Category Archives: History

The Iran Question

Here’s where having Donald Trump in the White House gets really damned scary. Everyone admits that the main Iranian military leader, and possibly the second most powerful person in that nation, was killed by an American missile strike. The US openly admits that we did it, that we targeted the guy, an that the order came from Trump.

The questions now include, why did we do it, was there a genuine threat to America, was it thoroughly thought through, were the consequences seriously considered before the trigger was pulled. and most importantly, can we trust the word of our government; a government led by a man who has twisted the truth (lied) over 16,000 times just since taking office just three years ago?

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Let’s talk about the Confederate flag

The former governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, recently stated that the Confederate Flag had been hijacked by Dylann Roof, the white nationalists who murdered nine innocent churchgoers in Charleston, SC several years ago.  Haley, appearing on Glen Beck’s radio program, claimed that to most people of South Carolina the Confederate Flag represented a history of “service, sacrifice, and heritage”.

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A surviving Patterson remains but a dream

Recently someone posted a YouTube video on Facebook of a 1909 Patterson automobile being taken for a test drive. The video was posted by the Saratoga (NY) Automobile Museum and many wondered if it was a long-sought survivor of the C.R. Patterson Company of Greenfield, OH.

C.R. Patterson was the first, and only, African American manufacturer of automobiles in America and there are no known survivors of their motorized vehicles. The Greenfield Historical Association does own a couple of examples of the horsedrawn wagons the company made before going into the automobile, and later bus, business.

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The Impeachments You’ve Probably Not Heard Of

I think we can now confidently say that three American presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and most certainly, Donald Trump. Richard Nixon would have been impeached and most likely removed from office had he not resigned his office before the House of Representatives took a vote.

But, what about other federal impeachments? The Constitution permits the impeachment of the President, Vice President, and all civil officers, including federal judges, of the United States.* So far, in our nation’s history, there have been nineteen impeachments, fifteen of which were judges and two were presidents. Trump is not included in the total, as of yet.

Most Americans know little to nothing about the non-presidential impeachments but a little investigation makes for interesting reading. A list if our impeachments, along with a brief story of each can be found by clicking HERE.

  • Members of Congress are not considered civil officers and are not impeachable.

Ford & Rockefeller Make History

With everything that’s recently been said about impeachment, Gerald Ford was mentioned. Ford, a long-time member of the House of Representatives, was quoted as having said that high crimes and misdemeanors were whatever the House says they are.

That said, I got to thinking about Ford’s time in the White House and recalling a bit of historical trivia regarding both he and his vice president, Nelson Rockefeller.

While some of you old-timers may recall this, it may be new to the whipper-snappers out there. As a result of the 25th Amendment and the resignation of President Richard Nixon, Ford and Rockefeller made history.

Before the resignation of Nixon his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had been forced to resign because of criminal problems back in his home state of Maryland. The 25th required that a replacement be appointed and that person was Gerald Ford. Thus, Ford became the first VP to have never been elected by the people or the Electoral College. Later, when Nixon resigned to avoid being removed through the impeachment process, Ford became the president, again without being elected.

That left the VP vacant and the 25th required that someone needed to be appointed to fill that vacancy. That somebody was the former governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller.

So, for the first and only time in America’s history, both the presidency and the vice presidency were filled by people who had not been chosen by either popular vote or the majority of the Electoral College. And there children, is your historical trivia for the day.

 

What About Bernie?

When 78-year-old Bernie Sanders had his recent heart attack I wondered if it would ruin his chances for election. I recalled that in the 1950s Dwight Eisenhower suffered heart problems and he finished out two terms in office. I couldn’t remember if he had experienced his attack during his first or second term.

So, I did a little Googling and learned that the four-pack a day smoker suffered an attack while playing golf in September 1955. He was aged 64 and in June of 1956 announced he would run for a second term.

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“Locked & Loaded” – Oh Shit, Not Another War!

George H.W. Bush, in 1990, took a coalition of nations into Kuwait and Iraq to protect one of our sources of oil from an invading Iraqui army. We went to war for oil, and many Americans didn’t think that was justified. The majority, however, saw our actions as protecting a friendly nation from a tyrant, Saddam Hussein.

