Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NO WAY,
KEMOSABE...

Johnny Depp as Tonto in
Lone Ranger Movie?!?!!!

I read in USA Today that Johnny Depp is going to play the Lone Ranger's sidekick, Tonto, in a new movie. If true, that is ridiculous!!

The Lone Ranger was one of my childhood heroes, so I am not pleased to hear about inaccurate casting like this. Tonto, of course, was a Native American. What "updates" do they have planned for the Lone Ranger himself? That would be tampering with an American hero. Something that Hollywood and comic book publishers have enjoyed doing in recent years.

As Bob Dole would say, "where's the outrage?"

Are Native Americans going to embrace a white man as Tonto? (Yes, I know that Depp is claiming a fraction of Cherokee heritage, according to the newspaper - but he appears as Cherokee as Chevy Chase did "Comanche indian.")

This sort of thing happens in Hollywood all too frequently because TV and movies do not cast Latinos or Native Americans in many starring roles.

Is Hollywood saying that there is no Native American actor who can play Tonto? Don't young Native Americans - many of whom grow up in difficult environments on reservations - deserve to have a hero onscreen? Especially when the character was a hero on the screen already?

How is it that we claim on the one hand to be making progress on race relations, when on the other hand, our self-proclaimed "morally-superior" Hollywood liberals are casting a white man as Tonto?

That was your cue, Mr. Palance....

Johnny Depp as Tonto.

"Believe it... or not!"

Monday, June 29, 2009

FIVE GUYS
TO OPEN ON
BETHESDA ROW

Are Damascus and Poolesville Next?

I've just heard that a new Five Guys restaurant will be opening on Bethesda Avenue this year. Perhaps those areas which have gone without for many years - such as Bethesda, Damascus, and Poolesville - will finally have a Five Guys location.

While you're waiting, you can see the Carroll Creek location of Five Guys in the video on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

DR. YES & COUNCIL
SAY "YES!" TO
BETHESDA SCHOOL
FUNDS; "NO!" TO
UPCOUNTY SCHOOLS

It is Dr. Yes' natural response to say, "YES!" to developers - and predictably, he's done it again. I'm following a two-track power grab by the developer-beholden County Council and Planning Board.

On the Planning Board side, the law makes clear that a development moratorium must be imposed when schools reach a certain level of overcrowding. That was not convenient for a developer with a project going forward in downtown Bethesda. So Dr. Yes (a.k.a. Royce Hanson) and other developer allies on the Board have rushed to approve that questionable project - without regard for the design or the impact on Bethesda ES and other schools.

It seems that Amy Presley, one of 2 members to vote "NO" on that, is the only objective member of the board. Former delegate and fellow Republican Jean Cryor does offer much hand-wringing, but virtually always goes ahead and votes with Dr. Yes and the developers.

We hear all of this doublespeak from Dr. Yes and Rollin Stanley, but the results going forward are clear: our current officials have no intention of making substantive road and highway improvements, have no regard for the quality of education nor the environmental conditions in our school buildings, and have set a mad course for radical infill overdevelopment countywide.

Meanwhile, councilmembers Nancy Floreen (D - at Large), Mike Knapp (D - Upcounty), and Marc Elrich (Marc Elrich - helping developers?!) (D - at Large) are planning to wave a magic wand and generate generous new funds for Bethesda school construction.

Improvements to recently-built schools in wealthy areas would then take precedence over improvements to old buildings in Gaithersburg, Damascus, and Silver Spring, for example.

And the goal of these councilmembers is to ignore the law and lift the moratorium in Bethesda, not the one in Clarksburg - putting councilmember Knapp in the position of betraying not only the schoolchildren in his own district, but residential development and business interests in the Upcounty, as well.

What does this mean in the most basic sense?

It means that older schools, such as those in the Damascus cluster, will not receive emergency funds while new schools in Bethesda will. Those schools - Damascus ES, Baker MS, and Damascus HS - all have specific facility needs which have been delayed for "lack of funds." Yet, we are to believe that funds can magically appear for Bethesda school improvements?

But it also reveals again what I said in 2006: the school population estimates have been set too low. Here in Bethesda, Woodacres ES will install its sixth portable this fall. And that is a brand new school, built a few years ago.

Same for Bethesda ES and the renovated Westland MS. Schools which could have been built larger.

Biased reporters laughed off my comments at the time, but look like fools now.

It's outrageous.

Friday, June 26, 2009

EXCLUSIVE
REVIEWS OF
MUSHROOM & SWISS,
BACON & CHEESE
MCDONALD'S
ANGUS BURGERS

Another www.RobertDyer.net Exclusive!!

As you read here earlier this week, the McDonald's Angus Burger has arrived in Montgomery County.

Now that I have had a chance to try the other 2 Angus Burgers, here are my thoughts:

Having eaten one of each, so far I think the Mushroom & Swiss version is the best Angus Burger. The similarities of the Deluxe version to the existing Big & Tasty can make the Angus Burger seem more familiar. Like a more upscale Big & Tasty, so to speak.

The Mushroom & Swiss version seems like it was designed specifically for the Angus hamburger. It has only the burger, 2 slices of Swiss cheese, and plenty of mushrooms, along with a hint of a sauce for the mushrooms. Not only is this the best combination of the 3, but - for the reason mentioned at the start of this paragraph - it emphasizes the unique flavor of the 100% Angus beef burger.

You can more easily tell that this is a superior burger to the Big & Tasty. This one was also juicier than the Deluxe, but cooked all the way through.

The Bacon & Cheese could have been the return of the McJordan (anyone remember the Michael Jordan sandwich of the '90s?). All it would need is the McJordan barbeque sauce.

Instead, this has the Angus Burger, 2 bacon strips, ketchup (not Michael Jordan's BBQ sauce!!), mustard, and... wait a minute... the regular McDonald's pickle slices and onions. Instead of the more upscale pickles and onions I received on my Deluxe Angus Burger! Was this just a mistake, or is that what they meant to put on the Bacon & Cheese version? I won't know until I've ordered them all a few times. But it would seem a better branding strategy to use the same ingredients across the Angus Burger line. So I'm subtracting a star for the lack of premium ingredients on the Bacon & Cheese version.

Bacon strips were limp and tough to chew. It may be a personal preference, but I like my bacon crispy. The Angus Burger wasn't quite as juicy, but still more flavor than the Deluxe, and well done.

I can summarize by saying that if you want to get the best impression of the Angus Burger, order the Mushroom & Swiss first. I'm usually a Deluxe (mayonnaise, [real] onions, pickles) kind of guy, so I'm surprised that the Deluxe wasn't the best of the 3.

Final scores for this first round of testing:

Angus Burger Deluxe: ****
Angus Burger Mushroom & Swiss: *****
Angus Burger Bacon & Cheese: ***

I know my readers in Damascus are getting a bit impatient; so don't worry, I have a new Episode of Damascus on the Robert Dyer Channel for you this morning. And, as a bonus, a photo update on the Damascus High School FFA tomato plants I bought last month. So go to www.RobertDyer.net right now!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

OMG!
WASHINGTON POST
COPIES USA TODAY
GOSSIP GIRL
FEATURE

Another www.RobertDyer.net Exclusive!!

We know that the Washington Post is running low on original ideas (and pages per copy!). But now they've resorted to reprinting material from other newspapers the next day.

Tuesday's USA Today Life section had a chart comparing Gossip Girl with new reality show NYC Prep.

24 hours later, the Post printed a similar comparison chart, with some of the same categories, and even some of the same quotes from the program NYC Prep.

The Post gave the byline to its self-described "Gossip Girl correspondent" Emily Yahr. (Let's get this straight: The Post has fired all of its copy editors [or at least it seems that way from all the errors printed each day], many editors, and apparently cannot afford to hire a reporter who will cover the full spectrum of opinions and political developments in Montgomery County... ...and yet it can afford to employ a "Gossip Girl correspondent?").

