I told you that the weather for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico would be good. And they did get the track in good shape after Friday’s rain. I just talked to a guy who got the Exacta….he claims it paid $36. Pretty good deal. Hope you did as well. Be sure to check in for the Belmont as I’ll be posting the weather for that too.
Around here we’re still trying to bring a ridge our way to warm things up. It would appear it will happen toward Memorial Day weekend though the timing is a bit up in the air. The models are not and have not been overly conclusive. We may see some light showers overnight and early Sunday. Late in the day we have a tad bit of energy swinging down into the northern part of the Ohio Valley that may help kick off a few showers and perhaps overnight. Monday is a better chance as another upper low scoots down with the flow from Iowa through Illinois and our doorstep late Monday into Monday night.
An Islamist Helped The Re-Election of President Theodore Roosevelt on This Date in History in 1904 when he kidnapped a wealthy American, Ion Perdicaris, in Morocco. Mubu Ahmed er Raisuli was considered to be a Barbary Pirate who was unhappy with the sultan of Morocco for allowing the French to have great sway and influence in the country as long as they gave him toys. Sultan Abul Aziz got bicycles, 25 grand pianos, over 600 cameras and even a gold car even though Morocco had no roads. Well, Raisuli had enough so he decided to act. Not in the violent way that seemed more prevalent in the early 20th Century in general and has been pervasive in Islamic politics for generations. No…he decided to follow a script that could have been written in Hollywood.
By kidnapping Perdicaris and ransoming him to the Moroccan government, he hoped to involve the United States and bring great shame in disrepute to the government which would lead to it’s demise. His plan worked. He got the attention than none other than the old Rough Rider himself, Teddy Roosevelt, whose re-election campaign was in need of a boost. Roosevelt seized the opportunity and sent a negotiator even though Raisuli had a reputation for sending messengers back with their throats slit or even just sending back their heads. In this case, Raisuli didn’t provoke Roosevelt that directly but he was being difficult. He finally agreed to release the tycoon for $70,000 then he changed his mind. That provoked TR.
He sent a telegram to the envoy instructing that told him to proceed cautiously and had numeorus other items. But, it also included the phrase, “the government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.” In typical Roosevelt fashion, TR sent a bunch of battleships to the coast of Morroco. The Republican convention had unanimously re-nominated President Roosevelt but the atmosphere was dull and listless until….they read the one “bully” phrase from the telegram to the negotiator. When the conventioneers heard that TR wanted the prisoner back alive or the captor dead, wild cheers and applause errupted on the convention floor and the campaign was off and running. It turns out it was all for naught because by the time the telegram reached Raisuli he had already changed his mind again, accepted the money and released Perdicaris. Of course the perception of the public was that it was Teddy’s dead or alive demand that caused the release. The campaign never did anything to change that perception nor did it point out that the United States had given in to every one of the pirate’s demands.
They also didn’t tell the electorate that it had been found out that Perdicaris wasn’t even an American citizen. The administration had found out that during the Civil War, Perdicaris had renounced his US citizenship and become a Greek citizen so that when he refused his draft call into the Confederacy, his land holdings would not be confiscated. The fact that the captive was not an American was not known to the public for 40 years, well after Roosevelt’s death. I don’t think anyone shouted out “Teddy lied!”
This Hollywood script worked better than Raisuli bargained for. He got $70,000 but he made the sultan look so incompetent that the sultan’s brother overthrew the government and the new administration clamped down on the pirate Raisuli. The French were so angered by the whole thing that they exerted even greater influence. Perhaps there is a reason why those who wish to topple a government don’t follow a drama line…
But Hollywood liked the script and in 1975 produced The Wind and the Lion that was based on the incident. But, producers being as it is…they made some changes. Instead of a wealthy expatriated American man getting kidnapped, the lovely Candice Bergen was held by her captive…Sean Connery…who just a few years later was named the Sexiest Man Alive!!!
Does the picture above look like Sean Connery to you?
Here’s a link to more details if you like: