Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oh Columbia, My Columbia

From the desk of S. MacCune (celebrated apiarist):

As welcome as Baader-Meinhof at a Policeman’s Ball, the March ice plummeted, pelted, and absconded.  May the re-freeze be ever in your favor.

As noted in the previous column, “Whither Lotus 1 – 2 – 3 version 2.0, aka Lotus 4 – 5 – 6” I have been reviewing the readership numbers.  Since folks seem to enjoy tales of local significance, this post should delight all within a five-mile radius of David’s Natural Market.   

A Simple Columbia Bridge Solution: 

I think we all agree that fresh thinking is in order here.  I saw the sketches with the “geometric structure” and “lighting upgrades.”  How elegant. How refined.  How snooty.

How about Plan B?  Get rid of it.

Hear me out. I don’t mean with people on it or cars below it.  But what about demolishing it and replacing it with a rope bridge, like the one seen in the film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the 1984 “action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg.”

Think about all of the athletes, thrill-seekers, movie buffs, and Thuggee cultists that would flock to Columbia to run across a rickety rope bridge, high above U.S. 29.  Consider the economic benefits.  This could be a Columbia Association class.  Not to mention the booming sword rental market for the re-enactors.     

If Columbia is serious about celebrating its 50th Birthday with something resembling panache, nothing says fulfilling the vision of Diamond Jim Rouse better than having Allan Kittleman standing on a brand-new rope bridge yelling, “Let her go, Mola Ram!”

We could invite Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, and the family of the late, great Amrish Puri over to participate in the ceremony.  We can have Harrison Ford personally fly…wait, bad idea.

My point is this, we can have a boring renovated pedestrian bridge…or a bridge worthy of the cost of the priceless Sankara stones.  So come on County Executive & County Council, let’s do this right.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Anatomy of the Problem

Generally speaking, Congressman “Dutch” Ruppersberger is aware of the distinction between his ass and his elbows.  So I will assume that the following comments, lifted from the Indivisible Howard County website (https://www.indivisiblehocomd.org/effective-advocacy/) capture the barest gist of his comments on DJ Trump:

“Ruppersberger believes that there are two issues that directly affect Trump's polling: Russia and tax returns.  Whenever possible we should focus on these issues. It could be through op eds, letters to the editor, social media, marches, etc.”

Only partially true. Look, Trump’s tax returns need to be on the back burner at all times, and Russia should be on a higher flame, front and center.  But, again - and how many times do I need to explain this - voters care most about the impact of issues on themselves, not on the self-referential, inward-looking behaviors of any one individual.

It can’t be about Trump’s tax returns per se, voters already assume that most politicians are on the heavy make.  It has to be that his financial interests run counter to the very people that treat him as a savior…that he will sacrifice them at the altar of avarice so he and his grubby clique can pocket a few extra ducats.  That far from being a champion of the middle and working classes, he will gladly have them pay more in health insurance (a tax increase by any other name), in order to placate the interests of his golfing buddies. 

And on Russia, it can’t be about the sordid weekend games that oligarchs play…it needs to be boiled down to the following:  America’s security is at risk because our President is in bed with Russian neo-fascists.  This will put our young men and women who serve in our armed forces at greater risk as Putin and his cronies take advantage of our comprised Administration to advance their values – which are not our values or the values of our allies – around the world.  That anti-American sentiment will lead to greater strife and more American lives and resources spent in defense of not our national interest, but in the private interests of our “leader” who knows nothing about sacrifice for his country.  His lack of experience and Russian business dealings are not the core of the problem, they open the door to far more serious real-world problems which could impact the well-being of thousands of American families.   

So please, if you are going to persist and resist, always bring it back to John and Jane Q. Citizen.  Don’t limit it to Trump’s personal defects, of which there are many.  Make it about the impact of these shortcomings on the day-to-day lives of Americans.  This is what will assure the fraying of the Trump “coalition.”  Once they get a true sense of the bill, more voters will be able to re-align head and heart, and reject the insanity coming out of this White House.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Omniscient Waffles

From the Rhodium-Plated Igloo of S. MacCune
The Right Reverend of the Church of the Latter Day Dude (Reformed)

Pinch-hitting for your regular contributor today.  Apparently he is too engrossed with Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here” to bother posting.  Not sure if he is more focused on the portrayal of small-town Vermont life in the 1930s or the whole “rise of fascism in America” bit.  Probably both…in equal measure.

Personally, I believe we wouldn’t be facing these extremely related challenges today if we had elected Senator Fred Harris in ’76.   Mark my words, with the populist left-but-understands-DC Harris, Reagan would never have been elected in ’80.  Of course GHW Bush might have emerged victorious in ’84 and ’88, and the timeline could have re-set itself.  Our universe is only so elastic when it comes to alternative histories, never mind what the physicists say about infinite possibilities.  They are all highly degreed clods angling for that sweet, sweet grant money or a TV gig.  Never forget that.

Since we are on the topic of Conventional Wisdom, don’t for a minute accept the belief that electoral slates can’t be shattered; they are as fragile and ephemeral as Meatloaf’s protagonist’s promises in “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”  I’m no expert on Howard County affairs, but if a primary electorate is focused on booting one candidate in favor of someone they perceive to be a better alternative, it doesn’t matter if she or he is on Team Bees-Knees.  She or he is going to get got – so long as Candidate B has sufficient resources, the right platform, the will, and the moment behind her or him.  And if Candidate A is weak(er) in one or more of those areas, like Detroit Tigers radio legend Ernie Harwell used to say, she or he might find themselves standing there “like a house by the side of the road…” wondering what happened.

Trust me, I know a thing or two about insurgents.  I did some work in Central America in the early 80s…but never mind, I can tell from his readership stats that you favor posts about Board of Education members who go off the rails or County Council shenanigans.   

Just know this, anyone who claims to have all of the answers is a liar, a fool, or probably both…in equal measure.

Stay tuned, etc…