Search This Blog

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Let's get the Post Office out of the business of supplying ballots or delivering them to be counted


     Most of us that did the mail-in ballot this year got the ballot in the mail.  But you could have received it in an email and printed it out yourself and took it to one of the election drop boxes.  No need to worry about a partisan Postmaster General Dejoy paying politics with the mail. Why can't we have these drop boxes at every polling place that would take away the need for early voting?  Why are the home-printed ballots counted after all the other ballots?  Can't the internet printed ballots be individually barcoded to prevent duplicate voting?


      Postmaster Dejoy has shown us that there is nothing that a corrupt President like Trump won't be willing to corrupt to his benefit.  The post-Trump reforms should take up much of the time in a post-Trump Congress.  The first reform should be that a President can be indicted in a crime and if convicted they must resign.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Thoughts on 2020

 1.  The dumbest thing I did this year was to buy a 2020 planner

2. I never thought the phrase " I wouldn't them with a 6-foot pole" would become a national policy

3. The days of the week are called this day, that day, the other day, someday, yesterday, tomorrow and the next day

4. I can't believe that some people's survival instincts are to grab as much toilet paper as possible.

5.  In March if I knew it was the last time I would eat in a restaurant I would have ordered dessert

Thursday, October 29, 2020

When Maryland is doing something with Mississippi you know it isn't something good


   We have all heard how this election night will be different this year than others because we probably won't have a winner announced until after a few days with all the mail in votes being counted differently.   With mail in voting now becoming a more popular way to vote we will probably see this as the way that the majority of voters vote in the future.  We also have to stop calling these ballots absentee ballots as most states now don't require a reason to request one of these ballots.  States have to recognize this new reality and start tabulating these ballots as they come in.  With in-person, same-day voting becoming a smaller part of the electorate we should have tabulations much sooner than in the past.  So with this reality why does Maryland wait to start counting these mail in votes until the close of the polls? I know that no one is holding their breath for the Maryland results because we are not a swing state but in the future when we have state offices up for grabs it might nice to have a final count quickly.  Hopefully, this can be the last time we are ever mentioned in the same breath as Mississippi. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Trump got his travel ban only its Americans banned


    When you look at the Johns Hopkins University map above about the difference in the number of COVID-19 cases between Canada and the United States you can see why they won't be letting Americans into Canada anytime soon.  You couldn't draw a more perfect borderline between the countries than the line where the cases diverge. This year we saw the only Canadian baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, have to play their home games in Buffalo because Canada wouldn't let American teams travel to Canada.  How does it feel to be the outcast of the World?


    When I hear Trump saying that "we have rounded the corner on the virus" I remember American leaders saying the same thing about how we were doing in Vietnam.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Trump's handling of COVID-19 has led to 130,000-210,00 American deaths

    It is generally assumed that Donald Trump will go down in American history as the worst American president by a large margin.  Once the partisanship of our current times is past the excess deaths caused by his actions and inactions will be the thing that will have people wondering how he was ever allowed to lead our Country.   Republican/conservative philosophy of minimal federal government action is deadly in a time of a pandemic.  It has led to a tidal wave of dead Americans of which Trump still wants to wish away.  Never go into a battle with a narcissist.

    Now a Columbia University report has attempted to quantify the number of deaths in the United States in excess of what would have been if we had acted differently.  Here is just the introduction to that report:  

    "This report looks at the staggering and disproportionate nature of COVID-19 fatalities in the United States, which now ranks first in the world in the total number of fatalities, to estimate how many deaths were “avoidable.” With more than 217,000 lives lost, and a proportional mortality rate twice that of neighboring Canada and more than fifty times that of Japan -- a country with a much older population than the U.S. – the United States has turned a global crisis into a devastating tragedy. Through comparative analysis and applying proportional mortality rates, we estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership. Even with the dramatic recent appearance of new COVID-19 waves globally, the abject failures of the U.S. government policies and crisis messaging persist. U.S. fatalities have remained disproportionately high throughout the pandemic when compared to even other high-mortality countries. The inability of the U.S. to mitigate the pandemic is especially stark when contrasted with the response of high-income nations, such as South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada, as well as low- and middle-income countries as varied as Thailand, Pakistan, Honduras, and Malaysia. All of these nations have had greater success in protecting their populations from the impact of the coronavirus. Given the United States’ unique social and political realities, we recognize that it might have been particularly challenging to implement the same caliber of response as South Korea and Japan, both of which maintain centralized unitary governments. Nonetheless, the range of “avoidable deaths” outlined above stems from data illustrating how some of the best-performing nations have achieved much greater results in protecting their populations."


