Saturday, January 13, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Dining Futures

I think it might be a good time to take a brief break
from the politics which will soon enough again fill our
news venues with heated headlines and speculation.

Perhaps a good alternative, and a topic always of some
interest, are the places we go to dine out.

Many years ago, I published a local newspaper in the
Twin Cities. I put my best efforts in reporting about local
politics and in writing serious editorials about the issues
of the day. One afternoon, after having written occasional
articles about food and local restaurants. I received a
phone call from one of the local daily papers inquiring if
I would become their regular food critic. Initially flattered,
I gave it some thought, but concluded that if I were to write
about dining, I should do it for my own publication. My
restaurant column turned out to be much more popular
than my editorials.

I thus began a decades-long pen name pastime of writing
about food.

Today, the restaurant industry is a major part of
American commercial and cultural life. No longer limited
to the cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami,
Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco,
serious dining out in the U.S. now reaches every city and
even many small towns.

The dining out “boom” of recent years, however, is now
going in new directions. Non-professionals often have a
romantic view of opening and running a restaurant, and
many did just that --- only to discover that preparing and
serving food to the public is a very tough and demanding
occupation. Even restaurants run by great chefs and savvy
food professionals usually have a limited life span. Most of
the great dining rooms of the recent past no longer exist.

I noticed just in the past year or so, several new Twin Cities
dining establishments opened --- and closed --- within a few
months. The demand for fresh and high quality meat and
produce has kept food costs very high, and the old model of
restaurant employment has often become untenable as
mandatory minimum wage, paid leave and other employee
benefits have exceeded the capability for many restaurateurs'
ability to make a profit.

So now many new restaurants now opt for large spaces,
communal seating, and counter food ordering with a reduced
wait staff delivering counter-ordered (and paid-for) food items
to the table. These are mostly relatively high-end restaurants,
not of the fast-food variety. Very high-end new restaurants
which attempt to maintain the traditional hospitality
amenities and services simply have to charge very high prices,
but their audience is limited to expense accounts, special
occasion diners and the very affluent. 

In addition to large spaces serving many diners at the same
time, an additional economic solution is to make a restaurant
more than just a site for a meal but also a destination for
a variety of food experiences.

This variety is usually idiosyncratic --- as is the case of three
Twin Cities restaurants, two in Minneapolis and one in St.
Paul that I will discuss as emblematic of contemporary
restaurant innovation.

In Minneapolis, LYNHALL recently opened as the vision of
attorney Anne Spaeth on a main thoroughfare in a southside
neighborhood where many other new popular bistros have
appeared in recent years. It also is very much a residential
area with many younger tenants and homeowners who are
likely to go out to eat with some frequency, and who live at
walking distance. Lynhall has a very large space with lots of
communal tables. It serves breakfast , lunch and dinner with
counter service only. Ms.Spaeth has hired top local chefs for
her kitchen. Lynhall has its own bar, bakery and coffeehouse,
and serves well-made imaginative breakfasts, soups, salads,
appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, side orders and lavish
desserts. It does much takeout business.  Uniquely, Lynhall
has its own state-of-the-art video recording studio with
tables and seating that can be leased by chefs, groups and
companies for presentations, videos, food training and
private parties. The quality of food preparation at Lynhall is
quite good, with prices slightly on the high side, but it has
its own parking lot, on-street parking is plentiful, staff are
friendly, and no special taxes are added (as they are in
downtown and other near-downtown areas). Most of the
food items, including a variety of rotisserie meats, are
displayed, and portions are generous. The result is often a
friendly, delicious, affordable and original dining experience.

