Friday, January 31, 2014

Chemtrail Snow Demonstration

A slew of videos have been appearing recently on Youtube, demonstrating bizarre behavior of the snow that has been blanketing most of the country lately.

The bizarre thing about this snow is, when subjected to flame, the snow doesn't melt. In some cases, it even turns black and omits a toxic odor similar to that of plastic being burned.

Many are now claiming that the reason for this is because of chemicals being sprayed into our atmosphere by our government.

What ever the cause, one thing is for sure, I would highly advise no one to "eat" the snow. (Remember when you did this as a kid?)

Maybe someday will will get an official explanation for why this "new" snow doesn't melt. I doubt it, since the U.S. government are masters are keeping secrets and being unethical at every chance. Something is certainly going on. That something doesn't look good either. But don't take my word for it, check out these Youtube video's and you be the judge.

Please note that these are not "experts", but rather, everyday people just like you and me. 

Now I am going to go outside and see if my snow melts. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Presidents

Franklin Delano Roosevelt January 30, 1882  -  April 12, 1945), commonly known by his initials, FDR, 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945), served for 12 years and four terms until his death in 1945, the only president ever to do so, and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. A dominant leader of the Democratic Party and the only American president elected to more than two terms, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century.

With the bouncy popular song "Happy Days Are Here Again" as his campaign theme, FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression. Energized by his personal victory over polio, FDR's persistent optimism and activism contributed to a renewal of the national spirit.[1] Assisted by key aide Harry Hopkins, he worked closely with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II. The war ended the depression and restored prosperity.

In his first hundred days in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt spearheaded major legislation and issued a profusion of executive orders that instituted the New Deal - a variety of programs designed to produce relief (government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (economic growth), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then relapsed into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing any considerable legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment diminished during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975–1985, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was created in 1933, and Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggression of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Great Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with England, Scotland, and Wales. With very strong national support, he made war on Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a "date which will live in infamy". He supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy to support the Allied war effort. As an active military leader, Roosevelt implemented an overall war strategy on two fronts that ended in the defeat of the Axis Powers and the development of the world's first atom bomb. In 1942 Roosevelt ordered the internment of 100,000 Japanese American civilians. Unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men and 300,000 women were drafted or volunteered for military service.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but also for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR's New Deal Coalition united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans, and rural white Southerners. He also influenced the later creation of the United Nations and Bretton Woods. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the top three U.S. Presidents, along with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

One of the oldest families in New York State, the Roosevelts distinguished themselves in areas other than politics. One ancestor, Isaac Roosevelt, had served with the New York militia during the American Revolution. Roosevelt attended events of the New York society Sons of the American Revolution, and joined the organization while he was president. While his paternal family had become prosperous early on in New York real estate and trade, much of his immediate family's wealth had been built by FDR's maternal grandfather, Warren Delano, Jr., in the China trade, including opium and tea.

Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York to businessman James Roosevelt I (1828–1900) and Sara Ann Delano (1854–1941). His parents were sixth cousins and both were from wealthy old New York families. They were of mostly English descent; Roosevelt's patrilineal great-grandfather, Jacobus Roosevelt III, was of Dutch ancestry, and his mother's maiden name, Delano, originated with a French Huguenot immigrant of the 17th century. Their only child was to have been named Warren, but Sara's infant nephew of that name had recently died. He was named for Sara's uncle Franklin Hughes Delano.

Roosevelt grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. (Reportedly, when James Roosevelt took his young son to visit President Grover Cleveland in the White House, the busy president told Franklin "I have one wish for you, little man, that you will never be President of the United States.") Sara was a possessive mother; James, 54 when Franklin was born, was considered by some as a remote father, though biographer James MacGregor Burns indicates James interacted with his son more than was typical at the time. Sara was the dominant influence in Franklin's early years; she once declared "My son Franklin is a Delano, not a Roosevelt at all." Frequent trips to Europe - he made his first at the age of two, and went with his parents every year from the ages of seven to 15 - made Roosevelt conversant in German and French; being arrested with his tutor by police four times in one day in the Black Forest for minor offenses may have affected the future president's view of German character. He learned to ride, shoot, row, and play polo and lawn tennis. Roosevelt also took up golf in his teen years, becoming a skilled long hitter. He learned to sail, and his father gave him a sailboat at the age of 16 which he named "New Moon"

Roosevelt attended Groton School, an Episcopal boarding school in Massachusetts; 90% of the students were from families on the social register. He was heavily influenced by its headmaster, Endicott Peabody, who preached the duty of Christians to help the less fortunate and urged his students to enter public service. Forty years later Roosevelt said of Peabody, "It was a blessing in my life to have the privilege of [his] guiding hand", and the headmaster remained a strong influence throughout his life, officiating at his wedding and visiting Roosevelt as president. Peabody recalled Roosevelt as "a quiet, satisfactory boy of more than ordinary intelligence, taking a good position in his form but not brilliant", while a classmate described Roosevelt as "nice, but completely colorless"; an average student, he only stood out in being the only Democratic student, continuing the political tradition of his side of the Roosevelt family. Roosevelt remained consistent in his politics; immediately after his fourth election to the presidency he defined his domestic policy as "a little left of center".

Like all but two of his 21 classmates Roosevelt went to Harvard College, where he lived in a suite which is now part of Adams House, in the "Gold Coast" area populated by wealthy students. Again an average student academically, Roosevelt later declared, "I took economics courses in college for four years, and everything I was taught was wrong." He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and the Fly Club. While undistinguished as a student or athlete, he became editor-in-chief of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper, a position which required great ambition, energy, and ability to manage others. While at Harvard his fifth cousin Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (1858 - 1919) became President of the United States; his vigorous leadership style and reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero although he remained a Democrat, campaigning for Theodore's opponent William Jennings Bryan. In mid-1902, Franklin was formally introduced to his future wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962), Theodore's niece, on a train to Tivoli, New York, although they had met briefly as children. Eleanor and Franklin were fifth cousins, once removed. She was the daughter of Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt (1860 - 1894) and Anna Rebecca Hall (1863 - 1892) of the Livingston family. At the time of their engagement, Roosevelt was twenty-two and Eleanor nineteen. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard in 1903 with an A.B. in history. He later received an honorary LL.D from Harvard in 1929.

Roosevelt entered Columbia Law School in 1904, but dropped out in 1907 after he passed the New York State Bar exam. He however later received a posthumous J.D. from Columbia Law School. In 1908, he took a job with the prestigious Wall Street firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, dealing mainly with corporate law. He was first initiated in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was initiated into Freemasonry on October 11, 1911, at Holland Lodge No. 8 in New York City.

On March 17, 1905, Roosevelt married Eleanor despite the fierce resistance of his mother. While she did not dislike Eleanor, Sara Roosevelt was very possessive of her son; believing he was too young, she several times attempted to break the engagement. Eleanor's uncle, the president, stood in at the wedding for Eleanor's deceased father Elliott. (Eleanor had lost both parents by age ten.) The young couple moved into Springwood, his family's estate, where FDR's mother became a frequent house guest, much to Eleanor's chagrin. The home was owned by Roosevelt's mother until her death in 1941 and was very much her home as well.

Roosevelt had affairs outside his marriage, including one with Eleanor's social secretary Lucy Mercer which began soon after she was hired in early 1914. In September 1918, Eleanor found letters revealing the affair in Roosevelt's luggage, when he returned from World War I. Franklin had contemplated divorcing Eleanor, but Lucy could not bring herself to marry a divorced man with five children. However, the two remained married, and FDR promised never to see Lucy again, though their marriage from that point on was more of a political partnership. His mother Sara also told Franklin that if he divorced his wife, it would bring scandal upon the family, and she "would not give him another dollar." However, Franklin broke his promise. He and Lucy maintained a formal correspondence, and began seeing each other again in 1941, perhaps earlier. Lucy was even given the code name "Mrs. Johnson" by the Secret Service. Indeed, Lucy was with FDR on the day he died. Despite this, FDR's affair was not widely known until the 1960s. Roosevelt's son Elliott stated that Franklin also had a 20-year affair with his private secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand. Another son, James, stated that "there is a real possibility that a romantic relationship existed" between his father and Princess Märtha of Sweden, who resided in the White House during part of World War II; aides began to refer to her as "the president's girlfriend", and gossip linking the two romantically appeared in the newspapers.

