Friday, October 24, 2014
Charles County Nov. 4 general election endorsements
Maryland Independent - Editorial

In the Nov. 4 general election, Charles County voters will help choose a governor, congressman, comptroller, attorney general and state legislators. They also will pick a board of county commissioners and a school board and have the opportunity to change their form of government if they so choose.

In last Wednesday’s Maryland Independent, the newspaper endorsed candidates in statewide races and Congress, recommending Larry Hogan for governor, Steny H. Hoyer for the U.S. House of Representatives, William Campbell for state comptroller and Brian Frosh for attorney general.

Here are our endorsements for Charles County races:

Sammy 07:19 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Robinson was ‘lone voice of reason’ on police pay issue
Maryland Independent - LTE

I don’t know if any other citizens of Charles County were dismayed by the Oct. 10 article detailing the response of our current county commissioners to the lawsuit filed by the Fraternal Order of Police to fund legal pay raises, but I was.

That four of the five commissioners decided to draft legislation that will give the commissioners control over the salaries of all of the employees of Charles County is not the issue. That they would try to make this legislation retroactive to get out of paying raises to which members of the sheriff’s department are entitled, under contract is disturbing, particularly when there has been such a frivolous waste of taxpayer funds for SUVs, another cross-county connector study and the highly overpriced tech park.

Sammy 07:16 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Davis is not a ‘real Democrat’
Maryland Independent - LTE

During the primary, there were considerable accusations made concerning who was or wasn’t a “real Democrat.” These were made by supporters of Commissioner Debra Davis. However, in order to be a real Democrat, one must support the Democratic Party platform.

The platform makes the following statements on the environment: “Restore wilderness and watersheds for generations to come. Reject choice of healthy economy vs. healthy environment. Honor hunting and fishing heritage via more conservation lands. We should acquire lands for forests and recreation sites and set aside wildlife preserves. Democrats believe that communities, environmental interests, and government should work together to protect resources while ensuring the vitality of local economies. We will foster a healthy economy and a healthy environment by promoting new technologies that create good jobs and improve our world.”

Sammy 07:14 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Rucci challenged for 2nd term in Dist. 4 commissioner race
Jeff Newman ― Maryland Independent

No race for Charles County commissioner in the Nov. 4 election promises to be more low-key than in District 4, where incumbent Commissioner Bobby Rucci will be the heavy favorite over Republican candidate John Young.

Not only does Rucci (D) enjoy the advantages that come with incumbency and being the Democratic candidate in a county where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1, but he also holds a significant fundraising edge.

Rucci spent more than $18,500 in the last campaign fundraising period spanning June 9 through Aug. 19. Young, who ran unopposed in the June 24 primary, has filed affidavits stating he has not raised or spent more than $1,000 since filing his candidacy in February.

Sammy 07:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
FOP proposes collective bargaining bill for session
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf ― Maryland Independent

The Charles County Fraternal Order of Police has proposed legislation to the county commissioners that would grant collective bargaining rights, including salary and benefits, to sworn members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

The pitch comes after the FOP Lodge 24 filed a lawsuit in July against the county commissioners, who, the FOP said, failed to provide officers with salary increases to which they were legally entitled.

As a reaction to the lawsuit, the commissioners introduced legislation at their Oct. 7 meeting that would vest them with complete power over the salaries of all employees of the sheriff’s office. If the bill were approved, it would retroactively apply to July 1, in theory neutralizing the suit.

Sammy 07:07 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Abell calls foul over flier’s use of image, Web address
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf ― Maryland Independent

Anti-Common Core message not accurate, she says

A frontrunner in the Charles County Board of Education race has come forward saying she did not give permission for her picture to be printed on a flier that linked her with other school board candidates.

Jennifer Abell’s name, headshot and the Web address to her blog were printed on a flier, along with six other school board candidates, that was dispensed at the Charles County Fair in September, among other campaigning locations, according to Mark Crawford, a board of education contender who said he passed out the fliers.

Crawford acknowledged that he had downloaded Abell’s photo from the Internet for use on the flier.

Sammy 07:04 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The robocars are coming: It won’t be long before we kick humans out ...
Vivek Wadhwa ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

...of the driver’s seat

My guess is that in fewer than 15 years, we will be debating whether human beings should be allowed to drive on highways.

