Boyce Rensberger: Is education worth it?

Blaine Young and the Board of County Commissioners have been so consistently hostile to our schools, our children and the future of our county over the last five years that a once excellent school system is now endangered. The quality of education surely will sink if this keeps on. By refusing for so many years to increase funding beyond the state-required minimum, the Young board has forced teachers to keep on giving of themselves even as the buying power of their frozen pay shrinks year after year. (News-Post)

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Feb. 17 // A three-way race

The race for the Democratic nomination for governor has settled into an odd pattern. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the leader in fundraising and endorsements, has become increasingly aggressive in his attacks on Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, and increasingly complimentary toward Del. Heather Mizeur. The Sun poll released today, showing Mr. Brown with a lead but hardly an insurmountable one, helps explain why that is. (Balt. Sun) 

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Barry Rascovar: Getting to the bottom of Md.’s $250M health care fiasco

Accountability is sorely lacking when it comes to Maryland’s botched rollout of Obamacare. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown  is nowhere to be found when tough questions are asked. Gov. Martin O’Malley deflects “who’s at fault” inquiries, focusing instead on getting the deeply flawed software partly operable. The computer system’s main contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, blames its prime subcontractor, who in turn accuses Noridian — a healthcare services company, not an IT firm — of incompetence and conning the state. Given that Noridian has received $65 million to construct a failed system, the subcontractor may have a point. (Md. Reporter) 

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Chicken tax is example of soft-boiled legislation

For Maryland’s leaders who have often wondered aloud why other states point to us and snicker behind their hands, we have two words for you: Chicken tax. Seriously. Really, we’re not kidding here. OK, the real name is the Poultry Fair Share Act, which lasted all of 30 seconds before being redubbed (the same as happened last year with the “rain tax” er, we mean the “Watershed Protection and Restoration Program”). Apparently, though, advocates counted their chickens before they were hatched. (News-Post)

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Time to stop horsing around

Disturbing though it has been that the windfall of tax revenue from the legalization of casino gambling in Maryland has failed to prevent increases in the sales tax rate and the tax on gasoline, some consolation can be found in Maryland's thoroughbred horse industry and, by extension, Harford County's. It would be hard to overstate the importance of thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland. The Old Line State ranked with Kentucky and New York as an epicenter for the very popular spectator sport of horse racing.  (Aegis)

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Dan Rodricks: In Sochi, Under Armour skates into some sturm und drang

What are the lessons from the flap over Under Armour's Mach 39 speed skater suit and its supposed connection to the U.S. team's poor early showing at the Winter Olympics? Walk with me, let's talk. (Balt. Sun)

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Todd Eberly: Minimum wage needs a boost, but it is not a living wage

I’ve argued against proposals in Maryland to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on the grounds that it will do significant damage to the employment prospects of young and unskilled workers — and not provide much actual help to the working poor. I do not oppose raising the minimum wage. But the proposal to make Maryland’s minimum $10.10 by 2016 simply goes too far and would likely have significant negative effects on youth and unskilled employment levels. (Md. Reporter)

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Robert L. Ehrlich: A letter to my son on marijuana

Dear Drew, I've been thinking a great deal about marijuana lately. You can't turn on the television without seeing breathless reporters talking about a new cultural enthusiasm for legalizing weed. Two states (Colorado and Washington) have legalized marijuana possession for personal use. And it's probably only a matter of time before Maryland joins the party — pun intended. You are now 14 years old. A high school freshman. Homework and sports dominate your life. Your goals are unlimited. Your mother and I think you are terrific, but not perfect. We also know you face the same issues and pressures any young person faces in today's permissive society. (Balt. Sun) 

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