The effect of these flirtations or affairs upon Eleanor Roosevelt is difficult to estimate. "I have the memory of an elephant. I can forgive, but I cannot forget," she wrote to a close friend. After the Lucy Mercer affair, any remaining intimacy left their relationship. Eleanor soon thereafter established a separate house in Hyde Park at Valkill, and increasingly devoted herself to various social and political causes. For the rest of their lives, the Roosevelts' marriage was more of a political partnership than an intimate relationship. The emotional break in their marriage was so severe that when Roosevelt asked Eleanor in 1942 - in light of his failing health - to come back home and live with him again, she refused. He was not always aware of when she visited the White House and for some time she could not easily reach him on the telephone without his secretary's help; he, in turn, did not visit her New York City apartment until late 1944.

The 1920 Democratic National Convention chose Roosevelt by acclamation as the vice-presidential candidate with its presidential candidate, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio. Although his nomination surprised most people, Roosevelt was considered as bringing balance to the ticket as a moderate, a Wilsonian, and a prohibitionist with a famous name. Roosevelt had just turned thirty-eight, four years younger than Theodore had been when he received the same nomination from his party. The Cox-Roosevelt ticket was defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding in the presidential election by a wide margin. Roosevelt returned to New York to practice law and joined the newly organized New York Civitan Club. 

In August 1921, while the Roosevelts were vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, Roosevelt contracted polio, which resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down. For the rest of his life, Roosevelt refused to accept that he was permanently paralyzed. He tried a wide range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, and, in 1926, he purchased a resort at Warm Springs, Georgia, where he founded a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of polio patients, one which still operates as the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he became President, he helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes).

At the time, Roosevelt was able to convince many people that he was getting better, which he believed was essential if he wanted to run for public office again. Fitting his hips and legs with iron braces, he laboriously taught himself to walk a short distance by swiveling his torso while supporting himself with a cane. In private, he used a wheelchair, but he was careful never to be seen in it in public. Great care was also taken to prevent his being portrayed by the press in a way which would highlight his disability. Only two photographs are known to exist of FDR which were taken while he was in his wheelchair; only four seconds of film exist of the "walk" he achieved after his illness. He usually appeared in public standing upright, supported on one side by an aide or one of his sons. FDR used a car with specially designed hand controls, providing him further mobility.

Roosevelt's strong base in the most populous state made him an obvious candidate for the Democratic nomination, which was hotly contested in light of incumbent Herbert Hoover's vulnerability. Al Smith was supported by some city bosses, but had lost control of the New York Democratic party to Roosevelt. Roosevelt built his own national coalition with personal allies such as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Irish leader Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and California leader William Gibbs McAdoo. When Texas leader John Nance Garner announced his support of FDR, he was given the vice-presidential nomination.

Roosevelt won 57% of the vote and carried all but six states. Historians and political scientists consider the 1932-36 elections a realigning election that created a new majority coalition for the Democrats, made up of organized labor, blacks, and ethnic Americans such as Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans and Jews. This transformed American politics and starting what is called the "New Deal Party System" or (by political scientists) the Fifth Party System.

After the election, Roosevelt refused Hoover's requests for a meeting to develop a joint program to stop the downward spiral and calm investors, claiming publicly it would tie his hands, and that Hoover had all the power to act if necessary. Unofficially, he told reporters that "it is not my baby". The economy spiraled downward until the banking system began a complete nationwide shutdown as Hoover's term ended. In February 1933, Roosevelt again escaped an assassination attempt. Giuseppe Zangara who expressed a "hate for all rulers" attempted to shoot Roosevelt. He did kill Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak who was sitting alongside Roosevelt, but his attempt to murder Roosevelt failed when an alert spectator, Lillian Cross, who hit his arm with her purse deflected the bullet  Roosevelt leaned heavily on his "Brain Trust" of academic advisers, especially Raymond Moley, when designing his policies; he offered cabinet positions to numerous candidates, but some declined. The cabinet member with the strongest independent base was Cordell Hull at State. William Hartman Woodin – at Treasury – was soon replaced by the much more powerful Henry Morgenthau, Jr.

When Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933, the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million were homeless. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states – as well as the District of Columbia – had closed their banks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days. Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism.

Roosevelt's "First 100 Days" concentrated on the first part of his strategy: immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. To propose programs, Roosevelt relied on leading Senators such as George Norris, Robert F. Wagner, and Hugo Black, as well as his Brain Trust of academic advisers. Like Hoover, he saw the Depression caused in part by people no longer spending or investing because they were afraid.
His inauguration on March 4, 1933, occurred in the middle of a bank panic, hence the backdrop for his famous words: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The very next day he declared a "bank holiday" and called for a special session of Congress to start March 9, at which Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act. This was his first proposed step to recovery. To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass–Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Roosevelt tried to keep his campaign promise by cutting the federal budget – including a reduction in military spending from $752 million in 1932 to $531 million in 1934 and a 40% cut in spending on veterans' benefits – by removing 500,000 veterans and widows from the pension rolls and reducing benefits for the remainder, as well as cutting the salaries of federal employees and reducing spending on research and education. However, this was soon seen to be a mistake and most benefits were restored or increased by 1934. The benefit cuts also did not last. In June 1933 Roosevelt restored $50 million in pension payments, and Congress added another $46 million more. Veterans groups like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars won their campaign to transform their benefits from payments due in 1945 to immediate cash when Congress overrode the President's veto and passed the Bonus Act in January 1936.

Roosevelt also kept his promise to push for repeal of Prohibition. On March 23, 1933, he signed the Cullen–Harrison Act redefining 3.2% alcohol as the maximum allowed. That act was preceded by Congressional action in the drafting and passage of the 21st Amendment, which was ratified later that year.

After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which set up a national relief agency that employed two million family heads. At the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was down from 20.6% in 1933 to only 12.5% according to figures from Michael Darby. The Social Security Act established Social Security and promised economic security for the elderly, the poor and the sick. Senator Robert Wagner wrote the Wagner Act, which officially became the National Labor Relations Act. The act established the federal rights of workers to organize unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes.

While the First New Deal of 1933 had broad support from most sectors, the Second New Deal challenged the business community. Conservative Democrats, led by Al Smith, fought back with the American Liberty League, savagely attacking Roosevelt and equating him with Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. But Smith overplayed his hand, and his boisterous rhetoric let Roosevelt isolate his opponents and identify them with the wealthy vested interests that opposed the New Deal, setting Roosevelt up for the 1936 landslide. By contrast, the labor unions, energized by the Wagner Act, signed up millions of new members and became a major backer of Roosevelt's reelections in 1936, 1940 and 1944.

In the 1936 presidential election, Roosevelt campaigned on his New Deal programs against Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who accepted much of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste. Roosevelt and Garner won 60.8% of the vote and carried every state except Maine and Vermont. The New Deal Democrats won even larger majorities in Congress. Roosevelt was backed by a coalition of voters which included traditional Democrats across the country, small farmers, the "Solid South", Catholics, big city political machines, labor unions, northern African Americans, Jews, intellectuals and political liberals. This coalition, frequently referred to as the New Deal coalition, remained largely intact for the Democratic Party until the 1960s. Roosevelt's popularity meant massive volumes of correspondence in need of reply. He once told his son James, "Two short sentences will generally answer any known letter." 

In contrast to his first term, little major legislation was passed in FDR's second term. There was the Housing Act of 1937, a second Agricultural Adjustment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which created the minimum wage. When the economy began to deteriorate again in late 1937, Roosevelt asked Congress for $5 billion in WPA relief and public works funding. This managed to eventually create as many as 3.3 million WPA jobs by 1938. Beyond this, however, the president recommended to a special congressional session only a permanent national farm act, administrative reorganization and regional planning measures, which were leftovers from a regular session. According to Burns, this attempt illustrated Roosevelt's inability to decide on a basic economic program.

The Supreme Court became Roosevelt's primary focus during his second term, after the court overturned many of his programs. In particular in 1935, the Court unanimously ruled that the National Recovery Act (NRA) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the president. Roosevelt stunned Congress in early 1937 by proposing a law allowing him to appoint up to six new justices, what he referred to as a "persistent infusion of new blood." This "court packing" plan ran into intense political opposition from his own party, led by Vice President Garner, since it upset the separation of powers and gave the President control over the Court. Roosevelt's proposal to expand the court failed; nevertheless by 1941 Roosevelt had appointed eight of the nine justices of the court which began to ratify his policies.

