Book Trailer For Madam President

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lady Godiva Rides into the Second Worlds Fair

Sally Rand wanted to be part of Chicago's Second Worlds Fair. The young dancer who had an act at the Paramount on State Street where she danced naked behind giant ostrich feathers but she knew this was her last chance. So she did what any self respecting woman would do she hired a boat and got hold of a horse and covered herself with body paint with nothing on but a cape and headed for the opening ceremonies. It was a warm night for May and Sally Rand put the horse on the boat and had her boss from the Paramount drive her along the Lake front.

She could hear the crowd and see the lights. Her career in Hollywood had fizzled when the talkies came and her lisp resonated like a bad cymbal. Cecil B Demill didn't have to tell her it was over and that's when she headed for Chicago with nothing but a bus ticket. She ended up sleeping in alleys until she hooked the job at the Paramount. But working on State Street didn't compare to the glittering lights of Hollywood and Sally Rand wanted to climb back and she saw the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933 as a way to do it.

So now she is on that horse heading toward the waters edge. The horse is restless as the boat bumps up against the cement retaining wall and then Sally digs her heels into the warm sides of the creature who just wants to run. It  is a dead gallop through the fair turning one way and then the other. The naked woman on the horse heads for the bright lights instinctively. It will be her last chance to be a star.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thank Al Capone for the Date on Your Milk

You always think that date on the milk came from some company who thought it was a great idea to let people know when their milk was going to spoil. And that date is pretty accurate and once it expires your milk goes sour. What most people don't know is that you can thank Public Enemy #1 for keeping your kids milk from tasting like the inside of an old shoe. Al Capone aka Bottles is the man who thought it would be a good idea to put a date on the bottle of milk so mom would know when to buy the milk and if it was going bad the next day.

So how did a gangster in the twenties make this change to bottling milk and just about every other perishable that we now take for granted. Capones bootlegging operation was vast and not only  did he bottle booze and beer he bottled milk. And he remembered as a boy many sour bottles of milk and one thing Capone was and that was inventive. In a different time he might have been a very successful manufacturer or run a corporation. He saw problems and solved them and ran a vast network of breweries, bottling operations and oversaw a transportation network that involved employing thousands.

So he saw it as logical to time stamp a date on a bottle and give a consumer an idea of how old hte milk was. The early dates were just the date of the actual bottling but of course this gave way to what he now have and that is an expiration date. Capone of course would not live to see his legacy in the from of a plastic jug of milk in a supermarket but it is one of the few things that transcend the murder and mayhem we associate with the man who went by the nickname "bottles."

Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Second Worlds Fair In Chicago

Since the first fair in 1893 made famous in the book Devil in the White City people assume the Colombian Exposition was it. But forty years later there was another fair in 1933. This time the fair was during the worst year of the Great Depression and while there was no mass murderer like Dr. Holmes there was Al Capone. Arguably Capone was more of a mass killer than Holmes could ever hope to be and this presented a problem for Chicago. How do you have a Worlds Fair when everyone thinks Chicago is out of control?

The truth was Chicago was out of control. Capone had a lock down on the cops, the judges, the mayor, witnesses...basically the city. It is hard to believed a major American city could come under the control of one man but that was the situation. The St. Valentines Day Massacre confirmed to the world that Chicago was under the thumb of gangsters. Worse, the city was due to have a Worlds Fair in 1933 which would turn out to be the worst year of the Great Depression with the city literally broke.

tt would take Six Millionaires banning  together to get rid of Capone while the Worlds Fair was built with private funds from corporations and some very creative financing. Judy Garland would sing, Sally Rand would dance, the Zephyr would a record with a run from Denver to Chicago, people would see an image from a device called television, make a long distance call, and go on the Sky Ride which would take people higher than they had ever been before.

How Chicago pulled off  A Century of Progress and rid the city of AL Capone is the story of the Worlds Fair  of 1933...the Second Worlds Fair in Chicago.

Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Trump wants Teddy Roosevelt's 230 Million Acres

There is a scene in my book Forging a President where Teddy Roosevelt is riding across the Badlands in the middle of the night with a full moon beaming down passing the amazing geological formations, buffalo, Indians, galloping across his own dream of being a cowboy out in the Wild West and he knew in that moment that as a young mans adventure in the Dakota Territory it would get no better than that moment and maybe that is when it occurred to him that the West would not last and that it would fall victim to the rapacious spirit of American exploitation and maybe that seed was planted then but he was determined that other generation would see what he had seen and when he became President he set aside 230  million acres for future generations.

