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In 1974, on this day the former Governor of New York State Nelson Rockefeller became Gerald Ford's vice president by special appointment. The significance of that choice came sharply into focus during the course of the next six months, Sara Jane Moore and "Squeaky" Fromme both tried to kill Ford. Had either of the two assassination attempts been successful, Rockefeller would have been the second president in a row to reach the office without having to win an election. He was a heartbeat from the Presidency, but of course there were a few people that were less than keen for "Rocky" to enter the Oval Office.
Jamaica Bay: The AftermathThe selection was a cause of bitterness in parts of Manhattan due to the controversy surrounding Rockefeller's executive role in the management of the Jamaica Bay Hurricane disaster. Like Mayor Robert F. Wagner, he was seen as largely ineffectual. Not only that, he was keen to participate in photo-shoots as pictured but only when Wagner's successor, Republican Congressman John Lindsay assumed office and took a firmer grip of the crisis.
Fourteen years later, many infrastructure projects had finally been completed and the commercial centre of the city at least was back on track. However some quarters of the city were not buzzing; Harlem residents in particular were disappointed by the lack of urban regeneration, holding a largely unchanged view since Martin Luther King's legendary "Do Not Forget Harlem" speech. One individual even more disappointed than Lindsay was George Romney; as the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development he had sought to introduce an transformative change programme that had been stymied by President Nixon. He had resigned in private disgust at the end of Nixon's first time. This post is an article from the Jamaica Bay thread developed by Chris Oakley.
In 2012, on this day Jesse Law, Melinda Wadsley and Ken Eastman were among a dozen "fickle" Republican voters removed from the Electoral College by their respective States.
Nobody WinsThese "rogue electors" were replaced by new representatives who were committed to vote for Mitt Romney, the person they were chosen to support. Because a month before, the GOP Candidate had seized the background states of Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. But because his opponent won Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and New Mexico, the Electoral College was deadlocked in a 269-269 tie.
This dead heat scenario had only been given a 0.7% probability but the next steps were nevertheless certain. On December 17th, the Electoral College would choose the next President of the United States. However there was a snag because only twenty-six states had enacted laws requiring their electors to vote for the person they were chosen to support. That meant there were in theory 256 unbound electors. And a week before the vote, on December 11th, the States had the right to replace electors as they saw fit.
The Republicans were understandably keen to make sure that defeat was not snatched from the jaws of victory. Because as early as October, Associated Press had found at least five potential rogue electors whose voting intentions were ambiguous.
In 969, on this day a plot to assassinate Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas was foiled by the vigilance of a palace guard (pictured).
Nikephoros II Phokas SurvivesThe plotters were his second wife Theophano and her lover (Nikephoros II's nephew) General John Tzimiskes who went into the palace dressed as women. But Nikephoros was warned that assassins were in the palace, and demanded the palace be searched .
Fortunately for the Byzantine Empire, Nikephoros Phocas, the White Death of the Saracens, hero of Syria and Crete had survived. Because his brilliant military exploits had contributed to the resurgence of the Empire in the tenth century.
In 1960, on this day President John F. Kennedy's administration was almost ended before it could begin as a mentally disturbed ex-postal worker named Richard Pavlick tried to kill the President-elect with a suicide bomb attack on Kennedy's Palm Beach vacation house.
A Shock To The System Part 1 by Chris OakleyAn alert Secret Service agent saved the President-elect's life by shooting out the front tires of Pavlick's car just as Pavlick was starting his attack; the former postman lost control of his vehicle and inadvertantly set off his bomb prematurely, vaporizing himself in the explosion. Kennedy survived the blast shaken but unhurt; the Secret Service agent was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released that evening.
Realizing America could have been thrust into political crisis if Pavlick's assassination plot had succeeded, Kennedy met with Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson the next day to begin brainstorming ideas on how to avert such a grim scenario in the future. The result of their discussions was the 1961 Presidential Security and Emergency Succession Act, which would be enacted and signed into law during Kennedy's first 100 days in office. In addition to further clarifying existing procedures for choosing a successor to the President in the event of an untimely death, the act created new safeguards to fill unexpected vacancies if either the President-elect or Vice President-elect died before their election could be certified by the Electoral College; last but not least, the act increased Secret Service protection for Presidents and presidential candidates.
In 1725, on this day George Mason IV (a "Founding Father" of the Republic of Virginia) was born at the family plantation in Fairfax County.
Ed & Scott PalterAt the Williamsburg Convention he drafted the Colonies' very first declaration of rights and state constitution. First Pennsylvania, then Maryland, then Delaware, then North Carolina and others took most or all of the Declaration of Rights and either made them amendments to their own constitutions or incorporated them directly into their constitutions. Thomas Jefferson paraphrased his ideas into the Declaration of Independence, and although Mason did not receive full credit for his contribution, the entire Continental Congress knew of the conceptual source of Jefferson's ideas.
"a man of the first order of wisdom" ~ Jefferson on MasonAs a result of his high profile he was was appointed to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.
He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest. Ironically, one objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights".
In 1936, after a scandalous summer, Edward VIII would stand in Westminster Abbey in December to receive the Crown and swear to uphold the laws of England, Scotland, and the Empire as well as serve as Defender of the Faith.
Edward VIII of England CrownedHe had reigned since the death of his father, George V, that January, and a suitable amount of time of mourning had passed to engage in the celebration of a new monarch. It would be a change of obedience to tradition from Edward's notorious shirking, such as his insistence on facing left on coins to show the part of his hair instead of following the usual alternating of the direction faced with every new monarch.
In the minds of many, there was concern that Edward, Prince of Wales, would be suitable for king at all. He had lived a good royal childhood, but Alan Lascelles, his private secretary during the '20s and '30s, wrote "for some hereditary or physiological reason his normal mental development stopped dead when he reached adolescence". He carried on many affairs, some with married women, and caused great concern from his father and the prime minister. In 1930, George V gave Edward a house at Fort Belvedere, where he would meet the woman that would forever change his life, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. The American had divorced her first husband, Earl Spencer, in 1927, and was currently married to Ernest Simpson. Despite the marriage, Edward fell in love with her, and she with him, which caused scandal to arise so much that the King and Prime Minister had them followed by secret police.
When the king died on January 20, 1936, Edward ascended the throne and immediately continued scandal. He observed the proclamation of his ascension alongside the still-married Mrs. Simpson, criticized the Government by saying "something must be done" upon visiting the struggling miners of South Wales, and suggested to some that he meant to marry the divorce Mrs. Simpson, which would be morally unacceptable as the leader of the Church of England.
Everything in Edward's life changed again on July 16, 1936, as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.
Following his split from Mrs. Simpson, Edward became what those close to the royal family described as "a hard man". He threw himself into the work of the king and made good on his note that "something must be done", pushing for new socialist systems being integrated into Britain. His policies on the colonies were initially indifferent, then forcefully paternal, such as famously saying that there were "not many people in Australia" and he didn't care for their opinion.
Most famously in his reign was his relationship with German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler. Edward had seemed an admirer of Hitler's, and many of Edward's programs at overcoming the Depression in Britain mirrored those of the Third Reich. In 1938, however, upon Hitler's desire for expansion into Czechoslovakia, the King forbade Prime Minister Chamberlain to give expansionist Germany a single inch. The French Government sought peace at the expense of imperialism, but Edward refused, even if it meant war. He had observed the trenches in WWI and noted that he did not want war, but he would be willing to risk military action in order to protect the world from predators. He wrote then-MP Winston Churchill, "I was promised peace once before, and I was betrayed. Never again will I or my country ascribe to vague promises from those who shall not keep them".
War did erupt in 1939 with Hitler's military occupation of the Sudetenland , and Edward had made certain that the British Armed Forces were ready with years of preparation and military buildup. Using allied Poland and Belgium as launching grounds, the expeditionary forces caught Hitler in a pincer move along with French forces from the Saarland. The Fuhrer was found dead in his bunker after the taking of Berlin in 1941, apparently from suicide.
After the war, Britain regained its position as leader among world affairs. Edward would spend the rest of his reign putting out the fires of Communism and independence in various parts of the empire. After years of strenuous work, he died in 1962 at age 67. Having never married, he would be succeeded by his niece, Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2009, on this day the controversial movie Invictus (Latin: Invincible) premiered in theatres across North America. Expecting a "larger than life" tribute, cinema goers were shocked to discover that director Clint Eastwood had abandoned form by portraying an alternate timeline in which Nelson Mandela's personal and political fortunes are dashed in a decade-long South African tragedy.
Click to watch the Movie Trailer on Youtube
Invictus Premiers across North AmericaTrouble begins early in the movie with the breakdown of his second marriage to wife Winnie. And in a scene intended to symbolize the frustation of white disempowerment, the national cricket captain Hansie Cronje spears an umpire's dressing room door with a wicket stump. As the country heads towards Civil War, Mandela seeks out a national symbol that will heal the wounds of apartheid by acting as a platform upon which he can build a new "Rainbow Nation".
Mandela appeals to iconic cricket captain Hansie Cronje to win the world cup for all forty-three million South Africans. But unbeknown to the President, the national cricket team is gripped by a match-fixing scandal, organised by none other than Cronje himself.
Alongside Cronje is the trusted figure of Bob Woolmer. A famous English batsman from the nineteen seventies, he was appointed coach of South Africa in 1994. Initially his team performed poorly, losing all six matches on his first outing in Pakistan. However, in the next five years, South Africa won most of their Test (10 out of 15 series) and One Day International matches (73%). Having the highest ODI success rate among international teams in that period, Woolmer assures Mandela that a South African victory is more than possible.