In the November 1938 election, Democrats lost six Senate seats and 71 House seats. Losses were concentrated among pro-New Deal Democrats. When Congress reconvened in 1939, Republicans under Senator Robert Taft formed a Conservative coalition with Southern Democrats, virtually ending Roosevelt's ability to get his domestic proposals enacted into law. The minimum wage law of 1938 was the last substantial New Deal reform act passed by Congress.

The two-term tradition had been an unwritten rule (until the 22nd Amendment after Roosevelt's presidency) since George Washington declined to run for a third term in 1796, and both Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt were attacked for trying to obtain a third non-consecutive term. FDR systematically undercut prominent Democrats who were angling for the nomination, including Vice President John Nance Garner and two cabinet members, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and James Farley, Roosevelt's campaign manager in 1932 and 1936, the Postmaster General and the Democratic Party chairman. Roosevelt moved the convention to Chicago where he had strong support from the city machine (which controlled the auditorium sound system). At the convention the opposition was poorly organized, but Farley had packed the galleries. Roosevelt sent a message saying that he would not run unless he was drafted, and that the delegates were free to vote for anyone. The delegates were stunned; then the loudspeaker screamed "We want Roosevelt... The world wants Roosevelt!" The delegates went wild and he was nominated by 946 to 147 on the first ballot. The tactic employed by Roosevelt was not entirely successful, as his goal had been to be drafted by acclamation. The new vice-presidential nominee was Henry Agard Wallace, a liberal intellectual who was Secretary of Agriculture.

In his campaign against Republican Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt stressed both his proven leadership experience and his intention to do everything possible to keep the United States out of war. In one of his speeches he declared to potential recruits that "you boys are not going to be sent into any foreign war." He won the 1940 election with 55% of the popular vote and 38 of the 48 states. A shift to the left within the Administration was shown by the naming of Henry A. Wallace as Vice President in place of the conservative Texan John Nance Garner, who had become a bitter enemy of Roosevelt after 1937.

Roosevelt's third term was dominated by World War II. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938, although he was facing strong isolationist sentiment from leaders like Senators William Borah and Robert Taft. By 1940, re-armament was in high gear, with bipartisan support, partly to expand and re-equip the Army and Navy and partly to become the "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting Britain, France, China and (after June 1941), the Soviet Union. As Roosevelt took a firmer stance against the Axis Powers, American isolationists (including Charles Lindbergh and America First) vehemently attacked the President as an irresponsible warmonger. Roosevelt initiated FBI and Internal Revenue Service investigations of his loudest critics, though no legal actions resulted. Unfazed by these criticisms and confident in the wisdom of his foreign policy initiatives, FDR continued his twin policies of preparedness and aid to the Allied coalition. On December 29, 1940, he delivered his Arsenal of Democracy fireside chat, in which he made the case for involvement in the war directly to the American people. A week later he delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech laying out the case for an American defense of basic rights throughout the world.

In 1942, war production increased dramatically, but fell short of the goals established by the President, due in part to manpower shortages. The effort was also hindered by numerous strikes by union workers, especially in the coal mining and railroad industries, which lasted well into 1944. The White House became the ultimate site for labor mediation, conciliation or arbitration. One particular battle royal occurred, between Vice-President Wallace, who headed the Board of Economic Warfare, and Jesse Jones, in charge of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; both agencies assumed responsibility for acquisition of rubber supplies and came to loggerheads over funding. FDR resolved the dispute by dissolving both agencies.

In 1944, the President requested that Congress enact legislation which would tax all unreasonable profits, both corporate and individual, and thereby support his declared need for over ten billion in revenue for the war and other government measures. The Congress passed a revenue bill raising $2 billion, which FDR vetoed, though Congress in turn overrode him.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, destroying or damaging 16 warships, including most of the fleet's battleships, and killing almost 3000 American military personnel and civilians. Later that day, FDR called Churchill to confirm the news, saying "We are all in the same boat now." The President summoned his cabinet to assess events and to review a draft of his speech the next day to Congress. He rejected a suggestion for requesting a declaration of war against Germany in addition to Japan. Roosevelt, seeking a declaration of war against Japan, then delivered to Congress his famous "Infamy Speech" in which he said, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Within an hour of the speech, Congress had passed a declaration of war, as Britain had just hours earlier.

In 1942 Roosevelt set up a new military command structure with Admiral Ernest J. King as Chief of Naval Operations in complete control of the Navy and Marines; General George C. Marshall in charge of the Army and in nominal control of the Air Force, which in practice was commanded by General Hap Arnold. Roosevelt formed a new body, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which made the final decisions on American military strategy. The Joint Chiefs was a White House agency and was chaired by Admiral William D. Leahy, but as the war progressed, Marshall increasingly dominated its deliberations. When dealing with Europe, the Joint Chiefs met with their British counterparts and formed the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Unlike the political leaders of the other major powers, Roosevelt rarely overrode his military advisors. His civilian appointees handled the draft and procurement of men and equipment, but no civilians – not even the secretaries of War or Navy, had a voice in strategy. Roosevelt avoided the State Department and conducted high level diplomacy through his aides, especially Harry Hopkins. Since Hopkins also controlled $50 billion in Lend Lease funds given to the Allies, they paid attention to him.

Roosevelt, who turned 62 in 1944, had been in declining health since at least 1940. Noticeably fatigued, in March 1944, he went to Bethesda Hospital for tests and was found to have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease causing angina pectoris, and congestive heart failure. They and two outside specialists ordered Roosevelt to rest. His personal physician, Admiral Ross McIntire, created a daily schedule for the president that banned business guests for lunch and required him to rest for two hours each day. McIntire several times, however, denied during the 1944 election campaign that his patient's health was poor, for example stating on 12 October that "The President's health is perfectly OK. There are absolutely no organic difficulties at all". Roosevelt may have used his authority over the Office of Censorship to avoid press reports on his declining health before the election.

Roosevelt, aware that most publishers were opposed to him, issued a decree in 1943 that blocked all publishers and media executives from visits to combat areas; he put General Marshall in charge of enforcement. The main target was Henry Luce, the powerful publisher of Time and Life magazines. Historian Alan Brinkley argues the move was "badly mistaken", for had Luce been allowed to travel, he would have been an enthusiastic cheerleader for American forces around the globe. But stranded in New York City, Luce's frustration and anger expressed itself in hard-edged partisanship.

Party leaders insisted that Roosevelt drop Henry A. Wallace, who had been erratic as Vice President and was too pro-Soviet. James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, a top FDR aide, was considered ineligible because he had left the Catholic Church and many Catholic voters would not vote for him. Roosevelt replaced Wallace with Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman, best known for his battle against corruption and inefficiency in wartime spending. The Republicans nominated Thomas E. Dewey, the liberal governor of New York. The opposition lambasted FDR and his administration for domestic corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, tolerance of Communism, and military blunders. Labor unions, which had grown rapidly in the war, threw their all-out support behind Roosevelt. In a relatively close 1944 election, Roosevelt and Truman won 53% of the vote and carried 36 states. The President campaigned in favor of a strong United Nations, so his victory symbolized support for the nation's future participation in the international community.

Due to the President's health and the ongoing state of war, the President's fourth inauguration was held on the White House lawn.

During March 1945, he sent strongly worded messages to Stalin accusing him of breaking his Yalta commitments over Poland, Germany, prisoners of war and other issues. When Stalin accused the western Allies of plotting a separate peace with Hitler behind his back, Roosevelt replied: "I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment towards your informers, whoever they are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates."

On March 29, 1945, Roosevelt went to the Little White House at Warm Springs, Georgia, to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations. On the afternoon of April 12, Roosevelt said, "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head." He then slumped forward in his chair, unconscious, and was carried into his bedroom. The president's attending cardiologist, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed a massive cerebral hemorrhage (stroke). At 3:35 p.m. that day, Roosevelt died. As Allen Drury later said, “so ended an era, and so began another.” After Roosevelt's death, an editorial by The New York Times declared, "Men will thank God on their knees a hundred years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House".

At the time he collapsed, Roosevelt had been sitting for a portrait painting by the artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, known as the famous Unfinished Portrait of FDR.

Sources: Wikipedia

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Betty White: Living Legend

Betty Marion White (born January 17, 1922) is an American actress, comedian, presenter, singer, author and television personality. In 2013, the Guinness World Records awarded White with having the longest television career for a female entertainer. To contemporary audiences, White is best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Since the death of co-star Rue McClanahan in 2010, she is the only surviving Golden Girl. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also hosted NBCs practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers which resulted in two Emmy nominations.

Regarded as a television pioneer for being one of the first women in television to have creative control in front of and behind the camera, White has gone on to win six Emmy Awards (five for acting), receiving 20 Emmy nominations over her career, including being the first woman to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only woman to have won an Emmy in all performing comedic categories. In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances - her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2012, a span of 61 years - and has become the oldest nominee as of 2013, aged 91. The actress is also the oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award, which she won in 2012.

Due to her legacy and continued success within the entertainment industry The American Comedy Awards, The Screen Actor Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have all awarded White with Lifetime achievement awards recognizing her contribution to television.
She has made regular appearances on the game shows Password and Match Game and played recurring roles on Mama's Family, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, That '70s Show, and Community.

She is the daughter of Tess Curtis (née Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Lawrence White, a traveling salesman and electrical engineer. Her mother was of Greek, English, and Welsh descent, and her father was of Danish and English ancestry. White's family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression. She attended Horace Mann School Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to become a writer, she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play at Horace Mann School and discovered her interest in performing.

White began her radio career in 1939, three months after high school graduation, when she and a classmate sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel. White found work modeling, and her first professional acting job was at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre. White's career was disrupted immediately, as World War II broke out, causing her to join the American Women's Voluntary Services. In the 1940s, she worked in radio appearing on shows such as Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your FBI. She then got her own radio show, called The Betty White Show.

In 1949, she began appearing as co-host with Al Jarvis on his daily, live variety show Hollywood on Television on KLAC in Los Angeles. White began hosting the show by herself in 1952 after Jarvis' departure, spanning five and a half hours of live ad-lib television six days per week over a contiguous four-year span altogether. In all of her various variety series over the years, White would sing at least a couple of songs during each broadcast. In 1950, Betty was nominated for her first Emmy Award as "Best Actress" on television, competing with such legendary stars as Judith Anderson, Helen Hayes, and Imogene Coca (the award went to Gertrude Berg). This was the very first award and category in the new Emmy history designated for women on television.

In 1952, the same year she began hosting Hollywood on Television, White co-founded Bandy Productions with writer George Tibbles and Don Fedderson, a producer. The trio worked to create new shows using existing characters from sketches shown on Hollywood on Television. White, Fedderson, and Tibbles created the television comedy Life with Elizabeth, based on a Hollywood on Television sketch. White portrayed the title character on the sitcom from 1952 to 1955, which effectively boosted her career. Life With Elizabeth was nationally syndicated by the mid-1950s, allowing White to become one of the few women in television with full creative control in front of and behind the camera at the time. Although several sources state White won an Emmy for the show  this appears to be incorrect, and may be a matter of confusing the 1950 nomination with a win.

In 1954, she briefly hosted and produced her own daily talk show, The Betty White Show, on NBC (not to be confused with her 1970s sitcom of the same name). Following Life with Elizabeth, she appeared as Vicki Angel on the sitcom Date with the Angels from 1957 to 1958. The show later became another variety series before going off the air. White performed in commercials seen on live television in Los Angeles, including a spirited rendition of the "Dr. Ross Dog Food" advertisement at KTLA during the 1950s.

She made her feature film debut as Kansas Senator Elizabeth Ames Adams in the 1962 drama, Advise & Consent. It would be her only big-screen appearance for decades.

Betty White's greatest fame during the 1960s and early 1970s with the general public was likely from her long stint as hostess and commentator on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade broadcast on NBC, often co-hosting with Lorne Greene. White began a nineteen-year run as host on the program in 1956; NBC replaced her in 1975, feeling she was too identified with rival network CBS due to her new-found success on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White admitted to People magazine it was difficult "watching someone else do my parade", although she soon would start a ten-year run as hostess of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for CBS.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, White appeared on a number of late night talkshows and daytime game shows, including Password. White made many appearances on the hit game show Password as a celebrity guest from 1961 through 1975. She married the show's host, Allen Ludden, in 1963. She subsequently appeared on the show's three updated versions Password Plus, Super Password, and Million Dollar Password, having been on versions of the game with five different hosts (Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Bert Convy, and Regis Philbin). White made frequent game show appearances on What's My Line? (starting in 1955), To Tell the Truth (in 1961 and in 1990), I've Got a Secret (in 1972–73), Match Game (1973–1982), and Pyramid (starting in 1982). Both Password and Pyramid were created by White's friend, Bob Stewart.

In 1973, White made a guest appearance in season four of The Mary Tyler Moore Show as The Happy Homemaker. As a result of her guest appearance, White landed her most significant role at that point as the sardonic, man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens, The Happy Homemaker, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a full-time cast member. The running gag was that Sue Ann's hard-edged private personality was the complete opposite of how she presented herself on her show. "We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White," Moore herself suggested at a production meeting, which resulted in casting White herself. White won two back-to-back Emmy Awards for her role in the hugely popular series.

Following that show's end in 1977, she was given her own sitcom on CBS, The Betty White Show, during the 1977–78 season, in which she co-starred with John Hillerman and former Mary Tyler Moore co-star Georgia Engel. It was canceled after one season. White appeared several times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson appearing in many sketches, and began guest-starring in a number of television movies and television miniseries, including With This Ring, The Best Place to Be, Before and After, and The Gossip Columnist.

In 1983, she became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host, for the NBC entry Just Men!. Due to the amount of work she has done on them, she has been deemed the "First Lady of Game Shows".

From 1983 through 1985, she had a recurring role playing Ellen Harper Jackson on the series Mama's Family, along with future Golden Girls co-star Rue McClanahan. White had originated this character in a series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s. When Mama's Family was picked up in syndication after being canceled by NBC in 1985, White left the show (with the exception of one final appearance in the show's syndicated version in 1986).

In 1985, she scored her second signature role and the biggest hit of her career as the St. Olaf, Minnesota-native Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. The series chronicled the lives of four widowed or divorced women in their "golden years" who shared a home in Miami. The Golden Girls, which also starred Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan, was immensely successful and ran from 1985 through 1992. White won one Emmy Award, for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, for the first season of The Golden Girls and was nominated in that category every year of the show's run (the only cast member to receive that distinction — Getty was also nominated every year, but in the supporting actress category). When Beatrice Arthur left in 1992, White, McClanahan, and Getty reprised their roles Rose, Blanche, and Sophia in the spin-off The Golden Palace. The series was short-lived, lasting only one season. In addition, White reprised her Rose Nylund character in guest appearances on the NBC shows Empty Nest and Nurses, both of which were set in Miami.

White was originally offered the role of Blanche in The Golden Girls, and Rue McClanahan was offered the role of Rose (the two characters being similar to roles they had played in Mary Tyler Moore and Maude, respectively). Jay Sandrich, the director of the pilot, suggested that since they had played similar roles in the past, they should switch roles, Rue McClanahan later said in a documentary on the series. White was originally scared to play Rose, feeling that she would not be able to play the role—until the show's creator took her aside and told her not to play Rose as stupid but to play her as someone "terminally naive, a person who always believed the first explanation of something." Despite being the eldest of the four women, White is the only surviving regular cast member, following the deaths of Estelle Getty in July 2008, Bea Arthur in April 2009, and Rue McClanahan in June 2010.

White's career has been in revival throughout the first decades of the 2000s, and her continuing cultural relevance is reflected in the numerous television and film projects she has been a part of. In December 2006, White joined the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in the role of Ann Douglas, the long-lost mother of the show's matriarch Stephanie Forrester, who was played by Susan Flannery. In February 2007, White returned as Ann, who had an intent to move to Los Angeles to be near her daughters. The characters of Ann and Pamela Douglas (Alley Mills) disappeared after their March 27, 2007, appearance and were not mentioned again until October 19, 2007, when Ann appeared briefly. White would go on to appear in three more episodes following that, one on December 10, 2007; August 28, 2008; and October 28, 2008. She returned to the show on November 18, 2009 and in the November 19, 2009 episode her character revealed that she was dying of advanced pancreatic cancer. To date she has made 22 appearances as Ann Douglas. In the November 23, 2009 episode Ann passes away due to complications from her illness, with both of her daughters at her side on the beach at Paradise Cove.

