Tag Archives: HISTORY

Greenfield’s Presidential Dog

The news reported recently that the Trump family was the first to occupy the White House and not own a dog. While I think that is a win-win for dogs I do have a story about presidential dogs. This was originally published on an earlier version of my website but I think it’s time to bring it back for a second reading.

Feller, an adorable 5-week-old puppy, arrived at the White House as a gift in a giant crate, December 1947.
Feller on the White House lawn.

“Feller, a beautiful blond Cocker Spaniel, was an unsolicited 1947 Christmas gift to President Truman. The Trumans elected to give the puppy to the White House physician, Brigadier General Wallace Graham. Dog lovers around the country attacked the President as being anti-canine. Dr. Graham, soon tiring of the press and publicity, decided to get rid of the dog. He had Truman’s Naval Aide, Adm. James K. Foskett, take Feller to Shangri-La (Camp David). As the camp was not open to the press this seemed to end the Feller story, until now. The Admiral left Feller with the chief-in-charge, Quartermaster Chief George A. Poplin. When Poplin was transferred, Charles G. Ross, President Truman’s secretary, came to camp and told Poplin to leave the dog there. Poplin was relieved as chief-in-charge by Damage Control Chief Ralph O. Loften, who in turn was relieved by Chief Boatswain Robert W. Lyle. In 1953, while Chief Lyle was being transferred to Italy, he sought permission from Naval Aide Admiral Robert L. Dennison to take Feller. Permission was granted, provided that no mention be made that the dog once belonged to Truman. Robert gave Feller to his father, Archie Otis Lyle, who owned a farm just outside Greenfield, Ohio. There Feller lived for many happy years until he died of old age.

As a note of interest, when it became known by the camp crew that a member of the Truman family was to visit Shangri-La, Feller would be taken to a pet groomer in Thurmont just to be looking good in case the Trumans wanted to see him. They never did ask about the dog.”

Recent Random Ramblings

  • Trump is the first occupant of the White House who has been given carte blanche to make shit up while providing zero evidence.
  • It’s been said that Trump Tweets while sitting on the toilet each morning. I’m thinking his most angry, ridiculous, and outrageous Tweets come from those times when he is the most constipated.
  • If Obama did tap Trump’s phones it suggest a federal judge saw sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify a warrant.
  • In one February Ohio week we had the highest temperature ever recorded, followed by plummeting temperatures and spitting snow, and finishing up with a tornado that left a 7-mile track through Highland County.
  • Old Chinese proverb, “Be wary of autocratic rulers with goofy fucking haircuts.”

Continue reading Recent Random Ramblings

52 Years Today

Fifty-two years ago today John Lewis, Martin Luther King, and a number of other civil rights leaders and marchers set out to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, AL. On arrival they were violently set upon by city police, state troopers, police dogs, water cannons, tear gas, and nightsticks. Unfortunately there were those, then and now, who argue that the wrong side, Lewis’, won.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More Random Thoughts

Being a political junkie and having Trump in the White House makes it almost impossible to have a random thought that is not political. Consider this a warning.

  • I just spent four hours shredding documents in what is supposed to be a paperless society.
  • I’m becoming paranoid about Trump being paranoid.
  • Since January 20, 2017 I’ve had a solid reason to get out of bed and turn on the TV. Unfortunately I’m getting to be a historical eyewitness to the Trump directed meltdown of America.
  • The older you get the less you are aware of popular culture. Driving past a multiplex I didn’t recognize a single movie title on their bill board.
  • I’ve often wondered what should be the measure of having too much money. Possibly it’s being able to afford to rent a rocket to take you beyond the moon and back.
  • All presidents should stop using war widows and victims of violence as political props in their speeches.
  • Politicians need to immediately stop putting party before people. They should begin and end any legislative thought by asking if the consequences honestly serve the betterment of the general population.

Continue reading More Random Thoughts

The Time for Protest

Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Playing for Change. The effort to bring the world’s people together through the universal language of music. I cut my liberal teeth on the protest music of the 1950s and 60s and PforP just today released a new video containing a y. If ever the need for continued protest was appropriate, this is it.

Enjoy, pat your feet, clap your hands, and then somehow join the resistance movement. We have a long way to go!

And They Will Climb Over It

A lot has been said about building walls in the past year or so. Trump made building a wall along the Mexican-American border a major part of his campaign. And he seemed to convince large numbers of his believe anything base that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The US-Mexican border at San Ysidro, CA. One of the busiest crossings on earth.

The proposed purpose of the wall is to protect Americans. Protect Americans by keeping all those raping Mexicans out of our country and to stop the flow of thugs and drugs. Before the first shovel of dirt is turned some things need to be considered.

First, the US-Mexican border is 1900 miles long. That’s 600 miles longer than the Great of China which failed to keep the Chinese from falling to the hordes of Mongol warriors who eventually brought down the Song Dynasty in the 13th century.

Continue reading And They Will Climb Over It

Remembering Nannygate?

Clinton’s nominee for Attorney General, Zoe Baird.

