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Commentary

Editorial: A smart use for $50 billion of covid relief funds: Broadband

When President Biden asked what critics would have him cut from his covid relief bill, he got plenty of answers about reducing the $510 billion in aid to state and local governments — including from us. Now, some moderate Senate Democrats are suggesting a middle way: Earmark $50 billion of those funds for broadband investment. The idea, spearheaded by Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), is a political crowd-pleaser more likely to attract cross-aisle support than most big spending. The funds, likely in the form of grants, would address the immediate emergency of millions of Americans going Internet-less in a time when being online, whether for work, school or telehealth, is more important than ever.

Downie: Democrats can’t back down on the minimum wage

Since the Senate parliamentarian decided Thursday that the White House’s covid-19 relief package cannot include a minimum-wage increase under the filibuster-exempt reconciliation process, Democrats are trying to put on a brave face. President Biden “is absolutely committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki on CNN’s “State of the Union.” On the same show, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a close Biden confidant, echoed that message almost word-for-word. Even progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sounded bullish, telling NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “Democrats are united” behind a higher minimum wage.

Zurawik: Trump at CPAC: Former president keeps the big lie going and going and going

One hour into his rambling, grievance-filled speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday night, former President Donald Trump had his big moment. He had already said multiple times that he won the 2020 presidential election but that it was stolen from him. Now, however, he uttered the magical, dumbed-down catchphrase that his audience wanted to hear.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
This was captured well waiting for the doctor who was busy at the time
Maryland modeled how to tackle racial health disparities. Let’s revive that success.

The coronavirus has laid bare the deep and long-standing health disparities that exist in communities of color and other underserved populations. A lack of access to care that existed well before the pandemic has exacerbated disparate rates of hospitalizations and deaths among African American and Latino communities nationally. In Maryland, we have witnessed these inequities. Black residents make up 31 percent of the state’s population and yet represent about 35 percent of coronavirus fatalities, with more than 2,600 lives lost to this deadly disease. The solutions to address these issues are well known. Previously, our state modeled what success could look like. Now is the time for action.

Baltimore needs jobs, not ‘guaranteed income’

Earlier this month, Mayor Brandon Scott committed Baltimore to a pilot program that would test the efficacy of a guaranteed income for Baltimore’s struggling families, described as “direct, recurring cash payments.” According to the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income website, the funds have no requirements attached to them, work or otherwise, and are “meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net” and to “be a tool for racial and gender equity.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Holbrook: The blitz aimed at Maryland’s new digital tax was full of falsehoods

Everyone in Maryland who tuned into TV or radio, read newspapers or been on the internet recently likely saw the barrage of advertisements against the digital revenue tax. Regardless of the blitz, the General Assembly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to pass the first in the nation tax targeting digital media last week. The major theme of the ads was that the new tax would cripple business recovery in Maryland, especially small business. How during a pandemic could the state even consider imposing a new tax on digital advertising?

Our Say: Black History Month works to retell the American story so it includes all of us

Every February, this newspaper and others like it around the United States make an extra effort to delve into the history of Black Americans. It hasn’t always been this way. The tradition of taking time to recognize the contributions of Black Americans to our country began in 1926, the brainchild of historian and author Carter Woodson. He and others settled on February because of two significant birthdays that month, that of Abraham Lincoln and the date chosen by Frederick Douglass to celebrate his birth — born into slavery on the Eastern Shore — because he did not know the actual date.

We need to help women during the pandemic and beyond

The pandemic undoubtedly wreaked some form of havoc on just about everyone’s life. But statistics are piling up showing that it has hurt women more, particularly those who are African American and Latinx, eroding many of the gains in the workforce that had been made in recent years. Around 2.5 million women dropped out of the labor force or lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared to 1.8 million men, according to Labor Department data released earlier this month. The situation is so dire that Vice President Kamala Harris called it a “mass exodus” and “national emergency” in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
In defense of snow days

Do you remember the magic of a snow day? For many kids, few things are more exciting than waking up to see your school on the “closed” list. For parents, the excuse to stay home and spend time with family is often a welcome respite from the daily grind, even when the driveway needs to be shoveled. We need to find a way to preserve the magic that happens when everything closes because the outside is covered in a blanket of white. Due to the rise of distance learning and remote work, snow days may soon become a distant memory.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Now is not the time to be COVID-19 complacent

With spring break upon us, and many people hitting a pandemic wall and the urge to escape their homes, the temptations for some to let down their guard will be strong — and we just can’t go there unless we want to lose the progress we are starting to see.

The Morning Rundown

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