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Kennedy: J&J vaccine suspension an overreaction, sports betting legislation will help, other thoughts at 75 | COMMENTARY

Well, folks, it’s been a quite full last seven days at this old homestead. I got my taxes completed and all of the associated paperwork filed, got my second COVID-19 shot with no adverse reactions at all, had my annual “poke-n-prod” at the doctor’s office, and, from my point of view, reached official fogeyhood. Yep, I’ve been on this Earth for three-quarters of a century, a full 75 years. I guess readers should take that into consideration when evaluating my comments. .. or not.

As I have done for the last several columns, there are a couple of news items that I feel deserve some discussion. One is the recent decision to suspend the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. I fully understand the need to be observant and concerned with any side effects, but with only six instances in around 7 million doses given, such a suspension of the use of that vaccine seems a bit of an overreaction. It is reported that all of the six who were affected are all females between 18 and 48 years of age, which leads to questions about other medications that they could have been taking in common since they all are of child-bearing age. Questions such as that need to be investigated before a blanket total suspension is warranted. In the meantime, doses could still be administered to males and females over 50, none of whom has exhibited the blood clotting problem. Just a thought.

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Our state legislature has finished its session for this year and passed some truly meaningful bills, some I’m in full agreement with and some where I think they didn’t quite think it through enough and could have come up with better legislation that could have better done what they intended. From the reworking of the rules by which law enforcement should work, to the restructuring of sentencing guidelines for juveniles convicted of serious crimes, I think that some of that legislation will be revisited next year for a bit of minor restructuring since parts may have gone too far and other parts didn’t quite go far enough in making things fair to both the police and the convicted. Again, just my opinion.

Some good news from our folks in Annapolis. The sports betting legislation was passed. I voted to allow it when it was up for vote in November. Now, I’ll probably never participate in any way shape or form, but there are those who will and earmarking their money for education — although we’ve heard that refrain before — should allow for increasing the state’s portion of aid to our school, which would be a very good thing for our county. As well, the bill allowing for the expansion of broadband computer access just might allow under, and sometimes un-served areas like Lineboro, to join the rest of us in the 21st century. It’s always a good thing when the legislature doesn’t raise our taxes, and we got a pass this time around.

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Nationally, when will congressional Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, stop simply saying a blanket “no” to everything that the president proposes, and come forth with a list of things that they could agree to as proposed and then offer some reasonable alternatives to the parts that don’t pass their muster? If they were to do that, something might get done in Washington that actually helps the majority of us who don’t earn millions in salary and benefits. Taxing corporations isn’t going to change the way they operate either. We can only hope.

I find it quite sad that the town of Manchester couldn’t muster even three candidates for the three seats on the Town Council up for election this year. Since the two who have registered for the election will automatically be seated, whoever gets the most write-in votes will fill the last opening if he/she is otherwise qualified. What happens if the winner declines the post? What happens if all who receive votes decline? Someone in the town needs to step up and declare his/her candidacy publicly before it’s too late.

Remember, our local elections are coming soon so make sure you’re registered and please come out to cast your ballot.

Bill Kennedy writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Monday. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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