Influenza Pandemic Of 1918 Exhibit At Ebling Libray–UW Medical School

This evening James and I stopped at the really interesting WWI and Influenza Pandemic 1918 exhibit at Ebling Library.  It is located in the Health Sciences Learning Center.  As headlines are made concerning the current coronavirus outbreak in China that is spreading to other nations, it does make one ponder while reading and looking at this presentation the power of diseases and the methods used to combat the spread of them.

As a lover of history, the exhibit was really well presented and it was easy to understand how fear and dread were felt, for example on the UW campus.   With a student body of 4,000, the death of 69 young men and women meant that it was likely everyone on campus was impacted with sadness.

I have a few small parts to the exhibit to post below.  As time is nearing for the ending of this exhibit please note that if you are interested in this slice of history there are only a couple days left to participate.

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Gov. Evers Should Have Greeted Vice President Pence At Airport

Though this blog is called Caffeinated Politics, and it never is too difficult to determine which side of the political divide I align with, it also is never hard to determine that I stand on some long-held foundations.  Foundations that are perhaps Mid-Western, and clearly ones instilled decades ago, when as a boy, my parents were determined to raise a kid they could be proud to claim as their own.

Tuesday when Vice-President Mike Pence visited Madison we had all the optics that accompany such an occasion.  The massive jet landing at Truax and the clapping crowd to welcome him.  The motorcade that zipped its way to the State Capitol, the protestors who opposed the education funding policy that was the topic of the day, and the school kids who were a backdrop to the podium.  It was all part and parcel of what takes place when such notables make a stop in the statehouse.

And it needs to be noted for the sake of history buffs, that Pence was, by all those who keep such data, the first vice-president to have been inside our Capitol.  So it was noteworthy to be sure.  Regardless of politics.

And that is where I am headed.

What was missing from the occasion was Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers meeting and shaking the hand of Pence.  It was the most awkward and unpleasant part of the day from my perspective.

I am very aware of the fundamental differences between the two parties, the chaos that drives our political differences deeper and wider.  I am very aware of what has happened to the body politic since the election of 2016.  But I am also mindful that President Lincoln made a cabinet of those who had less than warm regards for him.  It was Jack Kennedy who brought Lyndon Johnson inside the tent.

When the polite niceties that cost us nothing–such as a handshake and a greeting–are tossed aside for what has to assume are due to the most base of reasons then perhaps it is time to really get dispirited about our politics.

Yes, Pence was in town to score points against Evers over private schools and public funding.  Yes, there was a most important secondary reason for the trip that has to do with our state being a most pivotal one come November’s presidential election.   For those who work in politics every day, this is to be expected.

But all that makes for even more reason to show that in the midst of the storm one has the ability to step forward and shake the hand of an opponent. By so doing it shows that there is no rancor when it comes to being a gentleman, a nice guy from Wisconsin, a fellow governor.

It was not a good look for Evers who missed not only being in a historic photo with Pence at the statehouse but for becoming smaller as a person.

And so it goes.

‘Roadmap’ In Middle East Is Another Stunning Injustice For Palestinians

It was a most bizarre scene which played out in Washington on Tuesday.  And given what we have witnessed in Washington over the past weeks that is saying a lot.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is under indictment, was beaming alongside Donald Trump, who is undergoing an impeachment trial, as they both gleefully threw Palestinians under the bus in the Middle East.  The two legal outcasts were so proud of an idea that would allow for Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel while relegating the Palestinian capital to a suburb.  It is nothing short of obscene.

I fully grasp the mouth-breathers in the Trump base have no scintilla of background about the scope of the issue at hand.  For the rest, we are aware that what has been proposed upends 60 years of bipartisan support for a negotiated process between Israelis and Palestinians, in which both make concessions and land swaps that would define the lines of a new map.  To sweep in a plan based on Jewish zeal, being pushed by Netanyahu to an under-educated and unstable person sitting in the Oval Office, is perhaps the most sickening blow towards the Palestinians since the creation of Isreal.  Before that the Balfour Agreement.

The plan is simply repulsive.  For instance, gerrymandering is at play in a way that makes what happens in the drawing of political lines in the U.S. seem like children’s play.  (Redistricting is a topic this blog has long been concerned about.)  The plan devised by the two felons-to-be would require the construction of a giant tunnel across Israel to connect two areas of Palestinian control.   Simply a most unforgivable proposal.

Neither of the international jokes who stood side-by-side Tuesday seemed at all aware that permanently legitimizing the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank is in clear violation of international law.  Since they both have evaded laws of many kinds in both their countries what does international ones mean?

Israel has stolen land again and again.  Their ruthless policy is the reason they face so much scorn on the world stage.  The fact that too many Jews have moved to Israel that land is scarce must not be the reason for stealing yet more land.   The creation of Israel was a decision made after emotional baggage from World War II needed to be dealt with.  I get that part of it, and understand it.  But the actual creation of this state in the Middle East, while undercutting Palestinians, was always going to be the seed of hatred and tensions.  Getting deeper into the bed with the Israeli governments over the many years has not made it any better.

I must say, as one who can trace his genealogy back to Cherokee Chief John Ross at the time of the Trail of Tears, that this whole sad episode is reminiscent of the treaties in this nation from the 19th century.  Power brokers who steal land, and push others aside.  Just as the removal of Native Americans was a mistake, so was the creation of Isreal.

We see that truth with each passing decade.