After all, we are prone to road rage, rush headlong into traffic jams, break rules, get distracted and crash into each other. That is why our automobiles need tank-like bumper bars and military-grade crumple zones. And it is why we need speed limits and traffic police.

Self-driving cars won’t have our limitations. They will prevent tens of thousands of fatalities every year and better our lifestyles. They will do to human drivers what the horseless carriage did to the horse and buggy.

Sammy 06:59 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The meaning of ‘organic’ hazy for nonfood items
Mary Clare Jalonick ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There’s a strict set of standards for organic foods. But the rules are looser for household cleaners, textiles, cosmetics and the organic dry cleaners down the street.

Wander through the grocery store and check out the shelves where some detergents, hand lotions and clothing proclaim organic bona fides.

Absent an Agriculture Department seal or certification, there are few ways to tell if those organic claims are bogus.

Sammy 06:57 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New Jersey files defense of sports betting effort
Daily Record

Claims that New Jersey’s plan to allow legal sports gambling violates federal law are meritless, the state wrote in a court filing in response to efforts by four major U.S. pro sports leagues and the NCAA to stop gambling from beginning this weekend.

The state filed the response late Wednesday to the leagues’ request to a federal judge this week for an injunction to prevent Monmouth Park racetrack from accepting sports wagers this Sunday. The track is the only venue in the state that has said it will take bets under a law signed by Gov. Chris Christie last Friday that allows sports betting at racetracks and casinos.

The NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA have until the end of Thursday to file a reply to the state’s filing, after which U.S. District Michael Shipp has indicated he will decide whether oral argument is necessary. It isn’t known when he will make a decision.

Sammy 06:55 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Studies link mental issues and the rigor of the military
Benedict Carey ― Virginian-Pilot

New recruits enter the Army with roughly the same rates of mental problems as their civilian peers, but those disorders can persist for longer amid the demands of service than in civilian life, new research suggests.

These conclusions, drawn in two papers published Thursday by the journal Depression and Anxiety, help to explain a puzzle that has nagged the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Experienced soldiers have reported higher rates of mental problems than young men and women who do not enlist, even though soldiers have historically been more mentally fit than the general population.

The new research, which draws on surveys of more than 38,000 men and women in basic training, suggests that the higher rates of mental problems are rooted in the rigors of service, not in the loosening of enlistment standards. The surveys were anonymous.

Sammy 06:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. weighs passport, border changes in wake of Ottawa attack
Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel ― REUTERS

U.S. officials are debating whether to tighten controls on the border with Canada and make it easier to revoke the passports of suspected militants, steps that could gain traction following two attacks in Canada this week.

The officials cautioned on Thursday that the discussions are in preliminary stages and that no immediate action appeared likely by either U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration or Congress.

While there was no specific evidence of a new threat in the United States, federal and state authorities were on a heightened state of alert following a gunman’s attack in Ottawa on Wednesday and another by an assailant in Quebec on Monday.

Sammy 06:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Some Seattle medical marijuana stores facing closure
Trevor Hughes ― USA TODAY

Hundreds of medical marijuana businesses here face closure because they’re being told to get licenses that don’t legally exist.

Marijuana dispensaries across Seattle began receiving letters last week telling them they need to get a special state license to remain open past next year. The problem? The state hasn’t yet created those state licenses. Seattle has more than 330 medical marijuana businesses, which are less regulated than the city’s handful of licensed recreational pot shops.

Sammy 06:42 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
After 1st Ebola case in NYC, 3 others quarantined
JONATHAN LEMIRE ― WTOP

A doctor who became New York City’s first Ebola patient was praised for getting treatment immediately upon showing symptoms, and health officials stressed that the nation’s most populous city need not fear his wide-ranging travel in the days before his illness began.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged residents not to be alarmed by the doctor’s diagnosis Thursday, even as they described him riding the subway, taking a cab and bowling since returning to New York from Guinea a week ago. De Blasio said all city officials followed “clear and strong” protocols in their handling and treatment of him.

Sammy 06:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Solar flare knocks out some radio temporarily
WTOP

Federal forecasters say a brief but strong solar flare Wednesday morning temporarily blacked out a few radio communication systems before weakening.

Space Weather Prediction Center forecaster Christopher Balch said it affected radio that uses part of the upper atmosphere. That includes some radar and plane systems, but not all, and amateur radio.

Sammy 06:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - October 24, 2014

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Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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