DoReMI

Now a Michigander, by way of Ohio, Illinois, Scotland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Gardener. Sewer. Democrat. Resister.

VNV Tuesday – History’s Wrenching Pain 7/31/18


Last week I mentioned that I was reading a book on the history of lynching, which resulted in more than a few folks expressing trepidation about my next post. Fear not! The post is here, and I should point out that technically, the book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century by Sherrilyn Ifill is not a history as much as it is a call for restorative justice. In her 2007 book, she focuses on two lynchings and several averted lynchings which occurred on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the 1930s, as well as numerous references to lynchings elsewhere in the country. Today’s post, using her book as a template, will focus on white silence and complicity then, the ongoing impact of that silence, and what reconciliation can look like.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed To Repeat It (Lochner v. New York 1905, Part Three) 7/24/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been discussing Lochner v. New York, the opinion, and the dissents. This week it’s time to take on the some analysis; both the once-prevalent view that, “Aside from Dred Scott itself, Lochner v. New York is now considered the most discredited decision in Supreme Court history” (A History of the Supreme Court by Bernard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, 1993. p. 190) and more recent efforts to “rehabilitate” Lochner.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Lochner v. New York, 1905; Part Two) 7/17/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

Last week, the background leading to the Lochner v. New York lawsuit was discussed, as well as the decision of the majority which reversed the holdings of the county court, the New York Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals. (Part One) Initially, the vote was 5-4 in favor of upholding the New York law, and Justice John Harlan wrote the draft opinion, while Justice Rufus Peckham wrote the draft dissent. Somewhere along the way, however, one justice changed their vote (most sources suggest it was Chief Justice Melville Fuller), and the opinion of Justice Harlan, with Justices Edward White and William Day concurring, became the dissent. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a separate dissent.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Lochner v. New York, 1905) 7/10/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

Like most non-lawyers, I struggle to understand the nuances of Supreme Court decisions, and I rely heavily on SCOTUSBlog (found here) to explain decisions in terms that I can understand. When the Janus v. AFSCME decision came down, followed by Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement, I heard a lot of people talking about a return to the Lochner era. I had a vague recollection of the decision, but that mostly consisted of Lochner = bad. Today’s post is my IANAL attempt to provide an overview of the 1905 Lochner decision.

VNV Tuesday – 1000 Words 7/3/18

WWI Political Cartoon

I’m taking the easy way out this week and letting political cartoons do the talking for me again. I have plenty of topics I want to write about, but they’re all research- and writing-heavy, and with this week being incredibly busy at work, I just don’t have the time I need to complete everything. I will be around today, but sporadically and as my work allows.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930) 6/26/18

Willis C. Hawley (left) and Reed Smoot meeting shortly after the signing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

If you’re like me, the Smoot-Hawley (sometimes called Hawley-Smoot) Tariff Act is a vague memory from high school history class and a less-vague memory from this scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Since tariffs have been in the news lately, I thought this would be a good time to review the most infamous tariff act in United States history, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Chinese Restriction Act of 1882 ) 6/19/18


As usual, I present this post with the caveat that I am neither a scholar nor a specialist in this field; I’m merely providing an overview for those who wish to have a cursory explanation and enough information to enable continued research on one’s own. For the parenthetical part of the title of this post, I chose the less-common, but contemporaneously-accurate, reference to the Chinese Restriction Act, although today it is most often called the Chinese Exclusion Act. This was a conscious choice, guided by my desire to show the fluidity and evolution of the immigration restrictions directed at the Chinese, and later other Asian immigrants.

VNV Tuesday – 147 Days Until Midterms; Time to Set Our Hope On Fire (A Call to Action) 6/12/18

Father Time Overcome by Love, Hope, and Beauty (1627, oil on canvas)

Today’s inspiration came from this song by Vienna Teng about a nascent activist, as well as Rebecca Solnit’s book Hope in the Darkness: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities.

So what is this “hope” of which I speak? Solnit says it best:

It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings. “Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naivete,” the Bulgarian writer Maria Popova recently remarked. And Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as to “Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation, rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams.” It’s a statement that acknowledges that grief and hope can coexist. Source: Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, pp. xiii-xiv

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
Call your senators, particularly if you have D senators, and encourage them to vote against cloture on all of 45*s judges; Senate comity has been abused (blue slips, anyone?) by the Republicans, and it’s long past time to fight back with all the tools we have.

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
Call your House member and senators, and let them know that this is a deal breaker; demand that they make a public statement, so that voters will know their position. Supporting a D candidate for the House or Senate? Contact them, and demand that they address this issue loudly and proudly.

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
See that tweet above? Those are your beginning talking points. Now get on the phone, and let your righteous anger loose.

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
“I’m also pressing for a simple one-sentence law that says it is the policy of the United States not to separate children from their parents,” Merkley said. (Southwest Key Programs regrets denying Sen. Merkley entry ) Your action item in one sentence.

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
Need some help in crafting your talking points? Read this: Evidence That New Tariffs, Not Immigrants, Are Costing Jobs Or maybe this will help: Car bosses round on Trump over threat of tariffs

Grief and rage when I see this:

Visions and dreams lead me to support this:

Set your hope on fire/action item
Given the botched and frankly, inhumane, response to the crisis in Puerto Rico, a foreclosure moratorium should be the minimal response. #CanceltheDebt is another ask, as is a repeal of the provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (the “Jones Act”) which place such a burden on Puerto Rico.

With the rampaging destruction being carried on by the Republicans, this diary could be never-ending. But while we’re all helping in some form or another to make the Blue Wave happen in November, I wanted to illustrate that hope isn’t a state of being; it’s a series of actions that we take today. Preparing for November is, sadly, not enough. We must be working the phones, educating our friends and neighbors, and committing to act now. While no one person can do all of the work, together we create the ripples which will lead to the wave.

VNV Thursday – A Theatrical Interlude 6/7/18

45th Street Theatres

I’ve loved theatre for most of my life. When I was in high school, I attended all the school plays, and with my humanities class was able to see William Devane in a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (he originated the role of McMurphy off-Broadway) that was done at a local theatre-in-the-round. After college, I treated myself one birthday to a production of The Elephant Man at the Blackstone in Chicago, which starred David Bowie; it was an amazing and memorable performance. Although opera has become my theatre-going choice of late, plays and musical theatre still hold a special place for me. The Tony’s are the only award show I ever watch, and since they’re airing this Sunday, June 10th (CBS, 8 EST), I thought I’d give a little preview of what to expect.  (As much as I appreciate and enjoy the technical side of theatre, I’m only going to highlight the Best Play and Best Musical categories.) And the nominees are…

VNV Tuesday – Is It History or Current Events? 5/29/18

White Nationalists salute 45* at National Policy Institute conference, November 19, 2016. Photo by Daniel Lombroso/The Atlantic

Today’s post is inspired this tweet thread by Aphra Behn (@Shaker_aphra), who inspires and educates me on a daily basis. Visuals offered without commentary.

San Antonio motorcycle cops wearing MAGA hats (in violation of city policy) in October 2016. Photo: Twitter screenshot

 


 


(Border Patrol agent kills undocumented woman in Texas)

 

Suppressing the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, 1943.

Nazi concentration camp badges. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Nazi policy encouraged racially “acceptable” couples to have as many children as possible. Because of the number of children in this Nazi party official’s family, the mother earned the “Mother’s Cross.” Germany, date uncertain. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC)

Identification pictures of a prisoner, accused of homosexuality, who arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp on June 6, 1941. He died there a year later. Auschwitz, Poland. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC)