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Archive: Maryland

Raw Fisher: Toast

If today's weren't the last installment of Raw Fisher, I might be writing about a small victory -- the District's decision yesterday to save the Eastern Branch and two other Boys & Girls Clubs, a cause I've tried to champion here for years -- or about Half A Tank, a new blog chronicling a journey across the Washington region and beyond by a Post photographer and writer searching for the stories of this recession. But today is the end of this particular road, and so I thought I'd use this last moment to offer readers one final chance to explain...

By Marc Fisher | June 4, 2009; 07:21 AM ET | Comments (12)

After 1,250 Columns, The End

The first of 1,250 columns, nine years ago, spoke of a time that seems impossible now, of heady young tech moguls flush with money and drunk with possibility, instructing the chef at The Palm in Tysons Corner to spell out "Netscape" for them -- in crabmeat. Today's is my last column, and as I scan the archives, I see stories of public arrogance and private foibles, but mostly, I see stories of people poking their way through life -- a quest I've tried to capture here a few times each week. Those first columns covered topics that seem all too...

By Marc Fisher | May 30, 2009; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (6)

Michael Steele's Academic Misadventure

He hasn't exactly held high office, and he's neither a policy leader nor a brilliant campaigner, but former Maryland lieutenant governor and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is a hugely charming storyteller, and in a video to appear this weekend on C-SPAN, Steele keeps an audience of high school students spellbound with the scary yet inspirational tale of the time he was booted out of Johns Hopkins University. The heroine of Steele's story--as is often the case--is his mother, Maebell Turner, who managed to scare him onto the right course without ever deigning to look at her son...

By Marc Fisher | May 22, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (10)

Your State's Rock Song: Orioles, Dave Matthews, U2?

A reader writes that he was visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last week on the day news broke that Oklahoma has adopted an official state rock song. At the rock museum, there's an exhibit noting that Ohio was the first state to declare an official state rock song, "Hang On Sloopy," by The McCoys. Apparently, the song was adopted not because Mr. Sloopy lives "in a very bad part of town," but because the song's authors are from Ohio. State legislators generally having a passionate desire to pass some law, any law, other states...

By Marc Fisher | May 12, 2009; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (13)

Honest Bet: Put Slots At Mall, Not Horse Track

Through all the years, as Republicans and Democrats alike schemed to legalize slot machines in Maryland, politicians desperately tried to cover their big money grab with high-toned purpose. Slots, they said, would benefit our kids; gambling would save the state's elegant horses and the picturesque farms on which they were raised. Always, slots were presented as a strictly limited vice, anything but a steppingstone toward full-blown casinos. Now we're seeing how empty all those promises really were. We're learning -- as if we needed proof -- that the politicians are happy to put thousands of slot machines at a shopping...

By Marc Fisher | May 7, 2009; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (6)

Psst...The President Ate Here Last Night

The word first got out via a text message sent with great urgency on Friday night. The president of the United States had stopped in at a neighborhood chili joint in Bethesda. Barack Obama had taken his children to an event at the Imagination Stage children's theater and then "came across the street to visit Hard Times Cafe, where he had chili and wings," according to an email that repeated the text message. That email begat another email and onward through the ether. Obamamania being what it is in certain circles, pretty soon a couple of Washington Post reporters...

By Marc Fisher | May 6, 2009; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (4)

Study: Md., Va. Prep Kids For Success. D.C. Doesn't.

Maryland is among the best places in the country in preparing children for success in school and beyond, according to a new study by Save the Children, the Washington-based non-profit. Maryland ranks eighth among all states and the District in measures such as parental encouragement, preschool participation and quality of home environment. Virginia landed 13th on the list and the District was way down at the bottom, at 42nd in the nation. Overall, the report paints a dismal picture of parenting and schooling in America. It finds that 68 percent of American fourth-graders are not reading at grade level--64...

By Marc Fisher | May 5, 2009; 07:48 AM ET | Comments (9)

Save Bookstores, Or Let The Market Decide?

The closing of Vertigo Books in College Park this weekend has readers talking about whether the merits of locally-owned, independent bookstores create any obligation to do business at shops that may be a bit pricier, but add value to our communities in other ways. Here's a peek at some of the better email traffic since my piece ran earlier this week: My argument that Amazon and other online booksellers have an unfair advantage because they don't charge sales tax--as well as my comment about big chain bookstores being "soulless"--drew some push-back from folks who work at those places and...

By Marc Fisher | April 24, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (8)

Today's Recession-Proof Biz: Speed Cameras

In tough times, simple pleasures thrive. This is the era of cheap dates, comfort foods and home entertainment. Maybe you just head out for a drive--but not too fast, because in Maryland, at least, state lawmakers have decided that this is also the time to create a statewide network of speed cams, adding a dose of high-priced reality to your driving experience. It's been less than two weeks since the Maryland legislature approved the use of gotcha speed cams near schools and highway construction zones, the first big expansion of the cameras' use since Montgomery County was allowed to...

By Marc Fisher | April 22, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (33)

Most Livable City: Bethesda?

Magazine ranking stories are like In/Out lists and movie Top Ten lists -- I know I shouldn't fall for them, but I do. Now here's Forbes magazine, purporting once again to list the most livable cities in the country. I'd have skipped right past this -- really, I would have -- but for this utterly strange factoid: The geniuses at Forbes list as the second most livable city in these United States Bethesda -- yes, our Bethesda. Leaving aside the fact that Bethesda is not a city -- heck, it doesn't even have its own government, let alone lots of...

By Marc Fisher | April 20, 2009; 08:33 AM ET | Comments (69)

Binary Man: Should Maryland Buy The Preakness?

In the strange space where horse racing, slots, Maryland politics and the state of the economy come together, this question has forced its way into the limelight: Should the state's taxpayers buy the Preakness Stakes, the legendary race first run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in 1870? Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has spent the better part of his time in office arguing that the state desperately needs the surefire torrent of revenue that would come from legalizing slot machines, is now moving toward a different kind of bailout. This time, it's the horse race that for many...

By Marc Fisher | April 8, 2009; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (4)

 

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