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Holidays

Holidays, Race

The Timeline of Passage of Martin Luther King Jr Day

Every 3rd Monday of January, America celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr; the face of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  Dr King’s commitment to non-violence as a way to protest the Jim Crow south were instrumental in turning the nation’s attention toward the struggle of African-Americans to secure basic rights in many states in the nation.  Growing up, every child (hopefully) is taught about King and the civil rights movement.  His “I have a Dream” speech captivates students and serves as inspiration, but also a cruel reminder of our nation’s flawed past.  King’s assassination in 1968 made him a martyr for the the cause of civil rights in America and he is known world-wide.  As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day again, this article takes a look at the fight to cement his legacy, and the legacy of the civil rights movement, with a formal holiday. 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

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

Holidays

“Franksgiving” – The Period from 1939 through 1941 when Thanksgiving was Partisan

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in America is meant to be a time of year when family gather together to eat and give thanks.   Its also a time of year when family get together to watch football and argue about politics.  However, for the most part we think of Thanksgiving as being above the political left-right debate.  However, many do not know the tale of “Franksgiving” – a time when Thanksgiving became a very heated political issue. Continue Reading

Elections, Holidays, Municipal

Halloween Article: The Election of Coroners in America

In celebration of Halloween this year, I decided to take a look at one of the most unknown and definitely most morbid, elected offices in America – County Coroner.    Many if not most be would be shocked to find out coroners are still an elected position in America.  Indeed, just under 1,300 counties in the United States still use elections to decide who holds a very obscure but important office.  The Coroner’s responsibilities vary from state to state, but the key one is the same… determining the cause of death.  This of course is very important when potential homicide is in play and incorrect determinations by coroners can cause serious problems in cases.   Continue Reading

Holidays, Religion

Reformation Day – Christianity in America

October 31st, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 These to the the Catholic Church door in his town, beginning what we now call the reformation; the great split of the Catholic Church in Europe.   Ok, actually the whole nailing to the door thing has been dramatized a bit, but the point is this is the date that is used to mark the beginning of the reformation.   Continue Reading