I guess reprinting features from USA Today is what that Post editor meant when he told me they want only "fresh content" for their newspaper.

TTYL

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ANGUS BURGER
HAS ARRIVED!

A www.RobertDyer.net Exclusive!!

Close your ears, George Leventhal! The McDonald's Angus Burger has landed in Montgomery County. It is a full 1/3 pound of 100% Angus beef.

The signs went up over the weekend at my neighborhood McDonald's, with a "Coming Soon" note taped over them.

But last night, after years of waiting, I finally got my hands on a Deluxe Angus Burger. I definitely earned it, after a long night at Republican headquarters. Where I was "doing the business the People elected me to do," as Bill Clinton once said. We pretty much were appointing new members to about half of the Central Committee, it seemed like.

So after I brought it home, I opened the box. You can watch the exclusive video of this on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net! You can also see a photo of the Angus Burger there, too.

Now it was finally time to eat the sandwich, after years of testing, rumors, hype, and speculation.

This was the Deluxe version; you can also get Bacon & Cheese or Mushrooms & Swiss.

The Deluxe has one 1/3 pound Angus burger, 2 slices of American cheese, a tomato slice, pickles, onions, lettuce, and mayonaisse.

I guess you have to consider the burger first, as it is the star of the show here. It is a big burger, but not the world's biggest. There is plenty of Angus beef flavor. It is not all that different from the Big & Tasty, except in size. Overall, it is a good-tasting burger, although a little tough for a gourmet burger.

The pickles and onions, as well as the bun, are the most upscale elements. These pickles and onions are more like the ones President Barack Obama has on his upscale burgers, than the ones you usually find at McDonald's.

What does that mean? It means that the dill pickle slices are crinkle cut, and a bit crispier than the usual flat pickle slices. The onions are red instead of plain white.

The bun is upscale, but not sweet like the recent chicken sandwiches' buns. It is toasted with sesame seeds, and tastes very fresh. As do the other ingredients in the Deluxe Angus Burger.

Mayonaisse is mayonaisse. The cheese, tomato, and lettuce are virtually the same as you find on the other McDonald's sandwiches.

My verdict is that it could have been even better, if every ingredient was upscale. I also wonder if the Deluxe version will battle it out with the Big & Tasty, which is quite similar.

But overall, I enjoyed the Deluxe Angus Burger, and look forward to trying the other two flavors.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be sure to visit www.RobertDyer.net to see the final photos from the Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine show. And a new video featuring the Ride On 29 bus in Bethesda.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

COUNTY COUNCIL,
NON-PROFIT
STILL CANNOT
ACCOUNT
FOR
MISSING
TAXPAYER FUNDS

$900,000+ of Taxpayer Funds Missing in Weird
Web of Conflicts of Interest & Mismanagement (or Worse)
Capital Properties' Westbard Lobbying Firm COO
Embroiled in Centro Familia Investigation

The Washington Post and county Inspector General are certainly taking their time investigating what happened to over $900,000 of taxpayer funds gifted to non-profit Centro Familia by your County Council.

As I said when this came up a few months back, don't you think the average citizen would be in some major trouble if they couldn't account for $900,000 in public funds? So what is taking so long to get answers in an age when senior citizens are thrown out of foreclosed homes onto the street on short notice?

According to the Post story, a whopping $450,000 of Centro Familia's $700,000 is county taxpayer funds from the council. That's more than half!

We often hear - just the other night on Channel 6, in fact - that we need to fund non-profits in order to save money in the county budget.

Now, that is absolutely true.

However, that theory is absolutely not true when a) the non-profit is a partisan political actor, and b) the non-profit is providing its services with taxpayer monies exceeding what it would cost the county to provide those same services directly.

You could argue that Centro Familia is guilty of "b."

Again, according to the Post, Centro Familia provides "an early childhood program to about 30 preschoolers." Okay. I'm all in favor of that. In fact, I was recognized by the director of a local early childhood education for my proposals in that area during the 2006 campaign. It is also of special importance to have these programs for very young citizens whose parents' first language is not English. They often have neither the environment conducive to learning, nor even the meeting of basic nutritional needs, that most county children have at home.

