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Monday, December 23, 2019

Bridges to Housing Stability Fundraiser

Bridges and Main Event are coming together to raise awareness about homelessness within our community. On Sunday, January 12th from 5 pm - 8 pm, Bridges will be at Main Event and we hope you will join us! This will be an evening of great fun which will also support a great cause! Main Event will donate 20% of any arcade game, food, non-alcoholic beverage, activity, or gift card purchase made between 5 and 8 pm to Bridges. The only thing supporters need to do is drop their receipt to Bridges’ table before leaving! Please spread the word about this event to further support Bridges. Visit for more information. 

    Here is a future event to put on your calendar:
Event Title: Restaurant Day at Shannon’s Saloon
Event Date/Time: Thursday, February 13, 2020
Event Description: Bridges is honored to invite you to our annual Restaurant Day at Shannon’s Saloon & Restaurant which will take place all day on February 13th. Show your love for Bridges by dining at Shannon’s and Bridges will receive 20% of your pretax total (no exclusions). Shannon’s Saloon is a long-term partner of Bridges who annually supports our mission to prevent & end homelessness in Howard County. By visiting this local favorite, you will help Bridges provide housing-related services to homeless and low-income persons working to become self-sufficient. Visit for more information.



Saturday, December 21, 2019

If you want to see a gender difference read this Washington Post article

Image result for woman apoligizing"

    I have to post an article that was in the Post about the gender difference in the answers to a question last night at the Democratic Debate.  It made me think about how women are so much quicker to apologize than men.  I have noticed that when I bump into a woman by accident the woman invariably apologizes to me even if I was the person who wasn't looking where I was going.  Maybe this is a quality we could use in a President.  Here is the article:
"The question was an oddball for a presidential debate, offered to the candidates as a choice in the spirit of the holiday season: Either name a gift each would give to a rival onstage or ask forgiveness from a fellow candidate.
In a Democratic field with a historic number of top female contenders, the responses were revealing. Only the women chose to be contrite.

“I will ask for forgiveness,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). “I know that sometimes I get really worked up. And sometimes I get a little hot. I don’t really mean to.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) was similarly reflective: “Well, I’d ask for forgiveness, any time any of you get mad at me. I can be blunt, but I am doing this because I think it is so important to pick the right candidates here.”
The five men onstage, in contrast, offered the gift of their ideas. Several suggested giving others books they had written. Others focused on policy proposals they hatched.
In a campaign that has emphasized policy differences, generational divides and geographical values, this single question illustrated another dimension — what many see as a double standard in the ways men and women are expected to behave.
“It’s an ingrained gender stereotype that men don’t have to apologize for being labeled angry,” said Amanda Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, the Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit organization that focuses on electing more women to top jobs and promoting women in contemporary art. “Many of the women watching the debate could relate to feeling that pressure.”
She added: “Women feel like they have to apologize if they appear angry or forceful, and men get the benefit of the doubt.”
None of the men who answered the question asked for forgiveness.
“I don’t think I have much to ask forgiveness for. You all can correct me on this,” said businessman Andrew Yang, who was the first to answer.
After pondering the question, he noted that Warren is now reading his book. If she likes it, he mused, others on the stage probably would too.
“I would love to give each of you a copy of my book,” he said, and then broadened the answer into a mini commercial for the tome.
“If you like data, this book is for you,” Yang said. “This goes to the people at home, too. If you like data. And books.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) mimicked the answer. “Well, I can give out any one of four books that I wrote,” he quipped, before insisting the best gift would be the agenda he’s running on.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, too, offered his writings. “Come to think of it, I should probably send my book around more, too,” he said.
But he settled on a broader gift, saying that defeating President Trump would suffice. And turned the question into a bit of a warning: “Let’s make sure there’s not too much to ask for forgiveness for,” Buttigieg said.
Joe Biden didn’t try to sell a book. Instead, he appeared to get annoyed with Warren, who had won applause for explaining how deeply she’s affected by the stories of suffering she hears from voters who stand in line to take photos with her.
“You’re not the only one who’s done selfies, Senator,” the former vice president said. “I’ve done thousands of them. Thousands of them."

