Wednesday, February 12, 2014

205-year-old man in the news

Lincoln in Bensonhurst
Lincoln in the news on his birthday:

This afternoon at the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, where Lincoln gave his House Divided speech, the US Postal Service is unveiling a new Lincoln postage stamp.  This one will show an image of the Lincoln Memorial.  The Lincoln Land Community College chorus will perform.  The State Journal-Register has details.

The Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park has birthday events planned for today as well.  One is the official donation to the Park by Hodgenville attorney and Lincoln historian Carl Howell of the marker from the grave of Thomas Lincoln Jr.--the only brother of Abe, who died in infancy in either 1811 or '12.  WKMS, the local NPR station there, reports that Howell purchased the marker from the owner of the small family cemetery when the owner was selling the cemetery, and quotes Howell as saying, "“I think it needs to be displayed in Larue County at the National Park where people can see it on a daily basis because of its extreme importance and significance to the Lincoln heritage."  Um, shouldn't it be put back on the kid's grave?

The Bensonhurst Bean informs us that Bensonhurst police have apprehended 24-year-old Vladimir Bubnov and charged him with being the graffiti artist who has spray-painted Lincoln's image, in the Bean's words "on public and private property along a broad swath of Brooklyn. The images can be seen at almost every Belt Parkway overpass and subway easement, as well as on the sides of many businesses, from Mill Basin to Bay Ridge."  Bubnov was stopped by police because he failed to signal a turn, which seems a tad careless when it's been publicized that the police are looking for you and you are transporting graffiti stencils and spray paint in your back seat.  According to the Bean, Bubnov goes by the street name of AINAC ("Art Is Not A Crime"), and it is speculated that he "may also be the person responsible for the “All you need is love” tag that is nearly as ubiquitous as the Lincoln image."

Kalamazoo, Michigan, civic leaders are organizing efforts to place a statue of Lincoln in a park there, says the Kalamazoo Gazette, to commemorate Lincoln's only public appearance in Michigan.  He spoke at a Republican rally there in 1856 in support of the party's first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont (Campaign slogan:  "Free Soil!  Free Labor!  Fremont!").  The city government and the local press are all in favor of it.  

Speaking of Republican rallies, the GOP in Multnomah County, Oregon, is apparently going ahead with its Lincoln Day raffle this Saturday.  From their website:  ". . .we celebrate the legacy of two great Republicans who demonstrated leadership and courage that all of us still lean on today: Martin Luther King, Jr and Abraham Lincoln. In celebrating these two men, and the denial of the rights they fought so hard against, the Multnomah County Republican Party announces that we have started our third raffle for an AR-15 rifle (or handgun of the winner’s choice)."  It apparently really didn't occur to them that there might be something gauche about raffling off a gun to "celebrate" two assassination victims.  When there was the predictable outcry, they issued a non-apology apology for having "issued a press release that was unfortunately easily misunderstood."  Not for calling King a Republican, though, or for the incoherence of "the denial of the rights they fought so hard against."  As for the raffle, The Oregonian reports that the group expects the publicity to sell out all 500 raffle tickets. reports Terrence Malick has produced a Lincoln biopic, directed by A.J. Edwards, that is playing festivals and looking for a distributor.  Called The Better Angels, it seems to be about Abe growing up in Indiana.  Here's a link to watch the trailer on Indiewire.

A fun game that everyone can play is to imagine that Abraham Lincoln would completely agree with you about whatever contemporary issue you want to name.  Derek Hunter at seems convinced that Lincoln would side with him in opposing Obamacare;  Mike Lux blogs at HuffPost that Lincoln would want the federal government to start arresting Wall Street CEOs who deserve it; Alissa Wetzel in the Indianapolis Star just knows that he would agree with her about gay marriage; and Eric Zorn writes in the Chicago Tribune that Lincoln would agree with him that Lincoln's Birthday should not be a school holiday in Illinois anymore.  Nobody seems to care what George Washington would think about any of these issues.


  1. Seriously, do you really think this day and age, that the grave marker for Lincoln's only brother should be placed in the middle of no where for anyone to walk by and place it in their own pockets? I'm sure Mr. Howell took care to properly mark the grave of the brother, while preserving the original stone in a place it will be guarded and secured by federal laws. Thank you Mr. Howell for being so generous with your purchase!