Ahead of the curve: Harriet Tubman on the $20

I took some great pleasure from the large number of folks who expressed confusion at the decision to pick the $10 for revision.

harriet_tubman20As you’ve likely heard, the redesign of the United States currency involves putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. While most people thought it was a swell idea, naturally there have also been all sorts of backlash.

One thread, which I shan’t link to, was an attack on political correctness. “Why can’t we have money the way we’re used to?” Why, she wasn’t even a President! Neither were Alexander Hamilton ($10) or Benjamin Franklin ($100).

But the path to get Tubman on the $20 actually predated any government initiative. A non-profit group called Women On 20s was campaigning in early 2015 to get a woman on that popular denomination. I wrote about it on March 15, 2015, including the organization’s reasons for booting Andrew Jackson, in addition to the Trail of Tears: “He was a fierce opponent of paper money and the central banking system, and would probably be horrified to see his face on our national currency.”

Five weeks later, I explained why Harriet Tubman is my choice for the $20 bill. She won the Women on the 20 online poll, announced around May 10, barely beating out Eleanor Roosevelt, who I also seriously considered.

So I was disappointed to hear Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announce in mid-June 2015 that the US is changing the face of the $10 bill. Because of my close personal relationship with Alexander Hamilton, I opposed that choice.

Moderators finished the Republican debate in mid-September by asking the candidates which woman they would put on the $10 bill.

The Rand Paul: Suffragist Susan B. Anthony

Mike Huckabee: His wife, Janet [living people cannot appear on U.S. currency]

Marco Rubio: Civil rights activist Rosa Parks

Ted Cruz: Put Rosa Parks on the $20 bill and keep Alexander Hamilton on the $10 [props to Cruz for picking the $20!]

Ben Carson: His mother, Sonya [still alive]

Donald Trump: Rosa Parks

Jeb Bush: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [God save the PM]

Carly Fiorina: “We shouldn’t change the $10 dollar bill or the $20 dollar bill. I think, honestly, it’s a gesture. I don’t think it helps to change our history. What I would think is that we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation, we are half the potential of this nation and this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.” [Sisterhood is powerful.]

Scott Walker: American Red Cross founder Clara Barton

Chris Christie: First Lady Abigail Adams

John Kasich: Nobel Peace Prize-winner Mother Teresa [it needs to be an American]

These were some lame answers.

Oddly, I took some great pleasure from the large number of folks who expressed confusion at the decision to pick the $10 for revision. “I thought they had picked the $20,” I read fairly often. People conflated an online campaign by the nonprofit with government action!

Fortunately, the Hamilton musical, which started previews on July 13, 2015, and opened on August 6, became a phenomenon, eventually winning the Pulitzer Prize. The Treasury Department started looking at the $20 bill and ended up planning to redesign the $5, the $10, AND the $20 bills.

This is what I wrote on December 30, 2015: “This is a prediction, based on nothing but a gut feeling, and the unexplained postponement of the $10 redesign. Obama decides that the $10 won’t be replaced after all, because, in his feisty last year, he wouldn’t do that to old Alex. Instead, he dumps Jackson, an opponent of the banking system. He suggests a woman, a black woman, maybe Rosa Parks, but I’m hoping Harriet Tubman.”

Not sure how much, if anything, the President had anything to do with the process. Still, every once in a while, things work out the way I want them to. Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill! Allow me to enjoy the moment.

Of course, many people think it’s fairly irrelevant. I mean, “Who uses cash, anyway?” (Actually, I did this past weekend, when my chip-technology embedded credit card failed to work at the grocery store. Fortunately, they STILL accept greenbacks.)

Oh, I like this from Samantha Bee: “Andrew Jackson Was ‘Trump With Better Hair'”.


Literally, while I was writing this

[I received an email from Women On 20s:]

Without your help, a woman front and center on the widely circulated $20 bill and female representation on two other bills would not have been possible and we THANK YOU for all your support…

We are pleased to claim VICTORY and so should you. We think of this, not as a day done but rather a day just beginning that has everyone seeing with new eyes and new hope. You proved we can work together to make a difference and shake up the status quo. The new TRIFECTA — the $5, $10, and $20 — will look like more of what has made us a great country and why you stuck with us for the last year.

