May 31, 2009
This Summer's 25 Hottest Movies - The Daily Beast
Well out of 25, I saw 2 or 3 that I would like to see. One is a remake of Pelham 1,2,3. with Denzil Washington, and the other is a movie about Julia Childs starring Meryl Streep. I'm sure you'll find
more than that to like.
May 30, 2009
Curtis Roosevelt: Too Close to the Sun
Franklin Roosevelt on most polls taken by historians places third, right behind Washington who invented the job of president, and Abraham Lincoln who wrote the book on how it was supposed to be done. I admire Roosevelt greatly. I admire the other two also, but they are so far removed and history has made them almost mythic. Roosevelt, on the other hand, is current enough in time and events to make him very real to me. He was also not perfect, he was a scoundrel in his private life. If you condone or do not condone his private life, he will get your blood heated up, still to this day. He was a masterful politician, not always an asset, but he had to be able to manage civilian as well as military ego's and get the best out of each person, which history tells us, he did. He came from a patrician background, yet loved to be around the common folk, as we are sometimes called, even though none of us think we are. He gave his life to his country, running for and winning four terms. He had to know, although the relationship between Roosevelt and his doctor was strange to say the least, how sick he was. The doctor examined, did not communicate his findings to Roosevelt, nor to any other doctor who might have helped him medically, but that as they say is another story. My point though is that he could have rejected the run for the fourth term and perhaps extended his life for a while longer. He felt he was needed, and who can say he wasn't right. Harry Truman who succeeded him turned out to be tough enough that he could have handled the hot seat he inherited had he inherited it sooner, but we didn't know that at the time.
This talk by Curtis Roosevelt, FDR's grandson is informative, and interesting. It is billed as a lecture, but is really Mr. Roosevelt sharing his past with two of the twentieth century's greatest, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
May 29, 2009
A big OMG in the comic book world--in the 600th issue of Archie, the longstanding love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica will finally come to an end, when Archie is rumored to propose to Veronica after 65 years (it's about time!). This is even more momentous as the "Love Showdown" storyline in 1995, when Archie Comics rumored that Archie might finally choose between the two women--but no dice. So will he finally go through with it this time? And what is going to become of Betty? We will all have to wait until August to find out.
I read Archie in my growing up years, and never thought the story would proceed past the girl friend stage. If I did think about it, I leaned toward Betty as the chosen.
May 28, 2009
Gleaned from David Brinkley's WASHINGTON GOES TO WAR
It was still possible in 1941 to walk through the White House gate and into the grounds without showing a pass or answering any questions, since the White House was not yet considered much different from any other public building in the city. Until a few years before there had been no gates at all, and on summer days government employees had lounged on the White House lawns eating picnic lunches out of paper sacks. In the mid-thirties, a Washington resident was driving his Ford convertible down Pennsylvania Avenue with the top down when it began to rain. He turned into the White House driveway and drove under the portico for shelter, put his top up, and went on. Only twenty-five years before that, in Taft's administration, tourists looking around inside the White House had been allowed, when the president was absent, to go into his office and sit for a moment and bounce in his chair. It was all casual, easy, open and trusting.
May 27, 2009
To watch the first African-American President from a broken family promote to the U.S. Supreme Court an Hispanic woman from a broken neighborhood was one of those moments that Americans will long savor. In his announcement today of his first nominee to the Court, President Obama quickly brought back memories of why the country elected him.
At words poetic, I'm so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting 'em off my chest,
To let 'em rest unexpressed,
I hate parading my serenading
As I'll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty
At least it'll tell you
How great you are.
You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!
You're the Louver Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You're a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare's sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.
You're the Nile,
You're the Tower of Pisa,
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom you're the top!
Your words poetic are not pathetic.
On the other hand, babe, you shine,
And I can feel after every line
A thrill divine
Down my spine.
Now gifted humans like Vincent Youmans
Might think that your song is bad,
But I got a notion
I'll second the motion
And this is what I'm going to add;
You're the top!
You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top!
You're Napoleon Brandy.
You're the purple light
Of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery
You're Garbo's salary,
You're turkey dinner,
You're the time, the time of a Derby winner
I'm a toy balloon that's fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!
You're the top!
You're an arrow collar
You're the top!
You're a Coolidge dollar,
You're the nimble tread
Of the feet of Fred Astaire,
You're an O'Neill drama,
You're Whistler's mama!
