Monday, December 30, 2013

Fantasy Football 2013 Final Results

Well, it's been a great year for me in fantasy football. I had 9 of 12 teams make the playoffs. That is a record for me, breaking the old one of 8 teams a few years ago.

Congratulations to New Mexico Scorpions and Piketon Red Streaks for winning their league championships.

New Mexico dominated their league all season long, winning their first 8 games before hitting a 3 game losing streak and finishing the season on a two game winning streak heading into the playoffs where they continued to dominate. They finished first in the regular season with a league best, 10 wins and 3 losses, and they won the championship.

Piketon struggled early on, at 2-3 after five games before getting on a roll and winning 6 of their last 8 regular season games. They finished 4th in the regular season with a record of 8 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie. But top four teams play in playoffs and from there, we were able to keep on our roll facing a 10-3 team and getting to the league championship game and beating a tough 11-2 team. The odds were against them all the way, having been projected to lose both games. Piketon defeated the odds and came out on top.

Two other teams made their championship game in their respective league, Roswell Aliens, and Columbus Bandits. Both teams made it to their championship games only to come up short. The other five playoff teams lost in the first round of the playoffs, but did so gracefully.

For my other three teams that missed the playoffs, Ohio Wildcats finished 7-7 while ending the season on a 5 game winning streak, knocking out two potential playoff teams the last two games of the season. Way to go Ohio! One of the owners messaged me too, and bitched me out for it. For some reason, he thought I shouldn't still be "playing" my team since I was eliminated from post season early. To him I said, "Better luck next time, champ. I play every game despite my record. I finish what I start."

Ohio finished 6th out of 10 teams. Meanwhile, Waverly Thrashers and Chillicothe Paints were the only two teams this year with a losing record. (Another record for me) Waverly ended up 7th in their 12 team league with a 6-8 record, and Chillicothe ended up with a 3-11 record, losing six of those games by 7 points or less. Prior to the season, Chillicothe ranked 2nd in their draft grade. A great team with potential that simply fell short, and many coaching errors on my part.

Here is the final tally of my season:

12 teams
9 playoffs
4 champisonship games
2 league championships

Only six more months before 2014 draft.

Can hardly wait. LOL

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Charro / Change of Habit DVD Review


It's Elvis playing a cowboy. And not very well, I'm afraid. Even though this movie co-stars Victor French and Ina Balin, it's still a kerplunk for and Elvis flick. I know he tried hard in this one, meaning he doesn't break out and start singing, but the script is flat, the props are flat, the acting? ... Flat!

Jess Wade (Elvis) is innocently accused of having stolen a cannon from the Mexican revolutionary forces. He tries to find the real culprits, a gang of criminals.

If you haven't seen an Elvis flick yet, do not, I repeat, do not make this your first one. You'll be turned off. This is for the die-hard fans like myself.

My rating? ... 3 stars at the very, very, very best. (But I like it because I am a die-hard fan)



 Like Charro, this is a 1969 release. Unlike Charro, it's pretty good. (To a point) Teaming up with the young and very beautiful, Mary Tyler-Moore, this is about as "ghetto" as you will ever see Elvis. Sure, he sings a song or two, but they are well placed. Obviously, this was the last movie Elvis ever did. It almost wasn't. He was offered the lead male role in the movie "A Star Is Born" with Barbara Striesand however, his manager turned it down because he wanted Elvis to get top billing. As for Elvis, he didn't care about that, he really wanted that part. (Which ended up going to Kris Kristofferson)

Only a few songs as Elvis plays it straight as Dr John Carpenter. Mary Tyler Moore stars opposite as an incognito nun with a mission to help Dr Elvis clean up the ghetto he lives in. Can the King compete against God for Mary's heart? He can if anyone can.

This would make a good first time Elvis movie to watch. If you haven't seen an Elvis film yet. You have seen one, right? You haven't? Really? What the freak?

My rating ... let's go and give this one a cool 8 stars. Better yet, make it 8 and a half stars because of Mary Tyler-Moore. 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Carroll Bryant's Favorite Christmas Story

I was 26 years old, and always hung out at my older sister's house. She lived across the street from this woman and her two kids, two girls ages 13 and 8.

On the evening of December 23rd, I was at my sister's house. When I entered the door, she was sitting at the kitchen table sewing a coat. The coat belonged to the 13 year old across the street, Natasha. It had gotten ripped earlier that day and my sister was "patching" it up for her.

The coat looked old and worn. Natasha's mother struggled to pay bills, and couldn't afford a whole lot although she did the best she could. She was divorced and had a dead beat ex husband who provided very little for his children.

Me, my sister and my mother had bought the girls some Christmas items in fear of them maybe not getting much from their financially strapped mother and dead beat dad. For the 8 year old, we bought toys. For Natasha, we bought a portable CD player and some musical CD's.

As I watched my sister sew, I started to think that Natasha could probably use a nicer coat. That's about as far as I went with it at first although, my sister agreed, that old coat she was repairing had seen much better days. 

For some reason, the next day at work, I couldn't get that old coat out of my mind. I worked half a day when we got let out. On my way home, I saw a car pulled off to the side of a busy highway on Christmas Eve afternoon. I pulled over to help. It was a doctor with a flat tire. He was extremely well dressed and me in my work clothes, he offered me fifty dollars if I would change his tire for him so he wouldn't have to get his nice clothes dirty.

At first I was hesitant but then, I said okay. I changed his tire and he handed over the money. "I hope that money helps you this Christmas." He said. I smiled. He must have thought I was poor or something. I told him, "It will bring someone joy. I am going to use this money to buy a young lady a coat for Christmas." I told him. Then I told him the whole story.

The man liked my story so much that he gave another fifty dollars and said, "Buy her a really nice one."

I was suppose to go to my mother's that evening, but first, I swung by my sister's. She had already left to go to moms house, but I was there to see Natasha. I walked into the house and told her mother, "I'm borrowing your daughter for a couple of hours." She looked at me. "Where are you taking her?"

"Shopping." I said. "I'm going to let her pick out her new coat."

Natasha overheard and quickly jumped to her feet in joy. Her mother tried to argue. "No, I will not accept charity."

"It's not charity." I explained, then told her what occurred earlier that day. The woman placed her hands over her face and tears started forming in her eyes. She went to hug me. "Thank you."

Before long, Natasha and I were at the mall and she got to pick out her new coat. It was green and went all the way down to her ankles. I also bought her a neck scarf and gloves to match the coat, along with a Christmas broach to pin to the coat. I never saw a girl so excited before over a new coat.

It quickly dawned on me how much I took for granted in life. Something like a coat never occurred to me would be such a wonderful gift for someone. Natasha was so happy, she wanted to put the coat on when we walked back to the car. Once she did, she modeled it for a moment. "It's you." I told her, then she lunged at me and hugged me. "I love it. Thanks so much, Carroll."

I finally made it to my mothers house to see mom and my little sister and as it was tradition then, I spent the night. I wouldn't see Natasha again until school started back up in January and I went to pick her and my nephew up at school one day to take them home. Something I would sometimes do for my sister. 

When school let out, I was waiting outside the car when my nephew and Natasha emerged from the building and they walked straight to me. My nephew and I "high five" each other but Natasha, once again, approached and gave me a monster hug. "I love this coat." She said yet again.

I didn't see much of her after that as I went to live in Daytona Beach for a while, but I heard her grades went from D's and C's to mostly B's. Sometimes I wonder if it wasn't because of the coat. She finally had something to wear that wasn't old and worn and looking its age. Her confidence level shot up after that Christmas. Or so I was told, which was surprising because she was such a beautiful young lady as it were. But it is amazing that something like a coat would mean so much to someone as it appeared to mean to her. Sure, she liked the CD player and CD's, but man, did she ever love that green coat.

That is my favorite Christmas.

Merry Christmas From Carroll Bryant

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Fell In Love With A "Psycho Girl"

This is a song my producer wrote and recorded about ten years ago. He was kind enough to allow me to share it with you all. He said it reminded him of my situation with my internet stalker. I found this amusing. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Clambake / Kissing Cousins DVD Review


Clambake, gonna have a clambake! It's Elvis Presley on the beach, under the sun and having fun. Girls, parties and ... boats?

Scott Heyward (Elvis Presley) rebels against the plans and expectations of his father, extremely rich oilman Dusty Heyward (James Gregory). He drives off (in a Chevrolet Corvette) to find himself. When he stops for some food, he runs into Tom Wilson (Will Hutchins), on his way to take a job as a water-skiing instructor at a Miami hotel. A chance remark by Tom gives Scott an idea: he switches identities with Tom so he can find out how people react to him rather than his money. Tom has fun staying at the same hotel and pretending he is rich.

The old switcharoo. The classic "I want people to like me for me and not for my money." Nobody plays that role better than the king. Also starring Shelley Fabares, Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk's Dr. David Banner)and Gary Merrill.

One of my favorites. I don't know why. Maybe because it has Shelley Fabares in it and she is easy on the eyes. Maybe because it's just a fun movie to watch. Elvis actually looks like he still enjoys making these movies.

My rating ... lets's go with 8 and a half stars!


Kissing Cousins

 Twice the Elvis! Twice the fun!

Elvis Presley plays a double role in Kissin' Cousins. When the U.S. government wants land owned by the hillbilly clan headed by Pappy Tatum (Arthur O'Connell), they send Air Force Lieutenant Josh Morgan (Presley), a cousin of the Tatum's, to try and secure the land for a proposed missile base. Josh comes face-to-face with Jody Tatum, his blonde-haired look-alike. Glenda Farrell plays Ma Tatum, and distaff interest for Elvis is provided by Cynthia Pepper, Yvonne Craig, a busty Beverly Powers, and Hortense Petra. Watch for Maureen Reagan as one of the Kittyhawks, a group of desperate, man-hungry females out to get some love.

It's a hillbilly of hooting time.

My rating ... I give it 7 stars. Not bad for an Elvis flick. 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Carroll's Journal: MoneyGrabber

There's so much to cover in this journal that I'm not even sure where to start. So let's just start at the beginning, shall we?

A lot has transpired since my last journal post. I know I haven't been posting too many of them lately, but truth be told, that "Storytime: Norfolk Edition" during October pretty much wore me out.

It's official! I have been hired to write the biography of one Ted W. Fickisen. You may know of him since I left a three part interview here on the blog during the weekend of December 13th, 14th and 15th.

Anyhow, after the interview, Ted contacted me and offered me the job to write his biography. We were planning on discussing it in January, however, he recently phoned me and we sealed the deal. Now our meeting in January is to have a sit down and go over all the details. I plan on hitting this project hard and fast. I have a plan on how we can accomplish this task quickly, and hopefully, painlessly.

I think one of the biggest challenges for a writer is to write someone's biography. It's also a great honor to be approached with such a project. I'm more excited about the press I will be getting on a local level and possibly, statewide level in taking on this project. Ted Fickisen is well known and has received much press throughout his career as a pen and ink artist.

The book will be made available through all E-Readers of course, but I will also be publishing paperbacks too. The press this project will probably garner will certainly take my career to the next level. Fingers crossed.

I also have a meeting with some friends scheduled in January to start my own non-profit organization to help combat cyber bullying. Much of what it takes to do this remains a mystery to me, and my hope is that I can juggle both this writing project with Ted, and getting this organization started.

I also have a new book due to come out sometime between February and mid March, "Light Years Away", the second installment of my five book series I aptly call, "The Light" series.

Also on tap for 2014, four or five new songs for my Youtube channel. This means many trips to Columbus for studio time.

To add to the work load, I am also writing a book called, "Goodreads: Or Good Pedophilia", which will cover my experience on Goodreads including my situation with my stalker, and the illegal (or highly questionable) activities taking place (or has taken place) on the Goodreads website. It will be more or less a tell-all book.

I will also be editing the third book of my five book science fiction series, "Years In The Light", and hope to have it ready for publication by early 2015. (Late 2014 if I'm lucky)

There's already a buzz in the air around these parts with everything I hope to get done in the new year. In fact, word has already gotten around some about this biography I will be writing. This buzz has caused an old flame to re-emerge. A blast from the past if you will.

A reunion of sorts being requested by someone who rung me dry of emotions in earlier days, among other things. A girl who gives bad girls a bad name. Now, not all girls are "money grabbers" so don't go thinking that I am pointing the finger at the entire female population, I'm not. It's just this specific girl has a history of "going where the green bucks grow". (If you catch my drift, and I think that you do.)

I guess I can't blame her for giving it the old college try, I would too probably if my prospects were grim, and in this economy, made to be even grimmer. (Thanks Obama) But fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, WTF? Are you mad?

I was already prepared, sort of, to give relationships a try. Or at least, a relationship, but that didn't turn out quite the way I planned. Nothing ever really does I suppose, but while I may be unwise to what makes a relationship thrive, I am wise to what doesn't make a relationship work, and when the relationship is all about the paper, trust me, it won't work.

To all those with dollar signs in your eyes, and hidden agendas, don't be so arrogant to reveal it so quickly, people don't take kindly to that sort of motivation. In this case, that objective was revealed the first go-around, so why would I not think it would be a part of the equation the second time?

Ahem, mother didn't raise no fool. 

So to this angel of seduction I say, never burn your bridges with words that will come back to haunt you later. That and, "I don't think twice for the price of a cheap time whore." Unfortunately, the past four years, that's the type I have been all too accustomed to. (With the exception of Jenny.)

Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

On second thought, no I'm not.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Warren G. Harding: The Presidents

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th President of the United States (1921–1923), a Republican from Ohio who served in the Ohio Senate and then in the United States Senate where he protected alcohol interests and moderately supported women's suffrage. He was the first incumbent U.S. senator and (self-made) newspaper publisher to be elected U.S. president.

Harding was the compromise candidate in the 1920 election, when he promised the nation a return to "normalcy", in the form of a strong economy, independent of foreign influence. This program was designed to rid Americans of the tragic memories and hardships faced during World War I. Harding and the Republican Party had desired to move away from progressivism that dominated the early 20th century. He defeated Democrat and fellow Ohioan James M. Cox in the largest presidential popular vote landslide (60.32% to 34.15%) since popular vote totals were first recorded.

Harding not only put the "best minds" on his cabinet including Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce and Charles Evans Hughes as Secretary of State, but also rewarded his friends and contributors, known as the Ohio Gang, with powerful positions. Cases of corruption, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal, arose resulting in prison terms for his appointees. He was a keen poker player, who once gambled away on a single hand an entire set of White House china dating back to Benjamin Harrison. Harding did manage to clean up corruption in the Veterans Bureau.
Domestically, Harding signed the first federal child welfare program, dealt with striking mining and railroad workers, including supporting an 8-hour work day, and attended an unemployment rate drop by half. He also set up the Bureau of the Budget to prepare the United States federal budget.

Harding advocated an anti-lynching bill to curb violence against African Americans; it failed to pass. In foreign affairs, Harding spurned the League of Nations, and (Congress having rejected the Treaty of Versailles) signed a World War I peace treaty with Germany and Austria separate from the other Allies. Harding promoted a successful world naval program.

In August 1923, Harding suddenly collapsed and died. His administration's many scandals have historically earned Harding a low ranking as president, but there has been growing recognition of his fiscal responsibility and endorsement of African-American civil rights. Harding has been viewed as a more modern politician who embraced technology and who was sensitive to the plights of minorities, women, and labor.

