Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fifty One States?

Fifty is Nifty but is Fifty One more fun?

More LA Times Flashback headlines -Hawaii Wins Approval As 50Th State!

Anyone remember what it was like before we had 50 States? I was born after Hawaii became a state so I have no experience with what it may have been like to talk about "The 49 or even 48 States." I grew up learning the state capitals for all 50 states as did many of you. I can't remember some of them now but at least I can look them up quickly on the internet if needed. Have you ever contemplated what it would be like to have 51 States? I suppose it's very possible that in our lifetime we could see the addition of at least one more star on Old Glory! I know it sounds a bit imperialistic but honestly, it's certainly within the realm of possibilities.

A Few of the contenders for statehood:

When you eliminate some of the extreme choices like - Canada, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Iraq, then some of these other entities seem plausible. Like:
  • Guam -

The territory of Guam, is an island in the western Pacific Ocean and is an organized, unincorporated insular area of the United States. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. The island's capital is Hagåtña (formerly Agana). Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.

  • United States Virgin Islands -

The United States Virgin Islands is a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas, along with the much smaller but historically distinct Water Island, and many other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is about 133.73 square miles

  • The Northern Mariana Islands -

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. And here's a bit of interesting information - The Northern Mariana Islands have the lowest male to female sex ratio in the world: an average of 76 men to every 100 women. That is due to the overwhelming female majority of foreign workers, especially in the garment industry. A great place to go if you "Really " need a date huh?

  • Long Island New York (Doubtful - New York would never give up this gem)

    Long Island is an island located in southeastern New York, USA, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which (Queens and Kings) are boroughs of New York City, and two of which (Nassau and Suffolk) are mainly suburban. Numerous bridges and tunnels through Queens and Brooklyn connect Long Island to the three other boroughs of New York City. Ferries connect Suffolk County northward across Long Island Sound to the state of Connecticut. The longest island in the contiguous United States, Long Island extends 118 miles (190 km) from New York Harbor, and varies in width from 12 to 23 miles (19 to 37 km) between the northern (Long Island Sound) coast and the southern Atlantic coast.

  • Washington DC -
  • Washington, D.C. formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the Territory of Columbia until an act of Congress in 1871 effectively merged the City and the Territory into a single entity called the District of Columbia. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the other sides. The District has a resident population of 591,833; however, because of commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the country.

  • Puerto Rico -
  • Is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is composed of an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area and second smallest by population among the four Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico).

  • American Somoa -Is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa. The main (largest and most populous) island is Tutuila, with the Manuʻa Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island also included in the territory. American Samoa is part of the Samoan Islands chain, located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 300 miles (500 km) south of Tokelau.

Well, in my humble opinion, these are some of the more realistic candidates for statehood. Oddly enough, as global economic troubles spread, it becomes more likely that these entities would seek statehood as they seek shelter under the umbrella of the United States Federal Government. Think about the billions of dollars that are being printed and passed out to assist failing industries. In tough times many of these constituents would like to get there hands on some of these dollars.

Still another and equally motivating issue is representation. Take for example the District (Washington D.C.) They've been on all sides of this debate. But today they were put on the fast track to better representation in the federal government and perhaps statehood as Senators decided by a 62 to 34 margin to consider the bill which would give the District its first seat ever in the House of Representatives. Eight Republicans, including Senators Thad Cochran (Mississippi) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted to proceed with the bill. Robert F. Bennett (Utah) was expected to vote yes but for some reason voted no. A similar bill was presented about 3 years ago but failed to pass. We can expect a very lively discussion/debate period before the final vote takes place in the next week or so.

An "interesting party" was heard from relative to this discussion - Senator Joseph Lieberman called D.C. citizens "the only residents of a democratically ruled national capital in the world who have no say" in how their nation is governed. "It's time to right this injustice."

My understanding is that this bill would permanently add two seats to the 435-member House. One would go to the largely Democratic District, and the other would be assigned to a largely "Republican-leaning" Utah through 2012, when congressional seats are reapportioned.

Some opponents argue that the bill is legally unsound. They mentioned the Constitution's instructions that House Of Representatives be chosen by "the people of the several states" - and noted that the District is not a state. (There goes that Statehood thing again). Additionally, it's my opinion that some opponents are looking ahead and see this as the precursor to the creation of two D.C. Senators. That could very easily give Democrats a huge boost in the 100 (or 102) seat Senate.

Let the Statehood Games Begin!

Just a note, In 1967, 1981, 1993, and 1998 the citizens of Puerto Rico voted whether the island should remain a commonwealth, become a state, or become and independent country. In all four votes, Puerto Ricans voted to maintain the status quo.

Seems they like it just the way it is......

More to follow.


Tami said...

Add them all! Ooo, but several of those places look like vacation paradise.

dickster1961 said...

I could go for any of those statehood options, with the exception of DC, and I don't think Long Island is a realistic option.

So you brought up the DC representation issue. Count me in the against camp. I have long felt it was an unconstitutional goal. Even liberal legal scholar Jonathan Turley says it is "patently unconstitutional."

Summer said...

This all reminded me that I need a vacation. lol. No, seriously... this was a very interesting post. I don't think I could choose just one to add.

intrepidideas said...

Tami, Summer, I agree. Another tropical vacation destination would help. Sign me up!

Dickster - This will be debated passionately in the next few weeks. I wonder how it will turn out. You're right there in the DC area. Do you have a feeling for how the locals feel about DC becoming a state?

dickster1961 said...

Dickster - This will be debated passionately in the next few weeks. I wonder how it will turn out. You're right there in the DC area. Do you have a feeling for how the locals feel about DC becoming a state?\

Well, it has been a while since I heard any news about a push for statehood for the District. DC residents always seemed to favor it. I think you could pretty much break it down liberal/conservative lines. Same with the idea of giving the District representation in Congress.

Louie Gohmert of Texas (Republican) had an interesting idea for the issue of representation for DC. He felt that it was unconstitutional to give a vote in the House for DC. At the same time, since the District was not "represented" in the Federal Government, that they should be exempt from federal income tax. He also felt that if they insisted on representation, that the District should be given back to Maryland. Then they would have House and Senate representation. That would not be unprecedented since Virginia already got their share of DC back.

Houseonahill said...

So informative! Thank You!!
I'm sitting with my coffee and reading your blog, Ahhh, so nice, to think of alternative weather when you are stuck here in the Chi ;0/

Chris said...

This was all so very interesting! I always learn something fascinating over here. :)

However, this statement made my skin crawl. I try to hard to NOT think about it.
"Think about the billions of dollars that are being printed and passed out to assist failing industries."

Thanks for working so hard to make such enlightening posts for all of us! :)

bathmate said...

I liked it.

intrepidideas said...

Thanks Bathmate...