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12 Presidential Candidates to Keep Your Eye On

Most political junkies can name all 16 major presidential candidates, but there were 42 candidates on the ballots in the New Hampshire primary! And that's only the candidates running for the republican and democratic party nominations. Who are all these people? Last March, I posted Those Crazy Candidates. Now that the primary season has started, I look back and see that the article centered on celebrities and fictional characters, including some who hadn't even declared. There are plenty of real people running that you've never heard of.

1. Jack Shepard

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Jack Shepard is running his presidential campaign from his home in Rome, Italy, where he fled 25 years ago to avoid prosecution for arson. He is also on parole for a 1979 sexual assault charge. Shepard is a practicing dentist in Italy, although his liscence was revoked in Minnesota in 1983 due to a string of violent incidences. Shepard was on the ballot in the New Hampshire Primary.

2. Gene Amondson

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Gene Amondson is the National Prohibition Party nominee for president, as he was in 2004. Amondson is a minister who garnered almost 2,000 votes in the previous race, and appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in a segment called Party Like It's 1929. His website also contains his artwork and recipes for pies.

More declared candidates, after the jump.

3. Vermin Love Supreme

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Vermin Love Supreme was the first candidate to file for the New Hampshire Primary. He received 41 votes. Supreme's priority issue is mandatory toothbrushing. His favorite color is plaid, and his favorite sport is women's rollerderby.

4. Chief Jack Boulerice

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Jacques Yves 'Chief Jack' Boulerice is running on the Native American Party ticket, which he founded. Chief Jack is anti-immigration, anti-union, and wants to eliminate term limits. As president, he would insist that all immigrants speak English and all government and business dealings be conducted in English only. He has a plan to control wages, not by raising the minimum wage, but by capping all wages at $200,000 a year, with a limit of $25,000 for bonuses. Chief Jack ran for president in 2000 and 2004 also.

5. Princess Christina Gerasimos Billings-Elias

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Christina Gerasimos Billings-Elias has a graphic-based campaign website with little text. From the front page:

Christina born to be President of 'Our America.' ©™. 'The Chosen One, ©™ as proclaimed by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, friends of Theodore and Evelyn Gerasimos, first Greek in Detroit 1890. People's King of the Greeks emanating from Spartan Royalty Warriors.

Although she has extensive information on her family tree and ancestors, I couldn't even find her birthday, much less an explanation of "The Chosen One". She alludes to a story of kidnapping and murder in her family, but does not elaborate. Billing-Elias is running as a democrat. She was not on the New Hampshire ballot.

6. Daniel Melzine Kingery

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Daniel Melzine Kingery belongs to no political party, and isn't afraid to tell it like it is.

At various times in my life, I've been a thief, adulterer, verbally insulted others, drank, smoked, and lied among many others that I'm not so proud of. Because of the lessons learned, I'm not ashamed of them either.

Kingery, as president, would abolish the electoral college, declare all judgeships to be elected positions, and make corrupt leaders subject to charges of treason. He favors a flat tax and a national ID card with DNA information to be issued at birth.

7. James Wellington Wright

James Wellington Wright is a democratic candidate for president, with pages of political opinions on his site. I decided to include him on this list when I found this graphic that explains his immigration policy under the heading "Let me make this perfectly clear!"
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It's a curious combination of old-fashioned jingoism and modern internet slang. Wright was not on the New Hampshire ballot.

8. Joe Martyiuk

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Joe Martyniuk has more policy than biography on his campaign website. But he does have this on the front page:

Joe's an inventor and entrepreneur. He's short and dumpy. He stutters and stammers. All the bad things you hear about him are true. But there are 300 million of you to help him get the job done. He's pro-birth control, conceal carry, stem cell research, unions, separation of church and state, open internet, balanced budget, import brain power, and extended unemployment benefits. God bless and defend our troops.

9. Jonathon Sharkey

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Jonathon 'The Impaler' Sharkey is the founder of the Vampyres, Witches, and Pagans Party, but shows up as Independent on most candidate lists. He is the commanding general and "Death Dealer" with the 1st Vampyre, Witches, Pagans Militia Regiment. Despite those titles, he has a political agenda that covers trade, taxes, health care, taxes, and foreign policy.

10. Caroline Killeen

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Caroline P. Killeen is 81 years old and has no home or permanent address. She lived in Italy for most of 2007, and came back to the US to run for president. Her platform has one issue: global warming. Killeen advocates the use of solar clothes dryers, also known as clotheslines. She had to borrow money for airfare to the Unitesd States, and used three of her Social Security checks to get on the ballot in New Hampshire.

11. Jack Grimes

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Jackson Kirk 'Jack' Grimes is running for the United Fascist Union party, which he heads. The party was incorporated in 1996 to "promote the economic theories and political ideologies of Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein." Grimes' priorities are to abolish paper money, freeze prices on consumer goods before reducing those prices, and to form a league of nations with the aim of world government.

12. Bennie Lee Ferguson

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Bennie Lee "Ben" Ferguson is running for president and simutaneously for the Kansas State House of Representatives. She explains on her website that the presidential run is mainly to provide publicity for her statehouse campaign. Bennie Lee is an openly transgender candidate and college student who makes a living entertaining with the Bennie Ferguson Band.

Information for this article came from Project Vote Smart and from the Minor Candidate Report. I have barely scratched the surface of these resources.

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The Time Ben Franklin and John Adams Shared a Bed
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Ever been on a road trip where the sleeping conditions were less than ideal? Such indignities aren’t just for average citizens like you and me. Even Founding Fathers and future presidents had to bunk with one another on occasion. 

In September 1776, just a few months after the thirteen American colonies announced their independence from Britain, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams got stuck shacking up together for a night. As part of a delegation sent by the Continental Congress, they were on their way from Philadelphia to Staten Island to negotiate with Admiral Richard Howe of the Royal Navy for a possible end to the Revolutionary War. As they passed through New Brunswick, New Jersey, the negotiators—Franklin, Adams and South Carolina politician Edward Rutledgedecided to stop for the night and find a place to sleep. 

The local taverns and inns were nearly full, though, and there were only two rooms for the three men. “One bed could be procured for Dr. Franklin and me,” Adams wrote in his autobiography, “in a chamber a little larger than the bed, without a chimney and with only one small window.”

That window would be a problem for the two men.

A ROOM WITH A VIEW

Adams, who was “an invalid and afraid of the air in the night,” closed the window before they got into bed. 

“Oh!” said Franklin. “Don’t shut the window. We shall be suffocated.”

When Adams explained that he didn’t want to catch an illness from the cold night air, Franklin countered that the air in their room was even worse. 

“Come!” he told Adams. “Open the window and come to bed, and I will convince you: I believe you are not acquainted with my Theory of Colds.”

Contrary to the lay wisdom of the day (and everybody’s grandmother), Franklin was convinced that no one had ever gotten a cold from cold air. Instead, it was the “frowzy corrupt air” from animals, humans, and dirty clothes and beds, he thought, that led people to catch colds when they were “shut up together in small close rooms.” Cool, fresh air at night, he believed, had many benefits. 

Franklin’s ideas were inconsistent with Adams’s own experiences, he wrote, but he was curious to hear what Franklin had to say. So, even at the risk of a cold, he opened the window again and hopped into bed with Franklin.

As they lay side by side, Adams wrote, Franklin “began a harangue upon air and cold and respiration and perspiration.” 

“I was so much amused that I soon fell asleep, and left him and his philosophy together,” Adams wrote. “But I believe they were equally sound and insensible, within a few minutes after me, for the last words I heard were pronounced as if he was more than half asleep.”

The strange bedfellows were out like a light, and continued on their way in the morning. The peace conference they were traveling to lasted just a few hours and produced no results. 

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Jimmy Carter
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Central Press/Getty Images

Bridging the gap between the often-maligned Gerald Ford and the drug-busting Ronald Reagan was Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States and one of the most esteemed humanitarians ever to hold the office. Carter is 93, and while a nearly-century-long life is hard to summarize, we’ve assembled a few things that may surprise you about one of our most fondly-remembered elected officials.

1. HIS CHILDHOOD DIDN’T INVOLVE MANY AMENITIES.

Born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924, James Earl Carter’s early years didn’t involve a lot of the rapid technological progressions that were taking place around the country. His family relocated to Archery, Georgia—a town that relied chiefly on mule-drawn wagons for transportation—when Carter was 4. Indoor plumbing and electricity were rare. To pass time, Carter typically listened to entertainment shows on a battery-operated radio with his father.

