Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B
June 10, 2014
When you receive this message I will be away on my ninth annual weeklong silent retreat. This has become one of the most meaningful times of each year for me. From the silence, the beautiful green countryside, the finely scheduled days being awakened by a bell at 5 am to several meditation "sits" and dharma talks by Shinzen, the Buddhist monk who leads the retreat, to three regularly scheduled, mostly vegetarian (delicious) healthy meals, back to my room at 10 pm - all in silence provide such a clear backdrop for me to get to know myself better.
In May, Lloyd and I spent two weeks in Greece travelling together by ferry and car. In our prior visit ten years ago we did not visit Delphi, so this was our first time there. The rocky hillside had a sense of sacredness to it. I developed a deeper understanding of the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. The fact that Socrates came many centuries after them had never truly "registered" with me. I had forgotten that the message he delivered daily in the Ancient Agora (marketplace) was so simple: "Know Thyself." Much of the same message of Buddhist meditation is given on my retreat. This is one more example of the connectedness of everything in the universe. As Zach so often said: "I love this life."
Early voting will be held at three locations in Howard County. The Bain Senior Center in the Harper's Choice Village Center is one of them, from June 12 through 19, 10 am till 8 pm.
Election Day is Tuesday, June 24 from 7 am till 8 pm.
I am actively involved in two campaigns.
Terri Hill for Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly District 12.
Although there are three seats open in this race, Terri is the only one I am endorsing. I have known her and her family for many years here in Columbia. I do not know any of the other eleven candidates vying for these seats well at all, having only met most of them in the past year. Terri has demonstrated a strong passion for social, economic, and environmental justice. I would be very pleased to have her representing me in Annapolis after I conclude my twenty years serving there.
Several other candidates for District 12 Delegate asked me to endorse them. I met with them and explained that I was endorsing only Terri because she is the only one I know well, and I take an endorsement very seriously. Several of you have called me because you saw my name used on the front of another candidate's mailer and thought this meant I was endorsing that candidate. I did not know that my name was going to be used and I didn't give permission for it.
Brian Frosh for Attorney General
Brian Frosh is a Maryland State Senator from Montgomery County and is running to serve as Attorney General. In my clear opinion, he is by far the best candidate for this very important position. The Attorney General serves as the people's attorney.
Brian has the wisdom and integrity to serve us well and will provide a good, sound balance to whomever is our next governor.
Changes in the Media
This article by Len Lazarick shines a light on yet another diminishment of independent news coverage. Note that The Sun has already taken over The Columbia Flier and The Howard County Times. The result is that the local perspective is diminished.
Len Lazarick speaks for me in pointing out what a detrimental effect this sale will have on coverage of what goes on in Maryland government. One more loss for open and transparent government.
Below are two articles reflecting the current flux in our media, which is struggling to compete with electronic communications. Perhaps the answer is not to compete and rather do what they do best: quality press and radio coverage.
Maryland Health Care Web Site
The three articles below cover these issues.
Maryland's modeling its new site on Connecticut, which interestingly describes its successful site thusly: "as simple as possible." Let's hear it for simplicity when possible.
Adding small businesses, though it's not clear why they were not included in the first place, and using illegal closed meetings by the Health Exchange Panel are also covered.
As someone who strongly supports the basic public policy of the healthcare exchange system, I look forward to having this all straightened out so that all of the serious flaws in Maryland's system can stop detracting from this policy.
One of my favorite Post columnists on one of my favorite elected officials – E.J. Dionne JR. on Elizabeth Warren.
I so look forward to the time when we in the United States realize the irony of our having made the word derived from the root "liberty" a "dirty" word.
Reflections on Zach
I am aware of the presence of Zach's spirit virtually all the time. It comes in times of reverence for the beauty of nature, children, poetry, and all things beautiful. It also shows up when I find myself getting impatient, frustrated, or angry and calls me back to remembering that life is a gift and we must treasure every moment.
Last fall I wrote about Zach's telling me that his battle with brain cancer was a war. It becomes clearer and clearer that he won that war by continuing to live on in the minds, hearts, and souls of all of us whom he inspired. During this week of my annual silent retreat, I will maintain a soft focus on my time with Zach and all I learned from him. I want to be as clear as possible so I can carry it on as best I can in my own life. I recall the last line of the long poem written by Chris' friend, Ruth, and included in the program for the celebration of Zach's life: "...we are left to tell the story about the guy who is and will always be "sunshine on a cloudy day."
Enjoy these summer days,
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