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Remarkable visual that defines our two political parties

116 Congress members

     Having endured watching hours of the impeachment debate in the House yesterday I couldn't help but notice the major difference in our 2 political parties.  While Republicans spoke you saw a party that is almost entirely made up of white men, many with Southern accents.  Democrats had a diversity of speakers that included many more women and persons of color.  The Republican party has become a narrow regional party that clings to the American reality of the 1950s.  Make America Great Again is code to tell many Americans to go back to knowing their inferior place in our Country.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Tonight's Ellicott City's Midnight Madness


Catch the contagious holiday spirit at our 41st Annual Midnight Madness.  Enjoy dining and shopping in Old Ellicott City with strolling carolers, Santa, the Main Street Tree Lighting and more. Come see what’s new in Old Ellicott City!


Visit Santa! 4 – 8pm at Firehouse Museum

Santa will be in residence to say hello to all good girls & boys.
Parents are welcome to take their own photos!

Little Elves’ Workshop 4 – 7pm at Pivot

Kids crafting activities for a nominal fee with complimentary snacks

Tree Lighting Ceremony 6pm at
Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum

Enjoy performances by Long Reach High School Madrigals, hear from County Executive Calvin Ball, and help us count down to the Main Street tree lighting

Outdoor Holiday Market 6pm – 12am at The Wine Bin

Live music, wine/beer garden, food by Little Market Cafe and artisan gifts

OEC Charming Holidays continues

Get your starter bracelet at A Journey from Junk or Reclaimed by You (for a small donation to ECP) and collect charms at 39 participating businesses free with purchase.  Get all the details HERE

Lyft & Uber are encouraged!

Lower Main (East): Old Mill Cafe – 4 Frederick Rd Ellicott City 21043
Upper Main (West): Roger Carter Center – 3000 Milltown Dr Ellicott City 21043


Catch the continuous running shuttle at these locations:
George Howard Building (3430 Court House Drive)
Circuit Courthouse (8360 Court Avenue)
Firehouse Museum (3829 Church Road at Main Street)
The Wine Bin (8390 Main Street)
St Peter’s Episcopal Church (3695 Rogers Avenue)


Thursday, December 5, 2019

The rationale for impeachment that seems to have been forgotten

   Watching the impeachment hearing yesterday focus on whether bribing the Ukranian president to investigate the Bidens was an impeachable offense I couldn't help but think that there is another reason why Trump should be removed from office.  That reason is him being identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the criminal trial of Michael Cohen.  If he wasn't president he would probably be sitting in jail next to Michael Cohen.  For any president to have to use occupying the White House as the only way to not be in jail seems to me to be a good reason to take away that protection.

   We know that Trump will try to grant pardons out to his convicted friends and it will be interesting to see how he tries to give himself a pardon for the crimes he has committed or to be charged with after he is no longer president.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods Light Show this year

Ice and Fire: A Winter Wonderland will be held weekends in Columbia's Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods starting Nov. 30.

From Columbia Patch:

"COLUMBIA, MD — Ice and Fire: A Winter Wonderland holiday event begins Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The magical festival will be held in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods and features an array of lighted holiday displays, fire arts, live performances, photos with Santa, ice sculptors and holiday characters to greet.
Visitors will embark upon this new tradition by greeting the ice fairy as they enter a tunnel of light and meander around the lighted forest. A life-sized gingerbread house guarded by dragons will captivate guests and kids will be thrilled to see Santa on the Chrysalis stage. Other activities are spread about the park and are designed to bring the holidays to life for all ages.
The new festival is the fruition of a partnership between several Howard County nonprofits and is operated by the Inner Arbor Trust. Proceeds from the event are used to support local nonprofits in addition to the Community Action Council of Howard County, such as the food bank, Girls on the Run, the Howard County Veterans Foundation and the Columbia Orchestra.
The Frosty Fun Run Nov. 30 also is a part of the Ice and Fire Festival."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Question for the impeachment and the trial in the Senate

