Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for July, 2017

26 July
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Terminal Illness Insurance

I had the bandwidth after the walk to call MNCare. My 3rd phone call for Medicaid. Again I was told they COULD NOT help me over the phone and I’d have to do a paper application that takes 45 days to be processed.
Meanwhile bills from 01 April 2017 are already in <B>collections</B>.
Pink notices and hassling phone calls have begun even though UCare is rerunning my claims because they charged me $4000 more than my deductible.
So Wenzel, when you say it was immediate for Kim, I’m glad. Clearly Wisconsin in 2014 gave terminal cancer patients a better experience than I’m currently having just cross the ole Mississippi.
Jon called and ended up hearing that “Michele’s disability does not qualify her for anything. Benefits are based on income.”
Thank you Minnesota. California is looking better every minute.
Calling the Federal Social Security office tomorrow.
I’m exhausted and I’m a mess. Crying. Anxious. All upset.
And today I miss my Grandma. I miss her so much, because she’d talk to me about the The District health insurance crazy and she’d tell me she loved my piece about high school and turning 18. My baptism of fire in to health insurance, October 1983.
Pre-existing conditions. Sadness from teachers and an actual hug from Irwin.
26 July
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American Health Insurance

In October 1983 I turned 18. My mother was a teacher, no longer at Custer, but we’d run her out of the North Shore. She’d moved to the City of Milwaukee. They had a rule or a law that said that teachers who lived in the city could not move out of it if they wanted to continue working for the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). My mother had stayed in Fox Point. In 1981 I moved to my grandparent’s home on 7505 Links Way. My mother and her GF moved to the city. I’d been born on Monday and it was a Monday I turned legal majority. My mother showed up at school and met with Dr. Irwin. I didn’t know anything until I was walking dow the B wing and I heard several teachers whispering about Margaret Davis and her “poor daughter.”

I was on the smart kid plan, or at least the organized teen plan. I had 4 classes and they ended at 12. Then I walked over to Mister Winch’s to balance his accounts in a small leather bound ledger, like Scrouge, or Bartleby the Scrivener. A piano tuner’s house in Glendale. 2 blocks from Nana Davis’ house. On Christmas Eve Mr. Winch, much older than I with gray hair and a grey beard, rang the doorbell. He was looking perplexed, shocked, kind stunned as he stood there holding roses the color of blood and a plane ticket to some far off warm destination. While I was 18, I wasn’t very mature and my boyfriend was only 16. Neither of us knew how to deal with a clearly older man that wanted me to be in love with him.

I see his face in my head. He was close to tears when Nana Davis said to him, her shrill soprano wafting across Lake Drive down to the lake, “She’s only 18. She’s still in high school. What are you thinking? You want to take my grand daughter to South America? Are you insane?”

Stephan was cruel. He was a nice boy, smart, and as that song goes, “Boys with small talk and small minds really don’t impress me in bed,” but he was kid. At least more of a kid than I was, even though at the time I saw him as worldly and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He was my 6th grade crush all over again. Bill Frack. Dreamy. He looked like John Kennedy.

25 July
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White House Couture

The view of Trump from here is a scary gelatinous mass of blonde hair in a cyclone formation atop his angry reddened skull with a widespread system of solar lentigines across his dome. Think for yourself, they say, don’t listen to Democrats or Republicans. Everyone’s realm of knowledge seems to stop at their curb. In the two+ years we’ve been avidly watching Trump, as entertainment not as a President, I’ve seen nothing that establishes Trump as an Anglo-Saxon bred for higher office. Juan Carlo, the Aryan-looking Swede, grew up poor in St. Paul and he has better manners than Trump. If we can’t expect greatness from our elected leaders, especially ones running a global power like America, we can’t expect the woman in Big Sur to not be a racist, Asian-hating bitch. An Airbnb Hostess thought it was fine to agree to an Asian woman, her fiancé and another couple, to rent her Big Sur home. When the Asian was within miles of the house, the Californian wrote that she wasn’t renting her property to any Asian. The President of the free world, as Shonda Rhimes labels the American president, (although since she’s black, she’ll probably say Trump isn’t her president), calls the POTUS the leader of the free world in her show Scandal. Rhimes’ president is no doubt Obama. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were the classiest of people in the White House. Michelle Obama immediately gained the fashion community’s approval for her all-American style. At 5’11” she is tall and elegant, with the posture of a dancer. She could look regal in a sack, but she chooses her outfits with care. She made it clear that she was to be seen as  more than a well-dressed, beautiful  woman though.

