Let us now pay heed to a certain lady who had much influence on the course of U.S. history. Most Americans, however, have not heard of her.
“She was the mother of the Father of our Country. She was authoritarian and frustratingly singular, the royalist woman who shaped history’s most famous patriot. She was Mary Ball Washington,” writes presidential historian Craig Shirley in a new book which arrives Tuesday.
That would be “Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother” — which is full of meticulous detail about mother and son both, along with their life and times. Widowed in her early 30s with six children and a large farm to run, Mary appears to be made of ladylike steel and old-school gumption.
“Honorable madam. That was how George Washington always greeted his mother in his letters. It was a phrase that revealed her austerity and his awe of the woman who had been called ‘commanding’ and ‘strict’ throughout her life, as well as ‘truly kind.’ Through all of this contradictory information, however, an image emerges of a woman whose fierceness and individuality are obvious antecedents to the same qualities in her son,” writes Mr. Shirley, who has authored six other books, including four biographies of President Ronald Reagan.
“While in George, these qualities evinced themselves through nobility and sacrificial leadership, Mary’s authority was used quiet differently. Her small-time tyranny hung over the son who would go on to found the freest nation on Earth. He was the man who, when he could have seized the kingship himself, walked away,” the author says.
“In a way, George’s first battle for freedom was from his own mother,” Mr. Shirley later observes.
“While she passed down her strength and individuality to George, she also sought to protect him from the risks he needed to take to become a daring general and president. But it was this resistance itself which fanned the spark of George’s independence into a flame,” the publisher notes.
A REAGAN CHARITY
Yes, “Giving Tuesday” has arrived, along with this message.
“On October 30, the Easy Fire scorched the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum’s 400-acre property in Simi Valley, California, causing nearly $400,000 in damage and coming only 30-feet from President Reagan’s Air Force One pavilion,” says the Reagan Foundation, which notes that any donations to the organization will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000, “thanks to a generous donor.”
For more information, visit Reaganfoundation.org/forms/giving-tuesday-19/. The organization has been given a four-star rating by Charity Navigator.
THE BLOOMBERG DRAMA
Michael R. Bloomberg’s campaign for president is already fraught with melodrama as a friendly press positions the former New York City mayor as either a potential savior for the Democratic Party or a feisty foe of President Trump — who has now banned Bloomberg News reporters from campaign events. Behold, a few headlines from the past 24 hours.
“How Bloomberg could win. Again” (Politico); “Bloomberg could be the Democrats’ backstop” (CNN); “Bloomberg might be better off skipping the Democratic debates” (The New York Post); “Who can beat Trump? Michael Bloomberg deserves Democrats’ buy-in” (San Francisco Chronicle); “Mike-Drop Moment: Trump campaign boots Bloomberg reporters from rallies” (Fox News).
LOSING THE BATTLE
“How a divided left is losing the battle on abortion,” notes a lengthy New York Times report.
“Interviews with more than 50 reproductive rights leaders, clinic directors, political strategists and activists over the past three months reveal a fragmented movement facing long-standing divisions — cultural, financial and political. Many said that abortion rights advocates and leading reproductive rights groups had made several crucial miscalculations that have put them on the defensive,” the Times said.
“It’s really, really complicated and somewhat controversial where the pro-choice movement lost,” said Johanna Schoen — a professor at Rutgers University who has studied the history of abortion.
“National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under President Obama and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened. Their expectation that Mr. Trump would lose led them to forgo battles they now wish they had fought harder,” the paper said.
MEANWHILE IN THE ARCTIC
According to the Moscow-based TASS news agency, a Russian MiG-31K interceptor jet has tested the Kinzhal Dagger hypersonic missile in “Russia’s part of the Arctic.”
The nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missile has a range of 1,200 miles, can perform evasive maneuvers and is said to reach speeds over Mach 10. The aircraft took off from an airfield in the Murmansk region above the Arctic Circle; the ground target was located at a training ground in the Komi Republic, where winter temperatures can plunge to 68 degrees below zero.
“The report came a day after a Danish intelligence service warned of intensifying geopolitical rivalry in the Arctic, and said that China’s military was increasingly using scientific research in the Arctic as a way into the region,” a Reuters account noted.
“The military focus on the Arctic is growing. A power game is unfolding between great powers Russia, the United States and China that deepens tensions in the region,” advised the Danish Defence Intelligence Service in an annual risk assessment report released Friday.
POLL DU JOUR
• 51% of Americans donate to charities they feel “personally connected to in some way.”
• 39% donate at the request of a family members or friend.
• 32% donate at supermarket checkouts, 27% donate to a charity representative in a public place.
• 23% respond to a charity letter in the mail, 21% donate after encountering a news story on a charity.
• 19% respond to a social media fundraiser, 13% to an email request, 8 % to a charity TV ad.
Source: A YouGov poll of 1,036 U.S. adults who have donated to a charity, conducted Nov. 15-18 and released Monday.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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