To “B” Or Not To “b” (Apologies To Willie Shakespeare)

July 2, 2020

Before reading the op-ed column in last Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch by Jenice Armstrong, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which she detailed the new custom of capitalizing “B” when referring to Black people, I had noticed this practice for several weeks in both the newspaper and on television. My viewpoint regarding categorizing people by the color of their skin, although convenient still seems racist even if capitalizing the first letter. Ironically, for the most part, black nor white does not really describe one’s actual color of their skin.

Why is it that skin color is only used to describe Black people or White? We no longer refer to Oriental people as being Yellow. Nor do we refer to America’s indigenous people as Red, except, that is for the National Football League’s Washington Redskins. I have written numerous letters to the NFL, NAACP and Washington’s owner during the past several decades regarding the derogatory nickname, calling for its banishment.

While reading Armstrong’s article, the thought occurred to me if this new capitalization procedure would apply to the word white. Before the week was out, I found the answer when reading an article by Ben Walker of the Associated Press that appeared in Wednesday’s sports section when he wrote former baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain “Landis broke up exhibitions between Black and white All-Star teams” in his article about why Landis’ name should be removed from Major League Baseball’s annual MVP award.

The non-capitalization of the letter “W” in the word white did not bother me as a White person; it just looked funny capitalizing one color and not the other. That bothered me as someone who suffers from being a neat freak, perfectionist and OCDer.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Will COVID-19 Help Elect Joe Biden Or Re-Elect Donald Trump?

May 6, 2020

With the president pressuring the fifty governors to open up their states from self-imposed stay-at-home economic shutdown, in an attempt to improve his probability to win re-election, steps need to be taken now to insure all Americans get the opportunity to cast a ballot safely in the November 3 election, an election that just might be the most crucial in this nation’s history.

All along, medical experts have been opining that a second wave of the coronavirus will strike come fall, and considering everyone of the thirty states that have started opening up their economies this past Friday are in violation of the president’s virus task-force guidelines (i.e., fourteen days of declining new cases (several states had their highest number the day before opening) and extensive testing (there isn‘t, as the U.S. ranks forty-second worldwide per capita)), the only thing that experts might be wrong about is that it will probably occur much sooner. During the 1918-1920 incorrectly named “Spanish Flu” pandemic, in which an estimated 50 million people died, including 675,000 Americans, it was the second wave that was responsible for the most casualties. That second wave was blamed on massive troops movements during the final year of World War I.

If these educated predictions come true, our state and national politicians need to start preparing for the coming election in which mail-in voting just might be the only safe way for all Americans to cast their ballots. Unlike Wisconsin, which forced its citizens to stand in line for several hours to cast a ballot during their recent primary, Ohio took the opposite approach, conducting their primary mostly by mail-in voting. Despite optimistic rhetoric espoused by members of the Republican Party, I tend to listen to medical experts and their warnings are dire. As such, I recently wrote Ohio’s Secretary Of State, expressing my concern regarding the November general election.

I concluded my letter to Secretary Frank LaRose with the assumption that mail-in voting, and especially mailing out ballots to all registered voters, in lieu of having to submit an application to receive a mail-in ballot, will never happen, and we both know the reason why. Let the president explain why; “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”

The following is my letter to Secretary LaRose.

Steven H. Spring

 

April 24, 2020

The Honorable Frank LaRose
Secretary Of State
The State Of Ohio
22 North Fourth Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary LaRose,

Having submitted my mail-in ballot a couple of weeks ago, and especially after reading an article in the April 22nd Columbus Dispatch with the headline “Mail-in voter turnout looks low,” I wanted to write to express my concern regarding the upcoming November 3rd general election. As a life-long political junkie, growing up on the south-side of Columbus, the 1968 Hubert Humphrey vs. Richard Nixon contest was the first that I can remember, as I became a teenager eight days after that election.

Even though I watch roughly ten hours of news daily (less during weekends before COVID-19 put an end to all sporting events) and the first thing I do every morning is to read the paper, I had no idea that I needed to submit an application to receive a mail-in ballot until my next door neighbor told me. That might be because I no longer watch local news, with its “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. Since the vast majority of Americans no longer read a newspaper or watches much televised news, if any, that might explain why only twenty-two percent of Ohioans who are registered have already voted.

