Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Lady Profile #4--Frances Cleveland!

Once the official engagement announcement was made, the country was in the grips of "Frankie mania."  Everyone, it seemed, wanted to catch a glimpse of Frances Folsom's beautiful dark eyes, wavy chestnut-colored hair, and lovely warm smile.

No one, it seemed, could resist her warmth and charm. A White House staff member remembered her arrival at the mansion early on the morning of her wedding, emerging from her carriage excitedly and greeting everyone with a huge smile.--Susan Sinnott
 --I didn't know much about Grover and Frances Cleveland before reading Sinnott's book.  I found them to both be fascinating people.  They were the only couple to do numerous things in the White House.


Only and Firsts:
--Grover Cleveland was the only president to be married in the White House.  And only 2 other presidents were married while in office, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson
--Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve 2 terms that weren't consecutive.  He was the 22nd and 24th president.
--Grover and Frances were the only couple to have a baby while in the White House.
--Frances was the youngest first lady, she was only 21 when she married Grover and moved into the White House.
--Frances was the 1st First lady to enjoy immense popularity.
--Later on she became the 1st First lady to re-marry after her husband died.

FACTS:
--Frances was born on July 21, 1864, to Oscar and Emma Folsom. Oscar was Grover Cleveland's best friend and law partner.  Frances was actually named Frank, but switched to Frances later in life.
--She was an only child, a sister named Nellie had been born after her, but died in infancy.
--Her father died a day after her 11th birthday.
--Grover made sure Frances and her Mom were taken care of.
--She attended and graduated from Wells College.


--She married Grover while he was president on June 2, 1886.  Her wedding dress is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
--The American people fell in love with Frances.  Everyone wanted to style their hair like hers and dress the same.  She was a very popular first lady.
--She championed women entering the workforce
--Despite Frances popularity, Grover lost when he ran for president again to Benjamin Harrison.
--Frances gave birth to their first child, Ruth in 1891.  The country so loved the couple and the new baby, that a candy bar was named after her, Baby Ruth.


--The couple moved back into the White House after Grover beat Harrison.
--In September of 1893, Frances gave birth to their 2nd child, Esther, in the White House.
--Frances gave birth to 3 more children, another girl and two boys.
--Sadly, their oldest daughter Ruth, died when she was 13 from diphtheria.
--Frances became a widow when Grover died on June24, 1908.
--She remarried in 1913, to Professor Thomas Preston Jr.
--She was involved in the cause for higher education for women.  She played a big part in the founding of the New Jersey College for Women.
--Frances died on October 29, 1947.  She had lived through 4 wars, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.

My Frances Cleveland Books:
-Frances Folsom Cleveland--Susan Sinnott
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas

Previous Profiles:
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant
-Louisa Adams

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Smorgabord!


--151 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, Union Soldier, First Lt. Alonzo Cushing will receive the medal of honor.  Cushing was 22 when he died on the 3rd day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

--Madeleine Riffaud was a member of the French Resistance, she even shot and killed a Nazi officer.  This past Monday, Paris celebrated 70 years of freedom from the Nazis.

--Bergdahl Swap Called Illegal--I can't believe he has been reinstated and is back on active duty after it is so clear that he deserted.

--Another U.S. hostage in Syria is a woman who was a humanitarian aid worker.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Lady Profile #3--Louisa Adams!

Louisa learned to keep her opinions to herself.  John Quincy severely warned her never to criticize him, especially about his clothes.  Years later, she wrote that "hanging and marriage were strongly assimilated.--Ann Heinrichs
--I didn't know much about Louisa Adams at all before reading Ann Heinrich's book on her.  What I find interesting is what I learn about the presidents through reading books on the first ladies.  When I read a book about LadyBird Johnson, I was appalled at what I learned about Lyndon Johnson in the process.

--The same could be said about Louisa Adams and John Quincy Adams.  I was discouraged that John Quincy didn't treat his wife the way that his father had treated Abigail.  While his behavior was typical of that time, he had been shown a different way by how he was raised.

--It will be interesting to read Jane Hampton Cook's book, American Phoenix, which is a book about John Quincy and Louisa.


FACTS:
--She was born on February 12, 1775 in London, England even though her father was from the colony of Maryland.
--She is the only first lady to be born outside of the United States.
--She played the piano and the harp and enjoyed reading and writing poetry.
--John Quincy asked Louisa to marry him 3 months after coming to her 21st birthday ball.
--John Quincy's mother Abigail was against the marriage because Louisa had been born and raised in Europe.
--She had 5 miscarriages before she gave birth to her first child in 1801, it was a boy named George Washington Adams.
--She had more miscarriages and 3 more children, 2 boys and 1 girl who died at 13 months old.


--In 1805, after John Quincy had been in Washington in the U.S. Senate for 2 years, Louisa was forced by John Quincy and Abigail to leave her first 2 sons with Abigail.  She was not consulted about this and was heartbroken.
--In 1807, she gave birth to her 3rd son and he was able to stay with her.
--In 1809, Louisa was forced again to leave her 1st 2 sons behind when her and John Quincy went to Russia where John Quincy was to be the U.S. Minister.
--In 1811, she had her precious daughter and they named her Louisa.  Unfortunately, 13 months later she died.
--Louisa went into a depression.
--In 1815, John Quincy was appointed U.S. Minister to Great Britain.  They were finally able to take their 2 oldest boys with them.
--In 1817, they returned to America since President Monroe had asked John Quincy to be Secretary of State.


--In 1825, John Quincy became the 6th president of the United States.
--On July 4, 1826 (the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence), both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Sr. died.  Adams had treated his daughter-in-law well and she wrote in her diary that he never had an unkind word for her.
--In 1829, John Quincy and Louisa got more sad news.  Their oldest son (who had suffered greatly from depression), died at sea.  No one knows if it was an accident or if he committed suicide.

Louisa the Abolitionist & Woman's Rights Advocate!
To Louisa, it was a moral question.  Clearly, she believed, slavery was against the laws of God.  After all, God had led his people out of slavery in Egypt.  To sort out her thoughts, she wrote pages and pages of anti-slavery arguments in her journal.

Louisa was inspired by abolitionist Sarah Grimke.  The two women began a long letter-writing relationship.  

Sarah and Louise were also inflamed about women's rights.  Both felt that women should be able to vote.  For Louisa, slavery and women's rights were similar.  She believed that God had created all people as equals--men and women, black and white.  Sarah encouraged Louisa's thinking.  Without equal rights, she said, women were only "white slaves of the North."--Ann Heinrichs
--Later in life, Louisa sought a purpose and she found it in advocating for African Americans and women.  She helped inspire John Quincy to advocate for the abolition cause when he went to serve in Congress in 1830.

--She started writing her autobiography in 1840.

--She died on May 15, 1852 at age 77.  Below are the words inscribed outside her tomb:
Louisa Catherine Adams
Frail of Body, Simple in Tastes, and Retiring in Nature
She Filled the Onerous Positions To Which it Pleased God
To Assign Her with Grace, Dignity, and Fortitude
My Louisa Adams books:
-Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams--Ann Heinrichs
-American Phoenix--Jane Hampton Cook
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas

Previous Profiles:
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

43rd Anniversary of Women's Equality Day!

Photo Credit: Florida Memory
Today, NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) proudly observes the 43rd anniversary of Women’s Equality Day.

Women’s Equality Day was established in 1971 by Representative Bella Abzug (NY) through a Joint Resolution of Congress. The date of August 26 was chosen to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in 1920. NARA holds the 19th Amendment in Record Group 11.

The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Women have played an integral role in the development of our country, our laws, and our freedom. Throughout the nation’s history, many have championed the full equality, dignity, and respect that are due to all women. Because of their efforts, women have continued their remarkable achievements in virtually every field, gaining positions of leadership in government, education, business, science, and the arts.--NARA
--The George W. Bush Presidential Center shared the above message on their Facebook page.

--I didn't even know there was a Women's Equality Day, so I started to do some research.

