Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stop Running--Start Working

45th President of the United States
Donald J. Trump
Tonight is the President's first address to Congress. 

I have a sense that the honeymoon is over and the country needs to start moving forward, collectively.

I am disappointed that the opposition party seems to have adopted a platform of obstructionism rather than bipartisanism. Stalling everything for two years is not the correct approach. Sometime soon, the government needs to get out of its own way and start moving the country forward. 

The Capitol
The Washington Post has an interesting political cartoon regarding the speech tonight. 

I have heard people express displeasure about the President--but he is OUR President. Is there anyone who rationally wants the president to fail? Consider, for a moment, the consequences. Failure is not desirable on any level.

A deeper and more thoughtful editorial, titled Does Trump know he's president?, looked deeper at the President's first month plus in office. The editorial covers a number of issues that the President should be addressing, but ends with the following observation: 

You might think the president would be fully engaged in some of these issues, but you’d be wrong. Instead, he has been waging a ridiculous war against the media. His cries of “fake news” may play well with the base, but he’s not running for president at the moment. He’s supposed to be doing the job.

President Reagan, in his January 25, 1988 State of the Union Address made the following observation about the state of the country and the government:

In the spirit of Jefferson, let us affirm that in this Chamber tonight there are no Republicans, no Democrats—just Americans. Yes, we will have our differences, but let us always remember what unites us far outweighs whatever divides us. Those who sent us here to serve them—the millions of Americans watching and listening tonight-expect this of us. Let's prove to them and to ourselves that democracy works . . .  

Good advice. Congress, take note, too!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Musings - February 27, 2017

1. February ends tomorrow, amazingly. The year will be 17 percent complete. March is looking like it will come in like a lion!

2. Heads-up! Daylight Saving Time begins in less than 2 weeks on March 12th at 2:00 AM!

3. The Orioles are 2-1 in Spring Training games!

4. The Oscars were last night. Were there any real surprises, except the drama of announcing the wrong winning picture?

5. Heard in a restaurant:"You shall be punished because I ordered wrong."

6. Is the Bill of Rights under attack by some in Washington? Sadly, time will tell.


7. Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal - The Denver Post

8. This watch company is the perfect example of why Trump's "made in America" initiative is easier said than done - Business Insider

9. Trump to Ask for Sharp Increases in Military Spending, Officials Say - The New York Times

10. Trump’s Cabinet has to work as a cleanup crew - The Washington Post

Quote of the Week

"I have to believe that the future does look bright for our nation and for the world. So, keep your dreams; don't give 'em up." - Ronald Reagan
Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Regional Editors and Broadcasters, February 10, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Summer-like Weather Ends

Green Hellebore
February 25, 2017
Daffodils in Bloom
February 25, 2017
Walking outside yesterday in my shirt, without a coat, while many parts of the country were besieged with a massive winter storm, I had to remind myself that it was February. The temperature at the time was 73 degrees. It was cooler than the high 70's of the previous three days, but still some 40 degrees above normal. I enjoyed having temperatures in the high 70's for five of the past eight days.

The springtime flowers are in bloom and many of the trees are budding. Everything is poised for the arrival of Spring, except for the calendar.

I knew that it could not last, this morning it was 40 degrees cooler at my house. The national weather map for this morning shows how cold it is across the nation.

But it was a great run and there are only a few days of cold (cooler) weather forecast ahead. I see 75 forecast for the Wednesday high. 

And add to that, Daylight Savings Time is only two weeks away!

Orioles Opening Day is 37 days away on April 3.
Pool opening day is 70 days away on May 6.

Excitement abounds.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, February 25, 2017

1st Amendment Under Fire

I am amazed that the mainstream news media is under attack. It is a clear effort to deflect the spotlight from the circus which has become the White House and focus it on the news media.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that some major news outlets were uninvited from a press briefing in the article CNN, New York Times, other media barred from White House briefing. While this is not, in and of itself, a violation of the 1st Amendment it does represent a threat to free access of media to the President and the Executive Branch of the government. 

The First Amendment is clear.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Fortunately, legal opinion in the subsequent years has determined that the amendment applies to the entire government. 

So, the question is did excluding news outlets from a White House briefing cross the line and represent an abridgment of the freedom of the press or freedom of speech?

Based upon my reading of a Legal Information Institute, probably not. But it certainly is a poor practice.

The President evidently does not like some elements of the press, especially those who report contrary to his wishes. Limiting press access is dangerous and borders on violating the First Amendment--not because he limits their access, but because he limits their access based upon what they write and therefore violates the free speech aspect of the first amendment.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, February 24, 2017

Baseball is Back

The Orioles first spring Training game is today against the Detroit Tigers.

Baseball is back!

It has been a few months since their last pitch and the Orioles are mostly the same team that was eliminated from the playoffs during the Wild Card round. 

Hope springs eternal during Spring Training. All of the teams begin the same way--winless. Players are watched and graded and teams are formed for the 162 game campaign.

I am excited. I love baseball. I love watching baseball. I used to enjoy playing baseball.

The boys of summer are back!!

The Orioles conduct Spring Training in Sarasota, Florida, which I have come to enjoy. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make my annual Spring Training trip this year. 

Baseball at Camden Yards will have to suffice.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Solar System Far, Far Away

NASA's announcement yesterday about the seven Earth-size planets arrayed in the Trappist-1 solar system have renewed the excitement about discovering or uncovering life outside of our own Earth.

I admit it is exciting. The Trappist-1 system seems so close and yet it is so far away. The system is 40 light years away--that is 40 continuous years of traveling at the speed of light just to get there. As a species, we have not yet devised any vehicle that can travel anything nearly that fast. 

The fastest space probe to date is the Juno probe, which upon arriving at Jupiter was cruising at about 165,000 miles per hour. At that speed it would take about 162 thousand years to get there. Even using the expected velocity of Space Probe Plus, due to launch in 2018, of 450,000 mph, it would still take 59 thousand years to get there. That is a very long time!

I can hear Buzz Lightyear shouting, "To infinity . . . and beyond!"

We still need to take better care of our own home. Global warming is a fact; not a theory.

It was nice to have something different headline the news yesterday.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sunset over Annapolis

Upon arriving back in Maryland Monday afternoon, Chris and I were invited to Restaurant Week in Annapolis.

Yellowfin Restaurant
February 20, 2017
We had just completed a long day of driving, but the idea of heading out to a nice restaurant for a special dinner on the water could not be passed up. 

And it was fantastic. The sunset over the water was very special and our table by the window overlooking the water was even better. It was hard to believe that it was February. 

The sky was alive with color and it continued for a long time during our dinner. The scene went with our meal perfectly and the lingering sunset led into a lingering relaxed meal. 

It has already been a busy week and it is only hump day!

Have a great Wednesday and enjoy your evening meal, whenever or wherever you are.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Springtime in Ithaca

Taughannock Falls
Trumansburg, NY
February, 19, 2017
Buttermilk Falls
Ithaca, NY
February 19, 2017
Granted it is only February, but the temperatures this pst weekend made it seem as if Spring had arrived. The snow was melting and the creeks and rivers were filled with the runoff. That meant that the waterfalls that the area is blessed with would be scenic beauties--and they were.

Chris and I visited two of the falls: Buttermilk and Taughannock. They were fantastic and Buttermilk was especially inspiring set against the blue sky. 

The ice is still evident around the basin at Taughannock. 

It was a beautiful Spring day (during February) and I am glad we were able to enjoy it and some of the natural beauty of the Central New York region.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Musings - February 20, 2017

Blue Sky over Buttermilk Falls
Ithaca, NY
1. Happy Presidents' Day. Go celebrate somewhere.

2. Blue. Despite all of the brown vegetation and white snow, a blue sky can make me smile.

3. Baseball season is underway. Spring Training games begin this week.

4. Why does driving long distances not excite me the way it used to?

5. There is something about ice on a lake that just says: cold.

6. I enjoyed watching the Genesis Golf Tournament on TV this weekend. There definitely was a lot of green all around the course.

7. Does anyone have a copy of the Bill of Rights? I think some in the White House need a review of the First Amendment.

8. I shoveled about three shovels full of snow and ice this weekend. That is my total shoveling effort for the season so far. Will I be lucky?

9. I have reservations for my next beach vacation. It is coming not soon enough.

10. As I am driving through the Pennsylvania countryside I am imagining trees with green leaves and lush fields.

-- Bob Doan, somewhere on Route 15 in Pennsylvania

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brown or White

Snow in Danby, NY
Well, I'm back in Upstate NY where not only is brown a prevalent color, but this cold white stuff is almost equally ubiquitous.

Admittedly, and unbelievably, I prefer brown to white. The snow is cold. And wet. Against the blue sky of yesterday when the temperatures were in the low 50's, the white snow was definitely out of place.

But it melts. Hopefully the green will return here soon. I can feel the winter's ending coming with the arrival of March. Warmer temperatures are on tap for the week ahead.

Very soon it will be springtime.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY
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