Warren Gamaliel Harding was born November 2, 1865, in Blooming Grove, Ohio. His paternal ancestors, mostly ardent Baptists, hailed from Clifford, Pennsylvania and had migrated to Ohio in 1820. Nicknamed "Winnie", he was the eldest of eight children born to Dr. George Tryon Harding, Sr. (1843–1928) and Phoebe Elizabeth (Dickerson) Harding (1843–1910). His mother, a devout Methodist, was a midwife who later obtained her medical license. His father, never quite content with his current job or possessions, was forever swapping for something better, and was usually in debt; he owned a farm, taught at a rural school north of Mount Gilead, Ohio, and also acquired a medical degree and started a small practice. It was rumored in Blooming Grove that one of Harding's great-grandmothers might have been African American.

Harding's great-great grandfather Amos claimed that a thief, who had been caught in the act by the family, started the rumor as an attempted extortion. Eventually, Harding's family moved to Caledonia, Ohio, where his father then acquired The Argus, a local weekly newspaper. It was at The Argus where, from the age of 10, Harding learned the basics of the journalism business. In 1878, his brother Charles and sister Persilla died, presumably from typhoid.

Harding continued to study the printing and newspaper trade as a college student at Ohio Central College in Iberia. At the same time, he worked at the Union Register in Mount Gilead. Harding became an accomplished public speaker in college, and graduated in 1882 at the age of 17 with a Bachelor of Science degree. As a youngster, Harding had become an accomplished cornet player and played in various bands. In 1884, Harding gained popular recognition in Marion, when his Citizens' Cornet Band won the third place $200 prize at the highly competitive Ohio State Band Festival in Findlay. The prize money paid for the band's snappy dress uniforms Harding had bought on credit.

On July 8, 1891, Harding married Florence Kling DeWolfe, the daughter of his nemesis (and hers as well), Amos Hall Kling. Florence Kling DeWolfe was a divorcée, five years Harding's senior, and the mother of a young son, Marshall Eugene DeWolfe. "Flossie's" first, and compulsory, marriage, to an alcoholic, had been soundly condemned by her father, to the point of her disownment. Her mother remained loyal and provided support nevertheless. She pursued Harding persistently, until he reluctantly proposed. On his part, according to noted biographer Russell, true love was missing, but the prospect of social acceptance, and standing, was the compelling reason for his proposal.

Florence's father was incensed by his daughter's decision to marry Harding, prohibited his wife from attending the wedding (she sneaked in long enough to see the vows exchanged) and refused to speak to his daughter or son-in-law for eight years. Her mother continued to provide support on the sly.
The couple was complementary, with Harding's affable personality balancing his wife's no-nonsense approach to life. Florence Harding, exhibiting her father's determination and business sense, turned the Marion Daily Star into a profitable business in her management of the circulation. She has been credited with helping Harding achieve more than he might have alone; some have speculated that she later pushed him all the way to the White House. Early in their marriage, Harding bestowed on her the lasting nickname "Duchess" as a nod to the imperious (and often alienating) persona she shared with her father.

In the 1920 election, Harding ran against Democratic Ohio Governor James M. Cox, whose running mate was Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt. The election was seen in part as a rejection of the "progressive" ideology of the Woodrow Wilson Administration in favor of the "laissez-faire" approach of the William McKinley era.

Harding ran on a promise to "Return to Normalcy", a seldom-used term he popularized, and healing for the nation after World War I. The policy called for an end to the abnormal era of the Great War, along with a call to reflect three trends of the time: a renewed isolationism in reaction to the War, a resurgence of nativism, and a turning away from government activism.

On July 28, 1920, Harding's general election campaign manager, Albert Lasker, unleashed a broad-based advertising campaign that implemented modern advertising techniques; the focus was more strategy oriented. Lasker's approach included newsreels and sound recordings, all in an effort to enhance Harding's patriotism and affability. Farmers were sent brochures decrying the alleged abuses of Democratic agriculture policies. African Americans and women were also given literature in an attempt to take away votes from the Democrats. Professional advertisers including Chicagoan Albert Tucker were consulted. Billboard posters, newspapers and magazines were employed in addition to motion pictures. Five thousand speakers were trained by advertiser Harry New and sent abroad to speak for Harding; 2,000 of these speakers were women. Telemarketers were used to make phone conferences with perfected dialogues to promote Harding. Lasker had 8,000 photos distributed around the nation every two weeks of Harding and his wife.

Harding's "front porch campaign" during the late summer and fall of 1920 captured the imagination of the country. Not only was it the first campaign to be heavily covered by the press and to receive widespread newsreel coverage, but it was also the first modern campaign to use the power of Hollywood and Broadway stars, who travelled to Marion for photo opportunities with Harding and his wife. Al Jolson, Lillian Russell, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford were among the luminaries to make the pilgrimage to his house in central Ohio. Business icons Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone also lent their cachet to the campaign. From the onset of the campaign until the November election, over 600,000 people travelled to Marion to participate.
The campaign owed a great deal to Florence Harding, who played a more active role than the wives of previous candidates had. She cultivated the relationship between the campaign and the press. As the business manager of the Star, she understood reporters and their industry. She played to their needs by being available to answer questions, pose for pictures, or deliver food from her kitchen to the press office - a bungalow that she had constructed at the rear of their property in Marion. Mrs. Harding even coached her husband on the proper way to wave to newsreel cameras to make the most of coverage.

Campaign manager Lasker struck a deal with Harding's paramour, Carrie Phillips, and her husband Jim Phillips, whereby the couple agreed to leave the country until after the election. Ostensibly, Mr. Phillips was to investigate the silk trade.

The campaign also drew on Harding's popularity with women. Considered handsome, Harding photographed well compared to Cox. However, it was mainly Harding's Senate support for women's suffrage legislation that made him popular in that demographic. Ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 1920 brought huge crowds of women to Marion, Ohio to hear Harding speak. Immigrant groups such such as ethnic Germans and Irish, who made up an important part of the Democratic coalition, also voted for Harding - in reaction to their perceived persecution by the Wilson administration during World War I.

The 1920 election was the first in which women could vote nationwide. It was also the first presidential election covered on the radio, thanks to both 8ZZ (later KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and 8MK (later WWJ) in Detroit, which carried the election returns - as did the educational and amateur radio station 1XE (later WGI) at Medford Hillside MA. Harding received 60% of the national vote, the highest percentage ever recorded up to that time, and 404 electoral votes. Cox received 34% of the national vote and 127 electoral votes.

Campaigning from a federal prison, Socialist Eugene V. Debs received 3% of the national vote. The Presidential election results of 1920, for the first time in U.S. history, were announced live by radio. Harding was the only Republican presidential candidate to ever defeat Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt on a presidential ticket. At the same time, the Republicans picked up an astounding 63 seats in the House of Representatives. Harding immediately embarked on a vacation that included an inspection tour of facilities in the Panama Canal Zone.

Harding preferred a low-key inauguration, without the customary parade, leaving only the swearing-in ceremony and a brief reception at the White House. In his inaugural speech he declared, "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much from the government and at the same time do too little for it." The Hardings also brought a different style to the running of the White House. Though Mrs. Harding did keep a little red book of those who had offended her, the executive mansion was now once again open to the public, including the annual Easter egg roll.

The administration of Warren G. Harding followed the Republican platform approved at the 1920 Republican National Convention, which was held in Chicago. Harding, who had been elected by a landslide, felt the "pulse" of the nation and for the 28 months in office he remained popular both nationally and internationally. Harding's administration has been critically viewed due to multiple scandals, while his successes in office were often given credit to his capable cabinet appointments that included future President Herbert Hoover. Author Wayne Lutton asked, "Was Harding really a failure?" Historian and former White House Counsel John Dean's reassessment of Harding stated his accomplishments included income tax and federal spending reductions, economic policies that reduced "stagflation", a reduction of unemployment by 10%, and a bold foreign policy that created peace with Germany, Japan, and Central America. Herbert Hoover, while serving in Harding's cabinet, was confident the President would serve two terms and return the world to normality. Later, in his own memoirs, he stated that Harding had "neither the experience nor the intellect that the position needed."