--The resolution that was passed by Congress for Women's Equality Day in 1971 resulted in a proclamation a year later by President Nixon. 


Photo Credit: Florida Memory

--Roxcy O'Neal Bolton was the driving force behind Women's Equality Day.  She was inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt and her speech at the 1956 Democrat National Convention.  President Nixon sent Bolton a letter and a copy of the proclamation.

Additional Links:
-Celebrating Women's Equality Day, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Ebola Outbreak!


--The Ebola outbreak of 2014 in West Africa has now killed 1,350 people

--It has spread to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone

--What is Ebola?
The Ebola virus is one of the most virulent microbes known to man, killing up to 90% of those infected.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 25 disease outbreaks in recorded history. The current epidemic in West Africa is the largest to date and has now killed over 1000 people.
--Police, Residents Clash in Liberian Slum under Ebola Quarantine
The World Health Organization said the death toll is rising most quickly in Liberia, which now accounts for at least 576 of the fatalities.  At least 2,473 people have been sickened across West Africa, which is now more than the caseloads of all the previous two dozen Ebola outbreaks combined.
--President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:
...responded by imposing a nighttime curfew and ordering "quarantines" of West Point and Dolo Town, another densely populated slum outside the capital.  She also had this to say, "Fellow citizens, these measures are meant to save lives.  ...May God bless us all and save the state."
--U.S. Dr. Kent Brantly who was infected with Ebola is released from the hospital today:
Brantly was flown out of the west African nation of Liberia on Aug. 2, and Nancy Writebol followed Aug. 5. The two were infected while working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia’s capital.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article1268490.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article1268490.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Barbaric ISIS Terrorists' Gruesome Beheading of U.S. Journalist James Foley!


“We will drown all of you in blood.”--ISIS Terrorists' message to America
 --American journalist James Foley was abducted on November 22, 2012 in Syria.  He had been in captivity for 22 months.  ISIS terrorists posted a video yesterday of Foley's beheading.

--40 year old James Foley was from New Hampshire, he was a freelance photo journalist.  He was covering the civil war in Syria when he was abducted in 2012.

--His mother, Diane posted a message on facebook:
We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.


--This wasn't the first time Foley had been abducted by terrorists. In 2011, he was kidnapped in Libya.

--This is a stark reminder that one can never negotiate with terrorists.

--The beheading video also had a message:
In the video, the bloodthirsty jihadist group — which invaded Iraq from Syria and now controls a large swath in the northwest part of Iraq — called out President Obama for authorizing air strikes to stop its expansion and desire for genocide.
After killing the handcuffed Foley, a cloaked terrorist left the victim’s head on the small of his back. The menacing executioner, dressed head-to-toe in black, had a chilling message for Obama.
Grabbing another captured U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, 31, of Miami, a contributor for Time magazine, the killer stared into the camera and vowed in what sounded like a British accent, “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”
Photo Hat Tip: Human Events

--Many journalists have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of the truth:
Foley is one of more than 40 journalists who have been killed while working in Syria since March 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders, which named the country the world’s most dangerous for journalists.

More than 178 journalists in the country have been imprisoned, including Sotloff, who went missing in August 2013.
--Obama took a short break from his vacation to give a response.

UPDATE:
--U.S. Tried to Rescue Hostages in Syria but Failed:
Many experts believe that Foley and other foreigners were being held in northern Syria, large parts of which were overrun in 2013 by the Islamic State. The al-Qaida spinoff established its headquarters in Raqqa, the provincial capital of a Syrian province of the same name, and used it as a springboard for the lightning offensive it launched in Iraq in June.
--Foley's father John had this to say:
“It haunts me, how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is,” his father said. “He was courageous to the end. ... We believe he was a martyr for freedom.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article1266667.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article1266667.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Way Forward--Paul Ryan!


--There are only a couple men that I've been in love with politically, and Paul Ryan is one of them.

--Back in 2010 I wrote a post entitled, I Heart Paul McRyan, I had this to say:
Yes, I had to take a page out of the playbook that was used to call Scott Brown, Hottie McAwesome!! McRyan has me smitten in more ways than one. He is the whole political package, and then some!!

If McRyan ever wants to run for President, I will be first in line to work on his campaign!!
--Here is a link to additional posts I've done on him.


--All this to say, I'm excited that he has come out with a memoir entitled, The Way Forward.  I will definitely be reading it in the near future.

--He starts his book tour today.   I wish I could see him at the Reagan Library in California on Aug. 28.  He will also appear Thursday at the Union League Club of Chicago for a book signing and discussion with Mitt Romney.

--The Wall Street Journal shares some highlights.   An excerpt about how he dealt with his dad's death:
While he certainly tried to fight it, my dad’s addiction eventually won out. Over time, it made him more distant, irritable, and stressed. Before I lost him to a heart attack, whiskey had washed away some of the best parts of the man I knew. … My father had died. My mom was alone. My siblings were grown and gone. And I remember thinking, What am I going to do? I decided right then and there that I needed to step up. The way I thought about it was “sink or swim,” and I decided I was going to swim like hell. I wouldn’t wallow. I wouldn’t let the sadness and self-pity pull me down.
--John Parkinson shares his notes from when he followed Ryan back in 2012, when he ran as VP with Mitt Romney.  He thinks Ryan is hinting at a run for President in 2016.

--Ryan's Hope 


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last Ship

Well, now, see, we've got a bit of a problem with that. Because there is one thing from the old world that still applies today, something that will never change. We don't negotiate with terrrorists.--CO CDR Tom Chandler
--McSteamy in uniform, not bad!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War


--The Kansas City Public Library and the National World War I Museum are sponsoring a series of events entitled, Great War Great Read.


--Last night I attended the one where author Paul Jankowski talked about his book, Verdun.  Below is the description of the event:
At 7 in the morning on February 21, 1916, the ground in northern France began to shake. For the next 10 hours, some 1,200 German guns showered shells on a salient in French lines. The onslaught collapsed dugouts, obliterated trenches, severed communication wires, and drove men mad. The Battle of Verdun had begun.

Drawing from his book, Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War, Brandeis University historian Paul Jankowski looks back on what became one of history’s greatest and most demanding battlefield encounters – a 302-day nightmare that left an estimated 303,000 French and German soldiers dead and more than 400,000 wounded.

--I was surprised to see how many people attended the event. The room was packed and the estimate was that there were around 160 people in attendance.

--I enjoyed hearing Jankowski share his wealth of knowledge about World War I.

--So much of World War I seems to have resulted in a tremendous loss of life, with little being accomplished.  Verdun was a perfect example of that.  It was a battle that lasted 10 months, yet, no significant gains were made by the time it was over, and over 300,000 men were dead.

--Jankowski talked about how Verdun didn't have much significance to either the Germans or the French, but it became significant because of the battle that was fought there.  He said the war ended up running the leaders on both sides, instead of them running it.

--He discussed why the carnage couldn't be stopped and why it took so long for the French to ultimately defeat the Germans.  The longer a battle goes on, the harder it is to stop.  He also gave the keys to making an offensive work:
--Knowledge of the terrain
--Superior number of men and materials
--The enemy has a deficiency
--If you don't have the above factors on your side, then the battle stays at a stalemate/impasse, which is exactly what happened.

--The horrors of Verdun were great, soldiers described it with such words as gates of hell and inferno, and that it was the worst place on earth.  Yet, there were no significant mutinies by the troops during Verdun on either side.  Jankowski thinks that can be attributed in part to the men of that time that did what was their duty/honor no matter what.

--After Jankowski was done speaking there was a short question and answer time.  A man mentioned a book entitled, The Road to Verdun.  He talked about how the premise of that book was that nationalism was bad.  He asked what Jankowski thought of that.  Jankowski said that it would be hard to disagree with that premise.  I'm not sure if that was Jankowski being an elite liberal against any type of nationalism or patriotism, or if he just thought that it was bad for Germany to be so nationalistic.

--I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and definitely look forward to attending the next one, Intelligence and Espionage during World War I.