Presidents Day 2019: Second Bill of Rights

“The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.”

Abraham Lincoln 1836
Abraham Lincoln, Congressman-elect from Illinois. icholas H. Shepherd, photographer. Springfield, Ill., 1846 or 1847

Some Presidential trivia:

From Summer Bowl 9 (Chuck Miller)

Donald Trump has 24, Ronald Reagan has 10, and John Tyler has the most at 30. The most what?

Who was the last U.S. President who did not nominate a judge for the U.S. Supreme Court?

JEOPARDY! game #7807 aired 2018-07-17

CITING THE PRESIDENT $400: In the 1970s: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $800: In the 1970s: “Our long national nightmare is over”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $1200: “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved–I do not expect the house to fall–but I do expect it will cease to be divided”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2000: In an early 20th c. message to Congress: “We have stood apart, studiously neutral”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2,000 (Daily Double): In the early 20th c.: “I took the canal zone, & let Congress debate, & while the debate goes on the canal does also”

JEOPARDY! game #7806 aired 2018-07-16

4, 4 (two words, each with four letters) $1000: In 1848 Martin Van Buren was the presidential candidate of this party that opposed slavery in western territories

JEOPARDY! game #7868 aired 2018-11-21

PRESIDENTIAL IRONY, Final Jeopardy! 1 of the 2 Presidents who offered Daniel Webster the VP slot; he declined both, thinking the job went nowhere.

Answers below.

Why Thomas Jefferson Owned a Qur’an

Why James Madison would say our real problem is not misinformation

“The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.” Rutherford B. Hayes

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Message to Congress, January 11, 1944, including the Second Bill of Rights:
“We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence… People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
“In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.”

“I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them, and they think it’s Hell.” – Harry S Truman, 1948

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956

The Eisenhower Matrix

When the President and His Chef Feuded Over Cold Beans

Thursday, August 8, 1974: the night that Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency (three hours)

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter pass up riches to live modest, giving and truthful lives

George HW Bush was a complex man who somehow perfectly embodied a simpler time: both a blue-blood and, to quote Nixon, a ‘nut-cutter’ who knew how to carry out the dirty work of politics

When New York Tried to Take Away a W

What Obama secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Pastor: When White Folks Say Obama Was an ‘Embarrassment’, Here’s What You Say

One Last Time (44 Remix) – Christopher Jackson, Barack Obama, Bebe Winans #Hamildrop

Answers to quizzes:

Summer Bowl 9:
The number of the age difference between the President and his First Lady
Jimmy Carter

JEOPARDY!
Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt
Free Soil
William Henry Harrison or Zachary Taylor

Jackie and John Kennedy wedding
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and John Kennedy talking at their wedding reception, Newport, Rhode Island / Toni Frissell. 1907-1988, photographer, 12 September 1953


Photos from the Library of Congress. No known copyright restrictions.

Barack Obama: Born in the USA

When Barack Obama became President, the economy was on the verge of collapse. And now it’s not.

bornintheusa-obama
Arthur’s FIRST question to me for this round, about Barack Obama, I took some time answering:

BoyOhBoyOhBoy, have I been waiting for THIS! You asked me a LOT of awesome questions, – I DID! but one I thought of for you keeps popping into my head, and it’s heavy:

About a year ago (and probably early this year), many political commentators were saying that President Obama would be regarded as “one of the most consequential presidents in US history”. Given that the Orange Guy and his Republican Congress are poised to undo everything President Obama accomplished over the past 8 years (and pretty much every good thing done by all presidents, Republican and Democratic, over the past several decades…), do you think the pundits’ assessment is now laughable? Or, will it be that Obama’s image will soar, much as even Bush the Second is already being seen as “not so bad, really…” in light of the Orange Guy about to take over? I’m not asking about President Obama’s legacy so much as to what extent will he be relevant when all his work is undone?

First off, W’s legacy will continue to be in the pits for going into an unnecessary war in Iraq and presiding over an economic collapse unpresidentedunprecedented in decades.

Also, there are legit complaints I have with Obama, mostly having to do with drones. And I had thought to write a more balanced piece on him after his eight years. But the disinformation about him has been so strong that, like you, I’m not feeling the need to be fair and balanced, to borrow a phrase.

I really can’t talk about Obama, though, without talking about his legacy. And there’s a bunch of things that Agent Orange simply cannot take away:

* He was the first black President, Bill Clinton notwithstanding.

And he had a lot of expectations put on him. I remember reading in 2008, “Rosa sat, so Martin could walk. Martin walked, so Obama could run. Obama is running, so our children can fly.” What a burden!