Shortly after Mandela travels to England for the tournament, the United Cricket Board of South Africa deny that any of their players were involved in match-fixing. Cronje then falsely claims that "the allegations are completely without substance". But just two days before the inaugural match, Cronje is sacked as captain after confessing to the Head of the UCBSA Ali Bacher that he has not been "entirely honest". He admits accepting between $10,000 and $15,000 from a London-based bookmaker for "forecasting" results, not match fixing, during the recent one day series. Three other players: Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje and Pieter Strydom are also directly implicated.
The final scene of the movie is heavy with symbolism because Cronje's plane crashes into the Outeniqua mountains northeast of George airport, and the disgraced captain dies, aged just thirty-two.
In 2005, on this day the thirty-seventh President of the United States Eugene Joseph ("Gene") McCarthy passed away in Washington, D.C. He was eight-nine years old and had been suffering from complications from Parkinson's disease.
Passing of the NeedleWhile teaching at St. Thomas College in Minnesota, he became increasingly interested in politics and launched a successful campaign for a Democratic seat in the House of Representatives, where he served from 1949-1959. His genial nature and good humour made him a popular newcomer in the House, where his wit earned him the nickname "the Needle". But his Presidency was the accidental result of an acrimonious fall-out between Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Baines Johnson during the 1960 election. As a result, Johnson developed an unwavering hatred for Humphrey that precluded any possibility of partnership four years later. And instead, McCarthy became the Vice Presidential nominee in 1964 in Humphrey's place.
Because McCarthy could not challenge Johnson in New Hampshire, the President continued his re-election efforts uncontested. But unfortunately for Johnson, the effort and stress of campaigning lead to his second heart attack, and this time the result was fatal. And so six months before the 1968 general election, McCarthy was sworn in as his successor. While President McCarthy attempted to reverse Johnson's Vietnam policies, his reputation among those opposed to the war was compromised by his connection to the Johnson Administration. In the end he lost the election to Richard Nixon and McCarthy's Presidency was viewed mostly as a continuation of the Johnson Administration. Among the shortest in American history, his tenure lasted slightly less than a year.
In 1936, on this day at Fort Belvedere, Edward VIII's written abdication notice was witnessed by British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller. Less than a month before, he had expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry.
The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed, Jeff Provine & Chris OakleyBut within days, everything in Edward's life changed again  as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.
However Hiller made sure that the revelation did for Edward as well, enabling him to join the posts of Head of State and Head of Government become Great Britain's National Leader. You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.
In 1896, on this day Swedish-born Alfred Nobel left a legacy for six prizes. Nobel worried over his legacy as his life came to an end. In 1867, he patented dynamite, a stable form of nitroglycerine soaked into an absorbent.
Nobel Leaves Legacy for Six Prizes It was to be a great boon to mankind: a tool for excavation for construction, for demolition of dangerous structures, and for swift, safe digging to mine Earth's bounty as well as build roads for travel and commerce. Afterward, he had invented further explosives, such as gelignite (blasting gel) and the smokeless propellant ballistite. All of these great leaps forward for the human race were quickly adapted to military use, however. Ballistite would even cause newspapers to accuse Nobel of treason against France as the Italians changed their rifles to use his compound.
"His real concern came as he learned of an obituary that had been written about him, mistaking his death for that of his brother Ludvig. A French newspaper wrote "the merchant of death is dead" and said that he had become "rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before". His patents for artificial silk, artificial leather, and other improvements were never mentioned. A lifetime of devotion to invention had made him out to be a monster. To rectify this, he wrote his last will and testament in 1895, one year before his death by stroke, dedicating 94% of his vast fortune to a foundation to give out prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine & physiology, literature, and peace (supposedly brought on by his long relationship with the pacifist countess Bertha Kinsky, who had married another man). While writing at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, someone remarked that he had great notions of working toward the betterment of man, but nothing to study what the betterment was. His formulation of the literary prize was for works "in an ideal direction", though it now seemed that the direction needed definition. To fill the gap, Nobel decided to add a sixth prize for the "sciences of society".
In 1901, the prizes began (Austrian Sigmund Freud winning the first Social Science prize for his Interpretation of Dreams) and have continued yearly since. By 1906, however, it became obvious that the Prize for Social Science had unleashed a hailstorm of new ideas when Max Weber received the prize for discussions in his essay, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". The secularization and depth of scientific study of people in society had suddenly become very real to the largely Edwardian Western culture. In 1913, ?mile Durkheim won in recognition of his comparisons of aboriginal societies to modern ones, giving further clout to the in-depth study of humanity as one would study the laws of gravity.
There would be many winners of the Social Science prize over the years in fields as diverse as economics, psychology, education theory, legal and political science, and behavioral science. Along with the progression encouraged by the growth of material and social benefits, there has been a good deal of questioning the morality of treating humans as Petri dish. B. F. Skinner's win in 1953 would cause many to suspect that it would only be a matter of time before humans were reduced to robots under an artificial paternalism. Encouragement from the Peace Prize and discoveries lauded in physics, chemistry, and medicine along with social commentary from Literature kept the prestige of the Nobel prizes strong.
Even with the fears of 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, it is evident that the Prize for Social Science has made positive impact on humanity. Following the act-reward programming for international diplomacy and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has been studied and organized into all but eliminating starvation and death from preventable disease. On the other hand, opponents argue that the majority of the human race has been turned to salary-slave consumer-addicts, continually chasing upward mobility while enjoying momentary vicarious pleasures from politico-industrial sponsored sporting events and taking in well clad palatable pop-science as hope (or fear) for the future. Some naysayers of the naysayers ask simply, "What's wrong with that?"
In 2010, on this day a U.S. passenger airliner lands in Vietnam, at Hanoi's International Airport. It is the first such landing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 ended in the Vietnam War.Hanoi Horror by Eric Lipps
Before any passengers can disembark, however, a powerful bomb explodes, igniting the aircraft's engines and incinerating the plane in an explosion whose resultant fireball is visible for miles. It will latter be determined by forensic examiners that the bomb had employed military-grade explosive, giving rise to a variety of conspiracy theories spanning the political spectrum. Those theories are not quashed by the immediate attempt by Al Qaeda to take responsibility for the attack, because several other terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and Indonesia's Tamil Tigers, will also boast of being behind it.
Only in 2018 will it be learned that a previously unknown radical South Vietnamese group had planned and carried out the bombing with the intent of derailing normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations. The group, it will be learned, had the aid of revanchist U.S. military personnel, who provided the explosives and some technical assistance but who were told the target would be a Chinese plane rather than an American one and that the objective was to destabilize the Hanoi regime by provoking a military confrontation with Beijing.
The duplicitous scheme works, prompting President John McCain to sever all ties with Hanoi, setting relations between the U.S. and Vietnam back essentially to where they had been at war's end. Even after the true identity of the bombers is revealed, it will be years before another American passenger plane lands in Vietnam.
In 1968, starring Kirk Douglas oddly cast as a Sicillian don, The Brotherhood bombs so badly at the box office that Paramount Pictures decide not to do another gangster film until it made The Godfather four years later.
Paramount Pictures get a wake-up callAlthough The Brotherhood was a non-descript fake movie made by Hollywood Italians, surprisingly the fine novel crafted by Mario Puzo was itself only the result of research rather than direct experience. Published just four months after the premiere of The Brotherhood, sales of The Godfather climbed inexporably into a peak of blockbuster success where it remained number one best seller novel for an incredible sixty-seven weeks. But when Paramount executives sat down with Puzo in November 1969, the extent of that success was not yet fully apparent, and both parties could only imagine a low budget movie adaptation. And with Puzo set to play a key role as screen-writer, also feeling that the story of the Corleone Family was complete, there seemed little reason to concern themselves with the copyright issues that might emerge during the making of a sequel.
But fate played a hand. Due to the commercial failure of The Brotherhood the views of writer Lewis John Carlino and director Martin Ritt were sought, there were after all associated with the studio and held strong opinions. Fortunately, they both grasped the potential of an authentic gangster movie and the result was a more robust definition of copyright with respect to subsequent movie sequels. This was indeed fortuitous, because Puzo did eventually publish a sequel called the Sicilian some fifteen years later. Based on the real life exploits of Salvatore Giuliano, the Corleone Family played a significant and integral, although secondary part in the plot . After winning a legal dispute with the publisher Random House, Paramount Pictures were able to make a third instalment of the Godfather Series that starred Al Pacino, Talia Shire et al. alongside Christopher Lambert cast in the lead role. The movie was directed by Michael Cimino because Francis Ford Coppola had stuck to Puzo's premise that the complete story of the Corleone Family had already been told. It was a stroke of good luck for Cimino who fully recovered his reputation from writing and directing 1980's financial failure, Heaven's Gate.
In 1912, on this day Thomas Phillip ("Tip") O'Neill, Jr. was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the House of Representatives, he served for thirty-four years and represented two congressional districts in Massachusetts. As a result of the Tongsun Park influence peddling scandal, House Speaker Carl Albert retired from Congress and O'Neill was elected Speaker in 1977, the same year Carter became President.
Birth of Speaker Tip O'NeillHowever he had a short reign at the top of the House's hierarchy after being elected to the position. He feuded with the newly elected President, and was notoriously unhelpful in passing the Democratic president's agenda.
He was replaced in the next election cycle by Texas Representative Barbara Jordan, who was much more willing to stand up for the party's values.
