The Way Things Used to Be

This one is going around teh Facebook today.

I like the reminder that we were not founded on Christian values as I’ve heard people put forth (e.g., “This country was founded on the Ten Commandments!“), and that our government documents used to reflect our shared secular values.

I’m not so much of a fan of the idea that we should adhere to the original values because they are the original values that were agreed upon around 200 years ago. As a progressive I understand that change is necessary as our interactions with and understanding of the world around us evolves. We should adhere to the secular values implied in the image below because only by keeping the divisive religious dogma of hundreds of different religious ideologies out of our government – the one thing that unites most of us in this country – can we live together in something that approaches harmony.

Text Reads:

Did you know?

The original Constitution of the United States that was ratified in 1789 had only one reference to religion: [Article 6] No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The de facto motto of the United States, adopted as part of the Great Seal of the U.S. by an Act of Congress in 1782 was E. Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One). Congress changed it 174 years later (1956) to “In God We Trust.”

The original ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ was written in 1892 by Baptist Minister Francis Bellamy who DID NOT INCLUDE the words “Under God.” Those were added by Congress 62 years later (1954).

The U.S. didn’t issue Paper Currency until 1861, and ‘In God We Trust’ didn’t appear on it for 96 years (1957).

Just after the Red Scare in the 1950’s, CONGRESS CHANGED the Pledge of Allegiance and our Nation’s Motto over the FEAR of COMMUNISM.

In a time when fear is traded like a commodity, and the word SOCIALISM is being used to create the same fear as the old word COMMUNISM, let’s REMEMBER that our country was NOT founded on fear. NO, OUR NATION was founded out of HOPE for a better world where all people were EQUAL – that we were ONE from MANY.

Let’s not let fear change our nation’s great tradition & direction again.

The Way Things Used to Be

Off to see President Obama!

I’m so excited!  I’ve never been to a political rally of this magnitude!

The Hubby and I are leaving here in about 10 minutes (as soon as he can rip me from the computer) to go down to the University of Minneapolis East Bank.  We’re riding our bicycles down to the campus because parking and traffic are going to be atrocious.  We’re going to mill around the Field House where President Obama is scheduled to speak at about 3pm, hopefully snap some pictures of the crowds.  Doors open at 12:30pm  Mark Dayton will also be speaking.


Off to see President Obama!

Thank you, Ladies.

This is making its way around the interwebs right now.  I thought it would make a nice addition to today’s Minnesota primary races.  Did you vote?  Thanks to Mary B for sending this my way.

Admin Notes: There is definitely an appeal to emotion in the writing below, but the history appears solid from the little bit of fact-checking I’ve done this evening.  Also, with all the references to HBO’s Iron-Jawed Angels, I’m not promising that this isn’t a cleverly disguised advert.  And knowing all this, you should give it a read.

Aside from a little formatting to fit the blog, everything below this point is unedited and not my words.


This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.  And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.  Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk traffic.’

(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.  Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.  For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because…why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work?  Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle
these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown , New York )

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote.  Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege.  Sometimes it was inconvenient.

(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,’ she said.  ‘What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman’s Party] headquarters, Jackson Pl [ace] [ Washington , D.C. ]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.  We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.

(‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.’)


Hey, I’m back.  I also found this related “Ken Burns-esque” video on youtube.  There are a several pictures in this video that aren’t in the story above.

Thank you, Ladies.

Sunday: Perugia Archeology Museum

On Sunday we visited the Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria.  The museum is located in the southern end of the city in a beautiful old building that once housed the convent of San Domenico.

Upon passing through the main arch into the museum visitors are greeted by a large courtyard with a now unused well in the center. 

View of the courtyard from the second story

Cinerary urns dating back to the 3rd-1st century B.C. line the four walls of the old cloister.



The museum is split into two major sections: prehistoric and Etruscan-Roman history.   The Hubby posed next to this poster introducing the history of man exhibit.  Yup…there’s that 96%.

Our stop at the next exhibit was one of the times during our visit that I really regretted not being able to understand Italian.  This is an interactive display discussing evolution, creation and intelligent design.  The gentleman on the left (my left)  is a professor at one of the Italian universities, and the gentleman on the right is a clergyman.   If no one is using the exhibit, both  videos are on a loop to show the men sitting calmly, twiddling their thumbs (literally in some instances), waiting to answer your questions.

