808 Comments

A PERSONAL FAVOR

A number of years ago I discovered that my wife has a memory like an audio visual recording Rolodex. She remembers conversations we had the first week we met. My memory is not nearly that good. In fact relative to my wife’s my memory is horrible.

Here in this community, it is challenging remembering who said what, especially without a feature that allows us to search by name for peoples past comments.

My memory works by geography. That’s my filing system.

If you would be willing, when we are conversing, I would love it if you tell me what state you live in or what city. I’ll remember you better. I know TPJ is in Boston, Marcy Meldahl is in Tennessee, I think Nancy Bailey just told us she lives in Georgia. Marlene in the Bay Area. I should know where Lynell is but I can’t think of it. Bruce Carpenter and Denise Huddle in Texas, I remember that from the ice storm. Anyway it’s just a tool that would help me a lot. From now on I’m going to write them down.

Thank you!

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Happy Daylight Savings Time, Roland! I always enjoy reading your perspectives and the banter among the group. I try to bring a positive note to these conversations from Cape Cod...where the tidal flats of Cape Cod Bay stretch out seemingly forever. Tide pools will soon be filled with hermit crabs, snails, and tiny fish as the days begin to warm. It’s just after 6 AM and the sky is beginning to brighten ahead of the sunrise. 🌅 Good Morning!

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Fond memories of renting a house in harwich for part of the summer and eating all that the sea can provide while feeding the ducks that would constantly waddle by.

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Sorry Hyannis not Harwich

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Hi Kari! Everything between Hyannis and Provincetown. Mashpee is in there somewhere. See I dug all that out of the dusty files. Memory isn’t completely useless. Unless I double check on the Internet right now and find out I totally screwed it up.

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😂 Our little strip of sand can be very confusing. I’m sending a link to a recent article, “Cape Cod: Where Going North is Really East and the Lower is Above the Upper”.

https://www.capecod.com/lifestyle/cape-cod-where-going-north-is-really-east-and-the-lower-is-above-the-upper/

And this map attempts to provide a visual to track a trip down (up) Route 6.

https://capecodstar.com/cape-cod-regions-upper-mid-lower-outer-cape/

And to make things worse, our federal government has changed the exit numbers all along Route 6 from a numerical progression (exits 1, 2, 3... to exit numbers based on distance from who knows where! So, old exit 2 is now exit 59 and old exit 8 is now exit 75! Go figure. You think you screwed up...I don’t even know how to find my way home anymore 😉

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Oh that was so stupid I can’t believe they did that. I know exactly what they did. They turned your main drag into another federal highway. So that means Mile Zero is at the very beginning of that numbered route where it crosses the state line. Since Route 6 technically starts in Providence, as soon as it crosses the state line into Massachusetts, that’s Mile Marker zero. What a bunch of dummies. The way they used to have it is so much more sensible, they had to monkey with it and try to “standardize” it instead of just leaving it the way it was. This is why citizens have to be involved in government. Government doesn’t always make the best decisions.

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Part of that change is the ability to document exact locations on the public highway. In your description, an incident (crash, rescue, medical emergency, etc.) would be "3.2 miles north of southbound exit 8 on the west road shoulder" rather than "mile marker 71.5, southbound"

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The renumbering must have started before GPS.

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They’re in the process of doing the same thing where I am in WMass. Now I don’t know where I live anymore! 😂

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My personal conspiracy theory is that whoever was behind renumbering the highway exits owns the sign company. The new numbers finally hit rte 128; just where does the mileage counting start from??? Not Boston, not the state line. my new exit number is 44, miles from where?

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Normally west to east freeways are numbered starting at the state line low (mile marker 0) to high, and south to north freeways are numbered 0 to high at the next state line. At least California doesn’t get convoluted and bizarre and unfathomable. With a few short exceptions, like 580 in the SF Bay Area, most of it makes sense.

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What a mess. I looked it up on Wikipedia, there is a chart under the chapter “Exit List” that gives you the old exit numbers and new exit numbers. Good luck.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_Route_128

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All the exit numbers on the Maine Turnpike were changed several years ago, after I moved from Maine to Colorado. Even though I spend every summer in Maine, I can never remember the “new” exit numbers, so I resort to referring to the towns associated with the exits, such as: “Get off at the first South Portland exit you see, which used to be Exit 7.”

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Boston has similar problems. None of the "compass" neighborhoods -- West End, East Boston, North End, South End, South Boston -- is west/east/north/south of the center of town. The West End doesn't even exist anymore: it's now Mass General Hospital.

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Wendy Raksin here from Granada Hills, California which is a small suburb of Los Angeles, located in "the valley." I am mostly a lurker on this page with only and occasional comment. I learn a lot from all of you. This is a very intelligent group of people. Many moons ago I visited Boston and got terribly lost. It was at night and I finally burst into tears. I used to visit San Diego regularly when I was a kid. (Children of divorced parents get taken on short trips every weekend.) My favorite place in the US is Vermont. I briefly considered living there but I don't think I could take all the snow. When I was a teenager, I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentine. It is true. Living in different areas and countries gives one a different view of the world and as does living and visiting other areas of the country.

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I'm in your general neighborhood every week. Thanks for the mention of Buenos Aires, now I will always remember that about you. Living somewhere else in your teens gives you an international view of the world that is indelible. My teenage friends were from every country imaginable. You get to see what makes the rest of the world tick, and you get to see how your home country is just a small part of the vast sea of nations. It's hard to be an arrogant nationalist (or culturally illiterate) when your classmates are from Germany, Israel, Finland, France, Poland, Britain, and yes Canada (Alfred E. was his name) and when your sister's best friend is the daughter of a diplomat from Thailand. I once wrote a greeting card for a secret Santa designee, and I was able to accumulate "I Love You" in over 3 dozen languages. Before the internet, not an easy task, except that I just had to buttonhole students, easy. I still remember some of the more obscure ones: Finnish "ma rakastan sua."

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Chuckled at you getting lost in Boston - we lived there for a brief period - I swear they went out at night and turned the one way signs around on purpose to confuse everyone not born there!

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Nice to be considered part of a "very intelligent" group of people. I am probably the exception that proves the rule, but don't tell anyone!

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Wendy Raksin: I was born in VT (lived in only 2 towns) and lived there till I was 17 years old. I moved to Keene NH to attend nursing school 1n 1969 and have stayed in the area since then.

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Born and raised I Brooklyn.

Have lived in Lowell,MA for many moons now!😊

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Thoroughly entertained by this article, Kari. Should I be concerned, because I think I followed the north is east and down is up view of your world. The map, however, well, that just adds to the confusion!

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Canadian ex-pat in Ukraine. I only remember stuff that never happened

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😂. I only remember stuff that nobody else knows happened.

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I remember dreams and things that happened. And I mix them up in my mind.

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NY state. I sometimes mix fictional characters with people I’ve met.

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When I lived in California, once I actually voted for Donald Duck for governor. It was a protest led by the Black Panthers against Ronald Reagan.

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Sufferin' succotash! (Daffy, not Donald, but I couldn't resist.)

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That's very praiseworthy, Joan, but the question here is did you mix up Donald Duck with the recent Donald?

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Uh oh. This could be trouble 🤭

😉

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Sometimes a little vacation from reality can be a good thing. I think we embellish our memories more than we admit.

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The former Soviet Union has a lot of stuff that never happened. It's all not there in the history books.

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When I was in China a few years ago, our guide regularly referred to “Tien-an-min Square, where nothing happened in 1989.”

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"It was a long time ago, and it never happened anyway". David Satter

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"History is bunk." -- Henry Ford

"Henry Ford is bunk" -- TPJ

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As with many US history books. Some should be re-labeled into the fiction section by the libraries. We can, and will, do better.

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We'd better!

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Lurker and occasional commenter here.

Minneapolis, MN suburb.

My hometown, Minneapolis, has been in the national news for nearly a year, ever since the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd. We made an early morning pilgrimage to the site several days after the murder. When all the flowers were fresh and hearts were newly bleeding. A few COVID-masked white and black people meandered around the intersection, trying to grasp what the hell had happened there. Because of COVID, we didn't stay long, but for whatever is left of my life, I will never forget the sight and feeling of that place.

There's been an uptick in the Minneapolis news, ever since the government center was gift-wrapped in multiple layers of barbed wire, and surrounded by concrete blockades in anticipation of violence during and after the trial of the murderous perp, Derek Chauvin. Jury selection has begun for his trial. Chauvin was a bully-boy scofflaw long before he became a murderer. Had I been called for this jury duty, I'm reasonably certain I'd have been dismissed.

Footnote: Minneapolis is a beautiful city, with lakes and streams and creeks and the Mississippi River, for starters. Also, its government center that was a handsome building until it became a reluctant fortress.

And there you have it.

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Despite Eugene Goodman's heroic actions on Jan 6, Derek Chauvin is still the face of American policing. Will he be convicted on any count of murder? Reinstating 3rd-degree murder charges looks like a bad sign, possibly indicating a flawed case from the prosecution. Another concern is the GQP tendency to lie. It's easy to imagine one or more stealth jurors who will produce a hung jury or mistrial. I don't even want to think about an acquittal.

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Chauvin's murder doesn't qualify for a 1st degree murder charge in Minneapolis. Worthwhile to read the state's charging guidelines.

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My understanding is that 3rd-degree murder charges in MN are routinely dismissed, as indeed Chauvin's was previously. Hoping for a 2nd-degree conviction with maximum sentence. Not just for the sake of justice, but to forestall dangerous protests in case of lesser conviction or (gasp) acquittal. The 3rd degree charge is BS; it may have applied at the start, but after 8:46 it could only be 2nd-degree murder. Monstrous.

The Nation magazine has a current article titled "The Acquittal of Derek Chauvin has Already Begun." Monstrous.

https://www.thenation.com/

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Thank you for the link, TPJ. I’ll read it later.

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Not favorably impressed by the article. There is nothing about the defense lawyer, prosecutor or judge to provide a sense of their backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses. Nothing about nature of charges or questions by prosecutors to potential jurors. This type of reporting is too personal, opinionated and info lite.

