Guess I could have said apologetic regime but maybe I’ll save that one for another day. The latest apology should really not be a surprise. Obama himself has done a ” masterful” job at apologizing all over the world to all sorts of folks for all sorts of things.
For the most recent administration example we can thank Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor ( what a mouthful of a job title that is) Michael Posner. For what did he apologize and to whom? The what is of course, the evil Arizona law which no one in the Obama Administration has apparently read, even Homeland Secretary Napolitano. But she still would not have signed the law. Try and figure that one out. For the who of the apology, why that noted paragon of human rights, China.
Bill O’Reilly had a couple of great comment about Posner’s apology on his show last night. I really enjoyed his comment that China would probably like to have Posner replace Hilary as Secretary of State. The other comment was much more troubling and more reality based. He posed the question as to how China handles its illegal immigrants. Hint, it isn’t with a law like Arizona’s nor is it necessarily via deportation.
Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl took issue with posner’s mea culpa for the United States and demanded an apology. Isn’t that great, demanding an apology for an apology. Shucks, they may get one. That is one thing the Obama Admnistration is quite good at doing.
While we are on the subject, wonder what other countries are due an apology? Let us see. Maybe to Great Britain for winning the Revolutionary War, Germany for WWI & WWII, Russia for buying Alaska ( Obama might like that one) France for the Louisiana Purchase- not paying enough the list goes on and on and on and on.
Quite a character was the man from New York. He served as Governor of New York, leader of the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, was both an ardent conservationist as well as an avid big game hunter, ( in this country and abroad) an advocate of the “strenuous life” who preached exercise, activity and more. But he was also a sickly asthmatic child and one who suffered great physical harm from his frequent reckless behaviors. Incidentally these behaviors lasted virtually his entire life and undoubtedly contributed to his early demise at age 61. But, if anyone’s years were ever packed full, it had to be TR. OR, as he put it, ” good to the last drop.” And you thought Maxwell House made that up.
By the way, he was also our 26th president and ran the most successful 3rd part candidacy in our history. But why is he among all the choices enshrined on Mt Rushmore? Author Kathleen Dalton calls him our most fascinating president and after reading her bio of him, I would have to agree. He was imperfect, contradictory, often full of himself , judgmental, at times intolerant and never happier than when the full focus was on him.
Dalton posits that he best captures the American spirit self-improvement ( one of his mantras), growth and change. He himself continued to move to the left politically after leaving the White House’ vigorously championing causes such as women’s suffrage, improved working conditions for factory workers( many of whom were children) , and “social justice” in various and sundry forms. He ironically was still all out for our entrance into WWI, even volunteering to go himself. Although that did not happen, his sons fought admirably and one son, Quentin, was killed in Europe. Some speculated that Roosevelt never recovered from that loss. And even prior to that, while he was President he pushed hard for a stronger Navy.
As I write this post and it seems to jump all over the place , I readily see Dalton’s point about TR being such as fascinating Chief Executive. For I have yet to refer to his Nobel Peace Prize of 1905, his mentoring of a young Woodrow Wilson ( with whom he fell out and the two basically accused each other of treason) his nephew Franklin, whom he greatly encouraged and so it goes.
And we had the precocious daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from his first wife, Alice, who died when the child ws quite young. His daughter was a firebrand from an early age, maybe one for whom the term precocious is much too mild. And did I mention that he wrote hundreds of magazine articles and numerous books, one of which , African Game Trails, sold a million copies and this in the early 20th century.
Although born into wealth and privilege, he never seemed d motivated by money. Perhaps, one of the main driving factors was living up to the standards of Theodore Sr, or Thee as he was known. Better yet, I love the line from his children Kermit and Alice. He always liked to be “the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.” Well said, indeed.
Just finished a bio of Harry Truman, the plain-spoken one from Missouri. It is hard to summarize such a lengthy book(641 pages) and do it justice. I thought the author, Alonzo Hamby did a good job with what was probably a tremendous amount of material. For this reader, the book improved as it progressed. I didn’t much care for all the attention paid to Missouri politics, but it did go along way towards making Truman what he was. For both and bad, his political actions reflected much of those days.
We all know some basics. He was most definitely a plain-spoken man, a trait that never really let him. It even brought him some grief while in the Oval Office. Of course, we know about the atom bomb, the firing of McArthur,; which I actually agreed with when I read the account and the Korean stalemate. But there was so much more. He was much involved with the establishment of Israel, the impetus behind the Marshall Plan, a stalwart foe of Soviet expansion and of course was the original comeback kid in 1948. “Give ‘em hell Harry” came from the dead to defeat Dewey and establish a lasting photo-op among other things.
