Presidents Day 2017: Nixon’s the One

JFK Calls about Furniture

George Washington’s first inaugural address (April 1789), referring to himself: “One, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

Now I Know: The Case of George Washington versus Pinocchio

John Quincy Adams: When The People Cheered

Presidents in Our Backyard – Part 1 (Martin Van Buren, Chester A. Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant)

The highest-ranked President who only served one-term is James Knox Polk.

Sarah Knox Taylor, the second daughter of Zachary Taylor and the first Mrs. Jefferson Davis

This is an actual standard fantasy I’ve had over the years: I’m captured, and the Americans think I’m a spy. I name all the Presidents correctly, including the year entering the office and political party – I really CAN do that – then they shoot me, because OBVIOUSLY, I’m a Soviet/Russian/Chinese spy, since NOBODY knows Millard Fillmore (1850-1853, Whig), who was New York State Comptroller before becoming Vice-President.

Worst president ever: The ignominy of James Buchanan – On the way to the Capitol for the inauguration of his successor on March 4, 1861, Buchanan told Abraham Lincoln, “If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland [his home in Pennsylvania], you are a happy man indeed.”

Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address (1861)
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Lincoln’s Great Depression

Now I Know The Vice:President (David Rice Atchison) and John Wilkes Booth’s Heroic Brother

Are You a Presidential Beard Connoisseur?

Ulysses S. Grant’s Veal & Sweet Potato Fries

The first President to ban immigrants?

Chris Churchill: A chat with President Chester A. Arthur

Now I Know: Grover Cleveland’s Pole Tax

‘All for each and each for all:’ Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal

Theodore Roosevelt holds that it is “unpatriotic, servile, and morally treasonable to proclaim that there must be no criticism of the President.” (1918)

Who was the first president to visit Canada? I was surprised.

Quora: Which US President had the most foresight?

Listening In: JFK Calls about Furniture (July 25, 1963)

Lyndon Johnson Speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15, 1965): “There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans—not as Democrats or Republicans–we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.”

Lyndon Johnson orders pants.

Nixon Aide Reportedly Admitted Drug War Was Meant To Target Black People. “Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.” Anyone who read Michele Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow already knew this.

Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery. This was treason.
US fatalities in the Vietnam war:
1969 – 11,780
1970 – 6,173
1971 – 2,414
1972 – 759
1973 – 68
1974 – 1
1975 – 62

Now I Know: The Red Menace (Nixon in China)

Three Presidential $1 Coins were issued in 2016, the final year of the program, for Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter had the audacity of still being alive; hope he’ll get one down the line, after he passes away.

Now I Know: Reagan and Gorbachev’s Green Pact

You Must Remember This podcast – Storm Warning: Ronald Reagan, the FBI and HUAC (THE BLACKLIST EPISODE #8)

10 Books to Understand the Obama Presidency

Presidential Payroll: What Commanders in Chief Have Earned Since 1789

Lincoln’s assassination, and the end of the American Civil War

As we mark the sesquicentennial of these important events, notice how many articles one gets when Googling “still fighting the civil war”.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, ending the Civil War.
Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House

Four years ago, I started to dread what I feared would be a media rehash of the American Civil War 150 years ago, battle by bloody battle. It might have happened, for all I know, but I managed to keep myself out of the loop. Surely I mentioned it rarely here.

This week, though, was quite significant. Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia, though fighting continued elsewhere for another couple of months.

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, shot on April 14, and dead by the next morning; read about the funeral train. Given his prominence in American history, I’m nevertheless still fascinated that there have been at least 15,000 books about the 16th President. His death left that great unanswerable “What if?”

Had Lincoln lived, how would Reconstruction have been handled? Would slaves have received their 40 acres and a mule, and if so, how would that have been reflected in black people’s wealth in the United States today? What would have been the terms of the Southern states re-entering the Union?

Would Lincoln have died early from Marfan syndrome? He was only 56 when he was killed.

And after four years of reminiscing, we’re still at odds about what to call the conflict. The War of Northern Aggression is particularly popular in parts of the South. The Confederate battle flag is a sign of either regional pride or treason, as it appears on several state license plates and flags to this day.

As we mark the sesquicentennial of these important events, notice how many articles one gets when Googling “still fighting the civil war”. While several are from 25 or 50 months ago, for instance, from CNN and The Atlantic and Daily Kos, the latter citing a piece in the Washington Post, it appears that the conditions mentioned then are no more clarified now, and in fact have even hardened.

The New Republic published an article this week, Make the Confederacy’s Defeat a National Holiday, with a controversial recommendation: “The federal government should… commit to disavowing or renaming monuments to the Confederacy, and its leaders, that receive direct federal support.” Brian Beutler also said, “Those who would caution that a more accurate reckoning with the Confederacy would inflame racial tensions are merely restating the implication that the country is too weak to be introspective.” That, I would suggest, is, at best, an open question.
Could the South Have Won the War?

Presidents Day

“Other than Ronald Reagan, who is your political hero?”

It’s Presidents Day, so I post oddball factoids about the guys that have held the office that I’ve come across in the past couple of months.

