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Found 19 results

  1. This is perhaps the most important hour of television in history. CBS News interrupts "As the World Turns" at about the 10:00 point, and by the 45:00 point, Kennedy's death is essentially confirmed. Walter Cronkite was frantically trying to get a camera activated, and Dan Rather was corresponding from Dallas. The unfolding of events on television is nearly as newsworthy as the story itself. Still, this is up there with the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, and the only thing comparable in the past fifty years was 9/11 - I guess these are the three-biggest news events of my lifetime.
  2. President George H.W. and First Lady Barbara Bush (1925-2018) were married for 73 years. Nov 30, 2018 - "George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, Dies at 94" by Karen Tumulty on washingtonpost.com
  3. The Watergate Scandal is the first news item I can ever remember being thoroughly *sick* of hearing about (I was 11). Forty-five years ago today, there was this: "On This Day, Nixon Assures Reporters He's 'Not a Crook'" on upi.com
  4. Here is a list, ordered by descending frequency, of the official offices U.S. Presidents held prior to becoming U.S. President, along with the year in which the most-recent example began their Presidential term. As of this writing, there have been 44 U.S. Presidents, including Grover Cleveland who is on the list twice due to a gap between terms: 14 - U.S. Vice-President (1989) 10 - State Governor (2001) 5 - U.S. Senator (2009) 4 - U.S. Armed Forces General (1953) 3 - U.S. Secretary of State (1825) 2 - U.S. Minister (1857) 2 - U.S. Representative (1881) 1 - U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1929) 1 - U.S. Secretary of War (1909) 1 - U.S. President (1893) 1 - Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army (1789) --- 44
  5. ah, 1902! I remember it well. Wasn't that the year that the Cuban republic was formed, after the US beat poor little Spain to a bloody, whimpering pulp? The year the Charron, Girardot et Voigt , the first fully armoured "tank", was introduced at the Salon de l'Automobile et du cycle in Brussels? Even looks fun to drive! (q.v.). The year that miserable old wretch Cecil Rhodes, the worst figure in the whole of European colonization of Africa, finally did the long-suffering universe a good turn by shoving off into eternal damnation?
  6. This is my absolute favorite U.S. President trivia question, because it's one where you hear the answer, say, "I don't believe it," and go running off to Google to disprove it. Here's the question: Between the 1948 "Dewey defeats Truman" election, and the 2008 "First Barack Obama" election, how many Presidential elections didn't include Nixon, Dole, or Bush on the ticket? Run your mouse over this for the answer, which will simply floor you: ONE
  7. This has troubled me for many years, so I'm just going to put it out there, without much comment. I find it terribly sad that our Jewish actors, actresses, and others in Hollywood found (and still find) the need to make the U.S. public believe that they aren't Jewish. When our Jewish entertainers decide to stop changing their names in order to pander to middle America, that will be a sign that we're living in a post-racist society; until then, this is essentially the free market dictating behavior, and I find it sad, pathetic, and infuriating. If this falls under the eyes of any Jew who has changed their name for public acceptance, I'm really sorry you felt the need to do this. However, the one thing you are absolutely not allowed to do, going forward, is to pressure gays and lesbians to come out - you've lost that right. --- Note: I had originally posted a video, which quietly went through a large list of Jewish entertainers who had changed their names not to sound Jewish, but after watching the entire thing, I didn't like what I saw as the motivation behind making the video (quite frankly, it seemed anti-Jewish), so I deleted it. However, there are many examples on the internet, for example, this list on IMDB which is not limited to the Jewish people. Peace to all, Rocks
  8. The text: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." My first comment is that in Boolean Algebra (granted, something the Founding Fathers didn't know much about), AND takes precedence over OR. That's something that should at least be discussed. It's possible that in 1791, a string of ORs was ended by an AND - whatever was common practice at the time must be honored as intent. My first question is: Are the last two items ("the right of the people peaceably to assemble" and "to petition the government for a redress of grievances") more strongly linked (because of the AND) than any of the other two items? Or are they all considered equal members in a list? My second question is: What about the separation of church and state? Does the second clause ("prohibiting the free exercise thereof") mean that Congress is not allowed to pass a law, for example, making human sacrifices illegal, should a new religion be established (see the first clause) that calls for them? The Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, is *very* poorly worded - I'm sorry to say that, but it's true. These people may have known how to fight, but they didn't know how to write. Yet, here we are, slavishly following a poorly conceived and poorly written document. The Founding Fathers just weren't all that smart.
  9. Believe it or not, there are two communities of Markham, Virginia - Heartland Orchard is in Fauquier County, and the other is in Pittsylvania County. Fauquier County was founded in 1759, and named after Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia Colony. Pittsylvania County was founded in 1767, and named after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham.
