Thursday, October 29, 2020

It is All Connected


The Wall Street Journal 5 Day Graph
October 29, 2020
I recall that the president was extolling the strength of the economy based upon the rise in the stock market during the last debate. It seems that the silver lining is tarnishing a bit this week as the reality of the renewed coronavirus runs into Wall Street. The Dow was down over 900 points yesterday and it is being blamed on the coronavirus response--or lack of response.

Here is a headline from this morning's The Wall Street Journal:

Stocks End Sharply Lower on Coronavirus Concerns

We must stop looking at trends and situations in isolation and consider the total impact upon everything. As long as the coronavirus response continues to be inept and inconsistent, the economy cannot recover. Despite what we are being told, a solid, cogent coronavirus plan will turn the economy around--ignoring the virus and insisting that it is going away is a recipe for disaster--economically, medically, socially. 

The administration needs to accept the science and forge a plan that will work against the virus and for the economy. We could become a world leader rather than a laughingstock.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wind, Rain, and Hurricane


Hurricane Zeta Rain Prediction
October 28-30, 2020
I think writing about the weather is better today than writing about the election. I guess my fervor is decreased since I have voted. But, I still want everyone to get out there and vote. The expansion of early voting is a good thing because it takes the weather out of the election equation. Getting slammed with rotten weather on Election Day could, in years past, affect the vote, but this year with early voting the electorate can vote around the weather.

Some pundits are suggesting that this year's voter turn out may be one of the highest ever. The highest being the election of 1876 where almost 82 percent of voters cast ballots. It also had the closest Electoral College vote at 185-184. Now that is close. Is 2020 destined to be a repeat? We should know in about a week.

Before Election Day, however, the wind, rain, and a hurricane will be racing from the Gulf Coast through the East Coast making travel and life difficult. Voters can get out early, or wait until it passes to cast their ballots.

While the effect of the weather on the election can be mitigated, the effect of COVID-19 cannot. The increase in infections and hospitalizations is a fact and I am always amazed at how some try to rationalize the numbers away trying to indicate that they aren't as severe as they appear. I'm pretty sure I know how those who have contracted the disease view those explanations.

Vote! Find a way around the wind, rain, and hurricane to cast your vote.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Voting 2020


I voted yesterday.

Yay. I have done my duty and registered my vote in the election for the candidates and issues I support, or not.

It was the first day of early in person voting in Maryland and Chris and I decided to wait until midday as the lines were reported to be long as the polls opened at 0700. 

It was exciting to go to the polls and see the long line when we arrived about 1100. We were masked the entire time we were at the poll form leaving our car until returning to the car and we practiced good social distancing in the line, which was about 25 minutes long. Everyone was in good spirits, excited actually, to be voting in this election and making our collective voices heard. 

The polling site was well equipped and had plenty of workers. The processing and voting was done efficiently. All-in-all it was a good experience and I do not have to fret anymore about when, how, and where I am going to register my vote. 

I will tell you, unlike the Governor of Maryland, I did not vote for Ronald Reagan

Please vote--it matters. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday Musings - October 26, 2020


1. It is the last Monday of October. Next Monday we will be  off Daylight Saving Time and the day before Election Day. 

Sitting around the Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
October 21, 2020
2. The weather turned very cold, it went from high 70's to 40's overnight. Yesterday was a rainy, cold, and raw day. I'm glad there was at least football to watch on TV.

3. Family Weekend NFL Report

  - Ravens had a Bye
  - Steelers (6-0) defeat Titans (5-1), 27-24
  - Football Team (2-5) destroys Cowboys (2-5), 25-3

4. It is not until you have a close-up experience with coronavirus and COVID-19 that you begin to understand the difficulties and complexities of tracking, treating, and staying uninfected by the virus.

5. Quiche is more than just an egg. 

6. Early in person voting begins today in Maryland. The lines are already reported to be very long--and the polls aren't open yet. Perhaps that is why the lines are so long.


 Speaking of the federal debt before the coronavirus pandemic, “we were starting to get that number down.”

