If Wilson was so incapacitated by the end of his presidency, how did he go to Harding's inauguration?
The outgoing President Wilson was dressed by his valet and helped into a car with President-elect Harding for their trip from the White House to the Capitol for the Inauguration, but Wilson was in such bad shape that he wasn’t able to walk from the car to the East Portico of the Capitol for the actual inaugural ceremony. He did take part in the tradition of the outgoing President and the new President traveling to the Capitol together, but all Wilson had to do was be put into a car for the trip (it was also the first time that an actual automobile was used for the inauguration). And that was basically the extent of his participation. Wilson didn’t actually witness Harding being sworn in as President.
The car ride itself was quite the spectacle. Harding was smiling and waving at the crowds lining the route, but Wilson just stared straight ahead, practically catatonic. Harding later revealed that Wilson had tears rolling down his cheeks during the ride.
In 1921, on the day of Harding’s Inauguration, Wilson rode with the President-elect from the White House to the Capitol. In the car, Harding was horrified to see that the President was weeping. When the motorcade halted, Harding leaped out and bounded up the Capitol steps, waving his hat at the crowd. Wilson stayed in the car as it inched ahead to a seldom-used freight door. There, concealed from the crowd by mounted police, guards lifted the President out of his seat and took him inside.
He had earlier suffered a massive stroke. As A. Scott Berg details in "Wilson" (Putnam), he had spent the last seventeen months of his Presidency almost entirely confined to his bed, the state of his health unknown to the public and little known even to his own Cabinet. He could see only out of a tiny corner of his right eye. His thoughts no longer came in trains but in torrents. He could not use his left arm. He could barely walk. By no means could he manage the Capitol steps. He could not possibly attend the Inauguration. “It cannot be done,” he said quietly.
So, he rode to the Capitol with Harding, but he wasn’t there for the actual Inauguration and he did nothing under his own power. “Incapacitated” is putting it mildly; he was partially paralyzed, dying, and wholly incapable of even preparing himself for a short ride down the street in a car let alone discharging the duties of President of the United States for nearly the last year-and-a-half of his term.
Are you one of those people who carry around a copy of the constitution with them? And if you are then why do you do it
And exactly what do you mean by "those people"?
In a way, yes, I do carry a copy of the Constitution around with me. I have an app on my phone of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Why? Well, the question should really be “why not?” But, I have it in case there is something I need to quickly reference for my writing or for a discussion. I’m pretty well-versed in the Constitution, but it’s always helpful to have the exact wording so that you can shoot down some of the ridiculous interpretations that people often have about it. Plus, it’s the Constitution! (and the Federalist Papers!) You should have a copy, too.
What do you think of the possibility of a Tea Party 3rd candidate in 2016?
If it happened, it would automatically hand the election over to the Democrats. A third party candidate would split the non-Democratic vote, and neither the mainstream Republican candidate or the third party Tea Party candidate would be able to garner the votes needed to win many, if any, states. It would result in a Democratic landslide in the Electoral College, and it would be catastrophic for the GOP.
An example of what this would look like is the 1912 election when incumbent President William Howard Taft, a Republican, was challenged by his mentor and predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, for the GOP nomination. Since Taft was President and the President is head of the party, Taft controlled enough delegates to hold on to the Republican nomination despite Roosevelt’s popularity nationally and scores of dissatisfied Republicans. When Taft was renominated, Roosevelt bolted from the party and became the Progressive Party (or “Bull Moose” Party) nominee. The Taft/Roosevelt split also fractured the Republican Party and the scattered any possible majority for President Taft or Roosevelt. It also drove many progressive Republicans towards the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, who pledged a progressive platform. Wilson hadn’t even served two years as Governor of New Jersey at that point (his only experience in elective politics), but the drama within the Republican Party during the 1912 election guaranteed Wilson’s victory so far out that Wilson spent much of the final weeks of the campaign working to elect Democratic members of Congress to work with him once he was elected President instead of focusing on his own campaign.
