kenyatta
Even if someone makes something terrible—like the music the Insane Clown Posse makes—at least they’re doing something that speaks to them. And they kept going even though people told them it was terrible. And they found their audience, and now they built a community around their work. Look, you couldn’t pay me to listen to their music, but I still feel like I have more in common with the Insane Clown Posse than I do with someone who just sits on the sidelines and shits on other people’s work and who never puts themselves on the line.
deadpresidents

emt4com asked:

The other day you mentioned you thought LBJ might have lived through another term as president. I've thought the same about TR. He loved the presidency so much, even though he thought he had someone to carry on his policies for him, why did he step aside in 1908? If he had run in 1908, he would have won, right? Do you think he could have been like his cousin & served 11, 15, or even 19 years? Maybe even more as the job seemed to give him life?

deadpresidents answered:

Theodore Roosevelt stepped aside in 1908 because immediately after winning the 1904 election, he announced that he wouldn’t run for President in ‘08. It was one of those situations where he probably wanted to grab the words out of the air and take them back as he was saying them. TR loved being President and he regretted his 1904 declaration to not run in 1908 for the rest of his life. But Roosevelt also strongly believed that a person’s word is their honor and he couldn’t bring himself to break the promise he made in 1904, even if the electorate would have not only forgiven him for it, but would have preferred that he run again. 

TR definitely would have won in 1908, and if he had been re-elected that year, he would have probably implemented a progressive agenda and neuter the basis for Woodrow Wilson’s successful 1912 campaign for the Presidency. Plus, Roosevelt wouldn’t have had to torpedo poor William Howard Taft and split the Republican Party, which likely would have helped him win re-election again in 1912 because the electoral landscape would have been very different. TR probably could have been elected again-and-again if he had run in 1908 and held on to the job. Roosevelt was still popular and even though he kept his promise in 1908, many Republicans urged him to reconsider — including Roosevelt’s handpicked successor, Taft. Unfortunately for TR, keeping his promise in 1908 complicated his political future, especially because of the break with establishment Republicans and President Taft.

As it was, TR had a remarkable showing in 1912 considering his party split into separate factions and he had to run as a third-party candidate for a party that was basically just thrown together at the last minute when Taft was renominated by the GOP. TR didn’t run in 1916 because he still had to heal some wounds within the Republican Party and wanted to show solidarity by staying out of that race and supporting the GOP nominee, Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes lost that 1916 race to Wilson with one of the narrowest Electoral College margins in American history (Wilson 277, Hughes 254), so even with the lingering intraparty bad blood, Roosevelt probably could have won the 1916 election. He was not going to sit out the 1920 election and he was the clear frontrunner for 1920 basically from Election Day 1916. Roosevelt would have won the 1920 election — and won big considering the fact that the comparatively unknown (and exceedingly unqualified) Warren G. Harding ended up winning over 400 Electoral votes.

Roosevelt died on January 6, 1919, and that shook up every projection of the 1920 Presidential election. We mention Roosevelt’s popularity as one of the reasons he could have been elected President on several occasions, but another important factor was his age. When TR assumed the Presidency upon the assassination of President McKinley, he was just 42 years, 322 days old; he was the youngest President in history. He’s still the youngest President in history. In fact, Roosevelt was younger when he LEFT office after 7 1/2 years as President (50 years, 128 days old) than most Presidents have been upon their inauguration! TR was 60 years, 71 days old when he died, meaning TEN Presidents were older on the day of their inauguration than Roosevelt was on the day that he died.

I imagine that you’re probably right and that Roosevelt’s health — like LBJ;s — would have benefited from TR staying active and engaged through the important work that he was doing everyday. There are a couple of differences, though. Roosevelt remained a lot more active than LBJ did after leaving office. TR was very involved in politics nationally and in New York; he continued his amazingly prolific output as a writer; he dedicated significant amounts of time and energy on his expeditions as a naturalist and hunter; and let’s not forget that he actually did run for President again (and was so active during that campaign that he was shot in the chest in an assassination attempt and then gave an hour-long speech before heading to the hospital). LBJ let himself go in a way, but TR couldn’t stop going full-steam ahead on multiple projects.

But in Theodore Roosevelt’s case, that active and adventurous lifestyle probably contributed to his death. In 1914, TR spent nearly eight months on a scientific expedition in Brazil exploring a destination so remote that it was called the River of Doubt since few explorers had ever successfully reached it (Brazil later renamed it “Rio Roosevelt” in TR’s honor). During the Brazilian expedition, Roosevelt suffered a nasty cut on his leg that became so infected that there were worries it might have to be amputated in the field. Even more worrisome was the fact that Roosevelt was stricken with malaria so severe that he was hallucinating and had a dangerously high fever which reached 106 degrees. Roosevelt was convinced that he was dying and urged the other members of his expedition, which included his son, Kermit, to carry on without him because he worried that he would hold the party back and expose all of them to further danger. The rest of the expedition refused and eventually got Roosevelt out of the Amazon and back home to New York.

TR had recurring bouts of malaria for the rest of his life and never fully recovered from that or the serious infection which nearly cost him his leg. Roosevelt was famously energetic and physically active — his exercise regiments in the White House often included boxing, wrestling, and jiujitsu (TR basically the first American mixed martial artist). But he was weakened by the illnesses from Brazil and was hospitalized for weeks at a time when he had relapses, even though he was not quite 60 years old. Roosevelt still had his eye on a run for the White House in 1920 despite his health problems, but he really began to decline rapidly after July 14, 1918. All four of his sons saw combat in World War I and made their father immensely proud; his three oldest sons, Theodore Jr., Kermit, and Archibald had been wounded in action. But on July 14th, the former President’s youngest son, 20-year-old Quentin Roosevelt, a fighter pilot in the early American Army Air Force was shot down by a German fighter in a dogfight over France.

Theodore Roosevelt had spent his life seeking military glory and praising the heroic action of “the man in the arena”, but when his son was killed in action, the horror of war truly came home for him. Roosevelt was devastated by Quentin’s death and his already-declining health seemed to fail even more quickly. The chronic health problems stemming from the expedition in Brazil, constant physical pain from a life filled with dynamic exercise of his body and mind, and a broken heart from the death of his youngest son sapped him of his strength and stripped him of two things that Theodore Roosevelt always had in abundance — endless energy and iron will. TR was only 60 years old when he died, but he was the oldest 60-year-old man who had ever lived.     

nprontheroad
nprontheroad:

In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray, South Carolina.  Around sunset, hundreds of thousands of purple martins come streaming towards the center of the lake from every direction, swirling together in a massive flock that darkens the sky. After an hour of wheeling and singing they settle down on a small island. For the past 25 years, Lake Murray has boasted the largest purple martin roost in the United States. The birds gather there in the hundreds of thousands before beginning their epic migration to South America. Every year hundreds of boats full of purple martin admirers crowd the waters around the island. Every year 500,000 birds put on a breathtaking aerial performance.But not this year. This year, the boats went out as usual. But the birds didn’t show up.And so Skunk Bear (NPR’s science tumblr) has gone mobile in search of the missing martins.  We – that’s photojournalist Maggie Starbard and science reporter Adam Cole – have vowed not to return to HQ until we’ve located the errant flock … or until Tuesday morning. Whichever comes first.We’re starting our search where the birds were last seen: in American backyards. Purple martins on the east coast rely entirely on human-built dwellings to breed, and thousands of humans have taken it upon themselves to provide these nesting colonies. We’re hoping this slightly crazy fellowship of purple martin “landlords” (that’s what they call themselves) can point us in the right direction. Maybe we’ll find out where the birds went.  Maybe we’ll find out why they are so dependent on humans. And maybe we’ll find out why all these people are so invested in their survival. Stay tuned.

nprontheroad:

In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray, South Carolina.  Around sunset, hundreds of thousands of purple martins come streaming towards the center of the lake from every direction, swirling together in a massive flock that darkens the sky. After an hour of wheeling and singing they settle down on a small island.

For the past 25 years, Lake Murray has boasted the largest purple martin roost in the United States. The birds gather there in the hundreds of thousands before beginning their epic migration to South America. Every year hundreds of boats full of purple martin admirers crowd the waters around the island. Every year 500,000 birds put on a breathtaking aerial performance.

But not this year.

This year, the boats went out as usual. But the birds didn’t show up.

And so Skunk Bear (NPR’s science tumblr) has gone mobile in search of the missing martins.  We – that’s photojournalist Maggie Starbard and science reporter Adam Cole – have vowed not to return to HQ until we’ve located the errant flock … or until Tuesday morning. Whichever comes first.

We’re starting our search where the birds were last seen: in American backyards. Purple martins on the east coast rely entirely on human-built dwellings to breed, and thousands of humans have taken it upon themselves to provide these nesting colonies. We’re hoping this slightly crazy fellowship of purple martin “landlords” (that’s what they call themselves) can point us in the right direction.

Maybe we’ll find out where the birds went.  Maybe we’ll find out why they are so dependent on humans. And maybe we’ll find out why all these people are so invested in their survival. Stay tuned.

witsradio
witsradio:

Weekend Longread: Maria Bamford had a great profile in the New York Times Magazine. 
"Maria Bamford has a mantra of sorts, and here it is: Do the work. Three words, three syllables. An easy, orderly thing. She tells it to herself when she wakes up in the morning, whether it’s at her bungalow in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Angeles or at a Holiday Inn in Boston or a Marriott in Bloomington, or any of the other highway-side hotels she hits for one night before moving on. Do the work. It’s a stay against paralysis, against the descent of dread. It’s less dramatic than “seize the day!” more affirming than “stop overthinking everything!” It is functional, and that’s what she’s trying to be. Do the work. She repeats it on airplanes, in taxis, on the long walks she takes to calm her nerves before a show. Sometimes she amends it to: Just do the work, the “just” a reminder that she’s not, after all, performing surgery on babies. There’s another, more refined version, too. Do your bits, she’ll tell herself, resigned to the idea that this may always be a struggle. Just do your bits.”

witsradio:

Weekend Longread: Maria Bamford had a great profile in the New York Times Magazine.

"Maria Bamford has a mantra of sorts, and here it is: Do the work. Three words, three syllables. An easy, orderly thing. She tells it to herself when she wakes up in the morning, whether it’s at her bungalow in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Angeles or at a Holiday Inn in Boston or a Marriott in Bloomington, or any of the other highway-side hotels she hits for one night before moving on. Do the work. It’s a stay against paralysis, against the descent of dread. It’s less dramatic than “seize the day!” more affirming than “stop overthinking everything!” It is functional, and that’s what she’s trying to be. Do the work. She repeats it on airplanes, in taxis, on the long walks she takes to calm her nerves before a show. Sometimes she amends it to: Just do the work, the “just” a reminder that she’s not, after all, performing surgery on babies. There’s another, more refined version, too. Do your bits, she’ll tell herself, resigned to the idea that this may always be a struggle. Just do your bits.”