Monday, August 27, 2012

Main Street Appreciation Wrap Up (Monday LINKS)

"From open to close, we were slammed."  -- Bartender at Diamondback.

We'll never get statistics from yesterday, nor do we need them, but by almost all accounts, you all pulled off quite the weekend of appreciation and support.  I was down on Main Street for at least a part of all three days and every time I would peak up or down the hill and see groups of pedestrians with shopping bags and strollers.  All four restaurants I visited were packed.

It takes five minutes to set up a Facebook page.  This wasn't me.  Main Street Appreciation Weekend tapped into a well of civic virtue and community support that was going to shine through regardless.  Sometimes all we need is a reminder that we're needed.  Even Batman had a spotlight

And through all of this we uncovered an ideal that I hope is difficult to forget.  For all of our electronic engagement, there is absolutely nothing better, or more powerful, than selfless action for your fellow man, particularly when it is your neighbor.  We see this ideal shine through time after time, only to fade away.  9/11.  Hurricane Katrina.  Haiti. 

I don't know why this ideal is followed so sporadically.  It is appreciated by both the right and the left; the former as a presumption, the latter as a foundation.  Our lives seem designed to make us forget.  But then, when we come back to that ideal, when the opportunity presents itself, we are reminded that there are few things in this life that feel better than "doing good."

I am honored and humbled by your fellowship.  Saying that you are "humbled" is almost a contradiction, because it presumes some honor.  I would rather say both.  Being with all of you this weekend has been a highlight of my year.  I've already told Jane that what I would really like for my birthday is a framed picture from Main Street this weekend.  Not because of the Facebook page, but because it will always remind me of how this community stepped up when called upon to do so and just how good that felt to be a part of it.


I highly recommend this long form piece in Mother Jones about our "failing schools" and how standardized tests are poisoning our education policy, particularly with regard to Hispanic students.

If you are interested in faith in politics, particularly with regard to the "preferential treatment of the poor", you need to see this Bill Moyers's episode regarding the Sisters on the Bus.  Robert Royal provides a perfect counter-point to Sister Simone Campbell and their discussions really get into the meat of government endorsed charity as opposed to the civic ideal (that Sister Simone rightly notes as having failed).

The Ulman Cancer Fund plans to stand by their man as Lance Armstrong is pilloried in the press after dropping his defense to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's accusations of performance-enhancing drug use.  I hope that their loyalty to Armstrong does not injure their ability to fund-raise for an important cause, while admittedly their success to this point could most likely be attributed primarily to Lance.

The picture of the Monument Street sinkhole that opened up yesterday gave me chills.

The Orioles have traded for starting picture Joe Saunders from the Diamondbacks, giving up relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom.  To do the long form math for you, that means Dan Duquette essentially traded now-journeyman pitcher Jeremy Guthrie for Jason Hammel and Joe Saunders, two solid starting pitchers.  In Ozzie we trust.  Long Live the Duke!

The Baltimore Sun has uncovered evidence that Baltimore City school administrators have spent approximately $500,000 in credit purchases that include expensive restaurant meals, travel, and even an afternoon at Hooters (they say they were served in a private room by a "fully clothed manager"). 

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Goes to my friend HowChow who has dived back into a posting binge (which is a good thing for all of us).  He posts about the Weekend and encourages everyone to put Old Ellicott City high on your decision list when picking a place to eat or shop.

That's all for today.  Have a great Monday doing what you love!