George Norris Supported Charles Evans Hughes in 1916

Senator George Norris, after much thought, decided to support Charles Evans Hughes over Woodrow Wilson.  Norris stuck with his party, the Republicans, over the Democrats.  Here I believe were the four pillars in the Fighting Liberal’s decision.

1. Norris obviously was at deep odds with Hughes, who wanted us to give even more aid to Great Britain and France than Wilson.  Indeed Hughes  criticized Wilson for not doing enough claiming special ties to the Allied Powers.  Nevertheless, Hughes’ position was preferable to the President’s.  As I indicated Wilson actions were strongly Pro British but he stated our policy was strict neutrality.   Norris respected the intellectual honesty of Charles  Evans Hughes.   If Hughes won the election, Norris would find criticizing the President much easier.

2. President Wilson was born in Atlanta, Ga  and spent his formative years in Staunton, Va.  Much of the southern influence remained with Wilson.  The South has always been more Pro British than the North.   During the American Revolution,  most of the impetus for separation from England came from New England and the Mid-Atlantic.  These states almost dragged Western Virginia, the Carolinas,  and Georgia into the war.   During the Civil War, England came close to recognizing the Confederacy.   On the other hand,  Governor/Justice Hughes was a lifelong New Yorker.  Hughes, Norris believed, would have a broader outlook than the provincial Woodrow Wilson. 

3.  Both Hughes and Wilson went to law school and were men of amazingly wide interests.  Hughes spent two terms  as Governor of New York  and six years on the Supreme Court.  But Wilson disliked the practice of law and wanted to be a professor and philosopher.   The President was and an idealist  and a visionary.  While fine in moderation, idealism can easily led anyone to be unyielding and self righteous.  Such men often assume they have a monopoly on truth and that anyone who does not share his ideas is wrong.  Charles Evans Hughes’ primary  interest was the law as stated in the Constitution. During World War I, the  Department of Justice carried on horrible raids and  had a callous disregard for Civil Liberties against German-Americans, Irish Americans , organized labor, and war dissenters.   President Wilson also almost ignored  the role of Congress in the post war negotiations.  It was not surprising that Senate rejected the League of Nations and the peace treaty.  I do not believe Charles Evans Hughes would have done this.

4. Like Norris, Hughes was a Republican and it was better for Norris to support the nominee of his party.

Yesterday’s Loss 30 to 17 to Atlanta

Andy Reid is no doubt having problems staying focused on this season rather than his future in Philadelphia.   Three past losses  in the Post Season are haunting him.  Victories in these games might have given him additional credibility to stay on-the 27 to 24 loss to New Orleans in 06; the biggest was the 33 to 25 loss to Arizona in the NFC Championship Game in 08; and the 21 to 16 loss to Green Bay in 10.

Atlanta was the better team yesterday.  However, if any fan believes in momentum changing  plays,  look at these three.

1} On the first series, Fletcher Cox just missed an interception that had an easy route into the End Zone.

2} DeMeco Ryans also just missed an interception on the Falcons’ drive for a field goal late in the first half.

3}  If memory serves, this third play was almost a repeat of what happened with Detroit.  An Atlanta Linebacker barely tipped a screen pass to Jeremy  Maclin at midfield.   Maclin had clear field on front of him.

If these plays go the Eagles way perhaps, the outcome would have been different.

Senator George Norris in 1916 Presidential Election I

With  war raging in Europe, attention shifted more to foreign rather than domestic affairs. President Wilson wanted the United States to remain neutral in word and deed.  The American public did not wanted to see their boys fighting in Europe.

The Republicans, meeting in Chicago, chose Charles Evans Hughes for their candidate.  Hughes came off the Supreme Court to accept the nomination. Previous to that, Hughes had been a great reform Governor from New York. There was still some bad feeling against Theodore Roosevelt for having split the party four years earlier.  The Progressives, also meeting in Chicago, again nominated Roosevelt  for President.  However, Roosevelt did want to split the Republicans again and threw his support to Hughes. CEH  ran on a liberal domestic platform but said we should giving more military and economic to aid England, France, and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The Democrats in Baltimore renominated  Woodrow Wilson for a second term.  The chief selling point was that “Wilson kept us out of war.”  The President  made it  very clear that the war was strictly an exercise in European Power politics that did not concern the United States.

Senator George Norris, a lifelong Republican,  certainly  agreed with the President Wilson.  No doubt,  the ideas of Charles Evans Hughes and the Republican  Party were more  militant and carried a greater risk of involvement in the war in Europe than the Democrats. Or did they?.

While Wilson spoke of neutrality but his actions were decidedly pro-British. President Wilson:

–suspended economic aid and trade  licenses with Germany but increased them with Great Britain;

–complained about the German blockade of the English Channel but said nothing about British actions in the Balkans;

–said Germany wanted to establish an Empire;  Great Britain already had one;

–protested against the  Unrestricted Submarine War of Germany; Great Britain, with control of the seas, did not need to use this tactic.

–correctly condemned the  German invasion of Belgium; but the Germans did nowhere near the damage the newspapers claimed;

–correctly condemned the German’s sinking of the Lusitania; but it was also carrying munitions to England and France and had no business sailing in a war zone.

Senator Norris decision of whether to support President Wilson or Hughes, the nominee of his party, was complicated. More Later.

Baseball Telecasting-Big Step

Major League Baseball made in 1965 a concession to the television audience that  actually increased attendance. The club owners contracted to allow the Game of the Week  to all cities across America rather than only those without a franchise.  To avoid conflict with the local team’s radio and television stations,  there was an alternate game sent to both cities involved in the national telecast.   In other words if the Phillies were at the Braves on national television,  a back up game  went to both Philadelphia and Atlanta. There were also games on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

The networks also had a commercial for actual attendance.  This showed batters hitting a ball with the crack of the  bat; players stealing or running around the bases; or fielders making great plays.  The commercial ended with pictures of happy fans cheering and eating popcorn and hot dogs and the announcer saying ” …being there is a whole new ball game…”

ABC began carrying the games and Chris Schenkel was as adept telecasting baseball as he was with pro football on CBS.  I always enjoyed  watching and listening to him.  For some reason by June,  ABC replaced him with Keith Jackson.  Jackson was by far the worst broadcaster for any sport,  anytime, or any place.  This deal with ABC must have been a one year experiment; the Game of the Week moved to NBC the following year with the same arrangement.  Curt Gowdy handled the main game and about I can say for Gowdy is he was better than Keith Jackson.

This innovation from Major League Baseball set the set the stage for the expanded coverage of National Football League in 1966 and for the almost saturation of baseball on television today from early March to the World Series.   It broke a big barrier and attendance increased.

A Couple from Philadelphia Now in Arizona

Among the most interesting people I have met from Philadelphia residing here in the Phoenix area  are Anthony and Louisa Trifiletti.   A happy and active couple, they moved to Phoenix in 1989.  For 25 years they owned and operated a jewelry store on the Main Line and resided in Wallingford, Pa.  Louisa retired in 2008 from work as a paralegal and Tony is a roving management consultant.   They have three daughters, one son, and 10 grandchildren,

The reasons for their move are familiar.  Their three daughters attended Arizona State University and found jobs in the area.  Tony and Louisa visited them often, missed them, and of course the liked the  Arizona climate.  “Particularly as we got older” Louisa said “those northeastern snowstorms and the biting cold really bothered us.  We got tired  digging out of the snow and planning our activities  around the weather  forecast.”  As I have mentioned, the heat, though tiresome in Arizona, is not really all that bad ; and a drive 150 miles north  brings you to the  high country with air conditioning not required and using a blanket at night.

Whenever anyone moves, their allegiance to their hometown sports team remains intact.  Tony and Louisa never miss an Eagles game either on  cable or local television.  As a  sidebar, I have been reluctant to invite them to my  house to watch the Birds.  Visiting my house during an Eagles’ game is like taking a sweatbath.

This is not to imply that the Trifilletis do not miss Philadelphia.  They generally make two or three trips to Philadelphia each year to visit friends and relatives.  They have taken their grandchildren along and gone to  Independence Mall.   Louisa told me that both she and Tony “…  want to tickle their grandchildren’s curiosity.  Visiting Philadelphia’s sites makes  American History tangible and easier to understand.  We want to help them get  a good learning foundation.”  After returning to Phoenix, both are glad to be back.

Nevertheless, their pace only rarely slows down here.  Amazingly hyperactive,  Louisa told me she is now busier than before retirement.  An enthusiastic and beautiful Grandmother,  she has taken all 10 grand children to various places in Arizona and New Mexico and to shore resorts in Mexico.  The kids stay active by swimming, hiking,  and learning about geography.  Louisa helps them to bed at night with relief.  Everybody, including Tony and Louisa, goes into a deep sleep.

After getting home,  Louisa said to me “Leonard, these trips are mostly chaos. Looking after these kids is naturally allot of work.  But I’ll you tell,  it’s the nicest work you can find.  The greatest  satisfaction I have gotten out of life is my four children and ten grandkids.” Louisa says this knowing full well the problems and speed bumps in the experience.  Louisa maintains the interest in her grandchildren at home but she said something we  all know.  “This can be a touchy area.  We have to keep our distance sometimes.  ”  Louisa and Tony are with their kids for all birthdays, holidays, and school activities.  If I,  Leonard, here can put my tidbit in ” There really isn’t much romance to life.  You have to make the most of  the situation as is.”

Maintaining her interest  in children beyond her immediate family, Louisa is active with her local school and church groups  and is the President of her local Women’s Club.  Overall Child  Health and Protection has always been a top priority for both Tony and Louisa.  Louisa believes that, to the proper extent,  every child is our child.  Very gregarious,  Louisa is a member of a few other clubs that do everything from playing cards, dining out, exercising, or going to the live theater.  Louisa mentioned “I think it’s important to involve yourself  is something beyond your immediate family.”

I personally can attest to one point-Louisa is a fantastic dancer that can do everything from a fox trot to a samba.  She follows my lead expertly and instinctively knows when to restrict or be more showy on the dance floor. Dancing with her is an effortless experience.

The Trifilettis have a busy and happy life.  They have added a wider perspective to my own.  I will write about more Philadelphians in Arizona later.

Senator George Norris, Republican from Nebraska, the One House Legislature

Two problems were evident to Senator Norris as he viewed governmental operations at various levels.

The bicameral legislature is proper  in Washington, DC  since there is a sharp division between daily nitty gritty operations in the House and policy making in the Senate.  The two houses obviously balance population with the sovereignty of each state.  This arrangement is just not relevant to state government.  The 1962 Supreme Court decision, Baker vs. Carr, mandates the all states must apportion both houses on the basis of population anyway.  The two houses then resolve any differences through a conference committee.  This committee is not open to the public. The deals involved are secretive and often slimy.

Another problem was the excessive partisanship that resulted from the major political parties.  George Norris  became a Republican because  of Abraham Lincoln.  Republicans  represented the honest frontier virtues.  On the hand, the Democratic Party to him was a coalition of corrupt city governments in the North and a racist Klan dominated South.   As time wore on, Norris realized that one party was as bad as another.  Political Parties were barriers between the government and citizens.   Norris had no base within the Republican Party in Nebraska.

In 1914 he began a 22 year effort for a Unicameral House for Nebraska.   He wanted to keep the number of legislators small to make pinpointing responsibility easier.  All candidates would be on a nonpartisan  ballot.  Senator Norris repeatedly and tenaciously bucked Democrats, Republicans,  and special interests within Nebraska.  Finally, the voters, in the 1936 election, approved an amendment to the state constitution for a  One House legislator.   They are named Senators, numbering 50, and are on a nonpartisan ballot.  Nebraskans called their state house in Lincoln the Unicameral rather than the legislature. This should be the  standard in all 50 states.

Dismissal of Juan Castillo-Grace Kelly-Viveca Lindfors-

The defense has been a disappointment caving in and allowing touchdowns in the last quarter. There has been no pass rush, something the Eagles once prided themselves on.  In fairness, there have been too many turnovers and sacks putting undue pressure on the defense.  This is been a totally dysfunctional team of under achievers.

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On you tube Grace Kelly gives a six part interview with Pierre Salinger.  She died in that auto crash about six weeks later.  The stories coming out about Grace Kelly have removed her from the pedestal  that no one deserves. We so badly want a hero or heroine and forget this model has to come from within.  Grace Kelly was still a beautiful and talented woman that had a great impact in history even though she made just 11 films.

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Also on You Tube is the Eyes of Viveca Lindfors.  These facial features photographs and writing that calls her  “…one of the most beautiful actresses of all time.”   The background music is from Andrew Lloyd Weber. Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo cornered the market on Swedish movie stars;  but Viveca Lindfors, with her sultry looks, was to me  better.  There is interview she gave also on You Tube but  it is in Swedish with no subtitles.  The only words I understand are the movie titles which, of course, remain in English.