Ian the BMA security guard
Just before Valentine's Day, a segment with Fox 45's country bumpkin traffic reporter, Traffic Jam Jimmy, turned into an impromptu pitch for workers' rights. Jimmy was at the Baltimore Museum of Art to whore himself for McDonald's, delivering a table's worth of fast food to Ian, a security guard at the museum, and his coworkers. But the interview didn't go as planned when Ian told the "reporter": "I work 40 hours a week and I live below the poverty line. I advocate for living wages and workers' rights." The camera awkwardly panned away and Jimmy tried to restore order by invoking Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Ian was not done, however. As the segment wrapped up and Traffic Jam Jimmy handed him a sandwich, the guard leaned toward the mic and said, "Stand in solidarity with McDonald's." We stand in solidarity with Ian.
State Senator and mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh scored some major endorsements last week when the Service Employees International Union Maryland/DC State Council and SEIU Local 500, which represents more than 25,000 workers in the region, threw their weight behind her. Many of the childcare workers, teachers, and adjunct professors that belong to the union are drawn to her progressive agenda and history of advocating for kids, families, and workers' rights—particularly when those issues coalesce, for example, in her ardent support for earned sick leave that allows workers to stay home when their kids are sick without jeopardizing their job. Hardly a radical idea; sadly, a necessary push.
Baltimore Beer Drinkers
Orioles fans, beer drinkers, and beer-drinking Orioles fans collectively freaked out on Feb. 18 when the site Beer In Baltimore wrote it had confirmed that National Bohemian, the hometown beer that isn't actually brewed here, would no longer be served at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. People on social media acted as if this was tantamount to throwing the Oriole Bird off the B&O Warehouse roof. But let's consider a few things: Boh costs about the same as Bud, Miller, Coors, and all the other macro lagers available at the stadium, and the difference in taste is negligible. None of these beers are brewed in Maryland, let alone Baltimore. Is this really a big loss? The whole thing ended up being something of a non-story, anyway, when the team confirmed that Boh will still be available during games. Everybody chill out.
Judge Barry G. Williams
After deciding to have separate trials for the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray in September, Judge Barry G. Williams set a rather ambitious schedule, suggesting the sixth and final trial would begin in March. Well, here we are in the middle of February still waiting for a proper conclusion to the trial of William Porter, the first Baltimore Police officer to go to court in Gray's death. That case ended with a hung jury in December. Now, the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, is halting all six cases to decide on Williams' ruling that Porter can be compelled to testify in two other cases (Goodson's and White's) without violating the Fifth Amendment. Arguments begin on March 3. The end of the trials, and the possibility of justice being served, is nowhere in sight.
Gov. Larry Hogan and the General Assembly faced off last week when Boss Hög announced that he wanted to delay five college building projects, including sorely needed upgrades at Coppin State and Morgan State University, to fund the construction of a new Baltimore jail. General Assembly Democrats roundly slammed the proposal. Hög eventually backed down with a statement saying the General Assembly "have decided that a safer, cleaner, less expensive facility with more education and job training opportunities is no longer a priority." Who knew Boss Hög could get so passive-aggressive?