gamely for equality. Then, in what had to be the most emotional culmination after years of political struggle, McIntosh got married Saturday and DID NOT INVITE US. We’re highly offended to be denied the photo op.
The ceremony took place Saturday in Baltimore, at the Old Town Friends Meeting House. McIntosh’s wife’s name is Diane Stollenwerk.
Del. Don Dwyer Jr. drew national attention this week after he sat down with the Capital Gazette newspapers for an interview that in part discussed how his fight against gay marriage, as well as the end of his own marriage, led to his drinking.
While the interview was more nuanced than some of the national websites would have you believe (Wonkette.com’s headline: “Drunky Maryland Pol: Gay Marriage Crashed That Boat, Injured That 5-Year-Old Girl”) Dwyer did say that his drinking increased because of the political battle over gay marriage.
“That betrayal really affected me,” he told the Capital Gazette. “I was physically ill. You pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”
That drinking culminated in the boat crash. He declined to discuss details of the accident, but said he was not to blame for it, according to the newspaper.
Dwyer entered rehab and said he no longer drinks.
Those walking along West Street in Annapolis could be forgiven for thinking they’d somehow walked into an editorial cartoon.
A pair of signs adorned the stately old Maryland Republican Party headquarters, with its white columns and large front window, proclaiming that the space was available for sale or lease.
OK, OK. We know.
The state’s Republicans moved to a new headquarters nearby almost a year ago. And we know the good folks at Hyatt Commercial real estate (almost) certainly had no alterior satirical or political motives when they decided to advertise their vacant storefront.
And we definitely know that it’s totally easy to take things out of context and pretend they’re passive-aggressive swipes at political parties that faced electoral defeat not only in last year's presidential race but on several key ballot questions.
We understand all of that. But it’s still a little funny.
Keen observers of the Maryland Senate might have noticed a curious fashion choice sported by some members Thursday: camel-hair coats. Just like regular sport coats, but ... beiger.
A handful of senators, including Brian Frosh, Doug Peters, Ed Kasemeyer, Richard Colburn, Nathaniel McFadden and even Mike Miller, as well as several Senate staffers, took part in the tradition, which Miller said went back at least 20 years.
“At one point in time they had the Camel Caucus,” said Miller, who seemed lukewarm on the whole practice.
“This is just my way of showing I’m still one of you guys,” he said. “I don’t follow it religiously.”