  10. Did you know that Memorial Day was originally known as "Decoration Day," and observed on May 30? It has fuzzy beginnings that differ in the North and the South (with the American Civil War, and related issues, being a major influence). The name wasn't formally changed until 1968, by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (note also this proclamation by President Lyndon Johnson), and beginning in 1971, the act officially stated that it was to be observed on the final Monday of each May. There's a lot to read about it - you can spend five minutes, or five years, studying its history. For many, Memorial Day and Labor Day mark the beginning and end of summer; for me, they are (as well as being serious commemorations) convenient placemarks for the French Open and the U.S. Open: two slices of bread that sandwich Wimbledon, the Australian Open being the pickle on the side of the plate.
  11. I watched "Roots" when I was fifteen years old, having absolutely *no* real-life experience to lend the series context - I lived in a sheltered, upper-middle class suburb, and had absolutely no exposure to any of this, except what I was taught in school. Having recently watched movies such as "Django Unchained," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" "Do the Right Thing," and "12 Years a Slave," I thought it was high time for *me* to do the right thing, and get back to the roots of all these movies - the original 1977 miniseries, which caused an incredible stir when it was released. It was hard to watch then, and I suspect it will be even harder to watch now that I have life's experiences behind me. I remember very well, about twenty years ago, a Jewish friend of mine watched all of "Shoah" - no small task - because he promised himself that he would, as a Jew, in order to educate himself and remember what happened to his people. For a similar - but opposite - reason, I'm watching Roots: Not because of what happened *to* my people, but because of what my people did *to* another race of innocents. Do I feel *personally* responsible for what occurred? I wasn't born yet, so how could I? Do I feel a responsibility for what occurred? Of course I do - primarily because it's still going on. A successful television broadcast is now considered to be about 10 million viewers - even though Roots got off to a relatively slow start, episode #1 was the only episode of the 8 - which ran every day for a week - that pulled in less than 30 million. It was remarkably successful, and well-received by both critics and the general public alike. Roots won 9 Emmy Awards with 28 nominations, and 1 Golden Globe Award with 2 nominations. Maybe I'm being a touch dramatic, but I hope this post inspires others to rewatch this important series. Amazon has the first episode for free, hoping to reel in viewers who will purchase the entire series for $34.99. I refuse to pay this, and am wondering if anyone knows where it can be viewed for less money. Alex Haley wrote the book (see below for additional information), and is implicitly credited as a Writer in all six episodes. There are simply too many stars in this series to do anything but add simple links for them - refer to their Wikipedia links for all the other work they've done - this would be a fool's errand for me to attempt. Jan 23 - Jan 29, 1977 - Episode List and Timetable Episode 1 - Directed by David Greene (Director of "Sebastian"), Written by William Blinn (Screenwriter of "Brian's Song") and Ernest Kinoy (Writer of "I Wouldn't Start from Here" on "Route 66") Featuring Edward Asner, O.J. Simpson, Ralph Waite, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Maya Angelou, Moses Gunn, Thalmus Rasulala, Hari Rhodes, William Watson, Renn Woods, Levar Burton, Cicely Tyson, Ernest Thomas, Rebecca Bess, Henry Butts, Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 - Episode 6 - When the first episode ended, the first thing I thought of was the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda: A few *morons* with letter openers brought down the World Trade Center, killing thousands in the process. It takes so little to do so much damage, and although slavery was a large institution, the protagonists in Episode 1 were just a few dozen idiots. Ironically, the victims of this crime against humanity were Muslim. I'm not sure how historically accurate that is (Alex Haley was caught plagiarizing parts of his book), but in Ghana, i,e., Northwest Africa, it's not impossible. "Miniseries: Roots Special" on pbs.org May 27, 2016 - "Roots: Behind the 1977 Series that Started a National Conversation" by Alynda Wheat on people.com
  12. A series of posts here in dr.com ( TV piece on Con Thien and a discussion about My Lai with researched comments by Brian R (that I appreciated) about the Vietnam conflict and a recent series of articles in the NYTimes has reawakened me to the Vietnam period: The most recent article in the NYTimes: The Grunts War by Kyle Longley a Professor of History and Political Science at Arizona State University Longley has studied and published extensively on the Vietnam period. I turned draft eligible during the conflict, received a student deferment and by the time the US involvement in the war ended my college years ended. I didn't serve. I was around and affected by the tremendous level of political acrimony attached to that period. In many ways the political environment of that time mirrored the politicization of this period. On top of the politicization around the Vietnam War there were also tremendously violent Urban Race Riots in the 1960's and later. The period was rife with political strife and politicization as it is today. I find similarities between then and now. While currently we are involved in military engagements overseas they are clearly less involving than earlier in the past 15+ years. Our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are far less involved than during the 2000's. Far fewer American soldiers involved and far fewer American soldiers dying in conflict. Going back to the Grunts War, Longley references that almost 300,000 American's entered military service in 1967. He references that they were all drafted. But records from the selective service state that about 220-230,000 were drafted. (I haven't found data to work through that discrepancy.) Additionally Longley refers to the fact at that time that soldiers entered military service with a 1 year or 13 month commitment (Marines). Once their term was up they left service. Clearly some re upped but most didn't. One year of service. One astounding difference between then and now or in the 2000's when the US was fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan was that during Vietnam a drafted soldier or enlistee has a definitive discreet period of service. During Iraq and Afghanistan and to this day, soldiers and members of the reserves are called up for multiple periods of duty. This could and does go on for years. Prior to Vietnam there were drafts associated with Korea, WWII and WWI and enormous numbers of young men fought overseas. Huge numbers. We live in different times.
