Presidential Trivia – Lyndon Baines Johnson

Think you know a lot about the President of the United States?  Let us dig down into the dustbin of history and see what we can find.

Our candidate today is:  Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States

  • Born: August 27, 1908 near Stonewall, Texas
  • Died: January 22, 1973 of a heart attack; he died on a plane flying to a San Antonio hospital from the same LBJ family ranch he was born on
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Childhood and school activities:  baseball, public speaking
  • Education:  Graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers’ College in 1930, edited the college newspaper
  • Military Service:  United States Navy 1941-1942, final rank Lieutenant Commander, awarded the Silver Star
  • Civilian profession: Teacher, Congressional aide, politician
  • Married to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor (December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007) on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas
  • The ring that LBJ gave Mrs. Johnson on their wedding day was bought at Sears for $2.50
  • Children: daughters Lynda and Luci
  • Political Party – Democrat
  • Term of office:  November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
  • Became Vice-President to President John F. Kennedy in a compromise to win southern “Dixie-crats” despite the acrimony with all the Kennedy family
  • As Vice-President, Kennedy kept LBJ busy making him head of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities and as Chairman of the National Aeronautics Space Council
  • Sworn in as President aboard Air Force One in Dallas, Texas just 2 hours after the assassination of President Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson taking oath of office November 1963

  • President Johnson was the only President to take Oath of Office on an airplane (Air Force One)
  • He was the only President to be administered the oath by a woman (Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes)
  • He was the only President to take the oath with a woman serving as his witness (Jacqueline Kennedy).
  • Johnson steadily escalated U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, increasing the number of American troops from 16,000 when he first took office in 1963 to over 500,000
  • Famous quote: “Just like the Alamo, somebody damn well needed to go to their aid. Well, by God, I’m going to Vietnam’s aid.”
  • Despite passing massive civil rights legislation racial unrest, riots, and violent demonstrations were commonplace throughout his presidency
  • President and Mrs. Johnson received the first Medicare cards upon his signing of the enacting legislation
  • Despite his Christian upbringing, LBJ was famous for his profanity, streams of cursing could often be heard through the oval office door during meetings
  • Not only were President Johnson’s initials LBJ, so were the initials of his wife and both daughters
  • Famous quotes:

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.

There are no favorites in my office. I treat them all with the same general inconsideration.

The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character.

The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America.

Official Presidential portrait of Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lost and Found – August 26th Edition

What to remember about August 26th…

  • 1794  President Washington writes to Virginia governor Henry Lee regarding planned federal response to the Whiskey Rebellion
  • 1920  Official proclamation by the Secretary of State that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is formally adopted; guarantees women the right to vote
  • 1939  1st televised Major League baseball game is broadcast; Cincinnati Reds play Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field
  • 1957  Soviet Union announces its 1st successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile
  • 1968  Democrat National Convention begins in Chicago;  4 days of violent anti-war demonstrations and rioting begin
  • 1974  American aviation legend Charles Lindbergh dies; 1st person to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic (May 20-21, 1927)
  • 2003  Space Shuttle program: Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) releases 200 page report on shuttle Columbia’s destruction and the death of its seven astronauts

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis

Warbirds – B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber

August 19th marks the anniversary of the 1940 first flight of the storied B-25 Mitchell bomber.  Named for pioneering military aviator General Billy Mitchell, nearly 10,000 of these Warbirds were built.  Variations included medium bomber, weather reconnaissance, ground attack, anti-submarine warfare, and VIP transport.

During WWII, Mitchells would see service all over the globe.  The skies over Europe, the Middle East, Italy, and the Far East would be darkened by the B-25 thousands and thousands of times.  Air Forces that would fly this aircraft would include the U.S Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, British, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, Soviet, Chinese, Brazilian, and Free French.

In the war in Europe, Mitchells supported ground troops from the Battle of El Alamein to D-Day.  After the successful landings in Normandy, squadrons of B-25s would be relocated to airfields in France and Belgium to support forces as they fought towards Berlin.

But, this Warbird earned her greatest fame with the daring Doolittle Raid of Tokyo on April 18, 1942.  16 aircraft took off from the pitching and rolling deck of the USS Hornet (CV-8) over 700 miles from the Japanese mainland.  They delivered their payloads without loss and then proceeded towards China with hopes of reaching safe territory.  Running low on fuel, most of the craft ditched.  Some of the crew were killed while others were taken prisoner by the Japanese.  All were considered heroes for having taken the war to the Japanese – shattering their invincible self-image.  The story of the Doolittle raid was made into the film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo starring Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson and Robert Mitchum.

Original footage of the 1942 Doolittle Tokyo Air Raid.

