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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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51  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: which president had the better foreign policy? on: August 11, 2014, 06:53:35 pm
Obama is probably as good as we can get to a realistic American foreign policy. I would rather that our nation entertain a non-interventionist strategy but that is not possible. I like how President Obama refuses to use American soldiers in a far flung capacity, uses drones to do a lot of the heavy lifting and seems to think that working with other nations is a good thing.

Bush, on the other hand, broke the whole world. Obama is better by far.
52  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: August 11, 2014, 06:47:48 pm
Citadel of Sin: The John Looney Story by Richard Hamer and Roger Ruthart. This is a fine work of local history. It tells the dark story of John Patrick Looney, the crime boss of Rock Island, Illinois. I visit the Quad City area monthly and it is amazing to learn about a gangster who ran his own newspaper, held a law degree and wrote a play about Irish freedom fighter Robert Emmett. If you have ever seen the film Road to Perdition you know who Looney is. He was played by Paul Newman and the charterer was named John Rooney. The film does not do a great job telling the historical truth of the John Looney story but it is still a great movie. 
53  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Your governors during your lifetime on: August 08, 2014, 06:59:40 pm
Terry Branstad for pretty much all of it. That guy has some staying power.
54  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 2012 Presidential Election on: August 03, 2014, 09:32:41 pm
I voted for Gary Johnson and would do so today. Gary Johnson would have made a fine president.
55  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: August 03, 2014, 02:09:47 pm
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George Will. This is a charming, informative little history of the Cubs and the great city of Chicago. Chicago has been run down so much these last few years it is nice to read a book that reminds me how much the Empire City of the Great Lakes means to America, it's culture and it's history. Also, it put forward some neat theories on Babe Ruth's famous "Called Shot" in 1932 and also the Zangara's attempted assassination of FDR. A fun read and highly recommended.
56  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Any politicians in your family? on: August 01, 2014, 08:07:15 am
My oldest brother was the Democratic county attorney for one of Iowa's north-central counties. He is running for his old post again this November. My second elder brother ran for Bonaparte, Iowa, city council in 2011. He lives in a tent and writes religious books and tracts. Obviously he was not elected. 
57  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: July 2014 Federal Special Election - At-Large Senate on: August 01, 2014, 08:04:24 am
1. JCL
2. Spiral
3. Poirot
4. Mechaman
5. Matt from VT
6. WrathOfTheGods
7. Dr. Cynic
58  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Merger Discussion Thread on: July 27, 2014, 07:23:35 pm
When I ran for senate last October I was firmly against a merger with the Pacific. After keeping out of forum politics for the last few months and doing a lot of reading and watching I have come to a conclusion that a merger would be a good idea. It would revitalize both regions and would allow for a much more diverse political culture. I like Senator TNF, VP windjammer and Governor Arturo Belano. They are good at their jobs. However, it would not hurt to allow for left-leaning and socialist political philosophies to actually face a challenge in the Midwest. That is good for discussion and the game as a whole. 
59  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: MW: Merger Referendum on: July 26, 2014, 12:32:53 pm
Aye
60  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: who is better looking? on: July 24, 2014, 11:43:21 pm
Sarah Palin is an attractive middle aged woman. Tina Fey is annoying as hell. Palin wins, of course.
61  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your dream job? on: July 24, 2014, 11:41:10 pm
Though realistically, I would most like to be a U.S. history or government teacher considering it's always been one of my favorite subjects, I've done exceedingly well in all those classes, and I have a nice enough, but strict personality IRL to be able to do it. I'm also pretty adamant about journalism, to, only it's increasingly difficult to get a high-up, dream job involving that.
Becoming a history teacher is no small task, especially in Ohio. If you intend to become a social sciences teacher make sure you play football in either high school or college. Schools need football coaches more than competent history teachers. Either coach football or get another degree in special education (as I did). There is a huge glut of social studies teachers but always a need for special education teachers. I do not say this to discourage you, for the world always needs good history teachers, but to tell you what to expect when you try to get a teaching job. I've been in teaching for a decade now and I know a little about the job market.
62  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your dream job? on: July 24, 2014, 12:54:47 pm
Radio talk show host
63  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What party are you a registered member of? on: July 24, 2014, 12:50:34 pm
I registered as a Libertarian when I was 18. I left the party briefly in 2000 to caucus for Bush, 2004 to caucus for Dean and in 2008 and 2012 to caucus for Paul. This brief forays into the GOP were very brief and I always returned to the Libertarian Party.
64  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: MW: July 2014 Special Althing and Archduke Elections on: July 22, 2014, 01:26:43 pm
Ballot for For Most Serene Representatives:
[1] Cris (Fed-CO)
[2] Gass3268 (Lab-MB)
[3] Write-In: LeBron FitzGerald (Lab-MN)