You're a rose,
You're Inferno's Dante,
You're the nose
On the great Durante.
I'm just in a way,
As the French would say, "de trop".
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!
You're the top!
You're a dance in Bali.
You're the top!
You're a hot tamale.
You're an angel, you,
Simply too, too, too diveen,
You're a Boticcelli,
You're a boom,
You're the dam at Boulder,
You're the moon,
Over Mae West's shoulder,
I'm the nominee of the G.O.P.
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!
You're the top!
You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top!
You're a Berlin ballad.
You're the boats that glide
On the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You're an old Dutch master,
You're Lady Astor,
You're the steppes of Russia,
You're the pants, on a Roxy usher,
I'm a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!
May 26, 2009
IRAN, ISRAEL, NORTH KOREA, WHO'S NEXT?
NUCLEAR TESTS CAUSE NUCLEAR STRESS
DO WE HAVE TO HAVE A REFRESHER COURSE ON HOW CLOSE WE CAME IN OCTOBER 1962 TO BLOWING UP THE WORLD. ALL IT WILL TAKE IS ONE MISSILE FIRED IN ANGER OR IN IGNORANCE WITH A NUCLEAR WARHEAD ON BOARD. DO NOT IGNORE IT, IT WILL NOT JUST GO AWAY, NEGOTIATE NOW AND REPEATEDLY TO RID THE WORLD OF THE THREAT OF ARMAGEDDON. I WAS LIVING IN WASHINGTON D.C. IN OCTOBER 1962, AND BELIEVE ME THE THOUGHT OF ONE MISSTEP BY AMERICA OR RUSSIA AT THAT MOMENT AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL OVER IMPRESSED ME DEEPLY. LET'S NOT GET THAT CLOSE AGAIN.
The number of nations that have pursued nuclear weapons research far surpasses the number with nuclear arms. Below is a look at some of the countries with atomic histories. Not shown are about 30 countries that have nuclear reactors but are thought to have never conducted bomb research.
COUNTRIES WITH WEAPONS
RECENT NUCLEAR ACTIVITY
Announced last week that it had conducted a nuclear test, joining the list of countries with nuclear arms.
Is suspected of pursuing weapons; faces possible sanctions from the U.N. Security Council for refusing to stop nuclear enrichment.
Conducted atomic research for many years; recently announced plans to pursue a nuclear power program.
Is the only country to give up weapons it had developed, completing dismantlement in 1991; recently announced plans to begin enriching uranium to meet energy demands.
Signed a bilateral agreement in 1991 to use nuclear energy peacefully; Brazil briefly raised concerns in 2004 when it denied International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to an enrichment plant.
Along with France and Canada, was considered one of the top proliferation threats by the United States in the 1950's.
Announced in 2003 that it would abandon its nuclear weapons program; centrifuges from Pakistan and highly enriched uranium were airlifted from the country in 2004.
Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
Returned Weapons inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Is suspected of pursing a weapons program in the 1960's; announced its intent after China's first nuclear test in 1964.
Had a small, low-priority weapons program before the end of World War II; national policy now prohibits possessing, introducing or manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Comment regarding nuclear threats
May 25, 2009
This is the time for commencement addresses. I selected this one by John Kennedy at American University. It was before talks with Russia about Nuclear weapons. It is ironic that now 46 years later we still have ignoramuses like North Korea rattling the nuclear fist and testing their new weapons. Some day, some country will go too far and words will not bring them back from that act of folly. I dread thinking about it.
May 24, 2009
An Appreciation of George Will
George Will is a guy that I have learned to like. Politically he's pretty straight talking, leaning a little to the right, but not in the Limbaugh lunatic fashion. He seems to not suffer fools gladly. He is a baseball fanatic, that is a big plus. I believe he would love to be named baseball commissioner, and I believe he would do a bang up job. Baseball should consider him long and hard the next time the job comes open. He is smart as a whip and will pick the short explanation of a subject over the long drawn out show-offy way some do. He seems a cool, considerate man, a description of our founding fathers as celebrated in the play/movie 1776. Even with his low key persona he has a television presence that I have enjoyed since the Sunday show hosted by David Brinkley.
