I’ve been watching “America: The Story of Us,” a twelve part mini-series on the History Channel, and it is nothing short of amazing.  I’m constantly overwhelmed at the fact that I had the incredible fortune to be born in this great country.  I’ve only finished the Westward expansion section (just after the Civil War), and it is incredibly inspirational to watch what the early Americans went through and came out stronger for it. 

A few months ago, I saw another History Channel documentary on Andrew Jackson, and it was said that, at his death, one of the servants asked “Do you think General Jackson has gone to Heaven?” and another responded “If General Jackson wants to go to Heaven, I don’t know who is going to stop him.”  This was the story of early Americans: no one, not the vastly more powerful British army, not the harsh plains, not even division, would get in their way.  I hope that we still have some of that spirit. 

One complaint: for some reason, the marathon I caught skipped straight from “WWII” to “Millenium.”  I’ve been trying to find it online or on demand, but can’t.  Other than buying the DVD, does anyone know a source for the episodes covering the time between? 

Related: Andrea Buginsky agrees with me.

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Ann Althouse has a great piece . . .

juxtaposing Sec. State Clinton’s wonderful pro-free speech statements recently with President Obama’s statements in view of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC. 

Hillary says (in a discussion about speech in Vietnam):

In fact, I would like to see more governments, if you disagree with what a blogger or a website is saying, get in and argue with them. Explain what it is you’re doing. Put out contrary information. Point out what the pitfalls are of the position that a blogger might be taking.

Obama says (in a discussion about the Supreme Court case refusing to allow censorship of a documentary which was intended to put down Hillary Clinton):

That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

Terrifying.  Ironic.  Read the whole thing. 

Also, from reading the comments to this and others like it recently, I am amazed at how ignorent people (well, liberals) are on the concept of corporations as people.  Someone(s) in the liberal world is pushing the idea that this is a new idea, just put out by a runaway (evil-Bush supported) Supreme Court.  I don’t know who the source of this is; the liberal commenters who are pushing this on the ground are clearly just repeating what they have heard. 

This idea is hardly new.  Here’s a good Wikipedia article that explains the history, but in a nutshell, corporations have bene people for the purposes of contracts since 1819, and people under the 14th Amendment rights (which are basically all of the Bill of Rights rights) since 1886.  But then, liberals never were big scholars of history, were they?

The Secret (Medical) Lives of American Presidents

Of course we all know about the great lengths that FDR took to hid his disability from the public, and that Kennedy secretly suffered from Addison’s disease, but I was surprised to come across this article, which asserts a long history of the world’s most public men suffering secret illnesses. 

Concealing one’s true medical condition from the voting public is a time-honored tradition of the American presidency. William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia in April of 1841, after only one month in office, was the first Chief Executive to hide his physical frailties. Nine years later Zachary Taylor’s handlers refused to acknowledge that cholera had put the President’s life in jeopardy; they denied rumors of illness until he was near death, in July of 1850, sixteen months into his presidency. During Grover Cleveland’s second term, in the 1890s, the White House deceived the public by dismissing allegations that surgeons had removed a cancerous growth from the President’s mouth; a vulcanized-rubber prosthesis disguised the absence of much of Cleveland’s upper left jaw and part of his palate. The public knew nothing about the implant until one of the President’s physicians revealed it in 1917, nine years after Cleveland’s death.

In the twentieth century Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower all, to one degree or another, held back the full truth about medical difficulties that could have jeopardized their hold on the Oval Office. Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke in 1919 that made him merely a figurehead during the last year and a half of his term. After Coolidge’s sixteen-year-old son died of blood poisoning, in the summer of 1924, Coolidge himself struggled with a clinical depression that made inactivity and passivity the principal features of his Administration. It has been well known for some time that Roosevelt went to great lengths to conceal how physically incapacitated he had been rendered by polio. If voters had known the truth about his generally deteriorating health in 1944, it is unlikely that they would have re-elected him a third time—but they did not know, and FDR died just three months into his fourth term, in April of 1945. Though Eisenhower was much more open about his health than any of his predecessors, the full disclosure of his maladies (including heart disease) in 1956, when he was sixty-six, might have discouraged the country from electing him President again; he had a heart attack during his first term and suffered a number of other medical problems, including a minor stroke, during his second.

You must love him

I was just listening to the radio and I am just amazed at the desperation to love Obama over the recent Naval-Somali Pirates crisis.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly glad that Obama did what he did here, but my understanding is this: He gave the go ahead to the Navy to do what they knew needed to be done- the Navy moved in a hosed the bastards and freed the good captain. 

 

The best credit that CNN gives the President is:

Obama had given standing orders for the military to take “decisive action” if Phillips was in “imminent danger,” Gortney said.

Fox discusses Obama’s role in a little more detail, but doesn’t really say that he did anything more:

 

President Obama twice authorized the military to rescue a U.S. captain held by Somali pirates and whose life appeared to be at risk.

A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama granted the authority on Friday and Saturday to use appropriate force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. The Pentagon believed Phillips’ life was at risk both times, officials said.

MSNBC‘s story doesn’t credit Obama at all, but links an analysis that raves about his “no drama” leadership, but still provides no details of his actions besides the same as the others:

Obama’s quiet backstage decision to authorize the Defense Department to take necessary action if Capt. Richard Phillips’ life was in imminent danger gave a Navy commander the go-ahead to order snipers to fire on the pirates holding the cargo ship captain at gunpoint.

But the radio show that I was listening to, which, to be granted, is the always pretty nutty K-Town Connection, people were calling in and singing songs dedicated to Obama (no mention of the naval snipers), claiming that this was a day that they would treasure and remember and tell their grandchildren about, and the host claimed that it was the most proud that she had ever been of something that a president had done in her lifetime.

 

Really?  Really?  Like I said, Obama did well, I’m not saying he didn’t, but he didn’t actually do anything except give the OK.  He didn’t put any plans in place, he didn’t for a team that did anything, all he did was say go.  Was this really “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall“?   

 

Really?  Was this anywhere near on par with Clinton’s Welfare to Work reforms, or the unprecedented economic achievements of the mid-1990s to mid-2000s?  Really? 

 

Was this anywhere near the achievement of our military overthrowing Baghdad in mere weeks

Saddam statue fallsCrowds cheer as a statue of Saddam Hussein falls.

 

Really?  Did it make you as proud as when the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein was chased out of town and turned in to this guy:

 

Capture of Saddam Hussein?

 

Really?  As proud making school available to girls in Afganistan

 

And that’s just shit that’s happened in my lifetime- most of it since I reached the age of majority.  Priorities?