In 1945, while on his way to a hunting trip in the German countryside, the Cadillac belonging to General George S. Patton collided with a left-turning 2.5 ton truck. Patton's driver, Private First Class Horace Woodring, rather than braking and hitting the truck at lower speed, briskly turned to dodge, and the two vehicles slammed into one another's sides.
Patton Escapes Car Crash Unharmed Woodring and Patton's chief of staff Major General "Hap" Gay both suffered bruises, but Patton seemed totally unhurt after tumbling sideways.
The accident seemed to follow the course of luck that could be traced through the old soldier's life. Patton had attended the Virginia Military Institute and United States Military Academy, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, finishing fifth overall and the only non-Swede in the top seven. He studied swordsmanship in Europe the next year, going on to become the youngest Master of the Sword in Army history. From there, Patton became an instructor, wrote pamphlets, and helped design the Army's final saber in 1913, later nicknamed the "Patton saber".
"Peace soon gave way to war, and Patton's real career began. He served as Pershing's aide in the Mexican expedition in 1916 and then became a captain among the US Tank Corps in WWI. Campaigning for years to acquire funding for armored divisions for the US Army, but with little success, Patton spent the between-war years stationed in Hawaii (where, in 1931, he wrote a defensive plan for a potential air raid) and in Washington, D.C., (where he led tanks against the Bonus Army on the orders of General Douglas MacArthur). When WWII began, Patton's arguments for armored divisions gained clout, and he was promoted to major general to head the 2nd Armored Division.
Patton's leadership would give the Allies massive advantage in the African and European Theaters of the war. The "Desert Fox" Irwin Rommel was notoriously concerned of Patton, and the German military would routinely place their best troops against him, often to no great avail. Patton pressed his troops through North Africa, Sicily, and France.
While a master on the battlefield, Patton met with great controversy when bullets did not fly. Hoping to motivate his men, he maintained a powerful visage and carried nickel-plated revolvers with ivory handles. He swore constantly, even in public addresses. Patton's belief in the honor of the military contradicted Eisenhower's easy-going nature and cartoonist Bill Mauldin's ridicule, both of whom chafed Patton's temper. Most shocking was the "slapping incident" in Sicily where Patton had hit a soldier suffering from shellshock and ordered him back to the front. Patton would be stripped of command for a time, but he would use his time to confound German intelligence on where the European landing would begin. After Normandy, Patton would be back in command with the Third Army and helped in the liberation of Europe.
As the war came to an end, Patton began to give warnings about not being able to trust the Soviets. Some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated but not returned in Eastern Europe, where the communists were seemingly settling in. Patton suggested that the American Army be ready for war again to keep Russia in its place while they were low on supplies. Instead, the Army began dismantling itself for peacetime, and Patton was reassigned to the Fifteenth Army, which was mainly handling occupation and historical collection.
After the accident, the Fifteenth Army headquarters was inactivated on January 31, 1946, and Patton sent his request for retirement to the War Department, which was approved. According to Hap Gay, Patton would have resigned if retirement had been refused. The weight of peace seemed too much for the old soldier to bear. When Patton returned to his native California, he began a lecture circuit, which provided a great deal of scandal, and primarily wrote, commenting on his past as well as the present and future of America. He consistently warned of Soviet expansion, which gained the attention of political movements.
Patton was invited to the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He was surprised to be seen in politics and even more to hear that he had been placed on the ballot. While he campaigned rigorously after the invite, it was apparent that he had no real hope of taking the presidency as Dewey had cinched the vote and Patton's infamy preceded him, not to mention that his military clout was blocked by votes going toward MacArthur. Instead, Patton returned to retirement, writing to several friends with the exclamation, "God, give me a war to fight!"
As if an answer to prayer, Patton was called up by Vice President Richard Nixon to be an adviser in the situation in French Indochina, which was quickly becoming known as Vietnam. Having watched the turmoil that was the Korean War from the sidelines in agony, Patton was eager to sort out the situation himself. Though he agreed with MacArthur's suggestion to use atomic weapons, Patton was disgusted by his former commander's disrespect of President Truman. Patton arrived in Saigon and met with CIA advisers, many of whom had connections back to the old Army OS. Upon his assessment, Patton shook his head over the situation and said of Ngo Dinh Diem, "I wouldn't fight for him, even if it were against Stalin himself". It was clear the people preferred Ho Chi Minh, who was a cunning warrior working to limit trouble upon the peasants.
Patton wrote an extensive description of the corruption in South Vietnam and suggested winning over the resistance-fighters of the Viet Minh rather than trying to fight the Viet Cong and their pro-populace support. The CIA worked to follow his plan, infiltrating North Vietnam and gaining leverage as the Sino-Soviet split began to appear in the late '50s and became clear by the '60s. With the American-backed regime change in South Vietnam in 1958, the short-lived Vietnam War of 1959-60 established firmly the division between the Communist North and the increasingly western South, as had been seen in Korea. Containment continued to be the policy of the United States as it subtly transformed itself over the twentieth century while Communism would self-destruct by the 1990s.
However, Patton would not live to see his influence on modern events. He died at age 72 in December of 1957 while touring Vietnam and suggesting military placements for defense along the northern border despite rainy weather. His body was returned to the US, where it was buried in Arlington Cemetery.
By 216 B.C., the Second Puno-Roman War had raged for two years, and Rome became desperate after a string of catastrophic defeats at the hand of Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca.
Hannibal Captures Rome Hamilcar had served as the great Carthaginian commander in the First Punic War and went into exile in Iberia after angrily killing Hanno II, leader of the peace-mongers of Carthage, who had demobilized the Carthaginian navy and allowed the Romans to rebuild their own fleet. Hamilcar had passed on his distrust and hatred of the Romans to Hannibal, who set off across Gaul in a surprise attack across the Alps that caught the Romans with their sandals untied. The Gauls of northern Italy rose up around him, and Hannibal began a years-long campaign around the Italian peninsula that would end with the defeat of Rome.
Most of the Romans were sent to Iberia or Sicily to fight an imperial war, and the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio scrounged what 42,000 men he could to meet Hannibal in battle at Trebia. Hannibal's cavalry and expert flanking defeated the Romans, sweeping them from northern Italy. They vowed to drive Hannibal from Italy and formed up an army of more than 50,000, which Hannibal ambushed them on the cliff-ringed shores of Lake Trasimene in one of the most famous flanking battles in history. By 216 BC, many of the Roman "allies" erupted in revolt, and Hannibal captured the key supply depot at Cannae, where he and his army rested on the eastern end of Italy.
The Romans were determined to have another, final battle with the largest army anyone had attempted on the peninsula. Working under both consuls, they formed up a force of nearly 90,000 men, which included quaestors, tribunes, and even senators from the 300. The enormous army attacked Hannibal, who feinted a retreat, catching the much larger army in an enveloping maneuver that allowed the Carthaginians to surrounded and again slaughter Romans by the tens of thousands. After the battle, some 50,000 Romans lay dead, including much of the governors of Rome itself. According to legend, every single Roman was related directly to someone killed in battle. Hannibal's army, meanwhile, had only lost some 8,000.
"At the victory, Hannibal's Nubian commander of cavalry, Mahrabal, approached him, saying that he would ride ahead of the main army and begin the attack on Rome. Hannibal, however, was slow to agree. His was a field army, and they did not have the siege weapons necessary to take Rome. Moreover, the Romans still had many allies as well as a seemingly unbreakable resolve, and moving on the city would potentially cut off his supply lines. Finally, Hannibal's men had fought long and hard, and he sought to reward them with three days of looting the corpses from the field. Mahrabal responded, "Truly the Gods have not bestowed all things upon the same person. Thou knowest indeed, Hannibal, how to conquer, but thou knowest not how to make use of your victory".
Hannibal,suffering a migraine from his strained vision after having lost an eye before the Battle of Lake Trasimene, responded that Mahrabal could do as he saw fit, and the Nubian took an army of volunteers to begin the siege of Rome with Hannibal's forces to follow after their days of rest. He sent a case of some 200 rings cut from the fingers of dead Roman nobles to the Carthaginian senate, asking for reinforcements and equipment necessary to finish the war. After much debate, Carthage agreed, and they gained new allies as Grecian Sicily revolted against Rome and Macedon joined Hannibal's cause.
Even with an upgraded army that summer, the siege of Rome was not easy. Rather than a uniform siege line, Hannibal stretched his resources and emulated Mahrabal's tactics of constant patrols on horseback with skirmishers defeating any supply trains attempting to sneak into Rome. The Romans attempted several times to piece together a larger force to drive away the Carthaginian raiders, but Hannibal's superior tactics defeated them over and over. Finally, as winter approached, the Romans gave in. They had done everything they could to resist even moderate peace talks, mobilizing the entire male population including slaves, outlawing the word "peace", and banning public crying while limited mourning periods to 30 days. Hannibal is noted by historians such as the Roman Livy as saying that want broke the Romans' back, but never military defeat.
The war ended very favorably to the Carthaginians, who raised up opposing cities such as Tarentum and Pisa to cow Roman influence on the peninsula. Carthage's empire would spread as the centuries progressed, south into Africa and eastward through the Mediterranean and Black Seas, using their famous navy to establish colonies and dominance in places such as Greece, Egypt, and Palestine. As a merchant people, their influence was largely cultural with an increase of child-sacrifice seen in archeology, and their empire did not go much beyond the navigable shores. After hundreds of years of dominance, the Carthaginians would eventually fall to invading Vandals, whose King Genseric would establish his capital and center of his state religion of Arian Christianity there in 439.
