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Found 9 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. I just watched this episode of the Dick van Dyke show, probably for the first time in thirty years. In it, Rob Petrie mentions Mathew Brady, and I'm saying to myself, 'Who in the heck is Mathew Brady?!' Well, Mathew Brady is perhaps the photographer whose work you've seen more than any other in your entire life! Every time you pull out a penny, or a five-dollar bill, you're looking at a Mathew Brady. Who knew?
  6. 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]
  7. 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.
  8. *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.
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