• Spartan Considerations

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Why Howard County?  Why do you compel me to write these articles?  I am, as we speak, developing the rules for a game I call Quar-Ball. It’s the ideal game for these times.  A combination of dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, badminton, squamish, and (at the advanced level) snooker – it is going to be the sport everyone will be playing in the autumn.

So why can’t I focus on this soon-to-be-beloved-by-millions-and-highly-profitable-for-me past-time? Because of the Howard County Council Legislative Work Session (Web-based Virtual Meeting) of July 8, 2020.

Upon watching the first 28 minutes and final 10 minutes of the session, I heard comments and saw behaviors that included all of the words mentioned in the title of this post.  Check it out for yourself here:



Allow me one digression.  Of course these attitudes and actions are not limited to the Howard County Council…I see plenty of this on social media too.  From the squishy center sanctimoniousness from one FB group administrator to the “logical fallacy” FB group administrator. To the former: learn how to deal with public criticism.  To the latter: hey, what’s the logical fallacy for being a hypocritical gasbag? Ad homi-this, pal.


Back to the main point, to expand upon a metaphor used recently in this context, the Howard County Council appears to be trapped in a five-way bad marriage. What I saw from this particular session, among other things, is the need for a strong commitment to antiracism.  I understand there are “reasons” why Howard County can’t move on this issue as Montgomery County did, with Councilperson Will Jawando pushing for a resolution declaring racism a “public health crisis” (which passed unanimously).  However, I think we can all agree that silencing a Black member of the Howard County Council, duly elected as the voice of the people of the district he represents, was reprehensible.  We need “unconscious bias and racial equity training for Councilmembers and County Council staff” now.  And we need the racial equity task force to launch ASAP, report their findings shortly after ASAP, and actually put into practice their recommendations (assuming, of course, they are quality anti-racist measures), ASAP after ASAP.


Some may decry the task force as mockery, or even a sham, but I disagree.  If the task force can change hearts, minds, and behaviors in such a way that more people, including elected officials, embrace antiracist beliefs and practices, then it will be a worthwhile endeavor.


Beyond (while still including) race, this County Council needs to get it together.  Otherwise, 2021 and 2022 are going to be very ugly years in terms of both local governance as well as electioneering. I guarantee it.


In solidarity.

37 views0 comments
  • Spartan Considerations

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Bearing in mind the enhanced interest in anti-fascism while also noting the seemingly increased tolerance for fascistic speech and behaviors in the United States and other countries, what follows is my book review of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, by Mark Bray.


Published in 2017, Professor Bray crafted a highly readable, well-structured work on the philosophical underpinning of the antifa movement.  He readily admits that a compressed time schedule (driven by global events) compelled him to focus on the areas which he knew best – specifically American and European anti-fascist organizations.  He acknowledges that that is a shortcoming.  He does make an effort to explore intersectional themes: most notably pertaining to race and racism but also on gender and patriarchy.


The first 60% of the book takes us on a history of anti-fascism.  The history is broken out into three parts:  anti-fascism through 1945 (with a focus on the inter-war period), from the end of World War Two to roughly the outbreak of the Iraq War, and the modern era of 2003 to the present.


There are a number of sub-themes which, in and of themselves, could each make for a book of their own:  the propensity of police forces to support fascist actors and regimes, the divisions on the Left which inhibited their ability to fight back against fascism, the weakness of liberals who advocate for “neutral” values that (in effect) provide opportunities for fascists to exploit, and the leitmotif of people believing that fascist parties were “jokes”…until they actually came into power (usually via constitutional/parliamentary means).


The other 40% of the book offers some key “lessons learned” and practical organizing counsel as well as communications suggestions, such as on how to handle questions about “no platforming” and the “what about free speech for all?” whinging articulated by not only fascists but neoliberals of many stripes, including liberals.


Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook seeks to remind people about the dangers of false equivalences.  We see them all of the time, on television as well as on social media (If you do X, you are just the same as Y).  The reality is far different, both in principle and on the ground.  Fascists want to dehumanize, hurt, and/or kill people who are different from them…racial or ethnic minorities, those who practice different faiths, women, members of LGBTQIA+ communities.  Anti-fascists want to stop them, using a range of strategies and tactics.  There is no ethical “middle ground” here.


I strongly recommend this timely and accessible work, especially when one considers the potential for even more widespread fascistic violence occurring between now and January 2021.  It is important to understand how best to defend against fascism and help protect those most vulnerable to its depredations.

In solidarity.

0 views0 comments
  • Spartan Considerations

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

As my more attentive readers know, I am an ordained minister of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude (Reformed, as I like the Eagles).   Don’t believe the church is real?  See for yourself:   https://dudeism.com/.

Wayne Robey, Clerk of the Court for the Circuit Court for Howard County, noted in an email to an interested party that it would seem as though someone thus credentialed could, in fact, act as an officiant at weddings, funerals, etc…Of course, he acknowledged that his thoughts did not constitute “legal advice.”  My follow-up to that is that I provide my services at highly reasonable rates.

But enough of that.  You can imagine the intense chagrin I experienced upon reading an article in The Merriweather Post that stated that some local organizations were taking legal action to “shut down” the Symphony of Lights. 

I have read The Merriweather Post, dare I say religiously, for 35 years. I have never seen a headline in that august publication that has filled me with such horror.


I make a pilgrimage to the grounds where the Symphony of Lights occurs every December.  As I interpret the First Amendment regarding the free exercise of religion, it is not only a privilege but a right for me and my spiritual comrades to:


  • Drive very slowly through the winding paths as we look at the displays (and they damn well better be the same ones I saw last year),

  • Tune into a weak AM radio station with a four-song playlist and a signal that fades immediately after you cross Governor Warfield Parkway; and

  • Fork over $20 for the entire experience.


So, I am taking the American route to resolving this problem.  I am suing everyone in sight.


Specifically, my attorneys will be pursuing legal action against (but not limited to): the Columbia Association, the Inner Arbor Trust, the DCACC, the IMA, County Executive Calvin Ball, Delegate Warren Miller, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, that barista who “forgets” that I want a five-pump chai tea latte, and many others.  You will be hearing from my lawyers forthwith.


And God help Macy’s if they don’t have their holiday display up in September.


In solidarity.

3 views0 comments

Join our mailing list