10 fascinating facts about President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft

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This is from the National Constitution Center. 

Slick Willie has a fantasy about becoming the first DemocRat to be president and Chief Justice.


William Howard Taft is a truly unique American figure who led two branches of government, was a wrestling champion and the youngest Solicitor general in American history. Learn more about Taft on the 158th anniversary of his birth.

Born on September 15, 1857, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Taft seemed headed toward a distinguished legal career before his ambitions shifted to politics. Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 as the 27th President, only to lose a bitter re-election bid in 1912. But eight years later, Taft became Chief Justice of the United States.

Here are some interesting facts about one of the biggest figures, physically and politically, of the early 20th Century.

1. Taft was a big guy. He was a heavyweight wrestling champion at Yale, for starters. He stood about 6 feet tall and weighed 243 pounds when he graduated from college. He struggled with his weight and may have weighed more than 330 pounds as President. But he was at his college weight at the time of his death.

2. His career goal was to be a Supreme Court justice. Taft’s father was Alphonso Taft, a distinguished judge; Taft himself was appointed a Federal circuit judge at 34.

3. Taft is the only former U.S. solicitor general to become President. Five solicitor general’s eventually joined the Supreme Court, with Elena Kagan as the most-recent example. Taft was solicitor general in the Benjamin Harrison administration, at the age of 32.

4. Taft’s wife may have motivated him to seek a political career.Historians believe Helen “Nellie” Herron saw a broader career for her husband beyond a series of judicial appointments. Roosevelt entrusted Taft with key tasks and saw him as the best choice as his successor in 1908.

5. President McKinley brought Taft into the national political arena.McKinley asked Taft to head a commission overseeing the new acquired Philippines Territory 1900 and he soon became Governor General.

6. Taft eventually held his own father’s job in the Cabinet. Alphonso Taft was briefly Secretary of War in 1876. His son, William Howard Taft, was Roosevelt’s Secretary of War after leaving the Philippines. Taft and James Monroe were the only two Presidents to serve as Secretary of War.

7. Taft had been offered Supreme Court seats three times before becoming President. McKinley and Roosevelt both wanted Taft on the high court, but Taft turned down the nominations for various reasons.

8. The Taft presidency didn’t go well. For starters, Taft became his own man and veered away from Roosevelt’s policies, which alienated Roosevelt and led to the bitterly fought 1912 election. Historians give Taft mixed marks overall as a chief executive.

9. Taft went back to the law and finally joined the Supreme Court. After leaving the White House, Taft became dean of Yale Law School and he was named by President Warren Harding to the Supreme Court in 1921. He was Chief Justice until he retired, shortly before his death at the age of 72 in 1930. After joining the Court, Taft reportedly wrote that, “I don’t remember that I ever was President.”

10. Taft wasn’t stuck in the White House bathtub. Constitution Daily looked at the whole bath tub myth in detail back in 2012. While Taft was a big guy, he had a special tub put in the White House before he became President. The myth started decades later. But despite his distinguished career, many people best remember Taft because of the bath tub myth.


The Constitution’s Worst Amendment


This is from Town Hall Finance.

The second worst amendment is the seventeenth.

The American people in 1912 got sold a line of BS so they

would ratify the seventeenth amendment.

Just like the BS to ratify the sixteenth amendment. 


The worst amendment to the Constitution is also one of the vaguest. The right to keep and bear arms might be simplistic, but it is direct. Our first amendment is mildly long winded and grotesquely misunderstood. However, the 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, stands as one of the most viscous deteriorations of the American Experiment. Stating simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration” the amendment grants to the Federal government powers typically reserved for serfdom or British ruled colonies.

It’s not tax collection is inherently evil, or that a personal income tax of some nature is abhorrent to Constitutional values, but the 16th Amendment marked the beginnings of progressive dominance in political discourse. Direct taxation (which was expressly prohibited in the Constitution) endangers personal property, privacy and anonymity.

In 1894 Democrat President Grover Cleveland – with support from Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress – declared a 2 percent tax on those evil “one percenters.” (It turns out Grover might be a good mascot for the Occupy Wall street crowd. Just a thought.) However pathetic a 2 percent tax on Mitt Romney might seem by today’s debate standards, the tax was contentious and immediately challenged in court. As any good historian would note, the US Constitution only allows for certain types of taxation. . . And any “direct” tax, such as poll taxes, head taxes, or income taxes, are explicitly prohibited. Of course, even in 1894, few progressives allowed that pesky founding document to get in their way.

Republican President William Howard Taft – influenced heavily by the “progressive” wing of the Republican Party and Theodore Roosevelt – pushed for a change to our constitution. By the end of his term, with help from Progressive Republicans (who supported things like gun control, Keynesian economics, and even fascism) and Democrats in congress, the 16th Amendment was ratified. Horrifically, the Democrat controlled houses of Congress, and the new Progressive President Woodrow Wilson, immediately passed a progressive income tax.

The tax rates ballooned from a top marginal rate of 7 percent under Wilson, to over 70 percent in WWI. Amazed, and no doubt bewildered, Democrats and progressives screamed for even higher tax rates as revenue to the federal government failed to match the exponential rate increases. By WWII, tax rates had been hiked up to a top marginal rate of 94 percent. Even middle class families faced rates as high as 23 percent. The number of tax brackets had swollen from less than a dozen to nearly two dozen. As more of the nation’s wealthy moved their wealth into various tax havens and tax advantaged vehicles (yes. . . They had a complex web of deductions and exemptions back then as well) revenue plummeted. Mixed with a staggering economy that was burdened by soaring national debt and an ever-increasing entitlement state, rates were unlikely to lower anytime soon.

As the decades trudged on, rates went up and down with “loopholes” being closed and opened repeatedly. Our tax code seemed to be a cancer on our American experiment as the number of words used to print the code began to outpace the total works of William Shakespeare. We can thank reluctant Democrats such as JFK, and conservative Republicans such as Ronald Reagan, for lowering the rates near the level they are today. Of course, we can also thank the Democrat majorities for Social Security, Welfare, Medicaid and the ever increasing web of social entitlement programs that overwhelm our federal budget. During Clinton’s tenure, the “negative tax” was a major point of contention. . . A process where people paying no federal income tax are eligible for “refunds” of money they never paid. Our tax code today serves as a massive redistributive Rube-Goldberg machine without sufficiently funding our treasury for repayment of the trillions we borrow.

The US tax code, as it stands today, is a perfect example of runaway government. A one sentence Amendment led to nearly 74,000 pages of rules and regulations in an attempt to separate Americans from a portion of their hard earned money.

Moreover, the tax system no longer achieves its main purpose. Internal revenue is designed to supply the government with the funds needed to keep government operations functioning. Our tax system, since its modern inception in 1913, has been designed to spread “equality” by treating wealthy people differently than the poor; and “spreading the wealth around”. Of course this attempt at wealth redistribution is ineffective and burdensome. The wealthy, and the influential, continue to avoid proportionately higher taxation by the simple virtue that they have more money to dispose at avoidance. (Just ask Warren Buffet. . . His secretary saw a tax increase when Obama and the Democrats allowed the payroll tax cut to expire. But he sure didn’t.) The system, however, does continue to feed into emotions of envy, jealousy and victimhood.

The reason our current system is such a danger to Americanism, is because it is arbitrary and cumbersome. It is so unwieldy and complex, any citizen can (and probably will) find themselves in violation at one point or another. The system necessary to enforce such a massive and overreaching set of regulations, rules and data is intrusive and brutal. While the recent IRS targeting of conservative groups is legally questionable and morally reprehensible, it is only conceivable because of the system we have in place for tax collection. While Americans rant to their neighbor about the intrusive nature of the NSA, they should consider for a minute how much their local IRS agent knows about their life. Our IRS was not selected to enforce Obamacare because of any demonstrable competency, but because they already have information pertaining to every facet of every American’s life.

The 16th Amendment gave birth to the idea that what someone earns is first property of the government. It gave birth to the “progressive” notion that some of us owe our government more than a pound of flesh because of our success, or wealth. It opened up the door to envy politics, and class warfare. It gave rise to the “progressive” notion of “fairness” and redistribution of wealth. It deteriorated our traditional sense of private property, private information, and private affairs.

Perhaps the worst part about the 16th Amendment is not within its actual text. (After all, we can all agree government is in need of revenue for legitimate functions.) Its problem relies on a tax system put in place 100 years ago by redistributive Democrats and progressive Republicans. So, when you hear the “Progressives” talk about increasing taxes on the rich, increasing the number of tax brackets, or increasing credits to certain groups of Americans, just remember: We’ve been doing this since 1913. There is nothing “forward” looking, or “progressive” about continuing a century of failed ideas.


Indeed — The Most Important Election of Our Lifetime

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This is from Clash Daily.

In my 58 years on this planet this is the most election ever.

This election will decide if we are the generation to lose freedom.

If Obama gets reelected we will become Ameritopia.

We will be in debt to which there will be no end.

