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.
Search This Blog
Monday, March 28, 2022
Out of the mouths of babes
Sunday, March 27, 2022
Night out at the Robinson Nature Center
As we get back to having some normalcy to our lives we might consider a "Night Out at the Robinson Nature Center." This evening gives you a chance to experience this community resource and participate in some interesting programs and learn a little. Here is the information on the evening.
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Question that may define where the Ukrainian conflict ends
Are the Russian citizens willing to allow their leader to turn Russia into North Korea? That is where they are headed.
Friday, March 25, 2022
US population growth slowest in many years
The US Census is starting to release some information from the 2020 Census. This may be the last census that is conducted in the traditional way we are used to. The census in the future might rely on other online data sources that may be more exhaustive than the model used by the census.
The most significant finding is that the population has been growing so slowly. Our growth rate is the lowest since the middle of the Great Depression year of 1937. Low birth rates, low immigration rate, and a higher death rate because of COVID are the causes. The movement from the Northeast and Upper Midwest to the Southeast and Southwest continues. Greater mobility seems to cause people to move away from colder climates to warmer climates. Florida, Texas, and Arizona saw the greatest net increase mostly from people moving there from other states. This migration will be interesting to watch in how that plays out politically. Florida seems to have become more conservative and Texas and Arizona less conservative. Some of the changes in Florida may be related to the Cuban American population becoming more conservative. One state that has had a significant increase in population is Idaho. From news reports I have seen this is a result of conservatives and younger tech workers from California moving there. Having been to Idaho last year there seemed to be a lot of housing being built near the cities there.
In looking at income and levels of poverty it is not surprising that states with low educational levels had the highest rates of poverty and high tech states the highest income levels. The disparity among states on income is growing. The rich states (i.e.high educational levels) are getting richer and the poor states (i.e. low educational levels) are getting poorer in our increasingly digital world. Much of the red state/blue state political reality can be explained because of this reality. The many Red States are feeling left behind in our digital world with blue color workers losing high wage union jobs for low wage work without benefits at companies like Walmart and Amazon.
The 2020 census seems to be showing that the low birth rate that has been occurring over the past 30-40 years will probably continue and our future growth will have to depend on increased immigration. Without the increase in immigration, our Country will be looking at a net population decrease in the future. Some countries like Japan, Italy, and Poland have already reached that point. Look for Russia to follow those countries in the near future.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
I will answer Sen. Cruz's question
We knew that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee would pose questions that had more to do with winning conservative votes if they decide to run for President in 2024 but Sen.Ted Cruz took this approach to a new level of racism yesterday. His question had nothing to do with whether Judge Jackson was qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice and his question came with visual props. Here is his question and Judge Jackson's response. We see her pause before she answers and here is what I assume is going through her mind and wondering if she should say this, "Senator Cruz would you ask this question if I was white?" Or maybe "Senator maybe as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee you should spend more time reading law books than children's books." She was polite enough not to take him down as he deserved to be. This is what happens when white racists Democrats fled to the Republican Party when Lyndon Johnson got civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s. Not all Republicans are racists but if you are racist you are probably a Republican.
As a black woman trying to become a Supreme Court Justice, you have to be more careful in seeming to be confrontational than if you are a white man. Here is the proof.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Only 3rd rate talent will work for a narcissist leader
The failure of the Russian Army to quickly conquer Ukraine has been pointed to by many as the result of the incompetence of people around Putin. Narcissists like Putin can't accept having smart people around them only compliant people. Competence and unquestioned compliance are usually not compatible. We have also seen this with our recent narcissist leader--Donald Trump. Who could forget his first Cabinet meeting where everyone had to praise their leader. Do you think any of the cabinet members would ever dare to contradict any of his incompetent ideas? Anyone with any competence was left shaking their heads at the stupidity of Trump. While there was a quick turnover of competent leaders at the Departments of State and Defense and the National Security Office the most incompetent Cabinet member, Dr. Ben Carson, was one of the few members to stay the whole term. How can we forget Trump's inability to attract competent lawyers to represent him in his legal troubles? When you are left with Rudolf Giuliani as your lawyer you know you are in trouble.
