The Energy Independence Rally in Washington 2-25-09

 

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

February 25, 2009

All archived shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

On Wednesday, February 25, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest will be Mr. Neil Goldstein, who is the Executive Vice-President of Energy Alternatives for the 21st Century.  Our subject will be his group’s sponsoring of the “Energy Independence Rally in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2008,” and how we can wean ourselves off the dependency of imported oil!

 

Neil had served as Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from January 2002 until the middle of 2008. Mr. Goldstein also previously served at the American Jewish Congress from 1983-1987, first as Director of the New York Metropolitan Region and later as Assistant Executive Director. Mr. Goldstein is a graduate of MIT and has served on many committees, which include being on the New York State Advisory Committee on Human Rights and the Nanuet Board of education, along with his work with AIPAC, Chief of Staff for Representative Jerry Nadler and work with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States.

 

My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. The broadcasts with Drs. Christopher Breiseth, Nora Eisenberg and Cynthia Koch is now archived.

 

Next week I will be hosting FBI Special AgentMaryanne Goldman, who will be talking about her work with InfraGuard.

 

FDR and the Birth of the Presidential Libraries 2-18-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

February 18, 2009

All archived shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. Our guest is Cynthia M. Koch, who is Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.  The Roosevelt Library is the nation’s first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president.  It includes 17 million pages of archival material and museum collections serving annually more than 125,000 researchers, museum visitors and students. The Roosevelt Library is one of the nation’s twelve presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Our subject is “FDR and the Birth of Presidential Libraries and how these institutions are important tools in our ability to understand our government and how it works.”

 

Dr. Koch is a native of Erie, Pennsylvania and she holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in History from Pennsylvania State University.

 

Previously Dr. Koch was Associate Director of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community, a national public policy research group at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was Director of the National Historic Landmark Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, New Jersey, where she led a $10.3 million project of capital restoration and museum development.

 

In addition to her dissertation, The Virtuous Curriculum: Schoolbooks and American Culture 1785-1830, she is the author or editor of numerous articles in professional and scholarly books and journals.

 

 

Dr. Koch lives in Clinton Corners, New York with her husband, Eliot Werner, president of Eliot Werner Publications, and their two cairn terriers.   

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States.

 

My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. The broadcast with Dr. Christopher Breiseth former CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is now archived.

 

Next week I will be hosting Mr. Neil Goldstein, of The Israel Energy Partnership, and in future weeks, Ms.Maryann Goldman, of the FBI’s InfraGard program and Mr. Cal Ramsey, the long-time NBA performer and broadcaster will appear on The Advocates.

 

Presidents of the 20th Century and Their Intellect 2-16-09

Presidents of the 20th Century and Their Intellect

On President’s Day

By

Richard J. Garfunkel

February 16, 2009

 

Today I am a guest on Bob Marrone’s morning show to be one of WVOX radio’s resident experts on FDR, and the presidency, as the station commemorates “Presidents’ Day.” Though many believe that this day is now officially named Presidents’ Day they are wrong. The law, HR 15951, which was signed in 1968, officially shifted Washington’s Birthday to the 3rd Monday in February. It came into affect on January 1, 1971, during the administration of the late and unlamented Richard Nixon, who named it Presidents’ Day. Well the official bill to change the name to Washington-Lincoln Day failed in Congress, and even though “Tricky Dickie” renamed it Presidents’ Day, the change was never signed into law.

 

In fact, there is no official way to even spell Presidents Day or Presidents’ Day. The only one clear fact is that under federal law it is still Washington’s Birthday and that only a handful of states have changed it to Presidents’ Day. Therefore, Washington’s Birthday, which was enacted as a federal holiday in 1880, in the District of Columbia, and was expanded to the nation in 1895, still remains. The holiday was first celebrated in 1796, the last year our first President was in office, but because when Washington was born, the old style calendar was in use, and many celebrated his birthday both on February 11th and February 22nd, the generally recognized birthday of the “Father of Our Country.” Aside from all of that this past Thursday was the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and his birthday was never celebrated in any of the states south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

 

I am glad people still think seriously about the IQ and mental health of our leaders. It would surprise me greatly, and almost everyone else I have known, that George W. Bush was reported to have an IQ near JFK. If George W. Bush has IQ of 115 and that sounds reasonable, then Bill Clinton has one of 215. I know of no example that George W. Bush has ever read a book of any consequence and he was by all accounts a barely passing student in college (560 Verbal on his SATs and a legacy!). I do not know what his core curriculum was, or whether he just didn't care, as many rich boys (and poor boys) don't. But, all in all, it is the poor boys that must excel to succeed. Certainly Bill Clinton was a poor boy, and he excelled, was incredibly well read, and his language and overall skills reflected that intellect. Yes, he was flawed, like many of us.

