Archive for March 2013
Ulysses Grant, circa 1870 – 1880
The 18th President of the United States, 1869 – 1877
AKA: Sam, Unconditional Surrender Grant, U S Grant
From: Ohio, New York
College: United States Military Academy
Married to: Julia Dent
Children: Fredrick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr., Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Grant, Jesse Root Grant
Previous Jobs: Horse trainer, soldier, farmer, real estate agent, leather goods merchant,
In His Words: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.”
General Ulysses Grant, a 2-star General, 1864
“I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the special regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officers at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department, but they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold.”
“God gave us Lincoln and Liberty, let us fight for both.”
“Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”
A 3-star General, circa 1865.
“I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
-Terms of surrender, given to General Robert E Lee after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1985.
“I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers.”
– Grant’s “Perfect Speech,” used frequently in 1865
“I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.”
“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately you occasionally find men disgrace labor.”
“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”
“Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions.”
Not true: In 1839, his father arranged for his admission to West Point. The congressman who nominated him mistakenly believed his name was Ulysses Simpson Grant (Simpson was his mother’s maiden name). Grant never corrected the error, maintaining that the “S.” didn’t stand for anything. His birth name, however, was Hiram Ulysses Grant.
True: When the Confederate Army launched a surprise assault at the Battle of Shiloh, the Union Army under Grant suffered devastating casualties on the first day of fighting. President Abraham Lincoln received several demands for Grant’s removal from command. Nevertheless, Lincoln refused, stating, “I can’t spare this man. He fights.”
Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864.
Grant was appointed our first 4-star general in 1866.
The Suez Canal opened and the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, his first year as President.
His annual salary as President was $25,000 … the same sum paid George Washington and every other President through 1872. In 1873, his salary was doubled to $50,000 (where it stayed through Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure).
Our first national park, Yellowstone, was established during Grant’s Presidency.
Colorado became a state during his tenure.
Ulysses Grant’s time in office was marred by scandal and corruption. However, he did not participate nor profit from the illegal actions of his associates and appointees.
After leaving Washington to write his memoirs, Grant entered into an investment partnership with Ferdinand Ward. Unfortunately, Ward embezzled Grant’s asset, for which he went to jail. This left Grant with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and he claimed bankruptcy. He was forced to sell his Civil War memoirs to save his family from further financial hardship.
Ulysses S. Grant is buried in New York City in the largest mausoleum of its kind in the United States. Grant’s tomb is a National Memorial.
The Official Portrait: President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes took great interest in collecting presidential portraits for the White House, adding paintings of Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison in the 1870s. German-born Henry Ulke completed a fine portrait of Grant from life in 1875.
Civil War Trust’s Biography
“I am a part of everything that I have read.”
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin, painting by David Martin, 1767
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
– Will Rogers
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
– Harry Truman
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read.”
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
– Mark Twain, in a color chromograph on December 21, 1908. Credit: Alvin Langdon Coburn
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
– Ray Bradbury
“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.”
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
– Groucho Marx
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
– Jacqueline Kennedy
“Reading isn’t good for a ballplayer. Not good for his eyes. If my eyes went bad even a little bit I couldn’t hit home runs. So I gave up reading.”
– Babe Ruth
“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”
– Abraham Lincoln, shown here reading the Bible to his son, Tad.
Photo by Anthony Berger, 1864.
Art of Manliness on Becoming A Lifelong Learner
How To Speed Read Like Theodore Roosevelt
The Most Beautiful Public Libraries In The World
All Things Leadership on Harry Truman
He is risen. He is risen, indeed!
Mark 16:1-6 “And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.
And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He is risen; He is not here; behold, there is the place where they laid him.”
Arise! For He is risen today;
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The Chicago Daily Tribune famously called the 1948 Presidential election … and got it wrong. In print.
The quality of journalism is declining in our society. Or is it?
That’s precisely the question that the Pew Research Center’s annual report on News Media tries to answer … and pundits have had a strikingly divergent reaction to this year’s report. I’ve linked a couple, below, along with Pew’s report. Slate says that journalism has never been better; Newspaper Death Watch has a slightly less optimistic view. Here’s what Pew said:
“News organizations are less equipped to question what is coming to them or to uncover the stories themselves, and interest groups are better equipped and have more technological tools than ever.”