Nannygate took place in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. On two occasions president Clinton nominated people to federal positions only to be forced to withdraw their names because both were found to have hired illegal immigrants to work in their homes. The appointments were for Attorney General and the people were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood. The GOP went nuts when they learned during the confirmation hearings that Baird had employed an illegal from Peru to baby sit her children.

Continue reading Remembering Nannygate?

War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap

The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.

For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.

Continue reading War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap

Yes, We Have No Checks & Balances

Most people have heard that power corrupts and it isn’t just an old wives tale, power really does corrupt. Knowing that, the founding fathers drew up a Constitutional form of government that included several ways to attempt limiting power and the abuse that comes with it.

Click to enlarge!

They established three branches giving each several ways to override the others. They depended on rivalry and jealousness to create a competition for power between the three branches. They created a bicameral or two house legislature as a means of making law more difficult. They created an independent judicial system that is free of political pressure and serves for life. That judicial system has the power to review law and decide what is or is not permitted by the Constitution. That means the courts can overturn actions by the president and the congress that it finds in violation. The president is the chief enforcer of law and can chose which laws to vigorously enforce or which to pay little attention to. And, of course, the president has the power of veto. All this together is referred to as America’s system of checks and balances and it’s pretty much kept us from autocratic tyranny for two-hundred and forty years.

Continue reading Yes, We Have No Checks & Balances

Note About Black History Month

Black History Month, as we know it, began in 1976 and has been recognized by every American president since. The event is an outgrowth of Negro History Week which began in 1926.

I don’t know if Trump has acknowledged the month yet but I find it interesting that this may be the first such event taking place during the term of a president with known racial biases.

Don’t forget that Trump is the guy who paid mention to Holocaust Week without using the word Jew. He’s also the guy that KKK leader David Duke, and many other white supremacists think is doing great.

The Dream

Teach your children, and maybe yourself, some important American history today. Do some reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch the video of King’s entire I Have a Dream speech.

You might even read the attached article about King.

Click the button for a great article about King. 

 

Bombing

WE LOVE TO BOMB: Researchers have estimated, probably on the light side, that during the last year of Barack Obama’s administration the US military dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different nations. Continues to leave open the question of the worth of Curtis LeMay’s aerial bombardment as a workable strategy.

A Few Notes on History Repeating

I was listening to a TV discussion this afternoon and one of the subjects talked about was how we are having to deal with things that most of us thought were long gone into the pages of history. As a history major in college I was required to take a class in historiography, which includes theories of why things change. One idea that most are familiar with is that history repeats itself.

There are other theories but what we’re seeing unfold today has elements that were common in the decades between the two world wars. Throughout much of the world there was a huge increase in militarists and nationalists groups. In Japan the military came to power and pushed for military solutions to Japan’s problems. In Italy and Germany people turned to dictatorial leadership and its promise of resolving the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression.

I grew up and became educated after these things had occurred. In my time most of us came to believe we’d seen the last of fascism, Nazis, genocide, and religious and ethnic wars. My generation grew up in the post war prosperity of the 1950s, got an education,  a decent job, and went on to out do our parents. I suppose we thought it would always be that way, if not get even better.

Well, it wasn’t to be. Changes in business practices and rapidly changing technology turned against the middle-class prosperity I had witnessed. Millions of jobs went where labor was cheaper, became obsolete, or are now performed by robots. The good “people” jobs remaining in America now go to those who have a high degree of technical skill. What’s left are low paid, low skilled, and too few.

So here we are, back to those days when jobs are few, education expensive, young adults are still living at home, and whole parts of America is in ruins. The same feelings of despair that turned Germans to fascism in the 1930s have given rise to right-wing extremists in 2016’s America. Both Hitler and Trump are the products of people feeling desperate.

Next time you’re wondering what causes our story to change, add desperation and despair to the list. But keep in mind that history repeats itself so the good times may someday return. I just hope we don’t have to endure what the world witnessed that last time so many became desperate.

FOOTNOTE: Since I wrote this piece both Putin and Trump have began talking about increasing each nation’s nuclear arsenal. From out of nowhere the world is suddenly knocking on the door of another nuclear arms race and the weapons makers are seeing their stock values hit the roof. It’s good to be a war monger!

In an attempt to end on a happier note reading this article I’m reminded of the bit they did on Hee Haw about, Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me!

The Man Who Saved Jimmy Wise

If you read either of the stories I republished yesterday about Greenfield’s USS Arizona survivor, Jim Wise, you’ll understand the significance of this story from Stars and Stripes. It’s the story of two brothers who served on board the Arizona and on December 7, 1941, one lived and the other lost his life.

On its own the story is plenty interesting. But add in one of the brothers mentioning having saved the life of a man from Greenfield, Ohio, it takes on a whole deeper dimension. I don’t know if Jim Wise or his family ever knew who pulled him out of the Arizona but now, 75 years later, they do.

Click button to read Stars & Stripes story about Arizona. 

FOOTNOTE: Jim Wise is not mentioned by name but he was our only person on the Arizona so it has to be him. Also, as of yesterday there were only five remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona.

Remembering Pearl Harbor and James Louis Wise

Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.

No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii