Random musings of one Columbian, a place to connect and to learn more about issues and events in Howard County. If you would like to have me blog on an issue, organization or an upcoming community service event email me at email@example.com To follow HoCo Connect by email enter your email below.
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Thursday, December 30, 2021
Never more true
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Birds of a feather flock together
We now see Trump fleecing his followers using his stolen election lie. He no longer is able to support his lifestyle by branding his now-discredited name. Trump is only following a long line of TV evangelists who have been doing the same thing to the same people for a long time. Here is one of those whom Trump is modeling.
We all just knew this existed. Fox News is on the case.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Vandals strike again
The Columbia Association put up signs for bikers that the wooden bridges were slippery when wet. It only took vandals 2 days to spray paint the signs. Jerks.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Student arrested at Reservoir High School having brought a loaded gun to school
It was only a matter of time until we had an incident like what happened yesterday at Reservoir High School with a student with a loaded gun. While the specifics of the situation are still developing we need to recognize how many guns are too frequently carried in our community. While Maryland has more laws regulating how guns can be carried than other states we shouldn't be surprised that a juvenile was able to obtain possession of a loaded unregistered gun. This past weekend we saw 2 people killed in a murder/suicide in Kings Contrivance. We have 120 guns for every 100 people in the United States. We would be shocked if we knew how many Howard County residents owned legal semi-automatic weapons. Unfortunately, the attribute our country is known for is the "land of an armed citizenry."
Friday, December 10, 2021
Thursday, December 9, 2021
When individual rights conflicts with social responsibility
The pandemic in the United States has clearly shown how the conflict between respecting individual liberty and having a social conscience has meant that we pay a terrible cost in COVID deaths. We are a country with enormous health resources yet we are the country with the highest death count. It is frustrating to many of us that we need to have mandates to force people to take a vaccine that can save their life and the lives of others in their community. Our personal liberty should not supersede our social responsibility when we are talking about a virus that is easily transmitted from one person to another.
This conflict also applies to a person's right to own a semi-automatic weapon that was designed as a weapon of war. The danger to society of such weapons being used in mass killings should override an individual's right to possess a gun. Why do we outlaw machine guns and grenades and not semi-automatic weapons?
Individual liberties have to always be balanced with social risk. Liberties should never be viewed as absolute.
Friday, December 3, 2021
We are living with the compromises of our Founding Fathers
Listening to the presentations before the Supreme Court this week on Roe v. Wade I couldn't help but think about how decisions made 250 years ago played into what I was hearing. The Founding Fathers' concerns about the ability of the common man to determine who would be elected president established the Electoral College as a guard against the misinformed general electorate. This has led to the election in the past 20 years to the election of 2 presidents that lost the popular vote. Trump's minority vote election allowed the appointment of 3 justices who reflect the view on abortion of 39 percent of the American people. We will see how taking a right away that is supported by almost two-thirds of the American people plays out in the future.
When we see a Senate the has senators from states that represent 12 percent of the US population (from mostly conservative states) able to stop the senators from states representing 88 percent of the US population from passing legislation you can see the advantage that conservatives have in the Senate. We daily see Sen. Manchin from West Virginia that has 0.5 percent of the US population determining what type of legislation gets passed for the other 99.5 percent of the population.
We daily see how far we are from majority rule that is the basis of any democracy.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Latest COVID Metrics
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Giving Tuesday suggestions
This Giving Tuesday is a great time to show the Howard County General Hospital how much we value what they have been through the past almost two years with a pandemic. The Hospital Foundation funds a wide variety of needs of the Hospital and its staff.
The Fostering Futures program of Voices of Howard County supports youth aging out of foster care. Without support from programs like this, the transition to independent living can be challenging.
There are two agencies in Howard County that touch more people in need than any others in our County. Those two agencies are Grassroots and Community Action Council.
I hope you consider donations to any or all of these community organizations.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
The pandemic has changed the way we view working in an office
One of the most significant cultural changes that the pandemic has created is the need to work full time in an office. While many workers in the tech field have the capability to work remotely, many other workers in more traditional jobs have found out that it is only necessary to work part-time in the office while working remotely other days of the week. The need to have everyone in the office every day has been shown to be unnecessary for most employers. Overlapping employees one day a week, usually on Wednesday, seems to meet the need for general staff meetings. Online technology has made collaborative work easy for employees working remotely.
The greatest benefit to remote work is a much greater work/life balance. Not having to commute to work and spending 1-2 hours a day in your car on a crowded highway is a considerable benefit for many employees. Seeing your kids off to school and not rushing home for family dinners is a nice benefit. Doing shopping during the day instead of more crowded weekend days is also a benefit. Not having to spend considerable money on gas, work clothes, and dry cleaning is a considerable cost saving.
