November 23, 2012
Happy Black Friday. It's the biggest shopping day of the year and at this hour, you're likely either running through the aisle of a department store to snag that $99 high-definition TV or you're at home laughing at the thought of it. First off, some full disclosure here. I was among the masses who spent the early morning hours chasing doorbusters and trying to get a leg up on holiday shopping. Part of it is to get some deals - or at least the idea of them - and the other part is the experience.
November 15, 2012
Commentator John Gehring asserts that Catholic hospitals and universities would not have to pay for birth control coverage for their employees under an accommodation with the Obama administration that requires insurance companies to pick up the tab ("Finding common ground," Nov. 12). This is not true. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor the finalized implementing regulations contain any such provision. Rather, that arrangement is discussed in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published by the Department of Health and Human Services in March, which is not law. It is true that the president held a press conference to announce the proposed compromise, commonly referred to as the "accommodation.
November 14, 2012
With the election behind us, I had hoped our politicians would get beyond games of chicken. No such luck. First, you need to understand that the upcoming game of chicken isn't about how much or when we cut the budget deficit, or even whether the upcoming "fiscal cliff" poses a danger to the economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned last week that the automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to start in January amount to too much deficit reduction, too soon.
October 7, 2012
A Taste of Hampden, the popular annual benefit for the Hampden Family Center, is Thursday, Oct. 25, from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $30 each, with all proceeds earmarked for the center. As the number of great restaurants in Hampden increases, this event becomes more than a good charity event, but a bargain for foodies. You get to sample the offerings from a number of Hampden's award-winning restaurants, you get to enjoy tasty beverages, and you get to hang out with some awesome folks.
September 28, 2012
Anne Arundel County's public safety unions won a major court victory Friday, when Maryland's highest court threw out a County Council measure that gutted binding arbitration. "This is a victory for all of our public safety agencies," said O'Brien Atkinson, president of the county's largest police union, the Fraternal Order of Police chapter. The county has nine public safety collective-bargaining groups. In a 6-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals ruled that a 2002 change to the county's charter that provided for binding arbitration is legal, and that a law adopted last year that effectively undid it is not. "As a politician, you can't come in and undo with the stroke of a pen what the citizens voted on," said Craig Oldershaw, president of the largest union in the Fire Department.
September 27, 2012
When county park rangers decided to form a union of 14 people this year, Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker decided he had reached his limit. Thirteen unions, he said, are more than enough. "At this point, any nine, 10 or 11 people could get together and decide to bargain collectively with the county," said Walker, a Republican from Gambrills. "We've got three groups just for the police. Why should we sit down with three government groups when we could sit down with one?"