Is John McCain Nuts!?

August 31, 2008

McCain has lost it. Selecting Sarah Palin for his vice presidential candidate. It is downright scary.

Mr. McCain will be 72 if he is elected president. Not only that he is an individual who has had cancer several times. Now I surely hope he keeps his health and I don’t wish the worse on anyone, but like insurance agents we should all think – what if the worst case does happen.

Is Palin ready to be president? I think not. She has been the governor of a large, but sparsely populated state for less than two years. Before that she was the mayor of a town of 9,000 persons. Great experience granted, but certainly not enough to qualify her to be president. Foreign policy experience and military experience nil. Oh I forgot she does have a son who is in the military, guess that counts.

Sorry to be cynical, but this is a person who could be a heartbeat away from being President of the United States. Would I feel comfortable if she got a crisis call at three in the morning? No I wouldn’t.

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“A Dream” Come True

August 28, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "Dream" speech. AFP-Getty Images

Forty-five years ago this very day, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Barack Obama was only two years old at the time. Little did anyone know that part of the “dream” would come true in such a relatively short time.

Tonight on the anniversary of King’s speech, Senator Barack Obama will stand in front of 80,000 people and millions of others watching on television and accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. A truly historic moment.

Whether you are support Obama or are a Republican, Democratic, or Independent, you should be proud of your country for the great strides that have been made.

In 1963 Mr. Obama would have been riding in the back of the bus, attending segregated schools, using “colored” only restrooms and drinking fountains, and being denied his most essential civil rights simply because he of the color of his skin.

Today he has a very real chance to attain the highest elected office in his country – President of the United States. Even if he fails his accomplishment has to be recognized as truly ground-breaking. Congratulations to the American electorate for having the courage and intelligence to see the man, not the color.


The Democratic Party – A Short History

August 25, 2008

Modern Democratic Party logo

This week the Democratic Party will hold their convention in Denver. History will be made in the Mile-High city this week. The first black candidate for president will be nominated by a major party. Barack Obama will officially become the nominee of his party for President of the United States.

The Democratic Party came out of the Democratic-Republican Party which was organized by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the early 1790s. The party favored states’ rights and strict adherance to the Constitution. It also opposed a national bank and wealthy, moneyed interests. In the election of 1800 the Democratic-Republican Party ascended to power with the election of Thomas Jefferson.

In 1828 led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren the Democratic-Republican Party split and the faction supporting the old Jeffersonian principles became the Democratic Party. In 1844 the name was officially shortened to the Democratic Party.

Before and during the Civil War the party split along Northern and Southern lines, but still remained one party. Today the Democratic Party remains one of the two major political parties in the United States along with the Republican Party.

Factoids:

  • Mascot symbol commonly associated with the party is the donkey. This has never been officially adopted by the party.
  • Since election night 2000 the color blue has become the identified color of the Democratic Party. This is because all major broadcast networks used those same colors to identify the parties, blue for Democrats and red for Republicans.
  • The song “Happy Days Are Here Again” is the unofficial song of the party.

Notable Democratic Presidents:

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Harry Truman
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Bill Clinton

This week no matter what your political persuasion watching the convention is observing democracy in action.


Vice Presidential Candidate Predictions

August 20, 2008

Before Barack Obama and John McCain announce their choices of running mates I thought I would post my predictions.

Republican Ticket
John McCain and Tom Ridge

Democratic Ticket
Barack Obama and Joe Biden

If this comes about I actually believe they would be excellent choices. We’ll soon see as the conventions for both parties near. Traditionally the VP choices are announced a week or two before the conventions open.


Remember When – 1949

August 10, 2008

On my recent trip I stopped at a Country Crock, you know the ones with the general store in the front.

They have a series of short little booklets called “Remember When” for every year. I picked the one for the year I was born 1949. Fascinating read.

Now while I certainly don’t remember much because I was just a little one, it is the era I came from so it was neat to find out about those times.

Here are some of the gems from my copy.

 

  • First Polaroid camera available and sold for $89.95
  • RCA perfects a system for broadcasting color TV
  • Volkswagen Beetles introduced in the US
  • President of the United States is Harry Truman
  • Life expectancy in 62.9 years
  • United States postage stamp to mail a letter was 3c
  • Gasoline was 17c per gallon
  • Movie ticket was 60c
  • Average rent $70 per month
  • New car was $1,420
  • New House was $7,450
  • Average income $2,959 per year
  • Bread 14c a loaf
  • Milk 84c a gallon
  • Eggs 24c a dozen

I’ll leave it for you to decide it they were the good old days. I personally think not.


