The Truth About Fake News

Journalist David Henry to address our fake news concerns.

Fake news has always been around, but for the most part we could count on receiving accurate information. Objective journalism has been both an industry standard and a successful business model, but with the advent of cable news and the internet, things have changed. A timely forum, The Truth About Fake News, will be presented Thursday, June 15, at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. The program will begin at 7 pm.

What is fake news? Why do we have it, and how can we identify it? Award winning TV journalist David Henry has spent the past 30 years covering local news in Philadelphia, as well as international events such as our two gulf wars and the aftermath of 9/11. His Emmy Award winning investigative reporting included uncovering medical malpractice and political corruption in the city of Philadelphia.

He will define fake news, describe the factors contributing to it, and perhaps most importantly, help us identify fake news and suggest how we might return to a media marketplace that favors accountability. This presentation will be followed by a period of discussion, questions and answers.

This program is being presented by the Talbot County Democratic Forum and is free and open to the public. For more information, call Bonnie Morro, 410 690 3624.

Public Meeting on the Affordable Care Act

Michael Hash

Now that our president has advised “letting Obamacare collapse,” we might remind our representatives that they were elected to govern. There is clearly work to be done as long as we see other nations delivering better outcomes to more of their citizens at less cost.

The Talbot County Democratic Forum and FamilyCare of Easton, Aesthetics are sponsoring a program on why the act was created, what it has done, how it can be improved, and what changes to it might mean for people on the Eastern Shore.

The program will be Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 114 South Washington St. in Easton. It is free and open to the public.

The featured speaker will be Michael Hash, who served as director of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services from 2011 to 2014. Before that, he was deputy director of the White House Office for Health Reform. He has a long history of involvement with health care policy at the highest levels in Washington and has taught at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.

“Before passage of the Affordable Care Act,” Hash said recently, “people with preexisting health conditions were denied coverage, denied benefits, or charged exorbitant rates. The uninsured rate in the U.S. stood at 16 percent. Today that rate is below 9 percent and more than 22 million Americans, who were previously uninsured, now have health insurance.”

He said that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, has also improved the quality and outcomes of care. “Hospital re-admission rates and infection rates have significantly declined and electronic medical records have made patient records more accessible,” he said. “But more progress needs to be made. In some places consumers don’t have an adequate choice of health plans, premiums may be unaffordable, and the cost of prescription drugs is out of reach.”
He said that a constructive, bipartisan effort is needed to strengthen the ACA or else the progress that has been made and the health and well being of millions of Americans are at risk.

Susan Delean-Botkin, a nurse-practitioner in Talbot County, will discuss what the ACA has meant for individuals in the Mid-Shore.

The program will end with a question-and-answer session.

Income Inequality: Causes, Consequences, and Cures

Forum addressing income inequality to be presented in Easton.

With the highest level of income inequality among Maryland’s 23 counties, Talbot County is a good place to address this issue. Maryland does have the highest median household income in the nation, though, and a lower than average level of income inequality.

The shift toward income equality and strong growth that we experienced following WWII has been steadily reversed since 1979, though. Our nation’s current level of income inequality is both our highest since the Great Depression and the highest among industrialized nations. A majority now believes our next generation will be worse off than our last.

Richard Schiming, Ph.D., former professor of economics at Minnesota State University, Mankato and co-author of the textbook, Principles of Economics, will describe the causes, consequences, and cures of these economic shifts. His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion including members of our community.

Sponsored by the Talbot County Democratic Forum, this presentation is free and open to the public. Join us on Thursday, October 13, 7pm, at 26 W. Dover St., Easton.

Chris Van Hollen to Open Talbot Democratic Headquarters

chris_van_hollen_gty_629_956x519Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen will be in Easton on Friday, July 22, for the grand opening of the Talbot County Democratic Headquarters, 26 W. Dover St.

The grand opening party, from 4 to 6 p.m., is sponsored by the Talbot County Democratic Forum, the Democratic Women’s Club of Talbot County, and the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to come and meet Congressman Van Hollen.

Van Hollen, who has represented Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District since 2003, is the Democratic nominee to take the seat held by retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski. Van Hollen has said he wants to follow in the footsteps of Mikulski, who is seen as a strong supporter of watermen, the seafood industry and Maryland farmers.

“In this era of divisive politics and partisan obstruction, I believe the most important job of a U.S. Senator is to make sure the government works for our families, not special interests,” Van Hollen said. “That means fighting to grow the economy, invest in education and job training, and protect families from the extreme Tea Party agenda. It also means helping our veterans get the services they need and helping Maryland seniors with their Social Security.”

IMG_3674Speaking of his campaign, Van Hollen added, “This summer, I will continue talking with families across Maryland about what is important to them — whether you’re from the Eastern Shore or Western Maryland, Baltimore or the Washington suburbs.”

The Talbot County Democratic Headquarters, a joint project led by the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee with support from the Democratic Forum and the Democratic Women’s Club, is a regional focal point during campaign season.   “We Democrats are very proud of the new headquarters,” said Rick Lynch, president of the Democratic Forum. “This year we have the room to host large crowds to hear our message and meet our candidates.”

Democrats are expecting just such a crowd at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, for a party to watch Hillary Clinton’s televised acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Should the convention schedule change to put the speech on another day, the date of the party will change to coincide with the speech.

Talbot Democratic Forum: Voting – Our Right, Our Responsibility April 17

Only about half of Maryland’s eligible voters have exercised their right to vote in recent elections – 66 percent of us in 2012 and 42 percent in 2014. Being reminded of our history and that people have fought and died for this right could rekindle our appreciation for the foundation of our democracy.

Dr. Clara Small, recently retired Salisbury University professor of history, award-winning author, and currently appointed to a commission by our governor to study the history and legacy of slavery, will recount for us the African-American experience leading to the 15th Amendment, and the Women’s Suffrage movement leading to our 19th Amendment.

Our second speaker, Olivia Brice, is a University of Maryland graduate and a Strategy and Operations consultant employed by Deloitte Consulting. The Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department are among her clients. She will address the voting issues we are facing today, including strategies for encouraging greater participation.

Following their presentations, certificates and a first place prize of $100 and second place prize of $50 will be awarded to the Talbot County high school students who have submitted the winning essays on voting. They will be invited to share their essays and join the panel discussion that follows. Questions will be welcomed.

This program, free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the Talbot County Democratic Forum; and will be presented Sunday, April 17, 3-5 PM at the Senior Center, 400 Brookletts Avenue, Easton.

Senate Candidate Van Hollen Comes to Easton April 19

The Talbot County Democratic Forum will feature Maryland Democratic US Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen as the keynote speaker at the Forum’s Annual Meeting, which will occur April 19 at the Avalon Theatre in Easton. Van Hollen was the first to announce his candidacy for the US Senate seat after Barbara Mikulski announced she would retire at the end of her term.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 9.14.40 AMCongressman Van Hollen was elected to Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in 2002, and was quickly elected to the Democratic House leadership, and recently was elected by his colleagues to serve a second term as top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. He is a tireless advocate for Maryland in Congress, and his leadership has helped to obtain funding for a wide range of critical community investments, including infrastructure, biotechnology, and education. He has been awarded the “Courageous Leadership Award” from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee and received awards from several magazines for his contributions. He has received top awards from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Save the Children, Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Progressive Maryland, the Committee for Education Funding and the Veteran Institute for Procurement.

He is a steward of the Chesapeake Bay, and has fought successfully to obtain a historic boost in federal funds for the Bay as part of the Farm Bill and to secure provisions in the Recovery Act for loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. He also played an integral role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act and expanding health care for young adults.

Before his election to the House, he served four years in the Maryland House of Delegates and eight years in the Maryland Senate. He is a graduate of Swarthmore, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in Kensington with his wife, Katherine, and three children.

The event is free, and begins with a reception from 4-5 PM featuring the fabulous Forum smorgasbord. The Democratic Women’s Club will hold their annual silent auction, and bidding will end at 5 PM, when the meeting agenda commences. The Forum’s High Kicker Award will be presented, and the first official Act of incoming Forum President Rick Lynch will be to introduce Chris Van Hollen as keynote speaker.

The Forum is asking attendees to bring canned food for the Hunger Coalition and Talbot Food Pantry Programs-a Can of Care!

The Talbot County Democratic Forum is the official club of the Democratic Party in Talbot County. The 1,000+ supporters of the Forum are activists who believe change is possible with an educated electorate and have built their base upon this premise.

For Further information, contact Forum President Richard Calkins at


Talbot County Democratic Forum Appoints New President, Three Board Members

he Talbot County Democratic Forum has appointed Rick Lynch as the Forum’s President and Susan DeLean Botkin, Larry Pifer and Rick Schiming to its Board of Directors.

Rick Lynch, the incoming Forum President, lives in Royal Oak and has been a Forum member for ten years and a Board member for four years. He was born in Washington, DC and spent his entire Federal Government career with the USDA’s Rural Electrification Administration, where he served as the agency’s Personnel Director and Assistant Administrator for Management. He is a thirty year member of Dignity, the national LGBT Catholic Advocacy organization, and has managed their Capitol Hill office until recently. Rick is a lifelong Democrat, and was active in several campaigns and causes, such as the O’Malley campaigns of 2006 &2010, and the Kratovil for Congress campaigns of 2008 & 2010, and has served the Forum in several volunteer activities.

He succeeds Richard Calkins, who will have served as President for four years, and has served on the Board for 5 ½ years. Calkins moved to Talbot in 2002 and retired in 2007 after serving as Executive Director of three international organizations over 25 years in DC, and as a university administrator for more than a decade in Switzerland. He will continue as a volunteer with the Forum

Susan DeLean-Botkin is the owner of Family Care of Easton, where she is a CRNP, a Nurse Practitioner. She is the Past President of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland, and in that role was a leader in the bipartisan effort in legislation leading to the Decoupling Act which untethered Maryland’s CRNP’s, allowing them to work independently of physicians. Her expertise is well-known in Maryland, and she has received several awards and spoken at several conferences.