Ballot for For Archduke:
[1] LeBron FitzGerald (Lab-MN)
[ ] Write-In: ________________
65  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: July 20, 2014, 10:34:23 pm
Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction by Allen C. Guelzo. Guelzo is without a doubt the finest Ciivl War historian writing today. This book reads like a greatly updated (and far more readable) Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson has always hit me as too heavy on data, far too light on story. Guelzo finds an incredible balance and also works a new view of Reconstruction into the treatment as well. A fine read and highly recommended. 
66  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Why is Meet the Press with David Gregory's ratings so low? on: July 20, 2014, 10:30:48 pm
Why are TV news and info shows even on  air anymore? I thought we had the internet for such things.
67  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: A reminder of Joe Biden's group/primary debate skills on: July 20, 2014, 10:27:06 pm
I do fondly remember the time that "Big" Joe Biden humiliated Paul Ryan on national television. But his debating skills do not outweigh his other weaknesses, unfortunately.
If giggling like Cesar Romero's Joker is akin to humiliating Paul Ryan than, yes, Biden did that.
68  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:14:27 pm
1844, Part III

The Whigs found it impossible to reply in kind to these attacks. Clay was colorful and controversial, but Polk was colorless and calm. Even his Democratic friends referred to the staid Polk as “Polk the Plodder.” Thus the Whigs unleashed an unusual, yet imaginative, assault on the dull Democrat. First, Whigs made fun of the less than well-known Polk. While Polk was no political novice he palled in comparison to the celebrated Henry Clay. Whigs chortled, “Who is Polk?” and John Crittenden of Kentucky commented to Clay concerning his opponent’s nomination: “Great God, what a nomination!” Whigs laughed as they sang a funny little song, “Ha,ha, what a nominee is Jimmy Polk of Tennessee!” The second great assault on Polk was novel for the time. Polk was a slaveholder, so was Clay. However, Polk was painted as an “ultra-slave holder” due to the large amount of land and slaves he owned. In order to appeal to Northern Whigs, Clay’s men told nasty tales of J.K. Polk- the cruel slave master. Clay’s campaign found a reference to Polk in Roorback’sTpur through the Southern and Western States in the Year 1836 in which the author commented that Speaker Polk had purchased forty fresh slaves and, “was informed by [Polk] that the mark of the branding iron, with the initials of his name on their shoulders to distinguish them from the rest.” This excerpt tuned out to be made up but it had an effect on the campaign. Northern Whigs attacked Polk for buying a new plantation in Mississippi but also made sure to accuse him of being a religious bigot who wanted to ban Roman Catholicism from the United States. In New York City ingenious Whigs tried to persuade Democratic Irish Catholic voters to turn against Polk and instead cast their ballots for “Patrick O’Clay.” Yes, they thought of everything.

The high point of the Whig Campaign was a great rally in Polk’s home state of Tennessee. At a Whig rally in Nashville, S.S. Prentiss of Mississippi- a celebrated orator and lawyer- gave a four hour address to a spell bound audience. His speech was so filled with Whig red meat and soaring praise of Henry Clay that the audience demanded that he give an encore. That night Prentiss spoke again and his heated words against Polk and the Democrats caused his face to turn red and his voice to soar to dizzying heights on the octave scale. At the very climax of his eloquence Prentiss grabbed his head and fell in a swoon into the waiting arms of Tennessee Governor James C. Jones. Jones, the old comic, whispered into Prentiss’s ear: “Die, Prentiss, die! You will never have a more glorious opportunity!” Daniel Webster once commented that he had never beheld more powerful speaker than Prentiss. That has to be the highest compliment ever paid to an orator.

In the end all of the screaming, hoping and scheming landed Polk in the president’s chair. This was seen as an upset by Clay and the Whigs. Clay himself assumed he would win the race and had even purchased a fine new bed for his White House residence. The dark-horse Polk won only 38,181 popular votes than Clay. The results of the contest are a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling contest. 1844 is a treat for presidential election fans and one of the most important elections in American history.        
69  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:13:45 pm
1844 continued


The disappointment of the Whigs Convention is easily eclipsed by the incredible Democratic fracas at the Odd Fellows Hall. The Democratic Party was in the midst of a civil war that makes the current imbroglio in the Grand Old Party pale in comparison. Texas was the powder keg of the Democratic Party and the old fire breather John C. Calhoun looked likely to ignite the issue. As Secretary of State, Calhoun had worked out the treaty of annexation with Texas and had the backing of President Tyler. Calhoun hoped he would follow in the footsteps of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and J.Q. Adams and assume the White House after stints at the State Department. Northern Democrats who opposed annexation, derisively called “Locofocos’ by their critics, were determined to stop Calhoun from taking the nomination and they had a candidate and the issues (what I hear to be a deadly combination). Anti-Texas Democrats focused around former President Martin van Buren. The Little Magician had been practicing his tricks in Kinderhook, New York, since he was unceremoniously kicked out of the White House in 1840 by hard cider fueled Whig mobs. The issue of slavery had bubbled up as an issue in American politics following the departure of General Jackson from the White House and van Buren had situated himself on the side of free soil. Southern Democrats wanted nothing to do with van Buren but Calhoun was far too extreme to appeal nationally. Thus entered Gideon Pillow, an ambitious Nashville lawyer with a dream to place his former law partner James Knox Polk in the president’s chair.

Polk was hardly presidential timbre in 1844. An ambitious lawyer who had once had gallstones removed without any pain killers, Polk had served as Speaker of the House of Representatives and was a loyal solider of Jackson during the epic Bank War, yet his terms as governor of Tennessee had fallen flat. A boring speaker with little personality, Polk was sent packing in 1841 and 1843 by Whig politician and former circus performer James C. Jones. The governorship gone Polk seemed to be retired. The most exciting part of the 1844 election was the Democratic Convention and what is arguably the greatest political resurrection in American history. The Democrats meeting in Baltimore were Odd Fellows themselves: they had five candidates vying for the nomination and none of them could win the dreaded 2/3rds majority of the delegate’s votes. Moderate Senator James Buchanan- who had yet to take any position on slavery or Texas- appeared to be the favorite, yet he lacked the support of old Jacksonians due to his Federalist background. Former Vice-President Richard Mentor Johnson was too controversial due to his former slave common law wife. Van Buren had offended the South over Texas with his controversial Hammett Letter. In this letter van Buren declared that as president he would refuse to allow for the entrance of Texas into the union. Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, who famously broke his sword over his knee when the American surrendered Detroit to the British during the War of 1812, looked like he might emerge as a compromise choice. However, Southern Democrats threatened an open revolt if Cass won the nomination and President John Tyler, who was still hoping to run as a Southern independent in 1844, was only too happy to welcome them. Henry Clay may very well have won the presidency had his old archenemy Andrew Jackson not stirred himself from his sickbed at the Hermitage to spur on Gideon’s trumpet and lead to the nomination of Young Hickory Polk.

The drama of Jackson issuing a clarion call for his supporters is the stuff that movies are made of. Concerned that Britain would Balkanize Texas, outlaw slavery there and form a bulwark against the American South, Jackson turned on van Buren. Martin van Buren had made Andrew Jackson president through his political machinations in New York State. Van Buren had been Jackson’s most loyal subordinate for eight years and faithfully carried out Jacksonian fiscal and Indian policy for the four years of his tough tenure in the White House. The code of political Omerta dictates that if someone helps you than you must help them. As always, Jackson played by his own set of rules. In a well-publicized announcement he called on Southern Democrats to reject van Buren and find a candidate who was acceptable on both the issues of slavery and expansion. Ironically, it was a man from Massachusetts who formally introduced James K. Polk as an acceptable compromise candidate. Historian George Bancroft introduced Polk as a nationalist and champion of the expansionist theories of the Young America. The rush to nominate Polk was more of a walk but in the end Polk was nominated on the eight ballot. Gideon Pillow rejoiced as did Southern Democrats. While Polk had not said he supported expanding slavery into Texas as Calhoun had he was a slave holder himself and so he worked fine from the slave power in the Democracy. Anti-annexation Senator Silas Wright of New York turned down the honor of the vice-presidency but Pennsylvanian George M. Dallas, an associate of Buchanan, accepted the prize. The Democrats adopted a fierce platform calling for Young America to live up to its Manifest Destiny. The Democracy called for low tariffs, an independent treasury, the annexation of the disputed Oregon Territory to the lines of 54’40 and the annexation of Texas. The slogan they ran under was fiery and strong: “Fifty-four forty or fight!” That was a real strong slogan and Polk would live up to it.

The campaign of 1844 is as grand as the conventions. One would have expected Henry Clay to be jubilant over the nomination of a light-weight dark horse such as Polk. Clay’s son Henry, Junior, (who would die in the war against Mexico) had been in Lexington, Kentucky, at the home of Robert Todd as the Democratic Convention was in full swing. When he returned he excitedly told his father that the Democrats had selected a candidate. “Is it Matty?” Clay asked. His son said it was not. “Buchanan, Cass, Tyler?” Clay asked again. The son replied in the negative. “They could not have been mad enough to choose Calhoun of Johnson?” a perplexed Clay asked his son. Unable to contain his giddiness the boy blurted out: “It’s James Knox Polk!” Clay did not respond as his son had hoped. The old statesman stood up from his chair, walked to his liquor cabinet, poured a glass, chugged it down as sighed: “Hal, I am beat again.” Clay knew Polk was no fool. He was just the right man for the 1844 campaign. A Southern nationalist, Polk had the support of Democrats around the country. He was a uniting figure and Clay was the perfect antagonist to get Democrats to turn out in force. There was also the sticky issue of Texas. Polk was in favor of annexing Texas, Clay had made a strong stand against it. He knew that this would hurt him amongst Southern voters. Thus the Great Compromiser tried to play both sides of the fence. Northern “conscience” Whigs and Southern “cotton” Whigs both tried to make Henry Clay into their man. In the North Whigs ran Clay as “the abolitionist candidate of the North.” This was in an attempt to keep Northern Whigs from bolting to the anti-slavery Liberty Party and their colorful standard bearer James G. Birney, a reformed slave master. Henry Clay, the consummate gambler, bet all his chips on the Texas issue…and lost. Clay tried to play both sides of the issue, telling Southerners in letters that he had “warmed to the issue of Texas’s annexation.” This proclamation created such a hoopla in the North that Clay retracted with an open letter in September 1844 declaring, “I am decidedly opposed to the immediate annexation of Texas to the United States.” Much like John Kerry 160-years later, Clay was mocked by his partisan opponents for being for Texas annexation before he was against it. A Democratic Missouri editor put the issue of Clay’s tango with Texas in the form of a silly limerick:

He wires in and wires out
And leaves the people still in doubt.
Whether the snake that made the track
Was going out or coming back!

If that is not political theater at its most comical than I have no idea what is.

The 1844 campaign was greatly helped by the ingenious campaign strategies of the opposing camps. Polk’s campaigners placed it upon their shoulders to assault Henry Clay for being a drinker, gambler, duelist and womanizer. In a widely circulated pamphlet entitled “Henry Clay’s Moral Fitness for the Presidency, Tested by the Decalogue” the Democrats outlined line-by-line how Clay had violated all of the Ten Commandments. Another pamphlet was entitled “Twenty-One Reasons Why Clay Should Not Be Elected.” This tract gave all the best details of “the seedy, slimy life of Hal Clay.” Reason Number Two to vote against Prince Henry was: “Clay spends his days at the gambling table and his nights at the brothel.” This would be reason enough for me to happily vote for Clay but in 1844 America this was quite the charge. Clay himself threatened legal action (and one duel) against the publishers of the Twenty-One Reasons leaflet.
70  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: July 20, 2014, 10:12:36 pm
# 26: The Election of 1844



Taking the twenty-sixth spot on the list of lists is the campaign over Texas, Oregon and America’s manifest destiny. By 1844 a new brand of statesman had risen up to replace the cocked-hatted, knee-breeched generation of wig dotting politicians. These new, hardy men from the West called themselves the “Young Americans.” Strongly they called out for America to show its dominance over the continent, to free enterprise from the shackled of regulation, to invest anew in the youth of the nation and to leave behind the doddering theories of “old fogies.” To the Young Americans the United States was a beacon of hope that was going to define the 19th and 20th Centuries. “All history is to be re-written!” triumphantly declared journalist John O’Sullivan in 1837. Political science and the whole scope of all moral truth have to be considered and illustrated in the light of the democratic principle!” O’Sullivan, who coined the term “manifest destiny”, called for America to take the wilds of the West from Mexico and the Native Americans and take its rightful place as leader of the civilized nations of the Western world. It was against this exciting backdrop that two scions of the American West did battle for the White House and over the momentous issues of expansion, slavery and the future of the American people. 1844 is an exciting race.

