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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Candidate with the "Oprah" factor plus political experience

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    As the Democrat Presidential candidates sort themselves out in the next year the person to watch is Stacy Abrams.  Joe Biden has already met with her to discuss "who knows what" but I wouldn't be surprised he was trying to get to know her better to determine whether she would be his ideal running mate.  What Stacy brings to any Democrat ticket is what I call the "Oprah" factor.  She transcends race and gender making her attractive to most demographic groups.  To any of the non- minority male candidate, she brings in enthusiasm from women and African American voters that any Democrat would need to win in the general election.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Republicans go to their old bogeyman again

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    The Democrats will push for expanded Medicare in their 2020 platform.  The only question is how far they will go in the expansion.  Just like most social advances in our Country, it will probably be an incremental approach.  Something like offering Medicare to people at age 50 or 55.   This will benefit both the Medicare and private insurance industry.  It will get younger people into the Medicare program and older people out of the private health insurance market.  That is a win/win situation for both.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

But we can't afford it!

    When Republicans mock the Democrats proposals to provide expanded access to health care their argument is that "we can't afford it."   Why can't we afford it?  The simple answer is Republican tax cuts and a military budget that is larger than the military budgets of the next 10 countries.  The priority of being the World's cop is where our budget priority is over providing health care for our citizens as other western countries have been able to provide for their citizens.   Every military plane and ship replaces a possible new component of our health care system.  This Newsweek report has been posted around Facebook this past week that shows the cost of our military adventures since 9/11.  Osama Bin Ladin attacked the United States to draw us into a military conflict in the Middle East to bankrupt us economically.  It looks like he accomplished his goal both militarily and economically.

     Trump's latest budget proposal doubles down on the disparity by increasing the military budget and cutting back on Medicare.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

National Geographic's movie "Free Solo"

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      This past Sunday on the National Geographic Channel the documentary called "Free Solo" was shown.  It documents the climbing of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park by Alex Honnold, a climber without using ropes.  It won the Best Documentary movie at this year's Academy Awards.  It is a movie that will amaze you in the accomplishment of this climber.  If you are afraid of heights this movie will give you chills.  The way he can hold onto the face of El Capitan with just a couple of fingers and a small toe hold is AMAZING.  The whole movie is available for rent on Amazon Prime Here is a short preview on You Tube.   Here is his TED Talk.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Trump supporters mindset explained

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    For those of us who find Trump to be the most corrupt person to ever hold our highest office, we have difficulty understanding how so many people can support a person who has shown himself to be a baffoon.  When he said he could shoot a person on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters he wasn't exaggerating, he was being literal.  Here is an article that explains how when people get new information they don't revise their views but double down on their long-held beliefs. 

    Seeing the American flag get the "Stormy Daniels treatment" was one of the strangest things any of us have ever seen from a non-demented person.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

New Republican fear mongering

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   With a number of Democrat Presidential candidates supporting many progressive ideas, that have been successfully provided in other western democracies, it is not surprising that conservative Republicans like the Vice President are using fear mongering to appeal to their base.  Recently Pense said that the next election is "between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence."   To say that in a socialist country you couldn't have personal freedom or that providing for the common good negates personal responsibility is a false belief.  You only have to look at the latest report on how democratic countries are to see that many of the countries at the top of the list for being the most democratic are one with socialist governments.  I also wonder how Pense would propose providing a defense of our Country with all of us only taking personal responsibility for the task instead of being "dependent" on the government for this task?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Maybe something different for Baltimore's crime problem

   There isn't a week that goes by that we don't have multiple killings in Baltimore.  The response is usually to have the Police Chief talk about putting more police on foot patrols in the most violent areas.   That quick and dirty approach seems to never really change anything longterm.  Scotland once had a problem similar to Baltimore.   Maybe Scotland had a better long term comprehensive approach that gets at the causes of the problem.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Another reality in the "Age of Trump"

     Just another Sunday listening to commentators debating whether the latest Trump actions can be explained as Trump either being stupid or treasonist.  It doesn't really matter, does it?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

MPT show on Columbia

    Something to put on your calendar.   A new Maryland Public TV documentary on COLUMBIA will be broadcast on April 28th 2019 at 7 pm just before the new series of “Meet the Midwife."   Ken Day the Executive Producer said “We have rare footage from before COLUMBIA was built and interviews with all the main players that made COLUMBIA possible”! 


