View Full Version : This Day in History
06-18-2006, 12:32 PM
1965 SAC B-52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam
For the first time, 28 B-52s fly-bomb a Viet Cong concentration in a heavily forested area of Binh Duong Province northwest of Saigon. Such flights, under the aegis of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), became known as Operation Arc Light. The B-52s that took part in the Arc Light missions had been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and more bombers were later deployed to bases in Okinawa and U-Tapao, Thailand.
In addition to supporting ground tactical operations, B-52s were used to interdict enemy supply lines in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and later to strike targets in North Vietnam. Releasing their bombs from 30,000 feet, the B-52s could neither be seen nor heard from the ground as they inflicted awesome damage. B-52s were instrumental in breaking up enemy concentrations besieging Khe Sanh in 1968 and An Loc in 1972. Between June 1965 and August 1973, 126,615 B-52 sorties were flown over Southeast Asia. During those operations, the Air Force lost 29 B-52s: 17 from hostile fire over North Vietnam and 12 from operational causes.
06-18-2006, 12:33 PM
1966 Westmoreland requests more troops
Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam, sends a new troop request to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Westmoreland stated that he needed 542,588 troops for the war in Vietnam in 1967--an increase of 111,588 men to the number already serving there. In the end, President Johnson acceded to Westmoreland's wishes and dispatched the additional troops to South Vietnam, but the increases were done in an incremental fashion. The highest number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam was 543,500, which was reached in 1969.
06-18-2006, 12:33 PM
1972 Mysterious crash at Heathrow
On this day in 1972, a Trident jetliner crashes after takeoff from Heathrow Airport in London, killing 118 people. The official cause of this accident remains unknown, but it may have happened simply because the plane was carrying too much weight.
As the summer of 1972 approached, there were serious problems facing the air-travel industry. Pilots were threatening to strike any day due to lack of security. Hijackings were becoming more common and pilots were feeling particularly vulnerable since they most often bore the brunt of the violence.
However, on June 18 at Heathrow Airport outside of London, all appeared to be running smoothly. The BEA morning flight to Brussels was full and weather conditions were perfect. The Trident 1 jet took off with no incident but, just after its wheels retracted, it began falling from the sky. The plane split on impact and an intense fireball from the plane’s fuel supply erupted, scattering the fuselage and passengers. Only two of the 118 passengers and crew members on board were pulled from the wreckage alive; both died just hours later.
All efforts to explain the crash were fruitless. The investigators’ best guess was that the jet simply was carrying too much weight or that the weight was improperly distributed and the plane could not handle the stress.
06-18-2006, 12:34 PM
1979 Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT-II treaty
During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally went into effect, proved to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War.
The SALT-II agreement was the result of many nagging issues left over from the successful SALT-I treaty of 1972. Though the 1972 treaty limited a wide variety of nuclear weapons, many issues remained unresolved. Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union began almost immediately after SALT-I was ratified by both nations in 1972. Those talks failed to achieve any new breakthroughs, however. By 1979, both the United States and Soviet Union were eager to revitalize the process. For the United States, fear that the Soviets were leaping ahead in the arms race was the primary motivator. For the Soviet Union, the increasingly close relationship between America and communist China was a cause for growing concern.
In June 1979, Carter and Brezhnev met in Vienna and signed the SALT-II agreement. The treaty basically established numerical equality between the two nations in terms of nuclear weapons delivery systems. It also limited the number of MIRV missiles (missiles with multiple, independent nuclear warheads). In truth, the treaty did little or nothing to stop, or even substantially slow down, the arms race. Nevertheless, it met with unrelenting criticism in the United States. The treaty was denounced as a "sellout" to the Soviets, one that would leave America virtually defenseless against a whole range of new weapons not mentioned in the agreement. Even supporters of arms control were less than enthusiastic about the treaty, since it did little to actually control arms.
Debate over SALT-II in the U.S. Congress continued for months. In December 1979, however, the Soviets launched an invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet attack effectively killed any chance of SALT-II being passed, and Carter ensured this by withdrawing the treaty from the Senate in January 1980. SALT-II thus remained signed, but unratified. During the 1980s, both nations agreed to respect the agreement until such time as new arms negotiations could take place.
06-18-2006, 12:34 PM
1983 First American woman in space
From Cape Canaveral, Florida, the space shuttle Challenger is launched into space on its second mission. Aboard the shuttle was Dr. Sally Ride, who as a mission specialist became the first American woman to travel into space. During the six-day mission, Ride, an astrophysicist from Stanford University, operated the shuttle's robot arm, which she had helped design.
Her historic journey was preceded almost 20 years to the day by cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova of the Soviet Union, who on June 16, 1963, became the first woman ever to travel into space. The United States had screened a group of female pilots in 1959 and 1960 for possible astronaut training but later decided to restrict astronaut qualification to men. In 1978, NASA changed its policy and announced that it had approved six women to become the first female astronauts in the U.S. space program. The new astronauts were chosen out of some 3,000 original applicants. Among the six were Sally Ride and Shannon Lucid, who in 1996 set a new space endurance record for an American and a world endurance record for a woman during her 188-day sojourn on the Russian space station Mir.
06-18-2006, 12:35 PM
1984 A radio host is gunned down for his controversial views
Radio talk host Alan Berg, the self-described "man you love to hate," is gunned down in the driveway of his home in Denver, Colorado. With his own show on KOA aiming to stir up controversy, Berg was used to receiving an endless stream of death threats. He had reportedly once said, "You never know where the nuts are going to come from so you live day by day."
One of the suspects, Bruce Pierce-leader of a neo-Nazi organization called the Order-was arrested nearly a year later in Georgia, driving a van that contained machine guns, grenades, dynamite, and a crossbow. His right-wing extremist group had been linked to many armored-car robberies in the West.
David Lane and Richard Scutari, Pierce's alleged accomplices, were caught a short time later. Authorities believed that Robert Matthews, the founder of the Order, was also involved, but he had died in a fire caused by a shootout with FBI agents in Seattle, Washington, in December 1984.
After Pierce, Lane, and Scutari were charged with violating Berg's civil rights, a jury concluded that Pierce had been responsible for shooting Berg, while Lane had driven the getaway car. Scutari was acquitted.
Alan Berg's story provided the loose inspiration for Oliver Stone and Eric Bogosian's 1988 film, Talk Radio. In the years since his murder, radio talk hosts have been known to be even more abrasive and controversial than Berg.
06-18-2006, 12:35 PM
1998 Disney snaps up portal
By the late 1990s portals--typically snappy industry jargon for web-based guides and search engines--had become one of the hottest flavors in the field of web development. On this day in 1998, the "traditional" media giant, Walt Disney Co., entered the fray by snapping up a minority stake in the Infoseek Corp., which produced the popular portal, Infoseek.com. In return for 43% interest in Infoseek, Disney handed over control of Starwave Corp., a new media company which produces ESPN.com, and $70 million in cash. While other portal companies like Yahoo had yet to yield a penny in profit, Disney honcho Michael Eisner was bullish on the Internet's fiscal prospects. In his eyes, the acquisition of Infoseek left Disney "well-positioned to take advantage" of the medium as it blossomed into "commercial maturity." Shortly after inking the deal, Eisner led Disney and Infoseek web teams back to the lab to give their portal a thorough overhaul. The revised site, complete with new graphics, snazzy functionality and catchy name "Go.com" was launched with a full dose of hype and marketing hoopla in 1999.It would fail to live up to expectations.
06-18-2006, 12:36 PM
1892 Macadamia nuts 1st planted in Hawaii
1908 Bud Collyer is born in NYC, NY, TV emcee (Beat the Clock, To Tell the Truth)
1910 E.G. Marshall is born, actor (Defenders, Nixon, Absolute Power)
1928 Amelia Earhart is 1st woman (passenger) to cross Atlantic by air
1936 1st bicycle traffic court in America established, Racine, WI
1942 Roger Ebert is born in Urbana, IL, film critic
1948 American Library Association adopts the Library Bill of Rights
1952 Carol Kane is born in Cleveland OH, actress (Dog Day Afternoon, Simka-Taxi)
1952 Isabella Rossellini is born, actress (Blue Velvet, Tough Guys Don't Dance)
1957 John Diefenbacker (C) takes office as PM of Canada
1959 Ethel Barrymore actress, dies at 79
1973 NCAA makes urine testing mandatory for participants
1976 NBA & ABA agree to merge
1979 Billy Martin becomes Yankee manager (2nd time), replacing Bob Lemon
1980 "Blues Brothers" with Dan Akwoyd & John Belushi premieres
1983 IRA's Joseph Doherty arrested in NYC
1986 52 die in plane/helicopter collision over Grand Canyon
1991 President Zachary Taylor's body is exhumed to test how he died
06-18-2006, 01:20 PM
1942 Paul McCartney born
Will we still need him, will we still feed him, now he's sixty-four?
06-21-2006, 12:32 PM
1913 ~ Georgia Broadwick becomes the first female to parachute jump from a plane. :thumbs:
06-21-2006, 12:45 PM
Yes concert history (thanks to Forgotten Yesterdays):
6/21/03 Mainz DE Rheingoldhalle
6/21/00 Concord CA Concord Pavillion
6/21/94 Allentown PA Allentown Fairgrounds (I was there!) :guitar:
6/21/84 Cologne DE Sporthalle
6/21/79 Philadelphia PA Spectrum Arena
6/21/76 Kalamazoo MI Wings Stadium
6/21/75 Hollywood CA Hollywood Bowl
6/21/69 Antwerp BE Pop Festival
06-21-2006, 12:48 PM
1975, Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore quit Deep Purple to form his own group Rainbow.
06-28-2006, 02:18 PM
June 28, 1519 Charles elected Holy Roman emperor
Charles I of Spain, who by birth already held sway over much of Europe and Spanish America, is elected the successor of his late grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Charles, who was also the grandson of Ferdinand II and Isabella of Spain, had bribed the princes of Germany to vote for him, defeating such formidable candidates as King Henry VIII of England, King Francis I of France, and Frederick the Wise, the duke of Saxony.
Crowned as Emperor Charles V, the new Holy Roman emperor sought to unite the many kingdoms under his rule in the hope of creating a vast, universal empire. However, his hopes were thwarted by the Protestant Reformation in Germany, a lifelong dynastic struggle with King Francis, and the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Europe. In 1558, after nearly four decades as Holy Roman emperor, Charles abdicated the throne in favor of his brother, Ferdinand. He had already granted much of the other European territory under his rule to his son Philip.
06-28-2006, 02:19 PM
1836 Former President James Madison dies
On this day in 1836, James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, author of the “Federalist Papers” and fourth president of the United States, dies on his tobacco plantation in Virginia.
Madison first distinguished himself as a student at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he successfully completed a four-year course of study in two years and, in 1769, helped found the American Whig Society, the second literary and debate society at Princeton (and the world), to rival the previously established Cliosophic Society.
Madison returned to Virginia with intellectual accolades but poor health in 1771. By 1776, he was sufficiently recovered to serve for three years in the legislature of the new state of Virginia, where he came to know and admire Thomas Jefferson. In this capacity, he assisted with the drafting of the Virginia Declaration of Religious Freedom and the critical decision for Virginia to cede its western claims to the Continental Congress.
Madison is best remembered for his critical role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where he presented the Virginia Plan to the assembled delegates in Philadelphia and oversaw the difficult process of negotiation and compromise that led to the drafting of the final Constitution. Madison’s published “Notes on the Convention” are considered the most detailed and accurate account of what occurred in the closed-session debates. (Madison forbade the publishing of his notes until all the participants were deceased.) After the Constitution was submitted to the people for ratification, Madison collaborated with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton on “The Federalist Papers,” a series of pamphlets that argued for the acceptance of the new government. Madison penned the most famous of the pamphlets, “Federalist No. 10,” which made an incisive argument for the ability of a large federation to preserve individual rights.
In 1794, Madison married a young widow, Dolley Payne Todd, who would prove to be Washington, D.C.’s finest hostess during Madison’s years as secretary of state to the widowed Thomas Jefferson and then as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Dolley Madison earned a special place in the nation’s memory for saving a portrait of George Washington before fleeing the burning White House during the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 tested Madison’s presidency. The Federalists staunchly opposed Madison’s declaration of war against the British and threatened to secede from the Union during the Harford Convention. When the new nation managed to muster a tenuous victory, the Federalist Party was destroyed as America’s status as a nation apart from Britain was secured.
After retiring from official political positions, Madison served Thomas Jefferson’s beloved University of Virginia first as a member of the board of visitors and then as rector. In 1938, the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, Virginia, was renamed in Madison’s honor as Madison College; in 1976, it became James Madison University.
06-28-2006, 02:19 PM
1857 Western writer Emerson Hough is born
Emerson Hough, one of the most successful writers of adventure novels of the romantic western genre, is born in Newton, Iowa.
After graduating from the State University of Iowa in 1880, Hough briefly studied law before turning to a career in journalism. In his 20s, he became the manager of the Chicago branch of Field and Stream, the popular hunting and conservation magazine. Deeply fascinated with the frontier and wilderness living, Hough embarked on extensive tours of the wildest areas of the American West. A winter ski trip through the still relatively unknown territory of Yellowstone National Park in 1895 made him a lifelong advocate of the national park system.
Beginning in the late 1890s, Hough began producing a mixture of fictional and factual books reflecting his affection for the American West. His most notable non-fictional works were popular historical celebrations of great mythic figures of the Old West, and included The Story of the Cowboy (1897) and The Story of the Outlaw (1906).
Hough's greatest success, however, came with fictional works that combined sentimental romance stories with the western novel. One of his most popular works, The Covered Wagon (1922), established many of the conventions of the genre that continue to be popular today. The story concerns a migrant wagon train crossing the Oregon Trail. A noble but misunderstood hero vies with a charming but ultimately evil villain for the love of a beautiful young woman. As the wagon train travels west, the emigrants face disasters and dangers during which the hero's hidden strength and character are revealed. The hero, of course, wins his ladylove.
Although Hough maintained that The Covered Wagon and all his other western novels were based on fact, the books focused on conventional tales of love and romance rather than history. The western setting was often little more than a useful means of combing a masculine adventure story with a feminine love story. Hough was a master of his genre, however, and his simple but compelling tales were copied in countless books and movies. In 1923, The Covered Wagon was made into one of the first western movies.
Having published more than 18 books, Emerson Hough died in Evanston, Illinois, in 1923. He was 66 years old.
06-28-2006, 02:21 PM
1862 Confederates capture the St. Nicholas
A Confederate band makes a daring capture of a commercial vessel on Chesapeake Bay. The plan was the brainchild of George Hollins, a veteran of the War of 1812. Hollins joined the navy at age 15, and had a long and distinguished career. A Maryland native, he was commander of a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean when hostilities erupted in 1861, and returned to New York and resigned his commission. After a brief stop in his hometown, Baltimore, Hollins offered his services to the Confederacy and received a commission on June 21, 1861.
Soon after, Hollins met up with Richard Thomas Zarvona, a Marylander, former West Point attendee, and adventurer who had fought with pirates in China and revolutionaries in Italy. They hatched a plan to capture the St. Nicholas and use it to marshal other Yankee ships into Confederate service. Zarvona went to Baltimore and recruited a band of pirates, who boarded the St. Nicolas as paying passengers on June 28. Using the name Madame La Force, Zarvona disguised himself as a flirtatious Frenchwoman. Hollins then boarded the St. Nicholas at its first stop.
The conspirators later retreated to the Frenchwoman's cabin, where they armed themselves and then burst out to capture the surprised crew. Hollins took control of the vessel and stopped on the Virginia bank of the Chesapeake to pick up a crew of Confederate soldiers. They planned to capture a Union gunboat, the Pawnee, but it was called away. Instead, the St. Nicholas and its pirate crew came upon a ship loaded with Brazilian coffee. Two more ships, carrying loads of ice and coal, soon fell to the St. Nicholas.
These daring exploits earned Hollins a quick promotion from captain to commodore. At the end of July, Hollins was sent to take control of a fleet at New Orleans, Louisiana.
06-28-2006, 02:22 PM
1888 Robert Louis Stevenson sets sail for the South Seas
Writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his family leave San Francisco for their first visit to the South Seas on this day in 1888. Stevenson, an adventurous traveler plagued by tuberculosis, was seeking a healthier climate. The family finally settled in Samoa, where Stevenson died in 1894.
Stevenson was born in Scotland and studied civil engineering and law, but decided to pursue a career as a writer. His decision upset his parents, who remained alienated from him until he was 30 years old. At first, Stevenson wrote essays and travel accounts. In 1876, he fell in love with an American woman named Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was separated from her husband. When she returned to San Francisco in 1879, Stevenson followed her. The couple married and returned to Scotland in 1880. Stevenson published a collection of essays in 1881 and Treasure Island, one of his most popular books, in 1883. In 1885, he published the first version of the popular nursery rhyme book A Child's Garden of Verse. In 1846, he published Kidnapped, and in 1886 he published Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
After returning to the U.S. for a year, the Stevenson family set sail for the South Seas. Stevenson wrote several travel accounts of the family's explorations of the region. He died in Samoa in 1894.
06-28-2006, 02:23 PM
1894 Feds honor Labor Day
By 1894, the notion of a holiday dedicated to America's workers was hardly a novelty; city and state-based versions of Labor Day had in fact been rumbling about for over a decade. According to Labor Day lore, the holiday was conceived by wood-wise unionist Peter J. McGuire in 1894, though some historians dispute this claim. Whatever its origins, the first Labor Day celebration, organized by the Central Labor Union and consecrated with a parade attended by some ten thousand workers, was held in New York City on September 5, 1882. Labor Day proved to be a fast hit with New York's workers, prompting a command performance for the holiday the following year. In 1894, the Central Labor Union formally staked out the first Monday in September as the regular date for New York's Labor Day. But, the appeal of a worker's holiday wasn't limited to New York and, thanks in no small part to the organizing efforts of the Central Labor Union, Labor Day soon spread to the rest of the nation. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to officially sanction the celebration of Labor Day; during the next few years, scores of other states soon followed suit and adopted their own Labor Day legislation. And, on June 28, 1894, Congress got in on the act and passed a bill that called for the regular observance of Labor Day in the District of Columbia and the territories.
06-28-2006, 02:23 PM
1914 Archduke Ferdinand assassinated
In an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle's imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted the Austrian possessions to join newly independent Serbia.
The archduke and his wife, Sophie, were touring Sarajevo in an open car with little security when Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at their car. Ferdinand managed to deflect the bomb onto the street, but a dozen people, including Sophie, were injured. Later in the day, the archduke and his wife were driving through Sarajevo's streets again when their driver took a wrong turn onto a street named after the archduke's uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph. As the car slowed to change direction, another Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, fired his pistol into the car, fatally wounding the archduke and his wife.
Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.
06-28-2006, 02:24 PM
1916 Lasky Co. and Famous Players Co. merge
On this day in 1916, Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company merges with the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, forming the Famous Players-Lasky Company. The company later became Paramount Pictures.
Zukor, a successful Chicago furrier, entered the film business in the early 1900s, financing penny arcades. In 1905, he partnered with Marcus Loew, and the two developed the Loew's cinema chain. In 1912, Zukor distributed the European film Queen Elizabeth in the United States and invested his proceeds in his own production company, Famous Players Film Company.
Lasky, a former vaudeville performer and theatrical producer, teamed up with his brother-in-law Sam Goldfish (later Goldwyn) and director Cecil B. DeMille to found the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in 1913. The company's first film, The Squaw Man (1914), became a critical and financial success.
After the two studios merged, they absorbed a dozen other production companies, then acquired film financing and distribution company Paramount Pictures, established by W.W. Hodkinson in 1914. During the next 10 years, the company acquired hundreds of theaters throughout the United States.
In 1927, the company changed its name to Paramount Famous Lasky Corp., then to Paramount Publix Corp. in 1930. The company became one of Hollywood's most powerful studios, releasing blockbusters like The Ten Commandments (1923). Despite a brush with bankruptcy and a reorganization, the company continued to attract top stars through the 1930s and '40s. In 1949, the U.S. Supreme Court forced the studio to sell its theater chains, as part of the court's effort to end the studio monopoly of the film industry.
Nevertheless, Paramount continued to release hits, including Sabrina (1954) and Psycho (1960). In 1966, Gulf and Western purchased the studio, which continued to produce such hits as The Godfather (1972) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Gulf and Western changed its name to Paramount Communications in 1989. Viacom gained control of the studio in 1994.
06-28-2006, 02:25 PM
1919 Harry S. Truman marries Bess Wallace
On this day in 1919, future President Harry S. Truman marries his longtime Missourian sweetheart, Bess. When the two met, Truman told a friend that she had the “most beautiful golden curls and blue eyes” and that she was the “one girl in the world” for him.
Although they had known each other since the fifth grade, Harry and Bess did not marry until their mid-30s. The very practical Truman did not want to marry until he could make a decent living, so it took many years and a stint in the military before Truman proposed.
The Trumans’ relationship and his political beliefs are well-documented in the many letters Harry wrote to Bess. For example, six months before their wedding, he wrote from the front in World War I in his inimitable no-nonsense manner: “…we'll stay there until Woodie [Woodrow Wilson] gets his pet peace plans refused or okayed…I don't give a whoop whether there's a League of Nations or whether Russia has a Red government or a Purple one...we came over here to help whip the Hun….For my part I've had enough vin rouge and frogeater victuals to last me a lifetime.”
The Trumans had one daughter, Margaret, upon whom they doted. Truman had an explosive temper and was fiercely loyal to his family. When Margaret received an unfavorable review of her 1950 signing debut in the Washington Post, then-President Truman was so furious that he wrote a letter to the paper’s editor the next day in which he threatened to give the reviewer a black eye and a broken nose. Although Truman was known as “Give ‘em Hell Harry” for doggedly pursuing political aims, he did not follow up on that particular non-political threat.
06-28-2006, 02:25 PM
1919 Keynes predicts economic chaos
At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken critics of the punitive agreement. In his The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country, which in turn would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe and the world.
By the fall of 1918, it was apparent to the leaders of Germany that defeat was inevitable in World War I. After four years of terrible attrition, Germany no longer had the men or resources to resist the Allies, who had been given a tremendous boost by the infusion of American manpower and supplies. In order to avert an Allied invasion of Germany, the German government contacted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in October 1918 and asked him to arrange a general armistice. Earlier that year, Wilson had proclaimed his "Fourteen Points," which proposed terms for a "just and stable peace" between Germany and its enemies. The Germans asked that the armistice be established along these terms, and the Allies more or less complied, assuring Germany of a fair and unselfish final peace treaty. On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and went into effect, and fighting in World War I came to an end.
In January 1919, John Maynard Keynes traveled to the Paris Peace Conference as the chief representative of the British Treasury. The brilliant 35-year-old economist had previously won acclaim for his work with the Indian currency and his management of British finances during the war. In Paris, he sat on an economic council and advised British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, but the important peacemaking decisions were out of his hands, and President Wilson, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau wielded the real authority. Germany had no role in the negotiations deciding its fate, and lesser Allied powers had little responsibility in the drafting of the final treaty.
It soon became apparent that the treaty would bear only a faint resemblance to the Fourteen Points that had been proposed by Wilson and embraced by the Germans. Wilson, a great idealist, had few negotiating skills, and he soon buckled under the pressure of Clemenceau, who hoped to punish Germany as severely as it had punished France in the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Lloyd George took the middle ground between the two men, but he backed the French plan to force Germany to pay reparations for damages inflicted on Allied civilians and their property. Since the treaty officially held Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War I (in reality it was only partially responsible), the Allies would not have to pay reparations for damages they inflicted on German civilians.
The treaty that began to emerge was a thinly veiled Carthaginian Peace, an agreement that accomplished Clemenceau's hope to crush France's old rival. According to its terms, Germany was to relinquish 10 percent of its territory. It was to be disarmed, and its overseas empire taken over by the Allies. Most detrimental to Germany's immediate future, however, was the confiscation of its foreign financial holdings and its merchant carrier fleet. The German economy, already devastated by the war, was thus further crippled, and the stiff war reparations demanded ensured that it would not soon return to its feet. A final reparations figure was not agreed upon in the treaty, but estimates placed the amount in excess of $30 billion, far beyond Germany's capacity to pay. Germany would be subject to invasion if it fell behind on payments.
Keynes, horrified by the terms of the emerging treaty, presented a plan to the Allied leaders in which the German government be given a substantial loan, thus allowing it to buy food and materials while beginning reparations payments immediately. Lloyd George approved the "Keynes Plan," but President Wilson turned it down because he feared it would not receive congressional approval. In a private letter to a friend, Keynes called the idealistic American president "the greatest fraud on earth." On June 5, 1919, Keynes wrote a note to Lloyd George informing the prime minister that he was resigning his post in protest of the impending "devastation of Europe."
The Germans initially refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, and it took an ultimatum from the Allies to bring the German delegation to Paris on June 28. It was five years to the day since the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, which began the chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. Clemenceau chose the location for the signing of the treaty: the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles Palace, site of the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War. At the ceremony, General Jan Christiaan Smuts, soon to be president of South Africa, was the only Allied leader to protest formally the Treaty of Versailles, saying it would do grave injury to the industrial revival of Europe.
At Smuts' urging, Keynes began work on The Economic Consequences of the Peace. It was published in December 1919 and was widely read. In the book, Keynes made a grim prophecy that would have particular relevance to the next generation of Europeans: "If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation."
Germany soon fell hopelessly behind in its reparations payments, and in 1923 France and Belgium occupied the industrial Ruhr region as a means of forcing payment. In protest, workers and employers closed down the factories in the region. Catastrophic inflation ensued, and Germany's fragile economy began quickly to collapse. By the time the crash came in November 1923, a lifetime of savings could not buy a loaf of bread. That month, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler launched an abortive coup against Germany's government. The Nazis were crushed and Hitler was imprisoned, but many resentful Germans sympathized with the Nazis and their hatred of the Treaty of Versailles.
A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state. In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany's favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.
In the late 1930s, John Maynard Keynes gained a reputation as the world's foremost economist by advocating large-scale government economic planning to keep unemployment low and markets healthy. Today, all major capitalist nations adhere to the key principles of Keynesian economics. He died in 1946.
06-28-2006, 02:26 PM
1928 "West End Blues" recorded
On this day in 1928, Louis Armstrong records "West End Blues," one of the most famous recordings in early jazz. The song, showcasing Armstrong's trumpet improvisations, influenced many later jazz musicians, including clarinetist Artie Shaw.
06-28-2006, 02:27 PM
1940 Britain recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as the leader of the Free French
On this day in 1940, General Charles de Gaulle, having set up headquarters in England upon the establishment of a puppet government in his native France, is recognized as the leader of the Free French Forces, dedicated to the defeat of Germany and the liberation of all France.
For Charles de Gaulle, fighting Germans was an old story. He sustained multiple injuries fighting at Verdun in World War I. He escaped German POW camps five times, only to be recaptured each time. (At 6 feet 4 inches in height, it was hard for de Gaulle to remain inconspicuous.)
At the beginning of World War II, de Gaulle was commander of a tank brigade. He was admired as a courageous leader and made a brigadier general in May 1940. After the German invasion of France, he became undersecretary of state for defense and war in the Reynaud government, but when Reynaud resigned, and Field Marshal Philippe Petain stepped in, a virtual puppet of the German occupiers, he left for England. On June 18, de Gaulle took to the radio airwaves to make an appeal to his fellow French not to accept the armistice being sought by Petain, but to continue fighting under his command. Ten days later, Britain formally acknowledged de Gaulle as the leader of the "Free French Forces," which was at first little more than those French troops stationed in England, volunteers from Frenchmen already living in England, and units of the French navy.
On August 2, a French military court sentenced de Gaulle to death in absentia for his actions. (No doubt at the instigation of the German occupiers.)
De Gaulle would prove an adept wartime politician, finally winning recognition and respect from the Allies and his fellow countrymen. He returned to Paris from Algiers, where he had moved the headquarters of the Free French Forces and formed a "shadow government," in September 1943. He went on to head two provisional governments before resigning.
06-28-2006, 02:28 PM
1948 Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM
The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter's position on the Greek civil war. The expulsion was concrete evidence of the permanent split that had taken place between Russia and Yugoslavia.
The Soviet Union had established COMINFORM in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body for communist parties in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Most Western observers believed the organization to be the successor to the Communist International (COMINTERN had been dissolved by Russia in 1943, in an effort to placate its wartime allies--the United States and Great Britain). With the hardening of Cold War animosities after World War II, however, the establishment of COMINFORM signaled that the Soviet Union was once again setting itself up as the official leader of the communist bloc nations. In addition, the inclusion of the Italian and French communist parties served notice that the Soviet Union wished to have a strong say in political developments outside of its eastern European satellites. Yugoslavia was an original member, but that nation's leader, Josef Broz Tito, proved to be reluctant in following the Soviet line. Throughout 1947 and into 1948, Tito harshly criticized Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's lack of assistance to communists fighting for power in Greece. When Tito refused to tone down his complaints, Stalin ordered Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM.
After its expulsion, Yugoslavia continued to chart a communist, but distinctly independent, pathway in its domestic and foreign policies. The United States was delighted with the Soviet-Yugoslavia split, and actively courted Tito with economic and military aid in the late-1940s and 1950s. As Stalin had already discovered, however, Tito refused to be the puppet of any government. COMINFORM slowly declined after 1948, as other communist parties, such as Italy's, also chafed under the Soviet desire for control. The Soviet Union officially dissolved the organization in 1956.
06-28-2006, 02:28 PM
1965 U.S. forces launch first offensive
In the first major offensive ordered for U.S. forces, 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade--in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit--assault a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off after three days when it failed to make any major contract with the enemy. One American was killed and nine Americans and four Australians were wounded. The State Department assured the American public that the operation was in accord with Johnson administration policy on the role of U.S. troops.
06-28-2006, 02:29 PM
1969 The Stonewall Riot
Just after 3 a.m., a police raid of the Stonewall Inn--a gay club located on New York City's Christopher Street--turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against the police.
Although the police were legally justified in raiding the club, which was serving liquor without a license among other violations, New York's gay community had grown weary of the police department targeting gay clubs, a majority of which had already been closed. The crowd on the street watched quietly as Stonewall's employees were arrested, but when three drag queens and a lesbian were forced into the paddy wagon, the crowd began throwing bottles at the police. The officers were forced to take shelter inside the establishment, and two policemen were slightly injured before reinforcements arrived to disperse the mob. The protest, however, spilled over into the neighboring streets, and order was not restored until the deployment of New York's riot police.
The so-called Stonewall Riot was followed by several days of demonstrations in New York and was the impetus for the formation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as other gay, lesbian, and bisexual civil rights organizations. It is also regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for homosexuals.
06-28-2006, 02:29 PM
1972 Nixon announces draftees will not go to Vietnam
President Nixon announces that no more draftees will be sent to Vietnam unless they volunteer for such duty. He also announced that a force of 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by September 1, which would leave a total of 39,000 in Vietnam.
06-28-2006, 02:30 PM
1975 Rod Serling dies
On this day in 1975, television writer Rod Serling dies at age 50 after open-heart surgery. Born in 1924 in Syracuse, New York, Serling became one of early television's most successful writers, best known for the anthology series The Twilight Zone, which he created, wrote, and hosted.
06-28-2006, 02:31 PM
1975 A teenage girl's boyfriend murders her parents
Police are called to the home of Jim and Naomi Olive in Terra Linda, California, after Jim Olive's business partner reports that the couple has not been seen in a week. The house in disarray, officers found no sign of either the Olives or their adopted teenage daughter Marlene. However, Marlene turned up at the police station later that day and began telling a bizarre series of stories explaining her parent's disappearance.
Marlene first claimed that her parents had gone to Lake Tahoe for a vacation but had not returned. As the interrogation extended into the second day, she told detectives that Jim had killed Naomi and then fled. But, when pressed on this story, she contradicted herself and claimed that her mother was the killer. In an entirely new tale, she then told the police that both of her parents were killed and taken away by a group of Hell's Angels.
The detectives waited patiently until Marlene finally led them to a fire pit outside the town where the burned remains of her parents were located. With a little investigation, the detectives found out about Chuck Riley, Marlene's boyfriend. At his home was an unopened letter from Marlene that read, "I have no guilty feelings at all about my folks. NONE. NEITHER SHOULD YOU. Relax."
From Riley, police learned that Marlene and Naomi had a rocky relationship, mostly because Naomi was schizophrenic and paranoid. Apparently, she repeatedly told her daughter that she would grow up to be a ----- just like her real mother. Angry and insecure, Marlene began biting off chunks of her own arm.
Marlene met Chuck Riley in 1974, and the two began a contractual relationship: Marlene provided sex for Riley in return for drugs. In March 1975, the two went on a $6,000 shoplifting spree and Naomi threatened to send Marlene to juvenile hall.
On June 21, Marlene arranged to go shopping with her father while Riley sneaked into the house and attacked Naomi with a claw hammer. Failing to kill her, he then stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife. By the time Jim and Marlene returned home, Riley was still in the middle of the attack. When Jim attempted to intervene, Riley shot and killed him.
Because she was a teenager at the time of the murders, Marlene Olive served only four years before being released from prison in 1979. Riley was given a death sentence that was later commuted to life imprisonment.
06-28-2006, 02:31 PM
1992 Two big quakes rock California
Two of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit California strike the desert area east of Los Angeles on this day in 1992. Although the state sits upon the immense San Andreas fault line, relatively few major earthquakes have hit California in modern times. Two of the strongest, but not the deadliest, hit southern California on a single morning in the summer of 1992.
Just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Landers, 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Because the Landers area is sparsely populated, damage was relatively minor given the intensity of the jolt. In Los Angeles, residents experienced rolling and shaking for nearly a minute. The tremors were also felt in Arizona, Las Vegas and as far away as Boise, Idaho.
Just over three hours later, a second 6.3-magnitude tremor hit in Big Bear, not too far from the original epicenter. This quake caused fires to break out and cost three people their lives. A chimney fell on a 3-year-old child and two people suffered fatal heart attacks. Between the two quakes, 400 people were injured and $92 million in damages were suffered. The physical damage was also significant. The quakes triggered landslides that wiped out roads and opened a 44-mile-long rupture in the earth, the biggest in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake.
06-28-2006, 02:33 PM
1820 Tomato is proven non-poisonous
1838 Britain's Queen Victoria crowned in Westminster Abbey
1905 Russian sailors mutiny aboard the battleship "Potemkin"
1924 Tornado strikes Sandusky Ohio & Lorain Ohio, killing 93
1926 Mel Brooks is born, comedian/actor/director
1951 "Amos 'n' Andy" premiers on CBS TV
1956 Riots break out in Poznan Poland, 38 die
1960 John Elway is born, NFL QB (Denver Broncos)
1966 John Cusack is born, actor
1966 Mary Stuart Masterson is born in Houston, TX, actress
1967 George Harrison is fined for speeding
1968 Daniel Ellsberg indicted for leaking Pentagon Papers
1971 Supreme Court overturns draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali
1974 Wings release "Band on the Run" & "Zoo Gang" in UK
1975 David Bowie releases "Fame"
1975 Golfer, Lee Trevino is struck by lightning at Western Open
1977 Supreme Court allows Federal control of Nixon tapes papers
1978 UNICEF chooses rock group, Kansas as Ambassadors of Goodwill
1982 Prince Charles & Lady Di name their baby "William"
1983 Bridge section along I-95 in Greenwich, CT collapsed, kills 3
1988 Mike Tyson sues to break contract with manager Bill Cayton
06-29-2006, 03:17 PM
June 29, 1613 The Globe Theater burns down
The Globe Theater, where most of Shakespeare's plays debuted, burned down on this day in 1613.
The Globe was built by Shakespeare's acting company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, in 1599 from the timbers of London's very first permanent theater, Burbage's Theater, built in 1576. Before James Burbage built his theater, plays and dramatic performances were ad hoc affairs, performed on street corners and in the yards of inns. However, the Common Council of London, in 1574, started licensing theatrical pieces performed in inn yards within the city limits. To escape the restriction, actor James Burbage built his own theater on land he leased outside the city limits. When Burbage's lease ran out, the Lord Chamberlain's men moved the timbers to a new location and created the Globe. Like other theaters of its time, the Globe was a round wooden structure with a stage at one end, and covered balconies for the gentry. The galleries could seat about 1,000 people, with room for another 2,000 "groundlings," who could stand on the ground around the stage.
The Lord Chamberlain's men built Blackfriars theater in 1608, a smaller theater that seated about 700 people, to use in winter when the open-air Globe wasn't practical.
06-29-2006, 03:18 PM
1776 South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge opposes independence
On this day in 1776, Edward Rutledge, one of South Carolina’s representatives to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, expresses his reluctance to declare independence from Britain in a letter to the like-minded John Jay of New York.
Contrary to the majority of his Congressional colleagues, Rutledge advocated patience with regards to declaring independence. In a letter to Jay, one of New York’s representatives who was similarly disinclined to rush a declaration, Rutledge worried whether moderates like himself and Jay could "effectually oppose" a resolution for independence. Jay had urgent business in New York and therefore was not able to be present for the debates. Thus, Rutledge wrote of his concerns.
Rutledge was born in Charleston, to a physician who had emigrated from Ireland. Edward’s elder brother John studied law at London’s Middle Temple before returning to set up a lucrative practice in Charleston. Edward followed suit and studied first at Oxford University before being admitted to the English bar at the Middle Temple. He too returned to Charleston, where he married and began a family in a house across the street from his brother. As revolutionary politics roiled the colonies, first John, then Edward served as South Carolina’s representative to the Continental Congress. Neither Rutledge brother was eager to sever ties with Great Britain, but it fell to Edward to sign the Declaration of Independence and create the appearance of unanimity to strengthen the Patriots’ stand. At age 26, Edward Rutledge was the youngest American to literally risk his neck by signing the document.
06-29-2006, 03:19 PM
1835 Texan William Travis prepares for war with Mexico
Determined to win independence for the Mexican State of Texas, William Travis raises a volunteer army of 25 soldiers and prepares to liberate the city of Anahuac.
Born in South Carolina and raised in Alabama, William Travis moved to Mexican-controlled Texas in 1831 at the age of 22. He established a legal practice in Anahuac, a small frontier town about 40 miles east of Houston. From the start, Travis disliked Mexicans personally and resented Mexican rule of Texas politically. In 1832, he clashed with local Mexican officials and was jailed for a month. When he was released, the growing Texan independence movement hailed him as a hero, strengthening his resolve to break away from Mexico by whatever means necessary.
Early in 1835, the Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrew the republican government and proclaimed himself dictator. Rightly fearing that some Texans would rebel as a result, Santa Anna quickly moved to reinforce Mexican control and dispatched troops to Anahuac, among other areas. Accustomed to enjoying a large degree of autonomy, some Texans resented the presence of Santa Anna's troops, and they turned to Travis for leadership.
On this day in 1835, Travis raised a company of 25 volunteer soldiers. The next day, the small army easily captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the leader of Santa Anna's forces in Anahuac, and forced the troops to surrender. More radical Texans again proclaimed Travis a hero, but others condemned him for trying to foment war and maintained that Santa Anna could still be dealt with short of revolution. By the fall of 1835, however, conflict had become inevitable, and Texans prepared to fight a war of independence.
As soon as the rebels had formed an army, Travis was made a lieutenant colonel in command of the regular troops at San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, Travis joined forces with Jim Bowie's army of volunteers to occupy an old Spanish mission known as the Alamo. The following day, Santa Anna and about 4,000 of his men laid siege to the Alamo. With less than 200 soldiers, Travis and Bowie were able to hold off the Mexicans for 13 days. On March 6, Santa Anna's soldiers stormed the Alamo and killed nearly every Texan defender, including Travis.
In the months that followed, "Remember the Alamo" became a rallying cry as the Texans successfully drove the Mexican forces from their borders. By April, Texas had won its independence. Travis, who first hastened the war of independence and then became a martyr to the cause, became an enduring symbol of Texan courage and defiance.
06-29-2006, 03:19 PM
1862 Battle of Savage's Station
Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacks Union General George McClellan as he is pulling his army away from Richmond, Virginia, in retreat during the Seven Days' Battles. Although the Yankees lost 1,000 men—twice as many as the Rebels—they were able to successfully protect the retreat.
George McClellan spent the spring of 1862 preparing the Army of the Potomac for a campaign up the James Peninsula toward Richmond. For nearly three months, McClellan landed his troops at Fort Monroe, at the end of the peninsula, and worked northwest to Richmond. The Seven Days' Battles were the climax of this attempt to take the Confederate capital. Although he had an advantage in numbers, McClellan squandered it and surrendered the initiative to Lee, who attacked the Yankees and began driving them away from Richmond.
As McClelland retreated, Lee hounded his army. When the Union army moved past Savage's Station—a stop on the Richmond and York River Railroad and the site of a Union hospital—Lee ordered an assault on the troops screening the retreat. This was a chance to break McClellan's flank and deal a shattering defeat to the Yankees. But although Lee's strategy was sound, it was complicated, requiring precise timing on the part of several generals. The Confederates inflicted serious damage on the Northerners but were not able to break the rear guard. Fighting continued until nightfall, when a torrential rainstorm ended the battle.
06-29-2006, 03:20 PM
1902 Renault wins in car he designed
Marcel Renault won the four-day Paris-to-Vienna race, driving a car of his own design. The early city-to-city races were the largest sporting events of that era. Some three million people turned out to cheer Renault on to victory during the 15-hour, 615-mile race. These races were discontinued in large part due to Renault's fatal accident the following year at the Paris-Madrid race. The French government halted the race in Bordeaux following the tragic accident. Millions of people lined the raceways during the first years of car racing, and dozens were killed each year. Race organizers were unable to keep up with the rapid advancement of engine technology that propelled the racers at higher and higher speeds each year. Road racing in Europe was banned in most places after 1904. It would take years to erase the damage to car racing's reputation that was incurred in those first few gladiatorial years.
06-29-2006, 03:21 PM
1906 Theodore Roosevelt's Hepburn Act is passed
Overwhelmingly elected to the presidency in 1904, Theodore Roosevelt immediately asked Congress for substantial powers to regulate interstate railroad rates. Public demand for effective national regulation of interstate railroad rates had been growing since the Supreme Court had emasculated the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) rate-making authority in the 1890s. Determined to bring the railroads--the country's single greatest private economic interest--under effective national control, Roosevelt waged an unrelenting battle with an uncooperative Congress in 1905 and 1906. The outcome--the Hepburn Act of 1906--was his own personal triumph, giving teeth to the previously flaccid ICC, despite Congress dragging its heels and tacking on several self-serving "amendments" before agreeing to pass the bill. The Hepburn Act greatly enlarged the ICC's jurisdiction and forbade railroads to increase rates without its approval. By giving the ICC the authority to set maximum rates, Roosevelt effectively created the first of the government's regulatory commissions and thus cleared a milestone on the long road to the modern social-service state. By using the same tactics of aggressive leadership, Roosevelt in 1906 also obtained passage of a Meat Inspection Act and a Pure Food and Drug Act. Passage of the former was aided by the publication of Upton Sinclair's famous novel, The Jungle (1906), which revealed in ghastly detail the unsanitary conditions of the Chicago stockyards and meat-packing plants.
