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Andy Harris deserves formal rebuke for baseless claims of election fraud | COMMENTARY

In 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump, Rep. Andy Harris (center, top) and Rudy Giuliani (right) shared a suite box on the Navy side during the second quarter of the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)
In 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump, Rep. Andy Harris (center, top) and Rudy Giuliani (right) shared a suite box on the Navy side during the second quarter of the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun) (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Nobody asked me, but, when it opens in January for the 2021 session, the Maryland General Assembly should pass a resolution of censure against Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s 1st District congressman, for his support of Trump lies about the election. Harris, who baselessly claimed there was “well-documented fraud” in the election, joined 126 other House Republicans who backed the ridiculous effort by the Texas attorney general to throw out millions of ballots in battleground states. The Supreme Court refused to consider it. Harris needs to be held accountable for fueling doubt about our election — and for refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect. The General Assembly, where Harris once served, is the appropriate body to issue a rebuke.

And whoever writes the resolution should include this reference to the congressman’s previous statements and actions: “Furthermore, the General Assembly censures Rep. Harris for his support of the Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban and calls on Rep. Harris to affirm his support of democratic principles by renouncing authoritarian governments everywhere.”

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Nobody asked me, but if ESPN’s producers ever need a ratings boost, they should offer a complete rerun of last Monday night’s Ravens-Browns game so anyone who missed it the first time can catch the appearance of the duende.

I do not report duende sightings easily, as readers of this column know, but I’m certain that’s what appeared in Lamar Jackson in the final minutes of the game. Duende, from Spanish folklore, is a supernatural spirit that arrives in brilliant flashes. It inspires awe at moments when, in the arts or athletics, mere talent or charisma crosses over into genius. It’s cosmic stuff. You know it when you see it, and I’m pretty sure I saw it when Jackson, sidelined with cramps, returned to the game and directed the Ravens to a thrilling win in the final minutes. No. 8 had the duende.

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Nobody asked me, but, now that Virginia voters have put the redistricting of congressional and state legislative maps in the hands of a bipartisan commission, should blue-getting-bluer Maryland follow? It’s hard to imagine Democrats getting behind it, but that was hard to imagine in Virginia, too. Last month, voters in the commonwealth, sick of gerrymandering and the bickering that goes with it, passed a constitutional amendment putting decennial redistricting in the hands of a commission composed equally of Democrats and Republicans, legislators and citizens. The measure passed with 66% of Virginians in support.

Nobody asked me, but the McGrath inquiry is baffling. Why did Maryland legislators put Roy McGrath, the governor’s former chief of staff, through nearly four hours of questioning when he had no intention of cooperating with them? McGrath invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 170 times while members of an oversight committee asked about the $238,000 payout he received from his previous job as director of the quasi-public Maryland Environmental Service. So he negotiated a sweet severance for himself from the MES before moving to Gov. Larry Hogan’s staff. That’s questionable — as are some expenses he submitted — but was it illegal? Why doesn’t McGrath just defend the severance? As for the legislators: If they think this matter is worth exhaustive investigation, they should just turn it over to the state prosecutor.

Nobody asked me, but I really miss Haussner’s, and it stinks my kids never got to eat there.

Nobody asked me, but Baltimore needs to embrace its geographical advantage and hold a big waterfront festival every summer. People from out of town, including the naysayers, won’t be able to resist because they haven’t in the past. The festival should cover the waterfront from Canton to Westport with tall ships, pirate ships, dragon boats, skipjacks, sculling, rowing, kayak caravans, a Naval Academy armada, Blue Angels in the sky, a Sailabration every year.

Nobody asked me, but, while I appreciate Baltimore’s intrepid TV reporters describing snowy conditions from various commuter routes, I believe they would benefit from sounding out what they intend to say on the air. As in the carpenter’s adage, “Measure twice, cut once,” it makes sense, before the anchor calls on them, for snow-dappled reporters to prepare what they intend to tell the viewing audience. That way, we would avoid hearing doofussy statements like the one uttered Wednesday by a reporter extolling the work of a plowing crew: “They pretreated the roads in advance.” That kind of thing just doesn’t have to happen. Had the reporter rehearsed ahead of time, such an avoidable redundancy might have been preventable.

Nobody asked me to do it, but I feel a need to note some of the nonprofits and businesses that stepped up with acts of generosity during this awful year of pandemic and recession. I have in my “good works” folder so many examples. Here’s just a few:

The Commercial Group of development and construction companies gave away face masks, socks, hats, scarves and gloves to 300 public housing residents in Baltimore; Lowes and United Way of Central Maryland delivered 300 Christmas trees to needy families in the city, Baltimore County and Harford County; Mera Kitchen Collective’s foundation and Alma Cocina Latina restaurant have given away, at last count, 90,000 “high quality and dignified” meals; and Santa Claus Anonymous, established 86 years ago, during the Great Depression, by a future Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor (Theodore R. McKeldin), just distributed clothing, toy and book vouchers of $20 each to 10,000 kids.

Respect!

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