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Monday, December 30, 2013

1860 Republican Presidential Convention: Local J.V. Robinson of Portsmouth Witness to "Honest Abe" History




Sometimes a local connection to history makes an event more personal. I discovered that J.V. Robinson, Jr. of Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio, had been a delegate from Ohio to the 1860 Republican National Convention. J.V. is listed as born October 19, 1790 and died on January 8, 1865.

Also, in Greenlawn Cemetery information online, a J.V. Robinson, Jr., Major is said to be buried in Greenlawn's South Section (Robinson). Possibly someone knows more. I have no idea of the discrepancy in the dates. Here is the information I found:

ROBINSON, J. V. , Major, Jr.       I.R. Apr 3, 1862

"Died in Portsmouth, March 23d, Major J. V. Robinson, Jr., aged 42 years. The son of J. V. Robinson, Sr. He was among the first of our citizens to respond to his country's call, and immediately upon offering his services, was appointed by Gov. Dennison as Major of the 33d Regiment. .. The well known Piketon campaign is acknowledged by our troops during the war..."

(Portsmouth Tribune)

The Election of 1860 was probably the most important political event in American history. Most know of the election, yet few are aware some very interesting facts and accounts about the nomination and election of Abraham Lincoln. The election was high drama full of intrigues.

The Republican National Convention met in mid-May in Chicago at the Wigwam, a rickety hall that held 10,000 people. It was chaired by New Yorker Edwin D. Morgan. In 1860 Chicago was a city of 100,000 population and on May 16, 1860 the party brought an estimated 40,000 strangers (mostly brought in by Lincoln’s campaign team) and 500 delegates to the convention.



At the convention, the overwhelming favorite for the nomination was William Seward, a senator from New York and, arguably, the most respected Republican in the country.

William Seward went to the convention with a much higher national profile than that of Lincoln. Lincoln's great virtue in 1860 was that he had not been nationally prominent long enough to have powerful enemies or a real reputation. His debates with Stephen Douglas had raised his political profile in the East but not across the country. Few outside of Illinois gave Lincoln a chance to win the nomination.

The upstart Abraham Lincoln of Illinois had other competent opponents at the convention. Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, and Edward Bates of Missouri were all considered rival Republican candidates.

William Seward was a formidable defender of freedom. It was Seward, not Lincoln, who held the most outspoken views against slavery. Seward was an avid abolitionist, who was sincerely regarded by "the general public, a very large portion of the truest antislavery men, and the most cultured Republicans, as their best representative," wrote Seward biographer Frederic Bancroft. 

Lincoln was much more moderate in his views on the issue of slavery. Lincoln’s thought was that if slavery was prohibited in new territories it would eventually end in the states where it previously existed.  The Republican Party even supported a Constitutional amendment disallowing further Congressional interference in slavery in the South.  Lincoln also recognized the legitimacy of the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution and agreed with continued enforcement of this clause.

When Abraham Lincoln came to New York City in February 1860 to deliver his address at Cooper Union, it was something of a strategic move on Lincoln's part to speak in the heart of Seward's territory. In his speech, Lincoln contended that the founding fathers had intended Congress to regulate slavery. The New York City newspapers carried the text of his speech the next day, with the New York Times running the speech on the front page. The favorable publicity was astounding, and Lincoln went on to speak in several other cities in the east before returning to Illinois.

Seward had voiced his opposition to the Compromise of 1850 and his hatred of slavery by saying, "there is a higher law than the Constitution" which should guide American actions regarding slavery. Here is the context of that important quote:

"But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator if the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest attainable degree their happiness."

Eight years later, he coined the term "irrepressible conflict" in describing the state of relations between the North and the South as long as slavery remained alive in the nation. This was very controversial as Western states, especially, did not see a struggle with the South as a forgone conclusion

"Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation."

It would take 233 votes to win the nomination, and the Seward had nearly a third of that in his home state New York delegation alone. But, many historians believe William Seward made some definite mistakes even before the Republican Convention that cost him the nomination of his party.

At the time, New York was the corruption capital of the United States. Seward was closely associated with the men at the top of the corrupt empire including newspaper publisher Thurlow Weed, who some regarded as Seward's boss. At the least, Weed was Seward's his political ally and friend.

Weed alienated many Midwestern Republicans, who feared this political corruption. Weed's history as a strong-arm Whig political boss - offensive to many former Democrats in the new party. At the time, the Republicans were considered as the rank and file.

In 1859, confident of gaining the presidential nomination and advised by Thurlow Weed that he would be better off avoiding political gatherings where his words might be misinterpreted by one faction or another, Seward left the country for an eight-month tour of Europe.

During Seward's absence, Lincoln and his political supporters worked diligently to line up support. More than perhaps at any other time in his life, Lincoln's friends effectively rallied on his behalf in Chicago, the site of the convention.

Then, after returning to the United States, Seward gave a conciliatory, pro-Union Senate speech that reassured moderates but alienated some radical Republicans. Even, his old friend Horace Greeley, founder of the Liberal Republican Party and famous newspaper editor of the New York Tribune (likely the most influential newspaper from the 1840s to the 1870s), turned against Seward and believed his radical reputation made him unelectable.

Horace Greeley began to back Missouri attorney Edward Bates for nomination and swore to have revenge on Greeley, As it turned out, Greeley was a failure in advancing the candidacy of Bates but a success in helping torpedo fellow New Yorker Seward.

Additionally, Seward's long-established support for Irish immigrants, the basis of his New York City constituency, turned away former members of the anti-immigrant American Party, whose votes were needed to carry Pennsylvania and other states in the lower North.

Another problem facing Steward was his belief black males should have the right to vote. This was not as accepted in the west as it was in the east. Some people regarded him as a visionary. 

Shortly before the convention, some sources say, the "politician" in Seward came to the fore. Seward tried to moderate his views before the convention, but that only made him seem like an insincere opportunist. To avoid a radical label after Harper's Ferry, candidate Seward dispensed with the traditional "free" and "slave" state monikers, and began calling them "capital" and "labor" states. John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry had not abated the Northeast's radical views, but in trying to widen his appeal to the western Republicans, Seward began to alienate some of his core constituency in the east. 



Abraham Lincoln "Out Politics" the New York Contingency

Many considered Abraham Lincoln a provincial with little chance to take the nomination. Lincoln was comparatively unknown; he had few enemies, and was strong in the doubtful Western states which had been carried by the Democrats in 1856. His "availability," to use a modern political phrase, commended him to the delegates.

Several actions occurred in 1859 and early 1860 which helped advance Mr. Lincoln's chances. The first was the selection of Chicago as the site of the Republican convention - a decision shrewdly engineered by the Illinois Republican chairman Norman B. Judd to give Mr. Lincoln the home court advantage.

