Categotry Archives: Politicians


Ronald Reagan


Categories: Actors, Government, Hollywood, Media, Politicians

rreagan.jpgRonald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died on June 5 of pneumonia. He was 93.

Born in Tampico, Ill., Reagan earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Eureka College. He moved to Iowa after graduation to become a weekend sportscaster for WOC and WHO Radio. While covering spring training in California for the Chicago Cubs in 1937, Reagan took a screen test at Warner Bros. and landed a seven-year contract.

In his first film, “Love Is on the Air,” he played a radio announcer. This small part sparked a 20-year career in Hollywood. Reagan acted in more than 50 films, including “Kings Row,” “Bedtime for Bonzo” and “Hellcats of the Navy.” In 1940, he married actress Jane Wyman and appeared in the picture “Knute Rockne, All-American.” Playing the part of George Gipp, a legendary Notre Dame running back and Rockne’s protege, Reagan earned the nickname “The Gipper.”

During World War II, the 30-year-old Reagan volunteered for military service. A second lieutenant in the Army, he was eventually barred from combat for poor eyesight. Instead, he oversaw the loading of convoys and narrated flight training films for bomber pilots.
Reagan returned to Hollywood after the war and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. He testified as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947, and became an FBI informant, providing the names of entertainers he said were involved in Communist activities.

Reagan and Wyman divorced in 1949; he remarried three years later to actress Nancy Davis. Nancy and Ron would remain a devoted and glamorous couple for more than half a century.

Reagan changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1962, and entered the political arena as the co-chairman of the California Republicans for Barry Goldwater. His 1964 television address for the GOP presidential candidate raised $8 million. With the help of his large network of political and Hollywood connections, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966 with 51 percent of the vote. He served two terms in office then built a national audience for his political career by broadcasting a popular, syndicated radio show.

At 69, Reagan became the oldest man ever elected president of the United States. Known as “The Great Communicator,” he served two terms in office, from 1981 to 1989, reshaped the Republican Party in his own conservative image, oversaw a period of economic growth and tripled the national debt to $3 trillion.

Reagan’s presidential tenure began with a hostage crisis in Iran and concluded with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. He sought to achieve “peace through strength” by increasing defense spending by 35 percent and calling the U.S.S.R. the “evil empire.” He again infuriated the Russians by announcing plans for “Star Wars,” an outer space missile defense system. This animosity cooled, however, when Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev formed a relationship that lead to the signing of the first Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

On March 30, 1981, Reagan was nearly assassinated outside a Washington hotel. A drifter named John Hinckley Jr., seeking to prove his love/obsession for actress Jodie Foster, fired six shots at the president. One bullet lodged an inch from Reagan’s heart, but he recovered. The shooting also wounded a police officer, a Secret Service agent and Press Secretary James Brady.

In 1983, Reagan shocked the nation when he ordered U.S. troops to invade Grenada in response to a bloody military coup. In his second term in office, Reagan faced scandal after former aides revealed that he had authorized secret arms sales to Iran while seeking Iranian aid to gain release of American hostages held in Lebanon. He also ordered the funding of rebels fighting in Nicaragua — in violation of a congressional ban. Despite months of Iran-contra hearings, Reagan faced no legal action and left office in 1989 with the highest approval rating of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Reagan was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century. He received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor from Congress, and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. His last years were spent living in seclusion, tended by his wife, as he struggled with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition he revealed to the public in 1994.

Pictures From the Reagan Presidency

Books About Reagan


Catherine Bedell

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Categories: Media, Politicians

cbedell.jpgCatherine Dean May Bedell, the first woman elected to Congress from Washington state, died on May 28 of cardiorespiratory arrest. She was 90.

The Yakima, Wash., native earned a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Washington, and taught high school English for three years. She took a break from teaching to study speech at the University of Southern California and launch her broadcasting career.

Beginning in 1940, Bedell worked at KMO Radio in Tacoma and KOMO and KJR in Seattle. Bedell then moved to New York, landed a job as a writer and assistant commentator at NBC and produced the first Betty Crocker radio show. She returned to Washington in 1948 and was working at KIT as a women’s editor when she decided to enter the political arena.