The final result was an Electoral College and popular vote bloodbath. In the Electoral College, Wilson won 435 votes to Roosevelt’s 88 and Taft’s 8. Wilson won 42% of the popular vote while Roosevelt won 27% and Taft won 23%. It would be very difficult for a third party candidate to win a Presidential election — not impossible, but very difficult. For a third party candidate to win, that party would likely need to be on the ballot in two or three Presidential elections first in order to gain exposure, complete ballot access nationally, and win the confidence of an electorate which has become conditioned to vote for one of two major parties. A third party candidate’s success in a Presidential election would also likely require a solid foundation on the local, state, and federal love, so that there is a base of supporters, surrogates, and other elected officials to advocate the party and its candidate. A third party’s success wouldn’t come from winning one Presidential election; it would come from electing members of Congress, Governors, local officials, and then winning a Presidential election. Like I said, it’s not impossible, but it is very difficult — and it is way harder now than it was in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt was just a few years removed from a very popular Presidency and one of the most famous people in the world.
Finally — and this is the most important thing pertaining to your question — a Tea Party candidate absolutely can not and will not ever win a national election. A third party candidate winning a Presidential election is unlikely but not impossible; a Tea Party candidate winning a Presidential election is impossible. There is no way to make the Electoral College math work for a Tea Party candidate on the national level. And if the Tea Party did run a third party candidate for President, that would be as a major protest against the mainstream Republican Party. It would sabotage the party’s shot at that particular election, and possibly even fatally split the party on a national level. Tea Party candidates can win (and have won) seats in Congress, but a national election victory isn’t even slightly possible. The GOP would do everything it could to prevent a third party candidate from the Tea Party running for President.
What are your thoughts on the democratic gubernatorial primary in New York between Andrew Cuomo and Zephyr Teachout?
I haven’t been paying attention to the gubernatorial primary in New York. I know that Governor Cuomo has been facing some issues in New York and that many of the groups which traditionally endorse incumbent Democrats have backed off of Cuomo, but I also believe that he’s not at risk of losing the Democratic primary to Teachout. She might make a dent in his margin of victory, but he’s not going to lose.
Do you think/know if Marilyn Monroe and JFK really had an affair or if there's any solid evidence to suggest they did? It's impossible to research, since they're both so iconic and everyone has an opinion (and that's before you factor in the conspiracy theories). I always thought it was only "alleged", basically a lurid tabloid rumor.
I think that JFK and Marilyn Monroe definitely slept together, but I don’t believe it was an extensive affair. From what I’ve read and from what I believe of JFK’s closest friends and aides, as well as historians and biographers, I think that they probably hooked up two or three times at most. But I definitely think they hooked up. Longtime Florida Senator George Smathers, who was a very close friend of JFK’s (and fellow womanizer), admitted as much.
I'm halfway through a biography of William O. Douglas and I'm sure you already know this but evidently a common motto leading up to '48 was "to err is Truman" and I just had to share with someone and say that's the best thing I've ever read
Yeah, since Truman is such a familiar and well-known President today, most people don’t realize that the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" newspaper headline wasn’t that big of a reach for the Chicago Tribune because pretty much everybody expected Harry Truman to get his ass kicked in the 1948 election. Truman was not a popular President while he was in office, and he only gained enough ground to win the ‘48 election because instead of running against Thomas Dewey, he ran against the “Do-Nothing Congress” that had opposed so much of his agenda.
However, the quick answer, which is not nearly as interesting as the question is this: We don’t know.
It’s largely due to tradition. George Washington placed his hand on the Bible while taking the oath of office and most of his successors followed suit. As President, Washington’s major contribution was setting precedent after precedent, which helped shape the Presidency into the position that it became. Some of those precedents were common sense; some of them were necessary for a brand-new federal government of a brand-new country; but some of them were choices that George Washington made because he had his own personal style of governing and a strict set of beliefs when it came to honor and respect. John Adams was famously trying to figure out which grandiose title was most deserved and fit best with the man, the position, and the times, but it was Washington who shut down the discussion and said that he’d be referred to as “Mr. President” and nothing more, and that’s how that tradition was born.
After two terms as President, Washington could have continued in office until the day that he died, but he recognized the importance of civilian leadership in a democratic republic returning to civilian life and went home to Mount Vernon after two four-year terms as President. That began another tradition — the two-term tradition that was rarely challenged by Washington’s successors. Ulysses S. Grant sought renomination for a third term as President, but the strength of Washington’s two-term tradition made it difficult for Grant’s candidacy to gain any traction. It wasn’t until 1940 when someone — Franklin D. Roosevelt — did break the two-term tradition, but the country was working its way out of the Great Depression and American involvement in World War II was on the horizon, so voters stuck with FDR and elected him to an unprecedented third term (and then a fourth in 1940). But Washington’s two-term tradition was so highly-regarded that FDR’s decision to run for a third (and the fourth) was controversial and became a campaign issue; Roosevelt even received flak from his fellow Democrats. Two years after FDR died (in office early in his fourth term), Congress passed the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, making Washington’s two-term tradition into law, and it was ratified in 1951.