After more than a year of campaigning to convince the U.S. Treasury to replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with the face of a female American hero, Women On 20s is celebrating your historic game changing influence. Now, the Treasury Department acknowledges the importance of accelerating production on the new $20 bill, and plans to reveal its design in time for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020. Hallelujah! What’s more, we have been assured that Treasury has a commitment from Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen to fast track the $20’s issuance into circulation. What usually takes 10 years per bill is going to happen so much sooner because Women On 20s will make sure Treasury knows you care.

Whether you voted for Harriet Tubman or not, we hope you’ll agree the freed slave and freedom fighter is an excellent choice to replace the slave trader Andrew Jackson on the $20. She provided critical military intelligence to end a brutal Civil war and later fought for women’s rights alongside the nation’s leading suffragists. Whatever obstacles she faced, she kept going. There was no stopping her. She’s an inspiration and now the whole world will know her story. So, let there be no stopping us from making this and the other currency changes a reality.

[Oh, yeah, and then the pitch for money.]

Once again, thank you and help us keep this dream on track for the celebration of women’s inclusion in our democracy in 2020.

xkcd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

The falling leaves, and other parts

Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history.

maple treeYou can blame Jaquandor for much of this post. A bit ago, he linked to this lovely poem about an old maple tree coming down.

I don’t think I pay attention to the trees, or nature generally, enough. A few months ago, a huge branch fell from our tree, a maple as it turns out, in the farthest part of the back yard. The massive branch, too heavy for me to move, barely missed the shed, but it turned into an accordion our compost container.

Just recently, the branches have been removed, and the tree is now clipped, but still massive. The last time said the tree was trimmed, we were told it may need to come down altogether in a few years if the clipping doesn’t help it regenerate. That’d be too bad, for it provides great shade.

Meanwhile, nearer to the house, an oak tree has sprung up. It wasn’t even there when we moved in in 2000, and we didn’t plant it, but it is thriving nonetheless.
Also, Jaquandor did one of his random Wednesday Conversation starter questions. To wit:

“Should we get rid of the dollar bill in favor of a coin?
“And what changes would you make to US currency in general?”

Yes to the dollar coin (which Americans seem to have rejected). This still bugs me. The US Mint continues to make the Presidential dollar coins, four each year. 2015 brings Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, which I’ll buy in November from a vendor at thrice face value because they are no longer distributed to the banks.

Take Jackson off the $20 bill and put Harriet Tubman on it.

Leave the damn $10 bill alone; Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history, he was a founding father, I attend what was his church (albeit a different building), AND they’ve made a cool, hip hop Broadway musical about him. (The junior senator from our state agrees about Hamilton and the $10.)

Someone else suggested getting rid of the penny, which cost way more than its face value to mint; I’d be good with that as well. Canada has one dollar and two-dollar coins, as well as no more pennies, which pretty much ensures that the United States will maintain the status quo.
When I visit Blogger blogs to make comments, usually for ABC Wednesday, I HATE the setting by which one has to verify one is not a robot by picking all the steaks, or salads, or whatever. The pics are small enough that it is really a hassle.

And it’s worse when the instructions are in, e.g., French. I had to pick out the “boisson”, which, oddly, I remembered from high school French as some sort of drink, but still.

I also hate the ones that ask me to do a math problem, and the word numbers are in, German. I guessed it was four plus two, but it’s likewise a pain.

June rambling #2: composer James Horner, and coloring books

John Oliver: Helen Mirren Reads the Most Horrible Parts of the Torture Report and What the Internet Does to Women.

The Internet Age of Mean.

11 Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism. “The pernicious impact of ‘white fragility.'” Slurs: Who Can Say Them, When, and Why. And Churches Are Burning Again in America.

President Obama’s extraordinary eulogy in Charleston, SC.

A black man and a white woman switch mics, and show us a thing or two about privilege.

Using music in political campaigns: what you should know.

SCOTUS_SpideyThis is actual content from the Supreme Court decision by Elena Kagan in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., decided June 22, 2015.

Bobby Jindal’s bizarre hidden camera announcement to his kids that he’s running for President.

Meh, cisgender, jeggings, and other new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Arthur shares the Father’s Day message from Upworthy.

For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort.

This School Was SHOCKED By What They Found Hidden Behind The Chalkboard. Might I say, though, that the phrase “my mind is blown” is highly overused.

Anti-Slavery Hamilton Gets Pushed Off The $10 Bill, While Genocidal Slaver Jackson Stays On The $20 and Here’s Why Andrew Jackson Stays and Alexander Hamilton Goes. I’m not happy about it, especially since I’m a member of the church Hamilton once attended. And I’m still pulling for Harriet Tubman to get on some bill, preferably on the larger denomination.