A Republican, Bedell served in the Washington State Legislature from 1952 to 1958. She won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and became one of only a few women elected to national office. At the time, most women were appointed to replace a deceased husband. During her six-term tenure, Bedell supported the Equal Rights Amendment and worked to include a prohibition against discrimination based on gender in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

After Democrat Mike McCormack defeated her in 1970, Bedell went to work for the United States International Trade Commission. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the 50 States Project. Her final years were spent running Bedell Associates, a trade consulting firm in Palm Desert, Calif.


Glenn Cunningham


Categories: Government, Law, Military, Politicians

gcunningham.jpgGlenn D. Cunningham, the first black mayor of Jersey City, N.J., died on May 25 of a heart attack. He was 60.
Cunningham enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school. He left the military four years later as a corporal, and joined the Jersey City Police Department. For the next quarter century, Cunningham worked his way up the law enforcement ranks from beat cop to captain, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jersey City State College.
After retiring from the police department in 1991, Cunningham accepted the post of Hudson County Director of Public Safety. In 1996, President Bill Clinton nominated him for the position of U.S. Marshal for the State of New Jersey. Once confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, he became the first African-American to hold the post.
A registered Democrat, Cunningham won the Jersey City mayoral race in 2001. Once he became the first black mayor of the city, he set his sights on a higher political office. In 2003, the determined politician won a state Senate seat.
When he wasn’t participating in the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee or teaching criminal justice classes at Jersey City State College, Cunningham was a passionate history buff. At the time of his death, he was writing a book on local African-American history.


Jack Eckerd


Categories: Business, Military, Politicians, Writers/Editors

jeckerd.jpgJack Eckerd decided to become a millionaire by the time he was 20. After graduating from Culver Military Academy in Indiana and serving as a pilot for the Army Air Corps during World War II, Eckerd moved to Florida and started working on his version of the American Dream.
In 1952, Eckerd borrowed $150,000 from his father, purchased three run-down drugstores in Tampa and turned them into a multibillion dollar empire. The Florida-based chain spread across the South and by 1975, consisted of 465 drugstores in 10 states. At that point, Fortune magazine tabulated Eckerd’s worth at $150 million.
Eckerd Corp. was sold to J.C. Penney for $2.6 billion in 1997. Even before he divested of his retail responsibilities, Eckerd was a generous philanthropist. He gave $10 million to Florida Presbyterian College (which was renamed Eckerd College in 1978), founded Eckerd Youth Alternatives, a non-profit organization to help troubled and at-risk youth, and contributed funds to the Ruth Eckerd Hall, a performing arts center in Clearwater, Fla., that was named after his wife of 57 years.
Eckerd also tried his hand at politics. The Republican ran for the Florida governorship twice and once for the U.S. Senate, but lost all three elections. He did serve as head of the General Services Administration from 1975 to 1977.
Eckerd co-authored two books: “Eckerd: Finding the Right Prescription” with Paul Conn, and “Why America Doesn


Akhmad Kadyrov

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Categories: Military, Politicians, Religious Leaders

Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was assassinated on May 9 during a Victory Day celebration in Grozny. He was 52.
Kadyrov was killed while attending a parade commemorating the 59th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. A bomb planted inside a concrete pillar underneath the V.I.P. section of the stadium exploded, killing Kadyrov and at least five other people. On Sunday, the Kremlin appointed Chechen Prime Minister Sergei B. Abramov as acting president.
Kadyrov was studying at a Muslim university in Oman when a rebellion in Chechnya forced him to return home. During the first Chechen war (1994-1995), he rose to the position of chief mufti, or Islamic religious leader. Kadyrov then proclaimed a jihad (holy war) against Russia and commanded a rebel force fighting for Chechen independence.
When the Russians withdrew and Chechnya gained autonomy, Kadyrov broke away from the rebel factions because he felt the resistance leaders were fostering Islamic radicalism. Aslan Maskhadov, the elected president of the republic, branded him “enemy number one” and took away his mufti ranking.
In 1999, Russian troops again invaded Chechnya, and ousted Maskhadov. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin then appointed Kadyrov the administrative head of the new pro-Moscow government in Chechnya. Last October, the former rebel leader was elected the republic’s president.
Kadyrov made many enemies for siding with the Russians during the 1999 invasion, and Sunday’s bomb blast was not the first attempt on his life. In 2002, two car bombs destroyed his headquarters in Grozny. He was not there at the time, but the failed assassination attempt killed 72 people. Last May, a suicide bomber tried to murder Kadyrov at a religious festival in the village of Iliskhan-Yurt. That attack also missed its mark, but killed 17.

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