Posts Tagged ‘Political History’

Friday, October 4, 2019

Rowland’s Newest Book Confirms: Politics is a Weird Business

politics weird o pediaNew York Times digital bestselling author Tim Rowland’s newest book confirms what many have suspected: politics is a weird business.

Rowland argues in his newest book Politics Weird-O-Pedia: The Ultimate Book of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts about Politics, that today’s political culture is no more unhinged than it has been at any point in world history.

In fact, he says, we may comfort ourselves knowing that at points in the past, politics has been much more bizarre than it is now. “Today, for example, at least we are no longer cementing thousands of live humans into our public works projects. That we know of,” he says. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Patriot War With Canada

William Lyon MacKenzieWilliam Lyon MacKenzie strode into a packed theater in Buffalo, NY on the night of Dec. 12, 1837, his blue eyes blazing beneath his high, broad forehead, his sandy whiskers a chinstrap beard. The short, wiry 42-year-old native of Scotland had arrived in the booming border city a day earlier, a fugitive with a price on his head, after launching an ill-fated rebellion against the oligarchy that ruled colonial Canada.

More than 2,000 Buffalo residents waited anxiously to hear him speak, quite a crowd for a city of not even 18,000 souls. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Conclusion)

The Ogdensburg Journal-Republican, forced to eat crow after rejecting Rhoda Graves’ claims of Warren Thayer’s corruption, applied twisted logic to justify their stance and the senator’s behavior. They opened with: “Senator Thayer has retired…. It was found that he was on the payroll of a utility corporation and, we feel, working against the interests of the average resident of this district who has been forced to pay unjust rates.” The words “we feel” simply did not apply. There was no question he had been putting the financial screws to his voters while protecting a power company and lining his own pockets.

And then came the kicker, a painful contortion of words—possibly the weakest excuse they could have drummed up—to justify years of unethical, anti-constituent acts by the man they supported. “Senator Thayer was at least consistent. During his entire political life, he has been a close ally of the power groups, a fact that he has never denied. Head of a power company, he was elected to the Assembly and then the Senate, and could not have been expected to change his views.” In any day and age, no matter what your politics are, that’s a sign of having drunk the Kool-Aid. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Charles Evans Hughes Lecture In Ticonderoga

animated feather dusterLongtime Glens Falls Post-Star reporter Maury Thompson will present a program on local figure Charles Evans Hughes on April 12th in Ticonderoga.

Hughes served as Governor of New York from 1907 until 1910. After serving as governor, Hughes was a U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice. He resigned from the Court in 1916 to accept the Republican nomination for President, losing by a narrow margin to incumbent Democrat Woodrow Wilson. He would go on to serve as U.S. Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 4)

During Rhoda Fox’s efforts on behalf of the Republican Party from 1918 through 1923, there was plenty of praise for her in the media and no criticism, but she was a non-office holder. When she decided in 1924 to run for an Assembly seat, anti-woman resistance was evident, gently discouraging the idea by praising her activism but insisting the job was best done by a man. When she surprised most people and won, the anti-woman factions maintained their stance but were forced to grudgingly accepted her.

Now, with the announcement of a run for the Senate, the kid gloves were off. The party split, evidenced by the strong support she received from the Watertown Daily Times and the virulent attacks emanating from Ogdensburg, especially in the Republican-Journal, when Rhoda’s opening salvo went right to the heart of the matter. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 3)

After a year in office, Rhoda Graves won reelection to the New York State Assembly, while five other female GOP candidates elsewhere in the state lost. In January 1926, she sought the chairmanship of the social welfare committee, a position already held by a senior member (from Niagara) who was unwilling to surrender it. She was instead given charge of public institutions — not her preference, for sure — but chairing any committee was another historic first for New York women.

Rhoda’s second year in office was an active one. She pushed a bill restricting the slaughter of tubercular cows to their home county rather than performing the job at a central location; was in a serious train derailment that killed the engineer, but she and Perle emerged relatively unscathed; argued for higher tariffs on incoming farm goods to protect locals; was reelected vice-chairman of the County Republican Committee; and won reelection to the Assembly. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

1921: Rhoda Fox Graves Runs For Assembly

Rhoda Graves was active in Republican politics in 1917 when New York passed women’s suffrage. When it became the law of the land in 1920, it made the possibility of holding elective office an attractive option for some women.

