Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Harding Car

We were in Fairbanks last weekend (okay, we live in Alaska...this wasn't a special trip!) and took the kids to Pioneer Park and got to see the Harding Car
This is the car that Harding rode in while in Alaska to drive the spike for the Alaska Railroad. This is actually pretty anticlimactic - you can't get in it and there is like nothing in it.  Definitely not worth a trip to see, but if you are in Fairbanks like we were, it is worth a pit stop. 
This article, which rehashes the Alaska trip plus brings up the various theories on his death is more interesting.  I've heard most of the various theories, but honestly never paid much attention to the shellfish theory, so I thought I'd share that here:
The touring party members had been eating shellfish during the entire sea voyage, going and coming. But it was two days out of Sitka that the President first complained of sharp abdominal pains, but suffered no vomiting. Shellfish was suspected. But in hindsight no one could remember how the crabs had been delivered or by whom. And no one else became ill although many of the party had eaten crab.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan died today:
Former first lady Nancy Reagan, who joined her husband on a storybook journey from Hollywood to the White House, died Sunday.
She was 94.
Reagan died at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure, according to her spokeswoman, Joanne Drake of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
"Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. Prior to the funeral service, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to pay their respects at the library," Drake said in a statement.
The former first lady requested that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in lieu of flowers, the statement said.
In a statement, President Barack Obama thanked Reagan for her "warm and generous advice."
"Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here," he continued. "Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer's, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.
"We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. "
Republican leaders also paid tribute.
"With the passing of Nancy Reagan, we say a final goodbye to the days of Ronald Reagan," wrote 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Facebook. "With charm, grace, and a passion for America, this couple reminded us of the greatness and the endurance of the American experiment. ... God and Ronnie have finally welcomed a choice soul home."
You can read a nice biography here from the Reagan Library.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ken Burn’s “The Roosevelts”

I love Ken Burns.  Yes, yes, I admit it. So when I heard he was doing a documentary on the Roosevelts, I was thrilled.  This was very good, but I do wish there was more on Eleanor after Franklin’s death (Edith, too) as well as some of the other females in the family.   (If you are like me and interested, check out my review of The Roosevelt Women.)  So that’s my biggest critique.

Otherwise, I think this did a great job of dealing with the major issues and didn’t fall into the trap of sensationalizing FDR and the affairs issues.  I was also glad to see Alice (both of them) to minor roles.  Definitely well worth the time investment to watch! 
Now I watched this about the same time as I watched the PBS American Experience documentary, so I did get a lot of repeat, but still both are worth the time. I would say that if you want only want to watch one, watch this one as you get Franklin AND Teddy with this one (it is longer….much longer….) whereas with the other one, just Franklin obviously.  This also has more Eleanor.   I happen to really enjoy Teddy, so that is a major plus for me and also this really brings out the connections between Teddy and Franklin and the influence that Teddy has on Franklin, which I don’t think is often well explored. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency

This documentary explores the life and presidency of Andrew Jackson.  This explores both sides of Jackson.  Obviously, Jackson is our first “common” president and thus helps to bring the “common man” into politics more fully.  Yet he oversees some of the most controversial decisions, like Indian removal and is extremely vicious in all his dealings with Native Americans.  He was also a slave owner.  There is also the scandals with his wife and Peggy Eaton.

This is a good look into the many sides and faces of Jackson.  A good basic overview of his Presidency.  
Also, because it was the news a bit ago with all the talk about changing the heads on currency, check out the history of Jackson on the $20, at Smithsonian Magazine.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tea and Equality

This article was in the Summer 2015 edition of Prologue.  It deals with the invitation to tea that Mrs. Hoover sent Mrs. DePriest, the only African American member of Congress.  Mrs. DePriest came to tea and a flood of complaints flooded Mrs. Hoover over this invitation. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

FDR Visits Alaska

I actually read this article in the "real" paper last fall and am just getting around to posting it.  This talks about the fishing he did while in Alaska.  He didn't visit much of the state during this 1944 trip.

When I think of FDR and Alaska, I actually think of his New Deal program which sent colonists to Alaska in 1935 from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  The reason is that two of those colonists were my great-grandparents.   My grandmother was six months old when she arrived with them.