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Worst. President. Ever. (So Far.)

Robert Strauss

Robert Strauss

Journalist Robert Strauss has answered the question that has fueled arguments among Americans for centuries: who is the worst U.S. President ever? If you hate spoilers, please jump to another article.

The answer may also sting the pride of partisan Pennsylvanians. The winner (loser?) in Strauss’s assessment of Presidential incompetence is James Buchanan, the only President ever to come from the Keystone State.

In a talk at the Swarthmore Public Library on Wednesday, October 12, Strauss will read from his new book Worst. President. Ever., and bring a sense of humor to a discussion of the process of rating our nation’s most woeful leaders. His book chronicles the life and times and disastrous single term of the Pennsylvanian, as well as his impact on the course of U.S. history.

“Buchanan did nothing right,” Strauss said recently. “When there was a fork in the road, he invariably took the wrong path.” His misadventures and blunders exacerbated the Panic of 1857, influenced the Dred Scott decision, and deepened the divisions between North and South, virtually inviting southern states to secede.

Robert Strauss, who lives in Haddonfield, N.J., is a former feature writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, producer for KYW-TV, reporter for Sports Illustrated and contributor to many other media outlets.

A presidential history buff, he will share research resources and insights on the presidency and the men who have occupied it, including the lesser luminaries as well as Mount Rushmoreans.

Strauss will speak at the Swarthmore Public Library on Wednesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. The library is at 121 Park Avenue.

The talk is free, and you should register at swarthmore@delcolibraries.org or (610) 543-0436.

Are We Rome?

On Wednesday, October 5, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., C. Brian Rose, archaeology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the annual Martin Ostwald Lecture at Science Center 101 at Swarthmore College.

His talk entitled “Are We Rome? Ancient and Contemporary Approaches toward the Iconography of War and Triumph” is free and open to the public.

Art Comes to Life in Rose Valley

Art is imitating the life of art in Rose Valley. Two life drawing classes on Sunday, October 16, will be conducted at Thunderbird Lodge, former studio of Charles and Alice Barber Stephens, and future home of the Rose Valley Museum.

Olga Nielson will teach beginning life drawing from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the studio of Alice Stephens. A model, drawing materials, and easels will be provided, and a reception will follow from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The cost is $35 per person; register through the Community Arts Center (CAC) at (610) 566-1713.

Simultaneously at Thunderbird Lodge, an advanced life drawing class will meet in Charles’s studio, also with a live model, but with no teacher. The cost is $15 ; bring your own materials and easel. Register with Sue Keilbaugh at (610) 627-1210.

The classes are held in conjunction with CAC and the Plastic Club of Philadelphia (of which Alice Stephens was a co-founder.) Class sizes are limited.

Lost Northern Tribe Finds Its Way to WaR3house3

Swarthmore music and art venue waR3house3 opens its autumn season with a performance this Saturday, October 1, by Lost Northern Tribe. waR3house3 owner Rob Borgstrom says, “The band brings roots Cajun calypso with a bohemian dub reggae vibe. The only way to get your head around this genre is by hearing them live.”

Doors open at 7 p.m.; show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance ($10) and at the door ($15); light fare will be served; BYOB.

Crossing Racial Lines in the Fight for Justice

At Pendle Hill on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Drick Boyd, professor of Urban Studies at Eastern University, will reflect on the ways in which white persons can meaningfully support people of color through their actions and advocacy. His recent book is White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice.

This session of Pendle Hill’s First Monday series is free and open to the public. Pendle Hill is at 338 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford.

Peacemaking at Swarthmore Pres

Swarthmore Presbyterian Church invites the community to join SPC members at its October Peacemaking series, which begins this Sunday, October 2. Speakers will address local, national and international issues and the ways in which the faith community has responded, and how individuals can contribute to peacemaking efforts today.

The first session will focus on gun use and violence in the U.S., as well as gun safety. Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig and criminal defense lawyer and former Swarthmore mayor Guy Smith will share their perspectives on the complex set of issues raised by gun proliferation.

