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January 1st, 2009

Burris: Damned!

Here's a classic "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. So the delightful Illinois Governor Blagojevich has nominated Roland Burris to succeed Barack Obama in the senate.

For those of you who haven't been following this, Blagojevich was recently arrested and accused of corruption for several things he's done as governor, including trying to sell the senate vacancy.

So here's the catch: the case against Blagojevich appears damning, however at this point it is still just allegation, and Blagojevich presently has every right to nominate Obama's successor. To top that off, there are no corruption allegations against Burris, who seems well-suited for a senate seat as the state's former Attorney General.

As for Burris, well, people are calling on him to step down due to his tainted nomination and calling him a Narcissist because he doesn't. That's extraordinarily unfair. Let's face it: people tend to have a natural aspiration for promotion. It may be Burris's goal to rise to as high of a level in politics as he can in order to affect as much change as is possible. If he's been playing on the level (and let's assume for the moment that there exist politicians who are capable of playing on the level), stepping down from this appointment could very well prevent him from ever achieving this same level of power. He knows the risks and he has every right and reason to want this. I'm sure that's why he may have asked for the nomination in the first place, and, remember, there's no indication that he did anything wrong in doing so. So if he steps down, chances are he'll never get to see the senate floor and prove to his constituents that he's the best leader for them. And if he doesn't step down, his appointment is tainted and the senate leadership claims they'll attempt to prevent him from becoming a senator.

Either way, Burris is damned. He's got the credentials. He seems like an okay guy. His seat would be up for re-election in 2010 and he claims that he won't seek re-election.

Damned if he does. Damned if he doesn't. Damnit, he should.
The first president of the U.S. to have a middle name was John Quincy Adams, who was born in 1767, indicating that the use of middle names was not common even at this time.
William Henry Harrison was the second president to have a middle name, and he was born in 1773.
The third, James Knox Polk, was born in 1795.
It appears that the last president to not have a middle name was Theodore Roosevelt, born in 1858.
Middle names appear to become common starting with Ulysses S. Grant, who was actually born as Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822. The S stood for Simpson, and was his mother's maiden name. Supposedly, the name change was partially to avoid the initials "H.U.G." on his military uniform.
Rutherfor Birchard Hayes was born in 1822.
James Abram Garfield was born in 1831.
Chester Alan Arthur, born in 1829.
Grover Cleveland was actually Stephen Grover Cleveland, born in 1837.
William Howard Taft was born in 1857.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in 1856.
Warren Gamaliel Harding was born in 1865.
John Calvin Coolidge was born in 1872.
Herbert Clark Hoover was born in 1874.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in 1882.
Harry S. Truman's middle name was actually "S.". It was short for the names of his grandparents, Shippe and Solomon. He was born in 1884.
Then there's Dwight David Eisenhower (1890), John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917), Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908), and Richard Milhous Nixon (1913).
Gerald Rudolph Ford was actually born as Leslie Lynch King in 1913.
And then there's James Earl Carter (1924), and Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911).
George Herbert Walker Bush, born in 1924, was the only president to have two middle names.
William Jefferson Clinton was born in 1946.
George Walker Bush was born in 1946.

And, assuming no one assisinates him prior to his taking oath, we'll add Barack Hussein Obama to the list, and he was born in 1961.


So, here's the official list of presidential birth middle names:
Quincy, Henry, Knox, Ulysses, Birchard, Abram, Alan, Grover, Howard, Woodrow, Gamaliel, Calvin, Clark, Delano, S., David, Fitzgerald, Baines, Milhous, Lynch, Earl, Wilson, Herbert Walker, Jefferson, Walker, and Hussein.

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