06-29-2006, 03:21 PM
1915 Austria-Hungary protests shipment of U.S. munitions to Britain
On June 29, 1915, Foreign Minister Istvan von Burian of Austria-Hungary sends a note to the United States protesting the U.S. sale and shipment of munitions in enormous quantities to Britain and its allies for use against the Central Powers—Austria-Hungary and Germany—on the battlefields of World War I.
When war broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, the United States maintained a position of strict neutrality. The commercial opportunities of the war, however, were enormous, and neutrality did not impede the U.S.—by 1910 the leading industrial nation, with 35.3 percent of the world’s manufacturing capacity, compared with 15.9 percent for Germany and 14.7 percent for Britain—from carrying on a brisk trade of munitions from the first months of the conflict. Beginning with guns and proceeding to boats and submarines, a steady flow of war materials soon began to travel across the Atlantic. Due to the naval blockade of the Central Powers by the mighty British navy, in place from the autumn of 1914, the great majority of these war materials were bought by Britain and France, a situation Burian considered intolerable and incompatible with the U.S. profession of neutrality.
In his note of June 29, 1915, Burian deplored “the fact that for a long time a traffic in munitions of war to the greatest extent has been carried on between the United States of America on the one hand and Great Britain and its allies on the other, while Austria-Hungary as well as Germany have been absolutely excluded from the American market.” He went on to make the case for a violation of neutrality, stating that “a neutral government may not permit traffic in contraband of war to be carried on without hindrance when this traffic assumes such a form or such dimensions that the neutrality of the nation becomes involved thereby.”
On August 15, U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing issued the official reply to Burian’s note. In it, he vigorously refuted Burian’s suggestions of a violation of neutrality and claimed that a comparable situation had existed during the Boer War of 1899-1902, during which Austria-Hungary and Germany had sold munitions to Britain, even as British dominance of the seas prevented a similar trade with Britain’s enemies, the Boer population of South Africa. “If at that time Austria-Hungary and her present ally had refused to sell arms and ammunition to Great Britain on the ground that to do so would violate the spirit of strict neutrality,” Lansing pointed out, “the Imperial and Royal Government might with greater consistency and greater force urge its present contention.”
Austria-Hungary was as entitled as Britain to purchase U.S. munitions, Lansing continued, but the U.S. required that the munitions be collected by Austro-Hungarian ships from American ports, as to transport war materials in U.S. ships would, in fact, violate the principles of neutrality. If the inability of Austro-Hungarian (or German) ships to do this was due to the overwhelming threat of the British navy, Lansing maintained, it was not the fault of the United States. He concluded the statement by thoroughly dismissing Burian’s claims, asserting that “The principles of international law, the practice of nations, the national safety of the United States and other nations without great military and naval establishments…are opposed to the prohibition by a neutral nation of the exportation of arms, ammunition, or other munitions of war to belligerent Powers during the progress of the war.”
06-29-2006, 03:22 PM
1932 Vic and Sade debuts
On this day in 1932, radio show Vic and Sade debuts. Known for its high-quality writing, the show featured a fictional married couple, Vic and Sade Gook, and their adopted adolescent son. Each 15-minute episode was a self-contained story featuring guest appearances by wacky neighbors, friends, and relatives. The show ran until 1946.
06-29-2006, 03:22 PM
1933 Fatty Arbuckle dies
On this day in 1933, actor and director Fatty Arbuckle dies at age 46. Arbuckle was one of Hollywood's most beloved personalities but was banned from film after he was charged with manslaughter.
Born Roscoe Arbuckle in 1887 in Kansas, Arbuckle worked as a plumber's assistant before launching his performing career. After appearing on the vaudeville circuit, Arbuckle--nicknamed Fatty for his generous physique--began appearing in short comedies. He signed with production company Keystone in 1913, and appeared regularly as a Keystone Kop-the bumbling, slapstick police force that appeared in many Keystone movies between 1914 and the early 1920s. Arbuckle made various other silent comedies with prominent co-stars, including Charlie Chaplin. In 1916, he began writing and directing his own movies, and in 1917 he discovered comedian Buster Keaton, who became one of the most sought-after film comedians of the 1920s and '30s.
In 1921, Arbuckle was accused of manslaughter after the death of starlet Virginia Rappe. Rappe died of a ruptured bladder several days after an alleged sexual assault by the 350-pound Arbuckle at a wild drinking party in San Francisco. After two hung juries, Arbuckle was acquitted in 1922, but his films were banned and his career seemed finished. However, in 1925, he began directing again, under the pseudonym William Goodrich, and worked with such stars as Marion Davies and Eddie Cantor. An attempt to rehabilitate his acting career in 1932 through a live European tour failed. He died the following year.
06-29-2006, 03:23 PM
1934 The Thin Man debuts
On this day in 1934, the first of the six Thin Man movies debuts, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as detective couple Nick and Nora Charles. The low-budget film became an unexpected box office success and won Powell a nomination for the Best Actor Oscar.
06-29-2006, 03:24 PM
1941 Germans capture Lvov-and slaughter ensues
On this day in 1941, the Germans, having already launched their invasion of Soviet territory, invade and occupy Lvov, in eastern Galicia, in Ukraine, slaughtering thousands.
The Russians followed a scorched-earth policy upon being invaded by the Germans; that is, they would destroy, burn, flood, dismantle, and remove anything and everything in territory they were forced to give up to the invader upon retreating, thereby leaving the Germans little in the way of crops, supplies, industrial plants, or equipment. (It was a policy that had proved very successful against Napoleon in the previous century.) This time, as the Germans captured Lvov, the Soviet NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB secret police, proceeded to murder 3,000 Ukrainian political prisoners.
Lvov had had a long history of being occupied by foreign powers: Sweden, Austria, Russia, Poland, and since 1939, the Soviet Union, which had proved especially repressive. The German invaders were seen as liberators, if for no other reason than they were the enemy of Poland and Russia-two of Lvov's, and Ukraine's-- enemies. But release from the Soviet grip only meant subjection to Nazi terror. Within days, administrative control of Ukraine was split up between Poland, Romania, and Germany. Some 2.5 million Ukrainians were shipped to Germany as slave laborers, and Ukrainian Jews were subjected to the same vicious racial policies as in Poland: Some 600,000 were murdered. (Ukrainian nationalists also had blood on their hands in this respect, having gone on the rampage upon the withdrawal of Russian troops by scapegoating Jews for "Bolshevism," killing them in the streets.)
06-29-2006, 03:24 PM
1941 Germans advance in USSR
One week after launching a massive invasion of the USSR, German divisions make staggering advances on Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev.
Despite his signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin knew that war with Nazi Germany--the USSR's natural ideological enemy--was inevitable. In 1941, he received reports that German forces were massing along the USSR's eastern border. He ordered a partial mobilization, unwisely believing that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler would never open another front until Britain was subdued. Stalin was thus surprised by the invasion that came on June 22, 1941. On that day, 150 German divisions poured across the Soviet Union's 1,800-mile-long eastern frontier in one of the largest and most powerful military operations in history.
Aided by its far superior air force, the Luftwaffe, the Germans raced across the USSR in three great army groups, inflicting terrible casualties on the Red Army and Soviet civilians. On June 29, the cities of Riga and Ventspils in Latvia fell, 200 Soviet aircraft were shot down, and the encirclement of three Russian armies was nearly complete at Minsk in Belarus. Assisted by their Romanian and Finnish allies, the Germans conquered vast territory in the opening months of the invasion, and by mid-October the great Russian cities of Leningrad and Moscow were under siege.
However, like Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812, Hitler failed to take into account the Russian people's historic determination in resisting invaders. Although millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens perished in 1941, and to the rest of the world it seemed certain that the USSR would fall, the defiant Red Army and bitter Russian populace were steadily crushing Hitler's hopes for a quick victory. Stalin had far greater reserves of Red Army divisions than German intelligence had anticipated, and the Soviet government did not collapse from lack of popular support as expected. Confronted with the harsh reality of Nazi occupation, Soviets chose Stalin's regime as the lesser of two evils and willingly sacrificed themselves in what became known as the "Great Patriotic War."
The German offensive against Moscow stalled only 20 miles from the Kremlin, Leningrad's spirit of resistance remained strong, and the Soviet armament industry--transported by train to the safety of the east--carried on, safe from the fighting. Finally, what the Russians call "General Winter" rallied again to their cause, crippling the Germans' ability to maneuver and thinning the ranks of the divisions ordered to hold their positions until the next summer offensive. The winter of 1941 came early and was the worst in decades, and German troops without winter coats were decimated by the major Soviet counteroffensives that began in December.
In May 1942, the Germans, who had held their line at great cost, launched their summer offensive. They captured the Caucasus and pushed to the city of Stalingrad, where one of the greatest battles of World War II began. In November 1942, a massive Soviet counteroffensive was launched out of the rubble of Stalingrad, and at the end of January 1943 German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered his encircled army. It was the turning point in the war, and the Soviets subsequently recaptured all the territory taken by the Germans in their 1942 offensive.
In July 1943, the Germans launched their last major attack, at Kursk; after two months of fierce battle involving thousands of tanks it ended in failure. From thereon, the Red Army steadily pushed the Germans back in a series of Soviet offensives. In January 1944, Leningrad was relieved, and a giant offensive to sweep the USSR clean of its invaders began in May. In January 1945, the Red Army launched its final offensive, driving into Czechoslovakia and Austria and, in late April, Berlin. The German capital was captured on May 2, and five days later Germany surrendered in World War II.
More than 18 million Soviet soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War. Germany lost more than three million men as a result of its disastrous invasion of the USSR.
06-29-2006, 03:25 PM
1943 FDR writes to Manhattan Project physicist Dr. Robert Oppenheimer
On this day in1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes a letter marked “secret” to leading Manhattan Project physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. In the letter, Roosevelt sought to smooth over the growing antagonism between Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves, the military leader in charge of the project.
Roosevelt began by congratulating Oppenheimer (or “Oppie” as he was known to colleagues and friends) on the progress of a “highly important and secret program of research, development and manufacture with which you are familiar.” No mention was made, of course, of the phrase “Manhattan Project” or “atomic bomb.” Roosevelt conveyed a sense of urgency in solving “the problem” and bringing the project to fruition. He stressed the project’s bearing on national security.
Roosevelt’s letter acknowledged Oppenheimer as the leader of an elite group of scientists operating under strict security and under “very special conditions.” He had received reports that the brain trust of scientists tapped to deliver an atomic weapon were starting to snap under the pressure of trying to meet what they saw as an impossible deadline. Oppenheimer and Groves frequently clashed over the scientists’ living and working conditions. The small isolated community resented living under heavy guard in the desert of New Mexico. Many of the experts had doubts the bomb could even be built at all and questioned the wisdom of working with such dangerous material.
Roosevelt appealed to Oppenheimer to convince the group of the necessity of the restrictions and asked him to convey his appreciation for their hard work and personal sacrifice. Roosevelt expressed his faith that “whatever the enemy may be planning, American science will be equal to the challenge.” The letter reflected Roosevelt’s natural ability to rally morale—whether it was subduing revolt among physicists working on a crucial new weapon or reassuring American mothers of the need for food rationing in a time of war.
Two years later, at a test site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated. Roosevelt would not live to decide whether or not to use the new and powerful weapon in World War II. He died on April 12, 1945, leaving the decision to his successor, Harry S. Truman. Truman authorized the use of the world’s first atomic weapons against Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945.
06-29-2006, 03:26 PM
1951 Life of Riley goes off the air
Radio sitcom Life of Riley airs its last episode on this day in 1951. The show, which ran for a decade, starred William Bendix as Chester Riley, a bullheaded family man. In 1949, a TV version of the show launched, starring young comedian Jackie Gleason in his first TV role. However, Bendix resumed the TV role in 1953 and kept it until the show was cancelled in 1958.
06-29-2006, 03:27 PM
1957 Europe and U.S. duel on the track
Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, managing director of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, staged the first race at his newly remodeled track, a match race between the top 10 Indy Car drivers and the top 10 Formula One drivers in the world. Monza enjoyed the reputation of being Europe's fastest racetrack. Jimmy Bryan of the United States won the Two Worlds Trophy in a Salih roadster at 160mph. The race did little to settle the dispute as to where the world's best drivers reside, on the high-speed ovals of the United States or on the curvy Grand Prix tracks of Europe. In those days, many racers bridged the gap between the two worlds-- like Jim Clark, who won at Indy in the same year he captured the F1 crown. Today it is widely held that the world's best drivers compete on the F1 circuit, though the specialized cars of today make the two types of racing more difficult to compare.
06-29-2006, 03:27 PM
1964 First New Zealand troops arrive
Twenty-four New Zealand Army engineers arrive in Saigon as a token of that country's support for the American effort in South Vietnam. The contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist other nations to support the American cause in South Vietnam by sending military aid and troops. The level of support was not the primary issue; Johnson wanted to portray international solidarity and consensus for U.S. policies in Southeast Asia and he believed that participation by a number of countries would achieve that end. The effort was also known as the "many flags" program.
In June 1965, New Zealand increased their commitment to the war with the arrival of the Royal New Zealand Artillery's 161st Battery. Two rifle companies from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment arrived in South Vietnam in 1967 along with a platoon from New Zealand's commando force, the Special Air Service. These New Zealand forces were integrated with the forces of the Australian Task Force and operated with them in Phuoc Tuy Province, southeast of Saigon along the coast. In 1971, New Zealand withdrew its military forces from South Vietnam.
06-29-2006, 03:28 PM
1966 Vietnam air war escalates
During the Vietnam War, U.S. aircraft bomb the major North Vietnamese population centers of Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time, destroying oil depots located near the two cities. The U.S. military hoped that by bombing Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, and Haiphong, North Vietnam's largest port, communist forces would be deprived of essential military supplies and thus the ability to wage war.
In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against communist forces. Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress authorized the use of U.S. ground troops. By 1965, Vietcong and North Vietnamese offensives left President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw. Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history.
However, as the Vietcong were able to fight with an average daily flow of only 20 tons of supplies from North Vietnam, and U.S. forces in Vietnam required 1,000 times as much, the bombing of communist industry and supply routes had little impact on the course of the war. Nevertheless, North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh placed the destruction of U.S. bombers in the forefront of his war effort, and by 1969 more than 5,000 American planes had been lost. In addition, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes such as the massacre at My Lai turned many in the United States against the Vietnam War.
In 1973, representatives of the United States and North and South Vietnam signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.
06-29-2006, 03:29 PM
1970 U.S. ground troops return from Cambodia
U.S. ground combat troops end two months of operations in Cambodia and return to South Vietnam. Military officials reported 354 Americans had been killed and 1,689 were wounded in the operation. The South Vietnamese reported 866 killed and 3,724 wounded. About 34,000 South Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia.
U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had launched a limited "incursion" into Cambodia to clear North Vietnamese sanctuaries 20 miles inside the Cambodian border. Some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops were involved, making it the largest operation of the war since Operation Junction City in 1967.
The incursion into Cambodia had given the antiwar movement in the United States a new rallying point. News of the crossing into Cambodia set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations, including one at Kent State University that resulted in the killing of four students by Army National Guard troops, and another at Jackson State in Mississippi resulting in the shooting of two students when police opened fire on a women's dormitory. The incursion also angered many in Congress, who felt that Nixon was illegally widening the scope of the war; this resulted in a series of congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would severely limit the executive power of the president.
06-29-2006, 03:29 PM
1972 Supreme Court strikes down death penalty
In Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court rules by a vote of 5-4 that capital punishment, as it is currently employed on the state and federal level, is unconstitutional. The majority held that, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the death penalty qualified as "cruel and unusual punishment," primarily because states employed execution in "arbitrary and capricious ways," especially in regard to race. It was the first time that the nation's highest court had ruled against capital punishment. However, because the Supreme Court suggested new legislation that could make death sentences constitutional again, such as the development of standardized guidelines for juries that decide sentences, it was not an outright victory for opponents of the death penalty.
In 1976, with 66 percent of Americans still supporting capital punishment, the Supreme Court acknowledged progress made in jury guidelines and reinstated the death penalty under a "model of guided discretion." In 1977, Gary Gilmore, a career criminal who had murdered an elderly couple because they would not lend him their car, was the first person to be executed since the end of the ban. Defiantly facing a firing squad in Utah, Gilmore's last words to his executioners before they shot him through the heart were, "Let's do it."
06-29-2006, 03:30 PM
1974 Isabela Peron takes office as Argentine president
With Argentine President Juan Peron on his deathbed, Isabela Martinez de Peron, his wife and vice president, is sworn in as the leader of the South American country. President Isabela Peron, a former dancer and Peron's third wife, was the Western Hemisphere's first female head of government. Two days later, Juan died from heart disease, and Isabela was left alone as leader of a nation suffering from serious economic and political strife.
In 1943, as an army officer, Juan Domingo Peron joined a military coup against Argentina's ineffectual civilian government. Appointed secretary of labor, his influence grew, and in 1944 he also became vice president and minister of war. In October 1945, Peron was ousted from his positions by a coup of constitutionally minded civilians and officers, and he was imprisoned, but appeals from workers and his charismatic mistress, Eva Duarte, soon forced his release. The night of his release, October 17, he addressed a crowd of some 300,000 people from the balcony of the presidential palace and promised to lead the people to victory in the coming presidential election. Four days later, Peron, a widower, married Eva Duarte, or "Evita," as she became affectionately known.
As president, Peron constructed an impressive populist alliance, and his vision of self-sufficiency for Argentina won him wide support. However, he also became increasingly authoritarian, jailing political opponents and restricting freedom of the press. In 1952, his greatest political resource, Evita, died, and support for him dissolved. Three years later, he was ousted in a military coup. In 1973, after 18 years of exile, he returned to Argentina and won the presidency again. His third wife, Isabela Martinez de Peron, was elected as vice president and in 1974 succeeded him upon his death.
President Isabela Peron was unable to command the support of any powerful group, let alone construct a necessary coalition, and the political and economic situation in Argentina worsened. On March 24, 1976, following a sharp rise in political terrorism and guerrilla activity, the military deposed Isabela Peron and instituted one of the bloodiest regimes in South American history. Isabela Peron was imprisoned for five years on a charge of abuse of property and upon her release in 1981 settled in Madrid.
06-29-2006, 03:30 PM
1985 Lennon's limo purchased
Jim Pattison purchased a custom-painted Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine that had belonged to John Lennon for $2,229,000. Lennon had purchased the car in 1966 and asked a friend to paint the car with a period-typical psychedelic design pattern. The auction sale price was 10 times Sotheby's initial estimate.
06-29-2006, 03:31 PM
1989 Congress votes new sanctions against China
In yet another reaction to the Chinese government's brutal massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing earlier in the month, the House of Representatives unanimously passes a package of sanctions against the People's Republic of China. American indignation, however, was relatively short-lived and most of the sanctions died out after a brief period.
On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops and police smashed into hundreds of thousands of protesters who had gathered in Tiananmen Square in central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and freedom. Thousands were killed and tens of thousands arrested. In the United States, the public and government reacted with horror. President George Bush immediately ordered sanctions against the Chinese government, including a ban on arms shipments, the cessation of high-level talks with Chinese officials, and a suspension of talks about nuclear cooperation. Bush hoped that these sanctions would be enough to indicate the American government's displeasure and anger over the events in Tiananmen Square, but many members of Congress felt that the president had not gone far enough in punishing China for its egregious human rights violations. Over Bush's objections, the House of Representations unanimously passed a new package of sanctions on June 29. The new package included the proviso that the previous sanctions enacted by Bush could not be lifted until there were assurances that China was making progress in the area of human rights. The new sanctions focused on economic and trade relations with China. They suspended talks and funds for the expansion of U.S.-Chinese trade, and also banned the shipment of police equipment to China.
In the face of these sanctions, China remained largely unrepentant. It was not until May 1990 that the Chinese government began to release some of the thousands of protesters arrested the year before. However, diplomacy and economics eventually won out over moral indignation. The United States government had spent nearly 20 years trying to cultivate better relations with China, which it saw as a growing power and one that might be profitably used to balance against the Soviet Union. In addition, American businesspeople were filled with anticipation about the economic possibilities of the Chinese market. Finally, in 1991 the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the end of the Cold War, and all talk of "evil empires." In the face of these pressures and events, most of the sanctions fell by the wayside over the next few years.
06-29-2006, 03:32 PM
1993 A serial rapist strikes in Allentown
A knife-wielding serial-rapist and murderer attacks Denise Sam-Cali in her Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Although he succeeded in raping Sam-Cali on the front lawn outside her house, the courageous woman survived and later proved instrumental in bringing him to justice.
Sam-Cali's vicious attack was the third of its kind that month in Allentown. On June 9, a 15-year-old girl had been abducted and was later found dead in a reservoir with 22 stab wounds. And, on June 20, a five-year-old girl was raped by a man who broke into her home and unsuccessfully tried to choke her to death.
But Sam-Cali's attacker was not through yet: he killed again on July 14. On July 19, Sam-Cali's house was broken into. Police believed it was her attacker and began a stakeout of her home, leaving a window open to entice the assailant. On the night of July 30, the attacker climbed though the window and was greeted by a police officer hiding in the living room. A shootout ensued and he busted through another window to escape.
Hours later, 18-year-old Harvey Robinson stumbled into a local hospital, bleeding from two bullet wounds. Already a career criminal, Robinson had burglarized a home at the age of nine and was constantly in trouble with the law. When he was spotted by a police officer in the hospital, he attempted to flee, but was arrested.
After being identified by his surviving victims and DNA evidence, Harvey Robinson was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to death.
06-29-2006, 03:33 PM
1995 Seoul department store collapses
The Sampoong department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapses on this day in 1995, killing more than 500 people. The tragedy in the upscale store occurred due to a series of errors made by the designers and contractors who built the store and the criminal negligence of the store’s owner.
Lee Joon built Sampoong on the site of a former rubbish dump in 1989. It was designed to have five floors but, in the middle of construction, Joon insisted that an extra floor with a swimming pool be added. Several engineers working on the project warned Joon that this change was dangerous but, rather than taking their advice, Joon fired them. Furthermore, Seoul’s official planning department was not advised of the change and government safety inspectors monitoring the construction project were bribed, not only to cover up the design changes, but also to overlook the fact that Joon’s contractors were not using enough steel rods for support and were using an inferior grade of concrete to save money. Twelve inspectors were later convicted of accepting bribes.
By 1995, the store was very successful, with about 40,000 customers passing through its doors every day. On June 27, a gas leak was reported, but Joon refused to shut down the store. Two days later, the fifth-floor ceiling showed signs of imminent collapse. However, the only preventive measure taken was to move expensive merchandise out of the way. Some executives were also allowed to leave early.
At about 6 p.m., hundreds of people were eating dinner in the food area of the store’s basement level when the entire structure collapsed on top of them. The fifth-floor ceiling fell in and caused all the floors underneath it to buckle as well. Fires broke out throughout the structure, some fueled by gasoline from the cars parked in the store’s garage. The fires were not put out for several days.
Rescue efforts continued for weeks and, amazingly, one survivor was pulled out 16 days after the collapse. Most people were not so lucky--more than 500 died and another 900 suffered severe injuries. Twenty-five people were put on trial for charges relating to the disaster. Lee Joon was convicted of criminal negligence and received a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
06-29-2006, 03:33 PM
1900 Antoine de Saint-Exupery is born in France, aviator/writer
1901 Nelson Eddy is born, actor/baritone
1916 Boeing aircraft flies for 1st time
1940 US passes Alien Registration Act requiring aliens to register
1944 Gary Busey is born in Goose Creek, TX, actor
1946 British arrest 2,700 Jews in Palestine as alleged terrorists
1947 Richard Lewis is born, comedian/actor
1948 Fred Grandy is born in Sioux City, IA, actor (Gopher-Love Boat)
1949 Dan Dierdorf is born, NFLer/sportscaster
1956 Federal interstate highway system act signed
1963 Beatles' 1st song "From Me to You" hits the UK charts
1964 1st draft of Star Trek's pilot "The Cage" released
1967 Keith Richards is sentenced to 1 year in jail on drugs charge
1969 1st Jewish worship service at White House
1978 Bob Crane, actor (Hogan's Heroes), murdered at 59
1989 Susan Lucci loses the Daytime Emmy for 10th straight year
1990 Irving Wallace, author (Book of Lists, Peoples Almanac), dies at 74
1990 Marla Maples' father sues the National Enquirer for $12M
06-30-2006, 01:16 PM
June 30, 1520 Spanish retreat from Aztec capital
Faced with an Aztec revolt against their rule, forces under the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes fight their way out of Tenochtitlan at heavy cost. Known to the Spanish as La Noche Triste, or "the Night of Sadness," many soldiers drowned in Lake Texcoco when the vessel carrying them and Aztec treasures hoarded by Cortes sank. Montezuma II, the Aztec emperor who had become merely a subject of Cortes in the previous year, was also killed during the struggle; by the Aztecs or the Spanish, it is not known.
Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 A.D. by a wandering tribe of hunters and gatherers on islands in Lake Texcoco, near the present site of Mexico City. In only one century, this civilization grew into the Aztec Empire, due largely to its advanced system of agriculture. The empire came to dominate central Mexico and by the ascendance of Montezuma II in 1502 had reached its greatest extent, reaching as far south as perhaps modern-day Nicaragua. At the time, the empire was held together primarily by Aztec military strength, and Montezuma II set about establishing a bureaucracy, creating provinces that would pay tribute to the imperial capital of Tenochtitlan. The conquered peoples resented the Aztec demands for tribute and victims for the religious sacrifices, but the Aztec military kept rebellion at bay.
Meanwhile, Hernan Cortes, a young Spanish-born noble, came to Hispaniola in the West Indies in 1504. In 1511, he sailed with Diego Velazquez to conquer Cuba and twice was elected mayor of Santiago, the capital of Hispaniola. In 1518, he was appointed captain general of a new Spanish expedition to the American mainland. Velazquez, the governor of Cuba, later rescinded the order, and Cortes sailed without permission. He visited the coast of Yucatan and in March 1519 landed at Tabasco in Mexico's Bay of Campeche with 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses. There, he won over the local Indians and was given a female slave, Malinche--baptized Marina--who became his mistress and later bore him a son. She knew both Maya and Aztec and served as an interpreter. The expedition then proceeded up the Mexican coast, where Cortes founded Veracruz, mainly for the purpose of having himself elected captain general by the colony, thus shaking off the authority of Velazquez and making him responsible only to King Charles V of Spain.
At Veracruz, Cortes trained his army and then burned his ships to ensure loyalty to his plans for conquest. Having learned of political strife in the Aztec Empire, Cortes led his force into the Mexican interior. On the way to Tenochtitlan, he clashed with local Indians, but many of these peoples, including the nation of Tlaxcala, became his allies after learning of his plan to conquer their hated Aztec rulers. Hearing of the approach of Cortes, with his frightful horses and sophisticated weapons, Montezuma II tried to buy him off, but Cortes would not be dissuaded. On November 8, 1519, the Spaniards and their 1,000 Tlaxcaltec warriors were allowed to enter Tenochtitlan unopposed.
Montezuma suspected them to be divine envoys of the god Quetzalcoatl, who was prophesied to return from the east in a "One Reed" year, which 1519 was on the Aztec calendar. The Spaniards were greeted with great honor, and Cortes seized the opportunity, taking Montezuma hostage so that he might govern the empire through him. His mistress, Marina, was a great help in this endeavor and succeeded in convincing Montezuma to cooperate fully.
In the spring of 1520, Cortes learned of the arrival of a Spanish force from Cuba, led by Panfilo Narvaez and sent by Velazquez to deprive Cortes of his command. Cortes led his army out of Tenochtitlan to meet them, leaving behind a garrison of 80 Spaniards and a few hundred Tlaxcaltecs to govern the city. Cortes defeated Narvaez and enlisted Narvaez' army into his own. When he returned to Tenochtitlan in June, he found the garrison under siege from the Aztecs, who had rebelled after the subordinate that Cortes left in command of the city massacred several Aztec chiefs, and the population on the brink of revolt. On June 30, under pressure and lacking food, Cortes and his men fled the capital at night. In the fighting that ensued, Montezuma was killed--in Aztec reports by the Spaniards, and in Spanish reports by an Aztec mob bitter at Montezuma's subservience to Spanish rule. He was succeeded as emperor by his brother, Cuitlahuac.
During the Spaniards' retreat, they defeated a large Aztec army at Otumba and then rejoined their Tlaxcaltec allies. In May 1521, Cortes returned to Tenochtitlan, and after a three-month siege the city fell. This victory marked the fall of the Aztec empire. Cuauhtemoc, Cuitlahuac's successor as emperor, was taken prisoner and later executed, and Cortes became the ruler of vast Mexican empire.
The Spanish conquistador led an expedition to Honduras in 1524 and in 1528 returned to Spain to see the king. Charles made him Marques del Valle but refused to name him governor because of his quarrels with Velazquez and others. In 1530, he returned to Mexico, now known as New Spain, and found the country in disarray. After restoring some order, he retired to his estate south of Mexico City and sent out maritime expeditions from the Pacific coast. In 1540, he returned to Spain and was neglected by the court. He died in 1547.
06-30-2006, 01:17 PM
1775 Congress impugns Parliament and adopts Articles of War
On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress drafts its rationale for taking up arms against Great Britain in the Articles of War.
In the Articles of War, written one year before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Congress referred to “his Majesty’s most faithful subjects in these Colonies” and laid the blame for colonial discontent not on King George III, but on “attempts of the British Ministry, to carry into execution, by force of arms, several unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the British parliaments for laying taxes in America.”
By phrasing their discontent this way, Congress attempted to notify the king that American colonists were unhappy with parliamentary policy. By July 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed something very different:
“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
Congress’ language is critical to understanding the seismic shift that had occurred in American thought in just 12 months. Indeed, Congress insisted that Thomas Jefferson remove any language from the declaration that implicated the people of Great Britain or their elected representatives in Parliament. The fundamental grounds upon which Americans were taking up arms had shifted. The militia that had fired upon Redcoats at Lexington and Concord had been angry with Parliament, not the king, who they still trusted to desire only good for all of his subjects around the globe. This belief changed after King George refused to so much as receive the so-called Olive Branch Petition, sent to him by Congress in July 1775 in a final attempt to make him aware of the colonists’ grievances. Patriots had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, Patriots realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. The king became the central focus of the Americans’ patriotic rage when English-born radical Thomas Paine published his blistering attack on the monarchy, Common Sense, in January 1776.
06-30-2006, 01:18 PM
1812 Madison makes urgent call to commission more officers to fight the British
On this day in 1812, President James Madison delivers a special message calling for emergency commissions for new military officers 12 days after declaring war on Britain.
Even though the United States had asserted its independence from Britain three decades earlier, in the 1790s the English Navy started seizing American ships in French ports and “impressing” (involuntarily conscripting) American sailors to help the British fight their naval war against France. Successive American presidents including George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, in an attempt to maintain diplomatic relations with England and secure free access to Atlantic shipping lanes, failed to successfully negotiate an end to British impressment and the seizure of American merchant vessels. As a result, relations between the U.S. and Britain deteriorated. Jefferson’s 1807 embargo of international trade also failed, resulting in severe economic losses for American merchants. Meanwhile, British encroachment on the northern U.S. border with Canada increased calls among Americans for war. On June 18, 1812, Madison asked Congress to declare war on Britain—the second time the young nation would battle its former colonial master in 35 years.
At the time, the overstretched, all-volunteer U.S. Army and Navy paled in comparison to the numerically and materially superior British forces. Although American men signed up to fight Britain, there was a sore lack of qualified officers to lead the troops. Disastrous campaigns in Canada against the British in the summer of 1812 prompted Madison to urge Congress to increase emergency commissions of military officers, adjutants, quartermasters, inspectors, paymasters and engineers.
The War of 1812 was often referred to as “Madison’s War”--particularly when things were not going well--or the “Second War of Independence.” Among the troops to distinguish themselves in the War of 1812 were two future presidents: William Henry Harrison and Andrew Jackson. The successful end to the war in 1815 boosted Madison’s popularity and increased Americans’ confidence in their ability to fight off foreign aggressors.
06-30-2006, 01:29 PM
1859 Daredevil crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope
Jean-Francois Gravelet, a Frenchman known professionally as Emile Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The feat, which was performed 160 feet above the Niagara gorge just down river from the Falls, was witnessed by some 5,000 spectators. Wearing pink tights and a yellow tunic, Blondin crossed a cable about two inches in diameter and 1,100-feet long with only a balancing pole to protect him from plunging into the dangerous rapids below.
It was the first in a series of famous Niagara tightrope walks performed by "The Great Blondin" from 1859 to 1860. These "ascensions," as he advertised them, always had different theatrical variations, including doing tightrope walks blindfolded, in a sack, with his manager on his back, sitting down midway to cook an omelet, and pushing a wheelbarrow across while dressed as an ape. In 1861, he performed at the Crystal Palace in London, turning somersaults on stilts on a rope stretched 170 feet above the ground. He died in 1897.
06-30-2006, 01:29 PM
1862 Battle of Glendale (White Oak Swamp)
The Seven Days' Battles continues at Glendale (White Oak Swamp), Virginia, as Robert E. Lee has a chance to deal a decisive blow against George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had already won the Seven Days' Battles, but the Confederates' attempt to rout McClellan cost many Southern casualties.
The Seven Days' Battles were the climax of McClellan's Peninsular campaign. For two months, the Union army sailed down Chesapeake Bay and then inched up the James Peninsula. In late June, the two forces began a series of clashes in which McClellan became unnerved and began to retreat to his base at Harrison's Landing on the James River. Lee hounded him on the retreat.
On June 30, Lee plotted a complex attack on the Yankees as they backed down the peninsula. He hoped to hit the front, flank, and rear of the Union army to create confusion and jam the escape routes. Those attacks did not succeed, as they required precise timing. Lee's own generals were confused, the attacks developed slowly, and they made only temporary ruptures in the Federal lines. Most disappointing for Lee was the performance of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Jackson was coming off a brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, but he showed little of his skill during the Seven Days' Battles. His corps halted at the edge of White Oak Swamp, and he focused his attention on taking a bridge from the Yankees. His officers located fords that would have allowed his men to bypass the bottleneck, but Jackson stayed put. This allowed the Union to move troops from Jackson's sector of the battlefield to halt a Confederate attack in another area.
Lee's failure at Glendale permitted McClellan's army to fall back to higher, more defensible locations. The next day, July 1, Lee assaulted Malvern Hill and his army suffered tremendous casualties in the face of a withering Union artillery barrage.
06-30-2006, 01:30 PM
1876 Soldiers are evacuated from the Little Big Horn by steamboat
After a slow two-day march, the wounded soldiers from the Battle of the Little Big Horn reach the steamboat Far West.
The Far West had been leased by the U.S. Army for the duration of the 1876 campaign against the hostile Sioux and Cheyenne Indians of the Northern Plains. Under the command of the skilled civilian Captain Grant Marsh, the 190-foot vessel was ideal for navigating the shallow waters of the Upper Missouri River system. The boat drew only 20 inches of water when fully laden and Marsh managed to steam up the shallow Big Horn River in southern Montana in June 1876. There, the boat became a headquarters for the army's planned attack on a village of Sioux and Cheyenne they believed were camping on the nearby Little Big Horn River.
On June 28, Captain Grant and several other men were fishing about a mile from the boat when a young Indian on horseback approached. "He wore an exceedingly dejected countenance," one man later wrote. By signing and drawing on the ground, the Indian managed to convey that there had been a battle but the men did not understand its outcome. In fact, the Indian was Curley, one of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer's Crow scouts. Three days earlier, he had been the last man to see Custer and his 7th Cavalry battalion before they were wiped out during the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
The following day, Grant received a dispatch from General Terry, who had found Custer's destroyed battalion and the surviving soldiers of the 7th Cavalry. Terry ordered Grant to prepare to evacuate the wounded soldiers. Slowed by the burden of carrying the wounded men, Terry's force did not arrive until June 30. Grant immediately received the 54 wounded soldiers and sped downstream as quickly as possible. With the Far West draped in black and flying her flag at half-mast, Grant delivered the wounded to Fort Abraham Lincoln near Bismarck, North Dakota, at 11:00 p.m. on July 5.
The fast and relatively comfortable transport of the wounded by steam power undoubtedly saved numerous lives. Yet, Grant was also the bearer of bad news. From Fort Abraham Lincoln, General Terry's report of the disaster was telegraphed all over the country. Soon the entire nation learned that General Custer and more than 200 men had been killed along the Little Big Horn River.
06-30-2006, 01:31 PM
1900 Fire breaks out at New Jersey pier
On this day in 1900, four German boats burn at the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey, killing more than 300 people. The fire was so large that it could be seen by nearly every person in the New York City area.
William Northmaid was working as the afternoon watchman on Pier 3 in Hoboken when he spotted a fire just before 4 p.m. The old wooden pier was at serious risk for fire and the combination of strong winds and the presence of wooden fuel-filled cargo sheds made it spread very rapidly. Before the Hoboken fire department could respond, the ship Saale, which had been docked at the pier, caught fire and drifted out into the Hudson River. Many of the ship’s workers did not know how to swim and drowned.
The ship Bremen was next to catch fire. Nettie Tice, one of the tugboats sent to take the big ships off the fiery dock, was able to pick up more than 100 survivors of the Bremen. Other tugs assisted the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, the flagship of the North German Lloyd shipping company. Although the big ship had weekend tourists aboard, its captain kept the crew from panicking, got everyone off safely and had tugboats take the ship to the Manhattan side of the Hudson, away from the danger.
Meanwhile, workers futilely attempted to release another ship, the Main, from the pier. Before they were able to, it too caught fire. Forty-four crew members perished. Many died because portholes were built so small that people could not escape through them. Would-be rescuers could only watch as victims perished in the smoke and flames. Eventually the Main broke loose from the pier and both the Bremen and Main drifted to the Weehawken flats, where they burned together in the river. Later, 15 crew members were rescued from the Main. They had managed to save themselves by staying in an empty coal bunker on the ship that protected them from the raging fire.
There was so much flaming debris in the Hudson that 27 boats in all caught fire during the evening. The pier fire also spread to the shore. The Hoboken Warehouse and Campbell’s Store burned to the ground. Three other piers also burned. By the time all the fires had been put out, somewhere between 325 and 400 people had died and property owners had suffered $4.5 million in insurable damages, which is equivalent to nearly $100 million in today’s money. Many people were missing, so crews set off dynamite in hopes that the explosions might help bodies stuck in the river floor to surface.
The piers were rebuilt using steel.
06-30-2006, 01:31 PM
1914 European powers maintain focus despite killings in Sarajevo
In an editorial published on the final day of June 1914, two days after the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife by a Serbian nationalist during an official appearance in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the London Times urges a continued focus on domestic affairs.
Although what happened in Sarajevo obviously filled “the first place in the public mind,” acknowledged the Times, and the outcome of the investigation into the killing would no doubt “occupy the attention of all students of European politics,” it was imperative that Britons keep their priorities straight, because “our own affairs must be addressed.” At the time, the United Kingdom was threatened by the possible outbreak of civil war over the future status of Ireland—this presumably was the principal “affair” to which the Times was referring.
In Britain, as in many of the European capitals, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was at first viewed in a less alarmist light than might be assumed given the enormity of the war that the event would later precipitate. The archduke had not been widely liked, within his own country or without, and as the British ambassador to Italy reported to his government in London: “It is obvious that people have generally regarded the elimination of the Archduke as almost providential.” In Paris on June 30, at the first cabinet meeting since the events in Sarajevo, President Raymond Poincare’s biographer reported later that the killings were “hardly mentioned.” The attention of the French public, meanwhile, was riveted on the scandalous case of Madame Caillaux, a politician’s wife who had murdered the editor of a right-wing newspaper after he threatened to publish damaging material about her husband.
Even in Vienna, the archduke’s own capital city, Franz Ferdinand’s death seemed to arouse little strong feeling from the public. As the Austrian government and military leadership hurried to obtain assurances of German support if the Austrian pressure on Serbia over the assassinations led to war with Serbia and its powerful ally, Russia, the reaction among the Austrian population was mild, almost indifferent. As historian Z.A.B. Zeman later wrote, “the event almost failed to make any impression whatsoever. On Sunday and Monday [June 28 and 29], the crowds in Vienna listened to music and drank wine…as if nothing had happened.”
06-30-2006, 01:32 PM
1923 Sidney Bechet's first record
On this day in 1923, jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet cuts his first record, featuring "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Blues."
Bechet was born in New Orleans in 1897. Like his four brothers, Bechet began playing music at an early age. Having learned clarinet at age six, he was playing with local bands by his early teens. In New Orleans, Chicago, and later New York, Bechet worked with early jazz stars that admired his swinging rhythms and aggressive improvisations. In 1919, he toured Europe with the Southern Syncopated Orchestra. In Europe, he swapped his clarinet for a soprano saxophone, which he played for the rest of his career.
Bechet alternated between European tours and stints in New York during the early 1920s. He worked with Duke Ellington's orchestra in 1924, and although his combative personality and incurable tardiness led to his leaving the band after just a few months, the band absorbed much of Bechet's style. In 1925, Bechet briefly opened his own jazz club, Club Basha, and hired saxophone player Johnny Hodges, whom he deeply influenced. Hodges later became a key member of Ellington's band and infused Bechet's style more deeply into the band. In 1924 and 1925, Bechet made several recordings with fellow New Orleans jazzman Louis Armstrong.
In the early 1930s, Bechet's career languished, but a revival of the New Orleans style of jazz gave his career a boost in the late '30s and early '40s. In 1951, Bechet settled in Europe, where he was treated with great esteem as an American jazz legend.
06-30-2006, 01:33 PM
1934 Night of the Long Knives
In Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future. The leadership of the Nazi Storm Troopers (SA), whose four million members had helped bring Hitler to power in the early 1930s, was especially targeted. Hitler feared that some of his followers had taken his early "National Socialism" propaganda too seriously and thus might compromise his plan to suppress workers' rights in exchange for German industry making the country war-ready.