But what I have never seen is George Will smile. Bringing back the Boston Pops or Omnibus to television is as improbable to happen as seeing George break into a non-controlled fit of laughter. Some people are just serious, staid, somber, sober, grave, composed, sedate, or even melancholy, but George seems to have achieved all of the above to perfection. There is nothing wrong with always appearing the same, he could also be described as steady, reliable, and safe. I have viewed George, if I interpreted it correctly, close to anger many times, but never ever happy, joyful or in a good mood. I suppose in today's vernacular George could be the poster boy for anal retentiveness, a term I'm not particularly thrilled using, but it is so right on.
I will be disappointed if this is taken as anything more than poking a little fun at Mr. Will. I do like his reporting and he has every right to appear as he wishes. I just got this little quirk today when I was comparing Mr. Will to the Great Sphinx and was kind of amazed how long a person can hold a pose. Indefinitely I guess.
May 23, 2009
There are moments when conditions are just so right, when an old man sits perfectly still, all sound recedes and it is silent, completely silent, his heartbeat seems alive in his ears, his eyes glaze over and dreams become reality, when the senses are so acute, when more than half a century can disappear and moments, certainly it could only have been moments, in time are remembered. Strange to him that it is remembered so vividly. His consciousness slurs and he is back in those moments.
The dust from the gravel covered back roads, the sun dappling through the dense overgrowth of maples, chestnut and elms reflected the road ahead in gauzy dreamlike patches of light and shadows.
The boy aboard his pedal powered steed, a black and red road master of the road, gliding alone, recording scents and sights, traveling through that time after childhood, but before that time when thoughts would change from those sense fulfilling moments without apprehension of tomorrow or guilt about yesterday, living only in the now, the joyful sense-provoking today. Tomorrow or those tomorrows yet to be were of no consequence except days, one after another in which to enjoy himself in this setting bequeathed to him certainly by kindly Gods. The future would yield its secrets in its own good time, when the boy would surrender his boyhood and lurch optimistically forward to meet it knowing if he faltered he had but to close his eyes and those graveled back roads and his black and red road master would be waiting for the boy, waiting to return him to that time, that moment when all was now and it couldn't get any better, a preview of heaven perhaps?
I don't know who painted the above picture so I cannot give due credit. I know I like it. I don't know if it is copy protected. If it is yours, I will certainly give credit and/or you don't wish it posted I will remove it at once upon your request.
The words above are mine.
May 22, 2009
UNBELIEVEABLE. I guess this is not an onion skit. I got it from CSPAN. Saying that, every parent must have had this happen to them, maybe in a supermarket, but in the congress of the United States Yikes. My guess the congressman will hire two nannies now.
I am no baseball expert, I'm not even a collector of statistics as some super fans are. What I am is a fan of very long standing of the Cleveland Indians, a charter member of the American League. Now being a fan of the Indians for as many years as I have earns me nothing. Maybe an award for, an honorable mention in the 'wait till next year' category.
But now for my serious baseball jabber. This years problem with the Indians is that they have hardly any member of their bullpen that can come in and stop the other team from scoring more runs. Now here is my particular rant on this subject: it is standard operating procedure to excuse the starting pitcher after 100 pitches and replace him with a bullpen member, and then that particular member with what they call the closer in the ninth inning.
That is the way it is done today. In the past, starting pitchers pitched complete games and only were removed for a relief pitcher when things got really bad or the starter was suffering from exhaustion.
The pitcher with the most complete games was Cy Young with 749. Now to be a little bit fair, baseball managers believe that their pitchers arm will last longer and not fall off prematurely if they only pitch a maximum of 100 pitches per game.
But when a teams total bullpen suffers from some kind of failure pox what can you do? Perhaps ignore their presence and let the starters go as far as they can, and never take them out if they still hold their lead. Perhaps over a season if this would prove successful, less could be spent on bullpens, or not.
When you're a fan of the Indians you start to think strangely, because the Indians play that way.
May 21, 2009
May 20, 2009
PRESENTING A NEW FEATURE: FATHER'S BOOK OF VALUABLE ADVICE.
Advice number 1.
When sitting for a photo shoot, make sure your lips are not chapped, and use your most sincere smile exuding confidence and knowlege, then make sure you......
May 19, 2009
May 17, 2009
TWITTER YOUR TIME AWAY.