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Hey, Barbara. Good on you for taking those pilgrimages. I have been following the news about the upcoming trial. They would have dismissed me, too, if I were called to be a juror.

Alas, it's been years and years since visiting Minneapolis. About all I remember is how friendly/approachable the people were. Also got a thrill seeing where the Mississippi River was born!

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Itasca State Park! In the beautiful northern part of "my" state. Where the north shore of Lake Superior competes with the oceans, minus salt. : >)

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Yes! I love hearing about everybody's environs. I know we are vested in the politics, but it would be fun to do a little bit of "Discovery Channel" on this page. I, for one, enjoy the digression.

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Mornin' Roland! Home is St. Augustine, FL. I'm the "recovering racist" born and raised in Alabama. FL is a tough place to live these days politically speaking. While I don't comment often, it is great to be a part of this community. ❤

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Quality over quantity.

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I have family in St. Augustine and visit frequently. Cracker-town for sure, but I love it anyway.

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Good Morning Kelly!

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Never been to the Gulf Coast. A few trips to Miami Beach and the Keys when I was living in Boston. Huge Florida Art Deco fan.

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I love your posts!

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My SIL used to live in Palm Coast and we went to St Augustine whenever we visited. Loved it. She’s now near Jacksonville.

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Hail, Roland, from the Formerly Confederate, now Great Blue State of Virginia, Loudoun County! (Call Washington, D.C. my hometown)

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Morning Lynell!! Another good reason to call it Virginia's BLUE Ridge! (Even though most of the blue voters live elsewhere.) The turnaround became clear in 2006 when Jim Webb defeated George "Macaca" Allen. It's so good to have VA back in the Union, and now Georgia too. You're next, Lone Stars and Tarheels. Resistance Is Futile.

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And please don't forget about my plight here in Floriduhhhhh! Been here "preDisney". Lots of pavement on paradise, not to mention good old boy local politics, but, change is in the wind!

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From your lips Lynn. Florida here too, St Petersburg in barely blue Pinellas County. Grew up on the barrier islands when our beach towns were still mostly shacks & fishing piers on the Gulfside and mangroves bayside. The smell of orange blossoms in spring waifed in from the mainland. It was full of natural wonders. Also lived in WA, TN & NJ, but, always come back to FL.

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Orange groves, clear water, abundant recreational fishing and wildlife. If we could only turn back the clock on our precious environment...

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Wekiva Springs, used to outside Orlando, now swallowed up. Coldest damn water I ever swam in. Rock Springs, outside Apopka, when Apopka was a sleeply little nowhere, was the same. We had family picnics there after church in the summers, ride inner tubes down the river. Ah, yes. Florida used to be Paradise. If ever they should have closed a border...............harumph.

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Diane, my mother was born in Punta Rassa. My Florida Cracker roots, sans the racism, are on her side. The other half, Keys Conchs, via Harbour Island, Bahamas. My favorite family vacation was a week on Sanibel, before the causeway. Up before dawn to go shelling for the 'good stuff', with a local woman who was the only professional sheller I ever knew. Or am likely to. 😉

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We did that too, in the 60s. So empty, paradise.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope. 🤞

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Ooh, I like what you did with your name! Because I'm not going to remember where everyone is from!

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Kelly inspired me. I'll probably change it again to just "Roland (CA)."

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Florida is especially endangered. If there is a place in North America where Mother Earth needs special care and doesn’t get it, it’s the limestone wonderland and the unique tropical jungle and at the southern end the sawgrass river that is FL. The Earth weeps.

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We haven't forgotten, Lynn. Floriblue doesn't look as likely for now but, yes, winds of change are blowing.

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We need candidates! With kkk, oath keepers and their cult leader here, it's a little hard to have faith. As developers pave over paradise.

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Whoop! Resistance IS futile, TPJ! Time for Texas to stop pretending to be independent and be assimilated (in the best possible way, of course).

Austin is in the midst of the process, BTW; now that Big Tech has discovered the city, they've moved in and flattened the culture here. 'Keep Austin Weird' is no longer the motto, sadly. Now we're flooded with Teslas, BMWs, Range Rovers, Lamborghinis, and other high end vehicles, (including high end, oversized pick ups) along with the snobbish rich looking down upon the rest of us from the ugly skyscrapers that clutter the once beautiful skyline of Austin.

The artists, musicians, and the long celebrated weird folk can no longer afford to live here and are leaving; prices have shot upwards, and the overall vibe has changed.

So, yeah... I'm thinking assimilation is well underway here. I can't speak for the rest of the Lone Star, though.

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"Bob Wills is still the king!"

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I was so.lucky to live in Austin during my first husbands law school years. A magical.place then. We moved to Houston when he graduated and my theatre, music and artist friends there are bluing Harris County which had only 1 voter drop box for an area bigger than the state of. Rhode Island

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I was infuriated when they removed all the voting boxes, Gailee, as were so many others. It's utterly appalling that they got away with it.

I'm sorry that I didn't know Austin when it was still a haven for musicians and artists; there are still some here, and there's always Antones and Austin City Limits, but that spirit is long gone now. I'm glad you had the opportunity to live here when you did!