Friday, February 15, 2019

What a difference a year makes


     This week marks the first anniversary of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.   Last year at the "March for Our Lives" I had a chance to talk with some of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School before they started to march to the stage.  I often take a small note pad with me to write down information that I might use in this blog. I have recently gone totally digital and now do it on my phone.  I had just taken the note pad out of my pocket when a student walked up to me and started taking.  I am sure she thought I was with the media of some sort but she never asked.   I asked her how many students from her school were at the March and she estimated 150.  In just a short time 3 or 4 other students had moved into the discussion so I decided to probe a little more on how the shooting had impacted their lives.  I can't imagine having an experience as a teenager where you feared for your life.   One student talked about how many of her fellow students still had nightmares and the absentee rate at their school showed that many students were still having trouble dealing with the trauma.  It is remarkable to remember how quickly this March came together only a little over a month after the shooting.  At this point the students started to march toward the stage and I can still hear their chant of "we are students of MSD."
       I have mentioned to many people back here in Howard County how much these students reminded me of the young people of that age in Howard County.  I did a little research on Parkland Florida and then I saw why I had that feeling.  Parkland is demographically very similar to Howard County in many ways.  It is an educated, high-income community.  It doesn't have the racial diversity of Howard County which I could clearly see from the students at the March.
      I clearly heard that day how these students were turned into activists that day.  I only felt sorry that it took a traumatic event to bring this about.  I have heard many commentators express the feeling that the actions of these students will not impact the gun debate in our Country.  To that, I would mention that the social media savvy of these students shouldn't be underestimated.  The NRA has a different kind of opponent in these students.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

So much for tax cuts paying for themselves

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   How many times will Republican voters let their elected officials promise that their tax cuts will be revenue neutral?  Guess how much the tax cuts increased the federal deficit? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice I should have voted for a Democrat.

     I have pointed out before but I will remind everyone that the Republican's tax cuts are never about reducing the deficit but giving them the pretense to push forward their desire to cut social programs. 

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    Social Security and Medicare are usually the first areas Republicans attack to deal with the budget deficits.  The problem with both programs is that there is a cap on the amount of income that is taxed. Removing that cap makes both programs fiscally solvent for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

So our diversity is not Countywide?

   I have written before about the De facto redlining of housing in Howard County by school districts.  We have a diverse population but it is becoming more racially and economically segregated.  The policies of the Board of Education to draw school district lines have been largely influenced by parents not wanting to have their children redistricted into schools that have lower test scores.  While some schools with higher test scores are overpopulated, other schools with lower test scores are underpopulated.  It may seem harsh to say but many parents liberalism stops when it comes to their children's school.  The situation has been moving in this direction for the last 20-25 years as the majority of subsidized housing is only found in Columbia.  Separate is never equal. The reality for our County, as any other place, is that any Board of Education member who would stand up for more diversity in our school system would probably be voted out of office.  Here is a good blog on this situation


Diversity in Howard County fulfills the Rouse dream for Columbia

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     I remember a time when we moved to Columbia in the 1970's and there were two Howard Counties.  One was Columbia with a new urban population that was diverse and politically liberal and one was rural, white and politically conservative.  There were two Democrat clubs- the Ellicott City Democrat Club was conservative and the Columbia Democrat Club was liberal.  A recent article in the Baltimore Sun has shown that what was once true in Columbia is now true in Howard County.  The diversity that once only existed in Columbia is now reflective of most of Howard County.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

One way to reduce political scandal

   With what is going on in Virginia "the Ol' Confederate Capitol State" it seems they maybe down to having the Capitol janitor elevated to the top office in the state.  Virginia has to change its slogan from "Virginia is for lovers" to "I got through college without doing blackface."  With the political scandals going on with Virginia and DC it seems that we would be better off electing even more women.  The Republicans seem not to have gotten that message when you look at their side of the House shown below.

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They seem to have left it up to the Democrats to make this change.  Just wait till 2020 to see this tide wash over DC.

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      I am trying to remember the last political scandal involving a woman.  I am coming up dry.

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      You have probably seen this by now if you are a liberal on Facebook but here it is for the rest of you.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Run to where the action is moving

      This weekend Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens was selected for induction into the Football Hall of Fame.  For non sports readers this may have gone unnoticed but I wanted to point out something that made Ed the best player that relates to non sport activities.  The truly great sports players don't react to where the action is but through athletic ability and practice develop the ability to know where the action is going and begin to move to the position they need to be in quickly enough to meet the play.  Wayne Gretzky in hockey did the same thing.  He moved to where the puck was going to go and not where it was.  That was the ability that made Gretzky and Reed the best at what they did.
      So how does not moving to where the action is moving apply to non sports areas?  We see it all the time in the business world.  Do you know which company had the patent on digital photography?  Kodak but they were too invested in film technology to make the switch that other companies made that didn't have an investment in film.  Know who had the first computer technology? Xerox.
   We see it being played out everyday.  People proposing solutions to yesterday's problems.  Kind of like moving to where the puck was.  Bringing back blue collar jobs when robots will replace most of these jobs.  Saying you will bring back coal jobs when solar and wind is already creating the most jobs in the energy sector.  Colleges putting millions of dollars into sports facilities and other buildings when online education is growing rapidly.
    Success is all about "moving to where the ball is going" to take advantage of opportunities.

     Where is the fastest growing sports?  It is not baseball and football.  One is Lacrosse and this other sport.     

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We are all Socialists

   We hear the cry from conservatives over the election of Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as we heard from them when Bernie Sanders was running for President a couple of years ago.  Conservatives like to think that such ideas as universal health care and universal public college are things that the United States cannot afford .  This argument runs into the reality that other Western Democracies with smaller economies all have found a way to afford these services for their citizens.  It comes down to priorities on the use of the dollars generated by your economy.  It is just as socialist to spend over $700 billion on defense as it is to spend it on health care.  It is just a matter of priorities for your country.  Our Country has made the political decision to be the World cop rather than use its wealth for the improvement of the health care for its citizens.  When we hear Trump berating other members of NATO to follow the  US in increasing their military budgets we should remember where these dollars would come from.  We should remember that both "promote the general welfare" and "provide for the common defense" were both mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution as the role of government.  It always comes down to where you put your priorities.  Maybe it is time we call defending our military spending levels (or building a wall on our Southern border) as "Socialism we can't afford."  That argument holds as much water as when the argument is made over proposed progressive programs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

He Doth Protest Too Much

I am not a crook

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I did not have sexual relations with that woman

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No collusion

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Preserving Howard County

  Here is an important event to attend.

Saving Howard County – Ned Tillman will talk about many of the steps we have taken in the past in our attempt to manage and preserve much of Howard County. He will also discuss what we need to do today to prevent and prepare for what’s to come as our population continues to grow and our climate changes. Ned will bring and sign copies of his books: The Chesapeake Watershed, Saving The Places We Love, and The Big Melt (

Be sure to visit the Conservancy’s webpage and RSVP at


Says it all

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    Want to see what defeat looked like yesterday during Trump's Rose Garden address? #winning

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     Nice to see we give our allies a great way to make fun of us.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Oh now I get it!

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    As we approach the 2 year anniversary of the Trump Administration I just realized that the "we" when Trump said "We will get so sick of winning" meant him and the Russians.  Silly me (and his voters) thought he meant Americans!  The joke is on us.

    If you don't think that Trump acts like a Mafia Don here is something we saw this week.  In a tweet he mentioned to Michael Cohen that if he wanted to "rat" on him to a Congressional committee his father in law may want to watch out.  Maybe not the same thing as his friend Putin in killing an opponent but it certainly is intimidating by threat to a former employee.

