Tag Archives: President’s Day

THREE FORMER PRESIDENTS WHO RETURNED TO FEDERAL SERVICE

As Presidents Day Weekend draws to a close here’s one last seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. This item looks at the three former presidents who occupied other United States federal government positions after their years in the White House.

William Howard TaftWILLIAM HOWARD TAFT

Gang Affiliation: Republican

Post-Presidency Office: Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Comment: In July of 1921, President Warren G Harding took time out from letting his criminal cronies run the country to appoint former President Taft as the new Chief Justice.

Among the Associate Justices serving on the Court when Taft took the position were three of the legends of the Court – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, Louis Brandeis and Willis Van Devanter (insert your own “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” joke here). Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Neglected History

AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: EISENHOWER TO TRUMP

It’s Presidents Day Weekend! Here are some of Balladeer’s Blog’s takes on the more recent presidents.  

EisenhowerDWIGHT EISENHOWER

Character Type: Well-meaning but befuddled sitcom grandfather.

Military Service: World War One and World War Two

Motto: “FOOORE!” (Remember,  the traditional cry as you’re teeing off in golf? Oh, never mind!)

Nickname: Uncle Milty

Pro: Knew enough to distrust Richard Nixon long before it became the national pasttime. 

Con: Was the first president to pronounce nuclear as “nucular”. Continue reading

32 Comments

Filed under humor, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

VICE PRESIDENTS – JOKES ABOUT THESE ULTIMATE SECOND BANANAS

John Adams

John Adams

Since it’s Presidents Day Weekend here’s another seasonal post.

John Adams called the Vice Presidency “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” A very old joke went “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea and the other became Vice President. Neither was ever heard from again.”

In George S Kaufman’s and Morrie Ryskind’s classic stage work Of Thee I Sing one of the characters turns down an offer to be Vice President because he’s ashamed to have his mother know. He’s persuaded to accept the office when it’s pointed out that if he doesn’t tell her about it she’ll never find out.

The office has featured eminently forgettable figures as well as comic relief buffoons like Dan “The Global Village Idiot” Quayle and Joe “Koo Koo For Cocoa Puffs” Biden. In the light-hearted style of Balladeer’s Blog’s look at U.S. Presidents here’s a look at the men who got to hang around and see if the country’s Chief Executive wound up six feet under. I’m omitting VP’s who went on to actually become President, so no John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, etc. 

aaron-burrAARON BURR

Served Under: Jefferson 

Noted for: Shooting dead more Treasury Secretaries and hatching more plots to start his own country than any other Vice President. (So far, anyway.)

Best Burr Quote: “I’m still searching for the real killers of Alexander Hamilton.” 

GEORGE CLINTON

Served Under: Jefferson and Madison

Noted for: P-Funk and Funkadelic Leading American Rebel forces against the British troops of his loyalist cousin Sir Henry Clinton during the Revolutionary War. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under humor, Neglected History, opinion, Presidential Rap Sheets

VALENTINE’S DAY SHOUTOUT TO PRESIDENT WILLIAM MCKINLEY AND HIS WIFE IDA

MckinleysSince today is Valentine’s Day AND we have Presidents Day coming up here’s a brief shoutout to the often neglected love story about President William McKinley and his wife Ida Saxton McKinley.

The McKinley years were far enough away that there is a certain sincerity to their relationship that could never be trusted in these days of endless media overload. 

Years before they were President and First Lady the McKinleys lost both their daughters in tragic circumstances. Ida was never the same and became epileptic plus showed signs of other disorders. As president, William happily restructured the usual social agenda for First Ladies to accommodate Ida’s special circumstances. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Neglected History

MOTHER JONES: PRESIDENT TRUMP IS MANY HEROES IN ONE

mother-jonesAs another Presidents Day wraps up here’s a take from a true working class heroine. Mary Harris Jones, the legendary labor organizer from the 1890s onward, also known as “the Miner’s Angel” and “Mother Jones,” spoke to Balladeer’s Blog yet again, despite being dead since 1930. 

BALLADEER’S BLOG: Well, hello again! I always enjoy our talks.  

MOTHER JONES: I’m glad to hear it, sonny! I continue to be very impressed with the way President Trump – the new FDR and the new Harry Truman – continues to scrap with the same kind of plutocratic oppressors I always fought.

Trump is SerpicoBB: I admit the stench from Washington, DC is amazing. “Draining the Swamp” as Trump calls it, is demonstrating the depth of corruption and outright criminal activity the Democrats and Republicans are responsible for. It took a de facto Third Party President like Trump to take the first necessary steps.

MJ: You know it, young man! No Democrat or Republican would have rocked the boat like this! I think President Trump is like many heroes in one.

