A thread of political anomaly twists through: 1.) Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ben Cardin and gubernatorial hopeful Martin O?Malley believing former President Clinton will lift their electoral chances by stumping for them here last week. 2.) Democrats using incumbent President Bush?s laudatory words about Michael Steele in an anti-Steele commercial. 3.) Michael Steele?s endorsement by former brother-in-law, ear-biting fighter, Mike Tyson (and his promoter, Don King).

There?s a certain suggestion of history being forgotten, gracefully forgiving or unforgiving depending on whom you like ? and whom you don?t ? in the election this year.

Examiner ? always free

As we pass our first six months, many readers still wonder about our subscription price. Forever free to our readers is the business model. Period. But the newspaper isn?t free, of course.

So how does the business work? The desire to publish the news aggressively, vigorously and professionally without bias at a profit drives its owners and executives. Advertisers pay to reach you, asking you to buy their goods and services. They reach more of you with more money to spend in their businesses for far less than it costs to reach you via any other medium. That?s how it works.

Faultless delivery: our goal

A reminder. If you don?t want to receive The Baltimore Examiner at home, please let us know. We have a long list of those who do want to receive it. With the growing surge of demand from individuals and neighborhoods who want the newspaper, we can move your copy to an enthusiastic reader.

So call 800-387-6090 or e-mail Customer_service@baltimoreexaminer.com to stop delivery. If we?ve failed to stop your delivery quickly, I?m truly sorry. We don?t want you to get it if you won?t read it.

Stopping delivery looks easy enough to someone who hasn?t delivered newspapers in the dark, just taken over a route or received newspaper bundles late because of a production problem.

Our carriers are now equipped with GPS units to help us and the carriers manage their route starts and stops smarter. I try to stop my paid newspapers when I go out of town like you do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn?t. So I always let a neighbor know I?ll be out of town.

We contract with several agencies who in turn contract with carriers to deliver The Baltimore Examiner to your home. Their contract calls for them to let no more than two papers accumulate at any household.

The vast majority of them, good, hard-working Marylanders all, do this and do it well, the second or third job for many of them. We need to know about the ones who don?t. Please let us know if you see Examiners piling up and we?ll send someone to pick them up.

We want to be welcomed, not resented ? of course. And, mostly, the reception has been something just a few percentage points south of unanimously heart-warming.

Competition always welcome

The decision by Boscov?s, for more than 75 years a family-owned and operated department store company, to open three additional stores in this market is still another indicator of the rising tide of financial commitment to our community being made by thoughtful marketers across many categories.

With a base in Reading, Pa., the company has 46 stores in six states. Their three new stores join the one they already own in the market in Westminster in Carroll County.

Along with the recent opening of Filene?s Basement, a distinguished New England department store brand, in Hunt Valley comes the good news that that company has decided to open still another branch downtown.

The Examiner likes competition, and so do these esteemed merchandisers and marketers. Welcome to the fray!

Michael Phelps is publisher of The Baltimore Examiner. He can be reached at mphelps@baltimoreexaminer.com.