Showing 1 - 10 of 58 posts found matching keyword: history
In 1914, the countries of Serbia and Austria-Hungary were at each other's throats as they vied for political dominance in their overlapping spheres of influence.
Prince Regent Alexander of Serbia assumed control of his ill father's crown on June 24, 1914. Heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Serbian-recruited agents four days later.
Though no one could have predicted the horrors the future held for the two countries that started The War to End All Wars, the assassination was particularly unexpected considering that just a few years prior, Alexander had criticized his predecessor's own ulterior motives for war in this response to a question from his national press:
My father will start a war with Austria-Hungary because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He's weak and ineffective. We have a real problem in the kingdom. So, I believe that he will attack Austria-Hungary sometime prior to the end of his reign because he thinks that's the only way he can maintain power. Isn't it pathetic?
Because that's how grown-ups talk.
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I'm one of those people who, back in 2018, was reluctant to impeaching the sitting President because there was no way the Senate would do anything.
I'm also one of those people who, even though the Senate probably still won't do anything, has become convinced that impeachment is a necessity in the wake of the sitting President actively
soliciting extorting outside influence on the 2020 election.
I'm bothered that a not insignificant portion of America continues to support the President's interest in subverting the democratic rule of law. I want to give my fellow countrymen the benefit of the doubt. I hope it's a simple case of ignorance, either about the law or about what the President admits that he did.
Late in his life, Thomas Jefferson explained that he wrote the Declaration of Independence
"to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent."
Obviously, that worked out pretty well*. May the inevitable Articles of Impeachment be just as successful.
*John Adams rather famously estimated that up to a third of the American population resisted Independence until the bitter end. In any era, some minds can't be changed.
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Press Briefing by President George Washington, issued on April 8, 1793:
MR. WASHINGTON: Hey, guys. How are you all?
So we're going to talk about French Minister Genet. We're going to announce today that we're going to meet Citizen Genet on May Eighteenth at the Mount Vernon facility in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Now, let's talk about the site selection process because I know you folks will ask some questions about that. How do we go about doing this? First of all, we use a lot of the same criteria that have been used by presidents of the Confederation Congress. There's a long list of the accommodations on site: the ballrooms, bilateral rooms, the number of rooms, the portrait ops, the support lodgings that are there, the proximity to cities and seaports, carriage boarding zones, medical facilities, et cetera.
So we use the same set of criteria that previous administrations have used. We started with a list of about a dozen, just on parchment. And we sent an advance team out to actually visit ten locations in several states. We visited Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Now, we got that list down to just under ten, and the advance team went out to visit those. And from there, we got down to four finalists that our senior team went out to look at. They looked at — I think it was one in Maryland, two in New Jersey, and then the Pennsylvania State House facility in Philadelphia.
And it became apparent at the end of that process that Mount Vernon was, by far and away — far and away — the best physical facility for this meeting. In fact, I was talking to one of the advance teams when they came back, and I said, "What was it like?" And they said, "George, you're not going to believe this, but it's almost like your father built this facility to host this type of event." If any of you have been there, you know that there's separate buildings with their own rooms, separate and apart from each building, so that one country can have a building, another country can have another, you folks could have your building for the press. And obviously, the common areas are going to be perfect for our needs down there.
Anticipating your questions: How is this not an emoluments violation? Am I going to profit from this? I think I have pretty much made it very clear since I arrived here that I don't profit from being here. I have no interest in profiting from being here. It's one of the reasons that I took no salary as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Will not be profiting here.
I had considered the possibility of whether or not I could actually do it at no cost, to understand there's difficulties with doing it that way. But we'll also have difficulties, obviously, if I charge market rates. So I'm doing this at cost. As a result, it's actually going to be dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Mount Vernon compared to other final sites that we had.
Now, my guess is, with that official part of the briefing finished, there's going to be some questions about a variety of things that are going on in the world.
Q: "Yeah, thank you. So, how is this not just an enormous conflict of interest for you to host the French government at your own plantation?
MR. WASHINGTON: Okay, a couple different things. First off, I'm not making any profit. I think we've already established that. I think some —
Q: There's marketing and branding opportunities.
MR. WASHINGTON: It's a huge — I've heard — you know, I've heard that — I've heard that before. You know, I guess I've been the Chief Executive now for about three or four years, and I always hear: Whenever we go to the District of Columbia, it's a huge branding opportunity; whenever I go sleeping anywhere in New England. And everybody asks the question: Is it not a huge marketing opportunity?
I would simply ask you all to consider the possibility that George Washington's brand is probably strong enough as it is, and I don't need any more help on that. This is not like it's the most recognizable name in the English language and probably around the world right now. So, no, that has nothing to do with it.
