Presidents Day 2014

MartinVanBurenFrom JEOPARDY show 6666: MY “SON”, THE PRESIDENT (each answer has the word “son” in it)
*Chronologically, he was the first who fits the category
*He was preceded & succeeded as president by the same man
*He beat Clinton–DeWitt Clinton–in 1812
*For refusing to shine the boots of a British officer as a child, he got a saber across the face
*He whipped 2 former presidents in the same election by an electoral score of 435-88-8

Another quiz question: Who was the last president to outpoll non-voters in a presidential race?

Some music trivia: What blues legend, who performed under a pseudonym, was actually named after a US President?

(Answers at the end)

Nixontapes.org is the only website dedicated solely to the scholarly production and dissemination of digitized Nixon tape audio and transcripts. We have the most complete digitized Nixon tape collection in existence–approximately 2,300 hours spread over 2.5 terabytes of hard drives that contain more than 7,000 audio files. This is the only website in the world that makes the complete collection of Nixon tapes available directly to the public in a user-friendly format, free of charge.” There are a total of 3,700 hours of tapes, so the job is only 2/3s done!”

The song The ’68 Nixon (This Year’s Model)- Denver, Boise & Johnson [LISTEN]. And here are the LYRICS.

Thomas Jefferson’s Silent Armies. Also, re TJ: Esopus Spitzenburg and the Newtown Pippin.

James Garfield: good at math.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, were the official witnesses of a marriage between two women in Maine last September. “Several other notable Republicans have voiced support for gay marriage, including Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush.” That last sentence I did not know; didn’t seem evident during his administration.

If Hillary Clinton becomes President, will she name Bill as Secretary of State? No, she can’t, unless they get divorced. And I gather the law banning it was in reaction to John Kennedy naming his brother Bobby as Attorney General.

“Expansionism and intervention are oppressive forms of activism. From that perspective, it’s easier to arrive at the four worst Presidents.

Five-year-old kid who knows more about US Presidents than most people I meet.

And a 12-year-old girl who showed that all the Presidents, save for one, have a common, royal, ancestor; that would be 42 of 43 Presidents, despite what the article headline reads. And there is only one President whose native language was not English, and that would be that same outlier, the guy pictured.

ANSWERS –
Who was:
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
James Madison
Andrew Jackson
Woodrow Wilson

and Theodore Roosevelt.
I had guessed LBJ, who beat Barry AuH2O badly in 1964. Dan reminded me that “Johnson got the highest vote total of the century, but the non-voters still beat him. Goldwater’s veep went to Albany Law School. He was also the first Catholic veep nominee for the Re-pubs. His name? [which I DID remember] ‘Here’s a riddle, it’s a killer/ Who the hell is William Miller?’ His daughter is comedienne and talk show host Stephanie Miller.”

The musical answer is Howlin’ Wolf, who was born Chester Arthur Burnett.

Oh, the guy pictured: Martin Van Buren, whose native language was Dutch. This was a quiz on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanapoulous earlier this year, and NONE of the panelists got it right.

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ARA: The way my mind works

CHRIS: Ooo, what does the infinity symbol symbolize?

Gee, I thought it was a sidewards eight.

Good on your with the presidents thing. The three presidents in one year has happened twice and three in two years but more than one year happened once (by my count using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States), none of which I knew before the discussion came up.

Three in one year was 1841 and 1881, that’s correct. Hadn’t thought about three in two years, but that would be 1849-1850, with Polk, Taylor and Fillmore.

Which brings me to my next question: how do you learn so many random things? Did you, for example, set out to memorize all the presidents and the years? Or does your brain do that “naturally”?

After minutes of self-psychoanalysis, this is what I’ve concluded Continue reading

ARA: Sports and superheroes

Chris Honeycutt asked:

Do you like sports other than baseball? Which ones?

I like to play volleyball and racquetball, but haven’t played either for a while. I like to bowl, but my knee is inhibiting that.

I enjoy watching football, and believe it is the PERFECT sport for instant replay. But I tend to follow the NFL, rather than college, and generally only from the end of World Series on.