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It was a wonderful time. I wish you could have. Is Gruene still a special place?

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Laureen, I'm going to read this book and thought of you after reading your comment:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/books/review-fulfillment-alec-macgillis.html

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Thanks, Fern. That book reinforces why I don't use Amazon unless I can't get what I'm looking for elsewhere, but it also makes me think about 'one-click' shopping in general. I've always preferred to shop in person, but this virus has put paid to that, although I do hope that we can get back to it (next year, maybe?) eventually.

Sadly, many people only see the convenience of online shopping and either overlook or are unaware of the real damage those corporations cause to communities, businesses, and people. It would be a good idea to make books like this one required reading, but I fear that most folk would just shrug it off.

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You spelled it out, Laureen. One of my concerns is that so many Main Streets have been decimated by the loss of industry. Many Main Streets have a church or two, a bar and coffee shop, period.

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Sure, invoke the Borg, see if anybody notices. Naturally I agree completely with the metaphor. It matches my growing conviction that the blue team is a monolith which will grind the red team in the dust. Over time.

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Someone noticed ....

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Good luck trying to slip that by me without me noticing

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Live long and prosper \.\\ //

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I suspect the percentage of Trek fans over Wars fans on this forum is hefty. Just a guess. (from WA - the state)

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Don't be so sure. And then there are the dual-passport fans, the double agents under deep cover. (blowing my cover)

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Formerly of CA currently in SC hating Lindsey the Graham Cracker, loving the Trek Wars.

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Ahem, Marvel fans, too! 🙋🏼‍♀️

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Morning, TPJ!! VA, NC and GA counties have many more red than blue. TX, too, obviously. Scary to look at their political maps!

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Writing from NC, we are a very rural, VERY gerrymandered state with a backward legislature controlled by Republicans.

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Hi Jennifer, Roland and the rest of y'all. I'm in Chatham County, NC the exact center of the state. My rural county has consistently the highest voter turnout in the state and consistently votes Blue!

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Well, hey, neighbor! Are you on the poor, Republican side of the county, or the granola-eating, well-informed side of the county? Heh.

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Yikes, how'd that happen? But good on you!

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Sounds just like Wisconsin. :)

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A fair characterization, unfortunately. Hello from Boone.

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Don't know where you are, Jennifer, but I feel your pain. I'm in Randolph.

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When Washington, D.C. becomes a state, it will be known as “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.”

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Didn’t L’Enfant do a rather nice job with DC? Although I admit I am also a big fan of Olmsted.

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An excellent job as did Lafayette and several other French military figures helping Washington in another theater of the operation.

I'm currently still down in Provence but don't tell my GPS.

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Mais c’est beau la bas

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I hope some day to visit Provence when the lavender is blooming.

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All around the village but to see it best come in June as they are cutting earlier and earlier...and when they do the "smell" is amazing between the wagon loads trundling down the lanes and the distillaries working 24/7.

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Thank you! It will be a while before I am able to visit, both because of covid and also due to personal reasons. But it is on my “bucket list”! So are many other places, both in France and in the rest of Europe and also the U.K.

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Provence! My husband and I are headed there as soon as the Pandemic allows us to travel.

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Anywhere in particular?

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We are focusing on Cotes du Rone, Avignon and Arles, trying to avoid cities. We loved the hill towns we visited in Tuscany and Greek villages in the Peloponneses. That's the vibe we're looking for. We are novices but trying to see as much as we can before we age out.

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Given the rise of mutant COVID beware of a third wave coming to a super sreader event on the East coast.

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City planning in the US is inextricably linked to de jure racial segregation (vid. Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law) and I have a hard time admiring anything so redolent of wrongs consistently committed across this country to keep white people's lives (particularly middle class and wealthy white people) "safe" from having to live in proximity to those who did so much of the building of this nation and those from whom so much has been and continues to be stolen. City planners such as Olmsted were fully cognizant that they were creating white environments to sustain white power.

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I read Rothstein's book. I had no idea only 4% of black veterans were able to access the GI education benefits upon their return to civilian life. I have been reading many books on anti-racism since George Floyd's murder. l am planning an extended visit to Ecudaor later this year and contemplate providing access to my home during that time by a black family. My all-white neighborhood will clutch their proverbial pearls. I have a black SIL and they go bonkers when he visits. Having a black family occupy the premises while I'm away will be an interesting experiment!

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Hi Lynell‼️ Very brief resident of Alexandria, six months when my dad was taking a course at the state department before we drove back to California in our VW Square back.

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Alexandria is a lovely town, especially Old Town near the Potomac River. A few weeks ago I watched the "Potomac By Air" documentary. The river gets it start in West Virginia and winds it's way down to Washington, DC and beyond to meet the Chesapeake Bay. As I was watching, it struck me that I have lived close to the Potomac all of my life. Here is a link that hopefully you will be able to access: https://vimeo.com/118233315

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I spent a wonderful afternoon in Alexandria, protesting against Brute Kavanaugh's nomination. Connecting with VA union sisters and brothers was a delight -- numerous moments of "That is SO true!," "I know JUST what you mean!," and "Those BASTARDS!" I wish I'd gone for a drink with them rather than to another dreary family lunch.