Barack Obama had the right personal biography to not only get elected but re-elected. Lest anyone think that was easy, you should check out My President Was Black: A history of the first African American White House — and of what came next by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates wasn’t always a fan of Obama, but it is clear that it was different for this POTUS than it was for the other guys. (I know you can’t get The Daily Show there, but if you get a chance, watch Obama on the Daily Show, and for that matter Coates on the Daily Show.)

Little black kids now know that anyone – well, any GUY – can become President. (And if AO’s election doesn’t prove that…)

And to belabor the point, he ends up having to worry about whether he’s too black or not black enough, usually with good cheer. NOT a question his predecessors ever had to deal with.

No wonder Luther, President Obama’s anger translator, as played by Keegan-Michael Key, with Jordan Peele, seems so believable.

(Have you noticed, online, the number of people who fail to spell his first name – no, it’s not Barak – correctly? He was President for eight years, people!)

* He didn’t pursue charges against the Bush administration.

There was a strong case for prosecuting Bush officials who designed torture policy, but he was trying not to appear partisan and divisive – which he was later labeled anyway. Given his eventual partisan reputation, maybe he should have, but…


*He withstood the constant racist delegitimization of Tea Party wackos, not to mention, ironically, his successor as President.

From “you LIE,” uttered by a representative during a joint session of Congress in 2009 to Georgia senator praying for Obama’s death – in public, he’s put up with a lot of rubbish. Someone said in 2016 that he invented racism in America, someone with no understanding of US history.

And there are STILL people who believe the nonsense.

*When Barack Obama became President, the economy was on the verge of collapse. And now, it’s not.

A second raise in the basic interest rate recently is a pretty good sign of that. He just reached a record-setting 80 months of job growth. Since 2010, businesses have added more than 15.1 million jobs. That’s longer than any president ever has before.

* He did get Obamacare passed.

Those with a memory will recall it came about because private insurance prices were spiraling out of control. Even the “replaced” product the GOP promises will likely protect those with pre-existing conditions, and those under 26 on their parents’ policy. This NY Times article suggests “a transformation of the delivery of health care may be an enduring legacy for the president.”

* He was THE BEST pro-LGBTQ President ever.

*Osama bin Laden is dead.

And he made the bold decision for redundancy that made the difference between success and possible failure.

*He has released more non-violent criminals from prison than any President

Read about the New Jim Crow why that’s a good thing.

* Barack Obama seemed to enjoy the job, and his pleasure was infectious.

Check out so many opportunities he got to represent the country, most recently, President Obama’s final Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony.

* He’s way better toward the environment than his successor will likely be.

Why We’re Protecting the Arctic

* He is working until the end.

And made it much harder for AO to build his Muslim registry

*All in all, he was a successful President.

Here’s Bill Maher with President Obama on Real Time the Friday before the election. As Mark Evanier noted, “I think history will show this man was a very good president — which is not to say those who were convinced he was a gay Kenyan socialist who was planted in the White House to destroy America will ever admit it…”

Rolling Stone named President Obama One Of America’s Most Historically Successful Presidents. Here are more links, including 400 OBAMA accomplishments, with citations.

From GQ: “More to the point, Obama’s legacy is the sort that gets canonized. Because the first rule of Hall of Fame-dom: The times have to suck for the president not to. Civil wars, World Wars, depressions, and recessions. You got to have ’em if you wanna be great. That’s why we rate the Washingtons, Lincolns, and Roosevelts over That Fat Guy with the Walrus Mustache. Like Obama, these Great Men were dealt sucky hands, won big, and left the country better off than it was before.”

Agent Orange simply cannot undo all of these. If he makes things as bad as I fear he will, it’ll be laid at the table of AO. More nukes to make us safer? No need for government research? Anti-everything people heading Cabinet departments? The contrast will be so astounding that this will make Obama look REALLY good.

AND once Barack Obama is out of office, “I’m gonna stop being polite and start getting real.” He’s not finished yet. So if the Republicans use their guide to screwing the working class, it won’t go unopposed.

Farewell, Michelle Obama

There’s no one as Irish as Barack OBama- Corrigan Brothers

SNL’s Proud, Poignant Rap Tribute ‘Jingle Barack’

 

August rambling #1: Dystopian Reader

Tony Bennett is 90!

WORLD PEAS
WORLD PEAS

Alan David Doane’s new blog The Dystopian Reader; see, in particular, the lead story here

Arthur@AmeriNZ’s political notebook #1 and #2 because otherwise this post would be filled with these links.