Another notable incident in the Mitchell’s history is the 1945 Empire State Building crash.  On July 28, 1945, a B-25D on a personnel run from Boston flew into the building in heavy fog.  The three crew and 11 others died in the crash.  This incident led to the decision to engineer the World Trade Center to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707.  Unfortunately, the aircraft that hit the towers on September 11, 2001 had significantly higher masses and were travelling much faster than the 1960’s simulations took into account.

Specifications, history, and details of the Doolittle Raid in this video.

Archive video footage of the Doolittle Raid.

National Airborne Day

Don’t forget to hug a paratrooper today.  It’s National Airborne Day!

I was terrified of heights as a kid and I hated that feeling.  In Boy Scouts, I forced myself to learn to repel and rock climb to get rid of the fear; but it was still there.  So, when I joined the Army, I decided that to truly get rid of the fear I needed to volunteer for airborne duty.  I reported for training at Fort Benning and  3-weeks, a couple thousand push ups, and 5 jumps later I proudly graduated with my Airborne Wings. 

Funny thing is, I was still afraid of heights.  What I learned though was that the fear never goes away.  You just need to have faith to become strong enough to conquer what will aways be there.

This link will bring you to a collection of paratrooper and soldier prayers – many said or written on the eve of battle.  I hope that they can give you comfort and strength as they have so many of America’s brave defenders.  The one below is one of my favorites.

Lost and Found – August 15th Edition

What to remember about August 15th…

  • 1780  Irregulars led by LTC Frances “Swamp Fox” Marion rout crown loyalists at Port’s Ferry, South Carolina
  • 1914  Opening of the American-built Panama Canal is inaugurated with the transit of the U.S. ship Ancon, President Carter signs canal over to Panamanian control December 31, 1977
  • 1935  Famed aviator Wiley Post and celebrated actor and journalist Will Rogers die in plane crash in Alaska
  • 1939  Classic film The Wizard of Oz premiers at Grauman’s Chinese Theater
  • 1945  Emperor Hirohito announces to his people that Japan has surrendered to the Allies
  • 1947  200 years of English rule ends and the nations of India and Pakistan become independent
  • 1969  The Woodstock Music Festival opens in upstate New York; performers includes Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, CCR and more
  • 1971  President Nixon imposes a 90-day freeze on wages and prices; ends the convertibility of U.S. dollars into gold
  • 1979  Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now opens in U.S.
  • 2003  Libya formally accepts responsibility for 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; express no remorse and admit no guilt

Panama Canal

Lost and Found – August 14th Edition

What to remember about August 14th…

  • 1848  An act of Congress establishes the Oregon Territory
  • 1935  President Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act
  • 1945  American actor and comedian Steve Martin is born (L.A. Story and Roxanne are my favorites)
  • 1965  7th Marines land in Chu Lai to begin combat operations in South Vietnam
  • 1980  Lech Walesa leads strikes at Gdansk shipyards leading to strikes across Poland; Solidarity movement takes hold
  • 1994  International terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez aka Carlos the Jackal is captured in Sudan
  • 2003  Massive blackout in northeast U.S. and parts of Canada leave an estimated 55 million without power
  • 2006  Journalists Steve Centani and Olaf Wiig kidnapped by Palestinian Hamas gunmen; they are released only after they convert to Islam under threat of death
  • 2010  President Barak Hussein Obama states his support for the building of a mosque at Ground Zero in New York

Lost and Found – August 13th Edition

What to remember about August 13th…

  • 1818  American suffragette and abolitionist Lucy Stone is born in Massachusetts; inspired Susan B. Anthony to join the cause
  • 1878  First death in the Memphis, Tennessee yellow-fever epidemic; in next few months 20,000 will die
  • 1910  Florence Nightingale dies; founder of professional nursing and the school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London
  • 1912  Famed American golfer Ben Hogan is born in Stephenville, Texas
  • 1918  Opha May Johnson becomes 1st woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps
  • 1926  Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro is born; responsible for the deaths of thousands of dissidents
  • 1937  3-month Battle of Shanghai begins between China’s National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army
  • 1995  New York Yankees baseball legend Mickey Mantle dies
  • 2004  American chef, author, and television personality Julia Child dies; WWII veteran of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – that agency later becomes the CIA

Presidential Trivia – Herbert Hoover

Think you know a lot about the President of the United States?  Let us dig down into the dustbin of history and see what we can find.

