campaigned to be President of the United States in 1960, promoting himself as "your write-in space-age candidate."
His main qualification was that he had "seen at least 75 flying saucers and has chatted with space people." Also, he was founder of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America. He promised that his presidency would usher in "The World of Tomorrow, and UTOPIA now."
However, he didn't attract a lot of support from voters. He attributed this to the fact that "not enough Americans have yet seen flying saucers or talked to outer space people." So he dropped out of the race and endorsed John F. Kennedy. The space people told him that they approved his decision.
He ran again in 1972, with similar results.
More info (and photos) at Gabriel Green for President
George V. Fried of Oklahoma City announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. His platform was, "If it's right, I'm for it."
But when asked what ticket he planned to file on for the race, he replied, "It's none of your ________ business."
Two months later he was arrested, charged with passing an insufficient funds check for slightly over five dollars at a liquor store.
Sounds to me like he would have made a fine member of the U.S. Senate.
Great Bend Tribune - May 8, 1954
Image source: Life - July 5, 1968
The Democratic National Convention is currently underway in Philadelphia. The last time the Democrats held their convention in that city was back in 1948, when they nominated Harry S. Truman as the Democratic candidate.
It was a memorable convention in a number of ways (the first televised one, for instance), but among weird-news types it's remembered as the Convention where they decided to release 48 doves inside the convention hall. Zachary Karabell described the stunt in his book The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election
(2000) (via Presidential History Geeks
"Even when Truman was actually nominated, the evening was marred by mishaps. It was sweltering and the voting had taken far longer than expected. A national committeewoman from Pennsylvania, Emma Guffey Miller, sister of the former Senator Joseph Guffey, planned a surprise tribute for Truman. She had the Pennsylvania Florists Association create a Liberty Bell made of flowers. They had given one to Dewey and naturally Miller wanted to make Truman's bouquet even more impressive. She had the florists place a cage of several dozen pigeons inside the bell, and at the appointed time, she intended to release the pigeons into the hall as symbolic 'doves of peace.'
"The problem was that the pigeons had been placed inside the bell hours before. By the time Miller brought the bell to the podium, two of the birds had died and the rest were desperate for relief from the heat. The minute she opened the cage, they darted out as fast as they could and flew directly toward the thirty-six inch pedestal fans that surrounded the stage. Sam Rayburn, the former Speaker of the House and chairman of the convention proceedings, started swatting at the low flying pigeons. His craggy voice carried to the radio and television microphones, and he could be heard shouting 'get those goddamned pigeons out of here!'
"But they could not be contained. One of them briefly came to rest on Rayburn's head, while another landed on the fan right next to Bess Truman. Other pigeons were flying toward the ceiling and, in their nervousness, started to splatter the delegates with droppings. Watching the absurd scene, Jack Redding turned to Congressman Mike Kirwan and said 'what damned fool could have thought of a thing like this? In this heat they all could be dead. It's bad enough having the Zionists, the Dixiecrats and the Wallace-ites after us, now we got to have somebody to arrange for the SPCA to have at us." By the time Truman came onstage, the surviving birds had retreated to the balconies and the overhead lights, where they watched as the president addressed the recently strafed delegates."
A more contemporary account comes from the Kokomo Tribune
(July 28, 1948):
forty and eight white doves [were] released from a huge floral Liberty Bell by Mrs. Emma Guffey Miller at the closing session of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia...
Weighing a neat 140 by Republican (conservative) scales, Mrs. Miller had stood on the platform, the personification of a buxom fairy queen, though without wand or wings. When she waved her lily white hand — Bingo! — a trap door in the bell opened and out flew four dozen of the scaredest pigeons you ever saw. They had been cooped up in that bell for several hours. Their bloodshot eyes popped out and their feathers were bedraggled by the humid 100-degree heat of the convention hall.
Some of the sturdier birds made for the high roof, but the feebler birds fluttered to the first perch they could light on — chairman Sam Rayburn's rostrum and the big electric fans that blew breezes over the speakers' platform. Everybody laughed. Then everybody ducked or threw their arms over their heads. Then everybody hollered or screamed.
The event caused one bard to dash off a quatrain:
Sing a song of Democrats, listen to them yell!
Eight and forty pigeons, parboiled in a bell.
When the bell was opened, the birds began to fly.
Wasn't that an awful thing to hit you in the eye?
Finally, it proved difficult to recapture all the doves.
The Decatur Daily Review - July 15, 1948
Four years ago
I posted about the comparative prices on eBay of baseballs signed by presidential candidates. I didn't make any predictions back then. However, Obama-signed baseballs were fetching higher prices than Romney-signed baseballs, and Obama won. Make of that what you will.
So what does the political baseball market on eBay look like in this election year?
If you want a baseball signed by Donald Trump, they go for as low as $10.50
(above left) or as high as $2499.99
(above right). (There's one baseball signed by The Donald, Melania, and Ivanka
for which the seller is asking $5000, but since that's 3 signatures it doesn't seem relevant for this data set.)
Gotta say, The Donald sure has a crazy signature! How do those zigzag lines spell out Donald Trump?
