12 January 2016

Fun Presidential Fact to Know and Tell 2

Welcome to the second installment of what will no doubt be a sporadic series in which I spread light on the former presidents of this great republic. Part One edified and entertained tens of millions throughout the galaxy. I hope you will enjoy the facts I have unearthed about these presidents, I promise never to unearth the presidents.

Thomas Jefferson was an avid bowler who installed bowling alleys in both the White House and Monticello. Jefferson would often take breaks to bowl while writing the Declaration of Independence, much to the annoyance of the other founding fathers. Jefferson and John Adams may have been famous political rivals, but they were on the same bowling team, and in 1800 won the Tri State Area Bowling Championship. Late in life, when asked what his greatest accomplishment had been, Jefferson did not mention helping found the US or his presidency or the establishment of the University of Virginia. Instead he said: “my prowess as a bowler, in my time I was kick ass at the game and have the trophies to prove it."

James K. Polk was an accomplished ventriloquist. Indeed the 11th president almost eschewed a political career to tour with his dummy who he affectionally called Hick, a tribute to Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson. Visitors to the White House were in for a treat when President Polk was talked into performing with Hick (apparently all it required for the president to perform was an audience). Polk had planned to visit the capitals of Europe with Hick upon retiring but died as he was planning the journey and rehearsing. President Polk was buried with his beloved Hick, who, it has been reported, kept talking during the funeral.

Chester Alan Arthur was a transvestite who would often greet foreign dignities in his wife’s frock. Arthur was said to be particularly fond of wearing women’s underwear and could be found prancing around the White House grounds late at night in nothing but Mrs. Arthur’s undies and a large ladies’ hat. On occasion the president could be cajoled into performing a song or two in women’s attire (he could affect a lovely falsetto) but only if plied with laudanum.

William Howard Taft may have been our most corpulent president (weighing in at a robust 335 pounds) but the future Supreme Court judge cut a dashing figure on ice skates. Taft was an enthusiastic figure skater who would hire John Phillips Sousa and his band to play while he performed. Taft was also an ice hockey player whose semi pro team — Taft’s Tubby Titans — once reached the quarter finals of their ten team  league’s playoffs.

Jimmy Carter was at best a mediocre president but he may well be the greatest ex-president in US history. Carter has worked diligently for Habitat for Humanity. He has worked to help eradicate Guinea worm disease an effort so successful that instances of the disease have gone down by 99%. Carter has also worked for various human right’s causes including those centered on economic rights and equality for women. He has also been critical of presidents whose policies have violated human rights (such as the use of torture) and visited war upon innocents. At the age of 91 Carter licked the cancer that had spread from his liver.

George W. Bush was an idiot whose greatest blunder (and there were many) was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on false pretenses. Remarkably he has not been brought to justice for war crimes. The war has cost tens of thousands of lives, destabilized a country and surrounding region and spawned terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Bush also destroyed a robust economy through a tax plan that favored the rich and devastated the middle class, not to mention the poor. His efforts to de-regulate corporation succeeded in leading to the 2008 economic meltdown. His No Child Left Behind Act set the cause of public education in the US backwards. Today Bush spends much of his time painting bad pictures.

No comments: