Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Good Day

Today should be one of my best days.

A few weeks ago my nieces and nephews got talking about how they wanted to have a party at my house before I move. As I am just moving upstairs, I suspect that they just want to have a party. Nevermind that my brother Patrick is moving into my apartment once I'm out!

I found out on Friday that the party is today!

I absolutely love and adore my nieces and nephews. They are smart, funny, cool, compassionate, witty, clever, creative and the joy of my life.

Last night I made chocolate chip cookies, and I'm proud to say that I didn't burn any!

Other than that, I've been told that I don't have to do anything!!

I'll post pictures and video later.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12, 1809 - April, 1865

Our 16th President ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1809 - 1865
Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."

Lincoln thought secession illegal, and was willing to use force to defend Federal law and the Union. When Confederate batteries fired on Fort Sumter and forced its surrender, he called on the states for 75,000 volunteers. Four more slave states joined the Confederacy but four remained within the Union. The Civil War had begun.

The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party's nomination for President, he sketched his life:

"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."

Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."

He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.

Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion.

The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. The opposite was the result, for with Lincoln's death, the possibility of peace with magnanimity died.

Our current President surely admires and looks to Abraham Lincoln as a source of strength and wisdom.

Abraham Lincoln said "I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Presidential Birthdays

There are four presidents whose birthdays in February make up a historic lineup. They include two of the presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for whom there are major monuments in Washington, D.C., and whose faces are sculpted into the side of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.

The bicentennial of Lincoln’s birthday, on Feb. 12, 1809, will be marked on Thursday. Lincoln, the 16th president, served from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865 at age 56.

Washington, the nation’s first president, was born on Feb. 22, 1732, making this year the 277th anniversary of his birth. He served as president from 1789 until 1797, and died in December 1799 at age 67.

The other successful February-born president was the 40th, Ronald Reagan, who served from 1981 to 1989 and is regarded by many Republicans as their most significant leader of the modern era. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911 and died in June 2004 at age 93.

The fourth February-born president made history, too, but for the wrong reason. William Henry Harrison was born Feb. 9, 1773, and died at age 68 on April 4, 1841 — exactly one month after he was sworn in as the ninth president of the United States. Harrison has since held the enduring record as the president with the shortest tenure in office.

Old Dog, New Trick

I'm a big fan of dogs and dog shows. Last night and tonight was the Westminster Dog Show in NYC. There were over 2,500 entries which ended with one dog being named Best In Show. That dog is a 10 year old Sussex Spaniel named Stump.

Stump hadn't been in a dog show for 5 years, he had just been hanging around at home when his handler decided last week to enter him.

He looks to be a worthy successor to Uno, the adorable beagle who was last years Best In Show!
After being named Best In Show, Stump did what I have Hannibal do, which is "sit pretty!" What a funny little guy.