      After all the other rationalizations to justify Trump's actions have been dismissed the Republicans are left with only one weak explanation for not convicting Trump in an impeachment or a Senate trial.  That defense is what Trump did is not good but it doesn't rise to the impeachable level of overturning an election result this close to an election.  I have a few questions with that line of defense.  First, if bribing a foreign leader to smear an election opponent isn't cause to convict and remove from a President from office, what action would rise to that level.  I want to hear Republicans answer with examples of what would make them convict.  If bribing a foreign leader for personal benefit isn't good enough then I have a feeling it would have to rise to murdering someone in public view.  And even then some Republicans would invoke some type of "stand your ground" defense.
     The second question relates to the defense of overturning an election so close to another election.  My question would be how close is "too" close?  One year? Six months?  If Republicans can spell that time frame out I would have a follow-up question.   If they say one year then I would ask if that meant that for any President's last year he could be unaccountable?  Is he above the law in his last year?  If Trump's actions aren't "over the line" in Presidential behavior then we really have reduced the checks and balances that distinguish a democracy from an autocracy.

      Trump's tendencies toward being an autocrat are shown in him never meeting a dictator he didn't admire and his seeing the free press as "fake news." Trump knows he is limited in taking actions to shut down the press as a dictator might but he tries the next best thing--disparaging the confidence the public has in the press.  The words of the late Sen. McCain are a reminder of that reality. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

A hidden reality behind the school redistricting debate

     Image result for howard county opposition to redistricting"

    With the Board of Education approving a school redistricting plan that shifts a smaller number of students from the plan proposed by the Superintendant it may be time to examine the different issues involved in the opposition to that plan.  I want to mention one of the less talked about issues that was behind a significant amount of the opposition.  That issue was the impact on housing values in areas that were redistricted to a school with lower test scores.   It is easy to imagine that being redistricted to such a school could lower the value of affected homes by 20-25%.  I have talked before about the reality in Howard County that many people looking at homes have their first request to be only looking at homes in what they perceive to be "good" school districts.  It's our de facto redlining reality.
      As Howard County developed beyond Columbia the zoning determined that multifamily, affordable or subsidized housing would not be developed in the outskirts of Columbia.  The socioeconomic diversity that was instilled in the founding of Columbia would stop at its borders.  Many of us who moved to Columbia in the early days of its founding and have resisted the need to move up to the mini-mansions being built on its outskirts because of the lack of diversity in those areas now can see a day when we will have two Howard Counties--one desired and one stigmatized.  New housing is only that which maximized the profit of builders with only a token number of semi-affordable units.  Rouse's dream of the ideal community being one where the company president lives in the same neighborhood as the company janitor is not dead in Howard County but it has lost some of its vibrancy. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

When you know it is the start of the Christmas season in Columbia

From HoCoMoJo:
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, shoes

"Construction has begun on The Mall in Columbia’s Poinsettia Tree, set to be completed Friday. Originally designed by Leroy Brown, horticulturist for The Rouse Company, the tree has been a HoCo fan favorite since 1971.

Twenty feet across at the base, and twenty feet tall, the steel structure holds nearly 700 plants, and has its own self-contained irrigation system, the tubes visible in this photo. It will remain in the mall’s center court through the holiday season, after which the individual poinsettia plants are distributed to members of the community on a first-come-first-served basis"

    I remember the year they didn't put the Poinsettia tree up and how the outcry forced the Mall to return it back the next year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

This is a way to get Trump voters to vote for Sen. Warren

The next time someone asks Sen. Warren how she will pay for her "Medicare for All" plan she should say that Mexico will pay for it.  Trump voters fell for it once, why not try to fool them again?

Saturday, November 9, 2019

New Dunkin Donuts opens in Oakland Mills Village Center today

The newest Dunkin' to open in Columbia utilizes new technology and is designed to save 25 percent more energy. It's grand opening will be Nov. 9.