PS, apologies for not blocking Kavanaugh for y'all. We tried, but the fix was in.

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My wife would call you a hero. I'm not an expert. Greg Olear is.

https://gregolear.substack.com/p/who-owns-kavanaugh-index

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You're Deep Throat, aren't you, TPJ...

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If you mean baritone, yes.

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Me only for a relatively short time living in Potomac itself

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Me, too, right before I hopped the river over to VA

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My father lived in the DC Metro (mostly in Vienna and Reston, VA) from 1975 until his death just this past March. I got to know the area very well and saw it grow from a "company" town to a behemoth.

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Very good morning, Lynell!

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Morning, Daria!! Although, here it just turned noon. You are just past 10:00 am, right?

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Yes, until our clocks turn in April then we'll be 1 hour behind again. (We're Central Time)

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So that explains it! I do think, though, because Dr. R has changed her time to publish her Letters, it's been more of a challenge to "find" you!

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Hi Daria! You are one of the few I didn't need help with. You, Stuart, R Dooley, Gailee, everyone outside the country is easy for me to remember once I know where they live. Distinctive and memorable homes.

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Vermont. Where would Bernie be without Vermont and where would the country be without Bernie? He came, he volunteered, he gave, and he keeps on giving.

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Hi Bruce. I'm in Vermont, too, and I know there are at least a couple of others. I live in Wolcott, a very rural area.

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Becky and Bruce- another Vermonter here, in Grand Isle. Bernie is a national treasure.

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Bernie was a national treasure over 5 years ago, we knew that, and then we were elated when the rest of the country finally discovered him too. It's kind of shocking, really, the dramatic shifts. Bernie being an acknowledged national treasure. The Blue Team in charge of Congress, AND in charge of the WH. Really this is my wildest dreams coming true. I have to rub my eyes every now and then.

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This from the man who lives "somewhere on the road!"

Yes, I am in the Boston area. I remember several other LFAA locations, but permission isn't granted to share them.

PS, here's a song for Roland (not THE Song of Roland) on his travels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov4epAJRPMw

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And TPJ has a song for every moment. Wow, never heard this song before...wish I had!

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Boston has very good college and public radio stations at the left end of the dial. Then it's off to YouTube to share the recordings.

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Well, I’ve been to all the places west of Texas that Johnny Cash is talking about except Catalina. Thanks TPJ that was sweet of you 🙏

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Reading all your replies, Roland, sparked a memory. My cousin, Joey, was a truck driver, retired in the early 2000's. He knew every nook and cranny of every town you could name. I don't think there's a cartographer who could hold a candle to the likes of him or you when it comes to U.S. geography!

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Like I said, I’m a geography nut. And when we’re talking about the US were talking about my home. I’m a complete bimbo when it comes to Canada, or even Mexico which is closer to me than Canada.

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We wince in Canada. I’m positive “complete bimbo” is grossly exaggerated, but it would not be enough for some Americans.

Admittedly from several decades ago but...

A colleague of mine came from a family in Niagara Falls who owned a motel. They regularly fielded inquiries such as, “Can you walk to Toronto from here?”

“How far from here until there’s skiing”? (in July).

My wife and I were once doing a baseball trip down the east side of your country. We were golfing one day in Brookline MA (gorgeous public course) and were paired up with the nicest American couple (American friendliness is legendary in Canada). The initial conversation after introductions went something like this:

Him: so where y’all from?

Me: Toronto (we weren’t, but we were 100% sure nobody would have heard of Peterborough, 60 miles away).

Him (lighting up in a huge smile): Toronto? What a coincidence. I *know* a guy from Toronto.

Me: Imagine. Small world.

Him: You probably know him. Ed McAllister’s his name.

Me (having an idea where this was headed): No, I don’t. Shall we tee off?

Him: You don’t? Seriously.

Me: Nope. Never heard of him.

Him: Can’t be. Big guy, bit of a paunch -

Me (avoiding my wife’s eye): No. You gotta understand. Toronto’s a city. Everybody couldn’t possibly know everybody.

Him: Yeah Yeah, I get it. But you’d have at least seen him. Really loud voice, red-faced, always wearing boots -

Me (in desperation at this point): Look, you could put at least two Bostons in Toronto. We’re two million people.

Him: You can’t be serious. Canada doesn’t have cities like that.

There was a kind of chill for the first few holes. But at the very end, when we were saying our goodbyes, he gave me a big smile and a wink and said, “You say hi to Ed when you go home. Tell him Big John misses him”. It was a most friendly way of apologizing without actually doing so. I remember that moment most clearly. You guys have a way of making friendships that is very endearing. Canadians, alas, are much more reserved in the main. I think we miss out on a lot.

It’s a smaller world today. Mass media is pervasive and (relatively) cheap travel used to be common.

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Oy, Eric. But I can tell you that I was on a research trip in the UK, on a train from London to Shrewsbury via Birmingham, and trying to get some work done before hitting the archives in Shrewsbury when two "suits" sat down opposite me. One took one look at the uninteresting girl and ignored me. The other decided to pepper me with questions (this was over 20 years ago so the conversation is not entirely accurate but you'll get the picture):

He: "What are you doing?"

Me: "Some preparation for a research trip."

He: "You're an American!"

Me: "Yes."

He: "What are you doing here?"

Me: "I'm a medieval historian." [by this time his coworker was looking very annoyed]

He: "What? An American who is a medieval historian? Where do you teach?"

Me: "You won't have heard of my university: it's a small school in NY State."

He: "WHICH ONE?!"

Me: Names the school. (It is a very small uni with very little name recognition)

He: "Oh My God! I got my degree from [X] University!"

Turned out he was a ceramic engineer and the uni where I taught was the #2 place in the USA to do a degree in that arcane field.

So sometimes these conversations can get really weird.

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So, Eric, how was the rest of your trip? Asking for a friend...

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Richard (from Norfolk, England). We constantly used to get that situation when we went to the USA (haven't been there for more than a dozen years). It goes like this:

We're from England

Oh how interesting. You must know XYZ. He lives in Manchester

No we don't actually, we live in Norfolk

Well isn't it a small world..............

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Ok, Eric, give me a break. Obviously that's not what I meant by "complete bimbo." I didn't mean I'm illiterate. What you are describing is the kind of stuff my family had to tolerate during my teens in Germany. We were all bilingual German-English. In public, we would often gab amongst ourselves in American English, and then we would listen to Germans making snide comments about how tacky the Americans are. We were taking the heat for the actual tacky Americans, because we were never part of that demographic. Oh well. BTW I lived in Brookline among other towns while I was in Boston. I have a special fondness for Brookline. The house I lived in was a stop on the underground railroad, we believe, based on things we discovered inside the house in a secret room we found. Anyway, back to Canada, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about Canada. My wife has been a number of times, national parks in the Rockies, Vancouver, and more. It's on my bucket list. Trust me, I'm not your golfer acquaintance.

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This is a wonderful story about Big John, Eric!

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Funny! Made me laugh! I needed a good laugh! Thx

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Hello TPJ, good morning. You contributed to the movie script for my sci-fi better-society story project. I realized today that this Johnny Cash song is perfect for one of the scenes. Thank you for your contribution 🙏

I’ve had it in the back of my mind that the movie should have two soundtracks like Back To The Future does, a soundtrack that includes oldies and pop songs that appear in the movie in suitable spots, and an orchestral soundtrack running throughout. Your Johnny Cash song is the first contribution to the pop song sound track.

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Roland, regarding the music: I love that idea of 2 soundscores throughout the movie.

The TV series, The Blacklist, does something similar, and you might enjoy listening to the sound tracks to it. It's well over 250 songs at this point, touching on classical, the 1930s - 1970s, hip-hop, indie, and rock. It's a truly eclectic mix of genres and it may lead you to some bands that might fit exactly where you need them to in your story.

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Named after Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute Indian, former army translator, writer, educator and strong advocate for Native American rights. Tragically, she died at age 47 with a brilliant career ahead of her.

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For a change TPJ drops history on us that I already know. Now how often does that happen??

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I'm probably the only member living in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'll be surprised if you forget that fact.

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I already knew, just didn't mention.

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Nice place. I suppose you'll be at Chichen Itza next week?

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Nope. As far as I know it's been cancelled.

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How do you cancel Mayan ruins?

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You do not cancel Mayan archeological sites. The state, however, due to covid concerns, has cancelled admission into the site (not ruin) to watch the equinox sun line up with the pyramids.

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Thank you for the explanation and the correction.

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It's more than alignment, it's like "snakes on a plane" only with temples, astronomy and architecture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvv9EnBuem4

Too bad it's closed, but understandable.

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I realize now that I didn’t mention people in other countries because it’s so easy to remember, once you know.

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Hello from Washington state! I have the same memory imbalance as you - I can't remember crap from one day to the next, and my husband remembers EVERYTHING. I do manage to remember weird factoids that have no use most of the time. Oh well. I enjoy reading your rational comments here. Thank you!

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Hi Roland! I’ve been a bit of a nomad so this might be confusing. Grew up in W.Mass. Then to CA (just outside of LA) for about a year and a half. Back to same place I grew up in MA. Then to RI for a couple of years. Then back to MA for a couple of years. Then to SC for the better part of 20 years - lived on the NC / SC border in the Charlotte area so lived in both at various times but mostly in SC. Then in Wilmington, NC for 2 yrs. Then just outside of Lynchburg, VA for about 2 years. Then back to the same area in MA 10 years ago and still here but planning to relocate at some point - most likely to VT or back to SC. Have considered moving overseas due to the cultural and political climate but can’t quite wrap my head around not living in the U.S. as my adult kids and grandkids live here (SC and OR). I hope all this doesn’t wreak havoc with your mental map!

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Thanks Karen. Will all this be on the final exam?

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Not at all. Actually we share the gypsy thing, that has its own category. CA, Germany, CA, Boston, CA is my route. So you're MA CA RI MA SC/NC VA MA. I won't remember the detail, but it's easy to remember MA and CA and then VA because I am familiar with all those places.

