Laslo Boyd: It’s almost 2018

Donald Trump has managed to disrupt many of our conventional notions about the world of politics.  Bad things are happening so fast and so frequently that it’s hard to know which ones should get our attention. More significantly, the relatively trivial distractions are difficult to ignore because they seem so outrageous.  Trumps flagrantly disregards conventions, norms, rules, laws–and the truth. (From a Certain Point of View)

Read Full Article

Hogan vs. Miller

It was one thing when a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan accused Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller of acting unethically — maybe even illegally — by linking confirmation of a cabinet secretary to getting what he wanted in an unrelated, supposedly apolitical decision about whether the Anne Arundel Medical Center should get a cardiac surgery program. It was quite another last week when the governor himself said the Senate president repeatedly threatened to reject Mr. Hogan’s nominee for state health secretary unless he stopped the Maryland Health Care Commission from granting AAMC the certificate of need required to start the program. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Needle exchange would be a courageous move

Here's what Gov. Larry Hogan has given Republicans: Freedom to think beyond a predictable playbook in responding to heroin and opioid abuse in Anne Arundel County and across Maryland. Because the first-term Republican has been a vocal advocate for casting this crisis as a health care matter, the conservative political leadership of this county now can discuss establishing a clean needle exchange program. To anyone familiar with this concept and the objections to it, this is a breathtaking discussion. (Capital)

Read Full Article

John Delaney: Time to get smart on artificial intelligence

One of the biggest problems with Washington is that the policy conversation often is not grounded in the facts. We see this dysfunction clearly on technology policy, where Congress is largely uninformed on what the future of artificial intelligence (AI) technology will look like and what the actual consequences are likely to be. In this factual vacuum, we run the risk of ultimately adopting, at best, irrelevant or, at worst, extreme legislative responses. (Herald-Mail)

Read Full Article

Nate Loewentheil - A compromise on illegal gun possession in Baltimore: Treat minimum sentences like an emergency public health measure

Last week I was at a vigil for a young man named MJ in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. A few days earlier, he had been shot 15 times after leaving a pool party. His girlfriend organized the vigil. For the first hour, she was calm and collected. Then her two-year old son – MJ’s son – started crying, and her grief burst forth. Between tears and cries and shouts of anger, she blamed the streets that had taken her son’s father and begged the crowd to put the guns down. To try to control the rapid growth in gun violence and get guns of the street, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pushing a new city ordinance that would impose a one-year minimum sentence for carrying an illegal firearm in Baltimore. I applaud this effort. (Md. Reporter)

Read Full Article

Zeke Cohen: Mandatory gun sentencing won’t stem Baltimore’s bloodshed

My most painful moment as a City Councilman was watching two mothers of slain sons meet earlier this month at a Unity Rally. By all accounts, their children were superb young men. Neither one had ever been in trouble. They looked forward to bright futures. The two mothers – one black and one white – embraced and wept. I cried, too. The killings in our city are demoralizing. Families and entire communities have been ripped apart by bullets. It feels like we are all living in a thick fog of fear, stress and grief. (Brew)

Read Full Article

Golden parachutes in Towson

Congratulations to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz for recognizing that it’s untenable for his chief administrative officer to have signed a policy allowing that same official to grant himself a severance package of up to 120 days of pay should he retire. On Friday, Mr. Kamenetz issued a statement saying he had “never viewed the policy as applicable to the County Administrative Officer” — although it clearly said it was, in the first sentence — “and now I have clarified the issue” by removing that position from the list of those eligible for the benefit. But the executive needs to think a little more deeply about a policy that still awards a handful of top county employees with a payout far beyond what front-line county workers might expect, much less what virtually all of those in the private sector receive. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Joseph Mack: Even if you win in arbitration, you still lose

Congress recently began a fast track process to repeal a new rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that protects consumers’ right to band together in class action lawsuits when companies engage in widespread wrongdoing. The saga of the Martin-Bowens of Glen Burnie shows why preserving the rule is important. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article