So you can take your hat off to this farsighted President now and I think you better because the vested interests in the White House now have a toehold and they are reviewing twenty years worth of lands set aside under the 1906 antiquities act that Roosevelt signed into law. Under this law any president can set aside land or sites that he sees as valuable and preserve it for future generations. Trump and company would love to undo these protections and turn the land over to developers and corporations to drill, dig, develop for the almighty American dollar.

Fortunately Teddy's sweeping protection of 230 million acres is the heart of our national parks and the park service he set up to  protect it has done a very good job. But the gloves are off and what was considered normal before is no longer. Is TR's great vision of land set aside forever in danger? It could be if people don't realize what they would lose...and what the unborn would never see.

Forging A President How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Waiting for Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair

You work  in the backyard. It is summer and you find it better to research a book under a tree. It is hot and you think again how things seem to slow down in summer. Not much seems to be happening. You wonder for the hundredth time if the advance copy of Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair is on the way. You have been told they mailed it. Three years before you started the research and now you are waiting for the galley. You go back to your book because it will probably not come today. Then you hear a motor.

The UPS truck is lumbering down the street. Another hot day  in the life of the UPS driver who jumps out and runs up to a house across the street. You tell yourself he wont be coming your way and go back to your reading. But the motor roars and you see the truck coming down the street. Still there are lots of other houses. There is no way he is going to turn into your drive. Still you cant keep your eyes off the truck as it goes behind a tree. No way. Then you see the truck turn.

Now you are up and walking across the hot grass. Another barefoot author in America looking for his reason to keep working. Looking for a book that will justify all those hours. Even now you figure the UPS guy is delivering something else. But he has that brown wrapped package that is flat. Here you go. Now you are walking back to your chair. You sit... and then tear it open.

Al Capone and the 1933 Worlds Fair

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Edith Wilson and the Twenty Fifth Amendment

The Twenty Fifth Amendment is in the news now. Many say Donald Trump cannot fulfill his duties as President because he might be crazy. See Mika and Joe. The Twenty Fifth Amendment passed in 1967 was created  in part because of what happened with the Woodrow Wilson Presidency and Edith Wilson's assumption of presidential power. Up to that point Clause 6 of Article 11 of the Constitution was vague. It said basically if the President can't fulfill his duties someone should take over. It did not even specify the Vice President.

When Woodrow Wilson had his stroke and Edith and Cary Grayson covered up his condition they were not really violating the Constitution. Few could say who would declare Wilson unfit and when Secretary Lansing asked Dr. Grayson if he he might do it Grayson refused and dared anyone to come forth and push the issue. No one did. So Edith ran the White House and essentially became our First Woman President.

But now  the 25th Amendment makes it clear. If the Vice President and his cabinet decide the President is unfit then the VP becomes President unless the President protests and then it goes to Congress for a vote. Edith Wilson would have been powerless if Vice President Marshall had taken the  inititative and had the cabinet vote on Wilson's ability to rule. Marshall would have become President and the Edith Wilson Presidency would have not happened.

So now we have Trump. Would Pence undertake such a vote? Not a chance. But at the least people know there is a vehicle now for Presidential succession should Trump become insane.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Friday, June 30, 2017

Teddy Roosevelt Would Thrash the Cad

It is an old term. Woodrow Wilson told some reporters that if they did not quit reporting on his first wife Ellen Wilson he would thrash them. It makes us think of a man with gloves slapping another man or someone whipping someone else. The technical definition is to beat someone with a stick or a whip. In the old Victorian sense of the word someone was thrashed for a slight on insult or an injury to honor. A thrashing was the warm up for a duel the ultimate settling of a slight. So now we really have a situation where someone needs to be thrashed.

Maybe Jeffry Lord on CNN should be thrashed for saying it is alright to imply that women are menstruating everywhere and bleeding from everywhere. Theodore Roosevelt would thrash Lord for that if not beat him to a pulp. Roosevelt confronted more than a few men who implied he was a coward and demanded retribution and even offered himself available for a duel. He in fact bought dueling pistols when he was a student at Harvard.

Another great word is cad. Definition: a man who misbehaves dishonorably especially toward a woman.  Cads are always thrashed sooner or later. There were certain lines that were not to be crossed. And when they were crossed the cad was thrashed. Lord says equality demands that men and women be treated equally and women should be able to take being insulted by powerful men.

What a cad.

Forging a President

Books by William Hazelgrove