One of the last posts that I posted on Twitter was this: Is a seventy some computer user and twitter an oxymoron? Then I finished off with this: I compare posting on twitter to making a speech in an empty room. Where is the feedback to what I wrote? Then next in pure frustration, admitting defeat, confessed I was unable to understand the whole thing.
It is comparable to me of being a bulletin board, albeit an electronic one, where you drop off a note, but that's not exactly right either, because you have an expectation that someone may walk by the bulletin board and leave a note for you or contact you another way. In Twitter it's like throwing a pebble in the ocean. There is so much water and it is so big no one will hear the pebble hit or see the ripple it caused.
This I do understand, to get any interaction you have be develop enough of an identity that others will select you to follow. But who knows you and I? I selected a few well known geeks to follow, but they post jokes or plugs for their blogs or whatever. I post something and it is immediately shoved off the information highway and dies a lonely death because no one knows me, consequently I am not selected to be followed. They don't even know I've posted. I understand that name recognition is paramount, friends follow friends, relatives follow relatives. I also understand that compared to email, you don't really have to have anything of any importance to include in your post. On twitter you can just post a blurb that your glasses are dirty, lol, cu later.
In other words, what's the big deal about Twitter? I will admit this, it is probably generational, aimed at the younger people who extract from it, I don't know what. Maybe I'm entering my senile period and my brain is hardening or softening or whatever it does.
I will also confess that because of my age (it gets blamed for everything) I think that things that we spend this much time doing should have some significance, twitter just seems a waste of time.
May 15, 2009
Oh My God, Was it Hot.
Reliving a Moment
Why I remember this, and why do I want to write about it? Memory is a strange thing some times. Although my thoughts recently do seem to have some cognizance of place. I have been writing recently, in my blog, of Washington related things, and it occurs to me that it was indeed a good time in my families life. So what memory keeps jumping out at me? It's the ungodly heat that in earlier days of the last century put Washington D.C. on the hardship list for emissaries of other countries.
I can almost feel it still. How many nights did we spend in our favorite place of residence, a garden apartment located off the George Washington Parkway between Alexandria and Mt. Vernon, poor as church mice (how poor is a church mouse?) lying abed and groaning when the sheet got above our knees. This was the days when apartments were not, as a rule, air conditioned. The sweat clung to our bodies like a body stocking. Memories like that are hard to beat. I, at least, got to go to work, after showering off the nights perspiration and heading off to an air conditioned office. But Hazel, my poor wife was already at her office in those days, and only got to count the seconds before her showers effects wore off and it was humidity at it's worst all over again. In between tending to our two sons needs, her only possible relief was a retreat to a small balcony off the living room, where maybe, on a good day, a breeze might come her way.
After all these years gone by, and our comfort levels being addressed through the years, we still rate those days in the humidity and sweat, the days we would most like to re-live. Why, are we nuts? No, we were young, Washington was exciting, and the only thoughts were of tomorrow, which we knew would be exciting, interesting, and we thought would go on forever.
May 14, 2009
Refresh my memory please. Why are we still in Iraq and the new main attraction Afghanistan? Is it to collect information and keep track of the goings on over there? Is it to bring them around to our way of thinking and dealing with the world? Is it to capture and eliminate Bin Laden? Is it to obtain franchise rights for McDonalds? Whatever, there must certainly be more twenty-first century ways to assemble intelligence. Certainly we really don't believe that we are ever in all of our lifetimes going to change their way of thinking. They still live in tribes and defend their hunk of the mountain, and/or desert. Why then do we want to get involved deeper into that morass? I believe it is time to crank up our satellites and other spy networks and bring the men and women home. I do believe that President Obama got elected on that issue, why has he forgotten why we cast our ballots not six months ago?
I'm not sure what category the following should fall under? Several that I can think of quickly. One would be televisions quest for profits regardless of merit; censorship, good or bad or just absolutely none under any circumstances; class or lack of; American childhood, is it obsolete? should we have only one age category, and divulge everything as soon as possible to everyone, age no barrier. Children of nine or ten years old should be able to absorb any information they receive from their television set in their own living rooms. After all can't kids of ten master the computer. Childhood and the innocence it brings with it is overblown, get rid of it. Where is this rant going? What is he talking about?
Erectall, or instant penis growth, or whatever it's called has now been deemed a legitimate health product by television executives. So now it can be hustled on television at any hour of the day, alongside other sex aids with the actors smiling or leering out to TV land, proclaiming their newly discovered secret. It offends me in so many different ways, but mostly in it's irresponsibility in choosing television, that arm of media that is in almost every home in America as its messenger.
