Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Can Mitt Win the Big One?

As I was researching the Leutwein story, I checked out St. John's German Lutheran Church in LaPorte, Indiana, where Victoria's father was pastor for a short while.

I found a picture of it, but the church no longer exists (although there is still a St. John's Lutheran Church in LaPorte, presumably a successor church).

In the course of my studies, though, I came across the website of Trinity Lutheran Church, which had this helpful list for our edification:

Popular Cults and Movements
Seventh Day Adventism
Jehovah's Witnesses
The Eastern Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism)
Christian Science
The Lodges ( e.g., Masonry)
Cultural Worldviews-Feminism, Evolution, Egalitarianism, Abortion, Homosexuality

This is Mitt's Republican base.

Leutwein Epilogue

Thanks for the comments and emails concerning the previous post about Victoria Leutwein and her family.

Since putting the story up, I've come across two more items that may interest you.

On June 6, 1903, the passenger ship Graf Waldersee set sail from Hamburg for Boulogne, Plymouth, and New York. Among those aboard was one Isabella Leutwein of "Calamazoo." Our Isabel never made it to South West Africa. It is possible the military situation there made it unsafe for her to proceed on her most excellent adventure.

And on May 15, 1954, the Chicago Daily Tribune ran this obituary:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm afraid this is going to turn out to be a long post, but I'll keep it as short as I can. If you're only interested in my brilliant insights into the political issues of the day, you can skip it entirely and miss nothing. It's a rabbit hole.

I have a useless interest in portrait photography at the end of the 19th century, particularly in "cabinet cards," which are what you got if you took the family down to the local photographer. So I roam eBay, looking for interesting cabinet cards. Recently I came across this attractive portrait:

This is fairly typical of a studio pose by a good photographer of the time.  I liked the photo, but even more interesting was what was written on the back on the cabinet card:

The seller on eBay identified her as "Victoria Sentwein," and indeed that was my first reading of it. But when I could find no record of a Sentwein of any sort in the census records, I went back for a second look. That's when I noticed that the S in Sentwein did not match the S in Schools. Was that an L? Could her name be Lentwein?

No, not exactly: it was Leutwein; that first N is actually a U. The 1930 Census of Chicago lists Victoria, still a public school teacher, staying at the Hayes – a 500 room residence hotel:

End of story? Not quite, because Victoria came from a very interesting family. A 1904 newspaper article tells us about her father:

For the love of an Indiana girl, Prof. Carl Leutwein, ... brother of Col Theodor Leutwein, governor of German South [West] Africa, gave up friends in his native land, a lucrative position in the German army, and his only chance of again returning to his country.

Prof. Leutwein is residing at 801 North Rose street, and a few chapters in his varied career are interesting and romantic. He is well known about Michigan, having taught French and German in the University of Michigan for 10 years, and been instructor of German in Kalamazoo college for several terms.

Prof. Leutwein was born in Germany 50 years ago and is a graduate of Heidelberg university. Later he entered the German army and served several years. In consequence of his many advantages and good family his promotion was rapid. At the age of 25 years he ranked as major and was allowed three year's leave of absence.

Met a Yankee Girl

Prof. Leutwein came to this country. He traveled for a time and a year later wandered into the little city of Laporte, Ind. There he met Miss Jennie Hammond, pretty, sweet and buxom. An ardent cour[t]ship followed and Miss Hammond became the wife of Major Carl Leutwein. Wishing to remain in Laporte Major Leutwein secured a position as pastor of the German Lutheran church, of that city. Unmindful of his leave of absence the days sped rapidly by. Then one morning the major awoke to the realization that he had overstayed his time and that according to the rules and regulations of the German army he could never again return to his country. [Or he would be arrested for desertion?] He secured positions as instructor of German and French in several of the large universities about the middle west, but later went to Ann Arbor, where he was engaged as instructor for 10 years.

Pro. Leutwein has not seen his brother or any member of his family whom he left in Germany since he came to this country 25 years ago.