Our candidate today is:  Herbert Clark Hoover; 31st President of the United States

  • Born: August 10, 1874 in West Branch, Iowa
  • Died: October 20, 1964 in New York City, New York
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Childhood and school activities:  Orphaned at age 12; left school at 14 to work in real estate; student manager of baseball and football teams at Stanford
  • Education:  attended Friends Pacific Academy (now George Fox University) for 2 years; graduated from Stanford University with a degree in geology – member of 1st class at Stanford University
  • Military Service:  none
  • Civilian profession:  Mining and Civil Engineer, Investor, Humanitarian
  • Married to  Lou Henry (March 29, 1974 to January 7, 1944) at her parents home in Monterey, California on February 10, 1899
  • Children: Herbert Charles Jr., Allan Henry
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Term of office: March 4, 1929 to March 4, 1933
  • Deeply involved in providing food and economic aid to countries devastated by WWI as well as evacuating Americans from the war zones.
  • Worked in and later owned gold and silver mines around the world
  • Prior government service as head of U.S. Food Administration and Secretary of Commerce.
  • Presided over the Great Depression as well as the Stock Market crash; signed Smoot-Hawley tariff Act
  • His Vice-President, Charles Curtis, was first Native American to hold the office; Kaw, Osage, and Pottawatomie ancestry
  • While in office, donated his salary to charity
  • Shortly before his death, he endorsed Barry Goldwater for President
  • Hobbies:  fishing, writing – Hoover authored several books during his lifetime including Fishing for Fun: and to Wash Your Soul
  • Famous quotes:

“We are now speeding down the road of wasteful spending and debt, and unless we can escape, we will be smashed in inflation.”

“Every time the government is forced to act, we lose something in self-reliance, character, and initiative.”

“The sole function of Government is to bring about a condition of affairs favorable to the beneficial development of private enterprise.”

“The course of unbalanced budgets is the road to ruin.”

“When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned.”

“It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.”

Operation Watchtower – Guadalcanal 1942

Throughout the first half of 1942, Japanese forces had captured islands, established bases, and cut off most of the supply lines to U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand.  Guadalcanal, its airfield, and several nearby smaller islands nearby were key pieces in the Japanese effort to project their power across the South Pacific.  U.S. Admiral Earnest King came up with a plan to not just halt the advance but to seize the initiative from Imperial forces in the pacific.  That plan was called Operation Watchtower.

Eight months to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 11,000 United States Marines supported by the Navy struck the first offensive blow against the Imperial Japanese.  Approaching in bad weather, the initial landings of the Battle of Guadalcanal went nearly unopposed.  Moving on from the beach, Marines found themselves swallowed by the “green hell” of the inland jungle.  Their early goal of capturing the airfield was accomplished with light casualties.  The six-week planned duration for the operation was seeming overly pessimistic.

However, on the seas and in the air, a fierce battle was raging.  Dozens of aircraft were lost on both sides as naval forces hunted each other in the tropical waters.  Concerned over fuel levels and equipment losses, it was decided that the American aircraft carriers be pulled back.  Without air cover, the invasion’s support ships were soon savaged by Imperial naval forces based out of Rabaul.  U.S. naval forces were forced to abandon the island to seek the protection of the carrier group.  With only 14-days of supplies and almost no heavy equipment, the Marines on Guadalcanal were on their own.

Dysentery, malaria, and the tropical heat would savage the allies as much as Japanese forces would.  Approximately one-in-five soldiers was struck down by one ailment or another.  Despite this, work continued on the airfield.  By August 20th, the first Marine aircraft arrived to support their brothers on the ground.  Perimeters expanded and patrols sought out and skirmished with scattered Japanese resistance.  It was thought that Imperial forces might soon be willing to surrender in the face of the successful invasion.  Ground commanders didn’t know that Guadalcanal’s defenders would soon be receiving ground, sea, and air reinforcements.

The struggle for Guadalcanal would stretch on for six moths.  During the campaign, approximately 31,000 Japanese and 7,100 Allied troops would lose their lives.  With the final victory, Japanese forces had been halted at the furthest point of their advance.  For the remainder of the war, Japanese forces would steadily be driven back and back.

For a great period movie about the battle, check out Guadalcanal Diary starring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, and Anthony Quinn.

The Genius Of Milton Friedman

Today marks the 104th birthday of Nobel Prize-winning conservative economist Milton Friedman.  Remember him?  He is the conservative economist that rescued the U.S. economy from President Carter’s stagflation [i.e. rising inflation and unemployment] and gave us Reagan’s recovery miracle.  He led the to disassemble the central planning nightmare that progressives and bureaucrats had inflicted upon this nation.  Many on Wall Street and in the business world believe he is the man who saved capitalism and therefore America.

Here are a few of his observations and ideas on government that should be dusted off and tossed at the left daily:

  • “Governments never learn. Only people learn.”
  • “If you put the Federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
  • “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”
  • “I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse.”
  • “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
  • “I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.”

And then there are his ideas on freedom:

  • “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
  • “Every friend of freedom… must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.”
  • “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
  • “Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery.”
  • “Life is unfair.”

Milton Friedman on freedom

The progressive left has made an idol of big governance.  They have infiltrated all levels of government and they control the indoctrination of our children.  When they toss the ideas and ideals of great men like Friedman into the dustbin, they add more links to the chains that bind our once-great nation in poverty, stagnation, and ignorance.