Harding pushed for the establishment of the Bureau of Veterans Affairs (later organized as the Department of Veterans Affairs), the first permanent attempt at answering the needs of those who had served the nation in time of war. In April 1921, Harding spoke before a special joint session of Congress that he had called. He argued for peacemaking with Germany and Austria, emergency tariffs, new immigration laws, regulation of radio and trans-cable communications, retrenchment in government, tax reduction, repeal of wartime excess profits tax, reduction of railroad rates, promotion of agricultural interests, a national budget system, an enlarged merchant marine, and a department of public welfare. He also called for measures to end lynching, but not wanting to make enemies in his own party and with the Democrats, he did not fight for his program. Generally, there was a lack of strong leadership in the Congress and, unlike his predecessors Roosevelt and Wilson, Harding was not inclined to fill that void. 

On December 23, 1921 Harding calmed the 1919–1920 Bolshevik scare, and released an election opponent, socialist leader Eugene Debs, from prison. This was part of an effort to return the United States to "normalcy" after the Great War. Debs, a forceful World War I antiwar activist, had been convicted under sedition charges brought by the Wilson administration for his opposition to the draft during World War I. Despite many political differences between the two candidates Harding commuted Debs' sentence to time served; however, he was not granted an official Presidential pardon. Debs' failing health was a contributing factor for the release. Harding granted a general amnesty to 23 prisoners, alleged anarchists and socialists, active in the Red Scare.

On March 4, Harding assumed office while the nation was in the midst of a postwar economic decline, known as the Depression of 1920–21. By summer of his first year in office, an economic recovery began.

Harding convened the Conference of Unemployment in 1921, headed by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, that proactively advocated stimulating the economy with local public work projects and encouraged businesses to apply shared work programs.

Harding's Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon, ordered a study that claimed to demonstrate that as income tax rates were increased, money was driven underground or abroad. Mellon concluded that lower rates would increase tax revenues. Based on this advice, Harding cut taxes, starting in 1922. The top marginal rate was reduced annually in four stages from 73% in 1921 to 25% in 1925. Taxes were cut for lower incomes starting in 1923.

Revenues to the treasury increased substantially. Unemployment also continued to fall. Libertarian historian Thomas Woods contends that the tax cuts ended the Depression of 1920–1921 and were responsible for creating a decade-long expansion. Historians Schweikart and Allen attribute these changes to the tax cuts. Schweikart and Allen also argue that Harding's tax and economic policies in part "... produced the most vibrant eight year burst of manufacturing and innovation in the nation's history." The combined declines in unemployment and inflation (later known as the Misery Index) were among the sharpest in U.S. history. Wages, profits, and productivity all made substantial gains during the 1920s.

Harding was tolerant towards religious faiths. Harding appointed prominent Jewish leader, Rabbi Joseph S. Kornfeld, and Catholic leader, Father Joseph M. Dennig, to foreign diplomatic positions. Harding also appointed Albert Lasker, a Jewish businessman and Harding's 1920 Presidential campaign manager, head of the Shipping Department. In an unpublished letter, Harding advocated the establishment and funding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. 

Harding's lifestyle at the White House was fairly unconventional compared to his predecessor President Woodrow Wilson. Upstairs at the White House, in the Yellow Oval Room, Harding allowed bootleg whiskey to be freely served to his guests during after-dinner parties at a time when the President was supposed to enforce Prohibition. One witness, Alice Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, claimed that trays, "...with bottles containing every imaginable brand of whiskey stood about." Some of this alcohol had been directly confiscated from the Prohibition department by Jess Smith, assistant to U.S. Attorney General Harry Daugherty. Mrs. Harding, also known as the "Duchess", mixed drinks for the guests. Harding also indulged in poker playing twice a week, smoking, and chewing tobacco. Harding allegedly won a $4,000 pearl necktie pin at one White House poker game. Although criticized by Prohibitionist advocate Wayne B. Wheeler over Washington, D.C. rumors of these "wild parties", Harding claimed his personal drinking inside the White House was his own business.

In June 1923, Harding set out on a westward cross-country Voyage of Understanding, in which he planned to renew his connection with the people, away from the capital, and explain his policies. The schedule included 18 speeches and innumerable informal talks. Accompanying him were Secretaries Work, Wallace, and Hoover, House Speaker Gillett, and Rear Admiral Adam Hugh Rodman. During this trip, he became the first president to visit Alaska.

Harding's physical health had declined since the fall of 1922. One doctor, Emmanuel Libman, who met Harding at a dinner, privately suggested that the President was suffering from coronary disease. By early 1923, Harding had trouble sleeping, looked tired, and could barely get through nine holes of golf.
Though Harding wanted to run for a second term, he may have been aware of his own health decline. He gave up drinking, sold his "life-work," the Marion Star, in part to regain $170,000 previous investment losses, and had the U.S. Attorney General Harry Daugherty make a new will. Harding, along with his personal physician Dr. Charles E. Sawyer, believed getting away from Washington would help relieve the stresses of being President. By July 1923, criticism of the Harding Administration was increasing. Prior to his leaving Washington, the President reported chest pains that radiated down his left arm.

Harding's sudden death led to theories that he had been poisoned or committed suicide. Suicide appears unlikely, since Harding was planning for reelection in 1924. Rumors of poisoning were fueled, in part, by a book called The Strange Death of President Harding, in which the author (convicted criminal, former Ohio Gang member, and detective Gaston Means, hired by Mrs. Harding to investigate Warren Harding and his mistress) suggested that Mrs. Harding had poisoned her husband. Mrs. Harding's refusal to allow an autopsy on her husband only added to the speculation. According to the physicians attending Harding, however, the symptoms prior to his death all pointed to congestive heart failure. Harding's biographer, Samuel H. Adams, concluded that "Warren G. Harding died a natural death which, in any case, could not have been long postponed".

Immediately after Harding's death, Mrs. Harding returned to Washington, D.C., and stayed in the White House briefly with the Coolidges. For a month, former First Lady Harding gathered and burned President Harding's correspondence and documents, both official and unofficial. Upon her return to Marion, Mrs. Harding hired a number of secretaries to collect and burn Harding's personal papers. According to Mrs. Harding, she took these actions to protect her husband's legacy. The remaining papers were held and kept from public view by the Harding Memorial Association in Marion.

Sources: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA- Creative Commons

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Interview With Ted W. Fickisen (Part Three Of Three)

And so we have come to the last part of my interview with world renowned pen and ink artist, Ted William Fickisen.

In this part, Ted takes us on a tour of the Pump House Art Gallery where you get to see some wonderful paintings from local and not so local artists. 

I realize, and so will you, that the video was inverted. You'll recognize this when we enter Wilbur B. Poole North Gallery. I suppose I was just so excited about the interview and everything that I forgot to reset my video settings. (I sometimes shoot videos inverted. I don't know why. I'm blonde that way I reckon.)

To this point, you may recall in our interview where Ted mentions the new addition planned for August 2016. The cafe' and educational building. The photo to the right gives you an idea of what that addition will look like.

In this portion, during the tour, Ted mentions some upcoming events, a fund raiser for the new addition of the Pump House, and for the historical Majestic Theater in downtown Chillicothe, Ohio, which will include 60's music, and highlights from the Broadway musical "Hair".  The performing arts is no stranger to Chillicothe as we also have the world famous outdoor drama "Tecumseh" as one of Chillicothe's summertime attractions for tourists who flock to my hometown from all parts of the world just to see it. For residents who wish to showcase their acting skills, Chillicothe offers that opportunity. Many top credited Broadway performers have performed in the outdoor drama of "Tecumseh" through the many years. In fact, John Mellencamp used to be a resident here once upon a time, and has performed concerts in Chillicothe a time or two in the past.

Then on May 17th, 2014, The Pump House Art Gallery will be holding a 60's theme art show where all artists near and far are welcomed to submit any of their artwork that displays a theme from the 1960's.  So if you're an artist and you wish to participate and display your artwork for this show, contact the Pump House for more information. Their phone number is (740) 772-5783.

For everyone (and anyone) else, if you ever find yourself in Chillicothe, Ohio, drop by the Pump House Art Gallery in Yoctangee Park, Enderlin Circle and say hello to Ted. Nothing would make him happier. You might even be able to get him to pose for a picture or two. Rest assured, you will have an enjoyable time, Carz promise. Now, back to Part Three of the Ted W. Fickisen interview.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Interview With Ted W. Fickisen (Part Two Of Three)

"Carlisle Building" - Ted W. Fickisen
Here in part two, I get to share with you some of Mr. Fickisen's work. To the left, you will see the Carlisle Building located in downtown Chillicothe, Ohio. This building holds great historical significance, and is one of the oldest buildings in Chillicothe.

About ten years ago, it suffered a major fire, forcing shop owners inside to shut down most of their business for years until restoration and remodeling was completed.

It sits on the corner of Paint street and Main street, close to the law enforcement center.

"Casa Loma Castle" - Ted W. Fickisen
To the right is Casa Loma Castle which is located in Toronto, Canada.

Keep in mind that it takes Mr. Fickisen anywhere from 100 to 150 hours to complete one drawing, sometimes longer.

Mr. Fickisen's style is different from most other pen and ink artists. His method is the 'dot-dot-dot' method, meaning that no lines are drawn, everything is done with dots, kind of like a modern day computer ink printer.

I almost hate to think how long a drawing such as this might have taken to complete. One must exercise great patience and focus to draw by the dot method.

"Santa Maria" - Ted W. Fickisen
To the left is Ted's drawing of the famous ship, the Santa Maria.I am always amazed at Ted's "attention to detail", and to think that Mr. Fickisen is "legally" blind. Yet piece after piece and for each individual dot he makes, the end result is a magnificent picture. Truly stunning work. Wouldn't you agree?

In this portion of our interview, Mr. Fickisen displays stunning works of creation from Zimbabwe. The Pump House Art Gallery sells exclusive pieces of art to support The Zienzele Foundation - Dawning of Hope for Orphans and Their Caregivers in Rural Zimbabwe. They are collective baskets and and Chidudus (pots with covers). When you buy a Zienzele basket at the Pump House, every cent goes to pay school fees for orphans in Zimbabwe. Also, you are helping to preserve a traditional African craft that might otherwise die out. Finally - and this is hugely important - you are encouraging women and the orphans in their care to believe in themselves, to believe that through their own efforts, they can achieve a better life.

Zienzele baskets are made by 36 groups of women. They are created using fibers from the sisal plant. The fibers are twined and wrapped around a core of sweet grass. Most colors in the baskets are created by boiling the fibers with various tree barks, or flower blossoms, or in a few cases, by using the plastic string from fruit bags. The dark blue colors are created by boiling the fibers with carbon paper.

The baskets are generally bowl-shaped, but there are also canister-style baskets called "chidudus" that come with covers. All are hand-made, all represent hours of labor, and no two are alike. These baskets are all original expressions of their makers' taste and creativity, so they can not be ordered in pre-set patterns or color schemes. Prices are determined simply by approximate size.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Interview With Ted W. Fickisen (Part One Of Three)

It sits on the East side of Yoctangee Park, in the historical city of Chillicothe, Ohio with a population of 21,735 as of the 2012 US Census Bureau. It is the Pump House Art Gallery. A historical building that in 1982, was seemingly destined for destruction, like some other historical buildings during that time. Enter Ted William Fickisen, a young ambitious man with an extraordinary gift, the gift of foresight.

Ted W. Fickisen is a world renowned pen and ink artist, but before I can even begin to describe Ted Fickisen the artist, I first have to describe Ted Fickisen the man. You see, Ted Fickisen is not your average Joe, and yet, he would be the first to say that he's just a regular guy. When you meet him, you can tell right away that he is a very special human being. His warm smile, gentle eyes, and soft spoken voice immediately tells you that you are in the presence of humble greatness.

On the surface, one would think that with Ted Fickisen, and his amazing God given talent, everything would be about him and his art, but one would be mistaken. Ted Fickisen spends more time preserving not only the integrity of his field, but the history of the community he loves so much. I have never met an artist, or a man, more concerned about the world around him than the art itself in which he creates.

With his dear friend, Charles Queen, by his side, he was able to save the historic pump house from doom, and after eight years of fund raising, gave Chillicothe it's greatest gift, an art gallery, that in my opinion, is second to none anywhere on this planet.

It's not just the amazing art work you will discover when you enter the doors, there's amazing art work in every art gallery, but it's the atmosphere and the people, who volunteer their time to keep this gallery operating, that makes The Pump House Art Gallery so unique.

The foresight of Ted Fickisen, married with his passion for history, his love for his community, and his artistic ability, preserved the past of historic Chillicothe by capturing it in his artwork as they once stood. His activism also saved many historical buildings in Chillicothe from being torn down, and has helped to shape this small town into what it is today; rich in historical tradition.

His legacy is more than being known as one of the greatest pen and ink artists that ever lived, it is a legacy of the human being Ted Fickisen was born to become. A legacy of a man who gave back more than what he has ever received.

Ted Fickisen has spent most of his life dedicated to becoming not only the best artist that he could possibly be, but the best person as well. His charitable contributions are well known throughout this small community which includes, donating his artwork to the "Rock For Tots" organization to auction off, with all proceeds going to the children of needy families.

Even through the many tragedies of his life, Ted Fickisen has maintained his positive outlook on life, and his close relationship with God. He is always looking for the silver lining. He takes things in stride, and pushes through to accomplish his life goals. He never takes on a task with the attitude of "let's try and get it done", but rather, "let's just get it done". This would explain why he has succeeded more times in his life than failed. It's his perseverance that separates him from all the rest.

Pilot of the Highway - Ted W. Fickisen
On a personal level, I met Ted Fickisen in the year of 1995. His friendship, and kindness has left an eternal impression on me every since. I am more than proud to call him my friend, I am honored. For to know Ted Fickisen the man is to know what it was that my mother wanted for me as an adult when I was a young boy growing up. To be someone that everyone else could look up to. To lead by example. To be more than just the artist that resides within.

During a difficult time in my life, Ted Fickisen opened the doors of his Victorian Mansion to me, and helped to steer my thoughts in a more positive direction. In fact, it was his teachings that led me to discovering the artist inside that was dying to get out. Between him, and Charles Queen, they would lay down the foundation for which I could build my own dreams and turn them into the reality that they are now. I suppose one could say that had I never met Ted and Charlie, I doubt I would have ever written and recorded one song, much less the 23 songs I have written thus far in my own life, and be able to share on my Youtube Channel. Nor would I have ever written and published my books. This also means that there would have never been a Carroll Bryant Blog which ironically, I am now fortunate to write about the man who was the inspiration for it all. This is what I call karma coming back home to roost. This is the magic of Ted Fickisen the man.

 Imagine my surprise when one fine day, not so long ago, I asked him if he would like to do an interview for my blog, and he said yes. I was very excited. To make things more interesting, he welcomed a video interview. Now, I have never done a video interview before so I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out. Even more frightful, my video camera had seen its last days so in order to pull this off, I had to rely on my trusty laptop. But Ted, he is a pro at giving interviews. He has had many interviews with the media. I was counting on his experience to get me through this new and uncharted territory. Over all, I think it turned out well. So, on December 5th, 2013, he and I got together, meeting at his home away from home, The Pump House Art Gallery and conducted an interview. An interview that I broken down into three parts. Today you get to see Part One. Tomorrow, Part Two, and the next day we end with Part Three which is a tour of the Pump House Gallery itself.

