Antibiotic abuse on the farm

The rise of drug-resistant bacteria is one of the more alarming health threats of the past several decades. Some of the nation's top hospitals, including one operated by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, have experienced deadly outbreaks. Altogether, such infections kill an estimated 23,000 Americans each year, which is more than die of leukemia, Parkinson's disease or HIV/AIDS, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One factor thought to be contributing to the deadly trend is the use of antibiotics in farm animals. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: Between Obamacare and BGF, a rough year for O'Malley

A couple of weeks ago, before he went on a nine-day trip to Brazil and El Salvador, Gov. Martin O'Malley pledged that major glitches in Maryland's health insurance exchange would be fixed by mid-December. Well, the governor has returned from the Southern Hemisphere, and guess what? Mid-December is Sunday at noon. So I guess we'll see if our totally excellent governor will be able to deliver a fix like the one the Obama administration appears to have pulled off at the federal level. (Balt. Sun)

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The folly of marijuana legalization

Since Del. Heather Mizeur, a candidate for governor, announced a plan to legalize marijuana in Maryland, there has been a great deal of discussion of the issue. The Baltimore Sun called for a more measured approach that avoided the risk of "rushing to embrace a sweeping but untested new policy that could create as many problems as it solves." In an op-ed in The Sun, Walter Olson, a fellow at the Cato Institute, derided conservative opposition to Ms. Mizeur's drug legalization proposal and regurgitated many of the arguments that have been made by legalization advocates for decades. What has been missing from the discussion, however, has been an honest analysis of both the impacts of broad legalization and the true intent of its advocates. Such a discussion would, no doubt, quickly chill any public momentum toward marijuana legalization. (Balt. Sun)

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Comprehensive redistrcting plan needed

In recent years, the school system has opened new schools but has avoided the massive redistricting that would normally be required, instead choosing to make smaller changes that minimized the impact on families with children in the schools. The result, however, according to a study commissioned by the school system, is that now we have some schools that are overcrowded or whose facilities and programs are stretched, while other schools are operating far lower than capacity. (Carr. Co. Times)

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All in the Family Division 

Imagine the fate of your family life depends on a trial judge, who will issue a custody decision based in part on an investigative report. Now, imagine that the report can only be viewed in one room of one courthouse. No copying allowed. No exceptions. That’s the situation lawyers who handle custody cases in Baltimore have faced for nine years now. Although courts elsewhere in Maryland have no such restriction, the Family Division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court adopted a policy in 2004 to keep all “Court Ordered Evaluative Reports” safely sequestered behind closed doors. (Daily Record)

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Dec. 12 // Robert McCartney: Brown bungles health-care plan debut but will probably win Md. governorship anyway

In seven years in the shadows as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown was given one high-profile task: Oversee the rollout of President Obama’s health-care plan in a heavily Democratic state sure to love it. He bungled the assignment. Badly. Now, as Brown campaigns for governor with strong backing from most of his party’s elite, voters have a right to ask why he deserves to advance a grade after he flunked his biggest test.  (Wash. Post)

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Brown's conflict

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, in his capacity as a Democratic candidate for governor, is criticizing fellow candidate Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown for refusing to disclose emails and other documents related to his involvement with Maryland's botched rollout of its health insurance exchange website. Mr. Brown is striking back, noting that Mr. Gansler's office provides advice about what records are subject to executive privilege. If we might cut through this little Gordian knot of political intrigue, it is rich that Mr. Gansler would be the one to raise such a criticism, but it is also irrelevant. (Balt. Sun)

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We're on the long trail back to paper

The General Assembly voted to do it in 2007, but it may not get done by 2016. Normally, we’d be irate about such state government dilly-dallying. But the vote in question was to scrap a costly — but perfectly satisfactory — touch screen electronic voting system installed in the last decade so the state can switch back to paper ballots. This reversion to the 1990s will cost at least \$37 million — probably much more, given the magic of state procurement of technology. (Capital)

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