↑ Judge James K. Bredar
Judge James K. Bredar stiff-armed the Justice Department's attempts to delay progress on the consent decree between Baltimore and the D.O.J. "The time for negotiating the agreement is over. The only question now is whether the Court needs more time to consider the proposed decree. It does not," he said in a statement released Friday. That's a good thing, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems intent on taking the country back to a time when the only solution to crime is to crack down on black and brown bodies harshly—never mind the fact that those tactics don't work. Also, we'll believe that Sessions is actually interested in the people of Baltimore City the day we renew our belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny.
↑ Maryland General Assembly
Last week Maryland became the first state in the country to guarantee funding for Planned Parenthood. Any cuts that might come from the federal government will be replaced using $2 million from the state's Medicaid fund and $700,000 from the general fund. As is always the case when the subject of Planned Parenthood comes up, it's worth pointing out that clinics offer many services beyond abortions, including cancer screenings, birth control, and general health care. And they offer these at affordable prices that help the most vulnerable women. The state's nine clinics serve 25,000 people, and the legislature's action will ensure they continue to get essential care.
↑ Future Islands
On the same day Future Islands released their latest album, "The Far Field"—their first since 2014's massive "Singles"—the beloved Batimore band kicked off four nights of shows at the Ottobar. With some help from locals such as 83 Cutlass, Amanda Schmidt, and Soul Cannon opening up, Future Islands kept it relatively intimate for fans who remember the D.I.Y. days of the band. And "The Far Field" is great—as melancholy and moving as their past work, maybe even more so. As we said in our review (which you can read online), "plenty of other [bands'] hearts would've hardened over time, or stopped trying so hard to feel, but not Herring, not this band—they keep putting themselves out there."
↓ Sen. Nathaniel Oaks
Just two months after ascending to the state senate, Oaks, who had represented the 41st District as a state delegate for more than two decades, found himself in handcuffs, beltless, and without his trademark kufi, facing wire-fraud charges in U.S. District Court. The feds say they have Oaks on tape, taking thousands from a would-be builder (actually an FBI asset) in exchange for official acts. Innocent until proven, of course, but not a good day for the senator, or for the body he's a member of.
↓ Donald Trump
Along with bombing Syria last week and possibly sending us back to war (meanwhile, refugees from the country we are now bombing are still banned from entering the U.S.), Trump's ridiculous, borderline "blues lives matter" executive order from February was cited by A.G. Sessions as a reason to halt Baltimore's consent decree. And then there's Trump's claim that Rep. Elijah Cummings said that he "will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country"—either an outright lie or a massive misunderstanding on behalf of the Donald. And oh right, according to Dutch Ruppersberger, the Donald puts fucking ketchup on his crabcake?