October 5 // Alison Prost: The Trump administration doesn't care about our air

An asthmatic child struggling to breathe on a hot summer day in Baltimore could be the victim of a coal plant in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or another upwind state. About 70 percent of Baltimore’s ground-level ozone (air pollution) problem is the result of emissions from power plants and vehicles in upwind states, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). What is difficult to believe is that 19 power plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, could be choosing profits over the health of Baltimore residents. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County voters have stake in U.S. Supreme Court redistricting case

Del. Michael Malone's decision to add his name to a brief in the gerrymandering case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday was probably of interest only to local residents — and perhaps, in truth, only to local political junkies. But we're still glad the delegate decided to do so. Anne Arundel County voters are among the biggest victims of the decision by the Democrats who controlled the state's line-drawing to not just slice up the jurisdiction into four of Maryland's eight congressional districts but to turn the 3rd District, which now includes Annapolis, into a meandering, peninsula-hopping monstrosity that has drawn national derision. (Capital)

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Dr. Ryan D. Lang: The racial nutrition gap can be narrowed — even in food deserts

In my primary care practice, patients commonly ask for ways they can improve their diet to live healthier. But many of my patients live in areas where they lack easy access to the foods that I recommend. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even some cancers. But according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, a quarter of Baltimore residents live in food deserts, which are neighborhoods with poor access to these healthy foods. (Md. Reporter)

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Jessica Strauss: To prevent crime, invest in Baltimore's children

To this mother, grandmother, neighbor, human services professional and devoted lifelong resident of Baltimore, it is dismaying to see the conversation about violence and crime prevention so often derailed by blame and finger-pointing. For so many years, we in the human services community have been trying to move policies “upstream” toward prevention and opportunity, aiming our concerns and investments away from jails and toward healthy environments for children to grow up in. We want to raise young people who are strong and resilient, busy fulfilling their potential, not standing in front of judges. (Balt. Sun)

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October 4 // Laslo Boyd: Words are not enough

The recent barrage of horrible news defies an easy response. It feels overwhelming. Even worse, so many of our “leaders” have already slid easily into clichés and meaningless expressions of concern. “Thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre, like those offered up on innumerable occasions in the past, seem particularly hollow. Carnage of innocent victims should not be “the price we pay for freedom” as some Second Amendment extremists have argued. The cold hard reality is that the NRA, members of Congress who are afraid to oppose them and too many on the far right give no evidence that they actually care about the lives that are lost on a regular basis to gun violence. (fromacertainpointofview)

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'Cracking and packing:' Tame the gerrymander

While much of the country remains focused on the recent devastation brought on Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, the nation’s political class (also known as the “swamp” in the Donald Trump era) was likely tuned to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning where justices pondered a ruling that could eventually wreak havoc on Congress and state legislatures across the country. The question? Whether there is a point at which manipulation of voting districts for the purpose of favoring one political party over another goes so far that it denies constitutional rights of voters, and if so, whether the courts can then reasonably intervene to correct that problem. (Balt. Sun)

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Annapolis council should let charter, code changes die

Some of the seven Democratic members of the City Council offer different explanations on why it’s suddenly necessary to rejigger Annapolis’ government mere weeks before an election. With at least four council members exiting in November, the seven Democratic aldermen argue now is the time to address a problem with the City Charter and code. For years, their first argument goes, the documents have failed to match up on lines of authority for the city attorney, the clerk and their respective staffs. To fix this, council members modestly propose making it clear that the city manager appoints and the council must confirm these positions. (Capital)

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Dan Rodricks: The gunfire this time

On Saturday, I was in a remote area of Maryland, surrounded by water and woods, a place so quiet that even the occasional squawk of a blue jay seemed startling. In the early afternoon, we heard gunfire — and not the single, distinct shots you might hear during deer season, but rapid-fire bursts of 10 to 15 rounds at a time. It sounded like someone taking target practice with a semi-automatic handgun or rifle. And I say that despite the speed of the rounds: It was hard to imagine anyone so quickly squeezing off each shot, which is what is required with semi-automatic firearms. (Balt. Sun)

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