Hillary Clinton-signed baseballs can be bought for anywhere between $100.99
(left) and $2499
(right). Again, there are more expensive ones signed by both Hillary and Bill
, but I'm only looking at individually signed baseballs here.
What conclusions can we draw from this? Well, the prices are much closer for Hillary vs. Donald than they were for Obama vs. Romney. Perhaps this indicates a closer race. However, Hillary baseballs aren't going for the very low prices that some Donald baseballs are going for. So maybe this indicates that Hillary has a slight advantage. Who knows! We'll find out in November.
It's pretty common to hear people say that they're so disgusted with American politics that they're going to move to Canada and renounce their U.S. citizenship... especially if candidate X or Y wins the election. But people almost never follow through with this threat/promise.
But Joel Slater did. Back in the Reagan era (1987), he became so angry at U.S. policies that he decided to renounce his American citizenship. The problem was that he did this without first arranging to acquire citizenship in another country. So he made himself stateless.
He was in Australia when he renounced his citizenship, and had assumed he would be able to stay there. But no, Australia promptly deported him to the U.S. Then, as a stateless person, he discovered that he was effectively trapped in the U.S. because he couldn't travel anywhere else without a passport. He managed to make it into Canada and Mexico a few times without a passport, but they both eventually shipped him back to the States. He also couldn't legally work without a social security number. So he became homeless, surviving on "odd jobs and the generosity of strangers."
After much begging and pleading, he was able to regain his U.S. citizenship in 1993.
More info: wikipedia
Slater showing off his "Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States"
Source: Arizona Republic - Mar 17, 1991
Indianapolis Star - Nov 27, 1992
Yesterday I posted about a proposal to disenfranchise the elderly
. Here's a similar idea — a scheme to reduce the political power of grey hairs — but it goes about it in a different way. Instead of taking away the vote from the elderly, you give the vote to children. Their new political power would presumably balance out the influence of seniors, shifting state policy in new directions.
This idea has been repeatedly advocated by Paul E. Peterson
, professor of government at Harvard. He's argued for the idea in the journal Daedalus
(Fall 1992), The Brookings Review
(Winter 1993), and Education Next
The way it would work, in practice: "parents exercise the vote on behalf of their children... parents be given the option to assign the right to their child whenever they think he or she is capable of casting it on their own. That right, once given, can never be taken back."
The details that remain to be worked out: "Which parent gets the vote? What is to be done with election-day newborns? What proof of parentage is required?"
Peterson was not, by any means, the first to come up with the idea of letting children vote. Philippe van Parijs gives a brief history of the children's suffrage movement in his book Just Democracy
It has been repeatedly discussed for over a century, especially in France, and mostly with pro-natalist motivations. The earliest proposal of this sort seems to have been made, shortly after Prussia's victory over France, by a certain Henri Lasserre, 'the universally known historian of Notre-Dame de Lourdes'. In his proposal, every French citizen, whatever his or her age or gender, is given one vote, with the (male) head of each family exercising this right to vote on behalf of his wife and each of his children. The proposal was hardly noticed, however, except by the philosopher Gabriel de Tarde, who took it over enthusiastically, as a way of enforcing a concern for the interests of younger and unborn generations.
Image source: The Brookings Review (Winter 1993)
Back in 1970, Douglas P. Stewart, a professor of classics at Brandeis University, made headlines for advocating that the elderly should lose the right to vote.
His thesis is this:
"The old, having no future, are dangerously free from the consequences of their own political acts, and it makes no sense to allow the vote to someone who is actuarially unlikely to survive and pay the bills for (what) he may help elect."
In other words, Stewart thinks old people vote with an attitude of "grand je serais mort, je me ficherais de tou — (when I'm dead, it (society) can go to hell)."
Stewart, if he's still alive, would now be around 83. I wonder if he's still voting?
The Daily Journal (Franklin, Indiana) — Sep 23, 1970
Latest about.com article: A Brief History of Weird Campaign Promises
Example promises include:
- The elimination of poverty, after 10 pm. (Ferdinand Lop, 1940s)
- Pass a law to "keep them 'vine-ripened' stickers off of them mushy green tomatoes." (Connie Watts, 1960)
- Put joggers to good social use by forcing them to power treadmills to generate electricity. (Screaming Lord Sutch)
- Change the name of Aspen to "Fat City." (Hunter S. Thompson, 1970)
- Lose 50 pounds. (Adeline J. Geo-Karis, 1986)
Scott Allen Meek is running for President, and he's not afraid to call attention to serious issues. For instance, right at the top of his campaign website
he points out that "California is in it's 5th year of a Serious Draught."
He's the only candidate I'm aware of who's ever drawn attention to this problem, but as a California resident, I can confirm that it's absolutely true. Sometimes it gets so draughty here that I have to put on a sweatshirt. And as someone who's spent quite a bit of time in the UK, I appreciate his use of the British spelling of the word.
Other issues important to Meek include the promotion of desalination and hemp farming.
Original images here.
I am not sure having a rat-like figure as your patriotic icon is the best choice of imagery.
Here is a little background on the character, from this source.