Follow by Email

Thursday, July 30, 2020

My bet for the next 2 weeks

   I bet that Governor Hogan changes his plan to send applications for mail in ballots for the general election.  I bet it gets changed to mailing every voter a real ballot.  Not a difficult bet to win as it was shortsighted to not go this way from the beginning.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Latest COVID-19 situation in Howard County from County Exec

We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 data and trends in Howard County. We have steadily increased the amount and frequency of testing and have successfully tested 13.6% of our population. Our 7-day average positivity rate is flat, remaining below 5% at 3.7% as of this morning. Our hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients remain low from our peak of 47 patients in May, with a total of 15 hospitalizations as of today.
At the same time, our 7-day confirmed case average has hit the highest peak since the beginning of the pandemic at 41 cases this week, which is the highest case average since May 28th.
Our average age of daily COVID-19 cases is still shifting towards a younger demographic, with an increase in cases in people under 35. At the start of the pandemic people under 35 made up 30% of our cases, and today 53% of our cases are people below 35. As of yesterday, the average age of new daily confirmed cases is 23, the lowest it’s been since June 23rd.
We must continue to collectively make safety a priority. Please remember to physically distance whenever possible, wear masks, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and stay home as much as possible. We can only be successful in avoiding large-scale outbreaks if we all work together. The well-being of our community depends on us.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Canada and the United States--a tale of two counties

   


     As two countries founded around the same time period and in a similar fashion it has always been surprising how differently Canada and the United States have developed in so many ways.  Some of the differences can be explained by the reality of the United States having a system of slavery that didn't exist in Canada but does it explain why Canada seems to be a more rational country than the United States?  My hypothesis of why there is a difference in the two countries is the influence of religion in general and fundamentalism religion in particular in the two countries.  While both countries are seeing a decline in religious beliefs the Canadians are seeing it at an accelerated rate Fundamentalist religion is anti-science and values faith over fact-based reasoning.   Trump and his followers, with its core of fundamentalist believers, have shown this more clearly today.  Fundamentalist believers may not be literally burning witches today but their anti-science belief system, embraced by the Republican Party, has caused the United States to pay the toll with this virus that is so different than what Canada and other Western European countries have had to pay
 Here is an article in the Atlantic Magazine (a magazine no fundamentalist would ever read) that shows how this reality has played out.
   

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pick out the essential worker


   Probably the IT guy!

P.S.
      One of the few groups to which I have made contributions--The Lincoln Project


Friday, July 24, 2020

How the next pandemic could be much so worse

    We are all shocked by how the World could be so impacted by the COVID-19 virus.  The infectiousness of Covid-19 has made this virus difficult to manage.  People don't get sick quickly enough to control the spread.  As bad as the virus has been we are fortunate that the death rate for the virus doesn't come close to the rate for more deadly viruses.  Smallpox has a death rate of 30 percent.  What would happen if the next virus has the same infectiousness and has a death rate similar to Smallpox or Ebola?  Could we be looking at a number of people killed being in the billions rather than the millions?
    Another scary reality that has been shown with this virus is that when you have your country being led by a non-governing political party you are vulnerable to disastrous consequences with any virus or disease.  Today's Republican Party has no interest in governing.  They only know how to be an opposition party and when they are given governing power they don't know what to do with it.  It is like the dog catching the car.  They have shown no ability to address any national need.  They are proud of how few bills are passed in Congress.  In the middle of a pandemic, they move ahead in trying to restrict people's access to healthcare.  They are a political party that only seems to be against things than proponents of any particular political thought.  Only in a nihilist political party like the Republican Party could an empty-headed person like Trump be successful. 
     The world has shown that countries that have leaders who have an interest in governing can address problems like a pandemic in much more effective ways.  With our non-governing administration, we have become the pariah of the World.  Many countries prevent us from traveling there.  Want to go to Europe?  Nope.  Even Canada is restricting Americans from traveling there.  "Make America Great Again" has led us to "See America because no one else will have us."

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Republican Party sold its soul in 1964

     There is this legend that Lyndon Johnson said to an aide after signing the Civil Rights bill in 1964, "I have lost the South for a generation."  Whether he said that or not there is truth in the reality that the movement of the racist Southern Democrats from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party began at that moment and has resulted in our current Republican President defending the Confederate symbols because the Republican Party base has such a strong racial bias.  You may not be a racist if you are a Republican but if you are a racist you probably are a Republican.  From Nixon's Southern Strategy to Reagan opening his Presidential campaign in the town that three civil rights supporters were murdered to Trump's demonizing Mexicans the racist appeals have become more overt.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Remember the last time we saw an authoritarian leader sending in soldiers without markings?





Police officers, unlike soldiers, don't wear camo for a reason ...

    Seeing law enforcement agents in Portland without any identification markings reminded me of another time we saw this type of situation.

     Remember when Putin sent Russian soldiers to Crimea without any markings?  Just another example of Putin and Trump using the same playbook. 

From 'Not Us' To 'Why Hide It?': How Russia Denied Its Crimea ...

Trump thinks Biden is controlled by Radical Democrats


When you don't get the radical candidate like Bernie Sanders or AOC to run against and you only get moderate Biden this is what you do.  Biden has to be controlled by the radicals.  Also, notice that running the Country isn't enough of a job that Trump has time to specifically ask for my "file."  Are his supporters willing to buy this craziness?

Donald J. Trump contact@victory.donaldtrump.com Unsubscribe

Tue, Jul 21, 8:30 PM (8 hours ago)
to me
Trump Pence Make America Great Again

 

Duane,

The Radical Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as 
we know it. Unimaginably bad things would happen to America, which is why
 we need to FIGHT BACK.

The Election is less than 4 MONTHS AWAY, and in order to keep our strong
 lead over the Left-Wing MOB, we have to stay on track.

I’ve asked my team to pull the records of my BEST donors - our most loyal
 Patriots who I can always count on when I need them the most. I’m disappointed
 to say that when I asked for your file, they told me you’ve NEVER contributed.

 Giving your FIRST EVER contribution has never been more crucial than it is right now.

50 other supporters just gave their FIRST gift. We’re just waiting on you.

Please make your FIRST contribution of ANY AMOUNT TODAY to help set a new record.

Thank you,

President Trump Signature Headshot

Monday, July 20, 2020

Latest Howard County Covid-19 Case Dashboard

No photo description available.

    More tests being done.  The positivity rate still going down.  Increase in positives being driven by people under 35.

Friday, July 17, 2020

I am a VIP!!!!


        I have started to get daily appeals from the Trump campaign for money.  I can't publish my 
    responses to their appeals but it is a fun way to vent.

Trump Pence Make America Great Again

  Duane,

  Why haven’t you accepted my Father’s invitation to join the
  Official Trump VIP Club?

  The Trump VIP Club is a highly exclusive, invite-only group of my father’s
  most trusted supporters. So, when he asked me who I thought we should invite
   to join, I immediately thought of YOU.

  You’ve always been one of the President’s most loyal allies, which is why,
  for a short time, when you make your next contribution, you’ll automatically
   reach VIP Status and cement your name in history as a member of the Trump VIP
   Club.


  This offer is only valid until 11:59 PM TONIGHT. If you fail to join, you might not
  get another chance.


  Please contribute ANY AMOUNT by 11:59 PM TONIGHT to confirm your
   status as a member of the Official Trump VIP Club. >>

 

Join the Trump VIP Club

CONTRIBUTE $20
   Contribute ANY AMOUNT by 11:59 PM TONIGHT to join the Official Trump
  VIP Club.


Thank you,

Donald Trump Jr. Signature Headshot
Donald Trump Jr.

P.S.

Joe Biden and the Radical Left want to Abolish Police
 

Just so you know:

"Trump Claims Biden Wants to ‘Abolish Our

 Suburbs’

President Trump used some barely coded language to make Joe Biden’s 
fair
 housing plan seem like an attack on white Americans, The Week reports.
Trump claimed “our entire economy and our very way of life are 
threatened
 by Biden’s plans” to “subjugate our communities” to regulations.
He added that Democrats “want to abolish our beautiful and successful 
suburbs”
 through zoning laws, which will then mean “your home will go down in
 value and
 crime rates will rapidly rise.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Positive things to come out of the pandemic

Came across this a while ago:


Cities are reopening. Lockdowns are lifting. And some people are starting to feel they can glimpse a return, however slow and partial, to “normal.”
But the pandemic has changed us. Although being on lockdown has been pretty grueling on balance, the surprise is that many of us have realized there are some things about quarantine life that are worth preserving. We’re questioning the very fundamentals of the “normal” we’d all come to unthinkingly accept — and realizing we don’t want to go back, not to that.
For some, going back isn’t even an option. Those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, for example, have suffered a tragic and irrevocable loss. Millions who’ve lost their jobs don’t have any work to go back to, and many essential workers have been working through the pandemic without much choice. Older and immunocompromised people are still advised to stay home.
At the same time, living in quarantine for months has offered some — mostly the privileged among us — a rare opportunity to reflect on our lives and, potentially, to reset them.
Workers whose jobs defined their lives are now asking what all that productivity was for, and whether we really want to measure our self-worth by the yardstick of hypercompetitive capitalism. Many are finding that the things that made them look “successful” actually also made them feel miserable, or precarious, or physically unwell.
Quarantine has allowed them to experiment with new habits and new lifestyles. And they want to keep some of these things going, even in a post-lockdown world.
asked Vox readers to tell me which specific changes they want to maintain as they emerge from quarantine and stumble their way to a new normal. More than 100 people responded across the globe, from the United States to the United Arab Emirates and from Portugal to Pakistan. Some broad trends leaped out in the responses. Below are the eight most common.

1) Reducing consumerism

This was by far the most popular response. Many told me they want to spend less money shopping for new material goods like gadgets and clothes. A long period of being shut in and not spending as much has led to the realization that so much of our consumer behavior is about instant gratification, not lasting happiness.
Several people also noted that they plan to eat out less often at restaurants. Eating in during the lockdown has enabled them to save money, and some have discovered a taste for home-cooked meals.
A few said they’ll look to “mend and make do” more often. In situations where that’s not possible and they’ll have to buy something new, respondents told me they want to be more mindful of where they spend their money.
“I think I will be more inclined to direct my consumption toward small local businesses,” said Nora Zeid, a 23-year-old illustrator and designer in the United Arab Emirates. “It breaks my heart how much they have suffered lately and how, unlike big corporations, they are less likely to survive.”

2) Slowing down and putting less pressure on ourselves

Being stuck in our houses has made many of us realize that we’ve spent years rushing through life, pressuring ourselves to get the “right” jobs and attend the “right” events, even if all that status-chasing was making us miserable.
“Quarantine has forced me to slow down in ways I haven’t since I was a kid. From high school and college, through my 20s and a master’s program, I have been on the go constantly for half my life. I always said I was one who liked to be busy, but the last two months of forced slowdown has really called on me to think about what I want my life to look like moving forward,” said one Vox reader in the US who preferred to remain anonymous. “I’m trying to figure out what it would look like to intentionally build in space in my life to breathe, reflect, and focus on the most important aspects of life — the people around you who make it all worth it.”
Some younger respondents told me they want to put less career pressure on themselves because they now realize work is not what matters most in life. A couple of older adults told me they’d been considering retiring before Covid-19 came around; the pandemic pushed them to finally do it. And even for some who were already retired, the slower pace of life created by the lockdown has come as a relief.
Post-pandemic, the goal will be to “not fill every waking moment with a commitment of some kind,” said Patricia Murray, who lives in Savannah, Georgia. “Even retired persons, like myself, need leisure time. I seem to work as much as a volunteer as I did in paid jobs; slowing down is the biggest change I’ve made and it feels good.”
Again, it’s worth noting that the ability to slow down entails a great deal of privilege. Millions who’ve been pushed out of the workforce wish they could be working more, not less. And some older and immunocompromised people have had to go back to work, even if they don’t feel safe doing so yet, because they need the income and the employer-provided health insurance.

3) Prioritizing family and friends

When the chips are down, you see who really shows up for you. Several people told me they’ve come to appreciate the family members and friends who’ve been there for them during this tough time, and that long after the coronavirus dies down, it’s this group that they want to re-up their investment in.
“Quarantine has reinforced the necessity of telling people how you feel about them,” said Andrew Goldberg, a recent graduate from Syracuse University. “With social distancing and stay-at-home orders in place, it is easier than ever to feel isolated from the world. But as the days stretch into weeks, I’ve decided that the only way I’ll be able to keep my spirits up is by making sure the people I care about know exactly how I feel about them.”
Others emphasized that the bizarre, unprecedented nature of this global pandemic has allowed them to reach out to people they haven’t spoken to in ages. Suddenly they’ve found themselves on Zoom with estranged family members or old college roommates halfway around the world.
“I’ve talked with my older nephews more in the last few weeks than I’ve talked with them in years,” said Nancy Skinner Ringier, a retired speech-language pathologist, adding that they now share recipes and jokes.