 From the Columbia Patch:

"Columbia's newest Next Generation Dunkin' store will host a grand opening celebration Nov. 9 starting at 9 a.m. The first 100 guests will be treated to free coffee for a year (excluding cold brew). Located at 5880 Robert Oliver Pl., all guests will enjoy a free medium hot or iced coffee or tea, excluding cold brew, nitro cold brew and frozen coffee, from 9 a.m. until noon.
Patrons also can partake in the Dunkin' prize wheel, try to win a 50-inch TV, enjoy photo opportunities with Dunkin' mascot Cuppy, listen to an onsite DJ and see the Columbia Fire Department truck. At 10 a.m., Christina Rigby, chair of the Howard County Council, and Sen. Guy Guzzone will join franchisee network Parmar for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new store opening.
The 1,600-square-foot Columbia store is a DD Green Achievement restaurant designed to save 25 percent more energy compared to a standard Dunkin' restaurant. It also utilizes various innovations, including a cold beverage tap system. The new location will be open from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Dunkin' franchisee network Parmar currently owns and operates 14 Dunkin' restaurants in the state of Maryland."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A future solution to California's power failures

      We have recently seen how California's outdated utility provider PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) has had to shut down much of its power to customers in Northern California because of the possibility of their power lines starting a wildfire.  One of my relatives went 3 days without power.  Schools closed. Gas stations couldn't pump gas.  Food spoiled. Businesses lost millions.
       When you realize that much of our power supply hasn't changed much in the past 100 years and is dependent on generating power in a concentrated form and then having to transmit it over a large area you can see that it might not be sustainable in the future with the old technology and equipment.  At some point, the old technology breaks down in its efforts to supply enough power in our modern world.  Our power needs have far surpassed the technology that was created to only supply electricity to our lights.
Related image

         So where is the future in our power supply?   You might look to your backyard.   You probably aren't aware that technology is developing that can create "mini-grids" and even "nano-grids."  With the technology in energy production moving from large power plants to smaller generating options you might one day have your own power plant in your backyard.  The technology in batteries and other small scale power generating sources is getting close to creating enough power to supply the electrical needs of individual homes.  Just like we now have cut landlines for our phones, we may one day be able to cut the cord to power lines.  Just be aware that chemists and physicists are now working on breakthrough technology that may create a new dynamic in power creation in our lifetimes.  At some point, cheap clean, electrical power won't come from a coal, gas, nuclear, dam or wind power source but from your very own nano power plant in your backyard.   And it won't come fast enough for California.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

County Council to hold hearing on 5 cent plastic bag fee

From the Columbia Patch:
A 5-cent plastic bag fee will be proposed by two Howard County council members at their Nov. 4 meeting.
"ELLICOTT CITY, MD — Two Howard County Council members plan to introduce a bill Nov. 4 that would require shoppers to pay a 5-cent fee to use disposable plastic bags, in hopes of prompting residents to instead shop with reusable bags. County Council Chairwoman Christina Mercer Rigby and Councilman Opel Jones are guiding the proposal, which if approved, would apply to disposable plastic shopping bags that are 2.25 millimeters thick.
The bill would take effect July 1, 2020, to allow for a six-month period to help retailers adjust to the law, the Baltimore Sun reported.
During the 2019 Maryland General Assembly session, the Howard County delegation advanced a bill sponsored by Del. Terri Hill to permit the County Council and the county executive to impose a fee, up to 5 cents, on plastic bags. The money collected from the fee would go into the Disposable Plastics Reduction Fund to be used for reusable bags, stream cleanups and other environmental cleanup initiatives."


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Plastic Bags

    By not vetoing a bill passed by the Legislature,  Governor Hogan let Howard County decide to impose a fee on plastic bags.  The issue now goes to the County Council to possibly impose the fee.  Four of the 5 Council Members seem to be in support of the fee legislation.  Here is the legislation:

HB1166 – Howard County – Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags Ho. Co. 04-19
  • Authorizing Howard County to impose, by law, a fee on certain retail establishments for the use of disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products; limiting the amount of the fee to not more than 5 cents for each disposable bag used; defining “disposable bag” as a plastic bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale; requiring the county to use certain revenue only for a certain environmental purpose or the implementation, administration, and enforcement of the fee; etc.
    Howard County would be the second Maryland county to impose a fee.  This type of legislation is becoming more common as communities attempt to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our waterways.  A recent walk along one of the Columbia paths near Lake Elkhorn reveals the frequency of seeing discarded plastic waste on its way to the Lake.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Village in Howard Bingo Fundraiser

