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This is generally known in the news business as the dead period. Congress is on vacation so they're not doing anything as a body to get much attention. As well, most local and state governing bodies are laying low until after Labor Day. With that in mind, I have a couple of unrelated items that have grabbed my attention recently.

In Frederick, Alderman Donna Kuzemchak continues to push for the removal of the sculpture of Maryland native and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Brooke Taney from the Frederick City Hall. It was Taney who penned what was a majority decision of the court in the case of Dred Scott. That decision held that slavery was legal and that each slave was to be counted as three-fifths of a person in the 1860 census. A plaque explaining the decision was added to the 1931 sculpture in 2009 in a compromise during a previous attempt to have the statue removed.

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My problem with Alderman Kuzemchak and her crusade is that although she and some of her sycophants consider the bust in the same light as the Confederate battle flag. I find that argument to be a bit of a reach since the case in question was basically about how slaves were to be counted in the census. The Dred Scott decision may have been a precipitator for the Civil War but Justice Taney was simply reflecting the general feelings of the times. His place in history, whether positively or negatively viewed through the prism of today's morality deserves to be recognized and his statues, whether in Frederick or Baltimore or Annapolis need to remain.

Although he never lived in what became Carroll County, his ancestors did gain title to the land that became Taneytown so he is often regarded as a native son. (Editor's note: While it's a common misconception Taneytown is named for Judge Roger Taney, the town was founded in 1754, more than 22 years before he was born.)

The other item that struck a chord with me was the so-called "debate" among many of the Republicans running for President on Fox News last week. I purposely avoided watching what I was certain was going to be a bit of a circus. From all reports my assumption turned out to be correct. Donald Trump gained the most attention for his exchanges with moderator Megyn Kelly. For the most part nothing of substance was discussed and certainly wasn't debated in any sense. With all of the things that could have been debated, such as the economy, how to replace or modify Obamacare, the ongoing problems in the Middle East, our own national infrastructure problems, and so many other topics, the session descended into name calling.

Mr. Trump, as has become his modus operandi, never directly answered any questions but questioned the validity of the question or the veracity of the questioner and generally seemed to be trying to gain face time on TV. The other candidates included in this forum didn't seem able or willing to challenge Trump on any subject or take the lead and discuss any meaningful subject.

If this is the kind of campaign forum we are going to be subjected to for the duration of this campaign we're all going to be worse off. If the candidates, Trump included, don't start detailing their proposals for what they would do to better the country, we as voters won't have anything to go on to make a reasoned decision as for whom to cast our primary ballot and that's a real shame.

Anyway, that's my view, what's yours?

Bill Kennedy writes every other Monday from Taneytown. E-mail him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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