May 13, 2009
The scene above had in mind this painting by John Trumbull,I believe.
3. Joseph Bartlett
4. Thomas Lynch
5. Benjamin Harrison
6. Richard Henry Lee
7. Samuel Adams
8. George Clinton
9. William Paca
10. Samuel Chase
11. Rich. Stockton
12. L. Morris
13. Wm Floyd
14. A. Middleton
15. T. Heyward, Jr.
16. Charles Carroll of Carrollton
17. Robert Morris
18. T. Willing
19. Benjamin Rush
20. Elbridge Gerry
21. Robert Treat Paine
22. Wm. Hooper
23. Stephen Hopkins
24. Wm. Ellery
25. George Clymer
26. Joseph Hewes.
27. Geo Walton
28. Jas Wilson
29. A. Clark
30. F. Hopkinson
31. John Adams
32. Roger Sherman
33. Robert R. Livingston
34. Thomas Jefferson
35. Ben Franklin
36. Thomas Nelson, Jr.
37. Francis Lewis
41. Oliver Wolcott
42. Chas. Thomson
43. John Hancock
44. George Read
45. John Dickinson
46. Edward Rutledge
47. Thomas McKean
48. P. Livingston
Do you believe in coincidences? Yesterday I received from Shorpy, the 100 year old photos site this picture of Pittsburg in 1941. I was much taken with the picture because it reminded me of my grandparents home at the same period of time in a town in Ohio. They were German immigrants in a industrial town. Later in the day I was watching a dvd about America in the Forties and there it was the very same picture you see here, but on video at the same time period. Something great? Naw, just a coincident, dosen't happen often and when it does it just gives me a moments pause.
May 12, 2009
Written By: David Roden on May 6th, 2009
Cincinnati Symphony and Pops conductor and Telarc recording artist Erich Kunzel will be undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic, liver and colon cancer.
"It was totally unexpected," Kunzel said. He was in Naples two weeks ago and thought he might have food poisoning, but tests revealed the disease. Kunzel says he feels fine now, "but there’s a devil inside of me."
"I’ll stay as active and strong as possible. I’ve taken nothing off my calendar. I’m full blast ahead," Kunzel said.
He’ll be treated in Cincinnati.
May 11, 2009
May 10, 2009
May 8, 2009
The Thomas Jefferson hour is a wonderful podcast I listen to regularly. Mr. Jenkinson is an expert on the man and he has him down cold. You will not be bored, and maybe we will learn something new about this fascinating man Thomas Jefferson.
The Thomas Jefferson Hour Podcast by Clay Jenkinson
May 7, 2009
Life of Reilly
How do you beat a guy who throws righty and lefty? You don't.
by Rick Reilly
You'll probably never witness an unassisted triple play in your lifetime, right? (There have been only 14.) Or see an intentional walk with the bases loaded. (Six.) Or watch one player hit two grand slams in an inning. (Once.)
But you can see something right now that hasn't been around in baseball since the late 1800s: a switch-pitcher.
His name is Pat Venditte, he's 23, and he's pro baseball's only ambidextrous pitcher. This living piece of history is more than a YouTube star; he's throwing almost daily for the Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees' Single-A club. And he's not just throwing: He's blowing through hitters like a Cub Scout through Skittles. At one point in April, the closer's ERA was 0.00 in 6 1/3 innings, and he hadn't blown a save in five games.
Last season, he had 23 saves for the Staten Island Yankees, with a 0.83 ERA. And best of all, the kid can relieve himself!
He wears a specially made six-fingered Mizuno glove with two thumbs. (His Dominican teammates call him Pulpo, Spanish for "octopus.") When he warms up, he throws four pitches righty and four lefty. You should see the opposition when he does it. It's as if they had seen a ghost. Wait—did you just see that? If a righty is up, he throws righty, and vice versa. Whenever Venditte switches sides, everybody in the Charleston ballpark is encouraged to switch seats.
A switch-pitcher? He's living history.
"I've got to remember to tell people which way he's throwing," says RiverDogs radio play-by-play man Danny Reed. "Never had to do that before."