Across the river from downtown Minneapolis, chef-owner
Alex Roberts has created his own version of the new dining
destination at Restaurant/Cafe/Hotel ALMA in a university
residential area. Chef Roberts is a James Beard award-winner
for his outstanding culinary work at Restaurant Alma, a prix
fixe dinner-only kitchen featuring innovative local fresh foods
and fine wines. It has been consistently rated one of the top
dining rooms in the state and the region. It is also predictably
expensive --- a dinner for two with drinks, multiple courses,
wine, desserts. taxes and tip will likely cost more than $200.
Chef Roberts  is also an entrepreneur who wanted his kitchen
to be more than fine dining for a few, so he took over his whole
corner building --- converting the second floor to a charming
boutique hotel with seven rooms, and replaced a local
coffeehouse on the corner by converting it to an adjoining
cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at more affordable
prices. The Cafe Alma menu is not large, but all the items  on
its menu are distinctive and have the touch of a James Beard
chef. Prices, as they are at Lynhall, are slightly on the high
side, but significantly less than in the main dining room
Service at Alma is among the best in the Twin Cities, with
the wait staff and baristas always welcoming and
well-informed. The hotel is the perfect spot for visitors
with a car who want to avoid the traffic, hassle and expense
of downtown, Room rates come with a delightful breakfast
from the Cafe. The location is central to all the Twin Cities
sights, and the pro sports stadiums are nearby. Excellent
municipal buses service stops in front of the Alma building.

In St. Paul, Italian food impresario Dave Cossetta took his
grandfather’s tiny Italian grocery and transformed it over
time to a near-downtown location --- and one of the largest
food destinations in the state, featuring a popular Italian
cafeteria, its own Italian bakery, the most lavish pasticceria
between New York and San Francisco (and rivaling ones in
Rome, Milan and Florence), a high-end sophisticated
Italian steakhouse, and the largest Italian deli in the area.
A third-floor open air patio is a busy summer watering
hole. Nearly all the foods are prepared in-house, often from
recipes of well-known chefs brought over from Italy to train
COSSETTA’S kitchen staff. The restaurant has its own large
parking lot. Cossetta’s is a very memorable experience.

These are three very original versions of the new restaurant
as destination. What isn’t new about them is the high quality
of the food preparation and service. Changing economic
conditions and food trends demand new ideas in dining out,
but great food well-served is still the very bottom line.


[NOTE: In full disclosure, one of the three restaurateurs
above is a total stranger, one a neighbor acquaintance, and
one someone I’ve known for many years.]


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Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Opening For Oprah?

The media swoon over the possibility that TV megastar
Oprah Winfrey might run for president in 2020 will pass,
but it should not deter us from making some valuable
observations about the now unfolding U.S. political
environment of 2018 and immediately beyond.

First, the Democrats have no credible leadership “bench”
(a term from competitive sports) ahead --- other than
some aging men and women now in their early to late 70s.

Second, Republicans and conservatives need not throw up
their arms in feigned shock. Donald Trump was no less a
TV celebrity in 2015 --- and far less popular than Ms.
Winfrey is now. The Donald did have a successful business
career as well, but so does the celebrated Oprah who rose
from poverty to become a major media tycoon in her own
right.

Third, Ms. Winfrey is apparently mainstream liberal, and
has already been denounced by the Bernie Sanders wing of
her party as not radical enough to lead the 2020 ticket.
Should she indeed run, it would likely not be an easy
coronation, but instead it would likely be a down-and-dirty
primary state-by-primary state battle for control of her
party and its presidential ticket.

Fourth, we don’t yet know where Ms. Winfrey stands on
many if not most of the controversial issues of the day.
Her liberal social views might be known, but most of her
economic and foreign policy views have yet to be aired.

Fifth, if the 2016 campaign taught us anything, it is not to
dismiss prematurely a celebrity candidacy, especially such
a well-known, well-liked personality as Oprah Winfrey.

On the other hand, should she take the current media
swoon to the next level, Ms. Winfrey has to make some very
hard choices. As I have said, she could not win her party’s
nomination without a likely bitter fight that would
microscopically examine her personal and business life.
At some point, once she made a decision, she would have
to remove herself from her entertainment business on the
air. Once a candidate, she would have to submit herself to a
punishing schedule of travel and appearances. Most of all,
she would have to transform her show business acumen into
smart political strategy and choices --- while at the same
time surrounding herself with savvy advisors.

It can be done. It has been done. It would be a fascinating
match-up in 2020.

But for now, it is more of a revelation about the political
leadership vulnerability of the Democratic Party.

Let’s see where the inevitable political second-thoughts
take this story.

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Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: In Only One Week.....

To give us perspective on the rapidly changing U.S. political
landscape, we need only look at the past few weeks, and
especially, this first week of the new year.