The Latest Beaverkill Sinkhole, On South Lake Avenue in Albany

Please read this before you post another RIP on social media

Why George W. Bush stood there and took the wrath of a soldier’s mom

Donald Trump: stop calling him crazy, even as his Assassination Dog Whistle Was Even Scarier Than You Think; NBC’s Katy Tur: My crazy year with Trump

DJT Parody: Trump tore into the media for what he called their “extremely unfair practice” of reporting the things he says and he would only use nuclear weapons in a sarcastic way and Robert Crumb and friends flush him down the toilet (1989)

No, the Pope did NOT endorse Hillary Clinton

Survey Reveals a Startling Truth About White Christians

ESPN’s John Saunders, RIP at age 61

1968 Olympics: The White Man in That Photo

Goodbye to ‘Honeys’ in Court, by Vote of American Bar Association

If Walls Could Talk: Albany’s Historic Architecture: Myers Residence

Western New York Love Letter: Adventures in the 716

The Jedi religion of Australia

Kliph Nesteroff interviews writer Merrill Markoe about the ’70s Laugh-In revival, which introduced Robin Williams to American TV

A great Stan Freberg story

Buck O’Neil for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020

Godfather of Gore H.G. Lewis to host a marathon of his splatter classics – I met him once, nice guy

Obits: Kenny Baker, 81; played R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars’ and David Huddleston, 85, ‘Big Lebowski’ actor and Emmy-Winning Stage and Screen Star Fyvush Finkel Dies at 93

What is Bulldada? What is NOT?

Air Canada to start charging for emotional baggage in 2017

They Have A Word for It

Now I Know: The Man Who Bounced Around A Bit and The Thin Red Deer Line and A Moist Upsetting Word

these are difficult times
Derrick Boudwin and retinitis pigmentosa: Ever Dimming Room

Tony Bennett is 90!

Chuck Miller: The Monks’ “Black Monk Time” is an Album I Want to Be Buried With

Playing for Change: Fumaza | Live Outside

Coverville 1136: The 50th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Revolver

The Beatles: A New Video For While My Guitar Gently Weeps (LOVE version)

Several versions of Up The Ladder To The Roof

Glenn Yarbrough, Folk Singer With the Limeliters, Dies at 86 Glenn Yarbrough, Folk Singer With the Limeliters, Dies at 86

Obscure Winnipeg band reverberates on eBay a half-century later

The Atlantic: The Electric Surge of Miles Davis

Google alert (me)

My buddy Eddie Mitchell, the Renaissance Geek wrote nice things about me, and Smilin’ Ed. Not incidentally, the Smilin’ Ed book of collected stories and additional stuff is available from Amazon. I do believe it is the first book for which I have a credit.

Google Alert (not me)

The Lubbock ISD Ag Farm has received a donation of over 15 goats after the dog attacks that killed 10 more of their goats Monday morning.

“This is the agriculture community coming together,” Ag farm manager Roger Green said. “They will all jump in to help you out.”

George W. Bush is 70

I suspect that, if I ever meet George W. Bush, I will find him personally engaging.

Address to the Nation on Immigration. Oval Office.
Address to the Nation on Immigration. Oval.

Last year, a publisher was deaccesioning some books in anticipation of a move. I got for free about twenty books, among them, the 2004 anthology George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midterm. The first chapter, by Bill Kirtley, was called The Arbiter of Fate and had a brief but useful bio.

The death of his little sister Robin in 1953 colored his worldview, especially when he learned his parents had hidden her advancing leukemia from him. “His cousin Elsie Walker observed: ‘You…see your parents suffering so deeply and try to be cheerful and funny, and you end up becoming a bit of a clown.'”

She explained that “there was a lot of pressure to develop himself. He was a bit of a disappointment and hid it “by adopting a nonchalant attitude.” But it also meant some anger issues, “when he drank or suspected people of treating his family unfairly.”

The first time I paid any attention to George W. Bush was when he was running for governor of Texas against Ann Richards in 1994. The Democratic firebrand had spoken at the 1988 Democratic convention about W’s dad as having been “born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Of course, GHWB won the Presidency.

She referred to W as Shrub, and other diminutives, but that failed to work as well. As governor, she had vetoed a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, which he promised to sign, and eventually did. There was a rumor that she was a lesbian, which The Atlantic magazine and others connected to Bush advisor Karl Rove, though Rove denied being involved.

He ran for President in 2000 as a “compassionate conservative.” In Texas, he had cut taxes, supported the education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse – in part because of his own experience – and helped to reduce domestic violence. He had a mixed environmental record.

I had been really annoyed with the sweetheart deal he had been involved in purchasing the Texas Rangers baseball team. If I had been a Republican in 2000, I would have preferred John McCain in the primaries.

But George W. Bush won the nomination. I need not rehash Bush V. Gore, where the Supreme Court determined that Bush beat Vice-President Al Gore in Florida and thereby won the election, though he had lost the popular vote.

Oddly, when the US had an incident with China in April 2001, I said to myself, “I wonder what [Bill] Clinton’s going to do about… wait a minute, he’s not president anymore!” Seriously, the post-election fight had gone on so long that I forgot, briefly, the outcome.

Of course, there was 9/11. I always thought those calls for him to return immediately from Florida to DC were, given the lack of information in those early hours, terribly irresponsible. I was pleased that he blunted anti-Muslim sentiment, something missing in subsequent Republican leaders.

I understood, at least, the beginning of the Afghan war. But, it was weird that it quickly fell off the radar, as the drumbeat for a SECOND front, this time against Iraq, was being sounded. Iraq NEVER made any sense to me, and I protested the build-up for the six months before the invasion, and the subsequent, and incorrect, “Mission Accomplished.” Moreover, the fact that we were fighting these wars without paying for them was the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

When he ran for reelection in 2004, there was a debate question about religion. W talked about his “born-again” religious conversion. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, indicated his Catholic “feed the hungry, clothe the naked” doctrine. I thought Kerry did fine, but the pundits found his theology not compelling.

Domestically, there was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which was a disaster made worse by government non-response. And the economic collapse on Wall Street defined his last year in office. His administration also had its own email scandal.

Ultimately, it was eight years of living dangerously. I don’t think George W. Bush was like Harry Truman, vilified at the time, but treated more kindly by history. I agree with his father, 41, that 43 was ill-served by W.’s Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

I suspect that, if I ever meet George W. Bush, I would find him personally engaging. But he was a terrible president.
***
Review: ‘Bush,’ a Biography as Scathing Indictment

 

November rambling #1: Rebecca Jade’s new video, and Confessions Of An Idiom

What happens if the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light?

Librarian_need
What Evanier said about Paris. Ditto. This is the second time this year my cousin Anne, currently working there, has had to report that she is safe.

Samaritan Lives Matter.

Fall of the House of Bush.

Marilynne Robinson warns against utilitarian trends in higher education.

Middle-Aged White Americans Are Dying of Despair.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-entry.

The First County Clerk in the US to Approve a Same-Sex Marriage License. In 1975.

Egypt’s women-only taxi service promises protection from male drivers.

A New Alcott Emerges From The ‘Annotated Little Women’.

Now I Know: How Matthew Broderick Helped Shape American Computer Law and The World’s Most Prolific Author.

Berowne’s participation in the French Revolution. No, not that one.

A tumor stole every memory I had. This is what happened when it all came back.

Renaissance Geek: Eddie is 51, which is divisible by three.

Simply Red: The Con-Man Behind the Rightwing’s Starbucks Cup Freak-Out.

Wondermark: Throw Back the Dead Man’s Coin.

Binghamton, Now & Then.

Stop expecting artists to work for free — or worse, for “exposure”.

God, on Lawns.

Tosy has 10 opening sentences to short stories that do not exist, yet. But one of them could.

David Kalish: My imagined contract with cockroaches.

The new music video Weather the Storm by Rebecca Jade, the eldest niece.

Allen Toussaint – seven of his greatest songs. Plus Top 10 Allen Toussaint Classic Rock Covers, and finding a big hit in Toussaint’s trash can.

K-Chuck Radio: The WABC Sonic Experience!

Dustbury’s Feel Bad songs. Plus Connie Stevens (!) sang the original of a soul classic.

The Beatles: A 5 Minute Drum Chronology – Kye Smith.

“Love and Theft” – The Veiled but Tangled Roots of Jimmie Rodgers and Tommy Johnson.

Confessions Of An Idiom. What happens if the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light?

Mad magazine: Overheard at the New Amazon Bookstore.

The Absolute Best Way to Reheat Pizza.

Mark Evanier continues to list the twenty top voice actors in American animated cartoons between 1928 and 1968, including Jackson Beck (Bluto, King Leonardo) and Dick Beals (Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Davey of Davey and Goliath) and Clarence Nash (Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and Bill Scott (Bullwinkle J. Moose, Mr. Peabody).

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the first-ever Disney character and a long-eared precursor to Mickey Mouse, features in this long-lost animated film. Another, obscure, Disney film, John Henry.

The finale of a recent episode of Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, a program I forget was even on the air.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

What comics creator has most changed the way people think about comics?