John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Presidential miscellanea

I finished Wilson, A. Scott Berg's new biography of Woodrow Wilson, this afternoon. I'll have more to say about that tomorrow, but here are two very tangentially related items.

1) I rewatched The Truman Show the other day. It's still a wonderful movie, and it remains in my personal top ten, but here's an unanswered question: was Truman allowed to vote for President? The studio that housed Seaheaven Island was located in California, and presumably the actors who portrayed residents of Seahaven voted as residents of that state, but would that option have been available to Truman? Hard to say. Seahaven Island issued its own license plates, which suggests that from an inside-the-dome perspective, it's not a part of any state, but something more akin to a U.S. Territory like Puerto Rico or Guam. If that's the case, then residents of Seahaven Island wouldn't have voting representation in Congress, nor would the island be entitled to electoral votes for President. Territories do get to send non-voting delegates to the House of Representatives, and they all have non-binding Presidential straw polls, but those votes don't count.

But of course Seahaven Island isn't a territory, and Truman Burbank is really an unwitting resident of California, right? Maybe, but given how popular Truman's show was, maybe the producers were able to get the State of California to cede its ownership of and jurisdiction over the land on which the studio was built, and then convinced Congress to create the District of Seahaven Island. The 23rd Amendment entitles the District of Columbia to electoral votes for President, but that wouldn't apply to any other Federal district, and given that the District of Seahaven has at most only two permanent residents -- Truman and Christof, who seems to live in the control center, the House of Representatives probably would've balked at the idea of recognizing and seating a delegate.

2) Last month, when I worked at the McFarland Family Festival, I volunteered to sell food tickets at the welcome booth. During my shift on Saturday afternoon, I noticed that someone earlier in the day had bought tickets with dollars coins, and I was thrilled to find one of these among them:

James K. Polk dollar coin
Image via

So of course I exchanged one of the dollar bills in my wallet for the coin. How could I not? Now I just need a Sarah Polk $10 Gold Coin to go with it. I doubt I'll just happen to run across one of those in the wild, though.
Tags: history, james k. polk, movies, reading: books

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