It would be scary to think where we would be at with Trump as our leader in the Ukraine conflict. There might be some truth to the theory that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump was president because Putin would leave it to Trump to weaken NATO.
Not all narcists become sadists but it came close when Trump said he told "his folks" to stop the testing for COVID because it was hurting his poll numbers. He was not willing to try and prevent the deaths of citizens from COVID if it hurt his poll numbers.
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Wes Moore is running for Governor of Maryland
Many of you may not have heard of Wes Moore who is running for the Democratic nomination for Maryland Governor this year. I met Wes when I was working on a Baltimore Grandfamilies program more than 12 years ago. He had contacted me to talk about how a program he was developing in Baltimore could partner with our program. My program worked with grandparents (mostly grandmothers) who were raising their grandchildren. Wes was developing a program working with youth being raised by single mothers. I came away from that meeting thinking I had never remembered meeting a more dynamic or charismatic person in my life. I said to some people that I may have met the person who might be the first black President in our Country. Of course, Obama hadn't appeared on the scene then. I knew I would be voting for him one day. Now is that day. I want to share the life story of Wes now.
The local campaign manager for Howard County has organized the local effort to get out into Columbia this Saturday to get Wes' message out to our community. To help this Saturday and future Saturdays here is the information:
|When||Sat Mar 19, 2022 10am – 1pm (EDT)|
|Where||Warren's Barbershop, 7290 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD, 21045|
|Who||Wes Moore for Maryland*|
To email for more info contact:
A story for Putin to think about
Don't bite off more than you can chew
An old Russian man walks up to the corner newsstand, buys a paper, looks at the front page, and throws it away.
The next day, the same old Russian man walks up to the corner newsstand, buys a paper, looks at the front page, and throws it away.
On the third day, the same thing happens and the newsstand man, beside himself with curiosity, says, "Why do you continue to buy a newspaper, look only at the front page and throw it away."
The old Russian man says, "I'm looking for the obituaries."The newsman says, "But the obituaries are not on the front page."
The old man says, "The one I'm looking for will be."
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Something to think about as President Zelensky addresses Congress today
Before Zelensky became a modern-day Churchill he was known as the person that Trump tried to bribe with only giving weapons to Ukraine if he agreed to investigate the son of his likely political opponent. This was the basis of Trump's first impeachment. Can you imagine what the situation would be like now if Trump was still president? Would he have already tried to pull the US out of NATO? Would he have been so compromised by Putin that the US would stand alone in not condemning the Russian invasion? Something to think about as you see all the Congressional Republicans giving a standing ovation to Zelensky today while still being afraid to criticize Trump. Today we will see what a brave person looks like and what political cowards look like.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Our brief respite from COVID may be ending
I have been following the transmission rates of COVID in Maryland posted on a daily basis on the Facebook page Maryland Vaccine Hunters. It had been showing a rapid decline in transmission for the past month but in the past few days, the trends are slowing rising again in many counties like Howard. Has the BA.2 variant of Omicron started to take hold in Maryland and the US? If we look at what is happening in Europe we may be seeing what will be here very soon. Below was reported in the New York Times today.
"Europe has often been a few weeks ahead of the U.S. with Covid trends — and cases are now rising in Britain, Germany, Italy, and some other parts of Europe. The main cause appears to be an even more contagious version of Omicron, known as BA.2."
"BA.2 has already begun to spread in the U.S., as well. It accounted for about 12 percent of newly diagnosed cases last week, according to the C.D.C. The variant may also be the reason that the amount of Covid virus detected in wastewater is rising in about one-third of American cities that track such data. Wastewater samples tend to be a leading indicator of case counts.
If that pattern repeats, BA.2 would be about to end two months of falling case counts in the U.S. Since mid-January, the number of new daily Covid cases has dropped more than 95 percent and is now at its lowest level since last summer, before the Delta surge."
Monday, March 14, 2022
Zelinsky in his former job as an actor
We all know that Ukrainian Prime Minister Zelinski was a comedic actor in his previous life. Here is a link to his show that shows a different side of him. In the show, he plays the role of Prime Minister. Unfortunately in the US we only get a stupid game show host who plays the fake role of a demanding boss. We know how that turns out when he tried to bribe Zelinsky to "do a favor for him." Next time maybe we should look overseas for our leaders.
