Tag Archives: American History

REJECTED SUPREME COURT NOMINEES

Grampa JoeFor assorted reasons the potential of a new Supreme Court vacancy has been much discussed in recent months. Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the various Supreme Court nominees who were REJECTED by the Senate. I’m omitting John Rutledge since – because he was a recess appointment – he actually served as Chief Justice for one of the Court’s terms before the official Senate vote rejecting his nomination by President Washington.

Alexander WolcottALEXANDER WOLCOTT

Gang Affiliation: Democratic-Republican Party

Senate Vote: On February 13th, 1811, the Senate rejected Wolcott’s nomination by President James Madison by a vote of 24 nays and 9 yeas.

Ostensible Reasons For The Rejection: The Federalist Party Senators and the Federalist Party media outlets clobbered Wolcott over his enforcement of the controversial Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts while serving as Customs Inspector in Connecticut.

              Second – and most importantly – his limited legal experience was cited as a definite hindrance to serving on the highest court in the land. (Ya think?)  

John C SpencerJOHN C SPENCER

Gang Affiliation: Whig Party

Senate Vote: On January 31st, 1844, the Senate rejected Spencer’s nomination by President John Tyler by a tight vote of 26 nays and 21 yeas.

Ostensible Reasons For the Rejection: Spencer had accepted the position of Secretary of War and later Secretary of the Treasury under President Tyler, alienating fellow Whigs who saw him as a traitor for not showing solidarity with them against Tyler. This rejection was part of a virtual war between the Executive and Legislative Branches following John Tyler’s succession to the presidency following the death in office of Whig President William Henry Harrison. Continue reading

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APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY PLUS THE 6 OTHER MOON LANDINGS

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! America’s Apollo 11 moon landing gets all the attention, so in keeping with Balladeer’s Blog’s overall theme here’s a look at the six missions that followed that very first manned moon landing. 

Apollo 12 patchAPOLLO 12 – Overall Commander: Charles “Pete” Conrad (not to be confused with Peter “Chuck” Conrad)

Command Module Yankee Clipper Pilot: Richard F Gordon, Jr

Lunar Module Intrepid Pilot: Alan L Bean 

Less than four full months after Apollo 11’s successful mission the Apollo 12 crew provided a SECOND fulfillment of President John F Kennedy’s goal of landing men on the moon and returning them safely to the Earth. 

The Lunar Module Intrepid touched down on the moon’s surface on November 19th, 1969 at 1:54am EST and lifted off to rendezvous with the orbiting Command Module Yankee Clipper on November 20th at 9:25am. Splashdown in the Pacific Ocean was on November 24th at 3:58pm.

The Mission: The Yankee Clipper was struck by lightning during its ascent from the Earth, knocking out all power but the back-up systems successfully restored all operations to normal. Apollo 12 made a perfect touchdown at its predesignated landing area, already improving on the previous mission, which had been very slightly off-course.

After landing at the Ocean of Storms Astronauts Conrad and Bean had to contend with a much more powdery surface than the Apollo 11 crew had encountered. The lunar dust and powder clung to the Astronauts’ suits and nearly clogged vital portions of the high-tech outfits. Continue reading

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1776: FOURTH OF JULY MUSICAL

1776-musical-movieIt may be my fondness for mythology that makes me love to watch particular movies around particular holidays.  I say that because many of the well- known myths were recited on ancient holidays when their subject matter was relevant to those holidays. The stories helped accentuate the meaning of the special events and that’s the way I use various movies.

At Christmas I watch countless variations of A Christmas Carol, around Labor Day I watch Eight Men Out, at Halloween The Evil Dead and the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Thanksgiving Eve I do Oliver! and for Frontierado (which is just a month away now) I do Silverado.

Since the actual 4th of July is loaded with activity I always show 1776 on the night before. It’s a great way to get in the mood for Independence Day. It’s a musical but with brilliant dialogue portions and the story involves the political maneuvering  surrounding the Original Thirteen Colonies at last announcing their independence from Great Britain, more than a year after  the shots fired at Lexington and Concord started the war.

The story is excellently conveyed and is moving, comical, invigorating and poignant all at once. As long as you know which parts of the tale are depicted accurately and which are complete b.s. it’s a terrific way to spend each 3rd of July. Continue reading

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FIVE MOST UNQUALIFIED U.S. PRESIDENTS

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsHAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY! What better way to poke through the undeserved air of reverence that often clouds this holiday than by taking a look at the Five Most UN-qualified people who rose to the presidency. And remember, this list is not a reflection of their subsequent performance as president, just on their qualifications prior to taking the office. 

Ulysses S GrantNUMBER 5: ULYSSES S GRANT

Gang Affiliation: Republican

Became President Despite Their Poor Qualifications Because: He was treated too gently by the media as the victorious General from the Civil War and had tried not to take sides in the bitter fighting between Congress and President Andrew Johnson leading up to the election of 1868. 

Comment: Grant started out promisingly enough, graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After 15 years in the Army (and service in the Mexican War) Grant went on to a series of failures in civilian life. When the Civil War broke out he returned to military service and rose to lead the Union Army to victory.

