Struck by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s calling portable classrooms “temporary learning shacks” at his announcement earlier this month that he would include $336 million for school construction in his budget, we looked to see if this usage was a first.
Based on Internet searches, it seems O’Malley has been using the turn of phrase since about 2006.
“We thank him for that,” said Rob Prevatt, director of marketing for Williams Scotsman — one of, if not the largest, purveyor of portable classrooms and modular space and storage buildings in the United States.
Based in Baltimore’s Fells Point, Williams Scotsman has been a Maryland company for decades. Its early growth was fueled by the need for construction trailers in building interstate highways.
About a third of the company’s inventory is educational units; it has about 100 locations around the U.S. and employs about 200 people in Maryland, Prevatt said.
“They do fill a need, but we shouldn’t be housing our kids for years on end in these,” said O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory, adding that “we do appreciate the fact that it’s a Maryland business and employs Marylanders.”
Democrats haven’t been alone in using mobile classrooms as easy targets.
Republican Ellen Sauerbrey’s campaign in 1998 against Gov. Parris Glendening hauled them into Ravens stadium to decry their widespread use.
It’s also worth noting that some educators like them. Last year one principal in Montgomery County, where about 500 are in use, fondly called them learning cottages. They give everybody a chance to get some fresh air, she said.
— Margie Hyslop
When you think of classic Super Bowl cuisine, what do you envision? Chicken wings, deep-fried anything, and one of those party trays of chips and dips arranged to look like a stadium, right? The thing that is probably less prominent, and more the fare of the health-conscious on the go, is Wheat Thins.
But Nabisco apparently is trying to expand their appeal, and is planning to deliver 10,000 boxes of the whole-grain-goodness-filled snack crackers to either Baltimore or San Francisco, depending on which city tweets the most about the campaign with the hashtag “musthavewheatthins.”
The whole thing started Jan. 20, when the Super Bowl participants were determined, and so far only 1,024 Baltimoreans have tweeted their desperate longing for crackers.
San Francisco, however, is only slightly more crazed for Wheat Thins, at 1,077 tweets. Although the winner will be announced Sunday, we would like to encourage you not to tweet #Bal #Musthavewheatthins.
Let San Francisco have this one, while we focus our juju on winning the game. Because Baltimore is going to the Super Bowl, and Wheat Thins, well, we just won’t have room on the coffee table for them.
— Holly Nunn
Sen. Barbara Mikulski faced a tough choice when the Baltimore Ravens played the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game.
“On my way. To Md Inaugral Ball — listening to RAvens on Radio — wearing a Purple Outfit — Go Ravens,” Mikulski (D) of Baltimore posted on social media site Twitter as @SenatorBarb. Obviously, no editor was present.
“Whoopee !!!!! Ravens. Roar to victory. !!!!! Yea. Team !!!!” she wrote later.
Interviewed after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Sen. Ben Cardin was asked if Mikulski was still celebrating the Ravens win.
“She wore her purple coat,” Cardin said.
But the coat wasn’t all she wore that was colorful. Hat critic and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri tweeted a photo of Mikulski wearing her bright red hat and scarf with the purple coat.
“She is so seriously cool,” McCaskill tweeted of her fellow senator. “And she’s gonna give [Justice Antonin] Scalia’s hat a run for its money.”
Mikulski, however, was not entered in a hat contest at the inauguration ceremony, but rather was looking forward to the Super Bowl, where the Ravens face the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers as underdogs.
“Am up on rostrum. Here comes the. Cabinet. Ps cardin n I lining up bets w. CaliFornia senators. New England Senators being gracious,” Mikulski tweeted Monday.
— C. Benjamin Ford
... And speaking of the Ravens ...
Martin O’Malley said this week that he still awaits the spoils of his bet with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper over the Ravens-Broncos game earlier this month.
Hickenlooper, whom O’Malley — inadvertently, we presume — referred to as “Governor Lambchop,” promised O’Malley a dozen lamb chops in the case of a Ravens win. O’Malley had vowed to put up a dozen crab cakes if the Broncos were victorious.
As of Tuesday, O’Malley had not seen chop one, but said he assumed that they were in transit — perhaps stuck in the mailroom being searched.
But before the state police could be deployed in search of satisfied-looking postal employees, the elusive chops arrived. O’Malley tweeted a picture of the chops Wednesday afternoon, thanking Hickenlooper for making good.
— Daniel Leaderman
It was business as usual in the Senate on Thursday, with votes being cast and taken without incident, until the voting button of Jim Brochin suddenly stopped working — meaning he was unable to record either his votes or his presence in the chamber.
The technical glitch appears to have been resolved quickly, but not before Mike Miller had his say.
“This is supposed to happen later on in the session,” Miller joked, drawing (nervous?) laughter from the chamber.
Miller later said the button malfunction might have been the result of a lack of use — not from Brochin, but from the late Sen. E. Homer White, who had Brochin’s seat in the 1970s, and often was not in his chair.
— Daniel Leaderman