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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Musings - October 19, 2020


1. It is the third Monday of October and the month is quickly slipping into November. Daylight Saving Time ends in less than two weeks on November 1st, marking the official beginning of the dark season.

Maple Tree on Karas Walk
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
2. Autumn is on full display. Colorful trees and  blue, clear skies adorn the roadways and paths we travel. Enjoy the scenery, it is days like these that take the sting out of the coming season.

3. There are 15 days until Election Day. If you have not yet, Vote! 

4. From United Steel Workers tweet as reported on Fox News:

Sing along:


Take me out to the ballot box, Take me out to the polls. Get me my sticker so I can ‘gram, I won’t stand for their suppression scams. For it’s root, root, root for @JoeBiden, If we don’t win we‘re all doomed. ‘Cause in 1-2...17 more days, We can save the USA!


5. Did you see on the news that Armenia and Azerbaijan are at war? No, probably not. A violent conflict which has drawn the attention of much of the world is not getting much press here in America. See some headlines below.

6. An editorial in the New York Times, written by the Editorial Board of the New York Times, makes the following assertion about the president: 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. Now, in this moment of peril, it falls to the American people — even those who would prefer a Republican president — to preserve, protect and defend the United States by voting.

7. Family NFL results:

     Ravens (5-1) defeat Eagles (1-4-1) 30-28
     Football Team (1-5) loses to Giants (1-5) 29-30
     Steelers (5-0) destroy Browns (4-2) 38-7
     Cowboys (2-3) play Cardinals (3-2) tonight

8. History Today. October 19, 1781, Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

Lord Cornwallis was one of the most capable British generals of the American Revolution. In 1776, he drove General George Washington’s Patriots forces out of New Jersey, and in 1780 he won a stunning victory over General Horatio Gates’ Patriot army at Camden, South Carolina. Cornwallis’ subsequent invasion of North Carolina was less successful, however, and in April 1781 he led his weary and battered troops toward the Virginia coast, where he could maintain seaborne lines of communication with the large British army of General Henry Clinton in New York City. After conducting a series of raids against towns and plantations in Virginia, Cornwallis settled in the tidewater town of Yorktown in August. The British immediately began fortifying the town and the adjacent promontory of Gloucester Point across the York River.

Trump Runs the Kind of Campaign He Likes, but Not the One He Might Need - The New York Times

On the Front Lines of a Brutal War: Death and Despair in Nagorno-Karabakh - The New York Times

Remdesivir Fails to Prevent Covid-19 Deaths in Huge Trial - The New York Times

Ending the filibuster is about to be more important than ever - The Washington Post

ISIS attacks surge in Africa even as Trump boasts of a ‘100-percent’-defeated caliphate - The Washington Post

United Steelworkers shine 'bat signal' on Trump Tower in Chicago - Fox News

Only 2 states trending in the right direction - CNN

Italy unveils new COVID-19 restrictions as daily infections climb - Reuters

Armenia and Azerbaijan truce breaks down within hours - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Cycle of the Seasons


Sitting here this morning thinking that the 39 degrees outside of my door is cold and realizing that in a few months this temperature would qualify as a warm winter day made me think about the cycle of the seasons. 

Grass Mounds Along the Fence
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
Yesterday, for instance, as part of the winter preparations Chris and I cut the ornamental grasses mourned the outside of the pool. We have been experimenting with when to cut the grasses--whether it is better to let them winter or to get them removed while they are still green and easier to manage. It took two trips to the landfill recycling area to remove them as part of what turned out to be a long midday project. I can usually get them all into one highly mounded truck load, but with the exceptionally favorable growing season they were more voluminous than normal. 

But the project is complete. This past year we waited until Spring to cut the grasses and it was a lot messier. Being that yesterday was a cooler day, we did not find as many critters lurking in the mounds--which is good since we have found snakes in the past and while the snakes are the good snakes, it still causes a moment of pause when one comes slithering out as we start cutting away with the hedge trimmers. I do wish the battery on the trimmer would last for the entire project--it just doesn't have enough justice to make it all the way. 

Cutting the grasses is part of the cycle of the seasons. Next we have to drain the water from the lines in the pool house in preparation for freezing temperatures, from which, so far, we have been spared. 

As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, the cycle of the seasons continues.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Week Later

 I am now one week removed from frolicking, OK maybe it wasn't frolicking, on a warm almost 90 degree Florida beach. The relative, by comparison, cold of Maryland has reminded me that given a choice between too hot or too cold--I prefer too hot. Even without air conditioning--which I experienced for the first five days of my recent Florida vacation.

Backyard Trees with Autumn Leaves
Elkridge, MD
October 17, 2020
It was 43 degrees this morning as I stepped outside to allow the dogs to take care of business. I stood outside with them to monitor their activity and ensure that Finnegan actually does what is expected of him. He loves to smell the morning fragrances on the grass and sometimes forgets the reason that he is outside. 

I looked at the morning temperature in Jupiter, and at 7:09 AM it was a warm and likely humid 80 degrees. That is 37 degrees warmer than outside of my door in Elkridge. 

The youth baseball game we were attending this morning was canceled, I guess the field was too wet and so I think we will be cutting the grasses around the pool, once they dry.

I just wish it was warmer. And it is only going to get colder as the month progresses and transforms into November when the dark season begins. 

A week later, I fondly remember the time spent on the beach, it will help me to make it to the other side of the seasons that we have entered. 

But, outside my window, the morning sunlight reflecting off the leaves is transforming the region into a colorful autumn display and I enjoy the color. Can springtime really be that far off? 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 16, 2020



I don't know how intentional it was, but saying the 85 percent of people who wear masks get COVID-19 demonstrates a definite lack of understanding of statistics and reality. He was trying to discredit the practice of wearing facial coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Who said that, you might ask?

The President. 

Trump repeats inaccurate claim about masks, citing CDC study. - NBC News

Along with other outright lies, it appears that the most consistent source of misinformation in the country right now is the president, himself.

What is comical and tragic is watching his staff try to walk back his erroneous comments.

I do not want to restate the lies and false truths because in doing so I could make them seem more real, but an article recapping the first debate delves into many of the misleading and outright untrue statements by both candidates during the first debate. It is interesting reading.

Trump unleashes avalanche of repeat lies at first presidential debate - CNN

My advice--listen and check the facts. Too many people use the cherry picking approach to facts and studies--finding the one that supports their view rather than reviewing the entire body of work on a subject. 

Do not be responsible for spreading misinformation and propaganda!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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