Even during non-pandemic times, the percentage of Americans who vote is usually dismal, especially so during non-presidential election years. People in other countries risk their lives in order to cast a ballot, yet the majority of Americans could care less. If twenty-two percent of registered Ohioans have voted this primary election, what is the percentage of eligible voters having done so? I first raised this question with then Secretary Of State Robert Taft way back in 1996.

Our government officials, both national and state, should be doing everything possible to make it easier for Americans to vote, yet be it purging of voter rolls, eliminating polling locations and the number of voting machines, cutting back the number of early voting days or photo ID requirements, one political party is doing everything they can to prevent citizens from doing so. During the past two presidential elections, many Americans waited in line for hours, some up to eight, to vote.

What occurred up in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago during their primary was a disgrace, when the Republican-controlled legislature overturned Governor Tony Evers executive order instituting state-wide mail-in voting because of the pandemic, which was eventually ruled in the Republicans favor by the United States Supreme Court after going through first the Wisconsin Supreme Court and then the United States District Court.

With numerous medical experts opining that a second wave of coronavirus will attack our nation this fall, which based on the results of the so-called “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918-1920, could be disastrous since we are barely capable of handling the initial wave, I write to urge you to have your office ready for another mail-in ballot election and have all Ohioans be aware of what it takes to vote in this manner. Instead of having voters submit an application in order to receive a ballot, why not just mail a ballot to all registered voters.

We both know that will never happen, and the reason why.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring


Copy: Governor Mike DeWine
Representative Warren Davidson
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

COVID-19: Who Could Have Ever Imagined Such A Disaster?

March 29, 2020

Having learned two very important pieces of information regarding the COVID-19 virus pandemic since my post last week, that further supports my argument that this administration is the most ill-prepared and least capable of containing the coronavirus that is devastating many parts of the nation and planet, I must update my rant.

From January through August 2019, this administration conducted a military-style exercise with the objective being to determine the nation’s readiness to handle a pandemic caused by a viral infection. Led by the Department Of Health And Human Services, involving at least twelve federal agencies (among them the Pentagon and the NSC) and twelve states, the exercise was carried out over four phases. Crimson Contagion, the name of both the exercise and hypothetical virus, began in China, just like COVID-19.

Sadly, the results of this exercise are eerily similar to what is being reported daily by the media, among them lack of vital medical equipment and supplies, ranging from medications and N95 respirators to ventilators, soon became a major problem. The end results were nearly eight million Americans hospitalized and half a million dead.

Another interesting fact is that this nation has something called the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), an emergency inventory agency, part of the Center Of Disease Control And Prevention (CDC). The $8 billion secretive inventory is stored in warehouses strategically located throughout the country, and contains everything from pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to three different types of ventilators (Covidien LP10, Vyaire LTV1200 & Zoll). We are told that four thousand ventilators have been shipped to New York from the Stockpile, but that’s it? All day and all night, medical personal around the country are on television begging for medical supplies, especially N95 respirators, face shields and gowns.

Four-star admiral Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service Corps, while also serving as Assistant Secretary Of Health and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has said New York has everything it needs to fight the virus. However, New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily plea for more than the four thousand ventilators that are said to be on the way suggests otherwise. I have a personal stake in this as my daughter is a nurse, however, these brave people are putting their lives, and their families as well, on the line and America, the richest country in the world cannot provide them something as simple and cheap as N95 respirators?

Until Friday, this administration kept saying there is no need to enact the Defense Production Act Of 1950, which gives a president the right to force corporations to start manufacturing needed supplies, that Big Business has taken it upon themselves to do so. The president changed his mind Friday, when he announced that he is requiring General Motors to start producing ventilators. Judging by his comments toward GM CEO Mary Barra, not to mention there are ten US companies that manufacture ventilators, this seems more an action of spite, than one of necessity, especially since GM has to retool one of its factories before beginning production. Three American companies are in the top ten in the world in manufacturing ventilators, #1 Becton Dickinson, #7 General Electric Healthcare and #9 ResMed.