In 1542, on this day Mary, Queen of Scots (also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland) was born in the Linlithgow Palace.
Birth of Mary, Queen of ScotsThe life of Mary I of Scotland (pictured) was surrounded by intrigue from the beginning. Less than a week after she was born as the only legitimate offspring of James V to survive, her father died, leaving the infant Mary as monarch in 1542. At fifteen, she was married to Francis II of France (two years her junior), strengthening the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland that had gone on for more than 250 years. Francis soon became king, but his reign lasted only a year before illness took him. The throne passed to his younger brother Charles IX, while real power was held by the Queen Consort, Catherine de Medici. Mary returned to presumed security in Scotland while France descended into the Wars of Religion between the Huguenots and Catholics. Meanwhile, England faced its own religious turmoil during the years of Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, and Protestant Elizabeth I. Mary Stuart claimed the throne of England herself through the Third Succession Act, though Henry VIII's last will had excluded the Stuarts.
"Scotland also felt the tension between the Catholics and Calvinist Protestants. Mary was a devout Catholic, but she tolerated Protestants and had a majority of them in her privy counsel. In 1562, she allied herself with the Earl of Moray (her illegitimate half-brother) to break the Catholic rebellion in the Highlands led by Lord Hunt. While she settled into power in Scotland, tensions with her cousin Elizabeth in England remained troubled. Mary refused to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560, which her secretaries had approved and would limit the alliance between Scotland and France while acknowledging Elizabeth as the rightful queen of England. Visits between the queens were canceled, and Mary turned down Elizabeth's suggestion that she marry the Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Instead, to secure her position in Scotland at the cost of outraging Elizabeth, she married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in 1565.
The marriage proved a bad match. Although initially filled with affection, the two soon turned to jealousy. Darnley demanded more and more power while despising Mary's relationship with her secretary, David Rizzio, an Italian courtier she had met while in France who used his talent in music to work his way into courtly politics. Rumors swarmed around Rizzio and Mary, fed further by the general dissatisfaction among the increasingly Protestant Scottish lords with their Catholic queen. Finally Darnley chose to act, joining with the rebelling lords who had been beaten down at the Chaseabout Raid in August of 1526 to overthrow Mary. While soldiers stalled guards, Patrick Ruthven, Darnley, and others burst into Mary's supper chamber where she was meeting with Rizzio. The Italian jumped to his feet and defended the seven-month-pregnant queen even before they could make their demands known. Mary's screams from Holyroodhouse Palace awoke the people of Edinburgh, who arrived by the hundreds with makeshift weapons. The rebels found themselves surrounded, and, while Rizzio fought single-handedly to keep the lords at the narrow point of the doorway, Mary ordered the people of Edinburgh to free them.
The conspirators were captured and executed, wiping out a generation of rebels. Darnley was stripped of his title and imprisoned for life in Edinburgh Castle. Their marriage could not be annulled as James VI arrived that June and would be declared illegitimate without Darnley as his father (though it was widely believed that James VI was in fact Rizzio's, even to the point Henry IV of France noted that he could only hope that "he was not David the fiddler's son"). Moray, who had fled Scotland after Chaseabout, was spared and even pardoned by Mary upon his return. Many called for him to lead a new rebellion to support the Protestants, but Mary managed to convince him of her intentions to keep Scotland religiously tolerant, meeting with popular preacher John Knox even though he routinely rebuked her habits of dancing and lavish living. Moray would serve as her secretary of domestic affairs while Rizzio continued his position as secretary of foreign matters, primarily continuing diplomacy with France and other Catholic nations.
In 1569, the Rising of the North began in England as Catholics supporting Mary were eager to overthrow Elizabeth. While the rebellion was put down by Elizabeth and the Earl of Sussex, Mary was implicated in sending support to the rebels. The tensions grew worse as the rebellion had prompted Pope Pius V to excommunicate Elizabeth and declare Mary the rightful queen. Plots to assassinate Elizabeth, such as that headed by Roberto di Ridolfi, prompted swift action, such as the execution of the Duke of Norfolk. Many in Mary's camp wished to go to war, but she realized doing so would prompt another Protestant uprising, and so she remained neutral, even after the Anglo-Spanish War broke out in 1585. Her neutrality proved beneficial to Scotland, whose economy improved while the English and Spanish badgered one another in the Atlantic.
Mary I died in 1596, giving James VI reign over Scotland after a mixed Catholic-Protestant upbringing. Elizabeth followed her cousin in death in 1603, leaving behind a declaration that the Stuarts would be cut out of English succession, akin to her father's will the generation before, as Mary had never ratified the Treaty of Edinburgh. Due to numerous deaths of relatives during Elizabeth's long life and the invalid marriage of Lady Catherine Grey to Edward Seymour, the crown was passed to the unmarried Anne Stanley with Robert Cecil as Secretary of State. Queen Anne was courted by numerous Europeans, including a planned match with Ulrik of Denmark, but would ultimately marry an Englishman in 1607, Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos. Their first son, Robert, died in 1611, and the surviving George, born in 1620, assumed the throne upon his mother's death in 1647. With a stable English line of succession, England lived through the seventeenth century quietly other than colonial wars with the Spanish, French, and Dutch, with whom they fought as each gradually spread into North America.
Scotland, meanwhile, erupted in civil wars as lords contested James' beliefs on absolute rule as outlined in The True Law of Free Monarchies and Basilikon Doron. While many considered him a great patron, others blamed him for the constant bankruptcy of Scotland.
In 1865, on this day in Upper New York Bay the Stainless Banner battle ensign was lowered aboard the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah a surrender that brought about the end of the Confederate States Navy (CSN). An article from the New York City State thread.
The Surrender of the CSS ShenandoahAnd of course the unfurling of the last sovereign Confederate flag brought an end to a rancorous dispute between the United States and Great Britain. For twelve and a half months, the ship had undertaken commerce raiding resulting in the capture and sinking or bonding of thirty-eight Union merchant vessels, mostly New Bedford whaleships. She fired the last shot of the American Civil War at a whaler in waters off the Aleutian Islands.
The ship was captained by CSN Lieutenant Commanding James Waddell, a North Carolinian with twenty years of prior service in the United States Navy. He took the momentous decision to sail to the New York City State and appeal for refuge from the British Government. This desperate action was the trigger for an acrimonious dispute because many of the CSN vessels had been built at Liverpool, and Waddell's course of action was an open acknowledgement of the intervention of the British Government throughout American Civil War. And the location of the ship in reach of the rebuilt Statue of the Lion  on Bedlow's Island was merely an insulting reminder of the unrealized "the Dream that Never Dies" . The epithet was General Jackson's 1813 promise to annex the New York City State by force of arms after destroying the more ostentatious successor statue that had also featured the figure of Britannia .
As it transpired the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah was the last significant dispute between Britain and America, mainly due to the rise of a rival power that threatened both countries. Within sixty years, they would even fight alongside each other as allies against the Kaiser's Germany. However even as relations improved the status of the Crown Colony always remained a sticking pointing. And demographic changes meant that the increasingly cosmopolitan New York City State wasn't really Britain's any more to give. By 1939, the stage was set for the lowering of the Union Jack. Governor General John Strange "Jack" Spencer-Churchill  had been directed to prepare an options paper that listed the following choices - the declaration of an open city, absorption into the United States, an independent republic (like Singapore), "two systems, one government" (like Hong Kong) and lastly the unimaginative default, Dominion Status. He was organizing a plebiscite when Nazi Germany invaded Poland..
In 1813, on this fateful day Yankee army engineers landed on Bedlow's Island on a revenge mission to destroy the Statue of Britannia, that hated symbol of imperial power in Upper New York Bay. An article from the New York City State thread.
Patriot BacklashBut to their immense anger and frustration it would be a brief occupation because they were forced to withdraw under the obligations of the Treaty of Ghent. However before they left, General Jackson delivered a powerful "Dream that Never Dies" speech . The loyalists were left in absolutely no doubt that the Americans considered the possession of the New York City State. "Unfinished business leftover from the American Revolution by an accident of history".
However despite the bad blood caused by this and other atrocities such as the sacking of Yorktown, the United States and Great Britain slowly began to develop shared national interests. The day of forced annexation never came. And within a century, they would even fight alongside each other as allies against the Kaiser's Germany. However the status of the Crown Colony always remained a sticking pointing. Demographic changes meant that the increasingly cosmopolitan New York City State wasn't really Britain's any more to give.
Governor General John Strange "Jack" Spencer-Churchill  was directed to prepare an options paper that listed the following choices - the declaration of an open city, absorption into the United States, an independent republic (like Singapore), "two systems, one government" (like Hong Kong) and lastly the unimaginative default, Dominion Status. He was organizing a plebiscite when Nazi Germany invaded Poland..
In 1957, on the anniversary of Nieuw Nederland President Martin Van Buren, his illustrious successor Quentin Rosevelt helped the mother country to negotiate a compromise deal with the Government of Indonesia. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.
Dutch Courage Part 4President Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first president. He was a prominent leader of Indonesia's nationalist movement during the Dutch colonial period, and spent over a decade under Dutch detention until released by the invading Japanese forces.
