Electoral College

When we talk about leaders, the most popular one at the moment to us is our own president. Recently there was an election and then a big push by the losing team for the Electoral College votes to overturn the votes. So the Victor crew wanted to know a little more about what the Electoral College is all about. For this we turn to CGP Grey on YouTube to see how he explains it.

Here is his first video on How the Electoral College Works:

Here is the second part video called The Trouble with the Electoral College

He has an updated video of the second part that was uploaded just last month:

Here is some further reading: http://history.house.gov/Institution/Electoral-College/Electoral-College/

Jody Victor discusses Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was born into an old, prosperous Dutch family in New York City on October 27, 1858. His father was a glass importer and was a big influence in his life. Theodore’s father instilled in him a determination to strengthen his frail, asthmatic body; to follow a strong Christian moral code; and to enjoy the life of the mind. As President, Theodore was quoted:

“There is not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility.”

Roosevelt was educated at Harvard, where he graduated in 1880, and divided his time between books and sport, excelling in both. A year after graduation he served in the New York Assembly, where he supported civil-service reform and legislation to benefit working people. During the 1880’s he divided his life between politics and writing. In all, his lifetime literary output included 26 books, over a thousand magazine articles, and thousands of speeches and letters.

In 1884, because if ill health and the death of his wife, Roosevelt abandoned politics for some time. He invested part of the fortune he inherited from his father in a cattle ranch in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory. He expected to remain in the west for many years. He became a passionate hunter and an ardent believer in the wild outdoor life that restored his health and strength. Just two years later he returned to New York City, married again, and once more plunged into politics.

President Benjamin Harrison, after his election in 1889, appointed him as a member of the Civil Service Commission. Later he became president of the Commission. He resigned that office in 1895 to become president of New York City’s Board of Police Commissioners.

President William McKinley asked him to serve as assistant secretary of the Navy. Roosevelt used this office to prepare the nation for war with Spain. Once the Spanish-American War came in 1898, he went to Cuba as lieutenant of a regiment of volunteer cavalry, the Rough Riders, which he helped raise and organize from the hunters and cowboys of the west. He won great fame as the leader of the Rough Riders.

With his sudden fame and national reputation he was encouraged to run for the Governor of New York. He invested his two-year administration with vigorous and businesslike characteristics, which were his hallmark. He once again championed civil service and approved several bills supportive of labor and social reform. He backed a measure to tax corporation franchises. He would have run for re-election in 1900, but instead he was chosen to run as William McKinley’s vice-presidential running mate in his bid for a second Presidential term.

Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States on September 14, 1901, after the death by assassination of President McKinley. In 1902 he was disturbed, as were others, by the growing power of the large corporations and ordered the Justice Department to bring suit against a railroad monopoly under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. This launched a “trust-busting” crusade against big business that carried over in to his second term, which he won in 1904. During his second term he quickened the pace of his progressive ideas. He advanced the cause of conservation. He supported the Newlands Bill on reclamation and irrigation and backed the Chief Forrester in adding to the national forests and reserved lands for public use. “The object of government is the welfare of the people… Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”

Roosevelt’s foreign relations were even bolder than his domestic programs. He steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” When Columbia rejected the 1903 treaty giving the United States rights to a canal across the Isthmus of Panama, he supported a Panamanian revolt and negotiated a new treaty with the new nation. He then supervised the construction of the Panama Canal. Roosevelt streamlined the army and enlarged the navy in order to prepare the U.S. for a larger role in world affairs. In 1905, he mediated the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace prize.

The significance of Theodore Roosevelt’s leadership is evident in his efforts to curb private greed and power at a time when he and his fellow Americans saw firsthand the abuses of big business, the waste of the country’s natural resources, and a loss of traditional values. “This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country.”

