Douglass MacKinnon: Don’t count out O’Malley

If I were advising either Hillary Clinton or any of the at least 10 Republicans giving thought to running for president in 2016, I would tell them to pay especially close attention to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland. Should they not, he may be viewing them all in his rear view mirror as he cruises toward the White House. As an independent conservative who will certainly be pushing for a Republican president in 2016, I have watched Martin O'Malley operate in politics since he first became mayor of predominantly African-American Baltimore. Mr. O'Malley has proven himself to be many things over the years, with two of them being tough and more than willing to wallow around in the mud with any opponent at any time. (Balt. Sun)

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Delay Common Core to give teachers time

When it comes to something as complex as education reform, especially when it’s as sweeping as Common Core, which applies new standards in reading and math from kindergarten to 12th grade, it would have wise to follow the old axiom: Measure twice, cut once. Maryland agreed to the new regulations three years ago, and Common Core was supposed to be implemented this year. In contrast, No Child Left Behind took 12 years to introduce. In introducing the new curriculum, Maryland went straight at the cutting and left the tape measure in the toolbox. It’s become painfully clear that this timeline for implementation was too aggressive, and more time is needed for the program’s rollout. (News-Post)

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Leo Bretholz: No reparations, no business

While it was many years ago, the horrific injustices I experienced during the Holocaust are seared in my brain. And I cannot forget who was responsible. The train company that tried to send me to Auschwitz was owned and operated by SNCF, a French company that still exists today. It's been more than 70 years since the war, and only now is the French government negotiating with the U.S. to provide compensation for me and other victims of SNCF's deportation. Until they properly acknowledge their role in the Holocaust and take full responsibility, the people of Maryland should not allow their tax dollars to be used to help the company expand its business here. (Balt. Sun)

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C. Nathan Ober: Raising minimum wage will bolster quality of life

A Feb. 13 front-page story in The Herald-Mail (“Officials concerned about possible minimum-wage hike”) reported that several Washington County Commissioners believe a proposed statewide increase in the minimum wage would threaten local businesses as the county continues to recover from the recession. “It is a false way of bolstering the economy,” one official said. In fact, contrary to the county commissioners’ claims, the weight of economic evidence shows that raising the minimum wage would benefit workers, businesses and the local economy. (Herald-Mail)

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Mitch Edelman: Arguments for legalization of pot

We have historical evidence that shows the effects of making certain drugs illegal. The foolish 18th Amendment created a large class of criminals, ordinary people who wanted no more than their occasional highball. The remnants of the 18th Amendment still exist today. But instead of bootleg booze, mobsters now control drug distribution. Legalizing marijuana would reduce street crime and free law enforcement dollars and personnel to focus on more serious criminal behavior and cut the costs of keeping prisoners in jail. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Underage drinking remains a huge problem

Maryland lawmakers are considering cutting the penalties for marijuana use, and are debating what this would mean for the state’s young people. But whatever they decide, the No. 1 substance abuse problem affecting this county’s teenagers — the one that causes not just lasting health problems but horrendous traffic accidents — will remain what it has been for decades: underage drinking. The key to solving the problem will have to be education, because it’s just not that hard for young people who want alcohol to get hold of it. (Capital)

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Right decision on penalty

Even though it means the issue may return to bite them in this year’s election, our Board of County Commissioners made the right decision this past week when it voted against paying a $3 million penalty to get out of the incinerator contract. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Dyer is back, but is that a good thing?

During his 2008 term on the Howard County school board, Allen Dyer was at loggerheads with his fellow members of the board on numerous occasions and filed several lawsuits when he disagreed with the ways the board handled situations, creating a schism that led to his impeachment. One has to wonder what good will come from another Dyer candidacy. The antics sometimes turned the school board of arguably one of the most successful school systems in the country into a three-ring circus. (Patuxent)

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