- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:00
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It’s a tried and true combination for most of us: Turkey served with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie. Add to that some cranberry sauce and perhaps some oyster dressing, and that’s Thanksgiving. Make no mistake, the very thought of that combination is making me hungry. But the reality is that if I were a Pilgrim, one of those remarkable early settlers on the New England coast, celebrating my first Thanksgiving, my meal would have looked a bit different.
The first Pilgrim feast, the one we recall each year at Thanksgiving was a true expression of thanks. The settlers had survived their first year in the New World. It had been a tough season. Many in their numbers had died. And even then, in 1621, their suffering was by no means done. It would be several years before the colony could be considered a going concern. But, they had reaped a decent harvest, they were at peace with their Native American neighbors, and they wanted to give thanks for their good fortune. It was as simple as that. And while a pious people, they also knew how to throw a good party. This first Thanksgiving was a three-day affair. However, while it was a tasty, it wasn’t what we 21st century Americans would have considered a traditional Thanksgiving Day Dinner.
For one thing, and I don’t know how my grandmother would have coped with this, there wouldn’t have been any mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes, but in 1620, the potato, while having made it to the New World, thanks to Sir Walter Raleigh, hadn’t found its way to New England. This staple food wouldn’t be introduced into the New England diet until the early 1700s.
But that didn’t deter the Pilgrims. There was still plenty to eat. Though it isn’t specifically mentioned in many of the accounts of this early meal they probably, like us, had turkey. However, it might not have been all that popular. While abundant, the Pilgrims didn’t have the plump and tender farm raised turkey we’re used to. What they bagged, while tasty was wild, lean, and heavy on the dark meat. While that would have suited me fine - I like dark meat - it’s not altogether clear that the Pilgrims were that enamored with turkey.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 16:26
- Published on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 16:26
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The Democratic Party, after four years in the ascendancy, got handed one of its most severe electoral defeats since World War II. When the new Congress convenes in January 2011 there will be more Republicans than at any other time since 1946. It’s been compared to the 1994 Republican Revolution, but this “shellacking,” as the President called it, was more than just an electoral setback.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 16:57
- Published on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 16:57
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My great-uncle was a proud veteran of the First World War and used to be a member of an organization called the Veterans of World War I Association. I know that because when I was visiting with his family sometime in the late 1960’s I saw one of their publications and asked about it. Even then, the “Great War” as he occasionally still called it, seemed a long time ago. That was over forty years ago and back then many of these doughboys were still healthy and many, like my Uncle Harley, were still working.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:00
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Fewer than 24 months ago, in other words, a million years ago when it comes to politics, the outlook for the Democrats in Washington D.C. couldn’t have been better. President Obama had won decisively, and in both the House and Senate, the Democrats had powerful majorities. In the House of Representatives they had built on their 2006 successes, garnering a 39 vote advantage. In the Senate, in something that hasn’t happened since the 1970’s, they reached the magic number of 60. This meant that if they all pulled together, they could break any attempted filibuster on the part of the minority. The Democrats were back. But my, how quickly things can change in American politics. The coming mid-term elections, with all 435 House seats up for election and a third of the Senate are shaping up as one of the biggest political routs in American history. Oh sure, there have been worse, but if the trends hold, Tuesday night will be a tough one for the President and his party.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 16:15
- Published on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 16:15
- Hits: 527
My favorite apps (excuse me, applications) on my Apple iPhone, which yes, also doubles as a cell phone, is Youtube and the video clip I visit the most is the opening to a long ago western TV series called “Rawhide.” The show, whose cast included Clint Eastwood, follows the adventures of cowboys on a cattle drive. The first line of the theme song is “head ‘em up, move ‘em out.” At heart I am convinced I am a cowboy. And yes, I even own a cowboy hat (or “wide brimmed” hat as they call it out west) and
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00
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And no matter what you call it, any move to take money out of the economy, isn’t going to help matters.
Back in 2001 and 2003, President George W. Bush proposed an across the board series of tax reductions. These included reductions in the income tax rate, taxes on dividends, taxes on capital gains, and taxes on married couples. The latter, which benefited more than just high earners was a cut in the despised “marriage tax.”
They also included new tax credits for savings intended for education and retirement. The president and many Republicans in Congress made the case that the economy was starting to slow down after the shock of Sept. 11 and we needed the tax cuts to stave off a recession. Further, since, they were temporary, their impact on the deficit, while significant, wasn’t necessarily permanent. They came with an expiration date of December 2010.