There are a lot of "never befores" with Venditte. The pitching coach has to file two reports: Venditte the lefty and Venditte the righty. And he should; they're two different pitchers. The righty has a 90 mph fastball, a curve and a nice change. The lefty comes sidearm and has a murderous slider and a change. He's a five-pitch pitcher! Once, in Little League, the other team's coach came up to Pat Sr. and said, "Your twins pitched a heck of a game."
His college pitching coach called him Dexter, and opposing managers call him an ulcer. What's the point of saving your righthanded pinch-hitter for the ninth if Venditte is just going to switch to righty? Strategy is futile. Remember in The Princess Bride when, halfway through the sword fight, Inigo Montoya suddenly says, "I know something you don't know: I am not lefthanded!"?
All this was Pat Sr.'s idea. When his son was 3, Dad noticed Pat threw balls with both hands. So he fed it. He had him throw footballs both ways, punt both ways, kick field goals both ways. Pat was homeschooled by his mom, Jan, who had him write both ways and eat both ways.
We might be looking at the future here, people. "I get calls and letters from people wanting to know how they can do it with their kids," says Jan. "But you have to do it when they're very young. If you try it at 9, they won't listen."
For Pat Jr., it's meant a way to chase his dream of playing in the Show someday. "I know I wouldn't be this far without it," he says. "I don't have dominating stuff from one side or the other. I need both."
Not that it doesn't cause problems. If he walks a hitter, fans will start hollering, "Try the other side!" People want him to sign autographs with both hands. And switch-hitters will switch batter's boxes, making Venditte switch the glove, starting a cat-and-mouse game that can go on for 10 minutes. Minor league umps now have the Venditte Rule: At the start of an at-bat, the pitcher must declare his throwing arm, then the hitter can pick his side, with each man able to switch once. Phew.
There's been only one other such pitcher in the past century: Greg Harris, who threw one scoreless inning for the Expos, in 1995. More than 120 years ago, three guys are believed to have done it occasionally. The best was Tony Mullane, who stood on the mound with no glove and the ball cradled in both hands so nobody would know which way he was going to pitch until his windup. I've had bosses like that.
But Venditte, a four-year letterman at Creighton, has a chance to be the best. If the Yankees bring him up—and at this pace it could happen within three years—they won't need a pitch count. Venditte can throw every day! And when manager Joe Girardi needs to call the bullpen, he can say, "Okay, get a righty and lefty throwing. In other words, get Pat." Of course, how would Girardi signal the bullpen? Touch both arms? Either way, it's a steal for the Yankees. As one scout says, "This could be an economical two-for-one." (Hey, Pat, ask for two salaries.)
Love the column, hate the column, got a better idea? Go here.
Want more Life of Reilly? Then check out the archive.
Be sure to check out Rick's latest project "Go Fish."
Only yesterday my wife and I were standing in a line behind two women, either mother and daughter or sisters, when I casually mentioned to my wife to look at those two rather large women, in some disparaging manner. I cast the eye of intolerance right on me for saying it. Being overly obese is not a situation of choice I am sure, and if it could be changed easily it would be. The physical discomfort has to be huge and the social tsk tsk overheard by an overly large person must be heartbreaking. I offer no remedy here either for the obesity or the intolerence of the general populatin, but I hate it when I make remarks like that and make my poor wife an unwilling accomplice. Perhaps we have two groups of people who should try harder.
C-SPAN released its second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, in which “65 presidential historians ranked the 42 former occupants of the White House on ten attributes of leadership.” Coming in first was Abraham Lincoln, followed by George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. Finishing last was James Buchanan. George W. Bush came in 36th, just beating out Millard Fillmore, who ranked 37th. A look at how historians judged Bush on measures such as his “economic management” and “moral authority”:
WHAT DID JAMES BUCHANAN DO OR NOT DO THAT EARNED HIM THE TITLE AS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER?
When James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the US died in 1868, he was reported to say the day before his death that history would one day vindicate him. So far, few historians have stepped up to this challenge because of Buchanan’s failures in office. In fact, he is considered to be one of the worst presidents to serve in office, and few of his decisions are regarded as anything but weak or unintelligent. During his time in office from 1857-1861, state secession began in earnest, and Buchanan did little to try and stop it.