    I could help but think this after hearing Chris Christe say he should have worn a mask at the ceremony introducing the new Supreme Court nominee.  Here is how someone expressed it. "Like most Republicans on virtually any topic, I didn't care about this issue until it affected me personally. I will now speak out, pretending to have seen the light of bipartisanship and science, but in fact, I am the same selfish man I have always been and am only alive because of resources I have actively sought to take from others."

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Trump spreads the virus in the "Senior Disneyland"


    After watching Trump go to The Villages in Florida yesterday we should all be glad that Maryland isn't a swing state that Trump would visit on his "virus spreading tour."  Look for the virus to increase in this senior citizen community over the next few weeks.  Having spent time at The Villages a couple of years ago it was strange to not see children or younger adults except at the commercial establishments. Younger people drive into work and then drive out at night.  As The Villages have grown larger this becomes more of a problem and the newest Village being built will take younger people.  While people from all over the US and Canada move to The Villages it seems to attract many residents moving from conservative parts of the Midwest.   When I played pickleball there (The Villages has been the largest reason pickleball has grown so popular) I frequently asked where people were from.  Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois were frequently mentioned.  Midwestern winters can cause people to look for warmer climates.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The consequences of making wearing a mask a political statement

    For Trump and the Republican governors who have followed his lead on not encouraging the wearing of masks the Washington Post today had a graph that showed how this has played out among states with Republican and Democrat governors. Notice as you move right on the chart below you find that in those states where mask-wearing is higher fewer people know someone who has shown signs of having COVID-19.  Not surprisingly the highest incidence of the virus is in North and South Dakota that have Republican governors who have followed Trump's lead on downplaying the virus and had the largest super-spreading event with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  The virus seems to love people underestimating its power to devastate vulnerable people.   Republican governors have failed in the most important job they have in protecting the citizens they represent. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Letting the beliefs of the 18th Century be your guide

   I have often wondered how the "strict constructionists" hold that position when many of the original signers of the Constitution were slave owners and would never allow a woman to be an officeholder or a judge.   I kept waiting for this question to be asked in the Barrett confirmation hearings.  If you want to live in the past you should at least be consistent in your beliefs and accept all the beliefs of men from the 18th Century that you cherish.  Why would anyone want to stop the clock at 1787 on our political thought in today's world?

Monday, October 19, 2020

A tale of two national elections: New Zealand and the United States


        Yesterday New Zealand a country of 5 million again reported no cases of COVID-19.  The White House where 377 people work has reported 34 positive cases.  Nothing shows more about why the Prime Minister of New Zealand just got re-elected in a landslide and the American President is looking at losing in a landslide.  One country followed the science on how to address the spread of the virus and another that followed a baffoon.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Cove Fort- There really is a fort there


   We have probably all seen the sign at the eastern terminus of Route 70 in Baltimore that lists the distance to cities along Route 70 going west.  All of the cities listed are well known but one that is not is Cove Fort.  Where is Cove Fort?  Is there really a fort there?

    A couple of years ago in Utah, I happened to see the sign for Cove Fort and I had to get off to check out the place. It is the western terminus of Route 70. The picture above is of the fort that was built by the Mormons as a stopover on the trail they used to get to Salt Lake City.  Not much to look at as it was abandoned many years ago.  But now you have some background on the place the next time you see that sign.


    The back story to the sign.

Weekend funnies


Friday, October 16, 2020

Visual of the next Darwin Award

 Trump rally

        A Trump rally with many supporters not wearing masks or socially distancing is my vote for the next Darwin Award.   Heck, everything about Trump is worthy of the Award.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Country is turning "red"


  While some areas like ours have made wearing masks common other "red" states have made it a political issue of "personal liberty."  The consequences are seen in the following link that shows how the virus has been impacting the red states more than the blue states over the past few months.

     Watch how Maryland drops off the moving chart.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Did Socialist Bernie get the Democratic nomination?

       Apparently, the Republican Party gets to pick which candidate they choose to run against.  Listening to Trump you would think that Bernie Sanders won the Democratic nomination.  We all know that Trump and his friend Putin wanted a socialist like Sanders to get the nomination and when he didn't get that they just seem to ignore the fact.

      The Republicans have been calling progressive legislation socialist for over 100 years.  What really bothers the conservative Republicans is that they keep losing in the long run.  Times change and progressives adapt while conservatives pine for "the way it used to be." Yesterday ain't coming back or as the Clinton campaign theme song goes "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow." Conservatives want life to be simple (minded?) and static and progressives recognize that life is complex and changing.


     Good article by Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post on the choices we have today.


