In 1979, republicans in Congress manage to defeat a spending bill aimed at saving the Chrysler Corporation.
Congress rejects Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979The 1970s were tumultuous for Chrysler since, like all the American car companies of the era, the company was reliant on a marketplace where cheap oil and smog-filled cities were the norm. As conditions changed, Chrysler could not adapt in time. Critics of government regulation have claimed that U.S. anti-trust laws prohibited U.S. automakers from forming Japanese- or European-style industry consortiums (which helped their foreign competitors to save costs). Chrysler was also slow to adopt to a gradual tightening of anti-pollution regulations. However, given that Chrysler's European divisions already had both the talent and the knowledge to make fuel-economic, less polluting vehicles, all that Chrysler's management had to do was to import European technology that it already owned. Chrysler's American difficulties, therefore, were largely the result of poor management.
Although seen as a crushing defeat for President Carter, who had lobbied hard for the bill, the callous disregard for the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs comes back to haunt the Republicans, as they lose dozens of House seats and all of the seats in the Senate they were running for in 1980. Some say that if Ronald Reagan hadn't had the Chrysler noose around his neck in 1980, he might have prevented President Carter from winning a second term.
It is the year 300, and a young Greek man named Nicholas has become a bishop in Turkey.
No Saint Nick!Having heard about the poor girls who are being forced into prostitution for lack of a dowry, he starts secretly throwing gold coins through their windows, or occasionally dropping them down chimneys, so that no one can accuse the girls of accepting presents from a strange man.
He makes one mistake, though, when an outraged father sees him making his evening rounds. Assuming that the stranger is trying to buy his own daughters' favors, he has him driven from the Church in disgrace, and his name is never mentioned again.
In 1940, on this day the American author of Jazz-age novels and short stories Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Happy Endings Part 9a
Death of F. Scott FitzgeraldA decade before he had been committed to a mental hospital at the urging of his wife, Zelda (pictured). It was a shocking but somehow suitable ending to the Roaring Twenties. The Fitzgeralds had been the very essence of the Jazz Age, which Scott had immortalized in now-classic novels like This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. He had, in fact, termed his wife "the first American flapper".
But now he had decided to commit her to the hospital. Having overheard his intentions during a phone call to his friend Ernest Hemingway while all three are living in Paris, she knew she must strike first. Selling her jewels to pay the required two doctors to testify against her husband, she also used all the charm she acquired as a Southern belle back in Montgomery, Alabama to win them to her side.
That included her helpless weeping over her poor husband's plight .. backed up by the photos she secretly took of his attacks of fury, that included throwing chandeliers. She manages to be away from home when the ambulance comes, leaving her with no need to answer his wild charges that she is the crazy one.
But she still had one danger to overcome. During that fatal phone call, Hemingway assured her husband that "She is a bitch and she is crazy". Now she had to prove that neither charge was true, in case Hemingway used his own growing influence as a popular author to turn those charges against her.
So she hurried to Ernest's side, turning on the charm and the tears once more. He cannot resist putting his arms around her as she wept on his shoulder, and soon they were joined in a much more intimate embrace. It leads to his divorcing his second wife Pauline and making Zelda into Mrs. Hemingway.
The happy couple is still married when he dies of natural causes 30 years later, leaving her with his rich stock of literary royalties, along with their luxurious Florida and Cuba homes.
An article from the Happy Endings series.
In 1974, on this day funeral services were held for James Duncan's son-in-law, Roger Simmons (pictured), as questions about safety lapses in the construction of Duncan Tower and the untimely death of one of Simmons' business associates continued to swirl throughout San Francisco.
En Fuego, Part 3 by Chris OakleyConspicuously absent from the memorial service were James Duncan and Simmons' widow, the former Patricia Duncan; relations between the two Duncan family members and Simmons had been deteriorating even before the tower fire, and in the aftermath of the fire rumors surfaced that safety issues with the tower had sparked a confrontation Simmons and James Duncan just before Simmons plunged to his death in a botched attempt to save his own skin.
In 75 BC, as recorded by the Roman poet Suetonius in his historical morality lessons, pirates murdered a mouthy and ambitious young aristocrat from the Caesar family.
Young Julius Caesar Killed by Pirates Julius had fled Rome as the dictator Sulla began his purges of all those he found treasonous, including Julius' uncle Marius and his father-in-law Cinna. He was stripped of his titles and wealth and may very well have been executed upon refusing to divorce his wife Cornelia, but intervention by his maternal relatives allowed him to escape into hiding. He joined the military and served in the alliance with King Nicomedes of Bithynia, in whose court he remained until he heard of the death of Sulla and determined it was safe to return to Rome.
On his way across the Aegean Sea, however, Julius and his companions were captured by pirates. As per custom when they ran across wealthy travelers, the pirates would hold him for some ransom and then planned to let him go. The pirates demanded twenty talents of silver, and Julius replied with a laugh. He told them they had no idea who he was, and he suggested they demand fifty. While his servants went away to borrow the money, Julius entertained the pirates with stories and promised, upon gaining his freedom, to raise up a fleet, capture the pirates, and crucify all of them. The pirates had a turn at laughing at such a proud young man.
However, as the winter solstice approached, the pirates began to become nervous as the young Julius insisted he would carry through on the promise. In a violent disagreement, the pirates became divided, and several stormed the "too ambitious" Julius' cell, stabbing him only once, but enough to kill him. The pirates left the body with Julius' remaining servants and fled, never to be captured. The body would be returned to Rome, where it was received by the remainder of the Caesar family, which continued as minor nobility among the Romans for some time to come.
Rome itself continued for several centuries under heavy bureaucratic rule until invasions from Gauls displaced by Germans eventually toppled the city, breaking the empire into various pieces, many under the influence and authority of the Kingdom of Egypt.
In 1916, with the Great War suspended by the global medical crisis, European leaders risked infection from the Spanish Flu to gather in Versailles and attempt to forge a peace settlement that might save civilization from imminent collapse.
By Ed, Jeff Provine and Scott PalterOf course it was no coincidence that the deadliest natural disasters in human history had occured in late 1916. Because the spread of the influenza pandemic had been fanned like wildfire by the unprecedented troop movements of millions of soldiers across the continent. Unbelievably, over five hundred million people from the Arctic to remote Pacific islands were now infected.