James Buchanan is what people of his time called a “doughface,” a northerner, born in Pennsylvania in 1791, with strong Southern leanings. He supported slavery and states rights and refused to act when several Southern states seceded. He claimed that the states had no legal right to do so, but on the other hand, the Federal government had no legal right to stop states leaving the Union. His inaction would require the cleanup job of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction in order to reunify the US states.
Prior to serving as President, James Buchanan held numerous political offices. As a member of the Federalist Party, he was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he served from 1814-1820. He served later as chairman of the US House Committee on the Judiciary, and from 1832-1834 was appointed Minister to Russia. By then the Federalist Party had few remaining members, and James Buchanan became a Democrat. He served as a Democratic US Senator from 1834-45, and then as Secretary of State to President Polk from 1845-1849.
When elected President, it was clear that Buchanan’s sympathies were pro-slavery. He characterized the treatment of slaves as kind and humane, viewing the owning of slaves as a philanthropic gesture. Two years into his term, Republicans won house and senate majority and deadlocked virtually every major decision Buchanan tried to make. He responded by vetoing all bills Republicans tried to pass.
This would have been a bad enough presidential record, but became more so when James Buchanan showed no clear direction in acting against state secession. Seven states left the Union prior to Buchanan leaving office, and although Buchanan did some backpedaling to fill his cabinet with nationalists, his sympathies perhaps created a climate in which states felt they could leave. He also came down on the side of allowing territories to have slaves, feeling the question of whether slavery should be allowed in territories shouldn’t be addressed until the territory applied for state status.
President James Buchanan served one term in office, and seemed quite relieved to leave the Presidency and retire to his estate, Wheatland. He spent the remainder of his life managing his estate, and published his memoirs Mr. Buchanan’s Administration on the Eve of Rebellion. He was the first president to publish memoirs and also the first unmarried president. He never married and unproven suppositions exist regarding his close personal friendship with Senator William Rufus King. Buchanan hoped vainly, on the day before his death, that history would prove his greatness as president. Given his actions and pro-slavery stance, this is unlikely to occur ever, and historians, regardless of political leanings view Buchanan as a disastrous choice to lead the US.
May 6, 2009
Last nights results from Sotheby's, regarding 'La Chat' which I had made mention of yesterday:
The other big-ticket item — and another casualty of the evening — was “The Cat,” a bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. Made in 1951 and cast in 1959 in an edition of eight, it was expected to bring $16 million to $24 million, but aside from two bottom feeders, nobody wanted to take the cat home. As with the Picasso, the auction house had tried unsuccessfully to sell the sculpture privately for a higher price than the estimate earlier this year.
May 5, 2009
The auction house expects to fetch more than $12 million (US) for this Giacometti sculpture of a cat, which has been in the hands of a private collector for the past two generations.
Le Chat will go on public display at Sotheby's in Moscow on April 1-2, in London on April 22-25 and in New York on May 1-5.
It will be offered at Sotheby's evening sale of impressionist and modern art in New York on May 5.
An excerpt from an e-mail from one sister to another. Both of whom I have known for approximately fifty-six years.
I saw the fat butt ground hog eating in our yard yesterday. We went out to the tractor store today and a young woman working there said they are "evil." I thought that was cute, but it's true. I want to try growing carrots, but he would eat them all and I can't very well grow them in hanging pots. She recommended something that farmers use to get rid of them. I'm not crazy about killing it, that bothers me a bit but "big butt" dashes under the shed in the back and I don't like to go there in case it's lying in wait and decides to leap out and bites me in the ankle!! :-[
I love both the correspondents and one more club member of their sisterhood. We've seen each other grow up, and I will venture an educated guess that we all can't get our collective heads around the fact that we are at this juncture of the adventure. They still maintain their sense of discovery, their sense of humor, and can find something that excites them after all these years.
I like to periodically thank them all, especially the middle one for taking me in as a member of their exclusive club.
May 4, 2009
May 3, 2009
Jack Kemp, the football player turned congressman and Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1996, passed away last night from cancer at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. Once a quarterback for the Bills, where he won two championships, Kemp then became a congressman in Buffalo and was one of the first Republicans to embrace supply-side economics. He also worked to recruit minorities to the Republican Party. Bob Dole chose him as a running mate in 1996, though the two did not like each other. Kemp once said, “In a recent fire, Bob Dole’s library burned down. Both books were lost. And he hadn’t even finished coloring one of them.” Kemp was 73.
Wow, the statement about Bob Dole was a little harsh I'd say.