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Friday, March 24, 2017

Chuck Berry for this weekend music


     Growing up in the age of Elvis and rock and roll I remember that the first 45 record I ever bought was Chuck Berry singing Johnny B Goode.  Performing his famous "duck walk" shown above was a highlight of any of his performances.  So with his death this week I thought I would add some links to two of his most famous songs.

Johnny B Goode 

    My early record collection was mostly Elvis, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Beach Boys.  Never got into the Beatles that much even though they had some great music.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Clearing up a question

     I didn't want to give away the topic of today's post too quickly.  There is an old saying, "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are."  You can also add that you can know a lot about someone by their enemies.  The question to which I referred in the subject of this post is "Why is Trump so unwilling to criticize the Russians, at times even being complementary and seem to be so critical of our Western allies?"  One obvious answer could be his known financial ties to Russians but I would pose something more fundamental.  His authoritarian tendencies may make it easier for him to deal with others who share his authoritarian tendencies then with those who value more democratic beliefs like our Western allies.  Listen to this CNN exchange.  And this how Trump praised the Philippine President who has conducted a bloodbath in his country.  Here is how Trump speaks about the leader of the largest Western European democracy.
       Some may be surprised that a capitalist business man could be so complimentary of a Communist leader.  Trump and Putin's authoritarian beliefs are a stronger tie than their different economic beliefs.  The strong leadership shown by authoritarian dictators, even those who kill their opponents, seems to  be something that Trump admires.  Extremists from both the Right and the Left seem to have strong authoritarian tendencies.  The violent means are always justified to reach their ends.  Being able to reach compromise and seeing other people's needs seems to be foreign to Trump and Putin.  When Trump calls any media that disagrees with him as "fake news" that should raise concerns about his belief in our democratic ideals.  We already know he would prefer to do business in the undemocratic Russia than deal with those who oppose him in a Western democracy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oakland Mills Village Redevelopment Feasibility Study presentation

   Oakland Mills is in the process of determining how it can be revitalized as a Village.  Tomorrow evening there is a meeting to discuss a feasibility study that has been recently done.  Here is the information from a committee involved in that process.

   "We need your participation and feedback on the final report for our Oakland Mills Village Center Area Redevelopment Feasibility Study.

Brief presentation of Oakland Mills feasibility study conclusions and implementation considerations followed by an opportunity to ask questions and engage consultants. Howard County staff and Columbia Association representatives will be present.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7pm
Doors open at 6:30 pm

Oakland Mills Middle School Cafeteria
9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia, MD 21045

Bolan Smart Associates will present the final report of the feasibility study of the Oakland Mills Village Center and surrounding area at a community meeting.

The Reinvention of Oakland Mills is vital to all of us. In 2014, the County and CA commissioned a study of the village centers and the Gateway area. This report, titled The Columbia Market Study, focused on economic development conditions. We continued the process with the creation of the Oakland Mills Village Center Community Plan (VCCP) which provides our community's vision for the future of Oakland Mills. The feasibility study focuses exclusively on our village center and surrounding area with an analysis of short and long- term redevelopment possibilities. This report along with the Columbia Market Study and VCCP will serve as a guide to property owners, developers, the county, CA and all other stakeholders in the redevelopment of Oakland Mills.

You can read these reports at:

Columbia Market Study

Oakland Mills Village Center Community Plan (VCCP)

We will contact you as soon as the final report is available. We didn't want to wait to notify you of this important meeting.

Please read the final report and come to the meeting. We hope to see you there.

Contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Virginia M. Thomas, Co-Chair Bill McCormack, Co-Chair "


Monday, March 20, 2017

A budget is a moral document

      Like a lot of liberals these days I am re-reading George Orwell's book "1984."  While this 1946 book is interesting in the ways it saw the government controlling the thoughts of its citizens with pre digital technology such at television and vacuum tubes it has given us a vernacular that describes our "alternative facts" world today.   Orwell's book uses words like "doublespeak" and "realspeak" to show how to distort reality and facts.
      Trump's budget requests need to be looked at with some reality.   What is being proposed is a 10% increase in defense and homeland security spending and a matching reduction in non military spending.  As Trump states, " We will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything. Bigger and better and stronger than ever before..."  We are presently spending the same amount as the next largest 8 countries military budgets.  We need more to be safe?
      By cutting the rest of the non military budget we should look at where we stand in this Country in relation to other countries in non military areas.  In the area of health care for our citizens we consistently rank below other developed countries for health outcomes despite spending double what other countries spend.  In a report by the Commonwealth Fund we came in 11th out of 11.

"11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror..."

    We rank seventh in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science.  So the budget calls for a 14% reduction in the Department of Education.  We're 49th in life expectancy and 178th in infant mortality.  So the proposed budget calls for an 18% cut in the Health and Human Services budget.  Add to this an almost 6 billion dollar cut to NIH and you see how growing our military industrial complex impacts our quality of life.
     Elections do have consequences.  Even ones that ignore the popular vote. Now you know the winners ( military/industrial complex) and the losers (the rest of us).

     If you want to see the biggest losers just look at the 31% decrease to the EPA and the 29% decrease to the State Department.  I would guess those cuts will be reduced if there is any sanity in Congress.

    Petition to cut off health insurance to members of Congress.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Life directions

   Every Sunday I look at the best selling nonfiction books in the Baltimore Sun to see where the latest trends in pop psychology are going.  After weeding through the books addressing weight issues (The Lose Your Belly Fat Diet) and the how to become more financially secure (Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom) I see that two pop psychology books point us in opposite directions.  The first is a book called "The Little Things: Why You Should Really Sweat the Small Stuff" and a second one called "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life."  Now I am confused on the direction in life I should take!  Maybe I will just try to make it through today and see how that works.