Washington’s Birthday 2023

Commemorative half-dollar coin

I was at a meeting recently, and someone noted that the February holiday is officially Washington’s Birthday, not President’s Day. Now, I knew this, but I was fascinated that someone else was as geeky as I was.

JEOPARDY! questions

These are from the category FROM THE PRESIDENT’S MEMOIRS:

“During the 4 1/2 years of my presidency, I had never been able to establish a close relationship with Bobby Kennedy”

“On the first intelligence of Forrest’s raid, I telegraphed Sherman to send all his cavalry against him”

“I have used some of the tape transcripts that are already public”

“I ordered our men to open fire on the Spaniards in the trenches”

“The Constitution does not confer upon Congress the power to interfere with slavery in the states”

More JEOPARDY questions

This delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 voted against a Bill of Rights but later drafted the one we know.

Only 3 presidents have married while in office–John Tyler was the first, and he was the last.

He was sworn in twice as president within 2 years, first by his father & then later by a former U.S. President.

AND from the recent trivia night: What are the four state capitals named for Presidents? (All answers are below.)

Oval Office holders

From here:  “When Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark out west to explore the Louisiana Territory in 1804, the President told the explorers to watch out for mammoths. Jefferson was apparently obsessed with mammoths and was convinced they were still alive, gallivanting in America’s wild west.”

“Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869) was the 14th president of the United States, serving from 1853 to 1857. He was born in New Hampshire. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833, and later he was elected to the Senate, where he served from 1837 until 1842. A heavy drinker for much of his life, Pierce died in 1869 of cirrhosis of the liver.”

Ulysses S. Grant was  posthumously promoted to ‘General of the Armies’ in 2022

Chester Alan Arthur: Obscure or underrated? I say the latter.

“Calvin Coolidge appeared with George Washington on the Sesquicentennial commemorative half-dollar coin in 1926, at which time Coolidge was both alive and serving as president of the United States. It is the first and so far only American coin to depict a president in his lifetime.”

Donald Trump’s 2024 Campaign Is Anything but “Normal”

LB Johnson, Grant, Nixon, T Roosevelt, Buchanan
Madison, Wilson, Coolidge – From The Jeopardy! Fan: “When President Harding died in August 1923, Calvin Coolidge, then Vice President, had been visiting his family in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. When the Coolidge family received word of Harding’s death, it was suggested that Coolidge receive the Oath of Office as soon as possible to preserve presidential continuity. Coolidge’s father, John Calvin Coolidge, Sr., was a Vermont notary public and justice of the peace and administered the Oath of Office. In March 1925, after Coolidge had been re-elected President, Chief Justice William Howard Taft—himself a former President—administered the Oath.”
I was vaguely aware of Coolidge’s dad, but I should have focused on the second part,  Taft as Chief Justice, which I knew cold. The first President to start his term other than on Inauguration Day after Taft’s Presidency was Coolidge.  I figured it out, but not in 30 seconds, which slightly irritated me.
Jefferson City, MO; Madison, WI; Jackson, MS; Lincoln, NE

Indian Citizenship Act centennial: 2024

What it means to be an Indian Nation today

CitizenshipBannerThe status of the Native American or American Indian in the United States is most peculiar. This article reminded me that the centennial of the Indian Citizenship Act is coming up in 2024.

As you may know, Article I, Section 2 reads: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons.”

Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have Power To… regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Even the Fourteenth Amendment notes: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

Silent Cal

From the article: “The Indian Citizenship Act [was] signed into law on June 2, 1924, by President Calvin Coolidge. As the very title of the legislation states, the act made all Indians in the United States citizens of the United States.”

According to the act, … all noncitizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided that the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.

“The debate [following the 14th Amendment] was so pronounced that the Senate Judiciary Committee pondered the issue. In 1870 it rendered its verdict:

… the 14th amendment to the Constitution has no effect whatever upon the status of the Indian tribes within the limits of the United States…

“Strangely enough in the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, the frequently reviled Chief Justice Roger Taney had argued that American Indians could, in fact, become citizens. The caveat was that it had to be under congressional and legal supervision. In 1924, that is exactly what Congress did.”

This leads to some interesting arguments about how “to address what it means to be an Indian Nation today in the 21st century.” Read some more about the implications of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

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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