Abraham Lincoln nurtured his 1860 presidential candidacy while politely denigrating it. Lincoln grudgingly accepted the new nickname of "The Rail Splitter." He actually did not like being reminded of the manual labor he had performed in his youth, but at the state convention he managed to joke about splitting fence rails. And this image did help Lincoln did get the support of the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Lincoln provided them with some tactical guidance and limitations of engagement, which included an admonishment to “make no deals that bind me.”  Lincoln cautioned his delegate hunters "to give no offense, and keep cool under all circumstances."

The candidate once even telegraphed the master-minded campaign manager David Davis, “I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none.” To which the campaign manager responded, “Lincoln ain’t here, and don't know what we have to meet, so we will go ahead, as if we hadn't heard from him, and he must ratify it.'” And, therefore, Davis made political deals to bring various state delegations into the Lincoln camp.

As a side note, although the convention was held in Lincoln’s home state. Lincoln himself did not attend. He waited in Springfield for the results. At that time it was thought unseemly for candidates to chase after political office, and so he stayed at home. Urged by friends to go to Chicago, Lincoln begged off. "I am a little too much a candidate to stay home," he remarked, "and not quite enough a candidate to go." 

Seward also did not attend. He sent his political manager, Thurlow Weed, along with his states’ 70 delegates and 13 railroad cars of supporters. Seward and Weed knew they were at a disadvantage by being on Lincoln "turf," but Weed was prepared to acquire Illinois votes on the second ballot by offering Lincoln the vice-presidential spot. He and his supporters reckoned that consolation should secure Seward’s nomination in the event of a tough floor fight. 

But by May, Lincoln had established a solid group of campaign managers like David Davis and supporters who came to the Republican convention prepared to deal, maneuver, and line up votes for him. In a critical decision, the Illinois delegation also vowed to vote for Lincoln in a bloc.

Historian Paul N. Angle noted that Lincoln might not have won the nomination "if Lincoln's interests had not been entrusted to as shrewd a group of manipulators as existed anywhere in the United States. Norman B. Judd, David Davis, Leonard Swett, O.H. Browning, Stephen T. Logan, Ward H. Lamon - these were the men who, with skill seldom equaled, struck just the right balance of forces to make inevitable the selection of the Springfield lawyer."

(Paul M. Angle. Here I Have Lived,” A History of Lincoln’s Springfield. 1950)

And, Lincoln's supporters had a grand strategy: they assumed that if Seward could not win the nomination on the first ballot, Lincoln might gain votes on later ballots. The strategy was based on the notion that Lincoln had not offended any particular faction of the party, as some other candidates had, therefore people could come together around his candidacy. 

With multiple ballots in mind, Illinois delegation chairman Norman Judd and Joseph Medill of the Chicago Daily Press and Tribune placed the New York delegates off to one side, far from key swing states such as Pennsylvania. The gerrymandering of the Seward-voting New York delegates into a far corner of the convention floor also assured they couldn't easily be heard -- no microphones in 1860.

Press coverage helped Lincoln in Chicago. The delegates arriving in the Windy City in 1860 were greeted by a Chicago Press and Tribune front-page banner announcing "The Winning Man — Abraham Lincoln." The efforts of the Illinois delegation had forged together in a single-minded campaign to "stop Seward."

On May 18, the critical day of voting, Lincoln's supporters arranged to pack the hall by printing counterfeit tickets and distributing them to his supporters for early arrival. While Seward supporters partied the night before, Lincoln's partisans prepared to insure victory.

The 70-member New York delegation was chaired by attorney William M. Evarts. Historian Glyndon Van Deusen cited Jeter Allen Isely for a view of the congregation:

"Men like Governor [John A.] King, [Richard] Blatchford, Moses H. Grinnell, [John L.] Schoolcraft, and William M. Evarts lent dignity to the group, but others were politicians of a rougher sort. This gentry, heartened by the music of the famous Dodsworth's band, drank everybody's whisky, slapped backs, boasted that New York had oceans of cash to spend on the campaign, and made vociferous complaint about that 'damned old ass' Horace Greeley when they were not rending air with shouts for 'Old Irrepressible.'

"Weed, surrounded by New York followers and the band hired to play the triumphal march, roared in on a special train to fix up matters. His lieutenants headed like homing pigeons to the nearest bars, to influence voters."

(Jeter Allen Isely, Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1863-1861: 
A Study of the New York Tribune. 1947)

The coarse nature of the Seward supporters that he had imported to Chicago did not improve his image while the enthusiastic nature of Illinois Republicans grew to a crescendo. The evenings had been spent in the caucusing of delegates. Weed’s approach was to offer champagne for the present and “oceans of money” for the future.

One account admiringly reported that "Lincoln's organizers had recruited 1,000 of the loudest shouters in the state" to drown out the competition. The Lincoln camp also assigned two men with noted stentorian voices to lead the cheering. The following is from Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln:

“Lamon and Fell got a thousand men recruited for their lung powers; they had been given tickets and were on hand.  They watched their leaders, two men located on opposite sides of the Whigwam [Convention Hall].  One of them, Dr. Ames of Chicago, it was said, could 'on a calm day' be heard clear across Lake Michigan.  The other one, brought by Delegate Burton Cook, could give out with a warm monster voice.  These two leather lungs watched Cook on the platform; when he took out his handkerchief they cut loose with all they had and kept it up until Cook put his handkerchief back. They were joined by the thousand recruits picked for voice noise.”

The Lincoln strategy worked. One thousand Seward men marched behind a smartly uniformed brass band. They wound their way noisily through Chicago’s streets, playing the song “Oh, Isn’t He a Darling?” and finally arrived triumphantly in front of the Wigwam. To their horror, they found that they could not get in: the Lincoln men, admitted with their counterfeit tickets, had taken their seats.

Still, Seward had his share of support. When his name was offered in nomination, tremendous applause went up from the audience -- followed by louder applause for Lincoln. The crowd quickly recognized them as the front-runners when the other candidates received less enthusiastic commendation.  

As Mr. Delano of Ohio, on behalf  "of a portion of the delegation of that State," seconded the nomination of Lincoln, the uproar was beyond description.The effect was startling. Hundreds of persons stopped their ears in pain. The shouting was absolutely frantic, shrill and wild.

Cincinnati newspaperman Murat Halstead wrote that when Lincoln's nomination was seconded, the Wigwam nearly exploded:

"The uproar was beyond description. Imagine all the hogs ever slaughtered in Cincinnati giving their death squeals together, a score of big steam whistles going … and you conceive something of the same nature." 

Before the balloting began, the division of "irrepressibles" and "conservatives" had effectively eliminated all of Seward's rivals except Lincoln and Bates according to Seward biographer Frederic Bancroft. "The natural tendency of Seward's prominence was to cause the delegates in favor of other candidates to cooperate in opposition to him."

(Frederic Bancroft, The Life of William H. Seward, 2011)

On the first ballot, Seward, as expected, led with 173 votes. Lincoln was next with 102. Cameron received 50; Chase got 49; Bates 48; and the rest received a handful each. Seward did not have enough votes for a majority.

On the second ballot Lincoln gained a number of votes but there was still no winner. Vermont was the first state to make a major shift -- all 10 votes went to Lincoln, a significant blow to Seward. Lincoln had taken the momentum. The final tally on the second ballot was 184 for Seward and 181 for Lincoln.

At this point, a crucial political shift occurred. Although Abraham Lincoln had warned his allies against making bargains, he wasn't around to stop them, and they did what they thought necessary to get him the nomination. Historians disagree on the single action that nominated Lincoln on the third ballot.

* Some say it involved the transfer to Lincoln of the votes of fifty delegates who were pledged to Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania. It is said this transfer was made in consequence of a promise given by Lincoln's friends that Cameron have a cabinet position; it should, however, be said that this was in opposition to Lincoln's express direction.

* Another account recalls when Lincoln was "tantalizing close" to winning the nomination, Joseph Medill, the co-owner and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, sat close to the chairman of the Ohio delegation, which had backed its favorite son, Salmon P. Chase. "Swing your votes to Lincoln," Medill whispered, "and your boy (Chase) can have anything he wants." The Ohio chairman shot out of his chair and changed the state's votes.

* Here is yet another account that involved Ohio delegates. Ballot three began. Lincoln continued to pick up votes--4 more from Kentucky, 15 from Ohio--while Seward lost votes. When the pencils stopped scratching, Lincoln had 231 and a half votes--one and a half short of those needed for the nomination.

A hush fell, and all eyes turned toward David Kellogg Cartter of Ohio, who stuttered out: “I-I arise, Mr. Chairman, to a-announce the ch-change of four votes, from Mr. Chase to Abraham Lincoln!” For a moment, the audience was silent--then it erupted.

Reports of the time say the flimsy Wigwam began to shake with the stomping of feet and the shouting of the Lincoln backers who packed the hall and blocked the streets outside. One of Lincoln's closest friends and associates Leonard Swett reported the stamping of feet "made every plank and pillar in the building quiver. A thousand steam whistles, ten acres of hotel gongs, a tribe of Comanches, headed by a choice vanguard from pandemonium, might have mingled in the scene unnoticed."

A cannon on the roof fired off a round, the courthouse bell rang out, and soon church bells around the city took up the peal. The sound inside was so deafening that the only way people could tell that cannons outside the Wigwam were being fired was by watching the smoke drift from the barrels.


Back home in Springfield, presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln visited the office of a local newspaper on May 18, 1860, and received the news by telegraph. He walked home to tell his wife Mary that he would be the Republican nominee for president.

Aftermath

Richard Norton Smith, founding director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and a scholar-in-residence at George Mason University, summed the convention up like this:

"The survival of the Union, and the new birth of freedom that brought immortality to America's 16th president, had been sealed by that most classic of Chicago political devices, a wink and a nod."

(Richard Norton Smith. "Happy Anniversary, Abe." Chicago Tribune. May 16, 2010)
Ohio journalist Murat Halstead, who covered the Republican convention, viewed the two -- Seward and Lincoln -- as opposites. He said this:

"The fact of the convention was the defeat of Seward rather than the nomination of Lincoln. It was the triumph of a presumption of availability over pre-eminence in intellect and unrivaled fame — a success of the ruder qualities of manhood and the more homely attributes of popularity, over the arts of a consummate politician, and the splendor of accomplished statesmanship."

 (Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, editor. Fire the Salute)

Of course, New Yorkers were outraged. One publication from New York commenting on Abraham Lincoln's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention said: 

"The conduct of the Republican Party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of small intellect, growing smaller. They pass over...statesmen and able men, and they take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar." 

  (New York Herald. May 19, 1860)
The Republican platform opposed the expansion of slavery, but accepted it as a local institution in slaveholding states. The nomination of Abraham Lincoln was received with some indignation by the abolitionists. he had always actively disliked slavery, and he came into national prominence as a politician by strenuously opposing its extension into the territories.

Douglas L. Wilson, George A. Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English and co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College, discusses just that point: 

"Lincoln, by contrast, never put his antipathy for slavery ahead of his allegiance to the Constitution. He admitted privately that he hated to see slaves “hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes,” but he classed himself in 1855 with “the great body of the Northern people [who] do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union.

"Perhaps in even starker contrast to most abolitionists, Lincoln did not believe that slaveholders were inherently evil. He argued, rather, that they were, like their northern counterparts, merely products of their environment.

"For Lincoln, the agitation and moral posturing of the abolitionists constituted the wrong approach in a democratic society, because it was ultimately incompatible with majority rule. Though slavery was morally wrong, he believed that the founders, by various means, had placed slavery on the path to ultimate extinction. Rather than agitate for its speedy removal, Lincoln thought a more prudent plan would be to keep slavery from spreading so that it would eventually die.

"With his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, Lincoln succeeded in winning over many of the most influential abolitionists, including the man who had once called the Constitution “a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell,” William Lloyd Garrison. By pushing hard for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery, Lincoln arrived, at long last, at a definitive point of agreement with the abolitionists."

(Douglas L. Wilson. "Lincoln  and Abolitionism."  
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2009-2013)


There is an ironic footnote to the convention story: A few blocks from the Wigwam, on the second night of the convention, the McVicker’s Theater was opening “Our American Cousin” --the play Lincoln would be watching at Ford’s Theater his last night on Earth.



 The Election of 1860

A Republican win would end the South's political dominance of the Union. Southerners had been President of the U.S. for two-thirds of the time since 1789, and none of the northern Presidents had ever won reelection. Up to that point in American history, southerners had also controlled the speakership of the House, the presidents pro tem of the Senate, and the majority of Supreme Court justices for most of the time.  

In the 1860 election, the Democratic Party split into two factions. The northern Democrats nominated Lincoln’s perennial rival, Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckenridge, the incumbent vice president, a pro-slavery man from Kentucky.

Those who felt they could support neither party, mainly disaffected former Whigs and members of the Know-Nothing Party (I love that name for a political party, don't you?), formed the Constitutional Union Party and nominated John Bell of Tennessee.

The campaign witnessed none of the candidates except Douglas on the public stump. Breckinridge gave only one speech, Bell said nothing, and Lincoln, in keeping with campaign traditions, stayed at home in Springfield receiving delegations who came to pay their respect.

Douglas, on the other hand, broke with tradition and campaigned all over the nation. He traveled from New England to the Deep South, shaking hands and giving speeches. Most of his appearances, to his dismay, were peppered with questions about what would happen should Lincoln be elected. In answering, he always affirmed the President's duty to enforce the laws. By October, concluding that the election was lost to Lincoln, Douglas began urging people to reject secession and work within the system.

Between the time Lincoln was nominated and the election in November, he had little to do. Members of political parties held rallies and torchlight parades, but such public displays were considered beneath the dignity of the candidates. By the way, when Lincoln won the nomination, Seward loyally supported him and made a long speaking tour of the West in the autumn of 1860. After his election, Abraham Lincoln appointed Seward his Secretary of State.

Lincoln did appear at one rally in Springfield, Illinois in August. He was mobbed by an enthusiastic crowd and was lucky not to have been injured.

Mr. Lincoln's run for President involved the inception of two important campaign gimmicks. The first was innovation of "Wideawakes," young Republicans parading through the streets in caps and oilskin capes carrying torches.

The second was the celebration of the "Railsplitter" Mr. Lincoln first witnessed in Decatur. Richard Oglesby recalled that during the subsequent campaign, "the rail was everywhere and constantly to be seen. It was carried aloft in parades; flaming banners fluttered from it at rallies; glee-clubs sang its praises; campaign-clubs proudly called themselves Railsplitters, Rail-maulers, and Rail-splitter Wide-awakes; lusty men, mounted on huge wagons, split rails as processions moved along; and 'Lincoln rails' (of unquestioned authenticity) adorned hundreds of homes

The presidential election was held on November 6, 1860.

Mr. Lincoln did not intend to vote on election day, according to law partner William H. Herndon. "I knew of course that he did so because of a feeling that the candidate for a Presidential office ought not to vote for his own electors; but when I suggested the plan of cutting off the Presidential electors and voting for the state officers, he was struck with the idea and at last consented. His appearance at the polls, accompanied by Ward Lamon, the lamented young Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, and myself, was the occasion of no little surprise because of the general impression which prevailed that he did not intend to vote. The crowd around the polls opened a gap as the distinguished voter approached, and some even removed their hats as he deposited his ticket and announced in a subdued voice his name, 'Abraham Lincoln.'" 

Lincoln did very well in the northern states, and though he garnered less than 40 percent of the popular vote nationwide, he won a landslide victory in the electoral college. Even if the Democratic Party had not fractured, it is likely Lincoln still would have won due to his strength in states heavy with electoral votes.

Southerners equated Lincoln’s opposition to the expansion of slavery with outright abolition. Without new Slave states in the west to balance new Free states, they argued, the balance of power in Congress would soon shift to the Free States.

When the Electoral College met on February 11, Vice President Breckinridge announced Mr. Lincoln's victory. Soon, he would be a Confederate general, John Bell would side with the Confederacy, and Stephen Douglas would be dead. 

One of the most significant aspects of Lincoln's election is that he held all of the Free states and none of the slave states. When the results of the election were announced many in South Carolina and Charleston started meeting to discuss succession. Lincoln was elected the President of the United States (the 16th) on November 6th, 1860 and by November 10th legislature had started meeting and succession talk was underway.

Just over two months after he was elected, President Lincoln saw the first state to succeed when South Carolina voted to secede on December 20, 1860.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina. Lincoln called for each state to provide troops to retake the fort; consequently, four more slave states joined the Confederacy, bringing their total to eleven. The Union soon controlled the border states and established a naval blockade that crippled the southern economy.


Some "Paybacks"

On March 10, 1863, President Lincoln nominated David Kellogg Cartter as Chief Justice of the newly established Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.

Salmon P. Chase was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1860. However, three days after taking his seat, he resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln. 

And Abraham Lincoln, as part of a political "bargain," named Simon Cameron Secretary of War. Because of allegations of corruption, however, he was forced to resign early in 1862. Cameron's corruption was so notorious that a Pennsylvania congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, when discussing Cameron's honesty with Lincoln, told Lincoln that "I don't think that he would steal a red hot stove."

David Davis had accompanied the President-elect to Washington in February 1861 with visions of power and influence — none of which were realized. Instead, he returned to Illinois, according to historian M. L. Houser, "a chastened, saddened, and disgusted boss-without-a-client," and awaited Mr. Lincoln's decision on a judicial appointment. It did not come quickly, although the President did appoint Davis as chairman of a federal commission investigating claims against the military administration of General John C. Frémont in Missouri during 1861. 

The President finally named Davis to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court on October 19, 1862, after he had filled two other Supreme Court vacancies. Even non-Illinoisans like Iowan Hawkins Taylor reminded President Lincoln of his political debts, writing him in July 1862 that “but for the extraordinary effort of Judge Davis, you would not have received the nomination at the Chicago Convention...I feel that it is due to yourself as well as to Judge Davis that you should tender him the appointment of Supreme Judge.”
 

Davis's frustration in his relationship with the President is reflected in a statement he made in 1866: "Lincoln was a peculiar man; he never asked my advice on any question—sometimes I would talk to him & advise him; he would listen."

1860 Election Results



Candidate
Party
Electoral Votes
Popular Votes

 Abraham Lincoln
Republican
180
1,866,452

 John C. Breckinridge
Democratic
72
847,953

 John Bell
Constitutional Union
39
592,906

 Stephen A. Douglas
Democratic
12
1,382,713




Saturday, December 28, 2013

Different Male and Female Views on Cross-sex "Just Friendships"




Heterosexual men and women live and work side-by-side. Many pairs develop deep cross-sex friendships within a strictly platonic coexistence. Yet, sometimes one or the other person in the intimate relationship uses this coalition as a facade to cover up sexual impulses.

Studies suggest that men and women have vastly different views of what it means to be “just friends” -- and that these differing views have the potential to lead to trouble.

A recent study confirms that more men than women see platonic relationships as having "romantic" attachments. Males are significantly more likely than females to list romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships. Many are waiting for an opportune moment to act on their sexual desires. Two people can experience the exact same relationship in radically different ways, and men, relative to women, have a particularly hard time being “just friends.”

This discrepancy increased as men aged—males on the younger end of the spectrum were four times more likely than females to report romantic attraction as a benefit of opposite-sex friendships, whereas those on the older end of the spectrum were ten times more likely to do the same.

(Adrian F. Ward. "Men and Women Can't Be 'Just Friends.'" 
Scientific American. October 23, 2012)

Why? This is what the study found.

* First of all, men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa.

* Second, men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them -- a clearly misguided belief. In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt -- basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.

* Women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends; because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual. As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.

* In addition, men and women differed in the extent to which they saw attached friends as potential romantic partners.  Although men were equally as likely to desire “romantic dates” with “taken” friends as with single ones, women were sensitive to their male friends’ relationship status and uninterested in pursuing those who were already involved with someone else. Men have a strong desire for short-term sexual opportunities.

* Attraction between cross-sex friends is common, and it is perceived more often as a burden than as a benefit.

* The attraction is a combined product of cultural expectations, core mating drives, and a variety of other factors such as personality and unique life history. In the current research, we have focused on testing predictions pertaining specifically to the hypothesis that men’s and women’s experiences in cross-sex friendship are in part a byproduct of their evolved mating strategies.