In the early 1920s, the ranks of Hitler's Nazi Party swelled with resentful Germans who sympathized with the party's bitter hatred of Germany's democratic government, leftist politics, and Jews. In November 1923, after the German government resumed the payment of war reparations to Britain and France, the Nazis launched the "Beer Hall Putsch"--their first attempt at seizing the German government by force. Hitler hoped that his nationalist revolution in Bavaria would spread to the dissatisfied German army, which in turn would bring down the government in Berlin. However, the uprising was immediately suppressed, and Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for high treason.
Sent to Landsberg jail, he spent his time dictating his autobiography, Mein Kampf, and working on his oratorical skills. After nine months in prison, political pressure from supporters of the Nazi Party forced his release. During the next few years, Hitler and the other leading Nazis reorganized their party as a fanatical mass movement that was able to gain a majority in the German parliament--the Reichstag--by legal means in 1932. In the same year, President Paul von Hindenburg defeated a presidential bid by Hitler, but in January 1933 he appointed Hitler chancellor, hoping that the powerful Nazi leader could be brought to heel as a member of the president's cabinet.
However, Hindenburg underestimated Hitler's political audacity, and one of the new chancellor's first acts was to use the burning of the Reichstag building as a pretext for calling general elections. The police, under Nazi Hermann Goering, suppressed much of the party's opposition before the election, and the Nazis won a bare majority. Shortly after, Hitler took on absolute power through the Enabling Acts. In 1934, Hindenburg died, and the last remnants of Germany's democratic government were dismantled, leaving Hitler the sole master of a nation intent on war and genocide.
06-30-2006, 01:34 PM
1936 Gone with the Wind is published
Margaret Mitchell's only novel, Gone with the Wind, is published on this day in 1936. The book will become one of the bestselling novels of all time, selling some 25 million copies. The book sold 1 million copies within six months, with as many as 50,000 copies being bought on a single day.
Mitchell was born in Atlanta in 1900. She hoped to study medicine, but became a journalist instead, reporting for The Atlanta Journal from 1922 to 1926. She married in 1925 and retired from journalism after an ankle injury. She spent 10 years writing and researching the antebellum South and the Civil War in order to produce Gone with the Wind. The book was made into an Oscar-winning movie in 1939.
Mitchell never tried writing a sequel to the book, but in 1988 her estate sold sequel rights to Warner Books for nearly $5 million. The sequel, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley, was published in 1991 and topped the bestseller list despite a chilly response from critics.
06-30-2006, 01:34 PM
1943 Operation Cartwheel is launched
On this day in 1943, General Douglas MacArthur launches Operation Cartwheel, a multi-pronged assault on Rabaul and several islands in the Solomon Sea in the South Pacific. The joint effort takes nine months to complete but succeeds in recapturing more Japanese-controlled territory, further eroding their supremacy in the East.
The purpose of Cartwheel was to destroy the barrier formation Japan had created in the Bismark Archipelago, a collection of islands east of New Guinea in the Solomon Sea. The Japanese considered this area vital to the protection of their conquests in the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. For the Allies, Rabaul, in New Britain, was the key to winning control of this theater of operations, as it served as the Japanese naval headquarters and main base.
On June 30, General MacArthur, strategic commander of the area, launched a simultaneous attack, on New Guinea and on New Georgia, as a setup and staging maneuver for the ultimate assault, that on Rabaul. The landing on New Georgia, led by Admiral William Halsey, proved particularly difficult, given the large Japanese garrison stationed there and the harsh climate and topography. Substantial reinforcements were needed before the region could be controlled, in August.
One consequence of Cartwheel was a lesson in future strategy. By establishing a "step-by-step" approach to invasion, the Allies unwittingly gave the Japanese time to regroup and establish their next line of defense. The Allies then decided that a new strategy was to be deployed, that of leaving certain islands, or parts thereof, to "wither on the vine," rather than waste valuable time and manpower in fighting it out for marginal gains. A leapfrogging strategy was then employed by MacArthur, whereby he left in place smaller Japanese strongholds in order to concentrate on "bigger fish."
06-30-2006, 01:35 PM
1948 A Foreign Affair debuts
On this day in 1948, Billy Wilder's comedy A Foreign Affair debuts at New York's Paramount theater. The film starred Marlene Dietrich and Jean Arthur vying romantically over a beau in post-World War II Europe. Austrian-born Wilder fled his homeland when Hitler came to power. Within a few years, he had learned English and established himself as a hit screenwriter and director. From 1938 to 1950, he directed several hits which he co-wrote and co-produced in partnership with screenwriter Charles Brackett, including Double Indemnity (1944) and Lost Weekend (1945), for which Wilder and Brackett shared a Best Screenplay Academy Award. The pair made only one more film together after A Foreign Affair--Sunset Boulevard (1950), which won them a second Best Screenplay Oscar.
06-30-2006, 01:36 PM
1950 Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea
Just three days after the United Nations Security Council voted to provide military assistance to South Korea, President Harry S. Truman orders U.S. armed forces to assist in defending that nation from invading North Korean armies. Truman's dramatic step marked the official entry of the United States into the Korean War.
On June 25, 1950, military forces from communist North Korea invaded South Korea. South Korean forces and the small number of U.S. troops stationed in the nation reeled under the surprise attack. On June 27, the United States asked the Security Council in the United Nations to pass a resolution calling on member states of the United Nations to assist South Korea. With the Soviets boycotting the meeting for other reasons, the resolution passed. Three days later, President Truman ordered U.S. ground forces into South Korea and the troops entered South Korea that same day. At the same time, Truman ordered the U.S. Air Force to bomb military targets in North Korea and directed the U.S. Navy to blockade the North Korean coast.
Truman's action signaled the beginning of official and large-scale U.S. participation in the Korean War. Over the next three years, the United States provided at least half of the U.N. ground forces in Korea and the vast majority of the air and sea forces used in the conflict against North Korea and, later, against communist China, which entered the war on the side of North Korea in late 1950. Nearly 55,000 Americans were killed in the war and over 100,000 were wounded. Cost estimates for the war ranged as high as $20 billion. In July 1953, an armistice was signed that ended the fighting and left Korea a divided nation.
06-30-2006, 01:39 PM
1953 First Corvette produced
The first Chevrolet Corvette, a white convertible roadster with a red interior, was produced in temporary facilities in Flint, Michigan. The Corvette was born as a dream car for the 1953 Motorama. The first all-fiberglass-bodied American sports car, the Vette turned heads with its release. The sleek lines of the 1953 edition are among the best produced by American car design. But underneath its exterior, the first Corvette's inner workings were less than impressive. They were comprised mostly of existing General Motors' (GM) parts, including a "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder engine, a two-speed automatic transmission and the drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line.
The Corvette was at best a half-hearted attempt at a sports car. Events, however, combined to keep the Chevrolet Corvette in production in spite of its dismal sales record early on. Ford's release of the T-Bird in 1954 necessitated the existence of the Corvette as GM's answer in the small, sporty market. GM gradually improved the vehicle's design until, by 1961, it was undoubtedly America's favorite sports car. Unique in American history in its longevity as a model, the Corvette has remained an impressive machine throughout its lifetime. In recent years, GM has been able to rank the Corvette among the world's elite sports cars in 0 to 60 times, top speed, and overall muscle. The Corvette's list price modestly remains half of its European competitors.
06-30-2006, 01:40 PM
1957 Feds pull plug on RFC
On June 30, 1957, the Federal Government pulled the plug on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). With that, the United States effectively buried one of the remaining vestiges of the Great Depression. Indeed, the RFC was formed at the behest in 1931, as the nation was sinking deeper into the depths of poverty and despair. The brainchild of President Hoover, who felt that a revived private sector could best lead America back to prosperity, the RFC was charged with propping up the nation's struggling banks and businesses. Towards that end, the RFC was given license to hand out $300 million in credit to ailing financial institutions. However, the agency truly blossomed when Franklin Roosevelt ascended to the Presidency. Under Roosevelt's lead, the RFC helped drive the New Deal recovery program and became a key player during World War II, making disbursements to America's burgeoning defense industry, as well as cash-strapped foreign governments. But, by 1951 rumors that the agency was awash in impropriety swirled about Washington, leading Congress to marshal a probe that revealed that the RFC was riddled with corruption. These findings coupled with President Eisenhower's push to curtail the government's role in the economy effectively signaled the end for the agency. In 1953, Eisenhower signed the RFC Liquidation Act into law, effectively stripping the organization of its duties as a lender. Four years later, the RFC was permanently closed.
06-30-2006, 01:41 PM
1967 Thieu becomes president
The South Vietnamese Armed Forces Council resolves rival claims to the presidency in favor of Nguyen Van Thieu, Chief of State. Former Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, who had announced on May 11 that he would run for president, was forced to accept second place on the presidential ticket.
Thieu had been an Army officer in command of the 5th Infantry Division near Saigon when he and other senior South Vietnamese officers led a coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem. Following the coup, a series of groups jockeyed for power. In June 1965, another coup against the civilian government momentarily in power resulted in a 10-man Military National Leadership Committee, which elected Ky as premier and Thieu as Chairman and Chief of State. When elections were held in 1967, the situation was reversed and Thieu became president. In 1971, Ky would choose not to run against Thieu and Thieu would be re-elected to the presidency, although charges of a rigged election surfaced.
Pressured by the United States to agree to the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, which left the North Vietnamese in control of large segments of South Vietnam, President Thieu's position was further undermined when the U.S. Congress cut promised military aid. After an open North Vietnamese attack on Phuoc Long Province in November 1974, President Gerald Ford failed to honor U.S. promises to come to the aid of the South Vietnamese in the case of such an attack. With four North Vietnamese corps closing in on Saigon and all hope of outside assistance gone, President Thieu resigned, and on April 25, 1975, he left South Vietnam, flying to Taiwan and then to Great Britain.
06-30-2006, 01:42 PM
1969 Last Rambler rolls off line
The last of 4,204,925 Ramblers was produced, ringing in the final hour for the storied car line. The Nash Rambler had originally been developed by George Walter Mason after World War II. Mason realized before anyone else that the postwar "seller's market" would evaporate once the market was again saturated with cars. He foresaw the difficulty that independent car companies would experience once they were faced with head-to-head competition with the Big Three's massive production capabilities. It was Mason's theory that to compete with the Big Three, the independents needed to market a different product. He developed a number of smaller cars, including the Rambler, the Nash-Healey (a collaboration with British Healey), and the Metropolitan. None of the cars managed to capture the American market. But years later, after Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson merged to become AMC, the Rambler finally caught on as a sub-compact car. George Romney, Mason's protégé, coined the term "gas-guzzling dinosaur" to describe the Big Three's products. Romney led a personal ad campaign promoting the AMC Rambler as an efficient, reliable car. His campaign was immensely successful, and the Rambler single-handedly kept AMC alive during impossible times for independents.
06-30-2006, 01:43 PM
1970 Cooper-Church Amendment passes in Senate
The Senate votes 58 to 37 in favor of adopting the Cooper-Church amendment to limit presidential power in Cambodia. The amendment barred funds to retain U.S. troops in Cambodia after July 1 or to supply military advisers, mercenaries, or to conduct "any combat activity in the air above Cambodia in direct support of Cambodian forces" without congressional approval. The amendment represented the first limitation ever passed in the Senate concerning the president's powers as commander-in-chief during a war situation. The House of Representatives rejected the amendment on July 9, and it was eventually dropped from the Foreign Military Sales Act.
In a written report on the U.S. incursion in Cambodia, President Nixon pronounced it a "successful" operation. Nixon ruled out the use of U.S. troops there in the future, suggesting that Cambodia's defense would be left largely to Cambodia and its allies. Regarding the use of U.S. air power in Cambodia, Nixon stated that the United States would not provide air or logistical support for South Vietnamese forces in Cambodia, but would continue bombing enemy personnel and supply concentrations "with the approval of the Cambodian government." Nixon noted that more than a year's supply of weapons and ammunition had been captured and that 11,349 enemy soldiers were killed by Allied forces during the incursion into the area.
06-30-2006, 01:45 PM
1971 Soviet cosmonauts perish in reentry disaster
The three Soviet cosmonauts who served as the first crew of the world's first space station die when their spacecraft depressurizes during reentry.
On June 6, the cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev were launched into space aboard Soyuz 11 on a mission to dock and enter Salyut 1, the Soviet space station that had been placed in orbit in April. The spacecraft successfully docked with the station, and the cosmonauts spent 23 days orbiting the earth. On June 30, they left Salyut 1 and began reentry procedures. When they fired the explosive bolts to separate the Soyuz 11 reentry capsule from another stage of the spacecraft, a critical valve was jerked open.
One hundred miles above the earth, the capsule was suddenly exposed to the nearly pressureless environment of space. As the capsule rapidly depressurized, Patsayev tried to close the valve by hand but failed. Minutes later, the cosmonauts were dead. As a result of the tragedy, the Soviet Union did not send any future crews to Salyut 1, and it was more than two years before they attempted another manned mission.
06-30-2006, 01:46 PM
1977 Newport Jazz Festival moves to Saratoga
On this day in 1977, organizers of the Newport Jazz Festival announce that the festival will relocate the following year from New York City to Saratoga Springs, New York, for financial reasons. The famed festival had launched in Newport, Rhode Island in 1954, where it stayed until 1971, when a riot shut down the festival. The following year, the festival moved to New York City, where it stayed until 1977, when it moved to Saratoga.
06-30-2006, 01:48 PM
1981 A first-time offender ends up on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List
Glen Godwin, a young business owner, is convicted of murder in Riverside County, California, and sentenced to 26-years-to-life in prison. According to his roommate's testimony, Godwin stomped on, choked, and then stabbed Kim LeValley, an acquaintance and local drug dealer, 28 times before using homemade explosives to blow up his body in the desert near Palm Springs. Godwin, who had no previous record, eventually found his way onto the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
In 1985, while serving his sentence at Soledad Prison, Godwin married Shelley Rose. He was then transferred to Folsom Prison, a maximum-security facility, where he escaped through a 300-yard storm drain and floated across the American River on a raft to freedom in June, 1987. Apparently gaining assistance from someone who cut the iron bars on the storm drain from the outside, Godwin was the third person to escape from Folsom in 25 years. Lorenz Karlic, who had once shared a cell with Godwin, was arrested in Hesperia, California, for aiding Godwin in his escape.
After two years without any leads on either Glen or Shelley, who was last seen renting a car at the San Jose Airport, authorities were notified of a man in a Mexican prison under the name of Stewart Carrera, whose fingerprints matched those of Godwin's. Reportedly, Mexican authorities had arrested Glen on drugs and weapons charges six months after his escape.
While California officials were working to have Godwin extradited back to the United States, he murdered a fellow inmate in Puerto Vallarta Prison-an attempt to avoid returning to the high security prisons in California. Shortly thereafter, he escaped from the Mexican jail.
In December 1996, Godwin appeared on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. Shelley Godwin, who, unbeknownst to California law enforcement officials, had divorced her husband and remarried in Texas, was apprehended in Dallas when a story on the Godwin case appeared on television's America's Most Wanted, but Glen Godwin remains at large.
06-30-2006, 01:51 PM
1914 Mahatma Gandhi's 1st arrest, campaigning for Indian rights in S Africa
1930 1st round-the-world radio broadcast Schenectady, NY
1936 40 hour work week law approved
1940 "Brenda Starr" cartoon strip, by Dale Messick, 1st appears
1940 US Fish & Wildlife Service established
1942 US Mint in New Orleans ceases operation
1951 NAACP begins attack on school segregation & discrimination
1952 "The Guiding Light" soap opera moves from radio to TV
1956 United DC-7 & TWA collide over Grand Canyon killing 128
1959 During a game in Wrigley Field, 2 balls were in play at same time
1962 Rwanda & Burundi become independent
1966 "Iron" Mike Tyson is born, heavyweight boxing champ
1966 Beatles land in Tokyo for a concert tour
1969 Derek Clayton of Australia sets Marathon record at 2:08:34
1971 Ohio becomes the 38th state to approve of lower the voting age to
18, thus ratifying the 26th admendment
1975 Bundy victim Shelley Robertson disappears in Colorado
1975 Cher, just 4 days after divorcing Sonny Bono marries Gregg Allman
1977 Marvel Comics publish the "Kiss book" tributing the rock group Kiss
1979 Johnny Rotten & Joan Collins appear together on BBC's Juke Box Jury
1983 Bo Gentry songwriter/producer dies
1984 Lillian Hellman playwright, dies of cardiac arrest at 79
1985 39 remaining hostages from Flight 847 are freed in Beirut
1986 Georgia sodomy law upheld by Supreme Court (5-4)
1988 Brooklyn dedicates a bus depot honoring Jackie Gleason
1989 Congressman Lukins found guilty of having sex with a 16 year old girl
1989 NASA closes down tracking stations in Santiago, Chile & Guam
1989 NY State Legislature passes Staten Island seccession bill
07-01-2006, 10:44 PM
July 1, 1804 George Sand is born
Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, later known as author George Sand, is born in France on this day.
Sand's father, a descendant of a king of Poland through illegitimate lines, had been married to her mother, a Parisian bird-seller, for only a month when Sand was born. Her father died when she was four. Three years later, Sand went to live on her wealthy grandmother's country estate.
Sand attended convent school in Paris and returned to the country in 1820, where she spurned her grandmother's attempts to arrange a marriage for her. After her grandmother's death in 1821, Sand married Casimir Francois Dudevant, the son of a baron, and became Baroness Dudevant. The couple had two children but also serious differences. Sand began spending six months of the year in Paris, where she lived with her lover, a law student. She began to write for a Parisian newspaper, Le Figaro, sometimes under the byline J. Sand or Georges Sand. Her first novel, Indiana, was published in 1832.
Sand engaged in a series of long love affairs and sued her husband for legal separation in 1836. Two years later, she began an affair with the composer Frederic Chopin, which lasted nearly a decade. Sand retired to her country estate, which she had inherited from her grandmother, and wrote books, including many novels and a 20-volume autobiography. In her writing, Sand affirmed the equality of women, the injustice of arranged marriages, and the need for women's sexual freedom. She also included socialist or rustic themes in many of her novels. She died in June 1876.
07-01-2006, 10:45 PM
1862 The tax man cometh...
On this day in 1862, the United States Congress gave the green light to the tax-centric Revenue Act. The legislation, which was soon signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, imposed a three-percent tax on people with incomes between $600 to $10,000; and also called for a five-percent levy on people with incomes reaching over $10,000. However, the Revenue Act was perhaps more notable for creating the Bureau of Internal Revenue, a government agency which was charged with collecting the revenue generated by the new taxes. Though the Revenue Act and its attendant package of taxes were allowed to lapse into legislative oblivion after the Civil War, the Bureau of Internal Revenue eventually came back to haunt America's taxpaying citizens in 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution. Along with sanctioning the income tax, the amendment paved the path for the opening of the Internal Revenue Service, which, in its role as the official clearing house for the nation's taxes, proved to be the bureaucratic progeny of the Internal Revenue Service.
07-01-2006, 10:46 PM
1862 Battle of Malvern Hill
Union artillery cuts down Confederate attackers on the last of the Seven Days' battles.
07-01-2006, 10:46 PM
1863 The Battle of Gettysburg begins
The largest military conflict in North American history begins this day when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retreat to Virginia by Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
Two months prior to Gettysburg, Lee had dealt a stunning defeat to the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville. He then made plans for a Northern invasion in order to relieve pressure on war-weary Virginia and to seize the initiative from the Yankees. His army, numbering about 80,000, began moving on June 3. The Army of the Potomac, commanded by Joseph Hooker and numbering just under 100,000, began moving shortly thereafter, staying between Lee and Washington, D.C. But on June 28, frustrated by the Lincoln administration's restrictions on his autonomy as commander, Hooker resigned and was replaced by George G. Meade.
Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac as Lee's army moved into Pennsylvania. On the morning of July 1, advance units of the forces came into contact with one another just outside of Gettysburg. The sound of battle attracted other units, and by noon the conflict was raging. During the first hours of battle, Union General John Reynolds was killed, and the Yankees found that they were outnumbered. The battle lines ran around the northwestern rim of Gettysburg. The Confederates applied pressure all along the Union front, and they slowly drove the Yankees through the town.
By evening, the Federal troops rallied on high ground on the southeastern edge of Gettysburg. As more troops arrived, Meade's army formed a three-mile long, fishhook-shaped line running from Culp's Hill on the right flank, along Cemetery Hill and Cemetery Ridge, to the base of Little Round Top. The Confederates held Gettysburg, and stretched along a six-mile arc around the Union position. For the next two days, Lee would batter each end of the Union position, and on July 3, he would launch Pickett's charge against the Union center.
07-01-2006, 10:47 PM
1867 Canadian Independence Day
The autonomous Dominion of Canada, a confederation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the future provinces of Ontario and Quebec, is officially recognized by Great Britain with the passage of the British North America Act.
During the 19th century, colonial dependence gave way to increasing autonomy for a growing Canada. In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada--now known as Ontario and Quebec--were made a single province by the Act of Union. In the 1860s, a movement for a greater Canadian federation grew out of the need for a common defense, the desire for a national railroad system, and the necessity of finding a solution to the problem of French and British conflict. When the Maritime provinces, which sought union among themselves, called a conference in 1864, delegates from the other provinces of Canada attended. Later in the year, another conference was held in Quebec, and in 1866 Canadian representatives traveled to London to meet with the British government.
On July 1, 1867, with passage of the British North America Act, the Dominion of Canada was officially established as a self-governing entity within the British Empire. Two years later, Canada acquired the vast possessions of the Hudson's Bay Company, and within a decade the provinces of Manitoba and Prince Edward Island had joined the Canadian federation. In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, making mass settlement across the vast territory of Canada possible.
07-01-2006, 10:47 PM
1887 Gunfighter Clay Allison killed
Clay Allison, eccentric gunfighter and rancher, dies in a freak wagon accident in Texas.
Born around 1840 in Waynesboro, Tennessee, Allison seemed to display odd tendencies from a young age. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the Confederate Army but received a rare medical discharge for a condition that doctors called "partly epileptic and partly maniacal," resulting perhaps from an early childhood head injury.
After spending some time as a cowhand for the famous Texas ranchers Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight, Allison started his own ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico. For a time, he got along well with the local residents, but his tendencies toward violent rages soon became apparent. In October 1870, Allison led an angry mob that seized an accused murderer named Charles Kennedy from the local jail and hanged him. Such vigilante justice was not unusual, but many townspeople were shocked when a wild-eyed Allison decapitated Kennedy and displayed his head on a pole in a local saloon.
In 1874, Allison's dangerous reputation grew when he beat a famed gunfighter to the draw, coolly shooting his opponent squarely above the right eye. A year later, Allison joined another lynch mob and helped hang suspected murderer Cruz Vega from a telegraph pole. Again, merely killing the man did not satisfy Allison's blood lust. He shot Vega's corpse in the back and then dragged it over rocks and bushes until it was a mangled pulp.
In 1881, Allison married and moved his ranch to the Texas Panhandle. His wife eventually bore him two daughters, and perhaps family life mellowed him. His behavior, however, remained extremely eccentric, and he occasionally lapsed into violent rages. Once he rode nude through the streets of Mobeetie, Texas. On another occasion, he visited a dentist in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who began drilling on the wrong tooth. After having his bad tooth repaired by a different doctor, Allison returned to the offending dentist, pinned him down, and extracted a tooth with a pair of pliers.
On this day in 1887, Allison died while driving a freight wagon to his ranch north of Pecos, Texas. A sudden jolt threw Allison from the wagon and a wheel rolled over his head, crushing his skull and neck. In 1975, Allison's remains were moved to a grave in downtown Pecos where a granite headstone made the questionable assertion that he was a "Gentleman and Gunfighter" who "never killed a man that did not need killing."
07-01-2006, 10:48 PM
1898 The Battle of San Juan Hill
As part of their campaign to capture Spanish-held Santiago de Cuba on the southern coast of Cuba, the U.S. Army Fifth Corps engages Spanish forces at El Caney and San Juan Hill.
In May 1898, one month after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, a Spanish fleet docked in the Santiago de Cuba harbor after racing across the Atlantic from Spain. A superior U.S. naval force arrived soon after and blockaded the harbor entrance. In June, the U.S. Army Fifth Corps landed on Cuba with the aim of marching to Santiago and launching a coordinated land and sea assault on the Spanish stronghold. Included among the U.S. ground troops were the Theodore Roosevelt-led "Rough Riders," a collection of Western cowboys and Eastern blue bloods officially known as the First U.S. Voluntary Cavalry.
The U.S. Army Fifth Corps fought its way to Santiago's outer defenses, and on July 1 U.S. General William Shafter ordered an attack on the village of El Caney and San Juan Hill. Shafter hoped to capture El Caney before besieging the fortified heights of San Juan Hill, but the 500 Spanish defenders of the village put up a fierce resistance and held off 10 times their number for most of the day. Although El Caney was not secure, some 8,000 Americans pressed forward toward San Juan Hill.
Hundreds fell under Spanish gunfire before reaching the base of the heights, where the force split up into two flanks to take San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill. The Rough Riders were among the troops in the right flank attacking Kettle Hill. When the order was given by Lieutenant John Miley that "the heights must be taken at all hazards," the Rough Riders, who had been forced to leave their horses behind because of transportation difficulties, led the charge up the hills. The Rough Riders and the black soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments were the first up Kettle Hill, and San Juan Hill was taken soon after. From the crest, the Americans found themselves overlooking Santiago, and the next day they began a siege of the city.
On July 3, the Spanish fleet was destroyed off Santiago by U.S. warships under Admiral William Sampson, and on July 17 the Spanish surrendered the city--and thus Cuba--to the Americans.
07-01-2006, 10:48 PM
1916 Battle of the Somme begins
At 7:30 a.m., the British launch a massive offensive against German forces in the Somme River region of France. During the preceding week, 250,000 Allied shells had pounded German positions near the Somme, and 100,000 British soldiers poured out of their trenches and into no-man's-land on July 1, expecting to find the way cleared for them. However, scores of heavy German machine guns had survived the artillery onslaught, and the infantry were massacred. By the end of the day, 20,000 British soldiers were dead and 40,000 wounded. It was the single heaviest day of casualties in British military history. The disastrous Battle of the Somme stretched on for more than four months, with the Allies advancing a total of just five miles.
When World War I broke out in August 1914, great throngs of British men lined up to enlist in the war effort. At the time, it was generally thought that the war would be over within six months. However, by the end of 1914 well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and a final victory was not in sight for either the Allies or the Central Powers. On the Western Front--the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium--the combatants had settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition. Maimed and shell-shocked troops returning to Britain with tales of machine guns, artillery barrages, and poison gas seriously dampened the enthusiasm of potential new volunteers.
With the aim of raising enough men to launch a decisive offensive against Germany, Britain replaced voluntary service with conscription in January 1916, when it passed an act calling for the enlistment of all unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 41. After Germany launched a massive offensive of its own against Verdun in February, Britain expanded the Military Service Act, calling for the conscription of all men, married and unmarried, between the ages of 18 and 41. Near the end of June, with the Battle of Verdun still raging, Britain prepared for its major offensive along a 21-mile stretch of the Western Front north of the Somme River.
For a week, the British bombarded the German trenches as a prelude to the attack. British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, thought the artillery would decimate the German defenses and allow a British breakthrough; in fact, it served primarily to remove the element of surprise. When the bombardment died down on the morning of July 1, the German machine crews emerged from their fortified trenches and set up their weapons. At 7:30 a.m., 11 British divisions attacked at once, and the majority of them were gunned down. The soldiers optimistically carried heavy supplies for a long march, but few made it more than a couple of hundred yards. Five French divisions that attacked south of the Somme at the same time fared a little better, but without British success little could be done to exploit their gains.
After the initial disaster, Haig resigned himself to smaller but equally ineffectual advances, and more than 1,000 Allied lives were extinguished for every 100 yards gained on the Germans. Even Britain's September 15 introduction of tanks into warfare for the first time in history failed to break the deadlock in the Battle of the Somme. In October, heavy rains turned the battlefield into a sea of mud, and on November 18 Haig called off the Somme offensive after more than four months of mass slaughter.
Except for its effect of diverting German troops from the Battle of Verdun, the offensive was a miserable disaster. It amounted to a total gain of just 125 square miles for the Allies, with more than 600,000 British and French soldiers killed, wounded, or missing in the action. German casualties were more than 650,000. Although Haig was severely criticized for the costly battle, his willingness to commit massive amounts of men and resources to the stalemate along the Western Front did eventually contribute to the collapse of an exhausted Germany in 1918.
07-01-2006, 10:49 PM
1937 Attempt to frame church deacon for murder is foiled
Phennie Perry is attacked and killed with a concrete block in a vacant lot in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York. Her baby girl was found lying next to Perry's body the following morning. Detectives were puzzled as to how the infant was completely unharmed but grateful for the wealth of clues nearby. There were envelopes and postcards addressed to someone named Ulysses Palm, a bloodstained strip of clothing, an electric iron, and a black left shoe with a hole in the sole.
When officers went to speak to Palm they were surprised to find that he lived in the same building as Phennie Perry and her husband, Arthur. The missing right shoe and a shirt that matched the bloodstained strip found at the crime scene were discovered inside his apartment. Ulysses Palm, a store clerk and church deacon, claimed to have no idea how his things turned up at the murder scene.
Investigators had been able to pinpoint the time of death because a security guard at a junkyard near the vacant lot had heard screams at 10:10 p.m. (Police ignored his call for help at the time because he was drunk.) Although Palm normally didn't work late, on the night of the murder, his boss made all of the employees stay late to take inventory. Officers had no choice but to believe Palm's airtight alibi.
Phennie's husband, Arthur, told police that his wife had shown up at the theater where he worked with a lewd and threatening letter from Palm. He said that he left his wife at 9:50 p.m. to confront Palm at his home. Realizing that he was lying, investigators began to look more closely at Perry. When they examined the sock he was wearing, they noticed a small bloodstain-located in the exact spot that matched where the shoe at the murder scene had a hole.
Although Perry had tried to disguise his handwriting in the letter that he claimed had been written by Palm, experts proved that Perry was, in fact, the true author. They also demonstrated that the paper used was identical to paper found in Perry's desk at home. It was later revealed that Perry had planned his wife's murder weeks before. He stole several items from Palm's apartment and then planted them at the scene to frame Palm for the murder. Luckily for Palm, he had been forced to work late that evening.
Perry was convicted and executed on August 3, 1939.
07-01-2006, 10:49 PM
1941 NBC airs first official TV commercial
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game that was broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial. Advertiser Bulova paid $9 to advertise its watches on the air.
Although the first TV license was issued by the Federal Radio Commission (which later became the FCC) in 1928, all licenses were noncommercial until 1941, meaning they were not allowed to sell air time for advertisements or other commercial purposes. However, several stations had already aired advertisements by the time the FCC began issuing commercial licenses.
Although the development of television had been eagerly pursued by radio companies for decades, World War II slowed the development process. Only in the late 1940s did the medium become widespread: Until 1947, no commercial TV stations were licensed west of the Mississippi. Geographically Speaking, the first commercially sponsored TV show, debuted in 1946 with the backing of Bristol-Myers. Many other sponsored shows debuted in the early 1950s.
07-01-2006, 10:50 PM
1942 The Battle of El Alamein begins
On this day in 1942, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is brought to a standstill in the battle for control of North Africa.
In June, the British had succeeded in driving Rommel into a defensive position in Libya. But Rommel repelled repeated air and tank attacks, delivering heavy losses to the armored strength of the British, and finally, using his panzer divisions, managed to force a British retreat-a retreat so rapid that a huge quantity of supplies was left behind. In fact, Rommel managed to push the British into Egypt using mostly captured vehicles.
Rommel's Afrika Korps was now in Egypt, in El Alamein, only 60 miles west of the British naval base in Alexandria. The Axis powers smelled blood. The Italian troops that had preceded Rommel's German forces in North Africa, only to be beaten back by the British, then saved from complete defeat by the arrival of Rommel, were now back on the winning side, their dwindled numbers having fought alongside the Afrika Korps. Naturally, Benito Mussolini saw this as his opportunity to partake of the victors' spoils. And Hitler anticipated adding Egypt to his empire.
But the Allies were not finished. Reinforced by American supplies, and reorganized and reinvigorated by British General Claude Auchinleck, British, Indian, South African, and New Zealand troops battled Rommel, and his by now exhausted men, to a standstill in Egypt. Auchinleck denied the Axis Egypt. Rommel was back on the defensive-a definite turning point in the war in North Africa.
07-01-2006, 10:50 PM
1947 "Mr. X" article appears in Foreign Affairs
State Department official George Kennan, using the pseudonym "Mr. X," publishes an article entitled "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" in the July edition of Foreign Affairs. The article focused on Kennan's call for a policy of containment toward the Soviet Union and established the foundation for much of America's early Cold War foreign policy.
In February 1946, Kennan, then serving as the U.S. charge d'affaires in Moscow, wrote his famous "long telegram" to the Department of State. In the missive, he condemned the communist leadership of the Soviet Union and called on the United States to forcefully resist Russian expansion. Encouraged by friends and colleagues, Kennan refined the telegram into an article, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," and secured its publication in the July edition of Foreign Affairs. Kennan signed the article "Mr. X" to avoid any charge that he was presenting official U.S. government policy, but nearly everyone in the Department of State and White House recognized the piece as Kennan's work. In the article, Kennan explained that the Soviet Union's leaders were determined to spread the communist doctrine around the world, but were also extremely patient and pragmatic in pursuing such expansion.
In the "face of superior force," Kennan said, the Russians would retreat and wait for a more propitious moment. The West, however, should not be lulled into complacency by temporary Soviet setbacks. Soviet foreign policy, Kennan claimed, "is a fluid stream which moves constantly, wherever it is permitted to move, toward a given goal." In terms of U.S. foreign policy, Kennan's advice was clear: "The main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies."
Kennan's article created a sensation in the United States, and the term "containment" instantly entered the Cold War lexicon. The administration of President Harry S. Truman embraced Kennan's philosophy, and in the next few years attempted to "contain" Soviet expansion through a variety of programs, including the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. Kennan's star rose quickly in the Department of State and in 1952 he was named U.S. ambassador to Russia. By the 1960s, with the United States hopelessly mired in the Vietnam War, Kennan began to question some of his own basic assumptions in the "Mr. X" article and became a vocal critic of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In particular, he criticized U.S. policymakers during the 1950s and 1960s for putting too much emphasis on the military containment of the Soviet Union, rather than on political and economic programs.
07-01-2006, 10:51 PM
1954 Eddie Cantor Show ends
Eddie Cantor broadcasts his last radio show after more than 20 years on the air.
Cantor, the son of Russian immigrants, grew up poor on New York's Lower East Side. His manic, slapstick humor made him a vaudeville hit. He made his first film, Boots, in 1926 and soon became a major stage and screen star. In 1931, he replaced Maurice Chevalier as host of the radio variety show The Chase and Sanborn Hour, which quickly became the top-rated radio program of its day. Cantor remained a popular radio personality throughout the radio era.
07-01-2006, 10:52 PM
1956 Highway Revenue Act goes into effect
The Highway Revenue Act of 1956 was put into effect by Congress, outlining a policy of taxation with the aim of creating a fund for the construction of over 42,500 miles of interstate highways over a period of 13 years. The push for a national highway system began many years earlier, when the privately funded construction of the Lincoln Highway begun in 1919. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) did much to set into motion plans for a federally funded highway system, but his efforts were halted by the outbreak of World War II. With the end of the war came America's industrial boom and a massive increase in automobile registration. Dwight D. Eisenhower, elected president in 1952, had been a supporter of a federally funded highway system ever since, as an Army Lieutenant in 1919, he led a military convoy from San Francisco to New York. His travels through Germany during World War II only increased his desire to replicate Germany's autobahn system. Eisenhower's 1954 State of the Union address made clear his intentions to follow through on his interest. He declared the need to "protect the vital interests of every citizen in a safe, adequate highway system." It wasn't until 1956 that Eisenhower saw his vision pass through Congress. The scale of the plan was breathtaking: At a time when the total federal budget approached $71 billion, Eisenhower's plan called for $50 billion over 13 years for highways. To pay for the project a system of taxes, relying heavily on the taxation of gasoline, was implemented. Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times. Today consumers pay 18.3¢ per gallon on gasoline. Eisenhower thought of the Federal Interstate System as his greatest achievement. Today, revisionists question the solutions offered by our massive labyrinth of highways. Undoubtedly the interstate system changed America and made it what it is today, with suburbs and "edge cities" springing up across the country. Employment increased, as well as the U.S. gross national product. Still, both state and federal governments struggle to appropriate the funds to expand our national road network and meet the demand of the ever-growing population of car owners. Many economists subscribe to Helen Levitt's theory that "congestion rises to meet road capacity," and anti-road activists are citing the loss of productive farmland, the demise of small business, the destruction of the environment, and the "urbanization" of American society. Truly, the grass is always greener on the other side of the highway.
07-01-2006, 10:52 PM
1965 Ball recommends compromise in Vietnam
Undersecretary of State George Ball submits a memo to President Lyndon B. Johnson titled "A Compromise Solution for South Vietnam." It began bluntly: "The South Vietnamese are losing the war to the Viet Cong. No one can assure you that we can beat the Viet Cong, or even force them to the conference table on our terms, no matter how many hundred thousand white, foreign (U.S.) troops we deploy." Ball advised that the United States not commit any more troops, restrict the combat role of those already in place, and seek to negotiate a way out of the war.
As Ball was submitting his memo, the U.S. air base at Da Nang came under attack by the Viet Cong for the first time. An enemy demolition team infiltrated the airfield and destroyed three planes and damaged three others. One U.S. airman was killed and three U.S. Marines were wounded.
The attack on Da Nang, the increased aggressiveness of the Viet Cong, and the weakness of the Saigon regime convinced Johnson that he had to do something to stop the communists or they would soon take over South Vietnam. While Ball recommended a negotiated settlement, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara urged the president to "expand promptly and substantially" the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam. Johnson, not wanting to lose South Vietnam to the communists, ultimately accepted McNamara's recommendation. On July 22, he authorized a total of 44 U.S. battalions for commitment in South Vietnam, a decision that led to a massive escalation of the war. There were less than ten U.S. Army and Marine battalions in South Vietnam at this time. Eventually there would be more than 540,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam.
07-01-2006, 10:53 PM
1966 Bombing of North Vietnam continues
U.S. Air Force and Navy jets carry out a series of raids on fuel installations in the Hanoi-Haiphong area. The Dong Nam fuel dump, 15 miles northeast of Hanoi, with 9 percent of North Vietnam's storage capacity, was struck on this day. The Do Son petroleum installation, 12 miles southeast of Haiphong, would be attacked on July 3. The raids continued for two more days, as petroleum facilities near Haiphong, Thanh Hoa, and Vinh were bombed, and fuel tanks in the Hanoi area were hit. These raids were part of Operation Rolling Thunder, which had begun in March 1965. The attacks on the North Vietnamese fuel facilities represented a new level of bombing, since these sites had been previously off limits. However, the raids did not have a lasting impact because China and the Soviet Union replaced the destroyed petroleum assets fairly quickly.
China reacted to these events by calling the bombings "barbarous and wanton acts that have further freed us from any bounds of restrictions in helping North Vietnam." The World Council of Churches in Geneva sent a cable to President Lyndon B. Johnson saying that the latest bombing of North Vietnam was causing a "widespread reaction" of "resentment and alarm" among many Christians. Indian mobs protested the air raids on the Hanoi-Haiphong area with violent anti-American demonstrations in Delhi and several other cities.
07-01-2006, 10:53 PM
1995 Wolfman Jack dies
On this day, legendary radio disk jockey Wolfman Jack, born Robert Smith, dies. Brooklyn-born Smith became famous when he was broadcasting from Mexico in the 1960s. Because Mexican stations broadcasted with five times more power than U.S. stations, a large portion of the United States could receive Wolfman Jack's show every night, on which he played blues and early rock and roll. He died in North Carolina.
07-01-2006, 10:54 PM
1997 Hong Kong returned to China
At midnight on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. A few thousand Hong Kongers protested the turnover, which was otherwise celebratory and peaceful.
In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country's economic, social, and political affairs. One of Britain's first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China ceded the island to the British with the signing of the Convention of Chuenpi, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.
Britain's new colony flourished as an East-West trading center and as the commercial gateway and distribution center for southern China. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking. In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong's capitalist system. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese, British, and international dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, formulated a policy based on the concept of "one country, two systems," thus preserving Hong Kong's role as a principal capitalist center in Asia.
07-01-2006, 10:54 PM
1535 Sir Thomas More went on trial in England charged with treason
1847 1st US postage stamps go on sale
1859 Balloon covers a record 809 miles over St. Louis
1861 1st public schoolhouse opens at Washington & Mason St., in San Francisco
1862 Congress outlaws polygamy (1st time); bad news for Utah
1863 Free city delivery of mail begins in 49 US cities
1869 US mint at Carson City, Nevada opens
1874 1st US kidnapping for ransom, 4-year-old Charles Ross, $20,000
1899 Gideon Society established to place bibles in hotels
1910 Chicago's Comiskey Park opens
1916 Olivia de Havilland is born in Tokyo, Japan, actress
1930 Imelda Marcos is born, former 1st lady of the Philippines
1931 Leslie Caron is born in Boulogne-Biliancourt, France, actress
1931 Ice vending machines introduced in LA
1934 Jamie Farr is born in Toledo, OH, actor
1934 1st x-ray photo of entire body, Rochester, NY
1941 Bulova Watch Co. pays $9 for 1st ever network TV commercial
1941 Twyla Tharp is born in Indiana, choreographer
1942 Genevieve Bujold is born in Montreal, actress
1945 Deborah Harry is born, Blondie
1946 Ron Silver is born in NYC, NY, actor
1952 Dan Aykroyd is born in Ottawa, Canada, comedian/actor
1956 Elvis Presley, wearing a tuxedo, appears on The Steve Allen Show
1960 Ghana becomes a republic
1961 Carl Lewis is born, US Olympic track & field star
1961 Lady Diane Spencer (Princess Di) is born
1966 Medicare goes into effect
1967 Pamela Anderson is born in Ladysmith, BC
1967 Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," goes #1 for 15 weeks
1968 John Lennon's 1st full art exhibition (You are Here)
1969 John & Yoko are hospitilized after a car crash
1972 Ms. magazine begins publishing
1978 Former Pres Nixon makes 1st public speech since resigning in 1974
1989 Hugh Hefner (Playboy editor) weds playmate Kimberly Conrad
1990 German Democratic Republic accepts the Deutsche Mark as its currency
1990 In Victoria, Australia, helmetless bike riding becomes illegal
1991 Michael Landon actor (Bonanza), dies at 54 from cancer
07-02-2006, 04:32 PM
July 2, 1809 Chief Tecumseh urges Indians to unite against whites
Alarmed by the growing encroachment of whites squatting on Native American lands, the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh calls on all Indians to unite and resist.
