A. Robert Kaufman's idea of birthday fun: "pulling a Martin Luther," which is to say, nailing his 24 "electoral theses" on the door of Baltimore City Hall.
Baltimore police's idea of vandalism: nailing anything to the door of City Hall.
Kaufman, who turned 76 yesterday, knew that much. Socialism aside, the mayoral hopeful isn't radical enough to drive a nail into city government's front door (particularly since it's glass).
So after brandishing a hammer for fun, Kaufman reached into his Trader Joe's shopping bag and pulled out a handy-dandy tool unimaginable to your average 16th-century rabble-rouser: duct tape.
Kaufman's theses - among them, a call to give nonviolent prisoners comfy recliners and the right to send out for pizza - were up for all of 10 seconds. Turns out even taping things to the front door of City Hall can get you in trouble with the cops, though not the pope.
"The cop insisted I take it down," Kaufman said. "I said, `You're welcome to have it.' He refused to read it."
At least Kaufman has another newfangled method for posting his views: Myspace. You can read them all at www.myspace.com/arkaufman.
Could you please turn out the lights
While he was outside City Hall, Baltimore's leading (and only) Socialist candidate for mayor pointed out that the big copper lights out front were on in broad daylight.
"I'm dangerous walking around here," Kaufman said. "What the hell else am I going to notice?"
Public Works spokesman Bob Murrow said workers were replacing bulbs and needed to see which ones were burned out.
A pork bill with a humanitarian motive
Yes, yes, Del. Saqib Ali knows the bill entitled "Confinement of Pigs During Pregnancy" sounds like one of those wacky would-be laws that goes nowhere fast in Annapolis. But Ali said HB 1246 isn't as goofy as it sounds.
It would require that pregnant pigs be kept in crates big enough to allow the animals to turn around. Most farmers keep pregnant pigs in very small, individual crates to keep them out of trouble, he said.
"Pigs fight and get into fights, claw each other," he said. "When they're pregnant, they're more prone to losing their babies if they get in fights."
A similar bill failed in 2004 amid opposition from industry concerned about costs, Ali said. He expects better luck this time because Smithfield Foods, the nation's largest pork producer, will phase out the 2-by-7-foot crates and put pigs in pens instead. The bill Ali has co-sponsored would give Maryland farmers 10 years to comply.
Still, Ali expects a fight.
"They're not laughing," he said of fellow lawmakers. "People have strong feelings about it."
$10,000, and something for the girls
Ten members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 24 pooled their money and hit the Mega Millions the other day. But work over at Bayview Medical Center, where they've been on the job, won't screech to a halt.
They only won $10,003. Split 10 ways, after taxes, they'll each get $750.
They plan to spend their winnings on fishing equipment, Harley pipes and, in one case, strippers.
That guy wants the lottery to pay him in singles.
Connect the dots
The day after Tom DiBiagio's "Me, too" interview ran in The New York Times, the ex-U.S. attorney popped up in a National Public Radio report, commenting on Scooter Libby's conviction. DiBiagio's verdict: Prosecutors did a good job. ... The Paterakis family has spawned a new generation of tycoons: John Paterakis tells The Sun's Jill Rosen that a grandson who is about to graduate from college will open his first business - a Haagen Daz ice cream parlor in Harbor East. ... Spotted having lunch the other day at Luna Blu in Annapolis: Former Gov. Parris Glendening and his son, Raymond. The younger Glendening was wearing a big "Lobbyist" ID tag around his neck. He represents the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 44. ... City Councilman Ken Harris, who is running for council president, had a fundraiser headlined by Hall of Famer Lenny Moore this week at The Ropewalk. The Ropewalk? The Federal Hill bar with the Republican tilt and life-sized Ronald Reagan statue? "Politics takes you to places where you've never been before," Harris said. ... Martin O'Malley hasn't been in office two month, but already the blue-and-white bumper sticker is out there: "Don't blame me - I voted for EHRLICH."