The conventions of 1844 are the first ingredient in a truly mesmerizing contest. The Whig Party convention, however, is not the one to look at. Henry Clay, the talented compromiser whom was elected Speaker of the House on his first day in Congress, was the titular leader of the Whig Party in 1844. In 1840 he was snubbed for an easy White House win by William Henry Harrison, but the death of Harrison and the ascension of John Tyler to the presidency had increased Clay’s hopes of taking the nomination. Tyler, who wanted to run for president as the candidate of Southern independence, had vetoed a Third National Bank and had worked with Secretary of State John C. Calhoun to annex Texas and create a new slave state. Clay, a slaveholder who dreamed of manumission, was the national voice that was needed to hold off sectional struggle. With the issue of slavery’s expansion eating away at the Whig Party Clay was seen as the Western voice of compromise. The architect of the Compromise of 1820, Clay was nominated without opposition at a nearly quiet Baltimore convention. Two-weeks before the convention Clay had made his position of the annexation of Texas “clear.” In his infamous Raleigh Letter, Clay responded to Secretary Calhoun’s pro-slavery, pro-Texas annexation Packenham Letter. In Clay’s Raleigh Letter, he flatly denounced the Tyler annexation bill and predicted that its passage would provoke a war with Mexico, whose government had never recognized Texas independence. Clay went as far to write that even if Mexico was willing to sell Texas without a fight he would not accept the territory. It seemed to Northern Whigs that Clay was their man: a Westerner who opposed Calhoun’s dream of an “Empire for Slavery.” The Whig Convention and campaign was thoroughly underwhelming. Clay was nominated by acclamation and paired with the pious “Christian Statesman” Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, who still has a relative serving in Congress in the form of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. One can only wonder how Clay and John Boehner would get along. The anti-slavery, anti-alcohol Frelinghuysen was paired with the slave-owning, hard drinking, card playing Henry Clay. The Whig Campaign was a real downer, though. After writing a pathetic platform of a little over 10 words, the Whigs adopted the weak campaign slogan “Hooray for Clay.” “Ugh,” is all the writer can say about this most pathetic of campaign sloganeering. One bright spot for the campaign was that a group of enterprising Whigs from Pennsylvania came up with a way of rhyming the confusing Dutch last name of their vice-presidential nominee: “"Hurray, Hurray, the Country's Risin' – Vote for Clay and Frelinghuysen!” Whoever came up with that deserves an A for effort.
71  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1920 Primaries on: July 17, 2014, 01:22:25 pm
Senator Harding for Vice-President and Senator Poindexter of Washington for Vice-President! Let us return to normalcy, enforce civil rights and respect the rule of law (on most things at least).

Unless it's been specifically contradicted, I'd think Poindexter would be a Bull-Moose. Are you suggesting a unity ticket and, if so, under which party line?

Harding would make a half-way decent Bull Moose candidate. He was a "progressive" on many issues. Harding is hardly the arch-conservative he is made out to be (that is also true of J. Calvin Coolidge). A unity ticket would also be helpful to counter the huge turnout that will benefit ex-President Debs.
72  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1920 Primaries on: July 16, 2014, 11:55:26 pm
Senator Harding for President and Senator Poindexter of Washington for Vice-President! Let us return to normalcy, enforce civil rights and respect the rule of law (on most things at least).
73  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of John Boehner on: July 16, 2014, 11:51:18 pm
I have taught student with behavior disorders for many years now. They are tough and obstinate. They can do what they are supposed to do but generally choose theatrical histrionics. John Boehner is like a BD Teacher and his caucus the BD students. As a BD teacher you are always wrong no matter what way you choose. The right choice is always to never choose to lower yourself to the behaviors of the class. That is the right choice. One can choose the right way and still be wrong. John Boehner usually decides to lower himself to the level of the worst people in his caucus. Rather than showcase right behaviors he usually trips over himself to showcase the worst ones. That leads to classroom choas and, as we now see, a speaker who has lost control. I pity the poor man and see why he drinks and weeps. Yet, he has none to blame but himself.     
74  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the "Radical Republicans" on: July 13, 2014, 02:59:46 pm
Radical Republicans were indeed fighters for freedom. Corruption would have came to any government which took over the defeated Southern states. Transitions are rarely pretty and one can only applaud the Freedmen's Bureau and most of the Republicans governments of the South for trying to treat freedmen and freed women as citizens. Perhaps if the Freedmen's Bureau had been given half a chance to succeed great good could have come from it.
75  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Keith Olbermann on: July 11, 2014, 02:49:52 pm
I always enjoyed it when he read James Thurber stories.
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