On November 6,2012 we will keep or lose America and keep or our freedom



Who says Republicans and Democrats can’t agree? Every four years, politicos and pundits, both left and right, come together in a harmonious hymn of hyperbole: “This is the most important election in history!” they sing.

I think hyperbole is responsible for all of the world’s problems. Still, this time nobody’s exaggerating. What happens on Nov. 6 really is of critical importance. America’s future really does hang in the balance.

We’re in uncharted territories. We’re lost. We stand dazed at cliff’s edge – legs wobbling – with big government winds at our back. Under President Obama, the reasons for this election’s unparalleled significance are piling up like pink slips in the private sector, like credit rating downgrades, like zeros on the national debt.

Yet, as I see it, there are nine black-robed reasons in particular that reign supreme.

And those reasons never get a pink slip.

In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution … [T]he judiciary is, beyond comparison, the weakest of the three departments of power … [and] the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter.”

I know. Settle down.

Alas, Alexander Hamilton was obviously no better with a crystal ball than he was with a dueling pistol. For better or for worse (hint: for worse), today’s judiciary – through the constitutionally erosive drip-drop of judicial attrition and congressional submission – has, instead, become the most powerful branch of government.

Today, rather than the properly balanced, decentralized constitutional republic our founders envisaged, we live, to a large degree, under a very much centralized judiciocracy. (That is, when President Obama’s not circumventing the Constitution via executive fiat.)

William Howard Taft, who served as both our 27th president and our 10th Supreme Court chief justice, had unique insight into the dichotomy between the framers’ intent, and today’s reality. He summed it up well: “Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”

Indeed, due to the creeping misalignment of separation of powers, the function of appointing Supreme Court justices is almost certainly the most significant thing any president can do. Though it defies the High Court’s original construct, these nine unelected, well-meaning, yet very human, individuals profoundly steer law, public policy and our larger culture in perpetuity.

So much for the balance of powers.

Therein lies the problem. Conservative columnist Andrew McCarthy noted in March that four of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices are in their late 70s and early 80s.

“We wish them all well,” he wrote, “but the brute fact is that whoever we elect as president in November is almost certainly going to choose at least one and maybe more new members of the Supreme Court – in addition to hundreds of other life-tenured federal judges, all of whom will be making momentous decisions about our lives for decades to come.
“If you don’t think it matters whether the guy making those calls is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama,” concluded McCarthy, “I think you’re smokin’ something funky.”

Speaking of “smokin’ something funky,” during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, Joe Biden touched on the Supreme Court. He agreed with McCarthy: “The next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees … For Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia … ? We picked two people. We pick people who are open-minded.”

And, of course, by “open-minded,” Biden means “not bound by those pesky constitutional limitations intended to avert government tyranny.” He means liberal “living constitutionalists.”

To be sure, the next president may well appoint one, two, three or even four new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. As voters, this should be our most critical point of focus: ensuring an originalist, strict constructionist majority. If Mr. Obama is re-elected and appoints just one more Ruth Bader Ginsburg, forget it. America, as our founders envisioned her, is gone.

This is why, after the primary, I went from an outspoken Romney critic, to a cautiously optimistic Romney supporter. He has pledged: “I will appoint conservative, strict constructionists to the judiciary.”

Still not sold?

President Obama has already shown who he’ll appoint. In Justices Elena Kagan and Sonja Sotomayor – nice though they may be – he has stacked the Court with two radical counter-constitutionalists who share his belief that the Constitution “is not a static, but living document and must be read in the context of an ever changing world.”

Naturally, if the Constitution is “ever changing,” the Constitution is meaningless.

But it gets worse. Obama has also called this – the very founding document upon which our laws, public policy, indeed our very freedoms rest – an “imperfect document,” a “living document … that reflects some deep flaws in American culture.”


Moreover, during the 2008 campaign, Obama lamented that the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, failed to “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”

Let that sink in a moment. In his own words, this man – a man solemnly sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution – has betrayed utter disdain for it. He has, in essence, admitted that he views our most sacred founding document as a “constraint” against his thinly veiled efforts to “fundamentally transform” America into Greece.

Thank God our Founding Fathers predicted that men like Barack Obama would come and go. And thank God they had the wisdom to plan accordingly.

Patrick Henry once said, “[L]iberty ought to be the direct end of your government.” Today, we have it exactly backward. Four more years of Barack Obama, and government will be the direct end of your liberty.

Still thinking of sitting this one out?

I hope not.

Image: William Howard Taft (27th President of the United States (1909–1913); tenth Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930); public domain, copyright expired.

Image: Alexander Hamilton; Alexander Hamilton; Statue by James Earle Fraser; Photo: dbking; public domain.

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10 amazing facts on the White House’s 220th anniversary

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This is from Yahoo News.

I knew some of the facts.


On October 13, 1792, the White House’s cornerstone was put in place in a quiet ceremony. Since then, the president’s house has survived an attack, a near condemning, a second fire, and an effort to build a rival White House!

So there’s also a lot you might not know about the really interesting history of America’s most famous residence.

Here’s a look at 10 factoids you can use to impress your friends and liven up any conversation aboutthe White House.

1. Another city built its own version of the White House. Yes, Philadelphia wasn’t happy that the new city of Washington was getting the president’s executive mansion. During the 1790s, the city built its own presidential palace as a way to tempt George Washington and others from leaving Philadelphia, which was the acting capital. Washington refused to use the “palace” and stayed elsewhere in Philadelphia. That location is two blocks south of the National Constitution Center.

2. George Washington never lived in the White House. Don’t look for Washington’s ghost on your next White House tour. The mansion was in the city named for Washington, and he had a big role in the executive residence’s creation. But George passed away in late 1799, about one year before John Adams became the first president to live in the building.

3. Very little of the original White House remains. Those pesky British burned the originalWhite House in 1814 after U.S. forces set fire to Canada’s parliament. The famous Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington was saved by a fleeing Dolley Madison and some exterior stone walls survived the fire.

4. There was a second big fire at the White House. A blaze on Christmas Eve in 1929 gutted parts of the West Wing and Oval Office during the Herbert Hoover administration. Hoover left a Christmas party to personally direct the firefighting efforts, helped by Ulysses S. Grant III, a city official. Hoover also briefly entered the Oval Office during the fire, but he was whisked away by the Secret Service. The blaze was started by a blocked fireplace flue.

5. The suffragettes stayed at the White House for two years. The heated fight over the right of women to vote reached a fever pitch in 1917, as suffragettes picketed at the White House gates in an attempt to get President Woodrow Wilson’s attention. Led by Alice Paul, the picketers stayed in front of the White House for two years, with more than 200 arrests. The pressure helped in the successful effort to pass the 19th Amendment.

6. It was Teddy Roosevelt who created the West Wing. The West Wing was expanded under William Howard Taft and Franklin D Roosevelt, but it was Teddy who got the facility built. Thomas Jefferson had started the ball rolling with the idea 100 years earlier, but things take a long time to build in Washington. Teddy had some conservatories leveled and the “temporary” office building established, to be connected to the main White House using a colonnaded gallery. President Taft added the Oval Office to the West Wing.

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7. The White House was nearly condemned in 1948. President Harry S. Truman was forced out of the White House as his living quarters to the Blair House after officials decided the aging White House was close to collapse. Apparently, the repair budget under the FDR administration was ignored, even as more White House staffers were added to payrolls. When Truman tried to upgrade the White House, engineers discovered it was structurally unsound and close to falling down. The project was completed in 1952.

8. There was a 1950 attack on the president’s house. While Truman was staying at the Blair House, two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to storm the Blair House and kill Truman while he was napping inside the residence. After a 38-second gun battle, one assailant was dead, and a White House police officer was mortally wounded. They were apparently emboldened by the idea that the Blair House was less secure than the White House. The officer who died in the attack fatally shot the assailant as he stood 30 feet from the president’s bedroom window. Truman had moved to the window just before the assailant was killed.

9. You can buy your own White House, for just $4 million. That may sound like a lot of money, but it’s a steal when the real White House is worth about $110 million (or as much as $286 million by another estimate). The replica White House is in McLean, Virginia, and it has just 14,000 square feet of space, compared with 55,000 for the real White House. It does have a full-sized Oval Office and replica Lincoln bedroom. The original owners used plans from White House I to build the facility from scratch. You will need to bring your own helicopter and pets.

10. The White House is missing its cornerstone. Any anniversary of the White House wouldn’t be complete without the story of its missing cornerstone. On that fateful day in October 1792, a group of freemasons met at a Georgetown tavern and paraded to the proposed site of the president’s mansion. In a ceremony, they placed an inscribed cornerstone to mark the start of the House’s construction. They then marched to an inn and made a toast to the event. And another, and another. In  fact, they made 16 toasts! So no one really documented where the stone was.  President Truman tried to find the stone during the renovation period, but no one has seen it since 1792. One theory is that is imbedded between two stone walls near the Rose Garden.


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