Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Loose change

A Web site on Ideas for Change in America is seeking your input on how to make things better. It’s described as “a citizen-driven project that aims to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress can turn the broad call for ‘change’ across the country into specific policies.” The site is designed to be nonpartisan and invites all political points of view. Anyone can submit an idea or comment and vote on others. The top 10 ranked ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, as the “Top 10 Ideas for America.” A national campaign will be launched in support of each idea.

But not every light bulb burns the same wattage. As of this posting, change.org listed about 1,500 suggested ideas. Among them – Repeal the Patriot Act. Create a global union of states. End the war on drugs. Legalize marijuana. Create a Department of Innovation. Create a Department of Peace. Close Guantanamo. Make Election Day a national holiday. Tell the truth about extraterrestrial contact. Make free trees available to the public. Remove the nonprofit status from churches that are politically active. Give all veterans the day off on Veterans Day. Get rid of daylight-saving time. Promote bicycle transportation. Create a cabinet position on Violence against Women. Put prayer back in schools. Conduct no business on Sundays. Launch a National Service Corps to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Mandate vegan school lunches in addition to standard fare. Plant a large organic victory garden on the White House lawn. Stop the live skinning of animals.

It’s an intriguing read, representing a broad spectrum of interests from leftist to centrist to rightist. At minimum, the site proves that thoughtful consideration of ways in which change can be a positive force is a worthwhile exercise. Leading to this week’s question: If you could change one thing about Rhode Island, what would it be?

The lasting image of the 2004 World Series championship by the Boston Red Sox – the team’s first in 86 years – was the sight of nearly every graveyard in New England festooned in Sox caps, jerseys and pennants. Rooting for the Red Sox is a cradle-to-grave activity for members of the Nation, but now the dearly departed don’t have to give up the ghost. The first officially licensed Red Sox casket arrived in Rockland, Mass., serial No. 0001, at the Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home. The casket is manufactured by Eternal Image of Michigan, which creates branded funeral products for corporations as varied as Major League Baseball, the Vatican Library, the American Kennel Club and Star Trek. Not surprisingly, the Red Sox and Yankees are running neck-and-neck in the afterlife biz, well ahead of all other teams and products in sales of team-logo caskets and urns. Last year, the Sox stopped the popular practice of fans scattering the ashes of their loved ones on the grounds of Fenway Park, after the number of dying wishes became too overwhelming to accommodate. Recently traded centerfielder Coco Crisp had the baseball quote of the year when he talked about patrolling an outfield that was part-grass, part-warning track and part-cremation ash: “It’s kind of freaky knowing you’re diving into somebody’s grandpa.”

Mining for Size
Found this in a USA Today story from last year about the environmentally destructive coal mining practice called “mountaintop removal.”

Without further restrictions, 2,200 square miles of Appalachian forests – an area twice the size of Rhode Island – will be eliminated by 2012.