The reality is that employment in journalism is down below 40,000 now, lower than it was in 1978. However, the growth of citizen journalists and, of course, the internet, has resulted in an EXPLOSION in the amount of coverage generated daily, and a veritable tsunami of information has resulted from the daily deluge being supplemented by the easy accessibility of seemingly all written thought on the ‘net.
It is fascinating to me that corporations have found it easier to control their message through public relations (PR) and “new media” than they have found ways to effectively advertise it. The result is spectacular growth in PR jobs, even as the number of journalists who can properly interpret the corporate speak has been dropping. Publishers have an increasing pressure on their bottom line, and this has resulted in an increase in sponsored news, or advertorials. The lack of journalistic resources apparently even impacted the Presidential campaign, as Pew said:
“Only about a quarter of statements in the media about the character and records of the presidential candidates originated with journalists, while twice that many came from political partisans.”
Do you really trust political partisans – even if they are YOUR political partisans – to tell you the truth all of the time? I’ve explored that before; read about the lying liars here.
These days, everybody has a blog, it seems (HA. Humor. Coming at you.). I don’t do this to make money (note the lack of advertising and subscription cost). And, ultimately, that’s the problem with journalism these days. I can do this blog easily. And cheaply, believe me. And when you’re reading this, you’re not reading the thoughts of some smart journalist working for the LA Times. Or St Louis Post Dispatch. Or even your local community newspaper.
But then, I understand that. You can afford me.
The Glory Days Of American Journalism
Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2013
Newspaper Death Watch
I’ve worked at home full-time since April 15, 2009. Here are a few tips to help if you should ever be fortunate enough to work at home.
1. Get a water cooler. If you don’t talk while standing around the water cooler, you’re missing a great cultural cliché.
2. Don’t have any hobbies. Those will only distract you from work.
3. Do leave your house occasionally. I go to the post office on Fridays, which is my weekly treat.
4. Don’t tell anyone you know that you’re working at home, or they’ll borrow your car.
5. Every week, send your boss an email at 2am. Because you’re always working.
6. Have an office. Have a door. Post a sign on the outside: “If I needed your help, the door would be open.”
Sisyphus, condemned by Zeus to endlessly carry his burden to the top of a mountain through all eternity. Painting by Titian, 1549, from the Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
7. Have a dedicated workspace, and don’t do anything else in that space. Dear IRS: this is what I do.
8. Develop a close working relationship with your new best friends: the Fed Ex guy and the UPS guy. (Note: I’m not sexist. They are always guys.)
9. Make sure you always answer your cellphone. Even though your family KNOWS you are at home and they KNOW you are working, they’ll not forgive you if you don’t respond to text messages quickly.
10. Consider dropping your cellphone service.
11. Remember having an IT person that you can just call to fix your computer? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
12. Every week, call the boss at 6am your time. Because you’re always working.
13. Don’t eat lunch in the kitchen. That will only encourage you to do the dishes. No one does household chores during business hours.
14. Invest in comfy sweats and socks with gripper bottoms. You don’t have time to dress before you go to work. At 6am. Every day.
15. Do shower regularly. Do not shower at expected times. Showers at 3pm are invigorating.
16. Do not encourage the cats, or they’ll become needy when you’re on the phone. Which is fine, really, but you don’t want your client to KNOW you’re petting the cat while giving the client 100% of your attention.
17. Buy a wireless headset for your telephone. Wear it constantly, and conduct conference calls walking around the house. Insist the kids turn off all TVs & music because you are WORKING.
18. If you’re wearing the headset you’re on the phone. As far as they know.
19. Never answer the phone when the boss calls. Because you’re always on the phone with a client.
20. Do buy tickets to afternoon movies & baseball games. It’s really the only way to relieve the intense stress of working at home.
On this day in 1886, Apache Chief Geronimo surrendered to General George Crook. This was the end of the Indian Wars against the US – though Geronimo always maintained that Crook did not uphold the agreement reached when he surrendered.
At one point, nearly 25% of the US Army was in pursuit of this one man.
Geronimo with General George Crook in Council March 27, 1886
In later years, Geronimo remained a war prisoner, but was frequently trotted out for people to see and enjoy his celebrity. At a staged press day, here he is driving in 1905. The car is a 1904 Model C Locomobile, and the Indian in full headdress to Geronimo’s left is Edward Le Clair Sr., a Ponca Indian. Geronimo so admired Le Clair’s beaded vest that it was presented to him later in the day. When Geronimo died in 1909, he was buried in the vest.
