Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

The official “pardoning” of White House turkeys is an interesting White House tradition that has captured the imagination of the public in recent years. It is often stated that President Lincoln’s clemency to a turkey recorded in an 1865 dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks was the origin for the pardoning ceremony. Brooks noted,

About a year before, a live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner, but [Lincoln’s son Tad] interceded in behalf of its life. . . . [Tad’s] plea was admitted and the turkey’s life spared.

The Washington Post used both “pardon” and “reprieve” in a 1963 article in which President Kennedy said of the turkey, “Let’s keep him going.” The formalities of pardoning a turkey gelled by 1989, when George H. W. Bush, with animal rights activists picketing nearby, quipped,

. . . this guy [has] been granted a presidential pardon as of right now.


  1. I still haven't pardoned that one White House turkey, George Jr.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I'm thankful I stumbled into a discussion of Lewis and Clark at the NY Times in September 2001 -- and Gintaras was kind enough to answer my questions. Been many great book discussions since then.

  2. As we used to say in Brooklyn, Happy Toykee Day!

  3. It's been a pleasure av and trip. So thankful to have good persons to discuss am history books with and exchange thoughts in general.

  4. Took in the Lincoln film last night. The theater was packed; in fact, we just managed to get two tickets before the show we wanted to attend sold out.

    I give the film a B. Daniel Day-Lewis is very good, as expected, and so is Sally Fields. The script is at times also very good but at times rather weak. A scene late in the film when Lincoln has a brief conversation with a black house servant on the steps of Blair House is painfully earnest and completely unconvincing. And the scene at Appomattox Courthouse when Robert E. Lee is about to ride off in defeat is not much better. Almost schmaltzy.

    Overall worth seeing, but this is a rather old fashioned Hollywood movie. I will be interested to learn what others here think.