JR's take on the world

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The sickness that is Trump Derangement Syndrome

 Yeah, a former President was indicted. This is a stain on the prosecutor, just as Pelosi’s mauling of the 2020 State of the Union speech was on her. Not on our 45th President, Donald John Trump.


It’s a joke and this needs to be dismissed NOW!

Nashville School Shooter

 Did last Monday’s horrific attack on a Christian school hit me hard? Terrible tragedies happen all the time everywhere in the world. Maybe I’m jaded with age. Unless it hits really close, I can go on with my day just fine. Now, I also don’t get enmeshed in the incidents. I don’t watch videos or read multiple news accounts.

But I’m a substitute teacher. Mostly of 9, 10, and 11 year olds. And my kids have attended Catholic and Christian private schools in the past. 

The killer was a 28 year old woman. Who goes by a male name. Transgender, they say. Well, we know a 28 year old woman who changed her name eight years ago and started taking male hormones a couple of years ago. We’ve known this girl since she was a baby. She was a little odd, but nothing outlandish.

Most recently, our neighbor/friend/carpooler accidentally dropped a male name and pronoun to refer to his daughter in an early morning text message in October 2021. I finally talked with the mother three weeks later and asked her to explain what was going on. 

The Nashville killer was named Audrey and she killed Christians.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Sad and Disturbing News Regarding a Running Associate

 About a week ago, I was sent a message that the mayor of a small Maryland city had been arrested. The charge? Possession of pornography. Of children.

Another pol falls. Oh, well. Seen it countless times before, right?

Except this time, it’s a runner that, on average, is at every other Saturday park run. (I’m at every one). And has been since the second one in 2016. And has been part of a five man group of runners that got together on Sundays beginning in May 2020 when churches were closed and organized running races were shut down. The mayor was the young one (44) in this group of 50 and 60 year olds. Another local mayor, a college science professor, and a high school counselor. And me. We’d run about nine miles, stopping at a couple of spots for water or just to rest. For me, running more than four miles was a big step! I didn’t think I could do it safely. Turned out, I could. Just run slower. Take breaks. Running longer distances, even slowly, makes for a faster runner. Within one year, my 5k best time had improved to 23:25, 30 seconds better than ever before. 

The accused man has been openly gay for decades and in 2006 was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that overturned Maryland’s marriage laws that precluded gay marriage. He became a city councilman in 2007 and then the mayor since 2015.

My opinions about gay marriage differ from his. Then and now. And we are probably in different political parties. But I found him to be friendly, tolerant of other political views, and basically just a regular guy. Not flamboyant or promiscuous, as far as I could tell. He has been with the same partner for 25 years. He sought to be a good example during the coronavirus lockdowns and often bought takeout from restaurants when they were shut down. Volunteered at food banks on Saturdays. Even wore a mask while running in those early days. Never harsh words to say about anyone. Never anything but a smile when that mask was removed. And, most importantly, never displayed any inappropriate behavior or words towards anyone, and that certainly includes children.

So what happened? I don’t know. I’d like to believe that this is a huge mistake and that the wrong person has been arrested. The trial is months away, but those hopes seem quite unrealistic. So far, we are told that the ex-mayor was caught with 50+ illegal images from January on a text message account. The police confiscated his phones and computers and are no doubt on a fishing expedition to see what else they can find. The best bet for his family and friends is that he had a one time perverted, repulsive, ugly temptation early this year and hasn’t ever done this before. 

That’s not usually the case, though.

He was denied bail before trial.

He may never be free again.

The awful truth is that children were and are being used in terrible ways. And men like this create the demand which causes cretins to make these awful images or videos.

Children must be protected from exploitation and abuse. This, thankfully, is one aspect regarding our children that we all agree upon. But it also applies to efforts by some to teach children to hate their own bodies so much that they poison themselves with cross-sex hormones and get mutilated with permanent body modifying surgeries. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Hogan’s Legacy?


His sky-high popularity didn’t boost the rest of the state’s Republican Party, which suffered consistent down-ballot losses during his two terms — by moderates and by Trump-style firebrands. His handpicked successor lost a primary this year to a backbench freshman state delegate. After a bruising Election Day, party leaders say there’s no robust bench to build the Maryland GOP back up.

Great question: what’s the legacy of a unicorn Republican two term governor of the state of Maryland?

Not much. This piece covers party politics, where his self-focus did little to build his political party.

With a huge Democratic majority legislature, did he pass any laws? Taxes aren’t lower. Oh, he gave the go ahead to the seemingly eternal construction of the purple line light rail service between Bethesda and New Carrollton. Including a contractor who quit in the middle of the job. Leaving the project stuck in place for years. With torn up roads in Riverdale, College Park, and Silver Spring still reminding us of Hogan’s Folly. No Hero he.

I posted this question on Facebook and the best response I got was that his legacy is his pandemic response and his opposition to President Trump. That’s exactly correct and it is why he has failed as a Republican governor. He acted no differently than his Democratic Party counterparts did in adjacent Pennsylvania and Virginia. The absolute trouncing his anointed successor  received in the gubernatorial primary is evidence that he completely lost the base in his own state. Yet, he refused to put his supposed cross party appeal on the line when he turned down the opportunity to challenge a sitting Democrat U.S. Senator or perhaps challenge an incumbent Democrat congressman. Both chances when he could have bolstered Republicans in Washington, DC.

