Confederate War Currency Makes Money

You too could have  a Confederate bill with pictures of John C. Calhoun on it.  He was a real prize of a U.S. Senator……not.   As a Civil War buff I think owning a piece of the past would be grand, but Calhoun on a Confederate bill……….

About 40 boxes of the currency were supposed to be destroyed more than a century ago, but some of the bills were tucked away in the Statehouse basement and eventually moved to the state archives. They sat there largely undisturbed for four decades, and only recently did officials realize they could sell the cash.

The archives have made about $200,000 selling hundreds of the bills over the past couple of years. Most of that money was made in an auction of uncut sheets of the currency last year, but every week or so, South Carolina puts a couple of loose bills up for sale online. The old money is a little wider, whiter and lighter than today’s paper money.

Last month, a bill from the Bank of South Carolina worth $4 when it was issued almost 150 years ago fetched nearly $400.

When the South lost the Civil War, (AND THEY DID) Confederate money became worthless and the new Reconstruction government in South Carolina refused to cover the paper money issued by the state when it was not a part of the United States.

Several other Southern states went through a similar process after the Civil War, but Rodger Stroup, director of the state archives, said that as far as he knew, only South Carolina had failed to destroy all of its currency, bringing this unexpected windfall more than a century later.

The bills, issued during the Civil War, provided information on what people thought was important to the rebel government. Plenty of bills have pictures of John C. Calhoun, the United States senator and one-time vice president from South Carolina best known for laying the foundation of secession by advocating that a state could ignore any federal laws it thought were unconstitutional. Others have Revolutionary War heroes like George Washington or South Carolina’s own Francis Marion.

Best Sentence in Sunday Newspaper

This one sentence, for whatever reason, really tickled me.

From the “Taking The Hill” article comes this line about Rahm Emanuel, and his famous style of making his point very clear to all who listen.

Obama’s aggressive courtship of Congress is plotted and directed by Emanuel, who despite his legendary personality flaws — his penchant for profane mockery is now so well documented that you sometimes have the sense he’s cursing at you so as not to disappoint — is freakishly well suited to the job

Bernard Barker, Watergate Burglar, Dies at 92

Another one of those names from my teenage years made my Sunday newspaper today.

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Bernard L. Barker, one of the burglars whose 1972 break-in at the Watergate building in Washington led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, died Friday. He was 92.

His stepdaughter, Kelly Andrad, told The Associated Press that Mr. Barker, who had lung cancer and heart problems, died Friday morning at his suburban Miami home after being taken to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center the night before.

Mr. Barker, a Cuban-born American, was recruited for undercover operations during the Nixon administration by E. Howard Hunt Jr. The ties between the two went back to Mr. Hunt’s days in the Central Intelligence Agency and the planning of the 1961 invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.

In 1971, Mr. Barker took part in a break-in at the Los Angeles office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who disclosed the Pentagon papers to the press.

Then on June 17, 1972, Mr. Barker was found crouching under a desk at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office building. Three other men caught with him also had ties to the Bay of Pigs operation. A fifth, James W. McCord Jr., was security chief for Nixon’s re-election campaign.

In May 1973, Mr. Barker told the Senate Watergate committee that his aim in the Watergate break-in had been to find proof that the Democratic Party had received financial support from the government of Cuba and thus speed the “liberation” of Cuba.

Mr. Barker pleaded guilty in January 1973 to seven charges of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping. Later, however, he asked Judge John J. Sirica to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea and stand trial. Judge Sirica denied that request and on Nov. 19, 1973, sentenced Mr. Barker to a prison term of 18 months to six years.

In January 1974, Mr. Barker was freed from prison to appeal that decision. On July 11, 1975, Judge Sirica told Mr. Barker and the other three Cuban-Americans involved in the Watergate break-in that he was reducing their sentences to time served.

