All goobers to the gubernator

The Baltimore Sun

Invoking great tax protests in American and Maryland history, Del. Pat McDonough is urging citizens to stuff peanuts into envelopes and mail them off to Martin O'Malley.

The governor is not proposing a peanut tax. A 1-cent sales tax increase, yes, but groceries would remain exempt. What's with the peanuts?

McDonough is calling for "no unnecessary taxes," and from that slogan, an acronym and postal peculiarity were born.

"Please include in your envelope a few well placed peanuts to make the point that you are a N.U.T. and will not be duped, lied to, or scared into believing that we need any tax increases in an already over-taxed state," he wrote constituents. "Let the Statehouse and Governor's Mansion receive an abundance of nuts as a protest against their shoddy shell game."

McDonough compared the protest to the Boston Tea Party and to the uprising against former Gov. William Preston Lane, who got the state's first, 1-cent sales tax imposed in 1947. Angry Marylanders flung pennies at Lane wherever he went and tossed him out of office in 1950.

But the Tea Party was about a tax on tea, the penny tossing about a penny tax. Even given the budgetary "shell game" pun, isn't the peanut symbolism here a little lacking?

McDonough, who contends the budget could be balanced if slots are legalized and spending held in check, thinks not.

"The nut thing has a lot of purposes," he said. "It emphasizes the word 'unnecessary' and to me, personally, the whole thing is nuts. This is a nutty idea. This is a nutty General Assembly. They are tax nuts."

Pick an office - pick any office

Bob Ehrlich and some of his former Cabinet officials gathered recently at the Anne Arundel County home of Larry Hogan, his former appointments secretary.

The buzz in the room was that the ex-Gov is mulling a run for Barbara Mikulski's Senate seat rather than a rematch with Governor O'Malley, one of the guests told The Sun's Jennifer Skalka. But Aris Melissaratos, who attended and was Ehrlich's secretary for business and economic development, told Skalka the gathering was mostly social. He also had great things to say about Mikulski.

"She's essential to Maryland's economic well-being," Melissaratos said. "Barbara just brings home the bacon like nobody else. I hope she runs another time."

He shouldn't spend more than 50 bucks

Brad Pitt wants to dress like a Sun reporter. Not in real life, obviously, but for a movie.

Pitt's personal movie stylist, Jacqueline West, contacted someone at The Sun recently and asked him to snap photos of reporters. She also asked him to find out where reporters shop. (Answers ran the Nordstrom-to-Goodwill gamut.)

As part of his research for State of Play, in which he'll play a reporter, Pitt personally visited a real newsroom Friday, The Washington Post reported. Alas, he chose a newsroom 40 miles to our south.

Egg McMuffins for everyone!

The Maryland Republican Party planned a "pre-debate breakfast rally" to pump everyone up for tomorrow's debate at Morgan State, the one all of the GOP front-runners are skipping. Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was going to be there.

"All GOP Presidential Candidates participating in the Evening Debate have been invited to the Breakfast Rally," the invitation said.

Including the candidates only bumped up breakfast attendance by five -- five second-tier candidates. On Monday, the breakfast was canceled.

Connect the dots

CN8, The Comcast Network broadcasts this morning from Fells Point as part of a tour of waterfront towns. Felicia Pearson will talk about her role in The Wire and her memoir, Grace After Midnight. Look for bits on the trapeze school, the Science Center, plus film and TV locations (Meg Ryan's house in Sleepless in Seattle, the diner from Diner, the playground known as "Marlo's lair" on The Wire, etc.). ... House ad in a local publication celebrating its centennial: "Before Schaefer, Sarbanes or Mikulski there was Baltimore magazine."

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