   The Village in Howard is holding a fundraiser.  Everyone who enjoys bingo and enjoys playing bingo is encouraged to attend. 
     The Village in Howard is a member-based COMMUNITY of Howard County residents 55 and older who want to continue to live independently in the homes and neighborhoods they know.  Membership benefits include not only various educational, social and cultural activities, but access to various services such as transportation, home repair from referred contractors, and assistance with simple house maintenance.  These benefits enable members to actively age in place.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

If you can't beat, outsmart them

Image result for confused telemarketer

     When you get a telemarketer on the phone just answer, "Hello, you're on the air." See how fast they hang up!

     I also have tried "babbling" into the phone with just enough words that they were unsure of what I was saying.  They would ask me to repeat what I said and then I would babble in a different dialect.  This is what happens when you are retired and have too much time on your hands.  And I don't have my younger brother around anymore to torment.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

What a "perfect" deteriorating President looks like

  I have written recently about the President deconstructing and yesterday he showed what that looks like. 

   Pity the poor leader of Finland for picking this time to visit the White House.

Monday, September 30, 2019

We have seen what a deteriorating President looks like before

     Today I heard that Trump tweeted 57 times over the weekend, mostly about the Democrats in Congress and impeachment.  His tirades called for investigations of Democrat leaders and a "possible Civil War 2" in the United States if he is impeached.  He sounds more and more every day like he is "losing it."  The walls are closing in, the knives are coming out and Trump is deconstructing.  While Trump's mental health has always been questioned by his critics and mental health professionals, his recent tirades have made me remember what was written about the last days of Richard Nixon before his resignation.  The deconstruction of Nixon was apparent to those in the White House who saw him in his last days in the White House.  We may be seeing this deconstruction all over again in the current time.  How much of what is written below is happening right now?  For those who don't know or remember the description of those last days for Nixon here is what was written:
      "At times in those last few weeks, Nixon brooded in the Lincoln Sitting Room or his secret hideaway office in the Old Executive Office Building across the street from the White House. Even in the White House summer, Nixon would sit in one of the two rooms with a fire burning in the fireplace scribbling memos to himself on his familiar yellow legal pads. The President would drink scotch and get drunk quickly; he was famously unable to handle his low-tolerance for alcohol very well. Often, an aide or valet would find Nixon loudly blaring his favorite music — the score from the 1950’s documentary “Victory at Sea”. Other times, Nixon would listen to the tapes from his Oval Office recording system that were bringing his Presidency down around him, rewinding, fast-forwarding, listening again-and-again to his own voice saying the things now coming back to haunt him.
Aides throughout the White House and staff from other departmental agencies worried about the President’s ability to function and continue to lead the country while in his current mental state. Discussions were quietly held about whether it was necessary to attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which calls for the Vice President to assume the powers of the Presidency if the President is somehow incapacitated and unable to discharge the heavy everyday responsibilities of his office. Nixon was barely sleeping, drinking heavily, and making bizarre, rambling late-night phone calls to subordinates throughout the Executive Branch of the United States government. Nearly everyone who knew his condition questioned the President’s capacity to function.
There were also serious questions about whether or not Nixon, in a desperate attempt to hold on to power, might use the military to protect himself and the White House. Tensions were already high in the streets of Washington, D.C. with protesters loudly demonstrating and calling for Nixon’s resignation. High-ranking officials in the Department of Defense and the White House privately worried about the possibility that Nixon would ring the streets around the White House with tanks and armored personnel carriers, ostensibly to protect the Executive Mansion from acts of civil disobedience, but also to set up a fortress-like barrier that might allow him to remain in the White House in the case of a Congressional or Supreme Court-ordered removal from office.
Most startling of all is the fact that in the week before his resignation, Nixon’s inability to efficiently or appropriately wield executive power had dwindled so far that Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger urged General George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to not take military orders directly from the President. In an attempt to save the country from any extra-constitutional power grab by a desperate President, the military chain-of-command took the extra-constitutional step of removing the President from the loop. Schlesinger also investigated what his options would be if troops had to forcibly remove the President from office. The Defense Secretary’s tentative plan was to bring the 82nd Airborne to Washington from Fort Bragg, North Carolina if that was necessary.
While Nixon’s aides and fellow government officials worried about his mental health and ability to lead, Nixon’s family worried about his physical well-being. The President was exhausted, erratic, and not sleeping well at all. He downed sleeping pills, drank scotch, and continued sitting alone in one of his two favorite offices. Nixon attempted to put on a brave face for his family, but they too were weary of the process and his wife Pat’s health was already precarious. Nixon sometimes found solace in the company of his daughters Tricia and Julie and their respective husbands, Edward Cox and David Eisenhower (grandson of the late President Dwight Eisenhower).
Yet the toll was terrible on the family and while Nixon’s daughters were supportive and urged him to continue fighting, both Cox and Eisenhower felt that their father-in-law needed to resign for the good of the country and the good of their family, and worried that the President might not leave the White House alive. On August 6, 1974, Edward Cox called Michigan Senator Robert Griffin, a friend of Nixon’s who was urging resignation. Notifying the Senator that Nixon seemed irrational, Griffin responded that the President had seemed fine during their last meeting. Cox went further and explained, “The President was up walking the halls last night, talking to pictures of former Presidents — giving speeches and talking to the pictures on the wall.” Senator Griffin was flabbergasted and even more taken aback when Cox followed that bombshell with a worried plea for help, “The President might take his own life.”
White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig also worried about suicide. A few days earlier, the despondent President and his Chief of Staff were alone when Nixon started talking about how disgraced military officers sometimes fall on their sword. To Haig, the Army General, Nixon said, “You fellows, in your business, you have a way of handling problems like this. Somebody leaves a pistol in the drawer.” Haig was stunned. Then sadly — bitterly — Nixon said, “I don’t have a pistol.”
Haig was trying to steer the President towards as dignified of an exit as possible in such a dire situation. Already dealing with the first Presidential resignation, what he definitely wanted to prevent as Chief of Staff was the first-ever Presidential suicide. Haig worked with the President’s Navy doctors to limit Nixon’s access to pills and tranquilizers. When Haig mentioned his worries about a Nixon suicide to White House counsel Fred Buzhardt, Buzhardt said he didn’t think Nixon was the type to commit suicide. Buzhardt believed Nixon was actually a deeply religious man privately, but the White House counsel also thought that Richard Nixon would continue fighting, as he always had, until the ship went down. Alexander Haig just wanted to keep the President alive."

What is the final piece?
  Nixon tapes=White House secret server

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The only thing that will really stop mass shootings

Image result for stopping mass shootings

     I have noticed that in trying to solve a problem a person's biases tend to cause them to chose a solution that confirms their bias rather than getting at the root of the problem.  That reality seems to exist in the debate on how to stop the mass shootings that seem to be occurring with more frequency.  The mass shootings seem to require a gun that that shoots bullets quickly and a young, white male that has anger and revenge issues.  How do you eliminate one of those two facts?  Let's assume that you can't eliminate young, white males with anger and revenge issues that easily.  "Red flag" laws that require having the ability to identify and monitor every young, white males with anger issues is unrealistic.  Requiring expanded background checks in most of the mass shootings doesn't seem to have prevented the shooter from obtaining the gun.  Often the mass shooter hasn't been diagnosed with a mental illness or some other condition that would have prevented the sale of the gun.
      So what is the common feature to almost all mass shootings?  The shooter purchased the assault weapon within 6 months of the mass shooting.  Ban the sale of assault weapons and after 6 months mass shootings will decrease or possibly stop.  We will still have shootings that kill 3-4 people because there will still be time to get off that many shots before the shooter is contained but 20-30 people being killed will be made difficult.
      When the next mass shooting happens, and it will happen, notice how recently the shooter obtained the assault weapon.

     There is a lack of logic and consistency in the argument against banning assault weapons.  We already ban the sale of other weapons of war such as private ownership of tanks, bazookas and machine guns.  Why do we allow the sale to private individuals of assault weapons that have the same potential to kill large numbers of people quickly?