But would it cost $750,000 a year (or even the $450,000 per year given by the county) to provide an early childhood program for 30 (30!) children?

I daresay, no.

It also says they have trained over 300 in-home child care providers for children. But that doesn't add up either.

So why is the county council spending your money so freely on Centro Familia?

The Westbard Connection

You may remember I broke the story last year that Capital Properties (now owner of most of Westbard) had hired lobbyists from the firm of Lerch, Early & Brewer to - what else? - lobby the county council to do the bidding of Capital Properties on Westbard.

According to the Washington Post, Lerch, Early & Brewer's Chief Operating Officer is also Chairman of the Centro Familia board. And as such, is mentioned in regards to - and quoted on - this mystery of the vanishing public funds.

This County Council has Zero Fiscal Responsibility

If you run into your local councilmember, you might just want to ask him or her why he or she is giving away your tax dollars with no accountability whatsoever.

For services they could provide directly for less!

And ask them about the portion of that $900,000 that went to "activities 'outside the country.'"

What's that about? What's going on here? Councilmembers?

And where do representatives or employees of Centro Familia "travel" at taxpayer expense?

Gee whiz, I'd like to do some traveling myself! How about giving us citizens a free vacation, councilmembers?

Apparently, the council keeps funding the organization without even examining or requesting the appropriate documentation for the expenditures!

We need fiscal responsibility! And that's going to be the voter's responsibility in 2010, at the county and state levels.

Let us keep that money so we can take vacations this summer.

It is the first day of summer, after all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

INCOMPETENCE
WITHOUT
CONSEQUENCES

New County Budget Method: "Punish the Kids"
County Council Cuts $79.5 Million from
Public Schools; Washington Post Applauds,
Endorses Council's "Inspired" Budget Disaster
Leventhal on Charging Schools for Council's
Budget Mistakes:
Let's Do This Again in the Future!

Can a county executive and council run the county's budget into the ground, take COLAs and step increases from teachers and public safety employees, take away senior citizens' dentures (I'm not making that up), slash education by $79.5 million dollars...

...and avoid media criticism, public outrage, and possibly civil unrest, in a county supposedly obsessed with services and public schools?

The answer, so far, is apparently "Yes!"

Witness yesterday's bizarre editorial in the Washington Post.

After defying state law which requires the county to maintain a minimum level of education funding, the county council then turned around and charged MCPS $79.5 million dollars. Essentially, the council and executive decided to "punish the kids" for their own fiscal incompetence (kind of like how they tried to punish disabled police officers earlier this year).

Over a barrel, Superintendent Jerry Weast agreed to a one-time deal of this sort. This was probably a mistake, in light of the state mandate.

But realizing what a boon this could be, to move school funds over for general kickbacks to political allies and developers, the council soon backed away from the original deal.

In fact, member George Leventhal (D - At Large) was quoted in the Gazette days ago on his enthusiasm for repeating the "punish the kids" practice in future budgets.

The Post's response to the council's disgraceful actions?

The Post says derelict councilmembers should take "justified pride" in their final budget. You know, the one that not only introduced this new "punish the kids" budget method; but also the one that cut compensation for teachers, police, and firefighters.

"Justified pride?!" As Bill Clinton would say, "Give me a break."

Of course, in making such a shady budget move, the council has now risked not only Wall Street's wrath, but a $40 million fine from the state.

You would think that such hubris, such brash disregard for the law and the welfare of the children of Montgomery County, would bring about a tragic end. Schools would lose not only the $79.5 million, but then the county would take another $40 million blow.

And then, you would also think, there would be heck to pay for the county council among parents, the media, and eventually, the voters.

But the Post thunders, Don't you dare punish our county council! in so many words. The Post attempts to shift blame to Dr. Weast, stating that he is "grandstanding," taking "jabs at the council," and "feuding" with our hard-working councilmembers - the same councilmembers that just ran the county into the ground!

