Friday, January 17, 2020

Interesting Turn of Events

Yesterday was an historic and tragically sad day for our Republic. Articles of Impeachment were delivered to the Senate to begin the next chapter in a saga that has been distracting our lawmakers for the past several months. The delivery of the articles begins, hopefully, the final chapter in the process.

It should be an interesting event next week as the Senate meets for only the third time in history to determine whether to convict and remove a President from office. Of course given the partisan nature of the Congress, the outcome is likely assured, however, the case and the evidence to support the charges is the most interesting and fascinating part of this exercise. 

I have also been interested in seeing how some members of the Senate have changed since the last impeachment. It seems they have short memories because some of what they are saying now to defend their position is polar opposite to the arguments used in the Clinton impeachment proceedings. 

The bombshell yesterday was the finding by the GAO that yes, the President did break the law. All along the Republicans have been saying that this impeachment is the first in history, of course there were only two others so there isn't a lot of precedent, where the president was not charged with a crime. Although everyone quickly dismissed the GAO finding of yesterday, that statement may no longer be true. 

Here is the headline from the New York Times:

G.A.O. Report Says Trump Administration Broke Law in Withholding Ukraine Aid

Well, that is potentially a game changer, no, wait--it is being discarded as irrelevant because it is convenient to do so. 

And so the Congress lurches on! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wake Up To Politics

The arrival of 2020 brings with it the recognition that we will be electing a President this year. The campaigns have been underway for quite some time on both sides and I am already tiring of the constant assault upon my intelligence. The recent spat between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren was really beneath everyone. 

There is a small, independent political reporter that I discovered a few years ago. He is Gabe Fleisher,  a 17-year old high school student from Missouri, and writes a newsletter titled, Wake Up To Politics. The newsletter is posted nearly every day when he is in school. I find his reporting to be refreshing and non-partisan. Truly. He has been writing this newsletter for a few years and he was credentialed as a news reporter for Tuesday night's debate in Iowa. His reporting provides some interesting insights on the debate as seen through the eyes of a young person. 

I am growing weary of the professional media with their slanted inputs designed to sell biased-opinions as news and so I find his insights and reporting to be fresh and mostly un-biased. We can all identify the left-leaning and right-leaning news networks and so it is nice to find someone mostly reporting news without a political axe to grind. 

The All Sides Media Bias Center ranks Wake Up to Politics as being in the center. 

I enjoyed one of Gabe's observations of Tuesday's debate:

For the first time in the cycle, discussions of foreign policy took center stage on Tuesday, as the candidates discussed their views on war powers amid President Donald Trump's killing of a top Iranian commander earlier this month. 

I found that comment very interesting.

Personal bias: I consider foreign policy to be a critical issue and that is one of the issues upon which I will base my vote. 

I recommend checking out Wake Up To Politics off yourself. It is political news without the bias.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Most Productive Day of the Week

Going to work during darkness and coming home with the sun setting is getting old! As the winter deepens, my longing for sunshine is increasing. The gray skies of the past couple of days is definitely not helping the situation. I needed something to bring some excitement into the dark and bleary days. 

A coworker told me as I walked into work yesterday that Tuesday was the most productive day of the workweek. I wonder if that is true, but it seemed to be the case yesterday. I did find this article form 2014 which seems confirm that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. Who knew? 

I enjoyed the article because I have always felt similarly about Tuesday. It is the lost day in between Monday and Wednesday. Now its true character comes out. 

There discussion of Tuesday leads me to theorize that Friday is the least productive day of the week. 

Time will, of course, tell.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, M

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The National Championship

I sat last evening and watched the beginning of the National Championship Game 2020 between the two teams known as Tigers. I have to admit that I was awed by the energy and the excitement. It has been a long college football season and it comes down to this finally final game. 

I must confess that I really didn't care which team won the game. I was just happy that Alabama and Ohio State were not in the championship game as it seems that those two teams tend to dominate such affairs. Although Clemson, as the defending champion, is beginning to start a dynasty of its own having played in 3 of the past 4 national championship games with this being its 4th appearance in the past 5 years. They had two championships and were going for the third. 

The game began with fireworks--but no scores during the first two drives for each team. Clemson finally drew first blood on their third possession with a touchdown. From there there game was on!

As I was playing racquetball at 5:30 AM this morning, I did not to watch too much of the game and opted to get some much needed rest. 

Congratulations to LSU, the National Champions and owners of the college football bragging rights for 2020. LSU defeated Clemson 42-25.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Musings - January 13, 2020

1. It is now the second Monday of January and of 2020. I have no idea how many times I have inadvertently written 2019 instead of 2020--but I am sure it is quite a few. 

2. It was a disappointing football weekend with the Ravens losing. I am defaulting to cheer on my childhood favorite football team the Kansas City Chiefs--who won a very exciting game this weekend, for the remainder of the playoffs and Super Bowl.

3. We hosted friends this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the company and excitement that two small children can add to a house. 

4. How could one not appreciate two 70 degree days in a row in January AND on a weekend? Wow! It was a great foretaste of the Springtime yearning to start.

5. Baseball season is on the horizon! Orioles pitchers and catchers report to camp in 29 days and in 45 days I will be in Sarasota watching Spring Training games!

6. It should be a quieter news week this week than last--let's hope so.

7. Today in History. On January 13, 1128, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God. Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to and from the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.


