Category Archives: History

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” RBG

The New York Times: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87. “The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg’s pointed and powerful dissenting opinions earned her late-life rock stardom.”

“Wendy W. Williams, an emeritus professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and Justice Ginsburg’s authorized biographer, wrote in a 2013 article that Ms. Ginsburg’s litigation campaign succeeded in “targeting, laser-like, the complex and pervasive legal framework that treated women as yin and men as yang, and either rewarded them for their compliance with sex-appropriate role behavior or penalized them for deviation from it.”

Professor Williams continued: “She saw that male and female were viewed in law and beyond as a natural duality — polar opposites interconnected and interdependent by nature or divine design — and she understood that you couldn’t untie one half of that knot.” Male plaintiffs were thus essential to the project of dismantling what Justice Ginsburg referred to as “sex-role pigeonholing.” Sex discrimination hurt both men and women, and both stood to be liberated by Ruth Ginsburg’s vision of sex equality.” What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now
Throughout all of the late-breaking notorious fame, the justice knew that she was just one link in the chain.

“America has lost a warrior and it’s OK to be crushed. I am flattened. And I will mourn, because she deserves to be mourned. But we are also facing an almighty battle that will rage in the coming weeks, with attempts to fill her seat in an unseemly and grotesque manner. It will be hard, and painful, but if you find yourself feeling hopeless and powerless, then you are empathically doing it wrong. Because if anyone had a right to say “nah,” it was the woman who couldn’t get a job or a clerkship after graduating at the top of her class. But she pushed on, and then she pushed forward. She stepped into the fight of the phenomenal women who paved the path before, and now, well, it’s time to step into her fight and get it finished. I think the Notorious RBG would have peered owlishly out at all of us tonight and asked what the heck we are waiting for. And I think we can probably honor her best by getting to it.”

Barack Obama on My Statement on the Passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.

A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment. The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard. The questions before the Court now and in the coming years — with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures — are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.”

ACLU: In Memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020).

“She began Harvard Law School as a young mother and one of only nine women in her class, and became the architect of a legal strategy to eradicate gender discrimination in the United States. She modeled her approach after that of Thurgood Marshall on race discrimination, planning for a series of cases at the Supreme Court, each precedent paving the way for the next that would further expand rights and protections. In 1993, she joined the court as an associate justice, and over the decades became a cultural icon beloved for her vision and passion in defending the rights of women.”

Links via MetaFilter.

“Why were so many predators getting away with it? And what would it take to stop them?”

The New York Times: The Rape Kit’s Secret History. “This is the story of the woman who forced the police to start treating sexual assault like a crime.” By Pagan Kennedy.

“How could a tool as potentially powerful as the rape kit have come into existence in the first place? For nearly two decades, I’d been reporting on inventors, breakthroughs and the ways that new technologies can bring about social change. It seemed to me that the rape-kit system was an invention like no other. Can you think of any other technology designed to hold men accountable for brutalizing women?

As soon as I began to investigate the rape kit’s origins, however, I stumbled across a mystery. Most sources credited a Chicago police sergeant, Louis Vitullo, with developing the kit in the 1970s. But a few described the invention as a collaboration between Mr. Vitullo and an activist, Martha Goddard. Where was the truth? As so often happens in stories about rape, I found myself wondering whom to believe.


The rape-kit idea was presented to the public as a collaboration between the state attorney’s office and the police department, with men running both sides… and little credit given to the women who had pushed for reform. Ms. Goddard agreed to this […] because she saw that it was the only way to make the rape kit happen.”

Schengen lebt wieder – vive l’espace Schengen!

Deutsche Welle: Coronavirus latest: Europe reopens borders for summer travel. “Germany and France are among many European countries reopening their borders to fellow European travelers, three months after coronavirus lockdown measures went into force.”

We live about 27km (17 miles) from the French border. Thanks to the Schengen agreement there have never been border controls since we moved to this area. In fact, border controls between France and Germany (and other Schengen countries) were abolished in March 1995, so it had been 25 years without controls when the Corona pandemic forced the borders closed earlier this year. Even though we don’t go there very often, it feels good that the borders are open once again. I almost feel like driving there this afternoon, just because I can!

Deutsche Welle: Europas Grenzen öffnen sich wieder. “Polen, Tschechien, Frankreich, Norwegen: Die wegen der Corona-Pandemie eingeführten Beschränkungen an innereuropäischen Grenzen fallen nach und nach weg. Die “günstige Entwicklung” macht’s möglich.”

Schengen lebt wieder. “Die wegen der Corona-Krise geschlossenen EU-Binnengrenzen sind wieder weitestgehend offen. Deutsche und Franzosen freuen sich in Kehl und Straßburg über das Ende der Personenkontrollen.”

Schön, dass heute nach drei Monaten die Grenze zu Frankreich wieder geöffnet ist. Die Grenzkontrollen zwischen uns und unseren Nachbarn sind aufgrund des Schengen-Abkommens vor 25 Jahren weggefallen – bis die Corona-Pandemie kam. Hoffen wir, dass die Infektionszahlen sich so günstig entwickeln, dass die Grenzen nicht wieder geschlossen werden müssen!

“Vater der Pflegeversicherung”

Deutsche Welle: Ex-Bundesarbeitsminister Norbert Blüm ist tot. “”Die Rente ist sicher” – mit diesen Worten ging der CDU-Politiker Norbert Blüm schon zu Lebzeiten in die Annalen ein. Seine nachhaltigste Leistung: die Einführung der Pflegeversicherung. Nun verstarb er 84-jährig.”

Die Zeit:

Norbert Blüm ist gestorben.
“Die Rente ist sicher”: Mit diesem Satz ist er berühmt geworden. Helmut Kohl diente er als Dauerminister – bis zum Zerwürfnis. Jetzt ist Blüm mit 84 Jahren gestorben.

Kämpfer für den Sozialstaat. “Norbert Blüm stand in der CDU unter dem Verdacht, ein Linker zu sein. Er war unabhängig, sozial und loyal zu Helmut Kohl – auch als dieser ihn verstieß.” Von Gunter Hofmann.

“Verlässlichkeit im Handeln und Klarheit im Wort”. “Ein “weiser alter Mann” und eine “herausragende politische Persönlichkeit”: Politiker und Weggefährten haben den verstorbenen CDU-Politiker Norbert Blüm gewürdigt.”

Am 11. März 2020 erschien sein letzter Artikel in der Zeit, der allerdings nur für Abonnenten online zugänglich ist:

Was bedeutet mein Unglück? “Im Rollstuhl fällt der Blick auf das Leben anders aus.” Von Norbert Blüm.