(April Bleske-Rechek, Erin Somers, Cierra Micke, Leah Erickson, Lindsay Matteson, Corey Stocco, Brittany Schumacher, Laura Ritchie. "Benefit or Burden? Attraction in Cross-sex Friendship." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 2012)

So what new light does the study show? I really don't know. Does any novelty depend upon whether you are a male or a female? 

Let's review some things we already knew before the recent cross-sex research. 

1. Males fall for beautiful, sexy, friendly females and want to be their close friends.

2. As predators and instigators of relationships, males attempt to become instinctively aware of every chance for employing romance to lead to female sexual companionship.

3. Males are vain to a fault. Most believe women love their sexually attractive embodiment.

4. Males are horny rascals ... most remain that way, no matter the age.

5. Males are used to being rejected by potential female lovers and to being found unworthy of sharing desired intimacy.

6. Males are likely to compete for an object of desire despite complicated conditions.

















The Enchantment
by Thomas Otway
Did but look and love awhile,
'Twas but for one half-hour;
Then to resist I had no will,
And now I have no power.

To sigh and wish is all my ease;
Sighs which do not heat impart
Enough to melt the coldest ice,
Yet cannot warm your heart.

O would your pity give my heart
One corner of your breast,
'Twould learn of yours the winning art,
And quickly steal the rest.




Friday, December 27, 2013

Got a Job? Get Language.




“There is a persistent and growing mismatch between the skills that U.S. workers possess and the skills that U.S. businesses need.” 

--Business Roundtable, an association of the nation's leading CEOs

The technical term for navigating a workplace effectively might be soft skills, but employers are facing some hard facts: the entry-level candidates who are on tap to join the ranks of full-time work are clueless about the fundamentals of office life. As much as academics go on about the lack of math and science skills, bosses are more concerned with organizational and interpersonal proficiency.

The annual global Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup finds that nearly 1 in 5 employers worldwide can’t fill positions because they can’t find people with soft skills. Specifically, companies say candidates are lacking in motivation, interpersonal skills, appearance, punctuality and flexibility.

"A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60% of employers say applicants lack 'communication and interpersonal skills' — a jump of about 10 percentage points in just two years. A wide margin of managers also say today’s applicants can’t think critically and creatively, solve problems or write well.

"Another employer survey, this one by staffing company Adecco, turns up similar results. The company says in a statement, '44% of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap.' Only half as many say a lack of technical skills is the 'pain' point.


"The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed more than 200 employers about their top 10 priorities in new hires. Overwhelmingly, they want candidates who are team players, problem solvers and can plan, organize and prioritize their work. Technical and computer-related know-how placed much further down the list."


(Martha C. White. "The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired."
 Time. November 10, 2013)

Why doesn't this surprise a retired high school language arts teacher like me? For so long, my English instructor colleagues and I lobbied for fewer classes with more intense instruction, increased time for evaluation, and less emphasis on simple objective test questions because the language arts of reading, writing, and critical thinking require time, patience, and constant feedback.

We language arts teachers knew consistent improvement required time to read, to digest, and to write about assignments that challenged students. Learning advanced language skills such as strategies for composition challenges young minds and requires constant practice for perfection. Many American high schools have curricula that do not afford the time for reading novels and writing compositions.

By the time young adults enter high school, most realize although English is their native tongue and a yearly study, they still need to tackle the "tough stuff." Just because they have studied the English language since kindergarten, many assume they need no more expertise. There exists a huge gap between the students’ perceptions of their abilities and that level of command required in the adult, work world.

Most students also develop bad conventions and mannerisms early in life. It’s just harder to teach these skills, experts say. “It is hard to correct a lifetime of bad habits in a short period of time,” says Roderick Nunn, vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions at St. Louis Community College.

English teachers are often saddled with all the burden of teaching methodology and theory as it relates to critical language use. Too often students write "differently" across the curriculum. When they answer essay questions or formulate answers in classes other than English class, they often revert to employing sloppy, inferior language and stark development  In the world of work after high school and college, they soon learn that managers in all fields require constant attention to organization, critical thinking, and creativity.

Meghan Casserly of Forbes writes about the most important job skills. The top four skills are considered career-path agnostic, not technical skills but rather core skills essential for most any job. Here are the four top skills of the ten Casserly cites:

* Critical thinking –  being able to employ a rational, logical approach to sorting through the pros and cons of various proposals, points of view, or conclusions.

* Complex problem-solving -  knowing how to tease apart a complicated issue and come to a workable and efficient solution.

* Judgement and decision-making -  being able to weigh the costs and benefits of a situation and make a clear decision based upon that assessment.

* Active listening -  fully taking in what others are saying, asking questions for clarity, and demonstrating your understanding.

(Erika Andersen. "The 4 Job Skills Most Likely To Land You a Great Job." 
Forbes. December 12, 2012)

 
English Class and Diminished Career-Path Agnostics


The bastion of language arts skills is changing. English class, requiring students to articulate acquisition of critical thinking and problem solving, has long been saddled with instruction and mastery of these career-path agnostics. Multiple choice, true/false, question and reply, rote, factual parroting is all too common in many other disciplines.

Face it -- English teachers are supposed to be the "ONES" responsible for everything relating to reading and writing. Now a change is occurring -- a change for the worse. Instead of spreading out responsibility across the curriculum, English teachers will be pushed ever harder with less time for instruction of classic literature and intensive writing.

Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University who helped the team develop the new Common Core Standards Initiative, has now parted ways with Common Core mainly because he disagrees with attempts to standardize learning. Part of  the Common Core Standards Initiative is a sweeping curricula change that integrates nonfiction text into the English program.

In Massachusetts, for instance, the Common Core reduces the amount of literature students will study by more than half compared to the former Massachusetts standards. The literary content is being replaced by non-fiction reading material. Among the items missing from Common Core are a list of recommended authors and titles, British literature apart from Shakespeare, and any study of the history of the English language.

The English program? Is it the Language Arts Teachers alone who should be teaching the intellectual worth of Lincoln's second inaugural address and Martin Luther King's letter from the Birmingham jail? Often, English teachers do parallel the study of fiction with important nonfiction; however, to charge the English department to be the center of nonfictional study seems ludicrous. In effect, Common Core yokes the English curriculum to a test of general reading ability

Bauerlein says the standards pile so much onto English teachers that the cultivation of critical, passionate reading is in jeopardy. "When you interpret these standards at the state level ... one can interpret them so broadly that we end up with weak practices," he says.

According to Bauerlein, because of the additional pressure on English teachers to teach nonfiction writing and research skills, even less time will be spent on works of fiction that are still part of the new standards.