Basketball I don’t watch until Continue reading

The Presidency; home alone

Scott is back with more questions: In the first one hundred years of the US, which president do you find the most fascinating?

Who do you find the most fascinating US president after those first one hundred years?

It occurred to me that, depending on how you measure the first 100 years, one could put Grover Cleveland in both chronological camps, since the first President under the current Constitution was elected in 1789, and Cleveland’s terms were 1885-1889 and 1893-1897. Not that I would, but I COULD.

There are a number of early Presidents who I find fascinating: Jefferson, Madison, JQ Adams, Jackson (for the wrong reasons), but primarily for their service before (or in Adams’ case, after) the Presidency. It’s hard to argue with choices such as Washington or Lincoln.

Still, I’ll pick Continue reading

Presidents Day 2013: books, 1912, and longevity out of office

JEOPARDY! Show #6451 – Monday, October 8, 2012

THE 1912 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

*With his opponents dividing the vote, this Democratic challenger was elected
*This incumbent president accepted the Republican nomination & did no campaigning; electoral votes: 8
*Theodore Roosevelt used this metaphor when announcing his run, hence the button seen here
*Eugene V. Debs garnered almost 1 million votes representing this left-leaning party
*Everyone wanted change even back then; the opposing campaign slogans were The ____ Freedom & The ____ Nationalism (same word)

2012 was a big year for Abraham Lincoln. He was featured in two movies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and that other one. But he did NOT Continue reading

The Arthurian election reform article

After the 2012 Presidential election – thank every deity it is over – you may recall that only a handful of states were crucial to the decision – Ohio! Florida! Virginia! The Democratic “blue” states – New York, California – were not in play, nor were the Republican “red” states such as Texas. Candidates didn’t campaign in those because of most states’ “winner-take-all” mechanism when it came to the Electoral College. All the electoral votes of a state would go to one candidate. (The upside is that I missed the vast majority of the political ads.)

So the recent Republican plan to change states from winner-takes-all, the way every state, except Maine and Nebraska, does it, to awarding electoral votes by Congressional District, seems to be more fair. And it would be, if Congressional boundary lines were drawn equitably.

But as Arthur@AmeriNZ noted Continue reading

Movie Review: Hyde Park on the Hudson

The back story, part 1: The movie Hyde Park on the Hudson is based on the papers of some fifth cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When she died at the age of 100 or so, it was revealed that FDR and Daisy had had a sexual and emotional liaison.

The back story, part 2: My family went to Hyde Park just this past summer, which is largely why The Wife and I decided to see this film this past Saturday, at the Spectrum 8 Theatre. The room was about 2/3s full.

The strength of this movie is in many of the details that it gets right Continue reading

40 Years Ago: My 1st Presidential Vote, for George McGovern

There were a LOT of people running for the Democratic nomination for President against Richard Nixon in 1972. The general consensus early on, though, was that Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine would be the selection. He had been the Vice-Presidential nominee in 1968, and had been a credible candidate in a close race. But he was sunk early on by the crying incident, which, to this day, I find utterly bewildering, and dropped out of the race early on.

This seemed to give segregationist Governor George Wallace of Alabama some momentum, much to the chagrin of all right-minded people. Continue reading

A book I ought to read: Jesus for President

There was a study of a book in Albany called Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. Claiborne was even in town, leading some workshop. But I was busy. Then I read this excerpt of the book in my church newsletter:
“Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal and powerful.”

Sounds like my kind of book.

From the preface:
Continue reading

President Rogers? President Picard?

Chris writes:
Okay, another one:

What comic book hero would make the best US president? Or Star Trek character, your choice.

I ask this one because one of the best political discussions I’ve ever gotten into was “Who from Star Trek would make the best president?” I was utterly shocked at some of the choices!

Sounds silly, right? Ancient Greek philosophers talked about who from Mt. Olympus was fit for office…

Or both. Why not?

I think about Steve Rogers, a/k/a Captain America. I was watching a commercial Continue reading