Obama spoke earlier today about his energy policy and — while the highlight of the speech was the President comparing the Republican candidates to the "flat earth society," (which was awesome) — the real controversy came when he attacked former president and inventor of the homeless man beard, Rutherford B. Hayes…
"One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: 'It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?' That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore.
"He's looking backwards, he's not looking forward. He's explaining why we can't do something instead of why we can do something. The point is there will always be cynics and naysayers."
First of all, is Obama implying that he will one day end up on Mt. Rushmore? Pretty cocky for a guy whose greatest achievement thus far is telling a military general, "We all talked it over and we decided, yeah, go ahead and shoot the world's greatest criminal."
That's not even where he really goofed. Surprise surprise, something a politician said isn't remotely true…
Tags: Barack Obama, Rick Santorum, Rutherford B. Hayes
How many times have you told yourself, "I'd gladly learn about all 43 of our nation's presidents — even duds like Millard Fillmore and George H.W. Bush — if only someone would write indie rock songs about them?"
Well get cracking, hipster, because a trio of songwriters have done just that– in the form of their new triple CD "Of Great and Mortal Men"…
While some of the first 43 [presidents] have become larger-than-life figures, others are all but forgotten. But songwriters Christian Kiefer, Jefferson Pitcher and Matthew Gerken, with the help of many stalwarts of indie rock, look to shed light on the lives and quirks of these men. They've composed original songs and music in a new collection called Of Great and Mortal Men, which features 43 songs spanning three CDs and more than 220 years of American history.
Kiefer, Pitcher and Gerken — largely unknown even in indie rock circles– have enlisted the help of slightly more famous musicians to bring their songs to life.
So if you've always wanted to hear Smog's Bill Callahan sing about John Quincy Adams, the band Califone rock out for Andrew Jackson and Jimmy Carter, or Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek croon over Harry Truman… Well now you can. (You'll have to buy the album if you want to know who plays on the Rutherford B. Hayes song.)
That's 43 songs to honor 42 presidents. (Grover Cleveland gets two, one for each useless term he served.) And then don't forget there's one more song to come after Election Day…
As for the 44th, the songwriters say they'll write one more song and post an MP3 sometime after Nov. 4.
Depending on who wins, that might not be necessary. If it's Ron Paul via write-in, his passionate supporters will no doubt be happy to contribute 2 to 400 dozen rousing paeans of their own.
And if John McCain wins, he could make history as the first president on the compilation to personally perform his own theme song.
Tags: Andrew Jackson, Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes
Whether it's the daily critiques of electronic voting or the California GOP's plan to governate the Democrats' electoral hopes, the average American can't not read a newspaper these days without ignoring news about electoral fraud. But screwing with the vote is nothing new, as we shall see…
What is it about centennials? Just as 1976 was marred by political disillusionment, terrible hair, and patriotic kitsch, the 1876 presidential election ripped the skanky band-aid off the oozing scabs of the Civil War. Future president Republican Rutherford B. Hayes — running against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden — got his ZZ Top beard in a wad when reports of fraud, bribery, and intimidation surfaced throughout the South. A total of twenty electoral votes were in dispute, mainly in Florida (surprise), Louisiana, and South Carolina, and one in Oregon, of all places (this was not a confused hippie, but a political hack appointed by the state's Democratic governor). This was such a big deal that then-president Ulysses S. Grant sobered up just long enough to have the Army surround DC, ready for trouble that never came.
After months of negotiation, a 15-member commission gave Hayes a victory with a single electoral vote, the whole thing hinging on an 889-vote margin, making it the closest US presidential election in history until 124 years later, when a bunch of elderly Palm Beach Jews decided to break with tradition (and reality) and vote for Pat Buchanan.
Many historians agree that the compromise between Democrats and Republicans marked the transition from Reconstruction to the beginning of The Jim Crow Era — a touchstone in the long, storied, bipartisan tradition of Washington throwing black people to the wolves. Before this, African-American Republicans rose to prominence in much of the south, but The Compromise of 1877 led to the removal of Union troops in exchange for the Dems' backing of Hayes. This allowed Democrats — the Lynyrd Skynyrd concertgoers of their era — to effectively put an end to Reconstruction using such sophisticated techniques as sticks, rocks, rope, and fire.
In addition to good old-fashioned barbarism, these former Confederates used tactics like poll taxes and literacy tests — the latter of which, ironically, their ideological progeny would probably just stare at for a while before rolling them up to snort a line of Oxycontin. This state of affairs lasted until 1965, when Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.
Tags: Cockblock the Vote, Rutherford B. Hayes, Ulysses S. Grant