Death had surely arrived on a truly apocalyptic scale that even dwarfed the unimaginable slaughter of the recent conflict. U-boats had died at sea that their entire crews succumbed to the disease. Whole armies were pulled out of their trenches to more sanitary conditions with soldiers threatening to lynch politicians trying to put them back in theatre. And the Tsar's Armies returned to St Petersburg infected with much more than the seeds of rebellion.
And so the worlds leaders were forced to accept reasonable terms that they might otherwise have rejected. The Great War was concluded by a Papal mediated seven years truce which commenced on Bastille Day, 1917. Under this agreement, the Ottomans retained Jerusalem, Damascus and Mosul/Kirkuk but not Baghdad. The Germans evacuated northern France (except the Lorraine iron ore fields) but not Belgium. And the Russian Empire imploded with Baltic States, Ukraine and Czarist "South Russia" as German protectorates. The Caucasian republics became British protectorates. Japan grabbed Manchuria and everything up to Lake Bikal. At the end of this mad chapter in human history, only time would tell whether civilization had actually received some benefit from a forced development, or whether the seeds of a second Great War had just been sown.
In 272, on this day the Emperor Aurelian was forced to abandon his attempt to wrest control of the eastern provinces back from Queen Zenobia after the Roman Army he dispatched to the breakaway Palmyrene Empire crashed to defeat near Antioch at the Battle of Immae.
Great Palmyrene Triumph over Rome at the Battle of Immae
By Ed and Professor Jeff ProvineThis legacy problem had been created when Emperor Gallienus made Septimius Odaenathus a king and protector of the eastern empire. A chieftain out of Palmyra, he had created a rag tag army that repelled the Sassanid onslaught when Rome had lost the capability to do so.
After his death his wife Queen Zenobia assumed direct control (through her son) of the eastern Roman Empire provinces that were under Palmyrian protection. Through shrewd diplomacy she managed to expand her holdings into Egypt and convinced much of Asia Minor to call Palmyra its capital, effectively carving out a Palmyrene Empire. Rome stilll considered Egypt to be personal province of the Emperor, judging this action to be nothing short of a declaration of war.
Yet publicly Queen Zenobia maintained the facade of a partnership with Rome by at all times placing her son in the subordinate position to the Roman Emperor in all official documents, letterhead, and coins that were minted. But only when the Germanic tribes were finally subdued did Aurelian feel sufficiently emboldened to directly contest her actions. He unwisely chosen to narrow his focus on what would prove a disasterous campaign into the east. And his ultimate goal of reuniting the Empire would lead to its premature dissolution.
Correctly judging that his army was far too cumbersome to invade Egypt effectively, Aurelian sent one of his generals with a fleet to see if they could drive out the Palmyrene garrison stationed there. In the mean time Aurelian restored his army to full strength and when he felt they were ready began to march toward Antioch. Realizing that the charade was over Queen Zenobia dropped all pretenses and had her son declared Augustus and mobilized an army to meet Aurelian in the field under the command of her capable general Zabdas. He had two big advantages at his disposal; first was the superiority of his cataphracts and the second was the extreme heat the Romans were not adapted to. And a devastating cavalary charge brought the battle to a dramatic ending.
On that battlefield, the Roman Imperial Crisis entered its final and terminal phase. Of course, only in hindsight we can see that the establishment of an Arabesque buffer state actually preserved Western Civilization by blocking the advance of the Turks.
In 1937, never before or since has Hollywood seen as terrible of a disaster as it did on the night of the premier of the ill-fated "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Created by Silly Symphonies animator Walt Disney, the film's doom seemed to be prophesied. Hollywood executives, as well as Disney's own brother Roy and his wife, Lilian, tried to talk him out of the notion of a full-length animated feature film as they were certain no audience would want to sit through something so ridiculous as a cartoon dwarf movie.
Fire Breaks out at Carthay Circle TheaterDisney persisted, however, even mortgaging his own home to pay for the $1.5 million production costs, astronomical for the day.
The film was set to premier at the Carthay Circle theater, which was growing in popularity with premiers such as Romeo and Juliet and The Life of Emile Zola in the last two years. The theater was Spanish Colonial Revival style, featuring an exterior of painted concrete and a bell tower sporting a colossal neon sign. As the star-studded audience sat waiting in the circular auditorium, an electrical fire from the neon sign began atop the roof. It went unnoticed for some time, spreading behind the walls raised above the roofline to create a tent effect. Survivors said that they smelled smoke, but it was blamed on a number of cigarettes and cigars.
Rumors say that Disney, desperate not to let a small technical fire ruin the premier of the film into which he had thrown his whole life, preempted the warning and stopped ushers from beginning an evacuation. The truth will never be known as Disney's body was found after the fire in the projection room, apparently trying to save the film reels, the same that ignited in the burst that would be the first signal of danger to the auditorium. By the time fire alarms began to ring, the fire itself had spread over the roof and destabilized the theater's famed tower. Moviegoers began to flee toward the exits when the roof collapsed and flaming debris instantly killed dozens. Over a hundred more would be dead by the end of the night despite the race by rescuers to pull trapped victims from under the inferno.
Among the victims of the Carthay Fire were Disney himself, radio comedian George Burns (whose wife Gracie Allen would go immediately into retirement, saying, "The act is over"), young singing sensation Judy Garland, It Girl Mary Pickford, columnist Ed Sullivan, and, most famously, Clark Gable, who, after making certain his girlfriend Carole Lombard had gotten to safety, returned to the fire and saved Shirley Temple. He escaped the fire itself but died the next morning due to complications from smoke inhalation.
It is said that the Golden Age of Hollywood ended with the fire, but the town recovered and continued to produce. In a move that many considered poor taste, the Carthay Circle was rebuilt, hoping to open for the premier of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Shirley Temple, starring as Dorothy Gale, refused to set foot in the building again, and the premier was moved. Instead, the first new show at the Carthay Circle was the notorious flop Gone with the Wind. Gary Cooper had passed on the film's role of Rhett Butler, which came to Errol Flynn. While his acting was defined by critics as superb, too many audience members expected sword fighting, and the film's budget of $4 million ruined MGM Studios as the box office did not pay out.
Whether out of respect for the disaster, because Disney was no longer living to push for the genre, or from a simple lack of public interest, it would be decades before another full-length cel-animated feature film would be attempted, gradually coming into mainstream out of the underground comix movement. Few films would be seen as largely profitable until 1986's Oscar-winning animation Howard the Duck restarted the genre with its biting social commentary, though overall moviegoers would care more for monster films featuring costumes and camera tricks, robotics, and stop motion.
In 1974, the acclaimed disaster film The Towering Inferno would give a semi-fictional account of the evening with Paul Newman as Gable and Steve McQueen as Charles Chaplin, who was partially crippled when a beam crushed his leg. Critics and Hollywood historians alike routinely name Inferno the best disaster film of all time.
In 2001, in a nationally televised prime-time news conference, President Gore issues an ultimatum to the government of Afghanistan. Ultimatum by Eric Lipps
"We have given you every chance to behave as responsible members of the world community by turning over to us the terrorist murderers who have chosen to use your soil as a base," he informs the Taliban. "The limited measures we have undertaken so far have not been directed against your people or your government. However, we continue to insist that you cooperate with us in bringing to justice those responsible for the tragedy of Flight 93, and for planning the larger attack on our nation of which that was a part.
If you continue to refuse to do so, we will have no choice but to conclude that the butchers of Al Qaeda have your government's approval and protection. In that event, we shall have no option but to act forcefully without your aid.
If, once we have begun to take such further measures, any element of the government or military of Afghanistan attempts to obstruct us or to aid the terrorists in any way, we will be compelled to conclude that the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban as a political movement consider themselves at war with the United States of America. In that event, we will do what we deem necessary to protect and defend this nation and bring to account those who have chosen to kill innocent Americans. You have forty-eight hours to respond in good faith. If at the end of that time you have not done so, we will interpret that as a refusal".
The President avoids specifically mentioning the raids already undertaken inside Afghanistan, and says nothing about the CIA's Operation Kipling, so the great majority of Americans have no idea what 'limited measures' Gore might be talking about apart from his administration's actions in the United Nations aimed at tightening sanctions.
Gore's speech ignites and instant uproar, with conservatives variously delivering some version of 'It's about time' or deriding his remarks as political theater meant to disguise continued weakness and many liberals condemning him for seeming to bear out the departed Afghan UN delegation's charges of 'U.S. Bullying.'
In 1118, on the feast day of St Thomas the Apostle, Henry II's trusty right hand Thomas á Becket was born in Cheapside, London.
This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of #onthisday #history Google+ posts.
Birth of Thomas a BecketServing as Lord Chancellor since 1155, Becket became instrumental in Henry's policy keeping the king's dominance over the English church and curbing Papal influence in the kingdom for good.
Starting with classifying and taxing the church as every other landowner in the realm, the church's influence and independence was further reduced when Becket was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, enforcing the Constitutions of Clarendon that put an end to the separate canonical law. While Henry actually had planned just to have a say in the trials of clerks and priests in ecclesiastical courts, Becket furthered the crown's influence to the point that outside of minor questions of faith, the clergy was politically silenced.
Protesting bishops and abbots were dispossessed quickly, their property either allocated to the crown, the loyal Bishopric of Canterbury or Becket himself who became one of England's major landowners in the process.
Becket played a decisive role in regards of foreign affairs in furthering the approach to Frederick Barbarossa's Holy Roman Empire by active support against Pope Alexander III who did his best to supress the English as well as the Empire's anti-clerical policy. The combined efforts led to a removal of Alexander who was about to excommunicate everything north of the Alps except France. Henry's and Becket's policy was finally acknowledged by Pope Calixtus III - laying the groundwork of the great conflicts between the French crown and England and the Holy Roman Empire in the 13th century.
Becket himself died at the age of 71 in London after serving King Richard I as loyal as he served his father.
In 1773, the following are excerpts from Benjamin Franklin's Statement "Boston Terrorist Group Captured" ~
Thorn in Our Side"Due to the dilligent actions of our British Navy, a band of colonial terrorists were caught attempting to invade one of our ships to destroy our precious cargo.
Among those captured, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. Both were tried last week by the local magistrate and sentenced to ten years at hard labor aboard one of our ships. Others in the group were hanged in the village sqare at noon yesterday. This ends the rebel revolt that has been a thorn in the side of our great King George. Long live The King!".
In 1960, on this day 25-year-old Queens bar manager Kitty Genovese, who'd been severely injured in the Jamaica Bay hurricane and spent over four months in an irreversible coma, died at Columbia University Hospital of a cerebral aneurysm.
In 1984, comrade Bernhard Goetz was appointed the People's Chief of Police for New York City. During Comrade Goetz's administration, crime in the subways and streets of New York dropped by 12%, although the Socialist Party in the city complained of the comrade's heavy-handed tactics.
In 1999, whilst driving in Center Lovell, Maine, agent of the random Bryan Smith was distracted by an unrestrained Rottweiler named Bullet, moving in the back of his vehicle, a 1985 Dodge Caravan. The author Stephen King was walking on the right shoulder of Route 5. Agent of the purpose, Patrick Danville had been sent because King must not die. Before the author could be fatally struck by the Dodge, Danville grabbed King and they both landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.
|Patrick Danville|In 1986,
the Ghost Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Ebeenezer Scrooge a strange vision of the far future. In Africa the emaciated arms of starving children lack the strength to swat the flies buzzing around them in the haze. And that haunting song, Do they know its Christmas?. And yet in this harsh world
there's something that was missing in that shopping mall flooded with light. Him
After(cont.) ~ The Johnson's place had a strange odor to it already; they all thought it was probably from all the blood that was still drying, but not a one of them was going to mention it. Joan avoided the room where Mr. Johnson had been; Steph avoided the room where she had seen Mrs. Johnson take her own life. They ended up in the kitchen.