But first, a recent Final JEOPARDY! answer: Of the 20 presidents elected to a second term, 2 of the 3 who failed to complete that term. (Question at the end.)

#1- George Washington
He Came
During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington was riding on his horse one day when he passed by a group of soldiers who were busily engaged in raising a beam to the top of some military works. It was a difficult task, and the voice of the corporal in charge of the men could often be heard shouting, “Now you have it!”
“All ready! Pull!”
Unrecognized by the corporal and the other soldiers, Washington asked the corporal why he didn’t help his men.
“Sir,” replied the angered officer “do you not realize that I AM the CORPORAL?!?”
Washington politely raised his hat, saying, “I did not realize it. Beg your pardon… Mr. Corporal.”
Washington dismounted his horse and went to work helping the men until the beam was raised.
Before leaving, he turned to the corporal, and, wiping the perspiration from his face, said, “If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander-in-chief, and I will come!” *

*Adapted from “An Anecdote of Washington” by Mara Pratt in American History Stories You Never Read in School But Should Have as qtd. by Jason Jackson in Stronger Than Ever (Christian Courier Publications; Stockton, CA; 2008.)

#3- Thomas Jefferson

#10- John Tyler
Jaquandor found this fascinating information about Old Tippecanoe’s Veep and longevity.

#16 Abraham Lincoln
Interview with Ronald C. White, Jr., author of A. Lincoln: A Biography

The ALA Public Programs Office, in partnership with the National Constitution Center (NCC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is pleased to announce a large-scale tour for the traveling exhibition “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” Funding for the exhibition and tour is provided by a major grant from NEH’s We the People initiative.
Two hundred sites will be selected to host the 1,000 square foot exhibition for a period of six weeks each from September 2011 through May 2015. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public.
Using the U.S. Constitution as its cohesive thread, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” offers a fresh and innovative perspective on the Civil War that brings into focus the constitutional crises at the heart of this great conflict. The exhibition identifies these crises—the secession of the Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties—and explores how Lincoln sought to meet these political and constitutional challenges.

But the big Lincoln news is that an altered Lincoln document is at the National Archives, where someone changed the date on a pardon from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, the day Lincoln was shot. Worse, the comments, especially in the New York Times piece seem to desire to refight the Civil War.

#17- Andrew Johnson
The Presidential dollar coming out this month is of the first U.S. President ever to be impeached. Impeached means indicted by the House of Representatives; the Senate tries the case, and Johnson missed being convicted by a single vote.

Incidentally, I recently discovered that the mint mark (P for Philadelphia, D for Denver) is not on the face of the coin, but on the edge.

#18- Ulysses S. GrantA Great Bronze Tarnished by Neglect.
The most artistically accomplished memorial in Washington, D.C.—as well as the most overlooked—is that of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It celebrates not just its namesake but the brave men who carried out his orders in the face of danger and death. Shorn of the allegory and sentiment common to so much commemorative art, it vividly and unsparingly depicts what Kathryn Allamong Jacob calls, in “Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, D.C.,” “the harsh face of war in the awful beauty of richly detailed men and horses rushing to battle.”

#34- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight Was Right about the military-industrial complex, says Michael Moore

#35- John F. Kennedy
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy inauguration, the JFK Library unveiled a large digital archive. Interesting story on CBS NEWS Sunday Morning about the anniversary.

However, the History Channel has decided to yank its miniseries on the Kennedys, citing its lack of historical accuracy.

10 Speeches and News Conferences by JFK Now Available on iTunes via U. of North Dakota

#37- Richard M. Nixon
I had decided to create a new narrative about Dick, noting his accomplishments with the environment, et al. But then, information came out about ethnic slurs and other unsavory comments. Sigh. Same old Nixon.

#39- Jimmy Carter
Carter appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, promoting his book, White House Diary.

#40- Ronald Reagan
Reagan exhibited signs of Alzheimer’s while still in White House his son Ron claimed in his book, titled “My Father at 100,” was to mark what would have been President Reagan’s 100th birthday on Feb. 6, 2011. President Reagan died in June 2004. Ron’s half-brother Michael, who has a book of his own, hotly denies that claim.

The Republican National Committee picked a new chair last month. But what I thought was telling was one of the questions to each of the candidates, which was something like, “Other than Ronald Reagan, who is your political hero?” Reagan was listed as a given.

A Reagan Litmus Test for 2012 GOP Hopefuls

American Dad – Oliver North song, which I saw when I experienced insomnia this month.

#41- George H. W. Bush
Medal of Freedom Recipients​: George H.W. Bush, Bill Russell, Yo-Yo Ma, and Others

#43- George W. Bush
Description of W’s book from Human Events: “Decision Points is no conventional political autobiography. In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush gracefully brings readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq, and behind the Oval Office desk for his historic and controversial decisions on the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, Iran, and other major events that have shaped the first decade of the 21st century.”

JEOPARDY! question: Who were Lincoln, McKinley, Nixon? (any two) Both my wife (Lincoln, McKinley) and I (McKinley, Nixon) got it right; NONE of the contestants did.


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