The lines to get the vaccine is only the latest in 2020 being the year in lines. We have seen the long voting lines and lines for food banks. When a system is set up to receive applications online, like unemployment, we heard the frustration of not being able to login or get someone to answer the phone call-in number. System design always seems to be a couple of steps behind the need for access. The problem with the rollout of Obamacare at the federal level and statewide program in Maryland was similarly inefficient in enrolling new applicants. States that centralized intake and decentralized distribution seem to have vaccinated more people quickly. With the possible need for booster shots and the development of new viruses, the lessons learned with rolling out vaccines quickly hopefully we will have better systems developed to prevent the chaos we have all just lived through.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Americans makeup 4.2 % of the world's population but account for 42% of the guns owned in the world. Americans make up 32% of the mass shootings in the world.
Every time there is another mass shooting the opponents of gun control talk about the problem being related to mental health, video games, or our multi-cultural population. While these issues may be a factor in some cases of mass shootings in the United States the reality is that other countries have the same issues and have far fewer incidents of mass shootings. The only relevant difference is the number of guns, especially assault weapons, with high-capacity magazines owned by Americans.
Background checks and more mental health services may help in a few cases but outlawing AR-15 and other semi-automatic guns with high-capacity magazines will make it harder to kill multiple people.
With each mass shooting, it brings back my memories of landing in Las Vegas in 2017 just 10 hours after a mass shooter killed 59 people and wounded hundreds of others at a concert the night before. Even though the airport was a mile from the stage it was hit with two of the bullets. The stage where the concert was held the night before was still there 10 hours later. The area around the stage still had sheets up as some of the bodies had not been removed from the crime scene.
The window the shooter had used was just boarded up the next morning.
A memorial had already grown in memory of those killed.
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Yesterday was also the 3 year anniversary of attending the March of Our Lives march in DC led by the students from Marjorie Stollman Douglas High School.
Monday, March 22, 2021
I recently heard of a study that showed that 30% of people surveyed said they hadn't used cash in the past 30 days. Some businesses have already gone cashless. Some countries are moving in this direction. This reality made me stop and think of the last time I used cash to pay for something. I couldn't remember the last time. I have been carrying the same $35 in my wallet since I don't remember when. I have carried the same amount of coins in my pocket since last year without using the coins once.
The primary reason I don't use cash is that using a credit card for all purchases is an easy way to track our monthly expenses. I remember when I started doing this years ago and writing down my expenses on a piece of paper when I paid in cash. At the end of the month, I would total the expenses up and enter them in a spreadsheet. I would add the expenses from checks and credit cards and then arrive at our monthly expenses. I finally realized that I could make the process much easier by just using a credit card for the expenses when I was using cash or a check. Having monthly bills automatically paid by a credit card also makes bill paying easier and rarely having to write a check. PayPal makes it easier to send money to people than sending cash or a check through the mail.
It will be a challenge to see if I can go the rest of the year without needing to touch that $35
Saturday, March 20, 2021
For the last year, the United States which should have better prepared to handle a health crisis has been a disaster in addressing the pandemic. We were in the top 10 countries in how poorly we controlled the virus. No other country has approached the 500,000 deaths of the United States. Trump probably wasn't thinking of this when he said we would get tired of winning during his administration.
Now with a different administration in charge, the United States ranks 8th out of 115 countries with the percentage of its population vaccinated. The United States is in the enviable position of being able to offer vaccines to other countries. I think we can all now thank Georgia for giving us back a competent government.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
With an Amazon Photos account each day you receive an email link that shows your photos from that day over the years. In the past couple of weeks, I have noticed something different in my photos from 2020 than my photos from past years. That difference was that the photos from 2020 were just pictures of sunrises, Spring flowers, and blossoms from my morning runs and nothing with people in the photos. This contrasted with photos of other years that had many pictures that included people. March 2020 was a month without "people" photos. It made me reflect on how socially isolated we were in March 2020. We thought we would only have to do this for a month and then our world would open up again. If we knew that we were in for another year of social distancing I think we would have had a collective national case of depression. Here are just a few photos showing the contrast in years.
Pre-pandemic years photos of March
2020 photos of March
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
The Democrat's ticking time bomb is set to go off next year before the 2022 mid-term elections. The $300 a month per child checks to most middle-class families in the stimulus bill is set to expire next year. The Democrats are planning on introducing new legislation to make the $300 payments permanent. This will put the Republicans in the position of having to explain why they didn't vote to continue these payments to families. Not exactly a position any Republican elected official will enjoy facing. Democrat challengers will be sure to point out to voters that most of these elected Republicans voted to make Trump's tax cuts permanent that went mostly to the wealthy but want to take away the benefit that went to low and middle-income families. The Republicans can try to run on their cultural issues such as Dr. Seuss books but taking money away from families will "trump" any obscure cultural issue.