A grassroots campaign on Facebook called "Betty White to Host SNL (Please)" began in January 2010. The group was approaching 500,000 members when NBC confirmed on March 11, 2010 that White would in fact host Saturday Night Live on May 8. The appearance made her, at age 88, the oldest person to host the show, beating Miskel Spillman, the winner of SNL's "Anybody Can Host" contest, who was 80 when she hosted in 1977. The May 8 SNL episode garnered the show's highest ratings since November 1, 2008, when Ben Affleck hosted. In her opening monologue, White thanked Facebook and joked that she "didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time." The appearance earned her a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series, her seventh Emmy win overall.

In June 2010, White took on the role of Elka Ostrovsky the house caretaker on TV Land’s original sitcom Hot in Cleveland.

A Betty White calendar for 2011 was published in late 2010. The calendar features photos from her career and her pictured with various animals. She also debuted her own clothing line on July 22, 2010, which features shirts with her face on them. All proceeds will also go to various animal charities she supports.

White has published several books over the span of her career. In August 2010, she entered a deal with G.P. Putnam Sons to produce two more books, the first of which, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't), was released in 2011. In December 2011, White received her first ever Grammy Award ("Best Spoken Word Recording") for the audio recording of the book.

A special Betty White's 90th Birthday Party aired on NBC a day before the star's birthday on January 16, 2012. The show featured appearances of many stars with whom White has worked over the years. Betty White's Off Their Rockers aired following the celebratory event, and returned in April 2012 as a recurring show which resulted in an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. White’s success continued in 2012 with her first Grammy Award for a spoken word recording for her best seller If You Ask Me. She also won the UCLA Jack Benny Award for Comedy, recognizing her significant contribution to comedy in television, and was roasted at the New York Friars' Club. Hot In Cleveland continued its rating success, with White receiving her third consecutive Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination. In January 2013 NBC once again celebrated Betty White's birthday with a TV special featuring celebrity friends, including former president Bill Clinton; the special aired on February 5th.

White is a pet enthusiast and animal health advocate who works with a number of animal organizations, including the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. Her interest in animal rights and welfare began in the early 1970s while she was both producing and hosting the syndicated series, The Pet Set, which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.

As of 2009, White is the president emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation, where she has served as a trustee of the organization since 1971. She has been a member of the board of directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association since 1974. Additionally, White served the zoo association as a Zoo Commissioner for eight years.

According to the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Garden's "ZooScape" Member Newsletter, White hosted "History on Film" from 2000 to 2002. White donated nearly $100,000 to the zoo in the month of April 2008 alone.

Betty White served as a presenter at the 2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 1, 2011 in Los Angeles.

In 1945, White married Dick Barker, a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot.. The marriage was short-lived. In 1947, she married Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent. This marriage ended in divorce in 1949.

On June 14, 1963, White married television host and personality Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show Password as a celebrity guest in 1961, and her legal name was changed to Betty White Ludden. He proposed to White at least twice before she accepted. The couple appeared together in an episode of The Odd Couple featuring Felix's and Oscar's appearance on Password. Ludden appeared as a guest panelist on Match Game, with White sitting in the audience. (She was prompted to criticize one of Ludden's wrong answers on camera during an episode of Match Game '74). The two appeared together on the Match Game panel in 1974, 1975, and 1980.

Allen Ludden died from stomach cancer on June 9, 1981, in Los Angeles. They had no children together, though she is stepmother to his three children from his first marriage. White has not remarried since Ludden's death.

When asked about her real-life heroes, White told Vanity Fair, "Charles Darwin".

White is a practicing member of the Unity Church.

She is also a registered Democrat.

White has won six Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990), and two Viewers for Quality Television Awards. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6747 Hollywood Boulevard alongside the star of her late husband Allen Ludden.

White was the recipient of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Ike Award and the Genii Award from the American Women in Radio and Television in 1976. The American Comedy Awards awarded her the award for Funniest Female in 1987 as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. She was formally inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2009, White received the Career Achievement Award from the Television Critics Association.

The American Veterinary Medical Association awarded White with its Humane Award in 1987 for her charitable work with animals. The City of Los Angeles further honored her for her philanthropic work with animals in 2006 with a bronze plaque near the Gorilla Exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. The City of Los Angeles named her "Ambassador to the Animals" at the dedication ceremony.

In September 2009, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced plans to honor White with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Sandra Bullock presented White with the award on January 23, 2010, at the ceremony, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. She is a Kentucky Colonel. In 2009, White and her now-deceased Golden Girls cast mates Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty were awarded honorary Disney Legend awards. Betty was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in December 2010. In 2010 she was chosen as the Associated Press's Entertainer of the Year.

On November 9, 2010, the USDA Forest Service, along with Smokey Bear, made actress Betty White an honorary forest ranger, fulfilling her lifelong dream. White said in previous interviews that she wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl but that women were not allowed to do that then. Today’s United States Forest Service is 38 percent female, including rangers, scientists, and leaders at every level.

In January 2011, White received a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for her role as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot in Cleveland. The show itself was also nominated for an award as Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, but lost to the cast of Modern Family. She won the same award again in 2012, and has received a third nomination.

A 2011 poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos revealed that White was considered to be the most popular and most trusted celebrity among Americans, beating out the likes of Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Hanks.

In October 2011, White was awarded an honorary degree and white doctors coat by Washington State University at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association’s centennial gala in Yakima, Washington.

Sources: Wikipedia

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Herbert Hoover: The Presidents

Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933).

Herbert Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa, the first of his office born in that state and west of the Mississippi River. His father, Jessie Hoover (1849–1880), was a blacksmith and farm implement store owner, of German (Pfautz, Wehmeyer) and Swiss (Huber, Burkhart) descent. Jessie and his own father Eli had moved to Iowa from Ohio twenty years prior. Hoover's mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn (1849–1884), was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, and had English and Irish ancestry. Both parents were Quakers.

Around age two "Bertie", as he was called during that time, contracted a serious bout of croup, and was momentarily thought to have died until resuscitated by his uncle, John Minthorn. As a young child he was often referred to by his father as "my little stick in the mud" when he repeatedly got trapped in the mud crossing the unpaved street. Herbert's family figured prominently in the town's public prayer life, due almost entirely to mother Hulda's role in the church. His father, noted by the local paper for his "pleasant, sunshiny disposition", died in 1880; after working admirably to retire her husband's debts, retain their life insurance, and care for the children, his mother passed away in 1884, leaving Hoover an orphan at the age of nine. Fellow Quaker Lawrie Tatum was appointed as Hoover's guardian.

After a brief stay with one of his grandmothers in Kingsley, Iowa, Hoover lived the next 18 months with his uncle Allen Hoover in West Branch. In November 1885 he went to Newberg, Oregon, to live with his uncle Dr. John Minthorn, a physician and businessman whose own son had died the year before. The Minthorn household was considered cultured and educational, and imparted a strong work ethic. For two and a half years, Hoover attended Friends Pacific Academy (now George Fox University), and then worked as an office assistant in his uncle's real estate office, the Oregon Land Company, in Salem, Oregon. Though he did not attend high school, Hoover attended night school and learned bookkeeping, typing and mathematics.

Hoover entered Stanford University in 1891, its inaugural year, after failing all the entrance exams (except mathematics) and then being tutored for the summer in Palo Alto. The first-year students were not required to pay tuition. Hoover claimed to be the very first student at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory. While at the university, he was the student manager of both the baseball and football teams and was a part of the inaugural Big Game versus rival the University of California (Stanford won). Hoover graduated in 1895 with a degree in geology. He earned his way through four years of college working at various jobs on and off campus, including the Arkansas and United States Geological Survey. Throughout his tenure at Stanford he was adamantly opposed to the fraternity system.

When President Calvin Coolidge announced in 1927 that he would not seek a full term of office in the 1928 presidential election, Hoover became the leading Republican candidate, despite the fact Coolidge was lukewarm on Hoover, often deriding his ambitious and popular Commerce Secretary as "Wonder Boy". Coolidge had been reluctant to choose Hoover as his successor; on one occasion he remarked that "for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice - all of it bad. I was particularly offended by his comment to 'shit or get off the pot'." Even so, Coolidge had no desire to split the party by publicly opposing the popular Commerce Secretary's nomination. The delegates did consider nominating Vice President Charles Dawes to be Hoover's running mate. But Coolidge (who hated Dawes) remarked that this would be "a personal affront" to him, and the convention selected Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas instead. His only real challenger was Frank Orren Lowden. Hoover received much favorable press coverage in the months leading up to the convention. Lowden's campaign manager complained that newspapers were full of "nothing but advertisements for Herbert Hoover and Fletcher's Castoria". Hoover's reputation, experience, and popularity coalesced to give him the nomination on the first ballot, with Senator Charles Curtis named as his running mate. 

