Friday, February 28, 2014

President Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments

This list is important.  In my view, President Obama has been a great President in a very transitional, contentious, and difficult time in our history. We can still critique the President and hold opposing views regarding the job he is doing, but to acknowledge his accomplishments seems the only intellectually honest and emotionally sound thing to do.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dr. Booker T. Washington

Dr. Booker T. Washington speaks at Carnegie Hall in 1906 on the 25th anniversary of the Tuskegee Institute. Directly behind Dr. Washington is Mark Twain.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Picture of The Day

Very nice shot of downtown Greensboro, NC in 1955.  I lived 5 blocks down Summit Ave.  Spent lots of time downtown in the '50s and '60s.  Nice memories.  Had not seen this shot before.  So crisp and clear.  I can sense being there.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Beatles Fact

Yep, they were cool. (They never appeared in Atlanta).

The Great Jesse Owens

Adolph Hitler was using the 1936 Olympics games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes that German athletes would dominate the games.  Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. America's great Jesse Owens showed 'em.  He countered by winning four gold medals......a great Olympic moment and a great American moment. 

A couple of interesting tidbits, after a NYC parade honoring him, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf Astoria to reach a reception honoring him.  In addition, President Roosevelt never invited Jesse Owens to the White House following his triumphs at the Olympics as Roosevelt was afraid that he would lose southern votes in 1936, an election year, if he hosted and honored an African American man in the White House, a low, non-courageous point for a generally courageous FDR (though it says as much about 1936 America as it does about FDR).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Picture of the Day

Oh, I like everything about this photograph.

A Poor and Misguided Olympic Experience

I am down on the Olympics.  It amazes me that NBC is so heavily invested in the event.  With a multi-billion dollar contract and all their major news anchors and resources invested and present, it does not seem appropriate for the level of interest I sense in the games.  I guess the TV ratings will indicate if I am getting a correct read.

We seem to have moved farther still from the original intent of the Olympics and the "Olympic spirit."  We have gotten away from competing and performing for the sake reaching one's potential and for the sake of friendly international competition.

The term "Olympic spirit" seems only vaguely associated with the Olympic Games today.  One founder of the movement said of the true Olympic spirit, "the important thing is not to win, but to take part........the Olympic spirit is epitomized by those athletes who try their best but fall short."  Another founder of the movement wrote: "the true Olympic spirit is often found not with the gold medalists with their agents and sponsorship deals -- it is found in its purest sense in those who struggle honestly to do their best but who come in last."

It amazes me to hear of families sending age 12/13-year olds off to live permanently at Olympic camps, literally "mortgaging the farm", paying upwards of $40,000 per year for Olympics training at such a young ages.  Then, they 'borrow and beg" to be able to make trips to Olympic sites to witness the competition.  Maybe I'm missing something, but like so much else, this is another institution moving farther and farther from it's original objective, from it's mission, from reason.

This issue and dilemma, along with the Sochi Olympic contract corruption, the terrorist threat, the poor weather factor, the Russian position on the LGBT issue, all combine to make for a poor Olympic experience. Were it not for the huge NBC contract to broadcast it, it would be highly ignored, in my view.

Like so many other institutions, we need to rethink where we are with respect to the original intent of the Olympics.  The original mission was to "to build a peaceful and better world, one which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."  Frankly, I think we have built a hyper-competitive, over-commercialized, American one-upsmanship, obsessive compulsive attempt to demonstrate misplaced and questionable American superiority.

In a new world of globalization, serious global economic competition, and electronic interactive connectivity, our focus, resources, and energy could be much better spent and our values much better shared and showcased.  I believe "average Joe American" will soon sense that as well.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Landon/Knox 1936 Campaign Item

I collect political memorabilia.  I specialize in Presidential items.  Alf Landon is a primary focus for me.  This is probably my most desired item.  It is a 1936 Landon/Knox car license tag (7" in length), and it would generally be attached to the front of a car of Landon supporter in the mid-30s. 

