William Barr is making Trump’s obsession his own

Attorney General William P. Barr wants to be certain the Justice Department and the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately in the initial stages of the Russia investigation. What could be wrong with that? In principle, nothing. Moreover, Barr has picked a well-respected career prosecutor, John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, to undertake the inquiry. Durham previously looked into similarly controversial department actions for Janet Reno and Eric Holder. But in context, Barr’s decision raises multiple concerns — and, in this case, context is everything. (Wash. Post)

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MTA fare hike: Yet another cruel reminder of Baltimore's $2.9B loss

This week, state transportation officials sent out a press release advising the public that beginning on June 23, Baltimore area commuters will be paying more to ride Maryland Transit Administration buses, light rail and subway lines as well as MobilityLink vehicles. The announcement correctly notes that the higher fares are mandated by a 2013 law approved by the General Assembly that ties MTA fares to inflation. Indeed, the press release emphasizes the point, calling the increase both “mandated” and “required by the Maryland General Assembly” (Balt. Sun)

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Jay Brodie: Baltimore's biggest development project is happening far from the waterfront

The largest development project in Baltimore City is not, as many might assume, on a waterfront site. It's not even in downtown — or in Canton, Locust Point, Port Covington or Station North.      But it is certainly visible in Arlington, Berea, Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello, Edmondson Village, Forest Park, Greektown, Hampden, Howard Park, Park Heights and Reservoir Hill. Each is a city neighborhood where a new or renovated public school has recently been completed or is well under construction through the state of Maryland's $1 billion "21st Century School Construction Program." (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Overregulation of vaping hurts adult smokers, small business

When Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland legislature took a firm stance against selling Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or “ENDS,” to minors, I applauded their efforts to keep these products out of the hands of children. Minors should not vape, plain and simple. However, vaping products are designed specifically as a healthier and safer alternative for adult smokers. Vapor provides a pathway away from cigarette addiction. These products were never intended to encourage teenagers to smoke and therefore should never be marketed towards children. (Balt. Sun)

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Identifying advanced learners in Baltimore

In 2014, 735 Baltimore City Public School students in grades 2-8 took an above-grade-level test to learn if they were qualified for our academic programs at the non-profit Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), where I’m the director of research. The students, who were identified as good candidates for CTY through teacher recommendations and previous standardized test performance, hoped testing would lead to challenging, fun academics outside of school that could help pave their way to college. And we were excited to welcome hundreds of Baltimore kids to our summer and online programs, which draw thousands of students from around the world annually. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore shouldn't pay the ransom to end the City Hall hack — but it should face some hard questions about its cyberdefenses

Baltimore’s city government has been crippled for more than a week by a ransomware attack that locked down key data and prompted the shutdown of other systems to prevent further infection. Now the costs are becoming clear — homeowners unable to pay back bills to avoid their properties going to tax sales, alerts to warn drug users of dangerous batches of opioids suspended, real estate transactions brought to a halt, not to mention whatever it’s costing the city in lost productivity and the direct expense of seeking to neutralize the threat and recover the data. (Balt. Sun)

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We're with the 'village idiots' trying to stop the violence

A weekend without violence. That’s all the organizers of the Baltimore Ceasefire movement ask for during its quarterly vigils. Yet ever since its inception two summers ago, the movement has been pilliored by disparagers of the city rather than celebrated as it should be. This time the organizers, led by Erricka Bridgeford, were called “village idiots” in a series of insensitive and offensive tweets last weekend by a local restaurant owner. Brian McComas, who owns Ryleigh’s Oyster in Federal Hill and Hunt Valley, and the venue Crossbar. (Balt. Sun)

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Wilkinson: I own the Red Hen restaurant that asked Sarah Sanders to leave. Resistance isn’t futile.

“Hello Intolerant, intellectually-challenged, psychotic, socialists! Your so-called business is in jeopardy. Rest assured this is not a threat but simply a warning that predicts your downfall. . . . When your treasonist hypocrite lowlife Obama took our nation into despair (for 8 yrs) we didn’t do or say the things you do. Get over it, before it’s too late! BTW, there are a lot more of us than there are of you.’’ I’ve been getting hate mail for almost a year now, ever since I asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to leave my Lexington, Va., restaurant, the Red Hen, last June. (Wash. Post)

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