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Monday, December 24, 2018

The futility of resisting change

      I have been thinking about this blog post for a while.  Like many liberal Democrats I have often pondered the past 2 years what is it about Trump supporters that lead them to hang on to such an immoral, treasonous, lying bully like Trump.  These are people who would never support such behavior in a family member or friend.  I only have been able to explain their support by looking back at what defines a liberal and a conservative.  I know as a liberal I might be bias in how I define the two belief systems but here goes.  A liberal is someone who is open minded to change, its consequences and how to adapt to change.  A conservative is someone who dreads change and hangs onto the ways of the past.  The key difference in your political persuasion is how you react to change.  This may partially explain why "Blue" states are doing better than "Red" states.  Not surprisingly California one of the bluest if blue states has one of the strongest economies in the United States.  Most of the lowest 10 state economies are in red states.
     I recently had a friend something that showed how we are in for some dramatic changes that will change the world we live in some extreme ways.  Changes that are coming fast are huge.  Here are some of those changes:

               Auto repair shops will go away. A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor. Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy-auto wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!
Gas stations will go away. Parking meters will be replaced by meters that dispense electricity. Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they've already started. You can find them at select Dunkin Donuts locations.

Most (the smart) major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that only build electric cars.

Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away. Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC!

Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen the Tesla roof?
A baby of today will only see personal cars in museums.
The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle.
In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. Who would have thought of that ever happening?
What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 5-10 years and, most people don't see it coming.
Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later, you would never take pictures on film again? With today's smart phones, who even has a camera these days?
Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.
Forget the book, "Future Shock", welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution
 Software has disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.
UBER is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties. Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.

This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected

In the USA, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of IBM's Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won't want to own a car anymore as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it you will only pay for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver's license and will never own a car.

This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles. That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustion engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla and so they should be. Look at all the companies offering all electric vehicles. That was unheard of, only a few years ago.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the costs will become cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful or affordable neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.

Cities will have much cleaner air as well. (Can we start in Los Angeles, please?)

Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean

Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.

And it's just getting ramped up.

Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue - technology will take care of that strategy.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it. It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any Disease. There are dozens of phone apps out there right now for health purposes.
Guess which states will be thriving when these changes happen?  Bet no one said Mississippi!

     Here is another corporate failure to embrace a new technology just like the example of Kodak mentioned above----Xerox

P.S. 1
     Pity our nation's poor baffonish leader who has to spend his Christmas in the rundown White House and not be able to play golf.  The sacrifices billionaires (?) make to serve our Country.

P.S. 2
Maybe he will get his wish and be able to return to his garish dump in New York.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

And you thought the ERA amendment was dead long ago

   Conservatives fought the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 1970's and 1980's causing the Amendment to come up one vote short of being approved by the required number of states.  Now with the change in the politics in Virginia the Amendment might have a second life

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Time lapse video of the building of the Ellicott City flood this year

   Amazing time lapse videos of the Ellicott City flood this year.  Thanks to HoCoMoJo for the video.  Watching it you want to tell the people who owned the cars on Main Street to get out and move their cars!  Then it becomes too late.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Another "Tale of two cities" blog

Image result for map columbia / baltimore

      Two news stories this week seemed to once again highlight the difference of the 15 miles  between Columbia and Baltimore.  The website WalletHub listed Columbia as the safest city among the 181 cities it looked at in the United States.  The criteria was based on factors of crime, natural disasters and financial health.  This may be a little surprising to many of us who have the perception that there has been an increase in crime as Columbia has grown.  While most of us have not experience any direct crime we do read the crime log in the local paper and see that crime is certainly a part of our growing city.
     The second news story is the stabbing of a woman in Baltimore who had stopped to give a supposed homeless mother some money.  This new story has gained national attention and even received a comment from Oprah.  The national exposure of stories like this has turned Baltimore into a city with a national perception of a failed city.  When you go to Baltimore it seems that you have some areas on its borders like Port Covinton, Harbor East, the stadiums and the Inner Harbor that bring people into Baltimore but once you get past these areas you see blight, abandoned homes and a "hallowed" out core to much of the rest of the City.
     While there are a number of factors that create this reality of cities 15 miles apart going in different directions the most significant one is the job picture in both areas.  While we see new office buildings going up in the Crescent development in Columbia bringing high paying white collar jobs here we see the disappearance of good paying blue collar jobs from Baltimore.   The good paying union jobs at Bethlehem Steel and General Motors has been replaced by lower paying non union jobs at the Amazon distribution center.  The future of cities like Columbia that are primarily home to white collar jobs have a bright future while cities like Baltimore that have a blue collar past will continue to decline as our Country moves into a service economy and away from a manufacturing economy.  And Trump is "blowing smoke" when he talks about bring back manufacturing jobs to the US.  He is taking a lot of gullible people with him on that ride.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Program is now