Hoover campaigned for efficiency and the Republican record of prosperity against Democrat Alfred E. Smith. Smith likewise was a proponent of efficiency earned as governor of New York. Both candidates were pro-business, and each promised to improve conditions for farmers, reform immigration laws, and maintain America's isolationist foreign policy. Where they differed was on the Volstead Act which outlawed the sale of liquor and beer. Smith was a "wet" who called for its repeal, whereas Hoover gave limited support for prohibition, calling it an "experiment noble in purpose". His use of "experiment" suggested it was not permanent. While Smith won extra support among Catholics in the big cities Smith was the target of intense anti-Catholicism from some Protestant communities, especially as Southern Baptists and German Lutherans. Overall the religious factor worked to the advantage of Hoover, although he took no part in it.

Historians agree that Hoover's national reputation and the booming economy, combined with deep splits in the Democratic Party over religion and prohibition, guaranteed his landslide victory with 58% of the vote. Hoover's appeal to southern white voters succeeded in cracking the "Solid South", winning the Democratic strongholds of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Tennessee; the Deep South continued to support Smith as the Democratic candidate. This was the first time that a Republican candidate for president had carried Texas. This outraged the black leadership, which largely broke from the Republican Party, and began seeking candidates who supported civil rights within the Democratic Party.

Hoover held a press conference on his first day in office, promising a "new phase of press relations". He asked the group of journalists to elect a committee to recommend improvements to the White House press conference. Hoover declined to use a spokesman, instead asking reporters to directly quote him and giving them handouts with his statements ahead of time. In his first 120 days in office, he held more regular and frequent press conferences than any other President, before or since. However, he changed his press policies after the 1929 stock market crash, screening reporters and greatly reducing his availability.

Unlike many previous first ladies, when Hoover's wife, Lou Henry Hoover, came to the White House, she had already carved out her own reputation, having graduated from Stanford as the only woman in her class with a degree in geology. Although she never practiced her profession formally, she typified the new woman of the post–World War I era: intelligent, robust, and aware of multiple female possibilities.

Hoover invented his own sport to keep fit while in the White House, a combination of volleyball and tennis, which he played every morning.

Hoover entered office with a plan to reform the nation's regulatory system, believing that a federal bureaucracy should have limited regulation over a country's economic system. A self-described progressive and reformer, Hoover saw the presidency as a vehicle for improving the conditions of all Americans by encouraging public-private cooperation - what he termed "volunteerism". Hoover saw volunteerism as preferable to governmental coercion or intervention which he saw as opposed to the American ideals of individualism and self-reliance. Long before he had entered politics, he had denounced laissez-faire thinking.

Hoover seldom mentioned civil rights while he was President. He believed that African-Americans and other races could improve themselves with education and wanted the races assimilated into white culture. Hoover attempted to appoint John J. Parker of North Carolina to the Supreme Court in 1930 to replace Edward Sanford. The NAACP claimed that Parker had made many court decisions against African-Americans, and they fought the nomination. The NAACP was successful in gaining Senator Borah's support and the nomination was defeated by one vote in the Senate.

Hoover had long been a proponent of the concept that public-private cooperation was the way to achieve high long-term growth. Hoover feared that too much government intervention would undermine long-term individuality and self-reliance, which he considered essential to the nation's future. Both his ideals and the economy were put to the test with the onset of the Great Depression. 

Although Democrats at the time and for decades afterwards denounced Hoover for taking a hands-off ("laissez-faire") approach to the Depression, historians emphasize how active he actually was. Hoover said he rejected Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's suggested "leave-it-alone" approach, and called many business leaders to Washington to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages.

In 1931, Hoover issued the Hoover Moratorium, calling for a one-year halt in reparation payments by Germany to France and in the payment of Allied war debts to the United States. The plan was met with much opposition, especially from France, who saw significant losses to Germany during World War I. The Moratorium did little to ease economic declines. As the moratorium neared its expiration the following year, an attempt to find a permanent solution was made at the Lausanne Conference of 1932. A working compromise was never established, and by the start of World War II, reparations payments had stopped completely. Hoover in 1931 urged the major banks in the country to form a consortium known as the National Credit Corporation (NCC).

In the U.S. by 1932 unemployment had reached 24.9%, businesses defaulted on record numbers of loans, and more than 5,000 banks had failed. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves homeless and began congregating in the numerous Hoovervilles (shanty towns) that sprang up in major cities.

Congress, desperate to increase federal revenue, enacted the Revenue Act of 1932, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in history. The Act increased taxes across the board, so that top earners were taxed at 63% on their net income. The 1932 Act also increased the tax on the net income of corporations from 12% to 13.75%.

The final attempt of the Hoover Administration to rescue the economy occurred in 1932 with the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, which authorized funds for public works programs and the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC's initial goal was to provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads and farmers. The RFC had minimal impact at the time, but was adopted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and greatly expanded as part of his New Deal.

To pay for these and other government programs and to make up for revenue lost due to the Depression, in addition to the Revenue Act of 1932 Hoover agreed to roll back several tax cuts that his Administration had enacted on upper incomes. The estate tax was doubled and corporate taxes were raised by almost 15%. Also, a "check tax" was included that placed a 2-cent tax (over 30 cents in today's economy) on all bank checks. Economists William D. Lastrapes and George Selgin, conclude that the check tax was "an important contributing factor to that period's severe monetary contraction". Hoover also encouraged Congress to investigate the New York Stock Exchange, and this pressure resulted in various reforms.

Although Hoover had come to detest the presidency, he agreed to run again in 1932, not only as a matter of pride, but also because he feared that no other likely Republican candidate would deal with the depression without resorting to what Hoover considered dangerously radical measures.

Hoover was nominated by the Republicans for a second term. He had originally planned to make only one or two major speeches, and to leave the rest of the campaigning to proxies, but when polls showed the entire Republican ticket facing a resounding defeat at the polls, Hoover agreed to an expanded schedule of public addresses. In his nine major radio addresses Hoover primarily defended his administration and his philosophy. The apologetic approach did not allow Hoover to refute Democratic nominee Franklin Roosevelt's charge that he was personally responsible for the depression.

In his campaign trips around the country, Hoover was faced with perhaps the most hostile crowds of any sitting president. Besides having his train and motorcades pelted with eggs and rotten fruit, he was often heckled while speaking, and on several occasions, the Secret Service halted attempts to kill Hoover by disgruntled citizens, including capturing one man nearing Hoover carrying sticks of dynamite, and another already having removed several spikes from the rails in front of the President's train.

Despite the late campaign endeavors, Hoover sustained a large defeat in the election, having procured only 39.7 percent of the popular vote to Roosevelt's 57.4 percent. Hoover's popular vote was reduced by 26 percentage points from his result in the 1928 election. In the electoral college he carried only Pennsylvania, Delaware, and four other Northeastern states to lose 59 - 472. The Democrats extended their control over the U.S. House and gained control of the U.S. Senate.

After the election, Hoover requested that Roosevelt retain the Gold standard as the basis of the US currency, and in effect, continue many of the Hoover Administration's economic policies. Roosevelt refused.

Hoover departed from Washington in March 1933 with some bitterness, disappointed both that he had been repudiated by the voters and unappreciated for his best efforts. The Hoovers went first to New York City, where they stayed for a while in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Later that spring, they returned to California to their Palo Alto residence. Hoover enjoyed returning to the men's clubs that he had long been involved with, including the Bohemian Club, the Pacific-Union Club, and the University Club in San Francisco. 

Although many of his friends and supporters called upon Hoover to speak out against FDR's New Deal and to assume his place as the voice of the "loyal opposition", he refused to do so for many years after leaving the White House, and he largely kept himself out of the public spotlight until late in 1934. However, that did not stop rumors springing up about him, often fanned by Democratic politicians who found the former President to be a convenient scapegoat.

The relationship between Hoover and Roosevelt was one of the most severely strained in Presidential history. Hoover had little good to say about his successor. FDR, in turn, supposedly engaged in various petty official acts aimed at his predecessor, ranging from dropping him from the White House birthday greetings message list to having Hoover's name struck from the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, which would officially be known only as Boulder Dam for many years to come.

