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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Camden Yards, the Stadium That Changed Baseball and Baltimore, Turns 20

Clearly, brick and steel age more gracefully than the rest of us, because Oriole Park is about to celebrate its 20th birthday on Opening Day Friday and who can believe it is already the 10th-oldest ballpark in the major leagues?

Time does fly, in this case seemingly faster than an Adam Jones line drive or a Jake Arrieta heater. The stadium that changed the way stadiums are built was an instant classic. Now, it's simply the grande dame of the post-modern era of sports architecture, but its continuing impact on both baseball and Baltimore cannot be overestimated.

"Building Camden Yards was one of the most important things that happened to baseball in the last 20 to 25 years," Major League Baseball commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said. "It changed the whole dynamic. It led to all these wonderful stadiums and allowed us to finally market our sport to its potential -- particularly the last five years of terrific growth.


Baltimore Catholic School to Name Community Center for Cosbys

A historic Baltimore Catholic school will name its community center in honor of Bill and Camille Cosby, the biggest donors in the school's 184-year history and fierce champions of education, the school announced Friday.

St. Frances Academy, which serves 162 primarily low-income high school students, will host the comedian, his wife and their relatives in a ceremony at the St. Frances Community Center on April 20.

In addition to giving $2 million to St. Frances in 2005 to support its scholarship program, Camille Cosby also has a strong connection to the founders of the Baltimore school, having been educated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the oldest order of African-American nuns in the country, for seven years.

"I can still hear their voices when I'm writing something, when I'm giving a speech," she said in an interview, adding that the sisters were sticklers for grammar. "They just wanted us to go into the world prepared with knowledge — knowledge about ourselves and the different disciplines."



Erika Sifrit Cites Lawyer Failure, Seeks New Trial

WASHINGTON -- Erika Sifrit, serving life in prison plus 20 years, is asking a federal court for a new trial for the brutal murders and dismemberment of a Virginia couple in 2002, claiming her trial attorney failed to seek or present evidence of longstanding severe mental illness.

Sifrit and her now-former husband, Benjamin Sifrit, killed Joshua Ford and Martha Crutchley of Fairfax after meeting the couple and partying in Ocean City, Md. during Memorial Day weekend almost 10 years ago.

Sifrit was convicted in Frederick County of first-degree murder in Ford's death, and second-degree murder in Crutchley's death.


Telephone Scam

Hello Mr. Albero,

I just wanted to warn your readers about a possible telephone scam I received tonight. A person called and claimed to be from the US. Government and offered me a government grant of $7000 that I would never have to repay. In order to receive the money ,I would need to send my credit card, debit card or bank account number. Fortunately, I had knew better than to give out private information such as this. However, some people are a bit trusting and may fall prey to such a scam. Please warn your readers-do not give out any private banking information!!!! The phone number on my caller ID was 202-417-7606.

Thank you for all you do on your blog.

Md. Looks at Moving to All-Electronic Tolls

WASHINGTON - Maryland is considering getting rid of toll booths, and replacing them with all-electronic toll systems like the one used on the Intercounty Connector and the soon-to-open Express Lanes on I-95 and the Beltway in Virginia.

"It's something we're interested in doing. It's something the industry is moving toward. But it's complicated and we're in the earliest stages," Maryland Transportation Authority Executive Secretary Harold Bartlett tells the Baltimore Sun.

An MdTA study finds the idea is feasible, and suggests starting with the I-95 toll in northern Maryland, then working on converting the Bay Bridge before moving on to the state's other tolling facilities. The study says the switch would cost up to $180 million.

On all-electronic toll roads and bridges, E-ZPass users are automatically charged as they would be at a toll booth. Drivers without E-ZPass get a bill in the mail, and usually pay a higher rate.

Switching to all-electronic tolling can also help speed up traffic, and reduce time spent idling at toll plazas, which might be part of what's behind a 2002 U.S. Department of Transportation study that found adding electronic tolling can cut down on pollution.


Montgomery County Currently Has Charter Amendment DriveTto Try And Rescind Collective Barganing For Police Officers & Firefighters

Wicomico County is going to vote to try and approve a charter amendment this very next council meeting to allow collective bargaining for the Sheriff's deputies.

At the very same time - Montgomery County officials are trying to undo the Charter Amendment.

1. Abolish Collective Bargaining Petition

Abolish Collective Bargaining Petition


This is a petition pursuant to Md. Const. art. XI-A, § 5, and Montgomery County Charter § 507 to submit to the voters of Montgomery County in the next general election a proposal to amend the Charter of Montgomery County to abolish collective bargaining for public employees of the County by deleting Sections 510, 510A, and 511 from the Montgomery County Charter, which provide as follows:

Sec. 510. Collective Bargaining.