Colin Powell – America’s Soldier-Statesman

Colin Luther Powell was born in the Harlem district of New York City on April 5, 1937. Colin’s parents were Jamaican immigrants who stressed the importance of education and personal achievement. At the age of three, before Colin could establish any prejudices against other ethnic groups, his family moved to Hunts Point in the Bronx. The Bronx was a multicultural district. He grew up having no concept of being a different color than a white person or a Jewish person or a person of European descent or an Arab. A world filled with people of many colors was normal to him. Colin graduated from Morris High School and enrolled in City College of New York to study geology.

While attending City College of New York Colin, by his own account, found his calling. He joined the Reserves Officers Training Corps (ROTC). He became commander of his unit’s precision drill team and graduated in 1958 at the top of his ROTC class, with the rank of cadet colonel, the highest rank in the corps.

Colin Powell was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army when he enrolled in the Infantry Officer’s Basic Training following graduation. His commanding officers told him that it would take twenty years to become a Lieutenant Colonel. Colin worked hard and got there in sixteen years. He wanted to prove that the people of the world could do anything and that they had no limitations because of who they are.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” – Colin Powell

In 1962 Colin married Alma Johnson. Together they have a son, Michael, and two daughters, Linda and Annemarie. That same year Second Lieutenant Colin Powell was one of the 16,000 military advisors sent to South Vietnam by President Kennedy. In 1963 he was wounded by a punji-stick booby trap while patrolling the Vietnamese border with Laos. He was awarded the Purple Heart and, later that year, the Bronze Star. Colin served a second tour of duty in Vietnam and was injured in a helicopter crash. Despite his own injuries, he rescued his own fellow soldiers from the burning chopper and was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. In all, he has received 11 military decorations, including the Legion of Merit.

“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership” – Colin Powell

Colin Powell enrolled at George Washington University in Washington, DC in 1969. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1970 and earned his Master of Business Degree in 1971. Powell was promoted to Major and won a White House Fellowship. He was assigned to the Office of Management and Budget during the Nixon Administration. As a Colonel, Powell served as a battalion commander in Korea and had a staff job at the Pentagon. He studied at the Army War College, was promoted to Brigadier General, and commanded a Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. In the Carter Administration Powell was an assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and to the Secretary of Energy. He was promoted to Major General and served again in the Defense Department during the transition to the Reagan Administration.

In 1986, Powell left Washington to serve as commander of the Fifth Corps in Germany. A year later he was back in Washington as a General and became the Assistant to the President for National Affairs advising President Reagan during summit meetings with Soviet President Gorbachev. He was the first African American to serve in this position, as he has been in every office he has held since.

In 1989 Powell was promoted to Four Star General and named Commander in Chief of the U.S. Forces Command at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bus, General Powell became a national figure during the successful Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations. He continued as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the first months of President Clinton’s administration and retired from the military shortly thereafter.

In 2001, newly elected President George W. Bush appointed General Powell to be Secretary of State. Secretary Powell won praise for his efficient administration of the State Department and cordial relations with other governments. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Secretary Powell took a leading role in rallying America’s allies for military action in Afghanistan. Shortly after President G.W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, Secretary Powell stepped down as Secretary of State.

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell

Jody Victor

Jimmy Carter – Human Rights President

The Victor crew wanted to find out more about Jimmy Carter our 39th United States President. This is what we found:

James Earl Carter, Jr. (Jimmy) was born on October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia. He was the first American President to be born in a hospital. The farm where he grew up was in the nearby community of Archery and had no electricity or indoor plumbing. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a peanut farmer and a businessman who owned and ran Carter’s Warehouse, a seed and farm supply store in Plains. Jimmy’s mother, Lillian Gordon Carter (Miz Lillian) was a registered nurse and set a moral example for Jimmy early on by crossing the strict lines of segregation in the 1920’s to counsel poor African American women in Georgia on health care matters. Peanut farming, talk of politics, and devotion to the Baptist faith were the mainstays of his upbringing.