"I worry that we are going to find that teachers will teach shorter works, they will spend less time on those classics and they'll tend to orient them more toward topical, relevant concerns," he says.
Another concern, Bauerlein says, is the end of what he calls the "free-floating, open-ended literary intellectual experience" that doesn't quite fit in the achievement-oriented system of standardized education. He wonders what conditions will prompt students to continue reading and thinking.

For example, Bauderlein questions if students who are curious about The Sound and the Fury or The Brothers Karamazov would have a place in this new standard.

(NPR Staff. "New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College -- But At What Cost?" www.npr.org. January 19, 2013)

The new standards and low reading scores? Will school districts force high school government and science teachers to devote more time to reading instruction? Please... are you conscious? Ask English teachers how much time and effort and tough "mind changing" instruction are involved in expanding reading skills. Intensive reading and formal writing must be required across the curriculum.

Common Core’s standards for English language arts, their organization, and their division, in
effect, make it unlikely that American students will study a meaningful range of culturally and
historically significant literary works in high school and learn something about their own literary tradition before graduation. The stress on more informational reading in the English class will also likely lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking in all students.

Mark Bauerlein has seen the light of educational reality:

"Instead, it is more likely that English teachers will be expected to diminish the number of their literary selections and align readings with test proportions. In any case, so far as we can tell at this point, English teachers are to be held accountable for an unknown percentage of the high school ELA test of college and career readiness."

(Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky. "How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk." Pioneer Institute White Paper. No. 89. September, 2012) 

Please read the White Paper by clicking here:

http://www.schoolimprovement.com/docs/PioneerInstitute_CoreELARecommendations.pdf

_______________________________________

I thought you might enjoy a little appendix from Bauerlein's White Paper:

British Columbia High School Exit Exams Specified Readings List

Anglo-Saxon and Medieval
• from Beowulf
• Geoffrey Chaucer, from The Canterbury Tales “The Prologue”
• “Bonny Barbara Allan”
• from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Renaissance and 17th Century

• Sir Thomas Wyatt, “Whoso List to Hunt”
• Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
• Sir Walter Raleigh, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
• William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29 (“When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”)
Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”) 
Sonnet 130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”) 
Hamlet, King Lear or The Tempest
• John Donne, “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”; “Death, Be Not Proud”
• Robert Herrick, “To the Virgins”
• John Milton, “On His Blindness”; from Paradise Lost
• from The Diary of Samuel Pepys

18th Century and Romantic
 
• Lady Mary Chudleigh, “To the Ladies”
• Alexander Pope, from The Rape of the Lock
• Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”
• Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”
• William Blake, “The Tiger”; “The Lamb”
• Thomas Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”
• William Wordsworth, “My Heart Leaps Up”; “The World Is Too Much with Us”
• Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
• George Gordon, Lord Byron, “Apostrophe to the Ocean”
• Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind”
• John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”; “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be”

Victorian and 20th Century

• Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses”
• Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43 (“How do I love thee? Let me count the
ways”)
• Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”
• Emily Brontë, “Song”
• Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”
• Thomas Hardy, “The Darkling Thrush”
• Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”
• Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est
• William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
• T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”
• Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
• Stevie Smith, “Pretty”
• Margaret Atwood, “Disembarking at Quebec

Sample essay required:

Value: 30% Suggested Time: 40 minutes
INSTRUCTIONS:
Choose one of the following topics. Write a multi-paragraph essay (at least
three paragraphs) of approximately 400 words
 
Develop a concise, focused answer to show your knowledge and understanding of the topic. Include specific references to the works you discuss. You must refer to at least one work from the Specified Readings List. The only translated works you may use are those from Anglo-Saxon and Medieval English. Write your answer in ink in the Response Booklet.

Topic 5

The presence or absence of loyalty is often a theme in literature.Support this statement with reference to at least three literary works.

OR

Topic 6

A journey of some kind is important to many works of literature. Support this statement with reference to at least three literary works.

OR

Topic 7

The meaning of a literary work may be enhanced by its reference to another work of art or literature. Support this statement with reference to at least three literary works.

(Dig into the work, American brothers and sisters ... if you think you have the skills.)

Monday, December 23, 2013





Have a great holiday season. No editorial comments today. Let your celebration include prayers of peace, love, and goodwill on earth. Remember those who are lonely or isolated and need a "touch" of contact, be it a call, an e-mail, or a visit. 

The monetary gifts are for the kids. We adults need to find a warm glow of friends, family, and quiet reflection. God bless you all.

Just for fun, here is a Christmas quiz that centers on American government and history. Try your luck with these brainteasers. Don't cheat while answering the questions and look at the answers provided after the quiz. Remember, Santa sees everything.

Here are the two main sources for the questions. Please read the articles after you take the little test. Just click on them to take you to the great reading.


http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm




Christmas American Style Quiz


1. ___  Christmas has not always been a national holiday. The Americans of the founding generations insisted upon separation of church and state not because they were irreligious, but because so many of them were

a. non-church goers without denominations
b. not in favor of Washington favoring some religious practices over others
c. still a majority of heathen rift raft
d. not interested in government


2. ___  The early National government was also "rather cool" to establishing Christmas as a holiday because of its many non-Christian origins. For example, Christmas is celebrated near the date of

a. the first British coronation
b. the Celtic festival of Samhain
c. the Roman holiday of Saturnalia
d. Parentalia, the Druid festival of the dead


3. ___  The traditions of the Christmas tree, the hanging of wreaths and house-to-house caroling have their origins in

a. the pre-Christian German holiday of Yule
b. the celebration of winter in neolithic times (10,200 BC)
c. Festivus, a secular holiday celebrated on December 23
d. Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamils


4. ___ It is claimed that the first eggnog made in the United States was consumed 

a. at the inauguration of President George Washington
b. in the Monticello home of President Thomas Jefferson
c. in the Pilgrim colony at Plymouth
d. in Captain John Smith's 1607 Jamestown settlement.


5. ___The Advent season was originally a religious time

a. for prayer of the gift of Jesus's birth
b. for granting fertility
c. for fasting to point to the Second Coming of Jesus
d. for the celebration of the Last Supper of Jesus


6. ___  From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone found guilty of exhibiting the Christmas spirit was 

a. confined to the stockade
b. fined five shillings
c. tarred and feathered
d. confined to his own quarters


7. ___  The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. Who is given much credit for helping change the image of Christmas to a warm-hearted holiday with the publication of The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon in 1819?

a. Henry Thoreau
b. John James Audubon
c. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
d. Washington Irving




8. ___  In 1804, The New York Historical Society was founded with St. Nicolas as its patron saint. Its members engaged in the practice of gift-giving at Christmas introduced by


a. the French
b. the Dutch
c. the Native Americans
d. the Irish


9. ___  In 1834, Illinois voted whether to adopt Christmas as a legal holiday. Among those voting "nay" was 

a. Abraham Lincoln
b. Steven Douglas
c. John Brown
d. Harriet Beecher Stowe

10. ___ In 1836, the first state to recognize Christmas as a holiday was

a. Alabama
b. Ohio
c. Massachusetts
d. Pennsylvania


11. ___ During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln had Thomas Nast, an illustrator for Harper's Magazine create a drawing associated with Christmas that effectively used psychological warfare to demoralize Confederate troops. Describe the drawing.