By 1940, Hoover was again being spoken of as the possible nominee of the party in the presidential election. Although he trailed in the polls behind Thomas Dewey, Arthur Vandenberg, and his own former protege, Robert A. Taft, he still had considerable first-ballot delegate strength, and it was believed that if the convention deadlocked between the leading candidates, the party might turn to him as its compromise. However, the convention nominated the utility company president Wendell Willkie, who had supported Roosevelt in 1932 but turned against him after the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority forced him to sell his company. Hoover dutifully supported Willkie, although he despaired that the nominee endorsed a platform that, to Hoover, was little more than the New Deal in all but name.

From Coolidge's death in 1933 to Dwight D. Eisenhower's last day of serving the presidency in 1961, Hoover had been the only living Republican former president. In 1960, Hoover appeared at his final Republican National Convention. Since the 1948 convention, he had been feted as the guest of "farewell" ceremonies (the unspoken assumption being that the aging former President might not survive until the next convention). Joking to the delegates, he said, "Apparently, my last three good-byes didn't take." Although he lived to see the 1964 convention, ill health prevented him from attending. The Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater acknowledged Hoover's absence in his acceptance speech. In 1962, Hoover had a malignant intestinal tumor removed. Ten months later he had severe gastrointestinal bleeding and seemed terminally ill and frail, but his mind was clear and he maintained a great deal of correspondence. Although the illness would get worse over time, he refused to be hospitalized. 

Hoover died following massive internal bleeding at the age of 90 in his New York City suite at 11:35 a.m. on October 20, 1964, 31 years, seven months, and sixteen days after leaving office. At the time of his death, he had the longest retirement of any President. Former President Jimmy Carter surpassed the length of Hoover's retirement on September 7, 2012. At the time of his death he was the second longest-lived president after John Adams; both were since surpassed by Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. He had outlived by 20 years his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, who had died in 1944, and he was the last living member of the Coolidge administration. He also outlived both his successor Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt who died in 1945 and 1962, respectively. By the time of his death, he had rehabilitated his image. His birthplace in Iowa and an Oregon home where he lived as a child, became National Landmarks during his lifetime. His Rapidan fishing camp in Virginia, which he had donated to the government in 1933, is now a National Historic Landmark within the Shenandoah National Park. Hoover and his wife are buried at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover was honored with a state funeral, the last of three in a span of 12 months, coming as it did just after the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and General Douglas MacArthur. Former Chaplain of the Senate Frederick Brown Harris officiated. All three had two things in common: the commanding general of the Military District of Washington during those funerals was Army Major General Philip C. Wehle and the riderless horse was Black Jack, who also served in that role during Lyndon B. Johnson's funeral.

Herbert Hoover began his magnum opus Freedom Betrayed in 1944 as part of a proposed autobiography. This turned into a significant work critiquing the foreign policy of the United States during the period from the 1930s to 1945. Essentially an attack on the statesmanship of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hoover completed this work in his 90th year but it was not published until the historian George H. Nash took on the task of editing it. Significant themes are his belief that the western democratic powers should have let Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia assail and weaken each other, and opposition to the British guarantee of Poland's independence.

Sources: Wikipedia

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Johann Sebastian Bach: Legend

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque period. He enriched many established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Mass in B minor, the The Well-Tempered Clavier, his cantatas, chorales, partitas, Passions, and organ works. His music is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty.

Bach was born in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach, into a very musical family; his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father taught him to play violin and harpsichord, and his brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. Bach also went to St Michael's School in Lüneburg because of his singing skills. After graduating, he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, Cantor of Thomasschule in Leipzig, and Royal Court Composer to August III. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Modern historians believe that his death was caused by a combination of stroke and pneumonia.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque period, and as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach, on 21 March 1685 O.S. (31 March 1685 N.S.). He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. He was the eighth child of Johann Ambrosius, (the eldest son in the family was 14 at the time of Bach’s birth) who probably taught him violin and the basics of music theory. His uncles were all professional musicians, whose posts included church organists, court chamber musicians, and composers. One uncle, Johann Christoph Bach (1645–93), introduced him to the organ, and an older second cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach (1677–1731), was a well-known composer and violinist. Bach drafted a genealogy around 1735, titled "Origin of the musical Bach family".

Bach's mother died in 1694, and his father died eight months later. Bach, 10, moved in with his oldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach (1671–1721), the organist at the Michaeliskirche in Ohrdruf, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. There he studied, performed, and copied music, including his own brother's, despite being forbidden to do so because scores were so valuable and private and blank ledger paper of that type was costly. He received valuable teaching from his brother, who instructed him on the clavichord. J.C. Bach exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel (under whom Johann Christoph had studied) and Johann Jakob Froberger; North German composers; Frenchmen, such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Louis Marchand, Marin Marais; and the Italian clavierist Girolamo Frescobaldi. Also during this time, he was taught theology, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at the local gymnasium.

At the age of 14, Bach, along with his older school friend George Erdmann, was awarded a choral scholarship to study at the prestigious St. Michael's School in Lüneburg in the Principality of Lüneburg. Although it is not known for certain, the trip was likely taken mostly on foot. His two years there were critical in exposing him to a wider facet of European culture. In addition to singing in the choir he played the School's three-manual organ and harpsichords. He came into contact with sons of noblemen from northern Germany sent to the highly selective school to prepare for careers in other disciplines.

Although little supporting historical evidence exists at this time, it is almost certain that while in Lüneburg, Bach visited the Johanniskirche (Church of St. John) and heard (and possibly played) the church's famous organ (built in 1549 by Jasper Johannsen, and played by Georg Böhm). Given his musical talent, Bach had significant contact with prominent organists of the day in Lüneburg, most notably Böhm, but also including organists in nearby Hamburg, such as Johann Adam Reincken.

In January 1703, shortly after graduating from St. Michael's and being turned down for the post of organist at Sangerhausen, Bach was appointed court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar. His role there is unclear, but likely included menial, non-musical duties. During his seven-month tenure at Weimar, his reputation as a keyboardist spread so much that he was invited to inspect the new organ, and give the inaugural recital, at St. Boniface's Church in Arnstadt, located about 40 km southwest of Weimar. In August 1703, he became the organist at St Boniface's, with light duties, a relatively generous salary, and a fine new organ tuned in the modern tempered system that allowed a wide range of keys to be used.

Despite strong family connections and a musically enthusiastic employer, tension built up between Bach and the authorities after several years in the post. Bach was dissatisfied with the standard of singers in the choir, while his employer was upset by his unauthorised absence from Arnstadt; Bach was gone for several months in 1705–06, to visit the great organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude and his Abendmusiken at the Marienkirche in the northern city of Lübeck. The visit to Buxtehude involved a 400 kilometre (250 mi) journey on foot each way. The trip reinforced Buxtehude's style as a foundation for Bach's earlier works. Bach wanted to become amanuensis (assistant and successor) to Buxtehude, but did not want to marry his daughter, which was a condition for his appointment.

In 1706, Bach was offered a post as organist at St. Blasius's in Mühlhausen, which he took up the following year. It included significantly higher remuneration, improved conditions, and a better choir. Four months after arriving at Mühlhausen, Bach married Maria Barbara Bach, his second cousin. They had seven children, four of whom survived to adulthood, including Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach who both became important composers as well. Bach was able to convince the church and city government at Mühlhausen to fund an expensive renovation of the organ at St. Blasius's. Bach, in turn, wrote an elaborate, festive cantata - Gott ist mein König, BWV 71- for the inauguration of the new council in 1708. The council paid handsomely for its publication, and it was a major success.

In 1708, Bach left Mühlhausen, returning to Weimar this time as organist and from 1714 "Konzertmeister", director of music, at the ducal court, where he had an opportunity to work with a large, well-funded contingent of professional musicians. Bach moved with his family into an apartment very close to the ducal palace. In the following year, their first child was born and Maria Barbara's elder, unmarried sister joined them. She remained to help run the household until her death in 1729.

Bach's time in Weimar was the start of a sustained period of composing keyboard and orchestral works. He attained the proficiency and confidence to extend the prevailing structures and to include influences from abroad. He learned to write dramatic openings and employ the dynamic motor-rhythms and harmonic schemes found in the music of Italians such as Vivaldi, Corelli, and Torelli. Bach absorbed these stylistic aspects in part by transcribing Vivaldi's string and wind concertos for harpsichord and organ; many of these transcribed works are still played in concert often. Bach was particularly attracted to the Italian style in which one or more solo instruments alternate section-by-section with the full orchestra throughout a movement.