Born around 1768 near Springfield, Ohio, Tecumseh early won notice as a brave warrior. He fought in battles between the Shawnee and the white Kentuckians, who were invading the Ohio River Valley territory. After the Americans won several important battles in the mid-1790s, Tecumseh reluctantly relocated westward but remained an implacable foe of the white men and their ways.
By the early 19th century, many Shawnee and other Ohio Valley Indians were becoming increasingly dependent on trading with the Americans for guns, cloth, and metal goods. Tecumseh spoke out against such dependence and called for a return to traditional Indian ways. He was even more alarmed by the continuing encroachment of white settlers illegally settling on the already diminished government-recognized land holdings of the Shawnee and other tribes. The American government, however, was reluctant to take action against its own citizens to protect the rights of the Ohio Valley Indians.
On this day in 1809, Tecumseh began a concerted campaign to persuade the Indians of the Old Northwest and Deep South to unite and resist. Together, Tecumseh argued, the various tribes had enough strength to stop the whites from taking further land. Heartened by this message of hope, Indians from as far away as Florida and Minnesota heeded Tecumseh's call. By 1810, he had organized the Ohio Valley Confederacy, which united Indians from the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Winnebago, Menominee, Ottawa, and Wyandot nations.
For several years, Tecumseh's Indian Confederacy successfully delayed further white settlement in the region. In 1811, however, the future president William Henry Harrison led an attack on the confederacy's base on the Tippecanoe River. At the time, Tecumseh was in the South attempting to convince more tribes to join his movement. Although the battle of Tippecanoe was close, Harrison finally won out and destroyed much of Tecumseh's army.
When the War of 1812 began the following year, Tecumseh immediately marshaled what remained of his army to aid the British. Commissioned a brigadier general, he proved an effective ally and played a key role in the British capture of Detroit and other battles. When the tide of war turned in the American favor, Tecumseh's fortunes went down with those of the British. On October 5, 1813, he was killed during Battle of the Thames. His Ohio Valley Confederacy and vision of Indian unity died with him.
07-02-2006, 04:33 PM
1839 Mutiny on the Amistad slave ship
Early in the morning, Africans on the Cuban schooner Amistad rise up against their captors, killing two crewmembers and seizing control of the ship, which had been transporting them to a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba.
In 1807, the U.S. Congress joined with Great Britain in abolishing the African slave trade, although the trading of slaves within the United States was not prohibited. Despite the international ban on the importation of African slaves, Cuba continued to transport captive Africans to its sugar plantations until the 1860s, and Brazil to its coffee plantations until the 1850s.
On June 28, 1839, 53 slaves recently captured in Africa left Havana, Cuba, aboard the Amistad schooner for a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe, Cuba. Three days later, Sengbe Pieh, a Membe African known as Cinque, freed himself and the other slaves and planned a mutiny. Early in the morning of July 2, in the midst of a storm, the Africans rose up against their captors and, using sugar-cane knives found in the hold, killed the captain of the vessel and a crewmember. Two other crewmembers were either thrown overboard or escaped, and Jose Ruiz and Pedro Montes, the two Cubans who had purchased the slaves, were captured. Cinque ordered the Cubans to sail the Amistad east back to Africa. During the day, Ruiz and Montes complied, but at night they would turn the vessel in a northerly direction, toward U.S. waters. After almost nearly two difficult months at sea, during which time more than a dozen Africans perished, what became known as the "black schooner" was first spotted by American vessels.
On August 26, the USS Washington, a U.S. Navy brig, seized the Amistad off the coast of Long Island and escorted it to New London, Connecticut. Ruiz and Montes were freed, and the Africans were imprisoned pending an investigation of the Amistad revolt. The two Cubans demanded the return of their supposedly Cuban-born slaves, while the Spanish government called for the Africans' extradition to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder. In opposition to both groups, American abolitionists advocated the return of the illegally bought slaves to Africa.
The story of the Amistad mutiny garnered widespread attention, and U.S. abolitionists succeeded in winning a trial in a U.S. court. Before a federal district court in Connecticut, Cinque, who was taught English by his new American friends, testified on his own behalf. On January 13, 1840, Judge Andrew Judson ruled that the Africans were illegally enslaved, that they would not be returned to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder, and that they should be granted free passage back to Africa. The Spanish authorities and U.S. President Martin Van Buren appealed the decision, but another federal district court upheld Judson's findings. President Van Buren, in opposition to the abolitionist faction in Congress, appealed the decision again.
On February 22, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the Amistad case. U.S. Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, who had served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829, joined the Africans' defense team. In Congress, Adams had been an eloquent opponent of slavery, and before the nation's highest court he presented a coherent argument for the release of Cinque and the 34 other survivors of the Amistad.
On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled, with only one dissent, that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had thus exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom. In November, with the financial assistance of their abolitionist allies, the Amistad Africans departed America aboard the Gentleman on a voyage back to West Africa. Some of the Africans helped establish a Christian mission in Sierra Leone, but most, like Cinque, returned to their homelands in the African interior. One of the survivors, who was a child when taken aboard the Amistad as a slave, eventually returned to the United States. Originally named Margru, she studied at Ohio's integrated and coeducational Oberlin College in the late 1840s before returning to Sierra Leone as evangelical missionary Sara Margru Kinson.
07-02-2006, 04:33 PM
1863 The second day of battle at Gettysburg
General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia attacks General George G. Meade's Army of the Potomac at both Culp's Hill and Little Round Top, but fails to move the Yankees from their positions.
On the north end of the line, or the Union's right flank, Confederates from General Richard Ewell's corps struggled up Culp's Hill, which was steep and heavily wooded, before being turned back by heavy Union fire. But the most significant action was on the south end of the Union line. General James Longstreet's corps launched an attack against the Yankees, but only after a delay that allowed additional Union troops to arrive and position themselves along Cemetery Ridge. Many people later blamed Longstreet for the Confederates' eventual defeat. Still, the Confederates had a chance to destroy the Union left flank when General Daniel Sickles moved his corps, against Meade's orders, from their position on the ridge to open ground around the Peach Orchard. This move separated Sickles' force from the rest of the Union army, and Longstreet attacked. Although the Confederates were able to take the Peach Orchard, they were repulsed by Yankee opposition at Little Round Top. Some of the fiercest fighting took place on this day, and both armies suffered heavy casualties.
Lee's army regrouped that evening and planned for one last assault against the Union center on July 3. That attack, Pickett's charge, would represent the high tide of Confederate fortunes.
07-02-2006, 04:34 PM
1864 Congress passes the Wade-Davis Bill
Congress passes the Wade-Davis Bill, requiring a majority of a seceded state's white citizens to take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and guarantee black equality, but President Abraham Lincoln pocket vetoes the harsh plan for dealing with the defeated Confederate states.
07-02-2006, 04:35 PM
1881 President Garfield shot
Only four months into his administration, President James A. Garfield is shot as he walks through a railroad waiting room in Washington, D.C. His assailant, Charles J. Guiteau, was a disgruntled and perhaps insane office seeker who had unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the U.S. consul in Paris. The president was shot in the back and the arm, and Guiteau was arrested.
Garfield, mortally ill, was treated in Washington and then taken to the seashore at Elberon, New Jersey, where he attempted to recuperate with his family. During this time, Vice President Chester A. Arthur served as acting president. On September 19, 1881, after 80 days, President Garfield died of blood poisoning. The following day, Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st president of the United States.
Garfield had three funerals: one in Elberon; another in Washington, where his body rested in state in the Capitol for three days; and a third in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was buried. Charles Guiteau's murder trial began in November, and in January 1882 he was found guilty and sentenced to death. In June 1882, he was hanged at his jail in Washington.
1881 President Garfield is shot
President James Garfield is shot in the back at the Baltimore & Potomac train station by a crazed assassin. With the bullet lodged near his pancreas, the president never recovered and later died on September 18, 1881. The assassin, Charles Guiteau, was immediately apprehended at the train station.
Guiteau, a mentally disturbed man, had been tracking President Garfield for a while. When Garfield was running for office, Guiteau sent him a deranged speech to read to his audience. Not surprisingly, Garfield never read the speech, but Guiteau insisted that it was instrumental in getting him elected and demanded the position of ambassador to France in return.
Since the White House did not have standard security in place at this time, Guiteau became a frequent visitor and even met the president on one occasion. He began to harass the secretary of state every day about the ambassador position. When he was summarily rejected, Guiteau decided to seek revenge by shooting the president.
He later told authorities that he followed Garfield for weeks, once sitting directly behind him at church. After checking out the prisons in Washington, D.C., to make sure the accommodations would suit him, Guiteau made his attack on the president on July 2. Despite strong indications of insanity, prosecutors tried Guiteau for murder.
Acting as his own attorney during the 10-week trial, Guiteau screamed incessantly and sometimes danced around the courtroom. But the court did not put a stop to his antics, even after he called the prosecutors "dirty liars." During his closing argument, he claimed that God had told him to kill the president. When the jury pronounced him guilty of murder, Guiteau shouted at them, "You are all low, consummate jackasses!"
Guiteau was hanged on June 30, 1882. Two hundred spectators at the jail watched as hundreds more gathered outside. From the gallows, Guiteau recited a poem in a high, childlike voice, "I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad."
07-02-2006, 04:36 PM
1890 Sherman's march against monopolies
The federal government tackled the rising specter of outsized business conglomerations on this day in 1890 by passing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Sponsored by Ohio Senator John Sherman, the bill was designed as a direct strike against "every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade of commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations." Along with attempting to block the future creation of monopolies, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act also called for existing monopolies to be disbanded. But, such seemingly strong tactics betrayed the bill's weak language. Written by Senator George Hoar (Mississippi) and Senator George F. Edmunds (Vermont), the Sherman Act was fraught with ambiguous terms like "trust," leaving it ripe for exploitation by both litigious business officials and savvy attorneys. Sure enough, the ensuing years saw anti-labor forces manipulate the bill in their crusade against organized labor unions. In 1894, these anti-labor efforts were legally sanctioned by the Supreme Court which ruled in United States v. DebsI that the Sherman Act did indeed cover unions, as well as hulking business entities.
07-02-2006, 04:36 PM
1900 Zeppelin demonstrates airship
In the sky over Germany's Lake Constance, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, a retired Prussian army officer, successfully demonstrates the world's first rigid airship. The 420-foot, cigar-shaped craft was lifted by hydrogen gas and powered by a 16-horsepower engine.
Zeppelin had first become interested in lighter-than-air travel in 1863, when as a military observer in the American Civil War he had made several ascents in Union observation balloons. In 1891, he retired from the Prussian army to devote himself to the building of motor-driven dirigibles, and in 1900 he successfully tested his first airship. Although a French inventor had built a power-driven airship several decades before, the Zeppelin's rigid dirigible, with its framework of metal girders, was by far the largest airship ever constructed. Like the French airship, Zeppelin's airship was lifted by highly flammable hydrogen gas and thus vulnerable to explosion.
During World War I, several "Zeppelins," as all rigid airships became popularly known, were used by the Germans in bombing missions over Britain. After the war, commercial passenger service increased, and one of the most famous rigid airships, the Graf Zeppelin, traveled around the world in 1929. In the 1930s, the Graf Zeppelin also pioneered the first transatlantic air service, leading to the construction of the largest dirigible ever built: the Hindenburg. On May 6, 1937, at the end of its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, the Hindenburg burst into flames upon touching its mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36 passengers and crew. Lighter-than-air passenger travel rapidly fell out of favor after the Hindenberg disaster, and no existing rigid airship survived World War II.
07-02-2006, 04:37 PM
1910 Fire destroys early Vitagraph films
On this day in 1910, the only existing negatives for many early Vitagraph films are destroyed by a fire in New York. Vitagraph, one of the first film studios, began shooting movies in 1897. The company flourished in the silent-film era, introducing future stars like Rudolph Valentino and Norma Talmadge. Warner Bros. purchased the company in 1925.
07-02-2006, 04:38 PM
1934 Fox signs Shirley Temple
On this day in 1934, Fox Film Corp. strikes a new contract with child star Shirley Temple. Temple was six years old at the time. Starting at age four, Temple starred in a series of shorts spoofing current movies, called Baby Burlesks, and appeared in bit parts. Her song and dance number "Baby Take a Bow" in the 1934 movie Stand Up and Cheer brought her wide acclaim. Her new contract with Fox raised her salary from $150 a week to $1,000 a week, plus a $35,000 bonus for each film she made. The contract also paid her mother $250 a week.
Under the new contract, Temple quickly became one of the most popular actresses of the day. From 1935 to 1938, she was Hollywood's top box office draw. By 1936, she was earning $50,000 per film. Her films included Little Miss Marker (1934), The Little Colonel (1935), and Heidi (1937).
Temple made more than 40 films by the time she reached her teens. However, her box office magic wore off as she aged, and by her late teens her career was petering out. She married actor John Agar in 1946, at age 17. The marriage ended by 1949, the same year she made her last film, A Kiss for Corliss.
She remarried in 1950, to TV executive Charles Black, and changed her name to Shirley Temple Black. Two attempts in the 1950s to launch her own TV shows failed. In the late 1960s, the former actress entered politics, running unsuccessfully for Congress. In 1968, President Nixon appointed her U.S. representative to the United Nations. She served as ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976 and later as chief of protocol for President Ford. She became ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989 and served until 1992.
07-02-2006, 04:38 PM
1937 Amelia Earhart disappears
On July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan is reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific. The pair were attempting to fly around the world when they lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she was lost and running low on fuel. Soon after, she probably tried to ditch the Lockheed in the ocean. No trace of Earhart or Noonan was ever found.
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1897. She took up aviation at the age of 24 and later gained publicity as one of the earliest female aviators. In 1928, the publisher George P. Putnam invited her to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The previous year, Charles A. Lindbergh had flown solo nonstop across the Atlantic, and Putnam had made a fortune off Lindbergh's autobiographical book We. In June 1928, Earhart and two men flew from Newfoundland, Canada, to Wales, Great Britain. Although Earhart's only function during the crossing was to keep the plane's log, the flight won her great fame, and Americans were enamored of the daring young pilot. The three were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York, and "Lady Lindy," as Earhart was dubbed, was given a White House reception by President Calvin Coolidge.
Earhart wrote a book about the flight for Putnam, whom she married in 1931, and gave lectures and continued her flying career under her maiden name. On May 20, 1932, she took off alone from Newfoundland in a Lockheed Vega on the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman. She was bound for Paris but was blown off course and landed in Ireland on May 21 after flying more than 2,000 miles in just under 15 hours. It was the fifth anniversary of Lindbergh's historic flight, and before Earhart no one had attempted to repeat his solo transatlantic flight. For her achievement, she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress. Three months later, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the continental United States.
In 1935, in the first flight of its kind, she flew solo from Wheeler Field in Honolulu to Oakland, California, winning a $10,000 award posted by Hawaiian commercial interests. Later that year, she was appointed a consultant in careers for women at Purdue University, and the school bought her a modern Lockheed Electra aircraft to be used as a "flying laboratory."
On March 17, 1937, she took off from Oakland and flew west on an around-the-world attempt. It would not be the first global flight, but it would be the longest--29,000 miles, following an equatorial route. Aboard her Lockheed were Frederick Noonan, her navigator and a former Pan American pilot, and co-pilot Harry Manning. After resting and refueling in Honolulu, the trio prepared to resume the flight. However, while taking off for Howland Island, Earhart ground-looped the plane on the runway, perhaps because of a blown tire, and the Lockheed was seriously damaged. The flight was called off, and the aircraft was shipped back to California for repairs.
In May, Earhart flew the newly rebuilt plane to Miami, from where Noonan and she would make a new around-the-world attempt, this time from west to east. They left Miami on June 1, and after stops in South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, they arrived at Lae, New Guinea, on June 29. About 22,000 miles of the journey had been completed, and the last 7,000 miles would all be over the Pacific Ocean. The next destination was Howland Island, a tiny U.S.-owned island that was just a few miles long. The U.S. Department of Commerce had a weather observation station and a landing strip on the island, and the staff was ready with fuel and supplies. Several U.S. ships, including the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, were deployed to aid Earhart and Noonan in this difficult leg of their journey.
As the Lockheed approached Howland Island, Earhart radioed the Itasca and explained that she was low on fuel. However, after several hours of frustrating attempts, two-way communication was only briefly established, and the Itasca was unable to pinpoint the Lockheed's location or offer navigational information. Earhart circled the Itasca's position but was unable to sight the ship, which was sending out miles of black smoke. She radioed "one-half hour fuel and no landfall" and later tried to give information on her position. Soon after, contact was lost, and Earhart presumably tried to land the Lockheed on the water.
If her landing on the water was perfect, Earhart and Noonan might have had time to escape the aircraft with a life raft and survival equipment before it sank. An intensive search of the vicinity by the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy found no physical evidence of the fliers or their plane. Additional searches through the years have likewise failed to find any trace of the Lockheed or of Earhart and Noonan, who almost certainly perished at sea.
07-02-2006, 04:39 PM
1944 American bombers deluge Budapest, in more ways than one
On this day in 1944, as part of Operation Gardening, the British and American strategy to lay mines in the Danube River by dropping them from the air, American aircraft also drop bombs and leaflets on German-occupied Budapest.
Hungarian oil refineries and storage tanks, important to the German war machine, were destroyed by the American air raid. Along with this fire from the sky, leaflets threatening "punishment" for those responsible for the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers at Auschwitz were also dropped on Budapest. The U.S. government wanted the SS and Hitler to know it was watching. Admiral Miklas Horthy, regent and virtual dictator of Hungary, vehemently anticommunist and afraid of Russian domination, had aligned his country with Hitler, despite the fact that he little admired him. But he, too, demanded that the deportations cease, especially since special pleas had begun pouring in from around the world upon the testimonies of four escaped Auschwitz prisoners about the atrocities there. Hitler, fearing a Hungarian rebellion, stopped the deportations on July 8. Horthy would eventually try to extricate himself from the war altogether-only to be kidnapped by Hitler's agents and consequently forced to abdicate.
One day after the deportations stopped, a Swedish businessman, Raoul Wallenberg, having convinced the Swedish Foreign Ministry to send him to the Hungarian capital on a diplomatic passport, arrived in Budapest with 630 visas for Hungarian Jews, prepared to take them to Sweden to save them from further deportations.
07-02-2006, 04:39 PM
1947 Soviet Union rejects Marshall Plan assistance
Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov walks out of a meeting with representatives of the British and French governments, signaling the Soviet Union's rejection of the Marshall Plan. Molotov's action indicated that Cold War frictions between the United States and Russia were intensifying.
On June 4, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a speech in which he announced that the United States was willing to offer economic assistance to the war-torn nations of Europe to help in their recovery. The Marshall Plan, as this program came to be known, eventually provided billions of dollars to European nations and helped stave off economic disaster in many of them. The Soviet reaction to Marshall's speech was a stony silence. However, Foreign Minister Molotov agreed to a meeting on June 27 with his British and French counterparts to discuss the European reaction to the American offer.
Molotov immediately made clear the Soviet objections to the Marshall Plan. First, it would include economic assistance to Germany, and the Russians could not tolerate such aid to the enemy that had so recently devastated the Soviet Union. Second, Molotov was adamant in demanding that the Soviet Union have complete control and freedom of action over any Marshall Plan funds Germany might receive. Finally, the Foreign Minister wanted to know precisely how much money the United States would give to each nation. When it became clear that the French and British representatives did not share his objections, Molotov stormed out of the meeting on July 2. In the following weeks, the Soviet Union pressured its Eastern European allies to reject all Marshall Plan assistance. That pressure was successful and none of the Soviet satellites participated in the Marshall Plan. The Soviet press claimed that the American program was "a plan for interference in the domestic affairs of other countries." The United States ignored the Soviet action and, in 1948, officially established the Marshall Plan and began providing funds to other European nations.
Publicly, U.S. officials argued that the Soviet stance was another indication that Russia intended to isolate Eastern Europe from the West and enforce its communist and totalitarian doctrines in that region. From the Soviet perspective, however, its refusal to participate in the Marshall Plan indicated its desire to remain free from American "economic imperialism" and domination.
07-02-2006, 04:40 PM
1955 The Lawrence Welk Show debuts
On this day in 1955, long-running musical-variety program The Lawrence Welk Show debuts on ABC. Welk, a bandleader from North Dakota known for light dance music, had launched his own show in 1951 on a local Los Angeles channel. The show remained a network hit for some 16 years, then became a syndicated series. Welk retired in 1982 and died in 1992.
07-02-2006, 04:41 PM
1964 Johnson signs Civil Rights Act
In a nationally televised White House ceremony, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act, which was the most sweeping civil rights legislation passed by Congress since Reconstruction, prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education, and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities.
This landmark legislation came 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public educational facilities was unconstitutional. In the decade that followed the 1954 decision, the African American civil rights movement made great strides in winning federal support for integration, and in 1960 John F. Kennedy made passage of a new civil rights bill one of the platforms of his successful presidential campaign. Vice President Lyndon Johnson served as chairman of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities, and after Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, Johnson vowed to carry out Kennedy's proposals for civil rights reform. On July 2, 1964, after lobbying hard for its passage, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
07-02-2006, 04:42 PM
1964 Republican Congressional leaders attack Johnson's policy
At a joint news conference, Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (Illinois) and House Republican leader Charles Halleck (Indiana) say that the Vietnam War will be a campaign issue because "Johnson's indecision has made it one." President Lyndon B. Johnson had assumed office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Kennedy had supported Ngo Dinh Diem, the president of South Vietnam, who was assassinated during a coup just before Kennedy was killed. The deaths of both Diem and Kennedy provided an opportunity for the new administration to undertake a reassessment of U.S. policy toward Vietnam, but this was not done. Johnson, who desperately wanted to push a set of social reforms called the Great Society, was instead forced to focus on the deteriorating situation in South Vietnam. Caught in a dilemma, he later wrote: "If I...let the communists take over South Vietnam, then I would be seen as a coward and my nation would be seen as an appeaser and we would both find it impossible to accomplish anything for anybody anywhere in the entire globe." Faced with having to do something about Vietnam, Johnson vacillated as he and his advisers attempted to devise a viable course of action.
The situation changed in August 1964 when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers off the coast of North Vietnam. What became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident led to the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which passed 416 to 0 in the House, and 88 to 2 in the Senate. This resolution, which gave the president approval to "take all necessary measures to repel an armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression," provided the legal basis for President Johnson to initiate a major commitment of U.S. troops to South Vietnam, which ultimately totaled more than 540,000 by 1968.
07-02-2006, 04:42 PM
1992 Chevrolet celebrates 1 million Corvettes
Original Corvette engineer Zora Arkus Duntov drove the one-millionth Chevrolet Corvette off of the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The event was monumental to both America's first sports car and the man that made the car possible. Duntov was born in Belgium, the son of Russian immigrants. He pursued an interest in motorcycle racing and engineering until the outbreak of World War II, at which point he joined the French Air Force. After the French surrender, Duntov managed to secure exit visas to Spain for his entire family. He later resettled in Manhattan, and started a performance engineering firm, called Ardun, with his brother. The firm enjoyed a reputation for quality, but eventually went out of business as the result of questionable financial practices on the part of a third partner that Duntov and his brother had taken on. Duntov moved to England to work on the Allard sports car, which he co-drove at Le Mans in 1952 and 1953. Duntov earned a reputation as an exacting driver and engineer in the European tradition of performance car racing. After witnessing the prototype Corvette on display at the 1953 Motorama in New York City, he decided to join Chevrolet. While Duntov was visually taken by the car, he expressed dismay at what lay under the hood. He wrote Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole and offered his services to improve the Corvette, including with his note a technical paper outlining his plan to increase the Corvette's performance capabilities. Chevrolet was so impressed that engineer Maurice Olley, then in charge of the Corvette, offered Duntov a position as a staff engineer. Soon after arriving at Chevrolet, Duntov set the tone for his career at the company by distributing a paper to his superiors entitled "Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders, and Chevrolet." The paper laid the foundation for a strategy to create both racing and performance parts programs for Chevy. It was his desire that the Corvette measure itself against the best sports cars in the world: Porsche, Ferrari, and Mercedes. He helped develop the small-block V-8 engine to increase the little Corvette's power; he introduced the Duntov high-lift cam-shaft; and he introduced fuel injection, seeing the Corvette through from its inauspicious beginnings to its triumphant end. He created the Corvette Grand Sport Program in 1963, making the Corvette competitive on all levels of international performance competition. Duntov also helped to build the Corvette culture, appearing at Corvette shows, clubs, and rallies all over the U.S. He retired from Chevrolet in 1975, but Duntov's legacy will stay alive as long as Corvettes roam the open road.
07-02-2006, 04:43 PM
1992 Stephen Hawkings breaks British bestseller records
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkings breaks British publishing records on this day in 1992. His book, A Brief History of Time, has been on the nonfiction bestseller list for three and a half years, selling more than 3 million copies in 22 languages.
A Brief History of Time explained the latest theories on the origins of the universe in language accessible to educated lay people. The book was made into an acclaimed documentary in 1992, which focused largely on Hawkings' own story.
Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in his 20s, Hawkings was told he had only two years to live. Despite the sobering prognosis, Hawkings pursued his studies in theoretical physics, married, and had a son. Eventually, his disease left him paralyzed except for his left hand. He was able to speak, although his speech was difficult to understand, until he underwent a tracheotomy in 1985 during a bout with pneumonia. Afterward, he relied on a mouse-controlled voice synthesizer, which improved the clarity of his speech.
His familiar, synthesized voice can be heard in the Brief History of Time documentary, a popular Pink Floyd song, and an episode of The Simpsons.
07-02-2006, 04:44 PM
1777 Vermont becomes 1st American colony to abolish slavery
1787 de Sade shouts from Bastille that prisoners are being slaughtered
1843 An alligator falls from the sky during a Charleston, SC thunderstorm
1858 Partial emancipation of Russian serfs
1908 Thurgood Marshall is born in MD, 1st black Supreme Court justice (1967-91)
1922 Dan Rowan is born in Beggs, OK, comedian (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in)
1927 Brock Peters is born, actor/singer
1937 Polly Holliday is born in Jasper AL, actress (Flo-Alice, Flo-Flo)
1937 Richard Petty is born, auto race driver (Daytona 500-1979,81)
1939 John Sununu is born, US Secretary of State (1989-91)
1956 Elvis Presley records "Hound Dog" & "Don't Be Cruel"
1956 Jerry Hall is born in Mesquite TX, model/once married to Mick Jagger
1961 Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death in Ketchum, Idaho
1966 Billie Jean King wins her 1st of 6 Wimbeldon single titles
1969 Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones, drowns
1973 George Macready, actor (Martin Peyton-Peyton Place), dies at 73
1973 Swede Savage dies from injuries at Indianapolis 500
1988 Steffi Graff beats Martina Navratilova for Wimbeldon crown
1990 Imelda Marcos & Adnan Khashoggi found not guilty of racketeering
1991 Lee Remick actress, dies at 55 from cancer
07-03-2006, 08:06 PM
July 3, 1775 Washington assumes command
On Cambridge common in Massachusetts, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered there, draws his sword, and formally takes command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War, was appointed commander in chief by the Continental Congress two weeks before. In serving the American colonies in their war for independence, he declined to accept payment for his services beyond reimbursement of future expenses.
George Washington was born in 1732 to a farm family in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His first direct military experience came as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when he led a small expedition against the French in the Ohio River valley on behalf of the governor of Virginia. Two years later, Washington took command of the defenses of the western Virginian frontier during the French and Indian War. After the war's fighting moved elsewhere, he resigned from his military post, returned to a planter's life, and took a seat in Virginia's House of Burgesses.
During the next two decades, Washington openly opposed the escalating British taxation and repression of the American colonies. In 1774, he represented Virginia at the Continental Congress. After the American Revolution erupted in 1775, Washington was nominated to be commander in chief of the newly established Continental Army. Some in the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, thinking other candidates were better equipped for the post, but he was ultimately chosen because as a Virginian his leadership helped bind the Southern colonies more closely to the rebellion in New England.
With his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers, General Washington led an effective war of harassment against British forces in America while encouraging the intervention of the French into the conflict on behalf of the colonists. On October 19, 1781, with the surrender of British General Charles Lord Cornwallis' massive British army at Yorktown, Virginia, General Washington had defeated one of the most powerful nations on earth.
After the war, the victorious general retired to his estate at Mount Vernon, but in 1787 he heeded his nation's call and returned to politics to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and in February 1789 Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.
As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent." He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his Cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term. He died in 1799.
07-03-2006, 08:07 PM
1863 Pickett leads his infamous charge at Gettysburg
Troops under Confederate General George Pickett begin a massive attack against the center of the Union lines at Gettysburg on the climactic third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest engagement of the war. General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia encountered George Meade's Army of the Potomac in Pennsylvania and battered the Yankees for two days. The day before Pickett's charge, the Confederates had hammered each flank of the Union line but could not break through.
Now, on July 3, Lee decided to attack the Union center, stationed on Cemetery Ridge, after making another unsuccessful attempt on the Union right flank at Culp's Hill in the morning. The majority of the force consisted of Pickett's division, but there were other units represented among the 15,000 attackers.
After a long Confederate artillery bombardment, the Rebel force moved through the open field and up the slight rise of Cemetery Ridge. But by the time they reached the Union line, the attack had been broken into many small units, and they were unable to penetrate the Yankee center.
The failed attack effectively ended the battle of Gettysburg. On July 4, Lee began to withdraw his forces to Virginia. The casualties for both armies were staggering. Lee lost 28,000 of his 75,000 soldiers, and Union losses stood at over 22,000. It was the last time Lee threatened Northern territory.
07-03-2006, 08:07 PM
1863 Lee defeated at Gettysburg
On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.
In June 1863, following his masterful victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Lee launched his second invasion of the Union in less than a year. He led his 75,000-man Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River, through Maryland, and into Pennsylvania, seeking to win a major battle on Northern soil that would further dispirit the Union war effort and induce Britain or France to intervene on the Confederacy's behalf. The 90,000-strong Army of the Potomac pursued the Confederates into Maryland, but its commander, General Joseph Hooker, was still stinging from his defeat at Chancellorsville and seemed reluctant to chase Lee further. Meanwhile, the Confederates divided their forces and investigated various targets, such as Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital.
On June 28, President Abraham Lincoln replaced Hooker with General George Meade, and Lee learned of the presence of the Army of the Potomac in Maryland. Lee ordered his army to concentrate in the vicinity of the crossroads town of Gettysburg and prepare to meet the Federal army. At the same time, Meade sent ahead part of his force into Pennsylvania but intended to make a stand at Pipe Creek in Maryland.
On July 1, a Confederate division under General Henry Heth marched into Gettysburg hoping to seize supplies but finding instead three brigades of Union cavalry. Thus began the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee and Meade ordered their massive armies to converge on the impromptu battle site. The Union cavalrymen defiantly held the field against overwhelming numbers until the arrival of Federal reinforcements. Later, the Confederates were reinforced, and by mid-afternoon some 19,000 Federals faced 24,000 Confederates. Lee arrived to the battlefield soon afterward and ordered a general advance that forced the Union line back to Cemetery Hill, just south of the town.
During the night, the rest of Meade's force arrived, and by the morning Union General Winfield Hancock had formed a strong Union line. On July 2, against the Union left, General James Longstreet led the main Confederate attack, but it was not carried out until about 4 p.m., and the Federals had time to consolidate their positions. Thus began some of the heaviest fighting of the battle, and Union forces retained control of their strategic positions at heavy cost. After three hours, the battle ended, and the total number of dead at Gettysburg stood at 35,000.
On July 3, Lee, having failed on the right and the left, planned an assault on Meade's center. A 15,000-man strong column under General George Pickett was organized, and Lee ordered a massive bombardment of the Union positions. The 10,000 Federals answered the Confederate artillery onslaught, and for more than an hour the guns raged in the heaviest cannonade of the Civil War. At 3 p.m., Pickett led his force into no-man's-land and found that Lee's bombardment had failed. As Pickett's force attempted to cross the mile distance to Cemetery Ridge, Union artillery blew great holes in their lines. Meanwhile, Yankee infantry flanked the main body of "Pickett's charge" and began cutting down the Confederates. Only a few hundred Virginians reached the Union line, and within minutes they all were dead, dying, or captured. In less than an hour, more than 7,000 Confederate troops had been killed or wounded.
Both armies, exhausted, held their positions until the night of July 4, when Lee withdrew. The Army of the Potomac was too weak to pursue the Confederates, and Lee led his army out of the North, never to invade it again. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War, costing the Union 23,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. The Confederates suffered some 25,000 casualties. On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the dedication of a new national cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in April 1865.
07-03-2006, 08:08 PM
1890 Idaho becomes 43rd state
Idaho, the last of the 50 states to be explored by whites, is admitted to the union.
Exploration of the North American continent mostly proceeded inward from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and northward from Spanish Mexico. Therefore, the rugged territory that would become Idaho long remained untouched by Spanish, French, British, and American trappers and explorers. Even as late as 1805, Idaho Indians like the Shoshone had never encountered a white man.
That changed with the arrival of the American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the summer of 1805. Searching for a route over the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River, Lewis and Clark traveled through Idaho with the aid of the Shoshone Indians and their horses. British fur traders and trappers followed a few years later, as did missionaries and a few hardy settlers. As with many remote western states, large-scale settlement began only after gold was discovered. Thousands of miners rushed into Idaho when word of a major gold strike came in September 1860. Merchants and farmers followed, eager to make their fortunes "mining the miners."
By 1880, Idaho boasted a population of 32,610. In the southern section of the territory, many settlers were Mormons who had been dispatched from Salt Lake City to found new colonies. Increasingly, Idaho territory became divided between a Mormon-dominated south and an anti-Mormon north. In the mid-1880s, anti-Mormon Republicans used widespread public antipathy toward the Mormon practice of polygamy to pass legislation denying the predominantly Democratic Mormons the vote.
With the Democratic Mormon vote disarmed, Idaho became a Republican-dominated territory. National Republicans eager to increase their influence in the U.S. Congress began to push for Idaho statehood in 1888. The following year, the Idaho territorial legislature approved a strongly anti-Mormon constitution. The U.S. Congress approved the document on this day in 1890, and Idaho became the 43rd state in the Union.
07-03-2006, 08:08 PM
1908 M.F.K. Fisher is born
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher is born on this day in Albion, Michigan.
Her father, a fourth-generation writer, purchased a newspaper in Whittier, California, where the family moved in 1911. In 1929, Fisher moved to France with her first husband, where she developed her twin passions: food and writing. She published her first story in 1934, using her initials to conceal her identity. In 1937, her first book, Serve It Forth, was published. She was highly productive for the next decade or so, producing nine books on food, including How to Cook a Wolf (1942) and The Gastronomic Me (1943).
After divorcing her husband, Fisher returned to the States, where she had a daughter, Anna, out of wedlock in the early 1940s. She never revealed Anna's paternity. She married writer and painter Dillwyn Parris, who was later struck by a fatal illness and committed suicide. Perhaps distracted by her tumultuous family life, she produced little during the 1950s. However, during the last two decades of her life, she lived in a cottage in California's Sonoma Valley and produced another dozen books, as well as many essays for the New Yorker. She died of Parkinson's disease in 1992. She was celebrated for both her gastronomic expertise and her engaging, literary writing style.
07-03-2006, 08:09 PM
1940 Operation Catapult is launched
On this day in 1940, British naval forces destroy the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, a port in Algeria, in order to prevent Germany from co-opting the French ships to use in an invasion of Britain.
With the occupation of France, the German aggressor was but a Channel away from Britain. In order to prevent the Germans from using French battleships and cruisers in an attack on Britain, Operation Catapult was conceived: the destruction or capture of every French ship possible. The easiest stage of Catapult was the seizure of those French ships already in British ports. Little resistance was met. But the largest concentration of French warships was at the Oran, Algeria, port of Mers-el-Kebir, where many warships had fled to escape the Germans. This stage of Catapult would prove more difficult.
Britain gave the French ships four choices: join British naval forces in the fight against Germany; hand the ships over to British crews; disarm them; or scuttle them, making them useless to the Germans. The French refused all four choices. Britain then made a concession: Sail to the French West Indies, where the ships would be disarmed or handed over to the United States. The French refused again. So the Brits circled the port and opened fire on the French fleet, killing 1,250 French sailors, damaging the battleship Dunkerque and destroying the Bretagne and the Provence.
On July 4, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the House of Commons that he would leave Britain's actions to "history." On July 5, Vichy France broke off diplomatic relations with Britain.
07-03-2006, 08:09 PM
1950 Pantomime Quiz Show debuts
TV game show Pantomime Quiz Show debuts as a network series on CBS. The program, a variation of charades, ran for 13 years, although it changed networks several times. The show began as a local program in Los Angeles in 1947. In 1949, the show was one of TV's first programs to win an Emmy, first awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that year.
07-03-2006, 08:10 PM
1957 Khrushchev consolidates his power
Nikita Khrushchev takes control in the Soviet Union by orchestrating the ouster of his most serious opponents from positions of authority in the Soviet government. Khrushchev's action delighted the United States, which viewed him as a more moderate figure in the communist government of Russia.
Khrushchev had been jockeying for ultimate control in the Soviet Union since the death of long-time Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in March 1953. Following Stalin's demise, the Soviet Union was ruled by a 10-member presidium. Khrushchev was only one member of this presidium, but during the following four years he moved steadily to seize total control. In June 1957, Khrushchev survived an attempt by his political opponents to remove him from the government. In July, he had his revenge. Since 1953, he had worked tirelessly to gain allies in the Soviet military and to gain control of the all-important Communist Party apparatus. On July 3, 1957, his years of work paid off as he used his important political connections and alliances to remove the three main challengers to his authority. Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgi M. Malenkov, and Lazar Kaganovich were voted off the presidium and relegated to minor government positions. Khrushchev then reigned supreme, and ruled the Soviet Union until his own ouster in 1964.
In the United States, the news of Khrushchev's "housecleaning" was greeted with optimism. Malenkov and Molotov, in particular, had been viewed as communist "hard-liners" in the Stalinist mold. Khrushchev, on the other hand, was seen as a "moderate" who might be receptive to a more amenable relationship with the United States. In the coming years, U.S. officials were often disappointed with the newest Soviet leader, who seemed to vacillate between warm words about "peaceful coexistence" between the United States and the Soviet Union and aggressive talk about "burying" the capitalist system. Khrushchev's power began seriously to wane in 1962. Many Soviet officials characterized his behavior as "cowardly" during the October 1962 missile crisis in Cuba and he was pushed from power in 1964. Leonid Brezhnev succeeded Nikita Khrushchev.
07-03-2006, 08:10 PM
1968 U.S. command announces new high in casualties
The U.S. command in Saigon releases figures showing that more Americans were killed during the first six months of 1968 than in all of 1967. These casualty figures were a direct result of the heavy fighting that had occurred during, and immediately after, the communist Tet Offensive. The offensive had begun on January 30, when communist forces attacked Saigon, Hue, five of six autonomous cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, and 64 of 245 district capitals. The timing and magnitude of the attacks caught the South Vietnamese and American forces completely off guard, but eventually the Allied forces turned the tide. Militarily, the Tet Offensive was a disaster for the communists. By the end of March 1968, they had not achieved any of their objectives and had lost 32,000 soldiers with 5,800 captured. U.S. forces suffered 3,895 dead; South Vietnamese losses were 4,954; non-U.S. allies lost 214. More than 14,300 South Vietnamese civilians died.
Though the offensive was a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, early reports of a smashing communist victory went largely uncorrected in the U.S. news media. This was a great psychological victory for the communists. The heavy U.S. casualties incurred during the offensive, coupled with the disillusionment over the earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war, accelerated the growing disenchantment with President Johnson's conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam, announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.
07-03-2006, 08:11 PM
1971 Jim Morrison dies
On this day in 1971, singer Jim Morrison is found dead in a bathtub in Paris. Morrison, 27, was taking a sabbatical from his hit rock band, The Doors, when he died of heart failure, likely caused by a drug overdose. Rumors abounded that Morrison, tired of fame, had faked his own death.
Morrison, the son of a navy officer, was born in Florida but moved frequently as a child. He studied filmmaking at UCLA, where he met Ray Manzarek, who suggested they set some of Morrison's poems to music. With Robbie Krieger on guitar and John Densmore on drums, they formed The Doors. Morrison christened the band after Aldous Huxley's book on psychedelic drugs, The Doors of Perception, which drew its name from a poem by William Blake.
The band began playing in 1965; by 1966, they were the house band at famous Los Angeles nightclub Whiskey-a-Go-Go. They were abruptly fired four months into the job after playing a controversial song, but the band had already landed a record contract with Elektra. Their first album, The Doors (1967), topped the charts, as did a shortened version of their 6-minute 50-second track "Light My Fire." The band's subsequent album, Strange Days (1967), hit No. 3 on the charts, and Waiting for the Sun (1968) hit No. 1.
Morrison, who cultivated a dark, untamed image, was arrested several times for obscenity and indecency. Concert halls became reluctant to book the unpredictable group, and The Doors' appearances were sporadic after 1968. However, their albums continued to sell. Morrison was idolized by some as a modern-day Dionysus; others saw him as a world-class buffoon and bad poet with a drinking problem.
Morrison began to turn his attention to other creative endeavors in the late 1960s, publishing books of poetry and directing a film. He moved to Paris in 1971 after the release of L.A. Woman. Few people other than Morrison's wife and an anonymous French doctor saw Morrison's body after he died, leading to speculation that he had faked his own death. He became more famous than ever posthumously. The Doors released a few more albums without him but had lost their energy. However, the original band's early music only became more popular over time and underwent a revival in the 1980s. In 1989, a new book of Morrison's poems was published, and filmmaker Oliver Stone profiled Morrison and the band in the successful 1991 film The Doors. On the 20th anniversary of his death, nearly a thousand fans mobbed the cemetery where he was buried.