a. Santa with Union soldiers
b. a nativity scene with the caption "E Pluribus Unum"
c. a heavenly angel overlooking Union troops
d. the Christmas star shining on the White House


12. ___ Christmas was not declared as a federal holiday until 

a. December 24, 1836
b. April 16, 1861
c. June 26, 1870
d. February 4, 1905


13. ___ What President sent out the first "seasonal" White House Christmas card

a. Woodrow Wilson
b. Theodore Roosevelt
c. Harry S. Truman
d. Dwight D. Eisenhower


14. ___ What President sent our the first Christmas card depicting a nativity scene?

a. Franklin D. Roosevelt
b. John F. Kennedy
c. Lydon B. Johnson
d. Richard M. Nixon

____________________________________________________________________________



ANSWERS:

1. B    2. C    3. A    4. D    5. C    6. B    7. D    8. B    9.  A   10. A    11. A    12. C    13. D     14. B   

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The "Unbroken" Scioto County Drug Court -- Who Suffers the Perceived Perfection?




I am critical of the Scioto Drug Court and the decision of Judge Marshall to turn down the State of Ohio's offer of a $1 million grant as its share of $5 million from House Bill 59. The judge used this philosophy to defend his decision: "His drug court is not broken, so there is no need to fix it."

Let me have an entry to defend my position.

In 2011, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and a team of researchers from The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, RTI International, and the Center for Court Innovation completed a five-year longitudinal process, impact and cost evaluation of adult Drug Courts. 

The Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE) compared the services and outcomes in twenty-three adult Drug Courts from seven regions in the U.S. against those of six comparison sites in four regions. The comparison sites administered diverse programs for drug-involved offenders, including Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC), Breaking the Cycle (BTC), and standard court-referred, probation-monitored treatment.

Offender-level data were obtained from 1,157 Drug Court participants and 627 comparison offenders who were carefully matched to the Drug Court participants on a range of variables that influenced outcomes.

(Shelli Rossman, M.A. and Janine M. Zweig, Ph.D. "The Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation." National Association of Drug Court Professionals. May 2012)

First of all, the evaluation found that drug court participants were significantly less likely than the matched comparison offenders to relapse to drug use, and those who did relapse used drugs
significantly less.

In addition, the study found that participants in drug courts reaped psychosocial benefits in areas of their lives other than drug use and criminal behavior. Drug court participants reported significantly less family conflict than the comparison offenders at eighteen months. 

Drug court participants were also more likely than the comparison offenders to be enrolled in school at six months and needed less assistance with employment, educational services, or financial issues at eighteen months.

The largest cost benefits were achieved by reducing serious offending on the part of a relatively small subset of the drug court participants. Drug courts are potentially cost-effective. On average, the drug courts in the study returned net economic benefits to their local communities of approximately $2 for every $1 invested; however, this did not represent a statistically significant improvement over the comparison programs. (Please note the selection process as it pertains to great cost effectiveness in the "Recommendations" below.)



Recommendations of the Study

* "The absence of statistical significance may have been influenced by the nature of the target populations. Many of the Drug Courts in the MADCE reduced low-level criminal offenses that are typically not associated with high incarceration or victimization costs. 

"This suggests drug courts will need to target more serious offenders to reap significant cost benefits for their communities."

* "Government agencies should continue to spend resources funding drug court programs. They should sponsor training and technical assistance to encourage the implementation of evidence-based practices and to ensure Drug Courts target the most appropriate offender populations for their programs."

* "Providing substance abuse treatment is integral to the Drug Court model. Drug courts that offer treatments of short duration may not allow participants sufficient time to tackle their substance use
problems and alter their attitudes and behaviors accordingly. 

"Treatment must be of sufficient length and dosage to achieve sustained success. Drug courts work, so ensure provisions are made to fund their continued existence."

* "It takes innovation, teamwork and strong judicial leadership to achieve success when addressing drug-using offenders in a community.

* "Drug courts work, so ensure provisions are made to fund their continued existence. The research evidence clearly establishes the effectiveness and potential cost-effectiveness of drug courts.
 

"Government agencies should continue to spend resources funding drug court programs. They should sponsor training and technical assistance to encourage the implementation of evidence-based practices and to ensure Drug Courts target the most appropriate offender populations for their programs."

* "Drug courts should avoid suitability determinations. Drug court teams are not very successful at predicting who will succeed in their program. Therefore, they should avoid allowing entry only to offenders they believe will be better suited to the services. Drug courts achieve higher reductions in recidivism and greater cost savings when they treat high-risk, prison-bound populations. 

"As a condition of public sponsorship, federal funders and local policymakers should require drug courts to expand their eligibility criteria to include more serious offenders."
 



Taking the Grant

Our money is spent to insure drug courts work. I believe they do work: the courts are relatively cost-efficient solutions to lowering the relapse of drug abuse. They also encourage participants to continue educational and employment endeavors.

The point is: Drug courts should and must work better. Consider the recommendations of the extensive research and let me explain why even controversial, expensive Vivitrol may help, especially since a large grant would fund its existence in the Scioto County Drug Court.

1. Drug courts should target more serious offenders. It is obvious many serious offenders with severe drug dependency exist in our county. The general public opinion is that these criminals must pay stiff sentences for their crimes. I believe that too: I have talked with so many parents who have lost loved ones to drug abuse who wish they had been educated in the value of "tough love." Jail has a positive punishment effect for some. But, it lacks tremendously in rehabilitating inmates, especially those who are addicts.

New factors have emerged that require consideration. The correctional population has expanded more than 4.5 fold between 1978 and 2004—from 1.5 million to almost 7 million as a result of tougher sentencing laws and the war on drugs.

 (Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). 1997. Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2003. M. Jacobson. Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration. 2005)

Let's face it -- serious offenders are often addicts, and many of them have mental disabilities due to a variety of issues. Should we deny these offenders treatment for mental issues while incarcerated? If not, why would we deny those who may benefit from Vivitrol the opportunity to become sober?

Nothing -- prison, counseling, education, religion, treatment drugs -- works every time to cure an addict. If limited counseling and monitoring of traditional drug courts convert serious offenders without other needed treatments, then drug courts would have better success rates. Vivitrol, given with expert diagnosis and under proper control, can save lives. Serious offenders need more help.

Overall, three of four state prisoners and four of five federal prisoners are characterized as alcohol- or drug-involved offenders, according to a BJS report. Mental health problems? “Prisons are the largest mental health institutions in our country,” stated Darrel A. Reiger, M.D., M.P.H., deputy medical director of the American Psychiatric Association. Six in 10 mentally ill prisoners received treatment while incarcerated in a state or federal prison. Only 4 in 10 in local jails received treatment.