Look for Hogan to make millions of dollars now. Because it’s all about him.

Sunday, November 13, 2022


By We are a 50-50 country and it’s time that political parties wielding short-term power stop imposing extremist agendas upon the people of the 50 states in our nation.

 We should now see the beauty of the filibuster is that some level of consensus and compromise is required when legislation and candidates for cabinet offices need a 60% vote. The very controversial ObamaCare law in 2010 did survive a 60 vote Senate requirement. Which meant that there was at least some degree of consensus in the country.

And that goes for both parties. Instead, any politician who looks to build an across-the-aisle coalition is demonized by the far left or far right elements of his or her party. 

Better yet? Let the “red” states and the “blue” states rule themselves. Make pot legal. Or illegal. (An easy topic these days.) 

Federalism works. Florida voters are quite happy with their Republican leadership just as California seemingly loves its Democrat leaders. 

No party is dominating elections. The Senate is literally 50-50. The House is probably 51% to 49%. And presidential elections take weeks to decide they are so close. The way our Congress runs itself is so anti-democratic. 50-50 Senate means that one party gets ALL the power? Same with the House which is indeed very close to a 217-218 margin. Chairmanships should be proportionally allocated, for one thing.

We should be creating coalition policies but we don’t. The books I read on Congress in college and grad school? Didn’t envision such 50-50 splits, but are worth examining nonetheless.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The 21st Anniversary of 9/11/01 - (Did 9/11 change everything?)

We were concluding a multi week car vacation that had taken us to see family and friends from Maryland to Wisconsin to California to Colorado, and Missouri and back. The “just the basics” highway motel in tiny Greenup, Illinois was, thankfully, open with vacancies as we arrived after 11:00 PM. Our two young children, then 4 and 1, were just looking to get a little food and then some sleep as September 10, 2001 ended.

We awoke to see the news and gradually packed up the car and headed to the DC area, all the while wondering if we were making a mistake in leaving the quiet Midwest for a hornet’s nest that would be a major military target.

I look at these photos every year. 9/11 changed everything. Or did it? 

For years I said, “Yes.” But, the Al-Qaeda successes ended by 10:30 AM when the heroes of Flight 93 fought and then ended the terror threat while sacrificing their own lives.

Yes, our defense strategy (and airport security) did forever change. But day to day life?  No. There were those at the time who said that Americans must sacrifice more. But, surprisingly, President Bush called on us to live our lives as normally as possible. “Go shopping.” And we did. Our economy did not crash. He was right. Send the signal that the terrorists did not win. The volunteers who comprise our armed services took the fight to the terrorists and the countries that harbored them.

If my two kids born years after 9/11 asked if that day changed everything, I would now have to say, no, it did not.

By contrast, look what happened with America’s response to COVID-19. 

We literally STOPPED shopping, sending millions of workers home as thousands of businesses shuttered by government orders. We shut down schools completely for weeks. Then, only opened them for at-home lessons over the computer. Masks began to be worn. National and local Elections were conducted, without proper security, by mail. 

The physical and mental health consequences of COVID -19 were and are still devastating.  The 6, 12 or 18 months of nothing but “virtual” schooling has demonstrably been shown to have caused dramatic and probably permanent learning losses, especially amongst the least privileged children in our nation.

Even today, 30 months after America responded to COVID, millions of people wear masks as readily as they wear socks with their shoes. Government employees might still be working from home three, four, or five days a week in many departments.

Who to blame? Al Qaeda? China? Donald Trump? Anthony Fauci? Joe Biden? Yes. (except Al Qaeda). But really, wasn’t it the local and national media which cleverly hyped us into a panic to draw more readers and viewers as well as impact the potential for certain candidates to win elective office?

Donald Trump’s inexperience caused him to rely greatly on experts whom he didn’t really know. When Birx and Fauci share frightful mortality projections, Trump didn’t have a core philosophical foundation to NOT implement the unprecedented “15 days to slow the spread” to protect hospital access. Shutting things down made no sense to me. By what logic would they be allowed to re-open, I asked. It’s a virus and we didn’t anticipate a vaccine for five or more years. But, I did accept the logic of flattening the curve to save the hospitals.  Soon to be followed by 30 more days. By the end of that period, while Trump knew the “cure was worse than the disease,” it was too late. Protecting the hospitals was no longer the goal. The unrealistic goal of “Zero COVID” seemed to be the aim. Schools stayed shuttered in most of the country the following Fall, despite  his own Education Department pushing hard ( https://youtu.be/CQG835FyulE ) for a full reopening and with ample evidence that children were safe from serious harm.

So,  no, 9/11/01 did not change America. The date that changed everything is Friday, March 13, 2020.

TV News as it happened

Four year old Kristen looking for toothpaste on 9/11.


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Gerald Ford

 Unpopular at the time, the pardon of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford was the right thing to do. Nothing has made that more real than the behavior of Joe Biden’s Justice Department as it attempts to prosecute the previous and perhaps future president. Worse than watergate, which at least was secretly conducted rather than explicitly authorized by the government, seemingly to interfere with the American electoral process.