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 firstname.lastname@example.org To follow HoCo Connect by email enter your email below.
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Saturday, December 24, 2022
Holiday weekend funnies
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Fox News, i.e. Russian TV, response to Zelinsky's appearance before Congress
I had to check out Tucker Carlson's response to Zelinsky's speech to see how he would give the Russian response to the speech. If you haven't been following Tucker you may not be aware of how the Russians have been replaying his show to support their efforts in Ukraine. Tucker has a long history of favoring dictators like Putin over democratically elected leaders. It may not be clear how a conservative American TV network has become a vehicle for Russian propaganda. Remember when conservatives were the most anti-Russian zealots? Is the only way for conservatives to remain in control as the population demographics work against them is to turn into an anti-democratic authoritarian political group? Maybe the January 6th assault on the Capitol should have shown that is where a significant part of our population is today. Tucker is playing to that base in his show.
Let's not forget how Trump was willing to believe Putin over his own advisors. Or how he got impeached for trying to trade American arms for dirt on a political rival. Could we imagine how our support for Ukraine would be if Trump was still President?
Friday, December 16, 2022
Thank you Justice Thomas
It only took a comment by Justice Thomas about revisiting the rulings on Marriage Equality and other settled cases for Congress to move to pass a law protecting gay marriage and interracial marriage. Ironically by including interracial marriage in the legislation it points out the hypocrisy of Thomas who is in an interracial marriage. He conveniently left out the "Loving" ruling on interracial marriage in cases to review. Typical of conservatives who can only identify with issues that impact them directly. Developing a social conscience makes you a liberal.
Friday, December 9, 2022
All things British
The United States isn't in the British Commonwealth so the British royal family doesn't have any official role in our government but you would never know this by the recent attention to the Queen's funeral or the interest in the Crown on Netflix. Now, this week we have the new Netflix show on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Reportedly they received $100 million dollars to do this series. The drama in the royal family is a soap opera of which many Americans can't get enough.
What is so fascinating about watching the royal family is how they have to struggle with the changes happening modern world when they try to uphold traditions that are centuries old. We can see this in who royals can now marry. Queen Elizabeth had to marry a royal, Charles first had to marry someone with some royal background, then married a non-virgin divorcee, William married a commoner and Harry married an American. All this happened over the past 70 years.
There is a parallel between what Diana showed in an episode of the Crown and what Harry and Meghan talked about in their series. Both pulled back the curtain on how dysfunctional the royal family is in a changing world. Diana talked about her marriage being a sham and was a bombshell to the image of the royal family. In the Harry and Meghan Netflix series, there are again hints of a strained family relationship in the royal family. The consequences for Harry and Meghan may be far-reaching with this series. Harry talks often of his Mother Diana but nothing about his Father the King. Apparently, the strain happened when King Charles wondered how "dark-skinned" their children might be. There are many mentions of the undercurrent of racism in the royal family and British culture. The opposition to immigration of non-white people and white nationalism is on the rise in Britain as it is in this Country. When the non-white populations of the Commonwealth moved to Britain in the past 50 years the pushback has been strong.
The rate of change in our modern world has created problems for institutions designed to uphold traditional values. What used to change over centuries now happens over decades or just years. There is no better example of this than in organized religions and especially the Catholic Church. The decline in religious belief has been happening at a rapid pace. The younger populations in the US and Western Europe have become more secular than the previous generations as the rate of higher education has increased. The Catholic Church has had to look to the Third World to increase its declining numbers. Many of us see this trend as a positive as the influence of religion on humanity has more often been a negative force than a positive one. The sex scandals of organized male-dominated religions are inevitable in institutions that carry on the traditions of a world that was relevant centuries ago.
So what's ahead for the British royal family? I am not sure how quickly things will change but I would expect that there will be a considerable downsizing of estates and government support for the royal family. They might come to resemble more like the other European royal families who live more of a commoner life than a royal life. Harry and Meghan might be the first step in this direction.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Merriweather Holiday Mart
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Something Columbia is missing at Holiday time
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Maryland will never look the same
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Campaigning today with our next Governor, Wes Moore
Today was extra exciting when I got to attend a rally for Wes Moore in Howard County on election day. Wes will be a dynamic Governor for Maryland and bring national attention to our State. Someday he may even be the first President from Maryland!
What made the day even more special was Starbucks now having its holiday lattes. Chesnut Praline is my favorite.
Monday, November 7, 2022
As we approach the 4th year of the COVID pandemic (or whatever it is now) it is time to admit that it has moved into the background of our life. I have stopped checking the daily numbers of people infected and the daily death count. Since I have had ALL the recommended boosters I have stopped wearing a mask when I go into public places. While I still hear of people with bad cases of the latest strain of COVID I no longer feel that I want to restrict my life in the ways that I did when we thought it would run its course in a limited amount of time. COVID is now just one of the risks we live with every day like driving a car or having our identity stolen. While we try to avoid the dangers of daily life we don't restrict our daily activities because of the dangers.