Here is a close up of the computer display.  For each question you can get the viewpoint of both the scientist and the clergyman.  There are questions about evolution, creation science and intelligent design.  I’d love to hear the respones from the two speakers…and to know if the exhibit is biased one way or the other.

Further on in the museum we found a really neat room that contained two sarcophagi (-gus? -gueses?). 

This sarcophagus that the Hubby  is crouched in front of is described in one of the English-language guidebooks.  It’s not only neat because it’s a box that held an important dead dude; it contains historical information of the city.  From the guidebook:

This is the first major document of the city’s history and was made in Chiusi at the end of the 6th century B.C.  On the front is a frieze showing the return from a victorious military expedition with  a procession of soldiers carrying valuable booty: prisoners, objects loaded onto beasts of burden and herds of livestock.  Two banqueting scenes ornament the sides of the chest.

 The second sarcophogus contains the remains of it’s original inhabitant:

The Hubby gets up close and personal with  a human ancestor.

In my touristy, non-Italian-speaking, non-professional opinion, the exhibit halls were very well set up.  The displays were spread out and labelled and described in detail, the walls and spaces in each room were well-used and everything flowed in a linear fashion, i.e., we didn’t have to retrace our steps while moving from room to room.

One hallway in the museum -each doorway on the left leads to a small exhibit room.

Cool pyramid display cases – part of the museum’s amulet collection.

Copper helmet, pitchers

Slingshot projectiles display

One of the exhibits that really elicited a sense of awe from me was the Perugia cippus stone – an ancient (2nd-3rd century B.C.) boundary stone that used to be located at the edge of the city.  The writing is Etruscan, and the museum has blown-up a copy of the writing and placed it on the exhibit wall.  It highlights the different paragraphs on the stone, as well as names, places, and even mistakes made by the stonecutter.  From the guidebook:

This travertine block was a boundary marker.  The text records the agreements stipulated between the Velthina and Afuna families regarding the ownership or use of various pieces of land, on which stood, among other things, a tomb belonging to the Velthina.

Front of the cippus

Side of the cippus

An artist’s rendition of travelers or land dwellers standing around the cippus

That’s about it for the museum.  We were getting hungry and ready to sit for a while, so we headed out to find a trattoria.  But not before getting a few more pictures of the view from the museum.



More roof tiles…I love these things!

A final picture of the courtyard and the church of San Domenico rising up in the background.

Sunday: Perugia Archeology Museum

Happy Giant Leap Day!

From wikipedia:

The Apollo 11 space flight landed the first humans on Earth’s Moon on July 20, 1969.  Launched from Florida on July 16, the third lunar mission of NASA’s Apollo Program (and the first G-type mission) was crewed by Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin landed in the Sea of Tranquility and became the first humans to walk on the Moon.

Cool stuff, huh?  Go space travel!  In 1969 can you imagine what they thought we would accomplish in space travel by 2010?  One of these days the Enterprise will come to


Buzz Aldrin poses on the Moon allowing Neil Armstrong to photograph both of them using the visor’s reflection.

Happy Giant Leap Day!

Scopes Trial Photos

I was running through my blogroll and website lists, and found a neat story on NCSE’s website about a new batch of photographs from the Scopes Trial (aka: the Scopes Monkey Trial).  Scopes vs. The State of Tennessee was a trial that contested a law banning the teaching of evolution. 

The photos are amazing because they help us visualize the trial and what it was like during that time in our history.  In the flickr photo album, many people have commented on the pics, and it’s fun to read what other viewers are getting from the pictures.  Each picture is also accompanied by captions that identify the people, places and historical relevance captured by the photograph. 

The photos also provide further documentation of this historic event.  I really like this comment from Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette, a historian quoted by NCSE, who said of the pictures, “…they infuse action into the official trial transcript and reveal faces from different angles, famous celebrities and ordinary visitors alike, all captured in the moment, fascinated with the trial.”

This was a fascinating trial in 1925, and it continues to fuel our imagination and wonder to this day.  I mean, this was an incredible victory for evolution, and it helped illuminate issues such as the importance of teaching science,  and the necessity of separation of church and state!  How can we not be excited to remember this event?

To view the photos, visit the Smithsonian Institute on Flickr.

Scopes Trial Photos