According to the SNS’s official web-site, their mission statement is “Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, the repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.” Judging by the constant begging for medical supplies, the Strategic National Stockpile is failing dreadfully at its mission. The SNS seemingly cannot provide enough supplies in the event of a single large-scale emergency, let alone multiple ones simultaneously.

Some people might say you should never criticize a president at a time of disaster, however, when I hear this president say no one could ever imagine a pandemic such as COVID-19 coming to America, as he did during this past Thursday’s press briefing (one of the items the Obama administration warned the incoming administration about seven days before transfer of power was a viral pandemic), not to mention the other lies being told every single day, it is my duty to speak up.

As the father of a nurse, it is my moral obligation to speak truth to power.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

 

Note: the following is my original post;

March 21, 2020

As an American, I find this administration’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic appalling. As the father of a daughter who is a nurse, I find this nation’s lack of basic medical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as face masks and shields disgusting.

How is it that China built two mobile hospitals (a total of sixteen hundred beds) in ten days, and yet we cannot provide enough N95 face masks or virus tests, telling medical personnel that they should use bandanas to cover their mouth and nose, only weeks into the virus coming ashore? Or that, in a pinch re-use their PPEs. How is this possible?

Why is it that this administration had nearly three months’ notice of the pending viral attack, but it seems more and more likely that it is the most ill-prepared (pardon the pun) and least capable of containing it? Maybe we should create some sort of government agency to handle such extreme circumstances. Oh wait, we did. However, this administration shut down the National Security Council’s Global-Health-Security unit (created by the Obama administration) and slashed Center For Disease Control And Prevention funding.

However, lets not place all blame on this administration. Does the health care industry, which is the most profitable industry in America, accept some responsibility as well. I’ve long said the health care industry should not be for-profit. My accounting degree from OSU reminds me that inventory cost money, not only the initial cost, but to store it as well. Just ask the Detroit auto industry, which found out the hard way. The Japanese standard is the just-in-time (JIT) method, eliminating costly inventory. This is evidenced by all the Japanese factories located throughout central Ohio in outlaying villages and towns, supplying Honda of America up in Marysville. This method works great when all is well, however when you throw a pandemic into the supply chain, problems arise, as we are desperately finding out.

America, and especially this administration, likes to pride itself with constant boasting of being the greatest nation of all-time, yet cannot provide paper face masks or cotton swabs to conduct testing. This is disgraceful.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

COVID-19

March 22, 2020

As an American, I find this administration’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic appalling. As the father of a daughter who is a nurse, I find this nation’s lack of basic medical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as face masks and shields disgusting.

How is it that China built two mobile hospitals (a total of sixteen hundred beds) in ten days, and yet we cannot provide enough N95 face masks or virus tests, telling medical personnel that they should use bandanas to cover their mouth and nose, only weeks into the virus coming ashore? Or that, in a pinch re-use their PPEs. How is this possible?

Why is it that this administration had nearly three months’ notice of the pending viral attack, but it seems more and more likely that it is the most ill-prepared (pardon the pun) and least capable of containing it? Maybe we should create some sort of government agency to handle such extreme circumstances. Oh wait, we did. However, this administration shut down the National Security Council’s Global-Health-Security unit (created by the Obama administration) and slashed Center For Disease Control And Prevention funding.

However, lets not place all blame on this administration. Does the health care industry, which is the most profitable industry in America, accept some responsibility as well. I’ve long said the health care industry should not be for-profit. My accounting degree from OSU reminds me that inventory cost money, not only the initial cost, but to store it as well. Just ask the Detroit auto industry, which found out the hard way. The Japanese standard is the just-in-time (JIT) method, eliminating costly inventory. This is evidenced by all the Japanese factories located throughout central Ohio in outlaying villages and towns, supplying Honda of America up in Marysville. This method works great when all is well, however when you throw a pandemic into the supply chain, problems arise, as we are desperately finding out.