In truth, you could argue that Dr. Weast has actually accomplished some things over the last 3 years, unlike our "justifably proud," do-nothing council.

The Post subtly endorses the "punish the kids" accounting method, mainly by stating that the council "didn't want to limit future options." "Punish the kids" is a future option, according to the liberal Washington Post.

As long as there is more money for the developers, special interests, partisan non-profits, and political allies, the Post and assorted Chambers and Boards will heartily endorse our council's "Punish the Kids" budget method.

It's outrageous.

The state board of education should absolutely hold the council accountable, so that their hubris and self-serving contempt for the law - and the residents of Montgomery County - can be known to all.

And shame on the Post for another despicable display of politics-as-usual.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I have a new video from Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick for you this morning on the Robert Dyer Channel. If you wondered whether or not the water is really moving in the creek, you will know for sure after watching this video.

The rest of the many tractor photos from the April Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine show are finally going up as well. Today you will find a picture of a great open cab John Deere tractor.

So visit www.RobertDyer.net right now!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I-270:
MONTGOMERY COUNTY
ELECTED OFFICIALS
COMPLETELY
OUT OF TOUCH
WITH REALITY

If you believe the Montgomery County Councilmembers quoted in yesterday's Washington Post, a new rapid bus or light rail transitway will solve gridlock on Interstate 270.

I just fundamentally disagree.

First of all, you have to actually drive up 270 in the late afternoon. And try it again now, because the congestion I've encountered on 270 and 355 over the last 45 days is beyond anything I have witnessed before.

What is causing the delays? First of all, volume of traffic has increased - and will continue to increase, in contrast to the Gazette letter writer's opinion this week.

But frankly, it's also highly suspicious. You keep waiting (and I mean waiting!) to find out what it is up ahead that everyone is stopping for. A lot of cars are just going real slow. When a light finally does turns green, some people seem to take their time starting forward. What are you driving 25 or 30 MPH on 355 for?! What are you waiting for?

You think there must be a terrible accident ahead, but mile after crawling mile, there is absolutely no obstruction. Except for the lights, which are intentionally mistimed by the county. You literally stop at every block.

Ultimately, their goal is to convince you that gridlock is inevitable and you must relinquish your automobile to Big Government. And pay higher gas taxes! Big Government even wants to install a GPS in your car to monitor your location and mileage - and then tax you on that basis. Somebody get George Orwell on the phone.

The truth is, both 270 and 355 need to be widened. This has become an absolute crisis where it used to be just a major inconvenience.

Importantly, the new lanes must be free to use by all of the taxpayers who pay to have them constructed. No toll lanes! And unlike 355, there simply may not be enough room for transit lanes on 270.

Why does a mass transit proponent like myself feel that transit is not the solution on 270? It's very simple. Unlike downtown D.C. or even the downcounty, the infrastructure does not exist to conveniently get home once you disembark from transit at the CCT station. If you live in Damascus, for example, how would you realistically get home? Most of the upcounty is dependent on the automobile. And retaining the rural areas' character precludes many urban transit options.

What's embarrassing is that our county executive and council just drastically cut many of the few bus route schedules available in the upcounty.

That's not only hypocritical, but also proves my point: the powers-that-be are trying to fool you about the CCT's potential. It should be built, but it will not solve 270 or 355 gridlock. They are simply trying to grease the wheels for their developer buddies to build wider and higher beyond Shady Grove.

We need new leadership that will put fiscal responsibility first, by recognizing that we have failed to put federal, state, and county funds where the highest priority is: widening 270 and 355.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

EXCLUSIVE
DIGITAL TV
UPDATE!

Another www.RobertDyer.net Exclusive!

Here is the latest from my TV testers across Montgomery County:

Viewer A - Digital television is still receiving all channels, but the Retro TV channel went out yesterday.

Viewer B - Still struggling with old TV and converter box.