APS StampShow 2008 – The Big One

August 8, 2008

I confess. One of my passions is collecting postal history and stamps. I have been enamoured by this since the age of 8, over 50 years now.

Postal stamps and covers (envelopes) with stamps affixed are my addiction. Communication via the mail has always fascinated. Even in this age of e-mail, regular mail (so-called snail mail) continues to provide a useful service. There is nothing like receiving a letter from a friend or relative you can hold in your hands and read. It is much more personal.

Next Tuesday I am flying to Boston to attend the annual convention and philatelic exhibition of the American Philatelic Society. This year it is being held August 14-17 in Hartford, Connecticut. I am using the event as an excuse to visit with a good friend of mine who lives in Boston. Yes he is also a collector. We are going to the show together and plan to have way too much fun!

The American Philatelic Society was founded in 1886 and now serves over 44,000 collectors in more than 110 countries. It is the largest nonprofit society for stamp collectors in the world. The society is headquartered in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

The show itself moves to a different city every year. Last year it was held in Portland, Oregon. Some highlights of the event include:

  • 155 plus dealers
  • Postal Administrations from 5 different countries
  • Fifty plus national specialty societies
  • Over 150 seminars and meetings
  • More than 900 frames of competitive exhibits (a frame holds sixteen 8 1/2 x 11″ pages).
  • Philatelic rarities will be on display.
  • Admission is Free and the public is always welcome.

For those seeking more information on the great hobby of stamp collecting or the American Philatelic Society please checkout their excellent website at,

www.stamps.org


Thomas E. Dewey: The Impossible Dream

August 3, 2008

Presidential Candidate Thomas E. Dewey

Several unsuccessful presidential nominees have in fact been renominated by their parties for another try. Most have not succeeded on the second attempt either.

One of these, Republican Thomas Dewey, ran against President Franklin Roosevelt,and President Harry Truman of the Democrats, an unenviable task for any man. Thomas Dewey was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he was an interesting man. If he had a weakness as a presidential candidate it was his foreign policy, but that evolved and in his second attempt he was much more of an internationalist.

The Republican Party made him their nominee to run against sitting presidents twice. Once in 1944 against FDR and again in 1948 against Harry Truman.

Dewey was a leader of the liberal wing of the Republican party. He fought the conservative faction lead by Robert Taft.

He was born March 24, 1902 in Owosso, Michigan. Dewey aspired to a professional singing career and had an excellent baritone voice. He had throat problems and decided instead to become a lawyer. Dewey served for many years as a prosecutor and District Attorney in New York City. His nickname was “Gangbuster” for his work against organized crime in the 1930s.

Dewey’s reputation carried him to the governorship of New York state in 1942 and he was elected three times in total. He was a strong supporter of the death penalty while governor. During his 12 years as governor over 90 people were electrocuted under New York state authority.

At age 36, in 1940, he ran for the Republican presidential nomination against Wendell Wilkie who went on to lose to FDR.

Dewey won the nomination in 1944, but was defeated by FDR. He was the first presidential candidate to be born in the 20th century, and also the youngest man to ever win the Republican presidential nomination. Had the public known about the true state of FDR’s declining health, Dewey might well have won the election. However, that’s another story.

The famous headline being held up by Truman

In the 1948 election against FDR’s successor Harry Truman, he was almost unanimously projected to be the winner by all the so-called experts. The Chicago Daily Tribue actually printed several hundred copies declaring “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” before election returns showed Truman had won.

Dewey didn’t run for president again, but in 1952 he played a major role in securing the nomination for Dwight Eisenhower.

Thomas Dewey is the only Republican to be nominated for president twice and lose both times. He is also the last presidential candidate to wear permanent facial hair, in his case a moustache.

His last term as Governor of New York expired in 1955. After this he returned to his law practice. He died suddenly of a heart attack on March 16, 1971 while vacationing in Florida. He was 68 years old.

Further Reading:
Thomas Dewey and His Times, Smith, Richard Norton, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1982
Truman Defeats Dewey, Donaldson, Gary A., University Press of Kentucky, 1999


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