By December 1957, Sukarno had begun to take decisive steps to enforce his authority over the country. On that month, he nationalised 246 Dutch companies which have been dominating Indonesian economy, most notably the NHM, Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij, Escomptobank, and the "big five" Dutch trading corporations (NV Borneo Sumatra Maatschappij / Borsumij, NV Internationale Crediet- en Handelsvereeneging "Rotterdam" / Internatio, NV Jacobson van den Berg & Co, NV Lindeteves-Stokvis, and NV Geo Wehry & Co). More fatefully, he had threatened to expel 40,000 Dutch citizens remaining in Indonesia while confiscating their properties, due to the failure by the Dutch government to continue negotiations on the fate of Netherlands New Guinea as was promised in the 1949 Round Table Conference.
The Dutch Government had been forced into exile by the Nazis and their authority was blown. However Quentin was a former flying ace  who had personally impressed Sukharno as a fellow fighter for liberty and justice. This personal credibility generate a level of mutual respect that enabled "QR" to act as an honest broker finding a settlement between the two Governments.
In 1969, on this day CBS Evening News anchor Arnold Zenker announced that the US Ambassador to Ireland had been shot and killed by paramilitary gun-men in the Falls Road, Belfast.
An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969.
Uncle Arnold reports the tragedy in BelfastIn the six long months since his appointment by President Nixon, Jack Kennedy had worked tirelessly with community leaders to seek a resolution to the escalating sectarian violence sweeping the island of Ireland. But inevitably though he had invited criticism that he had failed to fully grasp the painful lessons of centuries of history.
His body was returned in state to Massachusetts where it was solemnly collected by members of the Kennedy Clan. They were still mourning Joe, Senior who had passed only three weeks earlier. But despite this heartbreak, they knew that matters could have been far far worse; because younger brother Ted had almost driven his car off a bridge on the evening of July, 18th. Although undetected at the time, the turbulent events of the second half of that year had made him turn the corner. And take the first steps on the long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In 1943, as the Second World War raged, the leaders of the "Big Four" Allied nations sought to meet, even though they would risk life and limb to do so.
Roosevelts Arrive at Tehran ConferenceThe Japanese Empire separated America from China, while Nazi Germany divided the USSR from America and Britain. They found a neutral point in Tehran, Persia, where Russian Premier Stalin could come from the north, Chinese Chairman Chang Kai-shek could approach from the east, and American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill could arrive from the west after a meeting shortly before in Cairo. They would discuss strategy for defeating the Axis powers as well as outlining post-war plans.
After a good deal of argument that the meetings would be strictly business between the immediate leaders and that women would not be allowed, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt convinced her husband that she and their daughter Anna would be necessary as future leaders in their own rights (and supposedly asking whether he had anything to hide, which would become more obvious after FDR's stroke in 1945 where mistress Lucy Rutherfurd was by his side). Roosevelt's arguments proved hollow as they arrived in Cairo and were surprised to be met by Mrs. Churchill. When they continued on to Tehran, they would be joined by Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Soong May-ling. Joseph Stalin also attended the meeting, though his wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva had died in 1932 from apparent suicide (that was rumored to be actual murder at Stalin's hand) after the two had a public argument. Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt formed a "Big Three" of the conference, edging out the war with the Japanese on the important matter of finishing off Germany with a European campaign.
"While the men conferred, Eleanor gathered Mrs. Churchill and Chiang to tea on a number of occasions, which quickly turned into their own summit. Eleanor had long been a supporter of the Red Cross, while Mrs. Clementine Churchill was currently the Chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund as well as a number of home front charitable efforts and Madame Kai-shek had worked to build and fund orphanages and schools for Nationalist "warphans," whose parents had been killed in the dark times of the past decade in China. They agreed on a number of matters that would eventually become important parts of shared efforts worldwide in 1945 when Mrs. Roosevelt became a representative and charter member of the United Nations Organization.
At one point in the conference, Mrs. Churchill noted Mr. Churchill's worries about how eager FDR seemed to please the stony Stalin. Eleanor related the importance of the Soviet declaration of war against Japan once the Europe question was over, but Soong May-ling voiced concern they all shared that Stalin was working to ensure a powerful Soviet Bloc of buffer territory in Eastern Europe and would most likely soon be funding the communists in China to overthrow the republican government that would serve as the Japanese were driven out. The ladies' concerns grew, and Eleanor and Clementine voiced their opinions to their husbands. FDR began to rethink his position, and Churchill redoubled his conviction that the world would not be safe from "the scourge and terror of war" as long as oppression in the Soviet Union remained.
Even with the distrust of Stalin growing uniformly, Churchill and FDR put into effect Operation Overlord headed by General Eisenhower that would begin a new front in France. Stalin, in return, promised to declare war on Japan, though the action would not follow until Germany was fully defeated. Meanwhile, the western Allies grew closer to Chiang Kai-shek, whose anti-communist sentiment spread. By the time of the conference in Yalta in February of 1945, feelings had shifted away from giving the Soviets direct control over much of anything outside of their prewar borders. The Morgenthau Plan to de-industrialize Germany was written off to keep down potential resistance, which infuriated Stalin, who began to demand why he bothered to fight a war if the rest of the Allies were simply going to let Germany rest to fight again. Unsatisfactory plans were agreed upon, though it was understood that, after the war, they would quickly be shelved.
After the taking of Berlin, threats of use of the A-bomb caused Stalin to retreat across Europe and acknowledge the International Zones. In China, support from America bolstered the Nationalist armies, which snuffed out the communist forces in China in 1947 after taking their capital at Yan'an. Stalin found himself surrounded with few allies, and he turned inward to develop his own atomic weapons. The "Cold War" standoff would continue for nearly a decade until 1956 brought attempted incursions into Hungary, threats over the Suez Canal, and the internal disputes over leadership after the death of Stalin. The weakness urged NATO to push for the dissolution of the Soviet government, resulting in a swift war that brought on a new Russian constitutional convention. UN aid bolstered the Russian people and eased tensions to ensure the new government would not fall to another predatory dictator.
In 1973, arguments in the Senate forced them to postpone the approval of John Connally as President Nixon's vice-president after his first V.P. was forced to resign to face bribery allegation when he was governor of Maryland.
Post Agnew FiascoIt was almost ten years to the day that he had been a passenger in the car in which President Kennedy was assassinated. After finishing his term of office as Governor, the then Democrat Connally was appointed Treasury Secretary.
But before agreeing to take the appointment, however, Connally told Nixon that the president must find a position in the administration for George H.W. Bush, the Republican who had been defeated in November 1970 in a hard-fought U.S. Senate race against Democrat Lloyd M. Bentsen. Connally told Nixon that his taking the Treasury post would embarrass Bush, who had "labored in the vineyards" for Nixon's election as president, while Connally had supported Humphrey. Connally's insistence saved Bush's political career because the then former U.S. representative and twice-defeated Senate candidate relied on appointed offices to build a resume.
Due to his service in the Cabinet, Connally became Nixon's preferred successor but unfortunately opposition in both houses stalled the confirmation. Nixon was thrown for a loss on this, and didn't name another candidate for the office before being forced from office himself in 1974. This resulted in the elevation of Speaker of the House Carl Albert to the presidency. The Oklahoman mended fences across the aisle, helping to heal the nation by imprisoning Nixon on treason charges in 1975. Meanwhile Connally who had failed to secure office for himself, had set the stage for Bush's future one-term Presidency.
In 176 AD, on this day Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted his teenage son Titus Aurelius Antoninus the rank of Imperator making him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions.
ImperatorThe decision was borne of necessity; both his advancing years and the tragically high mortality rate amongst his children. However, despite his recent illness, he lived for another ten years, sufficient time to win his long war and extend the Roman frontier from the Danube to the Carpathians.
In 191 AD Titus ascended to the throne, in time proving himself to be the fifth good and wise emperor in succession. He had the good sense to realize that the Empire had been too big and too small, and therefore the extended territory won by his father had safeguarded Rome for generations to come.
In 4636th Chinese year, innovative film-maker Lee Yuen Kam was born on this day in Hong Kong.
Birth of Lee Yuen KamHe was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen. A martial artist since his youth, Lee developed his own school of Gong Fu he called Jeet Kune Do. This fluid fighting style was featured in his films, first by himself and then by his students when Lee felt too old to properly execute his own stunts.
Lee's action films spawned a generation of action film-makers who were martial artists/actors, such as Kong-san Chan, Yuen Chu and Li Lian Jie.
In 1120, William Adelin, the seventeen year old legitimate son and heir of Henry I of England, narrowly survived the sinking of the White Ship in the English Channel.
William Adelin survives White Ship DisasterAfter the port side struck a submerged rock, the ship quickly capsized but he had boarded a small boat and would have been quite safe had he not turned back to try to rescue his half-sister, Matilda, when he heard her cries for help. His boat was then swamped by others trying to save themselves, but the siblings managed to survive by clinging to a rock all night.
Eighteen months earlier, he had married Matilda of Anjou. Upon his safe return, they had children and ascended the throne also inheriting the dukedom of Normandy in 1135. He ruled for twenty-five years before his own son Richard I was crowned King of England and of course accepted by the Barons.
In 1499, on this day Perkin Warbeck the impostor claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York was drawn on a hurdle from the Tower to Tyburn, London, where he read out a confession and then hanged.
Execution of Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of YorkBy ordering the execution of this Yorkist pretender, Henry VII had spared England the agonies of Civil War. And nothing in his treatment of similarly minded rebels such as John of Lincoln or even the mis-fortunate Sir William Stanley had suggested anything else could come of Warbeck's two landings in England.