'Bradley, I'm gonna get a couple of sleeping bags from the jeep.' Jake was trying to help the kids get comfortable, so after Kevin nodded, he left.
Steph said, 'I'll go help him,' and followed after him.
Janice turned to Kevin and said, 'I'm gonna make a call. There's a couple of guys that I know will hook up with us, and they can be helpful.'
'Helpful.' Kevin looked at her and shook his head. 'In what way?'
'They're good muscle,' Janice said.
'Why do we need muscle?'
Janice raised her eyebrows at him. 'Look, honey, maybe you think that we can get out of this by being all stealthy, but you didn't see Miss Raintree. That wasn't just some random lowlife that killed her. That was a government hit.'
'There's no way you can know that.'
She smiled at him. They were keeping their voices low, but the kids were watching them. 'Do you really want to have this conversation in front of them, Kevin? I'm fine with it; I think everybody should know the truth. But, Jake might not want his kids to grow up quite that fast.'
Kevin looked over at the young girl and boy and dropped his head. 'I'm sorry about the nutjob crack.'
She waved it off. 'Eh, you're not the first one to call me that.'
'OK, insults after apologies kinda negate the apology, big fella,' Janice said, punching him in the arm. They both chuckled.
George watched Janice punch Kevin and asked his sister, 'Does she like him?'
Joan shook her head and whispered to him, 'Nah, she likes dad.'
George was a little shocked. 'How do you know?'
Joan shrugged. 'Who wouldn't? Besides, mom likes him,' she said, tilting her head at Kevin.
George was a little confused. 'But, what about dad?'
'They're divorced. Mom wants to move on.'
It was all swirling in George's head. 'I don't wanna grow up.'
'Don't say that too loud, Georgie,' Joan said, looking out the window. A car was pulling up to their home across the street. 'The wrong people might hear.'
In 1990, the Kuwaiti Oil Tanker fleet, which is carrying alien seaborne creatures, mysteriously disappear from radar in the English Channel. Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Howe takes the press conference to explain away the disappearance as 'a maritime disaster for Lloyd's of London to investigate'. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is not available; he says she's 'having one of her spells'. In Henley-upon-Thames, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Defence Michael Heseltine decides there and then that he will make a bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Witchcraft, he feels, has no place in the 1990s - a more collegiate form of government is appropriate for the modern age.
In 2004, Chelsea Perkins casts her first spell using infomancy, her computer-aided branch of witchcraft. The spell knocks electricity out in the Great Tree, as well as several towns surrounding it. Miss Perkins returns to the drawing board.
In 1979, Republicans in Congress manage to defeat a spending bill aimed at saving the Chrysler Corporation. Although seen as a crushing defeat for President Carter, who had lobbied hard for the bill, the callous disregard for the tens of thousands of people who lost their jobs comes back to haunt the Republicans, as they lose dozens of House seats and all of the seats in the Senate they were running for in 1980. Some say that if Ronald Reagan hadn't had the Chrysler noose around his neck in 1980, he might have prevented President Carter from winning a second term.
In 1975, Carlos The Jackal leads a raid on an OPEC summit meeting in Vienna, Austria. When the Viennese authorities refuse to cooperate with him, he slaughters the oil ministers of the OPEC nations, and broadcasts a message in Arabic calling for all Arabs to rise up against their governments and overthrow them. The Austrians are unable to capture him in the raid afterward, and OPEC is shattered by the assassinations; they are never able to coordinate actions again.
In 1954, the Ivanov Project's first results are shown to Stalin. The super-soldier created by crossing ape with man in a hideous disregard for the natural order pleases the cruel dictator, and he orders them on their first mission - into the jungles of Vietnam!
In 1761, Robert Barnwell was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. During the brief war for American independence, Barnwell spent much of it either wounded or imprisoned by the British, and developed a deep hatred of them. When President Jay made his peace with the British, Barnwell left America for Canada, and fought for that country's successful revolution. He spent several years in Canada's Parliament, and never set foot again on American soil.
In 2003, the 200-million member army of the Holy British Empire is brought to attention and told that it will be all that stands between the forces of darkness and the Kingdom of God. Islam mobilizes its meager forces in response, and prepares the holy city of Jerusalem for the hammer of Britain's assault.
In 2000, several breakaway soviets in the Pacific northwest declared themselves the People?s Republic of America during the economic troubles at the end of the 20th century. Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana waged a three-year insurrection against the Soviet States of America, but were ultimately defeated due to the much greater resources of the S.S.A.
In 1967, the Gathering Moss, Britain?s greatest rock band, gave parents everywhere reason to fear for their children when they released their album, By His Infernal Permission. Songs such as Sympathy for the Devil led to calls for its banning across America.
In 1788, Mlosh tenor Isaac't'Klofa, one of the first Mlosh to take a human name, is born in West Meath, Ireland. At an early age, he fell in love with human music, and began singing opera professionally in 1820.
In 47,416 BCE, Telka, the Speaker, climbed the great mountain she had named Ketsuma, and attempted to touch the sky. It was still beyond her reach. She turned to the young son she had brought with her and told him that they would find a taller one and try again.
On this day in 1968, the Dallas Cowboys began their road to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with a 34-30 overtime divisional playoff win over the Cleveland Browns.
In 1979, U.S. President Nelson Rockefeller severs diplomatic relations with Iran after negotiations to free the Tehran embassy hostages fail. Although he remains concerned about the workability of a rescue attempt, he now believes he may be forced to go ahead with one despite the risks. He has concluded that the Khomeini regime is not serious about finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.
In 2007, the Ghost Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Ebeenezer Scrooge a strange vision of the far future.
Eugene Cratchit Facebooks an annual megablurb of a family update, 'In May we hired a beachfront in Malibu, Timmo got that iPhone he wanted..Awesome!'
Yet something is missing in this future. Or someone. Despite the wild extravagance there's not nearly so much joy as at the 1843 Cratchit family christmas. If these descendants thought they were having a nice day, they sure were lieing to themselves.
On 126.96.36.199.0, the worldwide catastrophe caused by the pole shift ended, and the fifth creation was ushered in by the closer of the cycle, Valum Votan.