America, and especially this administration, likes to pride itself with constant boasting of being the greatest nation of all-time, yet cannot provide paper face masks or cotton swabs to conduct testing. This is disgraceful.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Why The Iowa Caucus Needs To Be Impeached

February 6, 2020

How is it possible, that in the biggest election in maybe this nation’s history, in a state where candidates have basically lived for the past year, all Americans rely on something called a caucus to elect their president? With its first-in-the-nation electoral contest, Iowans have a huge influence over every other state, even more so considering their rank in population and diversity (31st and 45th, respectfully). Four years ago, the candidate to whom I would have voted for, was no longer in the race by the time Ohio held its primary.

Granted, a caucus whereby citizens gather to discuss politics is probably democracy’s most romantic act of loyalty, but why does Iowa’s caucus involve what many pundits are calling a “complicated formula?” Why is there a need of a formula to count votes and issue delegates? Even more confusing was that Iowa was to release three sets of numbers, for some un-gawdly reason.

How is it possible that Iowa, after installing new software to determine each citizen’s vote, not run a complete mock caucus, testing the entire system months ago? Especially given their influential first-in-the-nation status in such a monumental election. This is the third straight caucus in which Iowa has had problems. Serious issues were raised in 2012 about the outcome of Mitt Romney vs. Rick Santorum, while in 2016, doubts were raised about the result between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Two straight problems explain the need for new software.

Not only does Iowa have a huge sway over who we elect as president, the complicated formula used to distribute delegates was designed to give Iowa’s rural communities an undue influence over their urban counterparts. This is exactly why the Electoral College was established. Just because you win the Iowa caucus, does not mean you will win the nomination (the odds are pretty good for Democrats, not so for Republicans), however what these formulas (as apposed to actual votes) do is to give a huge influence to the most rural parts of one of the most rural states in the country. That isn’t democracy.

It’s time for a national primary.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

The Death Of America (God Bless Her Soul)

January 31, 2020

As a life-long political junkie, I watched probably ninety percent of both the House of Representatives impeachment hearings and the Senate’s “trial” of the president. Though I am not an attorney nor legal scholar, however this “trial” was nothing more than a kangaroo court, as Republicans prevented Democrats from subpoenaing eye-witnesses nor any documents. Trials without witnesses or documentation are what dictators conduct. To borrow a much over-used word by Republicans and especially the president, it was nothing more than a sham.

Republicans cried out numerous times over the past several weeks that Democrats produced nothing but hearsay witnesses, relying on third or fourth party testimony. However, this was due only to the president preventing nearly everyone from testifying nor complying with any subpoena for documents. In addition, the assertion is false, as European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified under oath that he had first-hand knowledge of the quid pro quo demand by the president’s merry band of shysters, hustlers, and grifters. If new claims by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, that was reported Friday afternoon turn out to be credible, this conspiracy and cover-up goes much deeper involving high ranking officials and longer in time than anyone could ever imagine.

This administration will go down in history as the most corrupt, most inept and most untruthful in American history. Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional scholar and member of the president’s defense team opined that Trump can basically do anything he wants, if it is done in pursuit of getting re-elected. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that this president will do anything to get re-elected and with four more years in office, anything goes. Once Senate Republicans acquit him of all charges, the president will be free to do any and every thing he chooses, legal or not.

America has been slowly dying an immoral death the past three years, and this “trial” has pounded the last few nails into its coffin. We are a laughingstock on the world stage. The only hope for her is that Democrats and Independents come out in mass on the third day of November and take back both the Senate and White House.

If not, Vladimir Putin will have defeated this nation without firing a single shot.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

The Impeachment Of Donald Trump

November 13, 2019

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was inserted as a last minute, temporary member of the House Intelligence Committee just so he could be his usual, highly partisan self during the Committee’s public hearings of the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, proved what the true intent of the Republican Party is when he raise an objection to the hearing, accusing Chairman Adam Schiff of knowing who the whistle-blower was.

Chairman Schiff, in his usual low-key manner, replied that Jordan was incorrect. Had I been the chairman, I would have replied, “That sir, is a lie.” Is there any doubt that the only goal of the Republican Party during this historic hearing is to be nothing more than a disruptive force, with no intention of finding the truth?

I only wish someone would start a GoFundMe page, to raise much needed money so Representative Jordan can afford to buy a suit jacket. Winter is here and poor Mr. Jordan doesn’t seem to be financially secure enough to afford one.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Who’s Foolin’ Who?