After his capture at Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire, the King had declared that Warbeck was in fact a Fleming born in Tournai around 1474. He was "paraded through the streets on horseback amid much hooting and derision of the citizens" and then imprisoned first at Glastonbury and later the Tower of London alongside Edward, Earl of Warwick (the two tried to escape earlier in the year). But during this imprisonment, Henry had begun to have his own doubts that perhaps Warbeck was after all one of the two "Princes in the Tower". Certainly he resembled Edward IV in appearance. And this doubt had settled into absolute certainty with the discovery of Richard III's secret diary , the living proof which ironically had settled his fate.
In 1963, with evening news programs closely monitoring Mrs Kennedy's precarious medical condition at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) abruptly cancelled the showing of Episode One of Dr Who, a ground-breaking - if somewhat incongruous - science fiction television programme.
An Unearthly ChildFilmed in black and white the decidedly creepy William Hartnell played a thousand year old humanoid time lord who travels the galaxy in a sentient time-travelling space ship known as the TARDIS (acronym: Time and Relative Dimension in Space). An odd mixture of the past, present and the future, "An Unearthly Child" was an unpromising and disappointing start to the series. Hartnell's portrayal was too frightening for prime time television and yet the decision to rule out bug-eye monsters ran in quite the opposite direction.
Unfortunately for the series, certain key elements were locked in the transitional nature of that era making a relaunch rather difficult. Although the blue police boxes had been a feature of the British high street since the 1930s, they were already being removed, and Hartnell was a mature actor enjoying his final hurrah on television. He died in 1975 although the missing episodes were rediscovered when the BBC moved to Manchester in the first decade of the twenty-first century.
In 1868, on this day John Nance Garner IV the 33rd President of the United States (better known as Cactus Jack) was born in Detroit, Red River County, Texas. The son of a former Confederate cavalry trooper, he was famously described by the British journalist Alistair Cook as the "last public man linking America of the Civil War and America of the nuclear age".
Texas Shooting Drama, ReduxBy profession he was a lawyer who then served as a state representative from 1898 to 1902, and U.S. Representative from 1903 to 1933. He was the 44th Speaker of the House in 1931-1933. In 1932, he was elected the 32nd Vice President of the United States. Fate played a cruel and when only one month before being sworn into office, Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at President Roosevelt's motorcade. Four people were wounded and the President also mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, were killed.
Fortunately Garner's unique understanding of American history enabled him to steer the nation through the Great Depression followed in short order by a second World War. With Germany defeated and Japan exhausted, nearing collapse, he was advised that the Manhattan Project had delivered a doomsday weapon that could end the war and save lives. But instead, he set the tone for the post-war era by ordering low flying American and British bombers to release thousands of white doves over the City of Tokyo.
In 1963, on this day Dallas police visited the home of ex-Marine turned Communist Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina; she had called police headquarters at 7:00 AM that morning after finding his wedding ring on the kitchen table along with $170 in cash and a note reading "Well, it is all over now".
An article from the November Tragedy thread.
Part 2When questioned, she told police she'd last seen him around 10:30 PM the previous evening and expressed fears he might have committed suicide. Her worries proved to be justified-- at 12:30 PM that afternoon Officer J.D. Tippit and two of his colleagues found Oswald dead on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The official Dallas County coroner's report on Oswald's autopsy concluded the fatal shot had most likely come from the .38 revolver found clutched in his hand at the time his body was discovered. Police also found a 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at the scene of Oswald's suicide.
The rifle's presence baffled police investigators until an eccentric local nightclub owner named Jack Ruby came forward to reveal Oswald had visited his club just hours before committing suicide. In his statement, Ruby told police a drunk Oswald had confessed to plotting to assassinate President Kennedy when Kennedy's motorcade was passing through Dealey Plaza en route to a speech Kennedy had been scheduled to give at the Dallas Trade Mart on the afternoon of November 22nd; the assassination was intended to be an act of vengeance for the president's anti-Castro policies regarding Cuba, but with JFK's death in the collision of Air Force One and Air Force Two Oswald had been robbed of the opportunity to carry out his plan and become incurably depressed. A subsequent search of Oswald's home turned up a journal in which the ex-Marine vented his seething hate not just for Kennedy but for the United States in general and unwittingly outed himself as the gunman responsible for an attempt to kill right-wing activist General(ret.) Edwin Walker in April of 1963. Marina Oswald was questioned by state and federal authorities about the plot to kill JFK, but this inquiry was closed when it became clear she'd had no prior knowledge of her husband's intentions concerning the late president.
That didn't stop some people from coming up with outlandish conspiracy theories relating to Oswald's death, one of the most far-fetched of which came from then-New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison. Garrison alleged Oswald had been part of a far right cabal's plan to murder Kennedy and his apparent suicide was actually a contract killing carried out at the cabal's orders to keep Oswald from spilling the beans about their agenda; this theory was soon discredited and Garrison himself would eventually be fired as DA for abusing the power of his office.
In 1915, the great powers declared Kurdistan a German Protectorate under a general post-war settlement that dismembered the Ottoman Empire.
Kurdistan gains her independence.. sort ofEarlier in the year, Anzac Forces had achieved a vital break through at Gallipoli. A brave rearguard action was organized by the Ottomans, but after their inspirational commander Mustafa Kemal was killed the line quickly collapsed and Istanbul was seized by the Allied Powers. Perhaps more significantly, British forces were able to re-inforce the Tsarist Armies which was just as well because they had started to show early signs of not just mutiny but militant political organization. Workers committees known as Soviets were disbanded and trouble-makers rounded up before sirens of rebellion could really get started.
Of course the collapse of a minor ally was not of itself a reason for the other members of the Central Powers to capitulate - far from it, but in the heightened risk of stalemate on both fronts there was unexpectedly an opportunity to share the spoils of war. Under some imaginative proposals formulated by Sykes-Picot Agreement, Istanbul was passed to the Russians, and Kurdistan (including the Mosul Oil Fields) passed to the Germans as part of a general post-war settlement that split the Middle East between four great powers. Although the Entente had been formed to beat the Germans, this formula provided a means for all belligerents to climb down and yet gain some of the war gains - it was a "win win". In reality this deal was not all it seemed because the British had recently discovered even more lucrative oil fields in Southern Iraq, but no matter - the Germans had their place in the sun plus oil reserves, and the Kurds finally had a nation state of sorts, with a capital city of Ebril. It was exactly the kind of great compromise that put the Great into Great Britain.
In 1917, on this day 40th President of the United States Howard Keel was born Harry Clifford Leek in Gillespie, Illinois.
Howard Keel finds his VoiceThe son of a coal miner, he had, by his own admission, "a terrible, rotten childhood". His father was a drunk, who abused his son and killed himself when Howard was 11. His mother was a six-foot, "buck-toothed" tyrant - a strict Methodist, who regarded any form of entertainment as an invention of the Devil. Howard grew up mean and rebellious, with a fierce temper.
He found early employment as a car mechanic and during the war worked for five years with Douglas Aircraft. By the age of twenty he had moved to Los Angeles where he found expression for his blue collar rage in the Democrat Party. It was just the beginning of a forty year career that climaxed in his election in 1980. By then, a series of political missteps had brought the country to a cross roads but it was Keel's booming voice that provided fresh hope for a glorious socialist future.
In 1855, the twenty-eighth President of the United States James Schoolcraft ("Sunny Jim") Sherman was born on this day in Utica, New York.
Birth of Sunny JimPrior to his Congressional election he was a member of the inter-related Baldwin, Hoar, and Sherman families, prominent lawyers and politicians of New England. And although not a high-powered administrator, he made a natural committee chairman, and his genial personality eased the workings of the House of Representatives. Selected for running mate by William H. Taft, he became the first Vice President to fly in a plane and also the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.
Unfortunately for the Republican Party, subsequent events quickly descended into division and acrimony. The popular former President Roosevelt failed to take the nomination from Taft and left the GOP to form the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party. At this critical juncture the hugely overweight Taft had a heart attack after getting stuck in the bath tub. By then Sherman's own health was in rapid decline. He died a week short of the 1912 election throwing the democratic process into complete chaos. An immediate succession was obviously required to replace the expired office holder, but the possibility of calling a Special Election was also hotly debated.
In 1922, British Conservative MPs met at the Carlton Club to vote for breaking off the Coalition Government with Winston Churchill of the Liberal Party.
The Carlton Club MeetingBut to their astonishment, Churchill himself arrived at the meeting, grandly declaring that "anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat". In short, he was announcing his intention to formally re-join the Tory Caucus on his own bullyish terms.
The meeting had been precipitated by a series of freak events. Churchill had of course assumed office after the demise of Asquith and managed to emerge as "the man who won the war". Unfortunately, he had then started another two conflicts by intervening in the Russian Civil War aiming to "kill Bolshevism in its cradle". And of course prosecuting a brutal war in Ireland (the nationalists Redmond and Dillon had long memories of his father and so had fought him from the moment he entered Downing Street). As the Tory Grandees eyed him with a mixture of fear, hatred and suspicion, the success of either venture was far from certain, but regardless Conservative MPs wanted out of the Coalition in order to fight a peacetime General Election.
And yet the real threat came from another national figure of grand stature, David Lloyd George. In 1914 he had quit the Liberal Party, making common ground with the anti-War Labour Party. Together, they were fuelling a rising working class demand for progressive social policies.
In 1960, Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts and Vice-President Richard Nixon debate for the second time on television, this time on matters of foreign policy. Almost sixty-two million viewers and listeners tuned into the event recorded at NBC affiliate's Studio A, Massachusetts and Nebraska Avenues, Washington DC.