2. HE DREW CRITICISM FOR REJECTING RACIST BELIEFS.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Carter served in the military, during which time he married and had three sons. (A fourth child, daughter Amy, was born in 1967.) After his father died in 1953, Carter was honorably discharged and settled on the family peanut farm in Plains, where he found that the South’s deeply-rooted racial biases were in direct conflict with his own progressive views of integration. When Plains residents assembled a “White Citizens’ Council” to combat anti-discrimination laws, Carter refused membership. Soon, signs were pasted on his front door full of racist remarks. But Carter held to his views: By the 1960s, voters were ready to embrace a politician without biases, and Carter was elected to the Georgia State Senate.

Unfortunately, Carter found that his liberal views could only take him so far in the state. When he ran for governor in 1970, he backed off on many of his previously-publicized views on racial equality, leading some to declare him bigoted. Once in office, however, Carter restored many of his endorsements to end segregation.

3. HE CAUSED A STIR BY DOING THE PLAYBOY INTERVIEW.

Few, if any, presidential candidates have attempted to stir up support by submitting to an intensive interview in the pages of Playboy, but Carter’s 1976 bid was an exception. Just weeks before he won the election, Carter admitted to having “committed adultery in my heart” many times and that he “looked on a lot of women with lust.”

4. HE NEVER LIKED THE PAGEANTRY OF THE PRESIDENCY.

When Carter entered the office of the presidency in 1977, he made it clear that he considered himself no more elevated in status than his voters simply because of political power. He sold the presidential yacht, thinking it a symbol of excess; he also carried his own briefcase and banned workers from playing “Hail to the Chief” during appearances.

5. HE MAY HAVE SEEN A UFO.

Prior to taking office, Carter filed an interesting report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, or NICAP. In 1969, Carter wrote, he spotted a strange aircraft in the sky over Leary, Georgia. It appeared to hover 30 degrees above the horizon before disappearing. Carter promised to release every sealed document the government had collected about UFOs if elected, but later walked back on the promise, citing national security concerns.

6. HE INSTALLED SOLAR PANELS AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

Carter spent considerable time and effort promoting renewable energy sources as the world struggled with an ongoing fuel crisis. To demonstrate his commitment, Carter ordered that solar panels be installed on White House grounds in 1979, decades before such a practice became commonplace. The panels were used to heat water on the property. Ronald Reagan had the panels removed in 1986 during a roof renovation.

7. HE WATCHED OVER 400 MOVIES WHILE IN OFFICE.

Carter was a movie buff who, as president, enjoyed early access to many films—and he averaged a couple of movies a week while in office. Among those viewed: 1969’s Midnight Cowboy, 1976’s All the President’s Men, and 1980’s Caddyshack. Carter also screened 1977’s Star Wars with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

8. HE BOYCOTTED THE 1980 OLYMPICS.

After Soviet forces failed to heed Carter’s mandate to pull their troops out of Afghanistan, Carter committed to a radical step: He prevented American athletes from competing in the 1980 Games in Moscow, the first time the nation had failed to appear in the competition. Canada, West Germany, Japan, and around 50 other countries followed Carter’s lead. When the Games moved to Los Angeles in 1984, it was the Soviet Union's turn to refuse to appear.

9. HE WAS ATTACKED BY A RABBIT.

Before running for (and losing) re-election in 1980, Carter decided to take a little time for himself and go fishing near his home in Plains. While in his boat, a wild rabbit that was being chased by hounds jumped into the water and swam toward the boat. Carter shooed the animal away with a paddle. Although it was a minor incident, a photo snapped of Carter flailing at the bunny and numerous editorial cartoons gave some voters the perception he was a less-than-ideal adversary for the powerful Soviet Union and may have led to an image of Carter as ineffectual.

10. HE WON THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE IN 2002.

After decades of philanthropic work, including a longstanding association with Habitat for Humanity, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. It was actually a quarter-century overdue: The Nobel committee wanted to award him the prize in 1978 after he helped broker peace talks between Israel and Egypt, but no one had nominated him before the official deadline had closed.

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