National Journal

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National Journal Magazine’s covers from 1969 to tomorrow. 

National Journal Magazine’s covers from 1969 to tomorrow. 

When a Robot Signs a BillBy Brian Resnick
Yesterday, the president was in Hawaii but the recently passed fiscal-cliff deal was in Washington. How could the presidential signature be affixed to the bill to make it law? Obama signed it via a robot, the autopen.Here’s a brief history of the gadget. (Did you know Thomas Jefferson was the first president to use it?)


When a Robot Signs a Bill

By Brian Resnick

Yesterday, the president was in Hawaii but the recently passed fiscal-cliff deal was in Washington. How could the presidential signature be affixed to the bill to make it law? Obama signed it via a robot, the autopen.

Here’s a brief history of the gadget. (Did you know Thomas Jefferson was the first president to use it?)

On This Date in 1777—and Only This Date—Lancaster, Penn., Was the Capital of the United States

mentalflossr:

© Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS

If you’ve visited Lancaster, Penn., you probably remember it as a nice mid-sized city right in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country. What you might not know is that 235 years ago today, it became our young country’s third capital city, a position it held only briefly. Very, very briefly. Let’s take a look at how Lancaster became our capital for a single day.

History, y’all. 

It’s time for a history lesson!

The video above, produced by the Works Progress Administration, shows a day in the life of the capital in 1936, a city that the narrator says had “again become a war capital,” fighting ”a battle to put men to work.” It’s a concern not so different from the debates of Washington today.

Trivia Time!

A dispute over what area of land almost caused Michigan and Ohio to go to war in the 1830s?

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Many of you are correct: Toledo.