The Montgomery County Council shall provide by law for collective bargaining with binding arbitration with an authorized representative of the Montgomery County police officers. Any law so enacted shall prohibit strikes or work stoppages by police officers.

Sec. 510A Collective Bargaining-Fire Fighters.

The Montgomery County Council shall provide by law for collective bargaining with binding arbitration with an authorized representative of the Montgomery County career fire fighters. Any law so enacted shall prohibit strikes or work stoppages by career fire fighters.

Sec. 511. Collective Bargaining-County Employees.

The Montgomery County Council may provide by law for collective bargaining, with arbitration or other impasse resolution procedures, with authorized representatives of officers and employees of the County Government not covered by either Section 510 or Section 510A of the Charter. Any law so enacted shall prohibit strikes or work stoppages for such officers and employees.

One thing I can assure each and every one of you reading this, the exact moment the Sheriff's Department gets LEOPS, every single veteran officer within the Sheriff's Department WILL instantaneously RETIRE.

The Sheriff's Department continues to lose officers on a regular basis and the smart veterans who stuck around awaiting collective bargaining will also jump ship. It's a grand slam home run for these officers at taxpayers expense, yet NO ONE is willing to step up against Sheriff Lewis and ask about anything to do with the facts I'm now presenting to you.

Mike knows it, Rick Pollitt knows it, Deputies are running away from that department like there's no tomorrow, yet nothing is being said in the Press about it. I have spoken to Officers that jumped ship and they couldn't stand working there. So much so many of them are taking massive pay cuts just to get the hell out of there.

in the mean time, while our local politicians are always comparing us to Montgomery county, look what Montgomery County Taxpayers are trying to do, (above). LOOK back at the information I posted a few weeks ago about Ocean City salaries. Most of the highest paid people were actually Police Officers and NO, the information we provided had nothing to do with overtime.

So not only is crime going through the roof in Wicomico County, people are selling their homes at a loss just to go to Delaware. It's things like collective bargaining that will probably bankrupt the county, or come damn close to it. If Officers were lining up at the front door to join the Sheriff's Department, that would be one thing. However, they are running away so fast they can't find people fast enough and crime continues to rise. Oh, I'm sure Sheriff Lewis will try to tell you crime is down but that too would be a load of crap.

Last Tuesday they had more than 17 drug arrests alone and nothing, (so far) has come out in a press release. I did send a text message to the Sheriff's Department asking if it would be an issue if I were to publish that information and they refused to respond, so here it is.

So while SOME may be pounding their chest in victory, know that Salisbury News at least delivered the facts, the truth about what is going on and what is going to happen in the near future. IF they want to use Montgomery County as an example then they should follow in their footsteps. You don't need that "crystal ball" if you have a sister county going through the same issues in advance. It's not about what is right, it's about winning and getting what SOME simply want.

New Posts to fall below.

Report: Google Planning Its Own Online Store to Sell Branded Tablets

Our own Jared Newman thought that the release of the new iPad was a wake-up call for the people at Google. Apparently they got the message. According to the Wall Street Journal‘s always helpful “people familiar with the matter,” Google is planning to open its own online store to sell co-branded tablet computers.

According to the report, the tablets will initially be manufactured by Google’s existing partners Samsung and Asus. Google is also expected to sell its own tablets built by Motorola, which it bought in August of last year for $12.5 billion.

The US Government War On Cash (And the Bankster Profits Behind It)

Under cover of its multiplicity of fabricated wars on drugs, terror, tax evasion, and organized crime, the US government has long been waging a hidden war on cash. One symptom of the war is that the largest denomination of US currency is the $100 note, whose ever-eroding purchasing power is far below the purchasing power of the €500 note. US currency used to be issued in denominations running up to $10,000 (including also $500; $1,000; $5,000 notes). There was even a $100,000 note issued for transactions among Federal Reserve banks. The United States stopped printing large denomination notes in 1945 and officially discontinued their issuance in 1969, when the Fed began removing them from circulation. Since then the largest currency note available to the general public has a face value of $100. But since 1969, the inflationary monetary policy of the Fed has caused the US dollar to depreciate by over 80 percent, so that a $100 note in 2010 possessed a purchasing power of only $16.83 in 1969 dollars. That is less purchasing power than a $20 bill in 1969.

Despite this enormous depreciation, the Federal Reserve has steadfastly refused to issue notes of larger denomination. This has made large cash transactions extremely inconvenient and has forced the American public to make much greater use than is optimal of electronic-payment methods. Of course, this is precisely the intent of the US government. The purpose of its ongoing breach of long-established laws regarding financial privacy is to make it easier to monitor the economic affairs and abrogate the financial privacy of its citizens, ostensibly to secure their safety from Colombian drug lords, Al Qaeda operatives, and tax cheats and other nefarious white-collar criminals.