Viewer C - If you remember, Viewer C has a digital TV like Viewer A, but could not receive channels 4, 20, 22, 26, 32, or 50. Viewer C reports no improvement either; in fact, now Channel 5 has disappeared as well! (But returned hours later).

Still don't believe you've been had? Well, you probably have digital cable or satellite connected to every TV in your home.

But if you're part of the audience that doesn't, enjoy these headlines from the Land of Greed:

The electronics industry predicts that, as a direct result of the digital TV transition, 25% of homes in the United States will purchase a new, digital TV this year.

The cable industry projects a huge increase in subscriptions to basic cable service over the next 4 years. Basic cable just happens to be the logical step up from a broadcast TV gone dark.



Don't forget to check out the new photos from the ice cream social, and the latest videos on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

By the time you read this, there should be a new video of Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick on the Robert Dyer Channel. And a new, exclusive photo from last month's Ice Cream Social. So go to www.RobertDyer.net right now!

Monday, June 15, 2009

THE REAL STORY
OF
DIGITAL TV IN
MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Another www.RobertDyer.net Exclusive!!!

You've heard the official press releases, statements, and echoes of those in the Washington Post and on the tv news. "Digital TV turnover goes smoothly... ...off without a hitch ...smooth ...a few hundred complaints."

Now, with my random sample of [former] broadcast tv viewers, RobertDyer.net will bring you the real story from inside 3 homes across Montgomery County. It could have been much worse, but the change was not as "smooth" as the tv anchorpeople are telling you.

Viewer A had a tv with digital tuner, and reported having difficulty receiving channels 20 and 50. After adjusting the (costly additional) antenna, those channels are now being picked up by the TV.

Viewer B had an old tv, and bought one of those wonderful converter boxes that Big Government has been telling you about all year. That box produced poor reception and a constant buzzing sound on all channels, Viewer B reports. A different antenna may be needed.

Viewer C, like Viewer A, had a digital tv, but cannot pick up channels 4, 20, 22, 26, 32, or 50. However, the other channels received have a good picture quality and sound, Viewer C reports. Viewer C may solve the problem with some of the tedious antenna adjustments such as Viewer A went through.

We'll check back in with Viewers B & C to find out what progress they've made later in the week.

Meanwhile, your elected officials in the county did absolutely nothing to stop this absurd switchover. They did a good job of parroting the official line, when the FCC knew all along that the new tvs, tuners, and antennas are very difficult to work with. And that some homes are located in spots that will never receive a good digital signal, under any circumstances.

Can you imagine what an isolated elderly person is going through in this situation? Obviously, our congresspeople either can't, or just don't care. But then again, we have a county government that literally took the dentures away from some senior citizens in the recent budget "cuts." (I'm not making this up). So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.

Many of the stories about tvs going dark in remote areas, or in non-English speaking communities, will never be told. That's because the media is simply not going to cover those stories. They are so good at that here in the Washington area! The fact is, the Great TV Shut-off has created a small-scale public safety danger. A good number of people are now unable to receive severe weather warnings or emergency bulletins.

Worst of all, those losing channels are not just the vulnerable citizens who were hit hardest - the elderly, the poor, and immigrant communities. But just the average citizens who have a lot of now-useless tvs, or now-poorly working tvs. And the cost of these new antennas, and the time to get them working, was kept quiet all along by the government and media. It's a disgrace.

And it's brought to you by the monopoly cable companies and their friends in Rockville, Annapolis, and Washington - the politicians who get the fat checks from Comcast while allowing their monopoly practices and poor customer service to continue (such as forcing upgrades by moving channels to digital-only). They voted to make this changeover possible.

It's outrageous.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I have a new video for you - of a fire truck returning to the fire station on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. Watch it on the Robert Dyer Channel now at www.RobertDyer.net. I apologize for the fact that the video is a bit dark, much darker than it appears on my camera. But the flashing lights are going on the truck, and you can see the electronic sign in front of the station.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FULL
"DISCLOSURE:"
WASHINGTON POST
FAILS TO DISCLOSE
FINANCIAL INTERESTS
IN
"SCREEN ON GREEN"
EDITORIAL

Another www.RobertDyer.net EXCLUSIVE!!!