A database of Missouri’s original land purchasers is now available online. Land purchases are shown from 1831 – 1969. This land was originally donated to the state by the federal government, with the proviso that it be sold to settlers for $1.25 per acre. Profits from the sales went to the state.
Noah Mast, my Great Great Great Grand Uncle (!) was one of those purchasers … in 1850 he bought 195 acres in Nodaway County for the princely sum of $244. This easy to use database is available here. You can order a copy of any land patents for a dollar and a self-addressed envelope with each request.
This picture of Noah is one of the oldest in our family collection; it’s from a tintype. Tintypes were commonly used circa 1860-1880.
Noah Mast, 1812 – 1897, gentleman farmer and owner of a comb later in life.
Why does the President need a Presidential Seal?
Tradition, mainly. The origin of a “seal,” after all, is that it formed an imprint in wax to “seal” a document or envelope and prove its authenticity. Officially, the Presidential Seal is used today to seal correspondence sent to Congress.
This is the ivory-handled seal Lincoln used to decorate the outside of envelopes for letters he sent. This Seal, still encrusted with red wax, is owned by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, IL. There’s a link below to a video about this Seal.
Various old versions of the Seal of the President of the United States, as printed in an 1885 issue of the Daily Graphic, a New York newspaper. The large seal on the left was made in 1850 by Edward Stabler, a Maryland farmer, postmaster, and engraver who made many governmental seals at the time. It was made according to the rough design submitted by President Fillmore, which can be seen at the bottom center. The associated article said that a smaller version was made by Stabler at the time, but since the seal in the upper right has only 27 stars and is labeled “The Old Seal”, it would instead appear to be an earlier seal dating from about 1846. The seal in the bottom right was used by Thomas Mifflin, the President of the Continental Congress, in 1784. It shows a constellation of 13 stars surrounded by clouds. This image is a reprint from an 1856 Harpers Magazine article by Benson J. Lossing.
The official design of the modern Presidential Seal was formalized by President Truman in 1945 in Executive Order 9646. The origin of this design rests with President Hayes, who was the first to use the central image (the eagle clutching the arrows and ivy leaves), known as the coat of arms, on White House invitations in 1877.
Today, you’ll see the Seal wherever the President goes: in the Oval Office, on Air Force One and on the front of the lecturn he’s speaking from.
The symbology of the Seal:
The eagle represents the United States of America and symbolizes the President’s role as head of state. In the eagle’s beak is a ribbon emblazoned with “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “Out of many, one.” Above the eagle are 13 white clouds and 13 white stars.
The 13 arrows symbolize the President’s role as Commander in Chief, while the 13 olive branches (with 13 olives) symbolize peace and the President’s role as chief diplomat.
The 13 stripes in the central shield represent the original 13 states, with a blue field uniting them and representing the Congress.
The 50 stars surrounding the coat of arms represent the states. Truman’s Seal had 48 stars; the only changes to the Seal since 1945 have been to add the 49th (in 1959) and 50th (in 1960) stars.
This image, on a deep blue field, comprises the “Presidential Coat Of Arms,” which is used on the Presidential flags … including those little flags on the car the President rides in.
When the Coat of Arms is surrounded by a tan field with the words “Seal of the President of the United States,” the Seal is complete.
A picture of the coat of arms on the ceiling of the Oval Office.
A persistent misconception is about why the eagle today faces to the eagle’s right … but formerly faced to the eagle’s left. Sources including one of Dan Brown’s novels and the popular TV show West Wing both cited this as the nation turning from war to peace. Some even say that the coat of arms in the rug in the Oval Office is replaced when the nation goes from war to peace!
It’s all not true. The eagle had faced to its left until 1945, and that is unusual in birds shown in heraldry. Truman did turn the eagle to its right because he felt it did symbolize the nation turning in a new direction after WWII, but there is no deeper, hidden meaning behind that change.
The Resolute Desk was originally given to President Rutherford B Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880. FDR later had a central panel installed, with the carved image of the Presidential Seal – as used by President Hayes – to help conceal the fact that he was sitting in a wheel chair.