Col. Leutwein is governor of over 2,000,999 square miles of territory in South [West] Africa and diamond fields have recently been discovered in his territory which are said to be larger and finer than those in Kimberley.

..."My brother, Col. Theodor Leutwein was the next oldest son in my father's family and he was chosen to take my place in the army. Now he is governor of German South [West] Africa. We have always been very different, however, and I believe he is much better fitted to be a soldier than I am. ... He has always loved fighting; I do not. I love books, not fighting. I have my children, my books and am happy. I would not change."
Col. Theodor Leutwein
About Victoria's uncle, Col. Theodor Leutwein, I won't say much, though we'll come back to him soon. If you're interested, you can read his Wikipedia entry, or just google the name. He spent a good part of his career in German South West Africa, now called Namibia, where he was responsible for "pacifying" the native population. He was not brutal enough for his superiors in Germany, and command was transferred to Lt. Gen. Lothar von Trotha.  What ensued is now known as the Herero and Namaqua Genocide.

All that happened in 1904.

Victoria had several siblings, including a younger sister, Isabel or Isabella. We have three frames of Isabel's life, starting in July 1897, when the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News ran a short piece about her:

Interesting girl. Isabel was probably born in 1874, which would have made her about 25 years old at the time, but both Victoria and Isabel gave different ages or years of birth in every census, always making themselves younger than you would predict from the last, and we can't be sure the first record was correct.

It's easy to imagine Professor Leutwein's concerns about Isabel. I can almost hear the nuns in The Sound of Music singing, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Isabella?" Letters were no doubt exchanged with his brother in German South West Africa. Until, in February 1903, the Kalamazoo Gazette ran this story ...

Don't miss that last paragraph.

Whether Isabel made it to Africa, or was still in Germany when her uncle Theodor returned there in 1904, I've been unable to determine. The third frame from her life to be presented here was taken in 1910. At that time, the U.S. Census finds her in Redfield, South Dakota, married 5 years to Emmett C. Ryan. She has a daughter, Maurine; another child died in infancy. In 1922 Emmett Ryan would be the (unsuccessful) Democratic candidate for Congress from South Dakota.

Isabel died in April 1958 in Washington, D.C., where she had been living with her daughter since Emmett C. Ryan died.

Finally, there was poor Carl Leutwein Jr., younger brother to Victoria and Isabel.

The "sister who saw the Kalamazoo woman in Chicago" was undoubtedly our Victoria.

That's as far down the rabbit hole as I've gone. There are more tunnels and chambers to be followed and explored.

Beautiful Victoria, with the ornate handwriting, never married. How did Victoria's picture wind up on eBay?

I suspect I'm the only living person who cares.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mitt Just Can't Help Himself

I've been watching tonight's Republican debate over on CNN.

Mitt just made a claim to be the son of immigrants because his father was born in Mexico.

Does he have an inner voice that says, "No, Mitt! Don't say that!"?

Apparently not.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Musical Interlude

Paul Krugman is an interesting guy. On his NY Times blog, among very wonkish posts about economics and very angry posts about politics, he sprinkles music videos that he likes. Usually, our tastes don't match. This one, which he correctly calls "strange but wonderful," is different.

Friday, January 20, 2012

But He's Very Popular with Rabies Sufferers

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo says "If you want to know why the GOP establishment is freaking out, check out this chart."

I didn't know the GOP establishment was freaking out, but am glad to hear it. The red line is Newt's UNfavorability rating in the real world. And he looks like a winner in South Carolina tomorrow. We'll see.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Perfect Storm

Rick Perry has withdrawn from the presidential campaign. Touted by our political media as a formidable opponent when he entered the race, he turned out to be, as many have said, George Bush without the brains. [That, Anneliese, is a good example of "scarcasm."] It seemed Perry couldn't open his mouth without needlessly insulting a foreign country, most recently Turkey.

In his withdrawal speech, Rick Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich.

Even before Perry's withdrawal, Newt was riding a rocket ship in the South Carolina polls, and now leads Mitt Romney.

But Newt will get no sleep, because tonight at 10:35 CST ABC News will broadcast an interview with his second wife, Marianne, in which she will claim Newt tried to talk her into an open marriage.
“I said to him, ‘We’ve been married a long time,’” Marianne Gingrich says, in an excerpt from the interview released Thursday morning by ABC News. “And he said, ‘Yes but you want me all to yourself. Callista doesn’t care what I do.’”
Oh my!

Meanwhile, we're starting to get a notion of why Mitt Romney said he might release his tax returns in April. He apparently wants to release only his 2011 tax returns, which have not been prepared yet. We won't be able to see what he did with his money in prior years, for which returns have already been filed.

What does it matter? ABC reports:
For weeks, Romney has cited a desire for privacy as his reason for not sharing his tax returns -- a gesture of transparency that is now expected from presidential contenders.

"I can tell you we follow the tax laws," he said recently while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. "And if there's an opportunity to save taxes, we like anybody else in this country will follow that opportunity."
But tax experts tell ABC News there are other reasons Romney may not want the public viewing his returns. As one of the wealthiest candidates to run for president in recent times, Romney has used a variety of techniques to help minimize the taxes on his estimated $250 million fortune. In addition to paying the lower tax rate on his investment income, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans.

Official documents reviewed by ABC News show that Bain Capital, the private equity partnership Romney once ran, has set up some 138 secretive offshore funds in the Caymans.
Poor Rick Santorum, who advocates assassinating Russian scientists, is finally declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses – just in time to hear Perry endorse Newt. The news about the open marriage interview broke last night, so Perry already knew about it, but endorsed Newt anyway. Consider that.

But don't count Santorum out yet! The Republicans are bat**** crazy, and there's no telling who their next messiah will be.

Hey, there's always Ron Paul.

Now, to make this absolutely delicious, there's another Republican debate tonight! Who will rabies strike next?

Not to be missed. Oh, what a great idea it was for the Republicans to have a debate every 2 or 3 days!

And the South Carolina primary is Saturday.

Update: Couldn't watch the debate for more than 25 minutes. First question was to Gingrich about the interview with his second wife. Gingrich was shocked! shocked! that the CNN moderator would lead off the debate with such a question. It was all about the media attacking Republicans and protecting President Obama. Red meat for the crowd.

Republicans are bat**** crazy.

Nothing is Forever – Kodak Falls

Eastman Kodak was a giant among American companies.  There were upstarts: Fuji, Ilford, Agfa, and others. None had the prestige of Kodak, which was earned over 131 years of producing superior products. From its earliest days it had a reputation as a great place to work, and it set the standards for the film industry.

And then came digital.

Eastman Kodak has finally filed for bankruptcy. They will continue operating under bankruptcy protection.

It's Not Class Warfare – It's Math!

Andrew Tobias recommended this video, saying it had "no shouting, no ominous music – or soaring music, for that matter – just quiet common sense."  It does a good job of describing reality. Remember reality?

Don't worry, he stops with the "I do not feel disappointed ... " sentences before you want to drive pencils into your ears.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Good Summary

In case you missed it, Stephen Colbert is running for President of "the United States of South Carolina," and is polling better than Jon Huntsman. What's Colbert up to?

Jason Zinoman in the NY Times sees "a longtime thematic undercurrent of 'The Colbert Report': Mr. Colbert is a serious performer playing a silly character, while the media and political world are deeply silly but pretending to be serious."


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amazing Historical Footage

While cruising YouTube this morning, I came across this amazing footage of an interview with Czar Nicholas II, conducted in 1916.

How fascinating that it is so well preserved.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Perry Returns to the People Who Elected Him

Another video headline cut short by the character limit:

I'm beginning to think Talking Points Memo does this on purpose. Remember the Rick Santorum thing a few months ago? Incidentally, you can click on this video all you want, and it won't play. If you're determined to hear what Perry was really saying, click here.

Jan 9 Update: The photo which was the subject of the post is not displaying. I'm working on it.

Jan 12 Update: Finally got around to it.