Just weeks before, few if any expected that dean of the
U.S. senate, Utah’s Orrin Hatch, was actually going to retire
to make way for Mitt Romney; that a Democrat would win
the Alabama special senate election; that the chairman of the
senate foreign relations committee, Republican Bob Corker
of Tennessee, would decide not to run for re-election; and
that “rising star” Minnesota Senator Al Franken would be
forced to retire from office by his own party. Tax reform
legislation remained bottled up by GOP intraparty conflict
in both houses of Congress, and was seemingly going
nowhere before an end of the year deadline. Obamacare
repeal had failed, and the key coverage mandate remained in
place. Powerful Republican congressional committee chairs
and members seemed headed for re-election. Insurgent GOP
strategist Steve Bannon had acquired mythic status in the
media, and threatened to bring down several incumbent
senators of his own party. Hollywood was riding high both at
the box office and in politics. Media bias was rampant.

So much for conventional thinking.

Just the few surprises and reversals mentioned above have
significantly altered 2018 politics, presenting unexpected
opportunities for both Democrats and Republicans. But many
retirement and primary challenge decisions remain, and the
impact of the historic tax cuts is not yet known.

The dramatic recent changes are not limited to individual
and political party prospects. Profound new cultural standards
are being forged, and the lavish and excessive win streak of
the iconic Hollywood, media and pro football industries are
faltering by the missteps of some of their own in conduct and
public opinion.

We are only in the first week of the year. There are 44 weeks
until election day, 2018.

Surprises will keep on coming.

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Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All right reserved.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A Little Dusting Of Snow On My Hometown


[This article first appeared on the Intellectual Takeout
website. See link at right.] 


When it comes to public relations, small towns and
cities usually come up short in national and global
news stories.

This has always been true of my hometown of Erie, PA
whose most common claim to fame is its regular
appearance in the New York Times Sunday crossword
puzzle as an urban four-letter word beginning with “E.”

Nevertheless, Erie does have one perennial world-class
distinction --- it usually leads the nation in snowfall. This
is due to a relatively rare weather condition know as
“lake-effect snow.” Simply explained, a cold air mass
crosses a body of water which is warmer, picks up its
water vapor, freezes it, and deposits the resulting snow
when it reaches the shore.

The southern shore of Lake Erie is one of the world’s
major sites for lake-effect snow because it is often in the
direct path of Arctic cold waves. Cleveland, Erie and
Buffalo usually contend for the national championship for
annual urban snowfall, and Erie often leads the pack.

As I write this, however, news stories and photos across
the nation and around the world are featuring Erie’s
latest snow “dusting” because, even by my hometown’s
standards, this is a big one.

In less than two days, more than 65 inches of snow fell
on the city.  (UPDATE: An additional 14-inch lake-effect
snowstorm is expected imminently)
The previous one-day
record in Erie was 27 inches on November 22, 1956. (I
remember that day distinctly because it was
Thanksgiving Day, and the family dinner was at our
house. I was a young boy, and I was thrilled that it not
only meant I could hang out with my aunts, uncles and
cousins longer than usual, it also  meant school was
closed for more a week.)

I still have friends and family in Erie, so I have been calling
there to make sure everyone is o.k. Some old friends live in
North East, PA, about 20 miles from downtown in Erie at the
east end of the county. They only received 12 inches of snow
because lake effect snow is often very limited, controlled as
it is by southerly winds. Life for them is normal for winter,
and they are as much curious onlookers to the nearby historic
blizzard as are those living in far-away Madrid, Tokyo,
Buenos Aires and Capetown.

In the past, Erie has had some interesting distinctions. A
typical manufacturing rust belt city, it once led the world in
the production of nuts and bolts, meters, fine paper and,
until recently, diesel locomotives. Those days are now over.
Many of the big industrial names in Erie, including
Hammermill Paper, Kaiser Aluminum, Bucyrus-Erie, Zurn,
American Sterilizer, Marx Toys, and Erie Forge and Steel,
are long gone. General Electric, once one of the nation’s
largest plants, seems on the verge of leaving. Erie Insurance,
the city’s only Fortune 500 company, is now the leading local
industry, as are other white collar employers in the city’s
hospital/medical, college/university and tourist industries.