4) Ethical action and activism in our highly interconnected world

This was perhaps the most encouraging set of responses: People told me that the global health crisis has shown them how interconnected we all are, and that they want to keep doing more for others after the pandemic ends. They’re donating more to charitable causes, trying harder to reduce their carbon footprint, and engaging in more political activism.
“I’d like to keep my home a headquarters for the three different county mutual aid coalitions I’m affiliated with,” said Erin Brown of Tazewell County, Illinois. “I currently have donations stored here that delivery volunteers and folks in need come to collect. My landline, which is part of my internet package, was never used before but is now a mutual aid contact number. I’m in a good location, near all three of those counties, and I suspect mutual aid will be vital for some time to come.”
The protests against police brutality have also galvanized millions to fight for racial justice.
“For the longest time, I did not keep up with current news. It’s not hard to see why — our world is a shitshow, and my mental health is bad enough as is,” said Adrian DeRoy, a 27-year-old reader in the US. “But the black community rising up yet again to face their challenges made me look, and seeing the world slowly but surely start to fall in step with the protests here, the voices crying out as one ... it gives me some small semblance of hope. Hope that maybe we will get through all this, and come out better than we were before.”

5) Exercising daily

This was another very common response. Many people who weren’t previously into fitness have been getting into running, yoga, and other activities as a way to cope with the lockdown. And they’ve been astounded at how much daily exercise can improve life.
“Desperate for any excuse to leave the house, I’ve finally been able to keep up a daily exercise routine. It’s incredible how much difference even a short jog every morning makes!” Katie Reynolds, a Vox reader in the US, told me. “My sleep is better, my brain feels clearer, my mood is improved, and it feels easier to keep up other good habits. Definitely will be keeping this habit, at least until there’s ice on the ground again.”

6) Baking, vegetarian cooking, and growing herbs

Yes, the sourdough obsession is real. Several people wrote to me in glowing terms about their starters.
“I believe I’ll be keeping my sourdough starter. It’s like another family pet at this point,” said Matthew Schreiber, who lives in New Orleans.
In addition to baking bread, people also mentioned that they plan to keep fermenting things like sauerkraut and generally cooking more of their own meals so they can eat less processed food.
Specifically, people want to cook more vegetarian meals and lean away from meat-eating. The impulse seems to become not only from the fact that there are meat shortages in some US grocery stores but also from the knowledge that a live-animal market in China may have given rise to the coronavirus and that the giant factory farms that supply 99 percent of America’s meat are a pandemic risk, too.
Many also told me they’re enjoying growing herbs like mint and cilantro on their patios, or growing vegetables like celery and scallions in little glasses on their windowsills.
It’s not really surprising that the coronavirus crisis has prompted this reaction. It’s reminiscent of World War I and II, when Americans grew their own fruits and vegetables in “victory gardens.” The back-to-nature impulse offers psychological comfort at a time of great uncertainty, as well as a practical safeguard against supply-chain problems: If the stores run out of food, at least we’ll have our vegetables!

7) Spending more time in nature

Getting outdoors has been, for many of us, a crucial way to maintain our sanity during the lockdown. In particular, parents have wanted to give their cooped-up kids a chance to run around and release some energy (which, frankly, is probably as crucial for the parents’ mental health as for the children’s).
“I have developed a morning routine that involves ‘quiet listening’ on the porch with the kids. It’s a great way to start out calm with my wild little ones,” said Sharon Lapin, a painter in Atlanta.
Others are simply enjoying the chance to reconnect to the natural world. Its rhythms and resilience can help to calm our anxious minds.
“I want to stay in this less distracted zone and enjoy the time I have with my husband by taking advantage of the natural world (hiking, kayaking) and taking trips in our camper,” said Camille Costa Nerney of upstate New York.

8) Working from home, if possible

Lockdowns across the globe led to millions of people suddenly working from home — and guess what? It turns out we can do many jobs just as well in the comfort of our own homes (and sweatpants) as in our offices.
Of course, for many people, this is not an option. It’s a privilege to be able to work from home. That said, the myth that remote work isn’t as practical as a 9-to-5 office job has been proven to be just that: a myth. Some are finding that working from home actually offers unique benefits.
“I’m a counseling psychologist, and I have been doing client work remotely. I think I will keep doing it remotely! It’s quite convenient,” said Raphael Doval-Santos. “My practice also gets to be more global, and my new clients are not just within my city anymore.”
Several respondents said they love no longer having to commute to work. It means no pollution, more sleep, and less stress.
“I actually like this now; it’s better this way,” said Hermee Sorneo, a 36-year-old customer service team leader for a data management company in the Philippines. “There’s so much benefit in working from home, and I think the world should do this voluntarily, with or without pandemic, at least once every 10 years for at least three months.”