Weekend Funnies

Friday, September 20, 2019

Lake Elkhorn at the change of seasons

   After the heat of Summer has past an early morning run around Lake Elkhorn at dawn is always a favorite time of mine.  Notice the fog off of the warmer water.

    The changing season always begins the migration of some of the geese.  I just missed this shot against the sunrise but did catch them going past.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Choose Civility gets its biggest test

Image may contain: 4 people, outdoor

     If you have been out of town recently you might not be aware of the hottest controversy in our County.   Living in Howard County's bubble seems to have left us unprepared to be the testing ground for a battle of values in our educational system.  Inclusiveness and diversity versus neighborhood schools are right now being battled out in our County.  The loser in this battle will probably be our proud motto of civility.
      The Superintendent of Howard County Schools has proposed a redistricting plan that has two goals.  First is the shifting of students from overpopulated schools to less populated schools.  This is required before any new request for school construction money can be submitted to the State of Maryland.  Secondly and more controversial is the rebalancing of the student population of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches, commonly called the FARM program.
      Any plan that transfers students from one school to another is controversial to some extent but when you are talking about transferring students from a school with higher test scores to a school with lower test scores you will get a huge outcry from parents.  Test scores stigmatize schools with lower scores and glorify schools with higher scores.  Throw in the issue of property values being impacted by the local school scores and you will be creating a "hornet's nest."  As any realtor and they will tell you families with children will usually tell them in which school districts they will look at houses.  I had this brought home to me when we lost a buyer for our house when the buyer found out the test scores from our local high school.
      There is now a Facebook page to organize against the proposed plan.  I joined the page to follow the discussion of those opposed to the plan.  One of the arguments made on this page is that moving low-income (often minority) students to a higher scoring school doesn't improve the performance of the low-income students.  I am sure that each side of this argument can find some research to prove their side of this argument.  Maybe the better argument is a discussion of whether there is a benefit for children to be exposed to a wide group of diverse children.  This also plays out in the adult world when you see the different political beliefs for people living in an urban setting and a rural setting.  The Red/Blue divide in our Country is really an urban/rural divide.
        Is it true that in Howard County the quality of education doesn't vary to any considerable extent from one school to another in the quality of instruction or the opportunity to take courses that match a student's ability?  If that is true than moving your student from one school to another will make a minimal change in your student's achievement.  If that is not true then the School System needs to do everything in its power to correct how it allocated resources.  I am willing to bet that the quality of teachers and resources allocated to all schools in Howard County by the School System is one of its most important goals.

     We only need to look at the scandals involving actresses and other wealthy individuals bribing colleges to gain admission to select colleges to understand how much we value the prestige of some schools.  I am not sure why this is a scandal now when giving large amounts of money to a school always bought preferential treatment of your child's application.  The assumption that the school your child attends will determine their success in life is one that is strongly held and greatly overvalued.

P.S. 1
    Following the Facebook page has educated me on what a "Polygon Map" is.  At first, I couldn't understand why is this term was being used so often and I had no idea what it was.  It refers to the map the School System uses to define where students will go to school.  

P.S. 2
      It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the futures of the School Superintendent and our elected officials.  For each of them, this is probably a no-win situation where taking a position will lose them support from the opposition group.  Don't be surprised if jobs are lost and officials are defeated by the position they take in this dispute.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Mike Rowe's funny story

  Image result for mike rowe
    We know Mike Rowe from his TV show "Dirty Jobs."   This Baltimore native also has a large following on his Facebook page.  He often reads emails from his Mother on his page.  Here is the first and funniest of his posts. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A 9/11 remembrance

Beverly Eckert shares her final conversation with her husband, Sean Rooney, before he died in the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Presented as part of StoryCorps’ September 11th Initiative in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to record at least one story to honor each of the lives lost during the attacks.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Longest Table is back

  Having attended this event the past 2 years it is always an interesting conversation and dinner with fellow Howard County residents in a parking lot at Howard County Community College.

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
Howard Community College
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
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