Something About Maine…

2017-12-06_10-16-55.pngThere is just something about Maine that makes them different.  Maybe it is the fact that there are basically no roads on the northwestern part of the State.  Maybe it is the fact that they are really more Canadian than American? I don’t understand how we stole that land from Canada in the first place?

I have been in Maine a couple of time in the past decade or so. The last time was returning home from Nova Scotia and PEI. By the way, I love Prince Edward Island especially the mussels! If it weren’t so cold up there I would consider moving there on a pretty permanent basis. But, I am getting off topic here.

There is something different about Maine that maybe the rest of the country needs to follow and that is that neither Republicans nor Democrats have a majority in their State government or federal representation.  They now have a centrist group of independents that control what legislation will pass.  Here is a little about that from the Centrist Project.

Casas, who has been active in organizing the centrist coalition in the state says that one of the largest benefits of serving as independent is the ability to work exclusively for the people he represents, instead of working for partisan interests and his constituency.

A small group of independents can have a lot influence by denying both sides a majority.  This forces both sides to make compromises to get legislation passed, and prevents either side from imposing their most radical ideas along partisan line votes.

Sources:  Independents Shake up Maine State Legislature – Centrist Project

Wouldn’t that be something, to have representatives in government who are only beholden to the people who put them in office! That is a radical concept that needs to become contagious if we are ever again to flourish as a country.  No, you can’t make America great again by telling lie after lie after lie.  It seems that every piece of legislation that comes up now has 99% of the people of each party voting the same. How can that even be considered representing your constituents?

I know I talk about RedAmerica and BlueAmerica as if the people in those States are much different.  But in reality, most States have about a 60% – 40% (or 40 – 60) split between conservatives and progressives, so in some ways each State had both RedAmerica and BlueAmerica within their borders. The exception to that might be the Deep South who has still never forgiven the Democrats for civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Closing out this rambling post, I think Maine has it right when it comes to their politics. I have to spend more time in the State to get to know them better.

 

On The Road – Ft William, Thunderbay Canada

2017-12-06_10-44-27.pngWith this post, I am going to try to add more on-the-road trip reports here to RJsCorner. I thought this would be a good project for the 2017-18 winter months. The subject of this post is Ft. William in Thunderbay Ontario Canada which is on the north side of Lake Superior. It is in my top five historic sites I have ever visited.

Here is a little background on Ft. William from Wikipedia:

Fort William Historical Park is known as a living history site. Numerous historic buildings have been reconstructed to show the range of the post, and costumed historical interpreters recreate Fort William of the year 1816. Fort William was then not primarily a settlement, but a central transport depot within the now-defunct North West Company’s network of fur trade outposts. Due to its central role, Fort William was much larger, with more facilities than the average fur trade post. Reflecting this, Fort William Historical Park contains 42 reconstructed buildings, a reconstructed Ojibwa village, and a small farm.

Historical interpreters represent the many roles and cultures involved in the fur trade, including Scottish fur traders (people of capital), who often took Native American wives and had their families living with them; French Canadian voyageurs and workers, who also had wives from among the Natives; and native hunters and trappers. The native people in the Fort William area are predominantly Ojibwa and are represented accordingly among the interpreters.

As I have mentioned before I favor fur trading forts as opposed to the military ones. They just seem to more accurately reflect the culture of the times that they represent. The military forts emphasize the battles that took place there.

Fort William is well worth the trip for anyone who wants to understand the cultural heritage of North America and this re-creation is top notch. Here is a rather extensive menagerie of pictures of the fort.

As usual click on any pic to bring up a larger slideshow view.

 

I Love Reenactors

Ft William

 

ISOA Banner   I love to visit historic sites that have reenactors that is people who play roles of the historic event or site. Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada is one of my top ten in that category.  Yes Canada is very much in my search for America….

 

How About…

 Spouting Off… Being Loud But Not Being Obnoxious

One of the things I missed the most about my hiatus from RJ’s Corner is spouting off. It does the heart good to question everything and sometimes put forth a thought or two.  I plan on doing that rather frequently in the future here  on the new/improved blog so get used to it! 🙂

QE BannerI hear all the latest rumbling (as in ready to explode in a bout of diarrhea) about how the peace accord worked out with Iran is so worthless.  Some seem to think that our only solution to conflicts around the world is war. “Blow the bad guys away” is their mantra. Of course the loudest of these critics are the Republican presidential contenders and those in Congress.  I got an idea to turn that around.

MyScans167How about we send all the kids and grandkids of those folks off as the first line in the battle. Let’s make them put their loved ones lives on the line. I bet if that were a requirement the opposition to trying peace this time would quickly die out.  There is nothing like “skin in the game” to change people’s attitudes.