The “with or without pandemic” point brings up a key question. Lots of us say we want to maintain our new habits in a post-pandemic world, but will we, really?
As anyone who’s ever tried a New Year’s resolution knows, maintaining new habits is hard. But psychologists who specialize in behavior change say there are things you can do now to make it more likely that you’ll succeed down the line. For instance, you can prime your environment, whether by setting up an automatically recurring monthly donation or putting running shoes by your bed to nudge you to go for that morning run. It’s also good to reward yourself each time you engage in the target behavior — but make it an intrinsic reward, not an extrinsic one. So instead of reaching for a smoothie after every run, pause to savor the extra energy and strength you feel.
Finally, it’s important to note that if you don’t emerge from this pandemic with any great new habits, that is absolutely all right. Sometimes surviving is an accomplishment in itself.
“With my quarantine, good habits came from it. But I want others to know it’s okay if good, bad, or nothing came out of this quarantine,” said Farishta Saifi, a 23-year-old home health aide. “The world is a scary place right now, and just you living another day is excellent enough.”

Monday, July 13, 2020

Gov. Hogan's crazy election plan

      To date, Gov. Hogan has received favorable marks for responsibly handling the Covid-19 response in Maryland.  While not being perfect we have been spared the impact of the virus that has plagued other states.  Hogan has been willing to go in a different direction than the stupidity shown by the Trump Administration.  Apparently now our Governor has decided that moving to just a mail-in vote in November is too much a Democrat method.  Going against the advice of most County election officials the Governor plans to open all voting sites and requiring voters who want to vote by mail to send back an application to vote by mail.  This will require additional expense and effort to election officials that could have been reduced by just mailing everyone the mail-in ballot.  The only possible result of this 2 step method is to reduce the number of people voting by mail.  Having more people vote in person in a pandemic seems to be moving in the direction of the stupidity of the Trump Administration that our Governor has resisted in the past.   With this plan, the Governor has possibly set up a disaster with our vote in November if the virus returns at a level similar to what other states are now experiencing.   If that happens it may be too late to shift to the vote by mail system we should now be working on perfecting.
     
   

Friday, July 10, 2020

Dangers of wearing a mask uncovered!!!!!!!

Thank goodness we have Facebook so that the Fake News can't keep this information from us! This is why President Trump holds his rallies with his supporters not wearing masks.  They are fooled by the Fake News.


Image may contain: text that says 'Bobbi Lottinger an source. masks! COVID FACT surgeons masks EVERY DAY HOURS and within two months of becoming surgeons their brains are so deprived of oxygen breathing in there carbohydrates they drop dead the spot. The government has been hiding the deaths for YEARS because of their lucrative to the mask industry. Look it Can't find stories? THATS GOOD ARE AT HIDING IT WITH THEY'RE HIPPO LAWS. Think about are alive or dead? Now surgeon? EXACTLY. The media doesn't want you to know!!!!!'

Monday, July 6, 2020

Defund the Defense Dept. (Offense Dept.?)

    We are hearing a great deal today about efforts to defund or transfer money from police departments to community services that may be more effective in dealing with many community needs than the police.   One other area that should also be examined today is the number of dollars spent on our Defense Department to keep our citizens safe from foreign threats. Other countries are able to meet the important needs of their citizens better than the United States because they don't spend the amount of money we do on their militaries.  This is one reason why we don't have universal health care or universal free college or universal childcare.  It's our choice.

The United States spends more on defense than the next 10 countries combined

Our underfunded public health system.

NIH funding cut during a pandemic.

Need for infrastructure

Friday, July 3, 2020

Solution to the Washington Redskins naming problem


I solved this problem with an old post that I will share again.

     So the Washington Redskins have a problem with their name being seen as racist or at the very least politically incorrect.  Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stubbornly held to the belief that the name not be changed because of Redskin's tradition and that particular name.  I think I may have a solution that should make everyone happy.  It all has to do with just looking at the naming problem in a different way.   My solution allows the team to keep their name and just change their logo.

Current logo



New logo

PBS National Parks episodes


PBS PREVIEWS: NATIONAL PARKS | Extended Preview | PBS - YouTube

       The one thing I miss with the restrictions we have all endured with the pandemic is not being able to visit our national parks.  For the past 7 years, each Fall meant a visit to some of our national parks.  Fortunately, PBS is re-running the Ken Burns series on our national parks.  Not as good as being there but for the times we are in it is the next best thing.

P.S.
      Of course, I couldn't fail to mention our baffoon of a president is interested in cutting funding for the national parks.  His taste in beauty I guess is more in line with the vulgar decor of Trump Towers.

The Triumph of Tackiness: The Materiality of Trump | Archaeology ...