Puppy protection particularly praised

The Baltimore Sun

Before you make up your mind in the U.S. Senate race, consider Ben Cardin's stance on high-heeled women crushing small animals to death for sexual kicks. (He's against.)

What a fuddy-duddy! But what do you expect from a guy who married his high school sweetheart? He hasn't been out there for decades.

Cardin's 1999 anti-fetish vote came up the other day, when the Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed the congressman -- over the guy running with a dog by his side.

"He supported legislation which successfully banned the commercial sale of so-called 'crush' videos, in which scantily clad women in high heels slowly crushed small animals for the sexual gratification of viewers," the fund said in a press release.

The release listed the crush vote along with other animal-friendly legislation that Cardin has backed over the years -- from run-of-the-mill puppy mill laws to a more exotic bill to ban the sale of American bear gallbladders and bile for Asian medicines, cosmetics and shampoos.

And Michael Steele's stance on crush videos?

Says spokesman Doug Heye: "Maryland voters know Michael Steele believes all animals should be treated humanely, no matter how much Congressman Cardin and his political bosses say he hates puppies or lie about his record."

'Shill' is such an ugly word

The words "Real People, Real Results" flash on the screen, and then we see a young woman sitting in front of a pile of books. "Thanks to Ben, I can afford college," Ashley Peddicord says. And she really means it, a Web site called PajamasMedia says, because she's a paid staffer on the Cardin campaign.

Cardin spokesman Oren Shur said Peddicord was a college student when the ad was made, but she has since taken a leave to work for the campaign, where she coordinates volunteers.

The Web site also criticizes Cardin for featuring UAW officer Kelton Addison and "Democratic Party organizer" Carl Tuvin in the ad, which identifies them by name but doesn't mention their union or party affiliations.

Said Shur: "Surprise, surprise -- students, union members and Democratic activists support Ben Cardin's senate campaign."

Why Charm City is even-tempered

After his ouster from American Express, Sandy Weill got a fresh start in Baltimore in 1986. He went on to build the city's Commercial Credit Corp. into Citigroup. Think he has kind things to say about the place where he got a second chance? Think again.

"We were not part of this great city anymore," he tells BusinessWeek, in an interview about his new memoir, The Real Deal. "I remember the crash of '87. I had a terminal on my desk in Baltimore. This is not like Wall Street, where people jump out of windows because they're losing money in the market. Our customers don't know the market's down. There's no building that's higher than four stories [in Baltimore], so they wouldn't be killed if they jumped."

Free to a good home

Next time you pick up some Haagen-Dazs and wonder why that teeny carton of ice cream costs so much, remember the feral cats.

Fifty of them were left behind on the Pfister Trailer Park when Dreyer's -- maker of premium brand Haagen-Dazs, as well Edy's and other varieties -- bought the property to expand its North Laurel plant, which just had a ribbon cutting yesterday.

With help from the Howard County Cat Club, the company had the cats trapped, fixed and relocated to area barns in need of good mousers.

That added $2,300 to the $210 million expansion tab, says Dreyer's PR guy Matt Amodeo. It could have been worse. An animal clinic gave Dreyer's a quantity discount on the spaying and neutering.

Getting all jittery in Bel Air

Is Bel Air a hotbed of caffeine addiction? I ask because the town has more Starbucks per capita than any other place in Maryland -- and most towns in America, for that matter, according to the Web site epodunk.com.

Bel Air has only three Starbucks. But the town only has about 10,000 residents, creating a java-to-resident ratio high enough to rank 14th nationwide, the site found.

Mayor Terence O. Hanley is at a loss to explain why citizens there might be particularly coffee-crazed.

"We're a pretty tame group here in Harford County and Bel Air. I don't know," he said. "I grew up in Harford County. I can remember when farms outnumbered everything."

Hanley is among those willing to shell out for the famously overpriced, overroasted joe. He skips the maple macchiatos, though.

"I'm a regular coffee guy, nothing real fancy," he said. "And I can only drink one cup a day because I'm a high-strung guy."

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