  13. I suspect most people don't have direct recall of the 1824 U.S. Presidential Election, but it was (so far) a unique clusterfuck, never yet repeated ... but it *could* be. Whether they know it or not, many people today are discussing the 12th Amendment, which was ratified on Jun 15, 1804. The 12th Amendment is our current system of electing Presidents, and each President since 1804 has been elected using it. The full text of the 12th Amendment is included at the bottom of this post, and the key provision as applied to the 1824 election is the first sentence of the third paragraph. In the election of 1824 - to determine our 6th President - there were four serious candidates: John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay. At the end of the election, none of the four had a majority of electoral votes - thus, the election was turned over to the House of Representatives. It bears repeating that there is nothing stopping this from happening again today, in the 21st century. Although Andrew Jackson received a plurality of both electoral and popular votes, he didn't receive a majority. Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House, openly hated Andrew Jackson, and threw his support behind John Quincy Adams (the Speaker of the House right now is Paul Ryan). It isn't difficult to see, given the scenario, that John Quincy Adams was elected President by the House of Representatives, and Andrew Jackson was, in a word, livid - he fully expected to be elected President given that he won a plurality of both the electoral and popular vote. Here's the *real* controversy: before the House voted on the President, accusations were made (even printed in a newspaper) that Clay sold his support to Adams in exchange for an under-the-table promise to be named Secretary of State (the Secretary of State right now is John Kerry). Not long after Adams won, he indeed offered Clay the position of Secretary of State, and Clay accepted the job - thus, one of the biggest scandals, if not *the* biggest scandal, in American Presidential Election history (see the term "Corrupt Bargain.") I repeat: There are no safeguards in place to prevent this from happening again. The time to fix your furnace is not during a snowstorm - if this ever happens again, people will be furious, but they have a chance to fix the problem - assuming there is a problem - right now. The 12th Amendment The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.[Note 1] The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.[1]
  14. I don't remember this commercial per se, but I definitely remember the chorus of this song at the end - Zip Codes have only been around for about 50 years (or, at least, that's whey then started marketing the use of them). Call me lifeless, but I've watched this entire video three times.
  15. It is unbelievable that during my lifetime the "Trusty System" (*not* "Trustee System) of prison administration was legal in the United States, but not much about this country's institutions surprises me anymore. It wasn't until "Gates v. Collier" was decided in 1971 that the Trusty System was abolished. Essentially, the inmates were running the asylum - for real (read the Wikipedia entry above, and your jaw will drop). I'm rewatching "Brubaker," and that's the only reason I've even heard about this crazy method of prison administration. I feel so sorry for prisoners in the South, and the further back in time you go, the worse-and-worse it must have been for them. God only knows how many human beings were violated for illegal, personal gain. Anyway, I was completely unfamiliar with the term "Trusty System" (where the appointed inmates were called "Trusties," not "Trustees.") - and I didn't pick up on it when I first watched Brubaker, long ago. Chalk one up for the internet - the greatest educational tool ever invented.