With the Presidential oath of office, there are few definite requirements, and a bunch of long-standing traditions that, again, mainly started with George Washington, like the placing of the hand on the Bible. Nothing requires Presidents to swear their oath on the Bible. John Quincy Adams didn’t swear the oath on the Bible at all. In fact, JQA took his oath in a way that I think is much more powerful than using a Bible — he placed his hand on a book of U.S. laws to represent his promise to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.” After President McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt didn’t use a Bible or any other prop when being sworn in. In Dallas, on Air Force One, there was no Bible, so stewards found a Catholic missal belonging to the slain President Kennedy, and that’s how he 36th President was sworn in.
But the Bible isn’t a requirement for the swearing-in ceremony. Swearing the oath isn’t a requirement, either. Presidents can say, “I do solemnly swear” or “I do solemnly affirm”. Only one President has given affirmed the oath rather than swearing it — Franklin Pierce in 1853, for religious reasons. When Bibles are used, the Presidents usually choose which Bible they want to use and whether or not the Bible is open or closed while taking the oath. Many Presidents choose to open the Bible and rest their hand on a specific scriptural passage, although no two Presidents have used the same passage when taking the oath. Several Presidents have used two Bibles — for example, in 1989, George H.W. Bush took the oath of office with an open Bush family Bible resting on top of George Washington’s Masonic Bible, which had been opened to a random passage. Bush 41’s inauguration was the 200th anniversary of Washington’s first inauguration in 1789, and he also had his Bible (the same one Bush used in 1989) opened to a random passage. Bush 41’s son, George W. Bush, used the Bush family Bible at both of his inaugurations (closed in 2001 and open in 2005). Incidentally, George W. Bush wanted to use the Masonic Bible belonging to George Washington at his first inauguration, just as his father had in 1989, but although it had been brought to Washington, D.C. from its home in New York City (and heavily guarded), poor weather at the 2001 Inauguration resulted in the first George W.’s Bible steering clear of the elements. The Library of Congress maintains a list of the specific Bibles used (if known) at each Presidential Inauguration, as well as the scriptural passages that the Presidents placed their hand upon when taking the oath of office.
A weird question but if you were to meet George Washington somehow and the topic somehow switched to religion, do you think you'd openly say that you were atheist, fake it, or try to sway away from the topic? From my understanding, Atheists were at the level (and lower according to some articles I've reaD) of Satanists. I think I'd be scared to come out as an atheist back in Colonial/Revolutionary America. I'd fear I'd be flogged or something.
I’d absolutely tell him that I was an atheist. Look, it’s 2014, and an openly atheist person could not be elected President today. Part of the reason for that is that there’s been a tendency to keep quiet about that or shy away from declaring that you are atheist because it might make others uncomfortable or make for awkward conversation with a believer. The problem is that we’ve made it weird and I don’t know why. I know very few people who go to church regularly or are religious, but people still feel uncomfortable to talk about religion or a lack of religion. Religion is a choice. It’s not like your sexuality; religion is a choice.
Atheists shouldn’t be afraid to declare that they don’t believe, and people who do have faith in religion shouldn’t be afraid to declare that they do. Disagreements shouldn’t negate debate or discussion. A lot of atheists bring trouble on themselves and the cause by being such assholes about religion. Religion might seem silly to you, but it’s very important to a lot of people, and has been for thousands of years. Arguing about religion has NEVER worked. Reacting to someone’s faith by saying, “Oh my not-God, you are so dumb for believing in some invisible person in the sky because that isn’t scientifically possible and it doesn’t even make sense. Use reason,” doesn’t do anything for that person, for atheism, for reason, for anything. Believe or don’t believe. Be who you are and don’t be afraid to let others know who you are. But respect the same thing in others.
Now, back to your question, yes, I would tell him that I am atheist and I’d explain that I’ve read scores of religious texts, have thought about religion for years, and that I’ve come to the decision that it isn’t for me but respect its purpose for others. I’d also say that I understand his religious faith and appreciate it, but that my atheism and his faith should have nothing to do with the government of our country. And he would agree with that, and nearly every other Founding Father passionately agreed with that, as well.
ok, congress can impeach the president and supreme court justices. is there anyone who can impeach a congressperson? im wondering more about the senate since they get 6 years before we the people can remove them.
