It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village is a reminder of Democratic Party values – especially the values of long time Democrats whose lives have been dedicated to helping people.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Make America Gracious Again 8/6/19

White House kitchen with set table and cupboards, 1904.  I’m drooling over the butler’s pantry.

Over the years, I’ve bought more than a few vintage/antique etiquette and hostess books, most of which have been passed on to my daughter. I purchased them as useful references for theatre productions, but they’re an interesting glimpse into an idealized past. They reflect white, upper middle class values and amenities; not so much the world of Downton Abbey, but definitely the world of Nick and Nora as shown in the Thin Man movies. My family wasn’t upper middle class, but the manners and methods in these books were very much a part of my childhood. There was something aspirational about using the “good” dishes and knowing the “right” fork, knife, or spoon to use. I always had the sense that my mother wasn’t trying to have us live like rich people, but was teaching about living with poise and appreciation expressed through stylized manners. There are some ugly classist assumptions in the books, and there’s no question that there were some ridiculous classist assumptions in abiding by their guidance. But I also think that with a perspective balanced with humor and flexibility, there’s something to be said for occasionally taking the time to indulge in some gracious living. With all of the chaos swirling about us, I thought a few reminders, from the sublime to the ridiculous, might enable a level of poise we can all use.

Thursday in Mooseville – The Bisbee Deportation of 1917 8/1/19

Deportation of striking miners from Bisbee, Arizona, on July 12, 1917. Striking miners and others are marched from Warren Ballpark along railroad tracks toward cattle cars belonging to the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch an episode of POV on PBS (Bisbee 17). The film, Bisbee ‘17, is part documentary and part scripted community reenactment telling the story of the Bisbee Deportation of 1917. The documentary itself is worth watching if you have 111 minutes to spare, with the caveat that the artistic approach is different from most documentaries and may require an adjustment of expectations. But whether you watch the movie or not, the story of the Bisbee Deportation is another story mostly lost to time and unmentioned in history books. This is the story.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Cruelty Is the Point 7/30/19

New York, New York, USA — 1/3/1920-New York, NY: Photo shows anarchists, reds, and radicals who were rounded up in NYC in last nights raids, arriving at Ellis Island. These undesirables will remain at Ellis Island until investigation and deportation proceedings have been completed. Many arrested in Newark and other nearby cities arrived at the Island during the afternoon. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my internet connection issues are history, and I’m going to work the plan that I had last week…tidbits by tweet today and text on Thursday. While the Current Occupant has settled on a strategy of distraction by rallying his base through crass racism, the fact remains that families are still being separated; the international understanding of the rights of asylum seekers is being ignored and upended; and our own understanding of who we are is being challenged and redefined. The latter, of course, has the potential to be the silver lining for our future, but we have a long way to go before that potential is fulfilled. For now, we have to look at the evil of our past, of our present, and in all likelihood, of our future, and be prepared to eradicate it with truth and through reconciliation.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Love It or Leave It 7/23/19

“The First Step” — illustration depicting methods used to seduce young women into the “white slavery” of prostitution. So much for PizzaGate…all along it’s been ice cream parlors and fruit stores that are dens of iniquity!

When schools starts teaching American, I might even try to learn it.

We all know xenophobia and racism are not new in this country, despite the ongoing “this isn’t who we are” hand-wringing. It continues to astound me that each new expression of hate, ignorance, and ugliness that comes from 45* and his cult is so often met with shock and surprise, as if these are somehow new to him, to the Right, or to the country. I wish I knew what the formula was for breaking the desire for upholding and maintaining white supremacy. I wish I knew what it would take to wake up white voters in this country and convince them that it’s not our history that makes us great; it is in overcoming that white-centered history that our potential for greatness exists. And since I have no magic answers, I continue with what I know: sharing the history that is rarely found in our textbooks; highlighting the connections between then and now; challenging the assumptions I was raised with; and seeking, searching, and questioning. Today, because of the work schedule I’ve had over the past few days, just some glimpses of our history from period posters and illustrations; Thursday, a story of what happens when xenophobia, corporate greed, and willing puppets intersect.

Tuesday in Mooseville – “How Do You Spell Foreclose?”*** 7/16/19

President Roosevelt delivering his First Inaugural Address in Washington, DC. March 4, 1933.

After seeing the photos of the Waffen SS VPOTUS and Senate delegation observing the specimens people in the concentration camps, I was overwhelmed, saddened, angered, and fearful. To see the casual indifference displayed by our polo-shirt-and-khaki-wearing elected white supremacists disheartened me. I knew that my planned post was going to be impossible for me to write for this week, because diving into our history of white supremacy felt like piling on rather than enlightening. Usually I can move beyond that feeling; this week, it wasn’t happening and a dose of anti-fascism medicine seemed necessary.

Tuesday in Mooseville – How Does Your Garden Grow? 7/9/19

Hemerocallis fulva. Or as most folks around here call it, the ditch lily. It’s so commonplace alongside the drainage ditches along dirt roads, it’s hard to believe it’s not a native.

