O Say Can You See

It’s time for Puerto Rico to become the 51st of the United States of America. It’s time to put this particular remnant of American colonialism to rest and give the millions of citizens of Puerto Rico a full voice, the full benefit, and the full responsibility of statehood. Of course, this begs the question of what to do with other territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands, to name only a couple, but their populations are vastly smaller than Puerto Rico’s. In fact, if Puerto Rico were a state, it would rank between Connecticut and Oklahoma by population. I can’t imagine Nutmeggers or Okies being willing to settle for second-class citizenship; why should Puerto Ricans? And in the wake of the most recent election, though we have many other issues – like the fiscal cliff – to deal with, now seems to be a as good a time as any to have a broader discussion about what citizenship really means, not just for the residents of Puerto Rico, but for all of us.

Besides, we already have a flag designed. See?



For those of us in the United States (including those citizens who are overseas serving in the military or for other reasons) today is Election Day. No news there.That the campaign, not just for president, but for just about everything else, has gone on far too long, been far too expensive, and far, FAR too divisive? Well, no news there, either. Goodness knows there’s plenty to be dissatisfied with, and cynical about, and much about the system needs fixing. But today, as I have nearly every Election Day since I turned eighteen, I went to the polls, stood in line, gave my name, filled out my ballots and put them in the ballot box. It’s a ritual, one I feel should not be passed up by using absentee ballots (unless really necessary), standing shoulder to shoulder with people with whom you may agree or may not and being part of the process.

For all of you who have voted, and for all who will work long hours today making sure we could, thanks! And for those of you who have not yet voted, please make the effort.

Planning Ahead

Tomorrow morning: Coordinate roadside cleanup
108 hours from now: Drive to Baltimore
7 days from now: Drive home
9 weeks 2 days from now: 24th wedding anniversary
11 weeks from now: Tour Maine and New Brunswick by motorcycle
12 weeks from now: Turn 49 years old
4 months 1 week from now: Go to my second ever Rush concert
7 months 8 days from now: World ends, at least according to the Mayans.

Oh, right, there’s a presidential election in there somewhere. So much for ending on a high note.

Austerity for Whom?

Last fall we spent the long Columbus Day weekend in Baltimore and Washington (see here and here). The purpose of our visit was twofold, to visit our daughter at Goucher College and take our youngest daughter on a couple of college visits. After our visit to Johns Hopkins Saturday morning we met our middle daughter and drove down to the Inner Harbor for the afternoon.

Walking from the garage near Camden Yards to the Inner Harbor we passed the Occupy Baltimore encampment. Just kitty-corner from the Harborplace Mall and the USS Constellation Museum, you could look across and see the marina and the new Ritz-Carlton Residences. As we were walking along I said to our middle daughter, pointing first to the Occupy camp and then the marina, “99 percent, meet 1 percent. 1 percent, meet 99 percent.” Seeing the two so close together really brought home the stark differences between them and a couple of recent columns (1 and 2), along with another installment in my friend Brian’s “Capitalism Destroys Everything” series of posts got me thinking about this again.

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A Stone of Hope

When we visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial last fall I was struck, not only by the symbolism of the “stone of hope” coming “out of a mountain of despair,” but by the figure of Dr. King himself. To me the look of determination on his face and the unfinished nature of the statue say that the work is never done. While progress has been made overcoming official inequality there are still other ways inequality threatens America’s place as a “land of opportunity.” It’s not about envy, it’s not about division, it’s about real opportunity in the long term best interest of us all.

Gorton? Gah-ton? Mais non! Cretons!

Ho-ly cow! Could they have butchered this any more than they did? It’s painful. Cretons is French-Canadian peasant food and, being a descendant of French-Canadian peasants, I have some experience with this. “Gorton” is for those non-Franco Granite Staters who can’t wrap their tongues around French words.

Pas Gah-ton! C'est cretons!

And a “Granite State” gem? Excuse me? Mailhot (pronounced much like “my yacht,” only without the one-percenter pretense) is from Lewiston, Maine. Cretons was an occasional breakfast treat when I was kid. It’s good on toast, but you have to take it out of the refrigerator and let it soften up a bit before you can spread it.

Yes, yes, I know there are plenty of French-Canadians in New Hampshire, some of my ancestors among them, and I know it’s got to be a workout coming up with interesting bits of local color on the non-stop campaign trail, but can we try a little harder, please?

All Political Ads, All the Time

Now that the Iowa caucus is over all that political advertising, along with the GOP candidates, makes its way to New Hampshire. This means we’ll be treated to non-stop presidential wanna-bes, in between which we might see a little programming. And being in Maine, we don’t even get the pleasure(?) of seeing or voting for any of them. Of course, not being of the right persuasion, I wouldn’t get to vote for any of them anyway.

Maybe we’ll get lucky, find out the Mayans were off (i.e. late) by a few months, and we’ll all be spared the pleasure.