On October 9, Sarah Lisherness, director of Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will talk about the global refugee crisis, immigration issues, the church’s response, and the opportunities for improvement of the lives of the millions of people who are displaced and stateless.

The work of Kairos Prison Ministry is the subject of the Peacemaking session on October 16, Paul Oestereich, a Kairos volunteer amd member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore, will join Kairos’s Pennsylvania chairman Terry Michael in a discussion of the transformative effects of the program among current and past inmates.

Classes will be held Sundays, October 2, 9 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Coffee and tea will be served afterwards, and guests are encouraged to stay for the church’s regular worship service beginning at 10:15 a.m.

For more information, call the church at (610) 543-4712 or see swarthmorepres.org.

Dig in At Zac Rufo Garden

All in the Strath Haven community are invited to lend a hand to help cultivate and beautify the Zac Rufo Memorial Habitat Garden at Strath Haven Middle School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 8. Volunteers of all ages are needed.

Park in the lower lot at Copples Lane and Providence Road, and climb the stairs toward the track to join the group.

SCS Presents Free Stroke Prevention Session

Senior Community Services, a nonprofit agency that operates four senior centers and provides in-home support services throughout Delaware County, will be offering a free Stroke Prevention Presentation on Thursday, October 6, at 2 p.m. at the Brookhaven Municipal Building at 2 Cambridge Road.

This presentation will discuss the signs and symptoms of stroke. Participants will learn that by making certain lifestyle changes and taking some precautions, they can greatly reduce their chances of having a stroke.

To register or ask any questions, contact Lori at (484) 496-2138. Preregistration is required.

Heavenly Sounds at Wesley A.M.E.

The Delmar Gospel Group will bring its mighty chorus of voices for a special performance this Sunday, October 2, at Wesley A.M.E. Church, 232 Bowdoin Avenue in Swarthmore.

Everyone is invited to come to the Delmar group’s concert, which begins at 3:30 p.m. There is no charge, but a free will offering will be collected.

James Feichthaler Reads ‘For Real’

“Forrealist poet” James Feichthaler reads his work at the next installment of the Mad Poets’ Society’s First Wednesday series at Community Arts Center in Wallingford on Wednesday, October 5, at 7 p.m.

His poetry has graced journals in the U.S. and the U.K. An open mike session will follow his reading; all are invited to listen and read their work.

CAC is located at 414 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford.

Entries Due Monday for Photographers Exhibition

Local photographers 18 years or older are invited to take part in the 20th annual Swarthmore Photographers Exhibition, which will be held at Borough Hall from October 12 through November 1, 2016. Yes, the show is in Swarthmore, but entry is open to residents of Wallingford and Rutledge as well as Swarthmore (including Swarthmore College students.)

Entry forms can be downloaded from swarthmorearts.org and picked up in the lobby of Borough Hall. They must be completed and returned by October 3 to Swarthmore Friends of the Arts, c/o Swarthmore Borough, 121 Park Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081.

Each exhibitor may submit one or two original photographs. Exhibitors will meet the public at an artist’s reception on October 14, 6 to 8 p.m.

Swarthmore EAC Hosts
Pipeline Info Session This Sunday

Sunoco Logistics’ proposed Mariner 2 pipeline would terminate in Delaware County, bringing natural gas from western Pennsylvania.

Find out more about the project and Sunoco’s plans for the area at a moderated presentation and discussion at Swarthmore Borough Hall this Sunday, October 2, at 2 p.m.

Speakers will include state representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky and environmental analyst James Schmid, Ph. D. Borough Hall is at 121 Park Avenue.

Indie Author Day at Furness Library

Independent and self-published authors will converge and connect with readers on Saturday, October 8, at the Helen Kate Furness Free Library. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., local authors writing for adults and teens will sell their books and talk about writing.

Genres range from mystery and fantasy to romance and historical fiction. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., you can take part in a nationwide live-streamed digital program moderated by Amazon alumnus John Fine.

The conclave will be held in the library’s Chadwick Auditorium. Call library director Jennifer Stock at (610) 566-9331 with questions. The library is located at 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford.

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