Serena Williams Is America’s Greatest Athlete. It was true last September when the article was written, and after her French Open win, still applicable.

Now I Know: It’s Not Pepto Bismol Lake and King Friday XIII.

Jaquandor loves waffles.

Meryl explains Beanworld.

Two Weeks of Status Updates from Your Vague Friend on Facebook.

Evanier points to the 27 shows have been announced for the coming season featuring Audra McDonald, Bruce Willis, and Al Pacino.

Comedy Central in the Post-TV Era: “What’s the difference between a segment on a TV show and the exact same segment on a YouTube channel? Tens of thousands of dollars.”

Comedy Central is running every Daily Show since the day Jon Stewart began, on January 11, 1999, in a 42-day marathon over on this site. It started on June 26.

Eddie rambles about his health & Emmylou Harris’ cool award, among other things.

Evanier’s Patrick MacNee stories.

Farewell, James Horner, who composed a lot of music for movies I’ve seen.

Jim Ed Brown of the Browns singing trio (“The Three Bells”) passed away at the age of 81.

From 2012: The making of Disraeli Gears, my favorite album by Cream.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 50-41.

Tosy ranks the songs of U2’s Songs of Innocence.

Bohemian Rhapsody on a fairground “player” organ that is more than 100 years old.

Just for you, Dan: The Tremeloes, who covered Good Day Sunshine.

A Stevie Wonder cover: Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Jacob Collier.

Muppets: Thor, God of Thunder.


Bloggers ADD has met, including yours truly.

Arthur takes the ‘I Side With’ quiz.

SamuraiFrog’s dad and Carly Simon.


Roger Green lost both of his children, Amanda and Lance, in separate DUI crashes. “Green and his wife Anita raised their children in rural Oklahoma.”

Put a women on the $20 bill

His face on our money implies an honor that Andrew Jackson’s legacy doesn’t deserve.

womens money (1)Only very recently, I came across the website Women On 20s, which “aims to compel historic change by convincing President Obama that NOW is the time to put a woman’s face on our paper currency… With at least 100,000 votes, we can get the President’s ear. That’s how many names it takes to petition the White House for executive action.”

I got here late, so participants have already winnowed down the list from 30 to 15 candidates.

The process is quite self-explanatory:

1. Primary Voting. You may vote for three of 15 candidates…

2.Final Round Voting. When the Primary winners are announced, return to the voting booth to cast your ballot for one of the top three finalists.

3.Decision Day. On Decision Day, we will announce the people’s choice for the woman we’ll propose to President Obama for the new face of the $20.

Why the $20?

“The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. So it seems fitting to commemorate that milestone by voting to elevate women to a place that is today reserved exclusively for the men who shaped American history. That place is on our paper money. And that new portrait can become a symbol of greater changes to come.”

Why boot Andrew Jackson from the $20?

As this Slate article from 2014 put it:

Andrew Jackson engineered a genocide through the “Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears, [his] campaigns to force at least 46,000 Cherokees, Choctaws, Muscogee-Creeks, Chickasaws, and Seminoles off their ancestral lands.”

“He was a fierce opponent of paper money and the central banking system, and would probably be horrified to see his face on our national currency. Leaving him on the bill as a form of mockery could be the best insult. But complicated historical slights don’t translate: His face on our money implies an honor that Jackson’s legacy doesn’t deserve. Worse, it obscures the horrors of his presidency.”

Here are the candidates:

ALICE PAUL (1885 – 1977) – women’s suffrage movement leader
BETTY FRIEDAN (1921 – 2006) – author of the Feminine Mystique
SHIRLEY CHISHOLM (1924 – 2005) – first black woman elected to Congress
SOJOURNER TRUTH (C.1797 – 1883) – famous for her journeys on the underground railroad
RACHEL CARSON (1907 – 1964) – writer of the important environmental book Silent Spring

ROSA PARKS (1913 – 2005) – civil rights activist
BARBARA JORDAN (1936 – 1996) – first black woman in the South to be elected to the US House of Representatives
MARGARET SANGER (1879 – 1966) – opened the first birth control clinic in the US
PATSY MINK (1927 – 2002) – first woman of color elected to the House, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
CLARA BARTON (1821 – 1912) – the founder of the American Red Cross

HARRIET TUBMAN (C.1822 – 1913) – women’s rights activist and abolitionist
FRANCES PERKINS (1880 – 1965) – Secretary of Labor under FDR, first woman appointed to the US Cabinet
SUSAN B. ANTHONY (1820 – 1906) – women’s suffrage movement leader
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (1884 – 1962) – human rights activist and former first Lady
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON (1815 – 1902) – women’s rights activist and abolitionist

The organizers claim they have mechanisms in place to prevent “stuffing the ballot.”