These commercial trends are the way of the modern world.
Everything does change. Only Erie’s world-class beaches on
its Presque Isle peninsula (which forms a protective arm
for the city’s port and waterfront) are a constant. But even
they (since the peninsula is really a giant sandbar) are
shifting and reforming along the lake.

The snow however, as it has for thousand of years, keeps
falling in great and noteworthy amounts. Where I live now,
in Minnesota, there is not so much snow, but there are
numbing below-zero temperatures that are not felt in Erie.
The Great Lake, in addition to it legendary snow effect, also
protects the city from extreme cold.

Robert Frost in his great poem “Fire and Ice” spoke of
eternal outcomes of heat and cold. Nature, of course,
makes the choices, and in the end, it is the greatest force
for truly newsworthy public relations.

Thousands of Erieites are now sitting in their homes, waiting
for the storm to abate, Their cars are snowed in, their streets
are choked and undriveable. In the hustle-bustle of our modern
world, there aren’t many indelible opportunities for families
to have no choice but just be together for a while. I remember
fondly such a moment during that Thanksgiving in Erie in 1956.

I hope the neighbors of my hometown are enjoying their
historic occasion.

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Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 25, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Color Of The Wave

[SPECIAL NOTE TO FIRST-TIME READERS 
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 There was a time not so long ago when the forecast of an
imminent political “red wave” would have alarmed most
Republicans and conservatives --- and pleased some
Democrats and many on the left. But in today’s popular
political lingo, it is the prospect of a “blue wave” that
delights liberals, and a “red wave” that would terrify them
in the upcoming national mid-term cycle ending in
November. 2018.

Most in the national media, and its commentators, however,
have been detailing and prophesying recently a likely “wave”
(or tide) in shades of blue for next year, especially after the
upset win by a liberal Democrat in the special election  just
held in Alabama --- a distinctly red state.

As I, and some others, have already pointed out, to the
contrary, the defeat of far-out rightwinger Roy Moore was a
victory in disguise for the Republicans who, had Moore won,
would have been forced wear him around their political
necks like the proverbial albatross. Key to Doug Jones’
unexpected victory in Alabama was the large bloc of usually
conservative voters who rejected an inappropriate GOP
nominee --- and sent an important message to their party’s
strategists, i.e., we demand better candidates for high office.

Democrats, caught in a spiral of shocked self-denial about the
2016 election, seemed certain that Moore would be elected,
and so forced one of their own, Minnesota’s Al Franken, to
resign because he also faced allegations of impropriety ---
apparently thinking they could thus embarrass the party of
Donald Trump over the 2018 campaign season.

Mr. Jones, now the senator-elect, promptly rebuked his future
senate leaders by denouncing their  recent calls to impeach
the  president, and even suggested he might vote with the
Republicans on some occasions. He thus showed a certain
good sense for political survival for the time when he must go
to the voters of Alabama for re-election to the seat. Alabama
is a very, very “red” state.

Mr. Franken was not scheduled to run for re-election until
2020, but now his appointed successor must run in less than
a year --- which puts two senate races on the 2018 Minnesota
ballot, one of which might be a hitherto unexpected pick-up.

Steve Bannon, the self-styled leader of the GOP putsch
against the party’s congressional leadership, placed his bets on
Mr. Moore. Had he succeeded, it might well have precipitated
a “blue wave” in the following months as GOP incumbents
and favorites might have faced ruinous primary challengers
promoted by Mr. Bannon.  The former Trump aide, now
rejected by the president, will no doubt keep on trying, but
the conservative party has received a useful early warning
about the mischief looming in such a divisive effort.

Almost immediately after the Alabama special election, the
GOP-controlled senate finally passed a tax reform bill
that already had passed the U.S. house, and after some
adjustments, the legislation was sent to President Trump,
fulfilling a major 2016 GOP campaign promise. This also
ended years of congressional stalemate, and gave the GOP
a vitally needed year-end victory.

