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Hate and Anger

The recent election has been very different than any election I can remember. The other piece of it is that after the election the bitterness is still there and has even seemed to increase.

Facebook is full of messages and comments arguing the same rants day after day. President Elect Donald Trump feeds the fire with his Tweets about people that criticize him.

I think it is time for us and the politicians step back and take a deep breath and stop the rancor. President Trump has to act more “presidential.” Before he was elected President he spent his early morning hours reviewing how his name had been mentioned by the press and television. He was the brand and he wanted to protect it.

Now is is the President of the United States and he should focus on being the President. Conversely, the people of the United States need to give him a chance and work to make the best of the situation.






Another Nixon Book

I am just starting to read One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner. Nixon is an interesting man. He was perhaps one of the most hated and despised Presidents of the United States. You may be interested to know that Nixon often ate cottage cheese with ketchup on it for lunch. I tried it just to see if it was good. It was the first and last time I ate it.

I’ll keep you up on my reading as I move along. I hope this is a good book. It had 4.5 stars in amazon.

January 17, 2017

I am about halfway through the book. I was surprised how much President Nixon drank. His drink of choice was martini’s. He drank so much that an aid said he wouldn’t work with Nixon unless he quit drinking so much. Also, Nixon might have been addicted to commercial drugs.

The other thing that I didn’t understand is how the President and his staff planned military action without the consent of the military.

President Ombama’s Farewell Adress

If you missed Obama’s farewell address you missed a great speech. Good news is you can still see it online.


President Nixon: Alone in the White House

I was just starting my second year of teaching when Richard Nixon was elected president. So This book brought back a lot of memories of the War in Vietnam and Watergate. Reading this years later gave me a revised view of what took place during those years. Richard Nixon lied about the smallest things For example he would tell people he worked more hours than he did. He also felt everyone was out to get him. Combine the two and you have a very emotionally ill person.

The book doesn’t cover all of Nixon’s life, just his time as president.

Richard Reeves does an outstanding job telling this story. Well worth taking your time to read it.

President Nixon by Richard Reeves.




Presidential Trivia

I just finished reading Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia. Great book! It is fun, informative and great for grades 4-12. Great gift for your favorite student or teacher.

The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia is full of fun facts about U.S. Presidents. Both adults and children will enjoy this easy to read book. It is a great addition for school and classroom libraries. The book is formatted in a series of questions and answers. For example: “Which battle-tested president was sickened by the sight of blood?”

There are over 300 questions that teachers could use for class warm-up activities or for those five minutes at the end of class when you want to keep your students thinking. You could also divide your students into teams to see which team could get five questions answered first.

One of the things that is unique about this book is that the questions also have a photo from the Smithsonian Collection. I think I know a lot of trivia about presidents, but I was stumped by some of the questions. This might help make your students curious about history.

Let’s get back to the question about blood. We know that it must be a president who was in battle. You know that the bloodiest war in U.S. History was the Civil War. So if you guessed President Grant you would be right.



President Obama’s Inauguration: Jan. 21, 2013

While not as big as his first inauguration it was a very nice day. There were a few first.

He was the first two term president to take the oath of office four times. Once at his first inauguration that got goofed up by the Supreme Court Justice trying to say it from memory. So just to make sure everything was legal he said it a second time the next day. This year, January 20th was on a Sunday and he was sworn in on Sunday with just a few people present. Then he was sworn in during the ceremonies on Monday. You most likely can guess the only other president to take the oath four times.

Another first, was his mentioning guy rights. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” He was the first president to mention gay  rights in an inaugural address.

I think he was the seventh president to use two bibles. A few other small things. Mrs. Evers was the first woman and the first lay person to give the invocation. And the poet, Richard Blanco was named the inaugural poet for Barack Obama’s second inauguration. He is the first Latino and first gay inaugural poet.

It was a nice joyous occasion.


Calvin Coolidge

I just finished a book about Calvin Coolidge. (Coolidge, An American Enigma) It was a good book and for me a great book. I never learned much about Coolidge in school except that he was a very quite man. What little I heard was negative. After reading about him I think he was very intelligent. His biggest failure is that he had a hard time with social occasions when he met new people. If you set that aside he was a very smart, determined and hard working person. He was also very loyal to his family.

He served in numerous positions in the State of Massachusetts. He rose to the rank of Governor of the state and then was chosen to to be vice president. When Harding died he became president and then ran for another term and won easily. The only election he ever lost was for the School Board in Northamton. He most likely lost that because some people voted against him because he didn’t have children in the schools.

Coolidge’s opinion of being president, governor, or any administration was that the person should carry out and enact the laws. He didn’t think we always needed new laws, in fact he thought some should be taken off the books. He felt leaders need time to implement the laws that were already passed and suggest improvements if needed.

He had a strong position on the separation of the three branches of government. But most importantly he was loved by the American people. Even when he turn down running for a second full term, people wanted to draft him for the presidency. The economy was prosperous and we were at peace.

He wasn’t an inspirational president. But he was good at running the government and delegating responsibilities to his appointees.

Overall, I would rank him in the upper half of U.S. Presidents. You may wish to read his biography and form your own opinion.


Back Again

I haven’t written on my blog for a long time. I hope to start posting on a regular basis. Wish me luck.

 Woodrow Wilson by John Cooper, Jr.


The first thing I found interesting is that Woodrow Wilson was named Thomas Woodrow Wilson. He was called Tommy as a boy. He started using Woodrow when he was studying the law at the University of Virginia. The second is that he was a poor reader. He didn’t learn his “letters” until he was nine and he learned to read at twelve. This problem might have been due to his eyesight or dyslexia.

In 1883, he paid $87 for a typewriter. That was a lot of money at that time. Typewriters did not have set keyboards at that time. Also, not all typewriters had the same keyboard. Wilson typed with two fingers using the popular hunt and peck method.

All of that is interesting. Reading this book and others books about U.S. Presidents has started me thinking about how do you rate a president. What or who is a good president and why. Who is a bad president and why.

The tough part is that some presidents came in to office during troubled times and solved the problems. Others had prosperous times that they didn’t create that hurt their term in office. Some had the support of the House and Senate and could pass legislation and others had the House and Senate controlled by the other party and couldn’t do anything.

My question is what do you think makes a good president? And who during your life time has been the best president?



School Dress Code?

I think educators may enjoy this:

“Banned are sheer and see-through clothing, ripped jeans, one-shouldered, strapless shirts or clothing exposing bare midriffs. Also listed are “excessively short” skirts, dresses or shorts cut more than 3-4 inches above the knee.”

No, Major League Baseball dress code for the press.

See http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Ag18rjmSo.dja_NdXeQi0qU8R9MF?slug=ap-mlb-mediadressguidelines for the full story.





Creating a New Lesson

Tomorrow, I will be working with a group of teachers in grades 2 – 12. It is a challenge having such a large range of teachers. I have worked with them before and it went well. This will be our second day together. We are going to work on creating a new lesson. However, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a new lesson. It really is just teaching the topic in a new way. I’m looking forward to see what they create.