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Saturday, February 17, 2018

A sad reality

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A country that loves its guns more than its children has lost its moral compass.  Is it too much to ask that we ask for a reasonable restrictions on some weapons so that children have the right to not fear for their safety at school?


    Is it still too soon to talk about Sandy Hook?

Image result for sandy hook children

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sending Republicans our "thoughts and prayers" today

   The chart above is the reason that when these legislators are asked about yesterday's gun slaughter the will dodge they obvious solution to the problem which is banning assault weapons. They will say that they are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims families, talk about the evil of the shooter, about it being a mental health problem and finally that it is too early to talk about legislative action while families are still grieving.  As long as their legislative career is tied to NRA money they are willing to turn a blind eye to the slaughter of innocent people.  I call that blood money.

      While listening to Sen. Marco Rubio say this morning that this type of incident can happen anywhere he should have qualified that statement to say "anywhere in the United States."  Our country is much more vulnerable to mass shootings than anywhere else in the World because we have a Second Amendment that arms the people who do our mass shootings. 

P.S. 1 
     While we see the destruction caused in our Country by the power of the NRA we should not forget that right now there is NRA sponsored legislation in Congress to allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to have that right even in states, like Maryland, that have tougher gun control rules

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

East Columbia Library reopens: Here is what you will see

    The ribbon was cut on the newly renovated East Columbia Library last Saturday.  We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to have a world class library in our County.  The new renovations are amazing.  Here is what you will see.

   If you want to know why Howard County gets recognized so often as a good place to live you only have to look at our library system.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Does a huge military budget buy us happiness?


    With the large increase in military spending in our  "Baffoon in Chief's" budget it is important to remember that this is money that could be spent for the "general welfare" mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution.  The money in our out sized military budget is money that not available to provide universal health care or universal college that is provided by many other western developed countries.  The US spends almost 5 times what China spends on the military and over 6 times what Russia spends on its military.  And this is the "depleted military" that Trump talks about?
     Is our out sized military been good for our country?  There are many ways to look at this but I wanted to look at it from the perspective of general happiness of our population.  According to the World Happiness Report we rank 14th in the World in happiness as a country.  Not surprisingly socialist Scandinavian countries rank very well in this report.  Norway ranks number 1.  While the US spends 4.7% of our GDP on defense the Nordic countries spend anywhere from 1.2 to 1.5 of their GDP on defense.   The US spends twice the world GDP average on defense and the Nordic countries spend half the world GDP average.  While I know that correlation doesn't always mean causation I do think that how a country spends its financial resources may reflect in the happiness of its population.  Tanks apparently don't buy happiness as well as secure access to  health care.

     Norway has a message for Trump with his desire for more immigrants from Norway.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ned Tillman talks tonight on "The Earth Beneath My Feet"


    Tonight at 7 pm at the Howard County Conservancy at 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock Ned Tillman will be talking about what is under our feet from the ground we stand on to the core of the Earth.  Should be a fascinating geological talk.  To register go to the Conservancy website.


Dangers for pedestrians on Dobbin Road


     Last night a pedestrian was killed crossing Dobbin Road in Columbia.   I have blogged before on the dangers along Dobbin Road because of the lack of sidewalks and cross walks.   What happened last night almost happened to me a few years ago.   The reality is that many workers in businesses along Dobbin Road walk to work--probably because they don't have a car.  Some attention has been given to the needs of pedestrians along Route 1 and the same need for improvements for pedestrians along Dobbin Road needs to also be examined.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Today's wildest pictures

     Who would have realized back in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik that someday we would have pictures of the battery powered car of a billionaire on its way to the Sun?

Image result for musk car in space

     Having seen one Space Shuttle launch I have to say that when they do another launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket I plan on seeing that launch in person.  It is an incredible thing to see.  You feel it and smell it in person.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Howard County overdose report update

OVERDOSE: responded to a non-fatal overdose yesterday. The 2018 YTD total of fatal and non-fatal overdoses is 19.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

East Columbia Library to re-open February 10th

Howard County Library System's Board of Trustees and Interim President & CEO Ann Gilligan cordially invite you to the Grand Re-Opening of the renovated East Columbia Branch on Saturday, February 10.
East Columbia Branch
Saturday, February 10
9:45 am          
Remarks and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
11 am1 and 3 pm
All Together Now classes
10 am - 4 pm
VR cave demos for all ages in teen area
Crafternoon for children (while supplies last) 
HiTech classes and activities for ages 11–18 
Activities for teens in teen area
Friends & Foundation of HCLS membership table
One-on-one eReader classes
100K Book Challenge
Passport center
Self-guided tours
10 am - 6 pm
Branch open

The East Columbia Branch renovations double the space for quiet study areas and triple the meeting room capacity. The new teen center features classrooms for Teen Time, HiTech, and Homework Club, as well as a science lab and VR Cave. A new Student Design Center includes dedicated space, complete with work counters and readily available project supplies where students can create and collaborate on assignments and projects.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Amazon gives Howard County a pass

    We recently found out that Howard County's long shot proposal for Amazon to locate it's second headquarters in our County not making the first cut.  We may still get some benefit if Washington D.C. or Montgomery County gets selected.  As we know many people working in those two locations choose to live in Howard County because of our quality of life.
     In looking at why we didn't make this cut I would assume that limited transportation resources in Howard County hurt our proposal.  Having the Washington and Baltimore subways reaching HoCo would have certainly helped us.  Also BWI doesn't have the international flights that go through Dulles. Given the salaries of most of the Amazon workers in their headquarters I don't think our housing costs would have been a factor in decision.  Including Montgomery County in their cut showed that reality. 
     In a way being between 2 metropolitan areas doesn't have the appeal that it did when Rouse selected our area for building Columbia.  While DC has become a world class metropolitan area Baltimore has gone in the opposite direction.  Baltimore has lost half its population since the 1960's. Crime, gangs and drug addiction now makes Baltimore a drag on the image of our area.  Except for Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School Baltimore is seen as a decaying urban area.
     The good news is that we regularly hear of new businesses moving into Howard County because of our quality of life which always places Howard County near the top in any national rankings of good places to live.  While maybe not the size of the Amazon headquarters proposal we will continue to have high tech and security firms see our area as a perfect fit for their employees.  Gateway and the Crescent area development means that growth in our County will be strong for a long time.  Our tax base is the envy of most other counties.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

This is one time (and only one) you wished you lived in a more "red" community

   Guess what book has 404 people waiting to borrow it at the Howard County Library?  You guessed it---Fire and Fury, one year in the Trump White House.  The Library knew ahead of time of the book's popularity so they have 75 copies on order.  The good news is that many people will read this book in one read so there should be a quick return of the book back to the Library.  Something in the book to be a sleuth about is that near the end of the book if you read between the lines you might be able to figure out who Trump is still having an affair with.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Emergency room shuffle

      I wasn't surprised to read of a woman being left at the bus stop outside of the University of Maryland Hospital in downtown Baltimore.  Emergency rooms are many times the places that are forced to deal with the social problems of the cities in which they exist.  Homeless people, alcoholics, drug abusers, mentally ill and often just mentally confused persons find their way to hospital ER's.  Many, many years ago I was a social worker at Providence Hospital in DC and had the ER as my area of responsibility.  When many of the above persons showed up at the ER I was called after they had been check out and the ER was not going to admit the person.  My job was to see what resources the person had to safely leave the ER.  Often this meant giving them a cab voucher to take them anywhere but the waiting room of the ER.  However, often these were people who had been brought from one the DC's board and care homes that were refusing to take the person back.  The homes had not been able to find a nursing home to take these indigent persons because they didn't meet the skilled care requirements but the medical needs were beyond the capabilities of the board and care provider.   The b&c provider had to resort to calling an ambulance to have the elderly person taken to a local ER and then refuse to take them back.  Past the responsibility to the hospital ER social worker.
     So what does a young, inexperienced 20's something social worker do?  Ever try call the DC Department of Human Resources at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon?  Call DC Village the public nursing home in DC that had a waiting list of over a hundred elderly persons?  The common way people came off that list was by dying.  Not infrequently when we couldn't find a family member or friend (more like never) to come and pick the person up the hospital was forced to admit the elderly person at least until Monday and DHR could be reached.  When I was able to reach a family member I was told of the difficulties they had in caring for their parent and the guilt they experienced in seeing their parent bounced around in the failed health care system.
      After experiencing this too common problem for a few months I decided the situation needed some attention and I started calling the local TV stations to see if they could do a story on this problem.  The assignment editor at WMAL TV (Now WJLA) said he would have one of their reporters contact me to discuss a possible story.  The reporter called me a couple of days later and arranged a time to meet to discuss the possible story.  When we met the reporter stated that the complexity of the story might be good for a multi day investigative report.  Passed on to their investigative reporter I was able to identify many different angles to the story and identify people to talk with for their report.  A 5 part series was put together, promoted by the station for a week, ready to air and then guess what happened?  Nixon decides to resign!  The station had to shelve the series for one week to cover the Nixon resignation news which of course took up much of their local news.  The station didn't want their reports to get lost in that national news.  When the report aired that last segment focused on DHR and their not addressing the issue impacting this elderly population and ended with a reporter chasing the head of DHR through their underground parking area trying to get a comment.
      Seems like the shuffle continues.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sign of our times

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     When Trump is looking at countries to mock maybe he should look closer to home.  This might explain why more people from Norway are not emigrating to the United States.

Image result for child poverty rates by country

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Haitians to the rescue?

Monument color

   With the obscene comments from our "genius" leader this week about Haiti I wanted to share some history that I learned about on a recent visit to Savannah and their historical museum.  When the British captured the city of Savannah during the Revolutionary War 500 black Haitians lead by a French general fought in the battle to retake the city.  The statue above was erected in 2006 to honor those Haitians who fought and died in the battle.  We probably don't think of this battle in Savannah when we think of Revolutionary War battles but it was one of the bloodiest battle of the War.  The role of the Haitians, many of whom died, played a significant role in retaking the city from the British.
     I guess bone spurs hadn't become a disqualify condition for military service in Revolutionary days.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It won't be a quiet year in Annapolis

 The Baltimore Sun had an article in today's paper outlining some of the areas that will be addressed in the upcoming session of the legislature this year.   The Trump agenda has put our Republican governor in a position where he has to look at the political consequences of running for reelection by having to oppose many of the positions Republicans have taken at the federal level.  Topping the list is how to fund healthcare for Marylanders and how to mitigate the tax increase caused by the tax bill passed in Congress.
     How far the governor is willing to go may impact his popularity in progressive Maryland and give the Democrats hope for making a real race in this year's election.  At present the Democrats that have announced for governor don't include any strong statewide candidates but that could change moving closer to the election.  Anger among Democrats at the Trump administration should bring out a large turnout of Democrat voters in 2018.  If enough decide to vote a straight Democratic ticket it may make a tight race in the governor's race even with a popular Republican governor.

     Did Hillary win the election and I missed it?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Long Reach Development

    Recently I came across a blog by James Howard on the development of the Long Reach Village Center.  The blog is worth sharing