Random thoughts while dozing off on a late summer afternoon:

President Trump got into a serious spat with Denmark over his offer to buy Greenland. Apparently, the United States needs the island because it has a serious shortage of umlauts. From Maine’s perspective, there might be a better deal to be made. The U.S. should negotiate with Canada to obtain Quebec, which has better beer, better food and fewer glaciers than Greenland. Also, lots of hydropower, which we could sell to, I dunno, Denmark. In return for giving up La Belle Province, the Canadians would receive Mississippi, thereby raising the average intelligence of both countries.

Are you a Mainer worried about job security? New statistics indicate the occupation least likely to be eliminated is black-market marijuana dealer. Sure, pot is legal in Maine, and by sometime next year, we’ll have stores where weed can be purchased without fear of legal repercussions (at least at the state level). Won’t ganja-loving consumers flock to these outlets? Reports from several states indicate the answer is no. Because of high taxes, ridiculous regulations and restrictive local zoning laws, illegal dealers have continued to flourish. According to the Los Angeles Times, legitimate transactions in California in 2018 amounted to $2.5 billion. This year, the black market is doing an estimated $8.7 billion. The Boston Globe reported that in the first few months of legalization in Massachusetts, 75 percent of the market belonged to people who were, technically, criminals. Several western states have discovered that a majority of their cannabis business involves smuggling dope to places where it’s still illegal. Maine is poised to make all the same mistakes as those places, so stake your claim to our new, improved black market early. (A side note: Smoking dope is illegal in Greenland, but the island has a high – ha! – rate of per capita use, which means there are plenty of eager consumers waiting for illicit shipments.)

I’m sure “beating a dead horse” isn’t a PETA-approved phrase. I’m also sure the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center won’t object to being tagged with a politically incorrect label. If there was money to be made abusing deceased nags, the free-enterprise-loving center would be selling whips. Its latest attempt to pummel a stallion’s corpse involves an MHPC report showing that ranked-choice voting doesn’t work very well. In a nationwide survey of such elections, ranked-choice disenfranchised an average of 11 percent of voters, who didn’t support either of the top two finishers. That means the victor “wins with a fake majority 61 percent of the time.” Apparently, this rehashing of old news is a response to struggling efforts to expand ranked-choice in Portland and presidential primaries, efforts that will almost certainly succeed in the near future. Despite the MHPC’s sturdy blows, the expired steed of plurality-based voting refuses to stir. (Another side note: In Greenland, this process is known as “thawing out a frozen musk ox.” That doesn’t work, either.)

The influential Cook Political Report has shifted its forecast for Maine’s U.S. Senate race from “leans Republican” to “throw up.” Sorry, that’s actually “toss up,” a subtle difference that removes regurgitation from the equation. But it still means GOP Sen. Susan Collins’ bid for another term rests on how voters feel about partially digested politicians. (In Greenland, they have a word for that. It has umlauts in it.)

I shouldn’t eat sardines and pistachio ice cream before napping. Suggestions for settling my stomach can be emailed to [email protected]


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