Wednesday Morning Open Thread: History Made

This woman is my spiritual sister. Not my actual baby sister, who has kept herself in much better shape, but I could easily pass for this lady’s cousin. (And I too still have my ERA YES pin!)

Apart from looking forward to this evening’s speakers, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Sunday Morning Open Thread: Reports from Netroots Nation 2016

No garden pics this week — guess everybody’s too busy working outside and/or melted down into puddles of mulch-enriched sweat — so here’s a different form of uplift. From that Washington Post article:

ST. LOUIS — Hillary Clinton will call for a constitutional amendment to “overturn Citizens United” in her first 30 days as president and plans to make that announcement today to progressive activists at the annual Netroots Nation conference.

“I will also appoint Supreme Court justices who understand that this decision was a disaster for our democracy,” Clinton will say in a video message, scheduled to run near the end of today’s final keynote session. “I will fight for other progressive reforms, including small-dollar matching and disclosure requirements. I hope some of the brilliant minds in this room will seek out cases to challenge Citizens United in the courts.”…

Since 2010, the Citizens United decision has become a metonym for a series of conservative Supreme Court decisions that unwound campaign finance regulations. Democrats have repeatedly tried to pass disclosure measures, as well as an amendment to the Constitution, intended to reverse the decisions. Republicans, often led by Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), have characterized those efforts as attacks on the First Amendment.

Even though the case was fought over an anti-Hillary Clinton documentary, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) became its most prominent critic in the 2016 primaries. He never finished a speech without mentioning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, blaming it for the money gushing into politics, and pledging to appoint a Supreme Court that would undo it…

netroots nation st louis BLM protest

Chris Savage of Eclectablog reported:

[Saturday] afternoon, I was sitting in a Netroots Nation 2016 panel titled “Rejecting the Pale, Male and Stale Leadership Pipeline: Roadmap to Building Inclusive Orgs”. Suddenly, a group of young, mostly African American burst into the room carrying a spay-painted banner that read “Fight back”. They told us they were marching to meet a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown St. Louis. They went from room to room, including the “Townhall” area where the booths and social area were located, encouraging attendees to join the protest.

Anne and I joined the march which went through the middle of town chanting and doing call-and-response before we ended at the entrance ramp to Interstate 64…

The entire event was well-organized, well-executed, and peaceful. The St. Louis police monitored the situation but kept their distance without interfering. In a conversation with one cop afterwards, he told us that they had to have a presence because if something had happened and someone got hurt, they needed to be there. They faced being accused of not caring otherwise. But he commended the protesters for being peaceful and respectful…

Also a certain Very Serious Person took a well-earned victory lap, via video:

Netroots Nation 2017 will be held in Atlanta, August 10-13.

Apart from #Don’t Mourn Organize, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Open Thread: The Ignerntz Coalition Foiled

Earnest congratulations to Carla Hayden, now our fourteenth Librarian of Congress — first woman, first African-American, and (according to Robinson Meyer, in the Atlantic), “the first Librarian of Congress appointed during the internet age”

Carla Hayden, a former Chicago children’s librarian who rose to preside over the American Library Association and oversee Baltimore’s enormous free library system, was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday to lead the Library of Congress, the nation’s largest library and its oldest federal institution…

Hayden replaces James Billington, an academic historian appointed by President Ronald Reagan who spent almost three decades at the institution’s helm. Billington renovated the Library’s main building and doubled the size of some of its collections (while also enlarging its pocketbook), but he neglected networked technology near the end of his tenure. He retired last year.

As I wrote then, Billington’s lengthy tenure means that Hayden will be the first Librarian of Congress appointed during the internet age— and the first librarian who seems to understand its power…

She inherits a library that desperately requires an update. A report from the Government Accountability Office last year found that the Library, once a leader in adapting to the internet, had fallen behind the times and needed to update its aging computer systems.

Hayden was confirmed 74-18 by the Senate. All of the dissenting senators were Republicans, including Senators Mark Kirk, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton. And though she was unanimously endorsed by the G.O.P-controlled Senate Rules Committee, an anonymous Republican senator blocked the vote to confirm Hayden’s appointment for more than five weeks…

Of course the Talibangelicals in Congress object to a professional knowledge-distributor, especially one with a history of encouraging children and other people of color to step beyond the boundaries of home and neighborhood, as decreed by the councils of the Talibangelical…

I posted this next video back in February, when Hayden was originally nominated. The one below it is C-SPAN’s coverage of her opening statement when confirmation hearings opened back in April.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread

trey gowdey fireworks fizzle deering

(John Deering via

Some tasty leftovers (in my own defense, I did put in a double shift yesterday). Hope you will take them better than the outraged DC-area viewers who swiftly realized that PBS was augmenting last night’s weather-dimmed fireworks broadcast with clips from previous years.

Mr. Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire, “It’s Time We Called the Declaration of Independence’s Bluff”:

In this election year, in which kickass women seem to have the upper hand, it’s probably good to return to one of the avatars of this here shebeen—Mercy Otis Warren, poet, playwright, pamphleteer, propagandist, patriot, and blessedly ill-behaved society lady of Revolutionary Boston. In her magisterial history of the Revolution, Mrs. Warren had some words concerning the Declaration of Independence, which she generally admired. (Don’t get her started on the Constitution, however.) She recognized the Declaration—”drawn by the genius and philosophic pen of Thomas Jefferson, Esquire, a delegate from Virginia”—as a gamechanger…

She also was very much aware of the spirit animating the text, even those parts of it that the men who voted on it were painfully unaware.

