No huge news today, so let's get straight to the News Hole:

One Step Closer: City Council committee votes 5-0 to support Leonard Hamm's appointment to the position of city police chief. Hamm goes before the full council March 14 for final confirmation. Like yesterday's preview story, hardly any mention was made of Hamm's iffy finances, trumpeted by The Sun on Tuesday. In fact, according to today's story, not a single commissioner asked a single question about those financial woes. Perhaps the full council will be tougher.

Who Fucking Snitched? City police arrest Akiba M. Matthews, of West Baltimore, the man behind the camera for the Stop Fucking Snitching DVD. In other crime news, Baltimore County police arrest Denise Marie Lechner, of Dundalk, in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son.

Up Against the Stem: Stem cell debate divides General Assembly at yesterday's committee hearing. Post story on same, Carroll County Times story, Frederick News-Post story. This bill should be a no-brainer to pass in generally liberal Maryland, but there are a lot of Catholics in this state.

In other GA news, Columbia Association fights homeowners association bills that would open up board room meetings of such associations, among other things. And House bill proposes making state insurance commissioner an elected position.

Independence Day: Several powerful folks, including former congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, who's heading up the search for a new port director, suggest making the Port of Baltimore mostly independent from state. Ehrlich administration spokeswoman says--shock!--that is not "an idea on the table at this point." Also check out this pretty good Dundalk Eagle story.

In other business news, Sammy Sosa's move from the Cubs to the O's hurts the bottom line of the Tribune Co., corporate owner of The Sun and the Chicago Cubs.

Street Fighters: From The Messenger, North Baltimoreans fight city's plan to reconfigure North Charles Street around Homewood.

Department of Propaganda: Apparently President Bush visited Anne Arundel Community College yesterday to promote--at least according to those words floating behind his head--"jobs" and "growth." AP story, Post story, and Capital story (which, oddly, leads with Bush's comments on Syria; it's exciting for reporters when the president makes foreign policy announcements in your backyard), Capital News Service story.

Crab Feast: Federal Chesapeake Bay Program reveals "Save the Crabs . . . Then Eat 'Em" ad campaign.

O'Rumors: Maryland Attorney General seized Joe Steffen's computer hard drive on Feb. 9.

Compassionate Conservatives: Kensington-based victim-advocacy group Throw Away the Key blasts Supreme Court decision to outlaw death penalty for minors.

Riot Police: From the Diamondback, riot forum with P.G. County Police will probably be invitation-only; also school President Dan Mote expects grilling from legislators on post-game student riots.

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