Foggy and rainy day at Kendall Creek and wetlands below Sumas Mountain, Whatcom Co. WA on Earth Day, April 20, 2019. The foreground sticks are Sitka Willow cuttings planted by a class of 2nd Graders. Note the mats of invasive Reed Canarygrass covering everything with proximity to the water.
A rainy Earth Day 2019 found me and my trusty salmon creek restoration partner, granddaughter Ava, assisting a class of 2nd graders to plant willows along some wetlands from an overflowing Kendall Creek. This creek is a Nooksack River tributary and is a prime spawning stream for several species of Pacific Salmon. We had been there just a month earlier in March on a work party planting Sitka Willows and Red-Osier dogwood in frozen ground. A month later by Earth Day in April, it was wet and soggy, just right for sticking cuttings into the muck.
Promotional still from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, published in National Board of Review Magazine; November 1939.
On December 20, 2018, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 passed the Senate by unanimous consent. After 200 attempts since 1882, this was the first federal anti-lynching legislation to pass in the Senate. It was passed again by unanimous consent in the 116th Congress in February 2019 and sent to the House, where it has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. (Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2019) If passed by the House and signed by the Current pResident, the legislation will be historic and unfortunately, still necessary:
Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., drafted the bipartisan legislation, which defines the crime as “the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person.” It also classifies lynching as a hate crime that would warrant enhanced sentences.
“It’s a travesty that despite repeated attempts to do so, Congress still hasn’t put anti-lynching legislation on the books,” Booker said in a statement. “This bill will right historical wrongs by acknowledging our country’s stained past and codifying into law our commitment to abolishing this shameful practice.” African-American Senators Introduce Anti-Lynching Bill
I was reminded of this legislation when I was considering the lengths to which white supremacists will go to retain power, which in turn reminded me of a previous anti-lynching bill and the 6-week filibuster. That story follows.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) highlighting the Health Care for All Americans Weekend of Action.
(Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky highlighted the Health Care for All Americans Weekend of Action, which will spotlight House Democrats’ actions to protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower prescription drug prices.)
“My colleagues across the nation are holding rallies, events, and roundtables [this weekend] to highlight all of our bold legislative action to protect the health of the American people. […]
“House Democrats are committed to continue working to put patients first and protecting every American.
“These issues are just some of the ways House Democrats are driving forward what we call our For The People agenda.
“I encourage you to follow up with your representative to hear more about their work to protect and strengthen your health care. I’m proud to be part of a Democratic Majority, led by Speaker Pelosi, dedicated to working to protect and improve health care For The People.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia calling out Republicans for their refusal to pass laws protecting our elections.
"Congress must work together to protect our democracy and reassure Americans that their votes will be counted in 2020. We cannot let election security become another tombstone in the Republican Senate’s legislative graveyard." —@MarkWarnerpic.twitter.com/EVjzbfA5cO
“Congress must work together to protect our democracy and reassure Americans that their votes will be counted in 2020. We cannot let election security become another tombstone in the Republican Senate’s legislative graveyard.”
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Personhood restrictions, exclusion of women and “Indians”…it’s all right there.
I think we all realize at this point that the phrase, “This is not who we are!” is more a statement of wishful thinking than objective reality. It’s a statement of privilege for those who have never had to confront oppression before; it’s a statement of disappointment for those who have been taught and believed in American exceptionalism; it’s even occasionally a statement of defiance from activists who are fighting for change. For the longest time, I would hear or see this phrase and react with a cynical, “It’s precisely who we are!” But time has shown me that, more often than not, the utterance of that phrase is also a turning point for an individual; it’s the point where a good many folks turn from a simplistic, disengaged understanding of issues to an attempt to understand; to change; and to engage. It’s also the point where a fair number start to recognize the truth in Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We’ve had lots of first times in this country; maybe it’s time to believe ’em.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. He highlighted the pressing need to pass the bipartisan disaster relief package to support communities ravaged by natural disasters.
(Congressman Emanuel Cleaver highlighted the pressing need to pass the bipartisan disaster relief package to support communities ravaged by natural disasters, a bill which House Republicans have sabotaged three times in the past week.)
“We can disagree on policy, in fact it’s healthy to disagree and debate, however, when it comes to the aiding communities razed by raging storms or American families facing tragedy, we must come together for the sake of the people.
“The American people – Republican and Democrat, rural and urban – are counting on us to provide the relief they have been waiting on. I have no doubt that we will meet the challenge before us and provide what the people are calling for, but I would urge all of my colleagues to take some time this weekend to reflect on how we’ve reached this low point when even natural disasters cannot bridge the political divide of our body.
Man and Machinery. One of Diego Rivera’s mammoth Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts; 1933
I first discovered mural art when I moved to Michigan and visited the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). Since that first visit, I’ve made more visits to the DIA than I can count, and a I’d say that more than half of those visits have been to the court alone. There’s something direct and unvarnished in public murals that appeals to me. So when JanF shared a tweet of the Harriet Tubman mural, I was transfixed. It’s clear I’m not the only one.
When I went to the Post Office on Friday to buy some stamps, the postal clerk, who knows my interest in history (small town living FTW!), suggested I would like the newly-released Post Office mural stamps. She was right, and in the process, gave me a topic for today’s post. When life gives you murals, write about them.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan discussing the “legislative graveyard” presided over by Proud-to-Be-Grim-Reaper Mitch McConnell, a man happy to deny Senate votes on initiatives passed in the House and supported by a majority of Americans.
“You expect your elected officials to take action on legislation that will make your family’s life better. Senate Democrats are listening. It’s time for our Republican colleagues to join us." —@SenStabenowpic.twitter.com/VUrRHRA0lA
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Annie Kuster from New Hampshire reminding us that only one party cares about protecting the health care of those with pre-existing health conditions.
(In this week’s address, Congresswoman Annie Kuster of New Hampshire highlights the passage of the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act and the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.)
“Over the past several weeks, the House has passed critical legislation to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, lower the cost of prescription drugs and fight back against the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
“I was proud that the House passed my legislation, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, to stop the Trump Administration from promoting junk health plans, that don’t even cover our most common ailments, and yet lead to higher out of pocket costs.
“Allergies, Alzheimers, asthma, cancer, diabetes – you can go right through the alphabet. We cannot go back to a time when Americans living with these pre-existing conditions can be charged more or even denied care. Heart disease, high blood pressure, the list goes on and on. Whatever your condition, we will fight for your access to care.