“Democratic principles,” she wrote, “are the result of equality of condition.”

And she meant everybody, too. Women, for example. And slaves, both the actual slaves and anyone treated as such…

She suspected, as Herman Melville later would say outright, that the Declaration of Independence made the difference, that it not only was a statement of revolutionary principles, but that the statement was so profound that it could not be bound by the monochromatic and unisexual demographic of the people who signed it. She sensed that, at its heart, the Declaration was a self-perpetuating land mine in the history of the country that was just then coming to be. (Her dislike for the new federal Constitution in 1789 was based in her belief that it betrayed the Declaration by seeking to freeze its promises in time. She was partially mollified by the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.) And, in this, while she didn’t live to see it, she was completely correct…

Pierce goes on to cite Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr, and LBJ:

So, here’s to Mercy Otis Warren, and to Frederick Douglass, and to Susan B. and MLK and poor old LBJ, too, kickass women and kickass men who understood that we are children of Revolution, but that this Revolution was based on an enormous bluff that demands to be called by every American generation in its own way. And on this weekend, as we celebrate our independence with bright explosions across the night sky, take a moment and listen for the low rumbling of that land mine in history, detonating again and again, in a thousand places, like a heart that grows stronger with every beat…

And finally, descending from those heights, looks like President Obama is not the only one keeping a rhymes-with-bucket list…

As if the Giant Albino Amphibian wouldn’t give his up his Tiffany charge card and the remnant tatters of his self-respect to get so close to the Oval Office. (As if Lord Short Thumbs Trump doesn’t know that even better than Newt himself.)

Apart from all that, what’s on the agenda as we (most of us) start an abbreviated post-holiday week?

Open Thread: Warm Fuzzy Patriotic Thoughts


“If you’re gonna love America, you have to love ALL Americans”

As my old man used to say: … this side idolatry.


What’s on the agenda as we wrap up the holiday / weekend?

Open Thread: Changing the Direction of the Conversation, Hopefully

nra gop ventriloquist sheneman

(Drew Sheneman via

Read more

Reports from the People’s Summit

“No, sir, th’ dimmycratic party ain’t on speakin’ terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an’ set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an’ th’ other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they’re two dimmycratic leaders thryin’ to reunite th’ gran’ ol’ party.” — Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley’s Opinions (1901)

“Dems in disarray” is an honorable tradition, one of the oldest in modern politics; so is Will Rogers’ comment that You’ve got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and you’ve got to be a humorist to stay one.” Last weekend the progressive/leftist wing of the party convened in Chicago, to prepare for the convention and rally their troops…

D.D. Guttenplan, in the Nation, “There Was No Clear Agenda at the People’s Summit—and That’s a Good Thing“:

…[C]oming from London—where a political argument about what kind of world we want to live in and what kind of relationship we want to have with Europe turned murderous and took a young woman’s life—what I saw in Chicago was a warm, lively, hopeful, well-organized gathering of 3,000 people whose biggest discovery in the past year has been not that the system is rigged (we already knew that) but our own astonishing strength. And who have no intention of giving up that strength and falling quietly in line behind Hillary Clinton or anyone else.

“Once you know something you can’t un-know it,” the activist and actor Rosario Dawson told the crowd. “Now we know how powerful we are.”

The task now is to figure out how to preserve and grow that power, and how to use it most effectively in a time of great danger, and when the stakes for our country, and our movements, couldn’t be higher. And what may have seemed frustrating to those in search of a quick sound bite—namely the lack of a unified, coherent agenda going forward—actually struck me as a sign that no one was being stampeded, or shepherded, or rounded up to be delivered to Clinton or anyone else. Which is a tribute to the National Nurses United, who tacked this “gathering of the tribes” onto the end of their annual convention here, and proof that when Winnie Wong, the Occupy Wall Street veteran who co-founded People for Bernie, the group which co-sponsored the summit, told me that, instead of a list of demands, “I want to see a thousand lovely parasols,” she meant it…

For some, that means going to Philadelphia, where Sanders backers will be both inside the hall—like Mike Fox, Florida state coordinator of Progressive Democrats of America, or Waleed Shahid of the Working Families Party, who will be among the nearly 1,900 Sanders delegates—and outside on the streets. If you believe—as Sanders and his supporters do—that pushing the party away from corporate accommodation and towards a more populist, more “democratic” direction is actually crucial to defeating Donald Trump in November, then both are necessary. Because while those inside the hall are able to communicate demands, and negotiate, their power to do so stems from those outside—not just on the strength of their numbers but also on their willingness to obstruct or disrupt if those inside are ignored or muscled out of the way…

Frances Fox Piven, the veteran activist who has been mentoring movements for a half-century, did tell the group that, faced with the real risk of a Trump presidency rolling back decades of social progress, “we have to elect Hilary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. You may not like it, but we do.” However, Piven also reminded us that “movements flourish when there are politicians in office who have reasons to be afraid of them.” …

Read more