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Monday, June 5, 2023

Religious and political conservatives always need a culture war to remain relevant

     If any of us liberals thought that the culture war on gay rights was over with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality we now see that the war has shifted to fighting transgender rights and drag queen shows.  Boycotting certain beers and Target for reaching out during gay pride month is where the conservative movement sees the battle.  Gov. DeSantis has made this a major part of his appeal in his presidential campaign.

      In their effort to "turn back the clock" to a time when being gay was illegal, the conservatives have always had enemies that were trying to corrupt our society.  This effort has always had appeal with religious persons since it fits with their belief that there is an ongoing battle between Satan and God.  It should not be surprising that much of the support for conservative politics closely aligns with fundamentalist religion.  Each has the need for an authoritarian leader who has the power to combat the evil influences of what is believed to be progressive policies.  Having blind faith in the leader leads to accepting cruel behaviors as the cost of the battle against evil forces.  Separating immigrant children from their parents is accepted as necessary to stop immigrant parents from trying to enter the United States illegally.  The religious teachings of all humans being children of God to be treated with compassion are lost in this situation.  Humanity is lost when we start to separate people into groups in the battle for good and evil.  This seems to be where the Republican Party and religious fundamentalists live today.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The most dangerous hostage taker

      The challenge facing a hostage negotiator is knowing if the hostage taker is willing to kill the hostages or not.  If the hostage taker has killed before or is suicidal the risk to the hostages is very real and giving in to the hostage taker within reason is appropriate.  Often this involves publicizing some grievance the hostage taker has.

      The current situation with the Republicans holding the financial health of the United States hostage in the debt limit debate is an example where the Democrats have to determine how seriously the Republicans are in allowing the government to default.  The Republicans have become an anti-government party except for defense and veterans programs.  For them destroying the American government is not the same risk as it is with the Democrats who value government involvement in the lives of its citizens.  The Republicans right now resemble a hostage taker who is willing to kill their hostages than surrender.  They see backing down as a worse outcome for them instead of a default.  They are the most dangerous type of hostage taker.   The most likely outcome is that the Democrats will compromise in ways that they feel minimize the impact on the government to prevent the default.  Look for the Republicans to play "chicken" with default right up to the last moment.  Any gain they get out of hostage-taking will only embolden them to use the same tactic every time they can because damaging the government is one of their aims.


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Does anyone care that there is some kind of horse race in Baltimore today?


         We have a sport that only exists because of gambling in a crumbling city that is extremely cruel to horses that no longer make sense.  Time to end this stupidity. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Howard County gets first perfect score on walk-ability and bike-ability from national organization


From the Columbia Patch:

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Howard County has received a 100 percent score for its Complete Streets Policy after it was evaluated by Smart Growth America, making it the first jurisdiction in the nation to receive a perfect score under the 2023 scoring matrix.

“Complete Streets allow our children and students to walk and bike safely to schools and parks. They ensure that our neighbors with disabilities can access transit and other transportation modes,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said. “They provide unlimited opportunities for connections between our neighbors and neighborhoods, growing and strengthening our sense of community. This national recognition is the result of collaboration, hard work and a truly inclusive process.”

The fiscal year 2024 proposed capital budget includes a record $13.2 million for a variety of Complete Streets investments, including:

  • $1.3 million for Rogers Avenue Complete Streets project;
  • $1.1 million for Guilford Road bike and pedestrian improvements;
  • $1 million for the South Entrance Trail to connect downtown Columbia to the Patuxent Branch Trail; and
  • $3.6 million for bike and pedestrian infrastructure maintenance and repairs.

Ball announced the creation of two new capital projects in the fiscal year 2024 budget: the Dobbin Road Pathway, which will be a two-mile long, multi-use pathway for walking and cycling, and the U.S. 1 Corridor Safe Streets for All, which will bring critical streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle and transportation safety improvements along Route One from historic Elkridge to Laurel.

"Creating award-winning Complete Streets policies has been a dedicated, community-wide effort. By investing in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure around Howard County, we are also investing in equity, accessibility, and connectedness in our communities," said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Rigby.

The transportation investments also include $150,000 for expanded transit service in the Elkridge area, as well as an expansion of the FLASH bus rapid transit service to Howard County in a cross-county collaboration with Montgomery County. Howard County has committed more than $850,000 in county matching funds to purchase FLASH buses to travel along Route 29 from Burtonsville to Maple Lawn and Downtown Columbia.

The Complete Streets policy was first adopted in 2019 and followed by the launch of Howard County’s Complete Streets Implementation Team, which was charged with developing visionary and transformative standards for multi-modal transportation access and safety in Howard County. Following more than two years of comprehensive work from the implementation team, Howard County’s Complete Streets Design Manual was approved in 2022.


   I wrote about the problem for pedestrians on Dobbin Road 5 years ago.