Much fuss is made about Melania Trump’s wardrobe. One can see by her svelte frame ensconced in her $7500 Dolce & Gabbana dress with embellished red roses distended like an ill kept garden, that she starves herself. But Melania was a model. Now she’s a kept woman. Unlike Michelle she intrinsically understands  her value to be in her looks. Contrasting Michelle and Melania is easy because the similarities are numerous. But when you go back farther are we marginalizing an entire group of First Ladies because of their fashion choices? Not since Jackie Kennedy have we had a woman with grace, poise, and thoughtfulness in the White House. While I really don’t want the conversation to focus on Hillary’s fashion choices we have to, nonetheless, interpret them and what her style meant in terms of economics. Since I self-define as part of Generation X, because I’m not putting myself in my mother’s generation, I don’t have the same sympathies as Baby Boomers have towards American Greatness, or fear of Russia. My mother was born in 1945, and is a post-war, Cold War narcissist just like Trump.

I’m a Kennedy baby. Of course, if you consider the assassination I was really born on Johnson’s watch. But we were a Kennedy house. Nana Davis had taken care of Rose for a year or two. Rose Kennedy dominated the conversation and a discussion of her mother’s horrors. “The Kennedys,” she’d say, “They’ve been through a lot. This country hates Catholics. They don’t even think we’re Christians because we have the market on spirituality. Having to hold that baby in and it getting sick because the stupid, untrained nurse couldn’t do her job”.   While the sun rose and set with my Nana, I of course didn’t understand anything. Then at 29 my nurse told me to not push and wait for the doctor when I was delivering my daughter. I ignored the no pushing edicts because I remembered Rose. Poor poor Rose.

 

I grew up thinking Jimmy Carter and Mister Rogers were the same person. I was only allowed to watch PBS, the news at 5 and 11, and Johnny Carson. The reason I thought they were the same person? The cardigan.

Carter showed up on our black and white box sitting languidly. All he needed was a pipe. For posterity sake I will give him one now. His first Fireside Chat had him looking like the father of the country. His cardigan seemed to convey a sense of security. He was the paternalistic president that would tree-hug up the White House with his energy conservation. Unlike today’s era of uber-stylized image consultancy, and Hollywood Presidents, in which fashion is a cudgel of class, Carter, ever the pragmatist, wore for the taping what he had worn to dinner. The story goes that he asked his television adviser what he thought, and they told him to look like himself. He was comfortable with himself and his fashion choices. “He was folks, and folks is in,” a Republican insider told TIME. “I hate to say it, but from a purely analytical point of view, I loved it.”

Rosalynn Carter also tried to hide behind boring colors and unflattering cuts of polyester, wearing skirts defined as Gypsy.

At the time she seemed ancient. My pretty mother in 1977 was only was only 42 and she looked young, vibrant, and pretty, except when she went through her curly perm phase. That phase doesn’t work on any women. She was frumpy. Rosalynn’s wardrobe wouldn’t offend anyone, but you’d not offer a compliment either. Her clothes looked homemade. Rosalynn Carter was clearly raised poor. Her clothes were farmer’s Sunday best. They were functional, clean, comfortable, boring, and very conservative. The only redeeming quality of FLOTUS Carter’s wardrobe was that it was American made. She’d never tell anyone but I’m positive poverty affected her in a way that has lasted her entire life. You know Jackie went to a dancing school like I did. Two years of Mayhew’s and manners. High tail it over to Wikipedia and Roslynn was 13 when her father died and her seamstress mother enlisted her eldest daughter’s help with the business. A little larger Google search coughs up this information, from a Washington Post article published 30 January 1977. “There is little doubt, though, that President and Mrs. Carter will save their jean-wearing for Camp David and Plains, just as Kennedy had his Hyannisport attire and the Johnsons had theirs for the Pedernales.”

“Mrs. Carter’s reluctance to spend a lot of money on clothes does not mean that she doesn’t like to look right. In fact, she often comments on the attractive appearance of those around her, according to one of her aides. But Mrs. Carter comes from a poor family, has worked most of her life, and finds it difficult to part with, say, $170 for a dress when there are equally respectable dresses at $70.” Carter was a fluke presidency just like Trump. However, the Carter’s fiscally minded austerity as leaders of America during an overarching energy crisis needs to be commended. The fact that Carter installed solar panels before they were popular speaks volumes. It was unfortunate that Reagan threw out our tax payer money with the removal of the panels mere years later, not nearly the amount of time needed to recoup the costs in energy savings.

