On This Date In History:On May 16, 1868 President Andrew Johnson escaped removal from office. He been impeached for violating a law that has largely been determined by Constitutional historians to be Unconstitutional. But, on this date the Senate acquitted him by one vote. If you don’t know about the basics of the case, including the infamous Tenure of Office Act, you can check it out here at Johnson Impeachment. What I want to talk about is something that probably doesn’t show up in too many texts.
Republican Edmund Gibson Ross was appointed as Senator from Kansas following the death of Republican Senator James H. Lane. Lane had shot himself to death due to criticism against him for supporting Democrat President Johnson. Ross had served as a loyal Republican since 1856 and had consistently voted against the Johnson agenda. But when impeachment came around, he promised that the President would get a fair trial. All of the Senators had made up their minds except for Ross, which made him the deciding vote. He vowed to vote his conscience, knowing that he had hundreds of telegrams from home demanding coviction. He also figured that if he voted to acquit, His political career would be over. After he went along with six other Republicans and voted not guilty, he and the other 6 were not brought back for another term. Worse for Ross was that a Kansas Supreme Court Judge sent a telegram that said, “Unfortunately, the rope with which Judas hung himself is mislaid, but the pistol which Jim Lane killed himself is at your service.”
Yup….I’d say that pretty much means your political career is done. Oh…he became a Democrat and tried to run for Governor but was trounced badly. So badly, in fact, that he moved to the New Mexico Territory…
Democrat President Grover Cleveland lent a hand by giving him a job. He appointed him territorial governor! But he remained shunned in his home state until he received a message from the state of Kansas in appreciation for his conscientious efforts during the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson. That message came just days before his death. It reminds me of the baseball writers who hated Leo Durocher so much that they didn’t vote him into the Hall of Fame until the year after he died. If Pete Rose ever goes in, I bet that’s how it will be.
Anyway, this is another example of how impeachment is not a criminal trial, but instead is a political tool. It was designed that way. In both of our impeachments of our presidents (Clinton and Johnson), politics played a role in the impeachment proceedings and also in the subsequent acquittal. So, if you hear someone say “the impeachment was all about politics…” then you can say, “yes, absolutely, exactly as it was meant to be.”
Mark Twain on Weather and Statistics
If you get the opportunity, you should read biographies and the autobiography of Sam Clemens(Mark Twain). I do not believe his autobiography was finished before his death and that someone finished it based on his notes. I’m not sure if he would have liked it. Anyway, Twain was a very interesting character and is famous for a number of quotes. One is “everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” Since his time, there have been some attempts to alter or control weather with mainly mixed and sometimes disasterous results. Another quote comes to mind from a margarine commercial: “it’s not nice to fool mother nature!”
Another of his lines regards statistics. He said “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” People toss about statistics all the time as proof for one argument or another. When, in fact, statistics can be manipulated to tell the story we want. For instance, when I was a young stock broker, I once made up an entire sheet to show the performance of a mutual fund. My result was a higher rate of return than the company said. I studied and studied and all of my math was correct. The numbers were all correct except that I had based my entire calculation on the net asset value and did not include initial sales charges that the customer paid. Inadvertantly, I was about to use proper and accurate statistics in a misleading manner. Fortunately, I found the error and did not make the presentation but learned a valuable lesson and that is the thorough review and analysis must be taken in any subject even with a plethora of seeming accurate statistical data.
The other day, I said that tornado deaths had gone up in the recent years. That is true. According to the SPC, US tornado deaths have gone from 36 in 2004 to 39 to 66 to 73 so far this year. So, one might write a headline : “alarming statistic shows tornado deaths increasing!” And, without the hyperbole, it would largely be accurate, though it would be misleading and incomplete and some might say untruthful. Thats because from 1997 to 2006 the average death toll was 62.3 and that was with a very high year in 1998 of 130. If you were to take the four year total from 1998 to 2001, then you could say that tornado deaths had decreased each year and had dropped some 75%!
The point is..be careful of statistics. Look farther than what the author might imply and see for yourself if the data indeed tells the truth.
Here is a story with a headline that is accurate and a bit misleading but still its accurate.
Here is an abstract on the subject
Weather Bottom Line: Rain and t’storms most likely midday…lets say from 11AM to 2 pm as cold front slips through. As we get toward late afternoon, rain chances will decrease as front eases eastward. Gusty winds and small hail possible with this but don’t expect the hoopla they had to our west the last few days. Not surprisingly the GFS 18Z vertical profile is pretty aggressive with the indecies at just about every level. But, the NAM is rather pedestrian with the SWEAT index almost non-existant and CAPE pretty tame. Guess is that, as usual, the truth will be somewhere in between and the boys at the SPC seem to be on that same type of thinking because they have no hint of severe weather around here except for a 5% chance of severe wind or severe hail. NAM has frontal passage between 1 and 2 pm with GFS holding off to between 3 and 4 pm. So…sometime in the first part of the afternoon should suffice. There will probably be lingering rain showers following the frontal passage but, as I said, rain chances will decrease. Look for a good Sunday, though temperatures will probably only get to around 70 or so at best…more likely just mid 60’s.