 “The World Health Organization just admitted that I was right. Lockdowns are killing countries all over the world. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.” 

 Says Joe Biden is a socialist.

 "We are rounding the turn (on coronavirus). We are rounding the corner." 


8. Today in History. On October 26, 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

After silver was discovered nearby in 1877, Tombstone quickly grew into one of the richest mining towns in the Southwest. Wyatt Earp, a former Kansas police officer working as a bank security guard, and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, the town marshal, represented “law and order” in Tombstone, though they also had reputations as being power-hungry and ruthless. The Clantons and McLaurys were cowboys who lived on a ranch outside of town and sidelined as cattle rustlers, thieves and murderers. In October 1881, the struggle between these two groups for control of Tombstone and Cochise County ended in a blaze of gunfire at the OK Corral.


Pandemic Fatigue Is Real—And It’s Spreading - The Wall Street Journal

Why Protesters in Belarus Continue to Take to the Streets - The Wall Street Journal

Barrett Set to Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court - The New York Times

Infection of Pence Aides Raises New Questions About Virus Response - The New York Times

White House signals defeat in pandemic as outbreak roils Pence’s office - The Washington Post

Tumult at home, ailing alliances abroad: Why Trump’s America has been a ‘gift’ to Putin - The Washington Post

As holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, putting families in a quandary about celebrations and travel - The Washington Post

Meet the 'QAnon' caucus: Conspiracy buffs on path to U.S. Congress - Reuters

Renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh threatens U.S.-backed truce - Reuters

Kurdish officials say they foiled attack on diplomats in northern Iraq - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Let's ensure that the Federal Government never again legislates against the family and the home. Last September I signed an Executive order on the family requiring that every department and agency review its activities in light of seven standards designed to promote and not harm the family. But let us make certain that the family is always at the center of the public policy process not just in this administration but in all future administrations. It's time for Congress to consider, at the beginning, a statement of the impact that legislation will have on the basic unit of American society, the family.

Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union - 1988, January 25, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 25, 2020



Are there undecided voters in America?

I do not understand how there could be any undecided voters in America given the mutually exclusive opposites that the two candidates represent. Perhaps, this year is the most polarizing ever in the history of the United States.

I know the decisions are not binary, but I believe that the two main candidates represent the far right and the moderate to centrist left. 

I suppose that the undecided voters are looking for the perfect candidate or possibly they have two issues that they vote for or against and neither candidate fully meets their desires--but I believe we need to look at the bigger picture of the candidates and what they bring to the presidency. The world is not a one or two issue place. 

The time for decision making has arrived. Check the issues and look at the larger consequences. And please, do not waste your vote by voting for animated characters or dead former presidents--that is not how decisions are made. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 24, 2020

An Autumn Day


Lake Kittamaqundi
Columbia, MD
October 23, 2020

Lake Kittamaqundi 
Columbia, MD
October 23, 2020

I was going to write about something political, but decided to take a break and write about the incredible and beautiful autumn weather we have been experiencing. The weather has been so nice that Chris, the dogs, and I went for two walks totaling about three miles yesterday, one around the neighborhood and the other around Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia.  

The leaves are turning and becoming colorful and the animals are scurrying around making final preparations for the winter season which lies ahead. But the warm, high 70 degree temperatures are refreshing. It is the last set of warm days I believe that we can expect. The walks to experience the beauty of the season were refreshing and uplifting.

I talked to Mom and Dad in upstate New York, and they also reported a beautiful autumn day. They likewise managed to get outside to enjoy these last few beautiful days before autumn departs and winter arrives to freeze our bones with its icy blasts. 

My advice? Take some time out to enjoy the outdoors if you can. Get away from the political tension and the stress of COVID-19. Yes, I am advocating escapism--to the great outdoors and reconnect with nature. The other stuff will still be there tomorrow.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 23, 2020

Debate Night in America - The Final Debate


Last evening's meeting was very different from the brawl which was loosely called the first presidential debate. There was a nearly orderly progression from question to question sprinkled with allegations, counter-allegations and the usual steady diet of false and misleading statements from the mouth of the president which sought to distort and remanufacture the reality that we are facing. 

