Operators are Standing By

Entry Level bush-library-contest-entry.jpg

The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “You Too Can Design the Bush Library” contest may be starved for entry’s.

The current issue reminds readers of the February 1 deadline, while seeking to reassure “reluctant” actual architects who they speculate don’t want to be associate with potential nut-ball visitors

Library Lady

bush-laura-first-ladies-coloring-book-library-reading.jpg Check It Out

Ladybird Johnson promoted wildflowers, Roslyn Carter mental health, and Nancy Reagan spurred us to victory in the War on Drugs. But they didn’t officially plaster their name on the issues while their husbands were on the federal payroll.

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services is taking a more direct approach with the current First Lady. The “Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian” grants are now available!

The Institute has a Director with a string of Republican appointments to her credit.

Hurry! Applications due December 17th!

Meanwhile, liberal bastion Austin Texas is building “Laura’s Librarybush-lauars-library.jpg

Regula Fella

Ohio Representative Ralph Regula’s retirement announcement raised hope in some quarters [all right, here anyway] that the gifts he showered upon his wife’s “National First Ladies Library” might cease. But the New York Times reports the old warhorse is going out with a bang, asking for a $130,000 earmark for the library. Because after all,

Members of Congress are infinitely more familiar with the needs and priorities of their communities than unelected, federal bureaucrats in Washington and should be allowed to direct funding to important local initiatives.”


On the other hand, maybe the Library’s Laura Bush mask makes it all worthwhile

mckinley.jpg Representative Regula also serves America by leading the fight to keep the name of Canton Ohio’s own President McKinley on a mountain in Alaska, despite what Alaska thinks about it.

Hey! Ladies!

first-ladies-ornamentlaura-bush-and-abigai-fillmore.pngThe National first Ladies Library is losing the sugar daddy who brings in four-fifths of it’s income. The Library is based in a Canton Ohio house once belonging to President William McKinley and wife Ida, and serves up a weird amalgam of decorating and democracy, a great deal of former White House china with a side bar of first lady anecdotes.

Retiring Ohio Republican Representative Ralph Regula has funneled cash to the Library for years through his position on the House appropriations Committee. The First Ladies’ most recent filing shows government grants accounted for $1,028,991 of the Library’s $1,344,415 revenue.

The Library’s Founder was sort of coy with CNN on where it all came from:

“You know, surprisingly, it hasn’t been difficult to raise the raise the funds. It seems to be an idea whose time has come. We raised over three and a half million from private and corporate funds.”

And she’s not sweating to do it either. The Library’s most recent filings for have her paid $68,808 for a 30 hour week.

She’s Regula’s wife Mary.

What does the money buy? They have a building and a library, from which they launch educational programs such as “Right To Read “The White House Pets”‘ Grades: K-6

“A First Lady will relate stories about many of the Presidential pets and the families who loved them. The program continues with a First Lady reading a book to your class with the help of puppets and possibly a willing student.”

They sell tchotskies in some way connected with first ladies, with Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan not represented.

You can save big on the Laura Bush China Box – prices slashed to $24.95 from $53.00! first-ladies-laura-bush-blue-bonnet_medium.jpg

Some of their expenses seem odd. In 2004, the most recently available yearly report, they spent $94,000 on “website update.” Look at the thing.

They paid Carl Sverrazza Anthony a hundred thousand dollars for his services as an author and historian in 2004. Anthony has carved out a specialty writing not terribly deep tomes commemorating first ladies and their offspring. The Library appears to be sponsoring him in writing a biography of McKinley’s wife Ida Saxton, the first volume of which has appeared this year. carlanthonybook.gif No information on their web site about who gets the book’s royalties if any.