Anglos first became aware of this predicted event with the discovery of a Mayan calendar column in Quirigua, Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, on Aug. 13, 1929. The Mayans created the Long Count Calendar, a time measurement system that had spiritual significance to their culture. They organized their calendar into several cycles, the last of which will end in December 2012 demonstrating that the Mayans had discovered that after 2012, the world would end.
In 1970, Elvis Presley became a narcotics officer for the FBI, under the direct order of Richard Nixon. With Presley's help, most of the musical talent of the 60's was put into prison on drug charges.
In 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected President for life by an unstable and frightened French nation. Revolt in the Algerian colony led the French down the road of dictatorship, which de Gaulle followed with relish. Under his unquestioned reign, he forged closer ties with fellow dictator Franco of Spain, massacred workers and students who protested against his policies, and made France the world's second-greatest nuclear power. The Second Napoleon, as he was known, was finally halted by death in 1970.
In 1614, Tommasso Caccini, a priest of Florence, spoke with Galileo Galilee for several hours to discuss the scientist's theory that the earth circled the sun, and not the other way around. After this meeting, Caccini left the priesthood and devoted his life to spreading the word of science. He was executed for heresy in 1616.
In 1979, the Lancaster House Agreement is signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Dr S C Mundawarara. Secret promises are made by the Britain Government to deliver land reform to the Zimbabweans in a single generation (twenty years). They are not honoured, yet kept secret and Mugabe's actions to seize land from the former Rhodesian farmers in the year 2000 are considered barbarous in the western world. Lord Carrington, Lady Thatcher, Robert Mugabe and Ian Smith all lived to see the millenium in but chose not to mention the secret promises. Instead, they stuck to Benjamin Disraeli's famous maxim Never explain, never complain proving once again that British Public School Rules still govern matters affecting millions in Africa to this very day.
In 2009, President Condoleeza Rice labels litter as the third biggest problem in the world today after poverty and climate change. The following day Condi will speak to the nation with her proposals.
with the Red Army massing along the borders of Western Germany, British Home Secretary Norman Lamont spoke candidly about the refugee crisis developing around the entrance to the Channel Tunnel
at Coquelles near Calais in northern France. Controversially, Lamont made reference to Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood
speech from 1968- 'I seem to see the River Thames foaming with much blood.' Who now
could say Powell was wrong about the vampire threat from Russia?
In 2011, Patrick Danville
died at twenty-two years old, having saved the lives of two men, one of whom must not die. Danville was saved himself in 1993 by Lois Chasse and Ralph Roberts at High Ridge in the State of Maine. Ralph and Lois had to save the boy's life at any costs, because the man he will save six years later is the author himself, Stephen King...
In 1945, on this day U.S. Army general George Smith Patton Jr. Died and entered Valhalla. Old Blood and Guts was a well-respected disciplinarian after the Slapping Incident, and he was planning to launch a political career until Eisenhower had him assassinated.
In 1945, private Kurt Vonnegut died of gangrene that had started in his mangled feet. After his capture on December 14th, German soldier has swapped his boots for clogs and force marched him and the 'three musketeers' of the 106th Infantry Division into Germany's interior.
In 1945, on this day US Army General George Smith Patton Jr. narrowly avoided serious injury in a road accident at Neckarstadt, (Kafertal), in the country outside Mannheim. At 11:45 a 2.5 ton truck driven by T/5 Robert L. Thompson appeared out of the haze and made a left-hand turn towards a side road. The Cadillac smashed into the truck. His chief of staff, Major General Hobart R. 'Hap' Gay, was thrown forward and his head struck a metal part of the partition between the front and back seats. The driver PFC Horace Woodring and Patton were uninjured. Paralyzed from the neck down, General Gay died of an embolism on December 21, 1945 at the military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany with his wife present.
In 1783, on this day the boundaries of Great Virginia were formally recognized by the federal government of the United States. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.
Thus, always, to tyrantsThe State had previously claimed these vast western territory by right of colonial charter. Also, the Continental Congress had promised their soldiers land in payment for their service during the recent War for Independence.
The result of these legacy decisions was a patchwork of American mini-states on the Eastern Seaboard including polities such as New Netherlands and New Sweden that had never even been part of British North America. And all of them had sought to claim lands in the Ohio Valley territory, which covered the area north of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and south of the Great Lakes and Canada. It would take the rise of a new tyranny in Old Europe to bring these nations together. And the standard bearer would be Nieuw-Nederland President Theodor Rosevelt who ironically enough was in the business of building his own dynasty.
In 1999, on this day the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Coloane along with the islands Lapa, Dom João and Montanha were handed over (strictly speaking, back) to China. The territory had been administered by Portugal from the mid-16th century until late 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in Asia.
End of an EraFollowing the Japanese invasion of China in 1938, the Portuguese had officially occupied these three lightly populated islands in order to create a larger more economically viable Macau (the colony had previously consisted of Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane). Per some historical registers, the Portuguese presence dated back to the end of the 17th century when a group of missionaries established themselves on these Chinese islands. And because of their alliance status as an Axis Power , Japan had to respect their sovereignty. However as the Greater Asian Prosperity Sphere began to flourish, Japan had grown to see the wisdom of working with them to diminish the influence of Hong Kong and Singapore as regional entrepots.
If this development was a disaster for Great Britain and her Far Eastern Empire it was only a temporary setback for China, a civilization that had endured for millennia and was certain to out-live the few centuries of European belligerence. Yet against the odds the dictatorship in Lisbon was to survive well into the 1980s  many years after the collapse of their erstwhile Fascist allies. Under the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, Macau was classified as a "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration" taking a slow transition into full sovereignty. But this was in reality merely a "smoke and mirrors" deal simply to avoid capital flight. On the eve of the twenty-first century, China quietly closed the door on the wreckage of the previous four hundred years. But for Western Capitalists, it was the end of an era.
In 1996, on this day Jean-Louis Gassée (pictured) reluctantly sold Be Inc. for $200 million (he wanted $275 million) after discovering that his buyer Apple Computer was on the verge of striking an alternative deal with his business rival Steve Jobs of NeXSTEP.