Also in Part Two, I will be posting pictures of some of Ted's work. I think you will enjoy it. Through it all, you will come to know, and learn about this amazingly talented artist as well as amazing man, and the art gallery that his foresight, vision, and his long time efforts has produced for the community he loves, and the rest of the world to enjoy. A legacy that could only have been given to one man, and one man only, and that man was Ted William Fickisen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Love Me Tender / Viva Las Vegas DVD Review


The first movie Elvis did. Released in 1956 in black and white, and directed by Robert D. Webb, this film also starred Richard Egan and Debra Paget. A Western drama with musical numbers, this film was originally called The Reno Brothers, but when advanced sales of Presley's "Love Me Tender" single passed one million - a first for a single - the film title was changed to match.

Presley plays Clint Reno, the youngest of the four Reno brothers who stays home to take care of his mother and the family farm as older brothers Vance, Brett and Ray fight in the American Civil War for the Confederate Army. The family is mistakenly informed that eldest brother Vance has been killed on the battlefield. After four years of war, the brothers return home and find that Vance's girlfriend Cathy has married Clint. Although Vance accepts this wholeheartedly ("We always wanted Cathy in the family"), the family has to struggle to reach stability with this issue. The subplot of unresolved passion carries the film; it is clear from the outset upon the Reno brothers return home that Cathy still loves Vance, although she is true to the younger Clint. Honor prevails for Vance, but jealousy turns Clint into an irrationally thinking rival for the love of the heroine. In the film's opening scenes, the main plot is presented; the three Reno brothers, serving as Confederate cavalrymen, attack a Union train carrying Federal payroll of $12,000. They do not know that the war ended only a day before. The Confederates come to a decision to keep the money as spoils of war, an issue that will come back into the plot after the Reno brothers return home. A conflict of interest ensues when Vance tries to return the money against the wishes of some of his fellow Confederates, all of whom are being sought by the U.S. Government for robbery. The film reaches its tragic conclusion with a gunfight between Clint and Vance, ironically ending with Clint's death during a final shootout. In the end, the money is returned, the Reno brother's are acquitted, and the other three ex-Confederates are arrested for Clint's death. The youngest Reno brother is laid to rest at the family farm.

My rating: While you have to keep in mind how long ago this film was made, I still found it very entertaining. There are only a few musical numbers in the film but well placed. You also have to understand that all of Elvis Presley’s movies are basically classified as musicals. Maybe you have to be a fan of Elvis to appreciate his films, I don’t know, however, I am a fan so …. I give this a solid 7 Stars. 



This is a 1964 American romantic musical movie that co-stars Ann Margret. By this time in his career, Elvis was already established as the king of the musicals and was doing two movies a year at about half a million dollars each at the time. (Which back then, was a lot of money) This movie is regarded by many fans of these actors and by film critics as one of Presley's best movies, and it is noted for the apparent on-screen chemistry between Presley and Ann-Margret. It also presents a strong set of ten musical song-and-dance scenes choreographed by David Winters, and featuring his dancers, and a reasonably interesting story. This film was a hit at movie theaters, becoming the number 11 movie in the list of the Top 20 Movie Box Office hits of 1964.


Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) goes to Las Vegas, Nevada, to participate in the city's first annual Grand Prix Race. However, his race car, an Elva Mk. VI, is in need of a new engine in order to compete in the event. Lucky raises the necessary money in Las Vegas, but he mislays it when he is distracted by a nubile local swimming instructor, Ms. Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Soon, Lucky's main competition arrives in the form of "Count Elmo Mancini", (played by Cesar Danova, who attempts to steal both the auto race and the affections of Rusty. (Famous actress, Terri Garr also makes an appearance in this film before she was famous, playing a Vegas showgirl.)

My rating: I also like this movie. I think it is one of his better ones. I like the songs and the dance numbers and Ann Margret. I also like Las Vegas itself so … I give it 7 ½ stars. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Woodrow Wilson: The Presidents

Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, on December 28, 1856. His birthplace in Staunton, at 18–24 North Coalter Street, is now the location of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. He was the third of four children of Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822–1903) and Jessie Janet Woodrow (1826–1888). His ancestry was Scottish and Scots-Irish. His paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland (now Northern Ireland), in 1807. His mother was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, the daughter of Rev. Dr. Thomas Woodrow, born in Paisley, Scotland, and Marion Williamson from Glasgow. His grandparents' whitewashed house has become a tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. 

Wilson's father was originally from Steubenville, Ohio, where his grandfather published a newspaper, The Western Herald and Gazette, which was pro-tariff and anti-slavery. Wilson's parents moved south in 1851 and identified with the Confederacy. His father defended slavery, owned slaves and set up a Sunday school for them. They cared for wounded soldiers at their church. The father also briefly served as a chaplain to the Confederate Army. Woodrow Wilson's earliest memory, from the age of three, was of hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected and that a war was coming. Wilson would forever recall standing for a moment at Robert E. Lee's side and looking up into his face.  

Wilson was over ten years of age before he learned to read. His difficulty reading may have indicated dyslexia, but as a teenager he taught himself shorthand to compensate. He was able to achieve academically through determination and self-discipline. He studied at home under his father's guidance and took classes in a small school in Augusta. During Reconstruction, Wilson lived in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, from 1870 to 1874, where his father was professor at the Columbia Theological Seminary.

Wilson attended Davidson College in North Carolina for the 1873–1874 school year. After medical ailments kept him from returning for a second year, he transferred to Princeton as a freshman when his father took a teaching position at the university. Graduating in 1879, Wilson became a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Beginning in his second year, he read widely in political philosophy and history. Wilson credited the British parliamentary sketch-writer Henry Lucy as his inspiration to enter public life. He was active in the undergraduate American Whig-Cliosophic Society literary and debating society, serving as speaker of the Whig Party and writing for the Nassau Literary Review, organized a separate Liberal Debating Society, and later coached the Whig-Clio Debate Panel.

In 1879, Wilson attended law school at the University of Virginia for one year. Although he never graduated, during his time at the university he was heavily involved in the Virginia Glee Club and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, serving as the society's president. His frail health dictated withdrawal, and he went home to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he continued his studies.

In January 1882, Wilson started a law practice in Atlanta. One of his University of Virginia classmates, Edward Ireland Renick, invited him to join his new law practice as partner and Wilson joined him in May 1882. He passed the Georgia Bar. On October 19, 1882, he appeared in court before Judge George Hillyer to take his examination for the bar, which he passed easily. Competition was fierce in a city with 143 other lawyers, and he found few cases to keep him occupied.
Nevertheless, he found staying current with the law obstructed his plans to study government to achieve his long-term plans for a political career. In April 1883, Wilson applied to the Johns Hopkins University to study for a doctorate in history and political science and began his studies there in the fall.

Wilson's mother was possibly a hypochondriac and Wilson himself seemed to think that he was often in poorer health than he really was. He suffered from hypertension at a relatively early age and may have suffered his first stroke when he was 39.

In 1885, he married Ellen Louise Axson, the daughter of a minister from Savannah, Georgia, during a visit to her relatives in Rome, Georgia. They had three daughters: Margaret Woodrow Wilson (1886–1944); Jessie Wilson (1887–1933); and Eleanor R. Wilson (1889–1967). Ellen Axson Wilson died in 1914, and in 1915 Wilson married Edith Galt, a direct descendant of the Native American woman Pocahontas. Wilson is one of only three presidents to be widowed while in office.

Wilson was an early automobile enthusiast, and he took daily rides while he was President. His favorite car was a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, in which he preferred to ride with the top down. His enjoyment of motoring made him an advocate of funding for public highways.
Wilson was an avid baseball fan. In 1915, he became the first sitting president to attend a World Series game. Wilson had been a center fielder during his Davidson College days. When he transferred to Princeton, he was unable to make the varsity team and so became the team's assistant manager. He was the first President to throw out a first ball at a World Series game.

He cycled regularly, including several cycling vacations in the English Lake District. Unable to cycle around Washington, D.C., as President, Wilson took to playing golf, although he played with more enthusiasm than skill. Wilson holds the record of all the presidents for the most rounds of golf, over 1,000, or almost one every other day. During the winter, the Secret Service would paint golf balls with black paint so Wilson could hit them around in the snow on the White House lawn.