All I hear from the older people is how great Reagan was, but I don’t see anything great, and I didn’t experience anything great as a Young Republican in the 1980s. Nancy and Ron came into office with their strange spirituality. Nancy was an attention starved woman who liked to be center stage with her flashy gowns. She’d been an actress to match Ronnie’s success, and she, like the First Ladies before her was thin. Nancy wanted to bring back the Kennedy’s elegance to the White House, after she felt there were years of laxity. Nancy was the opposite of Roslynn. She was born in a Mother’s Home, eventually adopted by a wealthy neurosurgeon stepfather. Nancy dressed like she’d been poor, had achieved success, and was NEVER going back to wearing charity clothes. Her interest in high-end fashion garnered much attention as well as criticism. She championed recreational drug prevention causes by founding the Just Say No drug awareness campaign.

 

 

Back in the 80s

23 July
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American Fashion

Look around you, and you’ll likely notice a sea of different outfits. You might see similar articles of clothing — even the same ones — worn by different people, but rarely do you find two pairings of tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories that are exactly alike.

That wasn’t always the case, said Deirdre Clemente, a historian of 20th century American culture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose research focuses on fashion and clothing. Americans were far more formal, and formulaic dressers, not all that long ago. Men wore suits, almost without fail — not just to work, but also at school. And women, for the most part, wore long dresses. Clemente has written extensively about the evolution of American dress in the 1900s, a period that, she said, was marked, maybe more than anything else, by a single but powerful trend: As everyday fashion broke from tradition, it shed much of its socioeconomic implications — people no longer dress to feign wealth like they once did — and took on a new meaning. The shift has, above all, led toward casualness in the way we dress. It can be seen on college campuses, in classrooms, where students attend in sweatpants, and in the workplace, where Silicon Valley busy bodies are outfitted with hoodies and T-shirts. That change, the change in how we dress here in America, has been brewing since the 1920s, and owes itself to the rise of specific articles of clothing. What’s more, it underscores important shifts in the way we use and understand the shirts and pants we wear.

I spoke with Clemente to learn more about the origins of casual dress, and the staying power of the trend. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Let’s start by talking a bit about what you study. You’re a historian, and you focus on American culture as it pertains to fashion. Is that right?

I’m a cultural historian. I’m a 20th century expert, so don’t ask me anything about the Civil War. And my focus is clothing in fashion. So I’m a little bit of a business historian, a little bit of a historian of marketing, and a little bit of a historian of gender. When you kind of mix all of those things together, all those subsections of history, you get what I study.

So that scene from “The Devil Wears Prada,” when Meryl Streep criticizes Anne Hathaway for believing she isn’t affected by fashion, it must resonate with you.

Well you know, it’s just so true. People say, “Oh well, you know, I don’t care about fashion.” They go to the Gap, they go to Old Navy, and they all dress alike, they wear these uniforms. The thing that I really harp on is that, that in and of itself is a choice, it’s a personal choice, because there are many people who don’t do that. In buying those uniforms, you’re saying something about yourself, and about how you feel about clothing and culture. There is no such thing as an unaffected fashion choice. Anti-fashion is fashion, because it’s a reaction to the current visual culture, a negation of it.

How would you characterize the way Americans dress today? What’s the contemporary visual culture like now?

Well, I would certainly say that there are, above all, so many more choices than there have ever been before. There’s also a tendency like never before to alternate styles. People will one day dress very conservatively and then the next day wear something much more dramatic, much less formal.

There’s a clear trend toward individualization, as opposed to homogenization. There are so many different kinds of social and cultural personas that we can put on, and our clothes have become extremely emblematic of that. And the thing is, even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can now dress freely, individually. You have written about how American dress, perhaps more than anything else, is characterized by how casual it is. What do you mean by that?

There’s this fashion theorist who wrote in the 1930s about how in capitalist societies, clothing serves as this way to jump in and out of socioeconomic class. Now, he was writing at a time when people were still really trying to jump up, and could feign wealth. You could buy a nice-looking suit and make it seem like you were a lot more wealthy than you actually were then. But in the second half of the 20th century, what we’ve seen is people doing just the opposite.

Americans have come to dress casually in a way that is very interesting as a historian. When you look back at old pictures of students, it’s jarring. We used to dress so formally, just to go to class.

Are there points, chronologically, that stand out? Times that were particularly important for the migration toward less formal wear?

I think there are two key points in the 1920s. The 1920s were really important for this shift.

In the 1920s, when women really broke away from dresses and matchy matchy suits, and instead began to use sweater vests and other outfits, versatility entered the minds of buyers. At that point, people began to mix and match, wear more sweaters, more gored (which is a kind of skirt).

By the late 1920s, very few college men wore suits to class. The rise of the sports coat is an incredibly underlauded change in American culture. Because once boys started wearing sports coats instead of suits, men’s outfits became more versatile, they moved away from ties, they wore all sorts of different things, like sweaters, with their jackets.

If so much of this was predicated on shifts that happened in the 1920s, was there nothing impactful that happened thereafter?

Pants on women. You cannot talk about the rise of casual dress without talking about the rise of pants of women. You first saw it in elite women’s schools, such as Wellesley and Vassar. Once women were wearing pants and even jeans on campus and to class, which happened starting in the 1930s, things really began to change. Even though it wasn’t yet happening on co-ed campuses, because of the mix of genders, and formality that persisted around that, it was still a big deal.

World World II was also revolutionary for dress. The war brought about a whole culture of dress that didn’t exist before. Women wore what they wanted, because it didn’t matter — they were on their way to the victory garden — or because they were working at factories, where practicality was more important.

So in the aftermath of World War II, more casual outfits became commonplace?

Yes, although there was a slight backslide in the late 1940s, where we saw a bit of reluctance around it. In 1948, Christian Dior put out a new look in the United States, which featured long skirts that were tight-waisted. That was a Parisian couture influence, though, and it didn’t stick. Women either weren’t really buying it, or wearing it. It had about a two-year lifespan, and then the college girls migrated toward the freedom of articles like pants and less cumbersome dresses. They had experienced these, and they weren’t going to go back to more uncomfortable clothing.

Then in the 1950s, you really start to see stay-at-home moms wearing casual wear in the house — shirts, pants, jeans, even T-shirts. And it really took off from there.

The only thing I will say is that there’s still a bit of a gender hangover, where women are singled out for wearing clothing normally associated with men.Like the boyfriend jean?

(Audible sigh). Yes.

There’s something in women buying “men’s clothing” that still irks a lot of people. I have been shocked at the e-mails I have gotten. People like to say that casual dress isn’t about freedom, that it’s about laziness. But that’s hilarious, especially to me as a historian, because it simply isn’t true.

There’s something called collective selection. And what it is, is the idea that no longer is it the rich people telling the poor people how to dress, no longer is it that the poor people want to wear what the rich wear. Nowadays it’s a group decision. Because class is so wishy washy today, since everyone thinks that they’re middle class, the collective selection is what is acceptable in different scenarios — the office, the church, the classroom, etc. It’s decided by the group.

What about the development of American fashion in comparison to that elsewhere? Have we gone further down the road of casual dress than other cultures?

Oh, I mean, absolutely. I think that American culture is now associated with casual dress on a global scale. On sort of the world stage, where American culture is so prominent, many countries emulate the way people in the United States dress, and that’s almost inevitably more casually than the way people dress in those places. The version of casual elsewhere, in Europe especially, it just never gets as down and dirty as the American version. Their version of casual is still a scarf and a stylish leather jacket, whereas ours is a starter jacket and jeans.

The American love of sportswear and comfortable clothes has redefined the limits, and it’s affecting the limits elsewhere too, since others emulate us.

Can I ask what might be an obvious question, at least to you. What makes something casual, and something else formal?

That’s an obvious question, and an awesome question. The answer inevitably is tied to history. I can look at something and say “Oh, the history of that article of clothing is such and such, and that history is tied to wealth.” Or, if you look at, say, the turtleneck, and understand that it comes from ski-wear, or flip flops, and realize that they were originally shower-wear, often used by servants, it changes the context in which you understand the clothing.

More broadly, and kind of simply, fit and fabric also tend to be good indicators. The fit of casual clothes tends to be looser, and the fabric tends to be lighter, because there’s less of it. There’s also less covering of the skin in casual wear. When you think of formal attire, it mostly covers the vast majority of the body.