That's why — listen, I was skeptical. I was. I was aware of the political, sort of, criticism that I'd come under for doing it at Mount Vernon, which is why I was so surprised when the advance team called back and said that this is the perfect physical location to do this.
So, I get the criticisms. Face it: I'd be criticized regardless of what I chose to do. But, no, there's no issue here on me profiting from this in any way, shape, or form.
Q: You said it's going to be done at cost. Do you have any idea of the cost estimate, how much money you're looking at?
MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah, I don't have the numbers in terms of the cost. I do know that it was — it was — one of the ones I saw was, it was almost half as much here. I don't want to butcher the numbers, but it was thousands of dollars cheaper by doing it at Mount Vernon than it was at another facility. And that was roughly fifty percent savings.
Q: Foreign Ministers have been visiting for decades, so how can you make the argument that this is the best place to hold it? Surely there were other places that this could be held. And you can't make the argument that you are not going to profit because we can't know how much you might profit in the future, right?
MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. To your first point, again, I think the profit one. Again, I'm not making any money off of this, just like I'm not making any money from working here. And if you think it's going to help my brand, that's great. But I would suggest that I probably don't need much help promoting my brand, so we'll put the profit one aside and deal with a perfect place.
Q: I understand that you're trying to put it in a place that you think is the best.
MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah.
Q: And maybe save the taxpayers some money, which is important for all of us. But sometimes you — because of the appearance of impropriety, you don't make that call. Can you at least understand and acknowledge that just the appearance of impropriety makes this wince-inducing and maybe this is something that you want to reconsider?
MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. I know that. Listen, I — I know the environment we live in. You all know the environment that we live in. And I know exactly that I'm going to get these questions and exactly get that reaction from a lot of people.
And I'm simply saying, "Okay, that's fine. I'm willing to take that." The same way I take it when I go to Valley Forge. The same when I go play at Washington, D.C. I got over that a long time ago. I absolutely believe this is the best place to have it. We're going to have it there. And there's going to be folks who will never get over the fact that it's a Washington property. I get that. But we're still going to go there.
Q: Aside from what your advance team did to look for the perfect place, what role did you play in selecting Mount Vernon, including getting it on the initial list of ten places in the first place?
MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. I think we — that's a fair question. We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and I go, "What about Mount Vernon?" And everyone was like, "That's not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense."
Q: About the Mount Vernon property: Why has no other Foreign Minister meeting ever been held there before?
MR. WASHINGTON: Because they didn’t go look at it. So —
I don't know, why did they have it at Federal Hall? I mean, seriously. I mean, for those of you who were there, I'm a little bit familiar with it; I've talked with the folks up at Federal Hall because I was up there recently and asked. I said, "Didn't you guys go up..." — I think it was Lafayette back then. Seventeen Eighty-Three, something like that. And they said it was a complete disaster. I'm like, "Okay, I wonder how that happened. How did that decision get made?"
Q: Just to show the American people that this is above board, are you going to share documents that show how you arrived at this decision with the Congress?
MR. WASHINGTON: No. But I would imagine we would share dollar figures with you afterwards. I mean, that's — that's ordinary course of business.
By the way, you're going to get this answer a lot, okay? I don't talk about how this place runs on the inside. So, if you ask if we — if you want to see our parchment on how we did this, the answer is: Absolutely not.
Q: There will almost certainly be a House Judiciary Committee hearing about this site selection.
MR. WASHINGTON: You think so?
Q: I really think so. Yeah. Will the administration participate, cooperate, with that?
MR. WASHINGTON: You know, that's a — by the way, that's a fascinating question. I had not thought that — that this would prompt a Judiciary Committee investigation. On one hand, I'm thinking to myself, "They don't have time to do it because they're too busy doing the two-party system." Right. And then I think to myself, "No, this is entirely consistent with how they've spent the first twenty-four months in office." Right? Or thirty-six months — however long they've been here. I guess it's been a few years, right?
That, yeah, they'd rather do that than talk about tax policy, than talk about tariffs, than talk about the Whiskey Rebellion; talk about the Jay Treaty. So, that's a fascinating question. I don't know if there will be a Judiciary Committee inquiry into this. My guess is there probably will be. And I look forward to participating in it.
Look, I know we can do this all night. No, I'm not going to take any more. But it's nice — it's nice to see everybody. Thanks again.
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From "The Tower of Prey", The House of Mystery #203, (1972), art by Nelson Redondo:
The bomb, wind, bullet, and airplane-proof building at the center of the story appears to be based on the then in-development World Trade Center. The angry woman who blames the greedy developer who "stole" her property has much in common with the landowners who sued the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey over their ability to use eminent domain to seize land from reluctant landlords. Lawsuits lead to the Supreme Court.