07-03-2006, 08:11 PM
1978 Breech, former Ford chairman, dies
Ernest R. Breech, chairman of the Ford Motor Company from 1955-1960, died in Royal Oak, Michigan at the age of 81. Breech had been at the top of the accounting world when Henry Ford II had personally pleaded with him to join the ailing Ford Motor Company and take a chance at reviving one of America's historic corporations. Born in modest circumstances, the son of a blacksmith in Lebanon, Missouri, Breech excelled in school and was drafted by the St. Louis Browns baseball team. He turned down the contract in favor of college, where he earned record high marks before dropping out for financial reasons. He took correspondence courses to study for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in Chicago, and received a Gold Medal from the University of Illinois for making the highest marks in the state. Breech described his feelings at receiving the award, saying "That was my first success. I think that was probably the happiest day of my life, business-wise. I took the exam against boys who had gone to the universities." Breech went on to create one of the greatest accounting careers in history. He went from the Checker Cab Company to General Motors (GM), where he spent nine years, before signing on with the Bendix Aviation Company, where he tripled their output in one year. In 1946, Ford had been losing an average of $68 million a year since the war, and Henry Ford II was struggling to hold onto the reins of one of America's mightiest institutions, still recovering from the retirement of its founder. Ford befriended Breech, eventually persuading him to work for Ford. Breech considered it his duty, saying "Here's a young man only one year older than our oldest son. He needs help; this is a great challenge that if I don't accept I shall always regret." Before the so-called "Whiz Kids" came on the scene, it was Breech who cleared the ground for expansion by trimming away Ford's corporate fat. He decentralized management and gave the place what Businessweek called, "the professional management savvy required to translate the concept into the elaborate organization." More importantly, Breech plowed most of the company's profits back into the company, investing heavily on future production. Breech became a mentor to young Henry Ford, who studied him carefully. While the two men were apparently inseparable at first, Ford gradually distanced himself from the man that had saved his father's company. After being the de facto ruler of Ford, from the position of chairman of the board, Breech was soon challenged by his protégé. Reportedly, in 1958, at a Ford gathering in West Virginia, Henry Ford declared, "I am the captain of this ship and I intend to remain captain as long as my name is on the bow." Breech is said to have turned pale at the remark. Two years later Breech stepped down from his position after "many months of deepest soul-searching." He left behind him a company that was earning $500 million a year with $4 billion in plants and equipment.
07-03-2006, 08:12 PM
1986 Rudy Vallee dies
Rudy Vallee, singing star of the 1920s and 1930s, dies on this day in 1986. The Yale-educated Vallee became one of the country's most popular singers and bandleaders, sporting a preppy look and a smooth sound that quickly attracted fans. Vallee's radio variety show launched the careers of numerous entertainers, including Milton Berle and Edgar Bergen. He died in Hollywood in 1986.
07-03-2006, 08:13 PM
1988 U.S. warship downs Iranian passenger jet
In the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy cruiser Vincennes shoots down an Iranian passenger jet that it mistakes for a hostile Iranian fighter aircraft. Two missiles were fired from the American warship--the aircraft was hit, and all 290 people aboard were killed. The attack came near the end of the Iran-Iraq War, when U.S. vessels were in the gulf defending Kuwaiti oil tankers. Minutes before Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down, the Vincennes had engaged Iranian gunboats that shot at its helicopter.
Iran called the downing of the aircraft a "barbaric massacre," but U.S. officials defended the action, claiming that the aircraft was outside the commercial jet flight corridor, flying at only 7,800 feet, and was on a descent toward the Vincennes. However, one month later, U.S. authorities acknowledged that the airbus was in the commercial flight corridor, flying at 12,000 feet, and not descending. The U.S. Navy report blamed crew error caused by psychological stress on men who were in combat for the first time. In 1996, the U.S. agreed to pay $62 million in damages to the families of the Iranians killed in the attack.
07-03-2006, 08:13 PM
1989 A mother is arrested and accused of killing her four children
Martha Ann Johnson is arrested in Georgia for the 1982 murder of her oldest child, Jennyann Wright, after an Atlanta newspaper initiated a new investigation into her suspicious death. Johnson's three other children had also mysteriously died between 1977 and 1982.
Back in September 1977, Johnson (who was only 21 at the time) and her third husband, Earl Bowen, lived with Johnson's kids, Jennyann Wright and James Taylor, from her previous marriages. Shortly after a dispute in which Bowen walked out on Johnson, two-year-old James was brought to the hospital and pronounced dead. The doctors ruled the cause of death to be sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
In the wake of the tragedy, Bowen returned home and the couple reconciled, having two additional children, Earl Jr. and Tibitha. But in 1980, after Bowen took off again, three-month-old Tibitha was found dead--reportedly the result of SIDS once again. Although Bowen was suspicious, he returned home, where he remained until another fight separated the couple. This time, little Earl was stricken with an unknown seizure disorder and died. Jennyann told social workers that she was afraid of her mother, but the authorities sent her home anyway. A year later, she was dead too--asphyxiated from an undetermined cause.
In 1989, after she split from Bowen for good and married her fourth husband, Johnson was arrested. She quickly confessed that she had smothered Jennyann and James as they slept by sitting on them (she weighed more than 250 pounds), but denied responsibility for the other two deaths. She admitted that her motive was to reunite with Bowen. At her trial, which began in 1990, she recanted her confession, but the jury was able to watch it on videotape nevertheless. They convicted Johnson of first-degree murder.
Johnson's case initiated a trend in the 1990s in which authorities looked more closely into the sudden deaths of young children. Many doctors have insisted that SIDS has been misdiagnosed in a multitude of cases.
07-03-2006, 08:14 PM
1996 Union and Southern Pacific merger given go-ahead
By the summer of 1996, Union Pacific Railroad's bid to acquire fellow rail giant Southern Pacific probably seemed less like a savvy business move than a political and legal nightmare. The proposed $3.9 billion merger attracted a torrent of opposition shortly after it was announced in August of 1995. Regulators, consumers, and those with shipping concerns marshaled their respective forces against a deal that they feared would staunch competition and bloat transportation costs. However, smelling a handsome payday down the line, Union and Southern Pacific stuck to their guns, even in the face of the Departments of Justice, Transportation and Agriculture recommendation that both companies shed some of their rail lines to prevent a negative impact on the industry. Union and Southern Pacific's resolve was seemingly rewarded on this day in 1996, as Surface Transportation Board cast a unanimous vote in favor of the merger. The Board's approval removed one of the final obstacles to the completion of the deal; later that year, Union and Southern Pacific were joined as one. The thrill of victory didn't linger long, however: Southern Pacific was plagued by infrastructure problems that effectively spoiled some of the benefits of the deal.
07-03-2006, 08:15 PM
1916 1st of 3 fatal shark attacks occurred near NJ shore (4 die)
1925 Tony Curtis [Bernard Schwartz] is born in Bronx, NY, actor
1930 Veterans Administration created
1937 Tom Stoppard is born, playwright
1941 Gloria Allred is born, attorney
1943 Geraldo Rivera aka Gerry Rivers, is born, news reporter
1945 Michael Cole is born in Madison, WI, actor (Pete-Mod Squad)
1947 Betty Buckley is born in Big Springs, TX, actress (Abby-Eight is Enough, 1776, Cats)
1949 Jan Smithers is born in N. Hollywood, CA, actress (Bailey-WKRP)
1957 Laura Branigan is born, singer (Gloria)
1958 "The Andy Williams Show" premiers on ABC (later on CBS & NBC)
1962 Tom Cruise is born in Syracuse, NY, actor
1978 James Daly, actor (Medical Center), dies at 59
1985 CBS announces a 21% stock buy-back to thwart Ted Turner's takeover
1987 2 men became 1st hot-air balloon travelers to cross Atlantic
1989 Jim Backus, actor (Magoo, Mr. Howell on Gilligan's Island), dies at 76 of pneumonia
1989 The movie "Batman," set record of quickest $100 million (10 days)
1991 Donald Trump gives Marla Maples a 7.45 karat diamond ring
07-05-2006, 05:07 AM
July 4, 1776 US declares independence
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France's intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the banner of "no taxation without representation," colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax. With its enactment in November, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest in the colonies, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766.
Most colonists continued to quietly accept British rule until Parliament's enactment of the Tea Act in 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. In response, militant Patriots in Massachusetts organized the "Boston Tea Party," which saw British tea valued at some 18,000 pounds dumped into Boston Harbor.
Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.
With the other colonies watching intently, Massachusetts led the resistance to the British, forming a shadow revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony. In April 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located. On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.
Initially, both the Americans and the British saw the conflict as a kind of civil war within the British Empire: To King George III it was a colonial rebellion, and to the Americans it was a struggle for their rights as British citizens. However, Parliament remained unwilling to negotiate with the American rebels and instead purchased German mercenaries to help the British army crush the rebellion. In response to Britain's continued opposition to reform, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies.
In January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence and sold more than 500,000 copies in a few months. In the spring of 1776, support for independence swept the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments, and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a declaration.
The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other English theorists. The first section features the famous lines, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The second part presents a long list of grievances that provided the rationale for rebellion.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve a Virginia motion calling for separation from Britain. The dramatic words of this resolution were added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence. Two days later, on July 4, the declaration was formally adopted by 12 colonies after minor revision. New York approved it on July 19. On August 2, the declaration was signed.
The American War for Independence would last for five more years. Yet to come were the Patriot triumphs at Saratoga, the bitter winter at Valley Forge, the intervention of the French, and the final victory at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.
07-05-2006, 05:08 AM
1804 Lewis and Clark celebrate July 4
Staging the first-ever Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi River, Lewis and Clark fire the expedition cannon and order an extra ration of whiskey for the men.
Six weeks earlier, Lewis and Clark left American civilization to depart on their famous journey. Since their departure, the party of 29 men--called the Corps of Discovery--had made good progress, traveling up the Missouri River in a 55-foot keelboat and two dugout canoes. When the wind was behind them, Lewis and Clark raised the keelboat sail, and on a few occasions, managed to travel 20 miles in a single day.
By early July, the expedition had reached the northeastern corner of the present-day state of Kansas. The fertility of the land astonished the two leaders of the expedition. Clark wrote of the many deer, "as plenty as Hogs about a farm," and with his usual creative spelling, praised the tasty "rasberreis perple, ripe and abundant."
On this day in 1804, the expedition stopped near the mouth of a creek flowing out of the western prairie. The men asked the captains if they knew if the creek had a name. Knowing none, they decided to call it Independence Creek in honor of the day.
The expedition continued upstream, making camp that evening at an abandoned Indian village. To celebrate the Fourth of July, Lewis and Clark commanded that the keelboat cannon be fired at sunset. They distributed an extra ration of whiskey to the men, and the explorers settled back to enjoy the peaceful Kansas night. In his final journal entry of the day, Clark wondered at the existence of, "So magnificent a Senerey in a Contry thus Situated far removed from the Sivilised world to be enjoyed by nothing but the Buffalo Elk Deer & Bear in which it abounds & Savage Indians."
The next day, the travelers resumed their journey up the Missouri River toward the distant Pacific Coast. They would not pass by their pleasant camping spot in Kansas again until their return journey, two years and many adventures later.
07-05-2006, 05:09 AM
1826 Death of the founding fathers
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Both men had been central in the drafting of the historic document; Jefferson had authored it, and Adams, who was known as the "colossus of the debate," served on the drafting committee and had argued eloquently for the declaration's passage.
After July 4, 1776, Adams traveled to France as a diplomat, where he proved instrumental in winning French support for the Patriot cause, and Jefferson returned to Virginia, where he served as state governor during the dark days of the American Revolution. After the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Adams was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, and with Jefferson he returned to Europe to try to negotiate a U.S.-British trade treaty.
After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state. During Washington's administration, Jefferson, with his democratic ideals and concept of states' rights, often came into conflict with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who supported a strong federal government and conservative property rights. Adams often arbitrated between Hamilton and his old friend Jefferson, though in politics he was generally allied with Hamilton.
In 1796, Adams defeated Jefferson in the presidential election, but the latter became vice president, because at that time the office was still filled by the candidate who finished second. As president, Adams' main concern was America's deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.
As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia. Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment.
By remarkable coincidence, Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, Independence Day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Adams' last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still survives," though his old friend and political adversary had died a few hours before.
07-05-2006, 05:09 AM
1840 "Locofocos" pass Independent Treasury Act
Despite their seemingly silly moniker, the "Locofocos" (who borrowed their name from a then-popular brand of "self igniting" matches) were a considerably strong voice in the Democratic Party during the first half of the nineteenth century. Formed by a like-minded group of workers and reformers, the Locofocos were left-leaning fiscal firebrands; their platform was studded with a number of radical notions, including proposed bans on paper bills, tariffs and oversized corporate trusts. But, the Locofocos' central goal was to oust the Federal government from the banking world. In 1840, the party found a potent ally in President Martin Van Buren, who had long since opposed a government-centric banking system. During his tenure as Vice President in Andrew Jackson's administration, Van Buren had supported Jackson's zealous drive to destroy the government-supported Bank of the United States, and called on Congress to cut the ties between banks and the government. After a nasty political tussle, legislators passed the aptly named Independent Treasury Act on July 4, 1840. The bill mandated the transfer of funds from state banks to a putatively "independent" treasury. To help handle the inevitable tide of fiscal transactions, the bill created a network of subtreasuries, which were dotted along east coast--including branches in Boston, New York and Philadelphia--and in other patches of the country.
07-05-2006, 05:10 AM
1855 First edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass is published
On this day, Walt Whitman's first edition of the self-published Leaves of Grass is printed, containing a dozen poems.
Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, and raised in Brooklyn. He left school at the age of 14 to become a journeyman printer and later worked as a teacher, journalist, editor, and carpenter to support his writing. In 1855, he self-published Leaves of Grass, which carried his picture but not his name. He revised the book many times, constantly adding and rewriting poems. The second edition, in 1856, included his "Sundown Poem," later called "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," one of his most beloved pieces. Whitman sometimes took long ferry and coach rides as an excuse to talk with people, and was also fond of long walks and cultural events in Manhattan.
In 1862, Whitman's brother was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and Whitman went to care for him. He spent the rest of the war comforting both Union and Confederate soldiers. After the war, Whitman worked for several government departments until 1873, when he suffered a stroke. He spent the rest of his life in Camden, New Jersey, and continued to issue revised editions of Leaves of Grass until shortly before his death in 1892.
07-05-2006, 05:11 AM
1863 Surrender of Vicksburg
The Confederacy is torn in two when General John C. Pemberton surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Vicksburg.
The Vicksburg campaign was one of the most successful campaigns of the war. Although Grant's first attempt to take the city failed in the winter of 1862-63, he renewed his efforts in the spring. Admiral David Porter had run his flotilla past the Vicksburg defenses in early May as Grant marched his army down the west bank of the river opposite Vicksburg, crossed back to Mississippi, and drove toward Jackson. After defeating a Confederate force near Jackson, Grant turned back to Vicksburg. On May 16, he defeated a force under John C. Pemberton at Champion Hill. Pemberton retreated back to Vicksburg, and Grant sealed the city by the end of May. In three weeks, Grant's men marched 180 miles, won five battles, and took 6,000 prisoners.
Grant made some attacks after bottling Vicksburg, but found the Confederates well entrenched. Preparing for a long siege, his army constructed 15 miles of trenches and enclosed Pemberton's force of 29,000 men inside the perimeter. It was only a matter of time before Grant, with 70,000 troops, captured Vicksburg. Attempts to rescue Pemberton and his force failed from both the east and west, and conditions for both military personnel and civilians deteriorated rapidly. Many residents moved to tunnels dug from the hillsides to escape the constant bombardments. Pemberton surrendered on July 4, and President Lincoln wrote that the Mississippi River "again goes unvexed to the sea."
The town of Vicksburg would not celebrate the Fourth of July for 81 years.
07-05-2006, 05:11 AM
1914 Griffith begins filming Birth of a Nation
On this day in 1914, director D.W. Griffith begins filming his controversial film Birth of a Nation, which introduces important new filmmaking techniques and influences many later directors.
Griffith started out as a stage actor and playwright in the late 1800s, then became a writer and director at movie studio Biograph. One of the first directors to realize that film acting required a different set of skills than stage acting, Griffith assembled a stable of actors specifically trained for the new medium, including Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish.
Griffith spent about $100,000 making Birth of a Nation, a Civil War epic that used groundbreaking techniques in filmmaking, including multiple camera angles. When the film debuted in Los Angeles in February 1915, it was nearly three hours long; before Griffith, directors had assumed audiences would never sit still for such a long movie.
The film, originally titled The Clansman, provoked an outcry from liberals and black leaders, who objected to the film's sympathetic portrayal of members of the Ku Klux Klan and demonization of Southern blacks. Despite attempts by several groups to ban the film, the picture became a financial success, drawing long lines to pay the unprecedented price of $2 a ticket. One of the songs in the movie's score, "The Perfect Song," became the first musical hit generated by a movie. Oddly, the song became the theme music for the radio and TV series Amos 'N Andy, which also provoked criticism for perpetuating racial stereotypes.
07-05-2006, 05:12 AM
1943 Polish general fighting for justice dies tragically
On this day in 1943, Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski dies when his plane crashes less than a mile from its takeoff point at Gibraltar. Controversy remains over whether it was an accident or an assassination.
Born May 20, 1888, in Austrian Poland (that part of Poland co-opted by the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Sikorski served in the Austrian army. He went on to serve in the Polish Legion, attached to the Austrian army, during World War I, and fought in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920-21. He became prime minister of Poland for a brief period (1922-23).
When Germany invaded and occupied Poland in 1939, Sikorski became leader of a Polish government-in-exile in Paris. He developed a good working relationship with the Allies-until April 1943, when Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin broke off Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations after Sikorski requested that the Red Cross investigate the alleged Soviet slaughter of Polish officers in the Katyn forest of eastern Poland in 1942.
After Germany and the USSR divided up Poland in 1939, thousands of Polish military personnel were sent to prison camps by the Soviets. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Stalin created a pact with the Polish government-in-exile to cooperate in the battle against the Axis. Given the new relationship, the Poles requested the return of the imprisoned military men, but the Soviets claimed they had escaped and could not be found. But when Germany overran eastern Poland, the part that had previously been under Soviet control, mass graves in the Katyn forest were discovered, containing the corpses of over 4,000 Polish officers, all shot in the back. The Soviets, apparently, had massacred them. But despite the evidence, the Soviet government insisted it was the Germans who were responsible.
Once news of the massacre spread, a formal Declaration of War Crimes was signed in London on January 13, 1943. Among the signatories was General Sikorski and General Charles de Gaulle. But Sikorksi did not want to wait until after the war for the punishment of those responsible for the Katyn massacre. He wanted the International Red Cross to investigate immediately.
It is believed that Britain considered this request a threat to Allied solidarity and some believe that in order to silence Sikorski on this issue, the British went so far as to shoot down his plane. There is no solid evidence of this.
After the war, the communist Polish government officially accepted the Soviet line regarding the mass graves. It was not until 1992 that the Russian government released documents proving that the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, had been responsible for the Katyn slaughter-backed up by the old Soviet Politburo.
07-05-2006, 05:13 AM
1954 A sensationalized murder trial inspires The Fugitive
Marilyn Sheppard is beaten to death inside her suburban home in Cleveland, Ohio. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, claimed to have returned home to find a man with bushy hair fleeing the scene. The authorities, who uncovered the fact that Dr. Sheppard had been having an affair, did not believe his story and charged him with killing his pregnant wife.
Creating a national sensation, the media invaded the courtroom and printed daily stories premised on Sheppard's guilt. The jurors, who were not sequestered, found Sheppard guilty. Arguing that the circumstances of the trial had unfairly influenced the jury, Sheppard appealed to the Supreme Court and got his conviction overturned in 1966. Yet, despite the fact that Sheppard had no previous criminal record, many still believed that he was responsible for his wife's murder.
The Sheppard case brought to light the issue of bias within the court system. Jurors are now carefully screened to ensure that they have not already come to a predetermined conclusion about a case in which they are about to hear. In especially high-profile cases, jurors can be sequestered so that they are not exposed to outside media sources. However, most judges simply order jurors not to watch news reports about the case, and rely on them to honor the order.
Sheppard's case provided the loose inspiration for the hit television show The Fugitive, in which the lead character, Richard Kimble, is falsely accused of killing his wife, escapes from prison, and pursues the one-armed man he claimed to have seen fleeing the murder scene.
In 1998, DNA tests on physical evidence found at Sheppard's house revealed that there had indeed been another man at the murder scene. Sheppard's son, who had pursued the case long after his father's death in order to vindicate his reputation, sued the state for wrongful imprisonment in 2000, but lost.
07-05-2006, 05:13 AM
1961 Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards marry
On this day in 1961, actress Lauren Bacall marries actor Jason Robards. Bacall first gained stardom playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, whom she married in 1945. Four years after Bogart's death in 1957, Bacall married Robards, an actor highly esteemed for his serious stage roles in such productions as A Long Day's Journey into Night and The Iceman Cometh. The couple had one son, Sam Robards, and divorced in 1969. Robards died in 2000.
07-05-2006, 05:14 AM
1963 South Vietnamese officers plot coup
Gen. Tran Van Don informs Lucien Conein of the CIA that certain officers are planning a coup against South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem, who had been supported by the Kennedy administration, had refused to make any meaningful reforms and had oppressed the Buddhist majority. Conein informed Washington that the generals were plotting to overturn the government. President John F. Kennedy, who had come to the conclusion that the Diem government should no longer be in command, sent word that the United States would not interfere with the coup.
In the early afternoon hours of November 1, a group of South Vietnamese generals ordered their troops to seize key military installations and communications systems in Saigon and demanded the resignation of Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu. Diem was unable to summon any support, so he and Nhu escaped the palace through an underground passage to a Catholic church in the Chinese sector of the city. From there, Diem began negotiating with the generals by phone. He agreed to surrender and was promised safe conduct, but shortly after midnight he and his brother were brutally murdered in back of the armored personnel carrier sent to pick them up and return them to the palace.
Kennedy, who had given tacit approval for the coup, was reportedly shocked at the murder of Diem and Nhu. Nevertheless, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge called the insurgent generals to his office to congratulate them and cabled Kennedy that the prospects for a shorter war had greatly improved with the demise of Diem and Nhu.
07-05-2006, 05:14 AM
1968 Thieu vows to wipe out corruption
At a formal ceremony inaugurating the formation of a new multiparty pro-government political group, the People's Alliance for Social Revolution, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu praises the organization as a "major step toward grassroots political activity." An Alliance manifesto asserted that the group was "determined to wipe out corruption, do away with social inequalities, and rout out the entrenched forces of militarists and reactionaries who have always blocked progress." Thieu's government had long been accused of corruption and, in order to garner political support from the People's Alliance, he vowed to take steps to eradicate the corruption. Unfortunately, neither Thieu nor the People's Alliance could do much about the entrenched corruption in the South Vietnamese government.
07-05-2006, 05:15 AM
1984 Petty wins 200th race
Richard Petty, the king of stock car racing, won his 200th career victory at the Firecracker 400 race in Daytona, Florida, in front of a record crowd that included NASCAR's first presidential patron, Ronald Reagan. Petty's record for wins will very likely never be broken. The Firecracker 400 win was especially dramatic, as Petty hadn't been winning regularly on the circuit and had suffered an embarrassment eight months earlier when he was found to have run too big an engine in his victory at the 1983 Miller 500 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The convergence of the king's 200th win, the presence of the president, and the date of July 4th led NASCAR critics to suggest that the win may have been arranged. NASCAR had long been suspected of aiding certain drivers in need, the most serious allegation being that it allowed Junior Johnson to run illegal engines in 1994 in order to encourage McDonald's to remain a team car sponsor. Petty fans bristle at the accusation that the king's crowning achievement wasn't courtly, and while their case is solid, a shadow of doubt remains. His supporters contend that Petty leased his car engine from Robert Yates, the headman of the Digard racing team--whose driver was Petty's lifelong rival, Bobby Allison. Why would Digard give Petty a bigger engine than Allison? Moreover, Petty had been caught running too big an engine eight months earlier, and the so-called "Pettygate" scandal had resulted in a lot of unpleasant publicity for NASCAR. Additionally, Petty's cars had been running strong all year. He'd led over 200 laps already in 1984, and he had won five weeks earlier at the Dover 500, where Daytona 500 champion Cale Yarborough had described Petty as "real strong" at the season's first event. Finally, Petty had never relied heavily on power to win him races, instead preferring to outmaneuver his opponents and preserve his car for the later stages of the race when he could take control. NASCAR's restrictor plates create fertile ground for conspiracy theories, as slight size adjustments in the plates can create an edge in horsepower that would give an insurmountable advantage to most of today's drivers. It's true that the '80s saw NASCAR trying to promote itself to a broader fan base, and that a spectacle such as an Independence Day victory for the sport's greatest racer in front of the nation's president was an irresistible lure. But there was a reason Richard Petty won his first 199 victories when his closest competition won only 105--so why question number 200?
07-05-2006, 05:16 AM
1987 Soviets rock for peace
A rock concert in Moscow, jointly organized by American promoters and the Soviet government, plays to a crowd of approximately 25,000. The venture was intended to serve as symbol of peace and understanding between the people of the United States and the Soviet Union.
The idea of a rock concert in Russia was essentially the brainchild of concert promoter Bill Graham, a fixture in the West Coast rock and roll scene. He approached the Soviet government about the idea of holding a show in Moscow. Some Soviet officials were extremely reluctant to consider the concert. For nearly three decades, rock and roll had been castigated by official Soviet propaganda as "decadent" and a threat to public morality. However, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power in the mid-1980s heralded a new liberalism. The Soviets agreed to host the concert, and it took place on the Fourth of July. Performers included Santana, the Doobie Brothers, and Bonnie Raitt. The security for the show was heavy--some observers said "oppressive"--and most of the 25,000 people who attended were kept far away from the stage. One American reporter claimed that many of the Russians trickled out during the show, bored or disgusted. Only when a Russian folk troupe hit the stage did the crowd muster up much excitement.
The concert was evidence of the new, but still uneasy relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States. Gorbachev's promises of economic and democratic reforms encouraged many in the United States to believe that a new and less antagonistic relationship with Russia might be possible. As the thousands of armed guards at the concert demonstrated, however, the new "openness" in Soviet society was hardly complete.
07-05-2006, 05:17 AM
1997 Pathfinder lands on Mars
After traveling 120 million miles in seven months, NASA's Mars Pathfinder becomes the first U.S. spacecraft to land on Mars in more than two decades. In an ingenious, cost-saving landing procedure, Pathfinder used parachutes to slow its approach to the Martian surface and then deployed airbags to cushion its impact. Colliding with the Ares Vallis floodplain at 40 miles an hour, the spacecraft bounced high into the Martian atmosphere 16 times before safely coming to rest.
On July 5, the Pathfinder lander was renamed Sagan Memorial Station in honor of the late American astronomer Carl Sagan, and the next day Sojourner, the first remote-control interplanetary rover, rolled off the station. Soujourner, which traveled a total of 171 feet during its 30-day mission, sent back a wealth of information about the chemical components of rock and soil in the area. In addition, nearly 10,000 images of the Martian landscape were taken.
The Mars Pathfinder mission, which cost just $150 million, was hailed as a triumph for NASA, and millions of Internet users visited the official Pathfinder Web site to view images of the red planet.
07-05-2006, 05:18 AM
1827 Slavery abolished in NY
1845 Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond
1862 Lewis Carroll creates Alice in Wonderland for Alice P. Liddell
1881 Brooker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute
1882 Telegraph Hill Observatory opens in SF
1883 Rube Goldberg is born, he made the easy, outrageously difficult
1885 Louis B. Mayer is born in Minsk, Russia, motion-picture executive (MGM)
1900 Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong is born in New Orleans, LA, jazz musician
1902 Meyer Lansky is born, mobster
1911 Mitch Miller is born in Rochester, NY
1912 Virginia Graham is born in Chicago, IL, TV personality
1916 Tokyo Rose is born, WW II propagandist
1918 Abigail Van Buren is born, advice columnist
1918 Ann Landers is born, advice columnist
1920 Leona Helmsley (wife of Harry), is born
1924 Eva Marie Saint is born in Newark, NJ, actress
1927 Gina Lollobrigida is born in Subiaco, Italy, actress
1927 Neil Simon is born, playwright
1930 George Steinbrenner is born, NY Yankees owner/ship builder/horse owner
1938 Bill Withers is born in WV, rhythm & blues singer (Lean on Me)
1959 America's new 49-star flag honoring Alaska statehood unfurled
1959 Cayman Islands separated from Jamaica, made a crown colony
1960 America's new 50-star flag honoring Hawaiian statehood unfurled
1969 "Give Peace a Chance" by Plastic Ono Band is released in the UK
1969 140,000 attend Atlanta Pop Festival featuring Led Zeppelin & Janis Joplin
1970 100 injured in race rioting in Asbury Park, NJ
1970 Chartered Dan-Air Comet crashes into mountains north of
Barcelona, Spain killing 112 vacationing Britons
1990 2 Live Crew release "Banned in the USA." The lyrics quote Star
Spangled Banner & Gettysburg Address
07-06-2006, 12:37 PM
July 6, 1862 Mark Twain begins reporting in Virginia City
Writing under the name of Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens begins publishing news stories in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.
Born in Missouri in 1835, Clemens followed a circuitous route to becoming an observer and writer of the American West. As a young man he apprenticed as a printer and worked in St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia. In 1856, he briefly considered a trip to South America where he thought he could make money collecting coca leaves. A year later, he became a riverboat pilot apprentice on the Mississippi River, and worked on the water for the next four years.
In 1861, Clemens' brother Orion was appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada. Clemens jumped at the offer to accompany Orion on his western adventure. He spent his first year in Nevada prospecting for a gold or silver mine but was no more successful than the vast majority of would-be miners. In need of money, he accepted a job as reporter for a Virginia City, Nevada, newspaper called the Territorial Enterprise. His articles covering the bustling frontier-mining town began to appear on this day in 1862. Like many newspapermen of the day, Clemens adopted a pen name, signing his articles with the name Mark Twain, a term from his old river boating days.
Clemens' stint as a Nevada newspaperman revealed an exceptional talent for writing. In 1864, he traveled farther West to cover the booming state of California. Fascinated by the frontier life, Clemens drew on his western experiences to write one of his first published works of fiction, the 1865 short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The success of this classic western tall tale catapulted Clemens out of the West, and he became a world-hopping journalist for a California newspaper.
In 1869, Clemens settled in Buffalo, New York, and later in Hartford, Connecticut. All told, Clemens spent only a little more than five years in the West, and the majority of his subsequent work focused on the Mississippi River country and the Northeast. As a result, Clemens can hardly be defined as a western writer. Still, his 1872 account of his western adventures, Roughing It, remains one of the most original and evocative eyewitness accounts of the frontier ever written. More importantly, even his non-western masterpieces like Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884) reflected a frontier mentality in their rejection of eastern pretentiousness and genteel literary conventions.
07-06-2006, 12:38 PM
1864 Jubal Early occupies Hagerstown, Maryland
On this day, Confederate General Jubal Early's troops cross the Potomac River and capture Hagerstown, Maryland. Early had sought to threaten Washington, D.C., and thereby relieve pressure on General Robert E. Lee, who was fighting to keep Ulysses S. Grant out of Richmond.
During the brutal six-week campaign against Grant in June 1864, Lee was under tremendous pressure. On June 12, he dispatched Jubal Early to Lynchburg, in western Virginia, to hold off a Union attack by General David Hunter. After defeating Hunter, Early was ordered to head down the Shenandoah Valley to the Potomac. Lee hoped that this threat to Washington would force Grant to return part of his army to the capital and protect it from an embarrassing capture by the Confederates. Lee was inspired by a similar Shenandoah campaign by Stonewall Jackson in 1862, in which Jackson occupied three Federal armies in a brilliant military show. However, the circumstances were different in 1864. Grant now had plenty of men, and Lee was stretched thin around the Richmond-Petersburg perimeter.
Still, the first part of Early's raid was successful. His force crossed the Potomac on July 6, and a cavalry brigade under John McCausland rode into Hagerstown. Early instructed McCausland to demand $200,000 from the city officials of Hagerstown for damages caused by Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, but McCausland felt the amount was too large, so he asked for $20,000. After receiving the money, Early's army turned southeast toward Washington. The Confederates reached the outskirts of the city before being turned away by troops from Grant's army.
07-06-2006, 12:39 PM
1934 Joseph Breen appointed head censor
On this day in 1934, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) appoints Joseph Breen head of the Production Code Administration. The department was also known as the "Hays Office," after William H. Hays, head of the MPPDA. Breen tightened up studio compliance with the Production Code, which had been adopted in 1930 to impose strict guidelines on the cinematic treatment of sex, crime, religion, violence, and other controversial subjects.
07-06-2006, 12:39 PM
1935 Dalai Lama, leader of Tibet and bestselling author, is born
On this day, an infant named Tenzin Gyatso, future leader of Tibet and bestselling author, is born to a peasant family in Takster, Tibet. At age two, he will be declared the Dalai Lama. In 1999, he will have two bestsellers on the nonfiction lists.
In 1937, the child was declared the reincarnation of a great Buddhist spiritual leader and named the 14th Dalai Lama. His leadership rights were exercised by a regency until 1950. That same year, he was forced to flee by the Chinese but negotiated an agreement and returned to lead Tibet for the next eight years. In 1959, an unsuccessful Tibetan nationalist uprising led to a crackdown by China, and the Dalai Lama fled to Punjab, India, where he established his democratic government in exile. In 1989, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to the nonviolent liberation of Tibet.
In 1998, his book The Art of Happiness, written with psychiatrist Howard Cutler, became a bestseller. His next book, Ethics for the New Millennium (1999), cracked the bestseller lists in August 1999, giving him two titles in the Top 10. Both books offered guidance for happy, simple living. Although drawing on Buddhist teachings, the books argue that spiritual faith is not necessary to live a contented, peaceful life.
He has since written several more books and, in 2005, was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.
07-06-2006, 12:40 PM
1942 Frank family takes refuge
In Nazi-occupied Holland, 13-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are forced to take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The day before, Anne's older sister, Margot, had received a call-up notice to be deported to a Nazi "work camp."
Born in Germany on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank fled to Amsterdam with her family in 1933 to escape Nazi persecution. In the summer of 1942, with the German occupation of Holland underway, 12-year-old Anne began a diary relating her everyday experiences, her relationship with her family and friends, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world around her. On July 6, fearing deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, the Frank family took shelter in a factory run by Christian friends. During the next two years, under the threat of murder by the Nazi officers patrolling just outside the warehouse, Anne kept a diary that is marked by poignancy, humor, and insight.
On August 4, 1944, just two months after the successful Allied landing at Normandy, the Nazi Gestapo discovered the Frank's "Secret Annex." The Franks were sent to the Nazi death camps along with two of the Christians who had helped shelter them, and another Jewish family and a single Jewish man with whom they had shared the hiding place. Anne and most of the others ended up at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Anne's diary was left behind, undiscovered by the Nazis.
In early 1945, with the Soviet liberation of Poland underway, Anne was moved with her sister, Margot, to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Suffering under the deplorable conditions of the camp, the two sisters caught typhus and died in early March. After the war, Anne's diary was discovered undisturbed in the Amsterdam hiding place and in 1947 was translated into English and published. An instant best-seller and eventually translated into more than 30 languages, The Diary of Anne Frank has served as a literary testament to the six million Jews, including Anne herself, who were silenced in the Holocaust.
07-06-2006, 12:40 PM
1944 The Hartford Circus Fire
In Hartford, Connecticut, a fire breaks out under the big top of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, killing 167 people and injuring 682. Two-thirds of those who perished were children. The cause of the fire was unknown, but it spread at incredible speed, racing up the canvas of the circus tent. Scarcely before the 8,000 spectators inside the big top could react, patches of burning canvas began falling on them from above, and a stampede for the exits began. Many were trapped under fallen canvas, but most were able to rip through it and escape. However, after the tent's ropes burned and its poles gave way, the whole burning big top came crashing down, consuming those who remained inside. Within 10 minutes it was over, and some 100 children and 60 of their adult escorts were dead or dying.
An investigation revealed that the tent had undergone a treatment with flammable paraffin thinned with three parts of gasoline to make it waterproof. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus eventually agreed to pay $5 million in compensation, and several of the organizers were convicted on manslaughter charges. In 1950, in a late development in the case, Robert D. Segee of Circleville, Ohio, confessed to starting the Hartford circus fire. Segee claimed that he had been an arsonist since the age of six and that an apparition of an Indian on a flaming horse often visited him and urged him to set fires. In November 1950, Segee was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 22 years in prison, the maximum penalty in Ohio at the time.
07-06-2006, 12:41 PM
1944 Georges Mandel, French patriot, is executed
On this day in 1944, Georges Mandel, France's minister of colonies and vehement opponent of the armistice with Germany, is executed in a wood outside Paris by collaborationist French.
Born into a prosperous Jewish family (his given name was Louis-Georges Rothschild, though no relation to the banking family) in 1885, Mandel's political career began at age 21 as a member of the personal staff of French Premier Georges Clemenceau. He went on to serve in the National Assembly from 1919 to 1924, and then again from 1928 to 1940. Although a political conservative, he fell into conflict with fellow conservatives over their too-often pro-German sympathies, especially during the two world wars.
In 1940, he was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior by then French Premier Paul Reynaud, with whom he shared the conviction that no armistice should be made with the German invaders, and that the battle should continue, even if only from France's colonies in Africa. After the resignation of Reynaud and the establishment of the Petain/Vichy government, Mandel sailed to Morocco, where he was arrested and sent back to France and imprisoned. He was then handed over to the Germans, and put in concentration camps in Oranienburg and Buchenwald. On July 4, 1944, he was shipped back to Paris, where the French security police, the Milice, took him out to a wood and shot him. As he was being handed over to his countrymen by the German SS, he said: "To die is nothing. What is sad is to die without seeing the liberation of the country and the restoration of the Republic."
07-06-2006, 12:42 PM
1946 George "Bugs" Moran is arrested
FBI agents arrest George "Bugs" Moran, along with fellow crooks Virgil Summers and Albert Fouts, in Kentucky. Once one of the biggest organized crime figures in America, Moran had been reduced to small bank robberies by this time. He died in prison 11 years later.
Bugs Moran's criminal career took an abrupt downturn after the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, in which his top gunmen were slaughtered by rival Al Capone's henchmen. (A lasting feud had been established after Capone's men killed Moran's friend and mentor, Deanie O'Bannion, in 1924.) Moran, who just missed the massacre by a couple of minutes, was visibly shaken when reporters talked to him days later. He shouted at them, "Only Capone kills like that!"
Al "Scarface" Capone established his alibi by vacationing in Florida at the time of the Valentine's Day murders. Sitting poolside, he mocked Moran, chuckling as he told reporters, "The only man who kills like that is Bugs Moran." Later, while Capone was serving time for tax evasion, Moran earned a measure of revenge by killing some of the men who had carried out the massacre.
Reportedly, Moran repented for his past crimes while in Leavenworth federal prison and died peacefully of lung cancer at age 60.
07-06-2006, 12:42 PM
1955 Diem says South Vietnam not bound by Geneva Agreements
South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem declares in a broadcast that since South Vietnam had not signed the Geneva Agreements, South Vietnam was not bound by them. Although Diem did not reject the "principle of elections," he said that any proposals from the communist Viet Minh were out of the question "if proof is not given us that they put the higher interest of the national community above those of communism."
The Geneva Conference had begun on April 26, 1954, to negotiate an end to the First Indochina War between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh. The negotiations resulted in the signing of a truce on July 20. The agreement fixed a provisional demarcation line roughly along the 17th parallel (which would eventually be called the Demilitarized Zone), pending countrywide elections to be held in July 1956. It also allowed the evacuation of French forces north of that line, and Viet Minh forces south of it. Freedom of movement from either zone was allowed for 300 days, and restrictions were imposed on future military alliances. An International Control Commission was formed with representatives from India, Canada, and Poland to supervise implementation of the agreement, including the scheduled elections. The whole package of agreements became known as the Geneva Accords.
The agreement was reached over the objections of South Vietnam, which refused to sign it. Likewise, the United States did not concur with the accords, but pledged that it would refrain from use of force or the threat of force to disturb their provisions. However, United States representatives declared that the U.S. would look upon renewed aggression in violation of the agreement "with grave concern."
The Geneva Accords ended the war between the French and Viet Minh, but set the stage for renewed conflict. When Diem, realizing the strength of Ho Chi Minh's support in South Vietnam, blocked the elections that were called for in the accords, the United States, citing alleged North Vietnamese truce violation, supported him. No longer able to use the elections as a means to reunify Vietnam, the communists turned to force of arms to defeat South Vietnam. This war lasted until 1975, when the North Vietnamese launched their final offensive. South Vietnam, no longer supported by the United States, which had departed in 1973, fell to the communists in 55 days.
07-06-2006, 12:43 PM
1955 Government researches auto emissions
The Federal Air Pollution Control Act was implemented on this day in 1955, providing federally allocated funds for research into causal analysis and control of car-emission pollution. Concern over the effects of air-pollution had mounted steadily in the U.S. as urban sprawl increased. In 1952, a "killer fog" enveloped London, causing an estimated 4,000 deaths. Though both the cause and the precise effects of the fog were unclear, the phenomenon sparked an international hysteria about the effects of emissions pollution. The following year, Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit discovered the nature of photochemical smog, determining that nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons combined with ultraviolet radiation from the sun created smog. He also discovered that ozone played a key role in the bonding process that created smog. It was at this time that the U.S. began a rapid shift from coal as an energy source, replacing it with natural gas. It would not be until 1960 that the government specifically addressed car-emissions pollution as a legal issue, with the Federal Motor Vehicle Act of 1960, calling for further research and development into the control of car emissions. The next year, the first automotive emissions control technology--positive crankcase ventilation (PCV)--was mandated by the California Motor Vehicle Board. PCV technology limited hydrocarbon emission by returning blow-by gases from the crankcase back to a car's cylinders, where they were burned with fuel and air. In 1963, the first Federal Clean-Air Act was passed, allocating research money for local and federal institutions to combat air pollution.
07-06-2006, 12:44 PM
1957 Paul McCartney meets John Lennon
On this day in 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney attends a church picnic in the village of Woolton, near Liverpool, where he meets 16-year-old John Lennon. Lennon had formed a band called the Quarrymen, which was playing at the picnic. Between sets, McCartney played a few songs on guitar for the band, and a few days later Lennon invited him to join. At first, McCartney didn't take the group seriously-in fact, he missed his first performance with the band because he had a scouting trip.
Soon, however, the group had a loyal following. The group changed its name to Johnny and the Moondogs and recruited McCartney's friend George Harrison. After bassist Stu Sutcliffe joined, they changed the name again, to the Silver Beetles, eventually modified to the Beatles. Tommy Moore joined the band as drummer and was replaced by Pete Best in 1960.
After a tour to Germany in 1961, Sutcliffe left the band to become a painter (he died of a brain hemorrhage less than a year later), and the band returned to Liverpool. Label after label rejected them. In 1962, Best left the band, Ringo Starr joined up, and the Fab Four--McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr--recorded "Love Me Do," the group's first Top 20 hit in the United Kingdom.
Two years later, they were introduced to American listeners. When they landed at Kennedy Airport in 1964 to start their first U.S. tour, a frenzied mob of fans greeted them. Their debut album in the United States, Meet the Beatles, became the fastest-selling album in U.S. history up to that time. The Beatles went on to score more No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts than any other group in history, with 20 chart toppers. They received the Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 at Buckingham Palace.