Now the war on cash has begun to spread to other countries. As reported a few months ago, Italy lowered the legal maximum on cash transactions from €2,500 to €1,000. The Italian government would have preferred to set a €500 or even €300 maximum limit but reasoned that it should permit Italians time to adjust to the new limit. The rationale for this limit on the size of cash transactions is the fact that the profligate Italian government is trying to reduce its €1.9 trillion debt and views its anticash measures as a means of cracking down on tax evasion, which “costs” the government an estimated €150 billion annually.


Obama Clears Iran Oil Sanctions

President Obama Friday signed off on tough new sanctions aimed at hitting Iran’s oil exports, after determining there is enough crude supplies in the world market that taking the step won’t harm U.S. allies or drive gas prices even higher.

The president’s move gives him the ability to imposes sanctions on foreign banks that continue to conduct business from Iran's central bank, cutting them off from the financial systems of the U.S. and its allies. The U.S. and European Union have issued a string of sanctions against Iran to isolate it from the world economy and pressure it to stop developing its disputed nuclear program.

Countries involved in purchasing oil from Iran can still prevent the sanctions if they significantly curtail their imports before the June 28 deadline.



Contest is the first-ever to use Pinterest for business pitches

In conjunction with the kickoff of Startup Maryland—a regional branch of Startup America—Governor Martin O’Malley announced a new business pitch contest designed to highlight Maryland entrepreneurs and small business owners. The contest will ask participants to pitch their businesses in 10 ten images using the new social media platform, Pinterest. Winners will be featured on Governor Martin O’Malley’s Pinterest page ( and will also receive a prize courtesy of the Baltimore Angels.

“In Maryland, we have a rich history of fostering entrepreneurship. From our many incubators to our diverse centers and institutions of higher learning to our strategic tax credits, we encourage entrepreneurship at every level,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Whether you’ve been in business for years or are just getting started, Maryland is the ideal place to do business and we encourage everyone to take advantage of this new contest.”

The contest is a partnership with the University of Maryland College Park, the Future of Information Alliance, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Baltimore Angels. Maryland entrepreneurs will be able to pitch their businesses using 10 images on a Pinterest board. Submissions will be showcased on Governor O’Malley’s website. Boards and pins will be available for public comment. Following the public comment period, a panel of business experts will choose winners in two different categories: “Student Entrepreneurs” and “Boot Strappers.” First place winners will receive a MacBook Air and runner ups will receive an iPad courtesy contest partner the Baltimore Angels.

“Angel investors love to be the first movers in hot new startup companies and emerging entrepreneurs,” said Jason Hardebeck, a member of the Baltimore Angels and Executive Director of the Greater Baltimore Tech Council. “The Baltimore Angels are honored to help support the first ever business plan competition on the fastest growing social network in history. Maryland is a state of ‘firsts’ and we look forward to seeing the great ideas that the next generation of entrepreneurs bring to life on Pinterest.”

Elana Fine, associate director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship said, “We are excited to see Governor O'Malley use a new technology like Pinterest to solicit innovative business ideas. By using the newest social media trend, the Governor can better connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Governor O’Malley recently announced that $84 million has been raised for Maryland’s Innovation Economy through InvestMaryland – an historic initiative created by the Governor and passed by the General Assembly last year to invest in the State’s promising start-up and early stage companies. This year, together with several of our research universities, Governor O’Malley proposed the Maryland Innovation Initiative—an effort to get at least 40 new technologies out of labs and into the marketplace.

“We are pleased to support the Business Pitch Contest, which showcases the best and brightest ideas of our entrepreneur community,” said Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson. “Contests like this are part of an overarching strategy in Maryland, which includes major programs like InvestMaryland and the Maryland Innovation Initiative, to build an economic climate where the most promising companies have a chance to mature.”

For contest guidelines and rules please visit this site:

'Emergency' Gun Restrictions Struck Down

A federal judge has struck down a North Carolina provision that authorizes a ban on firearms and ammunition outside homes during “a declared emergency,” determining that violates the Second Amendment.

Word on the decision comes from Second Amendment Foundation, which has been taking on local and state restrictions ever since the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Americans, under the Constitution, have the right to keep and bear arms.

The case was brought by the SAF, Grass Roots North Carolina FFE and three individuals against Gov. Beverly Purdue and Reuben F. Young, secretary of the state’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.


The 1,100 hp Shelby Mustang

Carroll Shelby still has some serious mojo.

The legendary tuner’s eponymous company, Shelby American, has taken the wraps off its most powerful creation ever, the Shelby 1000.

The four-digit number represents the power of the supercharged 5.4-liter engine under the modified Ford Mustang’s hood, more or less.

Stripped to the block and fitted with a suite of customized parts that includes a new Kenne Bell blower, flowed heads, stronger rods, crank and pistons and a sprinkling of “Shelby magic,” the motor puts out a claimed 950 hp in street tune while the company says a racing version is good for 1,100 hp.