Landon, a moderate Republican from Kansas, lost in a landslide to Franklin Roosevelt who won a second term in November of 1936.  By the way, I am a tremendous FDR fan.  But I am a non-partisan collector (like most serious political collectors).  Isn't this a stunning item?  Wish me luck my pursuit of this item.  Thanks!

Picture of The Day

As we are in process of getting 10+ inches of snow (actually beautiful coming down) in Greensboro, I was struck by a sunset in the Caribbeans.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jackie and Rachel Robinson

Jackie Robinson epitomizes good and important black, and American, history.  The movie "42" was a powerful and significant film.  Here, the real Jackie and Rachel Robinson are sitting on their front steps of their home in Brooklyn as Jackie Jr. drinks a glass of milk, on his tricycle.  This shot was taken in July, 1949, just 24 short months after a courageous Jackie and a visionary Branch Rickey made history by breaking baseball's color barrier, a very significant event in American history.

APIC Meeting and Show, March 2, Greensboro - All Are Invited!

Saturday, March 1, is the date for the 2014 Dixie Chapter Meeting and Show of the American Political Items Collectors (APIC). It will be held in Greensboro at the Holiday Inn Airport on Burnt Poplar Rd. (I-40 and Hwy. 68)  There will be collectors and dealers in from all over the country. APIC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of material relating to political campaigns.

The show is from 8:30 to 2:00 on Saturday, March 1 (Friday evening there will be room hopping and a hospitality suite; all are invited). Admission Saturday is $3.00. Above is some of my collection (Truman and FDR frame).  

Like many others, I will be set-up and will be showing, trading, buying, and selling. Please come out if you have interest. It is a blast. Bring any items you may wish to have appraised by the nation's top dealers at no charge.

Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts

Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts. Plymouth shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists, some of whom later became known as Pilgrims. They were among the first people who immigrated to America.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Picture of the Day

Beautifully still and rustic.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Above is quote from the great, profound German Lutheran pastor and courageous German resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Apart from his renowned theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship.  He was arrested in April 1943 by the German Gestpo and executed by hanging in April 1945 at age 39 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Governor Terry Sanford

These are nice shots of one of my favorite 20th leaders and politicians, former NC Governor, U. S. Senator, and Duke University President, the late Terry Sanford.  I love political history, especially 20th century NC political history.  My son is a senior political operative for one of the highest profile governors in America (not NC).

The top photo is, of course, with President Kennedy.  Governor Sanford was the first southerner to come out and endorse JFK. As a result, he was chosen to give the 'seconding speech' at the 1960 Democratic Convention. According to President Kennedy's personal secretary Evelyn Lincoln (in her 1968 book, 'Kennedy and Johnson'), Sanford would have been Kennedy's choice for vice president on the 1964 Democratic ticket, had Kennedy lived.

Terry Sanford played a key role in the transformation of Southern politics into the 'New
South', primarily in the areas of race relations and education.  In recognition of his efforts in education and in countless other areas, a 1981 Harvard University survey named him one of the 10 best governors in 20th century America.  I am pleased to have met Governor Sanford on a number of occasions. 

The other photo is Sanford with former NC Governor Luther Hodges (President Kennedy's Secretary of Commerce), and U. S. Senator Adlai Stevenson, who was twice (1952 and 1956) Democratic candidate for President of the United States, losing to General Eisenhower both times.  

Hard to believe the 2016 Presidential race is around the corner, 56 years after President Kennedy was elected President and Terry Sanford was elected NC Governor.  My money is on one last contest between two of America's last dynasties, the Clinton's and the Bushes........a classic race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.  For the political enthusiast and historian, it will be a great one.  Let it begin. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thought For The Day

Clever, wonderful thought from the legendary Rosa Parks.  Today is her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Ms. Parks

Picture of The Day - 'Big Ben'

I like modern impressionist painting.

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