     Trump seems to use taking hostages to get his way.  First he used separating children to try and stop families from seeking asylum and now he wants to use "dreamers" and federal employees to get his wall.  Maybe Mexico should pay for ladders to help asylum seekers over Trump's stupid wall.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Howard County High School graffiti a sign of deeper issues

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   Apparently underlining our liberal well educated community are individuals who are feeling the need to show that racism and hatred exist in all communities--even ours.  For every action there is a reaction.  For all the social progress we have made in racial relations (i.e. electing our first African American President) and the acceptance of the validity of different sexual orientation there will be those insecure persons that feel threatened by those changes.  Make no mistake it is insecurity that causes people to have prejudice against groups to which they don't belong.  When you add a person like Trump (and many Republicans i.e. Steve King) who uses coded language that appeals to a person's prejudices it is no surprise that this type of behavior is on the increase.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend funny

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   I guess it shouldn't be surprising that one of the business practices that Trump brought to Washington was not paying people for work done for him.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Steele dossier now even more relevant

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      With the recent news stories about Trump seeming to do the bidding of Putin against the interest of the United States now might be a good time to re-read the Steele Dossier to see what Putin has to compromise Trump.  Here is the link to that dossier.

Understanding Trump supporters blind faith link

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lake Elkhorn circles mystery solved

  It took a little internet research to finally solve the frozen circle mystery.  Here is what I found.

"Methane emissions from decaying plants can create a rising mass of warm water that begins swirling in a circular pattern.   Once the water mass reaches the underside of the ice on the surface of the lake, the warm water melts the ice in a ring shape," 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Alien circles on Lake Elkhorn???

    I have had a couple of readers of yesterday's blog post ask what caused the unusual circles on the ice photo at Lake Elkhorn.  I wondered that when I took the photo.  Anyone have a guess?

Friday, January 11, 2019

County looking for community comment on improvements to Oakland Mills Road


       Howard County Transportation Office will be spending the next year at making Oakland Mills Road more friendly for cars, bikes and pedestrians.   Here is a link to a survey for community input.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Faux emergencies and real emergencies

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    So 121 Americans were murdered by illegal immigrants from 2010 to 2014 and that is used to declare a national emergency.  In the same period of time it is estimated that 160,000 Americans have died from not being able to get health care--- which Republicans want to make worse.  During this same period of time 140,000 Americans die from guns.  Only in a Trumpian clown world is this rational policy making.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happiest Countries in the World

  What makes a country happy?  Given the following list of happiness in countries I would say that having a strong safety net, less social inequality, less religion and having strong unions.   That maybe why our Country ranks below 17 other countries.  With with our neighbor Canada at number 7 we should be looking more at our northern border than our southern border.  It says something about the United States that our paranoia about immigrants and foreign enemies causes us to devote so much our economic resources to military overkill.  Guns apparently don't buy us happiness.

      Pharrell Williams Happy.

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     I have heard a more logical train of thought from someone who is drunk than this.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 predictions

      I can see two possible scenarios where 2019 could be the end of the Trump Administration.  Call me a hopeless liberal idealist!   The first one is that the Justice Department and the Special Counsel's office negotiate a deal with Trump that they will not indict his kids if he agrees to resign.  He might take that deal to keep his kids from having to go to trail.  Of course that type of deal might have to include a pardon for himself from Pence.  Not sure what Pence would think of that but at least he gets to be President for over a year.  Might be the only way for him to ever become President.  To have this deal work it might also have to involve some deals with the New York State prosecutors.   Kind of complicated but who knows.
     The second scenario is that the Mueller report is devastating with Trump criminal behavior, the economy goes into recession because of Trumps trade wars and those combined with Trump pulling troops out of South Korea and limiting the US role in NATO scaring enough Republican Senators that conviction on the articles of impeachment is possible.  You already have some Republican Senator push back on his pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.  This pulling back of US influence in the World and giving more influence to our enemies might just be the straw that breaks the Republican backs.  Had it once on thinner grounds and we might see it again.
     Here's to hoping for a light at the end of the 2019 tunnel.