December 10, 2013
On Sunday morning, I ventured out to do my grocery shopping before the snow storm arrived. Being a native of Western New York, I favor the familiar offerings of Wegmans, so I have little difficulty justifying the drive from Baltimore to Columbia every week. As I was leaving the store, the snow had begun in Columbia, and I anticipated some slow going for the drive home. I progressed up Route 29, and the snow became heavier to the point of obscuring the lane lines. People from snowy areas would not call this heavy snow since visibility was still fair, but it was persistent and a healthy amount creating challenging driving conditions.
December 5, 2013
Ah, to be in the U.S. economy of 1990s, a decade when the gross domestic product grew by about one-third and unemployment dropped from 7.5 percent to 4 percent. In 1993, the federal government raised the tax on gasoline to 18.4 cents per gallon, an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous year, and business boomed. Since then, the cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline has more than doubled, yet the per-gallon federal excise tax has remained unchanged. States have raised their fuel taxes to keep up as best they can with local transportation needs, but the federal government's source of revenue has stagnated, a problem worsened by the fact that people are driving less and using more fuel efficient vehicles.
October 13, 2013
A federal district court judge handed Maryland's historically black colleges and universities a partial and in many respects problematic victory last week. She denied them the monetary damages they sought but ruled that the state may not allow its traditionally white schools to unnecessarily duplicate their popular, unique academic programs. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake said such duplication has the effect of perpetuating the inequalities inherent in the dual system of higher education established during the era of segregation, and thus illegally discriminates against black students.
September 30, 2013
In recent testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman inaccurately depicted her county and others in Maryland as unsuspecting victims of a 2012 state law dealing with "stormwater utility fees. " The fact is Anne Arundel, like other counties, is contributing significant polluted runoff to the Chesapeake Bay and therefore must do more to fix that problem. Let me clear up the record following Ms. Neuman's testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.
August 26, 2013
When Jim Wilson retired from the federal government four years ago, he and his wife moved to Kent Island, where they initially enjoyed watching ospreys fishing in Northwest Creek from their waterfront home. But now, Wilson and most others living around the creek stay out of the murky water, which has turned yellow-green the past two summers. Even the ospreys steer clear of it, he said. Fish kills and stubborn "blooms" of blue-green algae, which at times form a floating scum, plague Northwest Creek.
June 24, 2013
The best that can be said for the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action in college admissions is that it did not immediately and totally ban the practice. But the decision to send a University of Texas at Austin case back to the appeals court from which it came with instructions that the circumstances be scrutinized more closely certainly suggests that the justices are dubious about the continued need for the policy. That's hardly an encouraging sign as the court readies for a ruling in a case on whether a critical section of the Voting Rights Act - one that requires certain Southern states to have changes in voting law screened by the U.S. Department of Justice - is not constitutional after nearly five decades in use (and despite unsuccessful legal challenges in the past)