The new reality is that humans have moved into other animal habitats that now bring the likely animal-to-human transmission of the viruses more likely. Science will hopefully develop methods to address this reality so that it doesn't create another pandemic every few years. I just wouldn't bet against the viruses.
Saturday, November 5, 2022
Thursday, November 3, 2022
Something a little lighter for today
The political climate these days makes me wonder what happened to civility in our Country. Going through some of my posts yesterday I noticed that most of my posts from my first year were non-political. That is something hard for me to continue but for today I want to link to a story that was in one of my 2012 posts, my first year blogging.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
The apple doesn't fall fall far from the tree
This was the tweet that Donald Trump Jr. retweeted for Halloween.
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Want to feel insignificant?
Click on this link and see an image of the Milky Way taken by the Webb telescope. Zoom in on the image to see some of the millions of stars of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is just one of the billions of galaxies that we know of in the Universe.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Two progressive pandemic programs come to an end
If you are looking for a silver lining to the pandemic you can look at the child poverty rate drop during the pandemic that was the result of the child tax credit that was paid out each month and the school lunches being provided to all children regardless of income. You just knew that Republicans and conservative Democrats would never allow these two progressive programs to continue. The next time a Republican talks about being pro-family mention this reality. Don't expect the party of Lincoln to suddenly grow a social conscience.
I have said it before but Republicans being pro-family ends at birth.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
The reality of the politics of crime
If you listen to a major talking point of Republican candidates crime in liberal cities is caused by being too permissive of criminals. Fox News has one story after another of horrible crimes in our large cities. You would think that Republican cities don't have the same level of crime but you would be wrong. The reality is that Republican leaders are worse at controlling crime than Democrat-led cities. Here is the fact to use with your Republican Fox viewers.
The other talking point that Republicans have this election cycle is blaming the Democrats for inflation. What isn't being asked of Republicans is what would they do to quickly bring down inflation. Cutting taxes seems to be the only Republican policy response to any problem.
Monday, October 24, 2022
Breakfast wildlife entertainment
One of the most enjoyable features of Columbia is the wildlife that we see out of our breakfast window. As the seasons change we see different animal patterns. It is just like viewing a nature show in real-time. This past year has been amazing in viewing the show. We have rain gardens and other flowers in our front yard and compost in the back that the animals have found. Here is a sample of what we have seen.
Saturday, October 22, 2022
New restaurants in the Merriweather District
Remember when the only place in Columbia to find a restaurant was at the Village Center and the Mall? Now we have every restaurant imaginable. Here are the new restaurants in the Merriweather District.
Friday, October 21, 2022
Thursday, October 13, 2022
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Columbia named "safest" city in the United States
Wallet Hub (not sure who they are) has rated Columbia as the safest city in the United States. While we can all feel relatively safe in our town it doesn't mean that we don't see some of the guns and violence that other cities experience but this recent shooting means we aren't immune from violence.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
New bike lane on Oakland Mills Road almost done
The past few months have seen the addition of a new bike lane on Oakland Mills Rd. This is probably the first of hopefully more lanes that make biking more available around Columbia. Maybe Dobbin Rd and others can follow this example. Sidewalks on Dobbin are long overdue on Dobbin too. Here is a video of the new bike land from Ben Sussman.
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Gov. DeSantis political trick of sending migrants north has a precedent from the racist past
Listen to an NPR story of the 1962 southern effort to ship African-Americans north to meet President Kennedy. Racism still stains our American story. They now have a political party to advance their racism.
Saturday, September 10, 2022
If only Melania acted like this!
The driver says, 'Gee, officer, I had it on cruise control at 60; perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating. '
As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls,
'Can't you please keep your mouth shut for once !! ?'
As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth,
“Woman, can't you keep your mouth shut?”
The officer frowns and says,
That's an automatic fine.”
The wife says,
And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket, the driver turns to his wife and barks,
The officer looks over at the woman and asks,
(I love this part)
“Only when he's been drinking.”
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Good times remembered
Watching the unveiling of their White House portraits yesterday reminded me how lucky we were to have these two amazing people residing in the White House for 8 years. I kept wondering who the unlucky President would be to have to host Donald and Melania for their portrait unveiling. Will Trump's portrait be his mugshot?
Monday, September 5, 2022
When you empty out a biker bar for your rally
It seems that the guy with the "Blacks for Trump" t-shirt goes to all the Trump rallies.
Friday, September 2, 2022
Friday, August 26, 2022
The new way to cover up you are a bigot
The right wing has developed many ways to cover up being a bigot. Being part of the Moral Majority sounded more positive than being against civil rights and being "pro-family" sounded more positive than being against gay rights. The Right would have you believe that being against taking down Confederate statues was not about slavery and racism but supporting "heritage."
The newest spin of this is being against "wokeness." This trend may have originated in the US but it seems to have been picked up in many other countries. Just what is the right against? Here is the definition of wokeness:
"a state of being aware, especially of social problems such as racism and inequality. Wokeness encompasses the need to search for more knowledge, understanding, and truth in order to challenge injustice."
The next time you hear a politician speak against "wokeness" remember what they are really against.