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It seems like a pattern over the last couple of winters: a snowy forecast winds up not quite matching reality. And that's led to questions about how schools and local governments decide to close due to weather. Meanwhile, the question of whether the Washington Redskins name is derogatory is back before trademark officials. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about the details.
On the "snowquester" and whether the federal government and schools make the right call to close: "Personally, I think they did. Washington has two long, rich traditions. First, is panicking over snow, the other one is arguing afterward over whether officials were right to close the schools and offices. All local systems and the federal government made the decision to close, and they made that decision either on Tuesday or before dawn Wednesday, entirely based on forecast. Areas west and south of here got heavy snowfalls, but inside the Beltway and everybody to the east got almost entirely rain and sleet. It was really just bad luck, and a defensible excess of caution. The forecasters were saying unanimously that we were going to get at least 4 inches in the city and the inner counties. People making the decision have been quite wary ever since the Snowmadden a little more than two years ago, where everybody left work during a snowstorm and was stuck in traffic of up to eight hours or more."
On big developments within the Maryland's General Assembly this week: "There were two big things: one was the Senate vote to repeal the death penalty. This was an historic vote, because in previous years, the Senate was the obstacle to ending the death penalty. The House still has to vote, but it is expected to approve it easily. The biggest hurdle now would be a state referendum on the issue, which is likely in November 2014. The other big development was that Gov. O'Malley came out for raising a wholesale tax on gasoline to raise money for roads and mass transit."
On the controversy surrounding the Redskins name and brand: "It could force the team to change its name, but it wont necessarily force the team to change its name, and it's going to take a long time. The hearing yesterday in trademark court marked the start of a new round in the case that's been going on for more than two decades. A group of Native Americans is trying to strip the team of federal trademark protection. If they win, owner Dan Synder could still keep the name, but it would make it harder to prevent people from marketing Redskins jerseys, jackets, hats, and other paraphernalia."