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O'MALLEY PICKED As expected, Gov. Martin O'Malley has been chosen by his peers to head the Democratic Governors Association, reports Annie Linskey for the Sun.

It's a high-profile position that will put O'Malley in the forefront as the party finds its way forward, John Wagner writes for the Washington Post. Here's Wagner's live blog about O'Malley's choice for the Post. WJZ-TV's Adam May interviews O'Malley about his new post.

GAS TAX Maryland Senate President Mike Miller is pushing to raise the state's gas tax, in hopes of raising revenue for the dwindling transportation fund, Myranda Stephens reports for WBFF-TV.

RNC HOPEFULS Would-be Republican national chairmen took turns yesterday whacking the incumbent -- Michael Steele -- who was absent, blogs Paul West of the Sun.

And Chris Cillizza reports that the RNC's chief administrative officer acknowledged that the committee is facing a "cashflow challenge" and that many of those who provided political services to it during the 2010 election would not be paid this week as planned.

BRINKLEY LEADS The new, thinner state Senate Republican caucus has returned former minority leader David Brinkley of Frederick County to its leadership team, dropping Harford County Sen. Nancy Jacobs from the minority whip post, Andy Rosen blogs for the Sun.

CARROLL BUYOUTS Carroll County will pay $257,319 in severance packages to four department heads who took advantage of a buyout offered by the outgoing board of commissioners, reports Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times.

BENEFITS CURBED A new board of Frederick County Commissioners took office yesterday and by their first meeting had already taken steps to eliminate benefits for themselves, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post. Tully also reports that the commissioners said that helping busineses, improving roads and reducing government regulation were among top themes at their swearing-in.

BA CO CUTS Baltimore County Executive-elect Kevin Kamenetz announced the consolidation of four government agencies and the elimination of 143 vacant jobs, steps that are projected to save county taxpayers more than $8 million, writes Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

The Sun's Raven Hill reports that his plan drew immediate support from the County Council. WBAL-TV's Lowell Melser reports the story.

PG LEADERSHIP A campaign between two incumbents for leadership of the Prince George's County Council may come down to the vote of Leslie Johnson, who was arrested along with her husband, County Executive Jack Johnson, on federal charges soon after she was elected to the council, Daniel Valentine reports for the Gazette.

SNOW HILL Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that a group of Snow Hill residents plan to begin asking for signatures after the holiday season in an attempt to dissolve the local government and make Snow Hill an unincorporated area.

NPR

Full Of Complexity And Ambivalence, 'American Sniper' Shows The Cost Of War

The film about a Navy SEAL whose service in Iraq made him a mythic figure has become a cultural lightning rod. But the squabbles are too simple for a low-key movie striking in its lack of stridency.
NPR

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

An Oregon company has developed a high-tech process for turning sewage into pure drinking water. Now it's asking the state for permission to give its recycled water to a group of home brewers.
NPR

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break

All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans. Critics had called the proposal to limit them a tax hike on the middle class.
NPR

Yahoo Plans To Spin Off Remaining Stake In Alibaba

Yahoo has announced it will spin off its 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Shareholders had been waiting for that decision. The move needs regulatory approval.

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