2015-02-08_08-42-25In the same light there are all those senior citizens out there that are so opposed to allowing  our citizens to obtain reasonably cost healthcare. How about taking all those folks off Medicare and let them fend for themselves in the cutthroat business pre-ADA.  I bring this idea up frequently when I get into it with them and have yet to have any of them accept my proposition.

I’m Back……..

Canadian Winters…

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I frequently complain about how cold it is here in southern Indiana but I know that further north is gets much colder.  This pic was taken north of Ottawa Canada during a visit there four years ago. I don’t know how long the house has been unoccupied but it shows its age…

The Mind's Eye

 

2011 11081

When we visited our neighbors to the north in 2011 we came across many things that we had not seen before the this mural is one of them. The whole side of the building is a painting. It is all make-believe. I spent perhaps a half hour just taking it in. Click on the pic to see a larger view with more details….

 

The Darkest Day…

Ottawa, Ontario – Public Gardens

It think today is the shortest, and therefore the darkest, day of the year so what is more appropriate than a field of daises. The public garden in Ottawa is a beautiful example of peace and tranquility.  We visited there in 2011 during our one month vacation with our neighbors to the north….

Canada and the Volstead Act…According to Will…

2014-10-12_07-59-37Arrived in the Canada capital today. More sentiment here to be annexed by Mexico than by America. They know us too well. If we get any nation to join us it will have to be some stranger. We only have one reason for wanting Canada and a modification of the Volstead Act will eliminate it. Waiting instructions.

Will Rogers — 11 October 1926.

When we took our extended visit to eastern Canada a few years ago I kind of got the same feeling that Will did almost 100 years ago. Canada is happy to have put off the invasion by the U.S. in 1812. They see all our problems with guns, drugs, booze in Will’s day and healthcare issues today and rejoice that they pretty much solved all those things years ago. When we told some there how much we pay for our health insurance, even with Medicare, they were shocked.

Now don’t get me wrong, except maybe for the french speaking part 🙂 they treated us Americans with friendly grace and cordiality.  Especially those taking our tourist dollars. If I couldn’t be an American even with all our solvable yet unsolved problems, I would want to be a Canadian. Where we are hyper about so much they seem to be calm and that is a nice state to be in.

An Ode to My Canadian Friends…

Source: Is Canada Too Smug About Its Economic Future? – Businessweek. Over the past four years, Canada has been feted as the country that does practically everything right. Its banks are beloved by everyone from economist Paul Krugman to Moody’s Investment Service (MCO), which rated them earlier this year as the safest in the world.

While U.S. politicians bickered for years over free-trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, Canadians signed several pacts and launched free-trade talks with 50 other nations. Its economy has grown faster—and its debt has stayed smaller—than its Group of Seven peers.

Another success of Canada not mentioned in the quote above is that they have universal healthcare so thousands of citizens are not bankrupted each day due to overwhelming medical bills. When we were in Canada on vacation last year we mentioned that we spend about $1,000 per month on our health insurance and deductibles. My new Canadian friends were shocked to hear that.  They generally spend less than $50/month.

I want to celebrate Canada’s universal healthcare in this post. Here are some things that Wikipedia says about it:

Health care in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded health care system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities.[2] It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984.  The government assures the quality of care through federal standards. The government does not participate in day-to-day care or collect any information about an individual’s health, which remains confidential between a person and his or her physician. Canada’s provincially based Medicare systems are cost-effective partly because of their administrative simplicity. In each province each doctor handles the insurance claim against the provincial insurer. There is no need for the person who accesses health care to be involved in billing and reclaim. Private insurance is only a minimal part of the overall health care system.  Competitive practices such as advertising are kept to a minimum, thus maximizing the percentage of revenues that go directly towards care.

The politicians who strongly oppose universal healthcare in the U.S. frequently state that those who have it are very unsatisfied with it. But if you actually ask them here is what Canadians say:

Canadians strongly support the health system’s public rather than for-profit private basis, and a 2009 poll by Nanos Research found 86.2% of Canadians surveyed supported or strongly supported “public solutions to make our public health care stronger.” A 2009 Harris/Decima poll found 82% of Canadians preferred their healthcare system to the one in the United States, more than ten times as many as the 8% stating a preference for a US-style health care system for Canada

I am a graph guy so I will close this post with a graph about the costs of our disjointed system compared to universal healthcare in most other countries:

Maybe now that we have the Supreme Court decision about our meager first step at universal healthcare we can start approaching what our Canadians neighbors are so proud of. I know in the title of this post I promised an ode, which is usually a song, but looking at the facts I do have music in my mind about future possibilities.

On The Road — Canada here we come…

We got the great-nephew married yesterday and will be heading north in a few hours. It was an interesting few days visiting with the out-laws, I mean in-laws,but I am more than ready to get this vacation officially on the road. One thing I had forgotten about was the ferocious mosquitoes they have here in northern Wisconsin this time of year! I suppose they will be even bigger in where we are going.