Dog Found In Delmar, DE.

Hi Joe,

This Pit Bull mix girl was found Thursday night on Mt Herman Circle in Delmar
Delaware. If you have lost her please call Sherry at 443-669-4277. Thank you.

And Joe thanks for all you do for the animals.

OC Council Votes 5-2 To Draft New Scooter Regs

OCEAN CITY – Due to safety concerns, new scooter rental businesses will have to follow new regulations approved by the Mayor and Council yesterday in a 5-2 vote, while current operators will have one year to conform.

On Jan. 31, the Mayor and City Council passed an ordinance to establish a 90-day moratorium on the issuance of new or renewed business licenses for scooter rentals. The council became concerned over the proliferation of scooter rental businesses in town and the safety issues that have occurred.

The moratorium expires on March 30 and the council asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to conduct public hearings to consider the issue and draft recommendations for better regulation.

On Feb. 22, the commission held a public hearing and continued it on March 6 when the hearing was closed and deliberation was conducted.

“We did get considerable input at the hearings from some of the scooter business owners and operators which were informative and really helpful for the commission to come up with these recommendations,” Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston said.


Help! My Boss Friend Requested Me On Facebook

Would you accept a Facebook friend request from your boss? Could it hurt your career if you don’t? Even worse, can it hurt your job security if you do? According to a new survey, many workers are finding themselves faced with this dilemma and are feeling pressured to click “accept.”

“Making the Connection: How Facebook is Changing the Supervisory Relationship” survey from Russell Herder found younger workers (age 18 to 34) are more likely to be Facebook friends with their bosses at 26%, compared to just 10% of those 35 or older. In addition, 38% of survey respondents said their bosses initiated the relationship and 29% felt “pressured” to accept the request.

And let’s say you are on a job interview and the person behind the desk asks you for your Facebook login and password, should you object? Also getting media attention is the debate over whether such companies that ask potential hires for their social media login information are out of bounds. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) have called for an immediate end to this practice, and have asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice to look into the matter.


Al Sharpton: Civil Disobedience Will Escalate if Zimmerman Remains Free

If George Zimmerman is not arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin soon, theRev. Al Sharpton will call for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions.

Sharpton would not say the efforts would be taken against the city of Sanford specifically, but he has been critical of the police department's handling of the case.

Saturday's scheduled 11 a.m. march from Crooms Academy of Information Technology to the Sanford Police Department headquarters was organized by National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Coordinators said people will be bused in from other states to participate.


Goodness Gracious, Jerry Lee Lewis Weds For Seventh Time

This is the seventh marriage for the 76-year-old rocker, who wed Judith Brown on March 9 in Natchez, Miss. Brown was once married to Lewis' cousin Rusty Brown.

Lewis is no stranger to unconventional paths to romance. The singer infamously married his cousin, Myra Gale Brown -- Rusty's sister –- when he was 23 and she was only 13 years old back in 1958. This marriage, a tabloid sensation at the time, tarnished Lewis' reputation and did some damage to his career.


Zirkin Says Child Support Bill May Need Amendment

A bill modifying a law that allows Maryland prisoners to ask the court to suspend their child support payments might have to be amended in order to pass the state Senate.

State Sen. Robert Zirkin said Friday that he thinks amending his bill to require that correctional facilities tell prisoners they are eligible for a waiver of child support while in jail might encourage senators to OK the legislation.

Prisoners can already apply for a waiver because they have no income while in jail, but Zirkin’s bill would allow child support payments to be adjusted without any action from the prisoner.

Such an amendment, which was offered and rejected Friday, would remove the automatic alteration to child support payments and leave the correctional system responsible for forwarding the paperwork to the courts, Zirkin said.

“I think that a bill like this should not be jammed through,” he said. “I want this to get an overwhelming vote because people are comfortable with what they are doing.”


Jim Grant Crucifies The Fed; Explains Why A Gold Standard Is The Best Option

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has invited some of its public critics to visit the bank to unburden themselves of their criticisms. On March 12, it was Jim Grant's turn. The text of his remarks follows. (highlights ours)

Piece Of My Mind

My friends and neighbors, I thank you for this opportunity. You know, we are friends and neighbors. Grant’s makes its offices on Wall Street, overlooking Broadway, a 10-minute stroll from your imposing headquarters. For a spectacular vantage point on the next ticker-tape parade up Broadway, please drop by. We’ll have the windows washed.