At the same time, competitive U.S. senate and U.S. house races
took more and more focus as new retirements were revealed,
and more challengers announced. The Democrats have a clear
advantage in the house races --- with more GOP seats seeming
vulnerable next November. On the other hand, the conservative
party has a distinct advantage in the senate races, with 10-12
more Democratic seats up for grabs.

Had Moore won, and Mr. Bannon been given momentum for
his intra-party putsch --- and the GOP-controlled Congress
failed to pass tax reform legislation by year-end (the bill also
ended the Obamacare mandate, another campaign promise),
--- that advantage might have been erased. Of course, there are
no guarantees about how many senate pick-ups the GOP will
now make, but their  prospects  have been greatly improved.

Republicans still have a demographic advantage in the U.S.
house, and even have opportunities to pick up a few seats.
Historically, however, the party out of power makes gains in
the first mid-term election after they lose the White House.
This precedent has fueled recent media and Democratic Party
strategists’ anticipations of a 2018 “blue wave.”

This tide in blue might still happen, but the genuine signs for
it are not yet present. In fact, the signs for now point the other
way. Donald Trump not only defied conventional wisdom in
2016, he has continued to do so (admittedly with not a few
political hiccups) in the eleven months since taking office.

With about half a dozen senate pick-ups, and holding
Democratic gains in the house to under 10, the GOP would
break the commonplace precedent, although it has happened
before. For more than that, it would take a now-unexpected
“red wave” in 2018. A “blue wave” would bring back control
of the Congress to the Democrats.

It is too early to tell the color of the approaching wave. All we
can see now is the white of the distant breaking surf. 

But a wave is coming --- in one color or another.

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Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Trumpamentum

The passage of a tax reform bill, and its signing into law by
President Trump marks a “promises kept” first stage of the
new Republican administration.

Mr. Trump, mostly on his own, had fulfilled a great many of
his campaign promises --- including naming true conservatives
to the federal courts, including one to the U.S. supreme court;
repealing most of President Obama’s executive orders and
regulations; disrupting the entitlement drift of earlier
administrations; dramatically slowing illegal immigration
into the U.S;. reversing a weak and apologetic foreign policy in
Europe, the Middle East and Asia; recognizing Israel's capital
in Jerusalem, and creating a climate for business expansion,
reduced unemployment and a booming stock market (thus
increasing most Americans’ pension fund plans and net worth).

Not bad for less than one year.

But much needs to be done before we can properly judge his
first term a success. A politician actually keeping promises
is a rare matter, and Donald Trump was perhaps the last
person many political observers would have guessed would
keep them. Promises kept, however, do not always mean
successes.

Liberal and Democratic critics have argued that the tax reform
bill will not work as promised --- employing an anti-trickle
down argument they traditionally bring to the debate. After
decades of ignoring federal deficits, they now cite this as proof
this legislation will fail. This political opportunism aside, we will
now have, in coming months, an opportunity to observe whether
the tax cut argument works or does not.

“Trumpamentum” is a combination of a particular president’s
worldview, temperament and policy rate of change. Mr. Trump’s
Democratic and media critics (as well as “never-Trumpers” in
his own party) have so obsessed with his temperament style
(most notably his often impetuous and petty “tweets”) that they
became oblivious to the significant changes he has been making
in Washington, DC.

Complicating Mr. Trump’s program has been a Congress his
party controls, but which was so splintered that it could not
pass promised significant legislation. After almost a year of
frustrating inaction, it was clear to all, friend and foe alike, that
the 2018 mid-term congressional elections would be a likely
disaster for the GOP and its conservative victory in 2016. Finally,
at the edge of this political cliff, a sense of survival prevailed
among the conservatives legislators.

The repeal and replacement of Obamacare, a high profile
campaign promise in 2016 has now been partly accomplished
as well. The tax bill removed the penalty for taxpayers who did
not sign up for Obamacare, thus making the program, in effect,
OINO (Obamacare in name only). This partial accomplishment,
however, is not sufficient, In the sessions ahead, Congress must
fashion a credible and workable “free market” replacement
Although inherently flawed, Obamacare was passed to respond
to a genuine public policy need. Now the conservatives must
demonstrate they have a better way to respond to this need.

Americans have endured a prolonged period of political
stalemate. Now, in December, 2017, a president and a Congress
have taken an initial step to put that institutional stalemate
behind. But it’s only a first step.

The opposition party, the Democrats, have an important role to
play, but they will only do that if they offer alternatives and
changes to “Trumpamentum.” They and their media allies
need to focus on the future, and not be consumed by trying to
undo what can’t be undone, that is, the 2016 election. What
liberals and Democrats can do is try to make 2018 and 2020 go
their way.

If they do not, 2018 and 2020 will make Trumpamentum not
merely temporary, but irreversible.

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Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 15, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Andorra Is Not The Smallest Country In The World

Today we often read, see or hear in political, financial
and cultural news stories about other populous countries.
India, China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan each have
large populations; Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy,
Spain, and other major European nations are often in the
headlines. Even a few countries with smaller populations,
but large land areas --- such as Canada and Australia --- are
well-known to us.

There are also much less well-known and very tiny nations
--- most of them in Europe --- which are fascinating
because of their extraordinary histories and remarkable
ability to survive into the modern world.

Thanks to an American movie star who married its ruling
prince, and its legendary casino, many Americans know
about or have even visited the small principality of Monaco,
located on the glamorous French Riviera on the north shore
of he Mediterranean Sea A prince of the House of Grimaldi
has ruled since 1297. Andorra is a very small land-locked
country located in the Pyrenees mountains between France
and Spain. Chartered in 988, and created a principality in 1278,
it is ruled by a diarchy of two princes, the Spanish Bishop of
Urgell and the president of France. (Yes, Emmanuel Macron
is now technically and temporarily a royal co-monarch.) It is
also the only sovereign nation on earth which has Catalan as
its official language. (The autonomous Spanish province of
Catalunya also speaks Catalan, as do many French who live
along the Spanish border.) San Marino is a land-locked tiny
republic founded in 301 A.D. in northern Italy. It is the world’s
oldest constitutional nation. Most of its citizens speak
Sanmarinese, a dialect of the Emilia Romagna region.

All three of these microscopic nations are many centuries
old, and are picturesque places.

There are several new independent nations which are small
islands or groups of islands in the southern Pacific Ocean,
including exotic Tuvalu. Its small capital is Funifuti.

But none of these places is even close to being the smallest
country in the world.

That distinction belongs to a truly sovereign nation located on
the second floor of a villa in downtown Rome.

Known usually by its acronym “SMOM” (and more formally as
Sovrane Militare Ordine di Malta), it is the only country in the
world that you enter by elevator.  Near the Spanish Steps
and the famed glove market neighborhood of Rome, the first
floor of its stately villa is Italian territory. But the second and
upper floors are strictly sovereign SMOM territory. It has a
population of two persons. It coins its own money, prints its own
stamps, and has special status at the United Nations. It issues its
own passports, and has diplomatic relations with more than a
hundred countries. When I went there in 1964, I had my passport
stamped. (Now in European Union days, I don’t think that
happens.)

SMOM is more than a thousand years old. (It was first
established in 1099.) Its symbol and flag is the Maltese Cross.
Founded in Jerusalem as a Catholic order, it moved first to
Cyprus, then to the island of Rhodes, then to the island of Malta,
and finally to Rome.

Once, it was a powerful Mediterranean military power when it
was located on the island  of Malta. Since then its land mass has
been shrunk dramatically, finally settling into the upper floors
of the Roman villa known as Palazzo Malta.

But if its land and resident population size are very tiny, its
global impact remains notable. The Catholic order has 13,500
knights, dames and auxiliary members. Its medical staff
number 25,000, and its volunteers number 80,000. It is one of the
largest global philanthropic service organizations, serving the
medical needs of the poor worldwide. (Its original creation in
the 11th century had the purpose to provide medical services to
pilgrims visiting Jerusalem.)

Since almost everything about SMOM is unique or distinctive, its
government should be no surprise. It is an elective monarchy.
(The post is currently vacant.) It is perhaps one of the very few
continual and surviving remnants of medieval European
civilization, and whose history and philanthropic service has
no contemporary equal.

Rome has many spectacular places to see, but no visitor to this
city should miss SMOM. If the elevator doesn’t work, there is a
stairway.

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Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.