You don't hear too many Republicans still talking about ending Obamacare.
Monday, March 15, 2021
Friday, March 12, 2021
The Charmery ice cream shop opens in the Merriweather District today at 5 pm. It is located at 6000 Merriweather Drive, Suite 185B. Look for it to be crowded. Hope it is as good as it sounds.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Monday, March 8, 2021
It is somewhat ironic that in conservative Republican states, like Texas, these days the right to live your life in a way that makes you more likely to catch the COVID virus and pass it on to others is seen as a right to live your life or die how and when you choose. The "right to die" culture in Texas is strong. "Choose Life" in Texas has nothing to do with abortion these days.
The Washinton Post described it this way:
"At a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock this week, Gov. Greg Abbott (R)proclaimed that he would issue an executive order to open Texas up “100 percent” starting next week — including, as he told a cheering crowd, ending a statewide mask mandate. “People and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate,” he said.
Last March, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that grandparents in Texas should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the state’s economy. When Abbott reopened the state in May, the move quickly resulted in a spike of cases, and he was forced to backtrack."
The next thing we will hear from Gov. Abbott is that everyone in Texas has a right to freeze in the winter if that is what they want rather than have to government tell them how to winterize their energy grid.
Maryland has to be cautious in reopening as we are only one of two states, Florida being the other one, that has recorded one case of all 3 of the variant strains of the virus. Since the variants are the cause of most of the concern about the spread of the virus it might make sense to prioritize the distribution of the vaccines to those areas with the highest rate of the variants beyond what would be allocated based on population alone. Microtargeting of the vaccine distribution would make sense if we had a rational federal response to vaccine distribution. Unfortunately the virus is able to move faster than our uncoordinated governmental actions.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
-1993 Clinton budget/tax deal [which led to budget surpluses]: zero Republican votes in House, zero in Senate. -2010 Obamacare [now popular]: zero Republicans in House, zero in Senate. -2021 Biden COVID Relief bill: zero Republicans in House, zero in Senate.
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Friday, March 5, 2021
The Maryland Vaccine Finders Facebook group has become so popular (57,000 and growing) that they have changed some of their posting rules. They were overwhelmed with postings about where appointments were available and have now encouraged people to use a spreadsheet that they have developed to find an appointment. #hocoblogs
For those under 65 looking for an appointment, Pennsylvania has appointments for persons 18-64 with the following conditions. Not sure how they check on any of these conditions like obesity or smoking. Maybe you could have someone blow cigarette smoke on you before your appointment! Rite Aid pharmacies right over the state line are giving appointments to Maryland residents.
- Persons ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Thursday, March 4, 2021
The Columbia Association announced that the Haven on the Lake will close after April 30th. The pandemic was the final nail in the coffin of this effort by CA to develop a spa-like retreat in Town Center. The concept has always been controversial in its viability hence the label of "Mistake on the Lake" by opponents of CA using its money on what was directed to such a narrow group of CA members.
This is not the first time that trouble has found the Haven. Three years ago the Still Point spa inside the Haven sued CA over a dispute with the revenue sharing between the two entities.
The Columbia Association will be facing some significant budget reductions caused by a loss of revenue from the shut down of its facilities in 2020 because of the pandemic and many members going on a $10 maintenance status. Only 15 pools will be open this summer and CA has had to significantly reduce its workforce to absorb the loss of revenue. With the closing of schools, the revenue from the after-school program operated by CA was lost.
At this time the Columbia Association is currently recruiting for a new President/CEO. That person will be starting at CA at one of the most challenging times in CA's history.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Is it any surprise that the Texas government that didn't require the power grid to be winterized is the same government that is no longer mandating masks? Maybe it is time to stop sending bottled water to Texas and now send more medical personnel. Seems like a death cult state to me.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
A Runic symbol used at the right-wing demonstrations in Charlottesville a few years ago. The use of the Nordic symbols is a reminder of the desire of the Nazis to create an Aryan race.
So that brings us to the CPAC conference last weekend and the floor design for the conference. I don't often follow conspiratorial theories but was that design a deliberate message to right-wing racists? Given that CPAC has many right-wing supporters if it wasn't deliberate shouldn't someone have raised a "red flag" about the floor design?