The fact checkers were very busy during the debate and I was trying to keep up with them as the false and misleading statements flew from the president's lips almost as fast as he could speak. I came away convinced that the president has no grasp of truth.

During the segment on the economy it was clear that the president believes that the only important economic measure is stock market performance and that every American has a 401K. This view continues to show that the president is out of touch with his base, except for the wealthy who derive their net worth from the ups and downs of the market. The stock market view of the economy conveniently overlooks the loss of jobs and businesses across the country as a result of the failed COVID-19 response. 

Reuters characterized the debate as follows:

Trump, a Republican, adopted a more restrained tone than he did during a chaotic first debate in September, when he repeatedly interrupted Biden. But Thursday’s clash still featured plenty of personal attacks between two men who evince little respect for each other, and Trump kept fact-checkers busy by leveling unfounded corruption accusations at Biden and his family.

The New York Times published the following about the debate:

  • In their final debate, President Trump unleashed an unrelenting series of false, misleading and exaggerated statements as he sought to distort former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s record and positions and boost his own re-election hopes. The president once again relied heavily on well-worn talking points that have long been shown to be false.

  • The president appeared determined to reinvent the reality of the last four years — and the history of the pandemic in 2020 — as he faces judgment on his actions in just 12 days. He once again falsely dismissed the Russia investigations as a “phony witch hunt.” He insisted that aside from Abraham Lincoln, “nobody has done more for the Black community,” an assertion that people in both parties find laughable. And he tried again to wish away the pandemic, saying “we are rounding the turn” even as daily cases of the virus this week topped 70,000 in the United States for the first time since July.

As part of the economic discussions, I was appalled that the president continues to think that the Chinese are paying tariffs and somehow that they are paying subsidies to the farmers. That we need to pay $28 billion in subsidies to the farmers is evidence of a failed trade policy and then believing that the Chinese and not the US taxpayers are ultimately paying the tariffs shows that the president is ignorant of how economics really works. Perhaps this is why he has filed for bankruptcy so many times.

The New York Times reports this fact as follows:

“China is paying. They are paying billions and billions of dollars.”

— Mr. Trump.

The United States has taken in more than $60 billion in revenue from the tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods. 

But Mr. Trump’s frequent claim that the tariffs are paid for solely by China, not by Americans is wrong. 

Whether a Chinese manufacturer, American importer or another company ultimately pays the cost of any particular U.S. tariff varies from product to product, depending on the ability of each party to negotiate. 

But overall, economic research suggests that the burden of the tariffs has fallen heavily on American firms, and that domestic manufacturers and consumers have ended up paying a substantial portion of the tariffs.

So who won the debate?

Biden won the first half of the debate scoring body blows about COVID-19 policy and family issues, but could have been stronger on the economy and foreign policy. Biden clearly missed the opportunity to explain his climate policy and allowed Trump distract him from the issue by getting dragged into a discussion of oil and fracking. Biden also missed opportunities to make Trump take responsibility for the immigrant children being held along the border and to admit that he is a politician--and a bad one at that, much like he is a bad business man.

I call it a draw with a slight advantage to the president for a strong finish.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Chasing Squirrels and Election Chaos


The race to the election finish line is strewn with rumors, distortions, and chaos.
Squirrel Watch
Elkridge, MD
October 22, 2020

I heard this morning that both Russia and Iran have voter information and could try to add even more confusion to the voting base. There is so much out there.

COVID-19 infections are rising across the country.

The world is seeing the rise in COVID-19 infections as well.

Allegations and counter-allegations. 

I expect very little change to the chaos level after tonight's final (thankfully) presidential debate. At least the World Series took the night off so that it would not draw more viewers than the debate. 

I wonder what the over-under is on how many minutes the debate will last until the president walks off the stage similar to what he did during the 60 Minutes interview. 

So what am I doing while I am on a forced COVID-19 quarantine? Watching Finnegan keep the deck clear of squirrels. He was sitting at the door with Riordin doing his intelligence preparation of the battlefield determining the frequency, approach, and numbers of squirrels that were violating the deck in an attempt to snatch some of the peanuts that were positioned on the rail for the bluejays. 

It is hard to keep my mind from thinking about the election and what I should be doing at work, but tomorrow is Friday! Which, likely, will be little different from today. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

As the Bird Feeders are Prepared


Squirrel on the Peanut Feeder
Elkridge, MD
October 20, 2020

The bird feeders were cleaned and filled with food and peanuts in preparation for the season ahead. The feeders are a labor of love that Chris handles almost exclusively. I get the task of putting the heavy bags of food into the metal containers that protect them, but other than that the feeders are filled, cleaned, and managed by Chris.

The peanuts arrived yesterday and she made a test run for the bluejays by putting some newly received nut into a feeder to see how things would develop. And they did, in fact, develop as one enterprising squirrel persisted in contorting itself into multiple positions for about 15 minutes to obtain one peanut. 

It was an enjoyable break from the normal level of activity watching the squirrel. I wonder if the bluejays will be as excited about the feeder as dawn breaks?

The image also shows that autumn is still arriving in the leaves around my house. They remain mostly green, although I moved a lot of fallen leaves yesterday. There are so many more to come as the season deepens. 

But back to the squirrel that provided a few moments of comic relief--I think the entire country needs some comic relief right now. And it was right outside my window.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Two Weeks


I almost wrote that Election Day is in two weeks, but that is not the reality this year. It is more correct to think of it as the election season will be over two weeks from tonight. The polls will close and the votes will be tabulated. Some mail in votes will continue to trickle in, but apparently many of us want to be sure our votes are counted on Election Day so that our preference and will is known and, therefore, we are voting early. 

It has been an amazing election season. I do not know what will transpire during the next two weeks, but I am sure something dramatic will happen which, in a previous year may have turned the tide, but with, by some accounts, 28 million votes already cast and many more coming in every day--it is going to be hard to change the will of the American people with a single event. 

Just for reference, about 138 million votes were cast during the 2016 election. That means that 20 percent of the votes cast during 2016 have already been sent to the ballot box. I expect, however, this years vote to be closer to 160 million. Some are predicting 150 million votes, but I think the polarization of the country could drive that number even higher.

I expect to vote next week when the early voting begins in Maryland. 

It is hard to believe that in two weeks the campaigning will finally be over. I believe that I may see a decrease in my email of possibly 100 per day. It has been a long election season, but I am sure that the 2024 election season will begin on January 21, 2021.

CAUTION: Personal Rant Follows

Our country is in great peril. We are under attack by foreign and domestic forces. Our president is more concerned about airing his personal grievances than about running the country. COVID is out of control and Americans, our friends, relatives, and family are dying daily. The budget deficit is exploding in an attempt to mute the effects of COVID on the economy and the military is suffering despite what we are being told to the contrary. And I do not buy the line that the Democrats are the problem, if the president would tell Mitch McConnell to make a deal, then a deal would be made. But the president believes that he gets more mileage by blaming anyone other than himself for the problems in America than he would get by working to fix those same problems.

As I was writing about popularity, I was considering what president says, “Suburban women, will you please like me?” the president pleaded in Johnston, Pennsylvania on Tuesday (The Financial TimesBeing president is not an ego building popularity contest.

This country and the world need America back as the military, economic, and political leader of the free world. All of these have been abrogated by the America first policy. I, frankly, am tired of hearing "I" and need to hear more "WE" and "US". Our country was not founded upon the concept of "I". If you don't believe me, read the first line of the Constitution.

I know that I have friends and family who vehemently disagree with me and I respect your views and have spent my entire adult life working so that we can have dissenting opinions without fear of retribution, but I am going to lay it out right here and say that I agree with the words published by the editors of the New York Times on Sunday:

Mr. Trump is a man of no integrity. He has repeatedly violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Vote! The future of America depends upon your participation no matter what direction you believe this country should take. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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