Also, the connotations of it, which, again, are rooted in history. That’s the cool thing about clothing, which people don’t realize. When someone is like ‘those shoes are cool but I don’t know if they’re appropriate for this wedding,’ their opinion is the product of years, even decades of understanding.

Even at the office, we’ve shed some of the more formal, traditional understandings of what’s okay to wear. You mentioned Steve Jobs, but Silicon Valley as a whole is kind of redefining office wear, is it not?

Oh, I love that. It’s this evolution of casual, and even of business casual. In the 1990s, it was derivative of business, and now it’s derivative of casual. It’s amazing for me to see.

But this isn’t your typical business casual. Every time I see that phrase I look it up, and it’s like khakis and a button down still. This is more like business CASUAL, or casual business, where casual is the emphasis.

They are absolutely the spearhead of business casual. They were the first people to do away with dress codes at the office.

Why does it bend toward casual?

I think we dress more casually because we can, because in American culture perennial appearance has become an expression of individuality and not social class to the degree that dressing up is dressing up the socioeconomic ladder. I think that we dress more casually because it’s a middle ground for Americans. I mean look at the presidential candidates. Donald Trump has his own, albeit mediocre quality, shirt and tie line. It’s all about standing out and yet fitting in.

The modern market allows us to personalize that style. Casual is the sweet spot between looking like every middle class American and being an individual in the massive wash of options. This idea of the freedom to dress in a way that is meaningful to us as people, and to express various types of identity.

I know that you’re a historian, and traditionally look into the past, but I’m going to ask you to look into the future. Where is this trend toward casual dress taking us?

How about I make a prediction about a specific technology that’s been long overdue? I don’t know if it will happen, let alone sometime soon, but self-cleaning fabrics, I think that will be a thing. At the very least it should be.

I have to say, self-cleaning fabrics are about as casual as it gets.

Let’s just say I probably wouldn’t put my money in dry cleaning if I had some extra money to spare and wanted to invest in something. Those sorts of things are going to die out.

There was this very cool Italian futurist who in the 1930s made a prediction about what fashion would be like 100 years from then. His prediction was that everyone would dress in uniforms. But that’s the complete opposite of what has happened.  And I don’t think people will be dressing in uniforms anytime soon. Clothing will instead continue to be a way to project individuality and our own personal alliances to the broader culture.

22 July
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Jumping In With 2 Feet

I’ve been jumping in for years. I make a decision and stick with it, never veering doffed course. One minute I’m telling my husband I ‘m going to cheat on him and fifteen later I’m posting a Craigslist ad looking for dick. To hell with the consequences. My exHusband told me over and over when we were dating and then married, that I could not change my mind. That changing my mind was worse than breaking one of G-d’s commandments. The Meister, as my ex was called because of his penchant for guzzling beer like an aficionado. He was an expert in bad alcoholic behaviour and magical thinking.

22 July
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21 July
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Dystopian World Post Trump

It started in Minneapolis and since our state is different than others, with a Muslim population that keeps to themselves, we weren’t sure ion it hit other parts of the country as well. They’re part of our social fabric, they are in our jails, and running for political office. Keith Ellison has proudly stayed by his faith so much so that back in the early part of the century, Mehrunisa Qayyum ran for office in suburban Chicago. Sure, not near north, not the Jewish parts of town, but still, after the election of Trump back those 30 years, Obama told people to run for local office. He told people to bed part off there change they wanted to see. And like Jews 150-200 years ago the Muslims embraced political agendas both vast and small. Sharia law wasn’t discussed, but crimes of disrespect were discussed.

At the end of the day the laws of our great Christian nation were not usurped by the followers of Mohammad. But they slowly taught their neighbors in this great societal experiment that Islam is a religion of peace. In the early years off the Trump administration we didn’t think there was much we could do, and wearing or, quelle dommage, knitting a pussy hat was what the women from church decided to do. They partnered with a Lutheran-based church and together they made over 250 pussy hats. It took all my acting powers to plaster a semi-smile that didn’t say “You women aren’t respected, and pussy hats is not the way top gain respect.” But they insisted. They said this is what we can do. You need two join us, we will teach you to knit.

