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Summer ends this week: The kids are back in school, Labor Day is Monday and the great American anesthetic, football season, begins this weekend. But before we bid Summer farewell, here are some last thoughts.

Washington Redskins Protest

Please add me to the cadre of progressive moralists who refuse to utter the offensive Washington Redskins name in public. The team’s name is a shameless fraud perpetrated on millions of NFL fans who, misled by the team’s name, unknowingly believe that the Redskins play in Washington. In fact, they play in FedEx stadium located in Landover, Md. not Washington, D.C. As a life-long Marylander I am deeply offended and, from now on, will protest by always referring to the team as the Landover Redskins.

Meanwhile, will TV sportscasters Phil Simms (CBS) and Tony Dungy (NBC), who refuse to say “Redskins,” also refrain from calling long desperation pass plays “Hail Mary passes”? We Roman Catholics view the Blessed Virgin Mother as a sacred religious icon. In our faith the Hail Mary is a prayer, not a football play.

Also, will sportscasters please stop calling Franco Harris’ amazing game-winning catch in the 1972 AFC playoff game “The immaculate reception,” an offensive play on the virgin birth known to Catholics as the immaculate conception?

Why is it okay to diminish things that Catholics hold sacred? How come sportscasters don’t say things like, “Wow, this stadium crowd is deader than Muhammed?” Or, “Gee, that last running play looked like Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt”? Or, “That defense is more passive than a bunch of Quakers.” Or “That team’s plays are harder to understand than the Book of Mormon”?

Reform School

Most Maryland community colleges are primarily funded by local county taxpayers except in Baltimore city. Back in the early 1990’s the Community College of Baltimore (CCB) was such a disaster that the city asked the state to make it into a state-operated and state-funded school.

Back then CCB was badly mismanaged and in danger of losing its accreditation. So CCB became a state-run school with a new president, a new name (Baltimore City Community College) and new, 100 percent state funding.

Now, more than 20 years later, BCCC is still a disaster; in 2011 the president was fired, enrollment is down 22 percent and the Middle States Commission is again threatening to revoke the school’s accreditation after putting BCCC on probation three years ago.

It appears that BCCC’s state takeover only changed two things: the school’s name and which taxpayers pick up the tab.

Solving Maryland’s Foreclosure Crisis

2010 was the depth of the Great Recession. It was also re-election year for Gov. Martin O’Malley and the state legislature. So state lawmakers “solved” Maryland’s residential foreclosures problem by dramatically lengthening the time period for processing foreclosures and by requiring lenders to undergo mediation with defaulting homeowners.

As a result of these delays, Maryland’s number of actual foreclosures plummeted and most state lawmakers got re-elected. Now, four years later, once all the delays have run their course, Maryland has the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate, behind only Florida.

You see, the 2010 “reforms” only delayed the inevitable. Now all those postponed foreclosures are coming home to roost with a vengeance while states that faced the crisis have burned through their foreclosures and are entering an improved housing market.

Bully Pulpit

Maryland’s LGBT lobby just issued a new report recommending ways to combat bullying and discrimination in Maryland’s schools and state institutions. They want “LGBT Rights, Issues and History” to become part of every school’s curriculum from kindergarten through high school. It’s not clear which curriculum subjects will be dropped in order to make room for the LGBT studies program.

Mutiny on the Boundary

Solving the persistent “achievement gap” between high-performing white and Asian students and low-performing blacks and Hispanics is a “moral imperative” say Montgomery County’s righteous school officials. Yet, even moral imperatives have their limits.

MoCo has poured millions and millions of dollars into special education services for the low-performers. It’s also created “magnet programs” enticing whites and Asians to voluntarily attend lower-performing schools.

But school officials draw the line at redrawing school district boundaries that would permit low-performers to benefit by attending high-performing schools. They are keenly aware that even past minor boundary changes, much less a countywide social engineering experiment, sparked bitter, brutal resistance from MoCo’s otherwise egalitarian residents.

The achievement gap may be a moral imperative but boundary changes are political suicide.

Poles Apart

Let me get this straight; it’s legal for a former prostitute in a bikini to pole dance for money on Ocean City’s boardwalk, but OC officials are in the process of banning weekly rentals in some of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods because of some renters’ objectionable behavior?



Blair Lee is chairman of the board of Lee Development Group in Silver Spring and a regular commentator for WBAL radio. His past columns are available at www.gazette.net/blairlee. His email address is blairleeiv@gmail.com.