     Republicans want Joe Biden to answer if he will be willing to "pack the Court" if he is elected. Not much different than the right of Amy Cony Barrett to not answer if she will vote to overrule Roe vs. Wade or kill Obamacare.  Don't we all know what their answers would be?  It is like when someone says that they can't remember something so they don't get caught lying about something of which they are guilty. 

Latest COVID-19 data for Howard County



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Is something missing?

     Trump keeps updating us on how great he is feeling.  Have you noticed he hasn't said anything about how Melania is doing? 

2 Howard County Library employees test positive for COVID-19

 From the Columbia Patch:

"The Howard County Library System has been notified that two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The county department of health is conducting contact tracing. According to the library system, there are no reports that other staff or members of the public have been exposed.

HCLS branches are open only for contactless pickup of materials and members of the public have not been in physical contact with staff. Out of an abundance of caution, the Elkridge and Miller branches will be closed for cleaning Saturday and Sunday. Customers who had appointments for contactless pickup during the closure can pick up their items Sunday and do not need to schedule a new pickup time.

According to the library, customers should not be at risk because staff wear masks while handling materials."

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Weekend funnies


Biden in debate prep leaving no problem unplanned


Lesson learned from the 1918 pandemic


    I have been re-reading "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Greatest Pandemic in History."  The book was written in 2017 and little did the author know the relevance to our situation 3 years hence.  The parallels to our present pandemic are unnerving.  The mistakes made on not social distancing and our leaders discounting the seriousness of the virus have existed in both pandemics.  The book lists this as the biggest takeaway from the 1918 pandemic:

     "In 1918 the lies of officials and of the press never allowed the terror to condense into the concrete.  The public could trust nothing and so they knew nothing.  Society is, ultimately, based on trust; as trust broke down, people became alienated not only from those in authority but from each other.  Those in authority must retain public trust.  The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one."

    The Trump administration's misinformation and outright lies show that the lessons of 1918 were not learned by the spin put out by our present administration.

Monday, October 5, 2020

McCain revenge


An extrovert's take on a loss in a pandemic

    One of life's pleasures is to experience new random social contacts with people.  For me, every person is a possible interesting contact that can enrich one's life.  These days I miss being friendly with people who I randomly pass.  During my morning runs, I always try to look at people and smile just to see their reaction.  In the past, that may have brought on a smile or a hello from the person I passed.  Since the pandemic, we have told to socially distance.  I have noticed how much people avoid my eye contact.  Often people deliberately go around me in a wide circle to keep as much distance from me as possible.  I know that what they are doing is for both of our benefits but it still makes me feel sad that they might see me as someone to avoid.   

    Smiling at children in the checkout line or making funny faces at them to get them to laugh is no longer accepted as behavior appropriate in a time of avoiding social contact.

    I really look forward to a time when shaking a hand or greeting a friend with a hug is considered safe again.  Or getting a giggle out of a child in the grocery store.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Be careful when you mock someone!

     Words matter.

Drop boxes for ballots now available for ballot dropoff


The following six (6) drop-off locations are now open in HC 24/7 from Wednesday, September 30th - November 3rd at 8:00 p.m. Ballots will be collected by local Board of Elections officials twice daily.
Howard County Board of Elections - 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia
*Long Reach High School - 6101 Old Dobbin Road, Columbia
*Marriotts Ridge High School - 12100 Woodford Road, Marriottsville
*Meadowbrook Athletic Complex - 5001 Meadowbrook Lane, Ellicott City
*Reservoir High School - 11550 Scaggsville Road, Fulton
*Wilde Lake High School - 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia
*these five (5) sites are also designated as Early Voting Centers - available to any HoCo voter from 7 am: 8 pm beginning October 26th:November 2 - and also on Election Day, November 3rd.
Three (3) additional sites are scheduled for drop box placement between October 15-17:
+Elkridge Landing Middle School - 7085 Montgomery Road, Elkridge
+Laurel Woods Elementary School - 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
+Lisbon Elementary School - 15901 Frederick Road, Lisbon
+these three (3) sites join an additional nine (9) Election Day-only Voting Centers, which - when added to the five (5) Early Voting Centers - bring the total in-person voting sites open to all HoCo voters on November 3rd to seventeen (17).
Transmission of approximately 1.1 million mail-in ballots - already requested by MD voters - began September 24th. The application DEADLINE for a mail-in ballot from the Board of Elections - online, by texting VBM to 77788, or via the application sent to registered MD voters at the end of August - is OCTOBER 20th. Go to ELECTIONS.MD.GOV for instructions and further information.
REMEMBER: you must use BLACK ink to mark your mail-in ballot and sign the OATH before mailing in or dropping off your completed & sealed ballot if your vote is to be counted.