Currently, Donald Trump is threatening war with Iran and seems to be claiming that Iran attacked our friend, Saudi Arabia. A clearer version of the truth is that both Iran and Saudi are aggressor nations and neither is a friend to America. Both nations are religious and economic rivals and both sponsor international terrorism. After all, it was Saudis who brought down the trade towers on 9/11 and it is the Saudis who are heavily responsible for the civil war that is raging in their neighboring country of Yemen.

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Gee Our Old LaSalle Ran Great…

People love to talk about how great things used to be and in many ways, I’m no different. Several conversations recently have me thinking about those good old days. So, I decided to make a list of what we used to pay for things. Feel free to add to it.

Prices in the 1950s:

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Mound City Group – National Historical Park

Back in the 1970s, I took my junior high school class to Mound City Group in Chillicothe. Even though I drive past the main site several times a year I haven’t stopped until just a few days ago. I had thrown my back out so I didn’t venture beyond the visitor center area but I got enough pictures and a short video to give one some idea of what is to be found there.

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Go West Young Man. Jiminy Cricket, No Thanks!

Maybe you saw a video on the news of the recent grasshopper invasion of Las Vegas (see below). Back in the 1960s, I had the fortune, good or otherwise, of experiencing such a thing in person. I can’t remember if it was grasshoppers or crickets but, as I learned later, such infestations are not uncommon in America’s West.

I was coming back to Ohio from California and had stopped for the night in a cheap motel in either Texas or Oklahoma. The entrance to my room had an actual screen door on it and when I had packed and was ready to leave I opened the main door and the screen door was alive with crawling insects. I literally held my breath long enough to run for the car and in doing so several hundred made it into the passenger compartment with me.

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America’s Great Pig War

Most Americans know a little about the times America went to war with Great Britain. There was the War of Independence in 1776 and the War of 1812 in 1812. But how many know anything about the Pig War between America and the mother country?

Over the centuries America has had its problems resolving border disputes between itself and Britain and/or Canada. After all, the border is 5,525 miles long and not, as it seems, a straight line. In the Pacific Northwest, the boundary weaves its way through a large chain of islands and it has not always been sure just which island went with which nation.

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A Story About Carpet Knives & A Little Jim Crow

When I was a kid and visiting my aunt and uncle in Columbia, SC during the summers many of the Lincoln Street guys carried folding carpet knives. They had lubricated the hinge and over many openings and closings, limbered it up. The trick was to grab the back of the blade’s edge and with a sharp wrist flip, open the knife for whatever action was intended. I thought it was cool and wanted one of those knives for myself. So, one day I journeyed to uptown Columbia and purchased a carpet knife from a long gone Army Navy store.

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The Skill & Art of Flintknapping

The first time I heard of flintknapping was in a college course I took on Western American History. Flintknapping, by the way, is the art and craft of making arrowheads and other stone tools.

If you aren’t aware, the hobby of searching for and collecting Native American artifacts is huge and can be practiced in about any area of the United States. It’s a complex topic that involves periods of time, type of materials used, manufacturing techniques, styles, and the trading of information and materials among the many native tribes.

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Deja Vu, He Has a Secret Plan

Turned on the news this morning and the lead story was about Trump announcing he has a secret plan for providing the American people with the perfect health care plan. There are at least two barbs to this fishhook. First, it’s secret. While we all get excited about secrets we should all know that secrets only hide and never make clear. Secondly, the other part of Trump’s caveat was that his secret plan wouldn’t be ready until after the 2020 elections.

Still having a bit of memory remaining my mind immediately flashed back to 1968 when Richard Nixon promised the American people that he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam and that he wouldn’t be able to reveal it until after the presidential elections.

The reality of Nixon’s secret is that he openly told interviewer David Frost that he never had a plan. Plus, once elected Nixon expanded the war into two neighboring nations and got another 22,000 American troops killed.

I was pleased when a few minuted later I turned on Morning Joe and Joe was having this same deja vu moment about Nixon and what his secret plan got us.

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