The Washington Post noted that “the group has been ‘sort of surprised at the lack of opposition’ to the campaign, and… hopes it will ‘get this conversation going.'”

Women on $20s executive director Susan Ades Stone added, “We wanna be the hashtag that says #sorryAndrew.”

Presidents Day 2015

Q: Has the gun with which Oswald shot President Kennedy been returned to the family?

President Calvin Coolidge was designated Chief Leading Eagle of the Sioux tribe when he was adopted as the first white chief of the tribe at the celebration of the 51st anniversary of the settlement of Deadwood, South Dakota, August 9, 1927. This designation came as a result of Coolidge signing the Indian Citizen Act on June 2, 1924, which granted “full U.S. citizenship to America’s indigenous peoples.”

The bill happened in part as a result of World War I when “The Indian, though a man without a country…, threw himself into the struggle to help throttle the unthinkable tyranny of the Hun.”

I was unfamiliar with this picture until I saw it on the news around Christmas 2014, when it mentioned the risk of Chief Executives wearing things on their heads other than hats, and cited the headdress that the current President was wearing recently, pictured below.
Speaking of World War I, from Now I Know:

One of the more positive aspects of American presidential politics is the relatively orderly, entirely peaceful succession process. Every four years, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, voters across the nation go to the polls and cast their ballots. Those votes are translated into votes for… electors, and a few weeks later, those electors cast the votes which actually determine who is going to be inaugurated into the office of the President… Even though the campaign can be acrimonious, to date at least, no sitting president has ever attempted to disrupt this process.

But there was, almost, an exception. In 1916, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson faced a challenge from Republican Charles Evans Hughes…

Which US presidents have won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Secretaries of State who became President:

Thomas Jefferson (3) under George Washington (1)
James Madison (4) under Jefferson (3)
James Monroe (5) under Madison (4)
John Quincy Adams (6) under Monroe (5)
Martin Van Buren (8) under Andrew Jackson (7)
James Buchanan (15) under James K. Polk (11)

And none since unless Hillary gets elected President.

From The Weird, Embarrassing, Fascinating Things People Asked Librarians Before the Internet:
Q: Has the gun with which Oswald shot President Kennedy been returned to the family?
A: No. It’s at the National Archives and Records Administration building in College Park, Maryland.

Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist.
I’ve wondered why Bill Clinton, only the second President in American history to be impeached, got to be so popular by the end of his second term. I think Dan Savage of Savage Love hit upon it:

Here’s the takeaway from the Bill and Monica story: An out-of-control special prosecutor appointed to investigate the suicide of a White House aide wound up “exposing” a series of [sex acts] that President Bill Clinton got from a White House intern. Problematic power differential, yes, but consenting adults just the same. Politicians and pundits and editorial boards called on Clinton to resign after the affair was made public, because the American people, they insisted, had lost all respect for Clinton. He couldn’t possibly govern after the [detailed sex acts], and the denials (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”). Clinton refused to resign and wound up getting impeached by an out-of-control GOP-controlled Congress…

But guess what? The American people weren’t [ticked] at Clinton. Clinton’s approval ratings shot up. People looked at what was being done to Clinton — a special prosecutor with subpoena powers and an unlimited budget asking Clinton under oath about his sex life—and thought, “…I would hate to have my privacy invaded like that.” People’s sympathies were with Clinton, not with the special prosecutor, not with the GOP-controlled/out-of-control Congress.

Presidential Libraries and Museums for every President from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush

Handsome Franklin Pierce by Nik Durga

Behind the Presidents: at Mount Rushmore

The youngest Presidents: 26, 35, 42, 18, 44, 22, 14, 20, 11, 13
Lots of different “worst” lists:

Indian-Killer Andrew Jackson Deserves Top Spot on List of Worst U.S. Presidents

10 reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime

The Worst Presidents, which includes all the Presidents between #9 and #18, except #11 and #16; plus three 20th century picks


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