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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."