Jimmy was educated in the public schools of Plains, graduating Plains High School as valedictorian of his class. He attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Jimmy was captivated by his uncle’s tales of travels to exotic lands while in the US Navy which prompted him to enroll in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the academy in the top tenth of his class in 1946. Upon graduation he married Rosalynn Smith. They have three sons and a daughter. Also upon graduation Jimmy signed on with the US Navy as an officer under Captain Hyman Rickover in the Navy’s first experimental nuclear submarine. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. During this time Captain Rickover advanced to Admiral building America’s nuclear submarine force. He then assigned Jimmy to Schenectady, N.Y., where he took his graduate work at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics. Jimmy served as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the Seawolf, the second nuclear submarine in the new force.

Jimmy’s father died of cancer in 1953. Jimmy and his new wife, Rosalynn, faced a difficult decision. His father’s peanut farm, and with it his mother’s livelihood, were in danger. Jimmy resigned from the Navy and he and Rosalynn returned to Georgia to save the family farm and the supply company. After a few challenging years the farm began to prosper. Jimmy became a deacon and Sunday school teacher in the Plains Baptist Church and began serving on local civic boards supervising education, the hospital authority, and the library. In 1963 he won election to the Georgia State Senate and served two terms. In the state legislature he earned a reputation as a tough, independent operator who attacked wasteful government practices. He helped repeal laws designed to discourage African Americans from voting. He stood up for civil rights and inclusion. In 1966 he ran for Governor of Georgia but was defeated by a nationally known segregationist named Lester Maddox. Jimmy ran again for Governor in 1970. This time he minimized his appearances before African American groups and even sought the endorsements of segregationist whites. Some thought he was being hypocritical with this campaign strategy. But as soon as he became Governor of Georgia in 1971 he surprised many Georgians by declaring that the era of segregation was over.

On December 12, 1974, Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy for the President of the United States. He won his party’s nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Jimmy knew he had to market himself as a different kind of Democrat after watching George McGovern’s defeat in 1972. Jimmy was a complete unknown on the national stage but this newcomer status turned out to be an advantage in the aftermath of Nixon’s Watergate scandal. The country was ready for change and he won a narrow victory.

President Carter’s one-term presidency is remembered for the extraordinary events that occurred during his term. Inflation, the energy crisis, war in Afghanistan and the hostage crisis in Iran overwhelmed his administration. President Carter’s style of leadership was and is more religious than political. He spoke the language of religion and morality more effectively than the language of politics. He once said, “We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.” He spoke openly and convincingly about his Christian faith and managed to do it in a way that was inclusive and tolerant.

President Carter’s ideology was a moral ideology. He knew the difference between right and wrong and always stood for right. He was elected at a time of moral crisis but the domestic problems facing the country during his Presidency were not moral, they were managerial and technical. There were no right or wrong ways to solve these problems. The country’s foreign problems were much more responsive to President Carter’s moral ideology. President Carter believed in peace, in preventing war, and in human rights. Stating, “Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.” His biggest achievement while President was the historic 1978 Camp David Accords, where he mediated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. This summit revitalized a long-dormant practice of presidential peacemaking. President Carter once said, “We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war.” Every succeeding President since President Carter has tried to emulate his diplomacy for peace and aspire to his belief that “the best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.”

In the opening sentence of his Presidential farewell address Carter said, “In a few days I will lay down my official duties in this office, to take up once more the only title in our democracy superior to that of President, the title of citizen.” In the 27 years since he took up that title he has brought honor to it. He hasn’t just talked about housing the homeless he has built houses for them with his own hands. He hasn’t just talked about comforting the afflicted he has started a program through his Carter Center that is well on its way to eradicating Guinea worm disease. He hasn’t just talked about promoting democracy he has put his reputation and his life on the line in many countries to promote free and fair elections. He hasn’t just talked about world peace he has used his moral prestige, his willingness to take risks, and his persistent patience to bring hostile parties together that has often made the difference between war and not-war. On December 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”