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Hi Roland, Kathleen in Seattle here ... finally cleaned my machine and got past whatever has been locking me out of tHe chat section since late January ... not much to say anyway - can't even keep up with conversations ... a number of people responded to posts I was able to make, saying they were having the same problem ... I was having other problems as well - finally got shut out, and had to recover to factory settings - so far, running like a dream - so, I hope it worked out for other folks - if not, put files to save on the cloud, or a thumb drive, and reformat to factory settings. Ok, got to go now ... 4:30am - nap time!!

Take Care - Be Well All ....

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I'm from Vermont

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Good morning Skip, me too. My husband went to AZ to vote and we chose to be apart until we are both vaccinated. We both read HCR.

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That is a sacrifice of note! Take care.

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Thanks, you too. We've both had our 1st jab, but AZ is delaying his 2nd, grrrrrr!

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I'm so sorry!

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Both of you have what are probably my favorite senators, other than Elizabeth Warren and ex-Senator Kamala Harris.

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David Hausam in the Crater Lake state, Oregon

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I remember visiting Crater Lake. One of the most beautiful places on G-d's earth.

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Good morning, Roland and all. I've been in north metro Atlanta since '95, having come first from Brooklyn, NY, where I was born and lived until age 5, then from West Hartford, Connecticut, where I grew up in a corner house and stayed till after my sophomore year in college. Then the family moved back to NYC, this time to Queens, where I lived in Jackson Heights for two and a half years, Kew Gardens for 23 years and Rego Park for about three years before I said farewell to snow and ice and apartment living and came south to find my own corner house on a third of an acre and create my garden, now a small but wildlife sanctuary certified by Georgia Audubon. I must say I still consider myself a New Yorker living in Georgia and am delighted my adopted state turned blue.

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Darn Substack! It should be "a small wildlife sanctuary," with the "but."

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Highlight, delete, copy/paste, edit, repost, perfecto!

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Egads, I'm losing it! it should be WITHOUT the "but."

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We're fine. Figured it out before you had to correct. Both times.

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I love that you asked this - when we made my retirement trip (a gift from my husband - three weeks of driving!) he got to go to Hanford, and I saw my last 5 states, all in the inland NW. It impressed on my how where you live shapes understanding. You'd think that having seen the rest or the US, including two territories, I would already know. But that did it for me. Originally I'm from east Tennessee, ending in Maryland after CA, CT, and MA. In the wake of the election Roland, I have you filed driving up the Central Valley to Sacramento - it's how I see you in my mind.

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"It impressed on me how where you live shapes understanding." Yes, that's the entire point of this exercise. Everyone is having a lot of fun with what started out as merely a request to make my life easier remembering everyone, but you nailed the reason why I do it: we are so much a product of the cultural environment we were born into, and that we live in geographically in the present moment. A person growing up in apartheid South Africa or Syria has a different lens through which they see the world than a U.S. resident. It may seem subtle, but the differences within this country are significant as well, and much more obvious if you have been as many places as I have. A Californian, native or transplant, sees things differently than a Georgian, or a New Englander. The cultural lens has such a strong influence, cannot be overstated. You know what I am saying, just from moving around Washington, Oregon, Idaho, et al.

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The trick is to learn how to open your lens wider. It won't ever perfectly see the other point of view, but it helps.

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I don't comment often, but I start every morning since June with LFAA and the comments, so I feel like I know many of you. I'm currently in TN, but relocating later in the year to CO.

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You will appreciate the low humidity in CO.

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Thank you Heather. I live on the Mexico Arizona border and I am amazed at the amount of fear based misinformation given as if it were truth. We must all shine the light of truth upon this and upon the plight of people swept up in the maelstrom.

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The source of the violence in Central America are criminal gangs financed to a great degree by the high-profit trade in illegal drugs destined for the US. The people fleeing the violence are yet more victims of the 50+ yr old US War on Drugs.

De-criminalizing drugs won’t make those gangs disappear, but it would take away most of their power, as well as weakening the US police/ criminal justice/prisons industrial complex that undermines communities of color.

But that was the real purpose, right?

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It undermines those of a vaguely white or pinkish skin too. They want to keep everybody under control. The cheap heroin epidemic that followed the opiod pain killers throughout the country was colourblind.

Legalize the drug business and the same oligarchs then treat it as an investment opportunity and are mostly very much more attentive to the "efficiency and blamelessness" of their supply chain and the places that they source their inputs.

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While addiction is indeed an equal opportunity affliction, incarceration for drug possession has a distinctly racial bias.

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And all the court cases concerning this opioid crisis hardly dented this family’s wealth.

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And I’ve recently seen something about them trying to claim their legal costs on their taxes. They have no shame, no moral compass.

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Greed is their whole compass.

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The "kindly" english owners manage to save their last 10s of Billions. the poor dears, from the jaws of "vengeful justice" .

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... so, once that revenue stream graduates into the hands of legalized business interests, where do people on the ground turn for their sustenance? I have the impression that human trafficking and sexual slavery are well established industries as well ... who owns/controls them ...? And what incentives/opportunities are there for people to change ...?

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Very attractive and lucrative businesses operating very efficiently if not effectively ripping off those families in the poor "south" who can afford the price. But on the other hand I recall what a colleague's "mistress" told me while trying to arrange a "contract" for her sister during my first project in Nigeria in 1974....white men are rich and stupid...they pay!

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I heard that our country supplies much of the guns and ammunition to the gangs. We are also their largest market for illegal drugs.

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The US also "buys" government support for American corporate resource extractors which contributes to corporate land acquisition and the removal of indigenous people. Fear in poor communities is fomented by troops, many of which are trained in the US, in order to silence resistance.

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Back to policies refined in the 18thC development of the British Empire....commerce drives politics and divorce what happens in the Colonies from whatever is possible in the home country.....nobody who "counts" will want to know.

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It’s filthy, it’s evil, and it’s true

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Yes this happens too— I think China does this kind of thing more extensively at the moment.

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China is late to the game after Britain and the US pummeled and polluted worldwide. But it seems to be making up for the slow start. China is also the home of 70% of rare metals. We shall see how this all plays out as resources dwindle further.

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🏆🏆 as usual Janjamm beautifully stated

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A "win-win" solution for those and such as those who don't care how they make their millions and what it does to everybody else.

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This has been my understanding of the immigration problem, well summarized here.

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The migrant workers are essential to our agriculture. I use to see the workers in the strawberry fields in San Luis Obispo, CA and be amazed at their efficiency and hard work! I don’t remember where I saw a piece on the propaganda to make these workers considered “dirty”. And making them undergo stringent cleaning process coming and going over the border. But wow! We need everyone of these hardworking people. They contribute immensely to our society!

Sounds like the political propaganda just keeps on and on. At least Biden is going after problems with intelligence and empathy.

I have contributed to a local group that provides help to families crossing the border. This group of dedicated women have even provided help on the Mexican side with housing, medical care, legal help, services for children. Trying to help before they hit immigration. It’s amazing work by dedicated people.

Thanks for the info Heather!

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I grew up in the Rogue Valley of Oregon (Home of mail order fruit and roses by Harry and David ) and some tremendous pear/apple orchards (now, literally, going to pot). I remember as a young kid, being asked by a crew of Mexican guys in a pick up if they could fill a garbage can with water. My dad saw that, and said "yes, absolutely. These guys are some of the hardest workers you'll ever see, and they're good folks." loudly enough so they could be heard (Medford was and is a horribly racist town.)

In my college years, I worked in a small market in Talent (between Medford and Ashland) that, though small, had a decent meat and produce department. Fridays, the orchards would pay, and the guys would come in with their orchard checks. They would buy 3 or 4 roasted rotisserie chickens, a case of Budweiser, and a carton of Winstons, and cash an orchard check totaling anywhere from $200 to $500. The would then walk outside, 4 or 5 of them would get into one truck after handing their wives most of the cash. The women would then come in and by the weeks groceries, running up $150-$200 grocery bills (bulk pinto beans, pounds of onions and jalapenos, packages of pork steak, tubs of lard, and multiple packs of 5 dozen tortillas).

Sidebar to that: I had an elementary school classmate that was one of those "ostracized" kids who, now that I've spent a life in law enforcement, am sure was physically and sexually abused at home. The family was dirt poor, even for that time (mid to late 1960's). She came into the store one of those times with "orchard money" from her husband, and we had a lovely chat. She had married a migrant field worker who treated her very well, better than her family or any other family in the area had treated her. She had two beautiful kids, and when they moved out of the area, she left a note for me, thanking me for both recognizing her from 10 years and not degrading her for marrying a "Mexican". I so wish I could have talked more to her.

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Talent, OR was nearly destroyed in last year’s wildfires! I remember seeing the pictures...real disaster. BTW Roland...mike from Davis, CA.

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My sister still lives in the area; she is in Phoenix, and that was devastated as well. Amazingly, both her apartment complex and her 100 year old wood church were undamaged while nearly adjacent properties were destroyed. She has become a member of the city's planning commission as they rebuild.

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As I wrote elsewhere on here today, the agri-businesses which profit from migrant and immigrant labor should assume some financial responsibiliy for the welfare of those who pick our vegetables and process our meat.

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Agribiz prefers cheap, easily exploitable labor. Workers in parts of the Central Valley get as little as $2-$3/hr for crop picking. (See: The American Way of Eating, by Tracie McMillan. As part of her research McMillan--who speaks some Spanish--picked crops with migrant workers.

Even if American Consumers had to pay for it, the cost of raising wages for picking crops by 40% would add only $25/year to consumers' food bills. https://www.epi.org/blog/how-much-would-it-cost-consumers-to-give-farmworkers-a-significant-raise-a-40-increase-in-pay-would-cost-just-25-per-household/

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Thanks David, that is a very handy detail to have. Please raise my food bills.

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And it could be accomplished by a tax on such employers used to pass on benefits to their labor force .... and also enable the government to know who is breaking laws by attracting and hiring those who are here illgally in the first place.

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SLO is a beautiful area. And of course Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta are from Delano in the Central Valley.

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And yes, I have blown through Delano on the freeway probably several hundred times. TPJ and Johnny Cash know I’ve been there.

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It's easier to list the places Roland has not been.

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