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Baltimore City Paper home page.

House of not-smart people

March 28, 2014
Seriously, man,

Seriously, man.

So yesterday Marylanders were treated to what the papers (here and here, for example) depicted as an entertaining “zing” by a lawmaker at the company that produces Netflix’s hit “House of Cards.”

Availing themselves to yet another opportunity to publish photos of Kevin Spacey (or the snippets of the show’s audio), both the Baltimore Sun and the Daily Record (and plenty more media outlets too) told their readers and listeners that Del. William Frick (D-Montgomery) had added an amendment to the bill—now sure to become law—which will hand over an additional $11 million (more or less) to Spacey’s crew. That amendment promises to condemn, by “eminent domain,” the show’s “property” in the event that it leaves the state.

OK, that’s total bullshit. The questions not answered or even asked at are as follows:

I. Regarding The Stunt

a. What does House of Cards (or any TV production company) actually have by way of assets in Maryland–particularly after they break set for the season?
b. What possible legal underpinning, under color of eminent domain (which, last I checked, requires a public purpose and fair compensation for any property seized) could exist for this amendment?
c. Would not the production company—which ordinarily would (and, indeed, explicitly threatened to) abandon that same property in the event it leaves the state—not welcome such an offer of recompense, regardless of any insulting verbiage wrapping it?

II. Regarding The Stories

a. Why not at least ask a., b. and c. (above)?
b. Why not actually answer them?; or
c.  If one has no intention of doing this (because the answers are obvious) why not write a story that points out the folly of both this stupid, petulant, weakness-revealing bullshit little amendment; and/or/at least the utterly fatuous, fucked-up and (legally, morally and practically) indefensible (yet near-universal) taxpayer-sapping expense refund policy whose curious uncurbability prompted this little legislative outburst?

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