Second Kennedy-Nixon DebateOf course Sen. Kennedy was widely viewed as the winner of the first debate, particularly among those who viewed it on television. Polls in the following week showed that Kennedy's support rose to the same level as Nixon's. The second Kennedy-Nixon debate was Nixon's chance to redeem himself. In the interim, Nixon's campaign discussed how to improve his performance. Analysts believed that Kennedy did a better job setting forth the "big picture" while Nixon did better with the details.
But unfortunately this approach backfired because Sen. Kennedy made a major gaff by declaring that Castro was a communist, and that, "Today, Cuba is lost to freedom". When Castro signed a trade and security agreement with the Eisenhower administration the next week, Kennedy was humiliated, and doubts about his competency in international affairs became certainties.
In 2003, despite a brief flirtation with the idea of electing a movie star as their governor again, Californians come to their senses and vote Democrat Cruz Bustamante into the governor's mansion in a special recall election.
Governor Bustamante electedAlthough the Republican Party had pushed the ouster of Governor Gray Davis, it proved to be of little advantage during the actual election - their main candidate in the field of over 100 came in a distant fourth. Even the independent candidate, Arianna Huffington, polled ahead of the action-hero candidate.
It was part of a larger trend against Republican policies that continued into the national elections the next year, as President Al Gore was re-elected in a landslide, and the Democrats regained the majority in the House of Representatives.
In 1822, Republican Presidential Nominee Governor Rutherford Birchard (B) Hayes was born on this day in Delaware, Ohio.
Passing of Governor HayesAs an attorney in Ohio, he became city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain; he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the U.S. Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, and then to a third term, from 1876 to 1877.
He narrowly lost the general election. Samuel Jones Tilden was awarded the presidency of the United States by an 8-7 vote of an electoral commission established to resolve the disputed 1876 election. Tilden won after the defection of a single Republican commission member forced the commission to evenly divide the disputed electoral votes of three Southern states rather than, as the other Republican members had wanted, awarding them all to GOP contender Hayes. Had the dissident member voted with his fellow Republicans, Hayes would have won, by 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184.
The "back-room" character of this decision lent force to a movement to abolish the Electoral College, and in 1901, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would do exactly that, establishing direct election of the president. Ironically, U.S. senators would not be directly elected until the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913; until that time, they would continue to be chosen by state legislatures.
In 1399, Henry Bolingbroke is captured and executed by supporters of the true English king, Richard II (pictured), as he attempts to usurp the throne.
The Usurper Henry Bolingbroke is executedAlthough Richard was often perceived as a weak and indecisive king, he was still the one true king, and Bolingbroke had little popular support.
With this rebellion dealt with, Richard II reigned without incident until his death in 1415. He left behind a young son, Richard III, who was 12 when he assumed the throne from his father. He was a virtual puppet for his grandfather, Charles VI of France, until his 18th birthday, when his mother convinced him that the English deserved a king who was his own man. Queen Mother Isabella had detested her father ever since he had given her to Richard II as a bride when she was a mere 7 years old, and had come to love the country in which she had spent almost all of her life. It was rumored that she sang a happy little song when King Charles died in 1422, but it is certain that she advised King Richard to press his claim on the French throne, which he did with little opposition, since France was in great disarray after Charles' death. Richard III proved to be nothing like his father, owing to his mother's strength as an advisor, and ruled for 65 years, expanding English dominion over half of Europe.
In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, lands on the coast of England only to be met by the forces of Tostig Godwine and King Harald of Norway - the English King, Harold Godwine, had masterfully negotiated an alliance with the pair and used them as a buffer against William's initial assault.
Normans repulsed at HastingsAlthough William won the day against England's erstwhile defenders, he was weakened by the battle, and was easily defeated by King Harold at Hastings a few days later.
As Harold executed Duke William for his crimes against England, he supposedly insulted the Duke's lineage by saying, "No tanner's bastard could ever sit upon the throne of England".
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter of the United States forges a peace treaty between two implacable enemies, Egypt and Israel.
Historic Signing of Camp David AccordsWith the signing of the accords at the White House, Israel exchanges the Sinai Peninsula for an alliance with the Egyptian people. Although the treaty is denounced by more radical Muslim nations, Egypt is ready to give up the useless struggles with Israel that they have been through over the last three decades.
President Carter then goes to work on the issue of the Palestinians within Israel's occupied territories, and in 1979 comes up with a plan for two nations within a single border, in which local governments are chosen without reference to the nation they belong to, and Palestinians and Israelis live side by side. Derided as a Utopian fantasy at first, it gains more respect after Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work the previous year, and Yassir Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, says that he will support the initiative. That November, when there are troubles around the American embassy in Iran, Arafat and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat step in to defuse the situation and keep the Americans in the Teheran embassy safe. The American people, grateful for this assistance, put great pressure on Israel to agree to the Two-State Solution, and in July of 1980, the lands of Israel and Palestine begin history anew. President Carter, having accomplished the minor miracle of peace in the Middle East, is reelected by an almost 2-to-1 majority in the 1980 elections, and uses his second term to promote anti-poverty measures in America and around the world. He left office with more good will worldwide than any president since Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1824, the demise of Louis XVIII triggered a series of events that led inexorably to the War of French Succession.
Passing of Louis XVIII of FranceHis authority had been challenged by ultra nationalists throughout the ten years of his rule that had begun with the Bourbon Restoration. And naturally upon his death, Ultras quickly sought to install his brother, Charles, Count of Artois in favour of his liberal-minded forty-three year son Louis XIX.
Ironically, this action triggered a royalist backlash. The late King's wife Marie Josephine Louise de Savoy Princess of Sardinia and Piedmont turned to Charles Felix the King of Sardinia for military assistance, while the Comte d' Artois turned to his relations in Austria. Ferdinand IV of Spain also became directly involved; his paternal grandfather and Louis XIX's maternal grandmother were brother and sister. In a further escalation, Comte d' Artois obtained the support of Prussia. And before a Concert of Europe could be formed, the European Monarchies were already on the march.
In 1857, on this day the ninth Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ninth US Chief Justice William H. TaftBorn into a powerful family, his paternal grandfather was Peter Rawson Taft, a descendant of Robert Taft I, the first Taft in America, who settled in Colonial Mendon and later Uxbridge Massachusetts. Alphonso Taft went to Cincinnati in 1839 to open a law practice, and was a prominent Republican who served as Secretary of War and Attorney General under President Ulysses S. Grant.
He studied at Yale and naturally entered the law profession. After admission to the Ohio bar, Taft was appointed Assistant Prosecutor of Hamilton County, Ohio. William was appointed to serve on the Superior Court of Cincinnati in 1887. Three years later, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In 1900, President William McKinley appointed Taft Governor-General of the Philippines. Despite his great reluctance to vacate this position, he was persuaded to accepted a Supreme Court Nomination in 1903 by McKinley's successor, Theodore Roosevelt. Although popular on the islands, he was never really cut out for popular politics, and his brief diversion into executive office was at a premature end. After seven years service on the bench, Melville Fuller passed away. And so in 1910, President Elihu Root appointed him Chief Justice a position he served in with great distinction for two decades. After his death in 1934, his eldest son Robert Alphonso Taft would fulfill his leadership ambitions by becoming elected President of the United States in 1948.
In 2001, on this day Warner Bros. announced forthcoming plans for a successor movie to the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner and its 1998 sidequel, a box office flop called Soldier (written by David Peoples, who co-wrote the script for Blade Runner).
The Filming of Blade Runner Part 3: "Tannhäuser Gate"Tannhäuser is the name of a mythical German knight, and the title of an opera by Richard Wagner. As re-imagined for SciFi, Tannhäuser Gate was variously either a fault in the space-time continuum where two normally distant points of space touch one another; a huge wall of metal; an impregnable fortress bristling with futuristic weapons, or less imaginatively, a star gate off the colony of Tannhauser (as pictured). Regardless, the origination of the outline concept was a tantalizing reference contained within the dramatic closing speech from the replicant Roy Batty, an improvised piece of poetry drafted by actor Rutger Hauer "I've .. seen things you people wouldn't believe; attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost... in time, like... tears... in rain". This statement was addressed to his nemesis - Deckard, the detective (possibly a replicant himself) played by Harrison Ford.
Sixteen years later,
Sgt. Todd (played by Kurt Russell) fleetingly reveals that he is a veteran of the Battle at the Tannhauser gate (unfortunately, due to budgetary cuts, a depiction of the battle was edited out). Although the 1998 reference was largely a gratuitous attempt to draw on the box office success of Blade Runner, it did whet an appetite for a third film. It was even speculated that the forthcoming movie could feature Ford, Hauer and Russell.
In 1890, Salisbury, Rhodesia, is founded by the Pioneer Column, a military volunteer force of settlers organised by Cecil Rhodes. They originally named the city Fort Salisbury after the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, then British prime minister, and it subsequently became known simply as Salisbury.
Founding of city of SalisburyRhodes, an English businessman, mining magnate, and politician, later became the Prime Minister in South Africa although he was forced to resign shortly before the Boer War.
After recovering from a heart attack in 1902 , he was restored to office and set about leading South Africa and Rhodesia towards a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) after the Wall Street Crash in 1929. By this stage, British Imperial Power was weakened and London less determined to resist his continuous push for local power.
