A Modest Proposal: Why We Need to Split Up the United States



Let’s face it, the country is just too darn big. Once again, a presidential election has shown that the country votes on regional lines. The Northeast, Mid West, and West Coast go Democratic. The rest of the country goes Republican. Enough already. We get it.

So, what I am proposing is a breaking up of the country. A Balkanization if you will. Sure, this will cause problems, but in the end, it will be worth it. Here, roughly, is what I propose.

Nation 1. The Confederate States of America. This will consist of most of the old Confederacy, with the exception of Virginia. Unlike the CSA of 1861-1865, however, MO, KY, and WV will also be part of the new CSA, which will consist of 13 states altogether, which will assure that any dirt eating, slack jawed shit kicker with a Rebel flag on his truck will not have to buy a new one online.

Rationale: The South seceded too early in its history. Even though slavery was abolished more than 150 years ago, the South continues to be slow (mentally, physically, and socially) and a drag on the progress of the rest of the country. Thus, I say: let the South go. Let it get what it has always wanted to be: a 24 hour a day self parody.

Wither South Carolina? Well, someone once said that it is too small to be a republic and too large for an insane asylum. South Carolina needs the rest of the deep south to survive. And whatever happens, Charleston will probably be left standing.

Under this scheme, however, Austin, Texas, will have the option of applying for a Vatican-type, micro-state status.

Nation 2. Alaska. Will be sold to Russia for $20 million. If there is a living descendant of William Seward, he/she will be there to cut the ribbon. Fun fact: if you get that joke, you are too smart to live in Alaska. Funner fact: Sarah Palin will be appointed to run Alaska under the direction of Vladimir Putin.

Rationale: Russia is a land of cold places. Alaska is also a land of cold places and thus will be a nice fit. And really, we got it from Russia anyway. Now Sarah Palin can truly say she sees Russia from her house.

Nation 3. Hawaii. Hawaii will revert to being an independent kingdom. It will have a constitutional monarchy with a mostly ceremonial queen.

Rationale: Hawaii is thousands of miles from California. It’s just too damn far away from the lower 48. It started out as a kingdom anyway. Maybe that was the way to go.

Nation 4. The People’s Republic of the West Coast. Will consist of CA, WA, and OR.

Rationale: California has the sixth largest economy in the world. It can afford to pay its own way. It is also the most populous state and the third biggest behind Alaska and Texas in geographical size. With its wine, film and tech industry, and Mediterranean climate, California is truly the Golden State. Why force it to drag around the other 49? And in order to solidify its place in the world, California will share the coastal bounty with Oregon and Washington.

Nation 5. Trump World. This will include ID, UT, WY, ND, SD, KS, MT, and NE.

Rationale. Donald Trump needs something bigger than his ego: his own kingdom, over which he can rule as the bumbling, stumbling, incompetent and reckless mad sultan that he is. However, it would prove unwise to let him control too many people in an area that anyone actually wants to live in. Thankfully for him, there are enough people in the country who prefer to be lorded over by an unhinged and capricious amateur. Vive le Trump World!

The rest of the English speaking world, let alone North America, has little use for these shitty states. So, let them be the plaything of the world’s worst human being for the rest of his days.

Trump World will be something like Westworld (Anthony Hopkins or Yul Brynner version, take your pick), only not as fun. All the bullets will be real, and, it being a Right to Work country, no one ever has the time or money to take a vacation.

Nation 6. Oklahoma. Oklahoma will have the option of joining the CSA or Trump World.

Rationale: Let’s face it, Oklahoma is stuck in the middle. It’s too far from either Mexico or Canada to be part of either. And none of the other nations in this scheme probably want it. New Yorkers probably don’t even know where it is. Thus, let it flounder on its own for a while as it alternatively bakes in the summer and freezes in the winter, while fracking induced earthquakes cause its oil towers and shaky barns to topple onto buxom teenagers attending Christian rock concerts in an exurb of Tulsa.

Oklahoma might come to its senses if forced to pay for itself. But really, who cares? Its opioid epidemic alone will probably render it a failed state soon enough.

Nation 7. Northern Mexico. New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

Rationale: These were stolen from Mexico in the 1840s to get us more arid cotton land for slavery. Time to admit that that was a mistake.

Nation 8. Colorado.

Rationale: Colorado is an island of political blue in a sea of red. And for that, we are both sorry and thankful. It is an odd place. The kind of state where you can get a job, nice benefits, an easy commute, legal weed, and you lose weight without even trying. In other words, it’s unlike just about everywhere else in the country. With its white capped mountains craft beer brewing hipsters and skiing-obsessed WASPs, the place has become mythical in the eyes of progressive Americans. Things might be tough for the independent republic of Colorado, landlocked as it is, but if it runs into trouble other states might run to its aid, Berlin Air Life-style.