Iran Cracks Down as Protests Over Downing of Airliner Grow - The New York Times

Defense Secretary Says He Didn’t See Specific Evidence of Plans for Embassy Attacks- The New York Times

'Our enemy is here': Iran protesters demand that leaders quit after plane downed - Reuters

White House says U.S. has asked North Korea to resume talks: Axios - Reuters

Philippine financial markets shut after volcano spews ash over Manila - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January Weather Respite

I did not see yesterday coming. 

Around the Fire Pit with Friends
Elkridge, MD
January 11, 2019
The high temperature yesterday was officially 72 degrees! The record for the date was 73 degrees! I was outside in my shirt sleeves enjoying the day. We had the windows open and enjoyed having an outside event. By evening, we had the fire pit burning and enjoyed wine in the evening with friends. 

Weather Underground Forecast for BWI Airport
Baltimore, MD
For January, it was a fantastic day. A welcome break from the cold and means that we are one day closer to the beginning of Spring. I am sure that there will be some very cold and weather trying days ahead. Looking at the ten-day forecast, the temperatures are trending down to more seasonable levels--fortunately, right now there is no snow in the forecast. 

The beautiful day did end on a sour note, however. The Ravens were defeated in their playoff game by the Titans. It was not a particularly close game and that means that there will be no AFC Championship nor Super Bowl to celebrate for the Ravens. It was the franchise's best season ever and they had the best record in all of football. It was sad to have the season end in such a defeat--but that is, after all, sports. Neither of the two-best teams in baseball last season, the Dodgers or the Astros, won the World Series.

So today, I think I will just enjoy the expected nice weather with a forecast high of 71 degrees and some sun in the afternoon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Out the Airport Window - Denver International Airport, January 2020

Out the Denver Airport Window
Denver International Airport, Denver, CO
January 10, 2020
Last evening I was at the Denver Airport waiting to depart on a flight home. Since it was a 6 PM flight, I had a couple hours to wait and, of course, I did enjoy a glass of wine in my favorite wine bar--Vino Volo. 

The sky out the window was clear as the sun was setting behind the almost visible mountains. I was anxious, at this point, to board my flight and to return home. It was the end of the week and the end of the day on Friday. The scene out the window was of activity and preparations for departures. The aircraft to the right of the scene was one which would fly me to Baltimore. The empty jet way to the left is where a flight to Salt Lake City was supposed to have departed already, but the incoming flight was delayed because it had to fly around the terrific storms in the midsection of the country. It arrived a short time later and that flight departed about an hour and a half late. 

It was dark by the time I departed and I remember looking out the cabin window into the darkness as the jet picked up speed rumbling down the runway. My trip was complete and all that remained was getting home and falling into bed--which fortunately happened without incident.

And so the day ended.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 10, 2020

Out the Hotel Window - Denver, January 2020, part 2

Out My Hotel Window
Denver, CO
January 9, 2019
As I had hoped, I was able to get an image out of my hotel window yesterday while it was still daylight. The scene is very different in the daylight--very desolate with brown grasses seemingly reaching all the way to the mountains and a gray winter sky overhead. Not an exciting scene, but it is far better than just looking at the building next door--which has been my fate during more than one trip. 

The day was a cool winter day. The overcast skies kept it warmer during the night, but this morning it is 26 degrees outside and the sting of the season will be apparent as I make my way into my job site. Today is both a work day and a travel day. I will be home tonight--but it will be late and I likely will not fall into my bed until just past midnight. I wish I was able to sleep in, but I likely will be awake by 6 AM ready to start the day tomorrow.

And so the day begins. 

-- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, CO

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Out the Hotel Window - Denver, January 2020

Looking Westward at Denver
Denver, CO
January 9, 2019
I arrived at the hotel under the cover of darkness and will depart for work this morning while it is still dark. The view out the hotel window therefore is somber and dark. The world is waking, yet the sun continues its winter slumber. 

Ski Lift Chair
Denver, CO
January 8, 2019
I am looking forward to potentially seeing the scene during the daylight at some point today. 

Occasionally, I stumble across strange things during my travels and last evening was no exception. As I walked out of the hotel, I saw an interesting thing on a trailer. It took me a moment to identify the item, as it is not something that I routinely come across. I finally determined that it was a ski lift chair. I have only one experience with such an object, and it was not a good one. The chair deposited me at the top of a Colorado mountain on my face and as I struggled to gain my footing on my skis, I was being yelled at by the staff to get out of the way. That was just the beginning of the only ski run I have been made n my life and where I believe I saw my life pass before my eyes on three separate occasions. 

Welcome back to all of the good memories that I have of living in Colorado!

-- Bob Doan, Writing from Denver, Colorado

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


The news is full of the reports about the Iranian counter-attack on two U.S. bases in Iraq. I take exception to the headline in The Washington Post this morning:

Iran strikes Iraq bases housing U.S. troops, escalating conflict

I do not see this as a definite escalation of the conflict, but rather a measured response. Recall back to last year when the Iranians shot down the U.S. drone? That the U.S. did NOT respond with a measured response in that incident, was, in my mind, a major policy failure. 

It appears that Iran has provided a measured response, one which allows them the opportunity to say they have extracted revenge for the killing of Soleimani and also allows for the deescalation of the entire incident. 

It is possible that properly executed, the Iranians have provided the means to end this nasty incident. It is possible, however, that the U.S. will fumble the ball on this opportunity and the situation will further escalate. 

Time will tell which side is better at foreign relations. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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