A step in a healthier direction

Prince George’s County Councilman Eric Olson’s plan to improve public health by requiring chain restaurants to provide calorie and salt content information on menus is a step in the right direction — but it’s a tiny effort in a much larger problem. About 71 percent of county residents are overweight or obese, and Prince George’s has the highest rate in the state of diabetes (and obesity is a risk factor for the disease). (Gazette)

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Food stamp plan hurts poor, not fraudsters

Perhaps you saw Rep. Andy Harris in a lengthy CNN interview a week ago about cuts in the food stamp program passed later that day by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. Harris was well-spoken and telegenic. He repeated his main points effectively. And he was wrong. (Daily Times)

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Deborah Flateman: We can end hunger in Maryland

With kids back in school and Labor Day parades and beach parties concluded, it's time to talk about a perennial issue facing our communities: "food insecurity," or more simply put, hunger. With nearly 50 million Americans going without enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs, food insecurity is one of our gravest ills, at the center of dangerous gaps in public safety, public health, education and the economy. In Maryland, the richest state in the nation, 780,000 people don't know where their next meal is coming from, including a quarter of a million children. (Balt. Sun)

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Tim Rowland: Politicians could use lesson in humility and titans of finance need one in simple living

The stage you are awarded in life is everything. Consider that I carry my own luggage, live in simple accommodations and often cook my own meals. I drive a Ford. That’s right, just like the pope. But no one is taking the time to sing my praises, to write breathy news articles about me or to Tweet that I am the greatest person alive. Just because I don’t at the moment happen to have a Roman numeral after my name. (Herald-Mail)

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Of banker bonuses and public lynchings

One can scarcely blame an appropriately-outraged Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for calling on AIG's Robert Benmosche to step down after the CEO compared the public criticism of the generous bonuses given top finance industry executives to lynchings in the Deep South. It's hard to know even where to begin with the outrageousness of that comparison. (Balt. Sun)

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Sept. 25 // The race is on

With Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's official entry into the gubernatorial race today, we may now have before us the complete field in both parties for what has the potential to be the most competitive contest to lead Maryland in a generation. Whether it lives up to that billing — and whether Marylanders get the choice they deserve in November, 2014 — may depend largely on the tone the candidates set during the next few months. (Balt. Sun)

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O'Malley: Less enforcement means more homicides

By 1999, Baltimore had become the most violent and addicted big city in America. In 2000, we started to roll back the violence of the city's open air drug markets. Police and neighbors were asked to believe, and were asked to do more based on that belief. By 2009 — with steady progress — Baltimore had the largest reduction in total crime and property crime and the second largest reduction in violent crime from 2000-2009 of the 20 largest cities in the country. There was never a headline and barely a story about this in The Baltimore Sun, so it is understandable that the editorial board and current reporting staff missed it. Earlier and smarter interventions in the lives of vulnerable young people and increased access to drug treatment were big parts of the equation. But, so too, was a higher level of enforcement effort by the Baltimore Police Department. (Balt. Sun)

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Opportunity in change of leaders

The Carroll County commissioners, who have been vocal in their opposition of some state laws and regulations, may find an easier time being heard at the state level with the appointment of Frederick Sen. David Brinkley as Republican leader and Carroll Sen. Joseph Getty as minority whip. Brinkley took over for E.J. Pipkin, the outspoken Cecil County Republican who earlier this year announced that he was moving to Texas. (Carroll Co. Times)

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