I experienced this work transition when I retired from working in an office to doing consulting from home 17 years ago. The technology that we have today was nothing like what is available now. Not everyone had an email address and a great deal of business was still done over the phone. Phone conference calls were no substitute for Zoom calls. Business meetings were not held in my home office but at local Starbucks and Panera Breads. People loved getting out of the office to meet me over breakfast or a cup of coffee than in their offices. I quickly noticed how much more productive I was without the interruptions that frequently occurred in the office. It wasn't unusual for casual conversations with co-workers to waste 1-2 hours of the workday. The number of unproductive meetings that were held just because they had always been held was eliminated. I can remember having general and program staff meetings every week that never produced anything of significance other than being a time-waster.
Finally, the biggest benefit of remote work is not being tied to having to live in a location that is close to your workplace. What to live at the shore or the mountains and yet work for a company located in a city? No problem if you only have to show up in the office occasionally. Why have to wait till you retire to live where you want? Why only have the chance to go on vacation 2 weeks a year when you can do your job at a vacation resort just as easily as when you are at home? Talk about a silver lining to a pandemic!
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Something to realize about COVID
From the Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook page:
This is what the cases and hospitalizations look like in Vermont, which has currently fully-vaccinated 72% of its population against COVID-19. It has the highest vaccination rate of any state in America. Almost nobody in the state of Vermont that is fully-vaccinated is getting hospitalized or dying due to COVID-19 (far less than 1%).
Hospitalizations are nearing record highs, and they're being driven by just 28% of the state's population, the 28% that remain unvaccinated. Hospitalizations were lower one year ago when nobody had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Something to think about.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Don't forget trash and recycle days slide this week starting tomorrow
With Thanksgiving trash and recycle days slide one day starting tomorrow. The days don't slide for Christmas and New Year's because they both fall on a weekend day this year.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Latest COVID stats
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Did you miss the big moment in American history that was made yesterday?
Friday, November 19, 2021
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Tree lighting and other holiday events at Merriweather District this week
From the Columbia Patch:
HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Usher in the holiday season with an interactive tree lighting ceremony and the opening of the Color Burst Ice Rink this week. On Nov. 19, Merriweather District's Color Burst Park will be transformed into a holiday spectacle centered around the Color Burst Ice Rink, following its initial unveiling last winter. Guests also can experience Merriweather District's first-annual tree lighting celebration, which will feature festive installations, free hot cocoa with a plethora of fun toppings, seasonal crafts and more. The tree will be next to Color Burst Ice Rink, giving walkers and skaters alike a great view.
The centerpiece of this year's tree lighting features a 30-member vocal ensemble with a rhythm section led by Jonathon Ball. The performance will feature holiday favorites, original seasonal arrangements and culminate with a drum line for the actual tree lighting. Emmy-nominated Ball is one of the nation's leading vocal directors having worked with artists ranging from Jennifer Hudson to the Platt Brothers.
In December, guests are invited to enjoy the first-ever Merriweather District Holiday Market decked out in holiday decor, lined with a variety of local vendors and artisans to shop for gifts, and brought to life with live musical entertainment and more for guests to explore.
Monday, November 15, 2021
Latest COVID -19 stats show a trend upwards in Howard County
Sunday, November 14, 2021
It's beginning to look a lot like holiday time
In years past the holiday drinks arriving at Starbucks has marked the beginning of the holiday season for me. Chestnut Praline and Caramel Brulee Lattes always put me in the holiday spirit. After last year when the holiday season was one of isolation and missed holiday celebrations, I am ready to expand the time of holiday celebrations this year. The vaccinations have given us some sense of resuming more normal activities and even though we still take precautions such as smaller family and friends parties it will seem more like a normal holiday season and frequent visits to Starbucks.
Friday, November 12, 2021
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Will Howard County ever get to elect a homegrown Congressperson
With the 2020 census, the map of Maryland Congressional Districts is being redrawn. There are a few different maps being considered. Most have Howard County lumped together with Ann Arundel County. Over the 40+ years, I have lived in Howard County we have been divided up among other areas and never kept whole in any significant manner. Being centrally located in the State we were easy to carve up with other geographic areas. East Columbia and West Columbia were often in different Congressional districts. For the first few years in the 1980s, we were in the Congressional District with Rep. Byron from Western Maryland. At the time Howard County was still a conservative county so having us in another conservative district made sense. As Howard County became more liberal we were carved up with Baltimore City Congressional Districts. We were represented for a time with Congressman Cummings and now currently Rep. Sarbanes.
If the final map shown above is adopted we will be kept whole as a County even if we are lumped together with Ann Arundel County that has more similar demographics than we have with Baltimore City or Western Maryland. With 250,000 more residents than Howard County, Ann Arundel County still will have an advantage in having one of their homegrown politicians become our Congressional Representative. In spite of this advantage for Ann Arundel County, we might have a better shot at having one of our politicians represent us in the future.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
COVID is more easily transmitted in areas that are more densely populated. Remember how bad it was in New York City in early 2020? So how come the map of transmission in Maryland shows the rural counties having the highest transmission rate and the more densely populated counties having the lower transmission rates? Live free and die??