The band broke up in 1970, and each member either pursued a solo career or formed a new group. Although there was frequent speculation about the possibility of a reunion, Lennon's tragic murder by a deranged fan in 1980 ended that possibility.
Eight years later, the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a retrospective anthology was released in 1995. It included the previously unrecorded "Free as a Bird," written by Lennon and recorded by surviving band members in 1994 and 1995. It became one of the fastest-selling albums in history.
07-06-2006, 12:44 PM
1963 U.S. policymakers express optimism
In the light of a deepening ideological rift between the Soviet Union and China, U.S. officials express their belief that Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev will seek closer relations with the United States. Unfortunately, the optimism was somewhat misplaced. Although China and the Soviet Union announced a serious split in mid-July 1963, Khrushchev's days in office were numbered.
Officials in the U.S. government watched with tremendous interest the developing rift between the Soviet Union and China in the early 1960s. The ideological split centered around the Chinese perception that the Russians were becoming too "soft" in their revolutionary zeal and too accommodating to Western capitalist powers. In mid-1963, Chinese and Soviet representatives met in Moscow to try to mend the damage. U.S. diplomats were convinced that the rift was irreversible. As a consequence, they believed Khrushchev would become much more receptive to better relations with the United States in order to isolate further the communist Chinese. Thus, on July 6, 1963, the New York Times carried several related stories, based on statements from "responsible" figures in the administration of President John F. Kennedy, about the hopes for a meaningful "peaceful coexistence" between the Soviet Union and United States. Khrushchev himself had coined the term "peaceful coexistence" in the late 1950s, indicating that the hope for better U.S.-Soviet relations was not entirely one-sided. Kennedy obviously hoped to build on these feelings to prepare the way for the success of arms control talks with the Soviets scheduled for later in the month. This hope was realized when the Soviet Union and United States signed a treaty banning the aboveground testing of nuclear weapons in August 1963.
Just a few days after the newspaper stories concerning improved U.S.-Soviet relations, the Russians and Chinese officially announced their ideological split. Any benefits the United States hoped would accrue from this development in terms of a closer working relationship with Khrushchev, however, were swept away in 1964 when the Russian leader was removed from power by more hard-line elements of the Soviet government. Almost overnight, talk of "peaceful coexistence" disappeared and the Cold War divisions once again hardened.
07-06-2006, 12:45 PM
1964 Viet Cong attack Special Forces at Nam Dong
At Nam Dong in the northern highlands of South Vietnam, an estimated 500-man Viet Cong battalion attacks an American Special Forces outpost. During a bitter battle, Capt. Roger C. Donlon, commander of the Special Forces A-Team, rallied his troops, treated the wounded, and directed defenses although he himself was wounded several times. After five hours of fighting, the Viet Cong withdrew. The battle resulted in an estimated 40 Viet Cong killed; two Americans, 1 Australian military adviser, and 57 South Vietnamese defenders also lost their lives. At a White House ceremony in December 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Captain Donlon with the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War.
07-06-2006, 12:45 PM
1967 Civil war in Nigeria
Five weeks after its secession from Nigeria, the breakaway Republic of Biafra is attacked by Nigerian government forces.
In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. Six years later, the Muslim Hausas in northern Nigeria began massacring the Christian Igbos in the region, prompting tens of thousands of Igbos to flee to the east, where their people were the dominant ethnic group. The Igbos doubted that Nigeria's oppressive military government would allow them to develop, or even survive, so on May 30, 1967, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu and other non-Igbo representatives of the area established the Republic of Biafra, comprising several states of Nigeria.
After diplomatic efforts by Nigeria failed to reunite the country, war between Nigeria and Biafra broke out in July 1967. Ojukwu's forces made some initial advances, but Nigeria's superior military strength gradually reduced Biafran territory. The state lost its oil fields--its main source of revenue--and without the funds to import food, an estimated one million of its civilians died as a result of severe malnutrition. On January 11, 1970, Nigerian forces captured the provincial capital of Owerri, one of the last Biafran strongholds, and Ojukwu was forced to flee to the Ivory Coast. Four days later, Biafra surrendered to Nigeria.
07-06-2006, 12:46 PM
1971 Satchmo dies
Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, dies in New York City at the age of 69. A world-renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist, he pioneered jazz improvisation and the style known as swing.
Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, in 1901. He grew up in poverty and from a young age was interested in music. In 1912, he was incarcerated in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys, allegedly for firing a gun into the air on New Year's Eve. While there, he played cornet in the home's band. Upon his release, he dedicated himself to becoming a professional musician and soon was mastering local jazz styles on the cornet. He attracted the attention of cornetist Joe "King" Oliver, and when Oliver moved to Chicago in 1919 he took his place in trombonist Kid Ory's band, a leading group in New Orleans at the time. He later teamed up with pianist Fate Marable and performed on riverboats that traveled the Mississippi.
In 1922, King Oliver invited Armstrong to Chicago to play second cornet in his Creole Jazz Band, and Armstrong made his first recordings with Oliver the following year. In 1924, he moved to New York City and demonstrated his emerging improvisational style in the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. In 1925, Armstrong returned to Chicago and formed his own band--the Hot Five--which included Kid Ory, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, and pianist Lil' Hardin, Armstrong's second wife.
This band, which later grew into the Hot Seven, recorded some of the seminal pieces in the history of jazz, including "Savoy Blues," "Potato Head Blues," and "West End Blues." In these recordings, Armstrong abandoned the collective improvisation of New Orleans-style jazz and placed the emphasis on individual soloists. He switched from cornet to trumpet during this time and played the latter with unprecedented virtuosity and range. In the 1926 recording "Heebie Jeebies," he popularized "scat singing," a style in which jazz vocalists sing musical lines of nonsensical syllables in emulation of instrumental improvisation. His joyous voice, both coarse and exuberant, was one of the most distinctive in popular music.
In 1929, Armstrong returned to New York City and made his first Broadway appearance. His recordings, many of which were jazz interpretations of popular songs, were international hits, and he toured the United States and Europe with his big band. His music had a major effect on the swing and big band sound that dominated popular music in the 1930s and '40s. A great performer, Armstrong appeared regularly on radio and in American films, including Pennies from Heaven (1936), Cabin in the Sky (1943), and New Orleans (1947). In 1947, he formed a smaller ensemble, the All-Stars, which he led until 1968.
Louis Armstrong had many nicknames, including Satchmo, short for "Satchelmouth"; "Dippermouth"; and "Pops." Because he spread jazz around the world through his extensive travels and hit songs, many called him "Ambassador Satch." Although in declining health in his later years, he continued to perform until his death on July 6, 1971.
07-06-2006, 12:47 PM
1976 Women inducted into U.S. Naval Academy
In Annapolis, Maryland, the United States Naval Academy admits women for the first time in its history with the induction of 81 female midshipmen. In May 1980, Elizabeth Anne Rowe became the first woman member of the class to graduate. Four years later, Kristine Holderied became the first female midshipman to graduate at the top of her class.
The U.S. Naval Academy opened in Annapolis in October 1845, with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors. Known as the Naval School until 1850, the curriculum included mathematics, navigation, gunnery, steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French. The Naval School officially became the U.S. Naval Academy in 1850, and a new curriculum went into effect requiring midshipmen to study at the Academy for four years and to train aboard ships each summer--the basic format that remains at the academy to this day.
07-06-2006, 12:47 PM
1981 Dupont diversifies...and then divests
Though the Dupont Company was hardly on the verge of oblivion, the 1970s witnessed the chemical king begin to sweat a bit under the strain of international competition. By the dawn of the 1980s, Dupont was taking serious action to stave off the pack. Along with beefing up its marketing efforts, the company looked to bolster its bottom line through diversification. These efforts came to fruition on July 6, 1981, as Dupont officials announced plans to merge with Houston-based oil and energy titan, Conoco Inc. Valued at between $6.5 and $7 billion, the deal then stood as the single biggest merger in U.S. corporate history. Despite the rather hefty outlay for Conoco, Dupont didn't stop diversifying: throughout the decade, the company spent a total of $10 billion to seal a heady series of acquisitions and joint ventures. But, as the 1980s melted into a new decade, Dupont's strategy shifted; by the mid-1990s, the company was ready to close the books on its splashy dalliance with the energy industry. In 1998, Dupont unveiled plans to gradually divest itself of Conoco via offerings to the public and its shareholders alike.
07-06-2006, 12:48 PM
1885 1st inoculation (for rabies) of a human being, by Louis Pasteur
1886 Horlick's of Wisconsin offers 1st malted milk to public
1892 Striking steelworkers in Homestead, Pa fire on scabs, killing 7
1908 Robert Peary's expedition sails from NYC for the North Pole
1918 Sebastian Cabot is born in London, actor (Mr French-Family Affair)
1922 William Schallert is born in LA, Calif, actor (Martin-Patty Duke Show)
1923 Nancy Davis Reagan is born in NY
1923 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics formed
1925 Bill Haley is born in MI, (& the Comets-Rock Around the Clock)
1925 Merv Griffin is born in San Mateo, CA, TV host (Merv Griffin Show)
1927 Janet Leigh is born in Merced CA, actress
1927 Nicky Hilton is born, heir to his father, Conrad Hilton's vast international hotel chain
1927 Pat Paulsen is born, comedian, Presidential candidate (Smothers Brothers Show)
1932 Della Reese is born in Detroit, MI, singer/actress
1937 Ned Beatty is born in Lexington, KY, actor
1945 Burt Ward is born in LA, CA, actor (Robin-Batman)
1945 Nicaragua becomes 1st nation to formally accept UN Charter
1946 Fred Dryer is born in Hawthorne, CA, NFL (NY Giants, LA Rams)/actor (Hunter)
1946 Sylvester Stallone is born in NYC, NY, actor/director
1949 Shelly Hack is born in Greenwich, CT, actress (Tiffany-Charlie's Angel)
1954 Allyce Beasley is born in Brooklyn, NY, actress (Agnes Dipesto-Moonlighting)
1957 Althea Gibson became 1st black tennis player to win Wimbledon
1957 Harry S Truman Library established in Independence, Missouri
1965 Rock group "Jefferson Airplane" forms
1983 Supreme Court rules retirement plans can't pay women less
1987 1st of 3 massacres by Sikh extremists takes place in India
1989 After 9 years, WHOT (Brooklyn pirate radio station) is busted by the FCC
1990 "Jetson's the Movie" with Tiffany, premieres
07-07-2006, 03:46 AM
1935 Dalai Lama, leader of Tibet and bestselling author, is born.
Happy birthday, Gyalwa Rinpoche! :hearts:
07-10-2006, 01:47 AM
July 9, 1846 U.S. takes San Francisco
An American naval captain occupies the small settlement of Yerba Buena, a site that will later be renamed San Francisco.
Surprisingly, Europeans did not discover the spectacular San Francisco Bay until 1769, although several explorers had sailed by it in earlier centuries. When Spanish explorers finally found the bay in that year, they immediately recognized its strategic value. In 1776, the Spanish built a military post on the tip of the San Francisco peninsula and founded the mission of San Francisco de Asis (the Spanish name for Saint Francis of Assisi) nearby.
The most northern outpost of the Spanish, and later Mexican, empire in America, the tiny settlement remained relatively insignificant for several decades. However, the potential of the magnificent harbor did not escape the attention of other nations. In 1835, the British Captain William Richardson established a private settlement on the shore of Yerba Buena Cove, several miles to the east of the Mexican mission. That same year the U.S. government offered to purchase the bay, but the Mexicans declined to sell.
In retrospect, the Mexicans should have sold while they still had the chance. A little more than a decade later, a dispute between the U.S. and Mexico over western Texas led to war. Shortly after the Mexican War began, U.S. Captain John Montgomery sailed his warship into San Francisco Bay, anchoring just off the settlement of Yerba Buena. On this day in 1846, Montgomery led a party of marines and sailors ashore. They met no resistance and claimed the settlement for the United States, raising the American flag in the central plaza.
The following year, the Americans renamed the village San Francisco. When the Mexicans formally ceded California to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe, San Francisco was still a small town with perhaps 900 occupants. That same year, however, gold was discovered at the nearby Sutter's Fort. San Francisco became the gateway for a massive gold rush, and by 1852, the town was home to more than 36,000.
07-10-2006, 01:47 AM
1850 President Taylor dies of cholera
Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, dies suddenly from an attack of cholera morbus. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.
Raised in Kentucky with little formal schooling, Zachary Taylor received a U.S. Army commission in 1808. He became a captain in 1810 and was promoted to major during the War of 1812 in recognition of his defense of Fort Harrison against attack by Shawnee chief Tecumseh. In 1832, he became a colonel and served in the Black Hawk War and in the campaigns against the Seminole Indians in Florida, winning the nickname of "Old Rough and Ready" for his informal attire and indifference to physical adversity.
Sent to the Southwest to command the U.S. Army at the Texas border, Taylor crossed the Rio Grande with the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846. In May, Taylor defeated the Mexicans at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and in September he captured the city of Monterrey. In February 1847, he achieved his crowning military victory at the Battle of Buena Vista, where his force triumphed despite being outnumbered three to one. This victory firmly established Taylor as a popular hero, and in 1848, despite his lack of a clear political platform, he was nominated the Whig presidential candidate.
Elected in November, Taylor soon fell under the influence of William H. Seward, a powerful Whig senator, and in 1849 he supported the Wilmot Proviso, which would exclude slavery from all the territory acquired as a result of the Mexican War. His inflexible responses to Southern criticisms of this policy aggravated the nation's North-South conflict and revealed his political inexperience. Matters were at a stalemate when he died suddenly on July 9, 1850.
07-10-2006, 01:48 AM
1864 Battle of Monocacy, Maryland
On this day, Confederate General Jubal Early brushes a Union force out of his way as he heads for Washington.
Early's expedition towards the Union capital was designed to take pressure off Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia around Petersburg. Beginning in early May, Ulysses S. Grant's Union army had continually attacked Lee and drove the Confederates into trenches around the Richmond-Petersburg area. In 1862, the Confederates faced a similar situation around Richmond, and they responded by sending General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to the Shenandoah Valley to occupy Federal forces. The ploy worked well, and Jackson kept three separate Union forces away from the Confederate capital.
Now, Lee sent Early on a similar mission. Early and his force of 14,000 marched down the Shenandoah Valley, crossed the Potomac into Maryland, and then veered southeast toward Washington. Union General Lew Wallace, commander of the Middle Department and stationed in Baltimore, patched together a force of 6,000 local militiamen and soldiers from various regiments to stall the Confederates while a division from Grant's army around Petersburg arrived to protect Washington.
Wallace placed his makeshift force along the Monocacy River near Frederick. Early in the morning of July 9, Early's troops easily pushed a small Federal guard from Frederick before encountering the bulk of Wallace's force along the river. Wallace protected three bridges over the river. One led to Baltimore, the other to Washington, and the third carried the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Early's first attack was unsuccessful. A second assault, however, scattered the Yankees. The Union force retreated toward Baltimore, and the road to Washington was now open to Early and his army.
Union losses for the day stood at 1,800, and Early lost 700 of his men. However, the battle delayed Early's advance to Washington and allowed time for the Union to bring reinforcements from Grant's army.
07-10-2006, 01:48 AM
1877 Wimbledon tournament begins
On July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen's Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner was to take home a 25-guinea trophy.
Tennis has its origins in a 13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume, or "game of the palm," from which developed an indoor racket-and-ball game called real, or "royal," tennis. Real tennis grew into lawn tennis, which was played outside on grass and enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 19th century.
In 1868, the All England Club was established on four acres of meadowland outside London. The club was originally founded to promote croquet, another lawn sport, but the growing popularity of tennis led it to incorporate tennis lawns into its facilities. In 1877, the All England Club published an announcement in the weekly sporting magazine The Field that read: "The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, propose [sic] to hold a lawn tennis meeting open to all amateurs, on Monday, July 9, and following days. Entrance fee pounds 1 1s 0d."
The All English Club purchased a 25-guinea trophy and drew up formal rules for tennis. It decided on a rectangular court 78 feet long by 27 feet wide; adapted the real tennis method of scoring based on a clock face--i.e., 15, 30, 40, game; established that the first to win six games wins a set; and allowed the server one fault. These decisions, largely the work of club member Dr. Henry Jones, remain part of the modern rules.
Twenty-two men registered for the tournament, but only 21 showed up on July 9 for its first day. The 11 survivors were reduced to six the next day, and then to three. Semifinals were held on July 12, but then the tournament was suspended to leave the London sporting scene free for the Eton vs. Harrow cricket match played on Friday and Saturday. The final was scheduled for Monday, July 16, but, in what would become a common occurrence in future Wimbledon tournaments, the match was rained out.
It was rescheduled for July 19, and on that day some 200 spectators paid a shilling each to see William Marshall, a Cambridge tennis "Blue," battle W. Spencer Gore, an Old Harrovian racket player. In a final that lasted only 48 minutes, the 27-year-old Gore dominated with his strong volleying game, crushing Marshall, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. At the second Wimbledon in 1878, however, Gore lost his title when his net-heavy game fell prey to a innovative stroke developed by challenger Frank Hadow: the lob.
In 1884, the Lady's Singles was introduced at Wimbledon, and Maud Watson won the first championship. That year, the national men's doubles championship was also played at Wimbledon for the first time after several years at Oxford. Mixed doubles and women's doubles were inaugurated in 1913. By the early 1900s, Wimbledon had graduated from all-England to all-world status, and in 1922 the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, as it was then known, moved to a large stadium on Church Road. In the 1950s, many tennis stars turned professional while Wimbledon struggled to remain an amateur tournament. However, in 1968 Wimbledon welcomed the pros and quickly regained its status as the world's top tennis tournament.
The Wimbledon Championships, the only major tennis event still played on grass, is held annually in late June and early July.
07-10-2006, 01:49 AM
1892 Showdown at Homestead steel plant
By the late nineteenth century, the workers at Andrew Carnegie's Homestead, PA plant had eked out a modicum of power. They won a key strike in 1889, and in the process became a potent unit of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Still, these victories hardly erased the harsh working conditions at the Homestead mills. Nor did they mean that the Carnegie Company was pleased with or readily recognized the union. Ever mindful of Amalgamated's potentially deleterious impact on his profit margins, Andrew Carnegie looked to erode the power of the union. In 1892, the company made its move against Amalgamated, though not with Carnegie at the helm: the steel baron had departed for a vacation in Scotland, leaving the task of smashing the union in the hands of his partner, Henry Clay Frick. Frick took his mission all too seriously: after refusing to renew the company's contract with Amalgamated, he dug in for war, erecting a three-mile long steel wire fence around the plant. Frick also enlisted the aid of the Pinkerton Detective agency, which sent three hundred men to Homestead to ensure the plant's transition to non-union workers. Amalgamated's leaders responded in kind, lining up scores of workers, as well as a good chunk of the town, to wage battle against the plant. The showdown began in earnest on July 2, as Frick halted work at Homestead until the plant was staffed entirely by non-union workers. Three days later, the Homestead affair turned bloody, as the Pinkerton agents made their first appearance on the scene. Attempting to reach the plant via the Monongahela River, the agents were met by Amalgamated's forces; the two sides engaged in a long and vicious battle that left nine strikers and seven agents dead. Despite the losses, Amalgamated's motley army was able to turn back the detectives. Sensing that they were on the verge of disaster, officials for Carnegie enlisted the aid of the Pennsylvania Government. And, on this day in 1892, the state sent a band of 7000 troops to Homestead to "restore law and order." The militia effectively squelched Amalgamated's strike: the troops helped the Carnegie restaff its plant with non-union workers and by September, the Carnegie company had resumed production. Later that November, the union conceded defeat and called off its strike; Carnegie responded by summarily firing and even blacklisting the strikers.
07-10-2006, 01:50 AM
1918 Faulkner joins the Royal Air Force
William Faulkner joins the Royal Air Force on this day, but will never see combat because World War I will end before he completes his training.
Faulkner joined the RAF after his high school sweetheart, Estelle, married another man. He quit his hometown, Oxford, Mississippi, visited friends in the North, and headed to Canada, where he joined the Royal Air Force. After the war, he returned to Mississippi, where he wrote poetry. A neighbor funded the publication of his first book of poems, The Marble Faun (1924). His first novel, Soldiers' Pay, was published two years later.
Faulkner got a second chance at his high school sweetheart when Estelle, now the mother of two, divorced her first husband. She married Faulkner in 1929, and the couple bought and restored a ruined mansion near Oxford while Faulkner finished The Sound and the Fury, published in October 1929. The following year, he published As I Lay Dying, with Light in August (1932) and Absalom, Absalom (1936) following.
Faulkner's novels challenged conventional forms and were slow to catch on with the reading public. His work did not earn him enough money to support his family, so he supplemented his income selling short stories to magazines and working as a Hollywood screenwriter. He wrote two critically acclaimed films, both starring Humphrey Bogart. To Have and Have Not was based on an Ernest Hemingway novel, and The Big Sleep was based on a mystery by Raymond Chandler. He published a classic collection of short stories, Go Down, Moses, in 1942. The collection included "The Bear," one of his most famous stories, which had previously appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.
Faulkner's reputation received a significant boost with the publication of The Portable Faulkner (1946), which included his many stories set in Yoknapatawpha county. Three years later, in 1949, he won the Nobel Prize for literature. His Collected Stories (1950) won the National Book Award. During the rest of his life, he lectured frequently on university campuses. He died of a heart attack at age 55.
07-10-2006, 01:50 AM
1919 Ford reorganizes
The Ford Motor Company was reorganized as a Delaware corporation with Edsel Ford as company president on this day in 1919. The reorganization was the last step in Henry Ford's drive to gain 100% of the company's stock for his family. He borrowed heavily in order to buy out the minority shareholders. The extent to which the Ford family has maintained control over the company makes Ford unique in the annals of business history. Edsel Ford held the title of president until his death in 1943, but Henry effectively ran the company until 1945, when Henry Ford II took control of the company. The year following the Ford stock buyout saw a postwar recession that rattled the automotive industry, forcing Henry Ford to the brink of defaulting due to his heavy borrowing to manage the buyout. Ford implemented a ruthless cost-cutting policy, pinching pennies in production and administration while laying off half of his office staff and three-quarters if his foremen. Still short of money, he used all of his remaining stock parts in the winter of 1920-21 to build tens of thousands of Model Ts, shipping them to Ford dealers who were still struggling to sell existing Model Ts. Faced with the prospect of losing money on sales or losing their dealerships, the dealers were forced to push the extra cars hard. They never forgave Henry Ford for his extortionist policy, but it worked, and Ford turned the company around. By 1923, Ford held 60% of the domestic car market. Henry Ford earned respect in Wall Street for his initiative, probably because he saved so many of their dollars. A Dow Jones release described Ford as having "displayed a degree of financial astuteness totally unexpected." Similar authoritarian tactics would lead Ford and his company into trouble in the years after the Great Depression.
07-10-2006, 01:51 AM
1941 Enigma key broken
On this day in 1941, crackerjack British cryptologists break the secret code used by the German army to direct ground-to-air operations on the Eastern front.
British experts had already broken many of the Enigma codes for the Western front. Enigma was the Germans' most sophisticated coding machine, necessary to secretly transmitting information. The Enigma machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The Germany army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken their first Enigma code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the occupation of Holland and France. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages Ultra.
Now, with the German invasion of Russia, the Allies needed to be able to intercept coded messages transmitted on this second, Eastern, front. The first breakthrough occurred on July 9, regarding German ground-air operations, but various keys would continue to be broken by the Brits over the next year, each conveying information of higher secrecy and priority than the next. (For example, a series of decoded messages nicknamed "Weasel" proved extremely important in anticipating German anti-aircraft and antitank strategies against the Allies.) These decoded messages were regularly passed to the Soviet High Command regarding German troop movements and planned offensives, and back to London regarding the mass murder of Russian prisoners and Jewish concentration camp victims.
07-10-2006, 01:51 AM
1947 First female army officer
In a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower appoints Florence Blanchfield to be a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, making her the first woman in U.S. history to hold permanent military rank.
A member of the Army Nurse Corps since 1917, Blanchfield secured her commission following the passage of the Army-Navy Nurse Act of 1947 by Congress. Blanchfield had served as superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II and was instrumental in securing passage of the Army-Navy Nurse Act, which was advocated by Representative Frances Payne Bolton. In 1951, Blanchfield received the Florence Nightingale Award from the International Red Cross. In 1978, a U.S. Army hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was named in her honor.
07-10-2006, 01:52 AM
1956 Tom Hanks' birthday
Actor Tom Hanks is born this day in Concord, California. After his parents divorced when he was a toddler, Hanks lived with his father, a cook. He began studying acting in high school, played with a Shakespeare festival for three years, and launched his television career in 1980 with Bosom Buddies, an offbeat sitcom about two men forced to disguise themselves as women. He made a splash with Splash in 1984, followed by a huge success with Big in 1988, for which he received an Oscar nomination. After several quiet years, his career took off again with Sleepless in Seattle (1993); he is now considered one of the biggest box office draws alive. He won the Best Actor Oscar twice, for Philadelphia in 1993 and Forrest Gump in 1994. He was also nominated for his role in Saving Private Ryan in 1998.
He began directing in 1996 with That Thing You Do and co-produced Cast Away (2000), for which he received another Best Actor Oscar nomination.
Hanks' most recent films include Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Polar Express (2004), and The DaVinci Code (2006).
07-10-2006, 01:53 AM
1960 Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev trade verbal threats over the future of Cuba. In the following years, Cuba became a dangerous focus in the Cold War competition between the United States and Russia.
In January 1959, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro overthrew the long-time dictator Fulgencio Batista. Although the United States recognized the new Castro regime, many members of the Eisenhower administration harbored deep suspicions concerning the political orientation of the charismatic new Cuban leader. For his part, Castro was careful to avoid concretely defining his political beliefs during his first months in power. Castro's actions, however, soon convinced U.S. officials that he was moving to establish a communist regime in Cuba. Castro pushed through land reform that hit hard at U.S. investors, expelled the U.S. military missions to Cuba, and, in early 1960, announced that Cuba would trade its sugar to Russia in exchange for oil. In March 1960, Eisenhower gave the CIA the go-ahead to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime. It was in this atmosphere that Eisenhower and Khrushchev engaged in some verbal sparring in July 1960.
Khrushchev fired the first shots during a speech in Moscow. He warned that the Soviet Union was prepared to use its missiles to protect Cuba from U.S. intervention. "One should not forget," the Soviet leader declared, "that now the United States is no longer at an unreachable distance from the Soviet Union as it was before." He charged that the United States was "plotting insidious and criminal steps" against Cuba. In a statement issued to the press, Eisenhower responded to Khrushchev's speech, warning that the United States would not countenance the "establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western Hemisphere." The Soviet Premier's threat of retaliation demonstrated "the clear intention to establish Cuba in a role serving Soviet purposes in this hemisphere."
The relationship between the United States and Cuba deteriorated rapidly after the Eisenhower-Khrushchev exchange. The Castro regime accelerated its program of expropriating American-owned property. In response, the Eisenhower administration severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1960. A little more than a year later, in April 1961, the CIA-trained force of Cuban refugees launched an assault on Cuba in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. The invaders were killed or captured, the Castro government cemented its control in Cuba, and the Soviet Union became Cuba's main source of economic and military assistance.
07-10-2006, 01:53 AM
1966 Soviets protest U.S. bombing of Haiphong
The Soviet Union sends a note to the U.S. embassy in Moscow charging that the air strikes on the port of Haiphong endangered four Soviet ships that were in the harbor. The United States rejected the Soviet protest on July 23, claiming, "Great care had been taken to assure the safety of shipping in Haiphong." The Soviets sent a second note in August charging that bullets had hit a Russian ship during a raid on August 2, but the claim was rejected by the U.S. embassy on August 5. The Soviets complained on a number of occasions during the war, particularly when the bombing raids threatened to inhibit their ability to resupply the North Vietnamese.
07-10-2006, 01:54 AM
1971 United States turns over responsibility for the DMZ
Four miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), about 500 U.S. troops of the 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Division turn over Fire Base Charlie 2 to Saigon troops, completing the transfer of defense responsibilities for the border area. On the previous day, nearby Fire Base Alpha 4 had been turned over to the South Vietnamese. This was part of President Richard Nixon's Vietnamization policy, which had been announced at a June 1969 conference at Midway Island. Under this program, the United States initiated a comprehensive effort to increase the combat capabilities of the South Vietnamese armed forces. As the South Vietnamese became more capable, responsibility for the fighting was gradually transferred from U.S. forces. Concurrent with this effort, there was a gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces.
07-10-2006, 01:54 AM
1972 Ziggy Stardust's debut performance
At a London concert hall on this day in 1972, singer David Bowie appears for the first time as alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Intended as a satiric parody of larger-than-life rock stars, Ziggy was actually taken seriously by many rock critics and fans, and Bowie-as-Ziggy became a major star.
David Bowie, born David Jones, attended high school in London but dropped out to play music with a series of bands. He became interested in theater and art movements in the mid-1960s, studying mime and Japanese Kabuki theater. He formed his own mime company while recording several albums. His first album, The World of David Bowie, was released in 1967. Like his next few albums, it presented Bowie as a singer-songwriter a la Bob Dylan.
Bowie's intense interest in theater ultimately led to the creation of the glamorous, androgynous Ziggy Stardust character, introduced in the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). Bowie toured England and the United States before retiring the Ziggy persona in July 1973. He continued to win fans with his later albums Diamond Dogs and Young Americans and reinvented himself as a mainstream pop singer in the 1980s, with Let's Dance. In 1989, he released an album with his new band, Tin Machine.
Meanwhile, he also launched an acting career on stage and screen and became one of the earliest artists to take an interest in the Internet and new media--his concert staff was using email in the early 1980s. He launched the first artist newsgroup on the Internet in 1988, and he was the first artist to release an Internet-only single: "Telling Lies" in 1997. The same year, he allowed investors to participate in his financial future by issuing "Bowie Bonds," a 10-year security paying investors 7.9 percent. He raised some $55 million through the bond issue. The following year, he launched his own Internet service provider, BowieNet.
07-10-2006, 01:55 AM
1983 Police's "Every Breath You Take" hits No. 1
The first single released from The Police's 1983 hit album Synchronicity tops the charts. The British group had been together since 1977 and had released five albums. Synchronicity was their most successful, and also their last, studio album. The band took a "sabbatical" after the album, and although the members played together live a few more times, they never recorded together again.
07-10-2006, 01:56 AM
1993 Romanov remains identified
British forensic scientists announce that they have positively identified the remains of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II; his wife, Czarina Alexandra; and three of their daughters. The scientists used mitochondria DNA fingerprinting to identify the bones, which had been excavated from a mass grave near Yekaterinburg in 1991.
On the night of July 16, 1918, three centuries of the Romanov dynasty came to an end when Bolshevik troops executed Nicholas and his family. The details of the execution and the location of their final resting place remained a Soviet secret for more than six decades. Lacking physical evidence, rumors spread through Europe in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, telling of a Romanov child, usually the youngest daughter, Anastasia, who had survived the carnage. In the 1920s, there were several claimants to the title of Grand Duchess Anastasia. The most convincing was Anna Anderson, who turned up in Berlin in 1922 claiming to be Anastasia. In 1968, Anderson emigrated to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she died in 1984.
In 1991, Russian amateur investigators, using a recently released government report on the Romanov execution, found what they thought to be the Romanov burial site. Russian authorities exhumed human remains. Scientists studied the skulls, claiming that Anastasia's was among those found, but the Russian findings were not conclusive. To prove that the remains were indisputably those of the Romanovs, the Russians enlisted the aid of British DNA experts.
First, the scientists tested for gender and identified five females and four males among the remains. Next they tested to see how, if at all, these people were related. A father and mother were identified, along with three daughters. The four other remains were likely those of servants. The son Alexei and one daughter were missing.
To prove the identity of Alexandra and her children, the scientists took blood from Prince Philip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II and the grand nephew of Alexandra. Because they all share a common maternal ancestor, they would all share mitochondria DNA, which is passed almost unchanged from mother to children. The comparison between the mtDNA in Philip's blood and in the remains was positive, proving them to be the Romanovs. To prove the czar's identity, who did not share this mtDNA, the remains of Grand Duke George, the brother of Nicholas, were exhumed. A comparison of their mtDNA proved their relationship.
The Crown Prince Alexei and one Romanov daughter were not accounted for, adding fuel to the persistent legend that Anastasia had survived execution. Was it possible that Anastasia had escaped and resurfaced as Anna Anderson? In 1994, American and English scientists attempted to answer this question once and for all. Using a tissue sample of Anderson's recovered from a Virginia hospital, the English team compared her mtDNA with that of the Romanovs. Simultaneously, an American team compared the mtDNA found in a strand of her hair. Both teams came to the same decisive conclusion: Anna Anderson was not a Romanov. In 1995, a Russian government commission studying the remains presented what it claimed was proof that one of the skeletons was in fact Anastasia's, and that the missing Romanov daughter was, in fact, Maria.
07-10-2006, 01:57 AM
1996 A family is brutally attacked on a walk in England
Dr. Lin Russell, her two daughters, Josie and Megan, and their dog, Lucy, are all brutally attacked by a man wielding a hammer on their way home to Nonington Village, Kent, England, after a swimming gala. Forcing them to sit down in the woods, the attacker blindfolded and tied up his victims with their torn towels, and then bludgeoned them one by one. Nine-year-old Josie, the sole survivor of the vicious assault, had to relearn to speak after surgeons inserted a metal plate into her head to cover the area where her skull had been smashed. Some of her brain tissue was so damaged that it had to be removed.
On July 17, Michael Stone, who had a record of burglary and robbery, as well as a history of drug abuse and mental illness, was arrested. Apparently, he resembled a picture of the attacker that had been drawn by Josie. Asked by detectives where he was on the day of the murders, Stone replied, "I can't remember for two reasons. One, I was badly on drugs, and two, it was so long ago."
During the trial, several witnesses testified against Stone. One maintained that the defendant's stepfather often beat young Michael with a hammer; several prison inmates (Barry Thompson, Damien Daley, and Mark Jennings) claimed that Stone had confessed to the murders on separate occasions; and a couple, Sheree Batt and Lawrence Calder, alleged that Stone had come to their house the morning after the murders wearing blood-splattered clothing.
On October 23, 1998, the 38-year-old Stone was convicted and given a triple life sentence, despite his repeated claims of innocence. Immediately thereafter, Barry Thompson contacted a daily newspaper to retract his testimony. Based on Thompson's admission that he lied, a Court of Appeals threw out Stone's conviction. At a second trial, which ended in early October 2001, he was again convicted and sentenced to three life terms, which he began serving on October 5. Stone's attorney, who said he was "disappointed and saddened by the outcome" pledged to appeal the convictions "in the event of fresh evidence."
Despite the second conviction, there are some who still believe Stone is innocent. According to a reporter for the Daily Mail in London, "Evidence gathered from the murder scene-human hair, red fibres, a bloody fingerprint, and a bootlace with saliva traces-pointed not to Stone, but to someone else entirely."
07-10-2006, 01:58 AM
1816 Argentina declares independence from Spain
1819 Elias Howe is born in Spencer, MA, invented sewing machine
1853 Admiral Perry & US Navy visit Japan
1860 Temperature hits 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Ft. Scott & 112 degrees Fahrenheit in Topeka, Kansas
1872 Doughnut cutter patented by John Blondel, Thomaston, ME
1918 101 killed & 171 injured in worst US train wreck, Nashville, TN
1932 Donald Rumsfeld is born, politician
1935 Jimmy Stewart's first film, "Murder Man," opened.
1939 Richard Roundtree is born in New Rochelle, NY, actor (Shaft, Roots)
1944 World's largest circus tent catches fire at Ringling Brother's -
Barnum & Bailey Circus, 2nd performance. 168 die. (Hartford, CT)
1952 John Tesh is born in Garden City, NY, musician/TV host
1955 Jimmy Smits is born in NYC, actor (Victor Sifuentes-LA Law)
1955 Pat Boone released his version of "Ain't That A Shame," which became his first number one hit.
1956 Dick Clark's 1st appearance as host of American Bandstand
1957 Kelly McGillis is born in Newport Beach, CA, actress (Top Gun, Accused, Witness)
1968 The Temptations appeared at the Valley Forge Music Fair in Pennsylvania without baritone David Ruffin. He had been fired by Motown Records because he wanted to change the direction of the band. He was later rehired as a solo artist.
1971 Jim Morrison of The Doors was buried in Paris, six days after he was found dead in a bathtub. Word of Morrison's death was finally given to the press after the burial, apparently to spare family members from being approached by reporters.
1972 1st tour of Paul McCartney & Wings (France)
1975 Cher filed court papers to dissolve her marriage to Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers. They had been married just nine days.
1976 Fred Aaron Savage is born in IL, actor (Kevin-Wonder Years)
1976 Uganda asks UN to condemn Israeli hostage rescue raid on Entebbe
1978 American Nazi Party holds a rally at Marquette Park, Chicago
1978 Nearly 100,000 demonstrators march on Washington, DC for ERA
1980 7 die in a stampede to see the pope in Brazil
1980 Walt Disney's "The Fox & The Hound" released
1981 The Jacksons begin a 36-city tour, which grossed them 5.5 million dollars and led to "The Jacksons Live" album.
1982 Margaret Thatcher begins her 2nd term as British prime minster
1982 Pan Am Boeing 727 crashes in Kenner, LA, killing 153
1988 Barbara Woodhouse, dog trainer, dies at 78 of a stroke
1988 "Facts of Life," Lisa Whelchel weds Steve Cauble
1989 1st time Wimbeldon has both men & women's final on same day, Boris
Becker beats Stefan Edberg & Steffi Graf beats Martina Navratilova
1990 Howard Duff, actor, dies at 76 of a heart attack
1992 Mick Jagger became a grandfather when his daughter Jade gave birth to a baby girl.
1995 The Grateful Dead gave their last concert with Jerry Garcia, at Chicago's Soldier Field.
1999 Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and model Jerry Hall divorced. They were together for 21 years. The court hearing took 12 minutes.
2001 The Backstreet Boys announced they were postponing their tour because singer A.J. McLean was entering rehab.
07-10-2006, 01:59 AM
Actor James Hampton ("F Troop") is 70.
Actor Brian Dennehy is 68.
Actor Chris Cooper is 55.
Country singer David Ball is 53.
Singer Debbie Sledge of Sister Sledge is 52.
Singer Marc Almond of Soft Cell is 49.
Singer Jim Kerr of Simple Minds is 47.
Singer Courtney Love is 42.
Bassist Frank Bello of Anthrax is 41.
Actor David O'Hara ("The District") is 41.
Actor Scott Grimes ("ER," "Party of Five") is 35.
Singer Dan Estrin of Hoobastank is 30.
Singer Kiely (KEE'-lee) Williams of 3LW is 20.
07-11-2006, 11:14 PM
July 11, 1656 First Quaker colonists land at Boston
Ann Austin and Mary Fisher, two Englishwomen, become the first Quakers to immigrate to the American colonies when the ship carrying them lands at Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The pair came from Barbados, where Quakers had established a center for missionary work.
The Religious Society of Friends, whose members are commonly known as Quakers, was a Christian movement founded by George Fox in England during the early 1650s. Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. They advocated sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America.
Shortly after arriving to Massachusetts, Austin and Fisher, whose liberal teachings enraged the Puritan colonial government, were arrested and jailed. After five years in prison, they were deported back to Barbados. In October 1656, the Massachusetts colonial government enacted their first ban on Quakers, and in 1658 it ordered Quakers banished from the colony "under penalty of death." Quakers found solace in Rhode Island and other colonies, and Massachusetts' anti-Quaker laws were later repealed.
In the mid-18th century, John Woolman, an abolitionist Quaker, traveled the American colonies, preaching and advancing the anti-slavery cause. He organized boycotts of products made by slave labor and was responsible for convincing many Quaker communities to publicly denounce slavery. Another of many important abolitionist Quakers was Lucretia Mott, who worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, helping lead fugitive slaves to freedom in the Northern states and Canada. In later years, Mott was a leader in the movement for women's rights.
07-11-2006, 11:14 PM
1804 Burr slays Hamilton in duel
In a duel held in Weehawken, New Jersey, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots his long-time political antagonist Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, a leading Federalist and the chief architect of America's political economy, died the following day.
Alexander Hamilton, born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, came to the American colonies in 1773 as a poor immigrant. (There is some controversy as to the year of his birth, but it was either 1755 or 1757.) In 1776, he joined the Continental Army in the American Revolution, and his relentless energy and remarkable intelligence brought him to the attention of General George Washington, who took him on as an aid. Ten years later, Hamilton served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he led the fight to win ratification of the final document, which created the kind of strong, centralized government that he favored. In 1789, he was appointed the first secretary of the treasury by President Washington, and during the next six years he crafted a sophisticated monetary policy that saved the young U.S. government from collapse. With the emergence of political parties, Hamilton was regarded as a leader of the Federalists.
Aaron Burr, born into a prestigious New Jersey family in 1756, was also intellectually gifted, and he graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the age of 17. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and distinguished himself during the Patriot attack on Quebec. A masterful politician, he was elected to the New State Assembly in 1783 and later served as state attorney. In 1790, he defeated Alexander Hamilton's father-in-law in a race for the U.S. Senate.
Hamilton came to detest Burr, whom he regarded as a dangerous opportunist, and he often spoke ill of him. When Burr ran for the vice presidency in 1796 on Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican ticket (the forerunner of the Democratic Party), Hamilton launched a series of public attacks against Burr, stating, "I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career." John Adams won the presidency, and in 1797 Burr left the Senate and returned to the New York Assembly.
In 1800, Jefferson chose Burr again as his running mate. Burr aided the Democratic-Republican ticket by publishing a confidential document that Hamilton had written criticizing his fellow Federalist President John Adams. This caused a rift in the Federalists and helped Jefferson and Burr win the election with 73 electoral votes each.
Under the electoral procedure then prevailing, president and vice president were not voted for separately; the candidate who received the most votes was elected president, and the second in line, vice president. The vote then went to the House of Representatives. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality--handing Jefferson victory over his running mate--developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. After a remarkable 35 tie votes, a small group of Federalists changed sides and voted in Jefferson's favor. Alexander Hamilton, who had supported Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, was instrumental in breaking the deadlock.
Burr became vice president, but Jefferson grew apart from him, and he did not support Burr's renomination to a second term in 1804. That year, a faction of New York Federalists, who had found their fortunes drastically diminished after the ascendance of Jefferson, sought to enlist the disgruntled Burr into their party and elect him governor. Hamilton campaigned against Burr with great fervor, and Burr lost the Federalist nomination and then, running as an independent for governor, the election. In the campaign, Burr's character was savagely attacked by Hamilton and others, and after the election he resolved to restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel, or an "affair of honor," as they were known.