You probably know who won in real life. In the comic, it's the landlady's raven-claw curse that carries the day. What a happy ending!
Mom found this empty 1942 UGA student football season ticket book in a batch of letters kept by my grandmother:
Dink graduated in the class of 1943. Back in her day, students were sold these books of paper tickets (face value of 85¢) redeemable at the box office for a real ticket. Student tickets were only raised to $10 in the 2018 season. To the university's credit, that's less than the price of inflation. (Eighty-five cents in 1942 is over $13 today.) Sanford Stadium has been expanded eight times since 1942, when it only held 30,000 fans. It now seats over 93,000, so I suspect they're making up that lost value in volume.
If an empty ticket book seems like a strange keepsake, keep in mind that UGA won a national title in 1942 behind the incredible backfield tandem of Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi. For the record, this was the outcome of those games:
September 25 Jacksonville Naval Air Station, W 14–0,
October 3 Furman, W 40–7,
October 17 Tulane, W 40–0,
October 31 Alabama (ranked #3), W 21–10,
November 7 Florida, W 75–0,
November 21 Auburn, L 13–27,
November 28 Georgia Tech (ranked #2), W 34–0
I never knew that my grandmother attended every home game that season, and Dink died before I went to Athens, so she never knew I would one day have season tickets to our shared alma mater. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll eventually get to see a national championship season myself. I think she'd like that.
Those of you who know why know why.
Mom woke me up at the crack of 11AM yesterday, and we went to watch a Civil War re-enactment. Specifically, we went to see "The Battle of the Woods" at historic Brown's Mill battlefield in Coweta County, Georgia.
The site is famous for a short battle that took place there in July 1864 between Federal forces led by Brigadier General McCook and Major General Wheeler's Confederate cavalry. Wheeler's ambush led to a rout, and over a thousand Union soldiers were captured at the cost of only 50 Confederate lives. The battle has been credited with forcing General Sherman to abandon his strategy of cavalry raids in favor of a more direct siege of Atlanta. Call it a slow-burning pyrrhic victory.
Not that I knew any of that before yesterday. The Civil War isn't exactly a particular interest of mine. It's not exactly in Mom's wheelhouse, either. She was just looking for an excuse to go for a walk in the woods in some unseasonably cool weather.
Anyway, describing what we saw yesterday as a "re-enactment" is not entirely accurate. There were men in period-appropriate clothing with era-appropriate weapons all right, but they weren't really re-enacting anything specifically, at least not while we were there. (We got there a little late.) They demonstrated their weapons, military drills, and medicine, and they answered a lot of questions from the crowd, so it was more like an interactive lecture.
Even though I was groggy from sleep deprivation, I admit it was interesting to see history in action. And it certainly makes you stop and wonder at how things have changed in the past 154 years.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some sleep to catch up on.
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"I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." Harry Truman, 1947.
"But this secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles ... is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe." John Kennedy, 1962.
"We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives — on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua — to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." Ronald Reagan, 1985.
"We will not accept Russia's occupation of Crimea or its violation of Ukraine's sovereignty. Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia. Because after investing so much blood and treasure to bring Europe together, how can we allow the dark tactics of the 20th century to define this new century?" Barack Obama, 2016.
"My people came to me, [United States Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. I have [Russia] President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be." Donald Trump, 2018.
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Superman celebrates Independence Day the same way I do: watching 1776. He just has a better seat.
That's the opening splash panel from "Die Now, Live Later" in Action Comics #463, published in the summer of 1976 with a nod to the nation's bicentennial. This might blow your mind, but this Superman comic book is not a 100% accurate depiction of the events of July 4, 1776.
See what I mean? Everyone knows that Franklin had retired from day-to-day publishing pursuits in the 1740s and had divested all ownership of the Pennsylvania Gazette by 1766!
In addition to the occupation of Old Man Franklin (who in July of 1776 was a Medicare-eligible 70 years old — two years younger than our current Chief Executive), there is one other bit of historical inaccuracy presented herein. See if you can spot it:
Both Franklin and the narration in this panel are correct. While Congress agreed on independence on July 2, the text of the declaration of that independence vote was indeed approved on the 4th. (We're really celebrating bureaucracy and paperwork today, not independence.) But that declaration wasn't signed on July 4th! The Declaration of Independence as we know it wasn't signed by John Hancock or anyone else until August 2, 1776.
Besides those tiny gaffes, I assume the rest of this comic book can be treated as a historical document suitable for elementary school classrooms. Superman himself explains how he became involved in this previously unknown bit of American history, and Superman would never lie to us.
An alien named Karb-Brak? Yeah, that sounds legit.
Happy Birthday, America!
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