You say you would like to hear my complaints, and, on the one hand, I do have a few, while on the other, I can’t help but feel slightly hypocritical in dressing you down. What passes for sound doctrine in 21st-century central banking—so-called financial repression, interest-rate manipulation, stock-price levitation and money printing under the frosted-glass term “quantitative easing”—presents us at Grant’s with a nearly endless supply of good copy. Our symbiotic relationship with the Fed resembles that of Fox News with the Obama administration, or—in an earlier era—that of the Chicago Tribune with the Purple Gang. Grant’s needs the Fed even if the Fed doesn’t need Grant’s.

In the not quite 100 years since the founding of your institution, America has exchanged central banking for a kind of central planning and the gold standard for what I will call the Ph.D. standard. I regret the changes and will propose reforms, or, I suppose, re-reforms, as my program is very much in accord with that of the founders of this institution. Have you ever read the Federal Reserve Act? The authorizing legislation projected a body “to provide for the establishment of the Federal Reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper and to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.” By now can we identify the operative phrase? Of course: “for other purposes.”

You are lucky, if I may say so, that I’m the one who’s standing here and not the ghost of Sen. Carter Glass. One hesitates to speak for the dead, but I am reasonably sure that the Virginia Democrat, who regarded himself as the father of the Fed, would skewer you. He had an abhorrence of paper money and government debt. He didn’t like Wall Street, either, and I’m going to guess that he wouldn’t much care for the Fed raising up stock prices under the theory of the “portfolio balance channel.”


House of Delegates Passes Offshore Wind Bill

The Maryland House of Delegates voted 88-47 on Friday for a scaled-back measure to help develop offshore wind off the coast of Ocean City in as soon as five years.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley is backing the legislation again this year after it failed last year over concerns about its costs.

Supporters, who say offshore wind has great potential to create jobs and reduce pollution, emphasized during debate that this bill is very different. Residential utility customers would pay about $1.50 a month if offshore wind turbines are developed. For commercial ratepayers, rate increases have been reduced from 2.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

Delegate Benjamin Kramer, D-Montgomery, pointed out that the risk of financing wind turbines will be on the developer, not ratepayers.

“Yes, there may be a small — a small — increase to Maryland’s ratepayers, but the potential for reducing our carbon footprint is dramatic,” Kramer said.


Paul Ryan Endorses Roscoe Bartlett For Congress

Frederick, MD- Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) the architect of the Republican Budget plan and Conservative leader has endorsed Roscoe Bartlett for Congress.

In making the endorsement Congressman Ryan explained “Roscoe Bartlett and I have
worked side by side to cut spending, repeal ObamaCare and pass my plan to
balance the budget.”

Congressman Ryan goes on to explain, “We need Roscoe Bartlett’s Conservative
leadership in Washington…so we can reverse Obama’s failed politics and protect
America’s future.”

The Bartlett campaign also released a robo-call recorded by Congressman Paul
Ryan informing Republicans of his support.

Bay Restoration Ahead of Schedule, Funding Tight

The federally led strategy to restore the Chesapeake Bay is ahead of schedule for two of three key pollutants, although the cleanup is being held up in some areas by budget concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency said in two reports released Friday.

Reducing nitrogen and sediment pollution is ahead of schedule, while phosphorus reduction is behind schedule. The three are the key pollutants in the bay. Nitrogen and phosphorus come from sources including sewage, fertilizer, auto and power plant emissions. Once they enter the Chesapeake and waterways that feed the bay they can spur oxygen-robbing algae blooms. Sediment that runs off lawns, development sites, farms, roads and other areas can cloud water and bury bay grasses, which provide food and habitat for a number of species.

EPA spokesman Greg Barranco said a new tracking and reporting system for phosphorus offset most of the reductions for the pollutant.

The reports, which detailed progress in fiscal 2011 and plans for fiscal 2012, also said that while the bay restoration effort was ahead of schedule in some areas, some planned restoration work wasn’t funded. For example, the president’s budget for fiscal 2011 requested $900 million for a Land and Water Conservation Fund, which eventually received $301 million.


Can America's Descent Possibly Be Reversed?

My articles for LRC have been increasingly difficult and frustrating to write. More recently I have been trying to get people to understand America’s current police state. Yes, I have received some favorable emails when my articles have appeared, but there are also ones from those in denial, who refer to me as "nuts," "conspiracy theorist," and so on.

Now, to say that America is becoming like Nazi Germany is not an exaggeration. But too many people glance over such assertions in disbelief, perceiving such things as absurdities. They are in denial, and just do not want to believe what’s going on.

In my article on martial law, I emphasized that public officials are obligated to disobey unlawful orders, even those issued by the President of the United States. If the President orders suspension of civil liberties and basic rights protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, then governors, mayors, state troopers, police officers and military personnel must disobey those unlawful orders. Those officials have sworn to an oath to obey the Constitution, not to obey the President of the United States.

"But we’re at war!" some people cry. No, sorry. Regardless of what the warmongers say, there is no time ever to excuse violations of the people’s rights and their liberty, during war or peacetime.