Nation 9. Rustlandia. Will consist of IL, MN, WI, IN, OH, and PA

Rationale: Is it fair to lump the agricultural states of Minnesota and Wisconsin with the post-industrial wastelands of Ohio and Pennsylvania? Of course not. But so it goes in the arbitrary boundary drawing that is the modern nation state. Illinois might also not want to be a part of this, given that it has one world class city, Chicago, which might make it unhappy with this arrangement. Ah well, let is secede. The more the merrier, right?

PA could have had the option of joining the Great Northeast, but having voted for Trump in 2016, it has been rendered an apostate.

Nation 10. The Greater Northeast. New England and NY, NJ, DE, D.C., and MD.

Rationale: Like the People’s Republic of the West Coast, the greater Northeast will be fine on its own. No doubt. The GN has the U.S.’s largest city, New York, the best baseball teams, most of the good ethnic food, and all the good delis. Not to mention the Seven Sisters and the Ivy Leagues (with the exception of Penn, forced to flounder in Rustlandia), the best stand-up comedy, the financial centers of the West, and Broadway musicals. Yes, it will be cold in the winter and hot in the summer in the GN, but at least it is close to having something like real healthcare, renewable energy, and high speed rail.

The Northeast invented secession during the War of 1812. But like the South’s efforts at breaking away from the Union, it happened too early. Time to rethink that decision.

And last but not least, there is:

Nation 11. Virginia. Most people might not know this, but Virginia’s number one export is arrogance. As William Byrd II once said, in the beginning “everything was Virginia.” The West Coast might have the tech, but Virginia has the history. It was the scene of the first permanent English colony. The place where the English surrendered during the Revolution. The home of the first U.S. president and the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. It was the site of the first major Civil War battle. And so on.

And yet, Virginia was slow to secession. It voted for Hillary in 2016 and Obama twice. It is too north to be a cotton state and too south to be progressive. As it is, it is a place where too fat/too skinny people with snake flags share neighborhoods with $5 coffee drinking beardos with a bad tattoo habit.

Four of the first five presidents were from Virginia. Hence the “Virginia Dynasty.” But there hasn’t been a president from Virginia in a long time. Time for that to change. And from this point on, they all will be from Virginia.

Virginia is roughly the size of Cuba, but has 3 million fewer people. Even so, it is far wealthier. It has beaches, mountains and everything in between. Big cities, small towns, and historical markers galore. Ample space for everyone. So, let’s get some delicious Stonewall Jackson table wine and toast the Republic of Virginia!


There are many things a rational person can abide. But President Trump backed by a Republican Congress? Let the guns of Sumter fire anew!





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100 Reasons Why It Didn’t Start with Trump


Trump and Hicks

Well, here we are. Six months. The Republic still holds, for now. The madness didn’t start with Trump. There are at least 62 million reasons why we are here. Here are a few more. It started with:

  1. The Tea Baggers
  2. Fox News
  3. Monica Crowley and Anne Coulter
  4. Rush Limbaugh’s pathological hatred of the Clintons, which began in 1992 and continues to this day
  5. Glenn Beck: carnie hypnotist turned “repentant” wingnut
  6. The absurd claim by people that thousands of African Americans fought for the Confederacy as soldiers
  7. Stop and frisk
  8. People being okay with mass shootings, even when they involve children
  9. “Stand your ground” laws
  10. Grover Norquist
  11. People thinking that all tax money = “their” money
  12. Being against the minimum wage and its increase
  13. Banks that charge $36 overdraft fees, $5 for a money order, and $25 for a box of checks
  14. People who thought Obama was a Muslim from Kenya
  15. People who sincerely thought Obama was the Anti-Christ
  16. Being against vaccines, which have saved millions of lives
  17. Denying not only climate change but proving unwilling to do anything about it or any other environmental problems
  18. Idiotic, racist relatives on Facebook
  19. Facebook
  20. Smartphones making us look stupid, self-absorbed, and unresponsive
  21. Superhero movies and CGI sucking the life out of the American film industry
  22. Police shooting and killing people and not being held accountable
  23. George Zimmerman
  24. The lies and misinformation behind the Iraq War
  25. Brilliant comic Dennis Miller becoming an unfunny, boorish, Republican schill
  26. Bill O’Reilly and his Killing [insert name here] books
  27. Democrats not fighting harder than the Republicans to set the agenda (Bernie, Franken, and Liz Warren excepted)
  28. The Virginia Flaggers demanding a Confederate battle flag be raised on property in Richmond that they do not own
  29. The Confederate flag flying anywhere outside of a Civil War reenactment
  30. Voter ID laws
  31. Gerrymandering
  32. School districts that have fought Brown v. Board every step of the way and continue to do so
  33. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
  34. The Koch brothers
  35. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court
  36. The gutting of campaign finance reform by the Supreme Court
  37. The unstoppable, unnecessary, absurdly expensive, and bloated Military Industrial Complex
  38. Talk radio
  39. Click bait
  40. Border patrolling “Minutemen”
  41. The government response to Hurricane Katrina
  42. Internet comments sections
  43. Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr., Ph.D.
  44. The death of letter writing
  45. The third world status of the American music industry
  46. The third world status of inner cities
  47. The War on Drugs
  48. Texas as the epicenter for the textbook industry
  49. Texas
  50. Saw, Hostel, and torture porn
  51. Commercials before movies
  52. Walmart
  53. Hummers
  54. Gov. Schwarzenegger
  55. Gov. Ventura
  56. Gov. Reagan
  57. Gov. Wallace
  58. David Duke
  59. Cancer taking Siskel and Ebert and Bill Hicks
  60. The political schizophrenia of Ohio
  61. College football coaches making more than the highest paid professors
  62. Rioting when you win, rioting when you lose
  63. Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane
  64. The 2000 presidential election
  65. Everything in Florida between Pensacola and Miami
  66. Cable companies
  67. Subprime mortgages
  68. Payday lenders
  69. $1000+ bicycles
  70. McMansions
  71. Resistance to marriage equality
  72. 9-11
  73. Jimmy Fallon blowing lines on SNL then being rewarded with the most plum job in late night television
  74. Mel Gibson on a phone
  75. Blue Ray
  76. HR department job application templates
  77. Vacuum sealed, shrink wrapped, and unopenable
  78. The prison industrial complex
  79. Cheap garbage from China
  80. Sequels, prequels, and remakes
  81. Having to put money up front, all the time
  82. Football seven days a week
  83. Adult men riding skateboards
  84. Backward baseball caps
  85. Joe McCarthy
  86. Pitch counts and the designated hitter
  87. Three strikes and you’re out laws
  88. The John Birch Society
  89. Ted Nugent
  90. Gated communities
  91. Hank Williams, Jr.
  92. “Right to Work” states
  93. Everyone having to work except the rich
  94. The electoral college
  95. States rights
  96. Deadbeat dads
  97. Conspiracy theories
  98. Fundamentalism
  99. The Westboro Baptist Church
  100. Joel Osteen
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Podcast 54: Charles Bukowski


Recovering from a move to Richmond, Colin does another solo podcast, this time on Henry Charles Bukowski, the notorious Los Angeles skid row writer and poet. Colin talks about an ironic Bukowski-related Boston trip, getting to know “Hank” as a grad student, and the similarities between L.A. and Baton Rouge. Colin also reads passages from Post Office, Women, and Notes of a Dirty Old Man. Colin concludes that as far as Bukowski goes, you come for the debauchery but you stay for the social commentary. It’s another R-rated episode!

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Podcast 53: Jean Violet of Kashmir


Jean Violet, the lead singer of the band Kashmir, has been performing Led Zeppelin songs for a long time. In his talk with Colin, Jean talks about where he’s from, how the band got started, and what his nephew’s band Deviate the Plan has been up to. In the intro, Colin discusses his recent move to Richmond, a poignant Drive-By Truckers song, and how big an influence Led Zeppelin has been in his life.

Outro music: “It’s a Fine Line,” by Country Kitchen.

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Podcast 52: Bun, Hawk, and a Farewell to the CB!


In their last porch talk (for a while anyway), Colin and Sydney (aka Bun and Hawk) recap their unusual experiences in Colonial Beach, Virginia. With a move to Richmond coming up, the two take time to talk about a foul-mouthed stalker, Basquiat paintings, and the moxie needed to start a restaurant. It’s the most profanity-laden episode yet!

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Podcast 51: Washington, D.C.

May 2017 030

Does Colin love D.C.? He’s not sure. But earlier this month, he had a good weekend in the nation’s capital, where he visited the White House, saw a show, and got close to the Pentagon. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but Colin did: comic and podcast guru Marc Maron, who was playing at the Warner Theatre. You’ll also hear about graffiti art, a Russian lifeguard, and Colin almost getting killed by an umbrella. It’s Amerikan Rambler’s super terrific happy D.C. adventure!

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Podcast: Kathryn Shively Meier

natures civil warKS_Meier_authorsmaller

Kathryn Shively Meier is a professor of the Civil War and military history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She and Colin talk about how a California native with a background in poetry and opera became interested in the Civil War. They also discuss grad school, her prize-winning book Nature’s Civil War, and their mutual admiration for historians Charles Royster and Gary Gallagher.

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