 

But, all in all, good political leaders do not have to be intellects, and in a sense the public has a tendency to mistrust them. Certainly Stevenson was labeled an “egg head” and the country rejected him, by wide margins, over the affable, but non-intellectual Dwight Eisenhower, who favored Zane Grey western novels as a way to intellectually test his gray matter or just relax. He spent more days on vacation, and away from work then any President, except maybe Calvin Coolidge or GW Bush in his term up to 9/11.

 

Jack Kennedy was a bright, and talented young man, who had many more advantages then most of his presidential peers. His great communicative skills were not hurt by his Hollywood good looks, and he had terrific political instincts fostered by his close connection to world events and the political theater of his upbringing. FDR raised himself to be President in the model of his cousin TR, but JFK, after the death of his brother, was fast-tracked to the job by the incredible heavy-hitting Kennedy political machine. Despite his incredible advantages he still had to produce, and he was quite capable of reflecting those skills on all of his campaign venues. As President he was inexperienced, a bit too young, and therefore pushed around by his own Congress. In a potential second term he would have had a short window of opportunity to succeed before morphing into the traditional lame-duck status that befits presidential 2nd terms. Certainly Michael Dukakis, who was and is quite bright, suffered from some of the same fear that the public has of intellectual superiority. In the modern era, only Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, two true intellects, were elected to the Presidency. Few people saw TR as an intellect and he was elevated initially by violence, and not the direct will of the electorate. Ironically Wilson, former President of Princeton, an intellectual reformer, historian, and a writer, besides being the popular reform Governor of New Jersey, was elected as a true minority President, when his eventual political enemy, the former president, Teddy Roosevelt, split the vote in a three- way election.

 

So we do not have a long wonderful history of electing truly bright people. Maybe, in his own way, Nixon would be considered bright, a law school graduate from Duke, along with the highly educated and successful businessmen and engineers Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. Certainly anyone smart enough to captain a nuclear submarine and to pass Admiral Hyman Rickover's rigorous tests was no dope. But few give or gave him good marks as a President, and he was never perceived as an intellect. Most people saw him as a country-boy peanut farmer! William Howard Taft, our largest president was an educated man, a lawyer, territorial governor, a cabinet official and also a Supreme Court Justice. But no one accused him of being overly gifted as an intellect. Warren Harding was a handsome fellow, with an eye for the ladies, and a political hack, as was Gerald Ford. Harry S Truman, like Coolidge, Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford was elevated to the job and unlike those I just mentioned, did not attend college. But Truman, who was never thought of as an intellect, was certainly no a fool, and now is widely recognized as near-great President, but still an unpopular one. LBJ was a political animal with a minor college education, who was quite bright, and incredibly energetic and ambitious, but not an intellect either. Coolidge was a dour fellow who slept through most of his five years in the job and had little vision or transferable ideals. Reagan certainly would never be accused of being well educated or bright, and was at best a line-reciting puppet with a primitive understanding of almost anything. His familiarity with the scientific world was appalling and his total inability to react with a spontaneous thought was embarrassing. Again he never had high marks regarding his reputation of being well read or an intellect, but he was and remains popular. He certainly could deliver a quippish line and was well-liked as a genial non-malevolent soul. History may just flay him to shreds as he will probably fall significantly in the minds of future generations of historians. This recent meltdown of our financial system may relegate him as being a modern day Coolidge to Hoover. Of course no two circumstances in history are exactly the same.