Congress can impeach and remove its own members, which is pretty rare because a congressperson has to actually do something really contrary to law or the chamber rules to get kicked out. They can also be censured by their chamber (in which they lose all their committee chair positions but still keep their seat) or be formally reprimanded for bad behavior.
It’s really up to the constituents (the people represented) to kick their Congresspeople out if they’re not doing their job. It’s unfortunate that so many people focus on voting for high offices like the President because they forget that it’s Congress that is the major policy-maker of the country.
I damn near forgot that it was Tyrant Tuesday, but caught the show just in time. The season finale definitely left me wanting to see what happens next.
I’m kind of bummed that they made Jamal into such a monster with the early episodes because he is, by far, the most interesting character and Ashraf Barhoum’s performance makes up for some of Adam Rayner’s wooden performance as Bassam. The really interesting story would be Bassam wanting to overthrow his brother and “save” Abuddin from Jamal, but really have Bassam be the power-hungry brother. That could still be the direction they are heading, but it’s tough to walk back the things Jamal did in the first two or three episodes. That actually wasn’t necessary. They could have made Jamal a flawed character without making him evil. And Jamal coming through at the end (instead of Bassam) could be the redemption story and the twist. To use the Godfather analogy I’ve referenced in the past when talking about Tyrant, it would be like Fredo saving the family as Michael Corleone got more-and-more evil and distant. If they hadn’t made Jamal do some terrible things at the beginning of the series, Jamal would easily be the most likable character on the show. Bassam isn’t likable, Bassam’s wife and kids aren’t likable, Jamal’s wife and son aren’t likable, Jamal’s daughter-in-law isn’t likable, Tucker and the other American characters from the State Department and Embassy are definitely not likable, none of the Abuddin military leaders are likable, and even the opposition in Abuddin (the Sheikh’s son) isn’t likable. Jamal is the most interesting and likable character, but we can’t like him because they had the character commit totally unnecessary (to the story) sexual assaults, cheating, and murders.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the show, and I hope it gets picked up for another season. I just think it could be so much better.
Do you think President Nixon really meant it when he said that he would have gone for a rap career if they were around in the 30s? Do you think he would have been any good?
Most of my readers will probably look at this question and think that it is one of those silly questions or messages where someone asks or says something odd or outrageous just to see how I might respond. It’s funny to imagine Richard Milhous Nixon simply having rap music explained to him.
But, in reality, Nixon actually did mention the possibility of him becoming a rapper if rap had been popular when he was young. At Nixon’s Presidential Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California, visitors used to be able to tour the exhibits while listening to the 37th President of the United States guide you via an audio recording (I’m not sure if you can still take the tour guided by Nixon’s voice; when I visited Yorba Linda in 2004, I just did a self-guided tour). The small house that Nixon was born in stands on the grounds of Nixon’s Library, and visitors listening to the audiotape while making their way through the house had their attention directed to several musical instruments that belonged to the Nixon family. When the former President referenced the instruments (on the audiotape) and mentioned his lifelong love for music, Nixon added, "I have often though that if there had been a good rap group around in those days, I might have chosen a career in music instead of politics."
Was he serious? No, of course not. Nixon did have an appreciation for music, and was confident enough in his abilities as a pianist that he played in public from time-to-time. But Nixon was also notoriously awkward and uncoordinated; he usually needed help to open bottles of any type and was so inept when it came to technology that it really is entirely possible that the infamous 18½-minute gap on the Watergate tapes was the result of Nixon clumsily erasing and/or taping over part of the recording.
One of the most crucial building blocks that make up the foundation of a good rapper is rhythm. Not only was Richard Nixon completely absent of rhythm but his lack of coordination actually made anyone around him seem awkward and out of place. Oddly enough, the rest of Nixon’s story resembled that of many contemporary rappers — as a young man, he faced quite a bit of adversity, growing up in an impoverished family on the West Coast (WESTSIDE!) and losing two brothers at a young age. He also had a way with words that very well could have translated into success for rap music in a different time period. While attending high school, Nixon represented the West Coast on the national level in debate/oratory contest. Later, he became the captain of the debating team at Whittier College and coaches marveled at his unique ability to successfully take on any viewpoint on any of the subjects up for debate.
It’s certainly a funny and outlandish image to picture Richard Nixon as a rapper. It’s even funnier to try to figure out who Tricky Dick’s favorite rapper would have been (I’m going to guess Mystikal just because it’s the strangest combination I immediately thought of). But, unfortunately, he wasn’t serious about wanting to be a rapper. And while his verbal skills and talent as an orator could have made him a dangerous freestyler and potential success in rap battles, the complete absence of rhythm would have been a lethal handicap to his reputation as an MC.
