Resquiescat in Pace: Mary Tyler Moore

 

 

Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80?  Impossible! One of the favorite actresses of my youth, she was a master of comedy, perhaps not greatly appreciated for it because she made it look so easy.  To me she will always be associated with the years of my childhood in the sixties and seventies.  A reluctant icon of feminism, she was clear that she did not agree with radical feminists and that the most important role for any woman was that of mother.  A moderate liberal in her youth, she became politically conservative as she grew older.  Unlike many in her industry she did not seek to inflict her political opinions on her fans.  One of the treasured memories of her life was when she and her mother had a private audience with Pope John Paul II.  Like many comediennes and comedians, she had much sorrow in her life.  May she know the Joy Eternal in the world to come.

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Published in: on January 30, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Resquiescat in Pace: Mary Tyler Moore  
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Winter War

Something for the weekend.  Finlandia Hymn.  My Bride and I are off to Winter War 44, a war gaming and rpg convention that I have been attending since 1976.  Go here to read about it.  We usually pick up some new games from the vendors and more at the game auction.  Twenty-five years ago we brought our four month old twin baby boys through a blizzard to their first war game convention.  Ah, time is a river and the current runs fast.

For the more venturesome, or crazed, among you, here is a link to Open General, a free computer game that has dozens of campaigns and hundreds of scenarios set in various time periods in which you command various military units to achieve the victory conditions of the scenario you are playing.  If you choose to download it, follow the installation instructions carefully.  Happy gaming!

Published in: on January 28, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Winter War  
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God Bless the USA

It is thought by many, and said by some, that this republic has already seen its best days; that the historian may now write the story of its decline and fall. Two classes of men are just now especially afflicted with such forebodings. The first are those who are croakers by nature. The men who have a taste for funerals, and especially national funerals. They never see the bright side of anything, and probably never will. Like the raven in the lines of Edgar A. Poe, they have learned two words, and those are, ‘never more’. They usually begin by telling us what we never shall see.

Frederick Douglass, December 7, 1869

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  This rendition of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA seems very appropriate as a new administration begins.  We Americans are a tough and resilient people, something our adversaries frequently forget and something we too also sometimes fail to remember.

Published in: on January 21, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on God Bless the USA  
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March 4, 1841: Longest Inaugural Address

 

 

 

President William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in American history.  He spoke for one hour and forty-five minutes in a howling snow storm, without wearing a hat or a coat.   Catching pneumonia, he died one month later.  Here is the text of his address:

 

 

Called from a retirement which I had supposed was to continue for the residue of my life to fill the chief executive office of this great and free nation, I appear before you, fellow-citizens, to take the oaths which the Constitution prescribes as a necessary qualification for the performance of its duties; and in obedience to a custom coeval with our Government and what I believe to be your expectations I proceed to present to you a summary of the principles which will govern me in the discharge of the duties which I shall be called upon to perform.

It was the remark of a Roman consul in an early period of that celebrated Republic that a most striking contrast was observable in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them, they seldom carrying out in the latter case the pledges and promises made in the former. However much the world may have improved in many respects in the lapse of upward of two thousand years since the remark was made by the virtuous and indignant Roman, I fear that a strict examination of the annals of some of the modern elective governments would develop similar instances of violated confidence.

Although the fiat of the people has gone forth proclaiming me the Chief Magistrate of this glorious Union, nothing upon their part remaining to be done, it may be thought that a motive may exist to keep up the delusion under which they may be supposed to have acted in relation to my principles and opinions; and perhaps there may be some in this assembly who have come here either prepared to condemn those I shall now deliver, or, approving them, to doubt the sincerity with which they are now uttered. But the lapse of a few months will confirm or dispel their fears. The outline of principles to govern and measures to be adopted by an Administration not yet begun will soon be exchanged for immutable history, and I shall stand either exonerated by my countrymen or classed with the mass of those who promised that they might deceive and flattered with the intention to betray. However strong may be my present purpose to realize the expectations of a magnanimous and confiding people, I too well understand the dangerous temptations to which I shall be exposed from the magnitude of the power which it has been the pleasure of the people to commit to my hands not to place my chief confidence upon the aid of that Almighty Power which has hitherto protected me and enabled me to bring to favorable issues other important but still greatly inferior trusts heretofore confided to me by my country. (more…)

Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on March 4, 1841: Longest Inaugural Address  
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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Frederick Douglass

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us… I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury.

January 26, 1865-Frederick Douglass

Published in: on January 16, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Quotes Suitable for Framing: Frederick Douglass  
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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1895

A quote for all bloggers to keep in mind.

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt  
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January 11, 1917: Zimmermann Telegram Sent

 

 

I assume that there must be a greater example of diplomatic folly than the Zimmermann Telegram, but I cannot think of it at the moment.  Believing that the entry of the US into the Great War was inevitable with the planned resumption by Germany of unrestricted submarine warfare against neutral shipping, the German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann on January 11, 1917 sent the following telegram in code to the German ambassador to Mexico Heinrich von Eckardt:

“We intend to begin on the first of February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. In the event of this not succeeding, we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The settlement in detail is left to you. You will inform the President of the above most secretly as soon as the outbreak of war with the United States of America is certain and add the suggestion that he should, on his own initiative, invite Japan to immediate adherence and at the same time mediate between Japan and ourselves. Please call the President’s attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace.” Signed, ZIMMERMANN

The sheer madness of this cannot be overstated.  Mexico was still in the throes of the Mexican Revolution and posed no threat to the US.  The US had recently demonstrated that it could dispatch military forces into Mexico with impunity.  Threatening the physical integrity of the US converted a far off European conflict into a direct threat against the US.  If the US did intervene in the Great War, an additional conflict with Mexico would barely resister in regard to the immense military mobilization that the US would undergo.

 

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Published in: on January 11, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments (6)  
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Longest State of the Union

 

At just over a thousand words, George Washington delivered the shortest State of the Union address.  The longest was by Jimmy Carter on January 16, 1981 at 33, 667 words.  Mercifully he sent it as a written message rather than delivering it as a speech.  If he had attempted to give it as a speech, he would have been speaking for around six hours.  Here is the text:

 

 

 

To the Congress of the United States:
The State of the Union is sound. Our economy is recovering from a recession. A national energy plan is in place and our dependence on foreign oil is decreasing. We have been at peace for four uninterrupted years.
But, our Nation has serious problems. Inflation and unemployment are unacceptably high. The world oil market is increasingly tight. There are trouble spots throughout the world, and 53 American hostages are being held in Iran against international law and against every precept of human affairs.1
However, I firmly believe that, as a result of the progress made in so many domestic and international areas over the past four years, our Nation is stronger, wealthier, more compassionate and freer than it was four years ago. I am proud of that fact. And I believe the Congress should be proud as well, for so much of what has been accomplished over the past four years has been due to the hard work, insights and cooperation of Congress. I applaud the Congress for its efforts and its achievements.
In this State of the Union Message I want to recount the achievements and progress of the last four years and to offer recommendations to the Congress for this year. While my term as President will end before the 97th Congress begins its work in earnest, I hope that my recommendations will serve as a guide for the direction this country should take so we build on the record of the past four years.

 

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Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Longest State of the Union  
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January 8, 1790: Washington Delivers First State of the Union Address

 

On January 8, 1790 George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.  Then called the Annual Message, the practice of the President delivering a speech to Congress would be ended by Thomas Jefferson who regarded such a practice as monarchical, too much like the British King’s Speech From the Throne at the beginning of Parliaments.  Perhaps, or perhaps it was simply that Jefferson was a bad public speaker and hated making speeches.  At any rate the custom of delivering the Annual Message to Congress in writing endured for over a century until Wilson revived delivering the Message via a speech to a joint session of Congress.

Wahington’s speech is the shortest state of the union address on record.  In that, as in so much else, one might wish that his successors had observed Washington’s example.  Here is the text of Washington’s address:

 

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:
I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity. (more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Brennan on the Moor

 

Something for the weekend.  Brennan on the Moor sung by the Clancy Brothers.  The song dates from the 1840s, and is loosely based on the exploits of Irish bandit Willie Brennan who was hanged in the early part of nineteenth century.  Over time the song became a favorite of Irish troops before they went into battle.  The song was introduced to a wider audience in America when it was recorded by American folk singer and actor Burl Ives in 1949. (more…)

Published in: on January 7, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Brennan on the Moor  
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