Monthly Archives

December 2017

Elections, International

A look at Liberia’s Peaceful Transfer of power and the history behind it

Liberia’s 2017 Presidential Election marks the first time in 70 years that a peaceful transition of power has taken place in the nation.  Liberia was once a growing and well-functioning state in the post WWII era, but a serious of coups and civil wars destroyed the nationals prosperity and infrastructure.  Now, when most in The West think of Liberia they think of its chaos in the last 3 decades.  However, Liberia’s recent elections reflect a shift toward stability.  This article takes a look at Liberia’s troubled history as well as the recent elections that have allowed stability to come to the nation. Continue Reading

Holidays

Where Your Christmas Tree Comes From

The United States is in the middle of a nationwide Christmas Tree Shortage; a result of under-planting during the Great Recession.  You may have felt this when going out for a tree this year: being stung by higher than normal prices or finding your favorite lot out of trees.  Areas that rely entirely on imports, like Miami, have seen lots run of of stock weeks earlier than normal.   These shortages and prices are likely to last another year or two.   Christmas Trees take 7-10 years to grow so we are right in the middle of harvesting trees that would have to have been planted during the recession; when collapsing prices and tight finances resulted in less planting being done.  In a few years we are expected to move out of this shortage in supply.  So all this drama begs the question:  where do your Christmas Trees come from? Continue Reading

International

Catalonia’s Regional Elections Give Independence Parties a Majority

In October of 2017, Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region of Spain, held a referendum on becoming an independent nation.   The measure passed when opponents boycotted; setting of a chaotic series of events when the Spanish Government moved to strip the region of its autonomy and dissolve the regional parliament (at the time controlled by pro-independence parties).  This followed violent clashes with police on the day of the referendum itself.   Spain ordered a new regional election for the region, hoping that anti-independence parties would win a majority.  The election was expected to be close, as the issue of independence splits nearly evenly in the region and has for years. Continue Reading

Elections

Sweet Home Alabama: How Doug Jones Won

Well, that was one hell of a political earthquake.  For the first time since 1992, a Democrat has won a US Senate Election in Alabama.  Democrat Doug Jones, a US Attorney, defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore by 1.5% of the vote.  Moore, always a controversial figure in Alabama politics, finally became too toxic for voters to support any longer.   Moore’s hard-right positions and lack of respect for the law already made him a weak candidate.  However, accusations from multiple men and women that Moore had a habit of dating and hitting on teenage girls when he was in his 30s put the race into chaos in November.  Jones, meanwhile, was a prosecutor who gained attention in the late 90s for prosecuting the culprits of the 1963 African-American church bombing that killed 4 little girls.  Jones ran an aggressive operation to swing over moderate Republicans and get African-American Democrats to surge to the polls; propelling him to a narrow win in a state that backed Trump by over 25% just one year ago. Continue Reading

Holidays, Religion

Hanukkah Article: The Geography of Jews in America

December 12th marks the beginning of the 2017 Hanukkah celebration.   This holiday marks a holy celebration in the Jewish community of the rededication of the Second Temple.  It is also a time for children to create dreidels and menorahs in arts and crafts class (fond memories).   To mark the start of this celebration, I decided to take a look at the Jewish population in America. Continue Reading

Elections, Municipal, Race, Redistricting

Leon’s Charter Review Board is Considering Proposals that will weaken African-American electoral power

Leon County, Florida is currently in the middle of going through its Charter Review process.   The county, home to Florida’s capital, became a charter county in 2002, and every eight years the county commission appoints individuals to the ‘Charter Review Board’ to consider changes that can be put forward to the voters.   It has come to my attention, however, that the board is debating two proposals, which, if passed, would severely hamper minority voters in the county. Continue Reading