I’m not looking down on military service but when it’s your core experience and only area of success punctuated by repeated failures in other endeavors you might think Secretary of War would be Grant’s eventual position in the cabinet of a more qualified president. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Presidential Rap Sheets

1912: BATTLE OF THE THREE PRESIDENTS

masc chair and bottleHappy Presidents Day Weekend! Balladeer’s Blog’s seasonal posts continue with this look at the presidential election of 1912.

I won’t bury this item in unnecessary detail to the point where it becomes boring. My emphasis will be on its three-way battle’s relevance to us today. 

Woodrow WilsonDEMOCRAT: Woodrow Wilson, the victor. To this very day many Republicans blame Wilson for starting the country on its path toward all the things they don’t like.

They ignore the fact that their own party’s movers and shakers of the time spitefully ensured Wilson’s victory by refusing to accept the popular Theodore Roosevelt as the Republican candidate.

That drove him to the Third Party called the Progressive Party, thus splitting the anti-Wilson vote in such a way that enabled the Democrat to win.

Theodore RooseveltPROGRESSIVE: Former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt had come out of retirement to run again because he was thoroughly disenchanted with his hand-picked successor, incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.

The reason? Theodore felt that Taft was undoing the few inroads that he (Theodore) had made against the moneyed rich pig class. Republican tycoons of the time often expressed their feeling that Teddy was a traitor to his class – an accusation that they would REALLY overuse against Theodore’s Democrat cousin Franklin Roosevelt decades later.  

This is similar to the way current President Donald Trump is often attacked by today’s bloated rich pigs, both Republican AND Democrat, because of the few inroads that HE has made against his fellows in the moneyed class. Some of the rich pigs of Teddy’s era openly referred to the way they generally carry America’s elected officials around in their pockets by saying “We bought the son of a bitch but he wouldn’t stay bought.”        Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Presidential Rap Sheets

CALM DOWN, PEOPLE, 31 OTHER PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED EMERGENCIES ARE STILL IN EFFECT

panic-signHello everyone! As always I find it humbling when so many overseas readers ask me for my honest, non-partisan take on our political scene here in America. I will be 100% sincere with this blog post about the ridiculous overreaction to de facto Third Party President Trump declaring a national emergency regarding the flood of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs pouring across our border with Mexico, a virtual narco-state at this point given how the Cartels run wild.

PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCIES – As always, America’s corporate media and our white-collar criminals called career politicians are needlessly whipping up a frenzy just because it’s Trump – an outsider rocking the boat – who is in office right now. Presidentially declared national emergencies are much less than advertised.

NEARLY SIXTY SUCH NATIONAL EMERGENCIES HAVE BEEN DECLARED SINCE 1976.

THIRTY-ONE OF THOSE DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCIES ARE STILL IN EFFECT.

THIRTEEN OF THOSE NATIONAL EMERGENCIES WERE DECLARED BY BARACK OBAMA.

OBVIOUSLY, SINCE VIRTUALLY NOBODY EVEN KNEW ABOUT THOSE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ORDERS STILL BEING IN EFFECT THOSE EMERGENCIES DO NOT MEAN WE ARE INCHES AWAY FROM A DICTATORSHIP.

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsTHE MAIN PEOPLE SPREADING PANIC ABOUT THIS SITUATION ARE THE TWO LEAST TRUSTWORTHY ELEMENTS OF AMERICA – THE MEDIA AND CAREER POLITICIANS. (I don’t care about shallow, uninformed and emotionally unstable entertainers.)

Below is just one link where you can check this out for yourself. There are plenty more, like at the Federal Registry. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

SIXTEEN OVERLOOKED SECRETARIES OF STATE

masc chair and bottleWith President’s Day coming here’s a look at some of the men and women who proved pivotal to the administrations of the Presidents of the United States. Many of those Secretaries may not be household names here in the 21st Century but they would definitely stand out on any staff. Here is an examination of sixteen such figures in chronological order. Figures like James G Blaine, William Seward, and Henry Kissinger are so well-known that they are not included on this list.

Timothy Pickering1. TIMOTHY PICKERING (1795-1800)

Served under: Presidents George Washington and John Adams

Noted for: Conspiring with Alexander Hamilton to undermine some of the policies of the Washington and Adams administrations. When Adams discovered this he ordered Pickering to resign, but Pickering refused, forcing Adams to fire him. Pickering remains the only Secretary of State to officially be fired by the President.

Henry Clay2. HENRY CLAY (1825-1829)

Served under: President John Quincy Adams

Noted for: Fighting a duel with Senator John Randolph, one of Clay’s critics who felt he had struck a “corrupt bargain” with Adams to get this prized cabinet position. Also for completing the first commerce treaties between the young United States and the various nations in Scandinavia and Latin America.

John Forsyth3. JOHN FORSYTH (1834-1841)

Served under: Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren

Noted for: Obtaining long-disputed reparations from France for U.S. commercial losses suffered during the Napoleonic Wars. Also for threatening to resign early in Van Buren’s administration before his relationship with the new president improved. Continue reading

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