Apple Buys Be Inc.Earlier in the year, the board of Apple had taken a strategic decision about the development of the next generation new operating system, the Mac OS X. Fatefully, they had chosen to abandon an internal development project called Copland; instead of rewriting and modernizing the Macintosh operating system, the company would leapfrog this development by acquiring a new platform with many of the desired features. The two options quickly narrowed down to BeOS or OPENSTEP. And both operating systems were owned by former Apple Executives. Which was not to say that negotiations proceeded through open dialogue between buddies, because Jobs had not entered the building since his highly publicised exit in 1985. And Gassée was forced out after a political in-fight during 1990.
Yet matters took a decidely unexpected course. Retained after the purchase in an Advistory capacity, the acquisition was so integral to the strategic direction of the company that within just six months, Gassée had replaced Gil Amelio as Interim CEO. "A man in the desert doesn't bargain on the price of water" ~ Jean-Louis GasséeOnly later would a number of deeply disturbing facts emerge; that the bid for Be Inc. was hugely over-priced, because only $80 million had ever been invested in the company; that OPENSTEP was a proven technology, unlike BeOS; that Jobs had requested a position on the board but had only been offered an advisory position; and that the abandonment of Copland and its successors Gerschwin and Taligent disguised a genuine crisis inside Apple Computer.
By then it was too late to reverse these missteps, and in any case, Jobs had moved onto other rewarding projects. Ironically, Gassée, who had only ever wanted to make a tidy profit, would be forced to watch Jobs take a staggering $1.2 billion out of Pixar Animation Studios before stepping up to a full-time position on the board of that company's biggest customer, the Walt Disney Company. But such is the fine margin between dreams and nightmares.
In 2009, on this day the leader of the "Fed Up" campaign, former Texan President Rick Perry challenged the legality of the motion of retrocession tabled by John Cornyn, promising to fight his moderate successor Kay Bailey Hutchison and her controversial plans to re-join the Union.
Dont Mess with Texas
By Ed and Jared MyersHis credibility rested upon his conservative record in office - and a broader perspective gained from overseas service in the US Air Force. A cotton farmers son who graduated in Animal Science, he was nominated for enrollment into the future leaders of America. This exchange programme was conceived by General Eisenhower as a result of his experience of un-coordinated American commands during World War Two.
And yet proponents of the retrocession plan immediately derided Perry and his anachronistic "Dont Mess With Texas" position as a Confederate-era advocacy of States Rights. Nevertheless, the majority of voters in the Second Republic of Texas appeared to share varying degrees of doubt that the US Government's Tenth Amendment provided the necessary protection against Federal overreach.
The broader debate over small government orthodoxy was making a splash in Newsweek and even CSA Today. This Richmond-based broadsheet had been a standard-bearer of states rights ever since Ted Kennedy delivered his famous Dream That Never Dies speech at the 1980 Democrat Convention in New York. And soon enough, media interest ensured that the political struggle in Austin would be elevated to a continent-wide debate about the future of a new Federal Government from "sea to shining sea".
This article is an installement of the CSA Today thread devised by guest historian Gerry Shannan.
In 1989, as part of the growing War on Drugs that had been declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and redoubled by President George Bush, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega (pictured) was indicted on drug-trafficking charges and endangering American nationals in addition to his more obvious crime of suppressing democracy.
Canal Sabotage as Panama Invasion CommencesSparked by the shooting death of a US Marine at a roadblock on December 16, nine thousand US troops entered Panama in Operation Just Cause, joining the some 12,000 others that were already there as part of the defense of the jointly owned Panama Canal (set to revert to Panamanian control in the year 2000 under the Torrijos?Carter Treaties). Noriega's pet army of the Panamanian Defense Forces was easily defeated with minimal resistance, except for a devious counterattack with an unassuming small freighter that rested in the Canal near the Gatun Locks.
Rigged with explosives on a timer, the freighter exploded while unoccupied, killing several sailors on nearby boats and one canal worker. While the damage to the Canal was not catastrophic, it would take months to repair back to full capacity, frustrating international shipping and making a noticeable dent on the world economy with the Dow Jones dropping briefly below 1,000 points. News of the strike shocked military commanders and President Bush, who had been largely in control of the situation. Although only twenty-three US soldiers and three American civilians were killed (opposed to 150 PDF and some 500 Panamanian civilians), the invasion would have a black smear in the public view.
While the fighting ended shortly after it had begun, Noriega found asylum in the Vatican anuncio and did not surrender until arrested by US Drug Enforcement agents on January 3. During this time, the US scrambled to polish its image. Polls sponsored by CBS and articles by the New York Times showed that Panamanians were pleased that the dictator had been overthrown and the properly elected Guillermo Endara sworn into office; even those who had suffered property damage or the loss of loved ones supported the US invasion by as much as 80 percent. Other news sources were not as friendly, giving accounts such as those from Paul Eisner of Newsday describing blacklists and ".sapo". informers upon neighbors as well as the Miami Herald's report of ".Neighbors saw six U.S. truck loads bringing dozens of bodies to a mass grave" and a mother's "voice rose over the crowd's silence: 'Damn the Americans'".
International disapproval arose, made all the louder by the economic fallout of the damaged Canal. The Organization of American States and the European Parliament made formal protests, calling the move a violation of international law. As public criticism grew, more stories began to come out about Noriega's past. Most recognized him as a money-launderer and drug-trafficker, but the story of his origins by CIA support became widespread. Noriega had been picked by the CIA as a potential block to fears of Central American communism in 1970, but was dropped from the payroll in 1977 after he had become mixed in drugs. Two years later, the Sandinista National Liberation Front came to power in Nicaragua, and Noriega was tapped again to keep communism from spreading and became dictator in 1983. Throughout the Reagan Administration, which came into its own problems with illegal activity in the Iran-Contra Affair, Noriega enjoyed American support as he rigged elections and was condemned by US Senate committee reviews of drug traffic. Upon word that Noriega may have been connected with Cuba and the Sandanistas, he was cut off by the US government. After his arrest in 1989, he would be sentenced in 1992 to federal prison for forty years.