In 1910, Wilson ran for Governor of New Jersey against the Republican candidate Vivian M. Lewis, the State Commissioner of Banking and Insurance. Wilson's campaign focused on his independence from machine politics, and he promised that if elected he would not be beholden to party bosses. Wilson soundly defeated Lewis in the general election by a margin of more than 49,000 votes, although Republican William Howard Taft had carried New Jersey in the 1908 presidential election by more than 80,000 votes. Historian and Teddy Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris called Wilson in the Governor's race a "dark horse" and attributed his and others' success against the Taft Republicans in 1910 in part to the emergent national progressive message enunciated by Roosevelt in his post-presidency.

In the 1910 election, the Democrats also took control of the General Assembly. The State Senate, however, remained in Republican control by a slim margin. After taking office, Wilson set in place his reformist agenda, ignoring the demands of party machinery. While governor, in a period spanning six months, Wilson established state primaries. This all but took the party bosses out of the presidential election process in the state. He also revamped the public utility commission and introduced worker's compensation.

Wilson's popularity as governor and his status in the national media gave impetus to his presidential campaign in 1912. He chose Indiana Governor Thomas R. Marshall as his running mate and selected William Frank McCombs, a New York lawyer and a friend from college days, to manage his campaign. Much of Wilson's support came from the South, especially from young progressives in that region, especially intellectuals, editors and lawyers. Wilson managed to maneuver through the complexities of local politics. For example, in Tennessee the Democratic Party was divided on the issue of prohibition. Wilson was progressive and sober, but not a dry, and appealed to both sides. They united behind him to win the presidential election in the state, but divided over state politics and lost the gubernatorial election.

The convention deadlocked for more than 40 ballots as no candidate could reach the two-thirds vote required to win the nomination. A leading contender was House Speaker Champ Clark, a prominent progressive strongest in the border states. Other contenders were Governor Judson Harmon of Ohio, and Representative Oscar Underwood of Alabama. They lacked Wilson's charisma and dynamism. Publisher William Randolph Hearst, a leader of the left wing of the party, supported Clark. William Jennings Bryan, the nominee in 1896, 1900 and 1908, played a critical role in opposition to any candidate who had the support of "the financiers of Wall Street". He finally announced for Wilson, who won on the 46th ballot.

In the campaign Wilson promoted the "New Freedom", emphasizing limited federal government and opposition to monopoly powers, often after consultation with his chief advisor Louis D. Brandeis. In the contest for the Republican nomination, President William Howard Taft defeated former president Theodore Roosevelt, who then ran as a Bull Moose Party candidate, which assisted in Wilson's success in the electoral college. Wilson took 41.8% of the popular vote and won 435 electoral votes from 40 states. It is not clear if Roosevelt cost fellow Republican Taft, or fellow progressive Wilson more support.

Wilson was the first Southerner in the White House since 1869 and worked closely with Southern leaders. Since 1856, he and Grover Cleveland were the only Democrats elected president, so he felt a need to appoint Democrats to all federal positions.

In resolving economic policy issues, he had to manage the conflict between two wings of his party: the agrarian wing led by Bryan and the pro-business wing. With large Democratic majorities in Congress and a healthy economy, he promptly seized the opportunity to implement his agenda. Wilson experienced early success by implementing his "New Freedom" pledges of antitrust modification, tariff revision, and reform in banking and currency matters. He held the first modern presidential press conference, on March 15, 1913, in which reporters were allowed to ask him questions. In 1913, he also became the first president to deliver the State of the Union address in person since 1801 when Thomas Jefferson discontinued this practice.

Wilson's first wife Ellen died on August 6, 1914, casting him into a deep depression. In 1915, he met Edith Galt. They married later that year on December 18.

Wilson secured passage of the Federal Reserve Act in late 1913. He had tried to find a middle ground between conservative Republicans, led by Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, and the powerful left wing of the Democratic party, led by William Jennings Bryan, who strenuously denounced private banks and Wall Street. The latter group wanted a government-owned central bank that could print paper money as Congress required. The compromise, based on the Aldrich Plan but sponsored by Democratic Congressmen Carter Glass and Robert Owen, allowed the private banks to control the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, but appeased the agrarians by placing controlling interest in the System in a central board appointed by the president with Senate approval. Moreover, Wilson convinced Bryan's supporters that because Federal Reserve notes were obligations of the government, the plan met their demands for an elastic currency. Having 12 regional banks was meant to weaken the influence of the powerful New York banks, a key demand of Bryan's allies in the South and West. This decentralization was a key factor in winning Glass' support. The final plan passed in December 1913. Some bankers felt it gave too much control to Washington, and some reformers felt it allowed bankers to maintain too much power. Several Congressmen claimed that New York bankers feigned their disapproval.

Wilson named Paul Warburg and other prominent bankers to direct the new system. While power was supposed to be decentralized, the New York branch dominated the Fed as the "first among equals". The new system began operations in 1915 and played a major role in financing the Allied and American war effort. The strengthening of the Federal Reserve was later a major accomplishment of the New Deal.

Wilson broke with the big lawsuit tradition of his predecessors Taft and Roosevelt as Trustbusters, finding a new approach to encouraging competition through the Federal Trade Commission, which stopped perceived unfair trade practices. In addition, he pushed through Congress the Clayton Antitrust Act making certain business practices illegal (such as price discrimination, agreements prohibiting retailers from handling other companies' products, and directorates and agreements to control other companies). The power of this legislation was greater than that of previous anti-trust laws because individual officers of corporations could be held responsible if their companies violated the laws. More importantly, the new laws set out clear guidelines that corporations could follow, a dramatic improvement over the previous uncertainties. This law was considered the "Magna Carta" of labor by Samuel Gompers because it ended union liability antitrust laws. In 1916, under threat of a national railroad strike, Wilson approved legislation that increased wages and cut working hours of railroad employees; there was no strike. 

Wilson spent 1914 through to the beginning of 1917 trying to keep America out of the war in Europe. He offered to be a mediator, but neither the Allies nor the Central Powers took his requests seriously. Republicans, led by Theodore Roosevelt, strongly criticized Wilson's refusal to build up the U.S. Army in anticipation of the threat of war. Wilson won the support of the peace element (especially women and churches) by arguing that an army buildup would provoke war. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, whose pacifist recommendations were ignored by Wilson, resigned in 1915.

On December 18, 1916, Wilson unsuccessfully offered to mediate peace. As a preliminary, he asked both sides to state their minimum terms necessary for future security. The Central Powers replied that victory was certain, and the Allies required the dismemberment of their enemies' empires. No desire for peace or common ground existed, and the offer lapsed.

While German submarines were killing sailors and civilian passengers, Wilson demanded that Germany stop, but he kept the U.S. out of the war. Britain had declared a blockade of Germany to prevent neutral ships from carrying contraband goods to Germany. Wilson protested some British violation of neutral rights, where no one was killed. His protests were mild, and the British knew America would not see it as a casus belli.

During the 1916 election campaign, while drafting the platform on which he and the Democratic Party would run, Wilson received a suggestion that helped give the document a sharper political focus. Senator Owen of Oklahoma urged Wilson to take ideas from the Progressive Party platform of 1912 “as a means of attaching to our party progressive Republicans who are in sympathy with us in so large a degree.” Wilson liked this suggestion and asked Owen to specify the 1912 Progressive ideas to include. In response, Owen highlighted federal legislation to promote workers’ health and safety, prohibit child labour, provide unemployment compensation, require an eight-hour day and six-day workweek, and establish minimum wages and maximum hours. Wilson, in turn, included in his draft platform a plank that called for all work performed by and for the federal government to provide a minimum wage, an eight-hour day and six-day workweek, health and safety measures, the prohibition of child labour, and (his own additions) safeguards for female workers and a retirement program. 

