Monday, October 22, 2012

A Tour of Gerrymanderland

Welcome to the Baltimore Beltway Bus Bonanza!

For the next hour, traffic permitting, we're going to take you on a 49 mile loop loop around Baltimore, and across 4 of our 8 great Maryland Congressional Districts. Here's a map, with the points of interest along the way. This bus is equipped with seatbelts, so fasten them up, and pull out your map and the congressional bingo sheets and keep score as we drive.

View Larger Map

Right now, to get us started, we're at A, the exit ramp on I-695 for I-95 south, north west of Baltimore. We're gonna drive clockwise around town, and since 695 doesn't actually make a loop, we'll do as best we can and start by going south on I-95. You with me?  Please sit back and enjoy the view.

Alright. We're starting in MD District 2, represented in the US Congress by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger [D]

... 5 minutes later

Ok folks, the split for 895 is coming up here at B, we're gonna stick with 95.

... 1 minute later

Hey - there's C, Rt 40, and - MD District 3. District 3, whose congressman is Rep. John Sarbanes [D] borders district 2, that makes sense of course.

... 1 minute later

Just crossing Rolling Mill Rd now at D, back in District 2...

... 3 minutes later

Hey look below, 895 joining us again and Poncast St coming up at E - back in District 3 everyone.

... 5 minutes later

Now, under the tunnel we go, and look, there's F, the 395 interchange heading into the city - and - hey, we're in District 2 again... Ain't it fun?

Wait no, we're already at G and now we're in District 3 again. Hm. They must have drawn districts 2 and 3 so that 95 wove them together or something.

... 3 minutes later

Alright, H: I-695 is coming up, we're heading north.

... 1 minute later

We're now at I, passing Rt 1 and leaving MD District 3, entering District 7, home to Rep. Elijah Cummings [D]. If you need to use the facilities in the back of the bus, this is the time to do so, this is the longest break we'll have on this trip and you don't want to miss anything, now do ya! You know, I've always thought District 7's shape kinda looks like a small dog with a large head yipping at the mailman. You see it?

... 10 minutes later

Alright, wake up folks. Millford Mill Rd comin' up here at J, - you know it's funny - we're still in District 7 - but folks - those living both east and west of us are both in our old friend District 2. But don't worry, we'll get you out of District 7 soon.

... 50 seconds later

Here we go - K, passing by the I-795 exit ramp, we're gonna stick with 695 for the rest of our trip, but hey, at least we're back in our home district, District 2.

... 1 minute later

Wait - sorry, (L) the I-795 entrance ramp is joining us on the right, and we're now in District 3 again.

... 6 minutes later

We're now at M on your map, folks. The people joining us on the right here, they are coming out of Baltimore on I-83. If you look to the left you'll see District 2, but on this side of the freeway we're still in District 3. But have patience, we'll join them soon.

... 2 minutes later

Sure enough, we're at N, and here on the right are the folks joining us from I-83 southbound, leaving District 1, 2, or 7 - who knows which district they came from up there - wave hello, and hello to District 2.

... 2 minutes later

We're now passing Rt 146, Dulaney Valley Rd, O on our map. The area immediately to the left (or North) of the road is Hampton - those folks are in District 1, represented by Rep. Andy Harris [R]. District 1, by the way, is MD's largest district, area wise, and stretches all the way south and across the Potomac down to Ocean City and beyond.

... 4 minutes later

P for Perring Parkway, Rt 41, coming up, We're now in District 3 again.

... 4 minutes later

And here we are at Q. We're all the way home again, passing Lillian Holt Drive, we reenter District 2.

Thanks for joining us, it's been a blast - in and out of 4 congressional districts 12 times in only 50 minutes - that's gotta be some kind of record, huh folks?

Don't tell poor Rep. Andy Harris [R] of District 1, though - it takes him 5 hours and 20 minutes to just to drive from one end of his district to the other, staying within his district:

View Larger Map

And don't even get Rep. John Sarbanes [D] of District 3 started on the cost of gas, he has to spend an entire work day crisscrossing central Maryland to get to his constituents:

View Larger Map

Thanks again, folks - Don't forget to leave a tip for your poor congressman and state delegate, if you can figure out who they are, and be sure to thank them for creating such an interesting form of democracy in our fair state - your souvenir map is available at

Oh, and before I forget:

Vote No on Question 5 on election day


Baltimore Sun Editorial, October 21, 2012: Against Question 5 


Question 5 - Congressional Districting Plan

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recent Items in Windows 8

I  just got Windows 8 installed on my work desktop a few days back, and am still trying to find my way around the place.  The jury is still out if this is a great OS for non-touch laptop/desktop users; I really appreciate some of the performance features; some of the UX, not so much.

This morning I was looking for a file I had just closed, and I couldn't remember the filename or the path.  Recent Items to the rescue, I thought. So I hit Windows, typed "Recent" - nothing - continued, "Recent Items" - nothing.  Hmm.  Hit Windows + F to do a file search only - still nada.

Google to the rescue, as always:

From elessarGObonzo: the folder is still located in "C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows" as 'Recent Items'

Unfortunately this folder is a special folder that can't simply be added as a Toolbar - that would have been great.  You can however add it to your Start menu, Desktop, and also to the Taskbar.

To add Recent items to your Start menu, simply right-click and select Pin to Start.  Done. (Tip: Hit Windows to bring up Start and then move the icon to a place you can find it.)

To add Recent Items to the Desktop is also easy, rght-click, select Send To > Desktop (create shortcut).  Done.

To add Recent Items to the Taskbar is more complex - you have to add a shortcut to the Taskbar folder, which like the Recent Items folder itself is hidden.

From Windows 7 Themes: the Taskbar folder is located here: C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

So simply Alt-drag the Recent Items from its folder to the Taskbar folder and you now have a button in the Desktop taskbar.

Not quite the same as Windows 7, but manageable.

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