Today I'm giving you a bonus blog entry, because the computer ate my homework (blog entry) yesterday.

But first, let's get right to the breaking news... another ethical violation by our good friends at the Washington Post editorial board.

Yesterday's Post had a featured editorial touting the success of the Facebook group that mobilized support to restore the cancelled "Screen on the Green" outdoor movies on the Mall.

It liberally (pun intended) made numerous mentions of "HBO," "Comcast," and "Facebook" throughout the editorial. All references were in a positive light.

Wonderful human interest story, right?

As Donald Rumsfeld would say... "Wrong!"

At the most basic level, what is the need for a full editorial that tells us no more than the story already published days ago did?

Knowing the ethical history of the Post, you've probably guessed there's more to the story.

And it's a story that only RobertDyer.net can bring you! Because once again, only RobertDyer.net is holding the Post accountable for its ethical lapses.

Here's what the Post editorial writer failed to disclose to you:

The Washington Post has a financial relationship with HBO. It has a financial interest in cable television. The Post has a financial relationship with Comcast, the company that broadcasts - and supplies national B-list celebrity guests for - a laughable, daily Washington Post "sports" program. And the Post's Donald Graham is a member of the Facebook board.

These editors are really clever, aren't they? More free advertising and advertorials for business partners of The Washington Post.
CHESTNUT LODGE:
WHODUNNIT???

The possible arson of Chestnut Lodge in Rockville is one of the great mysteries in recent times.

You can help in the investigation by offering tips at

http://mcfrs.blogspot.com/2009/06/chestnut-lodge-fire-information-needed.html

You can also call the Arson Tip Line at 240-777-2263

Thursday, June 11, 2009

LAST PAY PHONE
IN THE STATE
OF
MARYLAND

I have a special episode of the Damascus series for you this morning on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net. There was a rare object in front of Damascus High School - a pay phone. And now it's... gone!

What happened? It was strange enough to discover a pay phone, but what are the chances that Verizon would remove it soon afterward?

See the phone for yourself right now in Damascus, Episode 8 on the Robert Dyer Channel!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MASS (TRANSIT)
HYPOCRISY

I have a new video for you this morning on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net. It is a new episode of the ongoing Westbard series, featuring Ride On bus #23.

Bus 23 travels from Sibley Hospital to the Friendship Heights Metro station via Sangamore Road, Massachusetts Avenue, and yes, Westbard. It is an easy way to access Metrorail from those areas.

But did you know that the neighborhoods along the southern part of River Road (outside the D.C. line) have no bus to downtown Bethesda?

I've been talking about this since I was running for office in 2006. In fact, I've spoken directly to several elected officials, including Ike Leggett, about the need for an express bus to downtown Bethesda to serve Kenwood and Springfield. Of course one could go to Friendship Heights and take the Red Line to Bethesda Metro Center. But why demand citizens take the extra time and expense if Big Government is supposedly encouraging us to use mass transit?

It is hypocrisy of the highest order, and I thought I would take the occasion of this new Ride On video to update you on this situation: There has been no progress whatsoever.

We'll only have a modern transportation system - and gridlock-free roads for the majority of residents who use automobiles - when we elect the right people in 2010.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

DISABLED
BASKETBALL
PLAYER
RECRUITED BY
MAAC TEAM

Here is a positive story to start the week:

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=jn-laue060509&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

This is a remarkable story for 2 reasons: First, it shows again how "disabled" athletes can be just as good as "able-bodied" players. Second, it emphasizes how so many people can be inspired and benefit from one disabled athlete being given a fair chance to play. It is a lesson about equal opportunities that goes beyond the world of athletics.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

EXCLUSIVE
NEWT GINGRICH
VIDEO

You can watch an exclusive excerpt from Newt Gingrich's speech at last night's Maryland Republican Party Red, White and Blue Dinner now on the Robert Dyer Channel at www.RobertDyer.net.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

WESTERN MARYLAND
RAILROAD BRIDGE &
TUNNEL PHOTO
UPDATE

I have some more information about the photo I uploaded a few days ago to "Robert's Photos" at www.RobertDyer.net.

