Barbot: Baltimore is getting healthier, but still has a way to go

Life expectancy is up and racial disparities are down in many measures, but rises in emergency room visits and syphilis cases are troubling. The banner headline is that the health status of Baltimore City residents looks brighter than it did just a few years ago. The follow up, and perhaps more newsworthy message, is that we are closing the gap in racial and ethnic disparities for many of the leading health indicators. (Balt. Sun)

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William Triplett: Energy independence now politically incorrect?

So why has the Maryland Democratic establishment been silent about Cove Point? There was a time when the Democratic Party was the party of good union wages and high salaries for professionals. Now their new master is the liberal donor class that finances their campaigns. If the Maryland Democratic politicians didn’t comment, it’s because they didn’t want to call attention to their illiberal backing of a valuable fossil fuel. Still, the Sierra Club sounded the alarm, claiming that natural-gas drilling caused “record fires, droughts and superstorms like last year’s Sandy.” (Wash. Times)

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Dan Rodricks: How about some sugar for I-95 carpoolers?

What happens is this: Crews, cranes and concrete trucks converge on Interstate 95 for months and sometimes years, and the typical motorist, unhappy about having to drive on the American autobahn at any time — much less when it is being repaired — curses the nuisance. The motoring life — too many cars, too many nuts, noxt enough lanes, not enough time — is fraught with opportunities to be myopic, ungrateful and angry. Interstate 95 is, in some stretches, what the British call "particularly vexing." It will turn the most pleasant of individuals into glassy-eyed ingrates, grousing at the guys laying rebar and concrete. (Balt. Sun)

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Obamacare's web test

One of the great ironies of last week's budget debacle that left Republicans in such an internal disarray is that if party moderates had prevailed weeks earlier and the GOP had not pushed the nation into a government shutdown and the brink of insolvency, it might be President Barack Obama and the Democrats looking up from the lower rung of public opinion polls today. (Balt. Sun)

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Oct. 21 // Port hits rough patch

At the beginning of the year, the Port of Baltimore was on a roll. At Seagirt Marine Terminal, the ribbon was cut on a 50-foot-deep berth financed by a $1.3 billion public-private partnership between the port and Ports America Chesapeake. The investment positioned Baltimore to be a major East Coast port of call for the larger ships expected in 2014 when the Panama Canal's expansion is completed. But lately, the shipping news hasn't been quite so rosy. (Balt. Sun)

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More pain

Warning to Maryland taxpayers: Rough times are still ahead. When the General Assembly’s joint Spending Affordability Committee met in Annapolis last week, lawmakers were told to expect a general fund deficit of nearly $90 million at the end of fiscal 2014. The state raised gasoline taxes this year and income taxes in 2012. Now that another deficit is predicted, don’t be surprised if lawmakers hike taxes or fees again when they next convene in January. (Times-News)

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Barry Rascovar: Gansler, Craig stumble in governor’s race

Early stumbles in Maryland governor’s race are expected. Sometimes, though, those slips have lasting consequences. Already, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Harford County Executive David Craig have shot themselves in their political feet — wounds that might prove fatal. Gansler’s trip-ups could be symptoms of a larger problem. (Md. Reporter)

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Lewis Bracy: Ben Carson is an insult to African-Americans

Dr. Ben Carson has lost what is left of his once brilliant mind. I must start by making it clear, that as a “real African-American,” I have always held the Baltimore neurosurgeon in very high esteem. As a mentor to youth groups, he was top of my list as an example for at-risk youths to admire. Him being a Republican never was an issue. That was until he started on his Fox network/conservative sell-out road trip. (Capital)

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