A few odds and ends in no particular order.
· The leadership of both houses of Congress and the president are now in the process of trying to hammer out another COVID-19 assistance package. I’d like to remind all concerned that “compromise” is not a dirty word nor is it something to be avoided at all costs. Former agent for many professional athletes, and often a negotiator for corporations and unions alike, Ron Shapiro, wrote a book that all of the previously mentioned should read carefully. It outlined what Shapiro worked to accomplish in all of his negotiations — a win-win outcome — where both sides went home happy.
A few things being hashed out can be easily satisfied with a little give and take by both sides. For example, the Democrats want to extend the supplemental unemployment at $400 until September, while the Republicans want to limit those payments to $300 and just until June. How about settling on the $300 but extend it until September? How about targeting any direct payments directly to utility companies to catch those who have fallen behind, or maybe paying the arrears of those who are in danger of losing their housing directly to the mortgage lenders and landlords? Maybe a couple of dollars on a SNAP card for those on social security who get less than $2,000 a month. Any of those would be a help to those who are truly needy, and cost less than the $600 or $1,400 directly to households, especially when given to those with substantial incomes who don’t need the boost.
· I’m aware that the Orioles are still in what seems to be a neverending rebuild stage when it comes to the roster, but did MASN have to completely disassemble the broadcast roster as well? I’m one who will follow the team come hell or high water, but it would be much easier if there were the familiar personalities and voices to watch and listen to. From my point of view, that lineup from last season’s abbreviated schedule — due to the pandemic — left much to be desired and some of those on the broadcasts were downright awful. Bring back Gary Thorne, Mike Bordick, Jim Hunter, and the rest!
· I’m fed up with snow! As one who is rapidly approaching true geezerhood, shoveling has become more than a pain in the neck, it’s the back, legs, and arms too. My puny snow blower can’t handle more than two or three inches of dry powder without clogging up — forcing me to get out the trusty shovel for the usual wet heavyweight stuff we get in these parts.
· Although I’m not too happy about the situation, I’m understanding that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has had its problems with the supply and demand. What I don’t understand is why there is such a delay in setting up some central place to call (for those of us who are more than a little technologically illiterate) where we could get information on where to go for the shots and get an appointment scheduled. I’ve filled out the “Interest” form from the Carroll County Health Department, but at this point don’t have any idea when, or if, I can get the shot before I age up into group 1B in a couple of months.
· What does Q-anon queen Marjorie Taylor-Greene, a Representative from Georgia, have on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and a good portion of House Republicans who failed to call her out? It took a vote by the entire House to remove her from her assigned committees — Education and Budget — for her insane beliefs about Democrats being lizard people and pedophile cannibals, the mass shootings in Connecticut, Florida, and Las Vegas being staged, and wanting to shoot Nancy Pelosi in the head. She’s trying to talk back some of her words, but the insincere apology/explanation just doesn’t ring true. She’s lucky that she wasn’t expelled from the House altogether. Congressional Republicans need to get a spine and retake their party before it goes completely off of the rails. Blind allegiance to the former president isn’t going to widen the scope of their party, much to the party’s detriment.
· Finally, congrats to Senator Van Hollen and the Maryland congressional delegation, save for Andy Harris, who sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy on the continuing sorry state of the Postal Service. Maybe now something will be done.
Bill Kennedy writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Monday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.