(Just out of curiosity, though, what would the best rap name for Richard Nixon be? Just his old-fashioned “Tricky Dick” moniker? “DJ Watergate”? “Presidential MC?” “DJ POTUS?” Since Nixon tried so hard during his lifetime to get his initials over like TR, FDR, JFK, and LBJ, how about “MC RN”?)
I said that I’d be responding to “speed-round questions” tonight while I watched the VMAs and FIFA’s U-20 Women’s World Cup, made a point of suggesting “yes or no” questions, and then kicked off that “speed-round” session by spending several hundred words answering ONE question about something that is ALWAYS confusing — Constitutional interpretation of specific Presidential Succession situations, the difference between a Vice President assuming the President permanently or temporarily assuming office as “Acting President”, and the fact that there a VP assuming the Presidency as President and a VP assuming the Presidency as “Acting President” are two different situations yet result in no difference between the actual duties and powers.
I’m glad I was able to stick with my plan to be concise and quickly answer easy, “speed-round” questions.
If a Vice President takes over for a period of time from the President, and the President resumes his job but later resigns from office, does the time previously served count for the new President's service? If that makes any sense.
I understand what you’re saying. This is another one of those instances — as is the case with most questions about Presidential succession or the 25th Amendment — where there are no precedents to follow and a lot of confusion, and where that confusion will remain until something happens that actually puts the 25th Amendment into effect and tests the process.
To refresh everyone’s memories, a President can permanently relinquish his office by resigning, which leads to the Vice President (or the person next in the line of succession) becoming the new President. If that happens, the VP-turned-President can be elected to two full terms as President in his own right unless the VP completes more than two years of the unfinished term of the President he succeeded. In that case, the VP is only allowed to be elected to one term in his own right. As an example: when LBJ assumed the Presidency upon the death of John F. Kennedy, JFK had less than two years left in his term. So, LBJ was able to run again in 1964 (and won), and would have been allowed to run for another term in 1968 if he had chosen to. After that, he would have been term-limited and unable to seek the Presidency again in 1972. On the other hand, when Gerald Ford succeeded Richard Nixon in 1974 following Nixon’s assassination, Ford completed more than two years of Nixon’s term. Ford was unsuccessful in trying to win a term of his own in 1976, but if he had won the ‘76 election, he would have been term-limited from seeking another term as President in 1980.
But a President could also temporarily the powers of the Presidency if he or she were incapacitated or unable to discharge their duties, and then reclaim their duties when they are ready. This has happened a couple of times when recent Presidents have undergone medical treatment which required anesthesia. When that happens, the President invokes the 25th Amendment, and the Vice President becomes “Acting President” until the President feels clear enough to reclaim the full duties of the Presidency once again.
Now, this is where the questions start popping up. When a President resigns and a Vice President permanently assumes the powers, duties, and trappings of the Presidency (as in the aforementioned cases of LBJ and Gerald Ford), the VP becomes President of the United States in full. However, when a President invokes the 25th Amendment and temporarily transfers power to the Vice President, the VP does not become “President of the United States”. Instead, the VP becomes “Acting President”, and remains “Acting President” until the President reclaims the position, resigns, or is removed from office.
Since this Constitutional curiosity has never been put to the test, we don’t know for sure what the answer to your question is. But my interpretation is that the time that a VP served as “Acting President” in an instance where the 25th Amendment was invoked would not count towards term limits if that VP eventually became the President in his own right. Plus, the invocation of the 25th Amendment in order to temporarily relieve an incapacitated President of his duties is not meant to be a long-term solution. The 25th Amendment also has a mechanism for removing a seriously incapacitated President who has little change of regaining the ability to discharge his duty. If things got that serious, a temporary fix would be bypassed in favor of removing the incapacitated President and handing power to the next in the line of succession. At that point, the clock would begin ticking to determine whether the successor would be limited to being elected to one or two terms as President on their own, but that’s a different discussion.
The strangest (and most confusing) thing about the differences between someone who assumes the Presidency permanently and someone who temporarily becomes “Acting President” is that there isn’t any difference in actual power. The difference is in the title, but — whether temporary or permanent — they exercise all of the powers of the Presidency.
Do you believe in Barack Obama or do you think he's just an urban legend?
"Urban" legend? Racist!
Yes, I still believe in Barack Obama. I’m disappointed in many aspects of Obama’s Presidency, but I have been a supporter since the very beginning (before he even officially announced that he was forming an exploratory committee back in February 2007) and I remain a loyalist. He has made some mistakes, but he’s also had to face one of the most obstructionist opposition groups in Congressional history. Time is rapidly running out on the Obama Administration, but I still hold on to some of that hope that I started out with way back when Barack Obama had gray hair.
Just to mix it up as I watch the VMAs (and the tournament final of FIFA's U-20 women's World Cup between Nigeria and Germany!), I'll answer speed-round questions. Anything that I can answer quickly, preferably with a yes or no, have the best chance of being answered...
they ooze and call each other “darlings”
they hire fortune tellers who lie
they frame pictures of the kid they’ve sent away
they call the old black bartender by his first name
they hire watered-down R&B bands and make them play acoustic
they frown on nude swimming
they confess to anyone who’ll listen
they each have an “oldest and dearest” friend
he’s usually the one they’ve confessed to the most
they hate being wished “Happy Birthday”
they love having not seen someone for such a long time
then they rush to the next one
their loneliness is covered with grins
their loneliness is smothered in a circle of “friends”
“Do books matter? Do they change minds — or do we just read into them whatever we want to know? We live in the most literate age in human history, yet many people today find few things less useful than books, and no books as useless as those of the philosophers. Many scholars today take for granted that philosophy is a technical discipline concerned with questions that can make sense only to a cadre of professionals trained to a perfection of irrelevance. The wider public, meanwhile, tends to think of philosophy as a place to stash all the questions that well up wherever our knowledge runs completely dry: the meaning of life, why there is something rather than nothing, the existence of the supernatural, and all that. Of the many attributes that seem to mark America’s Founders as residents of a foreign time and place, probably none is more astonishing today than their unapologetic confidence in the power of books — and in particular the books of the philosophers.”—Matthew Stewart, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (BOOK | KINDLE)
Who was the last president to have ever personally met a slave or freed slave?
I have no idea. That’s a pretty difficult question to answer; in fact, it is likely impossible to accurately answer. After all, it’s entirely possible that there were people born into slavery in the United States prior to the ratification of the 13th Amendment or the emancipation of all slaves who might have lived very long lives and not died until the 1950s or 1960s. The last surviving Civil War veteran whose story could be legitimately confirmed lived until 1956, so it’s likely that the last surviving former slave lived past that date since people were still being born into slavery during the Civil War (1861-1865).
Unfortunately, because of the lack of proper record-keeping, it is difficult to confirm who the last surviving American born into slavery or last living American who had been kept as a slave truly was. It’s also nearly impossible to know which President was the last person to meet a former slave, especially since such a meeting could have happened earlier in a President’s life or career, when there were more former slaves still alive.
There is also the question of slaves from other countries who might have met the President of the United States in one form of another. Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal as FDR was returning home from the Yalta Conference, American Presidents and the Kings of Saudi Arabia have had many meetings and visited each other’s countries. However, it wasn’t until 1962 that Saudi Arabia officially abolished slavery in the Saudi Kingdom. In 1957, King Saud traveled to the United States on an official visit and brought with him a massive royal entourage, and many of the Saudi King’s courtiers and servants had traditionally been slaves — even up to that point of time. It’s possible that slaves attended to King Saud during that trip, and it’s also a possibility that some of the King’s slaves briefly met or came into contact with President Eisenhower. Most likely, there would not have been much of an opportunity for that to occur during such a visit, but we just don’t know the answer about the last American slave — or the last slave of any kind — to meet with the President.
Slavery still exists, in many different forms, throughout the world. The United Nations and partner organizations estimate that there are over 30 million people in some form of slavery or involuntary servitude today, in 2014. With as many people as Presidents meet or briefly come in contact with, it’s entirely possible that even recent Presidents have met with slaves or former slaves. Slavery is a continuing crisis, so Presidents didn’t get to cross that issue off of their list with the end of the Civil War, the ratification of the 13th Amendment, or the abolition of slavery as most people have traditionally seemed to recognize it within the borders of our country.
WHOOPS I’M GOING TO READ ANOTHER GEORGE WASHINGTON BOOK
Hey, I know a guy whose quote is on the back cover of the hardcover edition of that book! Or, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I AM a guy whose quote is on the back cover of the hardcover edition of that book.
Well, I had a devastatingly bitter post-mortum analysis planned for that match (mostly a rant about how often Arsenal seem to have their heads up their asses), but my Gunners pulled it out in that last 15 minutes for a draw, so I would like to extend a warm hand of sportsmanship to deadpresidents and simply say “Suck it.”
My attachment to Everton is a grand total of 8 days old and they have already allowed late goals in both games so far to deny themselves outright wins. If any of my readers have been lifelong, die-hard Everton fans, I apologize for carrying over my sports curse and turning the team into the Sacramento Kings/Oakland Raiders of the Premier League. Before I choose a club in La Liga, I should allow people to make donations so they can pay me to root for a team other than theirs.
Just finished reading All the Presidents Men. Yeah it's pretty boring to me, not enough sexy political intrigue, what did you think of it?
All the President’s Men (BOOK | KINDLE) didn’t have enough political intrigue for you?! It’s literally a book entirely focused on political intrigue and featuring groundbreaking investigative reporting by two relatively young and low-level journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. I mean, the main subject of the book is the biggest and most serious political scandal in American history, an attempt at covering up the scandal (making things even worse), and eventually led to the first and only resignation of the President of the United States.
I’m not really sure what could possibly be added to that in order to make it “sexier” or increase the level of political intrigue. Strippers and Godzilla? Did we need a drunken, obscenely nude Richard Nixon lighting a bonfire on the South Lawn of the White House and then tossing the Watergate tapes into the flames from the Truman Balcony while he fired round-after-round into the air from a shotgun and screamed, “I WON 49 STATES IN 1972! IF YOU WANT ME OUT OF OFFICE, YOU BEST BRING SOME FIREPOWER, PACK A LUNCH, AND KISS YOUR MAMA GOOD-BYE!”
Maybe those two books didn’t feature the political intrigue that you are used to, but you might be watching too many dramatic political thrillers on television. All the President’s Men and The Final Days recount things that actually happened in real-life.
This isn’t normally something that I do, but caitlinfaith tagged me and Caitlin is awesome and is one of my favorite Tumblr buddies, so here we go.
Name: Anthony Bergen Selfie: This is a photo of me after reading half of the questions that I receive:
FAVORITES (du jour) Food: Pizza. I’m 34 years old, and this isn’t going to change. Ever. Drink: Hi, my name is Anthony, and I am a Pepsi-holic. Book:Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents by Bob Greene (BOOK | KINDLE) Author: Sam Shepard. I am a historian and 99% of what I read is non-fiction, but Sam Shepard is my favorite writer, whether it is his short stories, his poetry, or his plays. I say this nearly every time that I mention him, but Sam Shepard is a national treasure. If you’ve never read a Sam Shepard book, pick up a collection of his short stories and poetry, and then see how quickly it takes you to go back to the bookstore and buy the rest of his work. Song: This depends on the day or my mood, but I’ll always love "Nuthin’ But A G Thang" by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, "Triumph" by Wu-Tang, the "I Got 5 On It" Remix by Luniz (feat. Spice 1, E-40, Richie Rich, Shock G & Dru Down), "Ms. Fat Booty" by Mos Def, "Passin’ Me By" by The Pharcyde, everything by 2Pac ("Never Had a Friend Like Me" and "Blasphemy" are my two favorite ‘Pac songs), and that’s just a sampling of my favorites from hip-hop. I feel wrong leaving so many songs out, particularly anything from Jay-Z. Two songs that some of my readers might be surprised about my appreciation for are "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny, and Radiohead’s “No Surprises”, which I wasn’t familiar with until 2009 despite the fact that it was released in 1997. Movie:The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. I love everything about the film — the story, the visual beauty, the musical score — everything. I don’t normally re-watch movies or television show and I don’t re-read books, but I feel an almost physical need to watch this film again at least once a year, even though it’s damn near three hours long. TV Show:The West Wing. Caitlin had the same answer in her post, so good work, Caitlin! Band: The Wu-Tang Clan. For those who are not familiar, this particular group of musicians includes “The RZA, the GZA, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, and…the M-E-T-H-O-D Man.” (And, for completists, Masta Killa and Cappadonna.) Solo Artist: 2Pac. Place: Capitol Park in Sacramento, California during the magic hour. Subject: History. I hope this isn’t a shocking revelation. Sport: Does professional wrestling count? Because, if so, professional wrestling. Otherwise, soccer and basketball. Male Actor: I don’t really have a favorite actor that comes to mind — Johnny Depp, I guess? Female Actor: Again, I don’t necessarily have a favorite. Meryl Streep is the easy answer because she’s always incredible in everything, but I don’t know if she’s my “favorite”. Let’s just go with her since I’ve spent way too much time on this question already.
LIFE Siblings: One younger brother. Three significantly younger half-sisters. Dream Job: Chief of Staff/Chief political strategist to an executive branch politician. That doesn’t mean it would have to be at the federal level (President, Vice President, Cabinet secretary). I might even prefer working for a Governor. Political Ideology: Liberal/Democrat, possibly bordering on Socialist. The reason why the previous question’s answer won’t ever come true is because declaring yourself as a “Fidel Castro/Che Guevara /Camilo Cienfuegos Democrat” can be troublesome. Religion: Atheist. Wish I could believe, but my mind doesn’t allow me to. If it means anything, I love Pope Francis! Languages: English. I can read Latin, understand a good amount of it by ear, but I can’t speak it or write purely in Latin myself (I can translate Latin to English). I can read quite a bit of Spanish, understand enough while listening to recognize what I’m being told, but I am a poor Spanish-speaker myself.
TUMBLR Reason Behind URL: When I first started Dead Presidents, I didn’t really have a game plan behind what I was going to use it for and had no idea that it would gain a following. Originally, I was going to post essays about how each of the Presidents died. I also thought it was a catchy and memorable title, and it tied in to my love and appreciation of hip-hop. Reason Behind Icon: One of my fans (sorry, that sounds pretentious…one of my “readers”) customized the Presidential Seal to reference Tumblr. Tracked tags: None. Why You Joined: Honestly, I started it as a strictly personal place to write and archive essays about the Presidents and Presidency — initially, as I mentioned, planning to write essays focused on each President’s death, funeral, and lasting legacy. I had no idea that there would be an audience for my writing about Presidential history, especially since I definitely have a wordy, longform style. When I started, I simply liked Tumblr’s interface and basically decided to use it as an online word processor. Eventually, I expanded on the variety of aspects of the Presidents/Presidency that I wanted to write about, and started gaining a significant number of followers. Once I started answering questions from readers, it really took off, and the opportunity to capitalize on the blog’s popularity financially presented itself, and I took advantage of that because I am, at heart, a red-blooded, capitalistic, opportunistic American consumer with high hopes of being able to become fully materialistic. USA! USA! USA! First URL: It’s always been deadpresidents, and it always will be. Number of Blogs: I maintained a personal blog, which is still up and never updated (anthonybergen), and my real-life friend, Keith (dividedbyframes), and I used our blogs for evil instead of good by trying to write funny shit. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t, but for about a year-and-a-half, my personal blog was actually far more popular than deadpresidents. Unfortunately, Keith and I eventually realized that we had to grow up because he got married and had an adorable daughter, and I recognized that Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough probably didn’t have a personal blog apart from their normal websites where they did things like post their friend’s contact information and encourage people to send that friend explicit photographs of animal genitals and/or suggest that he was staying at a hotel in hopes of meeting another gentleman for sex (and sharing his contact information and immediate location) rather than staying at said hotel because he was actually out of town for work. Sorry, Keith. Anyway, I really had nothing to say on my personal blog that I couldn’t say here to a far bigger audience. I also started a companion blog to Dead Presidents called Dead Popes (deadpopes), and would love to have the time and energy to post updates there, but I can’t even clear out the questions in my Dead Presidents inbox.
This is where I end this exercise by tagging all of my other friends, but that would require “other friends”. I don’t want to talk about it, okay? Even if I don’t have “other friends” or “many friends” or “a friend”, I do have a lot of followers, and that helps to filter out the sadness and fill the emptiness with…something? Right? Am I sharing too much? Anyway, if you are one of those followers and want to do this, consider yourself tagged. Oh, and totaldrivel (who I’ve been Tumblr buddies with from almost the beginning), existentialandshit (my favorite Guamanian), overworked-wino (my favorite Jewish girl smart enough to escape Texas), and the recently-married jheath and irish-mexi (if they aren’t too exhausted from their grueling honeymoon). Or don’t do it. After all, as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola wrote in his Oration On the Dignity of Man in 1486 (as I’m sure you all recall), “thou mayest fashion thyself in whatever shape thou prefer.” He also said, “Thou shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are brutish” and “Thou shalt have the power, out of thy soul’s judgment, to be reborn into the highest forms, which are divine.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s just an internet meme.