America is dangerous now, but the reason isn’t because of Islamic terrorists – it’s because of government bureaucrats, central planners run amok.

The problem is that bureaucrats who MUST have war and expanded powers, including suppression of civil liberties, will change the laws to suit their narcissistic needs for more power.

And America is dangerous because too many amongst the general population are no longer raised with a sense of moral values and personal responsibility. Americans seem to get easily swept up into a national fervor for war, for killing and death. Just look at these past ten years of destruction that our government has caused overseas, and the American people’s passive acceptance of it based on the government’s emotion-driven propaganda.


Maryland Unemployment Rate Stays at 6.5 Percent

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s unemployment rate remains at 6.5 percent, despite a sixth straight month of job growth.

The state added 8,000 jobs in February, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The department also revised job gains for January, now saying the state added 9,100 jobs.

Almost 11,000 jobs were added in the private sector in February — balancing big gains in education, health care, social assistance and business services with losses in hospitality and trades — but 2,500 government jobs were lost.

The national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent.


Can The Government Force You To Eat Broccoli?

This week, the Supreme Court measured Obamacare to see whether it fits within the confines of the Constitution. The big picture is whether the Constitution limits the behavior of the federal government to the plain meaning and historical context of the Constitution, or whether clever lawyers and politicians can interpret language in the Constitution so as to justify whatever Congress wishes to do. Does the Constitution mean what it says? Does it limit the federal government to the powers it has delegated to Congress? Or is it a blank check for Congress to do whatever it can get away with?

One of those delegated powers is the power to regulate interstate commerce. The language in the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress "to regulate" commerce among the states. When James Madison wrote that phrase, he and the other Framers were animated by the startling lack of interstate commerce among the states under the Articles of Confederation. This was the period after the Revolution and before the Constitution when the merchants and bankers who financed the Revolution also controlled the state legislatures. They were both creditors, because they had lent money to the state governments to finance the war, and debtors, because they now controlled the machinery of state government that owed them money.


Osama bin Laden spent years on the run in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, moving from one safe house to another and fatherin

Osama bin Laden spent years on the run in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, moving from one safe house to another and fathering four children, at least one of whom was born in a government hospital, his youngest widow has told Pakistani investigators.

A deposition taken from the widow, identified by police as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, gives the clearest picture yet of bin Laden's life while international forces hunted him."

While we may never be able to corroborate every detail, generally speaking, bin Laden's wife's account seems plausible, and it confirms some previously held theories on where the al-Qaeda leader was hiding over the years," a U.S. official said about the widow's account.

The world's most wanted man remained free until U.S. Navy SEALs killed him during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad in May 2011.

Fateh and two other widows of bin Laden's -- identified by U.S. officials as Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar -- have been in Pakistani custody since the raid. Pakistani authorities have started legal proceedings against the widows, alleging forgery and illegal entrance into Pakistan.

A source familiar with the widows' case told CNN the three women will be charged Monday with living illegally in Pakistan. If convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Even If It Survives The Court, The Health Care Law Is Doomed

Media coverage now implies that the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the fate of President Obama's health care law. But nothing the court decides will keep the law alive for more than a brief period of time.

There are three ways the health care law could meet its end. The first, obviously, is the Supreme Court could declare some or all of it unconstitutional in June.

If it gets past that hurdle, the law also could be ended by Election 2012. If a Republican president is elected, the GOP will almost certainly also win control of the Senate and retain control of the House. While the details might take time, a Republican sweep in November would ultimately end the Obama experiment.

But even if the law survives the Supreme Court and the next election, the clock will be ticking. Recent estimates suggest that the law would cause 11 million people to lose their employer-provided insurance and be forced onto a government-backed insurance plan. That's a problem because 77 percent of those who now have insurance rate their current coverage as good or excellent. Only 3 percent rate their coverage as poor. For most of the 11 million forced to change their insurance coverage then, it will be received as bad news and create a pool of vocally unhappy voters.


It's All About Race Now

If it had been a white teenager who was shot, and a 28-year-old black guy who shot him, the black guy would have been arrested.

So assert those demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

And they may be right.

Yet if Trayvon had been shot dead by a black neighborhood watch volunteer, Jesse Jackson would not have been in a pulpit in Sanford, Fla., howling that he had been "murdered and martyred."

Maxine Waters would not be screaming "hate crime."

Rep. Hank Johnson would not be raging that Trayvon had been "executed." And ex-Black Panther Bobby Rush would not have been wearing a hoodie in the well of the House.

Which tells you what this whipped-up hysteria is all about.

It is not about finding the truth about what happened that night in Sanford when Zimmerman followed Trayvon in his SUV, and the two wound up in a fight, with Trayvon dead.

It is about the exacerbation of and the exploitation of racial conflict.