After his release from prison, Mr. Barker, a former real estate agent, went to work for the City of Miami as a sanitation inspector as part of a federally financed jobs program. He later worked as a city building inspector but took early retirement at the age of 64 rather than fight charges that he had been loafing on the job.

In repeated interviews, Mr. Barker expressed no regrets about his role in the two break-ins, saying he believed he had been acting in the interests of national security. But in 1976, he did tell a reporter: “Washington’s a place to keep away from. Cubans don’t do very well up there.”

President Obama Proves He Has A Curious Mind

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Long time readers will know I had a great dislike for the lack of curiosity that President Bush exhibited for, well, everything.  (In general people who lack curiosity about things baffle me, then bore me.) When traveling overseas Bush showed no interest in any historical aspect to the places he visited.  I think this was a character flaw, and underscored his lack of having a curious mind.  He may have attended fine schools in his youth, but he never mastered the love of learning, or the fascination of coming to appreciate things he did not already understand.  What a sad way to go through life.

I wrote in November 2006 the following.

While in Vietnam Bush missed any true local flavor as he darted and dashed, as is his custom, more intent on leaving than on learning.  As President of the United States he could have set a very much different schedule to accommodate a normal healthy curiosity.  After all this was his first time to Vietnam.  Instead, Bush left his desire to broaden his understandings of another culture behind him.  On Saturday he had only one nonofficial event that lasted 15 minutes, with almost no Vietnamese to interact with.  How could anyone visit a country they had never seen before and not wish to visit the places that history books tell us so much about?

But now we have a President with a keen and curious mind, and a student of history. Who could not have been proud when we saw the photos of President Obama exploring the sights of the places he traveled this past week?  I am so proud of the mind and intellect of Barack Obama. 

President Barack Obama, dressed in white slacks, navy-blue polo shirt and walking shoes, looked like any other tourist as he gazed at the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt.

“Pretty neat, huh?” he said to a bystander as he walked down a long slope toward the Great Sphinx.

Were it not for the herd of reporters charting his every step, “I’d get on a camel,” the president said, gesturing toward four of the saddled beasts lolling under a scorching North African sun.

As Obama concludes his fourth trip abroad as president, he has added to his portfolio, playing First Tourist in a world that has grown increasingly hostile to the United States.

From Ottawa to Paris, his often unexpected appearances win the attention of the local citizenry while serving up a sharp contrast to the style of his predecessor, who rarely took in the sights and sounds of the countries he visited.

Barack Obama is both America’s first tourist and an universal ambassador,” said Allan Lichtman, a political history professor at American University in Washington. He’s “a persuader who is attempting to restore a foreign policy of diplomacy, positive example, and the speaking of the truth.”

Obama, a self-described “student of history,” was particularly enthusiastic about visiting the pyramids, aides said. While inside a small underground tomb at Giza, he pointed to a figure on a wall covered with hieroglyphics and said:

“Hey that looks like me. Look at those ears!”

In Paris yesterday the president, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, took a sightseeing excursion past the Champs Elysees and the Place dela Concorde, across the Seine river and through the Latin quarter as bystanders cheered and applauded their motorcade.

The Obama family also toured the cathedral of Notre Dame, where they climbed to the top of the landmark. Obama returns to Washington today. The first lady and the girls will return later.

“There’s obviously a lot of work to be done on these trips,” said White House senior adviser David Axelrod. Such cultural excursions are “fascinating to him and the visits are symbolically important.”

By paying homage to his host nation’s cultural shrines and institutions — such as Obama’s visit June 4 to the Sultan Hassan mosque in Cairo, one of the largest in the Muslim world, or the refurbished Church of Our Lady in Dresden, Germany, June 5 — the president shows he is attuned to others’ national sensibilities.

“Obama’s excursions reinforce a key message: the importance of acknowledging and respecting cultural diversity and local history,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “They also help communicate a brand of U.S. engagement that is about broad social contact, not just the stuff of high diplomacy.”

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