 

Of course we are left with one President who has always confounded everyone. FDR, the most successful politician and statesman in the history of the western world, was not an intellect. Everyone remembers Oliver Wendell Holmes “supposed” remark that he (FDR) was “a second rate intellect, but (had) a first-class temperament.” (Denied by Oliver Wendell Holmes to his death!) According to Thomas Corcoran, his former and favorite clerk when he was on the Court, Holmes, when he met FDR at his home, confused him for a moment with his old rival Theodore Roosevelt. Holmes was thinking of TR has a “first rate-rate intellect with a second rate temperament.” Then in contemplation he reversed it with FDR. He never thought FDR was a “second-rate” intellect, but second to his 5th cousin!

 

FDR was reasonably better educated then most, and had very high communication skills. His great strength really resided in his exceptional “people” skills. He knew how to get good people to do good and loyal work. He engendered great loyalty and love from his staff, and even received grudgingly given respect from his political enemies. Even the Japanese, in the midst of the war and on the edge of defeat, offered moments of silence, over the radio, at the news of his death and recognized him as a “great” man. No man in history had the combination of domestic, worldwide and posthumous acclaim. He owned the office and almost no one, even his great and most vicious opponents, could discount his power and skills. In a sense, an eternally healthy FDR would have gone on and on. His supporters were never tired of him, and his opponents were plum worn out by his skills, charm and worldwide support. Today he remains an almost unchallenged icon, far above his contemporaries and all who have followed. Most collective memories of FDR are unique and reverential. Though he was secretive, at times vindictive, and often politically too bold, his legacy remains unprecedented and will continue to grow.

The Advocates with Dr. Nora Eisenberg 2-11-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

February 11, 2009

All archived shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

On Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest will be Dr. Nora Eisenberg, PhD, the author of the novel, When You Come Home, which documents the sadness and the waste caused by the “Gulf War Illness.”  We will explore why Ms. Eisenberg wrote this book, what the affects of this syndrome have wrought on thousands of veterans, and are there precious lessons that we must learn from our involvement in overseas campaigns regarding the preparation needed in the future.

Dr. Eisenberg was the recipient of ForeWord Magazine’s 2004 Gold Prize for her novel Just The Way You Want Me and author of The War at Home, a Washington Post Rave Book of the Year, 2002. Dr. Eisenberg holds a PhD from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature and has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown University, and, for many years, the City University of New York, where she now directs the University’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program for emerging scholars. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in such places as The Partisan Review, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Tikkun, and the Guardian UK. She lives in New York City and Narrowsburg, NY.

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States.

 

My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Next week I will be hosting Ms. Cynthia Koch, current Director of the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library. In following weeks Mr. Neil Goldstein, of The Israel Energy Partnership, and Ms.Maryann Goldman, of the FBI’s InfraGuard program will appear on The Advocates.

 

The Advocates with Dr. Christopher Breiseth 2-4-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

February 4, 2009

All archived shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

On Wednesday, February 4, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest on Wednesday will be Christopher N. Breiseth and our subject will be “Franklin Roosevelt and How his Enduring Legacy is Relevant to Today’s America.”

Mr. Breiseth, who graduated from UCLA, Oxford University and received his doctorate from Cornell University, happens to be distantly related to President Franklin Roosevelt. He has just retired as President of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, New York, and remains President Emeritus of Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Prior to his seventeen years as President of Wilkes, Dr. Breiseth served as president of Deep Springs College in California (1980-83); Professor and Chair of the History Program at Sangamon State University in Springfield, Illinois (1971-1980), and Co-Director and teacher at the Springfield Institute on Interracial Education for teachers and administrators. A scholar of Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Breiseth was also active in the NEH-funded Lincoln Sites Project in the late 1970s, and contributed an essay, “Lincoln, Douglas and Springfield in the 1858 Campaign,” to the published collection The Public and the Private Lincoln. Other achievements include a Danforth post-doctoral fellowship in Black Studies at the University of Chicago (1970-71), an assistant professorship of history at Williams College (1964-71), a position as chief of policy guidance in the Community Action Program at the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C., and a term as President of the Telluride Association (1963-65).

Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States.

 

My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Next week I will be hosting author Nora Eisenberg, and in the upcoming weeks, Ms. Cynthia Koch, current Director of the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library. Maryann Goldman, of the FBI’s InfraGuard program, and Neil Goldstein of the Israel Energy Partnership will join The Advocates