www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-mossburg-abortion-20130716,0,6479009.column

baltimoresun.com

The 'threat' of free services for pregnant women

Marta Mossburg says an abortion-rights agenda is driving city's harassment of Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns

Marta H. Mossburg

1:04 PM EDT, July 16, 2013


It's not enough to tell a woman who enters a crisis pregnancy clinic in Baltimore City that she will not be able to have an abortion there. A center must post a sign to share the information — or at least that is what City Council members voted for in 2009.

The law is on hold pending yet another court decision. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected for technical reasons a previous decision that overturned the law on freedom of speech grounds, and sent the case back to lower court.


www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-mossburg-kids-food-20130702,0,4455389.column

baltimoresun.com

Teaching kids to love what they eat

We all know feeding kids junk food is bad; one Baltimore mom is trying to do something about it

Marta H. Mossburg

12:15 PM EDT, July 2, 2013

I don't think about food, except in the sense that when my kids are hungry, they need it fast. I know that's bad.

My poor planning often means running to the freezer to dig out chicken nuggets or fish sticks or a pizza to pop into the oven or turning to a box of macaroni and cheese to anchor a meal in 15 minutes or less. I frequently feel guilty about this Pavlovian response both from a bad nutrition standpoint and from the voice in the back of my head coming from my stepmother who thinks feeding children anything but organic everything borders on child abuse and banishes to the back of her pantry the food we bring for the duration of our visits.

I don't need any more information on why processed food is bad. I've read David Kessler's excellent 2009 book, "The End of Overeating" and Michael Moss' 2013 "Salt Sugar Fat," which shows how science has been used to turn human beings into guinea pigs for the processed food industry. It's impossible to read it and not cringe when walking by a package of hot dogs or box of cereal or a hunk of cheese in the grocery store, knowing that the ingredients in those items are fine tuned to hit every "bliss" point and make us come back over and over again like drug addicts.


Maryland's Fair Share Act is misnamed

Forcing nonmembers to pay union dues has increased AFSCME's bottom line but not improved services

Marta H. Mossburg

12:51 PM EDT, June 4, 2013 

Maryland's Fair Share Act is to fair what Liberace is to understated.

The 2009 law mandating that all state employees pay union dues regardless of whether they belong to the union is, however, a huge boon to the bottom line of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to IRS records.


To those who support "choice" at all costs: Read the grand jury report on Kermit Gosnell.

He is the Philadelphia abortion doctor awaiting a verdict in his trial, where he is accused of murdering four babies allegedly born alive and killing 41-year-old refugee Karnamaya Mongar. The charges represent only a fraction of the horrors that went on at the Women's Medical Society clinic, according to the report, where hundreds of children died by "snipping" — his term for sticking scissors into the back of a baby's neck and cutting its spinal cord — and where women were routinely butchered in late-term abortions by untrained medical staff and doped up according to how much they could pay.

Here are some lowlights from the report:


Human nature frequently disproves theories. Conventional wisdom, for example, says that open office space plans with workers grouped like cattle encourage creativity and collaboration. But study after study shows that people are more inventive, productive and healthy with more privacy.
Susan Cain writes about this eloquently in "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." But examples are legion of experience trumping ideology.
Would that legislators, like state Sen. Jamie Raskin, keep this in mind when trying to help people.

www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-mossburg-nsa-20130618,0,1961539.column

baltimoresun.com

Why is O'Malley silent on NSA spying?

Marta Mossburg says the governor owes Marylanders answers about where he stands on massive surveillance programs

Marta H. Mossburg

2:24 PM EDT, June 18, 2013 

As it turns  out,we are "one" Maryland, as Gov. Martin O'Malley likes to say — one Maryland under surveillance by thousands of people who live and work in this state.

The fact that Maryland is the spy capital of the United States is the story within the story about revelations that the Fort Meade-based National Security Agency is blanket-surveilling Americans via metadata of their phone records and back-door monitoring of their email.

But it is not one that Mr. O'Malley talks about. He pretends Maryland remains a progressive utopia on the Chesapeake, untouched by daily national news headlines showing government is potentially monitoring virtually every aspect of Americans' lives just off of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.


Baltimore City Council members confused caring about unemployment with abating it by giving preliminary approval to a local hire law last week.

The legislation, which requires a final vote and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's signature to become law, requires businesses that are awarded city contracts over $300,000 or receive $5 million or more in city financing to hire 51 percent of new workers from within Baltimore.

In promoting it, City Council members sound like they are competing for the "most compassionate" prize. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young told WBAL that "Any company that would challenge hiring six out of the 10 workers to be from Baltimore City, I think they would show they are a company [that doesn't care]." Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke went so far as to say Monday on WEAA's "The Marc Steiner Show" that those who say there aren't sufficient skilled workers in the city are "racist" and "prejudiced" (an indirect assault on me, as I was also on the show and disagreed with her interpretation of the legislation).


To those who support "choice" at all costs: Read the grand jury report on Kermit Gosnell.

He is the Philadelphia abortion doctor awaiting a verdict in his trial, where he is accused of murdering four babies allegedly born alive and killing 41-year-old refugee Karnamaya Mongar. The charges represent only a fraction of the horrors that went on at the Women's Medical Society clinic, according to the report, where hundreds of children died by "snipping" — his term for sticking scissors into the back of a baby's neck and cutting its spinal cord — and where women were routinely butchered in late-term abortions by untrained medical staff and doped up according to how much they could pay.


People say dogs look like their owners. That may not be true, but they certainly look and act like we want them to, as breeds are a construct of generations of culling for certain aesthetic and other traits, including hunting ability, intelligence and, in some cases, viciousness.
Which brings us to pit bulls, considered "inherently dangerous" under Maryland law since a 2012 Court of Appeals ruling.
Some of the dogs that fall into that general description are ferocious, because humans designed them to be. But so are a lot of other dogs that, for whatever nature or nurture reason, like to bite people — which is why many urged lawmakers to overturn the decision.
Common sense says owners should be responsible for their dogs, no matter the breed. But translating common sense into law is not easy. For the second time, state lawmakers failed to pass a law mitigating the situation when the General Assembly session ended Monday night. This means both pit bull owners and their landlords will still be held liable for bites, and that those who own pit bulls (many of them rescued dogs) will have a hard time finding a place to live, all because Sen. Brian Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, reneged on a compromise he reached with Del. Luiz Simmons, another Democrat from Montgomery, in a way that could fatten the wallets of fellow plaintiff and trial lawyers.
The compromise legislation that both Senator Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and Delegate Simmons, a member of the Judiciary Committee, originally agreed to would have allowed dog owners to show a "preponderance of the evidence" that their dog was not inclined to bite as a defense in court. But the Senate legislation Mr. Frosh sponsored called for "clear and convincing" proof — a stricter legal standard that would make it easier for victims to sue and win in court or receive larger settlements. The conference committee version that attempted to reconcile these two versions failed to pass the House on Monday.
Why did Mr. Frosh and his committee derail the process?
This might shed some light on the subject. Mr. Frosh is a partner at Karp, Frosh, Wigodsky & Norwind, a personal injury and civil litigation firm, who announced in October that he is considering a run for attorney general. He also happens to be headlining the annual dinner on April 24 of the influential Maryland Association for Justice — the advocacy and lobbying group for plaintiff and trial attorneys in the state.
Sen. Bobby Zirkin is a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and is an attorney whose website looks like "Dog Bites 'R' Us." He also sat on the conference committee that tried to reconcile the House and Senate bills. The first image on his website is of a white dog with teeth bared. He advises victims of dog bites that, "An experienced dog bite attorney will be able to help you get the best possible results. Call the Law Office of Bobby Zirkin at 410-356-4455 immediately and come in for your free consultation on this important matter." He is also a referral attorney for dog bite cases at Saiontz & Kirk, a personal injury law firm.
Mr. Zirkin said he has only been involved with three dog bite cases "in his entire career" and that the compromise legislation "is bad for trial attorneys" because the only issue to decide under the legislation is damages.
But you don't advertise for what you don't want. And victims frequently need lawyers to reach a settlement.
He also said the Senate legislation would not hurt anyone, pointing to the fact that 36 states and Washington, D.C. have some form of "strict liability" statute on the books and that people still own dogs and can get insurance in those states.
But he is wrong that the legislation would have no impact. Insurance companies are increasingly excluding certain breeds from homeowner and rental policies because of higher-priced claims made possible by strict liability laws. According to the Insurance Information Institute, from 2003 to 2011, the cost of an average claim increased 53 percent, to over $29,000. Given that dog bites made up over one third of all homeowner liability claims paid in 2011 and cost $479 million, there is a lot at stake for dog owners who want affordable insurance.
Pointing out these issues, as Mr. Simmons did, makes one a pariah. When he called out Mr. Frosh for rejecting the compromise the two had reached — the one reflected in the House version — he was chastised publicly by Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
So nothing is resolved, again. And meanwhile, few seem willing to discuss why perpetuating certain man-made breeds makes any sense.

Marta Mossburg says legislators who helped kill dog bite bill stand to benefit from its demise

People say dogs look like their owners. That may not be true, but they certainly look and act like we want them to, as breeds are a construct of generations of culling for certain aesthetic and other traits, including hunting ability, intelligence and, in some cases, viciousness.

Which brings us to pit bulls, considered "inherently dangerous" under Maryland law since a 2012 Court of Appeals ruling.