Bob McWilliams: The technology of taxation

This week, Annapolis announced the installation of new, high-tech parking meters. According to city spokeswoman, Rhonda Wardlaw, the computerized, solar powered meters would benefit motorists by allowing them to use a credit card to pay for parking. But, she neglected to note that more money for the city coffers might really be the ultimate goal. Along with the convenience of using a credit card, people parking in Annapolis also will enjoy a 100 percent increase in parking fees, a questionable move given the trouble downtown merchants are having attracting business. Additionally, there are less obvious way these meters can make parking more expensive. (Capital)

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C. Fraser Smith: Not locking away our problems 

Rushing to soothe the fears of their supporters, lawmakers in the U.S. loosed an epidemic of incarceration on this country. Fear of drugs led to over-the-top sentencing guidelines, a “corrosive” system over-long on punishment, short on justice — and little more safety. (Daily Record)

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Closed meetings violate public trust 

Disappointingly, and unsurprisingly, the Baltimore mayor’s office and officials with the city’s Board of Finance offered little more than platitudes after a clear-cut ruling by a state body charged with ensuring government transparency that stated the city blatantly violated Maryland’s Open Meetings Act. (Daily Record)

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Dream still not a reality

While a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington Wednesday was filled with the usual political posturing and empty speeches from congressional leaders of both parties, the most compelling question, and one on the minds of many Americans these days, came from Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis. Lewis, who was severely beaten in the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march in Selma, Ala., in 1965, talked of how that march on Washington brought us together as a nation and helped move the country forward. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Seth Waxman: Cuts to federal defenders undermine judicial system

As Americans, we all agree that everyone should get a fair hearing in our nation's courtrooms. Public defenders — lawyers assigned to those unable to afford one — ensure that every American's right to legal counsel, and a fair trial, is protected. For over 40 years, the federal defender system has served as an essential resource for the 90 percent of people prosecuted in federal courts who cannot afford an attorney. Today, however, sequestration and other devastating budget cuts to federal defender offices threaten to eviscerate this lauded program. (Balt. Sun)

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Gregory Kane: A brave Baltimore teacher speaks the truth about schools, students

Dave Miceli doesn't know me from a hole in the ground, but he's my new hero. Anyone that can dredge up the guts to teach in Baltimore's public schools automatically becomes a candidate for hero status in my book, especially if said anyone has taught in these schools for 20 years, as Miceli has. (Wash. Examiner)

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State of the City Hall election

State of the anything speeches are generally a recipe to cure insomnia, in which political-elected types offer their best spin on achievements — or lack thereof — during the previous year or so. As such, they’re generally devoid of any meaningful information other than a recap of what’s been done, where, and sometimes how much, occasionally with a look to the future. It’s with this in mind, if you haven’t already, that we’d urge you to take a look at our city hall reporter Jen Bondeson’s story Tuesday on Frederick Mayor Randy McClement’s State of the City address, which he delivered Monday. (News-Post)

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August 1 // No excuses for Prince George’s school scores

No surprise: Prince George’s County students’ scores on state tests continue to rank near the bottom in the state. Now there are fresh excuses for the poor showing. For Prince George’s, the problem can’t just be chalked up to system changes, however. County scores were low to begin with; the curriculum and special education problems only added to an existing issue. (Gazette)

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