Lincoln’s Presidential Wax Seal
The Oval Office Rug
President Kennedy, working late at his White House office, wears a slight smile on his face, indicating perhaps he is not completely unaware that his son, John Jr., is exploring under his desk in the Oval Office in the White House in 1963. (AP, Look Magazine)
This portrait is based on some thirty studies that artist Henry Casselli made of Reagan over four days at the White House in late 1988. Commissioned with the National Portrait Gallery in mind, the finished picture arrived at the White House the following January for presidential inspection. When Reagan saw it, he exclaimed, “Yep! That’s the old buckaroo.”
Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004)
The 40th President of the United States, 1981 – 1989
AKA: Dutch, The Gipper, The Great Communicator
From: Illinois, California
College: Eureka College
Married to: Jane Wyman, Nancy Davis
Children: Maureen, Christine, Michael (adopted), Patti Davis, Ron
Party: Democratic (before 1962), Republican
Previous Jobs: Lifeguard, radio broadcaster, actor, commercial pitchman, US Army Captain, President of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor of California
In His Words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”
“Back in 1927, an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said that the American people would never vote for socialism but he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”
“It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.”
“A tree’s a tree. How many more do you need to look at?”
“Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.”
“One legislator accused me of having a nineteenth-century attitude on law and order. That is a totally false charge. I have an eighteenth-century attitude. That is when the Founding Fathers made it clear that the safety of law-abiding citizens should be one of the government’s primary concerns.”
Photo by Michael Evans, 1982
“I’m convinced that today the majority of Americans want what those first Americans wanted: A better life for themselves and their children; a minimum of government authority.”
“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
“And I have to point out that government doesn’t tax to get the money it needs, government always needs the money it gets.”
“Thomas Jefferson made a comment about the Presidency and age. He said that one should not worry about one’s exact chronological age in reference to his ability to perform one’s task. And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”
“The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace.”
“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.”
“I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
“As long as a love of liberty is emblazoned on our hearts, Jefferson lives.”
“Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — America’s best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead.”
Ronald Reagan, Official White House Portrait Photo, 1981
Reagan is an enduring symbol for the Republican Party, but he was not a supporter of today’s right wing “no gun control” goal. In fact, he favored gun control.
He famously stated, “I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon nor needed for home defense.”
He also joined former Presidents Ford and Carter in 1994, writing the US House of Representatives to urge they ban assault weapons.
True: Due to his nearsightedness, he could not serve overseas in the military during WWII. He served in the First Motion Picture Unit, which made over 400 training films during the war.
General Electric hired Reagan as its spokesman, and required he tour their plants 16 weeks per year, making up to 14 speeches per day. He hosted “General Electric Theater” on television, 1953-1962. GE paid him $125,000/year.
Reagan was the first President to have been divorced. In 1969, he signed the first “no-fault” divorce law while Governor of California. This became a national movement … and has been found to have decreased domestic violence against women as well as female suicide.
Early in his Presidency, Reagan began wearing a hearing aid. When he went public with this choice in 1983, sales of hearing aids rose nationwide.
Reagan is the only President to be shot in an assassination attempt, and survive. He told his wife, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”
Reagan increased military spending early in his Presidency, but eventually emphasized diplomacy to decrease tensions with the USSR. His policies helped end the Cold War.
He championed tax cuts, bringing down the effective tax rates to historical norms. The average tax rate during his Presidency was 18.2% of GDP, compared with an average of 18.1% 1970 – 2010.
He was the oldest man to be elected President, and the oldest President to leave office.
The Official Portrait: Everett Raymond Kinstler painted several portraits of Reagan. Seven Presidents have posed for him, and his portraits of Ford and Reagan are both the Official White House Portraits.
Everyone knows to go to the top of Airport Road to see the rocks to the west of Sedona … but that’s actually not the best show at sunset. To see the setting sunlight on rocks, you need to look to the east of Sedona … which is visible from the top of the hill above a tiny parking lot on the east side of Airport Road, about a half mile above 89A. The hike is only a couple of hundred feet … vertically … and then you overlook the valley to the east, so you see the light from the setting sun.
The parking lot is tiny. Be early, and be careful!
Sedona: Bell Rock
Sedona: Courthouse Butte
Sedona: Cock’s Comb