Using a map in the newest issue of Trains magazine, I have a better idea of what the 2 tracks are in this photo. I believe the upper track is the former WM route from Hagerstown to Baltimore, now owned by CSX. This is the track that WM engine 202 (see my Hagerstown Railroad Museum photo set for shots of train 202) traveled daily for 40 years.

The lower track may be former WM (now also CSX) route from Hagerstown to Brunswick, MD.

According to Trains magazine, in 1973 these routes were owned by the Chessie System. (C&O bought B&O, then became Chessie System, and later CSX). The Baltimore route passes through Emory Grove, MD, and carried 1-4.9 million gross tons in 1973. It operated under Centralized Traffic Control in that year, and had a fork going to Hanover and York, PA.

The Brunswick route carried less than 1 million gross tons of traffic in 1973. It was classified as "Dark Territory," in terms of train control.

Fascinating information, but I still may have it all wrong if those aren't the routes in my photo. So post a comment on that photo if you know what we're looking at in City Park in downtown Hagerstown.
BRIAN WILLIAMS'
WHITE HOUSE
SLUMBER PARTY
A
NEW LOW IN
NETWORK NEWS

I haven't heard any substantive criticism of the Brian Williams White House lovefest on NBC. But this program, which I haven't had time to screen in its entirety, calls for a thorough, scene-by-scene analysis.

No national critic has done that yet, to my knowledge. What few scenes I have witnessed were simply beyond belief. Think about the harsh interrogations School Principal Charles Gibson and Kommie Couric conducted against Sarah Palin.

Then watch Brian Williams in action. Remember Gibson was seated on a high throne above Gov. Palin?

Williams, in contrast, willingly sat on a low chair across the desk from Rahm Emmanuel (who is glorified by Williams, without any criticism whatsoever). He tosses Emmanuel a half-hearted Sotomayor question, which Emmanuel dodges while making fun of Williams. Williams adopts a George McFly persona. Hey, Williams, your shoelace is untied. Anybody home, McFly?

Williams apologizes for ignoring the First Lady.

President Obama turns around at a Five Guys counter and asks Williams what he can buy him. Williams answers, in a child-like voice, that he'll have a plain cheeseburger with ketchup.

Williams speaks in total awe throughout every scene that I saw.

Unless the entire thing was orchestrated, I don't even think the White House expected this kind of worshipful, fawning treatment by a major network news anchor.

Is anyone going to catch up with this program? Where is Howard Kurtz?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

BOB EHRLICH
FOR GOVERNOR?

I'm not aware of any potential challenger who could beat Bob Ehrlich in the primary, if he decides to run. At the most fundamental level, he is one of the few established Republicans who projects an aura of leadership, optimism, and confidence.

For the historical record, he is the only Maryland governor who signed a substantive measure to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. He didn't set a fake goal that would come due after his reelection, like O'Malley just did. He just got the job done without a whole lot of theatrics.

Who were the great environmentalists in Maryland history? Republicans. Gude. Mathias. Gleason. And Ehrlich. He has a new website, if you haven't visited yet:

http://www.bobehrlich.com/

And what about the rumor of Kendel Ehrlich's interest in the vacant State Senate seat? Isn't it a no-brainer that she should be appointed?

I can't believe there is any question about the appointment if it is true she is in the running. She would be a formidable future candidate for higher office. If someone else were appointed, that would be a self-inflicted disaster for the Republican Party. Kind of like how we had several promising candidates for president, who all mysteriously were knocked out. And then John McCain mysteriously surged to the front Bob Dole Style. We did get a future president out of the deal in Sarah Palin, but let's not damage ourselves at the state level by making the wrong appointment in the State Senate.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Lots of new photos, and a new episode of Westbard: The Last Stand (on the Robert Dyer Channel) have been uploaded to www.RobertDyer.net.