And it is about an irreconcilable conflict of visions about what the real America is in the year 2012.

Zimmerman "profiled" Trayvon, we are told. And perhaps he did.

But why? What did George Zimmerman, self-styled protector of his gated community, see that night from the wheel of his SUV?


Obama’s Big Trayvon Lie

The facts of the Trayvon Martin case are still unclear. But that hasn’t stopped the all-knowing, all-seeing President Obama from voicing his opinion of the situation. “You know,” said Obama, “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen.”

Leave aside the fact that Obama’s race is completely irrelevant to the situation — when French Jews were killed in Toulouse last week, Joe Lieberman didn’t see fit to announce that those Jews looked like his relatives. Leave aside the media’s insane portrayal of Trayvon as a saint, despite his record of graffiti, probable jewelry theft and violence, and drug possession. Leave aside the fact that while Obama’s theoretical son may have looked like Trayvon at age 12, he would likely look nothing like Trayvon at age 17, what with the tattoos and gold grill.

Focus instead on the last part of Obama’s statement: “All of us have to do some soul-searching.”

No, Mr. President. We don’t.

Obama implies that we all share some collective guilt for Trayvon’s killing. And this is a favorite tactic of the left: We all created the “climate” that led Trayvon Martin to bang George Zimmerman’s head on the pavement and led George Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon point blank. The “climate” argument allows for all sorts of political maneuvering and situational exploitation. It allows MSNBC hosts to go on the air and blame Rush Limbaugh. It gives leeway for congressmen to invite Trayvon’s parents to the Hill to pander to minority members of Congress about Florida’s “stand your ground law” — a law that had nothing to do with the killing if Zimmerman is really as guilty as his opponents suggest, and a law that may have saved Zimmerman’s life if the situation went down as Zimmerman and witnesses suggest.

But, of course, none of this actually has to do with Trayvon Martin’s death. The death was either the fault of Zimmerman or Martin or both. It wasn’t the fault of my 82-year-old Jewish grandmother recovering from eye surgery. It had nothing to do with the Vietnamese family in Downtown Los Angeles trying to keep a grocery running. Neither Trayvon nor Zimmerman were Rush Limbaugh listeners. This absurd “we’re all guilty” mentality is just another way for liberals to escape the bottom line conclusion: individuals, not societies, are responsible for the acts they undertake.


Supreme Court Overturns Shoplifting Sentence

An Oklahoma City shoplifter sentenced to life in prison will get another chance.

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated the penalty for Cecilia Rodriguez, who was convicted in 2009 of stealing from a local department store.

But the justices on the Supreme Court decided the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

"I'm still in a kind of shock. We've been trying to raise some money to get help," said Geneva Gabriel, Rodriguez's mother.

Rodriguez's family learned she would spend life behind bars after she pleaded guilty to grand larceny, so it was a big relief to them Thursday after the sentence was vacated.

The Supreme Court ordered the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider the sentence in light of another case in which a man did not receive adequate legal representation during the plea-bargaining process.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to stealing two purses from a Dillard's department store three years ago. Authorities said each purse was worth more than $250.

At the time, the Oklahoma County district judge called Rodriguez a "one-person crime wave."

During the 2009 trial, the judge learned Rodriguez was convicted nearly 30 times for theft-related crimes.

Rodriguez's attorney said her client is hopeful she will receive a lesser sentence.


High Oil Prices Must Be Subject Of Criminal Investigation

Severely Injured Bait Dog Gets New Home

Nearly two months after being found bloodied on the side of the road in Anne Arundel County, a possible bait dog has a new home.

11 News reported on the plight of the dog nicknamed Rocky Road in February.

Police said he was suffering from gaping wounds to his face, ears and head, and they were so bad that animal control officers considered euthanizing him.

$1.9 Million BofA CEO Made In 2010 Wasn't Enough So He Got $8.1 Million Last Year

Just as an NCAA hoops power needs a driven coach to lead the way through March Madness, a corporation seeking the Worst Company in America Golden Poo needs a CEO who manages to rake in ludicrous pay raises.


Elementary Students Taken From School In Handcuffs

In actions described by a civil rights organization as "appalling," Baltimore City police arrested four elementary school students Thursday, hauling them out from school in handcuffs.

Michael Vogel was sitting at home when his granddaughter's school called to tell him that something happened.

"I said, 'What's the matter?' and they said, 'Your granddaughter's been arrested,'" Vogel said.

At about noon Thursday, Vogel's 9-year-old granddaughter, two other 9-year-old girls and an 8-year-old boy were arrested by city police at Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School. Vogel said he wasn't notified until several hours later, and he immediately called his daughter, Loretta Hammonds, to let her know what happened."

I immediately ran to the Juvenile Justice Center, and they would not let me see her or even talk to her," Hammonds said. "I just started crying. My baby's in the back of a cell and she's 9 years old."

