Ben Carson: Restoring plain and civil speech to politics

I retired this month after 40 years of medical endeavors. There is little that can compare to the joy of being able to intervene in the lives of fellow human beings and in the vast majority of cases, save or improve those lives. For a long time, I thought that retirement would mean learning to play golf well, learning to play the organ and learning a variety of new languages. Maybe my second retirement will include those things, but as a physician, I could not walk away and forget about patients who were suffering, and by the same token, I cannot now embark upon a life of leisure and watch my beloved nation and fellow citizens suffer from many self-inflicted wounds. (Wash. Times)

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Signs of abortion rights

Across the country, abortion rights opponents have been vigorously pushing new laws at the state and local level to restrict women's reproductive health rights. In the first six months of 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute, states have enacted 106 provisions related to abortion, the funding of family planning services and sex education. Against that troubling backdrop, it's difficult not to find encouraging last week's U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn a lower court opinion striking down a Baltimore ordinance that requires pregnancy clinics to post signs stating if they do not provide abortions. (Balt. Sun)

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Susan Reimer: Annapolis whiffs on City Dock again

Annapolis has been giving in to angry citizens since the burning of the good ship Peggy Stewart for violating the tea boycott in 1774. Now a plan to polish the aging City Dock is about to go up in smoke, too. Mayor Josh Cohen has yielded to a group of fusty historic types who don't want to see a brick moved, merchants who fear competition and Edward Hartman, who holds the city hostage for two boat shows a year and doesn't want to lose a square foot of vendor space. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: Yes, we really do keep senior citizens behind bars

One of the ironic consequences of the Maryland Court of Appeals' ruling in the matter of criminals sentenced to life in prison is that it undermines, with fine judicial reasoning, what two Democratic governors tried to keep in place with crass political considerations — that is, the denial of parole to longtime convicts who had earned release from prison. Some of the inmates who are being released because of the court's ruling are in their 60s and 70s, and Marylanders might be surprised to learn that we really keep guys behind bars at those advanced ages. (Balt. Sun)

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Hot cars fatal to children

Two deaths in recent weeks due to children left in hot vehicles serve as grim reminders to parents everywhere of the extra care and attention that we need to exercise when transporting youngsters. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Diane Kuhn: A better MCAT may not produce better doctors

What does it take to become a good doctor? In the midst of a period of health care reform and primary care shortages, how we do to encourage talented students who want to give back to the community to go into medicine? Since the 1920s, the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, has played a central role in the admissions process for prospective medical students, helping admissions officers make tough calls about which students are best qualified to train as physicians. Initially developed as a way to reduce drop out and flunk out rates, the test now helps differentiate between applicants with near-perfect grades, college leadership positions and shadowing experience. But the MCAT is due for a serious makeover. (Balt. Sun)

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Harbor Point and Perkins Homes

City Councilman Carl Stokes plans to hold a hearing on a resolution calling on the developers of the tony Harbor Point project on Baltimore's waterfront to invest at least $15.6 million into the nearby Perkins Homes public housing development. It gets at a vital issue — whether tax incentives for downtown development benefit the city's poor residents — but does so by means of a number of misconceptions. (Balt. Sun)

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Rising waters

Last December, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an executive order aimed at focusing attention on rising sea levels and the damage they might do to Maryland roads and other transportation infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas. According to a Capital News Service analysis, however, O’Malley’s warning that 400 miles of state roads could be threatened understates the problem. Instead, CNS reports that “roughly 800 miles of roads would be affected if sea levels rise another 2 feet. At 5 feet, an estimated 3,700 miles would be underwater.” Those figures are dependent on some “ifs,” but the fact that Chesapeake Bay waters are rising — or the land sinking, or both — isn’t in dispute. (News-Post)

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