News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngWelcome to the home stretch after Labor Day, when candidates believe that you -- the voters -- first shake vacationland thoughts from your heads and focus on the November elections. Generally, we think, the news from the world around you has kept you thinking pretty carefully about who is in charge, all along.

Here, of course, we offer you the latest -- how our state election results might get settled more quickly; how to make sure your kids both learn and eat, how hard it is for police reform to get past longtime barriers; and what the House and Senate have to by September 30 -- if they can. Read on...

A long weekend followed by a short week means a backlog of events in our state that you need to know about:

State Elections Board Asks Court To Allow Early Vote Count: After an extended primary season, the Maryland State Board of Elections has formally asked the Montgomery County Circuit Court for help in speeding up mail-in ballot counting before the November general election, when more than 1 million mail ballots could be returned by voters. Maryland Matters.

Eats in School: Schools Returning To Income-Based Lunches: via Maryland Reporter-- Additional money to keep a program going to give free lunches to all public school students nationwide was not approved by federal lawmakers in Congress so schools are reverting back to income-based meal programs. Kara Panowitz, senior manager of No Hungry Kids Maryland said this change will significantly affect most counties in the state. WYPR-FM.

Police Accountability Boards: Some Have Them, Some Don’t: Officials in Maryland’s jurisdictions are continuing a complicated process to establish new state-mandated police accountability boards, with differing levels of success. The boards in Calvert and Frederick counties held first meetings in August. Anne Arundel County’s nine-member police accountability board has convened three times. Maryland Matters.

And an early test of new transparency laws as applied to police practices – and example of the power of police unions, in Maryland and everywhere: (via Maryland Reporter):

Lawsuit Puts New Police Transparency Law To The Test: When Anton’s Law passed, an effort to make transparent some police personnel records, Alexa Renehan decided to find out what happened to the police officer she had complained about all those years ago. She was still waiting long after Montgomery County’s legal deadline to release the records. A day before the county pledged to turn them over, the officer and local police union sued the county to stop the disclosure..WaPo



What’s happening in Washington DC – and what you can do about it…

Last week,  from POLITICO playbook -- State Of The States — Between soaring tax revenues and one-time federal aid, states including Massachusetts, New York and California were flush with cash. But even as they approve record spending plans and tax rebates to combat inflation, lawmakers and governors are quietly squirreling away billions of dollars into rainy day funds as comptrollers and economic analysts warn of recession, Lisa Kashinsky reports ..

This morning’s run-down from fed-watcher Megan E at People’s Action:

The Senate goes back in session today to work on nominations. Democratic leadership is considering a short term continuing resolution that extends funding until either Dec. 9th or Dec. 16th. Senate Democrats are considering attaching a provision codifying same sex marriage protections onto a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government past Sept. 30th (or face a government shutdown). The White House is seeking $47 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine, Covid-19 and monkeypox and disaster relief to the CR. People’s Action’s Overdose Crisis Cohort is working to get the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act attached to the CR

According to Friday’s jobs report, the U.S. added 315,000 jobs in August marking good news for unemployment. The federal reserve’s continued interest rate hikes threaten that progress. According to the Groundwork Collaborative, Policymakers should reject calls to throw the economy into a recession and instead build on the investments that have led to a strong recovery. 

Climate bill factoids:

  • Blue-Green Alliance Fact Sheets:
  • Clean Manufacturing Fact Sheet: This fact sheet offers a synopsis of the IRA’s investments to expand clean energy manufacturing, transform the industrial sector to reduce emissions, and decouple climate action from dependency on exploitative imports. 
  • Want an E-car? Clean Vehicles Fact Sheet: This fact sheet details the IRA's clean vehicle policies and the implications for cutting emissions, creating good jobs, and supporting mobility and air quality in our neighborhoods.

Private Equity: Vampires or Vultures?  -- From Public Citizen: Health and Human Services (HHS) has failed to implement a 2010 law requiring full disclosure of nursing home ownership by private equity firms, which may be contributing to substandard care, according to a Public Citizen study released today.


The Hill published an oped on the need for government investment in harm reduction to this effect: “Americans are now more likely to die of an overdose than in a car accident.” Note that is not because auto deaths are going down, because they are climbing at a scary rate.

* * *

Um, but how do you/we know that? (“That” could be anything you are talking or thinking about, such as death from auto accidents, as above). Sometimes we have time to search for an answer, sometimes we just act, maybe even vote, based on what we think we know. For this know-it-all wannabe who scrounges material for News You Can Use each week, this morning's op-ed in Maryland Matters was irresistible – and sobering:

“Voters must navigate angry, emotion-laden conversations about politics when trying to sort out whom to vote for. Americans are more likely than ever to view politics in moral terms, meaning their political conversations sometimes feel like epic battles between good and evil. [observes the author, UMBC prof and researcher Ian Anson.]

“But political conversations are also shaped by, obviously, what Americans know – and, less obviously, what they think they know – about politics.

In recent research, I studied how Americans’ perceptions of their own political knowledge shape their political attitudes. My results show that many Americans think they know much more about politics than they really do.” Tackle the whole op-ed, if you dare, here.

woody woodruff


M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...