Every time RonK posts something that includes PNW plant life, I find myself scouring the photos, because 9 times out of 10, I’m seeing plants I’ve never seen before. Or I’m learning something about a known plant that is surprising to me. (Lamiastrum is considered invasive? How can that be?!) I very much have a midwesterner’s sensibility in the garden, so I thought I’d do a simple post with plants that define that sensibility for me. In other words, while opinions may vary about specific cultivars, the genus x species I’m listing are practically universal to the midwestern garden. I’d love to hear more about the plants that are practically universal in the gardens in your neck of the woods! (Note: These are not photos from my own gardens, which are still so overwhelmed with weeds that I’d be embarrassed to share photos at the moment. Maybe someday…)!–more–>

SPEAKING OF WEEDS…
It makes me ill when I think of all of the plantains I’ve weeded and pitched. It has a fibrous root system, which makes it so much easier to pull out than a dandelion (which is taprooted), but like the dandelion, it’s only a weed if you’re seeking the Scotts-approved “perfect” lawn. I spent years not knowing a thing about this lovely beneficial herb; now when I stumble across it, I leave it be or dig it up and move it to a place where it won’t be unwelcome or mowed. I don’t cook it or eat it, but I have been known to make a poultice from plantain leaves for spider bites.

GARDENING BLUES
I have a thing about blues in the garden; I can’t get enough. From a garden design standpoint, that would be a very, very limiting choice. Blue is a receding color, which is great if you are wanting to create depth or make a garden look larger. But it also makes the individual flowers difficult to discern and as a cool color, there’s very little pop. As a result, most designers use blue as a foil to help emphasize other colors or to cool down an overly-warm palette. Me? I just want blue, blue and more blue. My favorite spring blues:
Geranium pretense ‘Mrs. Kendall Clark’: She’s prolific; she’s a reseeder (which I view as a plus); and she’s beloved by the bees. What more could I ask for?


Brunnera macrophylla: Big, coarse leaves and tiny forget-me-not flowers; when the hosta are just starting to unfurl; this guy is doing his thing.


Mertensia virginica: Easy enough to find in cultivated gardens, but considered endangered as a wildflower in Michigan. It disappears altogether by late May, which is fine with me, because the foliage is scraggly and unrefined. But, oh, those flowers!

[S]HE LOVES ME, [S]HE LOVES ME NOT I was never one to pluck the petals off daisies; I’m pretty sure if I had tried that with flowers from my mother’s or grandmothers’ gardens, I would have been buying trouble for myself. But the opportunity was always there, because their gardens all included daisies. I have continued the practice, and my personal favorite for the past 15-20 years has been Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’.

THIS IS THE ONE AND ONLY RED WINE I LIKE First introduced in 1992 by White Flower Farms; when I ordered my plants from them, I was told I was one of the first 10 to order the variety. The color just took my breath away (and still does). Monarda are not “neat” plants, but since I am not a “neat” gardener (no formal gardens for me…the more natural, the better), its loose habit works just fine. And did I mention the color?
Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’:

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE RUDBECKIA (AND NO, IT’S NOT ‘GOLDSTURM’) Don’t get me wrong…I love ‘Goldsturm’ and have it several of my gardens. But the black-eyed Susan that I look up to (literally!) is ‘Herbstsonne’ (Autumn Sun). She’s a stately 6′ tall in my gardens, and she flowers from late July/early August well into September. The bees and the butterflies adore her almost as much as I do.
Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’:

IF I WERE QUEEN OF THE MIDWEST, I WOULD DECREE THAT MORE GARDEN CENTERS FEATURED THESE PLANTS, BECAUSE I CAN’T POSSIBLY BE THE ONLY ONE WHO COVETS THEM I have no idea why these plants aren’t more widely used. They’re late(r) season plants, so they add color to the garden when the mid-summer, prolific bloomers are a mere memory. They’re both natives, which is an important consideration for biodiversity and as the climate crisis deepens. And they are stunning in the gardens and a perfect complement to the fall leaves as they are starting to change. Yet they’re still harder to find in the local garden centers than a Hibiscus untouched by Japanese beetles…
Helenium autumnale:

Vernonia novaborecensis:

What plants do you think of as quintessentially “your region” of the country?

Tuesday in Mooseville – SHEnanigans 7/2/19

We need more of this.

I’ve been wanting to do some hardcore herstory for awhile, but “hardcore” equals “lots of reading,” and that’s something that goes by the wayside for me during the summer months. So instead of Herstory, I’ve opted for SHEnanigans, which is my abbreviated version of herstory. Skip the first several dictionary definitions for shenanigans until you get to “high-spirited behavior,” add women, and you have SHEnanigans.

Wednesday in Mooseville – Night One, Part Two 6/26/19

TOP, L-R: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard BOTTOM, L-R: Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Timothy Ryan, Elizabeth Warren

My Tuesday post featured thumbnails of the “top row” candidates; this is a continuation of that overview, this time featuring the bottom row.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Night One, Part One 6/25/19

TOP, L-R:  Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard BOTTOM, L-R: Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Timothy Ryan, Elizabeth Warren

 Tomorrow night is Night One of the Democratic presidential debates. From 9-11pm (Eastern), NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo will be in Miami, with “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, “The Rachel Maddow Show” host Rachel Maddow, and “Noticias Telemundo” anchor José Diaz-Balart serving as the moderators. Although NBC has been soliciting questions from its viewers, NBC will be determining which questions to ask. What follows are thumbnails of the Night One candidates to help you prepare for debate-watching.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Six-Week Filibuster 6/18/19

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.