A Force Of Nature

Roscoe Conkling looked out the window of his Wall Street Law Office & cursed the weather. His home was three miles away. The Great Blizzard of 1888 was enveloping New York City, with 40 inches of snow piling up. I will walk home, he thought. And out into the tempest he went. The date was March 12th.

By SJYWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

This March 11th marks the 130th Anniversary of the start of the Great Blizzard of 1888. This was a horrible event that claimed over 400 lives in the Northeast, 200 in New York City alone. Drifts of snow were recorded over 30 feet high. The storm finally subsided on the 14th.

Trudge, trudge, thank goodness you kept yourself in shape, Mr. Conkling. 

Roscoe Conkling was a fascinatingly complex figure in our political history, being a kingpin in 1870’s – 1880’s government. He was a Stalwart Republican. Patronage was mother’s milk & he was fighting against the Half-Breed Republicans, who favored Civil Service reforms. Conkling et al supported Ulysses Grant for President. Stalwarts were a political machine.

This storm is very bad. I am having trouble moving forward. Was going out a mistake? Too late now – I must keep going. I do not give up.

Roscoe Conkling & Chester Arthur were very close. Conkling helped Arthur get plum positions in the government. The Election of 1880 saw Arthur being placed on the ticket with eventual Presidential winner James Garfield. After the President’s assassination Arthur assumed office & Conkling thought his old friend would help him out politically. However things had changed. Chester Arthur, a Stalwart, had evolved into a Half-Breed reformer. Their friendship ended – as eventually did the Stalwarts & Conkling’s influence.

Onlookers saw the distinguished man collapse in the snow at Union Square. Please take me home, the stricken man said. I live near Madison Square.

The decision to venture out into the Great Blizzard eventually cost Roscoe Conkling his life. He died of pneumonia on April 18,1888. As with most everything in his life he believed himself to be unstoppable. This time a more powerful force of nature won out.

His breathing labored on, growing slower. Ghosts of long dead friends & enemies visited his brain, James Blaine, Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, old Chet Arthur. Will I be remembered? Of course I will. I shaped those men, brought them great fame, glory, infamy. Power was mine.

Breathe in, breathe out. In …. out.

More Posts by SJWNY


41 thoughts on “A Force Of Nature”

  1. sjwny, well done!

    hope all in the storm’s path today take heed and shelter in place if possible

  2. bw, thanks for sharing.
    nbcnews: Click here to read the “Hush Agreement” and the side letter agreement

    pogo et al trail abogados,  if she wins does this mean she has to repay the 130,000 and is she in jeopardy of also violating fec rules as is his lawyer?  wonder if she reported this “income” to the irs at the time…. and how did she describe it? performance payment perhaps? and how did lawyer or the twit label it for the irs in the expenses column… a gift? business expense? public relations cost?

  3. Well. . . overnight we received at least one inch of snow and not rain.  Bah humbug.

    Are the pundits going to be correct about the Mueller investigation erupting in indictments during the next few weeks?  It is only Wednesday, too early to guess who will be given their papers and offers to plead guilty now; that will be tomorrow.  But, he could want to stir the boiling pot earlier than usual given that SFB is swirling in the commode this morning with the loss of another insider.

  4. Patd,  this isn’t about $130000. According to the agreement, she would have to disgorge profits that she made from disclosure of that protected information And in addition she would have to pay $1 million in liquidated damages. That’s what this is about. You heard it here first – Bok Deal.

  5. initials “DD” and “PP” for pseudonyms in the agreement might also stand in for other more appropriate names like “Doo Doo” and “Pee Pee” (descriptions of the twit and the twit’s golden showers addiction)

  6. pogo, you’re right, book deal for sure.  but there may be a glut on the market if all the exes and formers (wives, lovers, aides, advisors, cabinet members etc) take up the poison pen and tell all.

  7. drip drip drip

    business insider: Mueller has secured sworn testimony from a little-known but pivotal witness in the Russia investigation
    George Nader, a Middle East expert connected to several associates of President Donald Trump, is now cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller and has testified before a grand jury in the Russia investigation, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
    FBI investigators approached Nader when he landed at Washington Dulles International Airport in January and served him with search warrants and a grand jury subpoena, the report said. At the time, Nader was en route to Mar-a-Lago to meet with President Donald Trump and his associates to celebrate the anniversary of Trump’s first year in office.

    New details about the meetings and Nader’s involvement contained in the Times report provide critical clues about the timeline of Trump-Russia contacts, as well as the degree to which the president’s closest and highest-ranking associates were involved.



  8. also from the guardian:

    ‘History in the making’: California aims for world’s highest farm animal welfare law

    New law would ban the sale of all eggs, pork or veal from a caged animal, putting the state ahead of the EU – if campaigners can get enough signatures


    The law is only possible thanks to the quirky US ballot measure system which allows organisations and individuals to bypass politicians and put potential laws directly to a vote by the general population – as long as they can get enough signatures to support the measure in the first place. In California that means collecting a tremendous 365,000 signatures – and so for the last four months animal lovers across the state have been fanning out on street corners every chance they get, clipboards in hand.
    So far they are nearing 200,000, but even with less than two months to go before the 1 May deadline, Carol Misseldine, the campaign’s northern California coordinator, is optimistic. “The response has been very positive,” she says when we meet, as volunteers assembled for a day of signature hunting. “Most people see it as a no-brainer. That being said, we are all gonna have to hustle.”
    The new measure would ban cages of any kind for hens, gestation crates (known as sow stalls in the UK) for mother pigs, so narrow they can’t turn around, and veal crates for calves, which restrict movement for their entire lives. By the end of 2019 all hens would have to be cage-free – living, at minimum, on an open barn floor or in an indoor aviary with multiple levels for birds to go up and down.
    It would have national implications, applying not just to in-state famers but to any farmer doing business with the world’s sixth largest economy. “This is history in the making,” says Josh Balk, the vice-president of farm animals protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of the numerous organisations that has supported the law along with Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion in World Farming and local groups such as the San Diego Humane Society. “This is the greatest shot farm animals have ever had.”
    Peter Stevenson, chief policy adviser at Compassion in World Farming, calls the measure “a remarkable step” that would put California ahead of the EU – which has banned battery cages since 2012 – and even cage-free leaders such as Germany and the Netherlands.

  9. Yeah…we’re getting snow on a ski vacation.  Good news for Rick, he says the conditions have been lousy so far.

    We went to the movies last night… Saw Black Panther.  It was somewhat predictable…but we enjoyed it.

    Is SFB still president…crap!

  10. If I had the funds I would back a series encompassing the time line from the Grant Administration through the Arthur tenure. What a fascinating Era in politics, government, society: this had it all, with an amazing cast of characters. Money! Power! Philandering! ( a great word, btw.) Stalwart Republicans, Half-Breed Republicans. The Deadwood of politics.

    James Garfield was a person with deep issues, growing up with an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Too bad we will never know how he would have been as President.

    Chester Arthur presents a writer’s dream: a person who wanted to be liked above all else, fell in with a corrupt machine, a northerner who married a beautiful southerner, the wife dying too young, the ever mourning husband who inexplicably became Vice President then through the actions of a deranged loser assumed the Presidency. Then as President (while suffering from a painful terminal disease which was kept quiet) turned against his former machine friends & enacted serious reforms.

    The Gilded Age. Today’s yahoos have nothing on the past.


  11. It would be nice if Trail Mix members chose a favorite historical character/era & presented a Post on that subject. We get too entangled in the present that sometimes it’s good to step back & realize there really is nothing new: what is today happened in the past; what is in the past will occur again in the future. Same plot just different actors.

  12. WTF are Ben Carson and the other less talked about cabinet secretaries up to — Carson is just lining his families’ pockets while creating more homeless.

  13. Katherine Graham Cracker,

    That whole era is full of great stories. Good when they are remembered.


  14. SJ, i love this post. You are right about that era, and the idea of history posts. One of my top five presidents is Grover Cleveland, a genuine reformer who took on the corruption in his own party.

  15. As an observer of successful political figures across the world and its history they generally have some dominant characteristics from this list:

    – They are gregarious within their support group
    – Given multiple options, they will do the self-serving thing
    – They are students of history
    – They have trusted people guarding their backs and whispering in their ears; they will not be caught by surprise
    – They don’t get drunk
    – They always have an escape hatch


  16. flatus, bet among those successful politicians you note, none have been described as “unglued” (and that by his own staff/admin officials).

  17. Oh, and the Stormy v. SFB suit is a declaratory judgment action so all it’s doing is seeking to have a court declare the agreement null and void.  There is an interesting slant hidden in this suit – whether Cohen was acting with or without his client’s knowledge and consent.  I’m guessing that Stormy brought suit in CA because CA may not enforce arbitration clauses and may go soft on liquidated damages.  The Answer and initial rulings from the Court will put some meat on the bones of this suit.  I believe this could get interesting before all’s said and done.

  18. When Ben Carson is done being a parasite at HUD, there’s always room for him at the Dallas ISD.  It’s just kickback after kickback after outright theft in the form of expensive bedroom furniture for one of the school board members.  It’s never been cleaned up in twenty years,  so the bad doctor should feel right at home.

  19. pogo – If this was his MO, hush-money and documents he didn’t sign so as to have deniability…if  this one is found to be null and void, does that mean anyone else with such a document is free to talk?

  20. pogo & BiD, the one thing that the suit does seem to establish is that there was an elections code violation.

    this whole thing probably boils down to hyping the expected book sales and revenge.  lesson: never stiff a porn star.

  21. excerpt from wash. examiner:

    Michael Avenatti said on the “Today” show Wednesday that “it’s highly questionable” whether Trump’s lawyer Michel Cohen paid Daniels with his personal money, as he has claimed.
    “We think it’s highly questionable as to whether it came from his personal funds,” Avenatti said. “There’s no question the president knew about it at the time. The idea that an attorney would go off on his own, without his client’s knowledge, and engage in this type of negotiation and enter into this type of agreement quite honestly is ludicrous.”
    Yet Avenatti declined to say how he knew Trump was aware of the transfer of funds that happened just days before the 2016 presidential election.
    “There’s many additional facts and evidence that we have and we think that’s going to come to light,” he said, not giving other details.
    Daniels may have to return the $130,000 if a court rules the agreement is void, her lawyer said.
    “She’s looking to disclose the truth about what happened,” Avenatti said when asked if Daniels is looking to make money off the controversy.
    But Avenatti wouldn’t pledge that Daniels wouldn’t accept money to tell her story publicly if she wins the lawsuit.
    “I don’t think she’s ultimately determined what’s she going to do,” he said.

  22. BiD, no.  This would apply only to the agreement before the court.  I find it odd (1) that Cohen would have paid with his own funds the consideration (hush money) for a contract his client was party to  and (2) that if the contract were deemed void Daniels would need to repay the consideration although I follow the logic of that argument. There’s a genuine agency issue in this case,   

  23. Filing in CA would make sense as the porn industry has been centered on Chatham, CA for 3 decades or more.

  24. XR, true enough – but CA was one of the states (along with Nevada or Arizona – which I find odd as hell) at “DD’s” election, whose law would be applied, so it makes sense from that perspective, too.  Be interesting to see which law “DD” chooses.

  25. Speaking of suing president dennison, when melancholia sues for divorce, who gets to keep the White House ?

  26. at the press briefing today
    The lawsuit also claims Cohen “surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford in Los Angeles” without notifying her beforehand.
    Sanders may have been referring to that arbitration on Wednesday when she insisted the matter with Trump and Daniels had been put to rest.
    “I can share that the arbitration was won in the President’s favor,” Sanders said. “I would refer you to the President’s outside counsel on any details beyond that.”
    She went on to say she didn’t know whether Trump had spoken to Cohen over the past week. And she insisted the President has denied having a sexual relationship with Daniels.
    “The President has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true,” Sanders said.

  27. That particular era was an interesting one for the women.  Setting aside the early suffragettes, you have several who made their own lasting image on the period.  Just a few who usually get short shrift in the HIStory books.

    Louisa May Alcott – Author

    Elizabeth Blackwell – Physician

    Jessie Benton Fremont – Political daughter and wife and power behind the throne.

    Clara Barton – Nurse, Social Worker, and founder of Red Cross


  28. The history of American presidents is rich and full of everything from wonderful to criminal.  Although TR is a favorite of mine, I will begin research into the period from 2 to 4.  An interesting period in which a country faces the real world without Washington.  The era in which a young country figures out its laws, its direction and peace before war.

  29. Pogo. BiD and Pat,

    By far the best discussion I’ve heard today about stormy and her law suit.

    It is what make this place worth reading.

    even at our worst we are so far above average.



  30. I’m sorry but I just have a bit of trouble trusting anyone who doesn’t get drunk- at least every once in a while.

    I have a great deal of skepticism about this arbitration claim. I do not do cases that involve arbitration, but I do have a good friend who is an arbitrator and I’ve never heard of any kind of ex parte order issuing from an arbitrator. I deeply doubt any arbitrator has the jurisdiction to enter such an order or that absent notice and opportunity to be heard that any such order would be enforceable. (OK,  off to do a little research).

  31. Pogo,

    HAHAHA. Whew, this one is rich in humor all right. On top of your objections, it’s gotta be damned hard to arbitrate when only one party is given the arbitration date and time. And place. It’s gotta be really hard to arbitrate when the only party who shows up to arbitrate didn’t sign the ‘agreement’. It’s got to be reeeeaally hard when allegedly neither of the parties to the ‘agreement’ know about the alleged arbitration.

    This business positively shrieks for a license suspension and a Mark Twain Award.

  32. xr, you mean like being an  ump or ref with one team only on the field or court?  playing judicial air guitar?

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