Larry Pifer retired from the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University after 34 years in various supervisory positions. As a principal engineer, his areas of expertise included the launch systems for nuclear weapons on missile carrying submarines. He has also served several years with Pratt and Whitney Aircraft and Martin Marrietta. Larry is a stellar member of the Forum’s Environmental Committee, and is deeply committed to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, following state, county, and federal legislation.

Rick Schiming retired to Easton in 2012 after a 38-year career as an Economics Professor in Minnesota. As in Minnesota, he is an active Democrat who, since coming to Easton, has volunteered in the Talbot County Democratic Headquarters, and canvassed over 400 homes in the period leading up to the 2014 election.

All with be introduced and installed at the Forum’s Annual meeting April 19 at the Avalon Theatre, which will feature Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

With the addition of the above, the Forum Board, as of April 19, will be Rick Lynch, President; Carol Voyles, Vice President; Art Cizek, Treasurer; and Board members Steve Bailey, Susan DeLean-Botkin, Francine DeSanctis, Charlene DeShields, Jim Franke, Charles Hines, Jane Johnson, Bonnie Morro, Larry Pifer, Blair Potter, Joyce Scharch and, Rick Schiming.

The Talbot County Democratic Forum is an activist organization that works for the election of Democratic candidates as well as providing political and subject forums of public interest. For further information go to our website at or Facebook page Talbot County Democratic Forum.

Franchot Headlines First Friday Reception at Democratic HQ October 3

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot will headline the First Friday Reception at Democratic Headquarters, 125 N. Washington Street, in Easton. The reception will occur Friday, October 3, from 5-7 PM. The event, sponsored by the Talbot County Democratic Forum, is free, and drinks and snacks will be provided.

Franchot, a lawyer, served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1987-2007, and has been Comptroller since 2007. He is an independent voice and fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of Maryland, and is well-known among various Eastern Shore constituencies, and is running for re-election for his third term.

Franchot has endorsed Congressional District One candidate Bill Tilghman, State Senate 37 candidate Chris Robinson, and State Delegate 37B candidate Keasha Haythe. Also attending will be Talbot County Council candidates Hilary Spence and Eric Lowery, among others.

The Democratic Headquarters opened to the public June 23, and is open Monday-Friday from 11-5 and Saturday from 11-3.

The Talbot County Democratic Forum seeks to provide a forum in which concerned citizens may meet to exchange views and develop positions on contemporary political and social issues, and to encourage all citizens to participate in the political process at local, state, and national levels, and to be an effective voice for the Democratic Party at all levels of governance.

For Further information, contact Forum President Richard Calkins at

Comptroller Franchot Gives Thumbs Up for Keasha Haythe

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has endorsed Democrat Keasha Haythe in the race to represent District 37B in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 5.14.04 PM“Keasha Haythe has a proven track record of working with business to create jobs and increase economic opportunity on the Eastern Shore – which is exactly the type of leadership we need in Annapolis,” Franchot said. “I am proud to endorse her candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates.”

Haythe, who has also been endorsed by the Maryland State Education Association, said, “I am honored to receive Comptroller Peter Franchot’s endorsement. Comptroller Franchot stands for fiscal responsibility, financial literacy programs in our schools, and recognizes the contributions that businesses make when they invest in Maryland.”

The granddaughter of a Bellevue waterman, Haythe was born and raised in Talbot County. Since 2008, she has served as the Dorchester County Economic Development Director. Partnering with private and public stakeholders, she has championed education, entrepreneurship and expansion of existing businesses as ways to create jobs. Her campaign expands that approach, stressing the importance of education, economic development and environment.

Haythe is one of two Democrats on the ballot facing two Republicans. Voters will be asked to vote for two. State law mandates that the two winners come from different counties, so if the two top voter-getters are from the same county, the third-place finisher could be one of the two winners.

“It’s important for voters to understand how this odd election works,” Haythe said. “People need to know they should vote for only one Talbot County candidate – and that’s me.”

More information about Haythe is at


Nominee Tilghman Meets With Talbot Residents

Bill Tilghman, the Democratic nominee for Congress from Maryland’s First District, brought his centrist campaign to Easton on Saturday, July 12. “I’m a fiscal conservative and a social moderate,” Tilghman said at the Talbot County Democratic Campaign Headquarters on Washington Street.

Tilghman, a Centreville lawyer, characterized his campaign as “taking the best from both parties” to try to find a way out of the partisan gridlock in Washington.

He started the day Saturday with a visit to the popular Easton Farmers’ Market and followed that by meeting with a number of Democratic, Republican and independent voters at the party offices.

Tilghman began that meeting by describing his campaign’s effort to stay positive despite calls for him to criticize his Republican opponent, incumbent Rep. Andy Harris. He said he would work for bipartisan solutions to the problems ranging from the environment to government regulations to health care. He said that polls show that most Republicans now support the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and that he doesn’t expect Harris, to renew calls for its repeal.

First Congressional District candidate Bill Tilghman talks Saturday morning with Easton resident Meredith Shirka at the Easton Farmers’ Market.

First Congressional District candidate Bill Tilghman talks Saturday morning with Easton resident Meredith Shirka at the Easton Farmers’ Market.