Friday, April 28, 2017

A Protest Leader in our Community: Our State Rep

Yousef Rabhi, our State Representative, speaking
at a rally on the UofM Diag. I heard him last week
at the March for Science.

Yousef Rabhi
2 hrs
9 protests I've been to since the November election. 1 I have not.
1. March for Science
2. Women's March
3. Tax Rally
4. People's Climate March
5. Rally at DTW against travel ban
6. Ann Arbor Immigrant March
7. Citizens Climate Rally
8. #NODAPL Day of Action Rally
9. Kids Peace and Unity March
10. Ypsilanti Water is Life Rally

In response to the "thing" going around on Facebook, where people post 9 concerts they attended and one that's a "lie," he posted this great list.

NOTE: the one he hasn't been to is the People's Climate March. It's tomorrow. He's going.

Resisting for 100 Days

In the Guardian today: "100 days of Trump Resistance: the wins so far and battles to come." Subhead: "As President Trump approaches 100 days in office, Adam Gabbatt surveys the resistance movement’s biggest moments so far, key groups, and challenges ahead."

Most of the time in the last 100 days, I've felt that little of any use can be done to mitigate the negative effects of the current administration. While there have been some spectacular flops on their part, the damage, especially potential damage to the environment, education, and social welfare, has been horrendous, in my opinion. The article may be more hopeful than I am about these policies.

The article includes an important list of coming issues as well: healthcare, taxes, and climate will all be subjects of new legislation and royal decrees, and implies that actions might be effective in discouraging support from congress.

Optimistically, the article suggests that several actions have had an effect. Specifically:

  • The women's march following the inauguration. 
  • Spontaneous demos at airports against the immigration ban in January.
  • Voter participation in town hall meetings and demand for such meetings in districts where reps avoided them.
  • The "Grab Your Wallet" boycott of corporations closely associated with the administration.
Several specific action groups are cited as having real potential to stop at least something. The Guardian's list of links to these organizations:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin
-- From Ha'aretz
The Israeli commemorations of Holocaust Remembrance Day began yesterday evening, with nationally broadcast speeches from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem. In my experience the most moving part of the traditional day, observed since 1951, is the two minutes of silence throughout the entire country, accompanied by the sound of air-raid sirens. Every car on the street or highway stops and the occupants stand silently. Any activities, indoors or out, stop, and all people stand silently.

President Reuven Rivlin's speech during last night's ceremony included the following passage:
"Seventy-two years have passed since the flames of hell, of the Auschwitz crematoria, were extinguished. The more time that passes, the fewer the surviving witnesses to the horrors, the older the State of Israel, so our need to deal with how we relate to the Holocaust and to Holocaust remembrance becomes ever more crucial. Ladies and Gentlemen, over the past few decades there have developed two clear approaches to how Israeli society remembers the Shoah, and regards the lessons to be learned from it. The first, is one that deals only with the universal aspects and lessons of the Shoah. The second is one where the Shoah becomes the lens through which we view the world. The first, the universal approach, negates the uniqueness of the Holocaust as a historical event that has no parallel, that happened to us, the members of the Jewish People."
Rivlin provided detailed descriptions of these two approaches and how the Israelis have acted on them. He specified of the first approach:
"Obviously, there are universal lessons to be learned from the Shoah, but denial of the unique nature of the Holocaust of the Jewish People is a historical, national, and educational error." 
He said of the second approach, making the Holocaust a lens for the Israeli worldview:
"According to this approach, the justification for the existence of the State of Israel is the prevention of the next Holocaust. Every threat is a threat to survival, every Israel-hating leader is Hitler. According to this approach, the essence of our collective Jewish identity is escape from massacre by joint means. And the world is divided into two, the “Righteous among the Nations” on the one hand, and anti-Semitic Nazis on the other. And in any case, any criticism of the State of Israel is anti-Semitism. This approach also is fundamentally wrong, and is dangerous for us a nation and as a people."
He then continued by describing a third approach: not to remain silent "in face of the horrors being committed far away from us, and certainly those happening just across the border."

Articles about the commemorative ceremonies:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ann Arbor March for Science, Earthday, 2017

I can only hope that this march and rally will have an effect. I believe that most of the participants were non-scientists who are committed to the endeavor of science, and who are seriously appalled by the treatment of science by the current administration. I felt that the speakers chose appropriate material for this audience: giving many examples of how science benefits our society and our planet, and describing what is best about their own experiences with science. But I know that the people in power aren't listening. I have posted this also on my food blog:
A few minutes before the Ann Arbor March for Science, April 22, thousands of people gathered on the University of
Michigan Diag to hear an hour of speeches. I found the speeches quite good. Most of them were given by scientists and
researchers in bio-medical and neuroscience fields. Physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other areas of biology were
not represented, which I found strange. I enjoyed several speeches encouraging participation from minorities and
others who are often left out of academic science.

Signs were many and varied.

After the speeches, the participants marched from the campus to downtown. It took them almost half an hour to
march past this point.

Some of the participants were wearing pink hats from the women's march, but I was especially amused by
several "brainy" hats that people evidently made for this event.