He was a devoted family man to Bess and daughter Margaret although he could and did hold deep seated grudges. He retained an almost visceral dislike of newspapers and due to a poor speaking style did not do well at speechmaking. He served at the onset of the media age, which he probably did not like so much. Sort of the opposite of Roosevelt in many ways.
He came unprepared, by and large,to the Presidency and obviously had no transition period. He probably was at best, a compromise choice as running mate for Roosevelt.
When one examines his 7 and 3/4 term, one is nearly overwhelmed at the major things that either happened in their entirety, were begun or were consummated. The bomb, the Korean War, the Marshall Plan, the birth of Israel, the major expansion of Social Security, a steady but slow advance in civil rights legislation, the Berlin Airlift, the United Nations and so it goes.
He dealt with Stalin, Churchill, McArthur, Eisenhower, McCarthy,Stevenson and many more who were not so famous at the time. Try Dean Rusk, Clark Clifford and Sam Rayburn, just to name a few.
He made some quite unpopular decisions that proved with hindsight to be the best choice. Perhaps that was why he had very low poll numbers his last couple of years, much akin to Bush.
So why is he celebrated and claimed as an example /inspiration by most if not all of his successors, even Obama?
Hamby may have summed it up best in the final paragraph of his book, A Life of Harry S Truman, Man of the People.
” Americans…see him as an ordinary man ( who tried, failed and kept going) who fought for the interests of their own kind, made great decisions, cared about their welfare, and demonstrated their potential… It was not what he did that made Harry Truman an American icon, but who Americans believed him to be.”
P.S. He dearly loved the veto and used its power with gusto, both in word and action. Over his terms there were 250 some cases, more than anyone but Roosevelt . He prevailed all but 12 times. The buck did stop with him, did it not?
November 11,1918 marked the end of the war to end all wars or WWI. Alas, as we know all too well, that was not to be. Truth be told, it had no chance to achieve that goal. Wars have continued and continue; in all sizes and for a multitude of reasons. The day we call Veterans Day remembers those who served, those who returned,those who didn’t and honors those who serve now. We know all too well about those in Iraq and Afghanistan but also South Korea, on ships around the world, in numerous other countries and on bases here at home like Ft Benning and particularly Ft Hood.
The day originated as Armistice Day on November 11,1919, the first anniversary of WWI’s conclusion, at the urging of Pres Woodrow Wilson. It did not become a national holiday, however,until 1938. The name changed to Veterans Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower signed legislation to honor those who had served in any and all wars. Appropriately so, since he was the Supreme Allied Commander in WWII.
We have around 24 million living veterans, about 10% of whom are women and slightly over 10% are African-American. Some the more interesting facts I discovered was that about 40% of of our living vets are over 65 but only 10% of our living vets are from WWII. That is a number that is rapidly declining. Numbers also indicate that about 1/3 of veterans live in just 5 states; California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. I know numbers can be mind numbing but just a couple more. The number of living veterans comprises roughly 1/2 of the veterans that served in wartime since Revolutionary War days .
So, today, we salute them all (the approximately 1.5 million on active duty) those who have served and remain and in particular those who are gone.
Smart, that they are. NCIS fans will note that our own Timothy McGee is a MIT grad and we all know how smart he is. I actually had a reasonably close acquaintance, now deceased, who was a MIT guy and he was definitely smart. But sometimes, well, let’s just allow Professor Noam Chomsky to speak a little for himself and see what we think.
Dr Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts university. He spoke recently at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco ( good choice for a liberal activist) and talked about what he sees are parallels between the United States today and Germany in the 1920′s, in its pre – Nazi days. Brief aside, aren’t we all getting weary of the Nazi comparisons from all sides? Now back to the professor who sort of covered himself on his analogy in advance, by saying it was not perfect. But onward he went.
He alluded to the right-wing media as actually having substantive content, but labeled it aa crazy content. His point seemed to be that if those who heed the right wingers don;t get answers from a more legitimate source that the country cpuld be headed down a treacherous path towards demagouery? The prescriptin he seeme dto advocate is that Americans need to be educated about what is happening to them.
Listen to what else he said. Germany in the 1920′s was “at the peak of Western civilization.” A decade later, it was at the pits of human history.” Not sure that I follow all that. Germany in 1920′s, if I recall my history, was defeated country, having lost WWI, somewhat decisively; and falling into som ereal,economic turmoil. They were indeed ripe for someone with a restore the power an dglory message. Alas, that person was Hitler.
Don’t want to wander to far out on that limb but it seems Chomsky’s history memory is just a bit off kilter. Not a problem, he did mention Limabugh as on eof those right winger types. Guess w ecan cut him slack on the history.
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