In Weimar, Bach continued to play and compose for the organ, and to perform concert music with the duke's ensemble. He also began to write the preludes and fugues which were later assembled into his monumental work Das Wohltemperierte Clavier ("The Well-Tempered Clavier" - Clavier meaning clavichord or harpsichord), consisting of two books, compiled in 1722 and 1744, each containing a prelude and fugue in every major and minor key.

Also in Weimar Bach started work on the Little Organ Book for his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, containing traditional Lutheran chorales (hymn tunes) set in complex textures to train organists. In 1713 Bach was offered a post in Halle when he advised the authorities during a renovation by Christoph Cuntzius of the main organ in the west gallery of the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen. Johann Kuhnau and Bach played again when it was inaugurated in 1716. Musicologists debate whether his first Christmas cantata Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, was premiered here in 1713, or if it was performed for the bicentennial of the Reformation in 1717. Bach eventually fell out of favour in Weimar and was, according to a translation of the court secretary's report, jailed for almost a month before being unfavourably dismissed: "On November 6, [1717], the quondam concertmaster and organist Bach was confined to the County Judge's place of detention for too stubbornly forcing the issue of his dismissal and finally on December 2 was freed from arrest with notice of his unfavourable discharge."

Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen hired Bach to serve as his Kapellmeister (director of music) in 1717. Prince Leopold, himself a musician, appreciated Bach's talents, paid him well, and gave him considerable latitude in composing and performing. The prince was Calvinist and did not use elaborate music in his worship; accordingly, most of Bach's work from this period was secular, including the orchestral suites, the six suites for solo cello, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin, and the Brandenburg concertos. Bach also composed secular cantatas for the court such as the Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht, BWV 134a.

Despite being born in the same year and only about 80 miles apart, Bach and Handel never met. In 1719 Bach made the 20 mile journey from Köthen to Halle with the intention of meeting Handel, however Handel had recently departed the city. In 1730, Bach's son Friedmann travelled to Halle to invite Handel to visit the Bach family in Leipzig, however the visit did not come to pass.

On 7 July 1720, while Bach was abroad with Prince Leopold, Bach's first wife suddenly died. The following year, he met Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a young, highly gifted soprano 17 years his junior, who performed at the court in Köthen; they married on 3 December 1721. Together they had 13 more children, six of whom survived into adulthood: Gottfried Heinrich, Johann Christoph Friedrich, and Johann Christian, all of whom became significant musicians; Elisabeth Juliane Friederica (1726–81), who married Bach's pupil Johann Christoph Altnikol; Johanna Carolina (1737–81); and Regina Susanna (1742–1809)

In 1723, Bach was appointed Cantor of the Thomasschule at Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and Director of Music in the principal churches in the town, namely the Nikolaikirche and the Paulinerkirche, the church of the University of Leipzig. This was a prestigious post in the mercantile city in the Electorate of Saxony, which he held for 27 years until his death. It brought him into contact with the political machinations of his employer, Leipzig's city council.

Bach was required to instruct the students of the Thomasschule in singing and to provide church music for the main churches in Leipzig. Bach was required to teach Latin, but he was allowed to employ a deputy to do this instead. A cantata was required for the church services on Sundays and additional church holidays during the liturgical year. He usually performed his own cantatas, most of which were composed during his first three years in Leipzig. The first of these was Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, first performed in the Nikolaikirche on 30 May 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity. Bach collected his cantatas in annual cycles. Five are mentioned in obituaries, three are extant. Most of these concerted works expound on the Gospel readings prescribed for every Sunday and feast day in the Lutheran year. Bach started a second annual cycle the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724, and composed only Chorale cantatas, each based on a single church hymn. These include O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62, and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1.

Bach drew the soprano and alto choristers from the School, and the tenors and basses from the School and elsewhere in Leipzig. Performing at weddings and funerals provided extra income for these groups; it was probably for this purpose, and for in-school training, that he wrote at least six motets, at least five of which are for double choir. As part of his regular church work, he performed other composers' motets, which served as formal models for his own.

Bach broadened his composing and performing beyond the liturgy by taking over, in March 1729, the directorship of the Collegium Musicum, a secular performance ensemble started by the composer Georg Philipp Telemann. This was one of the dozens of private societies in the major German-speaking cities that was established by musically active university students; these societies had become increasingly important in public musical life and were typically led by the most prominent professionals in a city. In the words of Christoph Wolff, assuming the directorship was a shrewd move that "consolidated Bach's firm grip on Leipzig's principal musical institutions". Year round, the Leipzig's Collegium Musicum performed regularly in venues such as the Café Zimmermann, a Coffeehouse on Catherine Street off the main market square. Many of Bach's works during the 1730s and 1740s were written for and performed by the Collegium Musicum; among these were parts of his Clavier-Übung (Keyboard Practice) and many of his violin and harpsichord concertos.

In 1733, Bach composed a Missa of Kyrie and Gloria which he later incorporated in his Mass in B minor. He presented the manuscript to the King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and Elector of Saxony, August III in an eventually successful bid to persuade the monarch to appoint him as Royal Court Composer. He later extended this work into a full Mass, by adding a Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, the music for which was partly based on his own cantatas, partly new composed. Bach's appointment as court composer was part of his long-term struggle to achieve greater bargaining power with the Leipzig Council. Although the complete mass was probably never performed during the composer's lifetime, it is considered to be among the greatest choral works of all time. Between 1737 and 1739, Bach's former pupil Carl Gotthelf Gerlach took over the directorship of the Collegium Musicum.

In 1747, Bach visited the court of King Frederick II of Prussia at Potsdam. The king played a theme for Bach and challenged him to improvise a fugue based on his theme. Bach improvised a three-part fugue on one of Frederick's fortepianoss, then a novelty, and later presented the king with a Musical Offering which consists of fugues, canons and a trio based on this theme. Its six-part fugue includes a slightly altered subject more suitable for extensive elaboration.

In the same year Bach joined the Correspondierende Societät der musicalischen Wissenschaften (de) of Lorenz Christoph Mizler after a long formal preparation which was necessary by the Society. Mizler called his former teacher one of his “guten Freunde und Gönner” (good friends and sponsors). This is particularly noteworthy because Mizler was a passionate representative of the German and Polish Enlightenment. Bach's membership had several effects. On the occasion of his entry to this Society Bach composed Einige canonische Veraenderungen, / über das / Weynacht-Lied: / Vom Himmel hoch da / komm ich her (BWV 769). In 1746, during the preparation of Bach's entry, the famous Bach-portrait was painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann. A portrait had to be submitted by each member of the Society. The canon triplex á 6 voc. (BWV 1076) on this portrait was dedicated to the Society. The Society insisted on a necrology of each member. Therefore, Mizler initiated the history of the Bach biographies in the Musikalische Bibliothek (de). It was often argued, that other late works might have a connection with the music theory based Society. One of those works was The Art of Fugue, which was composed shortly before his death, but Bach never completed the final fugue. It consists of 18 complex fugues and canons based on a simple theme. It was only published posthumously in 1751.

The final work Bach completed was a chorale prelude for organ, entitled Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (Before thy throne I now appear, BWV 668a) which he dictated to his son-in-law, Johann Altnikol, from his deathbed. When the notes on the three staves of the final cadence are counted and mapped onto the Roman alphabet, the initials "JSB" are found.

Bach's health declined in 1749; on 2 June, Heinrich von Brühl wrote to one of the Leipzig burgomasters to request that his music director, Gottlob Harrer, fill the Thomascantor and Director musices posts "upon the eventual ... decease of Mr. Bach." Bach became increasingly blind, so the British eye surgeon John Taylor operated on Bach while visiting Leipzig in March or April 1750.

On 28 July 1750 Bach died at the age of 65. A contemporary newspaper reported "the unhappy consequences of the very unsuccessful eye operation" as the cause of death. Modern historians speculate that the cause of death was a stroke complicated by pneumonia. His son Emanuel and his pupil Johann Friedrich Agricola wrote an obituary of Bach.

Bach's estate included five Clavecins, two lute-harpsichords, three violins, three violas, two cellos, a viola da gamba, a lute and a spinet, and 52 "sacred books", including books by Martin Luther and Josephus. He was originally buried at Old St. John's Cemetery in Leipzig. His grave went unmarked for nearly 150 years. In 1894 his coffin was finally found and moved to a vault in St. John's Church. This building was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II, so in 1950 Bach's remains were taken to their present grave at Leipzig's Church of St. Thomas.

Source: Wikipedia

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