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Thursday, August 11, 2011


Patti and I were in Pensacola, Florida, this week visiting our son, Josh, who is a Marine Officer in flight training. This is quite an experience for us. We have had a tour of the base where he is training, and we got to sit in the plane that he is flying. One of his instructors gave us a tour of the facility where they have the flight simulators and the spin chairs to overcome airsickness. He demonstrated some of the night vision training and some of the technology used in that training. All I know is I wouldn’t want to go up against the US military! We also went to see the retired WWII battleship, the USS Alabama. Much of the gulf coast has military bases, and there are many fantastic museums and forts (being a history teacher, I love this). We also made a day trip to New Orleans. All I can say is, “That is something else again.”

Our continuing look at the US Constitution takes us to Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 6 & 7: “The Senate shall have the power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.” Clause 7: “Judgement in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.”

Only Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1999) have ever been impeached. Johnson came within one vote of being removed from office, and his crime was really a political disagreement. The Vice President presides if it is anyone other than the president. These days it is very difficult to impeach anyone because neither party commands 2/3rd of the Senate. President Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment because he wanted the country to move away from Watergate which dominated the nightly news. He was pardoned of all offenses (real or imagined) by incoming President Ford, and so it would be unlikely that clause 7 would ever be used. 

The President of the week is number two, John Adams, He had a number of nicknames but my favorite is “His Rotundity”, meaning his roundness or plumpness. Adams and wife, Abigail, had five children on their Massachusetts farm and the one son, John Quincy, was our sixth president. Adams had a flair for public speaking but also spoke bluntly enough to anger others easily. He persuaded Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence and served in Europe during the war as a diplomat.

On his return, he was nominated as George Washington’s Vice President and then had the unenviable task of trying to follow the General as president. He defeated Thomas Jefferson by 3 electoral votes in election of 1796 and they split as friends. He was the first president to live in the White House which was called the “Executive Mansion” in those days. Jefferson came back and won in 1800 and Adams took third and was out of power. He and Jefferson later renewed their friendship. They both died on the fourth of July in 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He was 90 years old and the longest lived former president until Ronald Reagan who died at 93. 

Our only grandson (age 6) left us today. He was with us for nine days, and it was  nonstop action. We enjoyed lots of bike rides, motorcycle rides, trampoline, pool, foosball, legos, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and other activities. We played baseball (he is the Cubs, I am the Indians), basketball, and golf. The other day he announced to me that he was not afraid of me. I asked him why that was and he said that I wasn’t the real boss of this house, Gammy (my wife) was. Oh how things have changed (or have they?). Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit of the Republic,  Coach


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