But I’m a wordsmith not a yarnsmith. I believe words will change the world. As I was writing about technology and science the world changed around me. I put my head down and worked like a dog for someone else, playing the game I was supposed to play, and the world around me grew into an angry place where I watched my blonde Scando husband, whom, in the days of the Nazi’s would have been revered for his small nose but not his pot bellied physique, was beaten and hospitalized over his Sanders vote in 2020. Trump won again, of course, because the poor in the southern states and in the Bible Belt were no match for Trump’s old money connections. Yet in books and magazines during the 90s, Trump’s playboy days, talk about the millionaire WASP was as if he was never a presidential threat. But 8 years that ushered in the worst economic crash since the 1930s left the entire United States open to corruption from the Muslim travel banned countries.

Around 2025 our political environment shifted because record heat waves dried out much of the south, making the land worthless from heat, un able to run water as Floridians moved away from all the coastal towns, darker skinned people that were more comfortable with the sun beating down over 18 hours a day with no rain, or other inclement weather to distract the pounding heat from the what man’s skin. Skin cancers were at all time high in the USA during the 2020s, but no southern subsistence farmers could afford the treatments. Even after an entire decade of federal government petitioning cannabis was still a Schedule I drug well past the 100 year lifespan of the war on marihuana.  Almost 150 years to the day the Supreme Court took off all restrictions on the plant and all throughout the midwestern states and New England you could smell cannabis. It was taken out of our environment for four generations and we should have realized that it was called a weed for a reason.

Denver had legalized recreational cannabis 15 years after California implemented their Prop 25 for marijuana. During our colonization America produced hemp, encouraged by our government in the 17th century in order to make rope, sails, and clothing. The leftovers of the plants, the trim as it were, the shredded leaves of bud, were smoked. The smoked portion was called marihuana. As early back as 1619, Virginians required every farmer to grow hemp. Interestingly enough, at that time hemp was so precious you could bArter with it. Hemp was considered legal tender in 3 states; Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. We grew our hemp happily until the 1880s when imported materials and other domestic ones replaced hemp. Americans enjoyed plenty of choice when it came to cannabis-based drugs to eradicate headaches, or anxiety.

The in 1909 Pure Food and Drug Act was introduced, and required labeling of any medication that included cannabis.

1900 – 20s

Mexican immigrants introduce recreational use of marijuana leaf

After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Mexican immigrants flooded into the U.S., introducing to American culture the recreational use of marijuana. The drug became associated with the immigrants, and the fear and prejudice about the Spanish-speaking newcomers became associated with marijuana. Anti-drug campaigners warned against the encroaching “Marijuana Menace,” and terrible crimes were attributed to marijuana and the Mexicans who used it.

1930s

Fear of marijuana

During the Great Depression, massive unemployment increased public resentment and fear of Mexican immigrants, escalating public and governmental concern about the problem of marijuana. This instigated a flurry of research which linked the use of marijuana with violence, crime and other socially deviant behaviors, primarily committed by “racially inferior” or underclass communities. By 1931, 29 states had outlawed marijuana.

1930

Creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN)

Harry J. Anslinger was the first Commissioner of the FBN and remained in that post until 1962.

1932

Uniform State Narcotic Act

Concern about the rising use of marijuana and research linking its use with crime and other social problems created pressure on the federal government to take action. Rather than promoting federal legislation, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics strongly encouraged state governments to accept responsibility for control of the problem by adopting the Uniform State Narcotic Act.

1936

“Reefer Madness”

Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was produced by the French director, Louis Gasnier.

The Motion Pictures Association of America, composed of the major Hollywood studios, banned the showing of any narcotics in films.

1937

Marijuana Tax Act

After a lurid national propaganda campaign against the “evil weed,” Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. The statute effectively criminalized marijuana, restricting possession of the drug to individuals who paid an excise tax for certain authorized medical and industrial uses.

1944

La Guardia Report finds marijuana less dangerous

New York Academy of Medicine issued an extensively researched report declaring that, contrary to earlier research and popular belief, use of marijuana did not induce violence, insanity or sex crimes, or lead to addiction or other drug use.

1940s

“Hemp for Victory”

During World War II, imports of hemp and other materials crucial for producing marine cordage, parachutes, and other military necessities became scarce. In response the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its “Hemp for Victory” program, encouraging farmers to plant hemp by giving out seeds and granting draft deferments to those who would stay home and grow hemp. By 1943 American farmers registered in the program harvested 375,000 acres of hemp.

1951-56

Stricter Sentencing Laws

Enactment of federal laws (Boggs Act, 1952; Narcotics Control Act, 1956) which set mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses, including marijuana.

A first-offense marijuana possession carried a minimum sentence of 2-10 years with a fine of up to $20,000.

1960s

Marijuana use popular in counterculture

A changing political and cultural climate was reflected in more lenient attitudes towards marijuana. Use of the drug became widespread in the white upper middle class. Reports commissioned by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson found that marijuana use did not induce violence nor lead to use of heavier drugs. Policy towards marijuana began to involve considerations of treatment as well as criminal penalties.

1968

Creation of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs

This was a merger of FBN and the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration.

1970

Repeal of most mandatory minimum sentences

Congress repealed most of the mandatory penalties for drug-related offenses. It was widely acknowledged that the mandatory minimum sentences of the 1950s had done nothing to eliminate the drug culture that embraced marijuana use throughout the 60s, and that the minimum sentences imposed were often unduly harsh.

Marijuana differentiated from other drugs

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized marijuana separately from other narcotics and eliminated mandatory federal sentences for possession of small amounts.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) founded

1972

Shafer Commission

The bipartisan Shafer Commission, appointed by President Nixon at the direction of Congress, considered laws regarding marijuana and determined that personal use of marijuana should be decriminalized. Nixon rejected the recommendation, but over the course of the 1970s, eleven states decriminalized marijuana and most others reduced their penalties.

1973

Creation of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Merger of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNND) and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE).

1974

High Times founded

1976

Beginning of parents’ movement against marijuana

A nationwide movement emerged of conservative parents’ groups lobbying for stricter regulation of marijuana and the prevention of drug use by teenagers. Some of these groups became quite powerful and, with the support of the DEA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), were instrumental in affecting public attitudes which led to the 1980s War on Drugs.

1986

Anti-Drug Abuse Act – Mandatory Sentences

President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, instituting mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. In conjunction with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, the new law raised federal penalties for marijuana possession and dealing, basing the penalties on the amount of the drug involved. Possession of 100 marijuana plants received the same penalty as possession of 100 grams of heroin. A later amendment to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act established a “three strikes and you’re out” policy, requiring life sentences for repeat drug offenders, and providing for the death penalty for “drug kingpins.”

1989

Bush’s War on Drugs

President George Bush declares a new War on Drugs in a nationally televised speech.

People in the warmer climes of the US were dying just as the Romans had, with information locked in their heads about farming, and maintaining a civilization. The Dark Ages were called thus because humans didn’t have access to knowledge, wisdom and learning were in the dark. The Crusades were a time of Church rule where individual intelligence was killed off through pogroms, burning women of intelligence through accusations of witchery, it was a dark time, our Trump years. As the Old South eroded and the New South was a vast network of dark skinned peoples; Mexicans and Middle Easterners alike.

18 July
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Hoxsey

Antimony trisulfide, aromatic USP 14, arsenic sulfide, berberis root, bloodroot, buckthorn bark, burdock, cascara, licorice, pokeroot, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root, sulfur, talc, trichloroacetic acid, zinc chloride.

Background”Hoxsey formula” is a misleading name because it is not a single formula, but rather is a therapeutic regimen consisting of an oral tonic, topical (on the skin) preparations, and supportive therapy. The tonic is individualized for cancer patients based on their general condition, the location of their cancer, and their previous history of treatment. An ingredient that usually remains constant for every patient is potassium iodide. Other ingredients are then added and may include licorice, red clover, burdock, stillingia root, berberis root, pokeroot, cascara, Aromatic USP 14, prickly ash bark, and buckthorn bark. A red paste may be used, which tends to be caustic (irritating), and contains antimony trisulfide, zinc chloride, and bloodroot. A topical yellow powder may be used and contains arsenic sulfide, talc, sulfur, and a “yellow precipitate.” A clear solution may also be administered and contains trichloroacetic acid.

18 July
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Word of the Day: Omertà

I was reading aloud a Trump article got Juan Carlo and they said omertà and Juan said, must mean being silent and I thought, no, I’d have heard this word if that was all there was to it, it’s not directly from a Latin word that I can pull up. Now granted I’m in brain injury land, however, words disappear in the order in which you learned them and pejoratives are always handy, like shit fun k cunt; thanks Sharon Osborne. Omertà is a code of silence, practiced by the mafia, about any criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to authorities.

18 July
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The 612

Against the SE wall was a particleboard table facing a wall. It was two seats wide and counter depth. Two women sat at the table in front of a pile of papers with a red marker.

03 August 1983 I saw Prince at First Avenue and decided this is where I wanted to attend college.