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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Monday, Nov. 23, 2009:


Spotlight on judge in Dixon trial
As jurors on Monday morning are set to resume deliberations over whether Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is guilty of stealing gift cards intended for the needy, many are watching Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, write Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz in The Baltimore Sun. "Sweeney, 64, is a retired Howard County judge who was selected in February to preside over the four cases stemming from State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh's City Hall corruption probe. Sweeney is widely known in Maryland as a jury expert, teaching new judges how to manage trials ... and at this phase, the judge is 'like a coach,' said Federal Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm." Sweeney has already fielded multiple notes from the jury saying deliberations were "overheating on Thursday and Friday, and it remains to be seen if he can coax them toward a verdict.
In the Daily Record, Danny Jacobs looks at Sweeney's options to nudge the jury toward a solution.
The Sun's Jean Marbella writes that the rumblings from the jury room may echo conflicted emotions in the city.

Mikulski amendment to target breast cancer screening

"When a government advisory panel put out new recommendations last week that said women under age 50 need not be screened for breast cancer, the calls began flowing to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's office," writes Meredith Cohn in The Sun. Mikulski "responded with an amendment to the Senate's pending health care reform bill that would guarantee access to mammograms at age 40 through public insurance exchanges."
The AP's Laurie Kellman quotes Mikulski saying that without the written guarantee, "insurance companies may use this new recommendation as yet another reason to deny women coverage for mammograms,"

Early fundraisers for Eastern Shore congressional contest
Republican state Sen. Andrew Harris isn't waiting until the election year to begin big fundraisers, writes Alan Brody in The Gazette. National Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele joined Harris at a fundraiser last week at the chic Imperial Hotel in Chestertown. "Two more events come after Turkey Day. The first, on Dec. 2 in Cambridge, features Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia. The group of more than 100 House Republicans promotes a conservative social and economic agenda in the House, according to its Web site. Several days later on Dec. 7, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich will try to help Harris rustle up some cash in Baltimore County before the Ravens' Monday night tilt against Green Bay. ... For his part, Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) has a cocktail reception scheduled for Saturday in Chestertown featuring Steny Hoyer."

Lawmakers Pitch Frederick Site For Training Center

"Maryland lawmakers are promoting Frederick County as a possible site for a new federal training center," writes the Frederick News-Post. "State Delegate Paul Stull, a Republican from Frederick, recently asked Mikulski to support building the Bureau of Diplomatic Security training center where the former Alcoa Eastalco Works aluminum plant once stood ... Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin, sent letters [last week] to the State Department supporting both the Frederick and Queen Anne's County locations."

Fewer hospitalized for swine flu

"Swine flu is still the main strain that's making people sick in Maryland, but fewer people with flu-like symptoms are being hospitalized in the state," reports Michelle Basch at WTOP. "During the week of October 24th, about 260 people were hospitalized with the flu in Maryland. But that number has dropped for three straight weeks, to just 53 people last week."

Wright calls for unity
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright on Friday urged several hundred people at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet that Americans must learn to work past their differences," reports Sean Norris. "After weeks of buildup as a firebrand, President Barack Obama's former pastor focused on the need to address voting inequalities, lingering segregation in schools and an unjust justice system." Wright's presence had prompted some state Republicans to boycott the event.

Military opposes offshore wind farm
"The O'Malley administration's desire to build offshore wind turbines as part of its renewable energy program is running into an unlikely source of resistance: the military," writes Brody. "The fear is that turbines placed in the Atlantic Ocean could disrupt flight and weapon test ranges, as well as erroneously appear on radar as unidentifiable aircraft, which could trigger false alarms in an era of high terrorism alerts, military officials said."

And briefly:

  • A study says a biotech incubator could bring 1,900 jobs to Prince George's College Park.

  • Maryland Politics Watch gets into the weeds on state education funding related to Montgomery County's possible bill for millions in fines.

  • Maryland Politics Today's Kenneth Burns says don't vote for Prince George's Sheriff Michael Jackson.


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  • By Aaron C. Davis  |  November 23, 2009; 6:55 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Now It's Your Turn
    Next: New U.S. civil rights chief pulled back into transgender staffer fight in Montgomery

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