In 2003, on this day American singer-songwriter, actor, and author John R. "Johnny" Cash died in Nashville, Tennessee. Aged seventy one, he had been in bad health for many years. Nevertheless with his second wife June Carter Cash, he worked tirelessly to repeal the death penalty in the United States. An installment from the Happy Endings thread
Happy Endings Part 26a:
Birth of Johnny Cash: a Knight in Rusty Armour 2During his childhood his equilibrium was shattered by the tragic death of his beloved brother Jack. Unfairly blamed by his father, he fell into a vicious cycle of self-hate and addiction that had threatened to destroy him. Despite June's love he never really escaped from these problems, but he did try to reach out seek redemption for other kindred spirits.
Despite the sorrow they lived together mostly in happiness for thirty-five years, dying months apart. And John did finally fight off his drug addiction after numerous busts and clashes with authority. In 1970 they had a child, John Carter Cash. That was their happy ever-after love story, and it would have profound consequences for justice, redemption and humiliation, aspects of the human experience that the Cashes knew all too well. Because if he could be saved, then perhaps he could help others to have a second chance as well.
They toured together at American prisons raising the issue of mistreatment. And then two breakthroughs came. Firstly, the election of Jimmy Carter, a relative of June. This allowed John to progress discussions on prison reform that had begun in 1970 with Richard Nixon (pictured). And his home in Hendersonville, twenty-five minutes north of Nashville was in the Congressional District of Al Gore, Jr. (Gore Snr. was also connected to June from her earlier performances with her legendary family on WSM radio). Three years before their respective deaths, Al Gore, Jr. was elected President, committing himself to a state-by-state program of repeal of the death penalty. Despite the resistance of many, he succeeded. It was the triumph of humanity that he had fought for his whole life, made possible by June who had helped him "Walk the Line". Because as the great man once said, "something had been missing in this harsh world, but finally, it had been fulfilled".
In 1938, on this day the forty-second president of the United States Samuel Augustus ("Sam") Nunn, Jr. was born in Macon, Georgia. Having succeeded the two one-term Presidencies of Gary Hart and Jack Kemp, his eight years in office might have restored a degree of stability to the White House. But he attempted to use this opportunity to push through a bold programme of change and both of his signature pieces of legislation faced hostile opposition from an unlikely alliance of political forces.
An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969.
Sam Nunn's Rough and Tumble Two-Term PresidencyWhen he defeated incumbent Jack Kemp in the 1992 U.S. presidential election
observers marvelled at how far Kemp's fortunes had fallen since the end of the Gulf War, when he had a 91 percent approval rating and seemed likely to win re-election in a landslide. Another disappointed candidate was Bill Clinton; at the DNC Convention he and his wife Hillary had watched from the gallery as Nunn delivered his acceptance speech. Bombarded by charges of extramarital affairs and corrupt business dealings during his own campaign, the Arkansas governor had seen his chances of winning the nomination wither. The accusations would continue long after the convention, helping to ensure his defeat in his home state's 1994 gubernatorial election. But to the amazement of almost everyone, the Clintons' marriage would survive.
Once in office, Nunn put Vice President Bill Bradley in charge of healthcare reform. But opposition quickly mounted and Conservatives declared the Bradley plan bureaucratic, dictating to Americans which doctors they could and could not see, essentially placing the medical profession under federal control. Nevertheless, Bradley's healthcare working group released its report, which called for the establishment of a so-called "single-payer" national health care system, AmeriCare, loosely modelled on that of Canada. The program was intended to cover everyone not already eligible for care under either Medicaid or Medicare. Reaction was immediate, and, from the GOP, bitterly hostile. The Bradley group's plan was denounced as "socialist medicine" before anyone among its critics had read anything but a thumbnail summary of it.
Two years later President Nunn submitted a proposed bill to Congress which would establish an "Internal Defense Administration" aimed at preventing terrorist attacks within the United States. Republicans and conservative Democrats, joined by some liberals, opposed this idea, which some complained amounted to the creation of an "American Gestapo". Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, who had startled even some conservatives by suggesting that the federal government had "invited" such a response by way of its controversial actions against the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas a year earlier, would be particularly outspoken - but she would have unlikely allies among civil libertarians from the President's own party. Nunn defended his idea fiercely, pointing to such incidents as the recent assault on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the failed bombing of the World trade Center in 1993 as evidence of the need for a domestic anti-terrorist force.
Almost inevitably the Bill was defeated in the Senate. Among the loudest voices against it had been former President Edward M. Kennedy and among the idea's defenders, the most forceful had been Tennessee Senator Albert Gore. The split between Kennedy and Gore on this issue strained what had been a friendly relationship between the former President and the Senator. Ex-President Kennedy had been quietly favouring a Gore run for the presidency in 2000, but would grow cooler on the idea following this episode.
In 1975, in accordance with his heartfelt wishes, Generalissimo and former ROC President Chiang Kai-shek was buried in his native Fenghua, a county-level city in the north of Zhejiang province, mainland China . It was the final leg of a historic journey from Taipei, the Taiwanese capital city that he had ruled in exile for twenty-nine years.
The Tragedy at Wuhan Part 2Due to his ancient rivalry with Chairman Mao (pictured together) these funeral arrangements would have been unthinkable prior to The Tragedy at Wuhan. However the pace of development and reform had moved ahead at an incredible speed under his dynamic successor, Deng Xiaoping.
Following on from the official state visit from President Nixon, Chiang was invited to visit Deng's Beijing. It was a city transformed, no longer did a smiling but nevertheless demagogic portrait hang menacingly over the Forbidden City. Instead, change and transformation were in the air. And in this positive atmosphere, the representatives of White and Red China agreed to a collaborative partnership that would bring Taiwanese finance and technology into mainland development .
If it was a legacy that the ageing Generalissimo could be proud of then surely few could begrudge his request to be buried in his native Fenghua where the incredible story of his life had been almost ninety years before. It was an epic saga of lifelong struggle for an ideal. And in the finest traditions of Chinese literature it ended fittingly on a high note of supreme achievement. Because as China re-emerged as a regional superpower, the photograph of two ancient rivals finally became a new icon of this unexpected but nevertheless welcome partnership. Two great helmsmen, staring out into an exhilarating future.
In 1961, the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba solemnly announced that the brilliant army chief of staff Joseph-Desiré Mobutu had been killed by rebels in the breakaway region of Katanga.
The Tragedy in KatangaAlthough Lumumba himself had survived the rocky early months of office after independence, what was now at state was the survival of a viable Congolese state.
Because surely without the mineral rich Katanga region, the Congo would struggle to survive as an economic unit. It was a tragic conflict that would directly involved the governments of the United States, Belgium and the United Kingdom, their secret services and of course proxy allies. Mobutu had tried and failed to prevent Katanga from seceding but now the world watched with horror as Central Africa descended into a bitter post-colonial war fought across a vast geographic area even larger than continental Europe.
In 1940, on this day Leon Trotsky was smuggled out of Mexico City.
Next Year in JerusalemHe disappeared from view with the assistance of agents of the Lehi. But after Operation Barbarossa and the fall of his nemesis Stalin, Soviet efforts to assassinate him receded sharply and he next emerged as a shadowy figure in the Civil War in Mandatory Palestine.
Due to his controversial past, he was forced to play a strategic, rather than his familiar leadership role in the formation of the State of Israel. However, his vital contribution was well known, in a private letter to the Commander of Jerusalem, David Ben-Gurion wrote "Leon was the best man we had" .
In 1921, celebrated American television screenwriter, producer Eugene Wesley (Gene) Roddenberry was born on this day in El Paso, Texas.
Birth of Gene RoddenberryHe was the creator of the award winning TV show The Lieutenant which focused on the US Marine Corps in peace time with a Cold War backdrop. Although popular, the show was considered mainstream entertainment prior to the production of the ground-breaking episode To Set It Right which examined the explosive issue of racial prejudice. Featuring Nichelle Nichols as the fiancee of a black Marine, and Dennis Hopper as the adversary of that Marine, the subject was considered taboo in entertainment television and the network initially refused to transmit the episode.
In retrospect, "To Set It Right" was a watershed; and any reluctance to explore the controversial inner lives of the Marines was abandoned. The show became a huge success, placing a mirror up against a whole range of sixties issues including of course the Vietnam War.
In 1913, on this day Mieczyslaw Biegun was born in Brest Litovsk, Russia. When the Greater Zionist Resistance took BrestLitovsk in 1925, Begin joined the movement and proved an able leader. In 1935, when Astrid Pflaume was assassinated, he assumed leadership of the GZR.
Birth of Mieczyslaw Biegun An installment from "Elders of the Protocols of Zion"As the head of a GZR cell he orchestrated on the organization's greatest outrages against the New Reich.
Because on 22nd July, 1946 the German Underground's headquarters at the New Reich's signature hotel The Excelsior was destroyed by 350 kg (770 lb) of explosives spread over six charges detonated by a terrorist cell of the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) under the command of Biegun.
The bombing in Berlin marked the eleventh anniversary of the assassination of Astrid Pflaume, a neo-Nazi from 1968 sent back in time to create the GZR, the shadowy world-wide Zionist organization, the enemy they had always imagined. However the plan had back-fired because of a switch of Pflaume's sympathies; by the time that she was killed in 1935 she had "gone native" and created such a vibrant resistance organization that the neo-Nazis had to send weapons of the future to defeat her.
Inevitably, these distortions in the timeline introduced paradoxes. The GZR now determined that a path to victory was possible, if they could only get Biegun's cell to destroy Wilhelm Schoemann's theoretical physics laboratory in Isgarden. Because it was the survival of that body of work that enabled neo-Nazis to regroup in 1968, could that be averted, then their plan could never be.
Part one of the novel can be downloaded here and continues as a thread on this site. All of Robbie Taylor's novels are available for download at Amazon.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.