Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Government is Like a Baby... Ronald Reagan

With a 7 day old child, haven't found much time to write the things I'd like to write. But I did find this quote, which is appropriate on two levels.

"Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite
at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

- Ronald Reagan

For more quotes go to


Monday, July 20, 2009

Appollo Moon Landing

I just finished watching the original CBS recording of the moon landing on the History Channel.

tang astronauts moon landingAs a celebration for the event I bought some Tang. I had never had Tang before. I was looking for the original orange flavor, but found orange mixed with strawberry instead. It's pretty good. More about Tang:

There were several things about the CBS telecast that left an impression on me. First, it appeared as if Cronkite and his wing man remained on the air all night. They would regularly show the time in the upper left of the screen and it appeared to start around 9:30 PM and they were still broadcasting at 4 AM when the lunar module left the moon.

For the telecast from the Moon, Armstrong and his associates won the Best Foreign Television award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1969.

Something else I noticed was the pure joy and elation from Cronkite. Much like the emotion he showed during Kennedy's assassination, his feelings let us know that Cronkite is real. And so is the moon landing. But just in case there are some of you out there who like the conspiracy theories behind this event... here's your link...

Below is a video with reflections from Walter Cronkite.

And finally, in response to recent events I bring you the second man to moonwalk...


Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite Dies at 92

Though not the voice of my generation, he was the voice for many. He was the news.

He was invited into the living rooms of millions of Americans and reported the news. Unlike today's biased networks who purposely leave out all the facts and all the information, Cronkite would tell you what he knew.

Consider the clip below.

Clearly shaken by the sudden death of JFK, you can hear a crack in his voice. A crack that signified that he, like the rest of the world, was effected by the news of Kennedy's death. You can see it in the video at about the 5:15-5:20 mark. Cronkite's professionalism soon takes over and he reports the news as he knows it to be.

And that's the way it is.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mister James K. Polk, our 11th President

There are many of us who find the presidency of James K. Polk to be interesting. After all, he did accomplish a lot in his one and only term. He also adds to the allure of his legacy by opting not to run for a second term.

Most notably famous for his successful foreign policy. First he acquired lots of land in the Pacific Northwest by threatening to go to war with Britain, essentially taking what we know of as the Oregon Territory. Next, he was president during the Mexican–American War which resulted in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, where the United States took land from Mexico. James K. Polk is manifest destiny at it's finest, in all Polk was able to secure over 900,000 square miles for the expansion of the United States.

For a history teacher, this is pretty cool stuff. But for a student....? Aahh, maybe not so interesting. So how about teaching about James K. Polk through song. The band They Might be Giants (TMBG) makes it easy for you.

Click the play button below, and read the lyric and I'm sure you'll agree that they've got the facts straight. Then go to TMBG's page below for an annotated version of their lyrics.

James K. Polk Lyrics
Artist: They Might Be Giants
Album: Factory Showroom

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear
His oratory filled his foes with fear
The factions soon agreed
He's just the man we need
To bring about victory
Fulfill our manifest destiny
And annex the land the Mexicans command
And when the votes were cast the winner was
Mister James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tarriffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of
Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

Here's a link to TMBG's site and some explanations of the lyrics.

Kudos to TMBG for making it easy for teachers to use their song in class.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. "

- John Adams

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

- Thomas Jefferson

Hey guys... 233 Years and Counting...