     In its efforts to damage the Affordable Care Program the Trump administration has eliminated the publicity budget to let people know when the enrollment period is.  The 2019 ACA (Affordable Care Act) enrollment period has been shortened from 90 days to 45 days (November 1- December 15, 2018), and the advertising budget to promote open enrollment has been slashed in an effort to further sabotage the program. That's why you're seeing zero advertising about the enrollment window.  The 2019 Open Enrollment Period runs from Thursday, November 1, 2018, to Saturday, December 15, 2018. If you don't act by December 15, you can't get 2019 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2019.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Bet you didn't know this Thanksgiving fact


     In 1953, someone at Swanson severely overestimated the amount of turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving. With 260 tons of frozen birds to get rid of, a company salesman named Gerry Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, recruited an assembly line of women armed with spatulas and ice-cream scoops and began creating mini-feasts of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes — creating the first-ever TV dinner. Thomas later said he got the idea from neatly packaged airplane food. Turkey dinner is still the most popular TV dinner.

P.S. First immigrant caravan

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Trump had a full schedule yesterday

                       Here is the only official duty tRUMP carried out yesterday.

Image result for trump patting horses rump

     With the killing of a doctor in a hospital in Chicago yesterday in a another mass shooting we now know why doctors can't  "stay in their lane" in spite of what the NRA wants.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Oakland Mills High Food Pantry is empty

 The Oakland Mills High School food pantry is currently empty, organizers said this week. The Oakland Mills High School PTA is seeking donations.
The Oakland Mills High School Food Pantry supports the Oakland Mills community, organizers say.
Here are the items that are most requested:
  • Nonperishable goods—canned vegetables, canned fruit, applesauce, dried fruit, fruit cups, dry beans, yellow rice, instant oatmeal, pasta, pasta sauce, granola bars, peanut butter, jelly/jam, juice boxes, kids snacks (graham crackers, goldfish crackers, pudding, etc.)
  • Diapers (sizes 3 to 5)
  • Baby food (jarred food, puffs and infant rice)
  • Feminine products
  • Household products
  • Coats, hats and gloves
Those who would like to contribute may drop off donations to The Other Barn at 5851 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia. The Other Barn will be open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Trump's "overseas" visit to review the California fire damage: Rake more!

Image may contain: 1 person, text

From Michael Moore:   "On a foreign visit today to California, the USA Leader (he wore a USA cap so the Californians would know where he’s from) declared that had the people of California done “more raking” these fires wouldn’t happen. He repeated that there is no “climate change” but added, “I want great climate.”

    Surprising he didn't send his Secretary of State on this visit to California. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

The caravan you haven't been hearing about

Image result for canadians headed south on 95

       With all the pre-election talk about the caravan of migrants from Central America we are soon to have a second caravan of travelers from another direction.  If you travel Interstate 95 in a couple of weeks you will notice all the Canadian license plates from Quebec and Ontario headed South to warmer climates.  This annual Northern migration has not received the attention of that the Southern migration received but its impact on our economy is greater than any migration of immigrants from the South. The past few years has taken us to Florida for a few Winter weeks and it seems that the people we meet in our pickleball matches are from the friendly confines of Canada.  Last year the Canadians were a little hesitant to bring up the topic of our new Administration as they were not sure of our political leanings.  Once it was determined that we were as mystified as they were on what was happening in our Country they asked how long we felt the Trump Administration would last and how could our Country has so many supporters of a person who lies and bullies others so often.  For mild mannered Canadians they couldn't understand how we could be so different.  They seemed reassured some when I pointed out that Trump could only win because of our crazy Electoral College that made him the winner even though he got almost 3 million less votes than Clinton.  Three million votes in Canada is a lot of votes.  I pointed out that if some of the Canadian transplants would just switch there citizenship to the US and become Florida voters we might have a chance of becoming more civilized as a country like Canada.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New White House position

      Rumor has it that the White House will soon be bringing on an official White House meteorologist to determine if the weather forecast precludes the President from showing up at events in the future.  Something about not wanting to have the weather cause a "bad hair day.


   When times were different.


Which looks like the future?