BB: Well, I think “hero” might be too strong a word for Trump, but –

MJ: Yes, yes, I know I’m more enthusiastic about him than you are, but I want you to just listen for awhile.

BB: Okay.

Franklin RooseveltMJ: First off, President Trump is like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was looking out for the working class and the poor, so rich fat cat scum tried to destroy him like they’re doing with Donald Trump. They even tried the VERIFIED Businessman’s Coup plot against FDR.

Right now the way that rich pigs like Tom Steyer are trying to overturn an election they lost is disgusting and is a threat to all elections of the future. If fat cats like Steyer or the Koch Brothers don’t like the way the votes went, they’ll pull a “soft coup” as it’s called.

SECOND, President Trump is like Harry S Truman. Harry gave ’em Hell every chance he could and weak-kneed sissy boys like today’s Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell clutched their pearls and reached for the smelling salts. Trump shocks more Republican and Democrat trash in one week than good old Harry did in his entire presidency!  

BrubakerTHIRD, President Trump is like that Robert Redford fella when he played Brubaker! Like Trump, Brubaker was trying to clean out a virtual sewer of corrupt officialdom. Even if the scumbags fighting Trump oust him, it will be like the ending of Brubaker, when the prisoners – or American citizens in Trump’s case – gathered around to pay him respect.

The prisoners giving the departing Brubaker a slow clap of good bye was an acknowledgement that the man had tried to help them and to fight the crooked politicians and rich pigs abusing them. President Trump’s end might be like that if the Establishment criminals succeed in driving him from office.

BB: That’s a very profound comparison. Even if – like Brubaker – President Trump’s bottom line accomplishment is to raise awareness in all of us about the NEED to fight the white collar criminals who have hijacked our political system, there is a certain dignity in that. A dignity that people like Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan could never understand.  

MJ: Good lad, Balladeer, but I have plenty more heroes to compare with President Trump, so pipe down. 

BB: By all means, carry on.

SerpicoMJ: FOURTH, President Trump is like Serpico. The real-life Serpico, not the weak sauce movie version of the man. Like Frank Serpico, President Trump is the only one refusing to play business as usual and just get bought off.

And like Serpico, even Trump’s presumed allies – in his case the Republican crooks like Mitch McConnell and others – are setting up Donald to be taken down by even bigger crooks who will be glad to do the dirty work.

BB: Now that’s a bit strong, don’t you thi – Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

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

30 Comments

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

10 Comments

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

PRESIDENTIAL LOSERS: PROS AND CONS

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsIn the spirit of Balladeer’s Blog’s irreverent, tongue-in-cheek looks at the pros and cons of U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents here’s another post for the upcoming Presidents Day three-day weekend. 

It’s my tongue-in-cheek look at the pros and cons of the LOSERS who were left in a defeated heap enroute to the Oval Office. In reverse order back to just before Tilden:

hillary-clinton-haitiHILLARY CLINTON (Lost to President Donald Trump)

Motto: “When the money keeps rolling in (to your fake charity), what’s a girl to do? Skim a little (well, quite a lot, actually) off the top for expenses wouldn’t you?”

Nickname: The Rapist’s Wife/ Crooked Hillary 

Hillary clinton dough nationPro: Her childish refusal to address her own supporters the night Donald Trump utterly humiliated her provided a look at how truly petty, shallow and classless she is. 

Con: She and her fascist followers tried to threaten the members of the Electoral College into casting their votes for her instead of Trump, thereby reaching the absolute lowest and most disgusting level that any American politician has ever sunk to. 

MITT ROMNEY (Lost to Obama)

Motto: “Pushing women back to the Fifties … the EIGHTEEN fifties!”

Nickname: The Mormon Mondale/ Ol’ Sploog Face (tie)

Pro: His even more pathetic running mate Paul Ryan actually made him look good by comparison.  Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under humor, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

GEORGE WASHINGTON: WAS HE REALLY THE INDISPENSABLE MAN?

George WashingtonPresident’s Day is coming up in 8 days so here’s yet another seasonal post. It’s one of my random takes on one of our Presidents. Or in this case just one aspect of one of our Presidents.  

GEORGE WASHINGTON – My other posts about Washington have bashed him over the slavery issue, but this particular blog post is on a whole different topic. (Point being don’t leave a juvenile, snarky remark about him being a slave-owner. Everybody knows that. You won’t be retroactively freeing a single slave by indulging your ego that way.)

THE INDISPENSABLE MAN – George Washington is often called the Indispensable Man to the success of the American Revolution. I’m generally not a Washington fan but I’ve yielded on this point over the years. Here are three reasons why:

A. Odd as it may sound, reading several books about the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks helped convince me of Washington’s value. His name is never mentioned in any of my books about that war but there are parallels to our Revolution. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under 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

28 Comments

Filed under Neglected History