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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Signs from Las Vegas

    Flying into Las Vegas only a few hours after the shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel at couple of weeks ago was almost surreal.  The city was just beginning to come to terms with the reality that it has just become the latest in a long string of cities that had to deal with our insane gun policies.  Going by the hotel a few days later you could see the replacement windows in place that the shooter used to kill and injure so many people.

     Turning in the opposite direction you could clearly see the stage that the performers used that night.

    Down the road at the famous welcome to Las Vegas sign 50+ crosses had been set up to memorialize the people killed in the attack.

    Each cross had mementos and other objects from each of victims.

The impact of this tragedy became more real when you saw the pictures of each of the victims

As has been the custom lately with shootings the hashtag #VegasStrong was common throughout the city.

    Most of us gave up on any rational gun legislation coming from these episodes of carnage when it didn't happen with the slaughter of kindergarteners in Connecticut a few years ago.   Gun fetishes seem to be the most important thing in some pitiful persons lives.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Multi-Cultural Festival October 7th and 8th


     The Orthodox Church of St. Matthew is hosting a Multi Cultural Festival Saturday October 7th rom 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday October 8th from 11:30 to 6:30 pm at their church at 7271 Eden Brook Dr. in Kings Contrivance.  This is the 10th anniversary of this event that draws hundreds of people.

   There is Greek, Slavic, Romanian, Ethiopian, Lebanese and American food.  In addition there is ethnic entertainment and a number of vendors.

Saturday, October 7

12:00  Bailles de Mi Tierra – Mexican music and folk dance
1:00   Misako Ballet Company – Classical ballet and Japanese themed performances
2:00   U.S. Jow Ga Martial Arts – Traditional Southern Style Chinese Lion Dance and Jow Ga Kung Fu Demo
2:30   Hurley School of Irish Dance – Irish Dance Company
4:00   Iniciativa Folclorica Costarricense Folklorica – Traditional Costa Rican dance group
5:00   Tres Amigos+ – Bossa Nova rhythms in Latin and Brazilian
6:00   Krakowiaki Dance Group – Polish folk troupe
7:00   Meki’s Tamure – Polynesian and South Pacific cultural dances
Saturday Afternoon 2-5pm & 6-7PM – Zephyrs and Flora music ensemble will play in the church vestibule

Sunday, October 8

12:00  Kalinka Dance Ensemble of Baltimore – Traditional dances of Russia, Moldova and Finland
12:30  Teelin Irish Dance Company – School of Irish Dance
1:00   St. Nicholas Tamburitzans, Kolo Club Vojvodina, St. Sava Youth Choir – Serbian Orchestra, Dancers and Youth Choir
2:00   Kalinka Dance Ensemble of Baltimore – Traditional dances of Russia, Moldova and Finland
3:00   Carpathia – Folk dances of Eastern Europe
4:00   Arte Flamenco – Authentic Spanish Flamenco dances with live music
5:00   Fugitive Brass Quintet  – Swing jazz

More information at


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Amazon headquarters impact on Howard County if Baltimore is selected

       So Amazon's announcement that it will be adding a second headquarters in the near future has set off a competition by many cities to be the location of this new headquarters.  With the promise of 50,000 future high paying tech jobs you can see why this announcement has been received as a bonanza for any metropolitan area.   Both Baltimore and Washington DC have begun to make plans to submit proposals for this new headquarters.  While each city is not at the top of the list for this second headquarters the impact on Howard County if either city was selected might be significant.
       If the longshot bid by Baltimore was selected what impact on Howard County would there be?  This bid of using the Port Covington site for this second headquarters has the support of Governor Hogan and many elected officials in the Baltimore area.  The development of the new headquarters for Under Armour and the recent investment by Goldman Sachs is seen as an asset in Baltimore's bid.  Unfortunately for Baltimore its national image for crime and its poor school system make its bid a very long shot.  I could only imagine that if Baltimore was selected that many of the highly paid, highly educated workers would decide to commute 13 miles south Howard County to live.  Talk about increased school crowding in our County.  Also I can't imagine what that many new commuters would do for traffic congestion on route 95.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Healthcare as a right or a privilege?

    Here we go again!  The Republicans will not be satisfied until they take healthcare away from millions of Americans.  The Republicans are hell bent on jamming through the Graham-Cassidy bill that would block grant Obamacare money for health care to the states to allow the development of 50 different healthcare markets.  This bill is facing a September 30 deadline.  Republicans have long used block granting to kill or substantially reduce social programs.  This is what became of the old welfare programs in the 1990's.   The hidden truth is that once something is block granted the funds get incrementally reduced every year until the program is a shell of what it once was.  Republicans might talk about giving states flexibility but their real intent is to starve a social program they don't like.  Here is a good report on the impacts of this bill.
      At the same time many Democrat Senators are supporting Bernie Sander's bill a "Medicare for All" plan that is similar in many ways to the public option that got killed in the Obamacare debate.   With this type of plan the government would be able to negotiate lower prices for health care and reduce administrative costs below what private insurers are able to do.  Administrative costs for Medicare are about 2% as opposed to private insurance that is between 20-25%.  Do you know that the average cost paid for a doctor's visit is 3 times more in the US than in Canada?  It is not unusual for medical procedures in the US to cost 10 times more than in countries with universal care.   On their website the US insurance agents have this to say about health care spending:

    "In America, average spending per person is a bit over $8,000. This is significantly more than other countries. For example, spending in the countries that are the next highest spenders, the Netherlands and Switzerland, are about $3,000 less per year, and the average spending of all the OECD countries except for the United States is around $3,300. Despite the higher spending and the frequent assumption that "America has the best healthcare in the world," the object truth seems to be that the care Americans receive is not significantly better than the care received by those living in other countries."
    So which road is the United States headed on?  Stay tuned.

      Closer to home here is the impact of the Republican bill on Maryland.  Bet I know what Republican Gov. Hogan is hoping for now.

P.S. 1
      Here in the US if you need help paying for healthcare you can always beg others to help you pay.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Howard County to the rescue

   Howard County Government posted some pictures of Parks and Recreation employees who went to Florida to help with the clean up after the hurricane.

 Travelling back from Charlotte this weekend we saw caravans of utility trucks from Delaware that were coming back from Georgia. Talking to one of the men at a rest stop they were going back to Delaware but waiting to possibly head for Florida in another week.