Monday, January 31, 2011

A Grover Slideshow

Grover book on Facebook

Hey, if you're on Facebook, please "Like" my new book. Click here to go to its Facebook page.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grover Ranked 4th-Best President Ever

At least by the conservative British politician Daniel Hannan, who puts Grover behind only Reagan, Lincoln, and Jefferson in this article. Grover - who in his second inaugural declared that "while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their government, its functions do not include the support of the people" - has become something of a darling to conservatives of late.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keen of Philadelphia

Went to Philadelphia for the day yesterday. Had a nice lunch with my sister. What always surprises me about Philly is that the subway system still uses tokens. Tokens! Is there another major mass transit system in the country that still uses tokens? Anyway, while I was there, I shot some video and made this short film. It's a very brief biography of William Williams Keen, one of the surgeons who operated on Grover Cleveland in 1893...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords and the Assassination of Frank Steunenberg

The attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords calls to mind another act of political violence that sent the nation reeling more than a century ago. Late one December afternoon in 1905, former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg opened the gate to his house and was blown to pieces by a crude bomb that had been designed to detonate when the gate was opened.

Steunenberg had earned the bitter enmity of miners by sending in the National Guard to end a miners strike when he was governor, so it was widely assumed that he had been murdered by a radical miners union, much as it has been theorized that Rep. Giffords was targeted by right-wing or Tea Party extremists.

In fact, Gov. Steunenberg was targeted by a deranged loner with murky motives - much as it’s beginning to appear Rep. Giffords was targeted. Steunenberg’s assailant went by the name Harry Orchard, though his given name was Albert Horsley. In exchange for escaping the gallows, Orchard agreed to testify against three union officials who were charged with conspiring to murder Steunenberg. But Orchard’s connection to the union was tenuous at best, and the three officials (defended by Clarence Darrow) were acquitted.

I guess the lesson here is to be careful about jumping to conclusions about the motives behind acts of political violence.

(The story of Frank Steunenberg’s assassination is superbly recounted at this wonderful website.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Grover on Jeopardy!

In case you missed it, the answer to last night's Final Jeopardy was ... Grover Cleveland! (Of the late-19th century presidents with facial hair, he was the only Democrat.)

Say it ain't so...

According to this article in the Washington Examiner, the bar at the Mayflower Hotel is closing. Harry Truman must be spinning in his grave. He liked the Mayflower so much he called it Washington's second-best address. Personally, I think he underrated it a bit. I've had some, uh, smashing times at the Mayflower bar. Accidentally left a green Phillies hat there once. Never got it back. Man, I loved that hat. The bartender, Cambodian-born Sam, is one of the best. As Harry would put it, he makes a damn good drink. Farewell, Mayflower bar. You will not be forgotten. Though most of memories of you are hazy...

Monday, January 03, 2011

America's Last World War I Vet Ailing

I was sorry to hear that Frank Buckles, America's last living World War I vet, isn't feeling well. According to this article, Frank has "slowed down considerably in just the past two months" and "is awake just a few hours a day." Frank would turn 110 on February 1st. Here's to hoping he celebrates that birthday - and many more!