Image may contain: 70 people, people smiling

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Something they will never understand

A guy took his girlfriend to the Super Bowl game.  They had great seats right behind the team bench.  After the game he asked her how she liked it.

"Oh I really like it, " she replied, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."

Dumfounded, her boyfriend asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well; they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game all they kept screaming was......'Get the quarterback! ' Get the quarterback.  I'm like Helloooooooo?  It's only 25 cents!

Friday, November 9, 2018

New face of Congress

The cost of the Access Hollywood tape is now being paid.

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

History does repeat itself

     45 years ago I got up in Amsterdam Holland to go get my copy of the International Herald Tribune to read what the latest news was on the Watergate affair.  What had flown under the radar was the growing scandal involving Vice President Spiro Agnew, Maryland's gift to our Nation.  The headline blared "Agnew Resigns."
    Rachael Maddow has recently released a podcast examining the story of this resignation scandal that has so many parallels to our current situation with the corruption of the Trump administration.  Central to the Agnew defense was the attacking of the press and the Justice Department.  Sound familiar?  Here is a link to this fascinating podcast. 

     The fact that Donald Trump has held sixty-six rallies since being elected president but still hasn’t visited our troops in a combat zone tells you all you need to know about him. Word is that his bone spurs are acting up again.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A year with two Autumns


        Having spent a couple of weeks in Alaska this past September I have had a chance to experience two Autumn seasons this year.

      While the local scenery can't quite compare to Alaska's Autumn we have some areas that are worth a visit.   Yesterday a hike in the Patapsco State Park in Elkridge had this view of our local Autumn colors.


Friday, November 2, 2018

Community Action Council's Holiday Meals Program needs your help

Image result for community action council howard county maryland
     Each year, CAC’s Howard County Food Bank provides nutritious food to more than 35,000 people and this Thanksgiving, CAC has promised to provide holiday meals to 1,000 families in need. CAC has the funding secured for 600 of those meals and is asking the community to help cover the cost of the remaining 400 meals.

A donation of just $20 will cover the cost of one family’s holiday meal – a turkey, holiday sides, produce and bread. That’s it! I’m donating this year and I am hoping that you will join me in supporting this amazing cause.

Please help a Howard County neighbor have a wonderful holiday. You can donate online to this cause here:


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Time for Maryland to move to vote by mail?

   While standing in line to vote this week I thought that maybe it was time to have our State to move to voting by mail.  We hear often about states trying to make voting more difficult.  Maybe it is time for progressive Maryland to move in the direction of making it easier to vote. Maryland already sends out sample ballots so why not make them real ballots?  Here are the advantages and disadvantages and a state by state list of mail voting:

Possible Advantages

  • Voter convenience and satisfaction—Citizens can vote at home and take all the time they need to study the issues. Voters often express enthusiasm for all-mail elections.
  • Financial savings—Jurisdictions may save money because they no longer need to staff traditional polling places with poll workers and equip each polling place with voting machines. A 2016 study of Colorado from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that costs decreased an average of 40 percent in five election administration categories across 46 of Colorado’s 64 counties (those with available cost data). However, the study examines a number of reforms that Colorado enacted in 2013, with all-mail elections being the most significant. Others included instituting same day registration and shortening the time length for residency in the state for voting purposes.
  • Turnout—Some reports indicate that because of convenience, voter turnout increases. These reports assert that turnout increases by single digits for presidential elections and more in smaller elections. See this 2013 report on all-mail ballot elections in Washington and this 2018 report on all-mail ballot elections in Utah. Effects on turnout can be more pronounced for low propensity voters, those that are registered but do not vote as frequently.

Possible Disadvantages

  • Tradition—The civic experience of voting with neighbors at a local school, church, or other polling place no longer exists. 
  • Disparate effect on some populations—Mail delivery is not uniform across the nation. Native Americans on reservations may in particular have difficulty with all-mail elections. Many do not have street addresses, and their P.O. boxes may be shared. Literacy can be an issue for some voters, as well. Election materials are often written at a college level. (Literacy can be a problem for voters at traditional polling place locations too.) One way to mitigate this is to examine how voter centers are distributed throughout counties to best serve the population.  
  • Security—During all-mail elections (and absentee voting), coercion by family members or others might occur.
  • Financial considerations—All-mail elections greatly increase printing costs for an election. Additionally, jurisdictions must have appropriate equipment to read paper ballots at a central location, and changing from electronic equipment to equipment that can scan paper ballots can be expensive. 
  • Slow vote counting—All-mail elections may slow down the vote counting process, especially if a state's policy is to allow ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received and counted in the days and weeks after the election.

State-by-State Statutes on All-Mail Elections

Alaska: Elections other than general, party primary or municipal (Alaska Stat.§15.20.800)
Arizona: Special districts may conduct elections by mail (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §16-558)
Arkansas: Primary elections in which only one candidate has filed for the position by a filing deadline and there are no other ballot issues to be submitted for consideration (Ark. Stat. Ann. §7-7-313)
California: After/on January 1, 2018, fourteen counties may conduct all-mail elections. After January 1, 2020, any county may conduct any election as an all-mail election following statutory guidelines.  (Cal. Elec. Code §3017, 4005-4008). When there are 250 or fewer voters registered to vote in a precinct (Cal. Elec. Code §3005); local, special or consolidated elections that meet certain criteria (Cal. Elec. Code §4000).
Colorado: All elections (CRS §1-5-401)
Florida: Referendum elections at the county, city, school district or special district level (Fla. Stat. §101.6102) Also, governor may call for a mail ballot election after issuing an executive order declaring a state of emergency or impending emergency (see S 866, 2008)
Hawaii: Any federal, state, or county election held other than on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or general election (HRS §11-91.5). In 2018, Hawaii passed house bill 1401, which authorizes a county with a population less than 100,000 to conduct a pilot program for the 2020 primary and general elections.
Idaho:  A precinct which contains no more than 125 registered electors at the last general election may be designated by the board of county commissioners a mail ballot precinct no later than April 1 in an even-numbered year (Idaho Code §34-308)
Kansas: Nonpartisan elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and which is not held on the same date as another election (KSA Stat. §25-431 et seq.)
Maryland:  Special elections (Md. Election Code §9-501 et seq.)
Minnesota: Elections conducted by a municipality having fewer than 400 registered voters on June 1 of an election year and not located in a metropolitan county (Minn. Stat. §204B)
Missouri: Nonpartisan issue elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and in which all qualified voters of one political subdivision are the only voters eligible to vote (Mo. Rev. Stat. §115.652 et seq.)
Montana: Any election other than a regularly scheduled federal, state, or county election; a special federal or state election, unless authorized by the legislature; or a regularly scheduled or special election when another election in the political subdivision is taking place at the polls on the same day (MCA 13-19-101 et seq.)
Nebraska: Special ballot measure elections that meet certain criteria, held by a political subdivision (NRS §32-952)
Nevada: Whenever there were not more than 20 voters registered in a precinct for the last preceding general election (NRS §293.213)
New Jersey: A municipality with a population of 500 or fewer persons, according to the latest federal decennial census, may conduct all elections by mail (NJRS §19.62-1)
New Mexico: Any bond election, any election on the imposition of a mill levy or a property tax rate for a specified purpose or any special election at which no candidates are to be nominated for or elected to office (NMSA §1-23-1 et seq.)
North Dakota: Counties may conduct any election by mail (ND Cent. Code §16.1-11.1-01 et seq.)
Oregon: All elections (ORS §254.465)
Utah: Jurisdictions may decide to conduct elections entirely by mail (Utah Code Ann. §20A-3-302)
Washington: All elections (WRC §29A.40)
Wyoming: Counties may decide to conduct special elections entirely by mail (Wyo. Stat. 22-29-115)

Friday, October 26, 2018

LGBT Older Adults Task Force of Howard County and the 50+ LGBT Group hosts a holiday meet and greet

Gina DeSimone and the Moaners Dance Band Thursday December 6th , 6 pm to 8:30 pm 
Bain Center
5470 Ruth Keeton Way Columbia, MD 21044

For LGBT 18+, Family, Friends and Allies

Refreshments and great danceable, upbeat blues & swing music!

RSVP by Monday, November 27th to 410-313-7213
Suggested donation of $5 to LGBT Task Force and a non perishable item for the Howard County Food Bank 

Suggested Donation: $5 to support the LGBT Task Force and a non‐perishable item for the Howard County Food 
Suggested Donation: $5 to support the LGBT Task Force and a non‐perishable item for the Howard County Food Bank

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I support Trump, I support him not

Image result for daisy he loves me he loves me not

  Remember as a child using a daisy to determine how you felt about something?  I was reminded of this when I read that Trump's approval was now at 47% from his low of 36%.  Who are these 11% of people who can't make up their minds about Trump?  He isn't that hard to figure out.  What is happening in your mind that changes how you feel about him?  Come on folks it isn't that hard.  He can't be a jerk one day and OK a couple of weeks later.  Once a jerk, always a jerk.