The White House became, quite simply, a political dive.
Some choice words for Republican leadership in the 20s. Via Ferdinand Lundberg’s ride through America’s Sixty Families (1937)
Even in their superficial aspects the successive Republican Administrations (of Harding, Coolidge, Hoover) were suspect. They differed from each other only in the name of the White House occupant. Warren G. Harding was an amiable drunkard who left a legacy of scandal mere allusion to which constitutes a breach of good taste; Calvin Coolidge simply did what he was told by Andrew W. Mellon and by Dwight W. Morrow, his political godfather; Herbert Hoover was an erstwhile vendor and promoter of shady mining stocks who before the war had been reprehended by an English court for his role in a promotional swindle.
"Harding," said Alice Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevclt, in a summary that must be considered scientifically exact, "was not a bad man. He was just a slob." Coolidge, according to Senator Medill McCormick, part owner of the rabidly Republican Chicago Tribune, was a plain "boob." He was so shunned, as Vice-President, that when he became Chief Executive he made Senator Frank B. Kellogg, the only man in Washington who had spoken a kind word to him, his Secretary of State.
The third of the Republican postwar Presidents (Hoover), in H. L. Mencken’s judiciously insulting phrase, was a “fat Coolidge,” sweatingly tremulous under the domination of Thomas W. Lamont of J. P. Morgan and Company, whom he invariably consulted over the long-distance telephone before ever announcing any decision of moment. Of Coolidge’s ignorance of common affairs, which was transcended only by Harding’s…
The exceptionally low caliber of the Coolidge mentality was never better illustrated than in 1921 when, as Vice-President, he wrote for a woman’s magazine a series of articles under the title, ”Enemies of the Republic: Are the Reds Stalking Our College Women?”
How Far We’ve Come
I feel like it’s kind of emasculating. — Google co-founder Sergey Brin on smartphones. Brin was promoting Google Glasses as the better (and more masculine) choice.
He thought the wearing of wrist watches by men to be effeminate. — About former Supreme Court Justice James Clark McReynolds. If you think Scalia is an asshole, read about this guy.
From sometime before 1907
November 6, 1912.
Woodrow Wilson was elected President yesterday and Thomas R. Marshall Vice President by an Electoral majority which challenged comparison with the year in which Horace Greeley was defeated by Grant. Until now, that year has always been the standard comparison for disastrous defeats, but the downfall of the Republican Party this year runs a close second.
Electoral Votes: Wilson 409, Roosevelt 107, Taft 15.
Did not know this:
Under Johnson, Dr. Hornig doubled the budget of what is now the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which he led, and pushed for federal research in housing and transportation. He also helped kill a proposal to put giant mirrors into orbit over Vietnam to spotlight the enemy at night.
Pictured above: The Trinity tower. “At 9 p.m., I climbed the 100-foot tower to the top, where I baby-sat the live bomb.”
Hitler & Gun Control
Alex Seitz-Wald interviews the historian Omer Bartov on the right-wing gun control meme entry under Hitler. His response cuts to the heart of it:
Bartov added that this misreading of history is not only intellectually dishonest, but also dangerous. “I happen to have been a combat soldier and officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and I know what these assault rifles can do,” he said in an email.
He continued: “Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”
By showing scenes of torture without taking any kind of moral (as opposed to tactical) stand on what we are seeing, Bigelow has made an amoral movie – which is, I would argue, an unconscionable approach to this material. I don’t understand those critics and commentators who denounce this film’s amorality and then go on to laud the movie anyway – as if a film’s moral stance, or lack of the same, was incidental to its achievement. Are we so cowed and wowed by cinematic technique that we can afford to lobotomize ourselves in this way? via