In 1921, Rhoda’s close friend, ten-year assemblyman Frank Seaker, retired from public office, and William Laidlaw, nominated to replace him, served for the next three years. It’s not clear what the machinations were behind Laidlaw’s decision not to run for another term, but there’s no doubt the big announcement that followed was the work of Rhoda, Perle (her husband), Frank Seaker, and supporters among party leaders. Seeking the GOP nomination for an Assembly position was none other than Rhoda Graves of Gouverneur — a woman! » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer

Bucking the odds is a common theme of Walter-Mitty-type fantasies — overcoming daunting obstacles to become a winner, or a hero at some level. Few of us actually live the dream, but sometimes it happens, and during Women’s History Month, an incredible North Country example comes to mind: Rhoda F. Graves of Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County.

The extreme unlikelihood of her becoming a historic figure in state politics makes her story all the more compelling. And the details are amazing. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century: A Status Report

Governor Mario Cuomo greets school children at Adirondack conference, Silver Bay Conference Center, in 1994. Photo by Ken Rimany, the Association for the Protection of the AdirondacksAdirondack Almanack readers may recall that in 2018 Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget office introduced legislation which would have changed the way the state pays taxes on the public’s Forest Preserve. It was proposed to change the ad valorem system, in place since 1886, to a payment in lieu of taxes.

Local school districts and supervisors were alarmed by the negative consequences of the proposed change, as were Forest Preserve advocates. In response, legislative staff sought background information about how the Real Property Tax Law applied to the Adirondack Park, historically speaking. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

John W. Taylor: New York’s (Almost Only) Speaker of the House

The title Speaker of the House of Representatives has received lots of attention during the past few years. It’s hard to believe that the nation’s fourth-most-populous state (New York—nearly always number one, and in the top five since 1790) has only one native who served in that position.

Well, technically, there are two, but one of them served 99.82 percent of the pair’s total time in office—to be explained later. If you’re from Northern New York and dislike the idea of people owning people, you’ll be pleased at his strong stance for freedom during one of our nation’s most turbulent times. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

US Presidents in Clinton County Talk in Plattsburgh

The Clinton County Historical Association has announced a program “Connections with History: U.S. Presidents in Clinton County,” set for Monday, January 14, at 4 pm, at the Lake Forest Senior Living Community, 8 Lake Forest Drive, Plattsburgh.

“Connections with History” is an illustrated talk on U.S. Presidents and other important historical figures who have visited Clinton County and their connections with each other. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bauer: What Does The New State Senate Mean For The Adirondacks?

NYS CapitolOn Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.

There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

2018 Elections: An Adirondack Council Perspective

adirondack council new logoThe polls are now closed, most of the votes have been counted, and there were winners and losers. In Washington, power is once again split between the Republicans and Democrats, while in New York, Democrats will take over control of the Senate, putting the state under one-party rule. As the largest non-partisan organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of our Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council keeps a full-time presence in Albany advocating for policies and resources that will benefit the Park’s waters, wildlife and communities. We are willing to work with any and all elected officials to make the Adirondacks a better place, regardless of party affiliation. What follows is a comprehensive review of federal and state election results from this year. Winning candidates begin their terms in January. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Internal Border at North Hudson

Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in North HudsonU.S. Customs and Border Protection recently made numerous arrests and seized large amounts of marijuana during a five day checkpoint in Essex County. The agency occasionally sets up this temporary check point near Exit 28 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). A June operation here resulted in similar arrests and seizure of marijuana, as well as what the agency described as the disruption “of two separate alien smuggling rings.”

The agency put out a statement saying, “Checkpoint operations are a proven enforcement tool to deny criminal organizations the ability to smuggle people, narcotics or other contraband further away from the border and these arrests exemplify that.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Christopher Shaw: Katie Wilson’s Folk Hero Candidacy

katie wilsonThe candidate most likely to win the Democratic primary race in the NY21st Congressional district has finally stepped forward. With her recently published essays, widespread press coverage and appearance on MSNBC, and with her tireless retail politicking around the vast district, Katie Wilson, of Keene, has become the native daughter most likely to purloin votes away from carpetbagger, willing Paul Ryan stooge and Trumpian apologist Elise Stefanik in the most important midterm election of my lifetime. » Continue Reading.