More including video Here

Google's Helpful Self-Driving Car Brings Blind Passenger To Taco Bell

If Google is handing out cars to take people to get chalupas, sign us up. While testing the company's new self-driving vehicle, Google had the Toyota Prius navigate city streets to take its blind "driver" to Taco Bell, as seen in a video of the test.


Virginia Unemployment Down, Maryland, D.C. Unchanged

The region saw little change in its unemployment rates last month compared with January, with only Virginia seeing a slight decrease, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In Virginia, the unemployment rate stood at 5.7 percent last month, down from 5.8 percent in January, and significantly lower than Virginia’s 6.3 percent unemployment rate a year earlier.

Maryland’s jobless rate was unchanged last month at 6.5 percent, but down from 7.2 percent in February 2011.

In the District, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.9 percent, and down from 10 percent a year ago.

The highest unemployment rate in the nation remains Nevada, at 12.3 percent. North Dakota continues to claim the lowest jobless rate at 3.1 percent.

Unemployment rates fell in 29 states in February, rose in eight and were unchanged in 13, according to BLS.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged in February, at 8.3 percent.


School Orders Students To Delete Facebook Accounts Or Face Expulsion

Last week, every 11th grade student at a Jewish school for girls in Brooklyn was told to delete their Facebook accounts or risk a $100 fine, or even the possibility of expulsion.


Afghan Suspect Attorney: US Gov 'Hiding Evidence'

The attorney for the U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians says the government is "hiding evidence" and not giving his defense team the cooperation they were promised.

The Army says officials have been following procedures and communicating with Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' defense team.

The disagreement over access to the evidence and help in getting interviews with witnesses in Afghanistan highlights the differences between military and civilian proceedings.


We're Sure Legislators Are Happy The "Walmart Of Weed" Is In D.C.

Senators and state representatives are sure to get a hearty, "Howdy, neighbors!" from Washington D.C.'s new kid on the block, a company known as the "Walmart of Weed." The company, weGrow, sells hydroponic supplies to medical marijuana growers and is set to open its first East Coast outlet.


Canada Decides It's Sick Of Pennies, Will Stop Making Them

The Canadian "give a penny, take a penny" tray industry has just been hit with some sad news. The new federal budget for our neighbors to the north has done away with the coin that costs more to make than it's actually worth.


Could Sequestration Equal Devistation For The Military?

Pentagon leaders have been warning for months that sequestration would equal "devastation" for the military itself. They told Congress it would also take a massive toll on defense contractors. Frank Kendall, DoD's acting acquisition chief, told the Senate yesterday that another $500 billion in budget cuts would affect "hundreds of thousands" of jobs in the defense industry. DoD is in the middle of a project to build a comprehensive map of the entire defense industrial base, so it can keep tabs on how existing budget cuts are affecting contractors. Officials are especially worried about third-and-fourth tier firms. Kendall said DoD would intervene to keep firms from going under in some cases, but those interventions would have to be few and far between.

Airports To Grow Foodstocks For Their Own Biofuels?

The Agriculture Department and the Federal Aviation Administration are teaming up on what could be a novel approach to alternative energy production. A new USDA study found many of the nation's airports could prove to be ideal sites to grow feedstocks for biofuels. The department is especially interested in airports with large areas of grassland on their property. Converting those grasslands to biofuel crops would serve two purposes, according to USDA. It could provide airports with alternative energy that they could use on-site; and it would get rid of the kind of vegetation where birds tend to roost and pose a threat to aircraft. The study was published this week in the journal "Environmental Management."

Sales On Grills And Mowers Blossom At The Big Box Stores

Home Depot is calling its spring sale "Black Friday is back" and at Sears they're offering "slam dunk deals" in honor of this weekend's college basketball championship. Lowe's, for its part, is trumpeting its "everyday low prices." We took a look at some of the offerings and found a few good deals on models that Consumer Reports recommends in its new tests of grills, mowers and string trimmers.


Official: Winning lottery ticket sold in Maryland

Maryland lottery officials announced early Saturday that their state sold what could become the world's largest lottery payout of all-time, but it wasn't immediately clear if that ticket holder would get sole possession of the $640 million jackpot or have to split it with other winners.

Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland Lottery, said the winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased at a retailer in Baltimore County. She said it's too early to know any other information about the lucky ticket holder or whether others were sold elsewhere in the nation.

The winning numbers were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.


BREAKING NEWS: Winning Ticket Sold In Maryland

Winning Mega Millions ticket sold in Maryland but unknown if others sold, according to lottery official.

O’Malley Wind-Power Bill Sails Toward Passage

The House cleared the O’Malley administration’s offshore wind power bill for final passage Thursday -- enduring heavy gusts from Republican lawmakers who questioned the cost and viability of putting 40 wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City.