Category Archives: Minnesota politics and politicians

Minnesota groups rally for science/health research

How in heaven’s name can a nation with a $1 trillion surplus threaten so much scientific research so vital to its future? David Gergen

David Gergen echoes the words and thoughts of millions of Americans concerned about the many onslaughts to research across every discipline. The Minnesota Rally for Research will focus on scientific research, the government’s reductions in funding – and respect – for scientific innovation, particularly in medical and technological development.

The Rally is set for Saturday, August 5, 2017, 1:00-2:30 PM at the Minnesota State Capitol.

The Rally is a nonpartisan occasion for Minnesotans come together, as health care providers, researchers and as individuals and families who are dependent on the high quality medical care.  The common goal is to speak in unison for NIH research funding.

The Minnesota Rally for Research is organized by a host of partners including A Breath of Hope, ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Colon Cancer Coalition, Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis, March for Science Minnesota, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, NAMI Minnesota, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G Komen, and tin Whiskers Brewing Company.

Follow Minnesota Rally plans on Twitter at  #MNRALLY4RESEARCH

MAP: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/44.9855488,-93.2478976/44.9543075,-93.102222/@45.0313607,-93.2278681,11.24z/data=!4m4!4m3!1m1!4e1!1m0

Related information: 

http://rallyformedicalresearch.org/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/21/trump-furthers-war-science-illegal-nomination-climate-denier-top-usda-scientist

 

Lessons for today from the Woman Suffrage Movement

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.  Winston Churchill

Recently I posted on this blog a spate of brief and preliminary backgrounders about the forthcoming celebration of the centenary of ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.  Celebration of the ratification is simply a point in time; what’s important is that we capitalize on the occasion to learn from and share the lessons that can be gleaned from the long and volatile struggle known as the Woman Suffrage Movement.

The hallmarks of the Woman Suffrage Movement were vision, commitment, resilience, collaboration and persistence – virtues demanded by these troubled times.  Fortunately, the tools to understand and share those stories are both rich and relevant. These are the links to these recent posts:

The earlier posts identify resources that cover the Woman Suffrage Movement from a national perspective. They suggest the broad perspective, what was happening at the national level, the leaders and key supporters of the Suffragettes.

Still it is often more meaningful to tackle complex issues such as ratification of the 19th Amendment from a local perspective, the context of  one’s personal experience.  The Woman Suffrage Movement may be best understood as the struggle evolved and involved individuals “close to home” – with whom we have some connection in terms of  geography or experience

Fortunately, the record of Minnesotans’ involvement in the Woman Suffrage Movement is robust and readily accessible.

For a quick and easy guide to Minnesota’s ratification, start with the Minnesota House Record posted here:   (http://history.house.gov/HouseRecord/Detail/15032436205)  The archives  include a replica of the original ratification document – an inspiring first step on the journey to trace the roots of the movement. (http://history.house.gov/HouseRecord/Detail/15032436205)

For an excellent overview of the history of Minnesota’s steps to ratification there is no better than Eric W. Weber’s excellent piece on the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association  posted in MNOpedia.  (http://www.mnopedia.org/group/minnesota-woman-suffrage-association).  Weber’s essay  was reprinted by MinnPost in 2012 (https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2012/09/minnesota-woman-suffrage-association-fought-womens-right-vote)

The MNOpedia entry leads to treasure troves of excellent resources including these:

These sources provide a firm foundation to appreciate the work of historian Jane Curry who has toured the state with her delightful one-woman show “Samantha Rastles the Woman Question.” It’s a powerful production that tells the story of the Woman’s Movement in a most delightful way!  Learn more here: (http://www.usfamily.net/web/dllund/jac/samantha.htm)

Though these posts may seem premature, consider the prolonged struggle for the Woman Suffrage Movement.  The parallel with today’s challenges offers a powerful model of resistance, collaboration, persistence and resilience, qualities that serve us well both individually and collectively in these difficult times.

She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails ― Elizabeth Edwards

Learning and Sharing Stories of the Suffrage Movement

The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.  ~ Carl Jung

The story of the Suffragette Movement is the story of resistance, persistence – and ultimate triumph.  The long struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women’s right to vote is a uniquely American story worthy of retelling in these times.

The June 2019 centenary of passage of the 19th Amendment offers an opportunity for us to study the story of the Suffragettes in depth, to analyze and emulate the vision and tactics of the Movement.  This is a powerful story of American patriots who shared a vision and marshalled their talents, strength and unstinting hope to pursue a common purpose.

The centenary of their success, June 4, 2019, invites the nation to research the records, remember and retell the story.  There is time to honor the unstinting courage of the Suffragettes by doing a deep dive into the history of the Woman Suffraqe Movement — then sharing the stories with contemporaries and future generations.

Though it may seem like overkill, when tackling an historic issue of national scope a good place to start is with our nation’s repositories of recorded history –the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration.  Not the magnificent buildings in Washington, DC but the very accessible digital libraries that open the historic record to armchair searchers wherever they may be.   In recent times LC and the Archives have created digital repositories that breathe life into the story of the Suffragettes Movement.

Librarians and archivists responsible for preserving the record of the nation have taken a lead to harness digital technology to share the intellectual treasures of the nation.  They are committed to crafting useful tools that guide the remote searcher along the digital path to learning about the country’s legacy.  Their mission is to share the personal stories of real people whose recorded legacy is now accessible through digitized letters, scrapbooks, songs, photos, and diaries –  real life stories that share the thoughts and situations of those individuals and institutions that shaped this nation..

A couple of  starting points will guide the seeker’s path to the Suffragettes’ stories:

Library of Congress:

Though the physical Library of Congress is elegant it is beyond overwhelming; and yet a digital dive into the treasures is manageable. LC resources are even organized by grade/age level to suggest their appropriate audience, even  the youngest learner.  Some basic tips:

  • A good strategy is a dip into the primary documents digitized by LC – – it will inspire even the recalcitrant searcher to press on! Among the treasures are the files of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as well as countless photos, letters, diaries that capture the stories, the images and voices of the suffragettes.   All that little stuff gives life to real people who worked for years to resist the human forces that impeded their struggle to reach a mighty goal. https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/19thamendment.html
  • And here’s a great photographic complement to the primary documents collection. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw.html
  • For a timeline of American women’s road to assuring their voting rights, click here: https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/076_vfw_timeline.html

Each of these launch points will lead the searcher to treasure troves of stories waiting to be told.

National Archives:

The resources of the National Archives and the Library of Congress complement each other.   Staffers at the Archives  join  colleagues at LC in their commitment to expand digital access.  Of the many navigational tools here are some useful starting points:

These digital options for understanding the long struggle for passage of the 19th Amendment provide a logical first step on the research path; they offer a door to a world of stories!   The challenge is to realize and document this pivotal era in our nation’s history.  If we are to honor the labor and vision of the Suffragettes we must take to heart the priority for us to learn and tell the stories of the women and men who pressed on for decades to achieve what we now take for granted.  For us, the mission must be to study the true facts that capture the essence and describe the forces that emboldened the Suffragettes to speak truth to power for decades leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment.    The quest to learn, then tell, the stories deserves time, discussion, reflection.

Some other starting points:

For a really quick overview of the Suffragettes’ struggle, click here:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-passes-the-19th-amendment

For a broader view of American women’s rights, including but not limited to the Suffragette Movement, this Congressional publication provides a good overview.  http://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/

For authoritative information regularly updated, these are major – and very helpful –  sources:

These are simply suggestions; resources and perspectives abound.  Exploring, then telling, the story of the Woman’s Movement offers a focus and a challenge to examine strategies that emboldened the Suffragettes to resist and persist.  We are not the first Americans to face a mighty challenge.  We have much to learn from those who set the pace a century ago:

When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny. Bertice Berry

 

 

Minnesota taxpayers join Tax Day March and Rally

As always with the April 15 tax deadline, I’m late – only this time it’s late for the Tax Day March and Rally scheduled for tomorrow, April 15, in Washington, DC and throughout the nation. What finally prompted me to take action – on the March if not the taxes — is this reminder just posted by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Government, the DC-based advocacy commonly known as CREW.  It’s a fun promo for a serious cause:  http://www.citizensforethics.org/tax-day/

No surprise, Minnesotans are joining the April 15 protest tomorrow.  Marchers will gather at 11:00 AM at the Veterans building on the State Capitol Mall.

Planners are firm about the intent of the March and Rally: The National Tax March isn’t an organization–it’s a movement. The White House said no one cares about the President’s tax returns. We are marching because the President must be accountable to the American people. Trump must act in the public interest and release his returns, divest his holdings, and disclose his conflicts of interest

Speakers at the Minnesota Tax Day March include Dr. Richard Painter, law professor at the U of M and former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, State Representative Laurie Halverson, member of the Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto and State Senator John Marty. A variety of musicians will entertain between speeches.

The Minnesota “Show Us the Money” Tax March is endorsed by MoveOn.org, Indivisible, StandUp Minnesota, Twin Cities Anti-Hate Directive, Americans for Tax Fairness, The Center for Popular Democracy, Our Revolution, and Working Families.

Planners provide a way-above-average website that will answer last minute queries re logistics, mission, map, speakers, musical performers and more.  Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Minnesota Tax Day March and Rally here:

  WWW.TAXMARCHMN.ORG

UPDATE: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b6e60f52286ab2

POST-MARCH UPDATE:  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b8867bccdf0142

Information and media – Not weapons, but tools

Informational Power is where a person possesses needed or wanted information. This is a short-term power that doesn’t necessarily influence or build credibility. Vivian Giang

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses. Malcolm X

The fact is, information and media are unique and powerful tools, to be wielded by sentient creatures for good or for evil. When the American Library Association was promoting the “information power” theme years ago I worried at the value-free assumption that the information would be put to good purposes. And when we hyped the potential of the communications media, from cable to the web, I wondered more….

My skepticism is affirmed today as we experience the reality of information and communications expertise brilliantly coupled to disrupt our democracy.

This should not be news. It was either Mark Twain or H.L Mencken who advised his readers to “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.”   The technology, but not the meaning, has been updated here. http://www.adweek.com/fishbowlny/ink-by-the-barrel-on-the-internet/252889

But that’s a diversion from the real fact – that the administration has effectively wed the power of information with the power of the media to shape reality.   Those in power wield information as a sword to silence, to pervert, to foment, to shape, to craft alliances and to conceptualize, then propagate, alternative truth.   We who are but “subjects” are ill-prepared to meet the challenge; we lack, or fail to unsheathe, the information/communications skills and attitudes to withstand the onslaught.

And still it is a real fact that we are not a passive people. The Women’s March and forthcoming March for Science clearly reflect our power to harness the human power to resist.

The first line of resistance to alternative facts is well-meant but knee-jerk –- placing blame and responsibility on the communications channels, or even the sources, of misinformation and disinformation is short-term and futile.

We are challenged to fully accept that information and communications technology have been “weaponized” – and that it is incumbent upon us to “arm” ourselves. We need to assume the responsibility to become critical thinkers – and to shape a learning environment that enhances the critical thinking of future voters, including both youth and future voters.

We can’t fall for the press-bashing and post-truthiness cleverly designed to divert our focus and our energy. Instead, we need to embrace the challenge to seek the truth and to stand firm when it is information is thwarted, perverted, suppressed, hidden from public view – or is not collected in the first place!

Thomas Jefferson, a man who dealt in truth, had this to say on the subject

Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.” –  Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

* * *

Related posts – Selected:

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/marchers-will-support-research-science-real-facts/#respond

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/discovering-truth-starts-with-independent-thinking/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/creating-a-culture-of-encounter-some-info-tools/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/12/23/relax-learn-then-resolve-to-resist-post-truth-thinking/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/information-literacy-universal-challenge-of-the-digital-era/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/information-literacy-curriculum/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/national-information-literacy-awareness-month-2016/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/facing-the-facts-about-facts/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/scrubbing-history-scrapping-the-facts/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s March on Washington – Minnesota Style

Though some of us may know a politico or campaign contributor who is headed to DC for the inauguration later this month, most of us know (and envy) a friend or family who will be visiting Our Nation’s Capitol the following day to join the Women’s March on Washington. (https://www.womensmarch.com) on Saturday, January 21, not coincidentally the day after the Inauguration. These are the Minnesota marchers who will be hopping on the bus – or more convenient transport — to venture 1100 miles, don a fuchsia pussy hat and join hundreds of colleagues at the Capitol, then march from the Capitol  down the Mall to share a determined message to the new regime.

What some Minnesotans may not yet know is that the Women’s March on Washington has spawned a nation of state and local “sister” marches throughout the nation. None will be more energetic, committed, informed — probably cold – than the Minnesota marchers. Here are the basics as found on the very lively FB site for the Minnesota march: (https://www.facebook.com/events/1798874673734173/)

Starting at 10am we will meet on the John Ireland Blvd Bridge in front of Minnesota History Center (near the corner of John Ireland Blvd and Kellogg Blvd). From 10-11am we plan to get pumped up, meet one another, form new friendships and likely hear from a motivational speaker (who is yet to be determined). Please plan to arrive no later than 10:30am. At 11am we will start our march heading northeast on John Ireland Blvd toward the Capitol. We plan to arrive at the Capitol around 11:30/12pm. From 12pm until 2pm we will have a rally including entertainment, speakers, etc. If you are unable to participate in the march itself but wish to participate in this event, please feel free to join us at the Capitol around noon. The rally will end at 2pm.

These days both the national and, even more, the Minnesota sites are bursting with updates, anecdotes, calls to action and more! Anyone with a device and a comfy chair can keep up with the latest, share ideas, express an opinion and support the marchers in Minnesota and in DC.

There will be a post event gathering at sites around the state, including at the East Side Freedom Library which is opening its doors, providing hot beverages and encouraging marchers, including virtual marchers, to share their experiences, opinions, commitments and hopes. (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/womens-march-open-house/)

UPDATE: Emily’s List announcement:  http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/emily-s-list-to-sponsor-women-s-march-on-washington-847831619542

UPDATE 1/6 – The Minnesota to Washington Women’s March has joined the blogosphere:     http://www.eramn.org/national-march-blog

Facing the facts about facts

I’m telling you a lie in a vicious effort that you will repeat my lie over and over until it becomes true. Lady Gaga

There are longer, but no more compelling, characterizations of the scourge of disinformation – so serious that the sitting President of the United States brought up the subject just this week – notably at a joint press conference with German President Angela Merkel.  In that meeting President Obama spoke of the perils of  “active disinformation, very well presented.”

The heart of the matter, the President said, is that, “if we are not serious about the facts, about what is true and what is not, and especially at the time of social networks, when so many people receive the information in one sentence on their phone, if we cannot tell the difference between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have a problem.”

The power, influence and tenacity of disinformation is evident – everyone has a story of having been duped, even having shared or acted on a kernel of disinformation planted with malice aforethought to skew public perception and action. We are conditioned to believe what we read or see, particularly if the information is well presented by “credentialed” spokesperson and/or, better yet, backed up by inscrutable, and thus infallible, metrics.

Disinformation is no respecter of receiver: Did any of us believe, if just for a minute, that Pope Francis favored a presidential candidate in the recent election? Or that that climate change might be just an overblown theory? or that the CIA was somehow behind the Malayzia Airline crash? Or that Ford Motors was planning a major move to Mexico?

Back in the pre-social media day the term “information literacy” was fashioned to put a name on an emerging Information Age challenge. Last month we even offered a hasty nod to Information Literacy Month. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/information-literacy-universal-challenge-of-the-digital-era/

The fact is that efforts to build information literacy skills lag far behind the ubiquity, fluidity and instant gratification of social media.   Far more insidious is the harsh reality that the wizards of disinformation have mastered the tools to manufacture palatable lies, to present the fake information in irresistible nibbles, to package propaganda a fact — then “repeat the lie over and over until it becomes true.”

For me the spark of hope that springs eternal ignites when Gaga and Obama sound the same alarm – that the power of disinformation is real, pervasive and a threat to this democracy.

The forefathers established a nation built on the premise of an engaged citizenry.   Informed voters (as narrowly defined by the white men who wrote the rules,) would have access to information by and about their government and the skills to consider both the source and the content of information. Relevant, valid information would be communicated to the citizenry not in 140 character blips but in pamphlets, newspapers, orations, even books! http://www.constitutionfacts.com/founders-library/founders-reading-list/

Disinformation is hardly a new idea. In 1710 Jonathan Swift penned The Art of Political Lying” in which he expressed his dim view of fake information:

Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.