Stories From a Diplomat's Jewel Box

Here are just a few of the posts Madeleine Albright has held during her long career in public service: legislative liaison for National Security Council and member of White House staff, 1978-81; U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, 1993-97; cabinet member and National Security Council member, beginning 1993, and U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001.

Along the way she collected jewelry and her pins became part of her diplomatic signature. A famous example is cited in her book when as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations she criticized Saddam Hussein and was criticized in turn by his poet in residence who called her “an unparalleled serpent.” At an upcoming meeting with Iraqi officials she decided to wear a snake pin to send an unspoken message that originated with the American Revolution slogan "Don’t Tread on Me."

She also sent some kinder messages with her pins, for instance, when she wore her dove pin while with visiting with survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Ms. Albright wrote a wonderful book about her collection called Read My Pins: Stories From a Diplomat’s Jewel Box that is available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Take the opportunity to see over 200 of her pins at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. The exhibit lasts through April 21st. Stop in and see the pins she collected and used as diplomatic tools throughout her fascinating career.

Watch the Live Broadcast of the Presidential Inauguration

Monday January 21, 2013: Starts @ 11am -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Today at 11am, the Downtown Library is opening up the 4th Floor Meeting Room to present a live televised broadcast of the Presidential Inauguration! The ceremony starts at 11:30am - don't miss the chance to watch this special event live!

Robert Bork, controversial legal scholar, Supreme Court nominee, and judge, has died

Robert Bork, an influential conservative legal presence in American history for many decades, has died.

Bork, a former Marine, segued from an attorney in private practice to a professor at Yale Law School. Some of his notable students were Bill and Hillary Clinton, Robert Reich, Anita Hill, and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Bork made first headlines on October, 20, 1973. Richard Nixon, embroiled in the Watergate scandal, demanded that Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox be fired, triggering the Saturday Night Massacre. Both U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than carry out this order. Bork then immediately became Acting Attorney General and complied with Nixon's order, which was found to be illegal in a lawsuit filed in November by Ralph Nader.

Fourteen years later, President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork (who by then was a Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.) for a seat on the Supreme Court. The pushback from Senate Democrats was fierce in light of Bork's support for the South's wish to impose poll taxes and for rolling back key aspects of civil rights. His nomination was rejected and Judge Anthony Kennedy won unanimous approval.

Bork then resigned from the Court of Appeals, accepting a position as senior fellow at the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

He was back in the news for endorsing Governor Mitt Romney for President on August 2, 2011 for the second time (he had also endorsed Romney on December 15, 2007).

Mr. Bork, who was 85, died of heart complications.

Russell Means, activist/advocate for Indian rights, has died

Russell Means, the Oglala Lakota Indian (Means said the designation "Sioux" was derogatory) whose controversial political activism on behalf of America's Indian tribes first became headlines in the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, died today on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Born on Pine Ridge in 1939, Means' transfer to a nearly all-white California high school resulted in daily relentless bullying. First Means fought back, then he fell into alcohol and substance abuse for several years before getting his footing in 1969 at the American Indian Center in Cleveland, OH. It was in Ohio that Means met Dennis Banks, co-founder of the new American Indian Movement.

In 1972, Means and other prominent Indian activists organized a mass demonstration on Washington, D.C. to coincide with the election. The housing they were promised by the Department of Interior was rat-iinfested and overcrowded so the demonstrators took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and renamed it the Native American Embassy.They were evicted four days later when they were promised that investigations of programs that were supposed to help Indians would take place.

Three months later, Means and 200 armed supporters began a 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee where, in 1890, the U.S. military massacred more than 300 men, women, and children of the Sioux/Lakota tribe.Several weeks later, Means went to Washington, D.C. to try to broker an end to the siege. He was arrested and jailed when he rejected the unconditional surrender offer. The remaining protesters surrendered on May 8th, 1973. Means and other principles talked about this action in the 2005 documentary Wounded Heart: Pine Ridge and the Sioux.

His 1974 trial for his role in Wounded Knee ended after seven months when the Judge dismissed all charges after it was revealed that a member of Means' own defense team was an FBI informant who supplied information to the prosecution.

In 1994, Means sought the limelight on the silver screen. He played Chingachgook in the 1992 move, The Last of the Mohicans. Means' autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means, was published in 1995. He used this venue to rail against the term 'Native Americans' and the whole notion of Native American Heritage Month.

Means was just a few weeks shy of his 73rd when he died of esophegeal cancer.

Senator George McGovern has died

Sen.George McGovern, decorated WW II pilot in the Army, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, of the U.S. Senate, and a two-time Democratic candidate for President of the United States, and a United Nations ambassador, died October 21st in Sioux Falls, SD.

McGovern, born in S. Dakota in 1922, had an illustrious political career marked by his unwavering commitment to progressive principles. He was an early and unwavering voice opposing the Vietnam war, an advocate for the eradication of hunger in the U.S. and worldwide , and always a champion for civil rights.

He joined the Army when Pearl Harbor was attacked and became a fighter pilot of great courage. When his plane was severely crippled by flak in December of 1944, McGovern managed to land the plane safely, saving the lives of his crew. A grateful nation awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957 to 1961 and in the U.S. Senate from 1963 to 1981.

He ran for President twice; once, briefly in 1968. Four years later, he won the nomination of his party, but suffered an insurmountable blow with his choice of Thomas Eagleton as his Vice Presidential pick and with his unpopular opposition to the war in Vietnam. He lost to Richard Nixon in an epic landslide. He won just 17 electoral votes (Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.) to Nixon’s 520.

Sen. McGovern remained an active citizen of the world and a tireless force to push the Democratic party to strongly embrace principles of idealism and concern for the common citizen. He wrote several books; the last one, What It Means to Be a Democrat, was released last year.

Earlier this month, his family released a statement that Sen. McGovern had been admitted to a Sioux Falls, South Dakota hospice. He was 90 years old.

Arlen Specter, longtime U.S. Senator, has died

Arlen Specter, a tough-as-nails Senator from Pennsylvania for almost 30 years, died yesterday at his home in Philadelphia.

Specter was a sandwich Republican (he began and ended his long political career as a Democrat) from 1965 to 2009 who was known for being a moderate in an increasingly hard right Party. He thrived on using his Yale law degree as a member and Chair of the Judiciary Committee where he infuriated the GOP by sinking the nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork and by enraging the Democrats with his unbridled interrogation of Anita Hill during the successful confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.

In 2009, Specter returned to his Democratic roots in his run in the primary for his Senate seat which he lost to Joe Sestak who, in turn, lost the Senate race to Republican Pat Toomey.

Earlier this year, Sen. Specter published a book with Charles Robbins about the struggle within the GOP for its future direction. Life among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing as We Know It. He describes his role in creating the Tea Party and his two deciding votes which helped pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 a.k.a. the stimulus, and the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare.

Senator Specter, who had battled several bouts of cancer and heart trouble, died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 82.

Last day to register to vote in the August 7th primary

Elections matter and yes, your vote DOES count.

Therefore, just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the primary on Tuesday, August 7th. The City of Ann Arbor has posted all the details here.

General Business File: Your Go-to Place For Business Articles

If you need articles on business or finance, check out General Business File. In this database you can locate millions -- yes, millions! -- of articles to analyze company performance, industry events, and the latest in management, economics, and politics. The database draws on general interest publications, such as Fortune magazine, and on an enormous range of trade and specialized publications from around the world.

Access to this database is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card , or since this is a MeL Database, a Michigan driver's license number can be used instead. For L-card holder seeking access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. Michigan residents without a valid library card can gain access to this and other MeL databases by visiting MeL.org and entering their driver's license number.

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Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums 2012: Community

Thursday April 12, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This final in a series of four monthly discussions co-sponsored by the City of Ann Arbor focuses on Community and includes discussion on housing, economic development, public safety, recreation, outreach, civic engagement, and stewardship of community resources. The presentation will examine past successes and challenges, and feature a think tank of local stakeholders. The ensuing discussions will help guide the city's sustainability planning efforts.

View Ann Arbor's current environmental goals.

Explore Health Care Reform

Josh Fangmeier, a policy consultant with UM Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, will provide us with an overview of the Affordable Care Act and how it is playing out in our lives since it became law in 2010. The talk on April 11 will be a great opportunity to cut through the sometimes confusing rhetoric that clouds the media discussion of this vital issue for all Americans. Prior to joining CHRT, Josh Fangmeier was a health policy intern at the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Health Care Reform: Its Contents and Challenges | Wednesday, April 11 | 7:00-8:30 pm |
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

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