The truth is, as a society. we have no clear mandate for our prisons: we expect next to nothing, and, in most cases, they deliver what is expected. If prisons and jails do not want to use every means available to rehabilitate inmates, what is the real goal of incarceration? America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.


2. Government agencies should continue to spend resources funding drug court programs. The $1 million grant was available and Scioto County said "no." In essence, the drug court denied the implementation of an evidence-based practice. Vivitrol has shown great promise for alcoholism and opioid dependency when combined with psychosocial therapy.

"Recent research published by the Journal of Addiction Medicine shows little difference between support groups receiving counseling alone and those receiving Vivitrol, dispelling the fears that medicine to treat alcohol dependence discourages client participation in therapy or support groups. Six hundred patients were involved in the study. Of the 600 participants, some were given the injections of 380 mg of Vivitrol, 190 mg Vivitrol while others were given a placebo as well as 12 sessions of psychosocial therapy. The data not only showed a greater percentage of Vivitrol patients attending all sessions as opposed to the placebo group, but it also showed the higher Vivitrol group had improved drinking outcomes. According to the research, 'This data provide the first systematic assessment of the impact of pharmacotherapy on participation in psychosocial therapy.'"

(Cisler, Ron A. PhD; Silverman, Bernard L. MD; Gromov, Irina MD, PhD; Gastfriend, David R. MD. "Impact of Treatment With Intramuscular, Injectable, Extended-Release Naltrexone on Counseling and Support Group Participation in Patients With Alcohol Dependence." 
Journal of Addiction Medicine. Volume 4, September 2010)

"'Robust data from an Alkermes extension study confirms vivitrol's efficacy and safety profile over an 18-month period and support its clinical utility as a treatment option for opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification,' stated Evgeny Krupitsky, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, St. Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University and Head of the Department of Addictions at the Bekhterev Research Psychoneurological Institute. 'Vivitrol is the first and only once-monthly medication that offers patients and physicians a non-narcotic treatment option to help fight this challenging disease.'"

 ("Positive Results From Alkermes Vivitrol Addiction Study." 
news-medical.net. November 10, 2011)
 
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is continuing to support research on Vivitrol's effectiveness in this country, including a focus on criminal justice involved populations transitioning back into the community. This is an especially vulnerable period, associated with a high risk of relapse, overdose, and re-arrest.
 (Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director. "Important Treatment Advances for Addiction to Heroin and Other Opiates." The National Institute on Drug Abuse. October 2010)



3. Drug courts must fund their continued existence. Where in the State of Ohio or where in the nation, for that matter, does unbridled poverty persist? It exists in Appalachia. Scioto County is in Appalachia and it the unhealthiest area in the State. It is also among the most impoverished and least healthiest parts of the United States. We should take available funding. 

Here are the 2009 Census Poverty Levels for Scioto County and a comparision with Ohio and the United States:

 <18 years of age in poverty: Scioto County 33.9%   Ohio 21.6%   U.S. 20.0%

All ages in poverty: Scioto County 23.5%  Ohio 15.1%  U.S. 14.3

 (Federal Poverty Level as issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 
and published in the Federal Register.)

The Rate of Dependency on Income Supports is the total amount of income support provided by taxpayer dollars (e.g. Retirement and Disability payments, Unemployment Compensation, Worker's Compensation, TANF, SSI, etc.) divided by total personal income. (Note: Ranking based on highest (1) Rate of Dependency to lowest (88) Rate of Dependency.

The Rate of Dependency on Income Supports is 35.3% in Scioto County. The county ranks 3rd (of 88 counties) in Ohio for the highest rate.


4. Traditional, inattentive, indifferent, and ignorant wishful thinking patterns have contributed most to the problems faced by Scioto County. The prescription drug epidemic, the pill mill congregation, the high crime rate, the unbelievable rate of babies born addicted to substances, the inexcusable deaths of youth related to opiate addiction and overdose, the decay of business, the high rate of unemployment, the skyrocketing number of mental health patients, and now the increased introduction of heroin dependency and addiction have happened because we, in Scioto County, slept through taking proactive measures.


Hell, I taught high school students for decades and I am guilty of not "seeing" the advance of the flood. Of course, now I, like the rest of Scioto Countians, am responsible for my environment. I am ashamed to say for a period of time I was content to let fate and the Scioto County defeated mentality rule my mind.

I believe in education and in change. Stagnation and "mine is good enough" are not attitudes I support. As far as what is "broken," in my eyes, the county is "broken" when we look a gifted horse in the mouth. Pardon the cliche.

After being elected, Governor Kasich came to Portsmouth to begin his war on drug abuse. He led a wonderful assembly gathered at the Counseling Center and began his speech by saying "the devil is loose" in Scioto County. He pledged his utmost help but only with the full support of the citizenry. I was there at the meeting along with politicians, judges, enforcement officials, health officials, city government leaders, and others. The air was electric -- everyone vowed to fight the evil in our county.

I have taken steps to activate myself and help correct some of the problems. I have had great zeal and also times when I thought it best to step away. But, despite my periods of "getting pissed at stopgap actions" and walking away for a time to gather a new perspective, I want to see a new, better home ground. With "good old boy" control and "business as usual" attitude, little will change.

I have attended memorial services, training exercises, task force meetings, protests, town hall discussions, and searches for missing people. I have listened and been educated from various points of view. I understand one thing that never wavers in discussion. Those who know the problem of addiction and work the hardest to defeat it always agree.

I have heard them state this over and over: "One life saved can start a new direction and a new beginning. ONE LIFE. Saving one life is the answer every time." We must never diminish this attitude, whether that ONE LIFE is an addict, a criminal, or someone considered refuse. We must not judge the value of another human being.

I do not support the inactivity of those who would deny a person in need a chance for living. And, who knows how productive that life may become once saved? What works and doesn't work for addicts -- whether the substance abused is alcohol, heroin, or prescription drugs? I sincerely believe it depends upon the person who is addicted.

The Governor offered the money for Scioto Drug Court to expand its role and save that ONE LIFE. If the drug court is not "broken" in some manner, I would like to understand how certain problems persist. It is up to us to strengthen the status quo, not be satisfied with marginal success. I am sure denial of the funding was an "educated" decision. I am not sure who or how the education was conducted. And, I am damn not sure of WHY.

I must end by confessing that I am "broken" in definite ways, and I do rely upon professionals employing clinically-based procedures and medications to provide my "normal" existence. I am a victim of a mental disease and a few physical problems. I have learned through experience not to be adverse to new treatments. If that makes me an addict, and, in a way I think it does, I confess I am dependent upon these substances for my perceived benefit. I hate to be considered irreparable but I also wish health clinicians could find something better for others like me in order that they could avoid clinical depression.