  16. This is only tangentially related to our "Unelected Presidents" thread. Statistics can be made to lie, so let me do so here for dramatic effect: 1789-1841 (52 years) - The first seven U.S. Presidents 1841-1853 (12 years) - The second seven U.S. Presidents This is why, when asked to name the U.S. Presidents, even reasonably well-educated people begin to stumble just after Andrew Jackson, the seventh President. We all know that Abraham Lincoln was #16, but knowing #8-15 is difficult because none were particularly famous (unless you consider Millard Fillmore famous). In one month (the period from Mar 4, 1841 - Apr 4, 1841), *three* Presidents were in office, as William Henry Harrison died just one month into his term. Not a whole hell-of-a-lot happened in the 1840s, with the exceptions being the annexation of Texas (1845), the Mexican-American war (1846), and the California gold rush (1849). Granted, those are three pretty big events, but considering the young, volatile nature of the nation, and what occurred both before and after this period, it was pretty tame in comparison, and nobody really stood out as a leader. During the 1850s, there was Dred Scott (1857), the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858), and John Brown's raid (1859), all three of which were really leading up to the next decade. So, if you're ever in the mood to memorize the U.S. Presidents, you might want to start with #8-15, because they're probably the most difficult to remember. As an amateur student of history, I can promise you that learning about U.S. history is a *lot* easier if you know who the Presidents were, and when they were in office.
  17. *1841 - John Tyler: The only year we saw three different Presidents, as William Henry Harrison passed away after only one month in office *1850 - Millard Fillmore: The first two Presidents to die in office were ex-soldiers, Harrison (Battle of Tippecanoe) and Zachary Taylor (Mexican-American War) *1865 - Andrew Johnson: Shortly after Abraham Lincoln won his second term, he became the first President to be assassinated *1881 - Chester Arthur: Assumed office after the assassination of James Garfield 1901 - Theodore Roosevelt: After the assassination of William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt became the first unelected President to subsequently be elected 1923 - Calvin Coolidge: Assumed office after Warren Harding died after two years as President 1945 - Harry Truman: Yes, he was Franklin Roosevelt's Vice-President for 82 days during Roosevelt's fourth-and-final term 1963 - Lyndon Johnson: Sworn into office aboard Air Force One after the assassination of John Kennedy *1974 - Gerald Ford: The only U.S. President never to be on a Presidential ticket, becoming Vice-President for Spiro Agnew, then President after Richard Nixon resigned The country went 52 years without an unelected President, and we are now on our second-longest streak at 42 years. * The United States has had a total of five presidents who were never elected, i.e., after they assumed the Presidency, they never won reelection. Died in office: William Harrison, Taylor, Harding, and Franklin Roosevelt Assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy Resigned: Nixon A small sample size to be sure, but over a 20% chance of vacating the office early, by one means or another.
  18. When I was younger, I felt that Affirmative Action was wrong - that it was just perpetuating the problem of discrimination. Now that I'm older (wiser? kinder? softer?), I see legitimate arguments for both sides. In particular, I see people of color having been financially penalized for centuries, and white people having profited and having accumulated wealth because they had what is essentially free labor. Do we owe black Americans financial compensation for what we, as a society, did to them? Perhaps in the form of Affirmative Action? Even if it means costing a more-qualified white person a job and giving it to a less-qualified black person? (I'm not saying "give it to just anyone," but there are plenty of black people who, even if they aren't *the* most qualified, are still very worthy of placing into a position.) And yes, it sucks that a more-qualified white person has to get the short end of this stick, but their ancestors got the long end of the stick for hundreds of years, resulting in wealth that has passed down through families. I've actually *taken* affirmative action on this website: I wrote the local chapter of the NAACP, and asked them how to increase black membership, which I very much want to do. (I never heard back from them.) I tried, and I'm willing to try again, but I don't know what to do. My views have changed on this subject over the years. I firmly believe that black people (I hope I'm using the correct terminology here - I honestly have no idea) have gotten shafted for so long that it has created a culture of lower-class (I'm talking lower financial class) citizens that would not have been lower-class had their ancestors been given a fair chance. Let's get real: not only weren't they "given a fair chance"; they were *slaves*, for God's sake. Do I feel personally responsible for slavery? Hell no. Do I feel like as a society, white people have reaped financial benefits from oppressing black people? Hell yes. The question is: What to do about it? All intelligent, thoughtful discussion, on both sides of this issue (and yes, there are at least two legitimate sides to this issue, with lots of gray area in between), is welcome and encouraged, and I look forward to reading your thoughts. Issues such as this need to be addressed head-on, without fear of retribution for discussing them. There will be no censorship of thoughtful opinions or viewpoints. Without actually "knowing," I know that this website has a very low percentage of blacks - I hate that fact, and want to change it, but I don't know what to do. I honestly don't see this issue as being political in a "conservative vs. liberal" sense; I see it as being moral. I'm not sure what's right, and I'm not sure what's wrong. I'm not sure what's fair, and I'm not sure what's unfair. All I'm sure of is that I want everyone to have an equal chance in this world, and that hasn't happened in the past.
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