Presidential Libraries

The Future of Presidential Libraries

Congress wants to cut taxpayer costs associated with presidential libraries and archives however, and a new report (PDF) by the National Archives and Records Administration released Wednesday proposed five possible alternatives. It also warned that social networking tools will complicate future presidential record-keeping.

At Nixon Library, Mao Statue Rankles Some

A statue of deceased Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Nixon Presidential Library &Museum is the subject of a protest planned for Thursday, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The statue has been in the Hall of World Leaders since the Nixon Presidential Library opened. Kai Chen – a Chinese-American organizing the protest – is the first person to launch a complaint about it, said Sandy Quinn, assistant director of the Nixon Library &Birthplace Foundation.

"To even mention Mao with democratic leaders such as Churchill and Golda Meir in the same breath is truly an insult to human intelligence and offensive to all the freedom-loving people in the world," said Chen, who emigrated from China in 1981 and lives in Los Angeles.

"Having several figures in the world leaders' (section) doesn't mean we endorse their policies," assistant library director Sandy Quinn said. OC Register.

Another article from the LA Times points out that the library,
once privately run, is making a transition to government operation..."and that has turned statues of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai into political footballs".

Judge Recuses Self from SMU Bush Library Condo Owners Suit

By LORI STAHL / The Dallas Morning News reports that the judge who has presided over a high-profile lawsuit against Southern Methodist University for years, State District Judge Martin Hoffman, has suddenly withdrawn from the case, bringing a temporary halt to all proceedings. The reason was not clear from a motion he filed with the court (but if you read his bio, you might suppose that he decided he could not be impartial in this case).

But the implications for the case itself – which has indirect ramifications for the George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU – were fairly obvious: It no longer seems to be on the verge of ending.

Two months ago, SMU and the two former condominium owners who filed the lawsuit in 2005 announced that they had settled the case. Although the terms were not made public, it was clear that the condo owners agreed to back off their claim to land in exchange for some kind of payment. But within weeks, the terms of the settlement agreement were in dispute. Hoffman was set to issue a ruling on the settlement agreement when he recused himself.

A Bit of a Mess in Dallas

Former President George W. Bush had his heart set on an expansive Presidential Library, but his requirements have been harder to achieve than he thought. No eminent domain for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

A deal that was supposed to end a long-running lawsuit against SMU – and smooth the path for George W. Bush's presidential library – has fallen apart amid charges that both sides broke the terms of a confidential agreement. Report from the Dallas News.

Last month, Southern Methodist University and two former condominium owners announced that they had settled the bitter four-year fight over who is the rightful owner of land now slated for the grounds of the Bush library.

The lawsuit has become increasingly hard-fought since President George W. Bush left office in January and returned to Texas.

Earlier this year, Hoffman ruled that Bush would have to give a deposition in the case. The condo owners said they wanted a chance to ask Bush about meetings with SMU officials who discussed putting the library on the condo site before it owned the land; (the condos have since been demolished). An appellate court reversed Hoffman's order, and the condo owners appealed the matter to the Texas Supreme Court.

Bush Library clears hurdle

Bush Library clears hurdle: The lengthy dispute over ownership of land near the site of the future George W. Bush Presidential Library was finally put to rest earlier this summer when SMU settled with former condominium owners.

The dispute was between the university and former owners of the University Gardens complex that occupied the land.

The Barack Obama Book Club

Want to read like a president? The Daily Beast pulled together every book that the Reader-in-Chief has been spotted with since the campaign. Find out what’s on his night table.

Here are just a few:

What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
by Dave Eggers.
—Politico, May 30, 2009.

Netherland
by Joseph O’Neill.
—The New York Times Magazine, May 03, 2009.

Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
by Jeffrey D. Sachs.
—The New York Times, December 16, 2008.

More from The Daily Beast.

SMU settles George W. Bush library land dispute

The dispute between Southern Methodist University and condominium owners over land for the George W. Bush presidential library is over.

Presidential records a time capsule of Bush years

The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during Bush's two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in suburban Dallas, just a few miles north of a turnpike named for his father. They will remain there until Bush's $300 million presidential library — the nation's 13th and the third in Texas — opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus near downtown Dallas.

"It's a wonderful eight-year time capsule," said Jennifer M. Schulle, the registrar for the Bush library. "It's everything that was going on — politically, personally and socially."

Gearing Up For Its Opening in 2013, Bush Wants to Display Saddam's Gun @ His Library

From the NY Times: When the library for George W. Bush opens in 2013 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, visitors will most likely get to see one of the former President's most treasured items: Saddam Hussein’s pistol.

The gun, a 9 millimeter Glock 18C, was found in the spider hole where the Iraqi leader was captured in December 2003 by Delta Force soldiers, four of whom later presented the pistol to Mr. Bush. Among the thousands of gifts Mr. Bush received as president, the gun became a favorite, a reminder of the pinnacle moment of the Iraq war, according to friends and long-time associates.

Douglas Brinkley, an author and history professor at Rice University, said the pistol opened a psychological window into Mr. Bush’s view of his presidency.

“It represents this Texas notion of the white hats taking out the black hats and keeping the trophy,” Mr. Brinkley said. “It’s a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality. For President Bush, this pistol represents his greatest moment of triumph, like the F.B.I. keeping Dillinger’s gun. He wants people generations from now to see the gun and say, ‘He got the bad guy.’ ”

More Nixon Tapes Available to Public

Glutton for punishment (true crime writer? historian)? Now you can listen to as many Nixon tapes as you want!

UPI reports: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library has opened up access to 154 hours of White House tapes and other documents the U.S. government once classified.

In a statement, the library in Yorba Linda, Calif., said some of the materials made available to the public Tuesday include conversations about the Vietnam War, Nixon's second inauguration, the Supreme Court's landmark abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, and the first Watergate trial. The recordings from January and February 1973 consist of approximately 994 conversations, the library said.

The new Nixon tapes and documents will be available on the Internet and at the Richard Nixon libraries in California and Maryland.

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