Affairs of honor were commonplace in America at the time, and the complex rules governing them usually led to an honorable resolution before any actual firing of weapons. In fact, the outspoken Hamilton had been involved in several affairs of honor in his life, and he had resolved most of them peaceably. No such recourse was found with Burr, however, and on July 11, 1804, the enemies met at 7 a.m. at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey. It was the same spot where Hamilton's son had died defending his father's honor two years before.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. According to Hamilton's "second"--his assistant and witness in the duel--Hamilton decided the duel was morally wrong and deliberately fired into the air. Burr's second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. What happened next is agreed upon: Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach, and the bullet lodged next to his spine. Hamilton was taken back to New York, and he died the next afternoon.
Few affairs of honor actually resulted in deaths, and the nation was outraged by the killing of a man as eminent as Alexander Hamilton. Charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, Burr, still vice president, returned to Washington, D.C., where he finished his term immune from prosecution.
In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr, presumably, would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.
In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate U.S. investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a U.S. court. In September, he was acquitted on a technicality. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him forgotten. He died in 1836.
07-11-2006, 11:15 PM
1861 Battle of Rich Mountain, western Virginia
On this day, Union troops under General George B. McClellan score another major victory in the struggle for western Virginia at the Battle of Rich Mountain. The Yankee success secured the region and ensured the eventual creation of West Virginia.
Western Virginia was a crucial battleground in the early months of the war. The population of the region was deeply divided over the issue of secession, and western Virginia was also a vital east-west link for the Union because the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran through its mountains.
After McClellan scored a series of small victories in western Virginia in June and early July, Confederate General Robert Garnett and Colonel John Pegram positioned their forces at Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill to block two key roads and keep McClellan from penetrating any further east. McClellan crafted a plan to feign an attack against Garnett at Laurel Hill while he sent the bulk of his force against Pegram at Rich Mountain.
Part of McClellan's force, led by General William Rosecrans, followed a rugged mountain path to swing around behind the Rebels' left flank. McClellan had promised to attack the Confederate front when he heard gunfire from Rosecrans's direction. After a difficult march through a drenching rain, Rosecrans struck the Confederate wing. It took several attempts, but he was finally able to drive the Confederates from their position. McClellan shelled the Rebel position, but did not make the expected assault. Each side suffered around 70 casualties.
Pegram was forced to abandon his position, but Rosecrans was blocking his escape route. Two days later, he surrendered his force of 555. Although McClellan became a Union hero as a result of this victory, most historians agree that Rosecrans deserved the credit. Nonetheless, McClellan was on his way to becoming the commander of the Army of the Potomac.
07-11-2006, 11:16 PM
1869 Tall Bull dies
Tall Bull, a prominent leader of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier warrior society, is killed during the Battle of Summit Springs in Colorado.
Tall Bull was the most distinguished of several Cheyenne warriors who bore this hereditary name. He was a leader of the Dog Soldiers, a fierce Cheyenne society of warriors that had initially fought against other Indian tribes. In the 1860s, though, the Dog Soldiers increasingly became one of the most implacable foes of the U.S. government in the bloody Plains Indian Wars.
In October 1868, Tall Bull and his Dog Soldiers badly mauled an American cavalry force in Colorado. He confronted General Philip Sheridan's forces the following winter in Oklahoma. Near the Wa----a River, Sheridan's Lieutenant Colonel George Custer attacked a peaceful Cheyenne village under Chief Black Kettle. The Cheyenne suffered more than 100 casualties, and Custer's soldiers brutally butchered more than 800 of their horses. However, Custer was forced to flee when Tall Bull and other chiefs camped in nearby villages began to mass for attack.
Custer's attack had badly damaged the Cheyenne, but Tall Bull refused to surrender to the Americans. In the spring of 1869, Tall Bull and his Dog Soldiers took their revenge, staging a series of successful attacks against soldiers who were searching for him. Determined to destroy the chief, the U.S. Army formed a special expeditionary force under the command of General Eugene Carr.
On this day in 1869, Carr surprised Tall Bull and his warriors in their camp at Summit Springs, Colorado. In the ensuing battle, Tall Bull was killed and the Dog Soldiers were overwhelmed. Without the dynamic leadership of their chief, the surviving Dog Soldiers' resistance was broken. Although other Cheyenne continued to fight the American military for another decade, they did so without the aid of their greatest warrior society and its leader.
07-11-2006, 11:16 PM
1916 Feds step in to help states build roads
In a White House ceremony, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act, the first grant-in-aid enacted by Congress to help states build roads. In 1916, roads throughout America were generally poor and most were susceptible to weather. The advent of the Ford Model T brought on new interests in higher standards for roads, and by the early 1900s, motorist clubs like the American Automobile Association (AAA) had rallied around the call for federally funded long-distance highways. Farmers balked at the idea, arguing that paying taxes so city people could go on car tours was unfair. As the car became more important to farmers, however, the ground became fertile for legislation to raise the quality or roads across the country. In 1907, the legal issue of the federal government's role in road-building was settled in the Supreme Court case Wilson vs. Shaw. Justice David Brewer wrote that the federal government could "construct interstate highways" because of their constitutional right to regulate interstate commerce. By 1912, bills concerning federal funding of the highways were considered on the House floor, although a split in constituencies had divided the advocates. Farmers wanted sturdy, all-weather postal roads, and urban motorists wanted paved long-distance highways. Many state officials claim that any federal-funding package would only be used as a "pork barrel" to interfere with the operations of the state. In the end, a bill was passed that included the stipulation that all states have a highway agency staffed by professional engineers who would administer the federal funds as they saw fit. The bill on offer leaned in the favor of the rural populations by focusing on rural postal roads rather than interstate highways. The cause of interstate highways would not be addressed until many years later during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration, but the Federal Aid Road Act was the cornerstone for today's highway system and the precedent for all highway legislation to come. The rural road improvement that happened as a result of the act helped rural Americans participate more efficiently in the national economy.
07-11-2006, 11:17 PM
1937 Poet Dylan Thomas marries Caitlin Macnamara
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas marries Caitlin Macnamara, 23, in Penzance, Cornwall.
Thomas was born and raised in Swansea, Wales, where he was a poor student. He dropped out of school at age 16 and became a newspaper reporter. Before he turned 20, he won a newspaper poetry contest. His first book, Eighteen Poems, was published in 1934, followed by Twenty-Five Poems in 1936.
At age 21, Thomas moved to London, where he met Caitlin Macnamara in a pub. Although the lively Irish girl did not initially find him attractive, his charm won her over, and the pair married the following year.
Their happiness was short-lived. He immediately suspected her of infidelity and wrote several poems to that effect. Meanwhile, both drank heavily, caused scenes in public places, and fell into debt. Despite their tumultuous relationship, they had three sons. Thomas published several highly acclaimed books, including Deaths and Entrances in 1946 and Collected Poems in 1953. His powerful style, combining compassion and violence, made his readings in the U.S. a success. However, during his several tours of the U.S. from 1950 to 1953, he drank recklessly. In 1953, he collapsed at the White Horse Inn on Hudson Street in New York City and died.
Caitlin drank more than ever after his death. Eventually, she met and fell in love with a Sicilian film-production worker, Giuseppe Fazio, who helped her stop drinking. She had a son with Fazio when she was 49. She wrote several books herself, including Leftover Life to Kill (1957) and Life with Dylan Thomas (1986). She remained intensely bitter toward Thomas until her death at age 80.
07-11-2006, 11:17 PM
1938 Orson Welles' radio show debuts
On this day in 1938, radio drama Mercury Theater on the Air debuts, featuring Orson Welles and John Houseman, founders of the Mercury Theater in New York. The show, a dramatic anthology program, is best remembered for its 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds, a fictional drama about a Martian invasion in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The program, which aired on Halloween, sparked a panic among listeners who believed the play was a real news broadcast.
07-11-2006, 11:18 PM
1944 Hitler is paid a visit by his would-be assassin
On this day in 1944, Count Claus von Stauffenberg, a German army officer, transports a bomb to Adolf Hitler's headquarters in Berchtesgaden, in Bavaria, with the intention of assassinating the Fuhrer.
As the war started to turn against the Germans, and the atrocities being committed at Hitler's behest grew, a growing numbers of Germans-within the military and without-began conspiring to assassinate their leader. As the masses were unlikely to turn on the man in whose hands they had hitherto placed their lives and future, it was up to men close to Hitler, German officers, to dispatch him. Leadership of the plot fell to Claus von Stauffenberg, newly promoted to colonel and chief of staff to the commander of the army reserve, which gave him access to Hitler's headquarters at Berchtesgaden and Rastenburg.
Stauffenberg had served in the German army since 1926. While serving as a staff officer in the campaign against the Soviet Union, he became disgusted at his fellow countrymen's vicious treatment of Jews and Soviet prisoners. He requested to be transferred to North Africa, where he lost his left eye, right hand, and two fingers of his left hand.
After recovering from his injuries, and determined to see Hitler removed from power by any means necessary, Stauffenberg traveled to Berchtesgaden on July 3 and received at the hands of a fellow army officer, Major-General Helmuth Stieff, a bomb with a silent fuse that was small enough to be hidden in a briefcase. On July 11, Stauffenberg was summoned to Berchtesgaden to report to Hitler on the current military situation. The plan was to use the bomb on July 15, but at the last minute, Hitler was called away to his headquarters at Rastenburg, in East Prussia. Stauffenberg was asked to follow him there. On July 16, a meeting took place between Stauffenberg and Colonel Caesar von Hofacker, another conspirator, in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Hofacker informed Stauffenberg that German defenses had collapsed at Normandy, and the tide had turned against them in the West. The assassination attempt was postponed until July 20, at Rastenburg.
07-11-2006, 11:19 PM
1945 Soviets agree to hand over power in West Berlin
Fulfilling agreements reached at various wartime conferences, the Soviet Union promises to hand power over to British and U.S. forces in West Berlin. Although the division of Berlin (and of Germany as a whole) into zones of occupation was seen as a temporary postwar expedient, the dividing lines quickly became permanent. The divided city of Berlin became a symbol for Cold War tensions.
During a number of wartime conferences, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union agreed that following the defeat of Germany, that nation would be divided into three zones of occupation. Berlin, the capital city of Germany, would likewise be divided. When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, however, Soviet troops were in complete control of eastern Germany and all of Berlin. Some U.S. officials, who had come to see the Soviet Union as an emerging threat to the postwar peace in Europe, believed that the Soviets would never relinquish control over any part of Berlin. However, on July 11, 1945, the Russian government announced that it would hand over all civilian and military control of West Berlin to British and American forces. This was accomplished, without incident, the following day. (The United States and Great Britain would later give up part of their zones of occupation in Germany and Berlin to make room for a French zone of occupation.)
In the years to come, West Berlin became the site of some notable Cold War confrontations. During 1948 and 1949, the Soviets blocked all land travel into West Berlin, forcing the United States to establish the Berlin Airlift to feed and care for the population of the city. In 1961, the government of East Germany constructed the famous Berlin Wall, creating an actual physical barrier to separate East and West Berlin. The divided city came to symbolize the animosities and tensions of the Cold War. In 1989, with communist control of East Germany crumbling, the Berlin Wall was finally torn down. The following year, East and West Germany formally reunited.
07-11-2006, 11:19 PM
1945 Soviets agree to hand over power in West Berlin
Fulfilling agreements reached at various wartime conferences, the Soviet Union promises to hand power over to British and U.S. forces in West Berlin. Although the division of Berlin (and of Germany as a whole) into zones of occupation was seen as a temporary postwar expedient, the dividing lines quickly became permanent. The divided city of Berlin became a symbol for Cold War tensions.
During a number of wartime conferences, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union agreed that following the defeat of Germany, that nation would be divided into three zones of occupation. Berlin, the capital city of Germany, would likewise be divided. When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, however, Soviet troops were in complete control of eastern Germany and all of Berlin. Some U.S. officials, who had come to see the Soviet Union as an emerging threat to the postwar peace in Europe, believed that the Soviets would never relinquish control over any part of Berlin. However, on July 11, 1945, the Russian government announced that it would hand over all civilian and military control of West Berlin to British and American forces. This was accomplished, without incident, the following day. (The United States and Great Britain would later give up part of their zones of occupation in Germany and Berlin to make room for a French zone of occupation.)
In the years to come, West Berlin became the site of some notable Cold War confrontations. During 1948 and 1949, the Soviets blocked all land travel into West Berlin, forcing the United States to establish the Berlin Airlift to feed and care for the population of the city. In 1961, the government of East Germany constructed the famous Berlin Wall, creating an actual physical barrier to separate East and West Berlin. The divided city came to symbolize the animosities and tensions of the Cold War. In 1989, with communist control of East Germany crumbling, the Berlin Wall was finally torn down. The following year, East and West Germany formally reunited.
07-11-2006, 11:20 PM
1951 Alan Freed launches rhythm and blues show
On this day in 1951, disk jockey Alan Freed starts his new job as the disk jockey of a rhythm and blues show in Cleveland. Although the son of Lithuanian immigrants was more partial to classical music than this new sound, he'd been offered a late-night slot by a friend who owned a record store and wanted to boost sales of his R&B stock. The friend had decided to sponsor a radio show devoted to R&B, and asked Freed to host the show.
Freed quickly became an important force in early rhythm and blues. Dubbing his show "The Moondog House" and himself the "Moondog" (based on his chosen theme song, "The Moondog Symphony"), he drew a loyal following. In 1952, he threw a rhythm and blues concert called the Moondog Coronation Ball, which drew more than 10,000 people. An angry mob, denied admittance once the arena was full, started a riot, and teens stormed the stage, abruptly ending the concert. Cleveland city officials accused him of "reckless disregard" for public safety, but the riot turned him into a local celebrity, and his show became more popular than ever.
In 1953, he threw an R&B tour, titled The Biggest Rhythm and Blues Show, featuring Ruth Brown and Wynonie Harris. The tour drew a largely black audience, but within just a few years rhythm and blues crossed over to become the dominant mainstream musical form.
The Moondog had to stop using his popular moniker in 1954 when the blind New York City street musician who had recorded "Moondog Symphony" won a court battle that stripped Freed of the ability to use the name. Forced to find a new identity for his show, he decided to rename it Alan Freed's Rock and Roll Party. He copyrighted the phrase "rock and roll" in partnership with black music legend Morris Levy, veteran promoter Lew Platt, and radio station WINS, but the tidal wave of rock and roll soon made his copyright virtually useless.
07-11-2006, 11:21 PM
1966 Public opinion approves bombing of North Vietnam
A Harris survey taken shortly after the bombing raids on the Hanoi-Haiphong area shows that 62 percent of those interviewed favored the raids, 11 percent were opposed, and 27 percent were undecided. Of those polled, 86 percent felt the raids would hasten the end of the war. The raids under discussion were part of the expansion of Operation Rolling Thunder, which had begun in March 1965.
07-11-2006, 11:21 PM
1967 Senators debate U.S. policy in Vietnam
In Senate debates about U.S. policy in Southeast Asia, Senator Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) warns against further escalation of the war. Convinced that a military solution to the situation in South Vietnam was impossible, he urged an alternative to expansion of the U.S. effort in Vietnam. His alternative included putting the issue of the confrontation between North and South Vietnam before the United Nations and containing the conflict by building a defensive barrier south of the Demilitarized Zone to separate North Vietnam from South Vietnam. Senator George Aiken (R-Vermont) suggested that the Johnson administration pay more attention to people like Mansfield who were questioning the wisdom of further escalation of the war, rather than relying on "certain military leaders who have far more knowledge of weapons than they have of people." Nevertheless, Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (Illinois), asked if he favored an increase in U.S. troops in Vietnam, replied "If General Westmoreland says we need them, yes, sir."
07-11-2006, 11:22 PM
1969 Thieu challenges NLF to participate in free elections
South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, in a televised speech, makes a "comprehensive offer" for a political settlement. He challenged the National Liberation Front to participate in free elections organized by a joint electoral commission and supervised by an international body. Following the speech, South Vietnamese Foreign Minister Tran Chanh Thanh, seeking to clarify the Thieu proposal, said communists could never participate in elections in South Vietnam "as communists" nor have any role in organizing elections--only by the South Vietnamese government could organize the elections.
07-11-2006, 11:22 PM
1970 "Mama Told Me Not to Come" tops the charts
"Mama Told Me Not to Come," recorded by Three Dog Night, hits No. 1 on the Billboard charts. This was the only song by Randy Newman to hit No. 1, although Newman's own recording of his song "Short People" rose to No. 2 in 1978. Newman, the nephew of two film composers, became a singer-songwriter in the early 1960s and his wry humor quickly gained a following. Over the years, Judy Collins, Joe Cocker, Peggy Lee, Elvis Costello, Barbra Streisand, and many others have recorded his songs. Newman began composing for television and film in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has won numerous Oscar nominations for his soundtracks.
07-11-2006, 11:23 PM
1979 Skylab crashes to Earth
Parts of Skylab, America's first space station, come crashing down on Australia and into the Indian Ocean five years after the last manned Skylab mission ended. No one was injured.
Launched in 1973, Skylab was the world's first successful space station. The first manned Skylab mission came two years after the Soviet Union launched Salynut 1, the world's first space station, into orbit around the earth. However, unlike the ill-fated Salynut, which was plagued with problems, the American space station was a great success, safely housing three separate three-man crews for extended periods of time.
Originally the spent third stage of a Saturn 5 moon rocket, the cylindrical space station was 118 feet tall, weighed 77 tons, and carried the most varied assortment of experimental equipment ever assembled in a single spacecraft to that date. The crews of Skylab spent more than 700 hours observing the sun and brought home more than 175,000 solar pictures. They also provided important information about the biological effects of living in space for prolonged periods of time.
Five years after the last Skylab mission, the space station's orbit began to deteriorate--earlier than was anticipated--because of unexpectedly high sunspot activity. On July 11, 1979, Skylab made a spectacular return to earth, breaking up in the atmosphere and showering burning debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
07-11-2006, 11:24 PM
1985 "New Coke" is introduced
Nineteen-eighty-five was a trying year for America's soda. With hopes of eking out a lead in the hotly contested "Cola Wars," soft drink giant Coca-Cola decided to muck about with the recipe for its namesake drink. As ill-conceived as the notion may sound to our ears now, Coke thought it had a winner at the time. Indeed, an expensive battery of market testing seemed to bode well for the new formula. As one of the officials for Coke's advertising agency noted, "research clearly said we had a winner." However, despite lavishing hefty sums on an advertising blitz, the new product--aptly dubbed "New Coke"--was a resounding flop. America's legion of soft drink aficionados simply despised the new formula. Worse yet, the public pined mightily--and quite loudly--for the "old" version of Coke to be returned to the shelves. Officials for the cola giant got the message and swiftly restored order to the soft drink universe: on July 11, 1985 the company unveiled plans to return the beloved version of Coca Cola--now christened "Classic Coke"--to the market. In the wake of this groundbreaking, company officials quietly conceded that they had erred in halting distribution of the "classic" version of the drink. However, they refused to admit that releasing New Coke was a mistake. Indeed, even though American consumers reviled it, the company kept New Coke in circulation, albeit in cans and bottles that identified the drink simply as "Coke."
07-11-2006, 11:24 PM
1995 U.S. establishes diplomatic relations with Vietnam
Two decades after the fall of Saigon, President Bill Clinton establishes full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, citing Vietnamese cooperation in accounting for the 2,238 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War.
Normalization with America's old enemy began in early 1994, when President Clinton announced the lifting of the 19-year-old trade embargo against Vietnam. Despite the lifting of the embargo, high tariffs remained on Vietnamese exports pending the country's qualification as a "most favored nation," a U.S. trade status designation that Vietnam might earn after broadening its program of free-market reforms. In July 1995, Clinton established diplomatic relations. In making the decision, Clinton was advised by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, an ex-navy pilot who had spent five years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. Brushing aside criticism of Clinton's decision by some Republicans, McCain asserted that it was time for America to normalize relations with Vietnam.
In May 1996, Clinton terminated the combat zone designation for Vietnam and nominated Florida Representative Douglas "Pete" Peterson to become the first ambassador to Vietnam since Graham Martin was airlifted out of the country by helicopter in late April 1975. Peterson himself had served as a U.S. Air Force captain during the Vietnam War and was held as a prisoner of war for six and a half years after his bomber was shot down near Hanoi in 1966. Confirmed by Congress in 1997, Ambassador Peterson presented his credentials to communist authorities in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, in May 1997. In November 2000, Peterson greeted Clinton in Hanoi in the first presidential visit to Vietnam since Richard Nixon's 1969 trip to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
07-11-2006, 11:25 PM
1915 Yul Brynner is born in Japan, actor
1931 Tab Hunter is born, actor (Damn Yankees, Lust in the Dust, Battle Cry)
1936 Triboro Bridge linking Manhattan, Bronx & Queens opens
1937 George Gershwin, composer (American in Paris), dies at 38
1945 Deborah Harry is born, singer (Blondie), actress (Videodrome, Hairspray)
1950 Bonnie Pointer is born, singer (Pointer Sisters)
1952 General Eisenhower nominated as Republican Presidential candidate
1953 Leon Spinks is born, heavyweight boxing champ
1955 Congress authorizes all US currency to say "In God We Trust"
1956 Sela Ward is born, actress
1958 Mark Lester is born in Oxford, England, actor
1959 Richie Sambora is born, guitarist (Bon Jovi)
1959 Suzanne Vega is born, singer
1967 Kenny Rogers forms 1st Edition
1969 David Bowie releases "Space Oddity"
1969 Rolling Stones release "Honky Tonk Woman"
1974 House Judiciary Committee releases evidence on Watergate inquiry
1974 World Football League plays 1st games
1986 Mary Beth Whitehead christens surrogate Baby M, Sara
1987 Thomas F Waddell, found of Gay Olympics, dies of AIDS at 50
1987 Heart's, "Alone," single goes #1 for 3 weeks
1988 Mike Tyson hires Donald Trump as an advisor
1989 Sir Laurence Olivier, acting great, dies at 82
1989 President Ronald Reagan sportscasts the All Star Game
1990 NYC police arrest "Dartman" (stabbed over 50 women with darts)
1991 Total solar eclipse is seen in Hawaii
07-12-2006, 11:56 AM
July 12, 1389 Geoffrey Chaucer is named chief clerk by Richard II
King Richard II appoints Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king's works in Westminster on this day in 1389.
Chaucer, the middle-class son of a wine merchant, served as a page in an aristocratic household during his teens and was associated with the aristocracy for the rest of his life. In 1359, he fought in France with Edward III, and was captured in a siege. Edward III ransomed him, and he later worked for Edward III and John of Gaunt. One of his earliest known works was an elegy for the deceased wife of John of Gaunt, Book of the Duchesse.
In 1372, Chaucer traveled to Italy on diplomatic missions, where he may have been exposed to Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. He also visited Flanders and France, and was appointed comptroller of customs. He wrote several poems in the 1380s, including The Parlement of Foules and Troilus and Criseyde. In the late 1380s or early 1390s, he began work on the Canterbury Tales, in which a mixed group of nobles, peasants, and clergy make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The work, a compilation of tales told by each character, is remarkable for its presentation of the spectrum of social classes. Although Chaucer intended the book to include 120 stories, he died in 1399, with only 22 tales finished.
07-12-2006, 11:56 AM
1810 Strikes on trial
The United States' young trade union movement was put to the test on this day in 1810, as the New York branch of the Journeymen Cordwainers began a trial that potentially imperiled their ability to go on strike. An affiliated group of shoemakers, the Cordwainers had been charged with illegal conspiracy stemming from one of their recent strikes. Though the walkout in question was seemingly defensible--the Cordwainers had hit the picket line to protest for better wages--legal precedent was against the union. Indeed, in 1806, the Philadelphia branch of the Cordwainers had lost a similar conspiracy case, and it was no surprise when the New York court handed down a guilty verdict against the shoemakers. As in the Philadelphia case, the court held that the strike--a seemingly permissible act--had been rendered illegal by the Cordwainers' conspiratorial tactics. In return for their putative offense, each member of the Cordwainers was forced to pay a $1 fine. The shoemakers' defeat, however, did little to defuse the debate over strikes: forces for organized labor continued to press their point until 1842, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court overturned the legal conflagration of strikes and conspiracies.
07-12-2006, 11:57 AM
1861 Wild Bill Hickok's first gunfight
Wild Bill Hickok begins to establish his reputation as a gunfighter after he coolly shoots three men during a shootout in Nebraska.
Born in Homer (later called Troy Grove), Illinois, James Butler Hickok moved to Kansas in 1855 at the age of 18. There he filed a homestead claim, took odd jobs, and began calling himself by his father's name, Bill. A skilled marksman, Hickok honed his abilities as a gunslinger. Though Hickok was not looking for trouble, he liked to be ready to defend himself, and his ability with a pistol soon proved useful.
By the summer of 1861, Hickok was working as a stock tender at a stage depot in Nebraska called Rock Creek Station. Across the creek lived Dave McCanles, a mean-spirited man who disliked Hickok for some reason. McCanles enjoyed insulting the young stockman, calling him Duck Bill and claiming he was a hermaphrodite. Hickok took his revenge by secretly romancing McCanles' mistress, Sarah Shull.
On this day in 1861, the tension between Hickok and McCanles came to a head. McCanles may have learned about the affair between Shull and Hickok, though his motivations are not clear. He arrived at the station with two other men and his 12-year-old-son and exchanged angry words with the station manager. Then McCanles spotted Hickok standing behind a curtain partition. He threatened to drag "Duck Bill" outside and give him a thrashing. Demonstrating remarkable coolness for a 24-year-old who had never been involved in a gunfight, Hickok replied, "There will be one less son-of-a------ when you try that."
McCanles ignored the warning. When he approached the curtain, Hickok shot him in the chest. McCanles staggered out of the building and died in the arms of his son. Hearing the shots, the two other gunmen ran in. Hickok shot one of them twice and winged the other. The other workers at the station finished them off.
The story of Hickok's first gunfight spread quickly, establishing his reputation as a skilled gunman. In 1867, Harper's New Monthly Magazine published a highly exaggerated account of the shoot-out which claimed Hickok had single-handedly killed nine men. The article quoted Hickok as saying, "I was wild and I struck savage blows." Thus began the legendary career of "Wild Bill."
For the next 15 years, Hickok would further embellish his reputation with genuine acts of daring, though the popular accounts continued to exceed the reality. He died in 1876 at the age of 39, shot in the back of the head by a young would-be gunfighter looking for fame.
07-12-2006, 11:57 AM
1861 Confederacy signs treaties with Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes
Special commissioner Albert Pike completes treaties with the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes, giving the new Confederate States of America several allies in Indian Territory. Some members of the tribes also fought for the Confederacy.
A Boston native, Pike went west in 1831 and traveled with fur trappers and traders. He settled in Arkansas and became a noted poet, author, and teacher. He bought a plantation and operated a newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate. By 1837 he was practicing law and often represented Native Americans in disputes with the federal government.
Pike was opposed to secession but nonetheless sided with his adopted state when it left the Union. As ambassador to the Indians, he was a fortunate addition to the Confederacy, which was seeking to form alliances with the tribes of Indian Territory. Besides the agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, Pike also engineered treaties with the Creek, Seminole, Comanche, and Caddos, among others.
Ironically, many of these tribes had been expelled from the Southern states in the 1830s and 1840s but still chose to ally themselves with those states during the war. The grudges they held against the Confederate states were offset by their animosity toward the federal government. Native Americans were also bothered by Republican rhetoric during the 1860 election. Some of Abraham Lincoln's supporters, such as William Seward, argued that the land of the tribes in Indian Territory should be appropriated for distribution to white settlers. When the war began in 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered all posts in Indian Territory abandoned to free up military resources for use against the Confederacy, leaving the area open to invasion by the Confederates.
By signing these treaties, the tribes severed their relationships with the federal government, much in the way the southern states did by seceding from the Union. They were accepted into the Confederates States of America, and they sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederate government promised to protect the Native American's land holdings and to fulfill the obligations such as annuity payments made by the federal government.
Some of these tribes even sent troops to serve in the Confederate army, and one Cherokee, Stand Watie, rose to the rank of brigadier general.
07-12-2006, 11:58 AM
1862 Medal of Honor created
President Abraham Lincoln signs into law a measure calling for the awarding of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress, "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." The previous December, Lincoln had approved a provision creating a U.S. Navy Medal of Valor, which was the basis of the Army Medal of Honor created by Congress in July 1862. The first U.S. Army soldiers to receive what would become the nation's highest military honor were six members of a Union raiding party who in 1862 penetrated deep into Confederate territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1863, the Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration available to all members, including commissioned officers, of the U.S. military. It is conferred upon those who have distinguished themselves in actual combat at risk of life beyond the call of duty. Since its creation, during the Civil War, almost 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in U.S. military conflict.
07-12-2006, 11:59 AM
1904 Harkness wins first Mt. Washington hill climb
Driver Harry Harkness won the first Mount Washington, New Hampshire, hill-climb race driving a 60hp Mercedes Benz on this day in 1904. The earliest ascent of Mount Washington in an automobile occurred in 1899, but the aptly named "Carriage Road" had been carrying coaches to the top of Mount Washington since 1861. Answering the public's desire for auto racing--hill-climb races in particular--local authorities arranged for the first "Climb to the Clouds." The race attracted entries from car companies who wished to show off their performance capabilities. A contemporary account describes Harkness' win: "In a chill driving mist that would compel cautious running even on a wide level road, Harry Harkness rushed Mount Washington in the Climb to the Clouds today and placed the record figures for this year at twenty-four minutes, thirty seconds. Something more than the achievements of the drivers of American stock cars was to be expected from the sixty-horsepower $18,000 Mercedes, and from this comparative view the feat was not extraordinary." In contrast to Harkness and his expensive import, F.E. Stanley, the creator of the Stanley Steamer, drove his eight-horsepower steam engine to the top in twenty-eight minutes and nineteen seconds. Steam cars had dominated hill-climb events until companies like Mercedes could engineer cars that would handle the massive internal combustion engines required to propel them up inclines at higher speeds. The accomplishment of the drivers in these events is perhaps more remarkable than the feats of the cars themselves. Consider the newspaper account of Harkness' run: "To guide 2,200 pounds of mechanism up an eight-mile narrow mountain road, and to pull up just 4,600 feet above the starting point after averaging twenty miles an hour without a stop is a sure enough test of man and machine." In order to compete with Harkness' impressive posted time, Stanley stripped his machine bare for his ascent. The Stanley's engine had only 15 moving parts, ran silently, and managed only seven horsepower, but at 20mph it would bump and knock around a mountain road even more than its heavier competitors. Stanley eliminated even his seat cushion for the climb, and when he stood at the podium to accept the trophy for the steam car class "he was rather used up with the jolting he got along the way." The Climb to the Clouds still runs today in late June.
07-12-2006, 11:59 AM
1943 Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk
On this day in 1943, one of the greatest clashes of armor in military history takes place as the German offensive against the Russian fortification at Kursk, a Russian railway and industrial center, is stopped in a devastating battle, marking the turning point in the Eastern front in the Russians' favor.
The Germans had been driven from Kursk, a key communications center between north and south, back in February. By March, the Russians had created a salient, a defensive fortification, just west of Kursk in order to prevent another attempt by the Germans to advance farther south in Russia. In June, the German invaders launched an air attack against Kursk; on the ground, Operation Cottbus was launched, ostensibly dedicated to destroying Russian partisan activity, but in reality resulting in the wholesale slaughter of Russian civilians, among whom Soviet partisan fighters had been hiding. The Russians responded with air raids against German troop formations.
By July, Hitler realized that the breaking of the Russian resistance at Kursk was essential to pursuing his aims in Soviet Russia and the defense of Greater Germany, that is, German-occupied territory outside prewar German borders. "This day, you are to take part in an offensive of such importance that the whole future of the war may depend on its outcome," Hitler announced to his soldiers on July 4. But on July 5, the Russians pulled the rug out from under Hitler's offensive by launching their own artillery bombardment. The Germans counterattacked, and the largest tank battle in history began: Between the two assailants, 6,000 tanks were deployed. On July 12, 900 Russian tanks clashed with 900 German (including their superior Tiger tanks) at Prokhorovka--the Battle of Kursk's most serious engagement. When it was all over, 300 German tanks, and even more Russian ones, were strewn over the battlefield. "The earth was black and scorched with tanks like burning torches," reported one Russian officer. But the Russians had stopped the German advance dead in its tracks. The advantage had passed to the East. The Germans' stay in Soviet territory was coming to an end.
07-12-2006, 12:00 PM
1957 A new Aga Khan
The Nizari Ismaili sect of the Shiite Muslims welcomes a new spiritual leader when Prince Karim Al-Hussain of Pakistan is proclaimed Aga Khan IV. Prince Karim's grandfather, Aga Khan III, died the previous day after a 72-year reign.
According to tradition, Aga Khan IV and his predecessors are said to be direct descendants of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and Ali's wife Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter. The supporters of Ali and his successors became known as the Shiites, who comprise the second largest branch of Islam. Upon the death of the sixth imam--or spiritual leader--of the Shiites in A.D. 765, the majority of Shiites supported the succession of his youngest son, Musa al-Kazim. Those who supported the eldest son, Ismail, broke away from the main body of Shiites and became known as the Ismailis.
In the late ninth century, the Qaramitah Ismailis, who claimed direct descent from Ismail, began to establish themselves on the Arabian peninsula and in present-day Iraq. In the 10th century, the Fatimid Ismailis came to power in Tunis and Egypt and built a broad missionary network across the Arab world. In 1094, another schism split the movement over the succession of the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir. Those who upheld the claims of the older son Nizar became known as the Nizari Ismailis.
Beginning in the late 11th century, the Nizaris began to spread across Persia (Iran) and Syria, and followers of the sect inspired terror throughout the Muslim world for their violence and blind obedience to their spiritual leader. Europeans called them "Assassins" (Arabic for "hashish smoker") for their alleged practice of taking hashish before carrying out political or religious murders. The Nizaris remained in political power until they were displaced by the Mongols and the Mamluks in the 14th century.
The Nizari religion survived, however, and two rival lines competed for the title of imam. By the 19th century, the lesser line had died out. The imam of the surviving Nizari line, Hasan Ali Shah, was governor of the Persian province of Kerman in the early 19th century and was in high favor of the ruler of Persia, Fath Ali Shah. In 1818, the shah conferred on him the title Aga Khan, which means "chief commander." In 1838, Aga Khan I rose up in revolt of the shah's successor, Mohammad Shah, but was defeated and fled to India.
The second Aga Khan reigned for only four years before Aga Khan III, or Sultan Sir Mohammed Shah, came to power in 1885. Aga Khan III became an important leader to all of India's Muslims, not just the Ismailis, and bypassed his own son to pick his grandson as heir. On July 12, 1957, 19-year-old Prince Karim was proclaimed Aga Khan IV.
First criticized as a wealthy jet setter, Aga Khan IV devoted much of his time and money to the development of Nizari Ismaili communities spread throughout Pakistan, India, Iran, Syria, and Africa. A strong leader, he ordered his millions of followers to leave countries in which they were persecuted and to become citizens of nations in which they were allowed to practice their religion freely. The Aga Khan is known for his business acumen and continues his grandfather's successful thoroughbred-breeding enterprise. He is also the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, which works to further social and economic development around the world. In 2005, the Aga Khan received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy.
07-12-2006, 12:01 PM
1962 The Rolling Stones' first appearance
At the Marquee Club in London on this day in 1962, the Rolling Stones give their first public performance. At the time, the band included singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones, bassist Dick Taylor, and drummer Mick Avory, who later played with the Kinks.
Grade-school pals Jagger and Richards ran into each other when Jagger was studying at the London School of Economics and Richards was at art school. Richards joined Jagger's band, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, in which Taylor also played. Meanwhile, Brian Jones was playing with a band called Blues, Inc., with which Jagger and Richards began to jam. When several of the Blues, Inc. members-not including Jones--were booked on a radio program that conflicted with a gig at the Marquee Club, Jagger pulled together a replacement band, dubbed the Rolling Stones after a Muddy Waters song. The group played the date on July 12, 1962. A year later, Bill Wyman replaced Dick Taylor and Charlie Watts replaced Mick Avory on drums, and the core of the band was complete.
During the next year, the group played steadily in London nightclubs and bars. They released their first single in Britain in 1963. Before long, the Stones became known as the anti-Beatles: They were long-haired, grungy, and wild, where the Beatles seemed wholesome and safe. A string of drug-related arrests plagued various band members; Brian Jones' drug problems probably led to his death in 1969 and Keith Richards struggled with heroin addiction before getting clean in 1977.
Meanwhile, the band steadily released hit albums and songs that became instant classics. Richards and Jagger began writing songs together, and after 1966 they wrote almost all the group's material. The group first topped the U.S. charts in 1965 with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Hit singles in 1966 included "Paint It Black," "19th Nervous Breakdown," and "Get Off My Cloud." They released hit-packed albums throughout the 1970s and managed to maintain their following even as they approached middle age. In the 1980s, Jagger and Richards both released various solo albums but continued to work together. Steel Wheels, the group's 1989 album, sold two million copies, and the tour grossed $140 million. The band's 1994 album, Voodoo Lounge, won Best Rock Album, the first Grammy for the Rolling Stones. In 2002, the band released Forty Licks, a greatest-hits album that included four new songs. A Bigger Bang was released on September 5, 2006. Although now in their 60s, the Rolling Stones continue to tour, playing sold-out shows around the world.
07-12-2006, 12:01 PM
1963 The Moors Murderers begin their killing spree
Sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade is abducted from her home in Gorton, England, by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the so-called "Moors Murderers," launching a crime spree that will last for over two years. Reade's body was not discovered until 1987, after Brady confessed to the murder during an interview with reporters while in a mental hospital. The teenager had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been slashed.
Brady and Hindley met in Manchester in 1961. The shy girl quickly became infatuated with Brady, a self-styled Nazi, who had a substantial library of Nazi literature and an obsession with sadistic sex. Hindley bleached her hair and began dressing in leather in order to please Brady. After photographing Hindley in obscene positions, Brady sold his amateur pornography to the public.
In order to satisfy their sadistic impulses, Brady and Hindley began abducting and killing young men and women. After Pauline Reade, they kidnapped 12-year-old John Kilbride in November and Keith Bennett, also 12, in June the next year. The day after Christmas in 1964, Leslie Ann Downey, a 10-year-old from Manchester, was abducted.
In 1965, the couple tried to recruit Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith, into their murderous enterprise. When Smith didn't believe what he was told, Brady gave him a live demonstration, killing a 17-year-old boy with a hatchet. This apparently crossed the line for Smith, who then went to the police.
Inside Brady's apartment, police found luggage tickets that led them to two suitcases in Manchester Central Station. They contained photos of Leslie Ann Downey being tortured along with audiotapes of her pleading for her life. Other photos depicted Hindley and Brady in a desolate area of England known as Saddleworth Moor. There, police found the body of John Kilbride.
The Moors Murderers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1966. Their notoriety continued after it was revealed that a guard at Holloway women's prison had fallen for Hindley and had an affair with her. For his part, Brady continued to confess to other murders, but police have been unable to confirm the validity of his confessions.
07-12-2006, 12:02 PM
1965 First Marine wins Medal of Honor
Viet Cong ambush Company A of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, led by U.S.M.C. Lt. Frank Reasoner of Kellogg, Idaho. The Marines had been on a sweep of a suspected Viet Cong area to deter any enemy activity aimed at the nearby airbase at Da Nang.
Reasoner and the five-man point team he was accompanying were cut off from the main body of the company. He ordered his men to lay down a base of fire and then, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, killed two Viet Cong, single-handedly wiped out an enemy machine gun emplacement, and raced through enemy fire to rescue his injured radio operator. Trying to rally his men, Reasoner was hit by enemy machine gun fire and was killed instantly. For this action, Reasoner was nominated for America's highest award for valor. When Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze presented the Medal of Honor to Reasoner's widow and son in ceremonies at the Pentagon on January 31, 1967, he spoke of Reasoner's willingness to die for his men: "Lieutenant Reasoner's complete disregard for his own welfare will long serve as an inspiring example to others." Lieutenant Reasoner was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam.
07-12-2006, 12:03 PM
1966 North Vietnam urged to treat U.S. POWs better
The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and American socialist Norman Thomas appeal to North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh on behalf of captured American pilots. The number of American captives was on the increase due to the intensification of Operation Rolling Thunder, the U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam. On July 15, 18 senators opposed to President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam policy signed a statement calling on North Vietnam to "refrain from any act of vengeance against American airmen." The next day, the United Nations Secretary General also urged North Vietnam to exercise restraint in the treatment of American prisoners of war. On July 19, North Vietnamese ambassadors in Beijing and Prague asserted that the captured Americans would go on trial as war criminals. However, Ho Chi Minh subsequently gave assurances of a humanitarian policy toward the prisoners, in response, he said, to the appeal he received from SANE and Norman Thomas. Despite Ho's assurances, the American POWs were routinely mistreated and tortured. They were released in 1973 as part of the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords that were signed on January 27, 1973.
07-12-2006, 12:04 PM
1984 Ferraro named vice presidential candidate
Walter Mondale, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, announces that he has chosen Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate. Ferraro, a daughter of Italian immigrants, had previously gained notoriety as a vocal advocate of women's rights in Congress.
Four days after Ferraro was named vice presidential candidate, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York opened the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco with an impassioned retort to Republican President Ronald Reagan's contention that the United States was a "shining city on a hill." Citing widespread poverty and racial strife, Cuomo derided President Reagan as oblivious to the needs and problems of many of America's citizens. His enthusiastic keynote address inaugurated a convention that saw Ferraro become the first woman nominated by a major party for the vice presidency. However, Mondale, the former U.S. vice president under Jimmy Carter, proved a lackluster choice for the Democratic presidential nominee.
On November 6, President Reagan and Vice President George Bush defeated the Mondale-Ferraro ticket in the greatest Republican landslide in U.S. history. The Republicans carried every state but Minnesota--Mondale's home state.
Ferraro left Congress in 1985. In 1992 and 1998, she was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. During President Bill Clinton's administration, she was a permanent member on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Ferraro currently serves as president of G&L Strategies, a management-consulting firm.
07-12-2006, 12:04 PM
1990 Northern Exposure debuts
On this day in 1990, TV series Northern Exposure airs its first episode. The offbeat show, about a Manhattan doctor forced to work in a small Alaska town, consistently ranked in the Top 20 most-watched TV shows until it was canceled in 1995.