Wilson narrowly won the election, defeating Republican candidate Charles Evans Hughes. As governor of New York from 1907 to 1910, Hughes had a progressive record strikingly similar to Wilson's as governor of New Jersey. Theodore Roosevelt would comment that the only thing different between Hughes and Wilson was a shave. However, Hughes had to try to hold together a coalition of conservative Taft supporters and progressive Roosevelt partisans and so his campaign never seemed to take a definite form. Wilson ran on his record and ignored Hughes, reserving his attacks for Roosevelt. When asked why he did not attack Hughes directly, Wilson told a friend to "Never murder a man who is committing suicide."

The result was exceptionally close and the outcome was in doubt for several days. The vote came down to several close states. Wilson won California by 3,773 votes out of almost a million votes cast and New Hampshire by 54 votes. Hughes won Minnesota by 393 votes out of over 358,000. In the final count, Wilson had 277 electoral votes vs. Hughes's 254. Wilson was able to win by picking up many votes that had gone to Teddy Roosevelt or Eugene V. Debs in 1912.

The U.S. had made a declaration of neutrality in 1914. Wilson warned citizens not to take sides in the war for fear of endangering wider U.S. policy. In his address to Congress in 1914, Wilson stated, "Such divisions amongst us would be fatal to our peace of mind and might seriously stand in the way of the proper performance of our duty as the one great nation at peace, the one people holding itself ready to play a part of impartial mediation and speak the counsels of peace and accommodation, not as a partisan, but as a friend."

The U.S. maintained neutrality despite increasing pressure placed on Wilson after the sinking of the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania with arms and American citizens on board. Wilson found it increasingly difficult to maintain U.S. neutrality after Germany, despite its promises in the Arabic pledge and the Sussex pledge, initiated a program of unrestricted submarine warfare early in 1917 that threatened U.S. commercial shipping. Following the revelation of the Zimmermann Telegram, Germany's attempt to enlist Mexico as an ally against the U.S., Wilson took America into World War I to make "the world safe for democracy." The U.S. did not sign a formal alliance with the United Kingdom or France but operated as an "associated" power. The U.S. raised a massive army through conscription and Wilson gave command to General John J. Pershing, allowing Pershing a free hand as to tactics, strategy and even diplomacy.

Wilson had decided by then that the war had become a real threat to humanity. Unless the U.S. threw its weight into the war, as he stated in his declaration of war speech on April 2, 1917, western civilization itself could be destroyed. His statement announcing a "war to end war" meant that he wanted to build a basis for peace that would prevent future catastrophic wars and needless death and destruction. This provided the basis of Wilson's Fourteen Points, which were intended to resolve territorial disputes, ensure free trade and commerce, and establish a peacemaking organization. Included in these fourteen points was the proposal for the League of Nations.

Woodrow Wilson delivered his War Message to Congress on the evening of April 2, 1917. Introduced to great applause, he remained intense and almost motionless for the entire speech, only raising one arm as his only bodily movement.

Wilson announced that his previous position of "armed neutrality" was no longer tenable now that the Imperial German Government had announced that it would use its submarines to sink any vessel approaching the ports of Great Britain, Ireland or any of the Western Coasts of Europe. He advised Congress to declare that the recent course of action taken by the Imperial German Government constituted an act of war. He proposed that the United States enter the war to "vindicate principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power". He also charged that Germany had "filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace within and without our industries and our commerce". Furthermore, the United States had intercepted a telegram sent to the German ambassador in Mexico City that evidenced Germany's attempt to instigate a Mexican attack upon the U.S. The German government, Wilson said, "means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors".
He then warned that "if there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with a firm hand of repression." Wilson closed with the statement that the world must be again safe for democracy.

With 50 Representatives and 6 Senators in opposition, the declaration of war by the United States against Germany was passed by the Congress on April 4, 1917, and was approved by the President on April 6, 1917.

In a speech to Congress on January 8, 1918, Wilson articulated America's war aims. It was the clearest expression of intention made by any of the belligerent nations. The speech, authored principally by Walter Lippmann, expressed Wilson's progressive domestic policies into comparably idealistic equivalents for the international arena: self-determination, open agreements, international cooperation. Promptly dubbed the Fourteen Points, Wilson attempted to make them the basis for the treaty that would mark the end of the war. They ranged from the most generic principles like the prohibition of secret treaties to such detailed outcomes as the creation of an independent Poland with access to the sea.

After World War I, Wilson participated in negotiations with the stated aim of assuring statehood for formerly oppressed nations and an equitable peace. On January 8, 1918, Wilson made his famous Fourteen Points address, introducing the idea of a League of Nations, an organization with a stated goal of helping to preserve territorial integrity and political independence among large and small nations alike.

Wilson intended the Fourteen Points as a means toward ending the war and achieving an equitable peace for all the nations. He spent six months in Paris for the Peace Conference (making him the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office). He was not well-regarded at the Conference. As John Maynard Keynes observed: "He not only had no proposals in detail, but he was in many respects, perhaps inevitably, ill-informed as to European conditions. And not only was he ill-informed - that was true of Mr. Lloyd George also - but his mind was slow and unadaptable...There can seldom have been a statesman of the first rank more incompetent than the President in the agilities of the council chamber." He worked tirelessly to promote his plan. The charter of the proposed League of Nations was incorporated into the conference's Treaty of Versailles. Japan proposed that the Covenant include a racial equality clause. Wilson was indifferent to the issue, but acceded to strong opposition from Australia and Britain. After the conference, Wilson said that "at last the world knows America as the savior of the world!"

Wilson's administration did not plan for the process of demobilization at the war's end. Though some advisers tried to engage the President's attention to what they called "reconstruction", his tepid support for a federal commission evaporated with the election of 1918. Republican gains in the Senate meant that his opposition would have to consent to the appointment of commission members. Instead, Wilson favored the prompt dismantling of wartime boards and regulatory agencies.

Demobilization proved chaotic and violent. Four million soldiers were sent home with little planning, little money, and few benefits. A wartime bubble in prices of farmland burst, leaving many farmers bankrupt or deeply in debt after they purchased new land. Major strikes in the steel, coal, and meatpacking industries followed in 1919. Serious race riots hit Chicago, Omaha, and two dozen other cities.

In 1921, Wilson and his wife Edith retired from the White House to an elegant 1915 town house in the Embassy Row (Kalorama) section of Washington, D.C. Wilson continued going for daily drives, and attended Keith's vaudeville theatre on Saturday nights. Wilson was one of only two Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt was the first) to have served as president of the American Historical Association.

Wilson attended only two state occasions in his retirement: the ceremonies preceding the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, on Armistice Day (November 11), 1921; and President Warren G. Harding's state funeral in the U.S. Capitol on August 8, 1923. On November 10, 1923, Wilson made a short Armistice Day radio speech from the library of his home, his last national address. The following day, Armistice Day itself, he spoke briefly from the front steps to more than 20,000 well wishers gathered outside the house.

On February 3, 1924, Wilson died in his S Street home as a result of a stroke and other heart-related problems. He was buried in Washington National Cathedral, the only president buried in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Wilson stayed in the home another 37 years, dying there on December 28, 1961, the day she was to be the guest of honor at the opening of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge across the Potomac River near and in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Wilson left the home and much of the contents to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to be made into a museum honoring her husband. The Woodrow Wilson House opened to the public in 1963, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Wilson wrote his one-page will on May 31, 1917, and appointed his wife Edith as his executrix. He left his daughter Margaret an annuity of $2,500 annually for as long as she remained unmarried, and left to his daughters what had been his first wife's personal property. The rest he left to Edith as a life estate with the provision that at her death, his daughters would divide the estate among themselves. In the event that Edith had a child, her children would inherit on an equal footing with his daughters. As the second Mrs. Wilson had no children from either of her marriages, he was thus providing for the child of a possible subsequent third marriage on her part.

Sources: Wikipedia

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