October 2, 2019

Correspondent Norah O’Donnell did her darndest to get truthful answers from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during her interview with the Saudi leader Sunday evening on 60 Minutes season premiere, however, I believed his answers about as much as I do anything (everything) our president says, which is to say, none of them.

If America wanted to see the true bin Salman, she would have watched the season premiere of PBS’ Frontline investigative series Tuesday evening entitled The Crown Prince Of Saudi Arabia. An extensive segment of the two hour program centered on the killing of Saudi-born, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

My only criticism of the show, hosted by Martin Smith, is that more time should have been spent discussing the Saudi – Yemen war, a war pitting the kingdom against Houti rebels, who are accused of being backed by Iran. During the five year old war, which has been declared a massive humanitarian crisis, the kingdom, armed by America with F-15 fighter jets, armored vehicles, bombs, missiles and missile defense systems, has bombed numerous hospitals, schools (as many as 1,500) and at least one school bus which killed forty children.

Then, there is the Donald Trump/Jared Kushner financial ties with the kingdom, ties so deep that bin Salam boasts that he has Kushner “in his pocket.” Surely those ties would not conflict with America’s best interests, would they?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Let’s Go To Yet One More War

September 18, 2019

Why is it, that an administration that ran on a promise to get us out, and keep us out of all these unnecessary wars, is now hell-bent on attacking Iran, whom it claimed is responsible for the recent drone and missile attack on a Saudi Arabia oil processing plant and oil field? The administration determined Iran was responsible within a matter of hours, and yet Virginia freshman Representative Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative, stated there is no way to ascertain who is responsible in such a short period of time.

Other experts have said that the president and vice-president boasting like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne that America is “locked and loaded” is the last thing our fearless (or is it careless?) leaders should have said. Especially if they are actually preparing an attack. If nothing more than schoolyard braggadocio, such talk could lead to all-out war in the powder-keg that is the Middle East, with threats escalating and neither country wanting to appear weak by backing down.

America wasn’t attacked, Saudi Arabia was. The kingdom is America’s biggest buyer of military armaments, let them handle their own affairs. We are still engaged in the two longest wars in our history, with no end in sight in either, not to mention we are periodically bombing five other countries (Libya, Niger, Somalia, Syria and Yemen). Northern Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, as part of their ongoing war with the kingdom, which began in early 2015 when Saudi Arabia, backed by America, launched its military campaign against the Yemen insurgency. We do not need to get involved in something that potentially could make all these other conflicts look like child’s play.

When you consider the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi less than a year ago, a fact denied by the president, and that the president and his son-in-law has deep financial ties with the kingdom (so much so that bin Salman boasts that Jared Kushner is “in his pocket”) something just doesn’t smell right.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

How Once Great Thou Art (apologies to Carl Boberg)

August 19, 2019

Listening to news last week that another once great American city has a critical water problem, my first thought was how many more cities are facing similar problems, that being century old water mains? This time it’s Newark, New Jersey. Flint, Michigan’s water is still unfit to drink or bathe, five years after residents were first warned of the danger.

I’m no engineer, so I leave it to experts regarding America’s infrastructure, and the news hasn’t been good for years. Every four years, the American Society Of Civil Engineers issues its “Infrastructure Report Card,” and the results, on a sunny day, are horrific. The Society’s 2017 report gave America an overall grade of D+ on our entire infrastructure system.

Though there is one bright spot, with our rail system earning a B, and three others (bridges, ports and solid waste) earning C+, all other categories rate very poorly. Energy, hazardous waste, parks & recreation and wastewater all earn D+, while aviation, dams, drinking water, inland waterways, levees, roads, schools and transit grade a D.

The Engineers also gave an estimate for the “Cost to Improve” our infrastructure over the next ten years as $4.59 trillion. If that’s the cost to improve our entire infrastructure, what’s it gonna take to fix it, let alone turn it into world-class? We are America, after all.

However, like all great empires, America has reached the stage where it spends all its valuable resources protecting the far reaches of its kingdom, all the while it is collapsing from within.

Steven H. Spring
Earth