Thursday, June 30, 2016
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
"There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control.
We cannot control earthquakes.
We cannot control droughts.
We cannot stop all disease.
We cannot stop all war and conflict.
But when we know there are sick and hungry people, and people without a home, and people without a job, and people in need, then that is something we can control,
We can help these people, all we have to do is reach out."
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016
PIGASUS THE IMMORTAL
Candidate for President, 1968
The 1968 Presidential Election was one of the most contentious in US history. Facing a storm of protest over the escalating war in Vietnam, deeply unpopular sitting President Lyndon Johnson had decided not to run again, throwing the race wide open.
But after the euphoria of this moment passed, the political left was faced with an unenviable choice; on the right Richard Nixon, who many of them considered something less than human, and on their own side Hubert Humphrey, Johnson's VP and a fierce pro-war advocate (Hunter S. Thompson described Humphrey as 'a potato with mange.').
In response to this, the Youth International Party - or 'Yippies' - a radical counter culture group, declared they had their own Presidential candidate: 'Pigasus'.
Taking up position outside the Democratic National Convention, the Yippies declared their 250 pound pig a candidate on August 23, 1968. They were immediately arrested, and the pig was taken into custody along with the Yippie leadership. Initially charged under an old law that forbade livestock to be brought into the Chicago city centre, the activists were eventually convicted of disturbing the peace, and given a small fine.
Pigasus was given to a local animal shelter.
Elected Mayor, Sunol, California
Sunol is a small farming town in the Alameda Valley, in central California. It has the distinction of being the first, but not the last, town in America to elect a dog as mayor, in 1981.
The story goes that Bosco's owner, Brad Leber, witnessed a rowdy argument in a bar one night, as locals debated which of the two mayoral candidates was best. Intervening, Leber stated that he didn't think much of either candidate, and that his dog could beat them both.
Bosco's career as a Re-Pup-Lican was born. Long time resident Dave Rogers recalls the election:
'Everyone knew Bosco, and he just became a write in candidate and won all the votes. It was pretty much a landslide.'
While his duties as mayor were ceremonial, Bosco lead the annual town parade, and was often dressed in a tux for official events. He also liked to drink a little beer, and was often seen at the local tavern.
After 13 successful years in office, Bsoco passed away in 1994.
Candidate for City Council, Sao Paulo
In Brazil in the 1950s, as anti-Government feeling ran high after numerous corruption scandals, voters decided to lodge a protest by nominating animals for elected office.
Firstly, in the small rural town of Jaboatao, a goat named Fragrant was placed on the ballot for city council, and won the highest number of votes. Even more significantly, in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, angry constituents nominated a Rhinoceros named Cacareco for their city council elections.
With low voter turnout, an angry electorate, and a high number of candidates making it difficult to win a clear majority, Cacareco amazingly won the election, attracting 100 000 votes. Sadly, the city council nullified the results and ordered a fresh election, restricted solely to human candidates.
Cacareco continued to live on at the Sao Paulo zoo, in blissful ignorance of these events, but she did leave a political legacy of sorts. Across South America a protest vote is still sometimes referred to as a Cacareco vote.
Elected Republican Party Committeeman
Milton is small town near the northern border of Washington State, a rural and rugged part of America. In 1938 the Republican voters of the town elected a brown mule to the Republican Party Committee.
And while the margin in the election, 51 votes to 0, is certainly convincing, there are some factors to consider:
1. The mule was running unopposed.
2. The voters did not realise that 'Boston Curtis' was a mule, and not a more conventional Republican.
3. The voters did not know Boston Curtis was a mule thanks to Kenneth Simmons, a local Democrat who thought it would be funny to sneak a mule onto the Republican ballot and have them vote for it.
Simmons had located a local farmer, obtained their permission to use the animal in the prank, and then filled out all the relevant paperwork at city hall, with himself as a witness. To really put the thing over, he even had the mule mark the official documents with his hoof, by way of signature.
Sadly, Boston Curtis was not allowed to take his seat on the Republican Committee.
Elected Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska
Stubbs, the cat mayor of rural Talkeetna, Alaska, embodies a classic rags-to-riches American success story.
Found in a box of abandoned kittens, and adopted by the manager of the General Store, from this humble beginning Stubbs began his rise to elected office and ultimate power...
While some doubt is cast as to the veracity of Stubbs' office (some spoilsports claim that Talkeetna is too small to actually have a mayoralty), the local residents are happy to be known as the town with the cat mayor.
At time of writing, Stubbs is still in office, and has become a popular drawcard for tourists. A campaign to get Stubbs on the ballot for the Alaskan Senate stalled in 2014, another victim of those spoilsports, who will try and put limitations on what a cat can be.