Blog Posts by Tag

Time for a New National Holiday?

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The celebration of Juneteenth this year felt different in light of social events sweeping the country.  For those of you unfamiliar, Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in America, as the Union army finally reached the slave state of Texas and announced the end of the Civil War there on June 19, 1865.  There has been a groundswell of calls for the date to be federally recognized as a national holiday. 

And while I wholeheartedly support the move, our job as reference librarians is to give you the tools to make the case, which I’m sure you’d do a better job of anyway!  The research process always starts with asking the right questions.  In this case, things like… What is the mechanism for declaring a national holiday?  And how would you even go about making the case for inclusion of this date?

In Honor of National Library Week

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In honor of National Library Week, we thought we’d highlight some of the ways that your local public library can help you pass the time while in quarantine. Beyond the obvious e-books that are available, public libraries often offer access to a number of databases that can deliver on that quarantine hobby you never knew you needed, but are now desperate for. Whether you want to learn how to bake, do yoga, or speak Spanish, now that you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, your local library can make it happen. Below are a few select databases that you can access with a Hartford Public Library card:

 

Once again Talking Laws and Claws...

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Tiger King on Netflix shocked and entertained us all by exposing the underbelly of exotic animal zoos.  If you haven’t see it yet, buckle the hell up, as you’ll be introduced to cult leaders, drug king pins, alleged black widows, and the man of the hour himself, the self-proclaimed “gay, gun-toting redneck,” Joe Exotic, a former candidate for president and current resident of county jail.  I know that most of you, like me, were wondering as the story got crazier and crazier by the minute, what exactly happened with that piece of federal legislation, the Big Cat Public Safety Act?  Legal research has got you.  

Veterans Day

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In declaring November 11, 1919 the first Armistice Day, President Wilson said:  “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”  This year, as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, it is imperative for us to remain committed to principles of peace and understanding, despite the discord and polarization of our current world.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

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From September 15 to October 15, our nation observes National Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the histories and the contributions made by of our ancestors who came from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The 30-day period intentionally starts around the anniversaries of independence for many Latin American countries. September 15 marks the independence days of: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico’s independence day is the 16th while Chile’s falls on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. This observance initially only spanned a week, until President Ronald Reagan in 1988 extended the observance to its current 30-day period, through Public Law 100-402.

The Passing of Linda Brown (Brown v. Education)

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Image of a young Linda BrownIn 1954, Brown v. Board of Education was one of the biggest legal victories of the civil rights era, overturning the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” case. Federal government was given the right to force states to integrate their schools, which allowed children of color equal opportunity for attending schools.

Linda Brown, the young girl at the center of Brown v. Education passed away Monday March 26, 2018 at the age of 76. Her father, Rev. Oliver Brown sued the Topeka, Kansas school board so that his daughter would have the right to attend the schools that were at the time all-white. Brown’s case was combined with four other school segregation cases to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Despite the decision, it took many years of continued legal battles and protests before ending segregation completely. The end of segregation also did not end the social issues surrounding racism that have persisted in this country over the years. Over time people have continued to fight for equal rights with perseverance, hope, and unity, using the legal system, politics, and social platforms. Let us all reflect on the impacts of this case on our nation as we remember Linda Brown, and her family’s contributions to equality in this country.

What is the Logan Act?

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Photograph of X-Men character WolverineIs the Logan Act somehow related to the Marvel Universe’s Wolverine and a prohibition against lacing a mutant’s skeleton with adamantium?  Well, no, Wolverine is Canadian and the actual act wouldn’t apply to him.  But it does have to do with the acts that occur between private US citizens and foreign governments, so the other X-Men may want to read up.

The Logan Act has been in the news a lot lately thanks to the exploits of ex-National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.  The controversy there surrounds the communications that Flynn had with a Russian ambassador about the sanctions the Obama administration was imposing on Russia for their attempts at influencing the Presidential election.  Is what he did really a violation of the Logan Act?

Turning to the act, it reads:  “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Conflicts of Law Regarding Recreational Marijuana (Cannabis) Laws in the U.S.

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This post is a continuation of the exploration of this subject in an earlier blog post.

The 2016 election saw the voters of 4 states—California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada-- elect to legalize recreational use by adults of marijuana in their jurisdictions while the 5th state where the issue was on the ballot, Arizona, voted not to legalize the use. This brings to 8 (the others being Colorado, Washington. Oregon and Alaska) the number of states where recreational use of cannabis has been legalized. (A complete listing of the status of laws regarding cannabis in U.S. jurisdictions can be found here.)

The New WhiteHouse.gov

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Since 1994, every President of the United States has had a website located at WhiteHouse.gov providing information and resources for citizens.  On Friday, January 20, 2017, President Trump’s new White House website was launched.  Though still under development, the site contains preliminary information about the new administration’s policies in a few areas.  It appears that, for the moment, the new administration has retained former President Obama’s We the People site, where citizens can petition the White House and receive responses, if they gather enough signatures.