07-12-2006, 12:05 PM
1990 Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party
Just two days after Mikhail Gorbachev was re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, announces his resignation from the Party. Yeltsin's action was a serious blow to Gorbachev's efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together.
In July 1990, Soviet Communist Party leaders met in a congress for debate and elections. Gorbachev, who had risen to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, came under severe attack from Communist Party hard-liners. They believed that his political and economic reforms were destroying the Party's control of the nation. Gorbachev fired back at his critics during a speech in which he defended his reforms and attacked the naysayers as backward-looking relics from the dark past of the Soviet Union. He was rewarded with an overwhelming vote in favor of his re-election as head of the Communist Party. Just two days after that vote, however, Yeltsin shattered the illusion that Gorbachev's victory meant an end to political infighting in the Soviet Union. Yeltsin had been a consistent critic of Gorbachev, but his criticisms stemmed from a belief that Gorbachev was moving too slowly in democratizing the Soviet political system. Yeltsin's dramatic announcement of his resignation from the Communist Party was a clear indication that he was demanding a multiparty political system in the Soviet Union. It was viewed as a slap in the face to Gorbachev and his policies.
During the next year and a half, Gorbachev's power gradually waned, while Yeltsin's star rose. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union officially dissolved. Yeltsin, however, retained his position of power as president of Russia. In their own particular ways, both men had overseen the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Yeltsin remained president of Russia until December 31, 1999, when he resigned. Despite his attempts at economic reform, his tenure in office saw the country's economy falter badly, including a near-complete collapse of its currency. His administration was also marked by rampant corruption, an invasion of Chechnya and a series of bizarre incidents involving Yeltsin that were reputedly a result of his alcoholism. Yeltsin's opponents twice tried to impeach him. With his resignation, Prime Minsiter Vladimir Putin became acting president until new elections could be held. On March 26, 2000, Putin became Russia's new president.
07-12-2006, 12:06 PM
1817 Henry David Thoreau is born in Concord, MA, naturalist/author/pacifist
1854 George Eastman is born in Waterville, NY, invented Kodak camera
1904 Pablo Neruda is born in Chile, poet (Residence on Earth-Nobel 1971)
1908 Milton Berle is born in Harlem NY, comedian (Uncle Miltie, Mr. Television)
1917 Andrew Wyeth is born, painter
1928 1st televised tennis match
1937 Bill Cosby is born in Phila, PA, actor/comedian (I Spy, Cosby)
1943 Christine McVie, rocker (Fleetwood Mac)
1948 Richard Simmons is born, exercise guru
1948 1st jets to fly across the Atlantic (6 RAF de Havilland Vampires)
1951 Cheryl Ladd is born in Huron, SD, actress (Charlie's Angels, Purple Hearts)
1951 Mob tries to keep black family from moving into all-white Cicero, IL
1956 Mel "Mary Ellen" Harris is born in Bethlehem, PA, actress (Hope-thirtysomething)
1960 Echo I, 1st passive satellite launched
1962 The Rolling Stones played their first gig at a club in London. The line-up of the band included Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards. Drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman joined later.
1966 Most rain fell in 1 day in Ohio, 10.5" in Sandusky
1967 Blacks in Newark, riot, 26 killed, 1500 injured & over 1000 arrested
1969 Blind Faith made its U-S debut at New York's Madison Square Garden.
1969 "The Ballad of John and Yoko" was banned by many radio stations because they found the line "Christ, you know it ain't easy" to be offensive.
1970 Janis Joplin debuts in Kentucky
1970 Johnny Cash sent autographed records and photos to South Dakota judge S.K. Hicks, who claimed to be the inspiration for Johnny Cash's single "A Boy Named Sue."
1975 K.C. and the Sunshine Band made their pop chart debut with "Get Down Tonight."
1978 Sun Bank Building opens
1979 Singer Minnie Riperton died of cancer. She was best know for her 1975 hit "Lovin' You."
1979 A Chicago disc jockey held a "disco demolition" between a baseball doubleheader at Comiskey Park. The second game was called off because so much damage had been done to the field.
1982 FEMA promises survivors of a nuclear war will get their mail :lmao:
1983 Musician Chris Wood, who had played the saxophone and flute for Traffic, died in London of liver failure.
1985 Doctors discover a cancerous growth in President Reagan's colon
1992 Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose was arrested at New York's JFK International Airport on a warrant from St. Louis prosecutors. Rose was wanted on charges stemming from a riot during a 1991 Guns N' Roses concert. He was released on 100-thousand dollars bond.
1992 A memorial to Buddy Holly was unveiled in Dallas.
1996 Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins was charged with heroin possession. Police say he was with Jonathan Melvoin (MEL'-voyn), a backup keyboard player for the band who died of a drug overdose in a hotel room in New York.
1996 NBC newsman John Chancellor died of cancer at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 68.
07-12-2006, 12:09 PM
Movie director Monte Hellman is 74.
Pianist Van Cliburn is 72.
Actor-comedian Bill Cosby is 69.
Singer Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac is 63.
Actress Denise Nicholas ("In the Heat of the Night") is 62.
Actor Jay Thomas is 58.
Singer Walter Egan is 58.
Fitness guru Richard Simmons is 58.
Actress Cheryl Ladd is 55.
Gospel singer Sandi Patty is 50.
Actress Mel Harris ("thirtysomething") is 49.
Guitarist Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum is 44.
Singer Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms is 41.
Actress Lisa Nicole Carson ("Ally McBeal") is 37.
Country singer Shannon Lawson is 33.
Rapper Magoo is 33.
Singer Tracie Spencer is 30.
Actor Topher Grace ("That '70s Show") is 28.
Actress Michelle Rodriguez ("Lost") is 28.
Actor Erik Per Sullivan ("Malcolm in the Middle") is 15.
07-12-2006, 12:34 PM
Today in YES history (gotta love Forgotten Yesterdays):
7/12/04 Braintree UK Towerlands Indoor Arena
7/12/03 Vado Ligure IT Stadio, Chittolina
7/12/98 Noblesville IN Deer Creek Music Center
7/12/91 Philadelphia PA Spectrum Arena (I was there!!):drummer:
7/12/84 Wembley UK Wembley Arena
7/12/75 Buffalo NY Rich Stadium
7/12/69 Nottingham UK Nottingham Racecourse
07-21-2006, 03:14 AM
Today in YES history (gotta love Forgotten Yesterdays):
7/12/04 Braintree UK Towerlands Indoor Arena
7/12/03 Vado Ligure IT Stadio, Chittolina
7/12/98 Noblesville IN Deer Creek Music Center
7/12/91 Philadelphia PA Spectrum Arena (I was there!!):drummer:
7/12/84 Wembley UK Wembley Arena
7/12/75 Buffalo NY Rich Stadium
7/12/69 Nottingham UK Nottingham Racecourse
This is definitely like deja vu, BR.... ;)
July 20, 1780 General “Mad Anthony” Wayne loses to Loyalists in New Jersey
On this day in 1780, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne leads two brigades of Pennsylvania militia, supported by four artillery pieces, in an attempt to destroy a fortified blockhouse located approximately four miles north of Hoboken, in Bull’s Ferry, New Jersey. The blockhouse, or observation shelter, was surrounded by iron stakes and defended by 70 Loyalists, who managed to hold on to it despite the best efforts of the Americans. The Patriots lost 18men killed and 46 wounded in the unsuccessful assault.
Wayne had earned the moniker “Mad Anthony” one year earlier for his victory against surprising odds over a British garrison at Stony Point, New York. There, a British fort overlooking the Hudson River had threatened West Point, which was only 12 miles upriver. Wayne, at the head of 1,200 light infantry, successfully assaulted what the British believed was an impregnable position, losing only 15 killed and 83 wounded while the British lost 94 killed and wounded and 472 captured. Remarkably, the attack took place under cover of darkness, employed only bayonets as weaponry and lasted a mere 30 minutes. Two days later, Wayne, now dubbed “mad” for his enthusiastic and successful undertaking of a mission that seemed doomed to failure, destroyed the fortifications and evacuated the area. Congress rewarded Wayne’s efforts with a medal.
Much of Wayne’s ensuing career involved divesting Native Americans of their land. Following the victory at Yorktown, Wayne traveled to Georgia where he negotiated treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees. They paid dearly in land for their decision to side with the British, and Georgia paid Wayne in land—giving him a large plantation--for his efforts on their behalf. In 1794, President George Washington called upon Wayne to bring the ongoing violence with British-backed Indians in the Northwest Territory to a close. Wayne was victorious at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near what is now Toledo, Ohio, and gained much of what would become Ohio and Indiana for the U.S. in the Treaty of Greenville.
07-21-2006, 03:15 AM
1864 Battle of Peachtree Creek
On this day, General John Bell Hood's Confederate force attack William T. Sherman's troops outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but are repulsed with heavy losses.
This was Hood's first battle as head of the Army of Tennessee. Hood had assumed the command from Joseph Johnston just two days before when Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaced Johnston after Sherman backed Johnston into this key Southern city. For nearly three months, Sherman had pushed Johnston southward from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Johnston had blocked each of Sherman's flanking maneuvers, but in doing so he lost territory. Davis finally lost patience with Johnston, and selected the more offensive-minded Hood to defeat Sherman.
Hood wasted little time. He planned to strike the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General George Thomas, as it crossed Peachtree Creek. The waterway was deep, and the Confederates destroyed all bridges on their retreat into the outskirts of Atlanta. Hood suspected that the Yankees were most vulnerable when only part of their force was across the creek so he planned a two-pronged assault to hold part of Thomas' army at bay while the rest could be pinned against Peachtree Creek.
It was a sound plan, but poor execution doomed the operation. Scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on July 20, the attack was delayed for three hours while Hood's troops shifted into position. The overall assault lacked a general coordination, so units charged the Union positions piecemeal. Twenty thousand Rebels assaulted the same number of Yankees, but the delay proved costly. The Confederates achieved some success, but could not drive the Union troops back into Peachtree Creek. After three hours, Hood ordered a halt to the advance.
Hood was not deterred. Two days later, he attacked Sherman's forces again at the Battle of Atlanta.
07-21-2006, 03:16 AM
1869 Mark Twain's book The Innocents Abroad is published
Mark Twain's book The Innocents Abroad is published, recounting his journey to Europe and the Holy Land in 1869. The book became a bestseller.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who adopted the pseudonym Mark Twain, was born in Hannibal, Missouri. Apprenticed to a printer at age 13, he later worked for his older brother, who established the Hannibal Journal.
In 1857, Clemens became a steamboat pilot's apprentice, earned his license, and piloted his own boats for two years. During his time as a pilot, he picked up the term "Mark Twain," a boatman's call noting that the river was only two fathoms deep, the minimum depth for safe navigation. When Clemens returned to writing in 1861, working for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, he wrote a humorous travel letter signed by "Mark Twain" and continued to use the pseudonym for nearly 50 years.
In 1866, Clemens went to Hawaii as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union. Later, he traveled the world writing accounts for papers in California and New York, which became The Innocents Abroad.
In 1870, Clemens married the daughter of a wealthy New York coal merchant and settled in Hartford, Connecticut, where he continued to write travel accounts and lecture. In1875, his novel Tom Sawyer was published, followed by Life on the Mississippi (1883). Bad investments left Clemens bankrupt after the publication of his masterpiece Huckleberry Finn in 1885, but he won back his financial standing with his next three books. In 1903, he and his family moved to Italy, where his wife died. Her death left him sad and bitter, and his work, while still humorous, grew distinctly darker. He died in 1910.
07-21-2006, 03:16 AM
1881 Sitting Bull surrenders
Five years after General George A. Custer's infamous defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army, which promises amnesty for him and his followers. Sitting Bull had been a major leader in the 1876 Sioux uprising that resulted in the death of Custer and 264 of his men at Little Bighorn. Pursued by the U.S. Army after the Indian victory, he escaped to Canada with his followers.
Born in the Grand River Valley in what is now South Dakota, Sitting Bull gained early recognition in his Sioux tribe as a capable warrior and a man of vision. In 1864, he fought against the U.S. Army under General Alfred Sully at Killdeer Mountain and thereafter dedicated himself to leading Sioux resistance against white encroachment. He soon gained a following in not only his own tribe but in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Native American groups as well. In 1867, he was made principal chief of the entire Sioux nation.
In 1873, in what would serve as a preview of the Battle of Little Bighorn three years later, an Indian military coalition featuring the leadership of Sitting Bull skirmished briefly with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. In 1876, Sitting Bull was not a strategic leader in the U.S. defeat at Little Bighorn, but his spiritual influence inspired Crazy Horse and the other victorious Indian military leaders. He subsequently fled to Canada, but in 1881, with his people starving, he returned to the United States and surrendered.
He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall in South Dakota territory for two years and then was permitted to live on Standing Rock Reservation straddling North and South Dakota territory. In 1885, he traveled for a season with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show and then returned to Standing Rock. In 1889, the spiritual proclamations of Sitting Bull influenced the rise of the "Ghost Dance," an Indian religious movement that proclaimed that the whites would disappear and the dead Indians and buffalo would return.
His support of the Ghost Dance movement had brought him into disfavor with government officials, and on December 15, 1890, Indian police burst into Sitting Bull's house in the Grand River area of South Dakota and attempted to arrest him. There is confusion as to what happened next. By some accounts, Sitting Bull's warriors shot the leader of the police, who immediately turned and gunned down Sitting Bull. In another account, the police were instructed by Major James McLaughlin, director of the Standing Rock Sioux Agency, to kill the chief at any sign of resistance. Whatever the case, Sitting Bull was fatally shot and died within hours. The Indian police hastily buried his body at Fort Yates within the Standing Rock Reservation. In 1953, his remains were moved into Mobridge, South Dakota, where a granite shaft marks his resting place.
07-21-2006, 03:17 AM
1889 Homesteaders murdered by Wyoming ranchers
Having made the mistake of homesteading on land previously controlled by a Wyoming cattle king, homesteaders Ella Watson and James Averell are accused of rustling and hanged.
As the days of the open range cattle industry faded, conflicts between powerful western cattle barons and the homesteaders who were settling on "their" lands were inevitable. The homesteaders had every right to claim their 320 acres of windswept grasslands but some old-time ranchers tried to discourage the settlers in hopes of preserving more rangeland for their cattle. Usually, such discouragement was limited to cowboys cutting the settlers' barbed wire fences or diverting irrigation water, but the tactics occasionally became more violent.
A common complaint among ranchers was that many of the homesteaders were actually rustlers who stole their cows and horses. The ranchers' accusations were surely exaggerated, but the charge of rustling allowed them to take drastic actions. Such may have been the case with Ella Watson and James Averell. Watson, a former prostitute from Kansas, came to Wyoming Territory in 1886. That same year, she received a license to wed James Averell, a Wyoming saloonkeeper who had a homestead on the Sweetwater River. The couple either never married or kept the union secret so that Watson could file a second homestead near Averell's place. Both claims were located on lands claimed by the powerful rancher Albert Bothwell without legal foundation, and Bothwell used the lands for grazing his herds.
Bothwell-described as one of the most arrogant cattleman in the region-eventually accused both Watson and Averell of rustling. On this day in 1889, Bothwell and five of his men took the couple prisoner and hanged them. Although the men were later charged with murder, a pro-rancher jury acquitted them of any wrongdoing. It was the only incidence of a woman being executed-legally or illegally-in the history of Wyoming.
07-21-2006, 03:18 AM
1890 Theda Bara is born
Silent-film star Theda Bara, one of cinema's first sex symbols, is born in Cincinnati.
Bara was born Theodosia Goodman, the daughter of a Cincinnati tailor. She attended the University of Cincinnati and worked as a stage actress in New York. She went to Hollywood in 1915 and worked for William Fox, founder of Fox Film Corp. (later 20th Century Fox). Her first major film, A Fool There Was (1915), established her as a femme fatale that led men to their downfall. The script was based on a Rudyard Kipling poem, "The Vampire," and Bara henceforth became known as a "vamp," starring in movies with overtly sexual themes.
Her film studio purposely created a mystique around the girl from Cincinnati, giving her a new name they publicized as "an anagram for Arab death." She was rumored to be the daughter of a French artist father and an Egyptian mother. Cultivating the mystique, she surrounded herself with symbols of death and the underworld, giving interviews while stroking a pet snake. From 1914 to 1919, she made 40 silent pictures, including Camille (1917), Cleopatra (1917), and Salome (1918).
As movie audiences became more sophisticated, Bara's gothic image appeared increasingly silly. She appeared in only one film after 1919: Madame Mystery (1926), a short parody of her silent-film persona, which was co-directed by Stan Laurel.
Bara died of cancer in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 7, 1955.
07-21-2006, 03:18 AM
1894 Errett Lobban Cord is born
Errett Lobban Cord was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, on this day in 1894. Cord moved to Los Angeles while he was in high school and remained there after his graduation, starting a number of car dealerships. His prowess as a salesman led him to pursue bigger goals and to look for a way to invest the $100,000 he had managed to save in a few years of work. "Then I started looking around," he said, "I wanted to do something with that $100,000."
Cord found the struggling Auburn Automobile Company in Auburn, Indiana, a company on its last legs, having completed only 175 cars in 1923. Cord convinced Ralph Bard, head of a Chicago group that had purchased Auburn, to take him on as general manager at no cost, with the stipulation that if Cord turned the company around he would be allowed to purchase controlling interest. He launched a sales blitz, rapidly clearing out Auburn's inventory and enabling it to show a profit.
By 1926, Cord was company president and the following year the company established dividends at $4 a share and eight percent in stock. Cord then launched an aggressive business strategy, purchasing companies in many manufacturing fields and trading his stock on the New York Stock Exchange. He acquired Duesenberg in order to add a luxury car line to his Auburn cars. Sound stock management allowed Cord to expand his operations during the Depression while many other companies were merely struggling to survive.
Cord established an empire consisting of Auburn, Duesenberg, Stinson Aircraft, Lycoming Motors, Limousine Body, and a number of engineering plants. He placed his new acquisitions in a holding company called the Cord Corporation. In 1933, he added New York Shipbuilding and Checker Cab to his conglomerate. During the 1930s, sales of Cord's cars stumbled. Their heavy price tags could not be born by the tightening market. Nevertheless, during the late 1930s, Cord's company produced some of the finest classic cars in automotive history, but Cord's empire fell as precipitously as it had risen. He and Morris Markin, President of Checker, were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for stock manipulation. In one case Cord and Markin had purchased 70,000 shares of Checker at $7. Their action created the illusion of great activity in their stock, driving the price up. Markin and Cord unloaded their shares at an average price of $59 per share. Both men denied the charges, but neither contested a court injunction preventing them from further impropriety. The same day of the verdict Cord sold all of his interest in the Cord Corporation for $2.6 million.
Cord died from cancer, in Reno, Nev., in 1974.
07-21-2006, 03:19 AM
1894 Pullman strike turns deadly
During the summer of 1894, the Pullman Palace Car Company was embroiled in what proved to be one of the most bitter strikes in American history. The strike was a direct response to company chief George Pullman and his hardball tactics, most notably his decision in the midst of the Depression of 1893 to preserve profits by slashing wages and hiking up workers' rents. A band of frustrated employees implored Pullman to ease rents and restore wages; Pullman responded by firing three of the workers. In May, the workers fired back at their avaricious boss by calling a strike. Backed by the organizational muscle of Eugene Debs and the mighty American Railway Union (ARU), the workers touched off a round of sympathy strikes and boycotts that effectively crippled the Chicago-based company. However, Pullman had has own network of powerful allies, including other rail honchos and a number government officials. In hopes of enlisting the aid of the federal military, Pullman and his cronies convinced the government that the strikes and boycotts were inhibiting the delivery of America's mail. Though Pullman's cars didn't carry any mail, the scheme proved effective: in early July, the government banned the boycotts and swiftly shipped troops to Chicago. Fighting broke out shortly after the government forces hit the scene; by the time the militia left Chicago on July 20, the "war" between the troops and the strikers had left thirty-four men dead. But, the damage had already been done to the Pullman strikers: their ranks and clout had been depleted, and, when American Federation of Labor chief Samuel Gompers' refusal to lend them any substantial support, the rail workers were forced to capitulate to management. In the wake of the settlement, many of the strikers were barred from working in the rail industry.
07-21-2006, 03:19 AM
1914 Caillaux trial begins in Paris
As war threatened in the Balkans, the attention of much of the French people focuses instead on the sensational case of Madame Henriette Caillaux, whose trial for the murder of Gaston Calmette, editor of the newspaper Le Figaro, opens on July 20, 1914, in Paris.
Joseph Caillaux, a left-wing politician, had been appointed prime minister of France in 1911. He was forced out of office the following year, however, after he was accused of being too accommodating to Germany. Chosen again as a cabinet minister in 1913, the relatively pacifist Caillaux was under almost constant attack from the right. In his personal life, Caillaux was relatively indiscreet, parading his mistresses around during his life as a bachelor and carrying on a secret love affair with one of them, his future second wife, while he was still married to his first wife.
Although Caillaux was an old friend of Raymond Poincare, elected president of France in March 1913, he and Poincare had become political adversaries even before World War I began the following summer. Shortly after his election, Poincare supported legislation that would increase the required length of military duty in France from two to three years, a measure that seemed necessary to many as a way of offsetting Germany’s enormous population advantage—70 million to 40 million—in the case of a war. Despite opposition from Caillaux and other liberals, including the country’s Socialist leader, Jean Jaures, the bill passed in August 1913. When Caillaux continued to attack it, he became the object of a major smear campaign led by Gaston Calmette, the most powerful journalist in France and the editor of the leading right-wing journal Le Figaro.
Beginning in December 1913, Calmette claimed he could and would publicize certain documents that would prove Caillaux, while serving as minister of finance in 1911, had obstructed justice in a financial scandal in which he may have been personally involved. Moreover, Calmette threatened to publish love letters exchanged between Caillaux and his second wife, Henriette, while he was still married to his first wife.
When Calmette threatened to publish intercepted wire communications supposedly showing Caillaux’s sympathy to Germany—a claim that spurred a protest by the German government against the interception of its official correspondence—Caillaux went to Poincare and asked him to prevent Calmette from revealing the documents. If Poincare declined to do so, Caillaux pointed out, he himself would make public intercepted cables in his possession that revealed the French president’s secret negotiations with the Vatican, a revelation that would certainly anger Poincare’s secular and anticlerical supporters. The French government subsequently issued an official denial of the existence of the German cables, but Calmette continued to threaten to publish Caillaux’s love letters.
On March 16, 1914, Henriette Caillaux took a taxi to the offices of Le Figaro in the rue Drouot. After waiting for an hour to see the chief editor, she walked with him into his private office and fired six shots at him from her automatic pistol. Struck by four of the bullets, Calmette died that evening.
While to the east, in Vienna and Berlin, plans proceeded that would begin the First World War, Parisians—and many others in France—were riveted by the Caillaux affair, and completely unaware of the imminent crisis in Europe. In addition to being a sensational crime, the case was also a clash between left-and right-wing politics in France. Madame Caillaux’s trial for Calmette’s murder began July 20, 1914. Eight days later, the jury acquitted Madame Caillaux, on the grounds that hers was a crime passionnel. The same day, July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
07-21-2006, 03:21 AM
1940 Billboard's first chart
On this day in 1940, Billboard magazine publishes its first "Music Popularity Chart." The first No. 1 hit was "I'll Never Smile Again" by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, on which Frank Sinatra sang vocals. From then on, Billboard published its list of top sellers once a week.
(I love this song.... :crybby:)
07-21-2006, 03:22 AM
1944 Assassination plot against Hitler fails
On this day in 1944, Hitler cheats death as a bomb planted in a briefcase goes off, but fails to kill him.
High German officials had made up their minds that Hitler must die. He was leading Germany in a suicidal war on two fronts, and assassination was the only way to stop him. A coup d'etat would follow, and a new government in Berlin would save Germany from complete destruction at the hands of the Allies. That was the plan. This was the reality: Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, chief of the army reserve, had been given the task of planting a bomb during a conference that was to be held at Berchtesgaden (but was later moved to Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg). Stauffenberg planted the explosive in a briefcase, which he placed under a table, then left quickly. Hitler was studying a map of the Eastern front as Colonel Heinz Brandt, trying to get a better look at the map, moved the briefcase out of place, farther away from where the Fuhrer was standing. At 12:42 p.m. the bomb went off. When the smoke cleared, Hitler was wounded, charred, and even suffered the temporary paralysis
s of one arm-but he was very much alive. (He was even well enough to keep an appointment with Benito Mussolini that very afternoon. He gave Il Duce a tour of the bomb site.) Four others present died from their wounds.
As the bomb went off, Stauffenberg was making his way to Berlin to carry out Operation Valkyrie, the overthrow of the central government. In Berlin, he and co-conspirator General Olbricht arrested the commander of the reserve army, General Fromm, and began issuing orders for the commandeering of various government buildings. And then the news came through from Herman Goering-Hitler was alive. Fromm, released from custody under the assumption he would nevertheless join the effort to throw Hitler out of office, turned on the conspirators. Stauffenberg and Olbricht were shot that same day. Once Hitler figured out the extent of the conspiracy (it reached all the way to occupied French), he began the systematic liquidation of his enemies. More than 7,000 Germans would be arrested (including evangelical pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and up to 5,000 would wind up dead-either executed or as suicides. Hitler, Himmler, and Goering took an even firmer grip on Germany and its war machine!
Hitler became convinced that fate had spared him. "I regard this as a confirmation of the task imposed upon me by Providence"-and that "nothing is going to happen to me.... The great cause which I serve will be brought through its present perils and...everything can be brought to a good end."
07-21-2006, 03:23 AM
1948 Truman issues peacetime draft
President Harry S. Truman institutes a military draft with a proclamation calling for nearly 10 million men to register for military service within the next two months. Truman's action came during increasing Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.
Following World War II, the United States moved quickly to demobilize the vast military it had constructed during the conflict. During the war, more than 16 million men and women served in the U.S. military; when the war ended in August 1945, the American people demanded rapid demobilization. By 1948, less than 550,000 men remained in the U.S. Army. This rapid decline in the size of America's military concerned U.S. government officials, who believed that a confrontation with the Soviet Union was imminent. During the years following World War II, relations between the Russians and Americans deteriorated rapidly. In 1947, the president issued the Truman Doctrine, which provided aid to Greece and Turkey to oppose communist subversion. In that same year, Secretary of State George C. Marshall warned that Western Europe was on the brink of political and economic chaos that would leave it defenseless against communist aggression; the following year, Congress approved billions of dollars in financial assistance to the beleaguered nations. In June 1948, the Soviets cut all land traffic into the U.S.-British-French zones of occupation in West Berlin. The United States responded with the Berlin Airlift, in which tons of food and supplies were flown in to sustain the population of the besieged city. In light of these events, many Americans believed that actual combat with the Soviet Union was not far away. In response to this threat, President Truman announced on July 20, 1948, that the United States was re-instituting the draft and issued a proclamation requiring nearly 10 million men to register for military service in the next two months.
Truman's decision underlined the urgency of his administration's concern about a possible military confrontation with the Soviet Union. It also brought home to the American people in concrete terms the possibility that the Cold War could, at any moment, become an actual war. In 1950, possibility turned to reality when the United States entered the Korean War, and the size of America's armed forces once again increased dramatically.
07-21-2006, 03:23 AM
1951 King of Jordan assassinated
While entering a mosque in the Jordanian sector of east Jerusalem, King Abdullah of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist.
Abdullah was a member of the Hashemites, an Arab dynasty said to be directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad. During World War I, with British support, Abdullah led an Arab revolt against Turkish rule in Jordan. In 1921, the British made him the emir of Transjordan, and with Jordanian independence in 1946 he became the country's monarch. Two years later, he led his armies against the newly declared state of Israel, and Jordan annexed east Jerusalem along with the portions of Palestine now known as the West Bank. In 1951, his efforts to create an Arab federation under Hashemite rule ended when he was assassinated in Jerusalem.
After a brief sojourn on the Jordanian throne, Abdullah's son was declared mentally unfit to rule and was replaced by Abdullah's grandson, Hussein bin Talal. King Hussein ruled until he died in 1999; he was succeeded by his son, Abdullah.
07-21-2006, 03:24 AM
1958 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts goes off the air
The last episode of the popular Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts airs, after nearly a decade on TV. The program, one of television's earliest amateur talent shows, was a breakthrough vehicle for stars including Rosemary Clooney, Pat Boone, Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, and Patsy Cline. Elvis Presley flunked his audition for the show in 1955.
07-21-2006, 03:24 AM
1964 Viet Cong troops overrun town
Viet Cong forces overrun Cai Be, the capital of Dinh Tuong Province, killing 11 South Vietnamese militiamen, 10 women, and 30 children. On July 31, South Vietnam charged that the enemy troops involved in the attack were North Vietnamese Army regulars and that Chinese communist advisors led the attack. This claim was never verified, but it is likely that North Vietnamese regulars participated in the action. This incident and numerous intelligence reports indicated that North Vietnamese regular troops were moving down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in great numbers to join the fighting in South Vietnam. This marked a major change in the tempo and scope of the war in South Vietnam and resulted in President Lyndon B. Johnson committing U.S. combat troops. North Vietnamese forces and U.S. troops clashed for the first time in November 1965, when units from the newly arrived 1st Cavalry Division engaged several North Vietnamese regiments in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands.
07-21-2006, 03:25 AM
1969 Nixon watches first lunar landing
On this day in 1969, President Richard Nixon, along with millions of others, watches as two American astronauts walk on the moon. Later that evening, Nixon recorded succinctly in his diary “the President held an interplanetary conversation with Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin on the Moon.”
America and the Soviet Union had been in a race to see who could get to the moon first ever since the Soviets beat the U.S. into manned space flight with Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight in 1961. Later that year, then-President John F. Kennedy vowed that America would be first to put a man on the moon, saying “To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.” To meet this goal, Kennedy and his successors, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, authorized generous funding for space exploration. Thanks to this support, less than a decade after what became known as Kennedy’s “moon speech,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent the first men to the moon.
Nixon joined approximately 500 million people around the world in watching Armstrong and Aldrin as the astronauts left their lunar landing module and walked on the moon. (The Soviet Union and China, America’s two biggest rivals in the space race, banned the broadcast in their respective countries.) After they planted an American flag on the moon’s surface, the astronauts spoke directly to President Nixon, who congratulated them on their historic mission. His phone was linked via satellite through the NASA control center in Houston, Texas.
Nixon continued to be an influential force in America’s space program. In 1972, he approved development of the space shuttle program. In an ironic twist, by the 21st century, space shuttle flights—especially those to the international space station--had become international cooperative endeavors with Russians and Americans joining forces to conduct missions and sharing space exploration technology.
07-21-2006, 03:25 AM
1969 Duck Hook plan completed
A top-secret study, commissioned by presidential assistant Henry Kissinger, is completed by the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Code-named Duck Hook, the study proposed measures for military escalation against North Vietnam. The military options included a massive bombing of Hanoi, Haiphong, and other key areas of North Vietnam; a ground invasion of North Vietnam; the mining of harbors and rivers; and a bombing campaign designed to sever the main railroad links to China. A total of 29 major targets in North Vietnam were pinpointed for destruction in a series of air attacks planned to last four days and to be renewed until Hanoi capitulated. This plan represented a drastic escalation of the war and was never ordered by President Richard Nixon. However, Nixon did order certain elements of the proposal, such as the intensified bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong and the mining of North Vietnamese harbors, in response to the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive.
07-21-2006, 03:26 AM
1969 Armstrong walks on moon
At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
The American effort to send astronauts to the moon has its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy's bold proposal.
In 1966, after five years of work by an international team of scientists and engineers, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the first unmanned Apollo mission, testing the structural integrity of the proposed launch vehicle and spacecraft combination. Then, on January 27, 1967, tragedy struck at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when a fire broke out during a manned launch-pad test of the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rocket. Three astronauts were killed in the fire.
Despite the setback, NASA and its thousands of employees forged ahead, and in October 1968, Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, orbited Earth and successfully tested many of the sophisticated systems needed to conduct a moon journey and landing. In December of the same year, Apollo 8 took three astronauts to the dark side of the moon and back, and in March 1969 Apollo 9 tested the lunar module for the first time while in Earth orbit. Then in May, the three astronauts of Apollo 10 took the first complete Apollo spacecraft around the moon in a dry run for the scheduled July landing mission.
At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: "The Eagle has landed."
At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. As he made his way down the lunar module's ladder, a television camera attached to the craft recorded his progress and beamed the signal back to Earth, where hundreds of millions watched in great anticipation. At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong spoke his famous quote, which he later contended was slightly garbled by his microphone and meant to be "that's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." He then planted his left foot on the gray, powdery surface, took a cautious step forward, and humanity had walked on the moon.
"Buzz" Aldrin joined him on the moon's surface at 11:11 p.m., and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard M. Nixon via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon--July 1969 A.D--We came in peace for all mankind."
At 5:35 p.m., Armstrong and Aldrin successfully docked and rejoined Collins, and at 12:56 a.m. on July 22 Apollo 11 began its journey home, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51 p.m. on July 24.
There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972. The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today's dollars). The expense was justified by Kennedy's 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the moon, and after the feat was accomplished ongoing missions lost their viability.
07-21-2006, 03:27 AM
1976 Viking 1 lands on Mars
On the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.
Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976. The first month of its orbit was devoted to imaging the surface to find appropriate landing sites. On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter, touched down on the Chryse Planitia region of Mars, and sent back the first close-up photographs of the rust-colored Martian surface.
In September 1976, Viking 2--launched only three weeks after Viking 1--entered into orbit around Mars, where it assisted Viking 1 in imaging the surface and also sent down a lander. During the dual Viking missions, the two orbiters imaged the entire surface of Mars at a resolution of 150 to 300 meters, and the two landers sent back more than 1,400 images of the planet's surface.
07-21-2006, 03:27 AM
1977 Second great flood hits Johnstown
A flash flood hits Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on this day in 1977, killing 84 people and causing millions of dollars in damages. This flood came 88 years after the infamous Great Flood of 1889 that killed more than 2,000 people in Johnstown. As they had in the first flood, the dams in the Conemaugh Valley failed, bringing disaster to the town.
The flood occurred when an extraordinary amount of rain came down in the Conemaugh Valley in a short period of time. Nearly 12 inches were measured in 10 hours. The National Weather Service later estimated that this amount of rain in that location should happen less than once every 1,000 years.
The largest dam that burst was at Laurel Run. This 10-year-old earthen dam held back 100 million gallons of water. Despite having a 42-foot-high spillway, the dam failed and the resulting flood devastated the town of Tanneryville. Five other dams in the area also burst, releasing another 30 million gallons of water over the landscape.
The failure of the dams came as a big surprise. Johnstown had constructed an entire system designed to completely eliminate the flood risk. In addition, regular inspections had turned up no defects. Still, the dams were no match for the thunderstorm that stalled over the area on July 20.
In addition to the 84 people who lost their lives to the flood, $300 million in damages were suffered and hundreds of people lost their homes. President Carter declared the region a federal disaster area and the National Guard was sent to assist in the relief efforts. Despite millions spent to rehabilitate the Johnstown area, the economy never recovered. The city’s population decreased nearly 15 percent in the aftermath of the flood, as people moved away to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
07-21-2006, 03:28 AM
1984 A serial-killing couple is apprehended
Alton Coleman and Debra Brown are apprehended in Evanston, Illinois, after a particularly vicious two-month crime spree that left eight people dead and many more injured. Coleman had been added to the special eleventh slot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for actively dangerous fugitives.
Coleman had a long criminal record before he met Brown in 1983. In 1974, he abducted and raped a woman in Waukegan, Illinois, and was sentenced to prison. Psychiatrists determined that Coleman was a "pansexual willing to have intercourse with any object, women, men, children, whatever." He was obsessed with tying up young girls for violent sex. Still, he was released and later acquitted of subsequent rape charges in 1976 and 1980.
Coleman and Brown's spree began on May 29, 1984, when they took nine-year-old Vernita Wheat on a ride in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Although the FBI began pursuing the couple the next day, Wheat's body was not found until June 19. The day before, two young girls, ages seven and nine, were walking near their home in Gary, Indiana, when Coleman and Brown abducted them. Both were raped and beaten, but one managed to escape; the other girl was choked to death.
The murderous twosome turned up next in Detroit, Michigan, where they began a pattern of accosting people and stealing their cars. On July 2, Coleman beat a Detroit couple with a pipe in their home while he ranted about how he was being forced to kill other blacks. On July 7, a mother and her 10-year-old daughter were raped and killed in their home in Toledo, Ohio.
Their next victim, a 15-year-old girl, turned up in Cincinnati, Ohio. On July 13, Coleman and Brown bludgeoned a woman to death and stole her car. In Lexington, Kentucky, the couple abducted two men but were talked out of killing them. The last victim of the rampage was 77-year-old Eugene Scott of Indianapolis, who was killed for his car on July 18.
Coleman and Brown now faced a series of trials across the nation. At Coleman's death penalty hearing in Ohio, Brown told the jury that, "I killed the ----- [one of the victims], and I don't give a damn. I had fun out of it." But her attitude had changed a bit by the time she stood trial in Indiana, writing a note to the judge that said, "I am a more kind and understanding and lovable person than people think I am." Coleman, who was unconcerned with the death penalty at the time of his final trial in Illinois (1987), told the court that "I'm dead already."
Coleman was sentenced to death in three states and was executed by lethal injection in Ohio on April 26, 2002. Brown remains in prison in Ohio.
07-21-2006, 03:30 AM
On July 20th....
1858 Fee 1st charged to see a baseball game (50 cents) (NY beats Brooklyn 22-18)
1868 1st use of tax stamps on cigarettes
1878 1st telephone introduced in Hawaii
1903 Giuseppe Sarto elected Pope Pius X
1933 Nelson Doubleday is born, publisher (Doubleday)/owner (NY Mets)
1938 Natalie Wood [Natasha Gurdin], is born in San Francisco, CA, (Gypsy, Rebel Without a Cause)
1944 T.G. Sheppard is born, country singer (Only 1 You, Without You)
On July 20th, 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black performed in public for the first time, billing themselves as the Blue Moon Boys. They performed at the opening of a new drugstore in Memphis.
In 1965, Bob Dylan's single "Like A Rolling Stone" was released by Columbia Records.
1968 Jane Asher breaks her engagement with Paul McCartney on live TV
1968 Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" becomes the 1st heavy metal
song to hit the charts, it comes in at #117
In 1968, Jane Asher announced on national T-V in Britain that her engagement to Paul McCartney was off. McCartney reportedly was watching and was surprised by the news.
Also in 1968, Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vidda" debuted on the American pop chart.
1970 1st baby born on Alcatraz Island
In 1975, "Miami" Steve Van Zandt performed for the first time in concert as part of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in Providence, Rhode Island.
In 1979, the Electric Light Orchestra took out ads dedicating their newly-released song "Don't Bring Me Down" to Skylab.
1982 Bombs planted by Irish Republican Army explode in 2 London parks
1983 Frank Reynolds, news anchor (ABC Evening News), dies at 59
In 1984, Vanessa Williams -- Miss America 1984 -- was asked by pageant officials to resign because of nude photos of her that appeared in "Penthouse" magazine. She gave up her title three days later.
In 1986, "Sid And Nancy," a film biography of the Sex Pistols, premiered in London. Gary Oldman played Sid Vicious.
1990 Justice William Brennan resigns from the Supreme Court after 36 years
1991 Kirk Cameron marries Growing Pains co-star Chelsea Noble in Upstate NY
In 1996, actor Robert Downey Junior was arrested after authorities say he left a court-ordered drug rehab center. It was his third arrest in a month.
In 1998, actress Jodie Foster gave birth to a boy in Los Angeles. She refused to say who the father was and how she got pregnant.
07-21-2006, 03:31 AM
July 20th Birthdays:
Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes is 76.
Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 71.
Actress Diana Rigg ("The Avengers") is 68.
Bassist John Lodge of the Moody Blues is 63.
Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 62.
Singer Kim Carnes is 60.
Guitarist Carlos Santana is 59.
Drummer Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols is 50.
Actress Donna Dixon ("Bosom Buddies") is 49.
Country singer Radney Foster is 47.
Singer Chris Cornell of Audioslave (and Soundgarden) is 42.
Guitarist Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam is 40.
Actor Reed Diamond ("Homicide: Life on the Street") is 39.
Actor Josh Holloway ("Lost") is 37.
Singer Vitamin C is 37.
Actor Simon Rex is 32.
Actor Charlie Korsmo ("Can't Hardly Wait," "Hook") is 28.
Actor John Francis Daley ("Freaks and Geeks") is 21.
Actress Billi Bruno ("According to Jim") is 10.
07-21-2006, 10:14 AM
Today in YES history:
7/21/03 Estepona ES Plaza De Toro
7/21/00 Boston MA BankBoston Harborlights Pavilion
7/21/98 Concord CA Concord Pavillion
7/21/91 Wantagh NY Jones Beach Amphitheatre
7/21/84 Beziers FR
7/21/75 Philadelphia PA Spectrum Arena
7/21/71 Indianapolis IN National Guard Armory
07-21-2006, 10:16 AM
July 21, 1861 - First Battle of Bull Run
The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas, took place on July 21, 1861, and was the first major land battle of the American Civil War. Green Union Army troops under Brigadier General Irvin McDowell advanced against the Confederate Army under Brig. Gens. Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard at Manassas, Virginia, and despite early successes, were routed and forced to retreat back to Washington, D.C.
07-21-2006, 04:55 PM
July 21, 365 Tsunami hits Alexandria, Egypt
On this day in the year 365, a powerful earthquake off the coast of Greece causes a tsunami that devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt. Although there were no measuring tools at the time, scientists now estimate that the quake was actually two tremors in succession, the largest of which is thought to have had a magnitude of 8.0.
The quake was centered near the plate boundary called the Hellenic Arc and quickly sent a wall of water across the Mediterranean Sea toward the Egyptian coast. Ships in the harbor at Alexandria were overturned as the water near the coast receded suddenly. Reports indicate that many people rushed out to loot the hapless ships. The tsunami wave then rushed in and carried the ships over the sea walls, landing many on top of buildings. In Alexandria, approximately 5,000 people lost their lives and 50,000 homes were destroyed.
The surrounding villages and towns suffered even greater destruction. Many were virtually wiped off the map. Outside the city, 45,000 people were killed. In addition, the inundation of saltwater rendered farmland useless for years to come. Evidence indicates that the area’s shoreline was permanently changed by the disaster. Slowly, but steadily, the buildings of Alexandria’s Royal Quarter were overtaken by the sea following the tsunami. It was not until 1995 that archaeologists discovered the ruins of the old city off the coast of present-day Alexandria.
Today, the anniversary of the tsunami is celebrated annually with the residents saying prayers and marking the evening by illuminating the city.
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