President Bush raced to salvage his administration, citing his own experience with the CIA and admitting that certain intelligence activities were necessary to stop the spread of communism. With the Berlin Wall falling in August and the Soviet departure from Afghanistan earlier in February, he noted that American fears of international instability had been satiated and now was the time to ".clean up the mess".. With new policies on cutting international aid from dictators and new CIA transparency, a wave of revolution watched over by UN and largely American forces came in several countries such as Nigeria with free elections. Most famous would be the removal of Saddam Hussein at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 after his invasion of Kuwait. The actions would give Bush a narrow election victory for a second term after successfully winning support in Maine and Colorado from Ross Perot's dropping out of his campaign in July of 1992. The fall of the Soviet Union that December would be a further feather in Bush's hat.
In 1860, at precisely 1.15pm on this day the ill-fated Republic of South Carolina seceded from the Union following the passage of a vote in the Special Convention in Charleston which had been summoned solely for that purpose by the State Legislature on December 6th.
Our Weaker Brethren"We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the other nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do".
The declaration was a result for State Governor William H. Gist who had been absolutely determined to force secession. He upheld the view that South Carolina, having joined a compact of states of its own free will in 1788 had the right to leave when it chose. Which was right now that Abraham Lincoln had been elected, or so he told Governor Pettus of Mississippi, because he did not mean to let the other Southern Governors - who he labelled as "our weaker brethren" - dodge the issue of abolition which he believe the incoming President would enact.
Ever the masterful politician, Lincoln used the period of transition to reach out to southern unionists and dismiss the prospect of the sudden liberation of four million African Americans. And so the scenes of marching bands, fireworks and flag-waving rallies of citizens were confined to Charleston. At least for the time being. Because Gist had anticipated this lack of support, and now set about firing up Southron indignation by provoking a confrontation over the disputed ownership of a Federal Asset, the Union's Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
In 2001, it was pre-dawn on the morning of 20 December 2001 when the Indian Tank Army moved towards the border.
A contemporary Alternate History of the 2001 India-Pakistan War by David Atwell
The Indians had done extremely well. Within a week they had assembled the most powerful field army in all of Asia. Combined with the Indian Air Force, there would be little to stop them save for a nuclear weapon. This consideration had been taken into account and thus the "Charge to Lahore", as it was known, was seen as the tactic to use against any possible nuclear attack. Time, however, was the essence here. The Indian Tank Army had to race to Lahore before Pakistan could react. It was believed that once at Lahore, the Pakistanis would not use a nuclear weapon on them. The trouble was they had to get there first.
The 2 Pakistani brigades never had a chance. Not only did the Indian Air Force dominate the skies, they were outnumbered 250 000 to a mere 7 000. The Indians simply drove over them. Many prisoners were taken, which were treated with much respect. It is interesting to note that, although the soldiers of both countries were trained to kill the other, they showed much chivalry and honour in battle. Furthermore, the Indian officers mostly referred to the Pakistanis as "those people" rather than "the enemy".
Unbeknownst to the Indian Tank Army, though, was the readiness of the Pakistani nuclear forces. Musharraf had already put them on full alert and ensured that both the missiles and the bombs had been dispersed around the country. This, the Indians had missed during their preparations for the attack. If the reverse had been true then maybe the Indian attack would have been delayed. Yet as it was, 250 000 Indian troops were on their way to Lahore. None of them would make it.
A Chapter from Hell's Doors OpenMusharraf gave the order that any sane person would dread and regret all their life. As a result of this order, 4 Ghauri missiles, each with a single 10 kiloton nuclear warhead, were launched from their mobile launchers. Three minutes later, four nuclear explosions, all on Pakistani territory, destroyed India's finest army. Although there were survivors, none were battle capable. Ironically, 4 500 Pakistani prisoners, who had been moved from the battlefield to POW camps in India, witnessed the mushroom clouds from a safe distance, then volunteered to help any Indian survivors. There would be about 50 000 of these horrified and tormented human souls. It was just on 8am local time.
Word got through to New Delhi about fifteen minutes later. Vajpayee could not believe what he was hearing. Then it hit him. He broke down and cried for about five minutes according to some witnesses. Soon afterwards, however, he was back in business as the Prime Minister. Knowing that Pakistan could not get away with the nuclear attack, and yet dreading where all this may end, he demanded nonetheless a nuclear attack on Pakistan. His generals were not confident that this was the right move, yet Vajpayee and other government Ministers were committed to it. Eventually it came down to an attack in Kashmir on military targets. The generals reasoned that by keeping it limited to the military, the general public will suffer little and that the 17 million casualty figure quoted by the United States only a few days before would be remarkably less.
The orders went out. The planners decided to use strike aircraft instead of missiles. The aircraft would be more accurate plus they could be recalled at the last moment if the Pakistanis surrendered. Furthermore, nuclear armed missiles were in limited numbers and India had control of the skies. Thus, unlike the Pakistanis, the Indians had the luxury of using aircraft on several missions.
About an hour after the decision had been made, 8 Mirage 2 000 jet aircraft dropped their bombs on the Pakistani Army in Kashmir. Although 8 bombs were delivered on target, the Pakistani casualty rate was not as high as the Indian Tank Army. Having said that, the Pakistanis lost 50 percent of their forces. Those that survived did so thanks to the numerous trenches and bunkers which crossed the Kashmir countryside. Nonetheless it was far from pleasant being on the Pakistani side of the border. Of those that survived, one can hardly imagine the horror that these humans went through.
Up until know, all the nuclear detonations had taken place in Pakistan. This was soon to change rapidly. Within a few minutes of the Indian attack, Musharraf was informed. Like Vajpayee 90 minutes earlier, he was put into an impossible position. Should he respond with another nuclear attack? Most of his fellow generals were all for it and wanted to target the major cities of India. But Musharraf was against it. Although he was determined to show the Indians that Pakistan could not be intimidated, he decided to play it by India's example and hit the Indian troops along the border in Kashmir. This the others agreed upon. Soon afterwards, 10 nuclear armed Ghauri missiles were heading for the 600 000 Indian troops. Musharraf said a prayer to Allah for the Indians to come to their senses and not fire back.
The Indian troops were ready, as much as one can be when facing a nuclear explosion, and hid in their trenches and bunkers. All had seen what had happened across the border to their counterparts and everyone knew what weapon had made those mushroom clouds. The troops realised that their turn for nuclear hell would be next. As a result, several thousand had taken off in an easterly direction to get away from the potential nuclear battlefield. All, however, prayed to their respective deity. Then the missiles hit. Even though the Pakistanis used more weapons than the Indians, their missiles were not as accurate as the Indian aircraft. The result meant that Indian casualties mirrored those just across the Kashmir border.
If these exchanges seem horrifying enough, it was only the beginning. It was about 10.30am and already 600 000 lives had been lost. More would follow as the horror would soon get worse, although at this point things appeared to quiet down. By this stage the world had caught up with the madness. Pleas for peace, humanity and above all sorrow came from all parts. World leaders began calling India and Pakistan demanding an audience. None were listened to. All calls were rejected. But it seemed that Musharraf's prayer had been answered as by 1pm India had not counterattacked, even though no word had come through from the Indian government.
This, unfortunately, would change by 1.30pm. The reason for the lull was never understood by the Pakistan government, but for the India it was time well spent. Since the last attack Vajpayee had ordered a list of military targets in Pakistan. He wanted the top 25 on the list targeted with India's Prithvi nuclear armed missiles and end for good Pakistan's ability to wage war. As a secondary phase to this attack, the whole Mirage 2000 strike force would be back in the air armed with free fall nuclear bombs. Their job was to hunt down and annihilate the mobile launchers that Pakistan had been using to attack India. Just like what America did to Iraq in chasing their Scud missile launchers, so too India would do to Pakistan: except India was going to use nuclear weapons.
An hour later, as the Indian Air Force began hunting for the Pakistani mobile launchers, nuclear death rained down on Pakistan. All of the 25 Pakistani military bases were obliterated in the attack. Unfortunately, many of these bases were often located next to large urban centres. Although it was not the intension of the Indians to go from the tactical to the strategic in terms of nuclear warfare, to Musharraf and the others in Islamabad, this certainly appeared to be the case. The war had spun out of control and now even generals, prime minsters and presidents had become mere pawns in it. With little alternative Musharraf ordered every nuclear missile fired at Indian cities within range, and every plane capable of carrying a free fall nuclear bomb into the air.
At first the Pakistani response could not get under way until 4pm, mostly due to the fact that suitable aircraft had to be found, fuelled, crewed and armed. But by 2.50pm reports started coming in stating that Indian aircraft were roaming over Pakistan dropping nuclear weapons. Although this was somewhat expected by now, this alarmed Musharraf into thinking that the Indians were after the remaining Ghauri missiles. He was right, of course, and immediately ordered their launch. The remaining 38 missiles thus headed for India's largest cities. It would be Pakistan's final attack.
By 3.10pm Vajpayee did not need to read any more of the reports flooding into his bomb-proof bunker in New Delhi. The fact that he just survived an horrendous earthquake told him that the capital of India had just been destroyed by a nuclear explosion. How much longer he had to live he did not know, but Pakistan would pay a heavy price for what they had done. He thus issued his final order of the war, hit the Pakistani cities. A few minutes later 30 Prithvi nuclear missiles were launched into the sky. Some five minutes later 29 Pakistani cities suffered the fate of New Delhi. Two missiles were deliberately aimed at Islamabad. The commander of India's Missile Force came from New Delhi. Furthermore his wife and four children lived there until a few minutes ago. Added to this horrific attack were the remaining Indian Mirage 2000s which still had their nuclear payload aboard. Ordered now to seek out and destroy all the remaining Pakistani Air Force bases, this had been achieved by 3.50pm. Pakistan never got in its nuclear air strike on India.
Read the whole story on the Changing the Times web site
In 1812, on this day Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of their Kinder-und Hausmarchen ("Children's and Household Tales") better known in English as Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Grimm's Fairy TalesIn truth, the brothers were mostly innocent academics, editors of story tales from Charles Perrault and many other sources. Because they were just a little more than dreamers, idealist nationalists who wanted to see the multitude of German states united as one country and who believed that folk tales revealed a national German identity.
Or at least there were. Years before publication, they were secretly visited by Astrid Pflaume (pictured), a neo-Nazis from 1968 that traveled back through time to create a shadowy world-wide Zionist organization, the enemy they had always imagined. Because Pflaume saw great opportunity in the popular interest in the folk stories - the awakening of Aryanism. Without her visit, the Grimms would probably never have progressed further than childishly articulating cultural homogeneity in a pure form. But she took them in a frightening new direction introducing sub-textual violence and anti-semitism into a volume that was wholly unfit for children or indeed fair-minded people of any age. And she planted a seed in Jacob's mind, an advanced linguistic concept about the existence of a common ancestor of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family. In time this bore evil fruit and eventually became known as Grimm's Law.
Of course Pflaume paid many other such visits, to the Rothschilds, early Zionist conferences, the office of Foreign Secretary Balfour and so forth. And in so doing she nurtured the Rise of the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) which she herself would lead until her grisly death in 1935. By then of course, she had turned coat, becoming the New Reich's bitterest enemy.
Part one of the novel can be downloaded here and continues as a thread on this site.
In 1740, on this day American diplomat and spy Dr Arthur Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Birth of Dr Arthur LeeAt the age of thirty he was named Massachusetts correspondent to Britain and France. But his innocent belief in the revolutionary cause was challenged to the core by the extravagant lifestyle of Benjamin Franklin.
Later, in Paris, after helping to negotiate the Treaty of Alliance (1778) with France, he fell out with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane. He also identified Edward Bancroft, the secretary to the American legation in Paris, as a British spy. However Bancroft managed to persuade Lee to turn, although he soon recanted, and turned both himself and Bancroft in .
After the peace settlement, there was a proposal to establish a secret service because of events such as the Lee-Bancroft scandal. However by this stage, the US Government was near to implosion - no revenue
source, no curency and the unanimity rule. And then events came full circle when it was discovered that spies at the highest level of the USG were supporting the Commonwealth of Kentucky to negotiate a separate treaty with Spanish Louisiana for free navigation on the Mississippi River.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.