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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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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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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Robert McCartney: Washington area has a real chance to reduce traffic congestion

Washington area residents: Are you resigned to sitting in endless traffic jams? Do you assume nothing can be done? Think gridlock here is as inevitable as death and taxes? If so, you’re wrong. A local traffic study and an opinion survey published by The Washington Post last week show that genuine, noticeable reductions in travel time are achievable if smart choices are made and sufficient money is spent. (Wash. Post)

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Police department shake-up

The major shake-up of the city police department command structure this week by Commissioner Anthony Batts brings to an end a months-long process during which the city's top cop has been working assiduously to put his own team in place. The transfers and promotions reflect Mr. Batts' best judgment of his department's strengths and weaknesses as well as the effectiveness of the leaders he has appointed to key posts. Having put his personal stamp on the organization, he now owns it, and from this point forward he can expect to be held fully accountable for its success or failure. That's as it should be. (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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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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David Hanlin: Could privatization help visitors to MVA?

Like most, I periodically have to deal with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The folks who work in the Hagerstown office off Sharpsburg Pike have a tough job. To help them, computer systems have been upgraded. Self-serve kiosks have been installed. Staff might even have attended customer services classes. (Herald-Mail)

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