Maybe you missed this news over the weekend
Saturday, March 12, 2022
When you're smiling the whole world takes note
Recently when the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov denied that Russia had invaded Ukraine and called it "fake news" it reminded me our where he may have learned this from. Remember when he met with Trump in the Oval Office after firing Comey from the FBI and joked with the Russians that he had taken care of his Russian problems? This coming from the man who called Putin a genius in how he went about the Russian invasion. We have long seen what the face of a "Putin want-to-be" looks like in the United States. It has been reported that Trump would have pulled the US out NATO if he had been re-elected. It is hard to know if he would have been able to do that but it is possible that another Trump term would have given Putin everything he wanted without invading any countries. Don't forget that Trump tried to withhold assisting Ukraine until they provided information on Hunter Biden and claimed that it might have been Ukraine that hacked the Democrat National Committee instead of Russia. Maybe someday we will learn what information the Russians have that they hold over Trump's head. Maybe that is why Putin smiles when he sees Trump.
Friday, March 11, 2022
What goes down must come up
Above is a picture of the price of gas that I took on March 10, 2020, as we started to "shelter in place" with the impending pandemic. As we now experience $4 gas I wouldn't trade places knowing what it was like to give up much of our normal activity. Remember the taped-off tot lots?
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Living life with blinders on
As I listen to the news reports about people in Ukraine are having time convincing their relatives in Russia about what is happening in Ukraine. Putin has been attempting to limit access to any information that doesn't come from his government-controlled sources. It is hard to know how successful this can be in a time of VPNs and social media sources. 2022 is not the 1960s. This situation reminded me of how Fox News and conservative social media platforms try to do the same thing. I have relatives who have said they have stopped listening to traditional news sources because they are "fake news." One relative told me in 2020, before the election, that news about the COVID virus would go away after the election because it was just to hurt Trump's chances to get re-elected. They said that the Democrats thought that the Mueller investigation would do this but it failed so they had to find some new way and the virus was what they are using. Looking at my relative's social media they have fallen into Trump's belief that the election was stolen. They talk about voter fraud in cities. When I point out that our own government officials have indicated that there wasn't voter fraud they ask me if I always trust the government. The worst was an email from a relative that repeated Qanon theories after the January attack on the US Capitol.
The separate media worlds that liberals and conservatives live in today will have significant impacts on the future of the United States. As a liberal I know I would never choose to live in a red state and they would never choose to live in a blue state. I even have felt discomfort when I visit places where you see Trump and "Go Brandon" flags. I feel like I am in enemy territory. Makes you long for the days of having a Walter Cronkite that we all could trust to give us the news. Those days are long gone.
If anyone thinks that MSNBC is just as bad as Fox News, how many MSNBC broadcasters have moved away from MSNBC to other more conservative like Fox News. I know that Tucker Carleson once was a conservative broadcaster on MSNBC but with Chris Wallace following Bret Brier, Jonah Goldberg, Stephen Hayes, and Nicole Wallace Fox News is truly becoming our country's version of the Russian Pravda station of old.
Sunday, March 6, 2022
GOP candidate for Senate in Delaware- you have to hear this
The authoritarian strain in the evangelical movement has become much of what exists in the Trump Republican Party. Even after the invasion of Ukraine, this is what a person running for the Senate in Delaware recently said.
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Best way to help the Ukrainian refugees
It is hard to watch TV these days and see the families fleeing their homes to escape the Russian bombing. We all try to imagine what it would feel like if this happened to our families. The families being separated with the men staying behind to fight and women and children leaving on trains makes us what to do something. While many international organizations are responding to the refugee situation and all need our support the agency that will be the major player in this crisis is the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRCR). I have been giving monthly to this agency since the Afgan refugee crisis last year. They need monthly donations all the time but now more than ever. It is the least we all can do.
Thursday, March 3, 2022
How happy are you feeling today?
Columbia was named the 2nd happiest city in the United States by WalletHub.com. Not sure how they developed their scoring but it is nice to be recognized in another way again. I guess this should be our town's theme song.